Monday, April 1, 2024

What's Up LeRoy Cook


Suggested Banner: Getting Ready For The Eclipse

 Once we got through the 40-mph surface winds, we had half a weekend of nice flying weather to enjoy. Spring flying is always threatened by active frontal weather until past Easter, it seems. Never let an opportunity to venture aloft go unused, I always say. Putting it off until tomorrow doesn't work.


The transient traffic record was sparse again last week. We saw a Cirrus SR22 out of southeast Missouri stop by, a couple of Piper Archer trainers visited and a Cessna Skyhawk came in. Of the local fleet, Jeremie and Jim Platt were out in the Grumman Tiger and Les Gorden visited the fuel pump to slake the thirst of his Beech Twin Bonanza.


We only have a little over a week to finalize plans for observing the Solar Eclipse on Monday, April 8th. It's going to be a big deal for airports in the Missouri bootheel, Mississippi River valley and southern Illinois. Several towns are setting up celebrations; Kennett, MO is hosting a fly-in at its airport, Perryville, MO is putting on a “Solarfest” all weekend before the event, as is Poplar Bluff (airport parking reservations are required). Walnut Ridge, AK and Lawrenceville, IL are also good sites.


Newer-generation pilots who are used to hollering at Air Traffic Control Center for hand-holding VFR flight following service may be denied radar service during the eclipse. A controller at ZKC Center warned us last week that, based on their experience with the eclipse in August 2017, there are too many airplanes crowding into the path of totality to handle such requests. So, you're on your own; I'd advise parking at a convenient airport instead of trying to watch it from above.


In news of the week, Boom Supersonic flew its scaled-down version of a proposed 80-seat supersonic transport, under development for the past 10 years. No, it didn't make a boom, just little quiet test hop. And India did another drop-test of its space-shuttle reusable launch vehicle, landing successfully after being turned loose from a Chinook helicopter at 15,000 feet.


Last week’s brain-teaser question wanted to know how many stops were made when the Air Force sent three B-52B bombers on a round-the-world flight in 1957. Actually, they didn't stop; they refueled in the air and kept going after taking off from Castle AFB in California, returning to nearby March AFB 45 hours later. For next week's quiz, tell us why 1920's aviator Buck Weaver's name is significant. You can send your answers to [email protected].