The decade-long push for a new generation of light and very light jets is finally coming to fruition. The good news, says AOPA Pilot Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines, is that with modern systems they are easier to fly than any light twin of a decade ago. "Docile low speed flight characteristics, fuel thrifty new engines, new manufacturing techniques, and wondrous new avionics systems provide pilots the opportunity to experience turbine aircraft flying in a way never before possible," explains Haines, who flew the new Cessna Citation Mustang for our story, " Cessna Citation Mustang: Sure Thing," on page 68.
Australia is a beautiful continent with big, blue, un-crowded skies. With low terrain and a relatively small population it should be the world's preeminent flying destination. But aviation in Australia falls far short of the mark. Patrick Mathews, an Australian pilot who is now a resident of the United States, goes home for a surprising look at how general aviation has fared in the land Down Under (see " FAA Funding Debate: A Cautionary Tale," page 103). Aussie pilots fight a continuing uphill battle with rising costs and an increasing and infuriating level of regulation and bureaucracy. "It's not too late [for U.S. pilots] to rally against the changes being proposed if all pilots will realize the seriousness of the situation and act now. Australia is a case study on how bad it could get,"says Mathews.
"I think all of us are a little star struck when it comes to celebrities," says AOPA Pilot Managing Editor Julie Summers Walker. "So interviewing actor Kurt Russell was fun, especially remembering the Disney characters he played when I was a teenager. After I gushed over him a bit, I was able to conduct a normal interview and learn how much he loves to fly and to share his passion with others." (See " AOPA Project Pilot: A Community of Flying," page 108.) The other participants profiled may not be movie stars, but their stories are equally as interesting and all carry the same theme — we love to fly!
"Are you sure you want to go there?" is a common phrase ePublishing Managing Editor Nathan A. Ferguson heard as he made his way around Alaska. "Friendly Alaskans would then laugh and tell me the road directions whether I was headed to an outpost or a big city like Anchorage," he says. "Of course there aren't many roads, making aviation an absolute necessity." While researching the life of journalist Kay J. Kennedy (see " The Kay Kennedy Story," page 127), Ferguson got to see the state in all of its splendor. "I visited the cemetery in Talkeetna where many bush pilots are buried, and I landed a seaplane on a glacier lake on Denali [Mount McKinley]. I can't stop thinking about Alaska."