611 Aviation News

Boeing 737 MAX certification flight tests, Airbus job eliminations, updated airline COVID-19 health safety protocol requirements, Aeromexico bankruptcy, NBAA convention cancellation, concept of operations for Urban Air Mobility, possible Ryanair 737 MAX buy, Austrian Airlines to operate rail service, 2018 uncontained engine failure report, geared turbofan engine replacements, and yellow warning cards at Alaska Airlines.

Aviation News

What’s Trending in Aerospace – July 5, 2020

Boeing and FAA complete certification flight testing for the 737 MAX. A review of the data gathered from flight testing will be performed and a new Airworthiness Directive for 737 MAX operators will be published allowing a return to service. Also, Airbus plans to eliminate up to 15,000 jobs by the Summer of 2021. EASA has updated airline COVID-19 health safety protocol requirements including mandated aircraft cleaning and disinfecting. Aeromexico has filed for bankruptcy. NBAA canceled the Oct. 6-8, 2020 Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Orlando, Florida. FAA has released Concept of Operations V1.0 for Urban Air Mobility.

Distressed Is Best As Ryanair Plans New 737 MAX Order With Boeing Amid Coronavirus Downturn

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary believes it’s a buyer’s market for the 737 MAX. “We’re in active negotiations now with Boeing for a MAX 10 order,” he said. Any deal is expected to close after the 737 MAX returns to service. Ryanair says they operate “a fleet of over 450 Boeing 737-800 series aircraft, with orders of up to 210 new Boeing 737 aircraft. This includes 135 new Boeing 737 MAX 200s, and options for 75 more MAX 200s, which will enable Ryanair to grow its fleet to 585 by 2024… The average age of the Ryanair fleet is approximately 6.5 years, and is set to get younger with the latest aircraft order.”

Struggling Austrian Airlines swaps planes for trains

Under the recent €600 million ($680m) government aid package for Australian Airlines, the airline must reduce domestic emissions by 50% by 2050. It must also end flights where there is a direct train connection to the airport that takes “considerably less than three hours.” To help meet these requirements, Austrian will discontinue its flight between Vienna and Salzburg and instead operate rail service.

Pratt & Whitney Training Cited in 2018 United Jet Engine Failure

In 2018, a United Airlines 777-200 with PW4077 engines flying from San Francisco to Honolulu experienced an uncontained engine failure when a fan blade broke loose. The National Transportation Safety Board’s final report points to a training issue and says two previous blade inspections revealed weakened material in the titanium blade. But the inspector interpreted the indications as to the way the blade was painted. The NTSB said P&W didn’t create specific training for inspectors or certify how they performed the work.

Pratt & Whitney  to replace  old,  faulty engines before deadline

A320neo airplanes powered by older geared turbofan engines have been problematic for Indian airlines IndiGo and GoAir. Pratt is replacing those engines against an August 31, 2020 deadline, and says it will complete the job before that date.

Alaska Airlines threatens unmasked fliers with yellow cards

In July 2020 Alaska Airlines flight attendants will use yellow warning cards with passengers who fail to comply with the airline’s in-flight face mask policy. Under the new system, any passenger who “repeatedly refuses” to keep a mask on will be handed a yellow card by a flight attendant. “With that warning … the guest’s travel with us will be reviewed and could be suspended for a period,” Alaska said.

Mentioned

Van Sant Airport

Photo by David Vanderhoof

Photo by David Vanderhoof

Takeoff and landing competition a boost for pilots and a small airfield in Dover-Foxcroft

Chapter 141 EAA Facebook page

Career Spotlight: A Noble Calling. Teach for a living. Article about Max Trescott in Flight Training Magazine.

NASA’s Lunar Loo Challenge

Shuttleworth

Wings Over Wairarapa Air Festival 2021

610 Air Cargo

An air cargo pilot joins us to talk about Boeing freighters. Also, the American Airlines recovery plan that includes more growth than that of other mainline carriers, an Allied Pilots Association proposal where the government would buy middle seats to facilitate social distancing in flight, a Lufthansa bailout by the German government, an Italian ban on luggage in overhead bins, changing airline contracts of carriage, and the United States Air Force plan for some F-22 Raptors.

Guest

Miami Rick flew 777 freighters with LAN and was also a passenger pilot on the 767 and 757. Several years ago he moved on to fly air cargo on the 747, including the 747-8 and the Dreamlifter. Rick recently transitioned from the right seat of the 747 to the left seat of the 767 freighter. Rick is a regular host on the Airline Pilot Guy Show where he refers to his current airline as “Acme-Giant.”

