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Monday, January 18, 2021

Parts available if you enjoy the hunt...

What’s Up
By LeRoy Cook

The blizzard-like conditions experienced late in the week reduced chances for flying, but we saw several planes go in and out during the good times. Airport manager Chris Hall checked on runway conditions remotely but was assured that Friday’s snowstorm was a non-event, as the pavement was only wet.

Among the week’s visitors was a King Air corporate turboprop, picking up and dropping off on Monday. A Piper Warrior and a Cessna Skyhawk were in, and a Cessna Skylane landed out of an RNAV approach. Jeff Gorden refueled Dad ’s Beech Bonanza F35 on Sunday and a Des Moines-bound Cessna 172 from Rogers, Arkansas stopped through.

Locally, Jim Ferguson had his Cessna Skylane out, Brandt Hall exercised his Genesis homebuilt and Dayne Kedigh flew a Cessna 150 in both day and night conditions. Jeff Adams and I made a Columbia-Springfield trip in a 150 despite low visibility.

One of the major headaches associated with keeping our old airplanes running is finding parts for them. Now that 50-year-old airframes are not uncommon, the corporations that own most of the original aircraft companies would just as soon the legacy planes would go away. If you want a piece for a 1946 Cessna 140 you’ll probably hunt in salvage yards for a still-usable 75-year-old item.

One company supporting the fleet is McFarland Industries in nearby Rantoul, Kansas. They produce, under FAA Parts Manufacturing authority, duplicate parts for many Cessna and other brands, usually in an improved version, at a lower price than the factory could do it. McFarland started out as a sub-contractor making blueprint parts for Cessna, but then moved into selling them directly to shops and owners. Without them, many planes would be grounded for want of a hinge or bracket.

The biennial issue of the Missouri Airport Directory is off the press, printed by MODOT. The spiral-bound volume gives pictures and data for every public airport in the state, along with a listing of private airstrips. While not a legal substitute for current charts and databases, it is a useful tool, with motel phone numbers and directions to restaurants. The alternate-year “state aeronautical chart”, on the other hand, is a waste of taxpayer money, since it’s unusable for navigation, merely a wall decoration.

The weekly quiz asked about the kinds of ice that could bedevil airplanes, even though not flying in freezing clouds. Sharp-eyed Kent Gilmore knew one answer, the carburetor ice risk that can choke engines by building up in the venture. Other hazards are freezing rain showers that appear harmless but can coat planes flying through them, and ground icing by sitting out in the storm. For next week, we’re asking if it’s legal for an airplane owner to apply a fresh coat of paint, without supervision. You can send your answers to