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The Winged Spartans

by John M. White |

I had the pleasure of attending Michigan State University back in the late 60s and at that time there was a very active flying club called "The Winged Spartans". Actually, when I arrived at MSU I was just a Private Pilot; when I left I was a Commercial Instrument Multi-Engine pilot ready to take my ATP check ride. A Certified Flight and Ground Instructor as well, I might add. Looking through the mail today I came across an article about the NIFA (National Intercollegiate Flying Association) SAFECON 2009 program where seven universities competed for trophies. Of the various events I found the description about the judges taking various things apart on a Skyhawk and then testing the students by seeing if they could find all 30 items which needed to be addressed prior to flight. Cessna Skyhawk What a great idea! If you go flying with a buddy who owns his own airplane and watch his preflight you will probably discover it doesn't consist of much, and that there is no post flight inspection. Unfortunately sometimes it can lead to other problems which can cause accidents. My son just got back from Shannon, Ireland on a DC-8 trip and he was telling me about the nose gear strut was out of fluid and nitrogen. He discovered the problem on pre-flight, and even though it was a bear to fix all by himself - he repaired it! Consider that the collapsed nose gear strut can only collapse some 4 inches and you can see a lot of folks would just ignore it. Not a great idea. In any case I don't think that The Winged Spartans exist any more, and what a pity. Some of my best friends came from there, and a lot of airline pilots too. I had an offer from United but decided to pass it up - sometimes I wonder if I made a mistake. As pilots we need to encourage as many young people to get into aviation. Aviation has always lead the field of innovation, and we need to see its revival sooner rather than later. So if you get the chance encourage a young one to take a look at aviation. Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 Insurer: It was pilot error. Pilot: It was design error. Insurer: I disagree. The pilot is at fault for trusting the designer.

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