Normally our stories are done in one spot. We go there, fly the airplane, take the photographs, and we're done. This month's story by AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton K. Marsh on the two new light-sport Cubs (see " Light Sport: Cubs for a New Generation," page 76) required travel to Sulphur Springs, Texas, and Yakima, Washington. In each location, grass-roots pilots with a passion for grass-roots flying are building minifactories that closely adhere to the concepts found at the largest corporations. Individual workstations with preselected parts and required tools, just-in-time parts delivery, and quality control are part of the workday parlance. Since article preparation began last year, each company has raised its base price by $10,000 as the cost of aircraft production grows. It has been 71 years since the first J-series Cub design flew. Let's hope it is still on the market at 100.
Author Paul J. Fournier knows Maine. In 1947 he took his first job as a registered Maine guide, where he learned to fly in a Piper J-3 Cub on floats. He later purchased a "sporting camp," Maine's quintessential vacation spot, in the Moosehead Lake region and operated Rockwood Flying Service. Fournier also was a newspaper reporter, wildlife film producer, and media coordinator for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. He often flew with the warden pilots of Maine on jobs such as aerial fish stocking, which he writes about in " Trout Raining From the Skies," on page 86.
"Tetraethyl lead (TEL) is the catalyst for today's piston-powered high-performance airplane fleet. Without it, the backbone of aviation — those hard-working piston-powered singles and twins that are used mostly for commerce — would be grounded. This fleet uses 70 percent of the avgas sold," says AOPA Pilot Associate Editor Steven W. Ells (see " Lead Is Still King — Part II," page 111). "Researching this subject over the past five years has given me a wider perspective on many of the issues — legal, regulatory, political, production, supply, and transportation — that are part and parcel of the dilemma of creating a transparent replacement for TEL. I expect to be revisiting this issue in five years with yet another update."
"Yes, there are scheduling nightmares and logistical challenges that make us pull our hair out," says author and Boeing 737 pilot Marc K. Henegar, half of a two-pilot household in Bend, Oregon (see " Flying Together: He Flies, She Flies," page 94). But Henegar and Canadair Regional Jet captain Leja Noe have found that sharing a common vocation and a unique window into each other's worlds makes it all worthwhile. "We get to share our passion for aviation, while flying all over the place and getting paid for it. We're lucky; that's just a dream for most people," he says.
Visit the AOPA Pilot Web page for links to this month's issue, back issues, calendar of events, and information on the Win A Six in '06 Sweepstakes.