AirplaneGeeks 371 Kevin Michaels

We talk with Kevin Michaels about United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz and his strategy to repair the airline’s image, radical ideas for air travel, and Southwest Airlines purchase of two gates for $120 million. Also, risks that the airliner order bubble could burst, Bombardier strategy, and the viability of the A380neo.


Dr. Kevin Michaels is Vice President – Aerospace & MRO Practice at ICF International. 

Kevin Michaels

Dr. Kevin Michaels

Kevin began his career as a project engineer with gas turbine OEM Williams International. Since then, Kevin has accumulated more than 25 years of aviation experience, including hundreds of consulting engagements for leading aviation and aerospace companies worldwide.

He is a globally recognized expert in the aerospace manufacturing and maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) sectors. Kevin has significant expertise in business-to-business marketing, customer satisfaction, and strategic planning.

Kevin’s experience spans all major market segments, including air transport, business and general aviation, and military. He was director of Strategic Development with Rockwell Collins Government Systems, and principal with The Canaan Group.

Kevin has a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan; he also has an M.Sc. and a Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics.

Our conversation covers a number of current topics, including:

  • The airline order “super cycle,” the risk that it is a bubble that could burst, and the effects of sinking fuel prices and low cost of capital.
  • The situation at Bombardier, including their balance sheet and strategic problems given the market and actions by Boeing and Airbus.
  • The viability of the A380neo and how the engine manufacturers might look at it,
  • Retirements from the fleet where the aircraft have more value entering the surplus parts market. This has a significant impact on the OEM new parts market.


United’s new CEO acknowledges airline’s failures
United Airlines’ CEO wants to hear from you [VIDEO]

Oscar Munoz appears to be taking a different approach to managing the public image of the airline came from the merger of United Airlines and Continental five years ago. In full page newspaper ads he said, “The journey hasn’t always been smooth” and “We are committed to re-earning your trust.” On the new website.Munoz says:

“Let’s be honest, the implementation of the United and Continental merger has been rocky for customers and employees. While it’s been improving recently, we still haven’t lived up to our promise or our potential.”

See also: Alaska Airlines CEO admits his own airline lost his bag

Inside the Dream Factory – watch amazing footage of a British Airways Dreamliner plane being built in USA

British Airways has taken delivery of its first 787-9 Dreamliner of the 22 planes it has ordered. The -9 is 20 feet longer than the base -8, has a higher maximum take-off weight (MTOW), can seat 280 in a three-class configuration, and has an 8,300 nautical mile range. BA also released a time-lapse video of the aircraft being assembled in Seattle.

Three Ideas That Could Change Air Travel Forever

The Teague design consultancy firm shared with Fast Company some radical concepts for an imaginary future airline called Poppi. Teague asked themselves, “If we started an airline from scratch, what would we do?” At the recent Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) conference their Poppi concept was presented:

  • Ban carry-on luggage.
  • Make middle seats feel exclusive.
  • Encourage Amazon Prime-style memberships.

Southwest Defends $120 Million Payment for 2 Airport Gates

Southwest Airlines paid United Airlines $120 million to sublease two gates at Dallas Love Field. Southwest had already controlled 16 of the 20 gates at Love Field. United and Virgin America controlled two each. Delta Air Lines argues the gates are owned by the city and airlines can’t sell them. All this is being heard by a federal judge.

David Cush, Virgin America

We found this piece after recording the episode. Virgin America CEO David Cush talks about the Love Field gates.

The Airplane of the Week

NASA Super Guppy N941NA

NASA Super Guppy N941NA

David attended the Joint Base Andrews’ open house on September 19th 2015. Last week we brought you David’s interview with Lieutenant Colonel Christine “Grinder” Mau, Deputy Commander for the Operations Group of the 33rd Fighter Wing. Col. Mau was the first woman cleared to fly the F-35A Lightning II, and one of only 52 women fighter pilots in the USAF.

This week we have the interview with David Elliot, the Flight Engineer and Program Manager for the NASA Super Guppy N941NA.  David talks about flying and the planning for missions. A unique aircraft with unique missions.

The Australia News Desk

ATC Ben on the ramp at Karratha, Western Australia

ATC Ben on the ramp at Karratha, Western Australia

Finally back after a bit of a break although Grant has subbed out due to family reasons, being ably replaced by ATC Ben.  Ben tells us about his recent slight change of job, and location, having moved from the world of en-route controller in Melbourne to tower controller in the remote Western Australian town of Karratha.  He tells about the aircraft movement this predominantly mining based town hosts each day, including scheduled airline services through to multiple helicopter flights going out to the oil and gas rigs off the coast.

In the news, the RAAF has used a KC-30A tanker to successfully conduct air to air refuelling sorties with a USAF F-35A in the skies over California recently.  Using the boom system, the Lighting II make 59 contacts, taking on 23,000lbs of fuel in total.  A busy day for all involved.

Ben then talks about his participation in the annual World Flight event, the Australian version of which raises funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.  Ben is a regular participant in this virtual around the world flight, using a fixed based 737 simulator in Hobart, Tasmania.  More details can be found at

Across the Pond

Astronaut Major Tim Peake

Astronaut Major Tim Peake

This week Pieter celebrates #WorldSpaceWeek with an update on the UK Space Agency’s first European Space Agency astronaut Major Tim Peake who will fly to the International Space Station on December 15th 2015. His mission title is Principia and he will be on the space station for up to 6 months. We also get an update on the latest Arianne 5 launch last week from French Guiana.


