Review: Free Flight–Inventing the Future of Travel

5 Star, Best Practices in Management, Biography & Memoirs, Future

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Opens the Sky to Non-Pilots, Great Overview,

May 24, 2003
James Fallows
I bought this book for a very practical reason. In the aftermath of 9-11 I was thinking about moving to Smith Mountain Lake, four hours drive to the South of Washington, D.C., and I wanted a sense of whether “general aviation” might provide me with a once a week “commuter solution” for getting back up to the National Capitol Area.The book is fully satisfactory. While some might complain that it tells a personal story, I found this perfectly useful as a means of understanding both the pros and cons of airline travel through “hubs” that impose time loss on the passengers for the convenience of the commercial airline companies, versus “general aviation” which allows point to point travel.

Most interesting to me was learning that with the hubs and the problems inherent in airline travel today, the average speed for any trip by air can be just about the same as the average speed if going by car–60 miles per hour.

I ended this book with three understandings that more than warranted its purchase:

1) I, a non-pilot, could easily learn to fly and it would not only be worth my while, but great fun as well.

2) General aviation, while not as robust as it could be, is alive and well in America, and new solutions (including an airplane that comes with its own parachute, lowering the entire plane, with passengers, in the event of an engine failure) are there.

3) NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Agency) does a lot more than space flight–I was quite astonished to find that they are heavily engaged in thinking about general aviation solutions, and generally optemistic that in an era when time is the most precious commodity, and general aviation may be a solution for many businessmen as well as traveling families that shy away from the nightmare of getting kids through airports.

Bottom line: a great read, a great buy, and a vision into the future that is practical and fun.

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