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STILL FLYING AT THE 100-YEAR MARK
If Willard Scott of NBC’s "Today" show comes to your birthday party, chances are you turned 100. But Ralph Lang Charles of Somerset, Ohio, is not only 100, he is an active pilot. Born November 6, 1899, Charles has seen the entire history of powered flight, and has even seen its makers. One recent Saturday, Charles ascended from his 1,500-foot grass strip in the rolling Amish countryside of Perry County, Ohio. He and his airplane, Blue Boy II, an Aeronca 65-TAL Defender, rose into the cool Ohio morning. The next day, Charles hosted a concert on the Robert Morton pipe organ in his home, and about 300 people, including Willard Scott, gathered to celebrate with him.
Look for a feature article on Charles written by Jeff Pardo in the March issue of "AOPA Flight Training" magazine. What follows are excerpts from that article:
Charles started flying in the 1920s, but after World War II, he acceded to his wife's demand for a more stable (and stationary) life, and stopped…for 50 years. But the love of flying never left him, and after his wife died in 1995, Charles bought an airplane and tried to pick up where he'd left off. It had been so long since he’d flown that the government had given away his pilot certificate number (14457), and he had to start over. He's still catching up on regulations, and he hopes to take the knowledge test soon. For now, he's content to be flying on a student pilot certificate and medical certificate—one without any medical restrictions, incidentally.
From the first time that he saw an airplane up close—a Jenny that had to land in a nearby field for a couple of days while a bad magneto was repaired—he wanted to learn to fly.
Charles had entered the workforce at age 14, taking up the welding trade in a job shop where he repaired everything from hoes to teakettles. Around 1922, he got a job with the Dayton-Wright Airplane Company. A gas welding prodigy, he could weld the Liberty engines' troublesome cylinder jackets (which were prone to water leaks) "so slick that everything was just right."
In the course of patching up engines and airplanes, he became acquainted with Howard Rinehart and Benny Whelan, whose company performed test piloting for Dayton-Wright. He often saw Orville Wright in the shop, although he never spoke to him. But he did talk to Whelan, who received his training from the Wrights. Whelan was soon giving Charles flight lessons during his lunch hour at South Field. After a very few hours, Charles soloed.
AVIONICS FIRM PLANS GPS/WAAS RECEIVER
UPS Aviation Technologies will develop and market a WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) receiver module capable of precise GPS approaches. The module will be the heart of next-generation GPS systems, and will be marketed to other avionics manufacturers as well. It will also be used on the United Parcel Service aircraft fleet. Development should be completed in a year. NavCom Technology of Redondo Beach, California, is providing design assistance for the module, which is to be manufactured by UPS Aviation Technologies in Salem, Oregon.
For daily news updates, see ( http://www.aopa.org/members/).
| Inside AOPA |
| NO MAJOR Y2K PROBLEMS NOTED, YET |
General aviation has flown into 2000 without any big "bytes" from the Y2K bug. Throughout the critical rollover period, AOPA was in contact with the FAA’s Y2K Command Center in Herndon, Virginia, and with AOPA members across the country. No significant Y2K-related problems have been reported so far. There was a minor problem discovered with the notam system. The computer that processes the FDC notams didn't recognize the year 2000 date. However, the FAA attributed that to a software patch installed in 1990 and said the system didn't recognize the decade change. The affected notams are being reissued as notams (D), so pilots are still obtaining the necessary information. There was also a problem with state-owned ASOS systems in Iowa not reporting weather to the National Weather Service network. That problem has been resolved. It's not clear if it was Y2K-related. If pilots encounter a major problem at any airport, they should report it immediately to a flight service station. Pilots are also requested to e-mail a copy of the report to AOPA at [email protected].
| On Capitol Hill |
| EXCITING ELECTION YEAR AHEAD |
The year 2000 begins one of the most volatile election years in history with control of the White House, Senate, and House all up for grabs. Pilot members of the Senate, John Ashcroft (R-Mo.) and Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), are up for reelection, and 30 of 435 House seats will likely determine control of that chamber. Pilot Rep. Robin Hayes' (R-N.C.) reelection is considered one of the tougher races. House Democrats have already prepared a transition plan, but presidential coattails could be the difference between control of Congress for each party.
| Quiz me! |
|Here’s a question asked by an AOPA member last week of our AOPA technical specialists. Test your knowledge. |
Question: With the weather getting colder, how often should I put on the carb heat to avoid carb icing? Or, should I just keep a "little" carb heat on during the entire flight?
