Sometimes it takes time to discover an aviation ‘sweet spot’, the place that satisfies all the things we love about flying.
As Artyom Liss prepares to fly his syndicate’s vintage 1946 Auster, from Utena Aerodrome in Lithuania, he feels that he has arrived. Artyom recently completed an upgrade to this classic.
He discreetly installed a compact Trig TY91 radio and TT21 Mode S transponder. “Now I have modern avionics, whilst respecting the heritage of the aircraft. The Auster is very pleasant to fly, the 75hp Continental engine means it can cruise at 60 knots, if I ask it nicely of course!” said Artyom.
“Trig is so ubiquitous in other aircraft I have flown, reliable and intuitive – I didn’t even have to read the user manual.”
Touching down after a local flight, Artyom shared how he made the journey from flying on Microsoft Flight Sim in 1998 to flying the Auster down Utena’s final approach.
“I started gliding at Booker, just local flights, and I wanted to fly further.” Switching to powered aircraft was the next step. Artyom returned to flying after a short break, piloting a Eurostar at Rochester. “A friend offered me a flight in a Piper Cub, I was instantly hooked. The simplicity of vintage aircraft, the way they handle and the reality that you are surrounded by history is to me a great attraction.” Artyom joined the Tiger club at Damyns Hall, flying other Cubs, and beginning his conversion onto the Tiger Moth. G-ACDC. This aircraft is credited with being the oldest airframe in continuous use on the British civil aviation register, history indeed.
Work commitments took Artyom to Lithuania. Exploring what he might fly locally he was not enticed by ‘spam cans’ at the local airfield. “Amazingly, I found this Auster locally in good condition, its owner had been trying to sell it for a couple of years. It was a deal I simply could not resist. I love the quirks of the Auster, for example, the mixture control is fixed, wire locked at the factory in 1946. The fuel sight gauge is a calibrated ruler, only readable on the ground as it shakes so vigorously in the air!
When I came to fit the Trig units I found a local installer – a company called Aeroekspresas. Their engineer was enthusiastic about fitting Trig, which gave me confidence. He replaced old audio wiring and resolved an interference issue with new magneto wiring. He was also keen to try out his brand-new 3D printer: he used it to make a bespoke tray that now smartly houses the Trig radio and transponder beneath the instrument panel.”
Artyom is now Mode S and 8.33 equipped, his next aircraft improvement might be a major one, “I am seriously considering a C90 Continental engine upgrade, the extra speed and range would be appealing” Artyom said.
When every flight in the Auster is so rewarding for Artyom perhaps it’s the flight rather than the arrival that counts.