We talk with Scott Hamilton, the editor of Leeham News and Comment, about Solar Impulse 2, Bombardier and the CSeries, Boeing and the 737 MAX as well as a 787 engine AD, and Airbus and A321 assembly in Alabama.
Scott Hamilton is the editor of Leeham News and Comment, which provides analysis along with the news, and the story behind the headline. Scott is known in the industry for his straight-shooting, call-it-like-it-is take on news and events. He is frequently called on by broadcast and print media to offer expert analysis about the issues of the day. Scott is also a regular speaker at aviation conferences and corporate events.
Before creating Leeham News and Comment, Scott co-founded of Linkraven Ltd. in 1989. Linkraven published the internationally-distributed Commercial Aviation Report and Commercial Aviation Value Report, and organized conferences in Asia, Europe and the Americas under the Commercial Aviation Events banner.
Scott was named Best Aerospace Journalist of the Year in 2009 in the Regional Airline Category. From 2010-2013 he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance.
After laying over in Hawaii for almost 10 months for repairs, the Solar Impulse 2 piloted by Bertrand Piccard landed in Mountain View, California just before midnight. The flight lasted just over 62 hours. Max Trescott witnessed the landing and gives us his impressions. He and Frank Sweeney posted some photos.
Note: In Airplane Geeks Episode 361, we spoke with pilot André Borschberg after he flew Solar Impulse 2 from Japan to Hawaii.
The CS300 was designed as the base model, with the CS100 being a shrink. Some wonder if there could be a stretch version, a “CS500,” that could seat more passengers and that is better sized for airline needs.
Delta may be about to announce aircraft orders. Perhaps another order for (192-seat Airbus) A321s, and an order for 75 small narrowbodies from either built Bombardier or Embraer. Delta has been complimentary of the CSeries, but they have also made it clear that the price must be right.
The smallest B737 MAX, the -7 version with 126 seats in two class configuration, only has 60 firm orders. (30 from Southwest, 25 from Westjet, 5 from Canada Jetlines) Reportedly, Boeing is looking at a 150-seat model internally called the 737 MAX 7X.
The Airbus assembly plant in Mobile, Alabama continues to reach milestones with the A321 destined for American Airlines making its first flight. Airbus also delivered its first made in America A321 to JetBlue.
In January 2016, a GEnx-1B engine was shut down in flight after the engine experienced excessive vibration. Ice came off a fan blade and caused an imbalance of the fan. That led to “substantial damage” after the fan blade tips started rubbing on the fan case. The FAA issued an Airworthiness Directive [PDF] requiring repairs or one older engine on the plane. The older model is less susceptible to icing than the newer Performance Improvement Program (PIP) 2 engine.
On July 23, 2014, TransAsia Airways Flight 222, an ATR 72-500, crashed into buildings during approach in bad weather at Magong Airport in Taiwan. Forty-eight on board died, including the two pilots, and 10 survived. Two air traffic controllers and the two pilots have been deemed negligent.
We talk with the Special Technical Assistant for the FAA Flight Standards Service and editor of FAA Safety Briefing magazine. Also, electrically powered planes, an important Approved Model List STC, the FAA teams up with the auto industry, airlines restricting fare bargains, a play about United Flight 232, Solar Impulse 2 returns to mission mode, and Aviation Geek Fest Seattle 2016.
Susan Parson is Special Technical Assistant with the FAA Flight Standards Service, and editor of FAA Safety Briefing magazine. She serves as the lead FAA representative for the Airman Certification Standards (ACS) project to improve airman testing and training.
Susan has authored over 90 GA safety articles and several online training documents and courses, including Conducting an Effective Flight Review, Instrument Proficiency Check Guidance, and Best Practices for Mentoring in Flight Instruction.
Susan holds an ATP certificate, as well as ground and flight instructor certificates with instrument, single-engine, and multi-engine land ratings. She repeatedly earned Master Flight Instructor and Master Ground Instructor designations from NAFI and Master Instructors LLC.
As an active GA pilot, Susan instructs on weekends for her Cessna 182 flying club and the Civil Air Patrol. Susan created a number of advanced avionics training courses and modules, for the Civil Air Patrol, and she is the primary author of CAP’s National Check Pilot Standardization Course.