Answer: Carbureted engines are susceptible to icing whenever the cooling effect of the air flowing through the carburetor is sufficient to bring the temperature in the carburetor throat down to 32 degrees Fahrenheit and there is sufficient moisture in the air. Your POH will give you general guidance for your specific aircraft. But generally, when icing conditions exist, apply carb heat often at your cruise throttle setting. Carburetor heat will keep carb ice from forming if applied early enough, often enough, and long enough. Never use partial carburetor heat unless the aircraft is equipped with a carb temperature gauge, ice light, or similar instrument. It is also good practice to use it on any descent during which you have reduced power. Remember, full heat or nothing. AOPA recommends you review Advisory Circular 20-113 or take a look at our topic sheet on carburetor icing at ( http://www.aopa.org/members/files/topics/carbice.html).
Got a technical question? Call 800/872-2672 or e-mail [email protected].
| Picture of the day |
|Jump to the AOPA Online Gallery to see the featured airplane of the day. Click on the link for details on how to capture wallpaper for your work area. Visit ( http://www.aopa.org/online_gallery/). |
| ePILOT Calendar |
| FLY AWAY PICKS FOR THIS WEEKEND |
Orangeburg, South Carolina. Raccoon hunters and sportsmen from all over the country converge on Orangeburg for the Grand American Coon Hunt January 7 through 8. Orangeburg Municipal Airport (OGB) serves the area and is two miles south of the city, 803/534-5545. Call 803/534-6821 for event information.
Memphis, Tennessee. Join thousands of fans for Elvis Presley’s Birthday Celebration January 7 through 9. There are dances, concerts, and an open house at Graceland. General Dewitt Spain Airport (M01) is the best bet for general aviators, 901/353-9151. Call 800/238-2010 for event information.
Oxnard, California. Enjoy a fabulous boat trip between the Oxnard coastline and the Channel Islands while viewing marine life such as sea lions, brown pelicans, and the grey whales on their migration south to the Mexican waters from January 1 through March 31. Oxnard Airport (OXR) serves the area, 805/382-3022. Call 805/385-7578 for event information.
Sandpoint, Idaho. The Winter Carnival features a parade, snow sculptures, turkey bowling (that’s no typo), and food festival January 2 through January 31. Sandpoint Airport (SZT) serves the area, 208/263-9102. Call 208/263-0887 for event information.
For details on individual airports, see AOPA’s Airport Directory Online ( www.aopa.org/members/airports/). For more calendar events, see
ASF FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR REFRESHER CLINICS
(All clinics start at 7:30 a.m.)
January 8-9--Jackson, MS. Crowne Plaza Downtown Jackson, 200 E. Amite Street.
8-9--Portland, OR. Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel, 8235 NE Airport Way.
8-9--San Antonio, TX. San Antonio Airport Hilton, 611 Northwest Loop 410.
15-16--Charlotte, NC. Renaissance Charlotte Suites Hotel, 2800 Coliseum Drive.
15-16--Detroit, MI. Crowne Plaza Detroit Metro Airport, 8000 Merriman Road, Romulus, MI.
15-16--Richmond, VA. Wyndham Garden Hotel, 4700 South Laburnam Ave.
For the Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic schedule, see ( http://www.aopa.org/asf/seminar/in_person/firc1.cfm).
ASF PINCH-HITTER GROUND-SCHOOL COURSES
(Pinch Hitter courses start at 9:30 a.m.)
January 30--San Jose, CA. Sunnyvale Hilton, 1250 Lakeside Drive.
For more Pinch-Hitter courses, see ( www.aopa.org/asf/seminars/pinch.cfm).
AOPA PILOT TOWN MEETINGS
Featuring AOPA President Phil Boyer
(7:30 p.m.; admission is free)
January 10--Jacksonville, FL. Jacksonville Marriott, 4670 Salisbury Road.
11--Orlando, FL. Wyndham Orlando Resort, 8001 International Drive.
12--Montgomery, AL. Alabama Activity Center, 201 Dexter Ave.
For more information on Pilot Town Meetings, see ( http://www.aopa.org/prez/ptm.cfm).
Got news? Having difficulty using this service? Write to ( [email protected]).
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