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 »

Going Direct: New Improved ATC Plan? The One Big Reason GA Is Saying “No Way!”

U.S. Airspace

They’re not saying it out loud, but here’s why GA organizations are calling the new ATC plan a non-starter. GA is in a tough spot now that a new privatization plan has been crafted that in theory answers most of its objections. There are the reasons that the industry remains united in its opposition. Here’s more »

Going Direct: Supersonic Commercial Flight To Start Next Year…Kind Of

Boom Supersonic XB-1

One company is working with smart partners to start test flights of kinder and gentler supersonic planes as early as next year. So what does it mean that Boom Supersonic has “sold” 76 supersonic commercial jets to date, the number 76 being, I suppose, a milestone of sorts, with “76” being the year of America’s more »

Going Direct: Flying Is Cheaper Than Therapy, And Other Little White Lies

Flying Therapy

As some of you might know, one of my other passions besides flying is running. I run quite a bit and I’ve got a number of great friends who are runners, too. It’s a community that shares some basic understandings about what we love, much as pilots understand other pilots. There’s a joy we have more »

Going Direct: Case Study: When Private Companies Were Given A Big FAA Job

WAAS coverage map

Think privatization is the way to go for more efficient operation? Consider this case from just 20 years ago. One of the major arguments for President Trump’s proposed ATC Modernization plan is that private companies are inherently more efficient than governmental agencies. The example for this case is the FAA’s slow moving Nex-Gen airspace modernization more »

Going Direct: Trump ATC Privatization Proposal Shocks GA World

Trump ATC privatization

GA pilots, industry players, member organizations respond with outrage over the Trump ATC privatization budget proposal, the administration’s proposed adoption of ATC giveaway to the airlines. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise, but the aviation world responded in shock and outrage when President Trump, as the first step in his major infrastructure upgrade plan, more »

Going Direct: My New Plane

New Plane

For the past few months, I’ve been looking for a good used plane, and I finally found the one I wanted, a 1964 Cessna 182G in good condition, with low total time, an engine and prop with lots of life, and a nice paint job. It needs avionics in the worst way, so my next more »

Going Direct: Battery Breakthrough Could Cheaply Power Electric Planes

Battery inventor John Goodenough

If it’s for real, the advance would revolutionize electric flight. For the past many years, I’ve been the pro side in arguments with colleagues about the future of light aviation. Unlike many of my friends, I believe, to paraphrase William Faulkner, that light GA will not only survive but endure. I do accept that something more »

Going Direct: Harrison Ford Is Getting Off Scott Free: Good.

Harrison Ford lands on taxiway

As has been widely reported today, Star Wars actor Harrison Ford is not being punished by the FAA for mistakenly landing on a taxiway at John Wayne International Airport in Santa Ana, California, in February. So apparently, this rich, good-looking, famous movie star gets to screw up and get away with it? Actually, that’s how more »