“It’s an airplane,” Editor in Chief Tom Haines reminded himself whenever he flew the Meridian, which he borrowed from Piper Aircraft for a few weeks this fall ( “ Turbine Pilot: Time Machine,”). “To those of us with thousands of hours flying piston airplanes, moving up to a turbine can be intimidating, but at the end of the day, it’s still an airplane and, from a flight characteristics standpoint, it flies like most every other airplane you’ve flown.” The challenge is managing more sophisticated systems and that’s where good training comes in. As Haines reports in “ Training for the Task,” initial training from a manufacturer-approved company goes a long way toward satisfying the insurance company and helping a transitioning pilot feel confident in his skills.
“The ease of opening AOPA Pilot and reading about an airplane often belies the difficulty it takes to research that article,” says contributor Barry Schiff. “That’s especially true when trying to finagle training from the military in one of its most controversial aircraft, the Bell Boeing V–22 Osprey. After months of effort, the Marine Corps finally turned me down because it was too busy training MV–22 pilots for deployment to Afghanistan. I then focused my tenacity on the U.S. Air Force, which eventually invited me to visit its 71st Special Operations Squadron.” The result is “ Flying Schizophrenic.” Schiff says that officers at Kirtland AFB were willing to tell him how the Osprey will be used by Special Ops—but then he would not be allowed to leave.
Thinking she needed some excitement in her life, North Carolina pilot and journalist MayCay Beeler confesses she had asked the universe to throw her a bone—something to lift her spirits and propel her on a fresh new adventure. Well, you know what they say—“Be careful what you wish for.” Beeler joined pilots from all over the world on the great Cross-Canada International Air Rally ( “ Crazy for Canada,”). This was a journey she never dreamed she’d fly “in a million years,” she says, remembering her early flight training. As a co-host for the syndicated TV show PM Magazine, Beeler learned to fly in the 1980s for an assignment that would change her life. Her first solo aired on TV in an effort to encourage viewers to follow in her footsteps and learn to fly. She went on to fly with Gen. Chuck Yeager, the Voyager crew, and compete in the transcontinental Air Race Classic, as well as set world aviation records—all documented in numerous television features highlighting her passion for flight. Today, she is a flight instructor in Greensboro, North Carolina.
“You remember reading about how examiners are required to test your ability to handle distractions in the cockpit? The reason, I’ve learned, is because of flying with family,” says Associate Editor Ian J. Twombly. “Using the airplane as a tool to load up your family and go somewhere via GA is an intensely satisfying experience, but it’s not without its challenges. To arrive safely, you’ll need to prepare yourself and your family.” Twombly, a commercially rated pilot and CFII, and a first-time dad of now-two-year-old Charlie, takes many trips with his wife and young son, and has learned there’s more to flying than just aviating, navigating, and communicating ( “ Let’s All Go,”).