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“Like many pilots, I’ve often thought about what it would be like to build an airplane,” says Associate Editor Ian J. Twombly.

“Like many pilots, I’ve often thought about what it would be like to build an airplane,” says Associate Editor Ian J. Twombly. “I struggle with simply changing light bulbs, so I accept my limitations and leave it to the experts. But Claudius Klimt, co-owner of the AirCam profiled in my story, went for it and made his dream a reality. Luckily he met Carlo Cilliers, an expert at techniques most of us don’t even know exist. The pair finished a great airplane and they now do great things with it. Far from being a hangar queen for fair-weather fliers, this AirCam is flown year-round, thanks to a heated motorcycle suit for the winter. Klimt says the two owners have flown to Oshkosh numerous times, and I’ll bet they’ve never gone much above 1,000 feet. What a way to fly.” Read Twombly’s Aircam profile Dream Machine.”

For general aviation, the environment represents a mash-up of issues. It seems that the future of leaded avgas, rising public concerns about noise and air pollution, reducing costs through flying lean of peak, new powerplant technology, and the overall rising cost of aviation all intersect in a discussion about the environment. To provide some perspective and to gauge what the future might bring, we put our team of experienced aviation editors to work on the subject, says Editor in Chief Tom Haines. Look for the result in our GA and the Environment special report. “The report is not at all the end of the discussion,” says Haines, a lean of peak proponent, “but only the beginning. We look forward to your thoughts and comments.”

Long before the United States discovered ultralight flying, Europe was the home of what were called microlights.And western Europeans made an industry specializing in purely recreational flying—to wit, paragliding and motorized parachutes—before those sports really took hold in America. “More recently, Europe has taken the lead in designing and building light sport aircraft,” says Editor at Large Tom Horne (who has logged more than a few hours in ultralights). “The emphasis on diesel power is on the rise, and so is the green movement, as European aircraft and engine manufacturers are being held to strict new eco-friendly emissions standards.” Will the environmental trends in Europe make their way across the Atlantic? For a look at some of the new designs and issues spurred on by green regulations, see Horne’s GA and the Environment: Euro-vironment story.

Pilots tend to approach most subjects in a data-driven, analytical, engineering-minded way—so why is it that the lean-of-peak topic stirs so much emotion in us? (See Frugal Flier: So Wrong for So Long.”) A dispassionate look at 10 years and hundreds of thousands of flight hours of actual LOP operating experience should settle the debate once and for all, says Senior Editor Dave Hirschman. “Modern aircraft engines with precise fuel/air metering systems and graphic engine monitors can safely be flown LOP, and the benefits go far beyond fuel savings,” he says. Hirschman finds out what the engine overhaulers say about the things they see with their own eyes when they look inside engines that have been operated LOP for extensive periods.

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