Space

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Pilot Briefing

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2012

Private space race gets new entrant Tired of getting into orbit the same old way? Relief may be coming from Stratolaunch Systems, a collaboration between Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen and Burt Rutan, the designer of aircraft and spacecraft, in a project that will merge a Rutan-inspired design with certain hardware and engines from Boeing 747s to create a huge airplane that will launch rockets into orbit during high-altitude flight. But don’t rush off and cancel your $200,000 reservation (booked through “your local accredited space agent”) for a suborbital flight on Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic spaceline just yet.

Air Mobile Joe

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2012

Ariana, born in Haiti, came to the door of the Cessna Skymaster nicknamed Ti Burik and paused; that first step is a big one for any 6-year-old. Joe Hurston, her adoptive father, lifted her from the airplane to the tarmac where she shyly stood. After meeting her 14-year-old brother, Peter, I stooped down and said, "I saw you on TV!" She looked at the ground.

Honoring the Tuskegee Airmen

Pilot Magazine | Dec 01, 2011

There was a lot going through Matt Quy's mind that steamy August morning as he flew his 1944 Boeing PT-13 Stearman down the final approach to Runway 19 Left at Washington Dulles International Airport. His wife, Tina, sat in the front cockpit. To his left, he could see the Washington Monument in the distance. The wind singing in the biplane's flying wires confirmed his airspeed: Fast. In a relative way, of course.

Swamp Pirates

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2011

The Sikorsky X2 team is honored for speeding

Musician’s flying anthem soars

Article | Sep 01, 2011

Singer-songwriter Ansel Brown couldn't help but put his feelings into music about the family of aviators he acquired when he married Lisa Wixom Brown.

Proficient Pilot

Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2011

Mentioning certain types of military aircraft often conjures thoughts of single missions for which they were most famous. The North American B–25 Mitchell reminds us of the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo (April 18, 1942), and you cannot think of the Boeing B–29 Superfortress without being reminded of the role it played in America's use of the atomic bomb to end World War II. The "Superfort" was the only airplane capable of performing that historic mission. So it was that upon completion of my feature article about the B–29 ("The Lady has a History"), I thought it remiss not to include my thoughts about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, the two most violent acts of war ever committed. Or were they?

Fleeting Beauty

Article | Jul 01, 2011

“Homebuilt” airplanes range from crude machines to articles combining the best of craftsmanship and aesthetics. But one of them stood alone: the incomparable H-1 Racer built by Jim Wright and a team of skilled craftsmen in a small town in western Oregon.

Pilot Briefing

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2011

Yves Rossy flew a loop for the first time with the aid of a wing strapped on his back, four jet engines each the size of a loaf of bread, and his body. He has made several previous flights with the wing, including one crossing the English Channel.

Pilot Briefing

Article | Dec 01, 2010

Virgin Galactic ‘Enterprise’ completes glide test The suborbital commercial tourist spaceship VSS (Virgin Spaceship) Enterprise—also known as SpaceShipTwo—owned by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic company completed its first unpowered glide test October 10. You can see a video of the flight on the Virgin Galactic website.

Out of space

Article | Oct 01, 2010

“Houston, Atlantis is in the roll.” Space shuttle Commander Ken Ham announces that the orbiter, Atlantis, has just started its trademark maneuver, made during every space shuttle launch shortly after leaving the launch pad. And just a second later he utters the word that spells trouble for him and his crew for the next several minutes: “Helium.” “Roger, roll,” comes the call from mission control.

'AOPA Pilot' Online

Article | Oct 01, 2010

The Air Up There Mike Collins loaded up his camera and his notebooks to tackle a tough assignment in the New Mexico desert. He’d have to rise before the sun, look to the skies all day, and maybe even share a glass of mandatory champagne—when you cover the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, it’s a tough gig.

Pilot Briefing

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2010

There are now 100,000 historic photos online for you to browse. The San Diego Air and Space Museum is sharing the photos on Flickr.

Pilot Briefing

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2010

The April 2010 eruption of a volcano on Iceland may or may not have subsided by now, depending on the interplay between neighboring hot spots on that mid-Atlantic island. The offending unpronounceable volcano, Eyjafjallajokull (pronounced EYE-a-fyat-la-jo-kutl for those willing to give it a try), has a neighboring volcano that has a history of erupting after Eyjafjallajokull does.

AOPA Road and Runway: The ultimate cross-country road trip

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2010

Airports along the way Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport (JGG)—This charming GA airport is tucked off a residential road southwest of the city of Williamsburg, Virginia, on Marclay Road. Privately owned and founded in 1970 by Larry and Jean Waltrip, its on-site restaurant, Charly’s, features homemade breads and desserts and was voted the number one $100 hamburger stop on the East Coast by 100hamburger.com.

