The destination for our eight-ship of warbirds was Rapid City, S.D., but it wasn't looking good. After heading north out of Colorado Springs, the skies had darkened up ahead. When we encountered rain, the decision was made to divert to the nearest airport: Chadron, Neb. There, we'd wait out the weather, much to the delight of the local community. They had heard the roar of our engines overhead and gathered at the airport to see the remarkable fleet up close: a B-25, TBM Avenger, Corsair, P-40, Wildcat, Zero and two P-51 Mustangs. Onlookers ranged from young children to World War II veterans—a perfect opportunity for the Texas Flying Legends to share their mission of honoring and inspiring.
For those who love the P-51 but want something more economical, there's the Thunder Mustang, a 3⁄4-scale replica. Cloud Chaser, Wayne Richards' Thunder Mustang, is powered by a 640 hp Falconer V12 engine and matches the performance of the original model, reaching speeds faster than 300 knots. In this issue, Senior Editor Bill Cox tells of his flight with Wayne, lifting off from Van Nuys' runway 16R in under seven seconds and rocketing skyward at almost 6,000 fpm.
If there were a light-sport version of the P-51, the Sky Arrow 600 would be it. Its tandem seating, side stick control and crisp response made LSA Editor Jim Lawrence feel like he was in a mini-fighter on his demo flight with Mike Hansen of Hansen Air Group. Jim also raved about the great view—shared by the back seat, which is raised several inches higher. The Rotax 912 engine is in pusher configuration, and Jim analyzes the pros and cons of pusher versus tractor props.
Also in this issue, Bill Cox talks with owners of light jets about their real-world flying experiences and what they like or don't like about their aircraft. As president of a construction company, Bill Maudru travels around the country in his Citation Mustang. Its speed allows more time on-site and less time in transit. Ron Gruner travels between Massachusetts and Florida in his Phenom 100, and Gordon Feingold enjoys the flexible travel that the Eclipse 500 offers. Bill shares these owner stories.
In the world of high-performance turbine operations, be it a light jet or a turboprop, there are many requirements for new sign-offs, ratings and training. John Hayes, who's typed in the Citation Mustang, breaks down what's needed to establish and maintain a high level of proficiency, and to stay legal with currency and insurability.
Most of us fear being ramp checked by an FAA inspector. But if you're properly prepared, there shouldn't be anything to worry about. Bill Cox provides tips to make the process go smoother, from how to handle yourself to questions you should ask the inspector. Have you ever been ramp checked? Send a note about your experience to editor@ planeandpilotmag.com.