Going Direct: The Ghost Of Amelia Earhart Spotted Again

Amelia Earhart, 1937

The sighting is the most recent in a series stretching back 80 years. For those of you who don’t believe in ghosts, please don’t stop reading quite yet. The most recent sighting of the ghost of Amelia Earhart was perhaps the most moving one yet. By now you’ve surely read the analysis of the major more »

Going Direct: Disruptive Aviation Policy

Garmin dual G5 panel

Doing aviation things differently has real consequences to those who profit from the status quo. Here’s how to recognize smart conservatism versus the other kind. There are certain questions we need to ask ourselves when we look at how aviation things are done and whether mixing things up might carry some benefits for those of more »

Going Direct: I Was So Wrong…Partially

sun and clouds

My Going Direct column recently outlined my big misgivings about the new BasicMed medical certification regulations. I promise I’ll get to the part where I admit I was wrong, but before I do, let me briefly sum up what I said and get into some of the real-world issues we’re facing now that BasicMed is more »

Going Direct: Supersonic Commercial Flight To Start Next Year…Kind Of

Boom Supersonic XB-1

One company is working with smart partners to start test flights of kinder and gentler supersonic planes as early as next year. So what does it mean that Boom Supersonic has “sold” 76 supersonic commercial jets to date, the number 76 being, I suppose, a milestone of sorts, with “76” being the year of America’s more »

Going Direct: Flying Is Cheaper Than Therapy, And Other Little White Lies

Flying Therapy

As some of you might know, one of my other passions besides flying is running. I run quite a bit and I’ve got a number of great friends who are runners, too. It’s a community that shares some basic understandings about what we love, much as pilots understand other pilots. There’s a joy we have more »

Going Direct: Case Study: When Private Companies Were Given A Big FAA Job

WAAS coverage map

Think privatization is the way to go for more efficient operation? Consider this case from just 20 years ago. One of the major arguments for President Trump’s proposed ATC Modernization plan is that private companies are inherently more efficient than governmental agencies. The example for this case is the FAA’s slow moving Nex-Gen airspace modernization more »

Going Direct: Trump ATC Privatization Proposal Shocks GA World

Trump ATC privatization

GA pilots, industry players, member organizations respond with outrage over the Trump ATC privatization budget proposal, the administration’s proposed adoption of ATC giveaway to the airlines. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise, but the aviation world responded in shock and outrage when President Trump, as the first step in his major infrastructure upgrade plan, more »

Going Direct: My New Plane

New Plane

For the past few months, I’ve been looking for a good used plane, and I finally found the one I wanted, a 1964 Cessna 182G in good condition, with low total time, an engine and prop with lots of life, and a nice paint job. It needs avionics in the worst way, so my next more »

Going Direct: Battery Breakthrough Could Cheaply Power Electric Planes

Battery inventor John Goodenough

If it’s for real, the advance would revolutionize electric flight. For the past many years, I’ve been the pro side in arguments with colleagues about the future of light aviation. Unlike many of my friends, I believe, to paraphrase William Faulkner, that light GA will not only survive but endure. I do accept that something more »

Going Direct: Harrison Ford Is Getting Off Scott Free: Good.

Harrison Ford lands on taxiway

As has been widely reported today, Star Wars actor Harrison Ford is not being punished by the FAA for mistakenly landing on a taxiway at John Wayne International Airport in Santa Ana, California, in February. So apparently, this rich, good-looking, famous movie star gets to screw up and get away with it? Actually, that’s how more »

Going Direct: A5 Crash And Icon’s Future

Icon A5 Crash

How have such tragic crashes affected other airplane programs? Not long after the news broke that an Icon A5 had suffered a fatal accident, observers began asking the question, “what does the crash mean to the company’s future?” The sensitivity of asking such a thing so soon after a tragic crash notwithstanding, the question is more »

Going Direct: BasicMed Has Real Advantages

BasicMed is here, and there’s real interest from pilots in using it. While it’s not everything we asked for, here’s how a lot of pilots can benefit. I’ve been critical of the FAA’s new alternative medical certification process known as BasicMed, and for good reason. As far pilots’ rights are concerned, it’s not as good a more »

Going Direct: How Uber Might Prove Vern Raburn Right After All

The Eclipse jet pioneer predicted a nationwide network of short-haul air transport. Maybe we’re finally seeing its birth. In Dallas this week, ride sharing giant Uber held a gathering for people who see a future world in which people are whisked to and fro in small autonomously operated vehicles. Yes, just like the Jetsons of more »

Going Direct: BasicMed: Privacy Questions Linger

How private is your application information, and can the FAA use it against you? We live in a polarized world, so I wasn’t too surprised that responses were bunched on both sides of the spectrum regarding my disappointment at the “driver’s license” medical we got in the form of BasicMed. While some readers applauded my more »

Going Direct: Here’s The Future Of Your Airplane’s Cockpit

Are you ready for the next big thing, a new way to see the aviation data we all rely on to fly safely and surely? You probably should be, because it’s coming. At Sun ‘n Fun Seattle Avionics’ Steve Podradchik showed me the coolest gadget I’ve seen in years. An iPhone. Okay, the iPhone wasn’t more »

Going Direct: BasicMed: A Huge Disappointment

As the details of the new third class FAA medical came to light, I made the mistake of letting my enthusiasm for the overall concept color my reaction to the actual rule. The new regs, BasicMed, were supposed to represent the FAA’s regulatory translation of what we really wanted: to get rid of the Third more »

Going Direct: How I’m Gearing Up For Flying Season

A new plane, a new season and lots of reasons to go gaga over planes. There’s been so much noise politically in aviation these past few months that we’ve been so busy protecting our freedom to fly against some very real threats that it’s been too easy to forget the flying part, which is, after more »