Aviation News

Why American Airlines Is Growing Twice As Fast As Delta And United

Adjusted for blocked middle seats, American Airlines is restoring 55% of domestic seat capacity in July, compared to 30% for United and 21% for Delta. American CEO Doug Parker said, “The big hubs win. We are absolutely benefitted by the fact that two of the three biggest hubs on earth are ours, which are Dallas/Fort Worth and Charlotte.”

Henry Harteveldt of Atmosphere Research Group said, “It’s a vacuum cleaner strategy. They just want to suck up whatever traffic is out there. It’s very risky but there’s a reward.”

United doesn’t buy American’s strategy, telling employees, “Some of our competitors are flying a bigger July schedule than we are, by selling extremely low-priced tickets, and wasting money.”

American Airlines pilots union wants the government to buy middle seats

The Allied Pilots Association (APA) proposed that the government buy seats so that no passenger has to “sit next to a stranger.” The APA white paper Safe Essential Air Transportation Seating (SEATS) [PDF] states, “Under SEATS, the government would purchase enough seats on each flight to eliminate the need for any passenger to sit next to a stranger. Thanks to uniform social distancing, passengers would be encouraged to fly more, airlines would be encouraged to operate more flights, and the government would ensure the preservation of critical transportation infrastructure and associated jobs.”

Also, “…SEATS would build on the success of the CARES Act by addressing both economic and health concerns, with the pace of the airline industry’s recovery determining its duration and level of support. The SEATS concept could be an effective strategy standing alone, and could also be integrated with any forthcoming infrastructure or additional stimulus bill similar to the CARES Act.”

‘We simply don’t have any money.’ Lufthansa shareholders approve $10 billion bailout

Lufthansa shareholders voted overwhelmingly to take a $10 billion bailout from the German government. The deal gives the government a 20% stake in the airline. Current shareholders will see the value of their holdings diluted. Billionaire businessman Heinz Hermann Thiele, Lufthansa’s biggest single stock owner, had been against the deal, saying the value of his own holding would drop 15%. But he relented at the 11th hour.

Cabin luggage ban on flights to and from Italy

All luggage is now banned from overhead bins on planes in Italy. Handbags and other items that fit under the seat in front are allowed. Everything else has to be checked. The Italian National Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) says “as far as hand luggage is concerned, passengers are allowed to bring on board only luggage small enough to be placed under the seat in front of the assigned seat. For health reasons, the use of overhead lockers is not allowed under any circumstance.”

Airlines seek to block consumer lawsuits

Airlines have canceled many flights due to COVID-19, and the Department of Transportation has warned them they must offer refunds to passengers when requested. Rather than offer passengers cash refunds, airlines have preferred to give them electronic vouchers or credits to be applied to future travel. The result has been a number of consumer lawsuits.

It is reported that American Airlines and British Airways recently revised their contracts of carriage. American’s contract of carriage requires customers to waive their right to participate in a class-action lawsuit against the airline. British Airways requires Executive Club loyalty program members to defer to binding arbitration rather than engage in lawsuits. Frontier and Spirit Airlines already had clauses in their contracts of carriage that prohibit class-action lawsuits.

Air Force’s Reforge Plan Could Put Some Older F-22s in ‘Red Air’ Role

The Air Combat Command wants to cut pilot training time. Gen. Mike Holmes, head of Air Combat Command, signed off on a strategy known as “Rebuilding the Forge,” or “Reforge.” earlier this month. Under the plan, the Air Force looks to reduce the time it takes to train a skilled fighter pilot to about 22 months, half of what it normally takes. They are looking to take some of the Formal Training Unit F-22s (which are used for fundamental skills training) and put them in a combat-coded configuration. With that, more aircraft would be available for pilots to get operational experience earlier in their careers.

Mentioned

Dawn FlightOnly if you love gliders, or really have nothing better to do.

609 Airline Cash Flow

United leverages its MileagePlus program to improve its balance sheet, one study says the Amazon Air fleet will grow to 200 aircraft, a British aircraft carrier takes a step towards operational capability next year, and Southwest Airlines wants you to provide a “customer health declaration” at check-in. Also, the Finland fighter competition, flight sim hardware from Thrustmaster, and how old is too old to get your pilot’s license?

Aviation News

Surprising Statistics About United MileagePlus

United is mortgaging its frequent flyer program to raise $5 billion

Cash flow remains a major concern for airlines. United announced financing of $5 billion secured through the airlines’ loyalty program. It’s part of their plan to have $17 billion in liquidity by the end of September. CNN says that’s 3 times the cash they normally have on hand. United estimates the value of its Mileage Plus program as a standalone business at $20 billion.