Susan has a BA in international relations and French from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an MA in Education (focused on e-Education and adult learning) from the University of Phoenix, and an Aviation Safety and Security Management certificate from the George Washington University’s Aviation Institute. Susan’s work experience includes serving in the United States Department of State’s diplomatic service.
Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders says, “We believe that by 2030 passenger aircraft below 100 seats could be propelled by hybrid propulsion systems and we are determined to explore this possibility together with world-class partners like Siemens.” Airbus signed a deal with Siemens to work on these hybrid electric propulsion systems.
At Sun ‘n Fun, the EAA and Dynon Avionics announced that they’ve developed an Approved Model List – Supplemental Type Certificate (AML-STC) that allows Dynon’s D10 EFIS to be installed in certified aircraft.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and FAA plan to hold an event April 22 with chief executives from the major automakers and aviation industry leaders. The goal is to look at how aviation industry collaboration practices could benefit automakers, particularly safety data sharing.
American Airlines Group Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc., and United Continental Holdings Inc. have taken action to restrict multi-destination fare bargains, mostly affecting business travelers. Previously, purchasing individual tickets for each leg could cost less than purchasing one multi-leg ticket.
On July 19, 1989, United Airlines Flight 232, a DC-10, experienced a fan disk failure in the tail-mounted engine. The plane lost hydraulics and crashed in Sioux City, Iowa, killing 110 passengers and one flight attendant. 184 people survived.
On the 3rd of July 2015, Solar Impulse 2 landed in Hawaii after having broken the record for flying non-stop for 5 days and 5 nights from Japan. Due to battery damage from overheating, the round-the-world journey was paused for repairs. However, the Solar Impulse 2 is now back in mission mode. Follow the flight at www.solarimpulse.com. We spoke with Solar Impulse 2 pilot André Borschberg in Airplane Geeks Episode 361.
The Aircraft of the Week
F-16CJ by David Vanderhoof
The Episode 400 History Segment Listener Challenge
David will select one aircraft from those submitted by listeners to be the Aircraft of the Week for Episode 400. Here are his rules:
If you have hounded me to do a specific aircraft in the past, you’re automatically disqualified, and you all know who you are. I want someone to be rewarded.
NO it will not be the C-130 nor a tanker!
Not following directions might void your entry.***
Conversation with the recruitment manager for Emirates about opportunities at the airline. Also, possible layoffs (or retirements) at Boeing, Air France service returning to Iran, new student pilot rules from the FAA, a buyer for Virgin America, and dogs – can they really fly?
Andrew Longley is Head of Recruitment – Flight Operations (Pilots) at Emirates. The airline operates to over 140 destinations with an all-widebody fleet of Boeing and Airbus aircraft. Emirates is the world’s largest operator of 777 and A380 aircraft.
Andy describes how the Emirates employment model is different than that of many other airlines. We take a look at the need to attract pilots and cabin crew from an international pool of candidates with strong leadership potential and good CRM skills. We also talk about pilot certification requirements, the Dubai lifestyle and airline accommodation of employee families, salaries, housing, medical insurance, and other career opportunities at Emirates.
Andy started his career in 2006 in the Royal New Zealand Navy as a Military Psychologist where he was responsible for the selection and assessment of specialist trades including helicopter pilots, special forces, and Navy divers. He also served as a UN peacekeeper for a year where he worked and lived in Syria and Lebanon monitoring the peace between the various at-war countries.
After Andy’s military time commitment ended in 2013, he worked as a consultant in the telecommunications and business fields including a year working at IBM.
But Andy saw a unique opportunity with Emirates and he moved to Dubai as a senior psychologist. He became involved in Emirates pilot assessment and was responsible for profiling and assessing pilot candidates. He moved into pilot recruitment and leads the effort to find enough safe and capable pilots to fly a quickly growing fleet of wide-body aircraft.
Boeing says that at least 4,000 (or 5%) of it’s workforce needs to be cut, and maybe as much as 10% (or 8,000 jobs). CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) Ray Conner points to pricing pressure from Airbus with their A320 family and its effect on the 737.
Loren Thompson describes some other factors where the U.S. government shares blame:
Illegal European launch aid subsidies.
The Ex-Im Bank cannot make new deals until the Senate acts to confirm a necessary quorum of board members.
Low tanker price will drain funds from Boeing that could have been used to compete with Airbus.
