March Pancake Breakfast and Meeting

While the early morning stormy weather seems to have kept a few folks away (and nixed Young Eagles), we still had a great turnout.  I counted at least 6 visitors (2 joined our Chapter today!) and 62 members present.

Safety – We had a healthy discussion about traffic pattern procedures and the need to (1) follow standard pattern procedures,  (2) communicate,  and most of all (3) LOOK OUT!  There are a number of NORDO airplanes based here at 0TX1, and there’s always the chance that someone will be on the wrong frequency (don’t ask me how I know) or have other comms issues.  Dave Moore noted he had observed an RV-12 making a downwind final approach low over his house.  It turns out the pilot had experienced engine trouble and was making an emergency return to field.  Be alert.  Stuff happens.

Facilities – I’m repeating myself, but our facilities just keep getting better every month.  Grading for drainage (needs a little touchup work) and new sod around the improved ramp have been installed.  And, plans are in the works to add a paved taxiway connecting to the asphalt driveway.  This may be completed before our April meeting.  We owe special thanks to Les Staples, Bob Moreau, Doug Crumrine, Larry Henny, and others who have contributed both dollars and effort to make this happen.  The Planeview Park renovation is nearly complete, and it looks fantastic.  The many years of effort by Chapter Leadership and members have finally paid off.  And if you get a chance, say thanks to Deanna Thibault, Steve Bloomquist, Rhonda Smith, Kris Jaeckle, Toby and Linda Pechanec, Jared Latimer, … – I know I’m leaving several out – for all they’ve been doing to get things organized and ensure a good breakfast each month.

Projects – Doug Greene’s fuselage fuselage frame extension – made necessary by his own lanky frame –  is moving along thanks to welding and other support from Dick Keyt.  Jason Tremble is making rapid progress with his RV-10 slow-build fuselage and has it just past the quick-build stage.  Kliff Black had been losing ground to Jason, but more or less caught up last week when he took delivery of his RV-10 quick-build fuselage and wings (amazing what can be accomplished with a checking account).  There’s little doubt, however, that Jason will soon pull back ahead in this informal race to completion.  Greg Walker recently installed the tail feathers and controls on his RV-8A project.  And he’s organizing a wings-installation party next weekend.  We all hope to see him on a first flight in the next few months.

Condolences to the XP-400 – Superior created a great engine, but it unfortunately had a fatal flaw, so they have issued a total recall.  These engines were popular in RV-14’s and we have two members (Keith Brown and Brad Peden) who are scrambling for suitable replacements.  Estimated deliveries are 6 to 9 months out.  OUCH!

Bob Moreau on Center of Gravity and Why It Matters – Bob is an engineer, an artist, a DER, a gentleman, and many other things including a genuine Test Pilot.  He’s one of those guys who pushes airplanes (many of them big transport jets) to their limits and, if all goes according to plan, lives to tell about it.  It was interesting that when asked about his most harrowing moment as a test pilot, he didn’t really have one.  He’s flown transport jets at speeds where flutter caused parts to fall off, but he was was not phased because, “It was expected.”  Bottom line is that safety in test flying comes with careful planning and an approach that gradually eases up to the limits so there are no ugly surprises.  Bob’s talk today focused on Center of Gravity, how it affects aircraft longitudinal stability and control, and why pilots should respect the limitations manufactures have published.  I know I learned a lot.  Thanks, Bob.

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