Make History Fly – Send B-29 “Doc” Through Flight Testing

You can also follow Doc’s Friends progress on their website, Facebook and Twitter.

World-first remote air traffic control system lands in Sweden

My Grandfather And The Plane That Changed Seattle


Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at


AirplaneGeeks 370 NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System

The NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System, the European Aviation Safety Agency takes issue with pilot license renewal practices in Germany, medical requirements under the Pilot’s Bill of Rights, ICAO creates a site for aircraft tracking, the consequences for air traffic controllers who make mistakes, and the first woman cleared to fly the F-35A Lightning II.


Linda Connell

Linda Connell

Guest Linda Connell is Director of the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System and a Research Psychologist for NASA Ames Research Center. The ASRS collects and acts on voluntarily submitted aviation safety incident/situation reports from pilots, controllers, and others.

Linda has been working at NASA Ames Research Center since 1981, and has participated in a number of studies with domestic and international research teams exploring human factor issues in aviation environments.

A Registered Nurse and member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Linda continues to evaluate proactive aviation safety information on a variety of topics, including pilot/controller voice communication, emergency medical helicopter operations, aviation maintenance, cabin safety, and technology applications in aviation environments.

We talk with Linda about the formation of the ASRS, the process to collect safety data in a way that guarantees immunity, the analysis of the data and how subcontractors are utilized, and the 10 day window. We also discuss the alerts process and how to submit reports.


EU Challenging Germany’s Air Safety Authorities Post Germanwings Crash

The European Aviation Safety Agency says license renewal practices for pilots in Germany favor privacy over safety. Noting that Germany has addressed some of the concerns, the EU says others remain.  If Germany does not comply with the Commission’s demands, it could be taken to court.

Pilot’s Bill Of Rights Changes; One-Time Medicals For Some

The Pilot’s Bill of Rights introduced earlier this year by Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla. was designed to waive the third-class medical for private pilots flying light aircraft. Now the bill has changed to include:

  • An online aeromedical course every two years.
  • Logbook entries that certify the pilot has seen their personal doctors at least once every four years (and received any needed treatment for medical conditions).
  • A one-time medical for new pilots and pilots who haven’t had a medical in the last 10 years.

ICAO starts aircraft tracking information web page

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has created a Global Tracking Initiatives web page to serve as “a repository of documents related to aircraft tracking.” The page presents a timeline of events and documents. Adoption of a 15-minute aircraft tracking Standard is expected at the end of 2015.

Air traffic controllers making major errors remain on job, including at IAH

KPRC-TV in Houston, Texas reports that “air traffic controllers who have made major errors have been allowed to stay on the job, without loss of rank or pay.”  This has occurred at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, and at other airports. KPRC reporter Joel Eisenbaum asked, “So you can make an error that causes a plane to crash and you’re not losing your job?”

The FAA response was, “The FAA has learned through experience that a non-punitive safety culture encourages employees to share information and engage in frank and open discussions about situations that they might otherwise be reluctant to bring to a supervisor’s attention. In cases involving willful neglect or dereliction of duties by an employee, the agency does not hesitate to take the appropriate measures as defined under agency policies and collective bargaining agreements.”

Textron Aviation customer Wheels Up completes capital raise

The New York-based private aviation membership company Wheels Up has an order for 105 Beechcraft King Air 350i’s, and has raised $115 million in capital for business expansion.

Boeing’s new tanker achieves first flight

Boeing flew the KC-46A Paine Field in Everett, Washington for a four hour first flight. The KC-46A is based on the Boeing 767 commercial airliner.

Other Segments

Lieutenant Colonel Christine “Grinder” Mau

Lieutenant Colonel Christine “Grinder” Mau

  • David attended the Joint Base Andrews’ open house on September 19th 2015, where he interviewed Lieutenant Colonel Christine “Grinder” Mau, Deputy Commander for the Operations Group of the 33rd Fighter Wing. Col. Mau was the first woman cleared to fly the F-35A Lightning II, and one of only 52 women fighter pilots in the USAF. She talks about what it’s like to fly the F-35A, and believing in your dreams.
F-35A and R2D2

F-35A and R2D2

  • Micah gives us some thoughts on the late Alan Purwin.
  • Brian talks with listener Hendrik in Hamburg, Germany.


Listener Photo

Michael sends this photo from his Cirrus SR22T looking over Los Angeles on airway V186 from the Paradise VOR to Van Nuys VOR, September 17, 2015. The light in the top right of the picture is a 777 going into LAX.

Cirrus SR22T looking over Los Angeles


Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at

AirplaneGeeks 369 The National Aeronautic Association

Concorde by Paul Filmer

Concorde © Paul Filmer

Conversation with Jonathan Gaffney, President and CEO of the National Aeronautic Association. Also, returning a Concorde to flight, Airbus sets up shop in the U.S., San Diego International Airport launches a traveler program to benefit the environment.


Jonathan Gaffney is President and CEO, of the National Aeronautic Association (NAA), a position he has held since 2007. We talk about aviation awards, like the Robert J. Collier Trophy and the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy. We also learn about the aviation records that the NAA maintains.

Prior to arriving at NAA, Jonathan served for 12 years as the Vice President for Communications of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which operates Washington Dulles International and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airports.

Jonathan had a 22-year career as an Officer in the Navy Reserve, retiring with the rank of Commander. He completed tours of duty onboard the nuclear aircraft carrier USS NIMITZ, and was recalled to active duty during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He also worked in Washington as a senior staff member in the United States House of Representatives.

