Monday, September 26, 2022

What's Up by LeRoy Cook

Stuff Still Happens

The third generation of the Les Gorden clan to achieve licensed pilot status took to the skies last Thursday. Les is a retired Delta Airlines international captain, currently a jet charter pilot and the family instructor. One son is a line captain with Delta, while a second son is a private pilot, and now Les’ grandson Patrick is joining the family business. Pat passed his private pilot checkride at Downtown airport, using a Cessna 150 trainer from Sky II, LLC at Butler airport. Congratulations to all!
The Fliars Club joined a crowded Miami County ramp last Saturday, with two planes bearing five Fliars to breakfast at the We-Be-Smokin’ café. After the fog burned off, all the regulars came in to eat; five Cessnas, two Pipers, three homebuilts and one Grumman.
Butler airport accepted a varied influx of visitors during the week, including a Pilatus PC-12 single turboprop, a Mitsubishi MU-2 twin turboprop, a pair of UH-60 Black Hawk Army Guard helicopters, a Cessna 182 and a Piper Arrow.  Locally, several training and skydiving flights were out, some at the same time. 
One of the hundreds of companies attempting to create swarms of vehicles to fly people and goods without pilots, using electric power to lift off vertically and zip around over urban areas on short flights, bit the dust last Thursday.  KittyHawk Corporation announced it was shutting down, evidently succumbing to reality after proposing Urban Air Mobility designs. The shakeout continues.
As we enter the fall flying season, we can expect early morning ground fog to thwart dawn departures. What’s it take to create fog, which can form quickly if conditions are right? Moisture at ground level is the key ingredient, but there has to be cooling, usually by radiating left-over heat into clear skies, and near-calm winds so the condensed moisture is static, rather than dispersing.  Why does it form at sunrise? Probably due to sun-generated mini-thermals, updrafts mixing the suspended water vapor just enough to make a cloud. All we can do is wait for it to “burn off” from the sun shining on its top. 
Stuff Still Happens. Last year, a British-built Goshawk  Navy trainer went down in Dallas, TX after its engine quit; the crew ejected to survive. The lengthy investigation determined a hapless vulture was ingested, while it was circling around seeking its own carrion-dinner. The Goshawk’s motor didn’t like the change in diet. And one aircraft of the Canadian Snowbirds jet demonstration team recently crash-landed in British Columbia after its engine blew after takeoff. Turns out an oil filter was assembled wrong, rendered the Tutor jet powerless. Be prepared for the unlikely, but always possible.
Our question for the week asked “What’s ‘reverted rubber’ and where’s it found?” That’s the term for the black stuff burned off tires as an airplane hits the runway with a puff of blue smoke. All those tire marks add up until they coat the runway’s touchdown zone, requiring cleaning it off if maximum traction is desired. Now, for next time, what World War I ace went on to own a major U.S. airline? Send your answers to

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