Ask any AOPA member or employee how long the Air Aid has been around, and about the most precise answer you'll get is "forever." It is the brainchild of Max Karant, founder and longtime editor of AOPA Pilot magazine.
The tool has lots of uses: ruler, measuring distances on charts, decoding weather reports, filing flight plans, figuring conversions. But AOPA member Merrick Endres ( AOPA 923990) has found a new one.
Endres, an instrument-rated pilot, and an instructor were preparing to do some partial panel practice, and Endres could not find his usual instrument gauge covers. Then his eyes lit on his Air Aid. "It fit perfectly," said Endres, "and I did indeed use it very successfully during that day's training flight."
Endres has experienced vacuum failure in instrument conditions before, so he appreciates the need to be able to fly by reference to only some of his instruments and to cover up the failed instruments to avoid distraction.
"On the cover of every issue of Pilot's sister publication, AOPA Flight Training, we say 'A good pilot is always learning,'" said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Well, a good pilot is also always thinking. Mr. Endres's ingenuity is a classic example."