Monday, January 8, 2024

What's Up by Leroy Cook

 

What’s Up

 1-8-2024

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 January, as Midwesterners know, feels twice as long as any other month. Finding good days to fly in the First Month is a challenge; the only clear days are when it’s so blistering cold you can’t stand to drag the plane out. We did, however, get in a few flights last week, between bouts of fog and snow.

 Among the few visitors last week were a big Beech King Air executive turboprop, a Cessna 172 and a Piper Archer. Those local residents venturing forth were Jeremie Platt in his Grumman Tiger, Eric Eastland in the family Skyhawk and Christian Tucker in the Mooney M20C.

 We continue to get besieged by Harrisonville airport residents seeking refuge from a looming displacement, as their runway undergoes a months-long rebuilding. Contractors and engineers, afraid of liability suits, don’t concern themselves with the inconvenience of lengthy closings, so tenants must either hunker down with unusable airplanes or evacuate to already-full neighboring fields. It would have been a good time to have some hangars built and ready for rent.

 Much class-warfare was promoted last week when an outfit called “Airlines For America” issued a statement blaming private aircraft for delays and disruptions in airline schedules over the holidays. If only those pesky little airplanes weren’t being allowed to tie up space at “their” airports, A4A said, everything would run ever so much smoother. And General Aviation gets a free ride, they say, and it should pay its “fair share”, defined by them, of course.

 The fact is, the public airspace and pavement, along with the air traffic control system, already exists, so shoving non-airline users aside won’t save any money, and the few extra movements of general aviation actually subsidizes an infrastructure built for the airlines. Fuel excise taxes do go into the Aviation Trust Fund, and aren’t passed on to airline customers like fees charged to the airlines. Like the highways, routes in the air are for everyone, not just commercial carriers.

 The week’s question from the last column wanted to know who revolutionized airplane radios 60 years ago in Olathe, KS. Two faithful readers knew it was Ed King, who left Collins Radio to start his own little-airplane electronics company, Butch Leuthart and Jim Davis. For next time, tell us what the “V” stands for in V-speeds like Vs for stall or Vne for never-exceed. You can send your answers to [email protected].



 

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