The Chatter Podcast: Aviation Oddities and Near Misses with James Fallows
It’s been an eventful few months for flying objects. A Chinese spy balloon captured national attention and sparked an international incident--and a lot of hot air. But closer to the ground, there have been two near collisions of commercial jets at U.S. airports, a more urgent story that has received comparatively less attention.
This week, Shane Harris talks to journalist (and pilot) James Fallows about “What the hell is happening in the sky?” to borrow from one of his recent posts. Fallows has been chronicling American life for decades, most notably as a longtime correspondent for The Atlantic. Now he’s writing about aviation, spy balloons, politics, and whatever else catches his observant eye on his new site, “Breaking the News,” hosted on Substack.
Fallows talked about the two near misses at Austin airport and JFK, which could have led to a catastrophic loss of human life, and how an overburdened commercial aviation system may be poised for a disaster. He shared his insights about the Chinese spy balloon kerfuffle, informed in part from his time living in China as a correspondent. And Fallows reflected on the life and legacy of President Jimmy Carter, for whom he wrote speeches at the White House.
Chatter is a production of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo. This episode was produced and edited by Ian Enright of Goat Rodeo. Podcast theme by David Priess, featuring music created using Groovepad.
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Works mentioned during this episode:
“What the Hell is Happening in the Sky?” by James Fallows, on his new Substack page
James Fallows on Twitter
James Fallows’ archive at The Atlantic
"An Unlucky President, and a Lucky Man," The Atlantic, by James Fallows
The book West with the Night: A Memoir by Beryl Markham
The book Fate is the Hunter by Ernest K. Gann
The book Inside the Sky, among others, by William Langewiesche
The book Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying by Wolfgang Langewiesche