Thursday, September 8, 2022

What's Up by LeRoy Cook


Summer has a different feel, now that we’re into September. Thunderstorms are still possible, but the up and downdrafts are weaker and the horizon is clearer, with less moisture in the air. I actually had to shut off the fresh air vents at 5500 feet on Monday, where it was a chilly 55 degrees F.

Clinton airport set some kind of record getting its fuel pumps back into operation, after we reported that they were out of service in last week’s column. The new tanks got installed and lines were buried right on schedule. Clinton does have Jet-A fuel for sale, and a TBM 900 turboprop was on its parking apron when we were there , reportedly bearing fishermen visiting Truman Lake.

After nearly a year out of service, Nevada airport’s lights are still dark. As the days grow shorter, they will be needed, so we hope they are back on soon. Here at the Electric City, our runway lights are always welcoming night visitors and the rotating beacon sweeps the sky. City crews topped a nearby shade tree that was blocking a few degrees of the beacon’s coverage. However, its orbital plane is still a bit out of whack, because it lights up the trees on the railroad right of way as it turns to the west.

Visitors observed in the past week included Les Gorden, in from Grain Valley with his Beech Bonanza E35, plus a working AirTractor 602 sprayplane, a Cessna Centurion and a Piper Warrior. Locally, Layne Anderson flew his Darter Commander 100, Roy Conley had his Grumman Tr2 out, and Jim and Diane Ferguson made trips in their Cessna Skylane. 

After being stalled Covid and logistical challenges, plucky little Lincoln, MO is once again putting on its grass-strip fly-in this Saturday. Breakfast will be served from 7 a.m. until 10, at which point lunch becomes available until 1 p.m. The Lincoln airport is a nicely kept 3000 feet of turf, although the adjacent parking area is a little primitive. Their fly-in is a compact intimate affair, always a great way to wind up the summer fly-in season.

General Aviation Modifications of Ada, Oklahoma received FAA approval for its unleaded 100-octane gasoline last week, so you’ll soon be able to purchase an STC to burn the G100 gas in just about any piston airplane. It’s taken GAMI 19 years of fighting red tape to get this far, just to satisfy earth-huggers who see leaded aviation fuel as a threat to their environment. While the miniscule amount of lead pollution from avgas isn’t much of threat, EPA will soon force us to abandon it. Kudos to GAMI for leading the way.

The question in last week’s  column asked why helicopters have tail rotors, and what alternatives there are for them. Newton’s Third Law says there’s an opposite reaction to any force, so without an anti-torque rotor, single-rotor helicopters would spin while attempted to lift off. There are twin-rotor choppers of course, and Hughes Helicopters did come up with a NOTAR system that blew air out of louvered tailboom for anti-torque. For next time, what’s an “ornithopter?” Send your answers to .

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