“The Fiftieth Anniversary Edition Baron G58 has a strikingly modern paint job that’s almost Batman-like in the upper nose section of the airplane,” says Pete Bedell, author of “ The Baron Turns 50.” But the modern touches are balanced with a prominent nod to the past, evidenced by the huge Beechcraft shield logo painted on the tail. That logo, which has all but disappeared in the past few decades, has reemerged dramatically in recognition of the Baron’s golden anniversary. The exterior design is symbolic of the Baron’s 50-year legacy—classic Beechcraft performance, build quality, and crisp handling married with modern avionics, weather-avoidance equipment, and a gorgeous interior. Bedell is a former technical editor for AOPA Pilot. He is a pilot for a major airline and co-owner of a Beechcraft Baron D55 and a Cessna 172M.
Tim McAdams has been a certificated flight instructor in helicopters for more than 28 years and has more than 10,000 hours of flight time. He has known Robinson Helicopter founder Frank Robinson for more than 20 years. “During that time I have come to know him as one of the most brilliant engineers and businessmen in the rotorcraft industry. There is no question he has had an enormous impact on the light civilian helicopter industry,” says McAdams, author of “ Robinson R66: Triple Crown.” Robinson has capitalized on his early idea for a civilian helicopter and—from the R22, the R44, and now the R66—the innovator has three successes in his house. “He’s hit a third bull’s-eye,” says McAdams. With an ATP in both fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, McAdams has flown a variety of missions including corporate, EMS, ENG, and flight instruction, and is the director of business development for SKY Helicopters in Dallas.
How many airplanes will still be around—and flying in significant quantities—on the occasion of their seventy-fifth anniversary? While Beechcraft’s Baron almost certainly will be, the Douglas DC–3 has already achieved that milestone—an accomplishment made even more significant by the fact that the last one rolled off the production line in 1947, notes Technical Editor Mike Collins, author of “A Birthday to Celebrate.” Thirty of the pioneering twin-engine taildraggers gathered at Whiteside County Airport in Rock Falls, Illinois, in July for a reunion dubbed “ The Last Time.” Collins, an instrument-rated private pilot, says he believes this wasn’t really “the last time”—there will still be DC–3s flying at the model’s centennial in 2035.
“The loss of a Piper Seneca over the hills of West Virginia, in January 2009, with six people on board has to rank as one of the worst single aircraft accidents in recent memory,” says AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg. Because of poor decision making, this accident is worthy of further study—which Landsberg summarizes in “ Safety Pilot Landmark Accident: Overloaded, Unbalanced, Unable.” The Air Safety Institute (ASI) offers a full accident re-creation online. ASI also offers “Real Pilot Stories” online with accompanying accident analysis.