Cessna Pilot. March / April 2014 Volume 34 Number 2. 2 From the Editor s Desk It s time to flight plan

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1 Cessna Pilot Official Newsletter of the Cessna Club. March / April 2014 Volume 34 Number 2 2 From the Editor s Desk It s time to flight plan 4 Budget Sun Visors By member Bill Goebel 7 The Longest Flight Old news...but sooo interesting How-To Page 7 8 Aviation Fun 10 A Trip to Remember By member Patrick Piper No NTSB Reports This Time There are no Cessna reports in the NTSB database for Jan/Feb. Pat Piper ISSN

2 From the Editor s Desk By Dan Meler Well, here we are in 2014 and spring is breaking out in many parts of North America. The winter was a long difficult one for lots of our members and it s time to begin thinking of what we would like to do during this year s flying season. For those of you who are still snowed in we feel for ya, don t lose hope! For most of us, better weather means spending more time at the airport rubbing elbows with fellow pilots, cleaning up the airplane, cleaning the hangar, and getting back into the routines we all enjoy so much. It s always fun to see activity around the local airport on a sunny weekend, including watching airplanes in the pattern as their pilots polish the winter rust off of their dormant flying skills. This is the time to begin planning that trip to Oshkosh, Sun n Fun, Clinton, or that Trip of a lifetime bucket list destination of your choice. A few years ago I flew to Alaska with a buddy in his Cessna 180. I don t feel a need to return there, but boy oh boy I am glad I went at least once. There s a good chance that Alaska will be my longest flight and it s one from which I returned with stories to tell and countless good memories. I went to Oshkosh in 1997 and have had the good fortune to attend the Cessna Fly-In at Clinton a number of times. Sun n Fun has been on my list of want to do things for 20 years, but the diagonal trip from one corner of the USA to the other has just never become a reality. Not complaining though aviation has been so good to me over the decades that it would be worse than ungrateful to complain. Talking to pilots from all over the place I have sensed a downsizing of flight planning. There is, over all, really only one reason for this and that is the cost of fuel. Nothing else has changed enough to so drastically affect so many flyers habits. On the face of it, this is troubling, but pilots are creative people and we love our airtime. Staying closer to home isn t all bad because shorter, more frequent flights can be every bit as fulfilling and much easier to find the time for. Here at Club Headquarters we are encouraged when we hear from members and non-members alike who call or with questions about Cessna s, or Clinton, or the Club itself because despite everything that is going on around the globe people love to fly little airplanes and are doing whatever they need to do in the effort to keep this activity alive. For every airplane that is (sometimes reluctantly) sold, there is a new owner who is full of enthusiasm and plans to fly the heck out of that bird. To one and all: Have a fantastic 2014 flying season! 2

3 PRODUCTS IN OUR ONLINE STORE $ Shipping & Handling Stop Guessing! The Aerotech dipping gauge, a best-selling item in our Online Store, takes the guess work out of determining how much fuel really IS in those tanks! For Standard Tanks only. Primer O-Ring Kit Cure that sticky primer. This kit includes 2 FAA approved Viton O-Rings, O-Lube, and step by step instruction to make your primer work like new. $11.95 & Free Shipping (USA & Canada only) Finest Gascolator on the market, fits all s Or Order by Phone Cessna Pilot (ISSN ) is published bimonthly, by The Cessna Club, 3492 N. Foothill Rd., Medford, OR Periodicals Postage paid at Medford, OR 97501, USPS Annual Postal Subscriptions are $45, also available as an electronic internet based subscription for $35. Copyright All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without permission is prohibited. Postmaster, Send change of address to: Cessna Club, PO Box 5298 Central Point, OR The information presented in this publication is from multiple sources from which The Cessna Club cannot warranty or accept responsibility as to it's legality, completeness, or technical accuracy. Readers are reminded that United States Federal Air Regulations part 91 place primary responsibility for ensuring the airworthy condition of an aircraft on the owner and or operator. Any person who maintains, modifies, or otherwise changes an aircraft must do so in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations and applicable FAA regulations. Contacts: Telephone: (541) Website: Items for publication: General Inquiries, Membership, Requests for Technical Materials,, etc: 3

