Ron Mohrhoff speaks about his Bonanza the way most people might speak about their children. “Wow!” he proudly beams on each flight. “This airplane is the best!” Never mind that he has logged more than 1,000 hours in it—for Ron, each takeoff and landing is more special than the previous. Each cross-country cruise renders him amazed at what the airplane is capable of. In this issue, he shares an 1100 nm homecoming trip to Wichita, Kansas, the birthplace of his beloved “Bo.” Parking the 1969 Bonanza E33 next to a shiny new 2010 Bonanza G36 in the Hawker Beechcraft delivery hangar is a symbolic and awe-inspiring moment. Ron’s journey-of-a-lifetime to KBEC accompanies a pilot report by Senior Editor Bill Cox on the G36, which he flew at EAA AirVenture.
Whiteside County Airport also was witness to many proud moments recently. This summer, the Sterling/Rock Falls, Illinois, airport saw a historic gathering of Douglas DC-3s in celebration of the legendary aircraft’s 75th anniversary. Plane & Pilot’s James Lawrence was there to meet the pilots and hear their stories firsthand. From Bernice “Bee” Falk Haydu, who once flew as a WASP flight instructor, to Dan Gryder, a DC-3 owner and the main event organizer, all of the attendees had colorful, nostalgic stories to share.
Camaraderie runs strong throughout general aviation, particularly so at aerobatic contests. The challenge, intensity and rewards of competing “in the box” create a sense of family within the aerobatic community. Cyrus Sigari
purchased a Pitts S-2C this spring and entered his first competition shortly thereafter. Since then, he has competed in five contests, including the U.S. National Aerobatic Championships. This issue, he explains the basics of competition flying and what you need to know to fly your first contest. Even if you don’t plan to compete on a regular basis, the training can make you a more precise and confident pilot in your everyday flying at your home airport.
Part of being a more confident pilot is being a decisive PIC. This month’s guest speaker, Red Bull Air Race competitor Pete McLeod, discusses how balancing your confidence levels can help to make sound flying decisions. Even though, for most of us, a typical flight profile doesn’t include pulling 10 G’s low level around a pylon at 200 knots, the same challenges—which McLeod terms the “cost-benefit trap”—are still a factor and can mean the difference between a safe or a dangerous flight.
The view out of your cockpit is probably not a Red Bull race pylon, but you surely make interesting flights that you would enjoy sharing with others. Contributor Marc Lee reviews the Light Sport Group A/V-ator HD, a wide-angle (135-degree view), high-definition video camera that also interfaces with an airplane’s audio system to record intercom and radio transmissions. It captures 1080p at 30 frames per second. Check out some of the videos we’ve made with the A/V-ator, including an open-cockpit flight in Marc’s Great Lakes biplane and a lakebed landing at Edwards Air Force Base, on www.planeandpilotmag.com.
Cockpit cameras are just one type of gear that has advanced technologically this year. We asked our regular contributors and guest speakers to tell us which 2010 products impressed them most. Ask P&P Expert and air show superstar Patty Wagstaff loves Lycoming’s AEIO-580 Thunderbolt, a high-performance competition engine; CFI of the Year “Mossy” is a huge fan of the Bose A20 headset. Marc Lee doesn’t fly anywhere without his AnywhereMap Quadra portable navigator, and James Lawrence raves about the iFly700 portable GPS unit from Adventure Pilot. What are your favorite new products, and why? Drop us a line at [email protected]