Contributors: No Fear of Flying

    As an instructor, Steve Saleen might be better suited for the Bob Bondurant racing school, for which he once worked, than for a driver’s ed class. Automotive editor Gregory Anderson reached this conclusion after piloting the 750 hp Saleen S7 and the S281 Extreme Mustang with Saleen himself riding shotgun. "We’re driving on public roads [near the Saleen company headquarters in Irvine, Calif.], and I’m kind of concerned about losing my license because it’s highly patrolled Orange County, but he kept telling me to drive faster," says Anderson, who writes about the man and his cars in "The Saleen Solution". "I was going over 100 mph, and he’s telling me, ‘Okay, open it up here. Just go, go, go!’ "

    It may seem ironic that watchmakers continue to devote considerable time and resources to developing new chronographs, when these mechanisms—which measure intervals of time much like a stopwatch does—are rarely used. But contributing editor James D. Malcolmson explains that manufacturers like to demonstrate their technical abilities by producing these watches. "It’s straight prestige," says Malcolmson, who writes about the latest chronographs in "Restarting the Clock". "To build a chronograph is to build prestige within the industry, and that trickles down to everyone else. The Swiss watch industry is often influenced by factors other than how the watch is used from day to day."

    While continuing to serve as this magazine’s watch expert, Malcolmson will be the editor of The Robb Report Watch Collector, a new magazine that will be published this fall. "We’re really aiming to take the reader into the watchmaking regions of Switzerland," Malcolmson says. "Some of the sections of the book are going to be similar to a wine guide, exploring the varying regions of Switzerland, the cultural differences, and how that affects the companies inside."

    In 1948, the Lobkowicz family, a Bohemian clan with historical ties to the Hapsburgs and the Holy Roman Empire, lost all of its possessions to Czechoslovakia’s communist government. Recently, after a 12-year-long legal battle, the family reclaimed the majority of its estate and opened the Lobkowicz Palace in Prague, where it will display its many treasures. "I think they have maybe 65 percent or 70 percent of what existed before the Communists took over," says associate editor Mike Nolan, who writes about the palatial museum in "The Prince of Prague". "[The palace’s opening] is a pretty important event both culturally and socially for the city," Nolan adds, noting that you can rent the entire property or part of it. "I can’t imagine a better introduction for a visitor than to rent the terrace and have a wine tasting and a dinner there. It’s an opportunity to get a really nice view of the city and an interesting one as well."

    Interesting views are not uncommon at the Tutima Academy of Aviation Safety in California, where pilots are trained in aerobatics and can learn how to maneuver out of spins and rolls in a Columbia 400—an experience that contributing writer Mary Grady says feels "like doing aerobatics in a Lexus." Grady, who writes about the academy in "Precision Guidance", was caught off guard by the precarious situations that the Tutima instructors arranged for their students. "All of a sudden your nose is pointing straight at the ground, and you’re basically seeing the earth spinning around beneath you," she says.

    At one time, such exercises were mandatory for aspiring pilots. "The FAA used to require that private pilots have spin-training," Grady says, "but they discontinued that because they found that there were more accidents in training than there were in real-life flight experience." Although the FAA no longer requires such training, Grady still sees the value in it. "It probably should be required for all pilots," she says, "and I think any pilot would tell you that."

    Photo by Adrian Koeppel
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