Get extra lift from AOPA. Start your free membership trial today! Click here


Magic in the air

Senior Editor Dave Hirschman and Chief Photographer Mike Fizer traveled to the ends of the Earth to experience flying in New Zealand and share with readers. “Kudos on the outstanding collection of New Zealand flying articles.

Write to AOPA Pilot

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.

Magic in the air

Senior Editor Dave Hirschman and Chief Photographer Mike Fizer traveled to the ends of the Earth to experience flying in New Zealand and share with readers.

“Kudos on the outstanding collection of New Zealand flying articles. You effectively captured the magic of aviating in such a wonderful country. The only problem with New Zealand is that it’s too bloody far from the U.S. East Coast!”

Douglas H. Smith,
AOPA 263699
Ellicott City, Maryland

As an American AOPA member flying commercially on the South Island of New Zealand, imagine my surprise when I opened the digital edition of May’s magazine to find a picture of the Fiordlands on the cover. Your coverage of the South Island’s variety of general aviation was excellent, and I especially enjoyed the description of the Milford approach as that’s my regular flight: taking passengers between Queenstown and Milford for the day to take the Milford Sound cruise. Mountain flight training is our specialty, with dozens of remote strips, rugged peaks, and valleys within 30 nm. Despite this, most overseas pilots just want to tour the Southern Alps and Fiordlands with an experienced local pilot taking care of the navigation and radio work.

Gareth Allen,
AOPA 6919194
Frankton, Otago, New Zealand

Great coverage

Your May 2012 issue is a classic. I have come to expect a great magazine from AOPA and this issue is spectacular. Your coverage of New Zealand flying is great. I turned a few more pages and saw your coverage of my area of the world, western Washington, including the Museum of Flight where I am a volunteer docent. This edition of AOPA Pilot will be saved for my granddaughters.

Fred Quarnstrom,
AOPA 5262061
Seattle, Washington

As a Seattle-area resident, Museum of Flight member, with an airplane based at Paine Field in Everett, and a number of friends who work at Boeing, I enjoyed reading Tom Haines’ article about aviation-related activities in the Pacific Northwest ( “Aviation’s Northwest Fest”). There are, of course, many more things to do than what was mentioned in the article, but you’d need to dedicate a whole issue to cover them all. When flying to visit the Museum of Flight, most of the time one can simply taxi up to and park at the museum itself. What could be better than to simply step from one’s airplane and up to the front door of the museum? Thanks for mentioning our own little slice of heaven around here.

Peter Duniho,
AOPA 1187247
Kirkland, Washington

Dreaming big

Finally, a great article about “affordable” flying ( “Dream Big”). As a pilot and owner of three under-$20K airplanes (Champ, Breezy, and Pietenpol), I fail to understand how a typical GA pilot today can afford to enjoy the benefits of flight with the prices of most LSA airplanes. In addition to my time in the air, I browse daily and Trade-A-Plane, and continue to be amazed at the number of great buys on the market. Thanks for a timely article in a tough economy.

John Chirtea,
AOPA 1978031
Prime Hook Beach, Delaware

I think you neglected the hard reality of costs of ownership—maintenance, repairs, insurance, and storage. When I retired five years ago, and resumed fun flying under the Light Sport rule, I bought a 1946 Aeronca Chief, anticipating several years of low-cost pancake-and-burger runs. My hopes were dowsed with cold water as the money has flowed out for new lift struts, tires, tailwheel, seats, seat belts, gascolator, altimeter, oil temp gauge, and a firewall-forward overhaul. All this work was done for safety, reliability, and utility. In the future, while not trying to discourage folks, I encourage you to lay out the ongoing costs as part of the cheap airplane reality.

Hunter Heath III,
AOPA 5951681
Indianapolis, Indiana

Thank you for finally writing about the airplanes that we regular folks can afford to buy. You don’t have to pay $120,000 to $150,000 for an airplane. These $20,000 airplanes fly just as well and for a whole lot less money.

Trent Sanders,
AOPA 1482002
La Canada, California


As I was reading Mike Collins’ article “The New Rainmaker,” I was a bit misty-eyed. I learned about 10 Tanker last year after it saved our house. The Tri-County Fire was rapidly swallowing the woods in Grimes, Montgomery, and Waller counties, just south of our home. I was thankful these incredibly talented pilots are up there fighting to keep us safe. The precision with which they use a sledgehammer to make scalpel-like cuts in the fire is amazing to see firsthand. Thanks for a great article and good memories of a bad time.

John S. Kochan,
AOPA 4168344
College Station, Texas

Digital Editions

“As a longtime member of AOPA, I would like to commend you on the new magazine app. It is so much more fun reading my AOPA Pilot mag on my iPad and the ease to navigate through each issue is great. Next year I will opt for the digital-only subscription.”

Tom Gilmore,
AOPA 463789
Stuart, Florida


In your May edition, the article, “Never Again: Easter Morning Disruption,” features artwork that is misleading, and is a mark against our company. The article describes an engine failure of a Cessna P210. The engine that is described as failing is a piston engine, which is a stock engine for this aircraft. However, the artwork shows a picture with a red “X” over a Rolls-Royce logo on the nose of the aircraft for a Rolls-Royce M250 turboprop engine. The last thing we want your readers to believe is Rolls-Royce has anything to do with the events outlined in the story.

Joel P. Reuter,
Rolls-Royce North America
Indianapolis, Indiana

Related Articles