Friday, August 19, 2022

What's Up by LeRoy Cook


After 54 years of guarding the north driveway of Butler airport, the Consultechs (ne Brooks Machine & Tooling) building is no more; only the concrete pad remains. In a matter of a few days, the landmark structure was disassembled and hauled away. The space will be useful for badly-needed public parking, since the south entrance has been designated a no-parking zone.

Visitors to the Butler Memorial ramp last week included a Piper Warrior, a Robinson R-44 helicopter, a Cessna Skylane and a Van’s RV-4 homebuilt. An Army Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter was over from Whiteman AFB, Dr. Ed Christophersen was in from New Century in his Piper Archer, Pat Svoboda was over from the farm in his Piper  J-3  and Jay McClintock was down from Harrisonville with his Piper Tomahawk. Local aviators taking wing were Jim Ferguson in his Cessna Skylane, Lane Anderson in his Darter Commander, Christian Tucker in the Cessna Skyhawk and myself, over to Clinton in a Cessna 150.

In the coming-events list, on Saturday, August 27, Judy Fritts Reynolds is hosting her famous omelet breakfast at the Turkey Mountain airport (MO00) at Shell Knob, serving from 8 until noon. On September 3 & 4, the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels precision jet team will be part of the Kansas City Airshow, held at New Century airport near Gardner, KS. And on September 10 there will be a Veterans Airshow at Camdenton airport, from 8 to 3:30. Don’t figure on flying in to see it; the airport is closed for the occasion, so it’s strictly a drive-in airshow.

After three years, the National Transportation Safety Board has finally released its final report on the 2019 crash of a Cessna 425 twin turboprop  on the Jim Robinson farm south of Adrian. It’s filled with exhaustive trivial details, but the Probable Cause seems to be “loss of control, failure to maintain flying speed” by the deceased 80-year old pilot, who was en route from Florida to Olathe, KS when he reported engine trouble. Fortunately, the only other casualty was the staircase on the grain bin.

We talked last week about “big iron” jets squeezing in and out of Butler airport. Actually, the biggest plane we’ve had here was Red Owl Food Stores’ Douglas DC-3, along about 1963, parked on the then-grass apron with its 95-foot wingspan. The old Gooney Bird had no problem with our 2600-foot runway. A few years earlier, I was a Civil Air Patrol cadet being flown home from a Texas summer camp in an Air Force C-47 transport (DC-3). When I was chatting with the pilots before landing at Richards-Gebaur AF B in Grandview, I was asked where I was from. When I said “Butler” the commander snorted “why didn’t we just drop you off there, it was right on the way.” A half-mile of grass was plenty for the old Doug, as long as there was room to turn around.

Reader Rodney Rom’s response to last week’s question about the Wright Brother’s sister, Katherine, was right to the point, because Dayton was in his old stomping grounds, and he was well acquainted with the Wright family history. For next time, we want to know the price of the newest military version of the AirTractor 802U turbine agplane, just announced last week. Send your answers to

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