After a nice break of cool weather, by July standards, we’re back into the frying pan. Airplanes like the 60-degree mornings, better than 80s, as far as takeoff performance goes. You can tell the difference when lifting off with a full load of fuel and people.
One had to pick one’s time to fly last week, between the rainy stationary fronts that plagued us. The visiting AirTractor agplanes were busy flying on fungicide and other treatments, a Cessna Skylane and a Piper Archer touched down, and Les Gorden was in and out with his Beech Bonanza F35 from Lee’s Summit. A nice Piper Cherokee 140 is now tied down on the local ramp. Lane Anderson flew his Darter Commander to Texas, Lance Dirks and Dennis Jacobs both flew Cessna Skyhawk sorties, and Eric Eastland and I took the Aeronca Champ out.
We counted a total of ten airplanes on the Miami County airport restaurant ramp last Saturday morning, before the rain moved in. Five Fliars made up the Bates County contingent. Lowell Hartzler and his granddaughter joined us from Harrisonville, flying his Socata Rallye. As with much of the week, the forecasted 4000-foot ceilings were down to 2000 feet by lunchtime. Always have a back-up plan, because the weather guessers aren’t always correct.
The Experimental Aircraft Assn. had a great week for its AirVenture convention in Oshkosh, WI this past week, with cool and light breezes. Reports are of record crowds and full parking, with only a few minor mishaps to slow things down. A Cessna 310 twin suffered a landing gear collapse on landing, which brought arrivals to halt temporarily. Otherwise, the show went on without a hitch.
A statute of Amelia Earhart was unveiled at the Statuary Hall in the Capitol building at Washington, DC this week. The lineup of famous Americans is supposed to represent worthy achievements by US citizens; Earhart, as most know, was a bold aviator who disappeared on an attempted round-the-world flight in 1937. She had planned to retire from flying after that trip.
In an example of what may (or may not) be the future of aviation, a partially-electric powered airplane flew from California to Oshkosh, WI two weeks ago. The demonstration Cessna Skymaster push-pull twin had an electric motor turning the propeller on the nose while the stock piston engine was retained for the rear pusher installation. The developers plan to have a conversion kit for Cessna Caravan single-engine utility planes, with a carbon-emitting engine recharging an electric powerpack in flight.
The weekly question from last week’s column wanted to know when the first jet airliners went into service in the U.S. It was 1958 when American Airlines started flying coast-to-coast runs in Boeing 707s, cutting the time across the country in half. Pan American soon followed with trans-Atlantic service. British Overseas Airways had flown DeHaviland Comets commercially from England in 1952. For next week, tell us which three flight instruments are required to be working on a standard airplane’s instrument panel . Send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org.