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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Buh Bye, 2-Strokes

What’s Up
By LeRoy Cook

Other than for smoke obscuring visibility aloft, courtesy of the wildfires raging out west, flying weather was wide open most of last week. Summer hung on with afternoon thermal updrafts, not the big blasts of last month but still enough to require climbing to seek comfort.

A homebuilt biplane came in for fuel late Friday afternoon, but it turned out to require more than gas. The engine had a severe oil leak (or perhaps a loose filler cap) that left it with only a couple of quarts in the sump. Airport manager Chris Hall scrounged up an extra four quarts of oil to rescue the pilot, who wound up spending the night. As we said last week, oil is just oil…until you don’t have any.

Other transient traffic included a Cessna Skylane and a Cessna Centurion, a Cessna 150 and a fertilizer-dispensing Turbine AirTractor agplane. Jim Stevens flew down from Olathe in his Cessna Skylane, stopping for lunch at Miami County on the way. Locally, Les Gorden was in with his Beech King Air C90 “Foxtrot Echo”, Eric Eastland ferried a Cessna 150 and Cessna 172 to and from maintenance appointments, Jeremy Platt flew his Grumman Tiger and Jeff Arnold and Dayne Kedigh flew individual practice flights in Cessna 150s.

The “Iron Bottom” award of the week goes to Commercial pilot Christian Tucker, who spent most of his weekend ferrying a Cessna 172B from Butler to its new owner in Show Low, Arizona. Going that way is always against the wind, so it was a slow, tedious trip, and the inevitable minor mechanical issues required some innovation. But Christian successfully delivered the plane and jetted home the next day.

Regular reader and commenter Rodney Rom has been busy mowing an airmarker into his front yard, two miles east of Butler, where it’s in full view of aircraft arriving into the pattern for Runway 18. His prayer of gratitude is shared by many.

It was announced last week that the Rotax factory in Austria will no longer be producing two-cycle engines for light sport aircraft, concentrating on the much more popular and profitable 900-series four-cycle engines. The venerable Rotax 582 is the last of its kind, in production for some 50 years, if you count the non-oil injection 532 version. Although reliable for two-cycle powerplants, the ring-ding Rotaxes are good for about 300 hours between overhaul, versus as long as 2000 hours for the 912.

In training news, former student Jay McClintock of Garden City has earned his Flight Instructor certificate at the Indianapolis-based Lift Academy. Jay is pursuing a career change that employs his love for flying, and now he’s certified to pass his accumulated knowledge and skill to others. Congratulations, Jay, for wanting to share the passion.
We asked, in last week’s column, what sort of wood is preferred for wooden airplane structures, still used in some homebuilt and antique-replica aircraft. The most prized is Sitka spruce from southeast Alaska, which has a close grain and great strength. A close second is Douglas fir, slightly heavier. No, you don’t pick it up at the local lumber yard. For next week, what are the three definitions of “night flight” in the FAA’s Aviation Regulations? You can send your answer to kochhaus1@gmail.com.