Hangar Talk

The story behind the story

December 1, 2007

Anyone who has survived a long, complex project like this year's Catch-A-Cardinal refurbishment (see " AOPA's 2007 Catch-A-Cardinal Sweepstakes: Perfect Timing," page 62) knows that there has to be a certain kind of "glue" to help you hang in there when the going gets tough. "For Dan Gryder and me, that glue was music," says AOPA Pilot Technical Editor Julie K. Boatman. "We discovered that we both love bluegrass, country, and acoustic guitar music, and with our friend and master fiddler Jeff Pritchard, we formed an ad hoc band. We haven't had much time to practice, but from our debut at Yingling Aviation in December 2006 to this impromptu summer concert at the Wal-Mart parking lot in Griffin, Georgia, we've used music to keep things light and enjoy the camaraderie." Although the project has ended, the band, "100 Obscured," will play on.

Back in the late 1980s New York-based contributing writer Phil Scott regularly flew out of Connecticut's Danbury Airport, palling around with the tight-knit group of pilots based there. When a fire leveled a hangar with $20 million worth of airplanes inside, he returned to see the devastation for himself (see " Reliant Air: What They Lost in the Fire," page 83). "The faces were all different," he says, "But I still felt at home there." Scott is the author of Hemingway's Hurricane [McGraw-Hill].

What is a low-fuel emergency? Fuel decisions might be the toughest part of being pilot in command ( " Technique: Low-Fuel Emergency," page 109). "The memory of Pilgrim Airlines Flight 203, one of the classic fuel starvation accidents of all time, has been my companion throughout a career of making difficult decisions about fuel," says author Chris Burns. "First as a Coast Guard C-130 pilot and later as a captain with US Airways. The Pilgrim crew still speaks with clarity for all who can hear."

"It seems only yesterday when the first photo submissions began streaming in," says AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Machteld A. Smith of the AOPA Pilot 2007 General Aviation Photography Contest. "It is exciting to pore over so many stunning and amazing pictures, and it's a wonderful way to interact with our readers and members," said Smith of her assignment to manage the contest. "We anticipated a nice turnout, and guess what? We got fantastic participation: More than 2,000 photos and 27,000 votes were received." See the winning photos in " Cream of the Crop: Winter Wonderland, Daisies, and Delight Capture the Essence of General Aviation," on page 72.