Robert Klenk

Mt. Healthy Airport Stories

Robert Klenk

As a young man from Mt. Healthy, I worked at the airport, took flying lessons there, and got my private license there. I also made two parachute jumps at the airport.  I had quite an affiliation with the airport.

At one time the airport was about half re-seeded. Apparently the runway was not properly marked where it was seeded.  A plane came in for a landing hit a soft spot, and flipped over on its back. Thank goodness no one was injured. About the mid-forties, the airport had a cinder runway, which lessened this kind of problem.

Another time, I was flying with my instructor, when the instructor mentioned that we were a bit low and that I should give it some gas. Instead of giving it gas, I gave it a burst and the tail end hit the top of a tree. It was a canvas covered plane, and hitting the tree sounded just like a drum. Needless to say, I caught the devil.

On another occasion I was on a flight without an instructor or a parachute. I thought I was in a spin and I passed out. I woke up in time as I was nearing the ground.  I couldn’t find the pedals, but I finally got out of the spin and lived to tell about it.

I reluctantly told my instructor about the incident, and the instructor told me it was not a spin but a tight spiral.  All the blood rushed out of my head. I landed the plane all right, but had my license suspended for two weeks for flying without an instructor or a parachute. This really hurt the instructor more than the student, because the instructor didn’t make any money off any students during the suspension.

If you landed from the west at the Mt. Healthy Airport, you had to come low over the old Colerain High School because of the short runway. One time a fellow took off from there and had a little bit of air in his gasoline filter. Every time he’d pull up the nose, the engine started coughing and he had to keep the nose down. He just cleared the trees and made a downwind landing. It was later discovered that if you work on gasoline filters, make sure they have no air pockets.

There was a brand new four- place Stinson airplane at the airport. They thought they had gas, and the gas gauge said they had gas, when they took off. Apparently the gas gauge was on the empty tank. The engine started coughing and Jack Frondorf had the sense to flip the switch to the other tank that contained fuel.

If he had not flipped that switch, the passengers and the brand new airplane could have been lost. This proves the point that you can’t believe what a gauge says, and you better know what tank you’re on.

We also had 308 Piper Cubs with single ignition. Most planes had dual ignition, one mag. Two mags, called an impulse mag, would snap over and make them easier to start.  One of the planes at the airport was an Aeronca 2 cyl 30 h.p. bath tub.

There was a nice restaurant at the airport after the war. Many of the students who took flying lessons on the G.I. bill ate there regularly.

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