I loved Choose Your Own Adventure “gamebooks” when I was young. The reader was in control of the story, and each option led you, the protagonist, on an exciting adventure leading to a different outcome. As pilots in the real world, when we step into the cockpit, we make decisions and we have control. We’re responsible for the journey, adventure and outcome of our flight.
Some of you find adventure in flying with friends to a local airport for lunch; others seek the solitude and remoteness of backcountry camping. For pilots Ted Behr and Todd Robinson, who are featured on the cover, dogfighting in their Yak 50s over the Pacific Ocean shoreline is the ultimate adventure.
“Adventure” means something different to each of us, but a common thread is putting your skills to the test with new experiences. This month, Budd Davisson provides some great airplane options for doing just that. If you decide to go mountain flying, turn to page 41. If you decide to see what the world looks like upside down, turn to page 43.
I recently shared a flying adventure with contributor Marc Lee when we joined the Bahamas Habitat team on several flights from the Bahamas to Haiti to deliver supplies for those affected by the catastrophic January 2010 earthquake. With a fuel stop in the Turks and Caicos Islands, our route had us flying eight hours daily, five of which were over water with little or no radio communications. It was a challenging yet rewarding experience, and the many volunteer pilots we met—all of whom were donating their time, money and flying skills—were an inspiration.
When the 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck southern Chile, general aviation was again able to provide assistance in a timely and effective manner. Seasoned pilots like Jaime Hernandez, with Tour Aviation Chile, and Jaime Colvin, with the Santiago Flying Club, have been airlifting food and medical supplies into areas unreachable by road. In this issue, we report on the remarkable efforts made by volunteer pilots helping people in need in both Haiti and Chile. On our website, watch video footage from Haiti and view our photo gallery, which includes images from other volunteer pilots.
Reader Mike Fisher shares with us a flying adventure that takes place closer to home. It’s just a 7 nm hop from his home base, Lansing Municipal Airport, to Gary Regional Airport. What turns this familiar flight into one that’s out of the ordinary is that the Chicago Air & Water Show is in full swing. Gary Regional serves as the staging airport for performing aircraft, and after Mike follows a C-130 Hercules in his rental Cessna 152 on final for runway 20, he is offered the opportunity to watch the show from a special VIP viewing area. There, he gets an up-close look at the Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornets, and even partakes in some of the behind-the-scenes air show action. Share your unforgettable flights with us at [email protected].