Tuesday, March 22, 2022

What's Up by LeRoy Cook

Last weekend turned out to be gorgeous for flying, and many were the aviators who took advantage of it. It takes a nice Friday to get people in the mood to fly on Saturday and, other than for some gusty winds, the end of the work week provided the requisite temptation. 

If we have similar weather this coming weekend, the Fliars Club will assemble at 0730 hours on Saturday to proceed with the last-Saturday breakfast flyout. I haven’t paid off the bill from last month’s flight yet, but I’ll be on the Butler ramp as usual.

Several transient arrivals dropped in last week, including a Van’s RV-6A homebuilt, a Cessna Skylane, along with a Skyhawk, and a nicely-restored 1947 Aeronca 7DCM Champ. Doug Hartzler was in from Harrisonville with his Cirrus SR22 and Walt Brownsberger flew his Cessna Skylane over from Olathe. 

From the Butler contingent, Eric Eastland took the distance prize, flying his Cessna 172 12.5 hours going to and from Panama City, Florida. Jim and Diane Ferguson flew their Cessna Skylane, the SkyDive KC Beech King Air E90 opened the jump season with several trips up to 15,000 feet, and I regained night flight currency and tailwheel privileges in the Cessna 150 and Aeronca Champ, respectively.

The spring crop of new student pilots is popping up. Two more first-solo events took place last week, with Jon Laughlin making his initial unaided trips around the traffic pattern on Thursday, repeating it Saturday afternoon. Patrick Gorden successfully battled a crosswind on Saturday morning to achieve his first solo flight, under the watchful eye of his grandfather instructor, Les Gorden. Congratulations to both, as they continue to advance on the private license.

Textron Aviation, owners of Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft and Beech Aircraft companies, is getting into the electric-powered airplane business. It was announced last week that Textron has bought Italy’s Pipistrel airplane company, which has gained European certification of its Slovenian-made two-seater, fying entirely on batteries. Textron plans to establish an e-aviation division and expand the Pipistrel line. We’ll see how that works out.

On the other end of the spectrum, Textron gained FAA certification of its Skycourier twin turboprop utility hauler last week. Capable of carrying 19 passengers or three cargo containers, Federal Express has dibs on the first 50 airplanes, with an option to buy 50 more, supplementing its fleet of Cessna Caravan single-engine package carriers. They should have called it the “Caravan II.”

I messed up last week, failing to include the last couple of lines of my question-of-the-week paragraph. Orville Wright had a mustache, while Wilbur was clean-shaven. For the forthcoming week, our question will be “name another aeronautical product developed by Bill Lear, other than the Lear Jet.” Send your replies to kochhaus1@gmail.com

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