Monday, April 4, 2022

What's Up by LeRoy Cook

 The past week saw a welcome clearing from the rainy, and even snowy,  but the clear skies were deceptive. The cold front that swept away the low clouds left turbulence in its wake, so pilots had to endure a bouncy flight until topping the temperature inversion, which often required climbing to 4500 or 6500 feet. Crosswinds the biggest inconvenience, blowing straight across Butler’s sole runway, first from the east, and then from the west. 

Transient visitors noted were a nice Van’s RV-8 homebuilt, a Piper Archer and a Cessna Skyhawk. A couple of unseen jets made unsuccessful approaches in the low clouds of Thursday morning, and I saw a pair of scud-running CH-47 Chinook helicopters beating their way home to New Century airport. Everett Helms was in from Garden City in his Cessna 175 and Tom Bowles flew over from Olathe in his Cessna Turbo Skylane RG. 

Taking advantage of opportunities, local aviators out and about were Brandt Hall in his Lark Commander, Roy Conley in his Grumman TR2, and myself in the Aeronca Champ. Kenion Nance took the Cessna Skyhawk to Grand Lake and back.

and n the Cessna Skyhawk, Eric Eastland making a shop run in a Cessna 150, and Jeremie Platt, flying his Grumman Tiger to Warrensburg and Paola. Chris Hall was busy checking out a new pilot in the Beech King Air E90 jump plane.

In other news of the week, a jury found Robert Forkner, a former Boeing test pilot on the 737 MAX project, not guilty of intentionally misleading FAA certification personnel about the aircraft. As we pointed out before, the FAA has neither the time or resources to check every detail of a complex transport airplane, so it has to rely on manufacturers’ data for much of the process. Forkner testified that he was simply a scapegoat for the company and the FAA, and the jury agreed.

Another aviation pioneer passed away on March 13th, when Bob Cardenas died at 102. He was the pilot of the “mother ship” Boeing B-29 that carried Chuck Yeager and the Bell X-1 rocket plane aloft over Muroc dry lake in 1948, dropping them to break the sound barrier for the first time. Cardenas was an experienced bomber in WW-II, evading capture after being shot down on his 20th mission.

Our weekly question wanted to know what other aviation products were created by inventor Bill Lear, mostly known for developing the Lear Jet business jet. Rodney Rom told us Lear also created an automatic direction finder, numerous avionics and the first lightplane automatic pilot. For next week, tell us the name of a cowboy movie star who also flew his own airplane. Send your replies to

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