499 Great Britain’s Royal Air Force Turns 100

Interviews and observations from the Great British Fly-In at the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum celebrating the 100th anniversary of Great Britain’s Royal Air Force. Also, a review of Li-ion thermal runaway containment products for use on airplanes, Sun ‘n Fun, a deal to resolve the subsidy dispute between some U.S. and Gulf airlines, the F-35 reaches a developmental test flight milestone, Allegiant Air is criticized in a CBS investigation, a standoff missile makes its operational debut, and 787 Dreamliners with the Trent 1000 Package C engines get a reduced ETOPS rating.

The Great British Fly-In Celebrates the Royal Air Force Anniversary.

The Great British Fly-In Celebrates the Royal Air Force Anniversary. Photo by David Vanderhoof.

Aviation News

U.S., United Arab Emirates near deal to solve airline subsidy spat, sources say

Reportedly, discussions are progressing that would resolve the subsidy dispute between some U.S. airlines and those in the Middle East. Emirates and Etihad Airways would make their accounting books available and would assert that they have no current plans to add additional flights to the United States.

F-35 completes most comprehensive flight test program in aviation history

The F-35 Joint Program Office says the program “has accomplished the final developmental test flight of the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase of the program.” The program operated for more than 11, conducting more than 9,200 sorties, accumulating over 17,000 flight hours, and executing more than 65,000 test points to verify the design, durability, software, sensors, weapons capability and performance for all three F-35 variants.

Allegiant Air: The budget airline flying under the radar (60 Minutes report)

Is Allegiant Air Safe? ’60 Minutes Probes Airline’s Safety Record

During its 60 Minutes television program, CBS presented their findings after a 7-month investigation of Allegiant Air.  They call the airline the “most dangerous” airline in the U.S. and found “serious mechanical incidents, including mid-air engine failures, smoke and fumes in the cabin, rapid descents, flight control malfunctions, hydraulic leaks and aborted take-offs.” Allegiant issued a statement calling the report “grossly misleading.”

The JASSM-ER: A look at Lockheed Martin’s new missiles used in Syria

Here Are All The Details The Pentagon Just Released Regarding Its Missile Attack On Syria

The United States and its French and British allies launched strikes against Syrian government facilities supporting chemical weapons. Striking the Barzah Research Center in Damascus were 57 Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missiles (TLAM) and 19 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) missiles.

Video: JASSM Reliability

The Great British Fly-In Celebrates the Royal Air Force Anniversary

David attended The Great British Fly-In at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, April 15, 2018. The event was conducted in partnership with Great Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) as part of the 100th-anniversary celebration of the RAF, the oldest air force in the world. The event featured many former RAF and other military aircraft, flown in for one day only.

Interviews [with approximate start times]:

  • Assistant Air Attache Steve Richards [36:39]
  • Doug Burkey from WideWings.net [41:47]
  • RAF Flight Lt Sarah Cole [44:38]
  • Dr. Peter Jakab, chief curator of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. [50:50]
The Great British Fly-In Celebrates the Royal Air Force Anniversary.

Photo by David Vanderhoof.

Thermal Runaway Containment Products

Listener Nick undertook a study of products that are designed to contain the Li-on batteries in personal electronic devices when they experience thermal runaway on aircraft. Nick looked at the available products from:

Sun ‘n Fun Report

Airplane Geeks Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari reports from Sun ‘n Fun 2018 with a quick pilot report and an interview with Chief Foreign Officer Charles Villanida. GoArmy.com.

Mentioned

Air Force One: The Aircraft of the Modern U.S. Presidency [Amazon.com link]

Air New Zealand passengers face more disruption as Dreamliners hit by further Rolls-Royce engine problems

FAA limits flights by Boeing 787 Dreamliners with Rolls-Royce engine problems

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

 

498 Sun ‘n Fun Radio

Dave Shallbetter talks about the Sun ‘n Fun International Fly-in and Expo and Sun ‘n Fun Radio. Also, we note that Cirrus Aircraft will be receiving the 2017 Robert J. Collier Trophy for their Vision Jet, the recent noncombat-related air crashes that have resulted in the loss of US service members, and a proposal to use cargo hold space for a new passenger class. We have a positive story about the TSA, a new director of the National Air and Space Museum, some great listener feedback on the helicopter crash into the river in New York, as well as on the need to change the United Airlines company culture.

Guest

Dave Shallbetter,  Chairman of Sun ‘n Fun Radio.

Dave Shallbetter, Chairman of Sun ‘n Fun Radio.

Dave Shallbetter is Chairman of Sun ‘n Fun Radio and a long time volunteer at the annual Sun ‘n Fun International Fly-in and Expo.  This year’s event is April 10 to 15, 2018.

Sun ’n Fun’s mission is to preserve and enhance the future of flight through world-class events, inspiring and educating people of all ages. Sun ‘n Fun Radio broadcasts locally on 1510 AM and audio streams worldwide from LiveATC.net.

