Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, December 3, 2013

From The Editor: Sea/Sky Adventure


Five years ago at a desert storage facility, Joe Duke came across a 1954 Grumman G-111 Albatross calling his name. The flying boat had been brought there in 1983 after its conversion from a U.S. Navy search-and-rescue aircraft to a civilian airliner. Duke purchased the aircraft and went to work with friend Paul LeVeque on a five-year restoration project. Their efforts were rewarded at EAA AirVenture, where N51ZD won Grand Champion and was awarded the gold Lindy trophy. At the National Aviation Heritage Invitational, it won the Howard Hughes Trophy for Best Large Airplane and the National Aviation Hall of Fame People's Choice Award. We joined Duke and LeVeque in the 30,000-pound flying boat on an unforgettable sky/water adventure to the shores of Lake Mead. Marc Lee's story of our bucket-list adventure is in this issue.

Performance and G-forces may be Patty Wagstaff's forte, but she also has a great appreciation for seaplane flying. In this month's Let It Roll column, the Alaska native shares her northern adventures flying on floats over the years. In such a rugged landscape, seaplanes provide access to remote lakes and rivers that aren't easily accessible by other methods. Patty is also drawn to flying seaplanes because just like aerobatics, it's all about technique: glassy water landings, step taxi and more.

Our 2014 annual Buyer's Guide has aircraft for every type of pilot, from light-sport planes and single pistons to turboprops and jets. Senior Editor Bill Cox rounds up all certified single and twin airplanes on today's market, as well as "adventure" airplanes—whether your adventure is exploring the backcountry, performing aerobatic maneuvers or going back in time in an open-cockpit biplane. LSA Editor James Lawrence covers more than 50 light-sport aircraft, and contributor John Hayes takes a look at the current and future turbine market.

Each year, we're seeing more choices of headset models and features. Choosing the right headset for your flying mission is critical. As part of our Buyer's Guides, Marc Lee explains how to choose the headset that's best for you and includes feature charts for more than 45 active and passive headsets. With so many options, you'll want to analyze your specific flying environment to find a perfect fit. Marc also takes a look at trends in headset design and technology.

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