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Tuesday, November 16, 2021

What's Up by LeRoy Cook

Last week had it all.  Warm days, cold mornings, thunderstorms, 40-mph crosswinds, even a few snow showers—Missouri weather is predictably unpredictable when it comes to operating airplanes. We’ve had a nice autumn season, with the “killin’ frost” delayed more than two weeks past the average date, and ample good days for flying. Just stay flexible and don’t fight Mother Nature.
The log of transient traffic varied with the conditions, but even with the groundings we had quite a few airplanes pass through. A Cessna Skyhawk was in bearing customers for Koehn’s Bakery, a Cessna Skylane showed up with a skydive participant, a Beech Bonanza V35 practiced the RNAV 36 instrument approach and a Piper Cherokee trainer arrived.  Local acts of aviation were committed by Jim Ferguson in his Cessna 182, Jeremie Platt in his Grumman Tiger, Instructor Eric Eastland in the Cessna 150 trainer and jumpmaster Chris Hall, taking the Beech King E90 up for the final skydives of the 2021 season. 
The winds aloft on Sunday were blowing at 80 knots out of the northwest, said jump-plane pilot Chris Hall. Exiting into that blast at 15,000 feet, parachutists encountered extended tracking to reach the landing zone, even though ground winds were only 10 knots or so. On the jump run, groundspeed readout on the GPS was less than 40 knots. Oddly enough, the temperature up there was 10 degrees above standard-day reading. It would have been a good day to head for Atlanta, not so much to Omaha. 
Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration announced committee meetings to begin a Proposed Rule Making that would change all references in the aviation regulations to more “inclusive” language. Evidently, a few users of the FARs just aren’t comfortable with masculine-based nonspecific terms like “his” and “he” when referring to an aforementioned “the pilot” or “the operator,” even though everyone understands that the rules apply to persons of either, or even a non-specific, gender. How much money is going to be spent to cure a problem that the vast majority of rule-readers don’t believe exists? A far simpler solution would be to add a line in the rulebook’s introduction that states “all references to an individual in these rules shall apply equally to all sexes.” It’s not worth reprinting everything in committee-agreed language. 
Poor old Southwest Airlines can’t seem to catch a break, when it comes to belligerent passengers. On Friday, a fare boarding in Dallas for a trip to La Guardia became hostile with a flight attendant, was being escorted off the flight by a gate agent, and then struck the agent with her fist, hard enough to require medical attention. This is after a broken-nose incident last week and dozens of other cases in just this month. What does it take to get these mask-crazed boozed-up animals’ attention? If you’re gonna fly on an airliner, you gotta follow the rules. That means sit down, shut up and do what you’re told. I am of an age that remembers when flying somewhere meant you dressed up in your Sunday best, chatted politely with your seatmate and thanked the crew for their service. The miracle of being transported in armchair comfort at 8/10th the speed of sound ought to be humbling enough.
In last week’s column, we asked “who was Chicago’s O’Hare airport named for?” Reader Rodney Rom  didn’t have to Goggle it up; he’s actually been to the O’Hare terminal and read the plaque. Butch O’Hare was a Chicago war hero from WW-II, who lost his life flying off carriers in the South Pacific, for which the old Orchard Field was renamed “O’Hare International.” But the airport’s ICAO code is still ORD. For next time, does anyone know the frequency on which the Distance Measuring Equipment signal is broadcast by the Butler VORTAC station? No, it’s not 115.9 mHz.  You can send your answer to

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