Monday, September 4, 2023

What's Up by LeRoy Cook

 What’s Up

Suggested banner: Little Airport Going Away

Now that it’s September, we’re sliding into the best time of the year to fly an airplane. The last weekend’s hot blast notwithstanding, the nights are cooler and thermals are less active in the afternoon. Fall is famous for 30-mile visibility and clear blue skies.

The usual mix of transient traffic came in last week, such as a brace of Piper Archers, a Cessna 172, a new-looking Cessna Skylane and a Beech Skipper. Jeff Lowe came over from Clinton in his Piper Cherokee 180C and Jay McClintock’s Piper Tomahawk was down from Harrisonville. Of the local occupants, Eric Eastland had his Cessna Skyhawk out, Gerald Bauer flew a Cessna 150, Jon Laughlin fook his Piper Cherokee up and I took a 150 to New Century airport.

I also ventured afield in the Aeronca Champion, to my adopted hideaway of LeRoy, Kansas. Yes, LeRoy (population @800) does have an airport, a private grass strip owned by local character Sam Rogers. Although uncharted, it is 75-feet wide, well marked and probably 3000 feet long. Land at your own risk, because it’s a bit rough in spots. Sam and Ramona will say howdy if you come over to the house.

Garnett, Kansas’ friendly little airport is, unfortunately, headed for FAA-sponsored improvement. The current facility has been around for next to forever, offering a half-mile of north-south pavement tucked in between two roads. A grass crosswind runway is available if the wind’s cross. But, the tight pocket-size airport has been deemed unworthy of Federal funding in its present form, as it has a hump in the runway that hides airplanes from one another on the ground. Go big or go home, says the Federalies, so the three-year plan is to close a road and build a generic 4000-foot 18/36 runway east of the present one. The place just won’t be the same.

If you’re into pie-in-the-sky investment opportunities, an outfit at Dallas’ Love Field wants to install wind-turbine devices to capture the wasted energy from jet blasts. I kid you not, they claim the roaring effluent coming out of jet engines revving up for takeoff can spin big fans and generate electricity to recharge the ground service fleet on the field. Might work, but I’ll wait and see.

I asked readers of last week’s column to tell us how many tower-controlled airports there are in the state of Missouri. I counted up 12, but you’re welcome challenge me; don’t forget the military fields. I can remember when there were only 5. For next time, let’s name the airplane that had the most engines installed for normal flight. You can send your answers to [email protected].

Butler HIgh School Band Concert