Greetings Cirrusites. Here is a copy of a note I just posted to a couple of rec.aviation newsgroups, and which also applies here (minus the several ‘lurker’ apologies)
New book on GA future / Free Flight by James Fallows
I come out of lurker realm to mention this book. Knowing that newsgroups are not for spamming or advertising, I'll do this only once and explain now why I'm posting this message. I've just published a book called Free Flight, about the prospects for expanded GA activity really serving as an alternative to the
logjammed airlines. (Full title is ‘Free Flight: From Airline Hell to a New Age of Travel.’ Basic information here, http://www.jamesfallows.com/freeflight/index.php. It should be in bookstores later this coming week, and of course is available for pre-order via Amazon and B&N.)
It tells mainly three stories: how NASA's small-plane program has tried to stimulate innovation in airplane and airport design; how Cirrus Design tried to come up with a radically simpler, safer small piston plane; and how Eclipse is trying to break the pricing model for small turbine airplanes. This is surrounded with discussions of small-plane safety, why some people become entranced with the life of the air, what the logistical barriers to more GA use are, etc.
I mention it here for two reasons. One, frankly, is that I think many newsgroup readers might be interested. The other involves the only dissonant note of reaction I’ve gotten from the “general” press. The main initial response has been positive. (See here for a sample.
http://www.jamesfallows.com/freeflight/blurbs.php ) But one early review said that some of the material might be too “technical” and “difficult” for readers.
If you think that a discussion of whether the tort-liability issue really was a factor in GA's decline; or how, exactly, Eclipse and Sam Williams made a turbine engine so much lighter than other models; or the arguments pro- and con- a built-in parachute like Cirrus's; or the challenges of financing an aviation start-up are not too "technical" for you, you might be interested, and therefore I mention the book. (I also will be making a presentation on it at Oshkosh.)
If this is intrusive, sorry. Also, I send my gratitude for the advice I’ve absorbed from these groups while lurking over the years.
Jim Fallows National Correspondent, The Atlantic Monthly Berkeley, Ca, [email]Jfallows@theatlantic.com[/email]