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Monday, October 26, 2020

Un-fair weather limits time in the cockpit

What’s Up
By LeRoy Cook
25 October 2020

The week’s flying weather left a lot to be desired, with winds gusting to near 40 mph and ceilings down to 1,500 feet or less. Fortunately, the winds on Thursday didn’t quite get to gale strength on the last warm day of our fall. Now, it’s back to shivering during the preflight inspection and uttering incantations over the engine start.

We did get in a few hours in the air, battling the breeze in the old Cessna Skyhawk to deliver Jim Ferguson to New Century’s radio shop, where his Skylane has been incarcerated for two months, getting new instruments and autopilot installed. As everybody knows, it’ll be ready when it’s ready, no matter what the schedule promises. As we departed, the tower reported “winds 20 gusting to 32” but it was aligned with the runway, manageable with careful taxiing.

The tower cleared us for an “immediate takeoff or hold short, traffic on three-mile final” but we took our time getting out onto the runway, feeling the tires wanting to slide in the turn. The inbound plane wasn’t exactly burning up the skies, giving us plenty of margin. Our return mission was to take Scott Buerge to Nevada, as he was dropping off his Beech Bonanza V35 for an autopilot tune-up. Grinding it out into the teeth of the wind, we at least had a smooth ride above the broken deck at 5,500 feet. The leg to Butler took all of 15 minutes.

As the temperature, and wind chill, hampered us on Saturday, we had to resort to creative priming-while-cranking technique to get the cold-soaked Cessna 150 started. Even after warming up, the O-200 Continental didn’t want to take abrupt throttle increases. It pays to have the carburetor heat on, not because of ice in the venturi, but to get the fuel to atomize. We sure can preflight faster when we’re anxious to get inside the cabin and shut the door.

This coming Saturday morning is the appointed time for the Fliars Club to assemble, hopefully to seek breakfast at Paola. It won’t be easy, since it’s the last day of Daylight Savings time, but if you want to brave the dark, gather on the Butler ramp at 7:30 a.m.

Our question of the week wanted to know where the 1,320-pound takeoff weight limit for Light Sport airplanes came from. Why not 1,300 or 1,400? It’s because our FAA wanted to match the European 600-kilogram limit set for a “microlight” in the EASA countries. We’re all hoping there’ll be a bump to a more reasonable number in the near future, but don’t count on the guvinment being reasonable quickly. For next week, our question is, “What kind of airplane did football coach Knute Rockne lose his life in, and where?” Send your answers to