Going Direct: Time Flies

Time Flies: airplane at sunset

As a pilot, I’ve always been a pretty pragmatic type, and I’ve always tried to find the most efficient way to get something done without sacrificing safety and without spending too much. “Pragmatic” and “cheap” aren’t synonyms, but let’s face it: they’re closely related. Aside from money, the most important thing to a pilot is more »

Going Direct: 20-Year Forecast: Here’s What The FAA Missed

Old planes

The factors that got left out overshadow the conclusions…by a lot. The FAA released its forecast for aviation over the next 20 years, and it’s about as good a product as we can realistically hope to see. That is, it’s based on the safest assumptions and fails to take into account advances in technology that more »

Going Direct: Goodbye, DUATS, And Thanks For The Memories

DUATS

The old dial-up service is on its way out. But, oh, how it changed our lives for the better. The FAA’s coming elimination of the original computerized weather briefing and flight-planning tool is a sad thing, though in this case, it was the right time and the right thing to do. The FAA established the more »

Going Direct: We Win: ATC Privatization Is Dead

FAA Seal

Here’s who to thank and why it likely went down as it did. Last night House Transportation Chair Bill Shuster (R, PA) withdrew the amendment to FAA reauthorization pushing for turning the FAA’s air traffic control functions over to a private corporation. The bill—the Senate has already passed its version—once passed will then move on more »

Going Direct: Cessna Axes TTx And Why Should You Care

Cessna TTx

By ending production of the highly regarded but light selling TTx, Textron Aviation might be showing its long term plans for other models. When Textron Aviation announced that it had ended production of the TTx single-engine piston speedster, the news was greeted with little shock, and most of the commentary centered on the angle that more »

Going Direct: Shut Up World, I’m Going Flying

Going Flying

Sometimes the answer to all of life’s problems can be found in that one place your worries can’t get to. It’s been a rough week for me. It happens. I’m lucky in that there’s nothing unsolvable or that can’t be out-waited, but still, these things can cause stress. There’s a lot of talk about how more »

Going Direct: Our Fearless Collier Predictions: The Winner Is (Or Will Be…)

2017 Collier nominees

You won’t believe the lineup of aviation achievement represented by this year’s nominees. Here’s who’s going to win and who’s going to lose and why. And the winner is . . .? When the Collier Trophy committee meets to pick a 2017 winner of its annual award, which recognizes the top real-life aviation (or space) more »

Going Direct: When Wind And LSA Meet

Wind at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring

The annual recreational aviation show in central Florida had one major problem that no one could escape, but customers and vendors turned into well stirred lemonade. The Sebring Sport Aviation Expo wrapped up last week in Central Florida, and it was in some ways the weirdest show I’ve attended, and as you might imagine, I’ve more »

Going Direct: The Future Of Light GA And The Four-Seat Family Plane

Sport Aviation Expo

In a panel discussion at Sebring, I spoke with some sport aviation experts about the state of certification, and by the end of the forum we’d come to some interesting conclusions. At the Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring on Thursday, I sat down for a conversation about certification with sport aviation veterans Sebastien Heintz, president more »

Going Direct: What To Make Of The Drugs In Roy Halladay’s System

Roy Halladay taking delivery of is Icon A5

Hard questions about letting it all hang out, our responsibility to aviation and informed consent. As you’ve doubtless heard by now, the former baseball ace Roy Halladay, who died in the crash of his Icon A5 in the shallow Gulf of Mexico waters last year, had drugs in his system when he hit the water. more »

Going Direct: Ray Maule’s Life Well Lived

Ray Maule

If you’re a pilot you almost certainly know the name “Maule,” but you might not know about Ray Maule, who passed away at the age of 83 last week after a remarkable life and career in aircraft manufacturing and much more. Ray didn’t found Maule Air. That was Ray’s father, Belford, B.D. Maule, and his more »

Going Direct: Amtrak Crash Fallout: Pilots Beware

Small airplane

Following the crash of an Amtrak train in Olympia, Washington, we’re already hearing cries for more automation to prevent such disasters. Will that happen in aviation, too? The tragic crash on Monday of an Amtrak train that left at least three people dead and dozens injured, was associated with excess speed, a lot of excess more »

Going Direct: Blast Off: Amazon First In Books…And In Space?

How the success of Blue Origins might mean that a new space race is actually open. I forget who said that “all politics are local,” a sentiment I don’t entirely agree with, but I do think that space flight is inherently global and inescapably political. Maybe it shouldn’t be so much of the later. NASA, more »

Going Direct: Could Russia Help Write FAA Regulations?

The argument over net neutrality is tainted, and here’s why we in aviation should be worried. The battle over net neutrality is heating up…again…only this time the dialog features a lot of robots weighing in on the subject. Net neutrality is the current longtime policy under which Internet providers are not allowed to give bandwidth more »

Going Direct: Annual Airplane Anxiety (And The Daily Kind, Too)

Annual airplane inspection due

My airplane is in for annual. It’s my first annual with it. A new plane (new to me), a new shop, and a history that I’m only getting to know bit by bit. I was texting with a friend the other day whose airplane is also in for annual. He said his thoughts and prayers more »

Going Direct: Mitchell Bombers And Demographics

North American B-25 bomber "Yellow Rose"

Last Friday, I got a call from Jerry Gregoire, founder of Redbird Flight and currently as retired from hard work as is possible for a person with seemingly boundless energy, which is to say, he’s not very retired at all. His current passion is the work of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Wing at San more »

Going Direct: What? Who? Surprising Leaders In Electric Flight 

E-Fan X

When it comes to innovations, most are evolutionary. One new program announced on Tuesday is going to change everything. The news from the continent is encouraging. The development of useful electric-powered aircraft is happening before our very eyes. On Tuesday, Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Siemens announced an ambitious partnership to make electric propulsion a reality in more »

Going Direct: Thanksgiving By Air

Thanksgiving By Air

It seems improbable, but the Pilgrims helped shape my love of flying. The Thanksgiving holiday is strongly associated with air travel, for good and for bad. It’s good that so many of us are able to jet from where we live to be with our extended families, and at the same time, airline terminals are more »