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Grassroots

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.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Dead Reckoning Or Pilotage?


Life isn’t a destination. It’s a series of checkpoints.



Dead Reckoning Or Pilotage?Before GPS revolutionized just about everything, most of us old-timey pilot types used either dead reckoning or pilotage (and some of us still do).
Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Trusting Souls


The heaviest load in aviation is flying someone else’s airplane



Trusting SoulsWe're about to do some hangar flying under the guise of talking about some of the most trusting people I've ever met in my life.
Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Of Porta-Potties And Fields of Yellow


Oshkosh—the event never fails to amuse, confound and surprise



Of Porta-Potties And Fields of YellowNo, let me amend that: It was my 41st to Oshkosh, plus three to Rockford, the last home of the EAA's yearly orgy of all things aerial and wondrous.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Gettin’ In Dance


You can’t fly ‘em, if you can’t get in ‘em



The Gettin’ In DanceHowever, it often appears as if the most "interesting" vehicles require the most difficult dance moves to get into them.
Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dreamin’


They only die when we let them



Dreamin’I just discovered an important fact of life: dreams don't die.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012

It’s More Than Just An N-Number


Renaming our kids and our airplanes doesn’t always work



It’s More Than Just An N-NumberThe other day at the hangar, we were talking about how many times I've rebuilt my airplane: twice for the engine, twice for the fuselage and once for the rest of the airframe, which included re-cover and painting.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Aviation In The Key Of Gee Whiz


Getting a buzz out of life is easy



Aviation In The Key Of Gee WhizThe other day, we were discussing magazines, writing, flying and other major food groups of life, and I referred to the kind of wordsmithing I've always done as "Gee-Whiz Journalism."
Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mechanical Addiction


Don’t even try to explain it



Mechanical AddictionI'm not sure if it's a good or a bad thing, but a couple of months ago, I hit 5,000 hours of Pitts dual-given (most of it in the pattern).
Tuesday, March 6, 2012

On Getting Short


Gravity is the universal enemy in more ways than one



On Getting ShortGetting short" is a familiar old military term: You're coming to the end of your deployment or enlistment, and you don't have much time left before your life will be drastically altered.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Unplanned Obsolescence


Antiquity is strictly a point of view



Unplanned ObsolescenceEvery so often, something will happen that reaches out and raps you in the noggin, and makes you realize how fast time is ripping past. And how quickly something that's familiar and simply secondhand to you becomes exotic and antique to a new generation.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Of Knowledge, Experience And Regulations


Going to school doesn’t necessarily make you smarter



Of Knowledge, Experience And RegulationsAt the time this was being written, word was circulating within the aviation community that as the result of the Colgan airline crash in 2009, the FAA is probably going to place new experience requirements on airline copilot new hires.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Instructing The Instructor


Ten things every instructor learns, whether he wants to or not



Instructing The InstructorWhen you're a flight instructor, you're a combination shrink, drill sergeant, mother confessor and cheerleader; and, if you're a good instructor, you quickly realize that the act of instructing is teaching you more than you're teaching the student.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Personal Journey


This thank-you was a long time coming



A Personal JourneyThe green fields, most looking as if you could land a 747 on them, stretched off into the distance, where they became low, gently rolling hills.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Oshkosh By Any Other Name


Of damp dogs, wet aviators and rained-on cowboy hats



Oshkosh By Any Other NameYeah, I know: It’s officially AirVenture. But to a lot of folks, the name just hasn’t clicked.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Critter Delays


No matter what man thinks, Ma Nature still calls the shots



Critter DelaysGulfstream Eight Charlie Charlie, go around. The airport is temporarily closed.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Aerial Recycling


An airliner in the backyard makes sense (almost)



Aerial RecyclingFor the last six months or so, every time we'd taxi out, my eyes would drift to one end of the jet ramp, and linger on a Falcon 10 that has been there for quite a while.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Aerodromes And Longevity


A trip to the airport is good for what ails you



Aerodromes And LongevityHave you ever stood around the airport or at a fly-in, looked at some of your higher-mileage friends, and realized that even the gray dogs in the crowd act and look 15 years younger than you know them to be?
Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Jack


Once in a lifetime, such a man comes to us



JackWe were somewhere in the middle of the desert heading for my daughter's when my cell phone rang.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I Do It Because...


Explaining why we fly isn't simple



I Do It Because..."I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things."
—Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cub Butt


Aviation’s posterior-measuring system



Cub ButtThe contradictions between the Cirrus and my normal ride couldn’t have been more extreme if I had been in the space shuttle.