King of Obsolete
No Fear No Common Sense Flying
Fun Times in the Mid 1980s
In the mid 1980s I was working for a company that was flying me all over western Canada fixing fertilizer equipment for the farmers to grow their crops. When a piece of equipment breaks down during seeding and harvest time it must be fixed as fast as it can be done because time is money. The airplane is the fastest way to get to where the broken equipment is located day or night. The company was not well managed with too many people in the office enjoying the good life of playing the roll of the company being successful which it was not. There was lots of mistakes and more mistakes that simple planning would have corrected. I was only 17 years old when started flying in the company plane with the company pilot to the locations of the broken equipment. Being young and starting my career as a professional drinker I did not look at as dangerous or almost getting killed because it was fun at my age. In the mid 1980s the government did not have as strict rules they have in the year 2020 that makes flying so restricted. Now days all planes are watched and movements can be seen on any computer around the world. As I write this book I can click on my computer to a flight tracking website to follow any plane in the world and know it’s flight path, call letters, make and model. Back in the mid 1980s the Soviet Spies had more information of the planes in Canada then the Canadian government because it was at the height of the Cold War. This book is written using simple terms to describe the planes and what is happening so people around the world can enjoy.
White Knuckles – this is a common aviation term used to describe how tight you are hanging on in fear of dying. As your hands grip the plane to hang on in fear, the blood circulation changes in your hands and fingers. The tighter the grip the less circulation and your knuckles in your fingers turn white. It does not matter what skin colour you have because in fear you get White Knuckles.
Low Wing Plane – this was the company plane that we used the most and it got abused the most too. This plane had the bigger motor and landing gear that could retract up inside the bottom of the plane to make smoother lands when things go terrible wrong. With the wings low on the plane it made things harder from loading tools and supplies because everything had to go up and over the wings to get in the plane. The wings are curved so everythings always slid off the wings including me if the wings were slippery from rain or snow. I hated this plane because it was hard to get in and out of plus sliding off the wings. Plus you could not look out the side windows to see the ground below because the wings blocked the view.
Rental Plane – I liked this plane because the wings were on top of the body of the plane and easy to load tools and supplies. Plus easier to get in and out of too. When flying you could see the ground and look to see where you are when lost and using the Road Atlas to figure out where you might be. With the wings being up high this made it possible for driving through farmer’s fields and exiting out the fenced gate because the wings cleared the fence. The company plane being low wing would hit the fence then damage was done to the wing and had to be repaired with Canadian Duct Tape to be able to fly home. Just like everything else in life, if it is a “rental”, drive it or fly it like it was stolen and that is what happened to this plane. Plus this plane had a different design of propeller that could get better traction to get the plane going. It had the smaller motor of the 2 planes but better traction.
Plane Motor and Propeller – these are simple motors designed to run along time but are high maintenance. The planes did not have air conditioning or any other accessories. The motor had one Vee belt that spun the alternator to charge the batteries to start and supply electrical power. If this Vee belt fell off or vaporized itself then the batteries for the plane would lose power then some functions of the plane would not work being electrical. The propeller is a simple design and made to move the plane which I call traction. The more air the propeller could move to make the plane fly, the better the traction. If the propeller was not getting traction then the plane was not flying very fast or beginning to crash.
Land Gear – the company plane had retractable landing gear which makes the plane fly faster because it is now smoother to go through the air. Plus when landing with the landing gear retracted makes for a smoother landing. Just like anything else in life this added feature creates problem with not locking when down or not coming back up in the plane. The rental plane had fixed landing gear that stay hang below the plane at all time. This made the plane tougher on the hard landing and take off being a rental plane it took. The wheels on both planes were small tires that were smooth as a baby's bum. These smooth tires work good when you land at a paved airport then taxi up to the pilot’s lounge and tell all the ladies how you risked it all to drive through the puddle of water on the tarmac. We quickly learned that these wheels offered no traction when trying to drive the plane like a car on a gravel road or in a farmers field. Half of the problems we had with hitting things or getting stuck was these wheels not being able to get traction. If both planes had deep lugged tires then the traction needed would have saved us a lot of problems.