Fly-Outs: June

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2010

Calling all dads! June is the month to celebrate your dad and what better way to honor the old man than with an aviation event, cross-country, or road trip? From the unusual to the sublime—if you have a pilot in your midst, you can go just about anywhere with your father. Enjoy dad this month at one of these events or check our online calendar for other ideas.

Waypoints: Top of the stack

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2010

Most pilots stroll around the ramp peering in airplane windows to admire multifunction displays, GPSs, or the latest all-glass cockpit, but Mark Scheuer’s eyes go right to the top of the stack. His mission: Find out whose audio panel is in there.

Fly-Outs: April

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2010

Spring is a great time to knock the rust off and get out to the hangar to begin planning some great fly-outs. From pancake breakfasts to the quintessential $100 hamburger run, and flying into major airshows, April is a great month to get out and fly! For more destinations and events, check out our calendar online.

Pilot Briefing

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2010

Click the image above to view a slideshow. When last we heard from Robert Gannon he was exploring the world by Cessna 182.

Pilot Products

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2010

Flying over woods, mountains, lakes, or plains? You’ll want this gear. Unfortunately things can and do go wrong in airplanes.

The 'Blackbirds'

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2009

They called them “Race Pilots” back then, but the expression had nothing to do with flying small airplanes with big engines around pylons while trying to bust some speed barrier. Instead they broke the racial barrier.

Pilot Counsel:

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2009

John S. Yodice is an active pilot who flies a Cessna 310 based in Maryland.

Turbine Pilot: Is HAL on board?

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2009

Do you remember the computer, “HAL,” attempting to take over the spacecraft in the 1968 classic 2001: A Space Odyssey? (“Just what do you think you’re doing, Dave? Dave?”) That movie gave voice to our fear that we would one day become slaves to our technology. In many cockpits, that has certainly become true.

Pilot Briefing

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2009

Space education center opens in New Hampshire The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, New England’s only air and space science center, opens March 6 in Concord, New Hampshire, after 10 years of planning. The center represents a major upgrading of the previously existing Christa McAuliffe Planetarium.

Pilots: John Damgard

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2009

A true honor for an aircraft owner is to see his pride and joy end up in a museum to be preserved and admired for years to come. And if that museum is the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (NASM), it legitimizes the fact that the aircraft is special.

Pilot Briefing

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2009

Jet power for your body JetPack International is close to developing a hydrogen peroxide-power jetpack that will fly you around for nine minutes. It will cost $200,000, training included.

Low, slow, and comfortable

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2009

With hardly a change in engine sound, the giant Zeppelin gently floated straight up, marking the start of the first U.S. commercial Zeppelin flight in 70 years and confusing me.

Turbine Edition: Acquisitions

Article | Oct 01, 2008

For the guy who has everything OK, Father’s Day rolled around again and you, once again, committed the buy-him-a-tie copout. Now nears a landmark birthday.

Turbine Edition: Turbines Around the World

Article | Oct 01, 2008

What’s your idea of the dream adventure of a lifetime? It probably involves flying a high-performance, luxury airplane to exotic lands on a leisurely schedule, staying at five-star hotels along the way. And what about having agents setting up your flight plans, securing overflight permits, providing your meals, and giving you tours of scenic and historic locations as well? Turns out that such an adventure can indeed be yours—for $55,000 per head.

Pilots: Dorothy Cochrane

Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2008

“I never expected to be writing history...teaching it, maybe, but not recording and writing it.” Yet that’s exactly what this lucky lady does as curator of general aviation for the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Dorothy Cochrane’s rise to curator began when she moved to Washington in the late 1970s with her husband, a contract engineer.

AOPA Project Pilot: Students and mentors

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2008

Mentor Elizabeth Gehman As a single, stay-at-home mom, Elizabeth Gehman felt like she needed something to help get her involved in the community, and keep her brain stimulated. She isn’t interested in pursuing Japanese, even though she studied the language at the American University in Washington, D.C.

AOPA's Get Your Glass Sweepstakes: Uber Upgrades

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2008

It’s time to go glass. After months of work from Oxford Aviation on the beautiful cosmetic appointments, and Penn Yan Aero on the new powerplant behind AOPA’s Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Archer, it’s finally time to begin work on the airplane’s instrument panel.

Flying on the Fourth

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2008

Believe it or not, there are days that I don’t want to fly. I know, I know, it’s hard to fathom, but hear me out.

Pilot Briefing

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2008

Smithsonian aviation photos to tour next year Unlike the movie, Carolyn Russo’s Night at the Museum was real, and there were many nights while she took photographs for her book and museum exhibit called, “In Plane View: Abstractions of Flight.” Both contain abstract images of museum aircraft. You can do it, too.

Pilot Briefing

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2008

British plane spotters take Arizona skies During a visit to Tucson, Arizona, an AOPA Pilot writer/photographer team found four British visitors waiting in the lobby of a flight school. Scenic flights? No, these were plane spotters, a hobby enjoyed by thousands of enthusiasts worldwide.