Sun ‘n Fun was created in 1974 by a small group of aviation enthusiasts and has grown into the second largest event of its kind in the world. The six-day event is held on 2,200 acres at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland, Florida and offers jet teams, aerospace-related exhibits; educational forums, aircraft static displays, professional gatherings of aviation and economic development groups; daily and evening airshows, youth activities, a veterans plaza, and women in aviation arena. Many performers mingle on the grounds with vendors and students.

To learn more, visit the Sun ‘n Fun website and follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Also, visit the Sun ‘n Fun Radio website and follow them on Twitter, on Facebook, and listen 24/7 365 on LiveATC.net/snf.

Aviation News

Cirrus Aircraft Vision Jet to be Awarded the 2017 Collier Trophy

The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) has announced that Cirrus Aircraft will be receiving the 2017 Robert J. Collier Trophy for “… designing, certifying, and entering-into-service the Vision Jet – the world’s first single-engine general aviation personal jet aircraft with a whole airframe parachute system.”

After 5 Deaths In 2 Days, US Military Aviation Is In A Full-Blown Crisis

2 soldiers killed in helicopter crash identified: US Army

With 16 service members killed in air crashes, top lawmaker says ‘readiness of the military is at a crisis point’

A number of US service members have been killed recently in noncombat-related air crashes. Are there common threads?

Qantas reveals plans for new ‘cargo class’ where passengers can stretch their legs and exercise during super long-haul flights – and says the airline will fly direct to London from Sydney by 2022

Cargo class: Qantas CEO reveals ‘out there’ options for super long haul flights

In a leaked audio recording, CEO, Alan Joyce said that under “Project Sunrise,” Qantas would like to offer direct flights from Sydney and Melbourne to London. But he also described using the cargo hold space for berths like you’d see on a train or spaces for walking around.

Trip Report

Max Trescott makes a  cross-country flight in a Cirrus.

Positive Aviation Story

Mom praises TSA at Indianapolis airport in viral post: ‘She treated him like a person with feelings’

Mentioned

PaxEx Podcast #56 with Mary Kirby and guest Marisa Garcia, founder of the aviation news site Flight Chic.

Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX)

Cirrus Owners & Pilots Association

Ellen Stofan, Former NASA Chief Scientist, to Head National Air and Space Museum

Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Celebrates Royal Air Force Anniversary With “The Great British Fly-In”

TSA Passenger Support – TSA Cares

FlyNYON knew of safety concerns before fatal doors-off flight

Shark US – Shark Tip 2 – Low Cost ANR

Word of the day: snarge.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

497 Designing an Airplane

The Chief Engineer at Vashon Aircraft talks about designing an airplane. Also, Bombardier and Embraer and the market for small commercial jets, the corporate culture of Boeing, the future of the A-10 Thunderbolt, and a preliminary report from the NTSB on the fatal helicopter crash into the river.

Vashon Aircraft Chief Engineer Ken Krueger talks about designing an airplane.

The Vashon Ranger R7 flying near Mt Baker. Courtesy Vashon Aircraft.

Guest

new Ken Krueger, Chief Engineer at Vashon Aircraft.

Ken Krueger is Chief Engineer at Vashon Aircraft and principal designer of the Ranger R7 2-place aircraft.

We talk with Ken about designing an airplane. He tells us about the things that push you to design a new airplane, design objectives, and engineering reality. Ken describes the manufacturability of airplane designs and how to keep costs down through manufacturing automation, vertical integration, and the company culture. Ken explains how materials and construction affect repairability, and talks to us about engine selection, the considerations for good flying ability, and even the contribution of workforce diversity.

Ken played a tiny part in the development of large airplanes such as C-17, B-2, and F-22. He played a greater role in the design of small airplanes such as the RV-7, RV-8, RV-9, RV-10, RV-12, RV-14, and the Ranger. Along the way, he has built, owned, and maintained several airplanes, including an RV-4, an RV-6, and a single seat aircraft of his own design. This combination of education and experience gives Ken a unique perspective on successfully designing and manufacturing light aircraft in today’s world.

Ken grew up in an aviation family and his passion for aviation sparked early. He earned his pilot’s license while still a teenager and graduated a few years later from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering. Ken and his wife, Susan, live in Washington State and they currently own an RV-4 and a Cessna 150.

Visit the Vashon Aircraft website, and follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Also, check out the article by Pia Bergqvist in Flying Magazine, What It’s Like to Fly the Vashon Ranger R7: The Jeep of the light-sport aircraft category makes a surprise entrance.

 

Aviation News

Boeing, Airbus Gird for New Duel in Niche Market for Small Jets

Airbus has aligned with Bombardier on the CSeries. Boeing is courting Embraer. Bombardier and Embraer have new fuel-efficient jets in the 100 – 150 seat range and orders for the smaller jets may be out there from Air France-KLM, United Continental Holdings, and JetBlue Airways.

How to Fix United Airlines’ Culture Problem

United Airlines treatment of their customers has been well documented in the press. With almost alarming frequency. Does United suffer from a corporate culture problem? If so, what can be done?

The Air Force has the money it needs for the A-10 Thunderbolt — but may soon get a new partner to help keep it in the air

What needs to happen for the A-10 to have a future, and who would have a role in keeping it flying?

