The CEO of magniX talks about electric airplane propulsion. Also, FAA reauthorization, an initial NTSB report, why bad airline service is profitable, a possible increase in the LSA weight limit, and Air Force contracts for helicopters and the T-38 replacement.
Roei Ganzarski, CEO of magniX.
Roei Ganzarski is the CEO of magniX, a company developing high-power-density electric motors for aircraft propulsion.
magniX sees itself as a propulsion company, developing electric motors for existing and future airframes. Roei describes how the electric airplane (or hybrid-electric) offers the prospect of connecting communities through lower costs to fly. In addition to reduced fuel and maintenance costs, electric airplanes benefit from lower emissions.
Roei describes some of the challenges faced, including battery energy density, lifespan, and replacement cost.
The magniX 350SHP electric airplane motor.
magniX is currently testing a 350 hp motor, while the 375 hp and 750 hp production motors are in final design. Flight tests are planned for the second half of 2019, with certification and start of commercial operation in 2022. Beyond that, magniX looks to develop one-megawatt and superconductor motors for very high output per kilogram.
Prior to joining magniX, Roei was CEO of BoldIQ, a global provider of dynamic real-time scheduling optimization software. Under Roei’s leadership, BoldIQ grew from a seed software startup to a profitable multi-million dollar SaaS company.
Before BoldIQ, Roei was Chief Customer Officer for Boeing’s Flight Services division where he led all worldwide customer and market-facing organizations. Other experiences prior to Boeing include private investment banking, corporate finance, advertising, and the military.
Roei is a graduate of Wharton’s Advanced Management Program. He earned an MBA from the University of Washington, and a BA in Economics from The University of Haifa. Roei sits on the board of the Washington Technology Industry Association.
The author of New York Times Bestseller Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History helps us look at the true story of pioneering women aviators. Also, Air Canada’s near disaster last year, the FAA approves an ultralight VTOL, FAA reauthorization, an F-35B crash, and an American Airlines podcast. Plus, more from Dorkfest 2018, and a visit with the Collings Foundation.
Keith is a former reporter for the Boston Globe and a frequent contributor to National Public Radio. His work has appeared on shows such as All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and This American Life. He has also written for the New York Times Magazine, Politico, and Slate. Follow Keith on Twitter at @keithob.
Dr. Patti Clark, a Program Chair at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide, describes the Aviation is Your Future course offered free online for youngsters aged 8-12. We also hear about sustainability in the aviation industry. In the news, we look at the latest FAA reauthorization bill, engine maintenance and new wings for the A-10, forgetting to pressurize the cabin, misspelling your airline name, falsifying FAA medical records, and beards and oxygen masks. We also learn about the XP-82 Twin Mustang, as have some interviews from this year’s Dorkfest, including one very special celebrity.
Dr. Patti Clark
Dr. Patti Clark is Program Chair, MS in Aviation and Aerospace Sustainability, at the College of Aeronautics, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide. She is also editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Aviation Management.
Patti is one of the instructors of the Aviation is Your Future course, a project of the Woman in Aviation International Chapter at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide. It is a self-paced Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that celebrates Girls in Aviation Day which is October 13, 2018. The course targets children aged 8-12 and is intended to help attract more people into aviation. The modules are self-paced and should take the youngsters about 6 hours to work through.
Parents can register their children at any time and the course will be open from October 8 through 23, 2018.
Patti holds a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics as well as a Master of Aeronautical Science (Management and Safety specializations) from the Embry-Riddle. She also holds Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration with a specialization in Aeronautical Science Management from Northcentral University in Prescott Valley, AZ.
Patti’s aviation career started with active military service in 1977 as an aircraft jet engine mechanic. She followed that career path through several USAF Reserve and Guard assignments. After leaving military service, she continued to work with the USAF as an aircraft and engine Air Force Engineering Technical Services (AFETS) specialist.
Patti went on to earn her graduate degree and ultimately her doctorate, worked on DoD environmental and safety projects, and held several director positions at Embry-Riddle.
