It was still dark, and Van Nuys tower had just opened when we took off on runway 16R for a right downwind departure toward the Mojave Desert. Joining me in a Cirrus SR22 were 3,900-hour pilot John Hayes, student pilot Kevin Centanni and Kevin’s nephew Max Reese, an aerospace whiz kid who was celebrating his eighth birthday. The uncle-nephew duo had ventured to California from Louisiana just for the day’s aviation adventure—the 2010 Flight Test Nation Lakebed Fly-In at Edwards Air Force Base. For the first time ever, Rosamond Dry Lake within restricted airspace R-2515 was being opened up to civilian pilots. In this issue, John shares the day’s thrills, from a runway etched into hardened mud to an F-22 sonic boom. The event’s strict fly-in procedures and the visual illusions of landing on a lakebed were outside our normal flying routines and stretched us as pilots. These new challenges marked the ongoing process of learning to fly—this month’s theme.
The aircraft we were in, N1663C, had been the airplane I earned my private pilot license in at Santa Monica’s Justice Aviation, and since then it has been a great companion for journeys such as the Edwards AFB fly-in. Another pilot who also learned at KSMO, Melanie Endsley, began in a Cessna 172 and progressed in a short amount of time—just 300 hours—to earning a single-engine type rating in a Citation CJ3. We take a look at various training methods, including universities, mentorships and the military.
Senior Editor Bill Cox flies the two-seat Diamond DA20, an easy and docile trainer as well as a great airplane to own, as Orrin Shiveley, an owner who appreciates the aircraft’s modern design and economy, can attest. Also in this issue, LSA Editor James Lawrence flies another two-seater—of the tailwheel variety—an iCub that comes equipped with an iPad for the pilot and iPhone for the copilot. In his regular column, James recounts a recent accomplishment of his first tailwheel solo in a classic J3 Cub. It’s a realization of a dream that began for him 50 years ago as a teenager in Long Beach.
Another dream that was born 50 years ago was Sporty’s Pilot Shop which this year celebrates five decades of serving pilots. Contributing Editor Marc Lee heads to Clermont County Airport in Batavia, Ohio, to visit with Hal Shevers and the Sporty’s team for an inside look at what gear we’re buying, and what trends to look for in the future.
Some aspects of learning to fly, such as stalls, spins and crosswinds—what Budd Davisson likes to call “aviation’s bogeymen—” may make us uncomfortable at first. He explains how to rid yourself of any apprehension through proper training and preparation.
Red Bull racer and air show performer Michael Goulian is no stranger to stalls, spins and unusual attitudes. At Executive Flyers Aviation, Michael, his wife Karin, brother Matthew and a team of 15 instructors are passionate about training students. Contributing editor James Wynbrandt visits the school’s newest location—also a Cessna Pilot Center—in New England. A fleet of 25 aircraft ranges from Cessna 172s and a Piper Arrow, to a Beech Duchess and an Extra 300. Two Cessna Skycatcher LSA will join the lineup in 2011.
The very first Skycatcher to come off the China production line went to Cessna CEO Jack Pelton’s wife, Rose. As this month’s guest speaker, she tells of her first solo flight in the LSA she affectionately dubs “Rosebud.” Rose is training with Kirby Ortega, one of Cessna’s chief pilots, and is on track to have her private pilot license by the end of the year. We’ll follow her progress along the way.
Like Rose, some pilots prefer to own the airplane that they’ll be using for flight training. Zach Bryson purchased a Grumman Tiger after only 30 minutes of ever having been in a general aviation aircraft. He earned his private pilot license in the Tiger and is now working on his instrument rating. Anisa Shahin earned her instrument in her Cirrus SR22, and Bobby Preddy purchased an Allegro LSA in which he finished up his sport pilot license. Contributing editor Budd Davisson interviews them and discusses the pros and cons of renting versus owning. What’s right for you? Let us know at [email protected].