Amazon Air Fleet to Grow from 39 to 200 by 2028

A report from Joseph Schwieterman and Jacob Walls of the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development predicts that the Amazon Air fleet will grow to 200 aircraft by 2028. The report, Insights into Amazon Air: 2020’s Transportation Juggernaut [PDF] was published on May 22, 2020.

HMS Queen Elizabeth ready to conduct carrier strike operations

After a six week test, the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth takes the next step toward operational capability in 2021 when it could deploy with two frigates, two destroyers, a nuclear submarine, as well as support vessels. The ship will also carry 24 F-35B jets, including US Marine Corps aircraft, in addition to a number of helicopters. The recent training demonstrated that carrier jets could be ready to take off on short notice and provide combat air patrols.

See also, Why Britain needs aircraft carriers and The Aircraft Carrier We Need.

Southwest now requires a ‘customer health declaration’ from passengers before flying

Southwest Airlines announced they’d require a “customer health declaration” from customers at online check-in. Customers must acknowledge an awareness of Southwest’s face covering policy and confirm they do not have symptoms of COVID-19. Also that they have not been diagnosed with or exposed, to COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to travel, and they do not have a fever when they travel. The declaration will appear during the online check-in process via the Southwest app, Southwest.com, SWABIZ.com, and the carrier’s mobile website. This is consistent with the recently published Southwest Promise.

Airlines ban alcohol on planes in response to Covid-19

A number of airlines are suspending all or part of their alcoholic drinks service in response to Covid-19.

Finding Finland’s next fighter jet: HX challenge

Under its HX fighter program, the Finnish Air Force plans to replace its F/A-18 C/D Hornet aircraft. Competing for the buy are Eurofighter, Boeing, Dassault, Lockheed Martin, and Saab.

Mentioned

EAA membership

Brian.

Thrustmaster revealed their new range of flight sim hardware, officially licensed by Airbus and designed for integration in civil aviation games including X-Plane 11 and Microsoft Flight Simulator. The range includes a modular sidestick, a dual thrust lever throttle with add-on modules, the Officer bundle pack (sidestick + throttle), and an all-new metal desk clamp.

RenegadeAV8R S2 EP24 – USAF Thunderbird #8 FLACK Promo

6-Year-Old Genius Kid Becomes Etihad Airways Pilot for a Day

Learn to Fly, Live your Dream and Get a Pilots’ License! –  eBook by Max Trescott. [PDF]

SkyVector Areonautical Charts

AirNav Airport Information

Wallingford Sign

608 Aviation Oxygen Systems

The president and CEO of Aerox Aviation Oxygen Systems explains the role of onboard aviation oxygen and gives us an update on the New England Air Museum and Patient Airlift Services. In the news, current industry troubles are having impacts on flight safety, a Twin Otter and an MV-22 Osprey meet on the tarmac, a lawsuit is filed over the October 2019 fatal crash of a Collings Foundation B-17G bomber, and a Senate bill might change Air Force plans to retire some legacy aircraft.

Guest

Scott E. Ashton is president and CEO of Aerox Aviation Oxygen Systems, which designs and manufactures aviation oxygen systems and accessories. Scott is an aerospace industry executive with more than 25 years of experience working for such leading companies as Sikorsky, General Electric, and Goodrich.

Scott describes the types of aviation oxygen systems and their importance to pilots for safety and comfort. We look at the associated accessories, such as cannula, masks, and the regulators that need to be assembled without the presence of any oil or petroleum products. Scott talks about steel vs. Kevlar oxygen bottles, pressure test requirements, lifespan, and refilling.

Scott currently serves as the president and board member of the New England Air Museum, based in Hartford, Connecticut. He tells us about the gradual re-opening process, starting with outside exhibits and open hangar doors, leading up to the opening of the indoor exhibits. A new women in aviation exhibit is being constructed, and a Redbird flight simulator is coming to augment the STEM program.

Scott is also on the Board of Patient Airlift Services, a charitable organization that arranges private air transportation at no cost for individuals requiring medical diagnosis, treatment or follow-up, and for humanitarian purposes. That operation was temporarily shut down during the pandemic.

Scott began his career at General Electric as an engineer and served in both engineering and business development capacities in both GE Aircraft Engines and Corporate Aircraft Finance.

He joined forces with Don Burr, the founder of Peoples Express, and Bob Crandall, then recently retired Chairman of American Airlines, to help launch Pogo, the world’s first large scale attempt at solving the urban air mobility challenge.  

In 2011 Scott became the president of Sikorsky’s helicopter fractional ownership and MRO business, Associated Aircraft Group (AAG). In 2018 he shifted his career to entrepreneurship and joined a small family-owned repair station as president (Corporate Services Supply & Manufacturing) specializing in the repair and overhaul of corporate aircraft and helicopter engine and airframe accessories. In 2020, Scott purchased Aerox Aviation Oxygen Systems and became president and CEO.