Along the way, Patti was named the Executive Director and Airport Manager for the Valdosta Regional Airport in Valdosta, GA. In 2013, Patti accepted a full-time faculty position in the Embry-Riddle College of Aeronautics.
The Moody Air Force Base in Georgia has achieved a remarkable readiness level for the General Electric TF34 engines that power the A-10C Thunderbolt II. All TF34 engines in the fleet are repaired to serviceable status. The achievement is attributed to last year’s continuous process improvement event.
The flight crew on Jet Airways Flight 697 neglected to pressurize the cabin, which caused the passengers some distress. Passengers reportedly said that no oxygen was flowing from the masks that dropped down. The airline disputes the claim. The aircrew has been taken off active duty.
A Delta Air Lines pilot was indicted on charges that he falsified FAA medical records necessary to obtain his airman medical certificate. Three other airline pilots have been indicted for making false statements to the FAA in their medical certificates paperwork.
Appareo Systems is the maker of Stratus transponders for ADS-B systems. United Airlines announces its goal to cut greenhouse emissions by 50%, Airbus is investing in synthetic spider silk for composite aerostructures, the fatal crash of a Cessna 335, flight attendants on bad behavior by emotional support animals. Also, a conversation about passing the Cirrus SF50 checkride.
Kelly Keller flying in Alaska.
Kelly Keller is the Central US Territory Manager for Appareo Systems, maker of the Stratus line of transponders for ADS-B systems.
Stratus ADS-B In.
Kelly tells us about ADS-B In and ADS-B Out and explains what each does. From the Appareo website: “ADS-B is the technology being implemented by the FAA to provide surveillance and improved situational awareness to both pilots and air traffic controllers. The FAA mandate states that all aircraft operating in current Mode-C airspace must be ADS-B Out equipped by 2020. For the pilot, the two primary benefits come in the form of ADS-B In weather and traffic information.”
We explore the “hockey puck” and the “ghosting” effects and come to understand the implications if your airplane is ADS-B In equipped but not ADS-B Out equipped. Kelly also discusses the demand for installation and certification services and the increasing labor rates.
Kelly is a third generation pilot. Her grandfather was a WWII B-17 bomber pilot who flew two tours in the European theater, and her father was a Vietnam veteran, an airline pilot, an A&P/IA, and an avid advocate for general aviation. Kelly has been a private pilot since 2010, with ASEL and ASES class ratings. She’s currently finishing up her instrument rating.
Kelly’s family in front of the Staggerwing at Oshkosh.
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz says, “…United Airlines became the first U.S. airline to make a public commitment to reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions – 50 percent by the year 2050.” This will be accomplished through engine and airframe technology developments, and the use of biofuels. United made an aviation fuel purchase agreement with Fulcrum BioEnergy, and the airline celebrated their commitment with the longest transatlantic biofuel flight to date, from San Francisco to Zurich. See also: Major air carriers plan to use more biofuels.
Airbus partnered with AMSilk to develop a prototype composite material composed of Biosteel fiber and resin. AMSilk is a German company that produces Biosteel in the lab which is designed to mimic spider silk in terms of flexibility and strength. Biosteel is created through a “closed-loop, bacterial fermentation process.” They hope to debut the composite in 2019.
A Cessna 335 recently crashed on approach to Florida’s Palm Beach County Park/Lantana Airport. The twin-engine airplane hit the ground a mile from the airport, killing the pilot and his wife. The man did not hold a valid pilot certificate. In fact, his certificate had been revoked in 1997 “for making fraudulent or intentionally false statements on his application for a medical certificate.” See also, Crash Pilot Had Certificate Revoked.
We look at UPS Airlines, including the fleet, the pilots, the technology, and the processes employed. Also, the Perlan 2 altitude record flight, GA accident rates, an F-35C incident, and pizza for 159 American Airlines passengers. We celebrate the 97th birthday of a WASP, look at the Immortal Red Baron air show act and a new Old Guys and Their Airplanes video. We also have a promo code for tickets to the 2018 Audi Stuart Air Show.
UPS Airlines 747-8F. Courtesy UPS.
