Speculation has abounded about when Cirrus Design would offer a Garmin panel in its airplanes. We knew the guessing was about to come to an end when, a few months ago, Editor in Chief Tom Haines received a cryptic call from the Cirrus media relations staff asking when he could come to Duluth to fly an SR22 with “some avionics enhancements.” “When will the G1000 panel be ready to fly?” Haines probed. “Don’t call it a G1000,” was the curt reply. As you can read in “ A New Perspective on Cirrus,” (page 62) the Cirrus Perspective by Garmin is a G1000 as we’ve never seen it before.
You’ve probably seen them on the ramp: those huge, stately behemoths of the business world ( “ Turbine Pilot: Catching the 605,” page 68). If you’re like Editor at Large Tom Horne you’ve always wondered what it would be like to fly an airplane weighing more than 40,000 pounds, as fast as Mach 0.85, and capable of crossing entire continents in half the time it took you to fly your first solo cross-country. In this issue, Horne gives his first impressions of a flight in a Challenger 605, and, guess what—he says that all airplanes behave pretty much the same. It’s just that the 605 has mass, speed, performance, avionics, systems, and luxury to spare. Keeping track of all these features is the main reason for needing a two-pilot crew in this class of airplane. That, and thinking ahead 200 miles. But automation is always there to help out. Horne’s 605 ride was also a first in one special regard: although he once worked in Bombardier’s marketing department, they never let him near a cockpit. “We have people who do that,” was a frequent explanation. That, and the fact that these popular airplanes were virtually never available for employee familiarization flights—they were too busy working as demonstrators.
Mark Strub meant to share the joy and adventure of flight on the summer day in 2004 when he volunteered to give rides in his open-cockpit Stearman biplane. But the Wisconsin pilot made a tragic mistake that cost a passenger her life and put Strub in jail—the first U.S. pilot ever imprisoned for a domestic aircraft accident. Senior Editor Dave Hirschman takes an unflinching look at the low-flying accident and its Kafkaesque aftermath ( “ After the Accident,” page 77). “Mark Strub does his fellow pilots a valuable service by sharing his harsh lessons learned with honesty and candor,” Hirschman says after interviewing Strub, who wore a pair of court-ordered, electronic monitors on his ankle. “If his story convinces other pilots to avoid making the same error, perhaps some good can come from this catastrophe.”
Well-maintained general aviation airplanes are pretty reliable, but well-prepared pilots often bring along basic hand tools, spare parts, and other items, in case Murphy’s on the passenger list and things don’t work out quite as planned. Just what to bring, however, remains a point for debate. Are a few wrenches and screwdrivers enough, or should you be able to rebuild an airplane around a data plate? Senior Editor Paul J. Richfield addresses these and related issues, and tells a few tool tales, in “Wrench Report” on page 103.
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