Comes now the season of gusty winds, power landings and carburetor heat. We have some beautiful flying, colorful and interesting through the fall and winter months. But we have some very definite changes in flying technique also.
It's the season of variable winds, dropping off altogether or increasing suddenly, switching direction without warning.
To a pilot coming in for the normal landing in an "approach to a stall" attitude, a loss of wind is embarrassing. His airplane may quit flying several feet above the runway and drop in kerthump!
A switch in wind direction may leave him several feet outside the runway, or may give him a tailwind.
Cure for this in gusty weather is a little power on landings. Come in through gusty approaches with a few more RPM than necessary. chop the throttle when the plane is practically in landing position. It doesn't make any difference if the wind does drop off. You're in!
In the northern hemisphere, most sudden wind changes are to the right, especially in the presence of thunderheads. You can look for them, be ready for them and enjoy fall flying.
In the average small airplane of 75 horsepower, approximately three pounds of water per hour pass through the carburetor, taken in with the air in the intake. This amounts to 1.3 cubit inches of water per minute at cruising speed.
The process of vaporizing gasoline may cool a carburetor as much as 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore at anything under 80 or 90 degrees, the temperature at the carburetor intake can easily be below freezing.
In the fall and winter with temperatures mostly below 80 degrees and humidity high, carburetor heat is a necessity to keep intake from "frosting over," cutting engine power, eventually stopping.
At below 15 degrees Fahrenheit there is not so much danger. Air that cold does not contain enough moisture to freeze. From here on out, carburetor heat should be used at any time RPM (revolutions per minute) are reduced from cruising.
Some authorities claim that in the presence of cold, fog, clouds or rain, carburetor heat should be used at all times except on take-off. This depends upon the engine, the heating system and is a darned good thing to ask your instructor, plane owner or operator about.
Don't take me for final authority, for I'm no expert. But here is a little habit I've acquired since a little episode concerning me, an airplane and a lake. Every now and then while flying I apply full carburetor heat momentarily. If the RPM drops off a little bit, O.K. I shut the heat off. If the RPM does not drop off, I leave the heat on for awhile.
If when you apply carburetor heat to the intake, RPM does not drop off, that means there is an obstruction, ice, already forming. If carburetor heat does cause the RPM to drop off, then ice is not forming and you don't need heat right then. Clear as mud, isn't it.
Best yet, approaching this fall and winter season, don't be ashamed to seek a little advice from older, experienced pilots. I'm going to.
U.S. S. Tarawa
Dear Bill, This is just a few lines to let you know I read and enjoy your column very much and to also give a little story on aviation. Just yesterday I got the newspaper containing your article on the P51 crash near Atwood and must certainly admit a thrilling but sorrowful sight for the spectators. I have a story which happened last week on our carrier which I think is more on the exciting side.
I'm not saying we have accidents like this one every day we have flight operations, but it happens often. An F8F coming in for a landing hit way aft on the flight deck, bounced and cleared all three barriers, a jump of 300 feet, crashed forward of the bridge, killed one man, threw its engine over the side, splattered oil all over men and flight deck, caught on fire and the pilot escaped with a couple scratches. The worst was naturally the airdale (marine?) being killed and still worse he had only been on here 2 days and only 16 days from discharge. This might seem like a big yarn but its true and some 1,700 to 2,000 men on here will verify it. I close in saying keep up the fine work in "Sky Writing." Yours, CHARLES NOGGLE.
Dear "Lindy", Thanks for your kind letter. Now that the war is over and the glamor removed from service, my hat is off to you young men who continue to serve your country. In peace-time, the glory of service is gone, but the country's need just as great. Though the danger from shot and shell is lessened the back-breaking work is there, the occupational hazard remains as your letter so aptly illustrates. More power to you and the others with you. BILL
Warsaw Daily Times, Sept. 12, 1947