Your articles in the August issue of Pilot, "A Day in the Life of America's Airports" are a wonderful addition. Given the name of the series, there are literally thousands of airports to write about, and, for us readers, the pride of seeing our airport described. Kudos to whoever had this idea - please keep it going!
I really enjoyed the "A Day in the Life of America's Airports" feature in the August issue. It was well written and fascinating to read about operations at different types of airport environments. Even better was the feeling that, as a pilot, I'm a part of it.
I enjoyed reading your piece in the August Pilot, "A Day in the Life of America's Airports: Vital Signs." I have flown into Friday Harbor, and expect to make the trip again this next week from my home base in Traverse City, Michigan. Your slant on the issue of noise abatement is right on. People move in next to an airport, and wonder, "What's that noise?"
Thanks for your story about the airport at Friday Harbor in the beautiful San Juan Islands of Washington. Having flown into Friday Harbor Airport some years ago, I enjoyed your story about the field. I'm sorry to hear about the "new neighbor" problems. It seems that no airport is safe from the complainers. Back in the late 1970s, when we first moved to the Seattle area, I wanted to buy a home on Crest Airpark, at Kent, Washington. However, my wife "didn't want to live on an airport." We finally found a house that we both liked; unfortunately, it was just west of the flight path for SEATAC's long runway. The noise level was several times worse than anything one could hear at Crest, and interrupted many conversations over the years. We stayed there 17 years, and never once complained about the noise. I felt, then, and still do that newcomers have no right to complain if the airport was there first.
I hope that Friday Harbor can find a way to placate the neighbors and continue operations. I cringe every time I hear of another airport closure. Too many people don't realize or understand the value of having a local airport. The medical-emergency flights alone are reason enough to keep the field operating.
Awesome! The feature article was a great idea. You folks should maybe think about fashioning some form of this idea on a more regular basis. After all it is what GA is all about.
I enjoyed your article, "A Day in the Life of America's Airports: Low-Country High." I've spent a lot of time passing through Charleston. I first went there flying Lear 35s, then as a C-17 pilot, and now flying civilian jets. So, obviously I do have a correction for you...sorry. The C-17 Mighty Moose (ever hear it get fueled while looking at it nose on?) was originally a McDonnell Douglas beast. When Boeing bought MD, it became a Boeing C-17 including a Boeing placard. I flew them for more than five years and can only remember seeing one MD placard.
I've just read " Operation Key Lime Pie" (August Pilot) and enjoyed it a lot. Now I don't feel insane to take my Saratoga and fly more than one hour for a delicious shrimp or marlin burrito at Puerto Vallarta airport, in Mexico. Or ask my brother to take his King Air, to save time (10 minutes), and both of us go for them. Tacon de Marlin is located across the street from the airport. You will enjoy the most tasteful meal of your life. The bay view in the descent to Puerto Vallarta is awesome; ask the controller if you can fly around the bay and you will see gray whales (in winter) and giant rays. But nothing compares to the shrimp burrito. It pays in abundance.
I have had the privilege to be associated with a very active flying club in the Chicago area, the Sunday Morning Breakfast Club (SMBC). This club has been active since the early 1970s and, as the name implies, we fly to breakfast each and every Sunday morning. The club usually puts up more than a dozen airplanes on an average day, and on some special destinations, we have had 25 aircraft and up to 60 attend. We feel we have sampled more than our collective shares of Key Lime pies. And only one has floated to the surface as the very best. I am referring to Pepe's Cafe. As you can see from the photo, it's not too much to look at, but it's the oldest restaurant in Key West. The Key Lime pie is to die for, and this is not just my opinion, but that of years of SMBC trial and error by many members. The pie is so light and fluffy, it's served in a bowl.
AOPA Pilot is always a good publication, but the magical set of letters and numbers - "P-51D" - made it a supreme publication (" P-51D Mustang: Lone Ranger," August Pilot). I read the article, re-read certain parts of it, and then watched the online video. The other 300-plus aircraft that author Barry Schiff has piloted cannot hold up to flying a Mustang. In my book, the P-51 will always be the cream of the crop.
I have enjoyed Barry Schiff's columns for years; I feel compelled to thank him for taking me along on his Mustang solo. The only other account of a first flight experience I can recall enjoying so much had my hands sweating when I read the tale. I had a similar reaction to Schiff's advancing the throttle on that Merlin beast for the first time alone. Wow, every pilot's fantasy.
The Turbine Duke is pretty incredible and it was nice to see a Duke review (" Turbine Pilot: Ruler of Performance," August Pilot). The author failed to mention turbine shortcomings such as lack of range, insurance rates equal to or higher than a Beechcraft King Air 200, and, the biggest one, you could buy a King Air for what you would have in your Duke. I find it hard to live with the "bimbo" comment. Calling the Duke a bimbo is like calling Grace Kelly a blond floozy.
Your article on the turbine Duke shows what good engines can do for aviation. I always felt the Duke was a beautiful airframe hindered by an under-engineered engine/prop/cowl combination. I believe the reason for the Duke's small-diameter propellers was not for ground clearance reasons but was necessitated by the high rpms required to obtain 380 horsepower from its direct-drive engines. Since it uses the same engines installed on the Beechcraft Baron 56TC, and it shares the same wing and main landing gear as the Baron line, the ground clearance issue was probably just incidental.
I read with disgust your misrepresentation of the Lycoming-powered Beech Duke. I especially thought AOPA served its members owning a Duke poorly by calling it a bimbo. The Duke is a class airplane. It does not burn 50 gallons per hour, it burns 38 to 40 gph in cruise at normal power settings. It is no heavier at the controls than my previous Bonanza. It is not poor in climb as I routinely get better the 1,000 fpm even in the summer. It does not require gobs of runway. Compared to other GA airplanes in its class, the Duke is second to none.
Peter A. Bedell writes: The bimbo comment may have been a little harsh, but it doesn't mean that the Duke lacks any warts. Duke owners that I know of are very aware of the airplane's reputation and limitations. The Royal Turbine is one of very few airplanes I've tested over the years that impressed me in many categories. Despite that impression, I pointed out a number of gripes about the converted airplane. So while my word choice may have been harsh, I feel the stock Duke is portrayed accurately. It's a great airplane that suffers from an under-engineered engine/prop/nacelle combination. The conversion to turbines eliminates its main flaw. I'd buy one in a second if I had the money.
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