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Monday, December 14, 2020

No more flying pigs

What’s Up

By LeRoy Cook

Before the weekend brought a slow-moving cold front, considerable flying took place last week. These are the dark days of winter,  with short daylight hours and dropping temperatures. It’s a good thing we have the sacred holiday to make it bearable.

The week’s visitors included a Piper Warrior, a Cessna Skyhawk and a Beech Bonanza 35. Scott Buerge was up from Nevada in his Beech Pressurized Baron and Victor Goechoechia flew down from Olathe in his club’s Piper Cherokee. Locally, Randy Miller flew the Cessna 172, Ted VanMeter and I flew a Cessna 150 from Higginsville and Brandt Hall exercised his Genesis experimental airplane.

 This Saturday marks the annual Aviation Day celebration, the 117th Anniversary of the birth of powered flight on December 17, 1903, when the Wright brothers were the first to make controlled sustained flight in a heavier than air machine. However, it was only an experimental first step; the craft never flew again, redesigned into improved versions in 1904 and 1905 during tests at Dayton, Ohio until it was truly dependable. Go flying on the 17thto celebrate what they gave us.

 In a rare display of common sense, the Department of Transportation issued a ruling recently to ban “emotional support” animals from the cabin of airliners. Trading on the compassion shown to trained service dogs used by blind travelers, animal lovers have been insisting on bringing pigs, miniature horses and peacocks aboard, claiming they were needed for their welfare. This stretch will no longer “fly.” They’ll have to ride in a crate in the cargo hold.

  Last month we had one of our student pilots achieve a 100% score on his Knowledge exam, the written test he had to take to qualify for the Private Pilot license. This is so rare that it’s been nearly 40 years since I’d had a student make a perfect test score. What makes it even harder today is that the questions are written in a more confusing style than they once were, requiring careful interpretation to understand.  Because of this, another one of our students made a barely-passing 70% a couple of months ago, and that was only after three tries. Of course, he’s welcome to take it again to make a better score—at $150 for the private-contractor’s fee. No thanks, he said.

 Our question last week was “what kind of civilian plane was in the air over Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked on December 7, 1941?” As reader Rodney Rom knew, it was an Interstate Cadet, being used to give flying lessons by instructor Corneilia Fort. They escaped unscathed. For next time, tell us why pilots are advised to fly along the right side of a road or rail line when following it in bad weather. You can send your answers to