4 A Visor Option By Bill Goebel (member) A few months ago I was flying about and became a bit frustrated with my visors in our 150L. These visors are the center mount style (p/n ). The visors appeared to be vinyl covered foam with an aluminum tube as a pivot point. As I was flying they kept flopping down on me. I figured maybe I should just get some Rosen visors and be done with them. I checked various sources and realized that the visor STC kit was about $200 before shipping, etc. As I am a bit of a cheapskate I felt $200 for a set of visors for our little 150 seemed a bit steep. In addition, the Rosen installation looks heavy. (Yes, I like to keep our bird as light as possible) After adjusting the visors for the loose flopping issues I figured I would do an autopsy on one of them and see what was inside the vinyl. My visors are sort of rough looking and one was torn. After slitting the vinyl and scraping the foam away the base visor unit is a cardboard shape stapled to the aluminum rod. Sort of primitive, but it does the job. Very similar to an old VW bug visor. I removed the staples and cleaned the glue off of the metal parts. Next step was to replicate the cardboard portion in Plexiglas. As we live in a rural area, I Googled the web and found some plastic wholesalers that sold 1/8 tinted Plexiglas. A 2 x 4 piece was about $40 or so. You may be able to get a smaller more economical portion if you have a plastics supplier in your area. I think we have enough for about 10 sets! I just traced the outline of the cardboard on to the Plexiglas paper and cut it out on a band saw. Following the band saw work we sanded all of the edges smooth with a stationary belt sander. Note that we kept the protective paper on during all fabrication work to keep from scratching the Plexiglas. Now that our Plexiglas was ready it was time to move on to the metal parts. The aluminum originally extended for the majority of the cardboard to 4

5 give it stiffness in the event things became damp with humidity. As we will not have that issue with the Plexiglas we chose to trim things a bit. We trimmed the metal parts back to just the area where the original aluminum captured both sides of the visor. Next step is to fabricate some.032 aluminum doublers to overlay both the front and rear of the visor over the original aluminum. This will beef it up and dress things up a bit. We made a paper template of the part and then cut four of the doublers from aluminum on the band saw while they were clamped together. We drilled five equally spaced #40 holes through all parts. Cleco s were also used during the drilling operations to keep things in position. Following this all parts were disassembled and deburred. The Plexiglas was also deburred to make sure it is not prone to cracks. The paper on the Plexiglas was peeled back and the parts were final assembled. We used universal head MS20470A-3 rivets and utilized a rivet squeezer. The A rivets are soft and the use of a squeezer prevents cracking of the Plexiglas during assembly. With these parts smoothed and filed we then clamped them in place with cleco clamps. End result is a set of tinted visors that ended up costing us about $5 a piece in materials and a rainy Saturday morning of labor to complete. The final part looks very professional and is of a higher quality than the original. 5

6 We consider this change a minor modification requiring only a logbook entry. If you wish to tackle a project such as this, get with your IA or mechanic and see if they will let you loose with it. The tools necessary to complete this project are: - Sheet metal shears - Files - Band saw - Belt Sander - Drill - #40 drill bit - Silver clecos (5) - Cleco clamps (2) Materials - Green Plexiglas T-3 Aluminum - MS20470A-3 rivets Maintenance notes: We all know that the 150/152 series of aircraft are FAA Type Certified aircraft. Remember that it is necessary for an aircraft mechanic to accomplish this work or supervise this work. If you have a good working relationship with your mechanic you can save yourself quite a bit of money on this simple part replacement. This is a very good opportunity for some sweat equity. Talk to your aircraft mechanic before you contemplate any job such as this. Following this task, logbook entries will, of course, need to be updated appropriately. Those who understand the real significance of the conditions under which we worked will be surprised rather at the length than the shortness of the flights made with an unfamiliar machine after less than one minute s practice. The machine possesses greater capacity of being controlled than any of our former machines. - Wilbur Wright I know him well and he just the kind of man to accomplish such an undertaking. He is apparently without fear and what he sets out to do he generally accomplishes. This recklessness makes him anything but a good aviator, however, for he lacks entirely the element of caution. - Wilbur Wright speaking of Bleriot after his first flight across the English Channel. Happy flying! Bill Goebel Vintage Aircraft Services Rhome, TX P U Z Z L E ACROSS 4. boots 5. Falcon 10. turbo 11. aftermarket 13. Skymaster 14. nose 15. corrosion 19. MorseCode 20. prebuy DOWN 1. gallon 2. rib 3. NOTAM 6. Cee Bailey 7. powerplant 8. equipment 9. transponder 12. red 16. speaker 17. forward 18. cell A N S W E R S 6

