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Methodical Risk TakerMethodical Risk Taker

I just finished reading the article about Chuck Aaron in the August 2011 issue of AOPA Pilot (“Methodical Risk Taker”). Fascinating stuff! I’m a Blackhawk instructor pilot in the U.S.

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We welcome your comments. Address letters to: Editor, AOPA Pilot, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland 21701. Send e-mail to [email protected]. Please include your full name, address, and AOPA number on all correspondence, including e-mail. Letters will be edited for length and style.

I just finished reading the article about Chuck Aaron in the August 2011 issue of AOPA Pilot (“ Methodical Risk Taker”). Fascinating stuff! I’m a Blackhawk instructor pilot in the U.S. Army, and I fly anything I can, whenever I get the chance. I haven’t done any aerobatics, but I would love to learn. I’ve watched a few videos of Aaron doing aerobatics in the Bo105. Very impressive, to say the least. The fact that he’s the only pilot ever to obtain FAA approval to perform low-level aerobatic demonstrations in helicopters speaks volumes about his expertise. I just wanted to let Dave Hirschman know how much I enjoyed his article. Oh, and if he speaks to Mr. Aaron, please let him know that if he does decide to pass on his hard-won aerobatic helicopter knowledge to other aspiring performers, I’d be more than happy to be his apprentice!

Eric Burns, AOPA 6335340
Army Post Office, AE

First, as a career Army Cobra pilot, I can tell you that the Cobra does not have a rigid rotor system. It, like all Bell two-blade systems that I know of, has a semi-rigid rotor system. We rolled them now and then in Vietnam and had them on their backs as we rolled in on targets now and then as well. Not a normal maneuver, but when we got overzealous we found ourselves in that position.

Second, as a member of both the 1986 and 1989 U.S. Precision Helicopter Teams, I’ve witnessed the German Army pilots flying their Bo105s in freestyle aerobatic competition. Colonel Zimmerman had always been the one to beat, but one of his students beat him in the 1986 competition in England. He started what looked to be a loop. Stopped at the top and, while inverted, did a 360-degree pedal turn, and then flew out of the maneuver.
As far as I know, the German Army pilots did all their flying in unmodified- issue helicopters. They were incredible to watch.

I’ve seen the Red Bull flight demo and it’s a good show. Any helicopter pilot will be in awe while watching the aerobatic ability of the Bo105!

John Loftice , AOPA 797892
Verona, Kentucky

When there was one

I just finished reading Ian J. Twombly’s article on the first Cherokee (“ When There Was One,” August 2011 AOPA Pilot). I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed it. I soloed in a Cessna 150, but got my license in a Cherokee 140. A few years of renting went by and I had an opportunity to purchase a one-third share of a 1976 Warrior, which is where I am now and will probably stay. I will freely admit to lusting after faster, more capable—or in the case of the Waco in a previous article in the magazine—just plain neater. But I love my Warrior. It is everything Twombly described it as. I am sure it will be the last airplane I own—the cost of flying, along with the regulation, is fast bringing my time as an active pilot to a close—but the Warrior is indeed a great airplane. I still can’t help envying my friends and their Bonanzas though.

Jeff Boyd, AOPA 1057012
Robinson, Illinois

I enjoyed Ian Twombly’s piece on the first production PA–28. It’s not the sort of airplane over which an owner will sweat market value. Given the obvious level of love and effort by the restorer, the value in this machine is every bit as much emotional as pecuniary and sure stays tied to the restoring owner. Kudos to Joseph Warren, the owner, and Twombly for a really fun and nostalgic piece.

Chris Hudson
Charlotte, North Carolina

Epic Flights: 88 magical aerial miles

Articles like Dave Hirschman’s “ Epic Flight: 88 Magical Aerial Miles” (August 2011 AOPA Pilot) kept me dreaming of the day I would become a pilot and experience the magic of flying. I was born in a simple but lovely family in Brazil, and it was hard to see how I would make my dream come true. I got a place in a public (and free) university in Brazil and through there I had the chance to get closer to this wonderful world of aviation and had great opportunities such as helping to build the airplane that got some world records recently.

I finally had the chance to live moments like the ones Hirschman described when I flew a Cessna 172 from Seattle to Oshkosh and back with my friend after having our certificates for a few months. And now with the help of an amazing family (that I met while working in a ski resort close to Seattle during my summer vacations) and some sponsors, I’m preparing to fly to Alaska and then all the way to Brazil in this same airplane. It will take more than 110 hours and more than a month of traveling. I have a blog, but it’s still in Portuguese (Google translator doesn’t work quite well) with plans to be written in English as well, and an album. It would be an honor to have members visit there.

