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Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2012

The three of us on board the Beechcraft A36 Bonanza lapsed into a comfortable quiet as we watched the Mid-Atlantic states scroll by on the life-sized moving map out the window. Connecticut turned into New York and then New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and finally Maryland as we slipped into the pattern at Frederick Municipal on that fall Sunday morning for an arrival home after nearly a week at AOPA Aviation Summit in Hartford. With two of the six seats removed, we had gear stacked nearly floor to ceiling in every nook and cranny. Even then, the old Bonanza, a product of the Nixon era, sprinted upward at 1,000 feet per minute right after takeoff, still more than 100 pounds short of its maximum gross weight. With our full load of fuel, we could have continued on to Chicago, Louisville, Atlanta, or Charlotte.


Pilot Magazine | Dec 01, 2011

General aviation provides a visual perspective not possible by any other means. We all know that at a certain cerebral level. However, when we experience it in a tangible way, it's almost like learning it anew. A recent example: Through the miracle of general aviation flight I was able to experience the lowest point in North America and the highest point in the Lower 48 states all within about an hour of each other -- and that was only half the day!


Pilot Magazine | Nov 01, 2011

Since the economic collapse of 2008, business aviation has been a lightning rod of controversy. Thoughtless auto executives who individually flew their corporate jets to Washington, D.C., to ask for corporate handouts turned tail and sulked home rather than stand and defend the role business aviation plays in the success of a company.


Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2011

My aha moment occurred while flying northeast between Baltimore and Philadelphia.


Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2011

As New York City's Verrazano-Narrows Bridge slides under my Bonanza's wing and I see the Statute of Liberty, the Hudson and East river corridors, and all of Manhattan laid out before me, I feel a sense of accomplishment, completing a mission planned a decade earlier.


Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2011

Forty-five nautical miles—about a 15-minute flight in the Piper Meridian I was flying. Night, good VFR weather.


Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2011

The majesty of Denali’s north slope filled the Turbine Otter’s windscreen. Thin, wispy clouds obscured the summit of North America’s highest peak, making it appear even more majestic among nearby competing mountains, Mount Foraker and Mount Hunter.


Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2011

In reviewing accident reports I’m often frustrated by the repeating patterns. Some accident trends are skill- related—crosswind landing accidents, for example.


Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2011

The B–17’s four cranky Wright engines coughed and barked to life one by one, each leaving a trail of gray exhaust until all nine of the cylinders could agree that, yes, we’re going flying today. The staccato of the big radials broke the early morning’s quiet, commanding attention from everyone in the Sun ’n Fun Fly-In’s warbird area.


Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2011

West Virginia farm fields fill the windscreen as we plummet earthward. Pressed against the shoulder harnesses, I crank the yoke over to enter a 45-degree left turn, causing the vertical speed indicator to slash farther toward the 3 o’clock position—nearly 4,000 feet per minute in the descent.


Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2011

By the time I leveled off at 11,000 feet, a quick glance at the Garmin 530 showed that I was only 20 minutes from Freeport, Bahamas—20 more minutes of deep blue Caribbean below me. My Bonanza is a headwind magnet, but today we were tooling along with about 20 knots on the tail, so the miles to dry land were ticking by quickly.


Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2011

This is not a feel-good, warm-and-fuzzy column about the philosophical meaning of aviation. Nope, this is about how “mean” aviation has become.


Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2011

I signed off the e-mail by writing, “I have never regretted buying a Bonanza. It’s been a joy to own.” The comments were in response to a member’s question about Bonanzas.


Article | Dec 01, 2010

In this challenging downturn, economic forecasting makes weather forecasting look like a piece of cake. At least in meteorology you have physical properties that can’t be changed.


Article | Nov 01, 2010

Plowing southwestward into a slight headwind, carving a path through the steaming August air, my mind drifted back nearly a decade to a similar mission. Except then it was a crisp and clear January day with a tailwind as we headed northeast.


Article | Oct 01, 2010

From 1,000 feet above, I watched the Cessna 182 line up for Meadow Creek’s Runway 35—the brilliant white wings a stark contrast to the dark green forest surrounding the grass strip. Minutes later we touched down on the same turf in an equally pristine Cessna 180.

Waypoints: Why your next engine may be a turboprop

Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2010

Dateline: 1990—Citing the product liability crisis in aviation and related dearth of piston-aircraft manufacturing, aircraft manufacturers consol- idate product lines and focus on the more lucrative business jet market. Turboprops, despite the recent success of the Cessna Caravan, are projected to be the next market segment eviscerated.


Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2010

With the nighttime curfew for Colorado’s Aspen-Pitkin County Airport looming, the crew of the Gulfstream III undoubtedly felt pressure to make the landing into the terrain-challenged field. A domineering passenger on the charter flight, as well as his dozen guests on board, were heading from Los Angeles to a party in Aspen.


Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2010

The 16-year-old boy trundled the well-seasoned Cessna 150 across the paved runway and to the end of the grass runway. Plenty of rain that northwestern Pennsylvania summer kept the grass green and dense.


Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2010

St. Patrick’s Day—aloft over the Appalachian Mountains.

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.

Waypoints: Finessing those final seconds

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2010

February’s column on flying a low approach in South Carolina (“Waypoints: No Rush”) sparked several requests for more details on dealing with the risks of flying in weather. Chris Burns, a former airline pilot and occasional contributor to these pages, chastised me for not using the opportunity to discuss personal minimums.


Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2010

A recent glimpse into the Experimental aircraft world reminded me of the richness of this experience we broadly call “general aviation.” Given that word “general,” it should be no surprise that this branch of aviation covers such a broad spectrum. As has often been quipped, no wonder we always seem to feel so trodden upon when we only describe ourselves by what we are not: all aviation except military and airline.


Article | Feb 01, 2010

I have never liked the unrealistic nature of most flight training experiences. Whether training for the instrument rating more than 20 years ago in a Piper Warrior or more recently getting a jet type rating in a multi-million-dollar high-resolution Level D flight simulator, the pace of the flights never felt right or very realistic.


Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2010

The controller at Connecticut’s Hartford-Brainard Airport delivered the clearance like a tsunami: “Meridian Six-One-Zero-One-Golf, cleared to Martin State Airport via direct Hartford, Thumb, Yoder, Calverton, Gedic transition J174, Zizzi to the Waterloo 085-degree radial to V308, Nottingham, direct.” The usual altitude, frequency, and transponder info followed. I actually got that part.


Article | Dec 08, 2009

One of the primary benefits of an electronic ignition system for airplanes is the ability to optimize the firing of the spark plugs based on the ambient conditions, type of fuel being burned, and other variables. In today’s ignition systems, the magnetos are set to fire the spark plugs at only a fixed time in the compression stroke.

Waypoints: 50 before 50

Article | Nov 02, 2009

The newspaper columnist noted with glee in his column that he had finally visited North Dakota, the last stop on his journey to visit all 50 states. With the last state long illusive, he finally just took a trip to North Dakota because he didn’t see how he would ever otherwise get there.

Waypoints: One pilot's influence

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2009

Harrison Ford strode in through his open hangar doors, stopping along the way to introduce himself to the busy crew transforming his hangar into a mini-movie set. “You look familiar.


Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2009

For probably the hundredth time, somebody mumbled the lame joke about how someone should do something about all that airplane noise and questioned how we were supposed to get any work done with all the distractions. This time, though, rather than your average gaggle of P–51s, T–28s, or F–16s, the distraction was big—really big.


Article | Aug 03, 2009

Tom Haines flying the Bell JetRanger. “Well, this isn’t so difficult,” I thought to myself as the Bell JetRanger tooled along a few hundred feet above the thinning Nashville suburbs.


Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2009

Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines flies his A36 Bonanza from Frederick Municipal Airport (FDK).

Waypoints: Then and now.

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2009

With 47 knots of headwind on the nose during a recent cross-country flight I had plenty of time to contemplate things learned as the twentieth anniversary of my instrument checkride approached. The checkride occurred on my birthday.

Waypoints: From highway to airway

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2009

Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines owns and flies (but does not drive) a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza.

Waypoints: Lean of peak savings quantified

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2009

Editor in Chief Tom Haines uses his Beechcraft A36 Bonanza for business and pleasure flights. The controversy around lean-of-peak engine operations continues to fascinate me.

Waypoints: The owner-hindered annual inspection

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2009

Editor in Chief Tom Haines owns a Beechcraft Bonanza A36, hangared in Frederick, Maryland. The regulations are rather clear about what a pilot who is not a certificated maintenance technician can do to maintain and repair his airplane.

Waypoints: Share the power

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2009

Tom Haines uses his Beechcraft A36 Bonanza for business and pleasure flights. What if you had the power to change people’s lives? What if you could help them take their minds off of everyday problems, at least for a little while? What if you could help them to feel a sense of accomplishment and give them a means to live a more fulfilling life, to go places they never imagined? Helping them would cost you very little, maybe nothing.

Waypoints: Will electrons rule your next flight?

Article | Jan 01, 2009

Editor in Chief Tom Haines owns a 1972 Beechcraft Bonanza with panel gear from four different decades. One of the big issues with updating the electronics in our “legacy” airplanes (that’s PR-speak for “old”) with modern systems is the uncertainty of what you’ll find not just behind the panel but throughout the airplane when you start the installation.

Waypoints: No place for brash

Pilot Magazine | Dec 01, 2008

Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines has flown more than 100 types of aircraft.

Waypoints: The 200-hour challenge

Pilot Magazine | Nov 01, 2008

Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines recently completed a type rating in the Eclipse 500.

Waypoints: Three-hour circle--tested

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2008

Thomas B. Haines owns a Beechcraft Bonanza A36.

Waypoints: The places you can go

Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2008

Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines has been an aircraft owner for more than a decade and has been involved in the purchase of nearly 20 airplanes.

Waypoints: Saving $4,000 in fuel

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2008

Thirty-one years ago this month I first flew an airplane by myself. Little did I know then that I had launched a lifelong learning journey.

Waypoints: Welcome aboard

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2008

Thomas B. Haines recently celebrated his twentieth anniversary with AOPA Pilot.

Waypoints: Ready for the Eclipse 500?

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2008

When not flipping about in an L-39, Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines flies an A36 Bonanza.

Waypoints: An all-aviation weekend

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2008

Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines is the captain of a Bonanza A36 based in Frederick, Maryland (FDK).

Waypoints: Ahead of the storm

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2008

Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines pilots his Beechcraft Bonanza A36 for business and pleasure.

Waypoints: In search of the perfect ride

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2008

Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines pilots a Bonanza A36 from Frederick, Maryland (FDK).

Waypoints: Thank you, ATC

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2008

Martinsburg. As I heard the clearance, my pencil stood motionless a fraction of an inch above the kneeboard.


Pilot Magazine | Dec 01, 2007

AOPA Pilot Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines often takes his wife and two daughters on flying adventures.