DXMachina (dxmachina) wrote,


Yesterday evening was a very nice, if hot, so despite the fact that the arch of my foot still hurt like a mother, and that I'd spent another day limping around like Chester Goode, I decided to give the bike a try. The good news is that pedaling didn't hurt, and I was able to do fourteen miles. The better news is that the ride seems to have done my foot some good, because it doesn't hurt quite so much. There's still some soreness there, but I'm walking much less gingerly this morning.

The nice weather also had the pilots out in force at Quonset. Lots of planes to spot at lunch. A couple of corporate jets took off from 16 just as I'd settled in, and then a parade of general aviation craft started taking off and landing right in front of me down rwy 23. One was a Beechcraft Bonanza. Back when I was a tad and my father used to take us down to Morristown Muni to watch the planes, the Bonanza was my favorite because of it's distinctive V-tail. It just looked neat. One of things about general aviation aircraft is that within a type, most of them look pretty much alike. From a distance, it's hard to tell the difference between a Cessna or a Beech or a Piper of similar type. Function usually trumps form in general aviation. The V-tail Bonanza was meant to be unique and stylish, and Beech sold a lot of them because of it.

The V-tail replaces both the horizontal and vertical stabilizers with two diagonal stabilizers. The engineering gets tricky because the rudder (which controls yaw) and the elevators (which control pitch) have to be replaced with control surfaces that can do both. This places a great deal more stress on the tail than the conventional arrangement does. Unfortunately, the original V-tail turned out not to be strong enough to handle it, and after a while, aircraft started crashing. The Bonanza was also sold with a conventional tail, making it one of those rare instances where a direct statistical comparison can be made between the two types. The V-tail turned out to be 24 times more likely to suffer an in-flight failure than the conventional tail version. Oops. (Buddy Holly died in the crash of a Bonanza, although that accident was blamed on weather and pilot error.) Beech strengthened the tail of new units, and the FAA mandated a program of inspections and structural reinforcement for older units. Production ended in 1982, but over 6000 are still flying.
Tags: aviation, biking, health

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