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Monday, November 16, 2020

Treetop landings not the preferred method

What's Up
by LeRoy Cook

We had some good flying last week, although cool. The weekend wind blew out the skydiving activity, so the King Air E90 jump plane sat idle as the season approached its close. We may yet have some nice fall aviating weather, but the fronts are lined up in the West as of this writing, poised to start punching through in rapid succession.

Some of the ins- and-outs observed this week were a Piper Mirage turboprop on the RNAV 18 instrument approach, a Cessna Skyhawk from Louisburg, KS seeking sweets from Koehn’s Bakery, a Piper Cherokee 140 bearing a student pilot, and a 1946 Luscombe 8E down from Harrisonville. Of the local based aircraft, Jim Ferguson made trips in his Cessna Skylane, Jeremie Platt flew his Grumman Tiger, Lance Dirks took the Cessna Skyhawk up and I did a maintenance hop in a Cessna 150.

A pilot of what is termed an “ultralight” plane made news headlines last week by winding up with his aircraft lodged in a tree. It took place over in Wright City, MO. The aircraft’s engine evidently quit for undermined reasons, not too unusual with the types of lightweight engines strapped on most ultralights. Anyway, the fire department got him down with some safety harness; no word on how they are going to deal with the suspended wreckage.

Little airplanes can, under favorable conditions, provide some impressive, and safe, cross-country transportation, at a time when virus scares make airline terminals and roadside truckstops less desirable waypoints for traveling. Recent trips we’ve heard about were a 4.5 hour trip from Butler to Pensacola, Florida, a similar non-stop from Corpus Christi, Texas to Higginsville, Missouri, and a 3-hour hop from Butler to Lafayette, Indiana. Given the right conditions, we’ve had some great trips; we won’t talk about the ones taking three days to get home.

The dreaded words “airworthiness directive” strike dread into the heart of an airplane owner. ADs are like mandatory recalls on an airplane that must be taken care of to keep it legal to fly, only most of them have to be paid for out of the owner’s pocket. Caretakers of older Cessna 180 and 182 planes got hit with one recently, those built in the early 1960s with adjustable stabilizer trim systems. Cracks have been found in some of those tails, and the required teardown inspection is going to be costly. Gotta stay safe, but it hurts.

Our question from last week asked why the international phonetic alphabet, used to spell out things over the radio, calls for saying “Kay-Beck” for the latter “Q” instead of “cue-beck.” It was a compromise to accommodate some non-native English speakers who don’t have that sound for “QU..” in their own language. For next week’s challenge, tell us the significance of a “SAM flight” in U.S. Air Force parlance. Send your answers