Editor at Large Tom Horne got a taste of the test-pilot life when he went to Diamond’s Canadian factory to fly the company’s new D-JET ( “ Turbine Pilot: Dawn of the D-JET”). Because the airplane is in the pre-production prototype stage, only a few test pilots had been flying it as of early August 2009—when Horne made the voyage. “The final product should be comfortable, all right,” he said. “But if you’re wearing a parachute, a helmet, and an oxygen mask, with no air conditioning on a 90-degree Fahrenheit day, then the prototype D-JET front office is for the hard-core only,” he says. But with altitude, the cabin cooled enough for Horne to report higher-than-advertised cruise speeds, and explore the D-JET’s normal operating envelope. Just don’t go looking for the pitot-static test boom on the D-JET’s nose: In the name of aesthetics, it’s been digitally removed from the air-to-air photography created by senior photographer Mike Fizer.
When the National Biplane Association announced that the twenty-third Biplane Expo would be its last, Technical Editor Mike Collins began planning a trip to Bartlesville, Oklahoma. “I’ve heard so many good things about that event over the years,” said Collins, who is passionate about vintage aircraft and radial engines. “When I learned this was going to be the last one, I knew I had to go.” Other biplane aficionados shared that thought ( “ The Grand Finale”). The Tulsa Regional Fly-In, also held in Bartlesville, continues in 2010; runway resurfacing forced cancellation of the 2009 event.
“I’ll be the first to admit that aircraft insurance is not the most exciting subject in the world,” says Associate Editor Ian J. Twombly. “But it’s a complex topic that all pilots need to fully understand, be they owners or a renters.” Twombly tackles the cloaked world of insurance in his story “ The Ultimate Safety Net.” “Although most of us know what a premium and a deductible are, topics such as subrogation and market blocking are less understood but no less important. To get the most of your insurance you need to be an educated consumer.” Twombly is a CFII and former part-owner of a Cessna 172.
Aviation draws some of the best and brightest among our young people. Take the two teenagers who met up to fly cross-country to EAA AirVenture after being virtual friends for four years ( “ Let’s Go Flying: Cyber Pilots Take Flight”). Sherry Lewis thought her son’s trip across the country to fly with a friend he’d never met in person would make a good story—and she was right. “Sherry e-mailed us about her son, Randy, and I interviewed them by telephone, before he made the trip out West,” says Associate Editor Jill W. Tallman. “When I initially interviewed Randy and his mom by telephone, I couldn’t help but think of my own 17-year-old daughter,” says Tallman. “Would I let her fly across the country in a 152, let alone with someone I didn’t know?” Lewis and Kendall O’Brien made it to AirVenture, and they sat down with Tallman amid the frenetic activity of the world’s biggest airshow to talk about their flight. “Sherry didn’t seem to have any qualms about her son’s plans,” says Tallman. “Even Randy was a little surprised that she was OK with it.” When Tallman met the two young men at EAA AirVenture, she realized why. “These guys are bright and mature. They’d been flying together online for four years; they knew what to do.”