Peter Garrison


Peter Garrison is an American journalist and amateur aircraft designer/builder. He was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1943, and received a BA in English from Harvard College in 1965.[1]

Peter Garrison
Peter Garrison.jpg
Born (1943-08-21) August 21, 1943 (age 78)
Los Angeles, California
Occupationjournalist, author, airplane designer, software engineer

In 1968–1973, while living in Tarzana, California, he designed and built an all-metal, two-seat, single-engine low-wing monoplane. The design was influenced by the T-18 of John Thorp and the PL-2 of Ladislao Pazmany, both California airplane designer/builders.[2] Garrison called the plane Melmoth after an 1820 Gothic novel, Melmoth the Wanderer.[3] It was notable for unusually long range and for Mr. Garrison's lack of academic qualifications for designing it.[4] With his companion, television documentary producer Nancy Salter, Mr. Garrison used the aircraft to fly to Europe, Japan and South America.[5][6][7][8][9] The 1976 Pacific crossing was the first nonstop flight from the United States to Japan by a homebuilt aircraft.

Peter Garrison test-flying the as-yet unpainted Melmoth in 1973. Yarn tufts on fuselage reveal air flow over wing. The horizontal tail was later moved to the top of the vertical tail.

In 1981 he began design work on an enlarged fuselage for Melmoth. In 1982, however, the original airplane was destroyed at Orange County (California) Airport (now John Wayne) when a landing Cessna collided with it.[10][11] The completely redesigned Melmoth 2 first flew in 2002. It is constructed of glass- and carbon-fiber-reinforced composites and has four seats; the rear seats face aft, an arrangement that reduces the required cabin size and center-of-gravity range. The airplane, which has retractable landing gear, large hydraulically operated Fowler flaps and a 200 hp turbocharged Continental engine salvaged from the first Melmoth, is based at Whiteman Airport in Los Angeles. Like its predecessor, it has a cruising range of more than 3,000 miles.[12]

Peter Garrison is a free-lance writer. He contributes two monthly columns, Aftermath and Technicalities, to Flying magazine, for which he has written since 1968.[1] With David Pinella, he co-founded AeroLogic, a company that creates and sells computer software programs to analyze fluid dynamics.

Mr. Garrison has 4,000 hours of flight time. He holds a single-/multi-engine commercial pilot license with instrument, Learjet, helicopter, seaplane, glider, gyroplane and hot-air balloon ratings.[1]

He is the great-grandson of the Armenian author Muratsan. He and Ms. Salter have a son, Nicholas, born in 1981, and a daughter, Lily, born in 1988.[13]

Mr. Garrison has no connection to Craig Shaw Gardner, a prolific science-fiction writer, born in 1949, who writes under the pseudonym "Peter Garrison."


  • Homebuilt Airplanes. Chronicle Books. 1992. ISBN 978-0877011491.
  • CV Carrier Aviation. Presidio Press. 1988. ISBN 978-0891412991.
  • Long Distance Flying (A pilot's library book). Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group. 1982. ISBN 978-0385145954.


  1. ^ a b c The editors (8 December 2009). "Peter Garrison, Contributing Editor". Flying Magazine. Retrieved 13 June 2013. {{cite journal}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  2. ^ Garrison, Peter. "Roll Your Own (series)". Flying Magazine. Nov 1970, pp 44–51 Aug 1971, pp 58–63 May 1972, pp 46–51 Mar 1973, pp 106–111 Retrieved 13 June 2013
  3. ^ Wilkinson, Stephan (May 1979). "The Ultimate Economy Flight". Quest/79.
  4. ^ Peyrichout, Pierre (June 1978). "Les Nouveaux Philosophes". Aviasport.
  5. ^ Garrison, Peter (1990). "Two Mike Uniform". Harvard Magazine. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  6. ^ Garrison, Peter (December 1975). "The Compass and the Clock". Flying Magazine. 97 (6): 44–48, 98–102. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  7. ^ Garrison, Peter. "Target Tokyo (two parts)". Flying Magazine. Dec 1976, pp 47–52, 110-111 Jan 1977, pp 39–43, 74-76 Retrieved 13 June 2013
  8. ^ Garrison, Peter (March 1981). "Melmoth Spread Your Wings". Flying Magazine. 108 (3): 56–61. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  9. ^ Garrison, Peter (July 1981). "Machu Picchu". Fliegermagazin.
  10. ^ Garrison, Peter (March 1981). "Melmoth's Last "Flight"". Flying Magazine. 109 (11): 43–45. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  11. ^ "LAX82FA258". National Transportation Safety Board. 16 July 1983. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  12. ^ Garrison, Peter (August 2003). "Melmoth 2: A Personal Airplane". Flying Magazine. 130 (8): 72–80. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  13. ^ Wilkinson, Stephan (November 2003). "The Right Flyer". Popular Science. Retrieved 13 June 2013.

External linksEdit

  • Aerologic software
  • Melmoth airplane page