Field of Dreams: 9N1


I really enjoyed the article about Van Sant Airport (Fields of Dreams: Saved but not immune from the times). I flew there in my Cessna 170B back in the early ’70s. At that time, the Smella family ran the operation. I got my first taste of soaring there and got my glider rating in two days. It was a very nostalgic place and so glad it escaped extinction. Thanks for the nice article.

GEORGE JOHNSON, via e-mail

A puzzling problem


Just read Ask Paul’s post (A puzzling compression problem) and it reminded me of an problem I found several years ago. I had a Lycoming IO-360 180 hp in a Pitts that began to use some oil. It increased gradually from a quart in 15 or 20 hours to 10, then eight, then on one trip it went to about a quart in three to four hours. The compression was good in the low 70s over 80, so thought I must have broken oil rings.

[Read more…]

What a trip it’s been


In reading your article, “A trip back in time,” my mind went back to 1960 when I traded for a 1939 Taylorcraft. I had only been up in a small airplane a couple of times. The T-craft was a little airport bum and little did I know of the maintenance problems I had traded for. In an effort to get the annual signed off, I found out. [Read more…]

Letter: ‘What vices?’

In regard to the article (Titan Aircraft T-51: 3/4 scale, 100% fun) about the Titan T-51 in which you said the Titan was a “hoot” to fly while avoiding the vices of the original. I am curious as to just what these vices were? In General Yeager’s book he said that it was a tricky airplane to fly, so I asked him, just what characteristic was tricky? He replied, “The tail wheel”. Was this one of the “vices” of which you spoke? In the 1930s and 1940s we grew up in tailwheels and I guess just didn’t know any different. I never flew a nose wheel until I flew the P-38 in 1945. Then into the Mustangs where my assignment was flight test maintenance officer. I flew over 300 functional flight tests after the mechanics finished their work and before they went back on the flight line. I always said the “D” model was a mechanics airplane and the “H” was a pilots airplane. The “H” had the -9 Merlin in it with a Simmons boost that automatically kicked in the supercharger and you did not advance the throttle upon shutdown. I flew the “D” model only 100 hours but logged 1000 hours in the “H”and enjoyed every minute of it. We appreciate getting your publication at our local airport, Highland County Airport (HOC), Hillsboro, Ohio. It brings us up to date on just what is going on out there in the aviation world.

Lt. Col. (Ret.) Darrell R. Larkin
Hillsboro, Ohio

Crossing the line


“If you cross the line, you’ve crossed the line” (FAA runway safety initiative launched). How true, but it more often occurs after landing and not completely clearing the runway. Just because your seat in the cockpit is across the hold short line doesn’t mean you are “clear of the runway.”

I once witnessed a Boeing 757, at a major US airport, stop with over 50 feet of the aircraft still across the hold short line. A DC-10 then took off on that runway, missing the tail of the offending 757 by a too-close margin. I called this to the tower, but they didn’t seem to understand the problem. When I called on the phone later, the tower controller still could not see a problem.

This is not the only time I have seen this occur with large aircraft and I see it happening often with light aircraft today.

ED DICKMAN, via e-mail