The vast Mojave Desert has a dramatic aviation history as a test bed for experimental military and civilian aircraft. Recently, contributor Marc Lee and Sling distributor Matt Liknaitzky set out to visit the area in a Sling LSA. They departed the bustle of the busy airspace above the Los Angeles basin for the remote El Mirage Dry Lake. Joining them was Craig Spirko in his own Sling, as well. The light-sport airplane from South Africa features a sliding canopy, all-metal construction and nimble handling.
In Marc and Matt’s cockpit was the new Iridium GO! device. It’s a portable satellite hot spot that allows connectivity for up to five WiFi devices. With GPS check-in messages, as well as an SOS mode, it’s great for safety—especially in remote expanses such as the Mojave Desert. The small and rugged unit also enables you and your passengers to make voice calls, browse online and send emails.
This month, we feature two Buyer’s Guides for 2015. Gyroplanes can be purchased and operated at a fraction of the cost of a general aviation aircraft. With non-stall designs, high maneuverability and STOL capabilities, it’s no wonder they’re increasing in popularity in the U.S. Flight bags are essential for maintaining organization in a cockpit. Each pilot has a different need for their mission, and we look at some of the most useful and highest-quality bags on the market this year.
Another focus of this issue is learning to fly. We examine the different paths to become a pilot, whether you want to fly private or professional. We also compare the costs, privileges and restrictions of private and sport-pilot certificates, and discuss what to look for when choosing training materials and a ground school. Aircraft manufacturer Aviat and industry organization AOPA have launched a new take on training aircraft with their “reimagined” 152. The project rebuilds older aircraft and offers them as trainers at an affordable cost.
In her latest installation of Let It Roll, columnist and aerobatic performer Patty Wagstaff reflects on 30 years of flying air shows. No two air shows were ever the same, yet each flight made her feel alive, satisfying needs for excitement, challenge and adventure. And the people she met along the way made all the difference. Have you seen Patty perform? Send us a note with your story at [email protected]