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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 | 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.

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.


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.

'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.


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.

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.


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.

Fighting Fatigue

Pilot Magazine | Dec 01, 2005

What did the Chernobyl and Three Mile Island nuclear accidents, the space shuttle Challenger explosion, and the Exxon Valdez grounding have in common? Answer: The official investigations in each case determined that fatigue played a causal or contributory role in the outcome. According to Mark Rosekind, a leading expert on fatigue and alertness, accidents like these are especially dramatic examples of what can happen when humans become fatigued.

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.

Out of This World

Pilot Magazine | Nov 01, 2005

Behind every great achievement is a support team that makes the incredibly difficult (and sometimes seemingly impossible) a reality. Such has always been the case with NASA's manned space program.

Hangar Talk

Pilot Magazine | Nov 01, 2005

ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast) may well be one of the best-kept secrets in aviation. Few pilots seem to have heard of what seems destined to become one of the most significant new datalink technologies in general aviation cockpits.

Pilot Briefing

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2005

SpaceShip One heads to National Air and Space Museum Burt Rutan's SpaceShipOne will be taking its rightful place this month, hanging between the Bell X-1 and the Spirit of St. Louis and above the Mercury space capsule in the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

Project Pilot Update

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2005

AOPA Project Pilot gives experienced pilots a way to share their love of flight by mentoring student pilots. Backed by the resources of AOPA, mentors help guarantee the best possible introduction of flying, form first flight to checkride.

Test Pilot

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2005

GENERAL What unique method did Japan and other countries use during the 1930s (before the advent of radar) to detect approaching enemy aircraft? According to the Aeronautical Information Manual, what is the most likely way for a pilot to inadvertently induce whiteout conditions? From reader Mark Barchenko: What does a modern U.S. naval destroyer have in common with a McDonnell Douglas DC-10? NASA's hypersonic X-43A, an unmanned research airplane, is powered by an air-breathing scramjet and flew at almost Mach 10 (10 times the speed of sound) on November 16, 2004.

Test Pilot

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2005

GENERAL During World War I, the Pour le Mérite was the highest military decoration that could be bestowed upon a German pilot. Why was it also called the "Blue Max" (popularized by the 1966 motion picture of the same name starring George Peppard)? In the motion picture Tora! Tora! Tora! Lt.

Welcome to Moontown

Article | May 01, 2005

The red Alabama clay is packed hard into a surface solid enough for lawn bowling — at just shy of 2,200 feet long this grass strip makes an excellent partner whether you're flying an old Piper Cub or an old Mooney. Whether you're as light as a Quicksilver or Blanik, or as heavy as a "Big Annie" Antonov AN-2, slip down below the ridgeline to the west, get down to just a few feet over the hayfield on short final, flare just past the runway end lights — this is a 24-hour operation — and roll onto the smooth grass.

Flights of Fancy

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2005

Aviation has never been an industry to stand still. For years, new designs, ideas, and innovations were tested, scrapped, modified, or put into use, all in the interest of enhancing the general safety record of airplanes.

Aviation's Forgotten Pioneer

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2005

Stop by the coffee shop at any local airport and you'll find a couple of tables filled with general aviation pilots telling hangar stories, those wonderfully famous exaggerations of yesterday's flying adventures. Everyone at the table will be an aviation historian on some level, each with his or her own wealth of knowledge, each happy to tell you about it.

On Autopilot

Article | Feb 01, 2005

A trim-steady digital autopilot Digital autopilots have been around since the Apollo Space Program in the early 1960s, when Grumman developed an autopilot using a digital microprocessor to manage analog inputs from the control and navigation systems on board the lunar module. But while computers have helped steer the course for decades, we're now on the cusp of having completely digital autopilot systems flying our light singles and twins as we enjoy a cup of coffee.

Pilot Briefing

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2005

Exxon Flyin' Tiger goes higher than ever Bruce Bohannon flogged his turbocharged Exxon Flyin' Tiger higher than ever before on November 13 to 47,500 feet, setting two new 12,000-meter time-to-climb world records in the process, but fell short of the intended goal of 50,000 feet. The Tiger now has a total of 30 records.

Pilot Briefing

Pilot Magazine | Nov 01, 2004

Aerobatic air racing comes to Reno Top aerobatic pilots now have a new playing field. In its U.S.

Pilot Briefing

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2004

Bohannon to try for altitude record in fall Record-holder Bruce Bohannon plans this fall to flog his Exxon Flyin' Tiger to the altitude record he sought at Oshkosh when mechanical problems literally let him down, but not before reaching 45,500 feet. His goal was 50,100 feet.

