Going Direct: Correcting Gene Cernan

I’d feel lucky enough to have shaken the hand of Captain Gene Cernan, who set foot on the moon in December of 1972, the last manned Moon shot. But I got to spend time with him twice, and, yes, at first all I could think about was, “My goodness, this guy has walked on the more »

Going Direct: Looking Forward

In many ways 2016 was a challenging year for aviation. Sales were down, not catastrophically, but down nonetheless. The numbers of pilots and active pilots continue to decline, and the prices of new airplanes continue to climb, though the features and build quality continue to climb, as well. None of these circumstances is ideal, but more »

Going Direct: What The New Medical Will And Won’t Do For Aviation

The new BasicMedical will help lots of pilots. Is that enough? I know that it’s not the most popular position to take about one of the biggest liberalizations of flying regulations in decades, often referred to as the driver’s license medical, but let’s talk about managing expectations. Here’s something you won’t hear from many pundits more »

Going Direct: Chinese Firm Buys Controlling Interest In Diamond North America

What the acquisition likely means for Diamond’s future in GA. The truth is that increasingly the future of light GA manufacturing in the United States is an airway that goes directly through China. So like it or not, our aviation fortunes are inextricably linked to our nation’s relationship with the Asian world power. With this more »

Going Direct: Plane & Pilot Platinum Awards 2016

Plane And Pilot Awards 2016

It’s easy to listen to the naysayers in aviation, but by any measure it’s been a remarkable year for general aviation. From great new airplanes and technological advancements, to innovative companies and regulatory gains, aviation had a banner year in 2106. Here are our picks for the Plane & Pilot Platinum Awards. Piper M600 Piper more »

Going Direct: FAA Orders Santa Monica To Stop The Nonsense

Santa Monica Municipal Airport (KSMO)

Here’s why the Feds called BS on Santa Monica’s airport business evictions. Santa Monica Municipal is a historically significant and busy little single-strip city airport, but if the City of Santa Monica had its way, the facility would be a ghost town already. The city officially says it’ll be a park, but there’s good reason more »

Going Direct: Why The Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet Matters

Cirrus SF50 VisionJet

When Cirrus earned FAA approval for its SF50 last month, it was a monumental achievement. Here are the reasons that’s so. It’s tempting to dismiss one of the biggest news stories of the year, the FAA’s awarding type certification to Cirrus Aircraft for its SF50 Vision Jet, but we should avoid any such urge to more »

Going Direct: Why NYC White House Would Be A Security Nightmare

going direct

President-elect Trump’s plan to base out of New York City raises tricky security and access questions. When Donald Trump won the United States presidential election in early November, he did so in part because of his promise to “drain the swamp” that he believes Washington, D.C. politics to be. Now it seems that part of more »

Going Direct: Flight Sharing Going To The Supreme Court?

plane sharing

Flytenow’s model got shot down by the FAA. Not so fast, says the Internet startup. For decades, private pilots who took along paying friends on trips have been targets for the FAA, which strictly limits a pilot’s right to collect fees from passengers. So when Flytenow started its ride-sharing business a couple of years ago, more »

Going Direct: An Unexpected Reason Why The Supersonic Boom Jet Is Interesting

Boom Jet

Probability and hype in the new airplane game. By now you might have heard about the new Boom supersonic jet, a “demonstrator” version that’s set to fly sometime in 2017. That’s what the company making the jet, Boom Technology, out of Denver, Colorado, says anyway. Um…okay. Now here’s what will really happen. Let me start more »

Going Direct: What Donald Trump’s Election Means To Aviation

Going Direct Trump Aviaiton

A non-partisan look at how the new president’s policies will affect pilots and manufacturers. It’s been said again and again, and here I am saying it, too. Donald Trump’s ascension to power is unlike any other individual’s in our nation’s history. There has, thank goodness, never, ever been a presidential election like this in the more »

Going Direct: Cities That Hate Airports


On separate sides of the continent, a pair of oceanside municipalities are getting evil in their attempts to shut down historic airfields. You have to give a little credit to former Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley, who in March of 2003 ordered city crews to destroy Meigs Field, the iconic Chicago general aviation destination that more »

Going Direct: Why Bob Hoover Touched Us All

Bob Hoover

Why the war hero, test pilot and airshow great means so much to us pilots Was Bob Hoover the greatest pilot ever? I don’t know. He surely needs to be in that conversation, but when all is said and done, the result is discovering that the question is unanswerable. Truth is, it’s impossible to say more »

Going Direct: Sully Movie’s Scariest Message

Going Direct Sully

By the time you read this, there might not be quite as much buzz surrounding the remarkable film by Academy Award®-winning director Clint Eastwood and starring Academy Award®-winning actor Tom Hanks, which chronicles the so-called “Miracle on the Hudson.” Then, again, with award season getting underway, the film might be generating a different kind of more »

Going Direct: Why States Rights Are Bad For Aviation

Going Direct States Rights

A court ruling puts the principle of FAA control at risk. Why that’s something aviation can’t live with. When the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on a liability suit by a pilot’s widow over an allegedly faulty engine that caused the crash that killed the woman’s husband, they opened a can of worms, angry, more »

Going Direct: Why New ACS Tests Mean So Much

Now that the new ACS testing standards are in effect, the good news is, it’s a whole new ballgame. This is a good thing, as the old ballgame, that is, the way the FAA administered tests, was, at best, useless, and, at worst, an abusive bureaucratic exercise that cost test applicants untold millions of dollars more »

Going Direct: Space X—Mars For $200K A Ticket? In 10 Years? Not A Joke?

Space X

Or…when really smart, successful aviation people propose really baffling things. When Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, the promising but challenged electric car company, and Space X, the promising but challenged commercial space company, unveiled at the International Astronautical Congress conference in Guadalajara, Mexico, his plans to go to Mars, well, really, for all of us more »

Going Direct: The Blessed Insanity Of The New Medical Rules

new medical rules

The passage into law of the 3rd class pilot medical certification just last week as I write has changed the way hundreds of thousands of pilots will get their medicals. It’s a fundamental change in regulations for private aviation that I’ve been pushing for these past 20 years, and it’s finally here. Victory for the more »