NTSB Releases Preliminary Report on NY Helicopter Accident

The NTSB preliminary report contains no analysis or probable cause but describes the sequence of events is described, subject to change as the investigation proceeds.

Listener Recording

Student pilot Nicki provides an update on her flight training and tells us about her solo and experiences with a GPS.

Mentioned

After decade of restoration in Auburn, iconic ’50s airliner returning to Germany

Lufthansa L-1649 Starliner – A commercial from Lufthansa circa 1960 for a flight from Hamburg to New York on the L-1649A Starliner. In German with subtitles.

Cora VTOL: Autonomous Electric Sky Taxi from Zephyr Airworks/Kitty Hawk

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

496 Electric Aircraft and New Technologies

We talk about electric aircraft, automation, and new technologies in aviation with the Vice President of Global Innovation and Policy for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. Also, airport access for general aviation, a GAMA jobs rally, the Department of Defense receives more aircraft than they asked for, a proposal for increased air cargo security, and interviews from South by Southwest with an astronaut and with the EAA.

Guest

Greg Bowles talks about electric aircraft

Greg Bowles, VP of Global Innovation & Policy, GAMA

Greg Bowles is the Vice President of Global Innovation and Policy for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). Greg is responsible for identifying key technology opportunities and developing critical paths to success which will evolve the global safety, efficiency, and success of aviation.

Greg is in a unique position to talk about electric aircraft technology, regulatory changes, and other new aviation developments that impact the industry, pilots, and the general population. We discuss the state of electric propulsion, battery energy density, hybrid aircraft, and the rapid emergence of eVTOL electric aircraft. Greg illustrates some of the new options that electric power allows, and explains how the interaction between the human pilot and the technology has licensing and training implications. Greg sees a future where simplified vehicles open up aviation to a broader audience.

Greg leads the GAMA Electric Propulsion and Innovation Committee (EPIC) which represents the world’s leading aviation mobility development companies along with traditional aviation manufacturers as this community strives to enable new kinds of public transportation through the air. He also leads the worldwide design standards committee that is chartered to develop globally acceptable means of compliance for general aviation aircraft.

Greg has been an advisor to several long-standing ICAO panels and he’s the industry co-chair on the FAA’s Part 23 Reorganization ARC which has developed the rewrite of FAA part 23 regulations to assure they will address aircraft of the next twenty years.

Pipistrel Alpha Electro electric aircraft.

Alpha Electro 2-seat electric trainer. Courtesy Pipistrel.

Before he joined GAMA, Greg worked as a certification engineer at Keystone (now Sikorsky) Helicopter, and he was a design engineer at Cessna Aircraft Company (now Textron Aviation).

Greg holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Webster University. He is an active instrument-rated general aviation pilot.

Visit the GAMA website, and follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Aviation News

Maintaining Airport Access for General Aviation

In the U.S., most airports have Fixed Base Operators (FBOs) which provide many services to general aviation, including fuel and parking. Changes in the FBO customer base may have implications for general aviation.

GAMA To Stage Next Rally at Garmin’s Olathe Facility

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) is planning a jobs rally on in Olathe, Kansas, April 6, 2018, at the Garmin International Warehouse and Distribution Center. The event will feature government and industry leaders who will discuss the economic contributions of aviation, investment in products, the future workforce, and the promotion of STEM.

Congress appropriates a 28% increase in funding for new aircraft

The U.S. Government spending bill signed by the president on March 23, 2018, included 143 aircraft above what was requested by the Department of Defence. These include Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighters, F/A-18 Super Hornets, KC-46A tankers, and Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft. We look at the reasons for this and the implications.

H.R. 4176: Air Cargo Security Improvement Act of 2017

The Act passed the House by voice vote and goes to the Senate. If enacted, the TSA Administrator would establish an air cargo security division which would conduct a feasibility study on expanding the use of computed tomography (CT) technology for screening air cargo transported on passenger aircraft, followed by a 2-year pilot program.

Airline Story of the Week

Southwest Airlines Had a Brilliant Reaction When a Passenger’s Wi-Fi Wouldn’t Work

Interviews

At South by Southwest in Austin Texas, Airplane Geeks Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari spoke with astronaut Dr. John Danny Olivas and Andy Ovans from EAA headquarters.

Listener Recording

Student pilot Nicki provides an update on her flight training and tells us about a recent episode with her flight instructor.

Mentioned

ASTM F44 General Aviation Aircraft

At Long Last, Flat Earth Rocketeer Finally Manages to Blast Himself Into Sky at God Knows What Speed

Australia-UK: First non-stop flight arrives in London from Perth

Qantas has set a new record for non-stop flight as QF9 has landed at Heathrow International Airport

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

 

495 Heritage Flights

The president of Planes of Fame tells us about the museum, restoring warbirds and historic aircraft, and flying heritage flights. Also, we look at the world’s largest jet engine, restraints on open-door helicopter flights, United Airlines and dogs, facial scanning at airports, the Boeing 737 Max 7 first flight, hacking the aviation industry, and GPS vulnerabilities.