Jim Mayer is public relations manager for UPS Airlines. He’s based at the airline’s headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky.
Jim Mayer, UPS Airlines Public Relations Manager.
We talk about the UPS Airlines fleet makeup: the “brown tails” (including the new 747-8F freighters) and the small feeder aircraft vendors. Jim explains the daily cycle at the Worldport® global air hub in Louisville, Kentucky. This is the world’s largest automated package sorting hub, where they experience airplane landings every 70 seconds over about a three hour period each night.
Jim tells us about cockpit technology projects, the hot spare aircraft that stand ready, and the UPS Flight Path program with Ameriflight to help keep new pilots in the pipeline.
UPS is the official logistics provider for Expo 2020 Dubai and we talk about the daily nonstop flight from the Worldport hub to Dubai, UAE. Made possible with the Boeing 747-8F freighter, this route improves time-in-transit from North and South America to Middle East destinations by one business day.
Of course, over the years UPS Airlines has encountered some unique shipments, and Jim tells us about a few of them, as well as recent humanitarian flights to Puerto Rico.
Jim joined UPS in 2003 following a career as an Emmy-award-winning broadcast reporter. As PR manager at UPS Airlines, Jim manages media relations and external communications for one of the world’s largest airlines. He has traveled extensively around the world, helping to tell the UPS story, including coverage of major facility expansions in China and Europe; and unique charter moves such as whale sharks and humanitarian aid flights.
Jim is a Chicago-area native and has a B.A. in Telecommunications from Indiana University in Bloomington.
The Airbus Perlan Mission II pressurized glider has been out riding atmospheric pressure waves, and it’s reached more than 76,000 feet. That’s believed to be the record for subsonic human flight in a winged aircraft. This meant the flight crossed the Armstrong Line, the altitude above which a human’s blood will boil without some kind of protection.
The AOPA Air Safety Institute’s Joseph T. Nall Report [PDF] says that the general aviation overall and fatal accident rates are at a 10-year low. Fatal crashes decreased to 0.84 per 100,000 hours. Accidents with pilot-related causes make up 74 percent of non-commercial, fixed-wing accidents. Accidents related to mechanical and maintenance issues made up about 16 percent of the overall total.
American Airlines Flight 2354 from Los Angeles to Dallas/Fort-Worth experienced extreme thunderstorms and was diverted to Wichita Falls, Texas. The next flight to DFW was the following day. Captain Jeff Raines responded by ordering 40 pizzas from the local Papa John’s store, and even hand carried the pizzas from the delivery car to the waiting passengers.
November 2-4, 2018 in Stuart, Florida you can experience the Treasure Coast’s largest annual event with breathtaking performances including by the United States Marine Corp Harrier, the Air Combat Command F-16 Viper Demonstration Team, the Phillips 66 Aerostars, and others. Of course, there will be many static displays like The Movie Memphis Belle, the C-17 Globemaster III, and the OV1 Mohawk.
At the Stuart Air Show, you can also take advantage of rides offered with special guests, including a Cobra Attack Helicopter and a T-6 Texan. Plan your Audi Stuart Air Show experience now at stuartairshow.com.
Also, starting September 17th, Airplane Geeks has teamed up with the Stuart Air Show for a week of aviation trivia. Each day September 17 – 23rd at 6 pm on their Facebook page, they will be posting an aviation-related trivia question. The person with the most correct answers (and who answers the fastest) will win 4 tickets to their VIP event on November 2nd! That is a $600 value! Learn more about the Stuart Air Show at stuartairshow.com and on Facebook.
We are thrilled to be able to bring our listeners a special ticket offer to the Stuart Air Show. Use promo code “geekspodcast” at checkout to enjoy a special $10 ticket offer through October 31, 2018.
Immortal Red Baron
At the Blue Bonnet Air Show at the Burnet, Texas Municipal Airport, Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari interviewed Stefan Trischuk of the “Immortal Red Baron” air show. This was a different act as it was a staged dogfight with another airshow performer.
