Old Dog, New Tricks


Altitude Records Set…

Don’t ask Bruce Bohannon what the view is like from 41,301 feet — he was too busy keeping the engine on his Exxon Flyin’ Tiger from melting down. “Next time I do this I’m going to put a note on the panel to have a look around,” said Bohannon, who claimed four world records at AOPA Expo 2002 last week. In the National Aeronautics Association Class C-1.b (aircraft 1102 to 2205 pounds takeoff weight) category, Bohannon now holds the absolute altitude and altitude in horizontal flight record as well as the time to climb to 12,000 meters record of 30 minutes two seconds. He also got the unlimited title for time to climb to that altitude because no other piston aircraft has ever accomplished the feat. Bohannon said he was able to accelerate during the 90-second level flight portion so it’s got him wondering just how high the plane will go. He may test that later on this year but first he coaxed a commitment from a parts supplier to replace the cylinders he will almost certainly destroy in the attempt. “I think we’re going to redefine the term shock cooling,” he said.

…Out With A Bang

Bohannon wasn’t the only one turning heads skyward last week. Aviation icon Gen. Chuck Yeager (retired) opened an air show at Edwards Air Force Base with a sonic boom, more than 50 years after a similar feat changed the realm of aviation. Yeager was at the controls of an Air Force F-15 but he told a Canadian radio interviewer it was a far different experience this time around. “It’s the difference between you driving a Model A Ford and a 2000 Cadillac,” he said. Yeager said the air show flight marks his retirement from military flying but he’ll still be spending plenty of time in the air. He flies de Havilland Beavers at a guiding camp in Alaska and will continue flying his sentimental favorite, the P-51, at airshows. When the radio interviewer said she, too, was a pilot, Yeager offered this tip. “I’m going to give you a piece of advice: Fly safe.” From the guy who on his first time around broke the speed of sound with busted ribs…