Most of us refer to airplanes as “time machines” because of how quickly they whisk us from one place to another. To contributor Barry Schiff, however, older aircraft are more accurately described as time machines because of how they transport us to another time, a bygone era in which can be experienced the heritage and pioneering spirit of aviation. “Flying the Ford Tri-Motor,” says Schiff, “helps one to appreciate the hardship and challenges faced by airline pilots of the pre-DC–3 era.” (See “ Tin Goose”.) “These were the days before autopilots, anti-ice systems, satellite navigation, moving-map displays, and other systems that today are taken for granted.” He reports that flying the lovable Ford is physically demanding and forced pilots to fly through whatever weather was encountered along the way. “It wasn’t easy for passengers, either,” he says. “They had to endure whatever came along.”
Based on some policies out of Washington, D.C., it’s easy to assume that Congress is out of touch with real issues that affect everyday Americans. Fortunately, reminds Editor in Chief Tom Haines, there are some in Congress who truly do understand the issues and aren’t afraid to take a stand. Haines recently interviewed Jerry Costello, the chairman of the House aviation subcommittee, and one of aviation’s strongest allies in Congress (see “ Exclusive Interview: General Aviation’s Watchdog in Congress”). “I was impressed by how well-spoken he is on the important issues. He has gone against his party’s lines on important issues, including the fight against user fees. We need more people under the dome like Costello.”
“What Expedition Aircraft is trying to do with the E350 is really intriguing,” says Associate Editor Ian J. Twombly. “Very few airplanes can be considered truly versatile, but I think the E350 goes a long way to properly living up to that promise. It has reasonable speed, but great load-hauling capability and short-field performance.” Twombly’s report on Expedition Aircraft’s ramp-worthy utility machine, “ You Can Dress It Up and Take It Out,” begins. “Like a great actress who has some singing chops, this aircraft could be the new crossover,” he says. Twombly holds a commercial certificate with multiple ratings and a CFI and CFII.
Have you ever flown near power lines—on purpose? Associate Editor Jill W. Tallman did just that for her report on how Oklahoma pilots Mark and Stephanie Schledorn patrol miles of high-voltage lines in a Cessna 172 (“ GA Serves America: Guarding the Grid,”). “Flying with Stephanie, I never felt uneasy, even though I’ve never done anything like that before,” Tallman, a 500-hour instrument-rated private pilot, says. “As pilots we’re taught from day one to stay away from ground obstructions, and with good reason, but the Schledorns know what they’re doing. It was actually scarier to hear the wires humming while I was standing nearby shooting video.” The Schledorns operate out of Muskogee’s Davis Field (MKO), with the help of their right-hand man, Tyler Evans. “Tyler is like a family member,” says Tallman. “They’re mentoring him because Mark had an aviation mentor. They believe in promoting general aviation in every way possible.”