7 Yes, It s Old News...But WOW, What a Story! During the months of December 1958 and January and February 1959, two young men flew a missionmodified Cessna 172 around and around over the desert Southwest for 64 days, 22 hours, and 19 minutes. The world endurance record in a propeller-driven airplane was set in that little Cessna almost 50 years ago. Remember 1958? Arnold Palmer had just won his first of three Masters titles. Baltimore Colts fullback Alan Ameche had plunged across the goal line to beat the New York Giants in overtime in professional football, and gasoline was 24 cents a gallon. TIME magazine predicted that the electronic eyes of satellites would help forecast the weather, and President Eisenhower deployed the U.S. Marines to Lebanon. In the 1920s, endurance records were recorded in hours the first record time aloft of 35 hours, 18 minutes, and 30 seconds was established by Lt. John Macready and Lt. Oakley Kelly on October 5 and 6, 1922, in a Fokker T-2. In June and July 1935, aerial refueling permitted Fred and Al Key to stay aloft above Meridian, Mississippi, for 653 hours, 34 minutes (over 27 days) in Ole Miss, a Curtiss J 1 Robin. Both the Fokker T 2 and the Curtiss J 1 were large cabin-class airplanes. They were much larger than the Cessna 172 that still holds the record. In 1949 the light plane aloft record jumped to 721 hours, then to 1,124 hours, where it held for nine years until Jim Heth and Bill Burkhart flew their Cessna 172, The Old Scotchman, for 1,200 hours and 16 minutes over Dallas, Texas, during August and September That record stood for only 123 days before Bob Timm and John Cook broke it once and forever on January 23, Then they flew on for an additional 15 days before landing on Saturday, February 7. Oddly enough, this record also ended the record-setting flight fever. Were these intrepid aviators risking life and limb for a noble cause? Nope without exception they were trying to garner media attention for their sponsors. The Hacienda Hotel Judy and Warren Doc Bailey built the 265-room Hacienda, which was the first family-oriented hotelcasino in Las Vegas in 1956 at the far southern end of the Las Vegas Strip. Since the Hacienda catered to families, locals, and low-rollers it was nicknamed Hayseed Heaven, by the Strip s more classconscious players. Locals joked about the location, saying, You can either go to Las Vegas or to the Hacienda. The Hacienda is gone now, imploded in 1996 to make room for the Mandalay Bay. Doc Bailey was convinced of the importance of publicity and was known for taking ideas from maids, valets, and even the cooks at the Hacienda. Bob Timm, an employee working as a slot machine mechanic at the Hacienda, suggested that Bailey sponsor an endurance flight. Timm was a big bear of a man he reportedly weighed 240 pounds before the flight who had flown bombers during World War II and was a highly experienced pilot who loved to fly. Before long, Timm had convinced Bailey to commit $100,000 to the project. His plan was simple. The record-setting flight of a prosaic Cessna 172 with Hacienda Hotel prominently painted on the side would draw nationwide attention to the hotel. It would surely be prominently featured on national news broadcasts. But one serious roadblock loomed. Would the average law-abiding, church-going citizen be open-minded about a headline-grabbing flight that was being sponsored by a hotel located in Las Vegas, a town known for gambling and even gangster activity? In a flash of inspiration, Doc Bailey announced that the casino s flight was a fundraiser for the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. To add credibility to the effort, he enlisted Preston Foster, noted commentator and radio personality, to act as ground operations manager for the flight. And any average law-abiding, church-going citizen or anyone else Continued on page 13 7

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9 Across Aviation Fun Answers Page 6 Down 9