Gustavo Junqueira, AOPA 6925492

Having flown our Cessna 182 from Fort Collins, Colorado, to Scottsdale and Chandler, Arizona, many times, my wife and I have flown over the section of the Colorado River Dave Hirschman discusses in his article. We have often followed the Colorado River from about Gypsum to beyond the Grand Canyon National Park (in the days when flight over the Grand Canyon was less restrictive), even flying below the rim at times (not necessarily a wise option).

Sometimes, however, trying to follow the river can be difficult or even dangerous. On one January flight from Scottsdale to Fort Collins, when the weather was forecast to be clear, we ran into snowstorms in Utah. We tried to follow the river, but with snow on the ground and in the air, it became impossible. Although instrument rated and current, we were on a VFR flight plan. We had to climb in the clouds (we knew where the mountains were) and shortly flew into the clear. Even when we got to Grand Junction, we had a difficult time finding the airport because of the lack of contrast on the ground. There were clouds ahead, so we stopped in Grand Junction until the clouds cleared. Thanks for the great article.

Les Fraley, AOPA 649324
Fort Collins, Colorado

As a writer and former copy editor I am most pleased at Dave Hirschman’s excellent writing for AOPA Pilot. I noted even more so that sentiment I have about him upon reading the first paragraph in his beautiful article “88 Magical Aerial Miles.” Wow.

I was at the Long Beach, California, airport admiring the Wacos there during AOPA Summit 2010, and, that Waco in particular, I now understand was one of those present. One of those I was desiring, well, really drooling over, at the vision of experiencing the pleasure of owning it.

Hirschman’s article was indeed exceedingly well done, as most of his always are, and I thank him for that. Much of AOPA Pilot has in the past been uninteresting for me, but that observation is rapidly changing; apparently under the leadership of Craig Fuller and the editorial staff there are wonderful changes being made.

Erik Fulkerson, AOPA 3675310
Fullerton, California

Hurry up and slow down

Thomas B. Haines’ recent column “ Waypoints: Hurry Up and Slow Down” (August 2011 AOPA Pilot) referred to the useful recitation of GUMPS even as he landed a fixed-gear Cessna. It reminded me that a while ago Bruce Landsberg solicited ideas to reduce the gear-up landings. I suggested that Cessna include on its checklists—and even have a toggle for—a gear up/down action even though it didn’t really do anything. And that every primary student learn it so it stays fixed in habit when moving to a retractable-gear airplane. After all, we learned about fuel pumps, complex airplanes, high-performance airplanes, et cetera, that we were not yet flying. So it’s not so weird to memorize an action that is not yet critical, but may well be in the future.

Cornelia Sheahan, AOPA 4871200
Alexandria, Virginia

I really enjoyed reading Tom Haines’s recent article “Hurry Up and Slow Down.” If more pilots could apply this key lesson, I think many problems and difficulties could be avoided. His recognition of managing a normal workload is right on.

I am reminded of a critical teaching strategy from my 10-plus years of flying and instructing F–16s and T–38s for the U.S. Air Force. A common and similar technique that we always referred to was called “go slower to go faster.” As was always the case just about every time we would go air-refuel, a younger, or more inexperienced guy would have trouble perfecting this fine art of high-speed precision. He would have trouble connecting to the boom, which on the F–16 connects to some mysterious unseen spot about 10 feet behind your head.  Aligning sometimes by sheer luck, and often with a few choice words, you could stabilize below the big tanker and hope that you were smooth enough to receive the rewarding thump of the boomer sticking the boom into your jet and topping off the tanks. Now, add in weather, night, turbulence, a full weapons load, and see what happens. Fun.

Often even experienced guys would have trouble if the visual cues just weren’t working for them that day.  It wouldn’t take much for a young guy to lose his cool, and on his second or third attempt lose focus and rush the approach. This happened to all of us. Yet as if Obi-Wan himself were there speaking to you, it was possible to hear your sage instructor saying go slower to go faster in the brief. You did it, and it worked.

There were many things in flying fighters that we would use the go slower to go faster tactic. From checking all switches before a weapons delivery to the simple task of setting up for an approach. Taking your time (within reason) equated to thinking ahead a little more, and in the long run it helped reduce the time needed to get the in-flight task done. Thanks for bringing this technique to the public.

Nate “Buster” Jaros, AOPA 6742621
Las Vegas, Nevada

We welcome your comments. Address letters to: Editor, AOPA Pilot, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland 21701. Send email to [email protected]. Please include your full name, address, and AOPA number. Letters to the Editor may be edited for length and style before publication.

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