Springfield Chapter Missouri Pilots Association

October 2002

Flying Journal - Another good Flying Month

Actually, a great flying month, with almost 15 hours, some interesting flights, and even a new make and model aircraft to fly. It seems that the longer you fly, the harder it gets to find new types you have never flown (well, I mean that are realistic to AFFORD to fly).

While mostly instructional flights, I had a couple interesting cross-countries. Several years ago, Dianne and I found a nice dog for one of our elderly friends. (I know, I'm sure some of my students probably consider me elderly, but I guess it's all relative, so I mean a friend even older than us.) We picked up Angelo, a cute and spirited little Papillion, east of Kansas City.

Now, our friend has moved to assisted living. We felt a responsibility to Angelo, but since we already had the limit for dogs in our fair city, we couldn't take him ourselves. The Papillion Rescue organization found a foster home for him in Jefferson City until they can place him permanently.

So I borrowed a Cherokee Six, grabbed a former student who wanted to see what "over 200 horsepower" felt like, and we gave Angelo a ride to Jeff City. His foster mother worked in the Capitol. While we waited for her to arrive, we sat outside at a picnic table. An airport employee came up and said he was actually looking for a dog like Angelo! What are the odds of flying into an airport with an extra dog and finding someone looking for such a dog?

Anyway, we introduced him to the woman from Papillion Rescue, and they can take it from there.

As I mentioned last month, I renewed my Flight Instructor ratings at BJS Ground School in KC. It's a good thing, because getting a gyroplane instructor add-on is not going to be easy. But I did take another step in that direction.

Phil Horras, owner of the Twinstarr gyroplane I fly, is currently in the process of purchasing a Cherokee 180. We flew it to Searcy, Arkansas to fly with gyro instructor, Ron Menzie (check his website at www.ronsgyros.com.) Ron is also an experienced builder, as well as inspector for homebuilts. In our preliminary discussions I told him I wanted to 1) add on my gyro instructor rating, and 2) gain a little experience in other kinds of gyros. So we pre-flighted his RAF 2000, side-by-side two-seat trainer. That's NOT RAF as in ROYAL Air Force, but RAF as in ROTARY Air Force. Check their website at www.raf2000.com. Built by Ron himself, the prize-winning workmanship was excellent. Also, I could see little touches that he had added that made it comfortable for him, a bonus available to builders.

Searcy, a town of about 20,000, is getting a new, longer runway and an ILS, $8 million of improvements in fact! Obviously not for a town that size, but probably to accommodate the C-130s from Little Rock AFB. Priorities, you know. Am I getting cynical or what? But we taxied around the construction and flew in the pattern for an hour so I could get familiar with the new type and show my stuff.

After our flight, the other student and his wife waiting in the hangar asked me what I thought. Well, like I told them, it was the same, but it was different. In some ways, flying is just flying, but it's always a little different, too. I'd never flown a side-by-side gyro, and enclosed. (They also have doors and a heater! That would be different!)

I've flown behind a couple Rotax engines before, but this 142 horsepower Subaru was a new experience and fun and easy to fly. No mixture, no carb heat, no mags to check, just throttle and go. We have conventional differential toe braking on our Twinstarr; the RAF 2000 has one brake lever between the seats. On the Twinstarr, which has an electric pre-rotator, there is a button on the throttle lever to pre-rotate. The RAF 2000, with mechanical prerotation, has a motorcycle brake lever on the cyclic control stick to actuate the clutch for prerotation.

But other than those operational differences, it still flew like a gyroplane and I guess Ron could tell that I really did know how to fly one. But it gets so complicated. Ron is also a Designated Examiner, giving checkrides for Private and Commercial gyroplane ratings, and has been doing that long enough to be ELIGIBLE to give Instructor Exams, but not yet authorized by the FSDO. Bill Cheek will appreciate this, since he took his instrument checkride with a new examiner applicant as well as an FAA inspector. I have this intuition that I may be heading for that experience myself.

Meanwhile, fly safely, and I'll keep you posted!


[Copyright 2002 - Earl Holmer]