Tuesday, October 4, 2022

What’s Up by LeRoy Cook

Lake Garnett Races Return

If you happen by the airport at Garnett, Kansas, located 40 miles straight west of Butler, this weekend, you might find the parking ramp overflowing with out-of-town traffic. There’s a local attempt at reviving the Lake Garnett Grand Prix formula sports car races that were a top attraction 60 years ago. 

The town of 3000 saw crowds of over 100,000 people on race days back in the 1960s. I remember Bobby Beach and I making plans to fly over to Garnett for the races, which were held on a winding 2.6-mile course that snaked around the city lake. It’ll be fun to do it again.

A few years ago I wrote up several pages covering the history of the Butler airport, and I printed it off with pictures, leaving one set in a folder on the desk in the airport waiting room. It’s been missing for the last month, so if you took it to read or copy, please return it so others can share it.

Don’t plan on using the Nevada airport runway until at least November; after two years of darkness, a new high-tech runway lighting system is being installed, and the project involves closing runway 2/20 UFN. Be sure to check published and broadcast NOTAMS before landing there, for men and equipment working adjacent to the closed runway. The ramp will be open for helicopters needing jet fuel.

Butler aerodrome saw some transient traffic last week, including Army Guard Black Hawk helicopters sitting down from Whiteman AFB, a Grumman Yankee from Lee’s Summit, and several Piper Archer trainers from Kansas City Downtown. Sam Styron was down from Harrisonville with his Turbine AirTractor sprayplane. Locaily, Brandt Hall flew his Avid Flyer homebuilt, one of the resident Piper TriPacers was fired up and Nathan Schrock was out in a Cessna 150 on a training mission.

Former Butler student pilot Riley Gilkeson celebrated earning his Private Pilot’s license last weekend, with a sign-off from instructor Jay McClintock at Harrisonville, using Jay’s Piper Tomahawk trainier for the checkride with FAA Examiner David Bradley at Boonville. 

Riley’s pursuit of his dream took six years, but he’s finally able to take his wife Lillian up flying. Congratulations, Riley!
General Aviation airports in central Florida took a hard hit from Himicane Ian last week, with Venice airport particularly devastated. Airplanes tore loose from their moorings and tumbled into each other to pile up on the ramp. 

In brighter news, after the 150-mph winds moved on, light airplanes were mobilized to fly in relief supplies and shuttle refugees at small airfields around the state. Special exemptions were given from the no-fly zones for these mercy flights.

Our weekly question asked which World War I ace went on to own a major U.S. airline later in his life. It was Eddie Rickenbacker, who owned Eastern Airlines back in the propeller-plane days. For next time, why did Rickenbacker refuse to equip his airliners with autopilots? 

Send your answers to kochhaus1@gmail.com.

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