Aerospace analyst Scott Hamilton of Leeham Co. says early retirements by factory-floor workers could be a bigger impact than layoffs on the 737 and 787 production ramp up starting next year. The IAM (International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers) told told Hamilton that between 7,000 and 9,000 workers are eligible for early retirement in November, and they expect 3-5,000 might actually retire. However, Dennis Muilenburg, the CEO of The Boeing Co.says that “booking rates have held up well.” Cost cutting is offensive rather than defensive.
Air France is scheduled to resume service between Paris and Tehran on April 17. By law, Iranian women are required to cover their hair. Some female cabin crew members say they won’t fly to Iran if they are ordered by the airline to wear headscarves after they disembark. Reportedly, an Air France memo to staff said female employees would be required to “wear trousers during the flight with a loose fitting jacket and a scarf covering their hair on leave the plane.”
In the past, many student pilots have celebrated their 16th birthday with their solo flight on that day. Now the FAA says it cannot start processing the student pilot certificate application until all requirements are met, including age.
Alaska Air Group plans to Virgin America in a deal valued at about $2.6 billion. If it goes through, Alaska Airlines would become the fifth-largest U.S. airline, behind American, Delta, United, and Southwest.
We talk with the first American woman to qualify as a crewmember in both the F/A-18 and the F-15E, now working for Boeing. We also discuss airline and airport implications of a terrorist attack, record US airline traffic, the Coast Guard centennial, and F-35B deployment to Japan.
Trish tells us about testing military and commercial aircraft prior to delivery, the history of women in military aviation, and the role she and others played that led to the repeal of the combat exclusion laws. With an extensive aviation background, Trish doesn’t disappoint as she tells us stories from her career, including a Kuwait F-18 experience that highlights different cultural views of women, specifically pilots, and how she and others responded. (Shhh, don’t tell anyone…)
Trish enlisted in the US Navy at age 18 and over the course of 28 years she learned to operate and maintain flight simulators, completed flight training as a Naval Flight Officer, graduating from US Naval Test Pilot School, earned a Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering and a Master’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering.
As a Naval Flight Officer, Trish flew in 67 types of military aircraft, with primary qualifications in the EC-130Q, F/A-18D, E-6A, S-3A/B, and F-15E. She was the first American woman to qualify as a crewmember in the F/A-18 (F/A-18D, 1990, Weapon Systems Officer) and the first woman to qualify as a crewmember in the F-15 (F-15E, 1992, Weapons Systems Officer).
F/A-18 by David Vanderhoof
In 1991, Trish and other women military aviators helped educate the US Senate on career restrictions caused by the 1948 “Aviation Combat Exclusion” laws, which directly led to the repeal of those laws. Since 1993 when President Clinton changed the policy regarding assignment of women to combat missions, women now fly all military aircraft in almost every military mission.
Since June 2013, Trish supports military aircraft flight test at Boeing Test & Evaluation at Edwards Air Force Base and China Lake, both in California. For the previous 12 years, she flew as a Systems Operator (similar to flight engineer) for production and engineering test flights of the Boeing 737, and as a Flight Test Navigator for ferry flights and engineering test flights for most Boeing aircraft (737, 747, 757, 767, 777, 787). She has logged over 6000 flight hours in 73 aircraft types.
Trish is a founding board member of Women in Aviation International (WAI) and a past president of Women Military Aviators, Inc. (WMA). She also mentors and supports women aviators worldwide, through such organizations as Canadian Women in Aviation (CWIA), Aviation and Women in Europe (AWE), the Russian Club of Women Aviators (Aviatrissa), Southern African Women in Aviation (SAWIA), and Women Aviators in Africa (WAFRIC).
Trish works to inspire and motivate young people to pursue careers in math, science, and aviation. She is a mentor for the Raisbeck Aviation High School in Seattle, a workshop presenter for Sally Ride Science Festivals around the country, and a mentor for several aerospace museums nationwide which encourage young people to navigate a path to success in the world of aviation.
SimpliFlying Senior Consultant Marco Serusi takes a look at the Brussels Airport attack on March 21, 2016 and thinks the way the Airport and Brussels Airlines handed the crisis is a good model for other airlines and airports. He also provides some lessons for the next crisis.
Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport may be the world’s safest airport. It features the use of five layers of security that starts just after you leave the highway, as well as racial profiling techniques.
