As I write this, the relentless grip of winter has receded and there is, finally, a solid week of spring weather showing its welcome face. Now we can get back to enjoying general aviation flying. Oh, sure, we did some aviating in the cold and slick times, but it was considerable work to accomplish. It’s so much easier to just stroll out to the plane, do a walk-around in shirtsleeves and fire up to depart without a deicing bath.
The greening of the landscape reflects a change in our mood. Optimism is easier to muster when we aren’t shivering. “Let’s schedule some trips,” is now a logical contemplation. The melting snowpiles reflect a dissolving of our cabin-fever lethargy. Airplanes are for flying, not hangaring.
At the same time, the aviation industry’s attitude about the nation’s economy also seems to be coming around, whether by acceptance of the status-quo, or with genuine improvement in our prospects. True recovery is being lagged, as always, by the pace of general aviation manufacturing. Still, flight activity is rebounding, and airplane owners are investing in upgrades to keep their airplanes useful. In the pre-owned market, there are still some real bargains to be had, but the trend is toward rebuilding value. An older aircraft with the latest engines, props, interior and panel can do the job of a newest example. All it takes is the application of sufficient Aviation Monetary Units (AMU’s).
And so, the greening of general aviation is underway. We have all grown skeptical over the last half-decade, suspicious of the next move of governments or markets. With the annual green-up, though, we feel a little more bold and we remember why we decided to fly in the first place. It’s certainly time to encourage new growth.
In This Issue
Our ardent contributor John Loughmiller has produced a seasonably-timeworthy piece about dealing with squall lines and thunderstorms, which we are happy to present in this issue. Every year we seem to jump from the ice season right into thunderboomer time.
We’re also featuring coverage of the iconic Twin Commander turboprop, an aircraft that continues to serve well in a business-flying role, particularly when outfitted with newer engine models. At the same, these complex, high-performing airplanes require focused training and maintenance to deliver safe, airworthy service. Our story, therefore, covers not just the venerable aircraft but the organizations behind it, dedicated to keeping it in the air.
Kevin Dingman reviews the rules and procedures coming into play when a pilot suffers a communications failure. A silent cockpit requires knowledge and common sense to reach a safe conclusion. In “On Final”, David Miller praises the utility of modern digital technology as he traces its use on a recent trip. And Tom Turner reminds us of the importance of verifying our fuel, in person. Lots of sage advice for everyone.