Cooperation, Calm, and Competence: This Is How It Sounds

In the skies over Dulles airport last week, pilots and controllers gave an example of grace under pressure.


The Quiet Competence That Makes the Country Run

Being "inside the clouds" is stressful. But when you break into the clear, you see things you might not have noticed before. A view of the "soft skills" part of America's human infrastructure, and their difference from those in China and elsewhere.


The 3 Weeks That Changed Everything

Imagine if the National Transportation Safety Board investigated America's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Economic & Business Development

New Jobs, New Residents, and New Possibilities

Read the story in The Atlantic  here. crazybear via Shutterstock Here are news items and developments related to trends we’ve been covering in the recent “Our Towns” series, and elsewhere: The furniture business returns, and is looking for furniture-makers. In a series of dispatches from Danville, Virginia, and its environs, Deb Fallows and I talked about […]


Flying Down East

Headed back to Eastport

Economic & Business Development

The End of the Journey

N435SR parked at its new home at the San Bernardino Airport in California (Deborah Fallows) Arriving in Tucson, we felt the inklings of coming full circle with our American Futures project. Only one more leg of our journey, about 400 miles, before we reached our destination of the San Bernardino airport, and on to a writing base at the University […]

Parks, Rec & Fun

In Flight

Banking to the right, looking through the clouds toward the water and the ground. (Deborah Fallows) We took off west from Demopolis, Alabama, prepared for a lot of flying ahead on this last journey for The Atlantic’s American Futures project. (First two installments in the series, taking us from D.C. to Alabama, here and here. ) We passed over Meridian and Jackson, […]

Economic & Business Development

Flying Into the Deep South

At the airport in Demopolis, paper mill in the background. Deborah Fallows We woke up in Demopolis, Alabama, on day two of the final journey of our American Futures series for The Atlantic. We were one day out of Washington D.C. (first installment here) and already decades away in so many ways. The weather was balmy. In the Best […]

Parks, Rec & Fun

Farewell to Washington

Montgomery County traffic, Cirrus Four-Three-Five Sierra Romeo taking Runway One-Four, VFR (visual flight rules) departure to the west, Montgomery. Rolling down Runway 14 for takeoff from Montgomery County Airpark in Gaithersburg, Maryland. (Deborah Fallows) And with that, we were off in our small Cirrus airplane for the last official journey of our American Futures series for The Atlantic, […]

Parks, Rec & Fun

Happy New Year:

See You in June

Reports From America

Life in the Air

Getting from here to there by small plane

Economic & Business Development

The Ebbs and Flows of Coastal Maine

Quoddy Village was built ahead of its time

Economic & Business Development

Dodge City Postcard

Notes from the ground, from the sky, and from the people of Dodge City, Kansas

From the Readers

From the Air Traffic Controller’s Perspective

Read the story in The Atlantic here. This is not the controller I spoke with last week at Denver’s Centennial airport, because this man is working that same day in the control tower at LAX. But this gives you an idea of what controllers are looking at and dealing with. (Bob Riha Jr / Reuters) […]

Parks, Rec & Fun

The Air Traffic Ballet

The airspace that was the subject of a coordinated aerial ballet two days ago. The magenta line shows where pilots thought they would be going. The orange line shows where they ended up. (FAA sectional charts via SkyVector.) During our travels Deb has often mentioned our interest in, and nearly-all-times admiration for, the Air Traffic Controllers […]

Parks, Rec & Fun

View From the Right Seat

About to land one week ago, on Runway 14 in Dodge City, Kansas. (Deborah Fallows) During our more than 50,000 miles of flight for our American Futures project, I’ve sat in the “right seat” of our Cirrus SR22. That’s the official term for my spot in the plane, and the right seat like the left carries all […]