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Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Tuskegee Airmen honored

What’s Up

By LeRoy Cook

The massive Kansas City Aviation Expo went off in fine weather last weekend, selling out most days and filling roadsides as well as viewing stands. Our SkyDive KC operators set up a display booth to promote its services, featuring its well-scrubbed Beech King Air jump plane. This was one of the first showings of the Blue Angel teams’ new Super Hornet airplanes, which is a 50% heavier and more powerful version of the F/A-18 fighter attack aircraft.

 Otherwise, traffic came and went under largely open skies, avoiding the 16,000-foot-tall no-fly zone around New Century airport. Butler was visited by such notable planes as a Cirrus SR-22, a Beech Musketeer, a pair of Piper Cherokees, a Piper Archer, and a Piper Arrow. Three different ag operators moved in with Turbine Air Tractor sprayplanes, applying urea fertilizer and fungicide to the sodden fields.

 Local acts of aviation were committed by Dayne Kedigh and Randy Miller in the Cessna Skyhawk, Roy Conley in his Grumman Tr2, Brandt Hall in his Lark Commander and flight instructor Eric Eastland in a Cessna 150. Tom Turner flew the 1946 Aeronca Champion for over an hour, reliving his youth.

 The flooding continued in the river bottoms in the south of Bates County. The massive rains in the river basins, including discharges from the Kansas reservoirs, have prevented planting all spring and ruined prospects for what crops had been put in. Flying over the region, the view looks like rice country.

 The Kansas City Downtown airport has renamed its general aviation terminal (which I presume is the old airline terminal building from the 1960s) as the “General Charles McGee Memorial Terminal”, honoring 100-year-old Charles McGee, one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen. Gen. McGee was part of the 1940 Tuskegee Experiment, which proved that Black pilots could fly and fight as well as their White counterparts in the Army Air Forces. He served in Italy in World War II and later in the Korean and Vietnamese conflicts, racking up 126 combat missions.

United Airlines announced the purchase of 200 new airliners last week, beefing up its fleet in anticipation of a resurgence of air traffic. A few more Boeing airplanes than the competitive Airbus foreign designs were in the mixed buy. This comes as American Airlines has had to cancel flights because it didn’t have enough equipment and crews to make all the runs. What American actually did was to combine some of the trips to fill up cabins and reduce repetitive flights over the same routes. In any event, people are squeezing back into airliners and terminal check-in lines.

 Our question of the week wanted to know how many questions were on the Private Pilot written exam and how many you have to get right to pass. Currently, there are 60 questions on the test, and you must get 42 correct to make a 70% minimum passing score. In my day, there only 50 questions, and further back in the 1950s it was a true-false quiz. It’s hard to make 100% these days, but we had a student do it in January, and another got 98% last week. For next time, tell us how many GPS satellites are in orbit, and how many are needed to fix your position. You can send your answer in to