Niki D’Andrea – Executive Editor
The Sixties were a pivotal decade in the United States: The Civil Rights movement was making strides, the Vietnam War was underway and under fire, the youth of America was being encouraged to “turn on, tune in, drop out,” and a man walked on the moon. But the 1960s wasn’t just a period of political upheaval and cultural revolutions: It was also the dawn of private aviation.
A few aircraft manufacturers created private planes in the 1950s, but it wasn’t until 1963 that private aviation really took off , thanks to the new Learjet23, the fi rst light purpose-built jet on the market. The twinjet seated six to eight people and could reach a speed of 561 miles per hour. Though production of the Learjet23 ceased in 1966, it created a completely new market for high-speed business aircraft.
Signature Flight Support general manager Greg Gibson refers to the 1960s as part of “the golden days” of air travel in this month’s feature, “Up in the Air” (page 22), which examines the expansion of two things: the private aviation industry in Scottsdale Airpark, and the image of Scottsdale itself as more than an aviation hub. Writer Jimmy Magahern explores the idea that the simultaneous growth of those two things could be at odds.
As someone who has provided full-scale aviation services in the Airpark for 30 years, Pinnacle Aviation CEO Curt Pavlicek has witnessed the growth of Scottsdale’s private aviation industry firsthand. He recounts some of the ways the area has evolved in our story “Flying High” on page 28.
But planes aren’t the only things to watch for in the Scottsdale skies this month – thousands of kids will be looking up, hoping to see a glimpse of Santa’s sleigh. And even though they won’t get it, there’s a slew of seasonal events to sate appetites for holiday revelry, including the annual Christmas at the Princess (details on page 30). Find more holiday festivities on our new Airpark Events calendar (page 45). And most importantly, have a merry holiday season and a happy New Year.