Monday, June 17, 2024

What's Up LeRoy Cook

 What’s Up

 by LeRoy Cook.


 Suggested Banner: How Chanute, KS got its name.

 Considerable encouragement, in the form of inviting clear skies, led to a steady flow of air traffic during the past week. An occasional cold front swept away pollution and left us seeing 40 miles in all directions in its wake. Of course, it is late June, and summer's thermal activity generated bumpy air, particularly in the afternoon.


Seen moving in and out of the local airfield were a Cessna 310 twin, a  Piper Warrior, a brace of Cessna Skyhawks and a Cirrus SR22. Mike Golden came down from New Century in his Cessna Turbo Centurion, picking up a passenger for his $300 hamburger run to St. Louis, and Dr. Ed Christophersen was in simultaneously, doing proficiency flying in his Piper Archer.


The local traffic included Danny Ferguson flying Dad's Cessna Skylane, Lance Dirks doing a Dallas trip in the Cessna Skyhawk, student Josh Poe making a Chanute/Joplin run and Les Gorden taking up his newly-acquired Beech King Air turboprop. Roy Conley flew his Grumman Tr2 and Jon Laughlin's Piper Cherokee was out.


One might wonder about the naming of the town of Chanute, Kansas which, like Butler, has a VORTAC navigation station and a 4000-foot runway to attract air traffic. Its name honors Octave Chanute, a late-1800's engineer who designed Kansas City's stockyards and the Hannibal Bridge. He became interested in aeronautics in his retirement, researched all available documentation on attempts to fly a heavier-than-air craft, and advised the Wright Brothers during their experiments. He never flew himself, but contributed greatly to eventual success in conquering the air.


Last month, a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Max 800 airliner was involved in a “dutch roll” incident at 34,000 feet enroute to Oakland, CA, generating some slow-day news coverage over the weekend. No one was hurt, but the airplane took some damaging stress. Although rare, any swept-wing jet can oscillate simultaneously around the yaw and roll axes, requiring some prompt control input to damp out the triggering movement. Sorry, folks, it has nothing to do with the Boeing name on the data plate; even Beech Bonanzas have been known to do it.


Last Thursday, an 8-year-old Carl Junction, MO girl experienced a medical emergency during a Skywest Airlines flight from Joplin to Chicago and, despite best efforts by the crew, including a landing at Peoria, IL, she was, very sadly, unable to be revived. We all consider a trip by air to be so routine, we seldom think about what a miracle of technology we're enjoying, seated warm and breathing fresh air while moving several hundred miles an hour, 30,000 feet in the air. But there's always a chance of an unforeseen event, and it provides a challenge to effect survival.


The question from last week's column was ”When did the first aerial bombing in wartime take place?” The answer was 1912, when Italy dropped ordnance on Turkish forces it was fighting in Lybia, using gas-filled dirigible light-than-air craft. For next time, which USAF bomber had the most engines; the B-36 or the B-52? You can send your answer to [email protected].