Don't you just hate it when the wings come off?
Lately there have been a spate of serious structural failures.
As reported in Sport Aviation, the wing of an RV-3 came
off while 'maneuvering' with an RV-6, however we understand the
pilots were, in fact, dog-fighting at the time.
In November, an Illinois pilot, who now goes by
the nickname "Lucky", lost the right upper wing of
his Seahawker amphibian and landed the plane safely.
And recently, a Sukhoi 31 crashed in Florida following
the structural failure of the wing. This, the latest design of
the Russian acrobatic superplane, has a carbon fiber wing designed
for 23 g's, however the wing folded in an aerobatic practice
flight with only 12 hours on the airframe.
Bosnian Air Lift. President Clinton recently announced U.S.
plans to deploy over 75,000 vowels to the war-torn region of
Bosnia. The emergency deployment, the largest of its kind in
American history will provide the region with the critically
needed letters A, E, I, O and U, and is hoped to render countless
Bosnian names more pronounceable. "For six years, we have
stood by while names like Ygrjvslhv, Tzlynhr and Glrm have been
horribly butchered by millions around the world," Clinton
said. "Today, the United States must finally stand up and
say 'Enough.' It is time the people of Bosnia finally had some
vowels in the incomprehensible words. The U.S. is proud to lead
the crusade in this noble endeavour."
The deployment, dubbed Operation Vowel Movement by the State
Department, is set for early next week, with the Adriatic port
cities of Sjlbvdnzy and Grzny slated to be the first recipients.
Two C-130 transport planes, each carrying over 500 24-count boxes
of E's, will fly from Andrews Air Force Base across the Atlantic
and airdrop the letters over the cities. Citizens of Grzny and
Sjlbvdnzv eagerly await the arrival of the vowels. "My God,
I do not think we can last another day," Trszg Grzdnjkln,
44, said. "I have six children and none of them has a name
that is understandable to me or to anyone else. Mr. Clinton,
please send my poor wretched family just one E please."
Said Sjlbvdnzv resident, Grg Hmphrs, 67: "With just a few
key letters, I could be George Humphries. This is my dream."
The airdrop represents the largest deployment of any letter
to a foreign country since 1984. During the summer of that year,
the U.S. shipped 92,000 consonants to Ethiopia, providing cities
like Ouaouoaua, Eaoiiuae and Aao with vital, life-giving supplies
of L's, S's and T's.
Media Watch. In addition to the countless articles
on the LoPresti F.22s, look for Steve Wilkinson's article in
the June Air & Space on the Falco birthday party at
Oshkosh. Steve has another article on the Falco in an upcoming
issue of the Forbes FYI business magazine. And watch the
June issue of Sport Aviation for a report by the CAFE
Foundation on Larry Black's Falco covering performance, handling,
etc. We're going to find out exactly how fast Larry's plane is.
a problem when you use jargon or colloquialisms in a technical
manual. We've had Falco builders panic over terms like 'dry flox'
or 'oleo'. The English Europa company advises builders of their
fiberglass machine to have a "cuppa" (a cup of tea
or coffee) before starting a long fiberglass layup. A fax from
a confused German builder informed Europa that he had searched
every technical dictionary available but was not able to find
what a "cuppa" was, and he was further confused because
the plans did not tell him what to do with this "cuppa",
assuming that he knew what it was in the first place.
The latest in high-tech lawnmowers allow you to fertilize and
cut the grass in a single operation.
So much for the Mustang mystique. The P-51 Mustang has always
been the machine of dreams for pilots-gorgeous, fast and with
a Merlin engine. Certainly anything that looks that good must
fly most wonderfully, but pilots who have owned them often say
that they fly like a Peterbilt with wings, that it takes both
hands on the stick to pull through a loop and the most fun of
flying one is taxiing out in front of your friends with the canopy
Now comes scientific proof. A 1991 study by John M. Ellis
and Christopher A. Wheal published by the Society of Experimental
Test Pilots compared four leading U.S. World War II fighters-the
P-51D Mustang, P-47D Thunderbolt, F6F-5 Hellcat and FG-1D Corsair-concludes
that the P-51 was the best of them, overall, but that it had
such a high stick forces that it often required two hands and
that it would snap and spin absolutely unpredictably, often so
violently that it would jerk the stick from the pilot's hands.
Said the report, "[The P-51] scored high in performance,
was well-suited to long-range escort missions and would do well
intercepting non-maneuvering targets. However, its extraordinarily
high stick forces, totally inadequate stall warning and vicious
departures make it quite unsuited to the air combat maneuvering
environment. It is a tribute to the adapability of the pilots
who flew them that Mustangs scored so many kills against the
On the other hand, we read portions of this report to Parke
Smith, who once flew Spitfires, Hurricanes and P-51s with the
RAF. He said the report was the "biggest bunch of crap I've
ever heard"... "complete garbage", etc. He agreed
that the Mustang was not nearly as delightful and light on the
controls as the Spitfire, but he thought it was as easy and maneuverable
to fly as a CAP-10, which he flew for years.