10 A Trip To Remember By Patrick Piper (member) In lieu of attending the 2005 Clinton Fly-In my roommate from college, Bruce Lessig, (who lives in Wyoming), and I decided to rendezvous in the town of Wellington, KS. We chose Wellington for its uncontested runway and airspace. Since returning my 1964 Cessna 150D to airworthy condition I had not proven it, or myself, for a long cross country flight. I planned my route for dead reckoning and pilotage, having no GPS. Although I have two panel-mounted radios I took two handhelds along to monitor VORs and Unicom frequencies. This trip would be my first one away from my local flying area and, as usual, I was excited about the planning. Leaving on 10/28/2005 at 0700 hours from Pearland Regional airport, near Houston, TX, I would fly westward, outside the Hobby Class B airspace. I tried in vain to contact Conroe FSS to open my flight plan but could not get through. I then tried to call Hobby departure but since I was not actually in their airspace I could not get them to answer either. Despite the morning haze, visibility was good as I tracked my course and made my checkpoints. Using the VORs to reinforce my compass heading, 65Uniform and I tooled right along at 100 mph IAS. My route over the Texas terrain was uneventful, and with the haze burning off visibility vastly improved. I could see thirty miles and pick out check points long before arriving at them. I recognized Corsicana from about 25 miles out and announced over their Unicom frequency as I neared the field. My time on the ground was only long enough to check wx radar, and visit the restroom. The wind was beginning to pick up, and being anxious to get going, I paid my fuel bill, did a quick pre-flight, jumped into the airplane, fired it up and taxied to the active. It was 0930 and I needed to get moving. After performing a run-up and control check I decided to shut back down and make double sure that all was well. Restarting the engine I ws again ready to go, radioed my intentions, taxied to the active and applied full power. My adrenaline was running hot with excitement for my upcoming adventure. WOW! what is happening here? I asked myself. The airplane had rotated almost immediately with an aggravated pitch attitude. Suddenly realizing I d failed to remove the yoke lock, I eased up on the throttle, released control pressure, and pulled out the lock, continuing my takeoff at a more reasonable angle of attack. This was my first long cross country in my own airplane af- 10

11 ter a nearly thirteen year rebuilding project, and I came very close to tragedy. The experience shook me up, to say the least. Bruce In rough air, I set my sights on Bonham via the VOR. I should have stopped at Durant to alleviate a developing bladder emergency, but in the haze I was having trouble seeing ground references. I happened to notice a large open area west of my course, which I surmised, just had to be an airport! The forecast 20 mph tail wind proved to be a real benefit and visibility was excellent and the road seemed to go on forever, disappearing into the horizon. It was easy to spot Wellington s 5000 concrete runway from ten miles out. At 3:15 pm I was tying the airplane and spotted Bruce landing his red and white Cessna 150. We both topped the tanks, figuring we might do some local flying on Saturday and Sunday. It was sure great to see Bruce after 25 years. Not much had changed except we had grown older and, hopefully, wiser. After picking up our rental car we checked into a local mom and pop hotel in Wellington. The temperature was a very comfortable 70 degrees, and it was time to find a good steak house. We had no trouble sleeping that Friday night! I contacted the Ardmore (Oklahoma) tower and was cleared to land. By now I was squirming in my seat and the rough air wasn t helping. After the glorious relief of emptying one tank, and the fuel truck topping off the other two, I departed Ardmore at about 2 pm and turned to a 360 degree heading with a nice tail wind that would see me on to Guthrie, OK. I had recovered my confidence lost in the yoke lock incident and was feeling much better now. A friend of Bruce s happened to be in town for some schooling and would likely know of good places to visit. He told us of a great museum in Hutchinson called the Cosmosphere. The building was literally built around an SR-71 Blackbird. Bruce drove, and along Hwy 50, from my vantage point in the right seat, I noticed a closely cut strip of grass in a cornfield. This was, for sure, a rural grass roots airstrip. We turned and found a parking space near the closest hangar. After knocking several times an older gentleman opened the door and asked what we needed. After explaining who we were, where we d come from, he welcomed us inside. We found a pristine 8F Silvair, a betterthan-new Stearman PT-17, a Beech Staggerwing, and several Mooney Mite wings under construction. That was his specialty: made to order Mooney Mite wings. Eventually we bade him farewell and headed toward the museum. The Cosmosphere is dedicated to the development of rocket technology from its onset to the present day. One could spend all day there and only see a fraction of what s available, so we were there until it closed. 11

