Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


YESTERDAY, WE STARTED leafing through the November 1966 issue of The Flyer. Today, we continue with this general-aviation magazine’s coverage of a “10-Engine Magic Carpet,” an instrument tutorial, a woman’s point of view, and some Polynesian refreshment. All quoted passages are from the magazine.

Decarotor. Igor Bensen designed and flew what The Flyer described as a “10-Engine Magic Carpet.” The craft was powered by ten single-cylinder, two-cycle McCullough engines (the kind familiar to go-karters), each engine turning a seven-ft. rotor.

Igor Bensen and his experimental craft.

“The craft will lift 350 lbs., hover up to 20 ft. high and move forward at 45 mph. It will fly equally well in any direction and can still fly if one engine is lost. The FAA has issued an experimental airworthiness certificate, approving it for free flight…. Thus far, the ‘flying carpet’ is purely for research with no commercial plans for it.”

Magnetic Compass Tutorial. My own computer flight simulation skills are improved by reading The Flyer article “Know Your Magnetic Compass.” My preferred old crates are too early to have advanced avionics, but they inevitably have a basic magnetic compass.

“The magnetic compass is one of the most familiar and least understood instruments in the general aviation cockpit. At best, it is an erratic instrument. The line of least resistance is to ignore it and to take some comfort in the fact that it belongs on the instrument panel, looks nice there, and in some general way it indicates direction like moss on the side of a tree.”

Agg! So much for navigating my Steam Punk Zeppelin Buster.

The Flyer article goes on to describe the difference between true north (“where Santa Claus has his hideaway”) and magnetic north. The difference between the two is magnetic variation. See “One Niner Right” here at SimanaitisSays.

It also discusses compass deviation, the result of local magnetic disturbances “caused by the airplane itself or even the wife’s bobby-pins in the glove compartment.” See “Not Yet #Metoo” immediately below.

Not Yet #Metoo. The Flyer, a magazine of its era, was not unknown to contain textual material bordering on a misogynist sort. For instance, in that magnetic compass article, a mnemonic was offered for remembering “True heading/Variation correction/Magnetic heading/Deviation correction/Compass heading.” Its sentiment makes it inappropriate for SimanaitisSays. (I confess to recalling an even more inappropriate one for transistor color coding.)

A Women’s View. Norma Fay Daugherty writes a tale in The Flyer of aero conversion: “Planes, Propellers, and Pettipants.” Her husband, a former Army pilot, gets back into the cockpit and, in time, brings the family along. Eventually, she decides to take a flying lesson.

Norma Fay Daugherty, wife, mother, author, and pilot.

Norma Fay describes her first flight with instructor Dave (having his first female student) in an Aeronca-Champ: “All of a sudden I seemed to be so busy doing what I was told that I almost forget about Dave being there. He was just a voice from the back telling me exactly what to do and when to do it in a nice, friendly, calm tone.”

“After making arrangements for another lesson the next day….,” it’s clear Norma Fay Daugherty is going to get her ticket.

Polynesian Fascination. The Flyer contained two ads for restaurants located conveniently near airports, one “just 10 minutes away from Port Columbus, Ohio;” the other, “right next to Ohio University Airport, Athens.” Both had Polynesian themes.

No wonder Disney had an Enchanted Tiki Room as early as 1963. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2020

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