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Monday, October 5, 2020

Historic aircraft passes over Butler

What’s Up
By LeRoy Cook

Other than for some windy days that exceeded sensible flying parameters, it was a good week’s worth of aviation. Fog is always a risk early in the morning as the nights clear and cool down. We did some night flying under the full moon for currency purposes, an easy time to do it because the runway is visible in the moonlight. That’s important at Butler, because our beacon light is still broken after a year and the runway lights are operating on low power for economy.

Aircraft in this week included a Pitts Special biplane, a Cessna Skyhawk, a nice little Ercoupe, a Piper Cherokee, and a Cirrus SR22. A hulking Twin Otter skydiver jump plane showed up Sunday afternoon. Local flyers were Brandt Hall in his KIS Cruiser, Roy Conley in his Grumman Tr2 and me in a Piper TriPacer. Jerry Burns flew his Lancair 200 experimental, I took the Cessna 172 over to Clinton and Dayne Kedigh went to Burlington and Topeka, Kansas in a Cessna 150.

This horrible year of cancelled fly-ins and airshows left us without the biggest one of all, the Oshkosh Airventure reunion in Wisconsin that brings 500,000 people together. Ah, but there was an Oshkosh fly-in, after all. It turns out that there is a little town in western Nebraska—Oshkosh, NE, with a 4,700-foot runway and a population of 800 welcoming people. Some 35 airplanes flew in and 115 people showed up at the mini-Oshkosh, right on time in late July. For the rest of us, it was the year of “Noshkosh”, but not for these diehards.

A couple of Lockheed products tangled in mid-air last week, with bad results. The Marines were practicing aerial refueling in central California when the F-35 Lightning II taking on gas from a C-130 Hercules bumped into the Herk. Scratch one F-35; the pilot ejected successfully. The C-130 wound up landing on its belly in a farm field, no injuries. Expensive lesson.

It pays to look up when you hear an airplane flying over. On Thursday morning about 11:30, Scott Phillips and Rodney Rom both saw a WW-II B-29 Superfortress pass over Butler, heading west. It had to be “Doc” out of Wichita, restored by Boeing employees from the plant where it was built. It was probably going back home after the commemorative Arsenal of Democracy fly-over in Washington, D.C , which was cancelled due to bad weather. It was supposed to honor the end of World War II.

Our question from last week was “where can you land below sea level in the U.S.? Rodney Rom voted for Furnace Creek airport in Death Valley, and Butch Leuthart suggested Calpatria on the shore of the Salton Sea, both in California, and they ‘re both right. For next time, we’d like to know if there are any deaf pilots. As usual, you can send your answer to