Tuesday, April 24, 2012
From The Editor: Cross-Country Sophistication
On the other end of the GA spectrum, the simplicity and charm of a stick-and-rudder plane such as a Cub is undeniable. Add floats, find some water, and you don't need much else. That's exactly what the International Seaplane Fly-In in Greenville, Maine, is all about. Last fall, James Lawrence visited picturesque Moose Lake for a long weekend of float flying, hangar tales and fun competition flying, including accuracy flour bomb drops and spot landing contests where precision ruled.
Making a precision landing starts with a consistent approach and pattern. Budd Davisson should know—he has over 5,000 hours just in the pattern! Averaging eight landings per hour in his Pitts, Budd has logged a whopping 40,000 landings. Being a precise pilot is more of a mind-set than a skill and, as Budd explains this month, your goal should be to fly a pattern and approach that are as rigid as possible. He provides a checklist of rules to be followed during all phases of the pattern.
Some of the most precise aviators in the skies are aerobatic pilots. In competitions, they're judged by the lines they fly, for accuracy and precision within a defined aerobatic box. We spent time at this year's Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Fla., with air show performers, including 21-year-old Kevin Coleman; Red Bull race pilot and air show pro Mike Goulian; Unlimited National Aerobatic Champion Rob Holland; and Skip Stewart, who amazed crowds in his fire-breathing 400 hp Prometheus, a highly modified biplane. From the hangars and outdoor exhibits, James Lawrence brings us exciting new products, from Stratus, a new ADS-B weather uplink by Sporty's and ForeFlight, to the new Stritanium Lombardy super-lightweight sunglasses from VedaloHD.
Also in this issue, we look at some great volunteer organizations where pilots can help others using their own plane. Wings of Mercy connects patients to medical care; Pilot N Paws rescues animals by transferring them out of kill shelters. You can even fly for the Coast Guard! Missions cover search-and-rescue, environmental protection, Coast Guard logistics and more. Making a difference with general aviation is sure to be a memorable and rewarding experience.