Scott is an ATP and has ratings in airplanes, seaplanes, gliders, helicopters, and is a Certificated Flight Instructor, with more than 2,600 hours of flight time.

Aviation News

FAA warns of tail strikes, off-course flying by near-empty jets

In May 2020, the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST) issued more than 50 warnings to carriers about things that need to be watched carefully. The pandemic-inspired industry turmoil has opened opportunities for safety lapses.

CAST was founded in 1997 to develop an integrated, data-driven strategy to reduce the commercial aviation fatality risk in the United States and promote new Government and industry safety initiatives throughout the world.

The organization includes members from the FAA, NASA, Transport Canada, the unions (ALPA, NATCA, APA), and industry (airframers, A4A, ACI-NA, GE Aviation), as well as observers (EASA, IATA, ICAO, NTSB) and others. CAST aims to reduce the U.S. commercial fatality risk by 50 percent from 2010 to 2025.

Twin Otter v Osprey… Both Lose

On May 30, 2020, a DHC-6 Twin Otter and a USMC MV-22 Osprey collided on the ramp at Brown Field Municipal Airport, a California airfield close to the US-Mexico border. The Osprey had been on a training mission and parked at Brown. The Twin Otter started up and taxied under power into the MV-22. The Twin Otter’s right engine was left hanging from its mount. Both propellers were bent, and there was damage to the nose, right windscreen, and right windscreen frame. The Osprey’s left propeller was damaged, as was the left engine compartment, wing, and landing gear. The right engine propeller blade impacted the ground.

Lawsuit filed over fatal crash of WWII-era airplane

The Collings Foundation B-17G bomber crashed at Bradley International Airport in October 2019, killing seven people. A lawsuit has been filed by survivors and the families of those killed against the owners and operators. The 200-page lawsuit includes allegations such as:

  • An engine inspection would have shown that some parts were worn beyond repair.
  • The passengers were not given proper safety instructions (two were seated on the floor of the aircraft)
  • “Neither the Pilot in Command, nor any of the other crew members, informed the passengers of the flight’s peril, advised them what to do or instructed them to brace for a crash. The passengers were left to presume what was happening.”
  • The flight’s departure was delayed by 48 minutes as the “crew struggled to start the engines”
  • Unbeknownst to the passengers, the two engines on the right hand of the plane experienced roughness the day prior to the crash.
  • “The crash and subsequent collision were violent” and “It ejected many of the passengers from where they were sitting and turned unsecured cargo into dangerous projectiles.”
  • A couple on board were able to pull themselves out of the wreckage through a shattered window in the rear of the cockpit. They fell onto the deicing tank below the plane and sustained “serious and permanent injuries.”

Senate defense bill limits Air Force’s aircraft retirement plans

In the Air Force’s fiscal 2021 budget request, the service proposed retiring a number of its B-1 bombers, A-10 Warthog attack planes, RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drones, KC-135 and KC-10 tankers, and C-130H planes. However, the Senate Armed Services Committee’s proposed FY21 National Defense Authorization Act limits the cuts proposed by the Air Force.  The SASC’s defense bill “establishes a minimum number of aircraft for each major mission area … and prohibits the divestment of aircraft until the minima are reached to ensure that Air Force can meet [National Defense Strategy] and combatant command requirements,” SASC said in a summary of the bill.

The bill “increases funding for critical capabilities that will help the United States maintain air superiority in contested environments, including Systems of Systems Technology Integration Tool Chain for Heterogeneous Electronic Systems (STITCHES) and advanced air-to-air weapons.”

Mentioned

13 Minutes to the Moon, Season 2: The Apollo 13 story

Who is that masked man?…

Masked Max Trescott

Masked Max Trescott

607 Spirit of Aviation Week

The EAA plans for Spirit of Aviation Week, their big virtual aviation event. Also, Boeing customers defer 737 MAX orders, WOW Air plans to return as a cargo airline, and commercial pilots might seek refuge with the U.S. Air Force. Plus, a new AusDesk from the boys down under!

Aviation News

EAA Spirit of Aviation Week coming July 21-25

The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) is celebrating the aviation community virtually this July 2020. Over the course of 5 days, EAA Spirit of Aviation WeekTM will include streamed and on-demand content with a focus on education, information, and entertainment. Planned events include presentations, forums, discussions, historical and archival content, homebuilding workshops, pilot proficiency and learning to fly, a virtual exhibit space, features from air show performers, and more. The dedicated event website is https://eaatogether.org/. Use the hashtag #EAAtogether.