Jonathan and the staff of NAA have transformed one of the world’s oldest aeronautical organizations (founded in 1905) from near-insolvency into a vibrant, sustainable association dedicated to its original charter: “…the advancement of the art, sport and science of aviation in the United States.”


Group Plans To Fly Concorde By 2019

Club Concorde has a “Return To Flight” project that seeks to return one of the retired supersonic airliners to flight by 2019.  About $190 million has been committed by unidentified financial backers. Club Concorde says they are “a club for all things Concorde, run by ex-Captains, ex-charterers and people passionate about Concorde, working together to keep Concorde in people’s hearts and minds.”

Airbus Sharpens Challenge to Boeing With Factory in U.S.

Airbus has a plan for a $600 million plant in Mobile, Alabama for the A320, most of them destined for North American customers. Deliveries are due to start in early 2016 from the 53-acre facility, with the production rate increasing to four aircraft per month by early 2018.

Michel Merluzeau, vice president for aerospace strategy and business development with consultant Frost & Sullivan says, “It’s all about location. It’s about where you do business, and how that property is going to grow over time.”

San Diego International Airport Launches Sustainable Travel Program

The San Diego Airport Authority announced “The Good Traveler” pilot program. Travelers pay $1 for a Good Traveler tag or sticker with the proceeds going to three environmental projects: a forest restoration project, a wind farm, and a water restoration project. Each Good Traveler tag purchase offsets “the equivalent of the carbon footprint created by 500 miles of air travel or 200 miles of driving.”

Qatar 777 Takes Out Approach Lights on Takeoff From Miami

We’re not sure how this one got in here, and we didn’t talk about it. But here it is as, left as an exercise for you.

Airplane of the Week

Li-2 by Paul Filmer

Li-2 by Paul Filmer

David goes behind the Iron Curtain to talk about the DC-3skis The Soviet Built Li-2 NATO (CAB). Eventually over 4000 Li-2s were produced and it was as successful as it’s US Cousin, the DC-3/C-47.

Across the Pond

Pieter talks to the “ATP adopted pilot” Neil Bradon about his return to GA flying in Europe and then his role in the forthcoming 48 hour B737-800 Sim flight around Europe to raise critically needed funds for charity. The dates are 11th to 13th January 2016.

ATP for Ep 369 (ATP 188) cockpit

Follow @flight48hour on Twitter, and the Charity Flight Simulator 48 Hour Challenge on Facebook. Also see: Flight Deck Experience, the Christie NHS Foundation Trust, and North West Air Ambulance Charity.


Teen charged for carrying bomb-shaped alarm clock in carry-on

International Air Transport Passenger Association


Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at

AirplaneGeeks 368 Membership Flights with Surf Air

Surf Air Pilatus PC-12/47E

Surf Air Pilatus PC-12/47E

We talk with CEO Jeff Potter about the Surf Air all-you-can-fly private membership air travel club. Also, an uncontained engine failure on a BA flight, low airline fares, management changes at United, American Airlines used the wrong plane, and remotely manned towers may be on the way.


Jeff Potter is the Chief Executive Officer of Surf Air, an all-you-can-fly private membership club for business and leisure travelers. Surf Air uses Pilatus PC-12 aircraft on scheduled routes, currently from airports in California. However, the company looks to expand and provide service in other regions, even internationally.

Jeff S Potter

Jeff S Potter

Jeff has luxury product experience as Chief Executive Officer of Exclusive Resorts. He also has an aviation background and worked his way up from airplane cleaner to President and Chief Executive Officer of Frontier Airlines, as well as being a member of their Board of Directors. Jeff was also the CEO of Vanguard Airlines for a short period.

Jeff explains how the Surf Air fixed monthly fee makes the private aviation experience affordable. He characterizes it as a disruptive model that competes with commercial carriers.

Follow Surf Air on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.


BA jet engine failure uncontained, pieces hit runway: investigators

NTSB Issues Update on the British Airways Engine Fire at Las Vegas

The NTSB reports that the engine fire on takeoff at McCarran International Airport (LAS) by British Airways flight 2276, a Boeing 777 with GE90-85B engines, was an uncontained engine failure.

$100 Airline Ticket Deals, as Carriers Increase Profits

JetBlue Airways can fly you from JFK to Chicago for $74. A holiday promotion at Delta can cost as little as $78. American Airlines has a $97 fare from Columbus to Washington Reagan. Is there an airline fare war? Jeff helps understand what’s going on.

Why Dump Smisek? United Wasn’t First Airline to Fly a Pol’s Route

United CEO Smisek and two other executives resigned as a federal investigation is underway about the propriety of United creating a route between Newark Airport and Columbia, S.C, near where then chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey David Samson had his weekend home.

American Airlines accidentally used the wrong plane to fly to Hawaii

An American Airlines A321 left LA for Hawaii, but it didn’t have the requisite ETOPS certification. American discovered the problem enroute and notified the FAA, but the plane continued to it’s destination.

Air traffic controllers for some airports are now miles away, watching the planes on camera

Ornskoldsvik Airport in northern Sweden has an unmanned tower. The controllers are 90 miles away at another airport watching by camera. The idea is being tested elsewhere, even at one airport in the United States.

The Aircraft of the Week

Guppy by NASA

David goes fishing this week for a History Segment.  He hopes to catch one of these in the wild at Joint Base Andrews for a whale of a tale.  This episode we talk about The Aero Spacelines Guppies, and the lure of the aircraft that put a man on the moon.

