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Every pilot who sticks with it long enough encounters those rare moments when all of flying’s myriad variables seem to align. A favorite airplane, a stunning location, perfect weather, and talented friends come together to create unique and unforgettable flying experiences ( “Epic Flights: Coastal Maine in Autumn,”).

Every pilot who sticks with it long enough encounters those rare moments when all of flying’s myriad variables seem to align. A favorite airplane, a stunning location, perfect weather, and talented friends come together to create unique and unforgettable flying experiences ( “ Epic Flights: Coastal Maine in Autumn,”). “An autumn evening flight around Maine’s Mount Desert Island in a Waco biplane was one of those times that surpass one’s imagination in terms of how great flying can be,” says Senior Editor Dave Hirschman. “We all know aviation is a well-understood science—but flights like this one are a reminder that there’s a little magic involved, too.” Photographer Chris Rose counts this photo shoot as one of the favorites in his career, which he discusses along with AOPA photographers Mike Fizer and Mike Collins in “Great Shot,”.


The “barefoot bandit” is a teenager from northwest Washington who is the suspect in a lengthy list of burglaries, stolen autos, and heisted boats—as well as the theft of five airplanes. His exploits attracted significant notoriety, including a Facebook page with some 20,000 fans, before he was arrested in the Bahamas in July. Colton Harris-Moore, who is not known to have received any formal flight training, pretty much destroyed three of the airplanes he stole—in some cases he was lucky to walk away from the crash. Technical Editor Mike Collins wondered how these thefts impacted the airplanes’ owners, and what they might have done to thwart the thefts. He shares his findings in “ Could it Happen to You?”.


Senior Editor Al Marsh and Chief Photographer Mike Fizer covered 200 miles and three states along the Gulf of Mexico to report on the role played by GA during the BP oil spill this summer ( “ Above the Spill,”). Based at Gulfport, Mississippi, they traveled to Houma, Louisiana, to talk with Douglas DC–3 pilots and east to Mobile, Alabama, to visit a command center. At one point there were 750 or more personnel in that Mobile office building, obtained by BP for use by multiple government agencies.Workers wore colored vests to differentiate the roles they played. Signs on the wall pleaded with the staff to frequent one of four BP stations near the command center, part of a nationwide public relations campaign mounted by BP to counter public sentiment. Aerial photos were taken above Half Moon Island three miles off the Mississippi shore, in Louisiana.


AOPA Live is a highlight of AOPA Aviation Summit, which takes place this month in Long Beach, California. AOPA Live features videos produced by AOPA staffers including producer/director Warren Morningstar and AOPA Pilot editors. From live interviews to artfully produced action and technique videos, AOPA Live is the association’s newest and increasingly important media-messaging tool. View the vast array of videos online and tune in to AOPA Live during Summit November 11 through 13. Editor in Chief Tom Haines tells the story of AOPA Live in “ Responding to a Demand,”.

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