Boeing Preserves 737 Max Orders After Cancellations Surge; Hedge Fund Buys Debt

Boeing saw 150 737 MAX cancellations in March 2020 and 108 more in April, but now instead of canceling orders customers are deferring delivery. Boeing says it doesn’t expect any more cancellations. Japanese aircraft leasing company SMBC Aviation Capital is deferring delivery of 68 Max jets by four years to 2025-2027. Lessor AerCap is deferring the delivery of 37 aircraft from 2021-2022 to 2023 and later.

WOW Air Becomes A Global Cargo Airline Based In West Virginia

WOW Air liquidated in 2019, but the name was purchased and West Virginia businesswoman Michele Ballarin planned to re-launch WOW in October 2019 as an ultra-low-cost carrier, then as a cargo airline, then something called WOW Air Italy. Now WOW Air announced on Facebook that they’d become a cargo airline based in Martinsburg, West Virginia:

WOW Worldwide Cargo Hub Launches operations in Martinsburg, West Virginia [MRB]

WOW carGO is proud to announce the commencement of worldwide cargo operations from its US base in the capital region on the East Coast at Martinsburg. The facility is 100,000 SF of hangar and warehouse with 25,000 SF of administrative offices for global dispatch operations.

We are WOW!

Air Force Preparing for Furloughed Commercial Pilots to Request Return to Duty

Air Force pilots are asking to stay past their original retirement or separation dates, given the prospects for commercial pilots. Also, the USAF is preparing for an October 1 surge of commercial pilots requesting a return to active duty. That’s when the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (or CARES Act) expires.

Australia News Desk

Steve Visscher and Grant McHerron return with a special AusDesk. As always, the boys make us laugh as they cover the aviation news Down Under.

606 Cessna SkyCourier

A technical marketing advisor from Textron Aviation explains the new Cessna SkyCourier. In the news, strategic moves by aerostructures maker Triumph affect the Boeing 747, engine competitions are underway for the B-52 fleet and the F-15EX, a Pakistani airliner crashes under unusual circumstances, Delta Airlines retires the MD-80 fleet, and the U.S. Air Force drops the blanket height requirement for pilot candidates. We also hear about youth programs from the president of EAA Chapter 196.

Cessna SkyCourier

Martin Tuck is a technical marketing advisor with Textron Aviation. He recently spoke with Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari about the new Cessna SkyCourier which successfully completed its first flight recently.

The SkyCourier is powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney PT6 turboprops. It can carry 6,000 pounds of cargo or 19 passengers, depending on the configuration. The freight configuration accommodates three LD3 shipping containers. The aircraft features single-point pressure refueling capability and rugged landing gear for use on unimproved strips. FedEx is the launch customer for the SkyCourier, with 50 firm and 50 option orders.

Cessna SkyCourier cargo configuration.

Cessna SkyCourier cargo configuration, courtesy Cessna.

Cessna SkyCourier passenger configuration, courtesy Cessna.

Cessna SkyCourier passenger configuration, courtesy Cessna.

Located in Wichita, Kansas, Martin is a 42-year veteran of the aviation industry and has experience with the Hawker, Cessna, and Beechcraft brands, particularly in the King Air turboprops. He is part of the project team working on the new Cessna SkyCourier.

Aviation News

Boeing Debates Future of 747 Program

Aerostructures company Triumph Group is a long-time producer of the fuselage and horizontal stabilizer panels for the 747. The problem is that Triumph announced it will shut down the two plants manufacturing these components. Boeing has enough parts for the 747 backlog, but that’s the end of the supply. To continue production, Boeing would have to find a new source.

Triumph Group Reports Progress On Aerospace Structures Strategic Review

Triumph announced it was undertaking a comprehensive review of its structures business as it focuses on its core systems and product support markets and capabilities.  The Company has divested its 10 build-to-print machine shops, five fabrication shops, two metal finishing facilities, and its two million square foot Nashville large structures plant.

US Air Force launches contest to replace the B-52 bomber’s engine

The U.S. Air Force is again looking to replace the TF33 engines on its 76 B-52s. RFPs have gone to Pratt & Whitney, GE, and Rolls-Royce. The eight engines on each bomber would be replaced by eight General Electric TF34, GE Passport, Pratt & Whitney PW800, or Rolls-Royce F130 engines. The engine makers have until July 22, 2020, to submit final proposals.

US Air Force cancels GE Aviation sole-source for F-15EX engine, asks for competitive bids

The US Air Force initially said engines for the Boeing F-15EX would be sole-sourced to GE Aviation for 480 F110 jet turbines. Now the USAF is asking GE and P&W for engine proposals.

