Ten years ago


As al­ways, Air­mail ei­ther in­tro­duced or chal­lenged some con­tro­ver­sial views. That month, reg­u­lar Pi­lot con­trib­u­tor Bob Grim­stead re­ceived both praise and com­plaint about a piece he had writ­ten on the Boe­ing 707, while ed­i­tor Nick Bloom was lam­basted for say­ing a Tiger Moth’s nose rose when the engine stopped. One com­plainant was Tiger Moth-mas­ter Henry Labouchere, shortly to be pro­filed in Pi­lot.

The Prac­ti­cal Avi­a­tion fea­ture was en­ti­tled ‘Souls on board’ and cov­ered how to make sure pas­sen­gers not only have a good time when you take them fly­ing but are also safe and per­haps more im­por­tantly, don’t do any­thing to dam­age the air­craft. Coin­ci­den­tally – or not, hope­fully, an­other ar­ti­cle fo­cussed on ditch­ing an air­craft and how to sur­vive it. It started cheer­fully by ad­vis­ing that al­most 90% of ditch­ing in­ci­dents re­sulted in only mi­nor ini­tial in­juries but then went on to con­firm that 50% of ditch­ing sur­vivors die be­fore help ar­rives.

Two very dif­fer­ent flight tests fea­tured: a Lear­jet 60XR and a Free­lance. A what? Yes, a Cessna Sky­hawk looka­like, Bri­tish de­sign, fly­ing on a Per­mit and with fold­ing wings. Six air­frames were con­structed but, at the time, only one had been com­pleted and was fly­ing. Pi­lot claimed a world ex­clu­sive for Nigel Lamb’s pro­file of his MXS-R. From a diehard Ex­tra pi­lot, Nigel flew an MX-2 two-seater in Red Bull air races and then or­dered the MXS-R, which he de­scribes as ‘one of the ul­ti­mate, high per­for­mance han­dling ma­chines on this planet’.

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