Monday, November 13, 2023

What's Up by Leroy Cook

 

What’s Up

by LeRoy Cook

 

11-13-23

 

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‘Twas nice while it lasted, but the chill last weekend was but a harbinger of things to come. Fortunately, the flying weather was great and the cabin heater worked, so we got in some good flying. Just bundle up for the preflight on a windy ramp.

 

Seems like everybody was out committing aviation last week, given the yakety-yak on the Multicom frequency. Butler is paired with such hotbeds of activity as Warsaw, Lamar and Vineland, KS, all of whom had chatty circuits, so sometimes we just have to turn the volume down for relief.

 

Among the swarm circling our hive were a Cessna Skylane, a Piper Cherokee, a Mooney M20C and a Piper Archer from the ATP school at KC. A nice 1964 Cessna 182J came in from Colorado. Local flying was done by Jim Ferguson in his Cessna Skylane, Les Gorden in his Piper Twin Comanche and meself test-hopping a cranky Cessna 150.

 

News of the week included the passing of Apollo astronaut Frank Borman, most noted for the risky Apollo 8 mission that circled the Moon at Christmas 1968, when he read from the Book of Genesis on live TV. He was 95.

 

The Switchblade “flying car”, another one of those pipedreams that won’t die, took off for its first flight last week at Moses Lake, WA, after 14 years of investor-funded development. It climbed to a lofty 500 feet for a few minutes, landing uneventfully. A two-seat trike with a shrouded fan for flight, two driven wheels for road use, and foldaway wings and tail to change modes, it is to sell for $170,000 unassembled. To get Experimental category certification, it needs to be built by the owner.

 

For the last four months, the big University of North Dakota flight school has been testing an unleaded 94-octane aviation gasoline in its fleet of Piper Cherokees, and it’s now given up and gone back to leaded 100-octane. In 46,000 hours of monitored testing, UND found too much recession of exhaust valve seats in the Lycoming O-360s. Spark plug fouling showed no improvement over the leaded gas. The evil old tetraethyl lead in 100-low lead not only boosts octane, it lubricates valve seats.

 

Our week’s trivia test was about the type of engines that were used on the venerable DC-3. As Rodney Rom knew from his wrench-work on the Navy’s carrier-based planes, they could be fitted with the Wright R-1820 Cyclone or the Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp. For next week, tell us if any airplanes have ever been fitted with brakes on the nosewheel. You can send your answers to [email protected].



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