Pinni Schiff, a former security chief for Israel’s Airport Authority, said “You can’t have 100 percent protection of privacy and human rights and not have terror attacks. You can’t have both. It doesn’t go together. Europe has to improve on this.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) released the 2015 U.S.-Based Airline Traffic Data report. The BTS says. “U.S. airlines and foreign airlines serving the United States carried an all-time high of 895.5 million systemwide (domestic and international) scheduled service passengers in 2015, 5.0 percent more than the previous record high of 853.1 million reached in 2014.”
American Airlines carried more total system passengers in 2015 than any other U.S. airline. British Airways carried the most passengers on international flights to and from the U.S. of any foreign airline. Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International had the most total system passengers board planes in 2015, and more passengers boarded international flights at New York John F. Kennedy.
Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod received a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter with the historic chrome yellow paint scheme used by Coast Guard and Navy helicopters in the late 1940s and early 1950s. In celebration of the Coast Guard’s 100th aviation anniversary on April 1, 2016, sixteen aircraft in total are getting historic paint jobs to represent different eras of Coast Guard aviation, including Jayhawk and Dolphin helicopters and the HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane.
The U.S. Marine Corps plans to deploy the F-35B to MCAS Iwakuni in January 2017, replacing the F/A-18.
The Airplane of the Week
F-15 by David Vanderhoof
In honour of our guest, David looks at the F-15E. The Strike Eagle grew out the aircraft that was designed from the outset as “not a pound for air to ground.” The Strike Eagle is now flown by the US and its allies in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Launchpad Marzari comments on the Spartan Executive and wonders why the cost of a comparable new aircraft has doubled, if not tripled, taking inflation into account.
We talk with the Editor-in-Chief of Plane & Pilot about changes to the magazine, drones interfering with airliners, the impact of lower airline fees on customers, an Airbus assembled in the USA, and blocking flight tracking.
Robert Goyer is VP, Editor-in-Chief, at Plane & Pilot magazine. He’s an award winning aviation editor, journalist and photographer. For more than two decades he’s been documenting the world of personal aviation in words and photography.
We talk with Robert about changes to the magazine and website since its purchase by Madavor Media in 2015. That includes expanding the target audience to include serious transportation pilots, bringing in new writers and rotating columnists, a focus on photography, and a weekly email newsletter.
Robert tells us, “I started flying before I remember flying, heading up with my dad in a little red-and-white Aeronca Champ from a cozy little grass strip in New England, and after a few years we graduated to a beautiful Cessna 195 that our family rebuilt together in the big barn out back.
Today, Robert does most of his flying in the system, filing IFR and flying on business and personal travel in high-performance piston singles up through light jets. He’s type rated in the Cessna 525 CitationJet and has plans to add a couple of new type ratings in the coming year, though he admits he has his eye on an old Super Cub he says has his “name written all over it.”
If enacted, the FAIR Fees Act introduced by two U.S. Senators would require that airline fees be set commensurate with the cost of the services provided. The Motley Fool says, “regulating airline fees would not be good for most travelers in the long run.”
An A321 destined for JetBlue should be making its maiden flight this week. The significant aspect is that the airplane is American-made at the new $600 million Airbus final-assembly plant in Mobile, Alabama. Most are describing this as Airbus’ beachhead in the U.S.Five other A321s are in final assembly for American Airlines.
The FAA has a program to block certain information about aircraft flying in U.S. national airspace, but it relies on a process where those providing flight-tracking services agree to block flight information when requested by operators. In return, the flight-tracking companies get access to the FAA’s ASDI data feed. But It’s not difficult receive broadcasts from mode-S transponders and ADS-B out transmitters.
Thousands of people run PiAware on a Raspberry Pi to receive ADS-B transmissions and forward that to FlightAware. The ADS-B Exchange website bills itself as “the World’s largest co-op of unfiltered flight data.”
The Airplane of the Week
Spartan Executive at Sun ‘n Fun 2006 by Ahunt – Own work, Public Domain.
David was given the opportunity to help 8th grader Jonah from Northern California with his paper on aircraft of World War II. Jonah mentioned attending Oshkosh and noted that his favorite airplane was the Spartan Executive. In David’s opinion, Jonah has class and good taste so the Spartan Executive is the airplane of the week.
