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The Brazos Breeze

EAA Chapter 983 Newsletter September 2001

Mailing Address: EAA Chapter 983, P.O. Box 903, Granbury, TX. 76049

Don't miss the October 13th Chapter 983 meeting. It's in the evening at 4:00 P.M..  David Folz will be giving a hot air balloon demo at Plane View Park, Pecan

Pete Huff and "White Lightning"

We had, as usual for the fall, a nice day for our September 8th meeting. We had a number of visitors; Bob Heath (RV-9), Ray Goree, Dave Jackson and Maurice Dubois of Chapter 34 in Arlington. (See schedule of events for 29th September EAA meeting in Arlington). Also Greg Barkley, Terry Gosic & Dutch Wellman were also guests. - A total of 55 attendees turned out.

Pete Huff was our guest speaker who flew his "White Lightning" here for his talk and our avid and drooling, interest. Pete has been flying the Lightning for the last two years in the Air Venture Cup race from Kitty Hawk to Oshkosh and giving Dick Keyt a run for his money, coming in second place.

Pete Huff and Don Saint

Pete started the "Lightning" from the very first with the intention of flying across the Atlantic which he did. His "Lightning" has 131 Gallons fuel capacity with 68 in the wings. He has two 32 gallon fuselage tanks which gives him wide latitude in adjusting center of gravity. It weighs 1596 empty with a gross of 3000. He regularly flight plans for 200 Kts. cruise speed at 75% power which is sparkling speed for a IO-360, 210 HP Continental 6 banger. I was surprised to hear that it has a flat plate area of only 2.8 Square Ft. By way of comparison, the Mooney is 4.2 and the Bonanza 6.5. It took Pete 6 years to construct, which is pretty swift actually.

"White Lightning"

The bird is very sleek, with fiberglass and Epoxy construction. The aircraft is very sophisticated with full IFR (naturally) GPS, autopilot, stormscope, moving map, & engine analyzer. I was intrigued by a hook-like part at the midspan of the very long flap (almost full span). The hook faced forward and Pete said that the designer was concerned about flutter over the long flap span and added the hook to engage a pin when the flaps are retracted to anchor the middle. -ingenious. The bird is 4 place. It does not look like there is much space for the rear seat pax. Au Contraire! The rear seats face the rear and those passengers have the whole aft fuselage to extend their legs out. Pete did not relish the poor weather and miserable approaches to Nassarsaque and Reykjavik, preferring to go nonstop. Pete flew direct from Gander to Shannon Ireland non stop and had plenty of fuel.

He flew around Europe a fair bit. Shannon-Cambridge England-Rotterdam-Hanover-Moulin (France)-Geneva- Portugal. He arrived in Moulin as a guest of the RSA (Rallye Sport Aéronautique). This is an organization that predates our EAA. The temperature was 115 degrees (!) when he landed, then went to the 50's the next day. (Talk about a blue Norther!) He came back to the USA via Santa Maria in the Azores. The whole trip took 600 Gal. of fuel at a cost of $2500. He did not have any trouble with customs until he returned to the states. There they tried to tell him he was illegal with his long range fuselage tanks, even with the FAA papers giving authorization. I guess customs is sensitive to extra long range tanks in private aircraft because of the drug smuggling problem. -ED
Thanks very much Pete, for an entertaining and informative talk!

We are all angry, sad, and frustrated because of the attack on our nation in NY, pentagon, Pennsylvania. It is worse than Pearl harbor, not just because more lives were lost, but the nature of the attack. It leaves us helpless in fighting this cancer in our midst. Perhaps the only countermeasure we can take to ensure a "sterile" cabin is to have everybody disrobe in special rooms at the gate. They would all be handed green hospital "scrubs" (pajamas?) and their clothing packed separately in the cargo area. They would be reunited with their duds at destination. Don't think it would work? OK, just kidding. I am at a compete loss to understand the terrorists deep, implacable hatred of America. If they think we are trying to take over their homelands; I have news for them. We just might do that!

As of this writing, VFR operations have been reinstated with significant limitations:
1) "No operation within the extreme lateral limits of class B airspace from surface to infinity" This means a number of airfields within the 30 mile radius of Maverick VOR will be closed for now. No overflights of Class B at any altitude.
2) "The following types of operation are not authorized anywhere.
* Traffic-watch flight operations.
* Airship/blimp operations. (Somebody has been making too much of Black Sunday) Our October meeting balloon demonstration should not be affected.
* News reporting flight operations.