Pakistan Airliner Landed Gear Up On First Try: Report

Pakistan International Airlines Flight PK8303 attempted it’s first landing with gear up, scraping the engine nacelles on the runway before executing a go-around. It crashed into a residential area on its second landing attempt after both engines failed, killing all but 2 of the 99 people aboard, and one child on the ground.

See also:

Delta Air Lines will be the last US passenger airline to retire its MD-80 fleet in June. Take a look back at the all-American ‘Mad Dog’ jet.

Delta will retire its McDonnell Douglas MD-88/MD-90 fleet on June 2, 2020. MD-80 series was powered by two rear-mounted Pratt & Whitney JT8D-200 engines while the MD-90 was powered by IAE V2500 engines.

The Air Force Thunderbirds Say They Are Done With “America Strong” Flyovers

The Thunderbirds posted a message on social media that their recent flight over Southern California would be the last of the America Strong flyovers. This may have been a change in plans since some people expected flights over the Pacific Northwest and even other western locations.

Air Force Drops Pilot Height Requirement

The US Air Force Medical Standards Directory requirement previously required pilot applicants to stand between 5’4″ and 6’5″ tall. Applicants sitting height was to be between 34 and 40 inches. The Air Force said dropping those requirements was intended to attract a more diverse group of candidates. The Air Force Times said, “Instead of a blanket height requirement, the Air Force said that it will apply an ‘anthropometric screening process’ to figure out which specific aircraft applicants would be able to fly. These measurements, in addition to standing height, also measure an applicant’s eye height while sitting, buttocks-to-knee length, and arm span, are entered into a computer to determine which aircraft the applicant could and could not safely fit in.”

EAA Youth Programs

EAA Chapter 196 president Mike Smith tells us about some of their local chapter youth programs. The Experimental Aircraft Association is very focused on developing the next generation of aviation enthusiasts through the Young Eagles program, scholarships, internships, and aviation camps.

Van’s RV Formation Team

Mark Newton and a Van’s RV formation team landed in a 4-ship on runway 16R at Sydney International.

Mentioned

The Last B-24, investigating the wreckage in the Mediterranean of the last B-24 built.

Across The Pacific: Airborne, the Pan Am documentary.

Chris Manno’s new book An Airline Pilot’s Life is now available in paperback on Amazon.com.

Thromby Air: Social Distancing for Dummies

605 Bits & Pieces XXVII

A Memorial Day tale of the loss of a Douglas A-26 Invader, conversation with the young founder of an airship company, and flying a Focke-Wulf into a major airport.

This is a special Bits & Pieces episode:

Our Main(e) Man Micah tells a story he calls Disaster On Brick Hill – The Worst Day in Maine Aviation History. It’s a fitting piece for Memorial Day. See Douglas A/B-26 Invader Accidents for more.

Max Flight interviews Benjamin Youngstrom, a recent college graduate and the founder of CirroStratus Airship Company. He has a vision and he’s working to make it a reality.

Reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari has been getting some flying in and explains how he managed to land his Focke-Wulf at Dallas.

604 Aircraft Storage

The chief commercial officer of one of the largest aircraft maintenance, storage, and reclamation operations explains aircraft storage in light of the large number of airplanes taken out of service. In the news, members of the new Women in Aviation Advisory Board are announced, the fatal Canadian Snowbird crash, the Cessna SkyCourier first flight, airline passenger policies for wearing masks, and Airbus looks to a downsized future.

Guest

Scott Butler

Scott Butler, chief commercial officer, Ascent Aviation Services.

Scott Butler is chief commercial officer of Ascent Aviation Services, one of the largest aircraft storage, maintenance, and reclamation operations in the world. Ascent provides fully integrated aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), line maintenance, storage, reclamation, paint, and interior services to owners, operators, and lessors of wide-body, narrow-body, and regional aircraft.

Ascent Aviation Services currently operates two maintenance facilities in southern Arizona that cover more than 1,250 acres and house 5 hangars.  Now managing over 400 aircraft, the company is a Class IV 14 CFR Part 145 certified Repair Station and maintains approvals and certifications from regulatory authorities globally, including FAA, EASA, BDA/AMO, TCCA, NCAA, and 2-REG.

Aircraft parking and storage are regulator-approved maintenance programs. Scott explains the categories of aircraft storage and describes aircraft preparation and maintenance while in storage:

  • Active parking for aircraft that could be activated within days and put into revenue service quickly. Maintenance includes running the engines, inspections, periodic ops checks, etc.
  • Short-term parking, usually for 1-3 months. Maintenance includes short-term engine and controls preservation, disconnecting batteries, and covering tubes and sensors. Activation might take a few days or a week.
  • Long-term storage, perhaps for up to a year, with an option for storage exceeding one year. Maintenance includes full engine preservation (“pickling”), fluid draining, use of preservation oil, corrosion protection coverings, sealing the landing gear, and animal protection.