Guppy by NASA

Guppy photos courtesy NASA

The Aviation Minute

Rob Mark talks about customer service at United Airlines.


The Bristol Hercules engine startup courtesy Ian.

Listener Photos

Lamont sends this photo taken in a practice area West / slightly Northwest of San Jose, California. The photo shows the marine layer being held back by the Santa Cruz Mountain Range in the early afternoon.

Marine layer

Marine layer

Jodi Brommer sends this shot of the smallest 777. She was hanging out on the approach path of San Francisco, 2.5 miles off the touchdown markers.

The smallest 777 by Jodi Brommer

The smallest 777 by Jodi Brommer


Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at


AirplaneGeeks 367 Bits & Pieces XV

Alan Brown F117

Alan Brown

This Episode: F-117A designer Alan Brown, Duxford Flying Legends Airshow, Landing Aircraft in a Whiteout, Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center, the C-5 Galaxy, aviation safety, and a Labor Day message.

This is a Bits & Pieces episode. If you’ve been with us for a while, you know what that means. If you are new to the show, this is something we do occasionally instead of our usual format.

You see, we record Airplane Geeks Monday evenings, but sometimes Monday is a national holiday and we want to spend the day with our families and friends. Since we don’t want to leave you without a show to listen to, we put together something we call Bits & Pieces.

The Bits & Pieces idea is simple: We ask the co-hosts and contributors to provide pre-recorded segments for the episode, then we just stitch them together and it’s Bits & Pieces. This time we really encouraged you to send us recordings, and we were pleased to have received a number of them.

This week’s segments:

Interview with F-117A designer Alan Brown

Max Trescott interviews, Alan Brown, an aeronautical engineer by training, who was program manager and chief engineer for the F-117A Stealth Fighter from initial concept until the first production aircraft was built.

Duxford Flying Legends Airshow

Listener Ray Williams sends his report from the Duxford Flying Legends Airshow held July 11-12, 2015.

Hawker Nimrod I

Hawker Nimrod I



Line up at Duxford Flying Legends

Line up at Duxford Flying Legends

Morane-Saulnier 406 D-3801

Morane-Saulnier 406 D-3801

Hispano HA-112 MIL (Buchon)

Hispano HA-112 MIL (Buchon) G-AWHE [Note non-Bf109 bulges on engine cowling to house the Merlin engine]

Lightning and Mitchell in a flypast

Lightning and Mitchell in a flypast

Landing Aircraft in a Whiteout

Geeks on Ice reporter Juan Fernandez, who brought us the Reports from an Airplane Geek from McMurdo Station Antarctica series, shares a short story about the special procedures to land an airplane under the zero visibility conditions of a whiteout.

Emergency Whiteout Landing


Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center

Brian Coleman stops in the Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center while he was on vacation in Idaho.

Bird Aviation Museum_1

Bird Aviation Museum_2

Bird Aviation Museum_3

The C-5 Galaxy

C-5 by Paul Filmer

C-5 by Paul Filmer

Listener JD gives us some interesting facts and experiences from the perspective of a C-5A instructor pilot with over 5200 hours in the airplane, including 192 combat sorties before retiring in 2013.

Across the Pond

PA-38-112 Tomahawk, G-BNDE

PA-38-112 Tomahawk, G-BNDE (copyright XTPMedia)

Pieter Johnson discovers a “new” source of information on aviation safety whilst photo editing: the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB). It’s a gentle and sobering reminder of safety in the air (and on the ground).

Rob Mark on Labor Day

As the grandson of a Chicago Labor Leader and a former ALPA pilot himself, Rob adds his own unique two cents about the meaning of Labor Day.

David Vanderhoof Gives Thanks

David makes Max blush, but more importantly he gives you a sense of what this podcast means to us. We are truly blessed to know each other, our guests, and many of you. It’s all quite remarkable.


Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at

AirplaneGeeks 366 Getting Your Air Transport Pilot Certificate

XTI Aircraft Company TriFan 600

XTI Aircraft Company TriFan 600

Strategies for getting your ATP certificate, a new VTOL aircraft offers an equity stake via crowdfunding, F-35 operational testing and a close-air support match up with the A-10, Skytrax rates the world’s airlines, inflight WiFi prices going up, and a retired Google executive receives an award from the Aero Club of Northern California.


Don Sebastian is President of Aviation Consulting Services Incorporated. He was our guest on Episode 336, back in February of this year, when we talked about the airplane pre-buy process. Don has a variety of aviation experiences and no shortage of opinions, so we asked him back, this time to talk about getting an Air Transport Pilot rating.

We talk with Don about different strategies to obtain an ATP rating. The cost today is not like it was in the “old days,” and prospective flight training students are different than the generations of the past, but Don believes there are ways it can be done without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Don Sebastion

Don Sebastian

Don has a number of certificates from the FAA. They include Air Transport Pilot certificates for single engine and multiengine aircraft, a commercial certificate for helicopters, and a Private certificate for gliders. He’s also a flight instructor for airplanes, holds two ground instructor certificates, and has an A and P mechanics certificate for airframe and powerplants. He also has a parachute Jumpmaster license from the Parachute Club of America, which has since been renamed the United States Parachute Association.

Don has performed over 2,000 pre-buys and flight tests. He was a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, testifies as an expert witness, and has eight lecture tours under his belt. Outside of aviation, Don contributes his energy to a variety of community and charitable activities.

