In Case the World Doesn't End Today

You can make the most of your continued corporeal existence by taking part in the other big event scheduled for May 21, 2011: International Learn to Fly Day.

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You can find an event somewhere near you using this online locator. I'm planning to do my part this afternoon by surveying the late-Spring look of the mid-Atlantic region in a Cirrus SR-22. If you're tempted or curious, give it a try. (If I see you at Gaithersburg airport KGAI, where I'll start -- or Lancaster KLNS or Warren County KFRR or Wings Field KLOM or others I might try -- I'll buy you a coffee. Sadly no beers in these circumstances.) I've never regretted a minute or a dollar I've spent this way through the past 15 years. Except maybe during spin training.

And if the Rapture really is on hand today, you'll be that much closer to your destination, assuming you're headed up.
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From the Joy of Flying dept, as previously reported, with photos, here and here, the early morning scene at the small Honda airport, outside Tokyo, with my friend Peter Claeys walking out to the airplane at the start of our small-plane flight from Japan to Taiwan three years ago.

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The towers of Tokyo through the mist.

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And, a windy moment on the runway in Okinawa when we stopped for fuel and to clear customs on the way out of Japan. Peter Claeys on the right; both of us enjoying the trip.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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