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Monday, March 29, 2021

The ever reliable, lovable Skyhawk...

What’s Up
By LeRoy Cook

The frequencies, and the ADS-B traffic screens, were filled by aerial adventurers after the skies cleared late last week. Pent up demand brought out pilots who had been grounded by winds and precipitation. In lieu of a planned Fliars Club fly-out, Jim Breckenridge and Gerald Bauer flew to Paola Saturday for a breakfast celebration.

Visiting this week were David Gilsdorf, down from Harrisonville in his Cessna Turbo Centurion, along with a visiting Piper Arrow and a Cessna Skyhawk. The FAA Flight Check inspection airplane was out doing routine verifications of instrument approaches. Out of the Butler fleet, Roy Conley took the week’s distance prize by flying to Mineola, Texas in the Beech Bonanza N35. Jeff Gorden was out in the Cessna Skyhawk, Chris Hall flew one of his Cessna 182’s and Daryl Tan ventured to Nevada in a Cessna 150. The SkyDive KC Beech King Air 90 had full weekend of hauling skydivers aloft.

The Butler Fire Department made a valiant effort to burn off the airport’s native prairie park last week, but the combination of invasive overgrowth and damp conditions prevented complete success. It’ll take some cleanup mowing to improve next year’s chances. Meanwhile, maybe we can reintroduce some native species.

Ever wonder why we report so many Cessna 172 Skyhawks in our summary of airport traffic? It’s simply because that breed is far and away the most prevalent general aviation airplane in the air. There has been more than 45,000 of the ubiquitous four seater built since 1956; that means one in ten of all airplanes flying is a Cessna 172. And there are still a few new ones trickling out of the present plant in Independence, Kansas.

Don’t depend on picking up a new Kansas City sectional aeronautical chart to replace your tattered one. They now expire on a 56-day cycle, not six months, so the vendors aren’t keeping them on the shelf because they become unsalable too quickly. As a result, the FAA’s plan to have pilots maintain more up-to-date information is having unintended consequences, with fewer pilots staying current, not more. Oh, sure, most of us are keeping the latest chart on-screen, using phones and iPads, but that isn’t as handy as flipping open a paper map to scan a route.

Our weekly question wanted to know the nickname of race pilot Steve Wittman’s first custom built airplane, using a motorcycle motor. He dubbed it the “Hardly Ableson” after its feeble performance. Next week’s quiz asks why the official abbreviation for “mist” in weather reports is shown as “BR” instead of “MS” or “MT”. Your answer can be sent to