12 The Cosmosphere airport to check on the airplanes. We decided to fly back to Halstead, that grass strip we had visited on Saturday, and had another enjoyable visit with the resident mechanic. We then departed the grass strip for some local flying. It sure is flat in Kansas one can see for sixty miles on a clear day! Monday morning at Penney s, we got into a conversation with the waitresses, who by now had seen us every morning for three days. We were sharing our flying experiences with them when an off duty waitress, Sherry, entered into the conversation and then expressed a desire to go for a flight something she had never in her life been brave enough to do, and apparently had previously stated she wouldn t step foot in a little airplane! We drove to the airport and after I helped her buckle in, she and Bruce took to the air. When they returned a half hour later, Sherry s excitement and expression were magical. What a thrill! she said as she thanked Bruce for the wonderful experience. Sunday morning was cool and crisp, and not so windy. We had breakfast at Penney s, (our go-to place for good breakfast food), and then on to the Tuesday morning I awoke to frost on the pumpkin (and the airplane). The temp was about 30 degrees. The air was clear but a bit nippy for me, so I went over to Penney s for a hardy farewell breakfast, then checked out of the motel and drove to the airport. Low temps and thick oil conspired to make me work at getting the airplane s engine started, but it did, and off we went I was anxious to get home. I made all of my checkpoints and eventually, when I got over familiar terrain, I was almost home and knew the way. Once I passed highway 288 going south near the Astrodome, I was only 20 minutes out. The lights of the city were beginning to glow in the diminished light of the clear sky around Houston that night. My landing was moments away as I entered a downwind for runway 32, then base, and final to my first night landing in almost 15 years. I taxied to my hangar and put my baby to bed. I drove home to find that my wife had left the light on for me. -Patrick Piper 12

13 Continued from page 7 for that matter wanting to guess how long the flight would stay aloft could send their guess with a cash contribution to this distinctly humanitarian cause and would automatically be entered to win $10,000 if their guess was closest to the actual time spent aloft. The logic is irrefutable. Two intrepid airmen take to the air to raise money for a humanitarian cause, and America is nudged into the idea that it s OK to gamble when it backs a worthy cause. The modified Cessna He told me about this project he was going to get involved in and wanted to know if I d be interested in helping him. I told him sure. Irv Kuenzi, lead mechanic for the record-setting flight Kuenzi was a mechanic at Alamo Aviation and had already worked on N9217B before Timm bought it with 1,500 hours total airframe time for the attempt. Avionics included a Narco Omnigator Mk II and a Mitchell autopilot.modifications took nearly a year. A 95-gallon Sorenson belly tank was installed on the airplane s belly. An electric pump was rigged to transfer fuel to the airplane wing tanks. Through-firewall plumbing measuring four feet by four feet was installed on the copilot s side of the cabin after the seat was removed. There was even a small stainless steel sink installed to enable the two-man crew to wash up and shave. Timm also was a certificated airplane mechanic. He instructed Kuenzi to install a primer-like system so that alcohol could be squirted into the combustion chamber of each cylinder of the engine. Timm believed that his alcoholinjection system would prevent the buildup of carbon in the combustion chambers. Kuenzi disagreed but reluctantly installed the system. Timm contacted Continental Motors Corp. (CMC) of Muskegon, Michigan, the manufacturer of the airplane s six-cylinder 145-horsepower engine, explained his cause, and got the sales manager at CMC to agree to supply a new engine for the flight. Timm asked for a special engine, but the sales manager quickly realized that the publicity generated for CMC by this attempt could easily backfire if a specially built engine successfully powered the Hacienda attempt into the record books. Pretty soon everyone would be asking for special engines. Kuenzi later learned that the sales manager had asked one of the female office employees to step down to the production line and pick out the new 145 that she liked best. That made it special enough in CMC s eyes. Kuenzi removed the 450-hour-since-new engine from the 1958 Cessna 172, installed the special engine, and hooked up the alcohol system. Timm and his first copilot launched, but problems cut the first two flights short. A note written in Timm s diary of those early flights illustrates the innocence of the 1950s when he wrote that the entire sky lit up one morning at 4 a.m. He later found out that he had witnessed one of the 57 above ground atomic bomb blasts set off that year in a testing area located 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. A moratorium suspending above ground testing took effect on October 31, The blast took place during the ill-fated third flight, which was cut short because of burned exhaust valves in the special engine. was installed so that the engine oil and oil filters could be changed without shutting off the engine. The interior was removed, and a folding accordion-style door replaced the co-pilot s side door. A small platform could be lowered out of the copilot s door to provide additional footing during refueling operations. A single four-inch-thick foam pad Although the first three flights never stayed aloft longer than 17 days, Timm knew that he wasn t getting along with his co-pilot, so he dismissed him. Timm was becoming frustrated by the delays and the series of mechanical problems. In addition, the team of Heth and Burk-hart had just completed their 1,200-hour (over 50 days) flight on September 21. Kuenzi removed the damaged engine and re-installed the used 450-hour-sincenew engine. Then he quietly, and without telling Timm, disconnected the alcohol delivery tube and rerouted it so the alcohol was pumped out the bottom of the lower 13