Don produced the document Getting the ATP Rating which contains biographical information and great photographs,  as well as advice and links to online resources for those considering an Air Transport Pilot career. These are some of those resources:


XTI Aircraft Company offers stakes in the TriFan 600 VTOL business plane

A group of experienced aviation professionals has formed XTI Aircraft Company to develop a six-seat aircraft called the TriFan 600. It’s powered by two turboshaft engines that drive three ducted fans. The VTOL aircraft can hover and transition to horizontal flight by rotating the wing-mounted fans horizontal to vertical.

XTI Aircraft is using crowdfunding to raise a portion of the total investment required. This is now possible because new Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules allow startups to “test the waters” before a stock offering.

A-4 Skyhawks support F-35 operational testing

Partner countries buying the F-35 each have their own operational tests. The Royal Netherlands Air Force test of the F-35A includes A-4 Skyhawks, F-16s, and a KDC-10 aerial tanker.

The F-35 vs. the A-10 Warthog, head-to-head in close-air support. It’s on.

The A-10 Thunderbolt II is to be retired due to budget constraints, with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter taking over the close-air support mission. Some think this is a fine idea, and others don’t. The two aircraft will participate in comparison evaluations starting in 2018.

The world’s worst airlines to fly with

The Skytrax World Airline Star Ratings classify airlines “by the quality of their front-line product and staff service standards.”  Topping the list as the world’s worst airline is North Korea’s Koryo Air.

In-Flight Wi-Fi Prices Jump as Demand Surges

Inflight connectivity provider Gogo has increased prices for WiFi significantly in the past few years. Gogo says increased demand is causing some congestion, but also that demand-based pricing is normal in business.

Retired Google VP Alan Eustace, holder of world free fall record, awarded Crystal Eagle award by the Aero Club of Northern California

Alan Eustace’s 135,908-foot leap broke the world record for highest free-fall parachute jump, and the Aero Club of Northern California is presenting him with an award.

The Shoreham air display crash

Listener John Eckersley sends us an update on the Hawker Hunter crash.

The Airplane of the Week

KC-130 BOB

Photo by David Vanderhoof

After getting trolled on Twitter, David presents the KC-130 Marine Battleherc: a history of Fat Albert, BOB, and Look Ma No Hook.

The Australia News Desk

Grant is back and the boys are gobsmacked by Alan Joyce’s $12 million salary. They’re pretty sure their morals would get corrupted for that amount of money!

Still with Qantas, they’ve painted A380 VH-OQH to support the Wallabies rugby union team (Grant tries to explain what that means):

Getting into the computer games, the RAAF C130J sim at Richmond was used to take part in the global event Virtual Flag 2015:

Keeping to the Hercules theme, a Coulson C130 tanker arrives at RAAF Richmond for NSW’s fire season:


Meet Lou Briasco, 33 Years At The Castro’s Michael Bruno Luggage Shop

Photo: Sari Staver/Hoodline

Photo: Sari Staver/Hoodline

Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase

Grimes Field Urbana Municipal Airport

Worst Place to Be a Pilot (2014)

Worst Place To Be a Pilot Season 1 Episode 4

Civil Aviation Authority – Standard Passenger and Baggage Weights [PDF]

Lady Dragged Off United Airlines Flight for Refusing to Put Dog in Pet Carrier

August 1985: The worst month for air disasters

Listener Photos

Listener Ted Corgan tells us he “recently saw and toured one of the exact airplanes that was featured in Air & Space Magazine. Aluminum Overcast, the EAA’s B-17 in Eileen Bjorkman’s article entitled “Learning to Fly the Fortress,” was flown to Lunken Airport in Cincinnati, OH, for its Aviation Days event in early June of 2015.”

Also, “I took the exciting opportunity to walk—or perhaps more accurately, climb—through the historic aircraft. The experience further heightened my respect for those who have served our country with it and those who keep it airworthy today, and also deepened my appreciation for the engineering marvel that is the B-17.”

Ted Corgan, Air & Space mag, and Aluminum Overcast

Ted Corgan, nephew Zach, Air & Space mag, and Aluminum Overcast

B-17 Aluminum Overcast left engines view

B-17 Aluminum Overcast left engines view


Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at


AirplaneGeeks 365 How to Run an Airshow

River Days

Conversation with an airshow air boss, U.S. airlines in the crosshairs of consumer advocates and government agencies, ALPA’s concerns about UAVs, and the importance of an airport’s name.


Steve Tupper was air boss at the GM Detroit River Days Airshow on the Detroit River 20-21 June 2015. Steve tells us a little about the about what it took to pull off a full airshow in the very challenging box that is the Detroit River.

We also get an update on Steve’s Acrocamp movie and also A Pilots Story from Will Hawkins and Rico Sharqawi. Steve tells us a CFI episode is coming out, and he’s going to get type-rated in the world’s only 2-place jet glider at Desert Aerospace in Moriarty, New Mexico. Oh, and Steve has already started planning for next year’s airshow!

See the Detroit Tuskegee Airmen Glider Club on a Mission article written by Benét Wilson for AOPA.

Steve Tupper

Steve Tupper

Steve Tupper is the well-known producer and host of the Airspeed podcast, with more than 200 episodes over the last 10 years. He’s covered everything from motion sickness to the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft to flight experiences in aircraft like the T-38 Talon and the F-16D Fighting Falcon with the USAF Thunderbirds.

Steve is also a commercial pilot and flight instructor with private, commercial, or instructor privileges in gliders, single- and multi-engine land airplanes, and single-engine seaplanes.  He holds an instrument rating in airplanes and is type-rated (second-in-command) in the DC-3/C-47.