Pilot Briefing

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2008

The best of the best Members vote for the best AOPA Pilot covers from the past 50 years A magazine’s cover is in many ways its prime identity. It’s the first glimpse of what’s to come after the issue arrives in the mail.

Gallery of Legends

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2008

Photography by Mike Fizer Fifty-one “legends” in the history of the North American P-51 Mustang came to Columbus, Ohio, in September to be honored at The Gathering of Mustangs and Legends. Lines at the 100-foot-long autograph tent were often 130 feet long, especially when Bob Hoover began his session.

Cross-Country at Record-Setting Speed

Pilot Magazine | Nov 01, 2007

My world record Put yourself in aviation history By Alton K. Marsh Bruce Bohannon, the guy who won 30 world records aboard his Exxon Flyin' Tiger, once told me he had seriously considered breaking my world speed record.

Pilots

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2007

Here's how you fly the Vomit Comet: At 30,000 feet dive until the modified McDonnell Douglas DC-9 (C-9) hits 350 knots, pull the nose up 60 degrees — that's 1.8 Gs — until you reach 240 knots, then unload. Repeat 40 times and call it a day.

A Waco for Miss Johnston

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2007

Connie Johnston's father was very good at finding gold and zinc; that's why her childhood was spent on a luxurious estate in Greenwich, Connecticut. The family fortune eventually allowed "Miss Johnston," as Waco factory supervisors referred to her, to buy an extravagant airplane in the middle of the Great Depression and live the life of an adventuress in search of social status.

Pilots

Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2007

Summer Williams is what you might call a triple threat: She's a NASA engineer, she's logged 19 years as a dancer and cheerleader, and, as you can probably discern from her appearing on this page, she's also a private pilot. She took her first flight as a 10-year-old native of tiny Anthony, Kansas, on a commercial airliner.

'Spin Doctor' Bill Kershner dies at 77

Article | Sep 01, 2007

'Spin Doctor' Bill Kershner dies at 77 Pilot, flight instructor, and aviation author William K. Kershner, 77, died January 8 in Sewanee, Tennessee, after a prolonged battle with cancer.

President's Position

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2007

Phil Boyer has served as AOPA's president since January 1, 1991. In her continuing quest to "sell" the agency's financing proposal, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey recently stated, "You know, GPS is the law of the land in virtually every other business and logistic situation that we have.

Test Pilot

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2007

GENERAL The Canadian-built robotic arm, Canadarm2, on the International Space Station weighs almost 2 tons. Why does it need to be so strong and heavy when the items that it moves are weightless in orbit? Why is it a good idea to have available a very small quantity of water when draining fuel during preflight inspections? From reader Bob Lippincott: After France fell to Germany in 1940, the Royal Canadian Air Force received North American NA-64 Yale trainers (T-6s with fixed landing gear) originally destined for the French Air Force.

The Liberty Challenge

Article | Jul 01, 2006

Liberty Aerospace officials once marketed their XL2 as a sporty cross-country airplane. They have now recast its message as an economical airplane based on the company's claims for operating costs (called "rebranding" in the marketing game).

Pilot Briefing

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2006

Extreme airshow series The new Association of Competition Airshow Pilots (ACAP) began its 12-city eXtreme Airshow Challenge tour in April in Fernandina Beach, Florida. The idea behind the series is to couple a normal airshow with two segments devoted to extreme flying performances by seven pilots and have a panel of judges determine the winner.

Pilot Briefing

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2006

Mothballed airliners take on new life The old saying that "one man's junk is another man's treasure" holds true in the Mojave Desert. Parts from old airliners have been turned into everything from fine art to furniture.

Pilot Briefing

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2006

Introducing the dawn of private-spaceflight regulation Normally when the FAA issues a proposed rule, it comes with a rather unexciting title. But this one is a bit more provocative: "Human space flight requirements for crew and space flight participants." Published in the Federal Register on December 29, 2005, the rule is laying the groundwork for Joe Pilot to become Joe Astronaut — or at least Joe Big Bucks to become Joe Passenger.

Pilots

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2006

At airshows up and down the East Coast, folks walk past Charlie Kulp unaware that he is a well-known, almost legendary airshow performer. There's nothing about him or his 1946 Piper J-3 Cub that screams for attention or notice.

Capturing Sunlight

Article | Dec 01, 2005

"Feel that? I'll bet that's the trop." "Yeah, that's probably it." Bill Rieke, chief of aircraft operations at NASA's Glenn Research Center, is hand-flying a Learjet 25 from the right seat and Kurt Blankenship, the center's senior pilot and safety officer, is flying left seat as we pass through 37,000 feet about 50 miles east of Detroit. We're flying a solar-cell-calibration mission to collect data on the cells' performance.