Thomas P. Curran, the author of Millionaire Legacy, tells us about the success strategies of Sean D. Tucker, Captain Julie Clark, and Captain “Sully” Sullenberger. We also discuss ab initio pilot training from JetBlue, watching a solar eclipse from an airplane, a bill to curb airline fees, stricter oversight of pilot mental health, and high altitude drone flying.
Thomas P. Curran
Thomas P. Curran is a certified trainer and uses advanced strategies to coach his students to attain their dreams and goals. Tom has developed training curriculums and performance evaluations, and assists his clients with developing strategic marketing plans. As a speaker and seminar leader, he helps individuals prioritize their goals and dreams while developing a clearly defined plan for success. Tom is also a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).
Tom’s book, Millionaire Legacy, focuses on the eight success strategies self-made millionaires use to acquire wealth, peace, and contentment. Top leading business, motivational, and other leaders are examined in the book, including Sean D. Tucker, Captain Julie Clark, and Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. The book describes how these three highly regarded aviators overcame adversity and challenges to reach successful outcomes.
Sean D. Tucker overcame a deep fear of flying but persisted until he became a respected aerobatic pilot.
Captain Julie Clark fought many obstacles throughout her life and became the first and only female pilot with Golden West Airlines, a captain with Northwest Airlines, and an accomplished aerobatic pilot.
Captain Sully Sullenberger, lost both engines after a bird strike, and instead of allowing himself to become paralyzed by fear, he safely landed the US Airways plane in the Hudson River.
In Episode #379, we discussed the proposal by JetBlue to hire potential commercial pilots and provide them with ab initio training. JetBlue announced they are now taking applications for 24 Gateway Select program slots. The cost is expected to be about $125,000, but some tuition costs can be defrayed by working on the side as an instructor for CAE, the flight simulator manufacturer that has partnered with JetBlue to offer the training. The first six recruits will start training in late summer.
Alaska Airlines delayed Flight 870 from Anchorage to Honolulu allowing the plane’s path to intersect a total solar eclipse. A group of “eclipse chasers” onboard the flight witnessed the approaching shadow, Baily’s beads, the sun’s corona and prominences, and the diamond ring. The video captures their excitement.
Fed up with the proliferation of airline fees, federal legislators have introduced the Forbidding Airlines from Imposing Ridiculous Fees Act, the “FAIR Fees Act.” Senator Edward J. Markey, Democrat from Massachusetts said, “Airlines should not be allowed to overcharge captive passengers just because they need to change their flight or have to check a couple of bags.” Markey and Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat from Connecticut, authored the bill.
On March 24, 2015, pilot Andreas Lubitz flew a Germanwings Airbus A320 into the ground killing all 150 people on board. After the Captain left for a break, Lubitz locked the cockpit door and set the plane to an altitude of 100 feet, which was below the altitude of the terrain it was approaching. The French air-safety agency BEA has proposed rules for situations when pilots suffer from medical conditions that might pose a public risk.
The House voted to extend the Federal Aviation Administration’s operating authority through mid-July while Congress works on a longer aviation policy bill. The bill was approved by voice vote and Senate action is still required. The FAA’s current operating authority is due to expire on March 31, 2016.
Dr. Todd Curtis, founder of AirSafe.com, talks about about MH370 on the second anniversary of its loss, laser and drone threats to aviation safety, an aviation maintenance competition, and improving the quality of media reporting of aviation accidents. In the news, we discuss supersonic planes, all-woman commercial flights, the longest flights, and air service to Cuba.
Dr. Todd Curtis
Todd Curtis is an aviation safety analyst, author, and publisher. He founded AirSafe.com in 1996 to provide the public with useful information about airline safety, fear of flying, plane crashes, TSA security, and other issues of concern to the traveling public.
While an airline safety engineer at Boeing, Todd was directly involved in many plane crash investigations, including TWA flight 800, and he was part of the engineering development team for the 777.
In addition to writing several books on aviation safety and security, Todd has also written the book Parenting and the Internet. He’s been a frequent on-air aviation expert on CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, MSNBC, Fox News, CBC, BBC, Discovery Channel, NPR, and many other major news media outlets around the world.
Visit AirSafe.com for airline safety and security information, as well as information about fear of flying, flying with cash, child travel, the airline complaint process, baggage tips, and much more. Follow @airsafe on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
Under the preliminary design phase of the quiet supersonic technology (QueSST) program, Lockheed Martin will lead a team to design a half-scale supersonic X-plane that uses boom-suppression technology. NASA administrator Charles Bolden said, “Now we’re continuing that supersonic X-plane legacy with this preliminary design award for a quieter supersonic jet with an aim toward passenger flight.”
