And, as you probably know, I love the technology. I am, at heart, a technology writer, which in some fields must be a dull pursuit. It's not at Flying. Here we have the terrific fortune to write about the most exciting technology both on the planet and slightly above. And if you think that we've taken aviation technology as far as we're going to take it, well, I hope to show you just how wrong you are.
Over the past 15 years, I've been on the front lines to witness some wild developments. I was among the first journalists to fly the Cirrus SR20 with its whole-airplane recovery parachute system, the first to report on transitioning to Avidyne's Entegra flat-panel displays, one of the first to fly with and write about in-cockpit satellite weather and to fly the turbodiesel-powered Diamond TwinStar. And I got the chance to fly and photograph any number of new models, including the Lancair Columbia, Cessna Mustang, Cirrus SR22 and Diamond DA40, and a few experimentals, including the Lockwood Air Cam and Thunder Mustang, and some LSAs as well, including the pioneering Flight Designs CT, the wonderful Legend Cub and the thoroughly modern, carbon-fiber Remos GX.
While my logbook is filled with cool models, I am, the truth be told, an average, everyday pilot, one very much like most of our readers. I've got thousands of hours of total time, and while a good chunk of that time has been in many, many different models, the largest chunk has been in airplanes I fly to go somewhere, to do a story, to attend a show, to test some new gear or to spend a long weekend away with the family. Much of that time, as you might know, has been in late-model, composite-construction technologically advanced airplanes, mostly the Cirrus SR22.
I currently fly an SR22 G3 Turbo out of Austin Bergstrom International Airport here in the capital of Texas, and I'll be staying here in my new role on the magazine. Austin, as those of you familiar with the city know, is a great place to live and, like just about every other part of this country, a great place to fly. I plan to be doing a lot more of both.
Just like many of our readers, I fly in the system, filing IFR and often flying in actual instrument conditions. Instrument flying is, in fact, one of the most rewarding things I've done in my life.
Then again, one of the most rewarding things I've done in my life is to fly jets. And one of the most rewarding things I've done in my life is to fly taildraggers. And warbirds. Well, you get the idea.
The overarching mission of the magazine hasn't changed and won't. From weather wisdom to risk management advice, we'll strive to give you the best articles on how to fly more safely. We'll present in-depth product reviews, from handheld GPS navigators to intercontinental business jets. You'll get a regular earful from our remarkable corps of columnists, and we'll feature occasional stories on older airplanes that are just too cool not to cover. We'll cover training, offering advice to pilots just learning to fly, and we'll look at the latest cutting-edge technologies, examining not only how they work but also what they mean to you.
There are some changes you'll be seeing that I hope will make Flying a better magazine. Look for better photography, more graphical content, expanded coverage of training, light aviation and helicopter flying, as well as continued close coverage of the turbine end of the market, where some remarkable technologies are emerging that will someday be in airplanes from Cirrus and Cessna and Piper.
Look for expanded coverage on flyingmag.com, with videos, more news, more photo galleries, more opinion and even more user-generated content.
We'll also continue to develop new ways to deliver Flying to you. You can already get the magazine through Zinio on your computer or iPad, and we're now launching Flying on the iPad in the iTunes store, with bonus content, possibly including video, photo galleries and expanded commentary.
Challenges and Opportunities
There are no two ways about it: Our industry faces some tough challenges in many segments. This stubborn downturn has cost sales and, hence, jobs in many sectors of the economy, but it's hard to find one that's been harder hit than private aviation. Wichita, Kansas, is not a happy place right now. While this recession seems as though it will never end, even the most cursory look at our history indicates that it will end, and before very long too.
The bottom line is, we believe in flying. There is simply nothing like it. There are almost no limits to what it can do or where it can take you, and that's true from the lightest sport airplane to the most capable business jet. If it seems as though we're at some kind of dead end in the story of flying, it is only because we haven't applied our collective imaginations effectively enough. The history of aviation is a very short one, and in that time technological and cultural developments have redefined what we do and how we do it again and again. Want proof? Just take a look at the past 83 years of Flying. Airplanes are still around, and so are we.
Over the past week I've been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from my many friends in the aviation industry. I've gotten literally hundreds of e-mails, phone calls, text messages and Facebook comments, nearly every single one of them wishing me, and the magazine, well. Thanks to all of you.
Many of those well-wishers also included a little commentary in their notes. They said directly, "Congratulations, Robert. Now you've got your work cut out for you."
I wouldn't want it any other way.
Because, truly, despite it all, despite our history, our hall-of-fame lineup of present and former writers, our great photographers and lots more, the best part about Flying has always been and will continue to be our readers, who never cease to amaze me with their accomplishments, their knowledge and their willingness to help out other pilots. Without our readers, after all, there would be no need for the magazine in the first place. We won't forget that fact for a second.
We would love to hear from you, so tell us what you think. Have ideas, complaints, questions? We'd love to hear them. You can e-mail us any time at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading.