There’s no better time of year than fall to exercise one’s wings. Over the weekend, south winds kicked in to bring temperatures into the 70s, while the clear dry air provided unlimited visibility. As morning’s chilled, techniques have had to adapt. Once the proper priming fuel was administered engines sprang quickly to life, eager to provide propulsion in the dense cool air.
A bunch of airplanes were out, and some of the transient aircraft we spotted included a Cessna 182, an RV-4 homebuilt, a Pitts Special biplane, a Piper Archer and a Beech Bonanza V35. Local pilots taking to the air were Randy Miller in the Cessna Skyhawk, Jeff Arnold in a Cessna 172, Eric Eastland giving flight instruction in Cessna 150s and your faithful scribe on maintenance ferry runs. Chris Hall cranked up the Beech King Air E90 for a few skydive jump runs before retiring it for winter storage.
After what seemed nearly a year-long stretch of Daylight Saving Time, most pilots were ready for the weekend’s change. We were all getting tired of stumbling around in the pre-dawn dark to get a morning flight organized. It’ll take a while to get used to heading for the hangar at 5 p.m. but I’ll take the trade-off. God’s Time is good enough for me.
The fight over GPS interference and 5G cell phone service continues. The FCC recently sold rights to frequencies close to those used for satellite navigation, netting $43 billion for the thirsty U.S. Treasury, but only over the protests of GPS users, who are worried that the weak signals from space will be distorted by cell towers. We have to remember that GPS was originally developed by and for the military, even though it has been adopted by civilian users worldwide, as if they have a god-given right to it. The Global Positioning System is now vital for everything from drone strikes to Uber pickups. Whether it’s worth risking sat-nav service for better bandwidth is an on-going debate.
So, in last week’s column we asked the question “where can you see a DC-3 airliner perched atop a building in Kansas City?” The answer is, just off Southwest Boulevard, at the Roasterie coffee-roasting concern on 27th Street, where it gets attention and signifies the firm’s “air roasted” bean-roastingtechnique. The old Gooney Bird was once a mosquito sprayer, now it’s a signpost. For next time, tell us who Chicago’s O’Hare airport was named for. You can send your answer to email@example.com.