ANOTHER CHARACTER JOINS THE FLYING CAST
Flying welcomes a new contributing editor to the team
Our lineup of columnists is an eclectic bunch. We have an airline pilot who spends half the year letting his beard grow long on a liveaboard sailboat in the Caribbean (Sam Weigel), another airline pilot who writes aviation-inspired mystery novels (Les Abend), three folks who fly personal jets (Dick Karl and John and Martha King), a self-taught aerodynamicist with a Harvard English degree who builds and pilots airplanes of his own design (Peter Garrison), a master flight instructor and Citation jet captain who’s an absolute whiz with an iPad (Bret Koebbe) and a guy with an enviable amount of PC-12 time who, oh, by the way, also flies his own Robinson helicopter to work when the mood strikes (John Zimmerman). And then there’s Martha Lunken, who’s as eclectic as they come (or is it eccentric?) and who I hear is spending time these days at the controls of an old DC-3. I’m sure she’ll be happy to tell you all about it in a future column.
What we don’t have among our expert group of columnists is a “regular” pilot, someone who can relate on a comparable level to the experiences of our readers who own and fly piston general aviation airplanes.
I’m pleased to introduce you to that person. Ben Younger is a Bonanza pilot who’s been in love with aviation since he was a kid but who learned to fly only more recently. In his column, Leading Edge, he’ll be writing about aircraft ownership issues from the perspective of somebody who knows what goes into a complex panel upgrade or interior refurbishment in a gracefully aging GA airplane. He’ll be talking as much about his successes as failures, never shying away from fessing up to the mistakes he’s making along the way.
Ben’s also a gear head. When he’s not flying, you’ll be just as likely to find him at the track pursuing another of his passions, motorcycle racing. And although he lives in New York, he’s a Hollywood guy. He’s been writing and directing feature films for many years now, including 2000’s Boiler
Room, with Vin Diesel and Ben Affleck; Prime, a romantic comedy starring Uma Thurman and Meryl Streep; and 2016’s Bleed for This, a critically acclaimed true-life boxing story executive produced by Martin Scorsese.
The idea behind Ben’s column is for him to write about personal aviation from a relative newcomer’s perspective. There will be discussions of first-time ownership issues, including tales of searching for an airplane to buy, purchasing it and, of course, flying and maintaining it. Ben bought his first airplane a year and a half ago and flew it all around the country. As they say in the movie business, I’ll keep the spoilers to a minimum and leave you to search out his debut column in this issue on your own time. What I can promise is that Ben’s writing style doesn’t lack for the “eclecticism” you’ve come to know and expect around here, going back to the days of Richard Bach, Len Morgan, Gordon Baxter and so many others through the years.
Please join me in extending Ben a hearty welcome to the pages of Flying.