Immortal Red Baron
Also at the Blue Bonnet show, Launchpad met Mrs. Jane Doyle, celebrating her 97th birthday. Jane is one of the last WASP.
Artist John Mollison has released another “Old Guys and Their Airplanes” video featuring 2nd Lt. James Kunkle who flew P-38s with the 9th Air Force over Europe during WWII. Jim was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his combat action on Sept. 16, 1944. In this video, Jim describes a terrific dogfight that he experienced in 1944 where he took on 20 or so German fighter planes. OGTA #12 – Split Second – The Jim Kunkle Story.
Listener Hendrik sent in a picture from his wedding to his lovely wife Marielle. If you remember a few weeks back, on their way to Hawaii for their honeymoon, they got a tour of Los Angeles from Brian during their LAX layover. Featured in the picture is a Beluga, Marielle’s favorite plane, carrying some precious cargo: their wedding rings.
SkyVector, a provider of aeronautical charts, online mapping and related flight planning products and services. [0:30:31]
Airplane Geeks reporter at large tells us about his visit to the Titan Missile Museum, the only remaining Titan II site open to the public, located in Green Valley, Arizona, a short distance south of Tucson. [0:39:35]
Launchpad also tells us about his best flight. [1:33:33]
Pieter Johnson talks with Neil McCarthy, a 20-year civilian pilot with over 800 hours on military jets. Neil has a habit of taking on new aviation projects every year and having last talked to Neil in 2012, Pieter hears about his latest projects which include a full size 737 flight simulator and his return to general aviation flying. [1:04:35]
Piper PA-32 Cherokee Six
A 14-year Old Student Pilot
After receiving an email from a 14-year-old student pilot in Australia, we had to talk with him about his passion for flying. Solomon intends to take his solo soon, and he has plans to encourage other young people to take an interest in aviation. [1:39:01]
Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase podcast host and author Betty Thesky tells us about the life and experiences of a flight attendant. We look at airline seating, airline fees, and pay for flight attendants. Also, a “new” indigenous fighter jet from Iran and an Across the Pond segment on the Light Aircraft Association and general aviation in the UK.
Betty Thesky is a flight attendant with a major U.S. airline, and she produces the Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase podcast, a collection of funny airline and travel stories reminiscent of an old-fashioned radio show. Her job as a flight attendant allows her to indulge in her passion for travel and has taken her all over the world. The popular show launched in 2005 and it is one of the first aviation-related podcasts. Betty in the Sky also spawned several books and Betty has branched off into writing fiction.
Betty tells us how the podcast got started and how her theme song was created. We talk about the life of a flight attendant, how that has changed over the years, and what type of person makes a good FA. Betty also has some tips for travelers that would improve their experience.
As a child, when someone asked Betty what she wanted to do when she grew up, her answer was, “I want to travel!” and that’s exactly what she went on to do. She earned her BA in Communications with a minor in Psychology and was then hired by People Express as a flight attendant. Later she applied at one of the major airlines and has been there for more than 20 years.
When American Airlines installs premium economy on its Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft, it will cut the number of business class seats to 20 from 28. The seats will be the Zodiac Aerospace Concept D product in a staggered forwards-backward herringbone configuration, rather than the outward-facing B/E Aerospace Super Diamond seat on other American 787s in the American fleet. Delta is replacing the Zodiac inward-facing herringbone seats on the Boeing 777-200ER and -LR fleet with the Thompson Vantage XL staggered doored product. United continues to roll out it’s Polaris retrofits, but at a slow rate.
The Senate version of the FAA Reauthorization Act mandates that airlines disclose their baggage fees, cancellation fees, change fees, ticketing fees, and seat selection fees “in a standardized format.” Christopher Elliott asks, “Why is it so hard to figure out what you’ll have to pay for a plane ticket — and what you’re paying for?”
