Pilots

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Pilots: Brian Binnie

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2010

At Rotary Rocket’s offices in Mojave, California, test pilot Brian Binnie stood before a group of about 20, lecturing on the Roton. Designed to blast off like a rocket and descend like a helicopter, it was Rotary Rocket’s entry for the $10 million Ansari X Prize competition to fly a civilian craft through the edge of space twice in two weeks.

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Pilots: Lowell Wiley

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2010

“I feel lucky, blessed, and grateful,” says Lowell Wiley, a private pilot since February 10, 1959, who has logged 20,000 flight hours. His first flight, at age 13, was with his father in a four-place Bellanca in 1949.

Pilots: Mayte Greco

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2010

We were cruising in Mayte Greco’s Cessna 340 twin just above the Gulf of Mexico, flying the same search pattern she used to spot Cuban refugees trying to get to Florida. Flying a straight line, you look out the left window two wingspans away at the ocean, scan across the windscreen, and end up at the right window.

Pilots: Chuck Doyle Jr.

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2010

It’s a beautiful morning at Sky Harbor Residential Airpark in rural Minnesota. Crickets are chirping, the air is crisp and still—and Chuck Doyle is missing.

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Pilots: Robyn Astaire

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2010

Robyn Astaire was the world’s first successful woman jockey and was honored on the cover of Sports Illustrated (July 31, 1972). But she was not satisfied being the best female jockey; she wanted to be the best jockey, period.

Pilots: Ruedi Hafen

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2010

This isn’t the story about Ruedi Hafen’s first helicopter rescue, although we’ll get to that part. Hafen is president of Niagara Helicopters, which gives aerial tours of Niagara Falls.

Pilots: Francesco 'Paco' Chierici

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2010

“I used to be a total military airplane snob,” says Francesco “Paco” Chierici, a former U.S. Navy fighter pilot and producer of Speed and Angels, a documentary film that follows two pilots through military flight training.

Pilots: Joe Manchin III

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2010

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III has been a pilot, aircraft owner, and AOPA member for more than 40 years.

Pilots: Dan Sorkin

Article | Dec 08, 2009

CFII Dan Sorkin has a leg up on most pilots—a plastic prosthetic leg with a San Francisco Sectional laminated into it. “If I ever get lost,” jokes Sorkin, “I’ll just take my leg off and read it.” Sorkin’s flying career began with two legs and an unreasonable fear of heights.

Pilots: Bud Bricker

Article | Nov 02, 2009

It was tough to stop speaking with Bud Bricker of Oklahoma City. He’s one of those men who have endless stories to tell about life during World War II—a time when honor, patriotism, and character were important—and one could listen to those stories for hours.

Pilots: Juan Serrano

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2009

On April Fool’s Day 1995, Juan Serrano thought his wife was playing a cruel joke. Over the phone, she told him of two letters for him in the day’s mail: a much-anticipated invitation to interview with United Airlines and an acceptance to law school.

Pilots: Ralph Poppell

Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2009

It was just before Christmas in 1959 when Ralph Poppell took his first airplane flight. He had served his country in the United States Army Reserves as an engineer and was leaving Fort Belvoir, Virginia, to fly to Atlanta on a Lockheed Super Constellation before getting on a smaller airplane to continue his trip into Tallahassee, Florida.

Pilots: Mike Summey

Article | Aug 03, 2009

Which story should be told first about Mike Summey? We could describe Summey as an accomplished pilot (he flies his own King Air), or his amazing rise to success in real estate investment (his King Air E90 is all paid for—no loan), or his success as an author (the four Weekend Millionaire books he coauthored with Roger Dawson are selling worldwide), or his successful outdoor advertising company (he invented the now-popular single-pole billboard), or his success as a professional public speaker. The list goes on.

Pilots: Bill Anders

Article | Jul 01, 2009

“I’m not one of those kids who built models and dreamed of being a pilot from day one,” Bill Anders says. But what he lacked in an early start, he more than made up for with a passion that would take him from fighter jets to logging nearly a week in space as one of the first to truly leave the Earth behind.

