First Flight

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Pilot Briefing Flying to Japan

Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2013

The mitsubishi MU–2—the stocky, futuristic-looking high-wing twin turboprop—marks a significant milestone this month: The model first flew in Nagoya, Japan, 50 years ago on September 14.

AOPA rededicates First Flight pilot facility

Article | Aug 19, 2013

Ten years after dedicating a pilot facility at North Carolina’s First Flight Airport (KFFA) in the name of AOPA members, it was rededicated Aug. 19 by AOPA Vice President of the Pilot Information Center Woody Cahall.

The right man for the times

Pilot Magazine | Aug 19, 2013

Craig Fuller’s first bit of advice to the new AOPA president: Get to know the members.

Pilot Briefing: One fast cat

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2013

On a recent visit to Spokane, Washington’s Felts Field, AOPA Pilot got a first look at Northwest Turbine’s latest conversion undergoing certification. The Cougar Baron is a Beechcraft 58P outfitted with a pair of 500-shaft-horsepower Pratt & Whitney PT6A-21 turboprops. Rocket Engineering is doing the certification legwork for partner company Northwest Turbine LLC, which also markets the Royal Turbine conversion of the Beechcraft Duke.

First Look: Pilatus breaks the mold

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2013

Swiss manufacturer Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. has announced a new offering to what had been its all-turboprop line of airplanes. The company’s new, single-pilot-certifiable PC–24 will be a twin-engine, 425-knot “super versatile jet,” and “not a me-too product,” in the words of Pilatus Chairman Oscar Schwenk.

#Oshbash a social media sensation

Article | Aug 01, 2013

If ever there were an exception to the etiquette rulebook on use of smartphones in public, it would probably be for tweeting , texting, videoing, or photographing a social media tweetup. But before the July 31 Airplanista 2013 #Oshbash Awards and Meetup at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., attendees chatted in person.

Proficient Pilot: Interruption of routine

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2013

Prior to taking off from the dirt “airstrip” serving the Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa, the manager there had requested that I treat the guests to a low pass over the lodge, which was nestled in a ravine near the departure end of the runway. Not one to pass up such an invitation, I enthusiastically agreed.

Quick Look: Gulfstream II

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2013

The Gulfstream II (G-1159) was developed in the mid-1960s by Grumman Aircraft as a successor to its Gulfstream I twin turboprop, the original purpose-built business airplane. On May 5, 1965, the production go-ahead was given for the $4 million, sweptwing, 19-passenger jet, which was powered by two aft-mounted Rolls-Royce Spey Mk 511-8 turbofans.

One-on-one type training

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2013

The vast majority of my training in turbine airplanes has been simulator-based, and conducted at facilities run by CAE/Simuflite, FlightSafety International, CAE, and Simcom. The training was excellent, with a daily mix of formal classroom sessions and time spent in the simulators.

Never Again: Tumble in the desert

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2013

My private pilot training took place nearly 36 years ago in a Cessna 150 at Ryan Field near Tucson, Arizona. No one can exaggerate the benefits of training as a student pilot in the Arizona desert’s persistent severe-clear conditions. However, even the perfect training environment could not prevent a nearly disastrous event that occurred during one of my solo cross-country flights.

Cessna TTx enters GA fleet

Article | Jul 01, 2013

The Cessna TTx is a piston speedster bearing a closer resemblance to a fighter than a business flier, as AOPA Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines noted. Cessna announced July 1 that the first production TTx aircraft were delivered at the end of June.

Mentor Matters: Runway analysis

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2013

In a previous article, I discussed the fallacy that jet aircraft may not legally depart IFR unless able to maintain any specified departure procedure (DP) climb gradient following the loss of an engine. While many pilots widely believe this true, the AIM is clear in stating that DPs assume normal aircraft performance with all engines operating.

Pilot Briefing: New York to Tokyo in two hours

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2013

If Richard Lugg has his way, the next generation of supersonic civilian aircraft will shoot through the sky powered by engines that turn out a massive electrical charge, much of it converted into thrust with megawatts left over to silence the sonic boom.

Ownership: Opening the rental skies

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2013

You're vacationing in a sunny place--let's say the Florida Keys--and you can't help but dream about how nice it would be to fly along the coast. But you have no airplane on this trip, and your schedule doesn't really allow for the half-day it likely would take to get checked out at the local FBO.

Proficient Pilot: Another nail in the coffin

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2013

Thirty-two years ago I wrote a feature article titled, "Death of an Airport" (August 1981 "AOPA Pilot"). It described how the city council of Santa Monica, California, had been conducting a war of attrition against aviation users in an unveiled attempt to close one of the oldest airports in the country.

Connecticut officially recognizes Whitehead as first to fly

Article | Jun 27, 2013

Connecticut has enacted a law recognizing Gustave Whitehead, not the Wright brothers, as the first to fly.

Connecticut takes a side on first flight debate

Article | Jun 12, 2013

Connecticut lawmakers have voted to recognize Gustave Whitehead as the first pilot to achieve powered flight. The bill awaits the governor’s signature, and marks the latest round in a newly revived debate.

Foundation Focus: Giving back

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2013

I’ll admit it. As president of the AOPA Foundation, I spend a lot of time asking people like you to give--your money, your time, and your commitment.

Proficient Pilot: Reflections, 1963-2013

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2013

My first magazine article, “Why Not Really Learn to Navigate,” appeared in these pages exactly 50 years ago (June 1963).

Beaver Checkout

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2013

Turning final for a water landing on a placid lake, the de Havilland DHC–2 Beaver seems perfectly matched to its purpose.

Last of the Old vs. First of the New

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2013

The Cessna 172 learned a lot of new tricks when production resumed in 1996 (for the 1997 model year). But is it all that much better than the less expensive 1986 172P that marked the end of the old production run? The 1997 model year now costs roughly double the cost of a 1986 model. Is it worth it?

The Unlikeliest Astronaut

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2013

Alone in the sleek, composite shell of an experimental spacecraft he helped build, suspended beneath the broad wings of the 'White Knight' carrier airplane, test pilot Mike Melvill is glad to finally get busy.

Proficiency: Test driving an airline career

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2013

Prayank Jain, a flight attendant on furlough from United Airlines, reaches upward and presses the Airbus 320’s public address system button and, with an authoritative voice, announces, “Flight attendants prepare for landing.”

Technique: Nose up, unload, roll!

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2013

A roll is the first aerobatic maneuver an aerobatic student learns, and it should be a confidence booster as well as a clean break from the past.

License to Learn: Aviation photography

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2013

I don't understand contemporary art. Neither did a night janitor working the London's Eyestorm Gallery in November 2001.