For the last year, AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Thomas A. Horne has spent most of his time seeing AOPA's sweepstakes Piper Cherokee Six through its refurbishment process. "That meant a lot of time flying at 140 knots, down low in the turbulence," he recalls. But there have been noteworthy breaks in the routine. Like when he visited Beech Field in Wichita, and flew Raytheon Aircraft's new Premier IA (see " Making the Grade," page 64). "The IA is the fastest single-pilot business jet in the market. Its 450-knot cruise speed sure beats Six's," Horne says. "Datalink weather is an option in the IA. In the Six, it's standard equipment. Still, I think I could get used to flying 300 knots faster."
Author Mark Phelps' story on oxygen (see " Medically Speaking: Big Gulps," page 99) started percolating with one pilot's comment in an article in the American Bonanza Society's magazine. The writer amended his pre-approach checklist to include taking a snort or two of oxygen as part of his routine — even if the flight did not take him above 8,000 feet. Scott Philiben of Precise Flight in Bend, Oregon, shared with Phelps a number of telling anecdotes he'd collected from customers. "That and some responses from training organizations got me wondering about some of those accidents in which seasoned instrument pilots made inexplicably bad decisions before crashing — or just simply didn't perform what should have been straightforward procedures," says Phelps.
"The Davidsons first invited me to Lee Bottom Flying Field to fly a Piper J-3 Cub," says Julie K. Boatman, AOPA Pilot's technical editor. "The peaceful beauty of the grass strip along the banks of the Ohio made my stay feel like a few days out of time. This haven for classic aircraft shines when the airport hosts its annual event, the Wood, Fabric, & Tailwheels Fly-In." (See " Keeping the Past Flying," page 70.) The parade of antique, unique, and flying memories comes to roost at Lee Bottom each fall for one last get-together before the good weather heads south.
"Late one evening, my younger brother Simon called from Christmas Island, a remote island in the Pacific," relates author Patrick J. Mathews (see " Pacific Rescue," page 87). "He was flying one of three airplanes being ferried from California to Australia. He was piloting the faster Caravan — the other aircraft were Cessna 182s — and was instrumental in reporting the ditching of one of the Cessnas." After the remarkable rescue, Mathews investigated the accident and reported on the ferry pilots. "The heroes are the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard who rescue pilots from the sea, often under impossible odds."