Jim Fallows, COPA member & Speaker Extraordinaire

Yesterday, I attended the 2002 NJ State Aviation Conference in Trenton. The theme was “NJ Aviation in the 21st Century”.
The fact that the keynote speaker was Jim Fallows caught my interest, and that’s why I went. I had low expectations for the rest of the conference, and in many ways I was pleasantly surprised – some other interesting speakers, including Jack Harrington, a Vice President of Eclipse Aviation, Inc; a good lunch; a fully tricked-out BBJ on the ramp, for us to romp through and play at Super VIP or even Captain. As with all such events, it was a great opportunity to meet some very interesting people, and bump into old friends. As I expected, one or two of the speakers were, um, relaxing.
I learned a few things from the emcee’s introduction of Jim Fallows. Jim’s background is extremely impressive in areas that have nothing to do with aviation (he’s been at that for only four years). I think what impressed me most was that he had served as President Jimmy Carter’s chief speechwriter from 1977 to 1979.
What a treat it was to hear his talk!
It was very much along the lines of his book, Free Flight; with the added perspective of how 9/11 has changed the outlook for us all. Mostly, he outlined an optimistic vision of where aviation in general (including G.A., of course) might go in the coming years; complete with a raft of reasons that it’s all more likely to happen than not.
If you love to fly, hearing Jim talk is a rewarding experience. And, especially if you love to fly a Cirrus airplane, I can’t recommend his book highly enough. Free Flight: From Airline Hell to a New Age of Travel is probably available in lots of places – one is at Barnes and Noble’s site, for $20.
Photos are up on our Cirrus Pictures page, herehere.
To hear some of Jim’s interviews, go to the NPR website, and search for “fallows”. Well worthwhile, provided you have a high-bandwidth Internet connection.