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 »

Going Direct: BasicMed Is Working, Just Not How We Thought It Would

new medical rules

Earlier this year when the FAA adopted the BasicMed path to FAA medication certification, we were skeptical that this mixed bag approach to what we’d expected to be a “drivers license medical” would do much. We were wrong. It’s been a real success in its own way. According to the FAA, more than 15,000 pilots more »

Going Direct: What We Love And Who We Are

Planes and pilots

When you get familiar with something important to you, it’s easy to forget its substance and focus on its form. That’s true with brands like ours, Plane & Pilot. It’s probably not something you think about beyond the fact that it’s a name you know and hopefully trust and maybe even love. I know that’s more »

Going Direct: Hitting Back Against Outrageous Fuel Prices

Fuel prices at Signature Flight Support

AOPA aims to fight the good fight. We’re behind them all the way, but here’s why we’re not holding our breath. We have our occasional disagreements, but as is usually the case, AOPA’s Mark Baker is hitting the nail on the head with his organization’s efforts to slow down questionable fuel pricing practices at airports more »

Going Direct: On The Insanity Of Flying Ubers

Air Taxi: Flying Ubers

The emotional appeal of the flying car is something I don’t understand. Airplanes have been around for a long time, and they’re really good at doing what they do. Cars have been around even longer, and they’re even better at doing what they do, better, to explain, in that cars are supposed to stay firmly more »

Going Direct: The Greatest Plane In Oshkosh History

The greatest plane at Oshkosh

I’ve been to a lot of EAA airshows in Oshkosh, but this one was special for me for me in one big way. For the past couple of decades and change, I’ve been happily trekking to Oshkosh in late July come rain or come shine—it’s been a lot more shine than rain, luckily. Lord knows more »

Going Direct: Could Privatization Spell The End Of AirVenture?

Jack Pelton at OSH

EAA’s Jack Pelton spells out the potential issues with putting on the world’s biggest airshow under a privatized ATC and what it could mean to all of GA. There are a small number of people in the GA community, pilots and even a very few industry insiders, who are sympathetic to the idea of privatizing more »

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 »