Monday, November 6, 2023

What's Up by Leroy Cook


What’s Up

by LeRoy Cook




Suggested banner: Skyhawk Save


With the arrival of the Dark Evenings, it’s more important than ever to be prepared for night arrivals at the end of your flights. We knew this was coming, but if you aren’t current, go practice before hauling passengers, or grab an instructor to hold your hand.


Due to the gusty winds last week, not much notable traffic came through. However, we saw a couple of Piper Archers, a Cessna Skyhawk and a Cherokee 140 flying in the pattern. One chap in a Kansas City-based Piper trainer bounced through two approaches on Friday morning, determined to finish them despite the choppy air. Up at the same time, we just landed and called it a day. Locally, Lance Dirks took a Cessna 150 out for practice and I rescued Eric Eastland from the Clinton maintenance shop, where he left his Cessna Skyhawk.


The weekend brought a crisis of sorts, when the power supply to the local fuel pump went dead, leaving gas-starved airplanes having to divert to Harrisonville to slake their thirst. Temporary repairs had to be effected, after the fault was determined to be in an old underground electric line. After 60-plus years, the routing of such airport infrastructure is pretty much anybody’s guess.


In nation-wide news, a lucky or skillful too-bold pilot survived a forced landing in the Florida Everglades when his engine quit at three o’clock in the morning, over the inhospitable alligator-infested swamp outside of Miami. He was flying a Cessna 172, which is probably one reason he is alive; the slow landing speed of the venerable Skyhawk, coupled with its big doors for egress and a high wing to perch on while awaiting rescue, tipped the scales in his favor. I wouldn’t fly over that terrain in the dark for love nor money, and I’ll bet he won’t do it again either.


Kansas City has a new Aviation Director, announced last week. Mellisa Cooper is a 15-year veteran of the aviation department, she has been the Deputy Director since 2017, and she will be responsible for overseeing the Kansas City “airport system”, which consists only of the big MCI airline field and The Charles B. Wheeler Downtown airport, which the city manager has been talking about closing. The city foolishly gave away the Richards-Gebauer airport in Grandview 30 years ago. We wish her well in her endeavors. Ms. Cooper is a Kansas City native and a graduate of the University of Central Missouri.




The weekly question was, “when is it officially night-time, for pilot logbook purposes?” The definitive answer is “at the end of evening civil twilight” which is roughly 30 minutes after sunset. Our quiz for next week is, what engine powered the immortal Douglas DC-3 airliner? You can send your answers to [email protected].

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