Friday, August 25, 2023

What's Up: :LeRoy Cook

 It was a memorable week, best filed away and forgotten. Any optional flying had to be deferred until cooler weather, as the 100-degree heat was just too much to deal with. We found reasonably livable temps up at 4000 feet but the oil temperature indication was still nudging the redline.

 Still, there was some transient traffic. Last weekend, former resident Dylan Morris flew over from Augusta, Kansas in a Piper Cherokee 140. Dylan has aviation family ties; his grandpa Darrel Diehl was a pilot, and great-grandfather “Mac” McDermot was a long-time mechanic for us at Pittsburg, Kansas. He took his friend Devon Page up for a ride in the heat.

 Other visitors seen were a rare Vashion Ranger trainer, a Piper Archer, a Robinson R-44 helicopter and Les Gorden’s Piper Twin Comanche. Local flyers out were Jim Ferguson in his Cessna 182, Jeremie Platt in his Grumman Tiger, the Turbine AirTractor sprayplane and Captain Gorden in his Beech Twin Bonanza.

 The ever-vigilant New York Times newspaper published an opinion piece last week about the “alarming” number of near-collisions involving airliners in the U.S., reportedly up to 46 last month alone. What gets tallied are actions taken to avoid another plane or when less-than-specified separation distance occurs. It could be an air traffic controller error, a pilot not paying attention or a plane moving faster than expected. The point is, nothing happened, because the system worked; the pilots involved saw the problem and acted to prevent tragedy, or a controller issued a go-around order. We all need to work together to keep the system safe, and learn from these reports so it doesn’t recur. The numbers quoted are the result of better record keeping and reporting.

 The big aviation accident news of the week was the sabotage-caused crash of an Embraer business jet in Russia, carrying staff of the Wagner Group paramilitary group that had been on the hit-list of Vladmir Putin for an unauthorized revolt. The bomb went off as the plane reached 28,000 feet after departing Moscow, as if it was triggered by an altitude-sensing device.  T’warn’t no accident, most likely.

 The weekly question was about a landing area’s beacon light with yellow and white beams, instead of the normal green and white lights. If you’re following it in for a landing you had better be in a seaplane, because that’s the designation of a lighted seadrome, or water landing area. Yes, they do exist, with lighted buoys outlining the sea lane. For next week, tell us how many tower-controlled airports there are in the state of Missouri. You can send your answers to [email protected].





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