Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Rocky Mountain High: The Aviat Husky
With a new Garmin G600 panel, Aviat re-creates the Husky backcountry classic with modern comforts and capabilities
Husky A-1C in Southern California
4:19 a.m. That’s what the clock read as I stared at it for the fifth time in an hour. I was trying to sleep and it just wasn’t working. The hours dragged by in my tiny motel room in Afton, Wyo., across the two-lane highway from the Aviat factory where they build Pitts and Husky aircraft. Outside my window, I saw little snowflakes floating off the roof every now and then, dislodged by early risers running to their freezing cars to get the engines warmed up. The rest of the country was well into the lush unfolding of spring, but Afton hadn’t received the memo yet and was still clenched in the fists of a relentless winter. Through gauze-thin curtains, I could see the brilliantly clear Wyoming night.
I was here to see the newest Husky A-1C, with its Garmin G600 glass panel, 200 hp engine and other fineries. I would fly the plane back home to California, across hundreds of miles of Rocky Mountains, through desolate Nevada deserts and into the hubbub of Southern California’s crowded airspace. It was to be a small adventure—one that I had eagerly agreed to when I found out I’d be doing it with an aviator friend, Robert Stewart, territory manager for USAERO, an authorized Husky distributor for the Southwestern United States.
We had been in Afton for a few days—guests of Stu Horn, president of Aviat Aircraft, who had given us open access to his 72,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and its cadre of skilled workers. It was a look deep inside the workings of this unique operation, and one I took full advantage of as I learned how these incredible aircraft are born.
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