We also talk about the reasons for parking or storing aircraft, and the types of aircraft now being stored. Ascent also performs dismantling operations and they are even using drones for dent mapping. Scott comments on the outlook for freighter and specialty conversions, and changes to how cargo is being moved.

Scott is an aviation professional with more than 10 years in the aerospace industry. Prior to joining Ascent Aviation Services as CCO, he was the Director of Sales for Zodiac Aerospace, owned by Safran since February 2018 and offering aerosystems, cabin interiors, and seats.

Scott has held leadership positions in program management, engineering and operations management at TE Connectivity and Rockwell Collins. He holds a degree in Aviation Human Factors and Aerospace Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Aviation News

US aviation industry leaders appointed to Women in Aviation Advisory Board

The Women in Aviation Advisory Board (WIAAB) was established in October 2019 under the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. The FAA states, “The objective of the Women in Aviation Advisory Board (PDF) is to develop and provide independent recommendations and strategies to the… FAA to explore opportunities for encouraging and supporting female students and aviators to pursue a career in aviation, with the objective of promoting organizations and programs that are providing education, training, mentorship, outreach, and recruitment of women for positions in the aviation industry.”

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao announced the appointment of 30 board members. Former U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson will serve as chair of the board. She’s currently President of The University of Texas at El Paso. See Women in Aviation Advisory Board Membership (PDF).

CAF member who died in Snowbird plane crash identified

One of the Canadian Snowbirds planes crashed in Kamloops, BC. The team was on a tour of the country under Operation Inspiration, similar to the U.S. tour of the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds. The Royal Canadian Air Force CT-114 Tutor with Captain Richard MacDougall and Captain Jennifer Casey on board had just lifted off when something went wrong. Captain Casey was killed and Captain MacDougall sustained serious but not life-threatening injuries. The plane crashed into a house in a residential neighborhood.

Cessna SkyCourier Successfully Completes First Flight

In March 2020, the Cessna SkyCourier successfully completed initial ground tests. Now the first flight of the prototype Cessna 408 SkyCourier twin-turboprop has been accomplished lasting 2-hours and 15-minutes. A common platform will support various configurations, including a 6,000-pound payload freighter, a 19-seat passenger version, and a mixed passenger/freight combination. FedEx is the launch customer for the SkyCourier, with 50 firm and 50 option orders. It will have a maximum cruise speed of 200 ktas and 900-nm range.

U.S. airlines tell crews not to force passengers to wear masks

Southwest memo says it will not deny boarding if customers don’t wear masks

American Airlines’ policy says customers “may be denied boarding” for not wearing a mask. United’s policy allows boarding in most cases, but the policy states, “there could be an isolated situation where a customer may be denied boarding as a last resort.” JetBlue says, “Customers who refuse to comply with our policy will be denied boarding.” Southwest policy says wearing a mask is a “requirement,” but a memo obtained by CNN states, “We will not deny boarding solely based on a Customer’s refusal to wear a face covering.” and… “You are expected to inform Customers of our face covering requirement but are not expected to be the enforcers — ask the Customer to comply with wearing a face covering if they are able.”

American told its pilots, “Once on board and off the gate, the face covering policy becomes more lenient. The flight attendant’s role is informational, not enforcement, with respect to the face covering policy… Bottom line to the pilots: a passenger on board your aircraft who is being compliant with the exception of wearing a face covering is NOT considered disruptive enough to trigger a Threat Level 1 response.”

Airbus to be ‘resized,’ could cut output again – sources

Airbus executives were told to “face reality” and that Airbus may not survive without change. “Radical,” “proactive,” and urgent steps are needed, particularly if the pandemic produces a second wave.

Boeing CEO: It could take 3 to 5 years for airline industry to return from ‘apocalyptic’ state

In an edited interview, Boeing CEO David Calhoun was asked on NBC television “do you think there might be a major US carrier that may have to go out of business? He responded, “I don’t want to get too predictive on that but yes, most likely. Something will happen when September comes around.”

Delta to retire Boeing 777s as pandemic dims outlook for international travel

Delta Air Lines said it will retire its fleet of Boeing 777s. Also that this fall it may have 7,000 too many pilots. Long-haul international travel is not expected to recover quickly. Delta’s daily cash burn is down to $50 million a day. CEO Ed Bastian said “Our principal financial goal for 2020 is to reduce our cash burn to zero by the end of the year, which will mean, for the next two to three years, a smaller network, fleet, and operation in response to substantially reduced customer demand.”

