“What pilot doesn’t want to fly fast?” asks Associate Editor Ian J. Twombly. “Sure some Piper Cub owners may say they enjoy low and slow, but I’ll bet they would accept 10 knots more.” With the philosophy that speed is king, Mooney introduced its Acclaim Type S last fall to take the reins as piston speed champion. Twombly flew the aircraft for his report, “ Mooney Acclaim Type S: A Piston Rocket,” page 56. “I knew the airplane would be fast,” says Twombly. “But what really surprised me was how well it flew throughout the entire envelope. This is no one-trick pony.” Twombly says not to count the little company from Kerrville, Texas, out. “At Oshkosh it announced an engineering partnership with Rolls-Royce for the development of a new turboprop. Now that would be a ride.” Twombly holds a commercial certificate in single-engine land and sea and multiengine land airplanes with a CFI rating.
As an enthusiastic world traveler, pilot, and author, Patrick Mathews has floated down some of the world’s great waterways including the Nile, Mekong, and Yang-tse rivers. His recent trip flying along the Colorado River is an adventure, he says, that is viable for most U.S pilots ( “ Postcards: Soar Like an Eagle,” page 76). “Not only will venturing pilots be dazzled by the wondrous diversity of the West, challenge their planning, navigation, and flying capabilities, but they will also bear witness from aloft to the current, precarious state of the nation’s water supply,” says Mathews. The owner of an F33 Beechcraft Bonanza, Mathews is an Australian who has resided in the United States for the past 30 years, working in advertising and consumer magazine publishing.
“While I remained sans-camera at the births of my children (partially because of threats from my wife), I can’t help but to draw a few comparisons to photographing the birth of AOPA’s 2008 Sweepstakes Archer,” says AOPA Pilot Photographer Chris Rose ( “ Get Your Glass Sweepstakes: A Panel Comes Alive,” page 90). “First, it’s messy—wires, tools, old parts, and new parts—did I mention lots of wires? Mix in sweat, blood (from scraped knuckles), swearing, and a few tears, and, well, you get the picture. But with challenge comes reward, and this year’s sweeps winner will be rewarded in a big way,” he says. “Photographing this aircraft over the past several months has given me a front-row seat to the birth of what may be the finest Archer in the skies. Pass out the cigars!” Rose is a frequent contributor to both AOPA Pilot and AOPA Flight Training magazines, and has been with AOPA since 1993.
“We pilots are sometimes guilty of regarding passengers as little more than weight-and-balance problems,” says AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman ( “ You Raise Me Up,” page 96). “But one rider showed me a real-life example of courage, devotion, and steadfastness that I’ll never forget. And our flight in a World War II-era Stinson L-5 Sentinel gave new purpose to the utilitarian airplane’s original mission of relieving the suffering of wounded soldiers,” he says. “Pilots can’t claim a mono-poly on the right stuff. Sometimes, the most stirring examples of those rare character traits can be found in our passengers.” Hirschman is an ATP/CFII with more than 5,000 flying hours, mostly in tailwheel and aerobatic aircraft. He joined AOPA from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where he won AOPA’s Max Karant award for excellence in general aviation journalism.