Pilots: Winston S. Churchill

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2009

Some of Winston S. Churchill’s most rewarding flights—and some of his saddest—came as a volunteer pilot flying donated organs around Europe in the middle of the night for the St.

Pilots: Jeff Puckett

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2009

Five years ago Jeff Puckett got lucky on his checkride, you might say. The ancient Schweizer 300 sustained an engine failure in flight and he had to demonstrate an actual autorotation with the FAA examiner on board.

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Pilots: Tony Buechler

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2009

Tony Buechler took his first airplane ride in a P–51 Mustang. No joke.

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.

Pilots: Paul Gilbert

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2009

When Paul Gilbert regained consciousness in the basement of a Belgian farmhouse on Sunday, September 10, 1944, a faint light through a “little dim cobwebby window” was the first evidence that he had survived bailing out of his flak-riddled B–17G. Gilbert recalls his twenty-first mission: “We were tossed out of formation by a blast under number four that lifted the wing to the vertical and narrowly missed the lead ship.

Pilots: Rafael Sierra

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2009

Finding a dedicated, career flight instructor is difficult these days. Meet Rafael Sierra.

Pilots: John Nance

Pilot Magazine | Dec 01, 2008

Most people probably associate John Nance with ABC News, where he has been an aviation analyst since the mid-1990s. Whenever an airplane crash captures the focus of the nation, Nance is ABC’s face and voice of aviation.

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Pilots: Amy Wasielewski

Pilot Magazine | Nov 01, 2008

Growing up on U.S. Army bases, Amy Wasielewski always associated the distinctive sound of whirling helicopter blades with her family.

Pilots: Simon Norwalk

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2008

Some say there aren’t enough young pilots in aviation. And, some believe, those who do choose to become pilots aren’t driven and don’t study hard enough.

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.

Pilots: Capt. Joseph Grant

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2008

Joseph Grant was born 100 years ago in 1908, the same year that the Wright brothers first demonstrated their flying machine in public. Grant’s uncle, Leigh Wade, circled the globe in one of the famous Douglas World Cruisers, and that inspired him and his brother, Roy, to scrape together enough money for a ride in a Waco near Miami, Florida.

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Pilots: Deana Martin

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2008

Deana Martin revered her brother. “Growing up in the sixties, Dino was always interested in airplanes,” Martin says.

Pilots: Dennis Flanagan

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2008

When you board an airliner for that sardine-packed journey through the skies, someone in a uniform usually stands at the door and smiles mutely. Unless it’s Dennis Flanagan.

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Pilots: Joiwind Alexander

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2008

For those who place credence in the theory that one’s behavior is mapped by their genes, Joiwind Alexander is a poster child. Her great-grandfather, J.B.

Pilots: Jamail Larkins

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2008

He’s got a thousand-watt smile and a personality that fills a room. For frequent visitors to events such as Sun ’n Fun, AirVenture, and AOPA’s Fly-In and Open House, he’s a regular fixture.

Pilots: Philip Calder

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2008

The first classified ads in The AOPA Pilot appear much like any others, black text on white paper now cream-colored with age. And most advertised a new airplane for sale, or a financing “opportunity”—the standard stuff.

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Pilots: Michael Bertz

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2008

As a young boy growing up in Cadiz, Ohio, in the mid-1940s, Michael Bertz used to watch P-51 Mustangs fly over his home. He fondly remembers the rich, throaty chorus of the 12-cylinder Merlin engine carrying those sleek machines through the skies, and knew that he “needed”—not wanted—to fly one.

Pilots: Johnny Parker

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2008

When Johnny Parker was a kid, he didn’t go to the airport. The airport came to him.

Pilots

Pilot Magazine | Dec 01, 2007

"We were told there was no avgas in Kabul," Lowell Thomas Jr. says of a flight through the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia in 1954.

