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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, November 1, 2004

Recovering From The EAA AirVenture

The countdown to next year’s show begins the minute you return home

We had just returned from Oshkosh, Wis., late last night, which is another way of saying that today, I’m going to be nearly useless. There are lots of things to be done, but I don’t have enough energy in order to cope, so screw ’em. That stuff will get done tomorrow.
Friday, October 1, 2004

Serendipitous Encounters

Sometimes, being in the right place at the right time is a spiritual experience

We were in the pattern and just in the process of turning downwind from crosswind when the tower said, “Eight-papa-bravo, you’re number two to a Liberator that will be crossing over the airport to join downwind in front of you. He’ll be doing a low pass.”
Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Useless Aviation

Just because you don’t do it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done

Useless aviation. Now, there’s a term you seldom hear. It popped up in an e-mail that was addressed to me last week. The writer, a longtime pilot himself, was explaining that because I’ve chronicled various battles with off-airport individuals, he thought it was important that I understand that as you get older and can no longer fly, you lose patience with those involved in “useless” aviation—those who make noise and aren’t accomplishing anything.
Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Gréyjà Vu

Clouds happen—even in Arizona

Wow! I just returned from the airport where I had to cancel a hop because the clouds were down around 700 feet and it was raining. This is spectacularly unusual for me. In fact, in 12 years of flying here in Arizona, it’s only the ninth time weather (usually it’s the wind) has stopped me from flying with a student.
Saturday, May 1, 2004

Flying Is Exercise

Being a hangar potato is actually hard work! No, really!

Until recently, I was convinced that the only exercise I get is pushing a computer mouse around between trips to the refrigerator (it’s a rule that periods of procrastination can only be interrupted for fridge trips).
Last week, however, while defending myself in a conversation with a student who insisted golf was good exercise, I arrived at a startling realization—I actually do exercise, but it’s disguised as flying.
Thursday, April 1, 2004

Pitts Specialski

A world away is as near as the next key stroke

An e-mail that I received said:
Report, can I gain the necessary drawings for independent building given plane PITS. Is it Beforehand thanked for answer,
Mihail K.
Monday, March 1, 2004

Setting The Record Straight

I’m not on the outside, looking in. I’m just on the outside.

Lyn “I’m the boss?” Freeman, Plane & Pilot’s leader (a scary thought, at best) challenged me to put my flight-instructing skills to the test by checking him out in my airplane for an article. I figured, sure. It ought to be fun. I mean, it’s just a little article, right? And we’ll have a good time flying. But, the flying aspect turned out to be nothing compared to the talking part and the aftermath when the article came out.
Sunday, February 1, 2004


The tiny voice in our head sometimes isn’t in our head

At first, I wasn’t certain I had heard it. It was a faraway voice, not quite a whisper, and my headset killed the engine noise just enough that I could tell it was there. Had I imagined it? Was I actually hearing it, or was my own mind talking to me and making it sound as if it was coming through my headset?
Thursday, January 1, 2004

Becoming Invisible

“Sometimes, we’re all alone in a crowd”

Officially, the EAA AirVenture was over. Only a few hours earlier, a voice had boomed over the PA system, saying thanks and come again next year. That was the signal that it was time to return to the real world and normalcy. However, those of us milling around the boarding lounge at Appleton Airport, waiting for our commuter flight, were mentally and emotionally still walking the grounds at Oshkosh. We weren’t ready for normalcy yet.
Wednesday, November 30, -0001

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.