Hangar Talk

The story behind the story

April 1, 2009

“Living and working in the urban sprawl of two major cities often makes me forget about the huge swath of the American Northwest that still exists very much as it did when the Europeans first set foot,” says Photographer Chris Rose. “Like many, my only glimpse of this beautiful, rugged country has been from the window of a 737 at 35,000 feet. The view from 350 feet agl, however, is nothing short of awe inspiring. If this is roughing it, count me in.” Rose and Senior Editor Dave Hirschman explored the Frank Church Wilderness Area in Idaho with 45 adventurers in 25 general aviation aircraft and through words and photos tell the adventure of a lifetime in “ Epic Proportions,” the lead story in our look at the challenges of mountain flying.

“It was an absolute joy to give away the 2008 Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Piper Archer to Karoline Amodeo,” says Associate Editor and Sweepstakes Project Manager Ian J. Twombly. “Karoline is smart, upbeat, enthusiastic about aviation, and was a gracious winner. I don’t think I could have made up a better sweepstakes winner. She’s a good pilot and it’s the perfect airplane for her.” Managing Editor Julie Summers Walker recounts the day with Amodeo in “ Wow, What a Winner” as she accompanied our winner at the International Women in Aviation conference for the award, and then back to New York for the delivery. “Saying goodbye to the Archer for the last time was bittersweet, but I’m confident Karoline and her wonderful family will enjoy it immensely,” says Twombly.

The old maxim to be careful about the things we say we’ll never do is especially true in aviation. AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman and Air Safety Foundation Chief Flight Instructor J.J. Greenway have vastly different temperaments and aviation backgrounds—and each had their own preconceived ideas about the AOPA Let’s Go Flying Sweepstakes Cirrus SR22 (see “ The Unteachables,”). But after going through a strenuous, weeklong course in preparation for instructing in the sleek, technologically advanced aircraft, both Hirschman and Greenway learned to love the powerful, composite traveler. “This airplane has some extraordinary capabilities,” Hirschman says. “It’s the perfect tool to demonstrate general aviation’s practicality and its exciting new possibilities.”

Bob Petersen’s California-based Cessna 180 is a work in progress, and so was the article (see “ Mr. In-Between”). The airplane began life as a normal 180 but then acquired a beefed-up engine, requiring a beefed-up airframe, and after a few years it was half 180 and half Cessna 185. The article itself is reaching maturity, like a fine wine, after a few years. Senior Editor Al Marsh and California-based photographer Richard VanderMuelen completed work on the article in 2006. The story almost ran in the magazine several times but was held at the last minute. When it was time to publish at last, the article required considerable revamping. One of the modification companies had disconnected its phone and is assumed missing. Another changed its name. A Web site for a third disappeared. But the article—and the airplane—are now up to date with 2009 facts and 2006 photos, ready for a close-up.