Auster XR244 Ground Run

by Paul McNulty, Fixed Wing Pilot

I arrived at Middle Wallop to see 4 Juno helicopters parked on Delta dispersal.  The Junos would depart shortly, freeing up spots on Delta for aircraf of the Historic Army Aircraft Flight.  As one of three HAAF fixed wing pilots, my task was to ground run the Auster following the close season maintenance period.

I conducted the Auster ‘A-Check’ in the hangar as the Junos departed.  With panels secured, the hangar doors were opened and XR244 pushed out to spot 2.  Cockpit checks completed, battery on, I obtained the airfield details and called Wallop Radio, “Historic 02, engine start, Delta, 2 POB“. 

Engine primed, magnetos on, ‘Contact!’ and the Bombardier started beautifully.  Engine oil pressure rose immediately, Starter Switch off, a call to Wallop Tower “Historic 02, request taxi Bravo 1 for engine checks, with Echo”. Braking and flight instruments were checked during the short taxi to Bravo 1 and I waved to visitors as I passed the Army Flying Museum.  

At Bravo 1, with parking brake applied, engine oil temperature above 30 deg C and CHT checked, I opened the throttle smoothly to full power. Dave, a HAAF engineer in the right seat, recorded engine parameters: everything was within limits. A call to Wallop Tower, “Historic 02, ground run complete, request taxi Delta“.

I taxied past Chipmunk WD325 on spot 3.  With XR244 now serviceable, the Chief Engineer asked me to ground run WD325.  It would be a pleasure, as I had last flown WD325 37 years ago on Army Flying Grading!