NASA plans to start building the supersonic X-plane in 2019, with first flight scheduled in 2020. The acoustic survey would begin in 2021 in southern California and continue for several years. The Lockheed Martin team includes subcontractors GE Aviation and Tri Models Inc.
In celebration of International Women’s Day, Air India set the record for the longest all-women operated and supported flight, which flew non-stop on March 6 from New Delhi to San Francisco. The cabin crew, cockpit crew, check-in staff, and customer care staff were all women
Air India said it would fly 20 all-women domestic flights March 8 to commemorate International Women’s Day. Every year, International Women’s Day is celebrated by Air India with all-women crews on selected international and domestic sectors.
The longest flight in the world is the 8,819 mile flight between Dubai and Auckland, New Zealand. Emirates inaugurated the route with an A380, but switched to the 777-200LR the next day. Of the ten longest flights in the world, the B777 is used on seven of them, and the A380 flies the other three.
Starting June 1, 2016, United will begin the 8,446-mile San Francisco-Singapore service with a 787-9, making it the third-longest flight in the world, and the longest scheduled flight by any U.S. carrier.
The U.S. and Cuba have agreed to permit 110 daily flights between the two countries: twenty daily flights to Havana, and ten daily flights to nine other international airports. The deadline for airlines to submit applications to the Department of Transportation for proposed flight routes has expired, and eight airlines applied.
My Favorite Airplane – Yet Again, by Micah, our Main(e) Man.
We talk with Jack Pelton, Chairman of the Board of the Experimental Aircraft Association about the status of the FAA re-authorization and ATC privatization. Also the Republic Airways bankruptcy, a WASP celebrates her 106th birthday, a first look at the Long Range Strike Bomber, and the history of the YF-12A.
Jack Pelton is Chairman of the Board of the Experimental Aircraft Association (the EAA). He’s the retired chairman, president, and chief executive officer for Cessna Aircraft Company. Jack has also worked at Dornier Aircraft in Munich, and Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach CA.
Jack was a member of the board and past chairman of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and served on the board of directors of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).
Jack gives us the background of the FAA re-authorization bill and tells us about some of its problems: the lack of GA input, heavy board control by airlines, absence of congressional oversight, taxpayer-funded assets handed to a private organization, and lack of clarity on how privatized ATC would be paid for.
The House Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act is being put aside for now in favor of a continuing resolution to fund the FAA beyond March 31, when funding runs out. The chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa. said that he is working on the extension bill, but also seeking support for the privatization of air traffic control.
“After [the] announcement by leadership in the House of Representatives that ATC privatization is dead, EAA continues to focus on moving forward with the elements of the bill that are important to general aviation, including reforms in aeromedical and aircraft certification as well as hangar-use policy, that were included in the original House FAA reauthorization bill.”
Regional carrier Republic Airways has filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. Factors include: labor disputes, pilot shortages, loss of revenue and poor earnings. Flight operations will continue and employees will still get paid
Doris Lockness was one of the 1,074 women who were accepted to join the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots that ferried aircraft for the U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II. Doris just celebrated her 106th birthday. After the war, Doris worked as a flight instructor, a sightseeing pilot, and she performed in air shows in a Vultee-Stinson warbird called “Swamp Angel.”
Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James unveiled the artist rendering Friday based on the initial design concept. James said, “The B-21 has been designed from the beginning based on a set of requirements that allows the use of existing and mature technology.”
Airplane of the Week
Only every four years can we talk about aviation history from the 29th of February. In 1964, Lyndon Johnson bought the YF-12 from the world of the black and into the light, doing so only to protect the black. The YF-12A was an extremely successful interceptor and went on to be a great test aircraft for NASA.
“Right Footed” is an award winning documentary film about Jessica Cox, the first woman without arms to fly an airplane. The film is now available for screenings in movie theaters and in group settings. To bring the film to your community visit www.RightFootedMovie.com and click on “Host a Screening.”
We learn all about Active Noise Reduction headsets with the founder and CEO of Lightspeed Aviation. In the news: Bombardier job cuts and a CS300 order, the NASA aeronautics budget request, United 747 retirements, and the FAA reauthorization bill stalls. We also have the winner of the John Mollison print.
