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Browse Grassroots, a collection of flying-related articles by Budd Davisson. An accomplished aviation journalist, Budd shares his perspective on  all kinds of flight-related subjects.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Walls That Talk

Of Bear Traps, N Numbers and Neat Junk

Walls That TalkOne of the advantages of visiting a friend in his home and/or office is that you get a sense of their environment.
Monday, November 9, 2015

Junk Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Special interest worlds don’t overlap as much as you think

Junk Is In The Eye Of The BeholderWith hundreds of people milling around me, I didn't actually hear the engine, but I certainly felt it! It was a deliciously smooth snarl that I could actually feel in my chest.
Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Oshkosh ’15

Cool stuff, memories and anniversaries

Oshkosh ’15Having been there so many times, I found myself seeing the grounds much the same way I see my old hometown.
Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Words At The Beginning

When someone gives us a break, but we often don’t say thanks

Words At The BeginningAfter you've reached a certain age, when you get an email with a friend's name in the title, you know that the news is never good.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015

It’s The Little Stuff That Gets You

Everyone needs a wake-up call now and then

It’s The Little Stuff That Gets YouThe student was driving, and we had just been given clearance to take off.
Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Aviator Voice

Having “that” sound can’t be faked

The Aviator VoiceThe other day, as I was pushing my trusty mount out of the hangar, a pilot was having trouble getting a rental Cirrus back in the hangar next door, so I stopped and gave him a hand.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Hallway Monitors

Do we really need tattletales in our midst?

Hallway MonitorsThe voice had a very indignant tone to it. As if the tower should pay special attention to everything he said.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Disappearing Airliners

The simplest solution is usually overlooked

Disappearing AirlinersOkay, I know that airliners spend a lot of their time being tracked on someone's radar scope and talking to ATC, so the assumption is that someone, somewhere knows exactly where they are at all times.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015

And Life Goes On

People in our lives we don’t know but should

And Life Goes OnToday has been a hard one for those of us who follow history: First thing this morning, I learned that Alex Vraciu, America's highest-scoring surviving ace, had died.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015

One Man’s Junk Is…

We all have junkyard dreams—or do we?

One Man’s Junk Is…My own airplane-in-a-barn story didn't involve a barn.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Too Late Gives No Warning

If you have dreams, put them into action today

Too Late Gives No WarningThey live their retirement dreams before retiring.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Heart Transplant

Overhauls, new sounds, the Old Gal labors on

Heart TransplantI've known for a while my engine wasn't totally happy.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Different Kind Of Calendar

Our year begins and ends in Wisconsin

A Different Kind Of CalendarIf, at any given time, there are around 200,000 people on the grounds at the Oshkosh orgy of aviation, then there are probably the same number of reasons why they're there.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sky King, Roy And The Gang

Was it a time of innocence or the formation of a generation?

Sky King, Roy And The GangIt doesn't seem that long ago that more than just the TV was black-and-white.
Monday, September 1, 2014

The White-Coat Syndrome

It’s real, it’s ridiculous, and for some of us, it’s impossible to avoid

The White-Coat SyndromeCourtesy of my laptop, it's 0450 hours (that's in the morning, in case you missed my whining), and I'm in another airport terminal.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014


The little stuff you pick up about aviation by living it

MinutiaAs the student settled into the back pit and started to put his headset on, I stopped him and took his baseball hat off his head.
Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Oh, No! Not More Changes!

There comes a time in life when status quo looks really attractive

Oh, No! Not More Changes!I first noticed it when one of our newer controllers, whose voice I didn't recognize, told us we were cleared for takeoff on Runway Tree. Tree? Huh!
Tuesday, May 6, 2014

TFRs And The Little Guy

I’m not sure of their purpose, and “they” aren’t aware of the effects

TFRs And The Little GuyMy student was from England. The first hop of the day was normal: from calling ATIS to flying the flight, nothing unusual.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014

When Is A Hobby Not A Hobby?

Regardless of how little a person flies, is it really a pastime?

When Is A Hobby Not A Hobby?Maybe it's a personal thing, but to apply the term "hobby" or "pastime" to flying sounds somehow demeaning.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Survivors In The Pattern

History is fleeting moments of the Human Experience strung together

Survivors In The PatternI had an emotionally wild and totally unexpected thing happen last week.