Richard Bach, the well-known pilot and author of numerous books, articles and short stories about aviation (he’s probably most widely known for his book Jonathan Livingston Seagull), once wrote a story about a mythical flight school somewhere in the western U.S. and far away from civilization.
Transformation is one of the most extraordinary themes of the human experience. We strive for it, experience it, witness it–sometimes even dread it. But one thing we can be sure of is that constant change and evolution surround us.
Business aviation may still be brimming with righteous indignation over recent attacks by President Barack Obama (in the row over bonus depreciation) and The Wall Street Journal (over the Block Aircraft Registration Request issue), but it now faces bigger and more tangible problems.
I get so sick of hearing pundits talk about how bad it is to criminalize aircraft accidents, how we need to be able to determine the cause of accidents without the threat of criminal sanctions such as fines and jail time impeding the free exchange of information. Some claim that the chilling effect of looming criminal inquiries would thwart the NTSB’s ability to determine probable cause and so on.
So it took a torrent of battling press releases, multiple sound bites and numerous press briefings before we finally learned the real hang-up over the FAA extension bill, and it wasn’t three little airports in West-by-god-Virginia and two other states.
Spending a week at the annual EAA AirVenture Oshkosh show never fails to exhilarate and inspire, but at the same time it can frustrate. The good news is that we U.S. citizens are extraordinarily lucky to live in a country where the federal authorities have decided that it's OK to allow us the freedom to design, build and fly an aeronautical device of our own creation, with few restrictions.
Sometimes, editors simply have to guess. No, not about the facts in their articles, but about what editorial projects will pay off on the time, effort and resources invested in them.
How does one measure the success of an airplane designer?
I recall being at first surprised, then relieved, by the oft-quoted statistic that aviation accounts for just 2 percent of global CO2 emissions. It seems like such a small amount in the grand scheme of greenhouse gases. But a recent report by the World Economic Forum cautions against complacency on the emissions front.
The regional airline business lost more of its luster last week, when Delta Air Lines announced it would retire its entire Saab 340 turboprop fleet and “adjust” flying in 24 small markets, 16 of which benefit from Essential Air Service subsidies.