Allan Schrader, founder and CEO, Lightspeed Aviation.
Allan Schrader is founder and CEO of Lightspeed Aviation, a leading producer of active noise reduction headsets for aviation. Lightspeed introduced their first product in 1996 at EAA AirVenture and continues to develop and offer innovative products.
Allan tells us how he started Lightspeed and the sound cancellation technologies involved. We learn about the labs dedicated to delivering quieting, comfort, and fidelity; the headset trade-in program; and the different acoustic signatures of GA airplanes, helicopters, and airliners. Allan also talks about the introduction of the wireless headset, and integrating headsets with cockpit information to enhance the cockpit experience.
Allan has a civil engineering degree and an MBA, and started his career at Tektronix where he learned about product development and operations. Allan left Tektronix to launch a startup company producing wireless headsets, then after five years he and some of his Tektronix co-workers started Lightspeed Technologies to design and make Active Noise Reduction headsets.
Bombardier plans to cut about 7,000 jobs from its worldwide workforce of 71,000. Layoffs are expected in both Canada and Europe, split between the company’s plane and train operations. The better news is that Air Canada placed orders for 45 firm and 30 option CS300 airplanes.
The $19B FY 2017 NASA budget request asks for $790M to be used for aeronautics research impacting the safety, capacity, and efficiency of the air transportation system; a major new experimental flight initiative to demonstrate and validate new technologies that dramatically reduce fuel consumption, emissions, and noise, and open new markets for U.S. industry; and research and development for revolutionary low carbon emission aircraft, including associated transportation systems, as part of a multiagency effort to enable a 21st century clean transportation system.
Aviation journalist Brian Sumers reports that almost a year ago, United indicated that its 747 fleet would be around for a while, with maybe a 2020 decision point based on aircraft maintenance requirements. Now however, pilots were told that 747 retirements may occur at a faster rate. If United does move to retire the 747 quickly, they say they will accelerate deliveries of new widebodies.
The FAA reauthorization bill which would privatize ATC will not be introduced to the full House as scheduled. Facing widespread opposition to the bill, Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster will instead try and consolidate support. Expect the bill to be amended before it re-emerges from Committee.
John Mollison Print Giveaway
We announce the winner of the John Mollison signed print showing the B-25 flown by Dick Cole and Doolittle, Bud Anderson’s P51B, Alden Rigby’s P51D, and Maury Magneson’s P47. John was our guest on Episode 388 where he told us about his “Old Guys and Their Airplanes” video documentaries.
We also play a moving recording called “Grandpa’s Untold Story” that describes how the picture of one man’s B-17 came to be on the wall of his grandson.
Airplane of the Week
Listener Glenn Towler tells us the history of the English Electric Lightning.
The history of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) and the controversy surrounding their burial at Arlington National Cemetery. Also, battle lines forming over privatization of air traffic control, Southwest pilots take a stand, Iran orders more airplanes, a high altitude long endurance pseudo-satellite, tanker news, the Knightwatch E-4B, and your favorite airplanes.
Sarah Byrn Rickman
Sarah Rickman is the editor of WASP News, published by Texas Woman’s University (TWU), the home of the official WASP Archives. The Women Airforce Service Pilots flew for the U.S. Army in World War II. Since 2003, Sarah has been a WASP oral historian for TWU, recording many of these ladies’ stories on audiotape.
Sarah tells us about the history of the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) and the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). We also discuss the current controversy about the burial of WASPs at Arlington National Cemetery, the United States military cemetery.
Two new books on the WASP will be published this spring: WASP of the Ferry Command: Women Pilots, Uncommon Deeds from the University of North Texas Press, and Finding Dorothy Scott: Letters of a WASP Pilot, from Texas Tech University Press.
Sarah received the Combs-Gates Award for 2009 presented by the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio. Her grant is to research and write the story of the WASP who flew for the Ferrying Division in World War II. In addition to her books on the WASPs, Sarah is the author of numerous magazine and journal articles about the WASP.
Sarah is a former reporter/columnist for The Detroit News and former editor of the Centerville-Bellbrook Times (Ohio). She earned her B.A. in English from Vanderbilt University and an M.A. in Creative Writing from Antioch University McGregor. She describes herself as a former journalist and former novelist who “found” herself when she met these amazing women who flew airplanes for the Army back when many women didn’t even drive cars.
