Random thoughts


It takes roughly three hours to mow my 2,100-foot runway. This allows ample time to contemplate life and its mysteries, as well as issues of great importance to humanity, but mostly it’s stupid stuff.

For exampel, if Henri Pitot invented the Pitot tube, then who invented the cover? Who checks a check airman?

Langewiesche called them flippers in his book, yet we call them elevators, although they still look like flippers to me.

We know about the structure of DNA and the miracle of life at the subatomic level, as well as the composition of galaxies thousands of light years away, but why is it no one can tell me what’s in Marvel’s Mystery Oil?

In 1966 Alon designed a four-place Ercoupe prototype — why? At one time Bill Boeing made bedroom furniture. No, really he did. Harlan Fowler and Werner Kreuger invented great flaps and Tex Johnston caused a great flap when he rolled a B-707 over Lake Washington.

Steve and his wife Donna in their Nanchang CJ-6A

CAVU is a weather acronym denoting a ceiling of 10,000 foot or greater and visibility more than 10 miles. CAVOK, however, simply means Ceiling and Visibility OK, which is why I think Canadians invented it. It’s less offensive.

Tri-Pacer fans generally don’t like Pacers, even after spending $25,000 to convert one.

Classic general aviation aircraft were designed by some of the finest aeronautical engineers in the world. Conversely, rejects who couldn’t make a house toilet flush properly were tasked to design their fuel systems. Back before aerodynamicists invented vortex generators they were known as blenders and made a heck of a Daiquiri.

The British define closed traffic in a manly fashion as circuits and bumps, while we call it pattern work with a touch and go, which seems so effeminate, like a confab of dress makers who never got kissed.

Fighter pilots have a joystick while bomber and transport pilots have a yoke. What sounds more fun to you?Wrongway Corrigan made himself famous by going the way he intended.

If the Earth were flat, all of my enroute charts would make more sense.

In 1922 Douglas Aircraft Co. bought an abandoned movie studio on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica and started building planes. About 75 years later, Boeing bought Douglas and closed down that factory, selling the abandoned building to a movie studio. Can you say poetic justice?

If an express train traveling 48 mph leaves Chicago for Denver and a Cessna 172 leaves on the same trip at the same time with a 12 knot headwind, who gets to Denver first? Who cares? I hate trains.

Air Racing Legend Roscoe Turner flew around in the 1937 Ring-Free Meteor with a Lion Cub named Gilmore. After the lion died they stuffed him and shipped him to the Smithsonian. Carmine Balducci flew a 1971 Beech Musketeer with a pet ferret who got lost in the right wing and died. He is somewhere in there right now. By the way, he doesn’t smell anymore.

A static port affixed to the fuselage side of a B-767 in cruise isn’t static. It’s moving about .82 mach.

How come if you set the mixture too lean, Lycoming and Continental get rich? Think about it.

In summation, there isn’t any whiskey in a whiskey compass. It’s white kerosene. I know this for a fact. Oh well, back to mowing.

Hanshew has worked in aviation for more than 35 years, including his current stint in the Flight Standards department of a Part 121 airline. His wife, Donna, is a CFII and a professor of aviation technologies at a large community college in Dayton, Ohio. Together they have owned numerous aircraft. They currently own a Nanchang CJ-6A (The Green Dragon) based at their home strip of Donner Field.


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