It’s an issue practically all of us must address at one time or another. Virtually every pilot—student, private, commercial or ATP—dreams of owning an airplane.
In most cases, the first question a pilot must answer is the obvious one: How much money are you willing to spend on an airplane? In the majority of cases, this will be a finite number that will make the selection process easier. In others, a prospective buyer may be willing to spend as much as he or she needs to buy the airplane he or she wants. One way or another, a smart purchase, like a small fight, begins with gathering all the important information.
This Oshkosh winner is one of the all-time great flying SUVs!
Folks who live in Seattle, Wash., tell strangers about how bad the weather is; it’s a mantra for them. The message is almost subliminal—it’s a gloomy place, the sun never shines, it’s always raining… For some reason, they don’t want the rest of us up there. But the weather in Seattle actually is different from the message. In reality, the climate is mild, the landscape beautifully green, and for Randy Kersten, it’s one of best places on the planet to own an airplane.
A birthday celebration for the airplane that invented the concept of the pressurized cabin-class single
You start to feel your age a little when you can clearly remember the introduction of an airplane that’s now 21 years old. The new model party for the 1984 Piper Malibu was a major event in Vero Beach, Fla. It was, after all, the first all-new general-aviation airplane in at least a decade.
I have a good friend in the music business who has always shown an interest in flying. He seems to have plenty of time, drives a two-year-old Volvo wagon, owns a home in Long Beach, Calif., and has inquired several times about the cost of learning to fly. He’s not intimidated by the price of lessons, but he isn’t enthusiastic about having to rent someone else’s airplane once he’s rated.
The largest piston-engine maker to introduce diesel & other designs
In a long-awaited move, Lycoming general manager Ian Walsh said that his company will be introducing a new diesel engine. While the company hasn’t released details of the new engine, Walsh did say that it would be dramatically more efficient than today’s gasoline-powered engines and would solve other problems, including the use of lead in aviation fuel. The diesel, when introduced, would run on standard jet fuel.
To many, she’s the most beautiful taildragger of all time
In 1947, enthusiasm reigned supreme in the general aircraft industry. With the release of the bold new Cessna 195, the Wichita, Kan., aircraft maker gleefully announced the introduction of a “completely practical, personal and company airliner.” Other great American companies who stood to enjoy a new profit stream from personal aircraft joined in the celebration.
The cockpit of an airplane with the soul of a sports car
Have you ever driven a Ferrari? A Ferrari is like no other, a bit hard to climb into, but once you’re there, you become part of the car. Acceleration, braking, turning, a Ferrari does everything fast, with a solid in-control feedback you feel in your whole body. It looks as fast as it drives.
There are a few airplanes that deserve better than they got. The Comanche 250 is one of them.
The Comanche was conceived in the late ’50s when Piper and the rest of the industry was playing catch-up with the premier four-seat retractable, the Beech Bonanza. Piper’s Comanche was introduced as both a 180-hp and a 250-hp model, sporting four- and six-cylinder versions of the same engine. The former was planned to compete with Mooney’s wood-wing and tail Mark 20A, the latter with Beech’s successful V-tail, along with the dark horse Bellanca 260 and Meyers 200.
The race to bring the first of the very light jets to certification is turning final, And the upstart from Denver is looking like it may be the new leader to the finish line
The last rush of specific aircraft types came in the late 1970s when Piper, Beech and Grumman-American all fielded light-light twins—the Seminole, Duchess and Cougar, respectively. At the time, general-aviation manufacturers were turning out 15,000-plus airplanes a year, and pilots were training at a record rate. Practically everyone was predicting there would be a viable step-up market for new aviators transitioning to twins in search of the peak of the pyramid—an airline job.
Long on fuel economy and lean on sticker price, New Piper’s twin carries a big bunch of admirers
Old home week, I reminisced, as I sat in the left front seat of the 2005 Seneca V. Well, perhaps not exactly. The panel of the new Seneca V has about as much resemblance to my old company airplane’s as does a new Ford Thunderbird’s to a Model T’s.
The straight-tailed C-172 marks the birth of the world’s most popular general-aviation airplane
Can it really be almost 50 years since Cessna introduced the first C-172? In a word, yes. Next year, the Wichita, Kan., company will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the C-172’s introduction, and the rest, as no one should ever say again, is history.