Media Watch. The Air & Space article
on the Falco birthday party is now scheduled for the July/August
issue. Watch the November issue of Forbes FYI for an article
by Steve Wilkinson on building the Falco.
|Falcos on the
move. Charles Gutzman's Falco, sold to a pilot in England some
years ago, has now been purchased by Eric Wierman and Thomas
Buettgenbach in the Los Angeles area, so it's back in the states.
And just as that Falco was leaving England, an Englishman purchased
Bjoern Eriksen's Falco for $105,000.
Military Intelligence Philippino-style. From the
country that gave us Imelda Marcos, the lady of a thousand shoes
who first coined the phrase 'silent majority' (she told Richard
Nixon that "we are supported by a silent majority"
-- Tricky Dick subsequently adopted it) comes the latest in sensible
They've got 18 unservicable SF.260s which need
new engines and the possibility of buying new Lycomings seems
to have eluded them. Instead, they've undertaken Project Layang,
and upgraded one aircraft to an Allison 250-B17D turboprop engine.
This is a good deal, because it only cost them
18 million pesos ($690,000) as compared to about 28 million pesos
($1,073,000) for a new SF.260TP. See, that means they save 10
million pesos ($383,000) per airplane, so overall they'll save
280 million pesos ($10,724,000) by spending 504 million pesos
($12,420.000). Hey, for that kind of money, you could get over
30,000 pairs of Gucci's.
At least he wolked away from it. Perhaps the most despised
man in aviation, Arthur Alan Wolk, who as plaintiff's attorney
has won enormous awards in suits against Cessna and Piper (and
thus has done more to raise the cost of flying more than any
other individual) recently crashed his Panther jet off the end
of the runway at Kalamazoo. We were curious what sort of sympathy
he got, so we tuned into some of the on-line services to see
what the cyber-groupies were saying.
Here's a sampling: "It should be real interesting to
see who gets sued on this one and why!" "Numerous unlucky
individuals, most likely, probably including those who rescued
him." "Hmmm, now who will Arthur sue? Maybe the Michigan
Highway Dept., berm in wrong location. No, let me see? I've got
it, Kazoo Airports Comm., airport in wrong location! Better yet,
God! Wind from north rather than south upon receiving takoff
clearance." "Guess he could sue Grumman, eh?"
"Come on boys, making jokes about accidents? You're in
the wrong forum." "Normally I'd agree with you about
the inappropriateness of joking about accidents. But Wolk has
made many enemies in his pursuit of wealth at the expense of
the aviation industry. It could be argued that flying is a little
less accessible to us all because of his activities."
"I'm not condoning jokes in the wake of a crash, after
all, an irreplacable aircraft was involved -- sorry about that
-- but I'm not asking where flowers should be sent either."
"Well said. Sometimes you go to a wake to say goodbye to
the dead. Sometimes you go to support a surviving family member.
Sometimes you go to make sure." "At the risk of sounding
completely heartless: What's the condition of the airplane?"
Falcos 7, Cessnas 3. You really missed it. The
Oyster Fly-In was the best ever, with stunning weather and a
great time for all. Jonas and Betsy Dovydenas were the first
to arrive, in their bullet-ridden, Swing-Wing Falco. Joel and
Carolyn Shankle arrived in their red Falco, still yet to be upholstered-but
who ever said that finishing the plane was a goal? George and
Joy Barrett set a new world speed record between the Gordonsville
airport and Rosegill airstrip. Tripp Jones flew in from Charlottesville.
Bob Bready and Tony Petrulio came in Bob's Falco from Massachucetts.
Steve Bachnak flew in from Munster, Indiana, after climbing (very
briefly) to 20,000 feet to get over some weather. And Jim Petty
flew in from Dayton, and parked the beauty in the front yard.
Meanwhile, there was plenty of action on the ground,
and Fred Scott arrived with his four-in-hand whisky wagon pulled
by four Belgian horses-all this at an oyster fly-in. The Grand
Champion Craziness award, however, went to Nigel Moll, who arrived
by Kitfox from New Jersey. There's no heater in the Kitfox, and
the cockpit is well ventilated with outside air. Poor Nigel had
only a single pair of socks on, and no gloves. You never saw
such a bitterly cold person. All this for aviation!
But the heart of the Oyster Fly-In is really the
mixture of interesting people, the Urbanna Oyster Festival parade,
and the endless party. And if you're bored, you can always spend
some quality time with Brodie, our crazy Border Collie, who always
lifts his left leg, even if the bush is on the right.