The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee conducted a “markup” hearing February 11 on the Aviation Innovation, Reform and Reauthorization Act of 2016 (H.R. 4441). The bill was amended and the Committee voted to send the legislation to the full House for consideration.
The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) voiced its opposition to privatizing ATC by submitting a statement in opposition to privatized ATC.
Jack J. Pelton, EAA’s CEO and chairman said, “ATC privatization is simply a bad idea on many levels; it will not solve the FAA’s funding dilemma and will create a substantial number of new problems and challenges that would cripple general aviation.”
AOPA President Mark Baker said, “We’re profoundly disappointed that user fees are still part of this legislation.AOPA simply won’t accept user fees in any form on any segment of general aviation. And while there are some very positive provisions for GA in this proposal, user fees are a nonstarter for us.”
Nicholas Calio, the president and CEO of Airlines for America says separating ATC is “an international best practice that a growing consensus believes will create a more nimble, efficient, reliable and even safer system than the one we have today. Doing so will remove the kinks from an uneven and unpredictable funding apparatus while clearing the way for other improvements: more choices for customers, more direct flights, lower fuel consumption and reduced air emissions. So it’s puzzling why some would argue that everything is working just fine — an assertion that flies in the face of all that travelers have experienced over the past decade.”
A group of 13 right-leaning groups sent a letter to Congress stating that moving ATC to a new nongovernmental organization is “an excellent foundation upon which to build a new model for an operation historically mired in old-style thinking and fiscal ineptitude. To us it is an axiomatic economic principle that user-funded, user-accountable entities are far more capable of delivering innovation and timely improvements in a cost-effective manner than government agencies.”
FAA Reauthorization 2016 – NATA
National Air Transportation Association (NATA) President & CEO Thomas L. Hendricks calls ATC privatization a “threat” to general aviation. More at the NATA Congressional Action Center.
In an editorial piece, the New York Times characterizes privatizing air traffic control as a “solution in search of a problem” that “would do nothing to improve the present, federally operated system and indeed could make it worse.”
350 members of the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association flew to Las Vegas on their day off to tell the public that they are upset. Why? because they don’t have a contract. Union president Jon Weaks said the pilots love Southwest and wouldn’t engage in travel disruptions. But they want to “give our company avenues so that we can trust them again.”
Under the sanctions, Iran’s commercial aviation capability suffered greatly. That’s all changing now. Iran Air has signed a purchase agreement with ATR for 20 firm and 20 option ATR 72-600 turboprop aircraft. The deal is valued at €1 billion.
In January, Iran Air placed an order for 118 Airbus single-aisle and widebody aircraft: A320ceo and A320neo families, A330ceo and neo airplanes, A350-1000s and 12 A380s. (Three A380’s were also purchased by Japan’s ANA in January.)
Solar-powered, long duration drones and other aircraft are development by companies like Google and Facebook to provide Internet service using them as pseudo-satellites. Now the British military is purchasing two solar-powered “Zephyr” high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) UAVs from Airbus. These autonomous unmanned systems would be used for long-term surveillance missions, and possibly to provide communication and ground support in remote areas.
The Zephyr, originally developed by UK firm QinetiQ, has a 23m wingspan and yet only weighs 55kg and cruises at 20km.
Naval Air Systems Command plans to release a new draft request for proposal later this year for an unmanned aerial refueling tanker. According to sources, the final RFP for the Carrier Based Aerial Refueling System (CBARS) is due out in FY 2017, with contract award in FY 2018.
The Airplane of the Week
David finishes out his discussion of Doomsday Planes with the converted 747-200Bs, otherwise known as the E-4B Nightwatch that serves as the National Airborne Operations Center (NAOC).
Bruno Misonne composes music that incorporates the sounds of aviation in very unique ways. His latest creation is “The Sound of Flaps.” Bruno tells us this was “the most challenging project ever created. Everyone who regularly takes the plane becomes aware of this characteristic sound of flaps extending or retracting, a sound that becomes very audible when you are sitting in the cabin above the wings! It has been challenging to find a way to mix that sound with music since at first glance it seems quite impossible to do in such way that the result is pleasant!
The Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee’s Airman Certification System working group (chaired by AOPA) has been tasked with developing new certification standards, handbooks, and test development guidance for aircraft mechanics.