P-51 Mustang, always a crowd-pleaser for heritage flights

Planes of Fame Air Museum P-51 Mustang

Guest

Steve Hinton is president of Planes of Fame Air Museum, which opened in 1957 and now has a collection of over 150 aircraft, more than 50 of which are flyable. The mission of the museum is to preserve aviation history, inspire interest in aviation, educate the public, and honor aviation pioneers and veterans. The Museum spans the history of manned flight from the Chanute Hang Glider of 1896 to the Space Age of Apollo, with locations in Chino, California and Valle-Grand Canyon, Arizona.

Planes of Fame Airshow 2018We talk with Steve about the Museum and the annual Planes of Fame Airshow, in 2018 to be held May 5-6 at Chino Airport in California with about 45 flying warbirds.

Steve explains how the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation pairs modern aircraft with fighter aircraft from the WWII, Korea, and Vietnam eras for dramatic heritage flights around the world. This year he flew a P-51 Mustang leading two A-10s and an F-16 in the heritage flight over the Super Bowl LII opening ceremony.

Steve held a world speed record from 1979 to 1989 and won six Unlimited-class air races, including two national championships. He won four consecutive Unlimited races in one year and remains the only pilot ever to do so. He retired from racing in 1990 and was honored in 2016 with the Crystal Eagle Award from the Aero Club of Northern California.

Steve also owns Fighter Rebuilders, a military aircraft restoration company. He was our guest on Episode 386 in January 2016.

Learn more at the Planes of Fame Air Museum website, follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Aviation News

GE starts flight trials for world’s largest jet engine

On March 13, from Victorville, California, GE’s new GE9X engine flew more than four hours mounted to the company’s 747 testbed aircraft. The 100,000-pound thrust-class engine has a 134-inch fan and is intended for the Boeing 777X, scheduled for EIS in 2020.

Video: GE9X engine soars

Chopper flights with open doors, tight restraints grounded

Open-door helicopter flights are popular with tourists and photographers, but recently one of these flights went down in a river, killing all 5 passengers on board. It appears that they were unable to escape from the harnesses that held them in the chopper. The family of one victim has filed a lawsuit and the FAA issued a temporary nationwide ban on open-door flights unless they are equipped with restraint systems that open with one action.

United Airlines Chartered a Private Jet to Send Irgo the Dog Home

Bad press seems to dog United Airlines frequently these days. But they went above and beyond after mistakenly shipping a German Shepherd Dog to Japan. They returned the pooch via a privately chartered jet.

Facial Scanning Now Arriving At U.S. Airports

Customs and Border Protection is testing biometric scanning at some U.S. international airports at boarding points. Cameras at the gate send passenger photographs to CBP where they are checked against photos on file and to make sure that person is booked on the manifest. Some critics point to possible bias and privacy protection issues.

Boeing Says New 737 MAX 7 Aircraft Completes Successful First Flight

The smallest member of the family, the Boeing 737 MAX 7, flew on March 17, 2018, for 3 hours and 5 minutes. The flight test program now begins with certification and delivery expected in 2019. The airplane has a maximum capacity of 172 passengers and a range of 3,850 nautical miles.

Russian Hackers Attacked U.S. Aviation as Part of Breaches

Bloomberg reports that hackers were attempted to penetrate the U.S. civilian aviation industry early in 2017. Details aren’t provided, but Jeff Troy, executive director of the Aviation Information Sharing and Analysis Center (A-ISAC), said the attack had limited impact. Also that the industry has taken steps to prevent a repeat of the intrusion. US-CERT has issued a detailed report.

Keeping NextGen on the air

A task group co-chaired by AOPA looked at GPS interference when certain military activities are conducted. GPS signals are fragile, says AOPA and the FAA needs to ensure that alternate navigation aids and capabilities are available. The March 2018 report contains 25 recommendations:  Operational Impacts of Intentional GPS Interference: A Report of the Tactical Operations Committee in Response to Tasking from the Federal Aviation Administration [PDF].

Airline Story of the Week

Pratt & Whitney showcases the role of women in powering flight

Although not specifically about commercial aircraft, it is a great story about the contribution woman have made to Pratt & Whitney.

Interview

Airplane Geeks Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari speaks with Ken VeArd from Pilot Partner about getting paper out of the cockpit. Ken was kind enough to offer a discount code for Airplane Geeks listeners. The interview begins at about 1:28 into the episode.

Mentioned

The Sticks, Stories, Scotch blog by listener Aaron.

Fingertrouble showed us a photo of this Short SC.7 Skyvan operated by Pink-Skyvan in Europe for skydiving activities:

Short SC.7 Skyvan

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

 

494 Flight Training Management

The owner and president of Flight Training Technologies talks about a flight training management application for use by flight instructors, students, and Part 61 flight schools. Also, recent developments in the search for Amelia Earhart, progress toward electric general aviation aircraft, how Air New Zealand is managing their customers in the face of an equipment change, the United Airlines bonus program fiasco, and some comments on the Airbus A350 vs. the Boeing 787.

Guest

Amy Labus-Olson, owner and president of flight training management system provider Flight Training Technologies, LLC.