14 cowling. Kuenzi s hunch worked: That used engine had clocked more than 2,000 operating hours 1,559 hours continuously by the end of the record-setting flight. The new co-pilot John Wayne Cook, a single 33-year-old airplane mechanic and pilot at Alamo Aviation in Las Vegas, had also worked on N9217B. Like Timm, he had logged time flying for Trans World Airlines (TWA) and Bonanza Airlines. One day Timm asked Cook whether he was willing to be his co-pilot. Cook said, Sure, I ll try. Pictures of Cook at the end of the flight show a young man, weighing 180 pounds distributed on a tall, lanky frame with a ready smile below a pencil-thin mustache. He was given to wearing snap-button western-style shirts. Timm s spouse, Lorene, later said of Cook, He always gave Bob the credit. But without John Cook there wouldn t have been a flight. In addition to flying, the agile Cook regularly ventured out onto the small service platform attached to the right landing gear strut and, reaching across the front of the airplane, cleaned the windshield. He especially enjoyed performing this trick while an airplane carrying news photographers was alongside for pictures. Finally, on December 4, 1958, at six seconds past 3:52 p.m. local time, they took off from McCarran Field in Las Vegas. The FAA had granted a waiver that permitted the airplane to be operated at weights that exceeded the maximum takeoff weight by 350 to 400 pounds. The airplane, with its two inhabitants, was to stay aloft for 64 days, 22 hours, 19 minutes, and five seconds. To prevent any funny business such as clandestine landings, officials raced down a runway at McCarran Field in a convertible Ford Thunderbird and painted white stripes on the tires as Timm flew above the racing car. A Ford truck, donated by Cashman Auto in Las Vegas, was outfitted with a fuel pump, tank, and other paraphernalia required to support the aircraft in flight. When fuel was required, a rendezvous would be arranged on a stretch of straight road in the desert near Blythe, California. An electric winch lowered a hook, the fuel pump hose was picked up, and Timm or Cook inserted it into the belly tank. It took a little more than three minutes to fill the belly tank. The total fuel capacity of the airplane was 142 gallons. Plans called for refueling twice daily. Sometimes weather or the inevitable glitches upset the schedule, and a new rendezvous was worked out by radio. This activity was repeated more than 128 times. Timm and Cook spent a couple of days flying in the vicinity of Las Vegas to make sure the technical bugs had been worked out before flying south toward Blythe, where the area was less mountainous and the terrain was lower. The first few weeks passed without incident, and soon Christmas was upon them. One of Timm s sons, Greg, was six years old that Christmas. They flew by, in the airplane in the daytime, and tossed out of the airplane candy cane stockings with little parachutes. As they floated down my brother and I tried to snatch them before they hit the ground, recalls Greg Timm. The chefs at the Hacienda went out of their way to feed the crew healthy meals made from the freshest ingredients. The serving method was less genteel all of the warm food was chopped up so it would fit into thermos jugs before being passed up to the crew. To pass the time, the pair read comic books, did exercises, and made up games such as guess how many cars we will pass in the next hour, as well as performing the daily tasks of fueling, eating, and maintaining communications with the support and ground staff. Food, water for washing, towels, oil, and other supplies were passed up from the ground. In spite of all the planning there were still close calls. The danger of in-flight bathing In his diary, John Cook wrote, We got a quart of bath water, a large towel and soap every other day. On January 12, 1959, after refueling chores, Timm removed his clothes and stepped out onto the platform for a refreshing sponge bath. He started by brushing his teeth. Just then Cook realized that the airplane wasn t going to clear an upcoming ridge if the platform wasn t pulled in. Cook yelled at Timm to pull in the platform and later told of seeing his partner struggling to complete that task buck naked, and weighing 240 pounds, with a toothbrush sticking out of one side of his mouth and toothpaste streaming out of the other. They cleared the ridge but learned to delay hygienic activities until they were over flatter terrain. They flew most of the hours over southwestern deserts in the Blythe, California, and Yuma, Arizona, areas but would occasionally fly as far west as Van Nuys and Los Angeles to garner radio and TV publicity. The entries in Cook s journal begin to reflect the effects that loss of sleep, the lack of physical activity, the constant engine noise, and daily chores were having on both of the crew. 14

