"I'm one of the few lucky folks with a job that is not only my dream job, but also one that makes use of everything I've learned in the past 40 years," says author Linda D. Pendleton. "As curriculum development manager for Eclipse Aviation, my graphics training, my writing ability, and my ability to fly and teach others to fly jets all have been called into use. Watching the development and building of a brand-new jet and developing an innovative training program to support that jet are the most exciting and invigorating programs I've ever been involved in." (See " Pilot Briefing: Eclipse Jet Makes Maiden Flight," page 64.) Pendleton writes about pressurization systems for the "Turbine Pilot" section of AOPA Pilot (see " Turbine Pilot: Staying Alive," page 121).
Senior Editor Alton K. Marsh checked out in the Cessna Aerobat shortly after it was purchased by the Frederick Flight Center flight school, near AOPA headquarters in Maryland. He began showing fellow staff members the joys of flying upside down. He heard from some of the instructors that the aircraft would do a snap roll at the top of a loop. Instructor Samer Abdel (now a charter pilot) gave him this advice: Release tension on the controls just before doing the snap roll, thus giving them greater throw, or travel, for the actual maneuver. It took several tries before Marsh could exit the maneuver properly. When he interviewed aerobatic ace Ty Englehardt recently, Marsh discovered he had been doing an airshow maneuver called the "Avalanche" (see " Avalanche! American Champion Super Decathlon" page 74).
Every year there are fatal accidents that defy reason — why didn't the pilot take some action when the going got tough? Associate Editor Steven W. Ells' search for an answer to this question was re-energized as he recalled his recent wedding. "As I stood at the altar, I felt myself losing the big picture; my vision narrowed and I wasn't able to follow along with the processional music. If my emotions had the power to induce such a state of brain lock on one of the happiest days of my life, could a flood of emotion contribute to airplane accidents?" It all seemed to make sense when Ells met Richard Komm at the American Bonanza Society convention (see " Panic and the Pilot," page 97). Komm, of Psychological Services of San Francisco, believes that panic occurs when emotions overcome reason, and he presented his theories in a seminar titled "Spatial Disorientation in IMC: Personality Correlates and Implications."
Flying to the Bahamas represents a terrific use of a general aviation airplane, reports Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines. A trip to the islands is a relaxing experience. Unless, of course, you're there to "experience" it for a magazine article. His latest trip (see " Postcards: Island Hopping," page 115) was relatively sedate, but he still shudders thinking of a trip a dozen years ago when he and photographer Mike Fizer visited 12 islands in five days. "The highlight (or was it the lowlight?) of the trip was being chased by a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Black Hawk helicopter around Cat Island," he remembers. "We were doing an air-to-air photo mission, shooting a Piper Aztec from a Baron. Apparently our radar returns made us look like drug smugglers and the DEA came swooping in to take a look. It was exciting for a few minutes until they figured out who we were. The whole drug-war thing has calmed down considerably since those days, and pilots visiting today won't see any evidence of the DEA or the tethered radar aerostats that were common in the early 1990s."