Amy Labus-Olson, owner and president of Flight Training Technologies, LLC.

Amy Labus-Olson is the owner and president of Flight Training Technologies, LLC. which provides an online flight training management application for use by flight instructors, students, and Part 61 flight schools.

As a CFII (Certificated Flight Instructor – Instrument), Amy saw a need in the small business flight training industry for a paperless management system for maintaining students’ flight training records. As a college educator, she used digital solutions to effectively manage her students and wanted that same level of professionalism in management in the flight training environment. She created the Skynotes web app which provides users with a calendar/scheduler, flight and ground curriculum with lesson set up tool, a flight training logbook with IACRA tracking, CFI records logbook, FAR requirement and FAA endorsements checklist, a resource library, and free online ground school through Pilot Training System.

The goal of Skynotes is to keep students and instructors informed and engaged in their flight training program from start to certification, no matter how many instructors the student has throughout their training.

Amy holds a commercial certificate with multi-engine and instrument ratings along with a CFII and remote pilot certificate. Amy has taught for a variety of Part 61 and 141 flight schools and also as an independent CFI.

Learn more about Skynotes at the Flight Training Technologies website, on Facebook, LinkedIn, and on Twitter. Also, see the post in Airscape about Skynotes.

Aviation News

Bones discovered on a Pacific island belong to Amelia Earhart, a new forensic analysis claims

Human bones were found on the Pacific island of Nikumaroro in 1940 and there was speculation they belonged to Amelia Earhart. A 1941 forensic analysis concluded the bones were of a man, but speculation continued because the methods then were crude by today’s standards. Now, University of Tennessee professor Richard L. Jantz has employed a computer program used by forensic anthropologists called Fordisc to revisit the measurements originally taken of the bones. He concluded the measurements match what is known about Earhart’s physical dimensions.

Is Amelia Earhart Found?

This article by Robert Goyer presents is skeptical of the new “evidence.”

2040: A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 621 Kansas Avenue in Atchison, Kansas, as the “Amelia Earhart Post Office Building”

This bill passed in the Senate on March 7, 2018, and goes to the House next for consideration.

Progress made toward electric GA

In the U.S., where LSAs were viewed as the likely entry point for electric, there is a problem. The regulatory language uses the word “reciprocating,” which excludes turbine engines, rocket-power, and electric motors. Nevertheless, Greg Bowles, GAMA’s Vice President for Global Innovation & Policy, expects to see certified electric aircraft in regular use within three to five years. Bowles is also chairman of ASTM Committee F44 on General Aviation Aircraft, which is defining performance standards that work with the 2016 regulation reform that took Part 23 from a prescriptive model to a performance-based model.

Mentioned

Flight Safety Foundation Calls for Sweeping Changes to Pilot Training

Air NZ engine fix another month away

Leaked Memo: Oscar Munoz Tells United Employees Quarterly Bonuses WILL Change

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

493 The Flying Tigers and the Forgotten War

The Flying Tigers, the search for MH370 four years after its disappearance, a newly designated national aviation museum, flight training in the F-104 Starfighter, slow acceptance of ADS-B, and the selection of the new FAA administrator.

Flying Tiger Curtiss P-40C Courtesy San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive.

Curtiss P-40C Flying Tiger. Courtesy San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive.

Guest

Charlene Fontaine is the founder and executive director of the Flying Tigers 69th DRS Association, Inc. She is an advocate and speaker for veterans, youth, and trauma victims. Charlene speaks at air shows, conferences, schools, and reunions to inspire youth to learn history and to honor our elders and all those who serve our country.

Charlene Fontain, Flying Tigers 69th DRS Association.

Charlene Fontaine

Started in 2005, the nonprofit Flying Tigers 69th DRS Association carries forward the legacy and history of the Depot Repair Squadron as well as all Flying Tigers. We talk about the history of the Flying Tigers, including the clandestine formation of the American Volunteer Group (the “AVG”) – the 100 pilots and almost 300 ground crew who went off to war under a one-year contract. Charlene tells us about the formation of the 14th Air Force after the contract, and we learn about the iconic shark’s teeth and where we find them on other aircraft.

Charlene loves all things that fly, starting with kites and the gyroscope that was given to her at age four by her father. She flew in a plane at 15, and her college years were spent with open cockpit planes, helicopters, and hot air balloons. Charlene developed a deep desire to learn about her father’s adventures designing airplanes, repairing them, and being a crew chief during WWII.  

Flying Tigers DRSHaving consulted internationally for over 30 years, Charlene’s clients include a wide variety of corporate industries ranging from the military to medical, manufacturing, law enforcement, and non-profits. Working with CEO’s and senior management, Charlene developed projects, teams, and programs that align the organization with their customers’ needs and range from customer service, change management, conflict resolution, creativity, productivity, sales and total quality management.

Charlene has authored a number of books, and speaks at schools, military bases, civic organizations, and air shows sharing the history and stories of the Flying Tigers and CBI Veterans as well as representing them in China. She has film industry experience and “The Forgotten War: China, Burma, India” is currently in production. The Forgotten War: CBI Promo.

