Flying November 2020


The sharp wit and experienced judgment of Flying’s experts cover all the challenges and rewards that aviation offers to all flying enthusiasts. From industry news updates, regulations, trends, air shows and events to carefully researched reports on all categories of airplanes, helicopters, avionics, products, technology, accessories and equipment to pilot technique, flight training, safety, weather, operations and maintenance.

United States
Bonnier Corporation



Your first airplane, the one you have the key (or fob) to on your ring—that’s your ticket to a special place, one where you have access to the sky on your schedule. You can choose—up to the limits of your bank account—how and when you make avionics and engine upgrades. You can change the paint scheme, the interior colors, even the registration number (within certain parameters) according to your taste and discretion. I came into aircraft ownership in my early 30s, as the result of a unique partnership: I married into it. In fact, I knew the guy was serious when he put my name on the aircraft registration; the engagement ring was a mere formality. The airplane in question was a Nanchang CJ-6A, a decommissioned Chinese warbird that we put…


Flying the Vineyard [I] enjoyed Sam Weigel’s “Airport at the End of the World” (September), which brought [back] many memories. I was a lineworker in the early ’60s at another (now-defunct) grass strip on Martha’s Vineyard, Oak Bluffs Airport in Massachusetts, where $5 (25 percent of my $20 weekly pay) went to a 15-minute lesson in a [Piper] J-3 taught by the airport’s owner, Carolyn Cullen, a former member of the World War II Women Airforce Service Pilots. The real fun was hitching rides with a fish spotter in his T-6 Texan. As [to] Nantucket, my family visited often during the ’50s, long before the “Gray Lady” became a destination of the rich, famous, Gulfstreams, Dessaults and Citations—when the big transportation thrill was taking the beautiful old steamers, “Nantucket” and “Nobska,”…

your own gear

As is the case with all pilots, beginning flight training or earning a pilot certificate is really a license to begin shopping for new gear. Anyone who has ever graced the left seat of a general aviation airplane or rotorcraft will no doubt need the prerequisite flight bag and possibly headsets, and most pilots using electronic flight bags will stay digitally connected with a variety of mobile devices and connectivity interfaces. No matter what you fly, you need the right tools to support your mission. Here are a few of our current favorites. 1 X-NAUT IPAD COOLING CASE For anyone who has ever flown with their iPad in hot, sunny conditions, the threat of your device shutting down because of overheating is an issue that can come at the most inopportune time.…

safe return for the vision jet

In a milestone that marks the first certification of a modern autoland system on a light, personal jet, Cirrus Aircraft and Garmin Aviation announced in September the approval of Safe Return on the Cirrus Vision Jet. Cirrus also celebrated the 200th delivery of the Vision Jet this summer, solidifying its position as the bestselling general aviation jet as indicated earlier this year via the General Aviation Manufacturers Association 2019 report. “With Safe Return, we are making personal aviation more accessible, elevating the passenger experience and taking the next step towards autonomous flight,” said Zean Nielsen, CEO of Cirrus Aircraft. “The Vision Jet sets a new standard in personal travel with the combination of Safe Return and [the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System], offering the ultimate level of safety, control and comfort for…

marketplace update

What at first glance looks like a serious downturn for the new- and used-aircraft markets may not actually be that bad when you look at transactions that have moved forward on an individual basis. We asked our social media followers whether they had bought or sold an aircraft during the first eight months of 2020, and we were happily surprised by the number and strength of the market—at least for light GA aircraft. All in all, more than 30 buyers and sellers shared their stories with Flying. Representative among the new owners, Larry Griffiths purchased his 1956 Cessna 172 in April, and he reflects on the experience. “Looking back through the eye of a country in a pandemic, my process began with near dismissal of anything to worry about [and…

how do i know i’m ready to buy my first airplane?

The prospect of buying an airplane for the first time can be exciting, mind-boggling and outright scary. If you wait until you are emotionally, financially and mentally ready, ownership might never happen. But the freedom of hopping into your own bird and flying anywhere you want, at any time—without the need for schedules or the stress of returning at a specific time—is as satisfying as you can imagine. If your dream is to own an airplane, no time’s better than the present. Before taking the plunge into aircraft ownership, establish a realistic cost assessment that considers the expenses of parking, insurance, maintenance and surprises such as a flat tire, broken starter or dead battery. The great news is, there are many airworthy gems to be had, even if your budget is…