Some of these make sense, some do not. Our heartfelt sympathy for any of our members who may be affected by reductions in Airline ranks. You guys have been doing a good job, and now you are on the "Front Lines"!

All our members have so many stories to tell. This is Roe Walker's:

It seems like everyone likes a war story. Especially the ones telling them. Some of the stories are even true. This is one of mine.
My crew and I had logged about forty missions of an "Arc Light" tour in September 1969. Arc light was the code name for B-52D's and their supporting tankers in SE Asia - conducting bombing missions to support the war effort in Vietnam. It was a 6 month TDY (temporary duty) of which we had completed 4-1/2 months. Our initial assignment was to Anderson AFB in Guam for one month where we got the initial checkout in SEA air operations. Those 12 hour missions were really a drag. Our next rotation was to Utapao Royal Naval Air base in Thailand - for about two months. The missions there were much shorter, but came more frequently. There just wasn't any rest for the weary crews at any of the operational bases. The last tour before returning to Guam for redeployment was to Kadena AB in Okinawa. We had already flown several missions out of Kadena. It was a pretty standard operation. Take off in a 3 bomber cell - hit a tanker for a token offload of 25,000 lbs of JP-4, fly a route in country hitting specific navigation check points for positive identification by the friendlies. Ground radar would then pick us up and vector us to the release point. The bomb run was high and fast. It took about 7 seconds to release the 60,000 lb. load. During that time the aircraft traveled about one mile ? so the stick of bombs tracked into a target box that was a mile long! After releasing all of the bombs, we would then do a breakaway turn from the bomb release heading and then it was RTB (return to base). All in a day's work.

It was standard operating procedure to descend to 10,000 ft on the return route to the base. The crew navigator would then go through the tunnel to check the bomb bay for any problems. We had done this 55 times and had never had a problem, nor had any of our flight mates. This time was different! When the navigator got back on interphone, his transmission was - -"P-P-P-P- Pilot, we have two hung bombs!" The bomb racks in the B52D held three 500 lb. bombs on each side. What had happened on this release was that the # 3 rack had released the bombs on the right side, and the lower bomb on the left side. The middle bomb had released at the forward mounting lug, but had hung up at the rear lug. The upper bomb had released and was resting on top of the middle bomb, so there was 1,000 lbs, of high explosive hanging on one lug. The arming wires had extracted, and there was a good probability that the bombs were armed. The arming wires were inserted on the ground, and were pulled out when the bomb fell away from the rack. When the bombs hit the airstream, a propellor device on the nose spun down and made contact to arm the fuse. This was to provide safe separation from the airplane before the bombs could explode. We just weren't sure whether the turbulent air in the bomb bay had allowed the fuses to arm. I don't think we wanted to know!

Command post directed us to a jettison area to salvo the unwelcome cargo. This did not work. Those rogue bombs would just not release! Our next direction from the Command Post was to go to the end on the bomber stream before landing. Guess that they didn't want any one to have to land over a smoking hole. It was the Co-pilots turn to land ? but he deferred for some reason. I have to admit that I made a very smooth approach and landing. Just like setting a marshmallow on a feather pillow. We were congratulating ourselves rolling down the runway, when there was a BAM-BAM. It felt like hitting a K-mart speed bump at 120 knots. It only took a microsecond to figure out what had happened. The runway was being resurfaced, and there was a 2" transition from old to new surface that caused the bump. Two inches doesn't sound like much, but it felt like a trip hammer in the airplane. Anyway, we were still alive (you may or may not hear the explosion). After turning off the runway we checked the bomb bay again, and now those two rascals were lying on the bomb bay doors. In fact, one of them was protruding through the skin of the door! The checklist called for the doors to be opened after landing, but we decided that a small checklist deviation would be preferable in this case. We were directed to park in a remote area of the base and shut down. Wonder why? After setting a world record shutdown procedure, we turned the airplane over to EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) to let them figure out how to separate the bombs from the airplane.
After mission debriefing, it was definitely time for a cold beer and a chili dog from the "roach coach". I treated. It's said that all is well that ends well, but that is one mission that I was glad to have behind me.


1. Welcome new members Eric Paine and Jim Kutcholz! Jim has been working so much on our weekends, that everyone thought he was a member. We also welcome our newest member Dick Jones. Dick promises to be very active-- he attended a board meeting even before he joined!
2. Bill Orcutt has a new Bonanza! As a former FBO he could get a new one every year at "dealers price". This is his last one.
3. Kevin Ross is really putting the RV-7 together in record time. It might be close as to whether he or Bill Steppling finishes first..


Schedule of Chapter 983 Events

Chapter 983 Officers and Contacts