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Pilots

Pilot Magazine | Nov 01, 2007

At 17, Sean O'Donnell was riding his motorcycle and was T-boned. If you're not familiar with that term, here's a better description—O'Donnell was hit broadside by an oncoming car, thrown from his motorcycle, slammed into a rock, and suffered a T-3 level injury; he is paralyzed from the middle of his chest down.

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.

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.

Pilots

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2007

"Where in the world is Barrington Irving?" has been a good question since March 23. That's when the intrepid, Jamaican-born, 23-year-old pilot — who wants to introduce disadvantaged children to aviation — took off from Miami's Opa Locka Airport on his round-the-world odyssey in his custom-built Columbia 400 named Inspiration.

Pilots

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2007

Who hasn't dreamed of getting paid to fly? Kelly McCague did. While attending the California Peace Officer Cadet Program for her state park ranger job she learned that there was a park ranger who got paid to fly around Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

Pilots

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2007

Frank Speer and I were in my little two-seat Grumman heading toward Speer's home airport outside Allentown, Pennsylvania. My kinda-sorta navigation seemed OK to me considering the sunny VFR day.

Pilots

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2007

You may have heard of Katharine Jefferts Schori. It was pretty big news last year when she became the first woman elected to lead a major Christian congregation in the world, the 2.3 million-member U.S.

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Pilots

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2007

It started with a scary helicopter ride in Honduras. A little boy who'd gone along as a passenger while the helo sprayed crops didn't like it, not even a little bit.

Pilots

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2007

Roger Keeney has finished another one of his stories. He tells them with a twinkle in his eye, adding, "this was good" to emphasize a gently made point.

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Pilots

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2007

One day soon — say, in 24 to 36 months — you'll ride into suborbital space in a Learjet. True or false? Calvin Burgess knows your answer because he is building the modified Learjet in his hangar at Guthrie, Oklahoma, under contract to Rocketplane Kistler, an Oklahoma City-based firm.

Pilots

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2007

Given that she didn't start to fly until age 41, you might not expect Ruby Wine Sheldon to have been a pioneering helicopter pilot. A professional photographer, she had moved to Phoenix in 1949 at age 32 to soothe her respiratory problems.

Pilots

Pilot Magazine | Dec 01, 2006

KITTY HAWK, DECEMBER, NINETEEN-THREE "They read the work ofLilienthal, Langley, and ChanuteBut the theories of these pioneersIn test did not computeSo they cleaned the table to the woodAnd started in again To answer twisting riddlesSo the sky would let them in." So go the lyrics of the song Kitty Hawk, December Nineteen-Three, by Livingston Taylor. Raised in North Carolina, the poignantly poetic 55-year-old singer/songwriter/aviator has an understandable draw to the Wright brothers and their work, which put his home state on the map.

Pilots

Pilot Magazine | Nov 01, 2006

Van Nuys Airport might be the centerpiece of Brian J. Terwilliger's remarkable general aviation film One Six Right: The Romance of Flying, but Van Nuys was hundreds of miles to the southwest from where the idea for the film was born.

Pilots

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2006

After more than 28,000 spins and thousands of hours in the air, Rich Stowell still recalls his first flight lessons nearly 25 years ago as a less-than-pleasant experience. He was a bit of a late bloomer, learning to fly while working as an engineer, designing heating and air-conditioning systems three floors underground in New York City.

Pilots

Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2006

Most pilots can recall a memorable day of flying, but few share a day like that of Tony Sanseverino. And with some certainty, few share any memories of flying at the time that sticks out in Sanseverino's mind.

Pilots

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2006

A show of hands here: Who hasn't rolled his eyes when a news anchor attributes an airplane crash to an engine stalling on takeoff? You'll never have to worry about that kind of gaffe coming from CNN's garrulous, infinitely quotable Miles O'Brien because he has connections in high places: flight instructors, airline transport pilots, aeronautical engineers. Those kinds of connections.

Pilots

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2006

How fast does a North American T-6 go? Ask Mary Dilda and she'll tell you 239 mph. That's the qualifying record she set in 2003, at the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada, so let's be exact: 239.398 mph.