From the Best Laid Plans Department, Editor in Chief Tom Haines reports that the Piper Matrix ( “Graduate Tool,” page 60) flies just fine in instrument conditions. After speed and handling checks and a photo mission, Haines was supposed to fly the Matrix from Vero Beach, Florida, to Tallahassee last December and then hitch a ride on a Seneca to Griffin, Georgia, to check on our 2007 Catch a Cardinal project. Nagging zero-zero conditions at Tallahassee forced a change of plans. Instead, Haines made a Matrix flight from Vero Beach to Orlando in the soup to catch an airline flight to Atlanta. “The Matrix proved easy to reconfigure to whatever our destination might be—helped by the excellent situational awareness through the Avidyne panel, datalink weather, and helpful autopilot—a victory for GA,” he says.
AOPA Pilot Senior Photographer Mike Fizer developed a new method for creating digital black and white portraits when he photographed World War II pilots for Senior Editor Al Marsh’s article, “Gallery of Legends,” page 70. Fizer lightened each portrait for a “high key” effect during processing. Getting the shots was a team effort, with Marsh interviewing the subject during the shoot. Most of the legends are now in their 80s so Marsh turned his attention on them rather than the air show at Columbus, Ohio, or the 80 North American P-51 Mustangs that either flew or were on display for the event.
This month features an expanded segment devoted to turbine flying— “Turbine Pilot” (page 85). “The past few years’ delivery numbers prove it: turbine aircraft deliveries are surging,” says Thomas A. Horne. “With the increased representation of new very light jet designs, it’s clear that turbine power will become more common among the general aviation fleet.” To address the interests of old salts and step-up pilots alike, “Turbine Pilot” will feature articles dealing with the operational aspects of turbine flying, news, and personality profiles. Horne is an ATP, 4,300 total hours with 250 hours flying turboprop- and turbofan-powered airplanes.
New AOPA Pilot Associate Editor Ian J. Twombly will spearhead the 2008 sweepstakes project (see “Get Your Glass Sweepstakes: You Say You Want a Revolution,” page 79). “It was an honor to be chosen to put the sweepstakes airplane through its paces this year,” says Twombly. “I’m excited to take the project from beginning to end and learn the systems and the issues involved with installing such a new technology before getting in the cockpit and learning the button pushing. The 1976 Piper Archer II is a great platform—stable, familiar, and representative of the larger GA fleet—that I think members are going to be as excited as I am to see the finished product.”