Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

From The Editor: Flying North


Some places were simply meant for pilots. Alaska is one of them. Its gorgeous, rugged landscape is best accessed via airplane, and in many cases, flying is the only method of access. This issue, Doug Rozendaal shares his 6,000 nm adventure in a Beech Baron through Alaska's interior to the outpost town of Barrow, the northernmost point in the U.S. For hundreds of miles, he and two travel companions overflew glaciers, waterfalls, ice packs and fjords—an unbelievable view in every direction. If that sounds like a dream trip, you'll want to read Rozendaal's advice to turn your flight plan into a reality.

Summer is just around the corner, but with the good flying weather also comes warmer temperatures, which means turbulence. Senior Editor Bill Cox has expert tips on how to handle the bumps, and even better—how to avoid them altogether once in the air. Following up on last month's article on VFR flying, Cox also provides 20 tips for IFR, from safety scenarios to how to work better with ATC.

Our pilot report is on the Extra 330LT, which contributor John Hayes flies over Pyramid Lake near Reno, Nev., with Doug Vayda of Southeast Aero. This touring version of the Extra blends aerobatics with comfort. It's a top-notch akro performer that climbs at up to 4,000 fpm and boasts a roll rate of 270 degrees per second, while retaining cross-country luxuries such as an autopilot, comfortable seats and an easy-access baggage compartment.

In 2004, the FAA created the light sport category and sport pilot license to help lower the entry-level costs of general aviation and increase the pilot population. Ten years later, we can celebrate more than 134 certified LSA models and 2,500 airplanes registered as light sport in the U.S. market. At the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Fla., contributor James Wynbrandt sought out the best new airplanes, cockpit tech and pilot gear. His picks for the roundup article range from the new Super Petrel LS amphib to the Green Airpark, an "ecological aeronautical village" in central France. Also in this issue, Wynbrandt flies Flight Design's CTLSi, powered by a 100 hp Rotax 912iS engine that integrates with the Dynon avionics suite.

Marc Lee tests the new Garmin D2 pilot watch on a flight in his open-cockpit Great Lakes biplane. Features of the GPS watch include a moving map, a compass, an altimeter (with a vibrating altitude alert), and "direct to" and "nearest" functions. It also can be used to control Garmin's VIRB POV camera remotely.

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