Friday, August 20, 2010

Mc Culloch Aircraft Part 4

Flight training was going very well. We were getting pilots in for training from all around the country. Even a few foreign pilots. Several aviation magazines sent pilots to us for training so that they could go back and write reviews for their magazines. We also hired a third flight instructor. Mike Blackstone, a good friend of Dan's and an excellent choice. Mike checked out in the J-2 and it was great to have him on our training staff. So we were very busy at the airport seven days a week. It was so hot during the daylight hours that we started our day very early and then in the afternoon, we finished all flight training early. Our office and training area was located on the airport and very near the lake. Sometimes during the day, I would walk down to the lakes edge, take ever thing out of my pockets and just walk into the lake. I wore flight suits and by the time I got back to the aircraft for my next flight, I would be practically dry. The engine on the J-2 was air cooled and had no internal cooling fan in the engine bay area. The extreme heat took it's toll in the course of the day. Cylinder head and oil temps would max out even when climbing to an altitude of three thousand feet above the ground. Also any aircraft with a pusher prop configuration, was usually inherently noisy. The noise also cause a lot of cracks due to vibration in the firewall located behind the pilots seat back. We wore headsets that were lined with lead to dampen the noise, but still after a one hour flight your ears would be ringing for a long time afterwards. This problem stayed with us throughout the duration of the aircraft. It produced a lot of external noise and it did not make us neighborhood friendly. Engineering thought over time they could correct this problem, but it never happened. Once I flew the J-2 a short distance without a headset, and my head pounded for hours. Somehow throughout all of this, I maintained my hearing. I'm sure I experience some hearing loss, but I never failed a flight physical because of the hearing test given once each year.

J-2 Instrument Panel

From time to time, I would travel around in the field and check on pilots we had trained to see if anyone was having any problems. My wife had gone back to Long Beach, CA and she underwent her second hip surgery and was now back home in Havasu. Having left Indiana, we had completed both of our goals. Things were still looking pretty good at McCulloch, but sales of new aircraft had slowed down and we were stock piling new aircraft in several vacant lots near the factory. Whenever we needed a new aircraft, we would go up to one of the storage lots, roll out the aircraft to the street. When no traffic was coming, we made our takeoff and preceded to the airport.

Ken McGuire and myself

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