Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, July 29, 2014

From The Editor: Lengthen The Runway


When you're a student pilot, everything in the airplane seems to happen at warp speed. In the pattern, it feels like there's barely enough time on downwind to get the airplane configured and go through the before-landing checklist. But as your training progresses, time seems to magically slow down. Or rather, our mental processes speed up. All of a sudden, the downwind leg becomes much longer, with time to spare! With practice, a similar warping can happen to runway length—or our perception of it. Budd Davisson shows us how to make every runway seem longer, mentally. He discusses the factors that shape runways and techniques you can use to "lengthen" them.

One airplane that makes every runway seem absurdly long is the Rans S-20 Raven. James Wynbrandt reports on his flight in the light-sport taildragger, which has a landing distance of 340 feet and a takeoff roll of 300 feet. Also in this issue, Wynbrandt tries out a Piper Meridian with Bart Jones, Piper's chief pilot. The single-engine PA-46 is designed for the pilot who has no experience with turboprops, and their easy flight to Key West is demonstration of the airplane's simplicity.

During a flying career spanning 15,500 hours, Senior Editor Bill Cox has come across many unusual and interesting facets of aviation. This month, he shares 20 out-of-the-ordinary facts about airplanes that you likely didn't know. Why did Beech design its original Baron with the throttles positioned between the prop and mixture controls? What are the potentially dangerous quirks of a Siai-Marchetti SF-260? Have you heard of the Bellanca T-250 Aries, Piper Seneca Tri-Motor, or Cessna 620?

The FAA's deployment of ground stations for the ADS-B network is complete, which means it's time to start planning your ADS-B upgrade. John Ruley has an update on the NextGen initiative, the requirements of airplane owners and a rundown of manufacturers of ADS-B components and systems. He explains why it's important to take action sooner rather than later.

Marc Lee takes a look at what's new with headset manufacturers. He talks with eight leading companies about their new products, innovations and plans for the future. Trends include smaller and lighter headsets, new materials, clearer microphone capabilities and wireless technology.

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