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Fallows sees bright American future for aviationFallows sees bright American future for aviation

American aviation has a bright future, according to award-winning author and commentator James Fallows. “There will always be an irresistible desire to fly,” he said.

Margaret Jenny, president of the Aero Club of Washington, presides over the club's October luncheon with special guests Mark Baker and James Fallows. During the luncheon, Baker and Fallows discussed a variety of topics from air traffic control to their ongoing love of aviation. Photo by Joe Kildea.

Fallows made the comments during a discussion last week with AOPA President and CEO Mark Baker at the monthly Washington Aero Club luncheon. The two covered a wide range of topics, including air traffic control, remotely piloted aircraft, the aviation infrastructure in China, and Fallows’ “American Futures” project.

Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic, and has written numerous books on Chinese culture and policy, including one related to the Chinese aviation industry. He has been a pilot for many years and owns a Cirrus SR22. “American Futures” is a multiyear project in which Fallows and his wife, Deborah, fly the SR22 to small communities around the country, getting a flavor of how people are adapting to economic, environmental, and technological changes in society. Fallows said the airplane both prompted the idea and makes the project possible.

The couple spent many years reporting in a similar style while living in China, and Fallows has extensively researched the Chinese aviation infrastructure. He said there’s only been “about an inch of liberalization of rules” thus far, and that “A China that could have a successful independent aerospace system is a China we don’t yet know.”

Mostly Fallows and Baker discussed their love of flight and all that aviation brings to society. Particularly while flying for American Futures, Fallows said he loves to watch the way settlements change with the landscape as you fly. “The process of swimming through the air still excites me,” he said.

Ian J. Twombly

Ian J. Twombly

Ian J. Twombly is senior content producer for AOPA Media.
Topics: Aviation Industry, Aviation Organizations

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