The Piper Malibu Mirage still looks young and modern even three decades after its debut as the Malibu, then the first in a new generation of Pipers, reports Editor in Chief Tom Haines in “ Piper Mirage: Pressurization Points, ”. “The Mirage is unique among today’s piston singles because it is pressurized—one of only a handful of piston singles ever designed from day one to be pressurized. Pressurization relieves pilot and passengers from needing supplemental oxygen in flight, improving comfort for all—a big selling point for the PA–46 line,” says Haines.
Author Barry Schiff has flown and written about a substantial number of aircraft during his 48-year tenure with AOPA Pilot. “Rarely,” he says, “do I come away from an assignment wanting to buy an airplane like the one about which I had just written.” Cessna’s L–19 Bird Dog (“ A Soldier’s Best Friend, ”) had that kind of effect on him. “Years ago I had logged some time in an L–19 in Hawaii while doing some glider towing, but flying Troy Cobb’s immaculate restoration reminded me about how much I truly enjoy the Bird Dog.” Schiff says that he has already begun to scour the used L–19 market for one that he hopes to eventually call his own.
“Aircraft owners and pilots have a lot riding on the health of the airplanes we fly, but annual inspections, oil analysis, and thorough walkarounds can only tell us so much,” says Senior Editor Dave Hirschman. “Now, medical technology can show us detailed images of failure-prone components deep inside engines and airframes and share that information with maintenance experts via the Internet.” Hirschman watched Bonanza owner and A&P Adrian Eichhorn perform several engine inspections using a medical endoscope that allowed him to diagnose problems long before they became critical (“ Frugal Flier: Will Medicare Cover This? ”). “Watching Adrian was like seeing a radiologist poring over MRIs or X-rays,” Hirschman says. “He was able to glean a great deal of information that wouldn’t have been available through traditional means. As this kind of technology becomes less expensive and more widespread, it’s sure to help A&P mechanics make aircraft safer and more reliable.”
Storms blocked entry to Florida the day before the January U.S. Sport Expo in Sebring, Florida, so Senior Editor Al Marsh and Senior Photographer Mike Fizer thought they might not get to review a light sport aircraft for this issue. Strict rules for display aircraft meant there wouldn’t be time for a flight review during the show. Then the aircraft dealer had an idea. He also sells Jabiru aircraft, and had one in Tampa, well south of the bad weather. Would Marsh and Fizer want to substitute it for the planned aircraft? They did, and the Jabiru arrived in the Sebring area with just two and a half hours before it had to be on its display stand at Sebring in preparation for the show’s opening the next morning (“ Prime Time for the Jabiru, ”). Turbulence interfered with the video shoot; however, the pilot report was completed. Video editor Dan Pixton found a few video scenes where the turbulence let up just long enough to show the aircraft in flight.