Tuesday, January 23, 2024

What's Up by Leroy Cook


What’s Up




Suggested Banner: Jet Landings


A warming trend associated with the usual 3rd Week Thaw in January brought some pilots out to the aerodrome last week, getting in some 2024 flying before the rains came. Most of the weekend was inhospitable (for in-the-hospital if you stayed out too long) although 20 degrees better than the last one. I did make one hop on Thursday, merely a short proving run to put some temperature in the oil.


Visitors seen were a Cessna Skylane, an Army Reserve CH-47 twin-rotor cargo helicopter from New Century, KS and a big Beech King Air 350 corporate turboprop, out of Dodge City, KS. About the only hardy local firing up was Christian Tucker, who took the Mooney M-20C out on Friday in 13-degree sunshine.


Although last week's inch or so of snow cover wasn't a serious hazard, it was dealt with by the City snowplow crew in short order. The light fluffy accumulation could be broomed off, rather than scooped away from the hangar door. I often get asked how much snow airplanes can safely negotiate, and the only answer is “it depends on the quality of the snow.” Wet heavy snow can significantly retard acceleration if more than inch deep, while dry powdery snow doesn't become a problem until a depth of three inches. Large planes can't handle snow-covered runways because they need braking action, while us little fellas can easily stop without brakes. A small American Airlines airliner skidded off the runway at Rochester, NY Thursday, after landing from a Philadelphia flight. No injuries, but it usually closes the airport during the retrieval process.


The Russian Airbus airliner that landed in a Siberian wheat field, when the crew ran short of fuel during a scheduled flight, is going to be parted out, not flown out. Although relatively undamaged, the A320 would require some repairs (and probably a temporary runway) and it turns out that, due to the Western embargo on trade imposed after the invasion of Ukraine, it makes better sense to cannibalize the old 'Bus for its unavailable pieces. It would have made a fantastic YouTube video clip though.


The reminisce item in last week's paper said the first jet landed at Butler in January 1992. Actually, Amoret native Milt Sills landed a Cessna Citation on the old runway in the early 1970s. He didn't shut down, because he was in an engineering test airplane and wasn't supposed to be here. Since he was the test pilot on the Citation's first flight, and developed the numbers for the landing charts, he had no problem with the 3200-foot runway.


We drew no response to last week's quiz about three commercial jet planes with three engines. I was prepared for someone coming up with the Boeing 727, Lockheed L1011 and Douglas DC-10, but there were others like the British Trident and even Dassault's Falcon 50 bizjet. For next time, tell us the U.S. Air Force's designation for its Boeing 737 VIP transports. You can send your answers to [email protected].


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