Visit the Flying Tigers 69th DRS Association website and find them on Facebook.

News

Malaysia says new search for flight MH370 to end mid-June

March 8, 2018, is the 4-year anniversary of the disappearance of MH370, carrying 239 people from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in 2014. The search by Australia, China, and Malaysia ended in January 2017 at a cost of around US$160 million. In January 2018, Malaysia agreed to pay the U.S. firm Ocean Infinity up to US$70 million if it found the plane within 90 search days. The Seabed Constructor vessel started searching on Jan 23.

Triple WWII ace accepts national designation for Colorado Springs aviation museum

The Museum of World War II Aviation in Colorado Springs has been designated by Congress as a national aviation museum. Accepting the designation on behalf of the museum was 96 year old retired Air Force Col. Clarence “Bud” Anderson. Bud flew a P-51 Mustang in World War II, and his plane, “Old Crow,” was flown in as a surprise from the National Warbird Hall of Fame in OshKosh.

Other national aviation museums:

F-104 Flight Training Launches At Florida’s Kennedy Space Center

A new civilian training program for licensed pilots is offered by Starfighters Aerospace with a fleet of Mach 2+ Lockheed F-104 Starfighters at NASA’s Kennedy Shuttle Landing Facility. The training ranges from three to ten days, depending on the pilot, and is authorized by a Letter of Deviation Authority (LODA) issued to Starfighters by the FAA.

FAA Blames Airlines for Lack of Wider ADS-B Use

FAA associate administrator for Aviation Safety Ali Bahrami testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure’s subcommittee on aviation. He told the subcommittee that the ADS-B system is fully operational, but its use is limited because the airlines don’t have the onboard equipment required.

Also testifying were representatives from the NTSB, NASA, ALPA, and the DOT’s Office of Inspector General. They talked about drone regulations, pilot shortages, and privatizing ATC. Bill Shuster (R-Pennsylvania), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, announced after the hearing that the provision to privatize ATC would be dropped from the reauthorization legislation, HR 2997.

In Pushing HIs Pilot for FAA Administrator, Trump Shows His Disregard for Safety

Writing in Forbes, past guest Christine Negroni writes that President Trump does his [private pilot Capt. John Dunkin] no service by putting him forward as a candidate to lead the Federal Aviation Administration. Find the process for appointing the FAA Administrator in Title 49 U.S. Code § 106 – Federal Aviation Administration.

Airline Story of the Week

United Airlines pilot hand-delivers woman’s lost engagement ring

Contributions

Airplane Geeks Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari has a little fun with the phonetic alphabet.

Listener Ron took a ride in a gyroplane for his birthday and created a short adventure report for us.

Mentioned

AIN’s The Human Factor: Tales From the Flight Deck podcast

We Can Do It! Women in Aviation and Space

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

492 Flying the Boeing 787 Dreamliner

A Boeing 787 Senior First Officer tells us about flying that plane. We discuss the implications of privatizing air traffic control, replacing the T-38C Talon with the Advanced Pilot Trainer, the impact of subsidy claims on Open Skies agreements, and a candidate for the top FAA spot. We also have an interview with the Commander of 302 Squadron of the Dutch Royal Air Force.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Courtesy Boeing.

Guest

Senior First Officer Mike currently flies the Boeing 787 for a major for European airline and is based out of London Heathrow. In our wide-ranging conversation, we learn about the transition from the Airbus to the Boeing 787, some of the differences, and training aspects. Mike tells us about the Lithium-Ion batteries used in the aircraft and cabin crew procedures for passenger battery problems.

FO Mike adds his perspectives as we discuss ATC privatization (or is it ATC corporatization?) and U.S. airline claims that Middle Eastern carriers received unfair subsidies. Mike isn’t shy about expressing his views, and along the way, we discover his preference for Boeing over Airbus.

Mike learned to fly in a Cessna 152 at age 17, then moved onto a Piper PA-28.  After completing the obligatory requirements, PPL, ME/IR, CPL and theoretical knowledge exams, FO Mike applied for the Advanced Entry Programme with a major Middle Eastern Airline. Starting with the Airbus A330, Mike progressed to become MFF/CCQ on the A330/A340, before moving over to the Boeing 787 as part of the entry into service crew for the airline.

Mike moved back to Europe in 2016 where he joined his current airline.  He holds a number of ratings: CPL, ME/IR, ATPL and is also Training First Officer and Type Rated Instructor. Altogether, Mike has flown the Airbus A330-200 and -300, the A340-500 and -600, and now the Boeing 787-9. Follow him on Twitter as @FOMike787.

Aviation News

Still Wondering Why GA/Biz Av Think the Airlines Will Run a Privatized ATC System?

One contentious aspect of the proposal to privatize Air Traffic Control in the U.S. is the makeup of the 13-member ATC board. What interests would be represented, in what numbers, and how might that impact general aviation?

T-X to replace T-38 at pilot training bases

The contract to replace the T-38C Talon with the Advanced Pilot Trainer (T-X) is yet to be awarded, but the U.S. Air Force is already planning the first pilot training base to receive the aircraft as early as 2022.