Steve is a lieutenant colonel in the Civil Air Patrol and he serves as the Michigan Wing’s judge advocate, in addition to being a search-and-rescue pilot and disaster-relief pilot.


Airline Fares Just Plummeted — or Did They?

Airline Cartel on the Loose?

If Airlines Are Reporting Record Profits They Must Be Colluding, Right? Probably Not, And Here’s Why

Consumer advocates and government agencies are after the airlines. The US Department of Justice is investigating United, Southwest, American, and Delta airlines for “possible unlawful coordination” and allegedly colluding. Some believe airline mergers, falling oil prices, falling airfares, massive revenue from fees, and big profits are contributors or indicators that consumers are being hurt.

ALPA: Airline pilots ‘very concerned’ about UAVs

Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) president Tim Canoll noted, “pilot reports of unmanned aircraft have increased dramatically over the past year, from a total of 238 sightings in all of 2014 to more than 650 by Aug. 9 of this year.”

With respect to small UAVs operated below the airspace used by commercial aircraft, ALPA advocates: educating operators; using “geo-fencing” to keep small UAVs from operating within 5 mi. of airports;UAV registration at point of sale so owners can be identified after an incident; and “more formalized” enforcement.

For larger UAVs sharing the airspace with airliners, APLA would like to see FAA regulations and oversight the same as for airliners: operator licensing and collision avoidance technology.

The Local Airport, by Any Other Name

Sometimes the name of the airport can help or hinder public awareness of the facility, particularly for smaller, regional airports. Some airports are responding by changing their name.

Airplane of the Week

"Rich Field Jenny" by George Johnson, Aviation Section, US Army Signal Corps

“Rich Field Jenny” by George Johnson, Aviation Section, US Army Signal Corps

The Curtiss JN-4 or Jenny, which was suggested by our listener Jodi.

The Australia News Desk

Steve is solo this week as we cover the huge turnaround in the Qantas full year profit – $575 million profit after a $2.8 billion loss the year before.  We present an edited interview with CEO Alan Joyce, speaking with Ross Greenwood on Sydney radio station 2GB about why he thinks such a turnaround has been possible.  For the full version of that interview, see:

Ross Greenwood- QANTAS CEO Alan Joyce

Qantas confirms an order for eight 787-9s in Red Tail livery:

Qantas orders Dreamliners, announces shareholder return and posts return to profitability

Australia’s Matt Hall returned to the podium in the Red Bull Air Race recently, this time coming second to Britain’s Paul Bonhomme at Ascot in the UK.  We play some audio from the post race press conference:

RBAR Ascot: Hall returns to podium at Royal Ascot

Across the Pond

Pieter reflects on the sad events last week at the RAFA Airshow at Shoreham.

Shoreham crash pilot ‘is an expert’

Civil Aviation Authority announces series of immediate restrictions and changes to UK civil air displays


Sioux Gateway Airport gifts

Sioux Gateway Airport

International Council of Air Shows

Sioux Gateway Airport (SUX) gifts

A Finite Fraternity: Combat Fighter Ace by Scott Spangler in Jetwhine.

DXB A380 takeoff from seat 2F – Watching an A380 takeoff on 12R from DXB on the skycam from seat 2F.

Richie McCaw’s other passion – gliding and Richie McCaw in Wikipedia.


Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at


AirplaneGeeks 364 Aviation Stories

Uzbekistan by Paul Filmer

We look at the Logbook Podcast with aviation stories told by those who lived them, Uzbekistan Airways weighing passengers, a patent for variable seat pitch, IndiGo firms up a big A320neo order, the fatality rate in GA, a Delta flight pummeled by hail, Emirates launching a 17 hour, 35 minute flight, and an interesting aircraft of the week.


Lucas Weakley

Lucas Weakley

Lucas Weakley is an Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University student in the aerospace engineering program. Fascinated by flight from a young age, he’s a builder of model rockets and airplanes, and he hopes to one day design kit-built aircraft.

Lucas is also the creator of The Logbook Podcast, where pilots and enthusiasts tell their stories of aviation. He also produced a 23-episode tutorial series for Make Magazine titled Maker Hangar that teaches you everything you need to know to build and fly three custom R/C aircraft.

We also take the opportunity to learn a little more about Embry-Riddle and the aerospace engineering program.

Learn more at Lucas Weakley’s Blog, see his videos on his YouTube channel, and follow Lucas on Twitter at @L_Weakley.

Varga Kachina

Varga Kachina


Airline To Weigh Passengers Before Boarding, Travel Hits New Low

Uzbekistan Airways announced on its website that they would begin weighing passengers and carry-on baggage before boarding to ensure flight safety. The airline says, “After passing check-in on flight and prior to boarding into the aircraft, we will suggest you to pass the procedure of weighing with the special weighing machine placed in the departure gate zone. The weighing record will only contain the corresponding passenger category (i.e. male/ female/ children). As for the rest, the full confidentiality of results is guaranteed.”

This idea could solve the worst thing about air travel

B/E Aerospace has filed a patent application for airline seats that are adjustable for passenger height. Shorter passengers (like children) would get less legroom. Mary Kirby would get more. B/E Aerospace manufactures aircraft cabin interior products for both commercial aircraft and business jets: seating products, galley systems, oxygen, water and waste systems; de-icing, lighting.

Airbus says it takes ‘historical’ aircraft order

IndiGo firmed up a 2014 commitment by placing an order for 250 Airbus A320 new engine option jets. IndiGo has now ordered a total of 530 A320 family aircraft.

