Monday, January 30, 2023

What's Up by LeRoy Cook

Who's at fault? 

The Fliars Club launched into blustery skies last Saturday morning, finding a sparse crowd on the ramp at Paola’s Miami County airport. The winds were kicking up to 25 knots, discouraging a lot of participants with rough air below 4000 feet.

‘Twas an interesting week, weatherwise. There was fog some mornings, low clouds might be encountered for a few miles, then clear, warm weather blew in as the weekend started, then switched  around to an Arctic blast to start the new week. Be prepared for anything this time of year.

Transient traffic included an Army Guard UH60 Black Hawk helicopter, two visits by Piper Archer trainers, a Cessna Centurion and a Cessna Skyhawk. Local flyers were Jeremie Platt in his Grumman Tiger, Jon Laughlin in his Piper Cherokee 180C and me logging night landings in a Cessna 150.

The controversy over the crashes of new Boeing 737 Max airliners won’t go away. The investigators looking into the Ethiopian Airlines accident of two years ago have concluded that the airplane’s angle of attack sensors “iced up” and exonerated the crew, but the in-country s accident board is being challenged by Boeing and our own NTSB, since it happened on a clear warm day and instrumentation wasn’t an issue. Many times foreign agencies have to favor their countrymen’s interests over the facts.

A sad case of a ramp worker at an airline being pulled into an idling jet engine made the news last week. She had been warned numerous times to wait for shutdown, signaled by the anticollision light going off, before approaching the parked aircraft, but was too eager and got killed. Working around running aircraft is dangerous and requires serious safety measures.

More flight hazards reported last week: A Cessna Skyhawk hit a drone on approach in Toronto, being flown without authorization by the local police. Fortunately, it bounced off the cowling this time and the ‘Hawk landed okay. And a Long Beach man was arrested after a year of amusing himself by shining a laser pointer at airliners going in and out of the nearby airport. Such stunts can blind a pilot at just the wrong time.

Our weekly brainteaser wanted to know the significance of the tick marks along lines of latitude on a sectional chart, showing each 1/60th of a degree. Each minute of latitude equals one nautical mile, about 6080 feet in length.  For next time, who does the Charles Taylor Award for long-time airplane mechanics honor in history? Hint: look up the Wright Brothers. You can send your answers to

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