Emirates Airline boss reveals that the nastiest feud in the airline industry could kill his $76 billion Boeing order

Some U.S. airlines have accused Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways of receiving more than $50 billion state subsidies, a violation of Open Skies. Sir Tim Clark, the president of Emirates Airline, believes that Open Skies is at risk and the US aviation industry stands to lose.

Trump’s Pilot for FAA Administrator

We don’t know if the man is qualified, or even if this is a good idea.

Airline Story of the Week

Woman surprises husband with pregnancy announcement on flight from Tampa

An American Airlines crew helps a woman announce her pregnancy to her husband inflight, and catches his reaction on video.

Listener Recording

Thirteen-year-old Will gives us a teaser about his research project and his Airplane Geeks segment to come.

Interview

Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari interviews Lt Col Grijspaardt, Commander 302 Squadron, Dutch Royal Air Force.

Mentioned

Robert Poole’s libertarian think-tank Reason Foundation.

Black Lightning: The Legacy of the Lockheed Blackbirds by Jeannette Remak and Joseph Ventolo Jr.

Qantas Group Pilot Academy | Qantas

A pilot lost his daughter in the Parkland shooting and over 100 colleagues came to her funeral

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

491 Igor Sikorsky III

Igor Sikorsky III joins us and talks about the history of his grandfather, aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky. Our airplane of the week is the Sikorsky VS-300. We also look at Boeing’s belief that the industry has put its cyclic business nature in the past, new fees proposed for air travelers, and the International Trade Commission report denying Boeing’s claim against Bombardier.

Igor Sikorsky's plane in front of the Bradford Camps lodge.

Igor Sikorsky’s plane in front of the Bradford Camps lodge.

Guest

Igor Sikorsky III gassing up at Munsungan Lake.

Igor Sikorsky III gassing up at Munsungan Lake.

Igor Sikorsky III is the grandson of aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky and he conducts the annual “Sikorsky Weekend” at The Bradford Camps in the North Maine woods. It’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the history of Igor’s grandfather with family memorabilia, stories, and videos.

Igor gives us a few slices of the Sikorsky history, including how his grandfather was inspired at age 12 by a dream he had of flying over an ocean. We talk about the early days in Russia when the family entrusted their savings to him and then his time in Paris. That was the hub of early aviation where designers and other dreamers congregated to try and build flying machines. We learn about Sikorsky’s emigration from Russia to the U.S. where other Russian immigrants worked with him, sometimes without pay, to develop early aircraft.

Igor is a pilot himself and owns a Skyhawk on floats, which he uses regularly to ferry visitors to his camp and to fishing spots in Maine. We talk about the unique aspects of flying in the North Maine woods, and how having an airplane is critical to the life Igor and his wife Karen lead.

Igor tells us how he thinks his grandfather would have felt about the 2015 sale of Sikorsky Aircraft by United Technologies Corporation. We also learn about the Russian Imperial Stout that Two Roads Brewing Company produces each year to honor Sikorsky and Stratford, Connecticut.

Learn more about the annual Sikorsky Weekend at The Bradford Camps website, and be sure to visit the Igor I. Sikorsky Historical Archives.

Igor Sikorsky III plane at Munsungan Lake, Maine.

Does it get any better than this?

News

Boeing CEO: Aerospace now viewed as an industry with ‘long-term sustained growth’

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg says the industry has gone “from being a high-cycle business in the past” to now becoming “a long-term sustained growth business.”

New Aviation Fees Could Cost Travelers $3 Billion

The proposed 2019 Federal budget released on February 12, 2018, increases Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) fees, which could potentially cost consumers up to an additional $3 billion. Industry trade group Airlines for America (A4A) urged Congress to reject all TSA and CBP fee increases and instead return the billions of dollars now collected by the TSA and CBP and used for non-aviation related purposes.

U.S. ITC details why it rejected CSeries duties, says Boeing not hurt

The International Trade Commission published their 194-page ruling that rejected Boeing’s claim against Bombardier, saying “Boeing lost no sales or revenues.”

The Airplane of the Week

David tells us the history of the Vought Sikorsky VS-300 (Sikorsky S-42), the first practical helicopter in the United States and the model for most helicopters that were to come.

The Sikorsky VS-300. Credit: unknown (Smithsonian Institution)

The Sikorsky VS-300. Credit: unknown (Smithsonian Institution)

Mentioned

New England Air Museum

Xtended Episode 79

The Fighter Pilot Podcast

Imperial notifies Transport Canada of potential aviation fuel quality issue

Accident: Spirit A20N near Fort Lauderdale on Jan 28th 2018, fumes on board, crew feeling increasingly incapacitated

Air Force Special OPS plane carrying US Commandos makes “surprise” landing in Libya

Leaping elk crashes low-flying research helicopter in Utah

North Korea Military Parade 2018: Best Moments – Parada Militar na Coreia do Norte 2018

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

 

490 The Airbus A350

We talk with an Airbus A350 captain who has a long history flying commercial aircraft. In the news, we consider one-person flight crews, U.S. airlines looking to scale back consumer protection regulations, ADS-B vulnerabilities for military aircraft, and largest ever Piper order for training planes, plans for the Air Force bomber fleet, and Southwest runs out of glycol. We also have a conversation about ATIS with the Chief of the Air Traffic Control Division at Robert Gray Army Airfield.