US general aviation reports highest fatal accident rate since 1998

According to the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the number of general aviation flight hours is at at all time low. But in 2014 the rate of fatal GA accidents was the highest it has been since 1998.

Delta Pilots Make Blind Emergency Landing

Baseball-sized hail pummeled the airplane, shattered the nose cone and windshield. The pilots were able to land the jet safely.

Emirates Flight To Panama Will Be World’s Longest Non-Stop Route

Emirates announced its plans to launch services to Panama City, beginning 1st February, 2016, with a 17 hour 35 minute flight time.

The Airplane of the Week

The Incom T-65. (It’s David’s segment and he can do what he wants!)


Short final for runway 10 at St Barths in the Caribbean

Short final for runway 10 at St Barths in the Caribbean

Landing at St Barthelemy Airport (SBH-TFFH) | PrivateFly – Video of a DHC-6-300 Twin Otter landing at St Barts.

Crazy Cockpit Landing at St. Barths – Landing runway 10 at St. Barthelemy aboard a Winair DHC-6 Twin Otter.

The Aviation Historian – The modern journal of classic aeroplanes and the history of flying.

American Airlines’ New First Class Pet Cabins – From the Fly and Dine blog in Boarding Area by Jason Kessler.

U.S.-China aviation talks hit stumbling block on airport access – The US and China have been negotiating over limits on flights between the United States and China. The U.S. is worried its airlines will be get less attractive time slots for take-off and landing than the Chinese airlines. So the US negotiators won’t move forward until China looks at a different slot allocation system.

Men In Black Safety Defenders #AirNZSafetyVideo – It’s got international rugby stars, members of the All Blacks, even Rip Torn from MIB 1 and 2, and Frank the pug!


Uzbekistan Airways photo (c) and courtesy Paul Filmer.

Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at


AirplaneGeeks 363 A Chat with David and Max

Two F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters

The F-35B goes operational, sparks in the cabin on United Airlines flight, AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 facts and figures, the spat between (and among) US and Middle East airlines, and airline fees in the spotlight.


Marine Corps declared F-35B operational

After a five-day Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI) in July, the U.S. Marine Corps’ F-35B Lightning II aircraft reached initial operational capability. The Yuma, Arizona-based Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 (VMFA-121) is now operational with the F-35B variant.

United Airlines flight makes emergency return to London

A United Airlines 777 flying Los Angeles declared an emergency and returned to London Heathrow Airport after sparks were seen coming out of first class seats and passengers reported smelling smoke.

United Airlines flight diverted to Indy after dropping 10,000 feet

United flight 5919 enroute to Chicago from Charlotte was rerouted to Indianapolis after it dropped 10,000 feet. The cause for the loss of altitude is unknown at this time.

AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 Facts and Figures

This year’s event saw an attendance of approximately 550,000, more than 10,000 aircraft, 2,668 show planes, 976 vintage airplanes, 350 warbirds, 130 ultralights and light-sport aircraft, 101 seaplanes, 30 rotorcraft, and 50 aerobatic aircraft. There were over 800 commercial exhibitors, 1,048 forums and workshops attended by more than 75,000 people.

New group further divides airline association’s membership

Delta, United, and American have gone on the offensive alleging that the Qatar and United Arab Emirates state-owned airlines are subsidized in violation of the Open Skies agreements. Now, JetBlue Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, FedEx, and Atlas Air Worldwide have formed a coalition with a different viewpoint.

Hawaiian CEO Mark Dunkerley says, “The Big 3 do not speak for all, or even most, U.S. airlines. Our coalition believes that the United States should honor its Open Skies commitments, which opens markets for U.S. carriers, promotes competition on international and domestic routes, and facilitates U.S. exports.”

To learn more about the issues involved here, see:

Sen. Nelson: Airlines collected $38 billion in fees

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson from Florida wondered why the cost to fly is going up when the cost of fuel has gone down and airline profits are up, so he commissioned a study. Nelson learned that in 2014, airlines collected $38B in fees. The report found a lack of relationship between the price a fee and the cost to provide the service, and that fees are not proportional to ticket price.

The US Airlines Industry: Sky High Prices Drive Soaring Profits

An infographic that shows the US airline industry contributes nearly $1.5 trillion in economic activity in the US alone and generates over 11 million jobs. Airfare has been steadily increasing in price since 1995, however, when you account for inflation, the actual value of the tickets has decreased.

The Australia News Desk

Virgin Australia to use their subsidiary TigerAir on flights to Bali as well as completely pulling out of flights to Phuket.

Virgin are also converting 17 of their 737-800 orders into 737 MAX 8 orders (and delaying them – saving more money) which will give them a total of 40 orders … eventually.

Moody’s upgrades Qantas’ credit rating

Alliance Aviation Services sending its fleet of Fokkers up to Slovakia for heavy maintenance ‘cos it’s cheaper to fly all the way from Australia to Europe than maintain a heavy maintenance facility in Australia.

Across the Pond

Pieter talks to FlightChic Marisa Garcia about Baggage Tracking from Emirates, the KLM App and Apple Watch interface, and why Ryanair are no longer basing aircraft in Denmark.


S2F Firecats and an OV-10 Bronco

S2F Firecats and an OV-10 Bronco

Does the F-35 really suck in air combat?