United Airlines plans to start charging more for an economy class seat near the front of the plane than it does for the seats in the back. At the International Aviation Forecast Summit, United Airlines President Scott Kirby said, “We’ve got ‘Economy Plus’ today, which has more legroom, but there are also rows that don’t have more legroom but they are at the front of the airplane. We are now going to let those people select those seats as well for a fee.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the median wage was $50,500 in 2017, with the lowest 10% earning less than $26,860, and the highest 10% earning more than $79,520. PayScale says the average flight attendant salary is $39,022. Glassdoor says the average reported salary is $52,217, with some as low as $18,000.
Across the Pond
In this month’s Across The Pond segment, Pieter talks to Neil Wilson from the Light Aircraft Association about their role supporting general aviation in the UK and he gets a preview of the upcoming LAA SywellRally, the UK’s biggest fly-in.
Social and technology changes at airports, including ridesharing, facial recognition, and carry-on screening. Also, the recent AAviation Day with American Airlines, working the de-icing pad, airport outreach, and stairs trucks. In the news, Norwegian wet leases an A380 and Southwest issues a policy for trained service animals.
Jennifer Adams combines her experience in accounting with her passion for aviation by working in the accounting and finance department of a mid-sized midwestern airport. When she’s not paying the bills and sending invoices to airlines, you can find her helping out on the de-ice pad, plane spotting, and getting unreasonably excited about stairs trucks.
Jennifer reports on her experience at the AAviation Day event with American Airlines and Airline Geeks at PHL. The annual event takes place at a number of airports in conjunction with National Aviation Day, held August 19 each year to celebrate the history and development of aviation.
Jennifer gives us insights into the impact at airports of social and technology changes, such as the rise in the use of ridesharing services and changing airport security methods. We look at some statistics that characterize the growth in airport passengers and the cargo business and hear about some of the factors that facilitated the change. Jennifer describes examples of good airport outreach, and her experience training to manage the de-icing pad.
And of course any conversation with Jennifer is incomplete without talking about stairs trucks, and we don’t disappoint.
Orlando International Airport is using facial recognition technology for all arriving and departing international travelers. The program comes from a partnership with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and SITA, a private cyber security company. Passengers stand on a yellow footprint and a camera takes an image which is then matched against the CBP passport photo database. The system offers security and processing speed advantages.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is testing a new x-ray machine for carry-on bags. If the tests are successful, removing liquids and electronics from bags may become unnecessary. The promise is that explosives could be detected inside the bags. Fifteen airports are testing the device.
With limited curbside space at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport arrivals, the increased popularity of ridesharing services, and the length of time some people park outside arrivals, a significant traffic problem is created. DFW is responding with some changes.
On their Customers with Disabilities page, Southwest Airlines says, “Effective for travel beginning September 17, 2018, Southwest is making changes to our existing policies for accommodating Customers with disabilities who seek to travel with a fully trained service animal in the cabin. Customers with disabilities seeking to travel with a trained service animal must still provide credible verbal assurance that the animal is a trained service animal.”
The aviation program at the University of Maine at Augusta, the stolen and crashed Horizon Air turboprop plane, the proposed British jet fighter, the effect of elevated carbon monoxide levels in the flight deck, the percentage of women pilots, a lawsuit over lavatory access, the fatal Ju 52 crash, and a pancake breakfast and fly-in.
Greg Jolda, aviation program coordinator at the University of Maine at Augusta.
Greg was a United States Air Force pilot and retired as Lieutenant Colonel and Command Pilot with over 3000 hours in four operational aircraft, including over 1000 hours as an instructor pilot. He served as Fighter Pilot, T-33; Instructor Pilot, T-37; Group Chief, Systems Avionics Group, Wright Aeronautical Labs, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; Aircraft Commander C-130 and Air Operations Officer, Yokota Air Base, Tokyo, Japan; Instructor Pilot and Flight Commander, T-38, Chief, Wing Academics, Reese Air Force Base, Lubbock, Texas; Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.
Greg earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University in Boston and an MS in Electrical Engineering, from the Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton.
He is also a Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot (CSIP).
A Horizon Air Bombardier Q400 turboprop was stolen by an airline employee at Seattle’s SeaTac International airport and made an unauthorized takeoff. Horizon is a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group. During a 75-minute flight, the plane made some aerobatic maneuvers, was chased by two Air National Guard F-15Cs, and crashed on Ketron Island in Puget Sound.