Malaysia Airlines Airbus A350.

Malaysia Airlines A350. Photo by H Gousse, courtesy Airbus.

Guest

Airbus A350 Captain Bill Palmer.

Airbus A350 Captain Bill Palmer.

Bill Palmer is an A350 captain and an instructor pilot/check airman. He has been heavily involved in Airbus training since the early 1990’s, and Bill is the author of Understanding Air France 447 and other publications on Airbus flight control laws. Bill also holds a commercial glider rating and flies his Rolladen-Schneider LS-3 for fun in southern California.

Bill describes the transition to the A350 as like going from DOS to Windows. The aircraft shares some commonality with A380, and Bill describes fly-by-wire and the flight control laws. We also hear about other features of the A350, such as the paperless cockpit implementation and the availability airport runway, taxiway, and gate information to pilot. The plane will calculate landing distance and brake to the correct speed for the selected taxiway. Bill also describes the A350 runway overrun protection and the auto-flight system’s automatic TCAS and wind shear recovery.

Bill started flying at the age of 15, soloed on his 16th birthday and completed his private certificate at 17. He attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and holds a BS in Aeronautical Science. He earned his flight instructor certificate in 1978 and has been instructing almost non-stop since then while holding airplane, instrument, multi-engine, and ground instructor certificates. Besides light aircraft he has also taught on the 727, 757, A320, DC-10, and A330, and written manuals for the DC-10, A330, and B-787 fleets. He has also produced numerous training publications and videos for the various fleets as well.

Visit Bill’s webpage Understanding Air France 447 and his Trend Vector blog. His books Understanding Air France 447Airbus A330 Normal Law: Putting fly-by-wire into perspective, and Airbus Flight Control Laws: The Reconfiguration Laws are available on Amazon.com and at other retailers.

Aviation News

Boeing raises prospect of only one pilot in the cockpit of planes

At the Singapore Airshow, Boeing research and technology vice-president Charles Toups said, “We are studying [one pilot operations], and where you will first see that is probably in cargo transport, so the passenger question is off the table.” Also at the Singapore Air Show, ST Aerospace showed the concept for an unmanned freighter piloted by an artificially intelligent computer. ST Aero was optimistic about an unmanned freighter within the next five years.

Airlines seeking to snuff traveler rights?

In the Wall Street Journal, Scott McCartney reports that last October the U.S. Department of Transportation asked airlines to suggest changes or cuts to regulations. Airlines for America filed 222 pages of comments. United Airlines added 50 pages.

Vulnerable To Cyber Attacks, ADS-B May Expose F-22s To Web Based Tracking GAO Warns

A 45-page Government Accountability Office report titled Urgent Need for DOD and FAA to Address Risks and Improve Planning for Technology That Tracks Military Aircraft [PDF] says that neither the Department of Defense nor the FAA has taken significant steps to mitigate security risks associated with openly transmitting flight data from military aircraft.

Piper Receives Largest Trainer Order in Company History

Chinese Fanmei Aviation Technologies has ordered 152 training aircraft from Piper Aircraft. Fanmei is Piper’s dealer in China, and a subsidiary of Sichuan Fan-Mei Education Group Co., which provides aviation education in China. This is reported to be the largest single order for training airplanes in Piper’s history. The seven-year purchase agreement is valued at $74 million and includes 100 Archer TX single-engine trainers, 50 twin-engine Seminoles, one Seneca twin, and one Piper M350.

Air Force outlines future of bomber force

In its Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request, the Air Force outlined plans for its bomber fleet, which include a plan to update the B-52 Stratofortress fleet, continue modifications to the B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit fleets, while continuing to acquire B-21 Raiders.

‘How does one airline run out of de-icer?’: Some gripes at Midway after Southwest’s cancellations

Southwest Airlines had to cancel more than 250 flights from Midway Airport after running out of de-icing fluid. One of the glycol tank pumps wasn’t working properly and some of the de-icing fluid could not be accessed.

Interview

Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari talks about ATIS (automatic terminal information service) with Mark N. Vick, Chief, Air Traffic Control Division, Directorate of Aviation Operations at Robert Gray Army Airfield, Fort Hood Texas, a military joint-use airport that operates alongside Killeen–Fort Hood Regional Airport.

Mentioned

Rolls-Royce UltraFan® – The Ultimate Jet Engine and Lego Ultrafan in the flesh! @RollsRoyce, a video on Twitter by Andrew Smyth‏.

Nine Aviation and Space Achievements Compete for the 2017 Collier Trophy [PDF] and GA Companies Among Those Vying for Collier Trophy.

Heavens Above

The 101-year-old woman who flew Spitfires in WW2

MH370: Malaysian military sidelines crash investigators as power play emerges on search team and MH370 conspiracy theory involves Seabed Constructor and chest from shipwreck.

Credit

Intro music courtesy Brother Love from his Album Of The Year CD. Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.