I’d Rather Be Mowing
The owner of the airport where I live used to spend much time mowing around the runway with an ancient tractor pulling a bush hog. One year he fell prey to aging, and had a hip replaced. As you know, however, the mowing must go on, so I volunteered to run the tractor as needed. I got a tutorial from the owner, which included a brief–and wholly inadequate–warning about the tractor’s clutch. It was obvious that this thing came off the production line long before lawyers began advertising their services on radio and TV.
Depressing the clutch pedal required approximately 743 lbs. of foot pressure (not really, more like 80), which required a tight hold on the steering wheel and lifting my derriere off the seat every time. You had to fully depress the pedal to get clutch disengagement, but re-engagement occurred only in the last inch or so of travel as you released the pedal. In your average manual transmission car, if you release the clutch too fast the car lurches a bit, and you kill the engine. Lose your concentration for just a second and release the clutch too fast on this homicidal tractor, however, and you got an immediate lesson in the meaning of TORQUE. The front wheels would come off the ground about a foot or so as the tractor instantaneously accelerated to walking speed. The only thing that kept me from being thrown off the seat backward was the death grip I had on the steering wheel.
Thanks again for the morning smile, Paul. Reading your columns always increases my happiness by a fair amount.
Great piece. I love to mow the private field here that friends make available to other GA aircraft owners. Can’t put a price on that demonstration of generosity, so paying back with time on the tractor is just the least that one could do.
I find the drone (not a pun) of the tractor and mower to be positively meditative and enjoy the late afternoon clouds and eventual colors of a setting sun more than words can say. The end result is immensely satisfying and reminds me of my growing up days where I managed nearly an acre of yard with just a push mower. My Great Uncle bought a John Deere ride-on mower with a 6-foot swath the summer before I left for university. A seven-hour job was cut to three.
R. Michael M.
Poll: Taking An Airplane Vacation This Summer?
- Backcountry camping, solo. Heaven.
- Yes, several in fact. It’s good to be retired!
- This year is a conundrum…I want to fly somewhere to see some sights, enjoy the local atmosphere. But that means being around people. Oddly, I want to see people, but don’t want to see people, especially without masks. Flying is the fun part followed with elevated blood pressure wondering if being somewhere other than home is really a good idea.
- Flying Vancouver to Winnipeg to pick up my son and will take a couple of days getting back. Was going to do Oshkosh.
- Taking long weekends to visit family.
- On our way to Mt. Rushmore today in our PA-32R!
- Still trying to fly as much as before but COVID affects the destinations.
- Well, I would if everything hadn’t been cancelled, such as Sentimental Journey and Triple Tree.
- Already did, 4th of July, private plane not airlines.
- Trying to justify a trip but conflicted with an overnight somewhere.
- From Georgia to Oregon, just west of Idaho, the Rapid City.
- Looks good for a 3 to 4 day mini-vacation at beginning of August.
- Yes, first time.
- I will if we get a vaccine or effective treatment for COVID-19.
- Possibly in September to a type club event.
- Took R182 from FL to SD.
- Every GA flight is a vacation.
- Short day trips from the looks of things.
- Not until the fall.
- Cessna 150/2 Fly in was it – have to do something else.
- There’s nowhere to go.
- Not traveling in the middle of a pandemic. With the virus now airborne, we’re staying in.
- Planned, COVID forced cancellation.
- Already took a family visit trip.
- Still not sure. Waiting to see if the second surge dies down. If so, not going to a busy vacation place or somewhere requiring a hotel stay, would only head North and stay with the in-laws to get away from the heat.
- Yes, visiting family.
- No…cattle car seating and TSA mentality has never made sense to me, leave your dignity at the curb.
- I don’t fly to a vacation spot.