Controversy is good if youÂ’re a writer, so James Fallows has to be at least partly satisfied by the review in the WSJ. Putting the review flames out isnÂ’t nearly as important as providing the kindling to get the fire started. Jim has a reputation for starting fires.
However, one comment made by Mr. Felton that needs a clear response is the suggestion that Fallows is a mouthpiece for Cirrus. The comment legitimately arises from the lack of disclosure about the relationship between CD and Fallows. Nowhere in the book (at least not that I was able to find) was there a mention of the relationship (owner, investor, promoter) between author and subject. What makes this very noticeable is the reputation Fallows has rightfully earned as a respected, world-class journalist. I am reminded of the extreme care Jim took in the introduction to his 1981 book National Defense. There he flatly stated that his desire not to serve in the military was something readers should consider when reading the book. Missing from Free Flight is a similar bold disclosure. As an owner, Jim does have an interest in the success of CD. He may have a further interest as an investor. Nothing wrong with that, but it has to be clear from the outset or questions arise. Readers have become far too skeptical of the press (in part because of JimÂ’s book about the subject (see Amazon.com to pick up a copy)) to grant a hall pass on this issue.
Note: If you liked Free Flight, buy a copy of National Defense. It is no longer in print but can be purchased used from Amazon. Many interesting observations about procurement of F-16, M-16 and the volunteer military. Surprising how JimÂ’s comments from 20 years ago are still relevant today. Take a gander at the Osprey project!! If he is as prophetic about the future of GA as he was about the military, Free Flight is groundbreaking.