When we ask pilots what their dream airplane is, we rarely receive a one-airplane reply. Instead, pilots will quickly rattle off several amazing airplanes. A Cirrus to get places, a Cub to go in circles, an Extra to fly upside-down. And we don’t disagree—certain planes are better for certain missions. This month, Senior Editor Bill Cox picked 10 popular flying missions and selected a plane that would be perfect for each. There’s the Flight Design CTLS, an LSA that will get us to back to the days of the $100 hamburger. There’s Daher-Socata’s TBM 850 for luxurious high flying with jet-like speeds. Check out Bill’s picks for the best plane to transport your family and the best plane to carry your gear, and see if you agree.
The Cessna 172 is a perfect trainer for the private license but also for an instrument rating. For those with busy schedules, it can be difficult to train on a regular basis. Instrument training is highly demanding, and as lessons are pushed farther apart, our skills become rusty. For some, it’s worth it to carve out a chunk of time that can be dedicated solely to training. Contributor Marc Lee was up for the challenge. He signed up with AFIT for a 10-day accelerated program to earn his instrument rating. With instructor John Templeton, Marc flew an intense—but rewarding—43 hours in a Cessna 182 out of Utah’s Cedar City Airport. Ride along with Marc, and see if this type of training is for you!
Several months ago, we launched a search for the plane that would be ideal for an airpark residential lifestyle. Contributor James Wynbrandt visited Big South Fork Airpark (BSFA) in Oneida, Tenn., for a hands-on look. At BSFA, not only do you get to live right by your plane, but the airpark neighbors 125,000 acres of the Big South Fork National Recreation Area. For pilots who are outdoor enthusiasts—the airpark has a focus on equestrian sports—it’s a dreamland.
In this month’s Let It Roll column, Patty Wagstaff tells of how she first got involved with competition aerobatics. After learning to fly in Alaska, she caught the “akro bug” and knew she had to fly aerobatics. Her first contest in her new-to-her Super Decathlon was a nerve-wracking and intimidating experience. But passion pushed her to persevere and she pushed her own boundaries, competing in more aerobatic contests—always in search of the perfect line.
Reader Marvin Homsley tells of his first-time flight to Alaska from his home base in Ohio. In his two-seat taildragger Globe Swift, he followed the Alaska Highway, flew over mountains and through valleys, and happily obliged a request by a military tower for a low pass. The two-week trip covered 6,000 miles, and he logged 44 hours. It’s a flight he’ll never forget. What’s yours? Send your story and images to [email protected]