Monday, March 8, 2021

Uptick in Acts of Aviation...

What’s Up
By LeRoy Cook

It is March, in case your calendar’s battery has run down. Surprise, it’s the month of wind, sometimes strong enough to ground airplanes. We had gusts to 25 knots over the weekend, which is near 30 mph, enough to make you wish the airplane was tied down instead of aloft. Before flying check the forecast maps and note the spacing of the isobar lines; if they’re stacked closely together, stay on the ground.

There were plenty of acts of aviation being committed last week. We were visited by a wide variety of aircraft, from an Army Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter to an RV-4 homebuilt. A Cessna Skylane and a Piper Cherokee came in, along with a Piper Archer and a Beech Baron twin. Hereabouts, Chris Hall was busy prepping the SkyDive KC Beech King Air, along with the Cessna 182 jump plane, while Roy Conley was up in his experimental gyrocopter and a Beech Bonanza. Gary Rose flew the Cessna Skyhawk, Jim and Diane Ferguson were out in their Cessna Skylane, and the Cessna 150 trainers made repeated sorties.

There’s a new Certified Flight Instructor in town, ready to take on students. Eric Eastland initially learned to fly here, before completing advanced training and working as a CFI at K-State Salina. He’s a Double-I as well and has recommended many students for their certificate. He can be contacted at (816) 457-7286.

Every so often we can look up and see one jet airplane flying closely behind another, conducting aerial refueling in airspace specially designated for that purpose. Did you ever wonder if the tanker airplane is capable of towing the receiver with its boom? There actually are latches in the end of the boom that can be locked into the receiving plane, allowing it to fly with reduced power, although it’s strictly an emergency procedure.

Don’t forget to set your clocks forward one hour Saturday evening, to accommodate the nationwide shift to Daylight Saving time. Early flights will be taking off the dark, running the risk of encountering fog, while keeping current for night flying will require staying up an hour later. If put to a referendum, DST would probably be voted out of existence, so unpopular is this pointless twice-yearly exercise.

As we posed in last week’s column, is there a reason why Navy pilots have no trouble remembering the color of their airplane’s left-wing position light? It’s because they know “port wine is red”, being trained to call left “port” and right “starboard.” In Army Aviation, we simply noted that left is a shorter word than right and that red is shorter than green. For next week’s teaser, tell us in what midwestern state famous pilot Charles Lindbergh was born. 

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