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Monday, February 8, 2021

Oshkosh a go this year

What’s Up

By LeRoy Cook

 Now that we’re into the pit of winter, there may not be a lot of opportunities to fly. It takes about 20 degrees to tempt most airplane owners into attempting a start, unless they have some preheating system rigged up. It’s just too hard on our multi-metal engines with varying rates of shrinkage and expansion.

 Still and all, some activity was seen before the temperatures plummeted. Jim Stevens flew down from Olathe in his Cessna Skylane, Curtis Grimes came in from Harrisonville in his Cessna 140 and a fast Daher TBM single-engine turboprop made a few takeoffs and landing, probably in the course of checking out a new pilot. A Piper Archer in ATP flight school livery, out of Kansas City Downtown, made a VOR circle-to-land approach and a Piper Twin Comanche came in from Lee’s Summit. A Cessna Skyhawk from Central Missouri University was in on Friday, doing some circuitswhile announcing he was at “Butler County” airport, which is actually another field in Kansas.

 From the local group, Roy Conley braved the elements in his open-air gyrocopter, along with a more-comfortable ride in the Beech Bonanza N35. Jim Ferguson had a couple of flights in his Cessna Skylane, I exercised a Cessna 150 and Randy Miller took the Cessna 172 out. 

 It appears that the Experimental Aircraft Association is going forward with plans to hold the big Oshkosh flyin at the end of July, after scrubbing it in 2020. It is a huge economic event for not only EAA but the entire central Wisconsin region, as a half-million people converge on the small city. No one knows quite what to expect from the Covid situation by then, but there is a lot of room to spread out along the two-mile flight line. It’ll be different, for sure.

 The B-2 Spirit bomber that flew from Whiteman AFB to buzz the Super Bowl in Tampa last Sunday may have looked like a big waste of money to some, but its flyover serves a purpose, more than one in fact. First, to keep the B-2 team’s skills sharp, the airplanes have to fly training missions regularly, and putting in the GPS coordinates for TPA is as good a simulated bomb run as any. Second, the American taxpayer needs to see what he’s getting for his money once in a while, more than just hearing the B-2 overhead, out of sight. And, most of these flights give an opportunity to do a practice aerial refueling hook-up, which benefits the tanker guys as well.

 Our question of the week asked “What bad thing happens if you burn 100LL airplane gas in your car?” Rodney Rom got it right, saying that the fuel’s tetraethyl lead would damage the catalytic converter in your exhaust, which isn’t cheap. The excess octane won’t hurt anything, but it’ll waste money. For next week, we want to know why turboprop engines are rated with “shaft horsepower” in place of just “hp” like piston engines. You can send your answers to kochhaus1@gmail.com.