WHATI WANNA KNOW is the brainchild of my infinite curiosity, and Rocket From the Crypt’s rocking song of the same name.

As the 21st century poet Rivers Cuomo once said, “If you want it/You Can Have it/But you’ve got to learn to reach out there and grab it.”

Follow me as I interview people from around the world who fascinate me and hold information that I WANNA KNOW.

Hopefully you can find something inspiring in the work and learn something along the way.

Thank you for checking out this page and enjoy.

One thought on “ABOUT

  1. Your William Langewiesche is worthy of his insightful mind. I’ve sent this to historians at the Smithsonian. From your interview I know you understand how Langewiesche can provide them a pathway to understanding of events beyond heroic or tragic stereotypes.

    For dramatic, narrative reasons, the movie, “Sully”, ignores the role of the Airbus.

    ​For you – as an aviation historian -​ does it miss a crucial point about the joint role of men and machines in aviation progress and heroics?

    Should ​the public historian​ be willing to​ have Captain Sullenberger​ share the spotlight with the Airbus? In modern aviation, isn’t he just as much a hero with his head, as in the past he would have been with his hands?​​

    With fly by wire the need for pilot dexterity has been practically eliminated, but not the need for pilots’ understanding of flight. And of their machine in flight.

    The Wright brothers brought these two​ piloting​ qualities (dexterity + understanding) to the Flyer. Many early aviators had dexterity; it was the Wright brother’s understanding that made the critical difference and separated them from the res​t, ​as pilots, not to mention, inventors.

    Likewise, Sully, piloting the Airbus, had the same, practically unique, high level of understanding. ​He knew what the airplane needed to do​ and of its limitations in doing it.​ ​ Perhaps, as he instructed, more than guided, the aircraft, his mental judgment was informed by his past physical experience with the F-4 and with sailplanes. His physical training and experience gave him, as Bill Bradley has expressed it, “a sense of where you are.”

    It is true that, unlike the Wright brothers, Sully, assisted of fly-by-wire, ​did not have to wiggle or struggle with control, attempting to calculate and find just the right touch for the circumstances.​ Yet, crucially, he did have ​just ​the ​​right understanding for the circumstances.

    As public historians, ​what would you like to tell​ movie reviewers and the public​ about ​how we see​ aviation​ history​,​ heroes​, and their mighty machines? Compare: Wright Flyer, Spirit of St Louis, Apollo 13.

    Douglas Johnston

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