15 Stalled out, overloaded, across the side of an uphill slope trying to get turned around with a full load in belly tank and that made us realize what our chances would be at night very slim so we stick around airport at night for that beautiful smooth runway, he wrote. Timm and Cook rotated flying duties every four hours, but it was difficult to get enough sleep during the daylight hours. According to a journal entry on January 9 the thirty-sixth day aloft the airplane flew itself for more than an hour. Timm had dozed off over the Blythe airport at 2:55 a.m. just minutes before he was to awaken Cook and awoke at 4 a.m. halfway to Yuma. The Mitchell wing-leveler type autopilot was still working that night, and it undoubtedly saved their lives. I awoke and was flying in a canyon heading due south. I flew for two hours before I recognized any lights or the cities. I made a vow to myself that I would never tell John what had happened, Timm later told a reporter. More equipment failures The generator failed on day 39. From that day forward, all the fuel had to be transferred to the wing tanks with a hand pump. A wind-driven generator was installed on the strut, but its output was limited. Then just what they feared happened a night refueling. There was no moon that night in mid-january. Cook taped a flashlight onto the hook and lowered it as Timm held position a few feet above the speeding fuel truck. Fortunately, the ground crew had anticipated this possibility and had deployed a pathfinder truck positioned about 300 feet ahead of the fuel truck to provide visual reference for the weary crew. Time was taking a toll on the men and equipment. On January 23 they broke the existing record. They had accomplished their goal but decided to keep flying for as long as they could to protect the record they had worked so hard to capture. We had lost the generator, tachometer, autopilot, cabin heater, landing and taxi lights, belly tank fuel gauge, electrical fuel pump, and winch, Cook wrote. The spark plugs and engine combustion chambers were loading up with so much carbon by the beginning of February that the reduced engine power made climbing with a full load of fuel difficult. Finally, they landed On February 7, 1959, N9217B finally returned to earth at McCarran Field. Cook was quoted as saying that there sure seemed to be a lot of fuss over a flight with one takeoff and one landing. Timm and Cook had to be helped from the grimy and exhaust-streaked airplane. Their epic flight accomplished Timm s goal of proving that small aircraft flying was safe. Timm returned to work at the Hacienda. Cook continued his career as a pilot. He was 70 when he passed away in The aircraft was displayed at the Hacienda for about two years. Soon the hoopla over record flights faded, and in 1960 the airplane was flown north to its new owner in Canada. Before he passed away in 1978, Timm reminisced about his flying days and told his sons that he longed to locate 72B. His father s wish eventually prompted Timm s second son, Steve, to launch a focused effort to find and return N9172B to Las Vegas. He found it on a farm in Carrot River, Saskatchewan, Canada. He brought it back to Las Vegas in In 1992 the McCarran Aviation Heritage Museum (now the Howard W. Cannon Aviation Museum) obtained 72B for a permanent exhibit. It s been restored to its pre-flight condition. Today, N9172B is back in Las Vegas. The 1958 Cessna 172 that holds the world endurance flight record hangs from the ceiling of the baggage claim area at McCarran International Airport. Next time you fly in to Las Vegas, take a minute to look up at one of the most prosaic record-setting airplanes in the world. And imagine what it must have been like to spend more than two months living in a Cessna

16 The Cessna Club PO Box 5298 Central Point, OR Periodicals Postage PAID Medford, OR USPS

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