A full-scale model of the UK’s new Tempest fighter jet was displayed at Farnborough this year. It’s being called a 6th generation fighter with two engines and twin vertical stabilizers, not unlike the F-22. The UK’s Ministry of Defense plans on spending $2.6 billion to develop the plane through 2025. Then a decision will be made to proceed with a 2035 rollout.
The 1986 Air Carrier Access Act prohibits discrimination based on disability in air travel. New twin-aisle planes are required to have a wheelchair accessible lavatory. Single-aisle planes have no such requirement. The Paralyzed Veterans of America organization has filed a lawsuit against the United States Department of Transportation.
“…on behalf of Paralyzed Veterans of America, Democracy Forward challenged the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for its unjustified and unlawful delay in issuing rules intended to make airplane restrooms accessible for travelers with disabilities.”
Ju 52 Crash in Switzerland
Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari presents his findings on the fatal crash.
Aviation journalist Jon Ostrower is now editor-in-chief of The Air Current. Jon shares his views on Farnborough, electric aircraft, the Embraer/Boeing and Bombardier/Airbus linkups, and a Boeing middle market jet. Also, union reaction to single pilot cargo planes, Rolls-Royce financial woes in light of Trent 1000 problems, and a general aviation exhibit coming to the National Air & Space Museum. We also announce the winner of the Pima Air Museum book giveaway.
Jon Ostrower, editor-in-chief, The Air Current.
Jon Ostrower is a longtime professional aviation journalist. He was editor of FlightBlogger for Flightglobal, a staff reporter covering aerospace at The Wall Street Journal, and aviation editor at CNN. Jon has recently embarked on a new project as editor-in-chief of The Air Current, a subscription-based service providing in-depth industry analysis which “connects the dots” of current aviation news stories.
In our conversation, Jon gives his perspectives on this year’s Farnborough Air Show, the Embraer/Boeing and Bombardier/Airbus linkups, and a possible Boeing middle market “B797.” He ties these together with a possible rise in stature of the Chinese aviation industry. Jon also explains how he believes electric aircraft are poised to bring more change to aviation.
As a special offer for Airplane Geeks listeners, Jon is giving a discount on subscriptions to The Air Current. To take advantage of the discount, use the offer code “airplanegeeks” when you subscribe at subscribe.theaircurrent.com.
Sec. 744 of H.R.4 – FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 says, “The FAA, in consultation with NASA and other relevant agencies, shall establish a research and development program in support of single-piloted cargo aircraft assisted with remote piloting and computer piloting.” A group of unions representing many commercial airlines doesn’t know who put that in the legislation, or why, and they are not happy.
This article quantifies some of the financial impacts on Rolls-Royce of their Trent 1000 engine problems. In the first half of 2018, Rolls suffered an after-tax loss of £962 million ($1.26 billion). In the first half of 2017, RR earned a net profit of £1.17 billion. Rolls-Royce took an extra £554-million exceptional charge linked to costs involved in fixing the Trent 1000, and the company estimates the total cost of Trent 1000 repairs between 2018 and 2022 to be upwards of £1.3 billion.
Rolls-Royce Holdings “plans to offer airlines maintenance credits, limiting direct compensation for grounding Boeing Co. 787 planes in a bid to minimize the impact of unexpected wear issues on cash flow…”
The Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. is undertaking a seven-year upgrade project that will include a new “We All Fly” exhibit about the many forms of general aviation. To help finance the exhibit, the NASM has accepted a $10 million donation from the Thomas W. Haas Foundation. The exhibit will include an aerobatic biplane flown by Sean D. Tucker and is scheduled to open in 2021.
Pima Air & Space Museum Book Giveaway
Airplane Geeks Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari announces the winner of our PIMA Air & Space Museum guidebook giveaway. We again want to thank Scott Marchand for his generous gift to our listeners. An album of listener photographs is available at AirplaneGeeks.com/pimabook.
WeatherSpork – An all-purpose weather planning app for aviators at all experience levels.