G-ASYP Stories - Biarritz Emails

Here are a few emails, selected from the many sent over the months while 'YP was in France. I've edited out some personal details, but have left in the proof that while HFG pilots can fly well, they can't spell!


From: Turnwright Office
Sent: 18 June 2004 13:44
To: Rob Brown; Andy Faulkner; Adrian Whittemore
Cc: Andy Faulkner; Mark Johnson; Allan Melmore
Subject: YP

Dear All,
Just a quick note to bring you all up to speed with the situation with YP.
It is still in Biarittz with the following problem
The right magneto bolts came loose in flight which allowed the magneto to wobble out of its mounting. This in turn stripped all the gear teeth off the magneto gear. The gear also detached from the taper lock shaft and the locking washer, nut and split pin are all missing (presumably somewhere in the accessory gearbox).  There is a fair amount of swarf and tiny metal particles evident on the inside faces of the gearbox.
As we were over fairly inhospitable terrain at the time I am very happy that the engine carried on running and got us back to a sensible airfield with crash facilities (not needed thank god).
Several engineers have looked at the problem including one recommended by the insurers. All seem agreed that the most likely best repair is a complete engine and gearbox exchange. I do not know if the insurance will cover all this but in my view this should never have happened. The insurers engineer will be writing a report of the damage and the options open to us.
I do not know if there should be any form of locking on the magneteo bolts but there is none evident on YP. The nuts on the damaged magneto can be spun on by hand. I have taken photos of as much of this as I could, they are quite good resolution.
Anyone out there know any better?
Parking is likely to be £150.00 per month (if they charge it).
All in France have been very helpful and gone out of their way to assist.
The a/c is outside at present but we may be able to get it moved to the flying club hangar if required.
Adrian: I am likely to be able to get to Henlow on Sunday can we meet then?
Rob: I am sending a copy of the tacho log by separate e mail


From: Turnwright Office
25 June 2004 11:29
To: YP group
Subject: Engine problem


For info only as below the French engineers report






ENGINE : ROLLS Royce 0-200 A  - SN 21 R 337

TOTAL TIME : 7463.43 hours

MAGNETO RH : BENDIX S4LN 21    - SN 10-51360-37


SUBJET : Magneto failure in flight



After a visually external inspection of the engine, I found theses following notings :


 - On both magnetos is missing, both sides, the lockwashers under the nuts on the flange.


- The drive gear is falled from the shaft and damaged.


- The drive shaft cotter pin and nut are probably down in the crankcase and cause damages to the others pinion shaft and oil pump.

For information, this nut is locked with a moment of about 300 in/lbs.


- The conical assembly of the rotor shaft and the woodruffkey are totaly damaged and the woodruffkey are totaly damaged and is like polished.


- There is certainly an oil contamination of the complete engine with some metallic ships, because this engine doesn't have a filter but only a wire wash screen.


- They are probably another damages in the crankcase due to the inside falling parts and metallic particules.




Without the lockwashers, the nuts of the magneto are  unlocked and the magneto set no more straight on the flange.




The best way for the engine is a total overhaul. Anyway, the engine is to removed from the aircraft opened to see exactly the damages and change the differents parts.

An exchange of the magneto is to be carried out. This all for the best flight safety.


I stay, at your service for all other information.


Best regards.



Le Responsable Entretien

Philippe STREIFF


Aéroport Pau-Pyrénées
17, rue St Exupery
Tél: 05 59 33 18 74
Fax: 05 59 33 79 12

From: Robert Brinkley
Received: 23:15 20/01/2005

Dear all,

i spoke with Steve Rolls today and we have a confirmed date of 17th Feb. Both Neil and i are available for this and propose leaving on the 18th as the engine will take at least a day to fit.

From: S H
20 February 2005 12:05
To: Henlow Flying Group
Subject: YP progress


YP made it to Soulac Sur Mer last night and to Le Mans this morning but (despite enquiries) there was no fuel avail. They are trying Alencon but may not be able to come further north today. They are only making 60-70Kts ground speed due to the N wind.

I will keep all informed.

From: S H
Sent: 20 February 2005 16:52
To: Henlow Flying Group
Subject: YP latest


Now at La Fleche for the night.

Try to make rest of journey am tomorrow.

From: Turnwright
Received: 15:50 21/02/2005

YP is now stuck at St Aigle (small club site) no fuel available but Towering CB’s prevent further progress. Bob will try to get into Rouen or if possible back to UK tomorrow but they have run out of time. Will speak to them tonite re further options, any suggestions?

From: Turnwright
Received: 09:07 22/02/2005

Guys are still at L’Aigle (small airfield to south of Rouen) towering CB’s last night forced return to L’Aigle ,no fuel at airfield but have 1.5 hrs in tanks. Going to try for Rouen this morning but weather not looking good. Bob has to return to UK today or tmmrw, neil will stay with a/c if chance of getting into UK Tues/wed. If they make it to Rouen there will be fuel and it will only be 2.00 – 2.5 hrs into Headcorn or Lydd or Shoreham. They are doing their best but, clearly, will not take risks with the weather.

From: Robert Brinkley
Received: 23:27 24/02/2005

Hi all (or should it be bonjour),

As Scott has advised you, our return with YP was not a complete success but Mother Nature is a woman...and we all know that women will always win the argument! Our biggest hurdle was choosing somewhere to stop which was actually staffed for getting fuel and things. As you will read in the forthcoming article, aerodromes reported to be open were desolate when we arrived.

The aeroplane was left in a small but concreted airfield just outside L'Aigle covered in 3" of snow. Its located about 70 miles below Dauville on the north coast and in far easier reach than it was in Biarritz so in those terms you could say the trip was a success. L'Aigle was unstaffed for the 2 days we were there so what I have done is speak with a French friend of mine and she will be leaving a comprehendible message on their answer phone explaining the arrival of YP and she will act as a go between for us.

I have asked her to enquire about getting YP into one of the hangars there and any costs I would expect to be minimal given the size of their operation. Whomever goes to finish the job will need to take a litre of two of straight oil with them just in case it needs a top up. The engine fit, engine run up and flight test went well and she purred all the way to her present location. Steve Rolls is happy to issue extension paperwork for the rest of the journey home but we should let him know in advance of course.

When I left her I did everything except take a note of tacho time but I don't imagine its an issue. Scott has the key, maps, our GPS and French version of Pooleys. The life jackets are with YP.

Will advise you when I hear from my French friend, in the meantime Bon Soir and in the words of a famous Englishman.................Bonnet de douche.

Best wishes


From: Mark Johnson
Received: 09:37 22/02/2005

Scott and I have fond memories of Rouen

From: james
Received: 11:22 24/02/2005

Is there a plan in place yet as to when we will be trying to retreive 'YP again? Just curious as to what the situation is.


From: Home
Received: 10:43 25/02/2005

No, we need some volunteers and some idea as to when weather is OK. New A cert will be issued by Steve Rolls when we know the date of the next attempt. May have to drive down with 2 pilots etc. A/c is at L'Aigle (concrete R/W) about 70 NM south Rouen. Its out in open so we should try to get it going asap.

From: Mark Johnson
Received: 16:53 12/03/2005

Dear all

Just to let you know that YP is now back in the UK.

A volunteer would be helpful to take her to Bidford once we establish when it needs to be there.

She flew like a dream, other than one or two small points, main radio not working (it was tempremental before) fuel guages not telling the right story, and the passenger transmit button sticking a little.


Mark, Scott, Bob and a mate.



Last updated: 08 May 2005 09:29:32