Brakes and Steering – the brakes on both planes were not the greatest and even worse if the plane was stuck in the mud then when pulled out of the mud. We had no way to clean all the mud out of the brakes on the wheels. When the brakes were needed the most they did not really work because they were packed with mud. To steer the planes there is a steering wheel on both sides of the planes because it is called dual control. But the person who flew the plane was the pilot and sat on the left seat. The right seat in the world of aviation is for the person learning or getting experience in flying. The steering wheel is hooked to the rudder on the back of the plane to steer it when flying. Plus to the front wheel of the plane to steer when driven like a car. Both of these function have a big delay factor even if the steering wheel hooked by steel cables which is called fly by wire because they call the cable wire. When flying, the air has to past by the rudder to give the plane direction in which to fly. When on the ground being driven like a car, the front wheel is always bounce on and off the ground. This is the delay in the front wheel touching the ground to get pointed in the direction it is to go. Also to steer the plane when driving it like a car there are individually rear brake controls to control the brakes on the back wheels of the plane. But with smooth tires the brake will lock up the wheel and it will just slide along. If the tire had deep lugs then the tire would grab and turn the plane in the directions you want to go. In the air or on the ground getting the plane where you wanted to go was all luck because the great winds of the western provinces effected the plane on the ground or in the air.
Windshield – this is a molded plastic that is very tough and well scratched. The scratches make it hard to see when flying or driving in to the sun. The windshield has no windshield wipers because the air movement from the propeller is to keep the windshield clear of rain. This works good as the motor is running but when the motor quits the rain on the windshield makes it hard to see where you are going to land very quickly. Plus the windshield is used to tell you anything and everything that is happening with the motor. A car is designed that anything goes wrong under the hood where the motor is located everything falls out the bottom and on to the ground. An airplane is designed to have everything and anything goes wrong under the hood of the plane it goes all up on the windshield. Even if the motor leaks oil on the bottom it will come up and on to the windshield. As you fly or drive along and oil comes up on the windshield then you land right now or park the plane if driving like a car.
Plane Controls – the plane controls are simple with the delayed steering wheel and controls at your feet. The feet controls help steer the plane when flying but become really important when you are sleeping in the right seat while flying. Since I have long legs I would stretch out and my feet would move the pedals. When this usually happened it woke up everyone in the plane and the pilot too because the plane was not flying level. The cruise control for the plane was to pull the hand throttle out and tie the steering wheel to the door of the plane. Since the plane is design to fly up all the time there is a trim wheel between the seats behind the individual levers for the brakes. Adjust the trim to make the plane fly level or almost level. On the dash there was lots of gauges that told you the basic things needed to fly. The gauge that was the most important has the little plane cut out that is mounted on a level “bob” that carpenters use to know what they are building is level. This plane “bob” tells you what the plane is doing because at night you can not see the ground to know what level is. Just below it is the hand throttle for the plane which goes back and forth. Full throttle is forward tot the dash and back to the seat slows the motor. Also on the dash is a pull-push rod that controls fuel mixture for the motor. This saves on fuel when flying and gives more fuel for take off and landing. The last thing on top of the dash is a ball compass that spins around and reminds you of the wobble head dolls of the 1980s. The compass was about as entertaining as the wobble head dolls. Back in the mid 1980s the GPS was not on the market and flying was done with aviation maps and Road Atlas plus lots of luck.
Prop Start – both planes got abused and the bouncing from rough take offs and landings were hard on the electrical to start the plane. They put the battery in the back of the plane for balance but hard to boost because of all the tools and supplies we carried. If the electric start was not working then it was spin the propeller for a prop start. This is a high risk because the motor does not start at an idle but with rpms keep it running. As the propeller is turned to get fuel and air mixture in the cylinders of the motor the ignition of the plane is turn off. The plane motors have Magnetos to create electrical current that is sent to the spark plugs to ignited the gas an air mixture. Magnetos are little generators that create enough current to make a very good arch of electrical current like anything Nikola Tesla could make. When the propeller is hand turned and enough gas and air mixture the pilot will yell Mag On which is short for the magneto has been turn on and it will generate current. When Mag On happens there is a great amount of electrical current going to the spark plug in the cylinder of the motor and the gas and air mixtures ignites now. The motor comes to life “now” at high rmps. Doing a prop start means there are 2 ways to die. “Russian Roulette” or by saying “I Do” and everyone wants Russian Roulette because it is quick and easy as the propeller chops you up quickly. The slow way to die is the propeller chops you once and you die a very slow death like saying “I Do” in marriage. All the times we had to prop starts on the planes, I was always careful in fear of death after seeing a fellow die quickly by Russian Roulette.
Dec 01 2020 -- No Fear No Common Sense Flying ---- 10th book
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