Going Direct: Annual Airplane Anxiety (And The Daily Kind, Too)

Annual airplane inspection due

My airplane is in for annual. It’s my first annual with it. A new plane (new to me), a new shop, and a history that I’m only getting to know bit by bit. I was texting with a friend the other day whose airplane is also in for annual. He said his thoughts and prayers more »

Going Direct: Mitchell Bombers And Demographics

North American B-25 bomber "Yellow Rose"

Last Friday, I got a call from Jerry Gregoire, founder of Redbird Flight and currently as retired from hard work as is possible for a person with seemingly boundless energy, which is to say, he’s not very retired at all. His current passion is the work of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Wing at San more »

Going Direct: What? Who? Surprising Leaders In Electric Flight 

E-Fan X

When it comes to innovations, most are evolutionary. One new program announced on Tuesday is going to change everything. The news from the continent is encouraging. The development of useful electric-powered aircraft is happening before our very eyes. On Tuesday, Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Siemens announced an ambitious partnership to make electric propulsion a reality in more »

Going Direct: Thanksgiving By Air

Thanksgiving By Air

It seems improbable, but the Pilgrims helped shape my love of flying. The Thanksgiving holiday is strongly associated with air travel, for good and for bad. It’s good that so many of us are able to jet from where we live to be with our extended families, and at the same time, airline terminals are more »

Going Direct: Are We Glimpsing GA’s Future With Drone Debate?

Drone debate

Should the FAA have regulatory authority over model airplanes? It’s a more complicated debate than many people realize. The drone debate has been back and forth and back again, with the FAA stressing that it wants to have the authority to regulate even recreational drones. The agency, you might remember, established rules last year requiring more »

Going Direct: Why NTSB Guidance On Intersection Takeoffs Is Tone Deaf

The NTSB came out last week with an interesting press release reminding pilots that they should always take off using all available runway. We found the opinion odd for several reasons. Intersection takeoffs are often used by ATC to smooth the flow of traffic. If I, in my Skylane, have 7,000 feet of runway for more »

Going Direct: Roy Halladay, Risk And The Calculus Behind It

Roy Halladay taking delivery of is Icon A5

Those of us who’ve been immersed in aviation for any length of time know what it is to lose someone you know to an airplane crash. It sucks, and there’s no getting around it. The thought that they died doing what they loved to do is little consolation, especially since it’s not true. Flying is more »

Going Direct: The Agony And Ecstasy Of Flying

GA planes dropping off supplies after Hurricane Harvey

We pilots know that our airplanes are an integral part of our lives in ways large and small. The events of a few months ago highlighted the role that our airplanes play in our lives, when many pilots used them for two very different purposes. The first was to fly in late August to the more »

Going Direct: Icon To Position Holders: Be Careful Down Low

ICON Aircraft A5 low-level maneuvering

After a fatal crash of a company airplane earlier this year, the manufacturer does an apparent 180 on low-level maneuvering. After the crash of one its A5 light sport amphibious planes, Icon Aircraft has established a set of criteria for customers to consider before they begin to flirt with the terrain. The letter from company more »

Going Direct: NBAA 2017 Wraps Up: 7 Important Takeaways

Leaving NBAA 2017

It was a show unlike any other, in ways both bad and good. Despite the sad context, there was a lot of important conversation and some big announcements. 7. Tragedy: It’s sad but undeniable that the number one story on everyone’s mind was the mass shooting that preceded the event by a week. The murderous more »

Going Direct: Las Vegas Soldiers On As NBAA Convention Begins

NBAA Convention

How does a large aviation convention get to business in the same town where only days before the largest mass shooting in United States history took place? As I prepared to leave for the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Convention, I was asking myself this very question. It seemed surreal and made me sad to more »

Going Direct: Business Is Personal

business aviation

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Convention in Las Vegas is fast approaching—“fast” being the operative term in all things related to the activity. While business aviation has been dominated by turbine-powered equipment for decades now, that wasn’t always the case. The first business aircraft, dating back more than 70 years now, were piston-powered personal more »

Going Direct: Black Hawk Shreds Drone: Why Should We Care?

UH-60A Black Hawk

The collision between a United States Army Blackhawk UH-60 and a civilian drone over Staten Island, New York, last week was the first instance of a civilian drone hitting an aircraft operating in the National Airspace System. The Black Hawk reportedly suffered a small dent in the left side of its fuselage and a dented more »

Going Direct: 5 Reasons It’s Crazy To Buy An Old Plane

old radios

There are five reasons only because I ran out of room for the other 95. As many of you know, I own an old plane. A senior citizen. A bucket of bolts. A golden oldie. The flying jalopy in question is a 1964 Cessna Skylane, which I bought last February. It’s 53 years old, which more »

Going Direct: What The Part 23 Rewrite Will Mean To You

Aircraft manufacturing facility

The FAA announced earlier this week that the Part 23 Rewrite has taken effect. This means that the rule, which gives manufacturers leeway to employ what are known as consensus standards to meet airworthiness standards instead of the FAA’s prescriptive rules. Those rules have been set in stone for decades now, and the oddest thing more »

Going Direct: AOPA Picks A Fight: Why We’re Rooting For The Good Guys

Fueling at an FBO

When it comes to fighting against FBOs that overcharge for fuel, it always seemed like a fight the little guys like us couldn’t win. Good news. Sometimes member organizations make a fuss about something because it makes the members happy, and sometimes they do because they think it will encourage change, even if the growling more »

Going Direct: Nall Report Safety Report Card

Aircraft accident

It looks and sounds good, but what do the numbers really mean. Earlier this week, the AOPA Air Safety Institute released its Joseph T. Nall Report, which details the safety picture of the most recent year for which there is complete data. This year it was 2104, and the news is good. Accidents were down more »