Dambusters pilot Les Munro dies in New Zealand aged 96

Delta Private Jets – Not Your Ordinary Medallion Upgrade

Dispute with JetBlue over dog carrier leaves travelers from Florida grounded in Portland


Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at

AirplaneGeeks 362 The Doctor is in… Talking About Medical Issues

Doctor (and pilot) Stephanie Plummer on inflight medical emergencies, hypoxia, 3rd class medical reform, and more. News on MH370, cosmic rays and passenger safety, an emergency Allegiant Airlines landing, and hackers hit United Airlines. Also, the NASA UTM Drone conference, the CH-46 Retirement Ceremony at the National Air & Space Museum, an Australia Desk, and plane spotting the 427th Special Operations Squadron.


Dr. Stephanie Plummer

Dr. Stephanie Plummer

Dr. Stephanie Plummer is a frequent co-host on the Airline Pilot Guy podcast. She’s an instrument-rated commercial pilot who flies primarily for personal enjoyment. As a physician, Dr. Steph answers the occasional listener question regarding in-flight or aviation-related medical topics.

We talk about the frequency of inflight medical emergencies, medical supplies on airlines, and what you do if you are a doctor on a flight and the call for help goes out. Also, we cover the three classes of aviation medicals in the US, and the role of aviation medical examiners, and 3rd class medical reform for private pilots.

Dr. Steph gives us a good tutorial on the forms and effects of hypoxia, time of useful consciousness, and effective performance time. She tells us about hypoxic hypoxia, hypemic hypoxia, carbon monoxide poisoning, stagnant hypoxia, and histotoxic hypoxia.

In her day job, Dr Plummer is a physician practicing in the Charlotte, NC area.  She has a degree in Osteopathic Medicine (DO) from what was formerly The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, now part of Rowan University, School of Osteopathic Medicine.  She completed a traditional rotating internship through the Crozer-Keystone Healthcare System in the Philadelphia area and then did her residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. Dr Plummer then went on to a fellowship program for interventional spine and now she works with a predominantly Orthopedic Spine group as one of their non-surgical providers.

Aviation Medical Resources

FAA AC 121-33B Emergency Medical Equipment (PDF)

FAA AC 121-34B Emergency Medical Equipment Training (PDF)

Outcomes of Medical Emergencies on Commercial Airline Flights from The New England Journal of Medicine.

What medical conditions does the FAA consider disqualifying? from FAA Pilot Medical Certification Questions and Answers.

A Guide for Prospective FAA Aviation Medical Examiners from FAA Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) Training.

Aviation Physiology (PDF), common medical considerations affecting pilots in flight. A booklet from FAA.


MH370: Reunion debris discovery lifts hopes for missing flight clues

Boeing 777 Wing Flaperon (Part_No._657_BB)Last week, a piece of a Boeing 777 called a “flaperon” was found washed up on Reunion Island, in the western Indian Ocean. If it proves to be from MH370, which is likely, it may provide clues about the missing jetliner.

Long-haul air passengers at risk from cosmic rays, government fears

The earth’s atmosphere provides some degree of protection against cosmic rays. The higher you go, the less atmosphere you have above you blocking this high-energy radiation. We’ve seen studies in the past that suggest pilots are vulnerable to long term effects. Now solar radiation in the form of magnetically charged particles is of concern. Public Health England (PHE) has established The Cosmic Radiation Advisory Group, which includes experts from British Airways, the Cabinet Office, the Department of Health, the Met Office, and some universities.

Allegiant Air pilot pleads with tower to make emergency landing

An Allegiant Airlines pilot with a fuel emergency wanted to land at Fargo’s Hector International Airport. The airport was closed because the Blue Angels were practicing for an air show, and an exchange between the pilot and the tower ensued.

Hackers with ties to China said to breach United Airlines

A group of China-backed hackers has been linked to a May or June attack on United Airlines. This is supposedly the same group that breached the US Office of Personnel Management and health insurer Anthem Inc. The hackers may had had access to passenger lists and information about United’s mergers and acquisitions strategy. But they don’t know for sure.

Airplane of the Week

CH-46 Retirement Ceremony Arrival

Photos courtesy David W. Aungst

David attended the CH-46 Sea Knight “Phrog” retirement ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.  David interviews:

  • Corporal Greg Hamper, HMX-1 MV-22 Crew Chief.
  • Major P.B. Benning, HMX-1 MV-22 and former CH-46E pilot.
  • Lt. Colonel Dominic DeFazio, Commanding Officer HMM-774 and pilot of BuNo 153369, the retiring CH-46E.


Be sure to see the article Phrog Farewell by museum specialist Roger Connor, and the fly-in video CH-46 Retirement Ceremony Aug 1, 2015.

Gen. J.R. “Jack” Dailey, USMC (Ret.)

Gen. J.R. “Jack” Dailey, USMC (Ret.)

DM Vanderhoof

Special thanks to Nick Partridge and Sarah Banks of the National Air & Space Museum.

The Australia News Desk

HATS 135 factory acceptance No.1. (Airbus Helicopters)

HATS 135 factory acceptance No.1. (Airbus Helicopters)

It’s a week of firsts for the Australian Defence Force as the boys give progress on still more new or updated airframes coming down under:

Meanwhile, Qantas long-haul pilots have approved a new wage deal.

But it’s terrible news for the Australian helicopter charter industry as Bronwyn Bishop resigns (Satire).


The UAV Digest Episode 106, UAS Traffic Management

Observations from the NASA Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Traffic Management Convention, including the Amazon Prime Air proposal for drone traffic management.

The LogBook

A podcast by Embry Riddle Aeronautical University student Lucas Weakley with aviation stories told in the first person.

427th Special Operations Squadron

You didn’t see this:



Brian’s United 737-8 window seat…

Brian's United 737-8 window seat


Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at