Magic Carpet Ride
Mr. Dye, I greatly enjoyed and appreciated your skillfully written Free Flight article, “Sacred Ground,” published in the March issue. You certainly made me want to visit some of the important places you describe so vividly, especially Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
I was pleased that you ended by dignifying and lauding “airports, runways, ramps and hangars…[as] the places where aviators dwell.” Presently, my magic carpet ride is a lovely 1946 Aeronca Chief based at MQJ, east of Indianapolis. My hangar is on the farthest-north row, facing onto a little-used country road and a panorama of farmland and woodlots.
On an ideal day, I’ll make a late-afternoon or early-evening flight, landing as required before sunset. Back at the hangar, I try to get the bugs off the wings, the tanks refilled, and the plane put away before dark. Having 30 minutes or so of pleasant evening quiet left, I put my chair at the hangar entrance, listening to the occasional clicks and tings as the engine cools, and the fading of the meadowlark songs into those of the nightbirds. I think about my flight—and my father’s flights of years ago—sip my Dr. Pepper, and savor the unique atmosphere of an airport and the rare privilege of dwelling in that place.
Keep up the excellent writing, and happy flying.
Hunter Heath III
Squaring Things Up
I read Tom Wilson’s article about the Whirl Wind propeller with interest [“Switch Blade,” July 2012]. I also have a RANS S-7 with a taper-tip Warp Drive prop, and the increase in performance is impressive indeed.
However, I was disappointed that the baseline for the test was the square-blade Warp Drive prop and not the more common and more efficient taper-tip Warp. I think it is widely known that the taper-tip Warp is much better in cruise performance (I don’t know about climb).
Considering that Warp can reshape the square prop to a taper tip for $180, I think it would have been really helpful and much more objective for a prop comparison if that option would have been tested as well. I imagine that the performance numbers would be much closer between the taper-tip Warp and the Whirl Wind prop. A beautiful prop nevertheless!
Dean Sigler’s “How green is my airplane” [August 2012] offered great information. I’ll add that: 1) EVs will not cause a lot of extra load on the grid, perhaps 8% to 10%, if all vehicles were electric; 2) the ratio of peak-to-nighttime loads has grown in recent decades, and most EV charging is likely to be at night, so EV loads can improve the efficiency and decrease the cost of power generation; and 3) the upcoming smart grid along with EVs (often parked 20+ hours daily) can help solve intermittent renewable energy production problems and provide a potentially huge amount of grid-accessible energy storage simply via grid control of charging rates and by eventually using unneeded vehicle charge (vehicle-to-grid or V2G) during demand peaks. Demand power and regulation services are valuable enough to power companies that selling them may eventually provide a sizable revenue stream to EV drivers.
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