Never Again

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2004

That morning began as most Saturdays did, with the weekly routine of flying with my longtime partner. While preparing to leave the house for Montgomery Field in San Diego, my eyes were drawn to the television screen showing the contrails of space shuttle Columbia disintegrating as it passed over clear Texas skies.

The Leavenworth Link

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2004

They're tucked away now — what's left of them — in barns, garages, warehouses, and other places where neglect reigns. But in their day they inspired fear and respect, and any military pilot wanting wings had to make peace with them.

Pilot Briefing

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2004

SpaceShipOne enters a new frontier Propelled by a hybrid rocket engine, 63-year-old Mike Melvill crossed the threshold of space in the composite construction SpaceShipOne on June 21. Melvill reached an unofficial altitude of 328,491 feet (62 miles) before a world audience.


Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2004

Joe F. Edwards' former business card bore one word after his name, Astronaut.

Never Again Online: Dangerous space

Article | Jun 01, 2004

I could have seen the whites of the copilot's eyes — if he hadn't been wearing sunglasses. Standing on the left rudder and heaving the Cessna 172RG Cutlass nearly to knife edge, I aimed for the tail of the Shorts Sherpa.


Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2004

Easy does it in Bend, Oregon If you happen to be one of those lucky folks who owns a Lancair, chances are you know Bend as well as your own backyard. If you don't, it's a relatively well-kept secret on the eastern slopes of the central Oregon Cascades.

Test Pilot

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2004

GENERAL From reader Bill Worden: How did over in radiotelephony come to mean, "My transmission is ended, and I expect a reply from you"? From reader Jeff Pardo: Why do controllers use the term squawk when asking pilots to transmit a particular transponder code? Why are pilots making straight-in approaches to Runway 34L/R at the New Tokyo International Airport (Narita, Japan) required to lower their landing gear prior to crossing the shoreline (about 14 nm from the airport)? Rainfall is measured in inches. What does a reported rainfall of 2 inches mean, for example? What is the world's hottest city (according to the World Meteorlogical Organization)? Estimate within four years the average age of all active U.S.


Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2004

Eye to eye with Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, Lincoln...and Crazy Horse Few destinations are more exciting from the air than the Black Hills of South Dakota. While photographers gather to take pictures of the majestic beauty, they can only see a fraction of the awe-inspiring terrain.


Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2004

History's new home With great delight I read Thomas B. Haines' January "Waypoints" ("Waypoints: History's New Home") concerning the Smithsonian Institution's new National Air and Space Museum.

Pilot Briefing

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2004

How to see Florida in a weekend — all of it Two Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) students have given new meaning to the words weekend flying — Ben Riecken, 21, and John Palombo, 18, in August established a record for landing at all of Florida's hard-surface nonmilitary airports. That's 105.


Product Brief | Jan 01, 2004

Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines is anxious to make another pilgrimage to the new NASM, the Steven F.

Test Pilot

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2003

GENERAL My head was struck by a propeller, and I was so far gone that last rites were delivered at the hospital. I survived and later set (and still hold) an around-the-world speed record (westbound) as well as a nonstop, unrefueled distance record in a lightplane.


Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2003

His résumé doesn't tell the whole story. It indicates he went here, did that, then went elsewhere.


Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2003

When asked about Gerry Molidor Jr., just about anyone who knows him will reply, "He's such a nice guy." Molidor can always find time to give a short aerobatics demonstration or a quick aerodynamics lesson. Molidor has experienced just about everything civilian aviation has to offer.

Test Pilot

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2003

GENERAL From reader B.F. "Froggy" Worden: Why does a placard on the instrument panel of some Luscombe 8As recommend that the pilot apply carburetor heat for takeoff and initial climb even when there is absolutely no chance of carburetor ice? John F.

Pilot Briefing

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2003

News hound recalls aerial journalism in 1920s Garner Emerson may be 90 but his mind is still as sharp as it was while working on board a news photography airplane in the 1920s. During an interview this spring, he recalled his days as a teenage "cabin boy" aboard a Waco E owned by the New York Daily News.


Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2003

No one knows the Wright brothers like Tom Crouch, and he never met either of them. Crouch is the senior curator of aeronautics at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and his specialty is, yup, the Wrights.

AOPA Action in California

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2003

Low-cost housing could threaten Long Beach Residential encroachment on airport operations is reaching new heights at Long Beach Airport/ Daugherty Field, according to AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Candace Robinson. Boeing is reportedly seeking permits to build more than 450 low-cost housing units on the north side of the airport.

Sky Artist

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2003

How can a skywriting story also cover mutt dogs, airplanes of no known model, spy planes, the Red Baron, and movies? Just watch. First, the skywriting story.