Monday, July 1, 2024

What's Up LeRoy Cook

 Suggested Banner: A Veteran Returns


Never say you’ll never...Whatever. Circumstances alter cases, and sometimes you’ll find yourself forced to engage in activity previously proscribed. I, for instance, swore, upon my separation from U.S. Army service, that I would never again sleep on the ground or eat while standing up. I violated  those tenets only because of the necessities incurred at the Oshkosh airshow, where one must erect a tent and camp under the airplane wing. Housing is unavailable for 40 miles around.


Likewise, when you read about someone smashing up a perfectly-good airplane because they ran it out of fuel, you’ll invariably say “I’d never do a dumb thing like that.” But, I’ll bet you’ve tried to stretch your gas supply once in a while, and stared at the gauge wondering if you would make it. You were just luckier than that other schmuck. Learn, and live.


Among the observed traffic movements at our airport this week, we saw a Robinson R44 helicopter set down to refuel, fitted with a cropspraying rig under its belly. The plastic tank and folded-away booms looked pretty draggy to me, but the pilot said it didn’t slow him down all that much as he traveled to his next job. An Italian-built Tecnam P-Mentor trainer came in from New Century for a show-and-tell, and a Cessna 172 and a Piper Archer stopped by. Bob Plunket flew over from Clinton in a Piper Cherokee, Ron Terwiliger visited from Paola in his Cessna Skylane, Dave Gilsdorf was in from Lee’s Summit in his Cessna Turbo Centurion and an RV-6A homebuilt made a brief stop.


Locally, Jeremie Platt exercised his Grumman Tiger, Jon Laughlin flew his Piper Cherokee 180C, Layne Anderson brought his Darter Commander back from the inspection shop, and the AirTractor sprayplanes had a busy time of it fighting off fungus infections. I introduced a few newcomers to the wonders of flight in a mighty Cessna 150.


In little-noticed news this week, we read that a certain Douglas DC-3 cargo plane returned across the Atlantic this week, after participating in the 80th Anniversary observances of the June 6, 1944 Invasion of Normandy during WW-II. It was not just any old Doug; it was the restored actual lead airplane of that famous day’s paratroop armada, named “That’s All, Brother.” Then and now a C-47 transport, it’s a flying museum piece based in Texas. Glad you made it, Veteran.

There were no takers for last week’s question about who had the most total flying time logged. It's generally accepted that the title belongs to Captain Dick Merrill, who retired from Eastern Airlines after 36,650 hours flying there, over 33 years. With current regulatory restrictions, no one can ever equal that. But he previously flew the Air Mail and served as a "Hump" pilot in World War II, so he actually flew over 45,000 hours. For next time, what is a "Hump pilot?" You can send your answers to [email protected].