603 The RenegadeAV8R

David Costa, the RenegadeAV8R, on being a jet airshow demo pilot, hosting the RenegadeAV8R Radio Show and engaging young engineers in a project to set new jet records. Also, ALPA wants COVID rules and not just guidelines, airline cash flow with sale/leaseback transactions, a tragic runway accident, the unending Heathrow airport controversy, Frontier rethinks their middle seat strategy, and Qatar Airlines wants training expenses reimbursed by a terminated pilot.

Guest

RenegadeAV8RDavid “Taz” Costa is a jet airshow demonstration pilot flying the TS-11 Iskra, an advanced military jet trainer. He also hosts the RenegadeAV8R Radio Show and is CEO of Renegade Jets. David is also an airline transport pilot with over 15,000 hours of flight time in over 100 different makes and models of aircraft.

The RenegadeAV8R Radio Show promotes aviation to a wide audience using interviews and stories from guests that demonstrate excellence, overcoming obstacles, and achieving big goals. Both aviation enthusiasts and others admire and appreciate the radio show, which is also released as a podcast.

We talk with David about airshows and the value they provide. He describes what being an airshow performer means to him, and how he interfaces with people while he’s on the ground. David loves talking to the crowd, answering their questions, and serving the fans. We discuss the future of airshows and the need for the “new normal” to be like the “old normal.”

Dave Costa

Dave Costa

The original Iskra achieved four world records at the time, but those have been eclipsed. David explains his plan to upgrade the Iskra and launch a world record attempt using the skills of engineering students. This brings the latest engineering knowledge to the project and offers the students a unique opportunity to apply their skills to real-world aircraft.

Be sure to catch the RenegadeAV8R Radio Show podcast.

The RenegadeAV8R TS-11 Iskra

The RenegadeAV8R TS-11 Iskra

Aviation News

ALPA Wants FAA To Enact COVID Rules

Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) President Capt. Joe DePete wants the FAA to mandate compliance with CDC recommendations, not just suggest guidelines. “There are carriers that are doing a good job and there are carriers that are doing not such a great job,” DePete said. “So there is this varying patchwork of compliance or lack thereof and that’s no way to handle a pandemic.” 

Southwest Airlines Sells 20 Boeing 737s For $815 million

Southwest Airlines has entered into a sale/leaseback agreement with BOC Aviation for 10 Boeing 737-800s and 10 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. This generates $815 million in cash for the airline. BOC Aviation is a global aircraft leasing company, originally founded as Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise (SALE) in 1993.

Person killed by Southwest plane on Austin airport runway

A Southwest flight landing at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas struck and killed a man on the runway. The unidentified man was not a badged airport employee.

Heathrow Third Runway May NEVER be Built

London Heathrow’s John Holland-Kaye says it could be 10 to 15 years before the airport needs a third runway. The Heathrow £14billion expansion plan could be scrapped given the poor economic situation. At the least, it’s not a priority now. Also, Heathrow expansion: What is the third runway plan?

Frontier Airlines will drop open-seat fee that drew attacks

Frontier Airlines had a plan to charge passengers at least a $39 “More Room” fee to sit next to an empty middle seat. Amid accusations that Frontier was attempting to profit from coronavirus fear, the airline has dropped the plan.

Qatar Airlines Demands Training Repayment From Fired Pilot

Qatar Airlines fired a pilot trainee and now demands a payment of $162,000 for training expenses. Qatar created a cadet scholarship program for locals, which this woman joined in 2013 and graduated in 2017.

What to do at home

Open access to online training materials at Pipistrel Online.

Gleim Aviation is offering free online courses.

Sporty’s online flight instructor refresher course offered for free.

This Chicken Wings trailer is a parody of the “Top Gun 2 Maverick” trailer.

Mentioned

Black Files Declassified, from the Discovery Channel.

Across the Pacific, the long-awaited PBS documentary on Pan American Airways.

Jamie Dodson, co-author of Hunting the Wind: Pan American World Airways’ Epic Flying Boat Era, 1929–1946.

Listener Michael flew his SR-22T over KVCV, Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, California:

KVCV, Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, CA

KVCV, Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, CA

Michael and the Cirrus SR22T

Michael and the Cirrus SR22T

602 The Life of a Pilot

Chris Manno talks about his 42 years as a professional pilot, first with the U.S. Air Force and then with a major U.S. airline. Chris has written An Airline Pilot’s Life which captures his military and commercial career. In the news, we look at industry first-quarter losses, production cuts, furloughs, and layoffs. Also, airline and airport safety measures, Federal bailout money, a hybrid-electric aircraft, and the Treaty on Open Skies.

Guest

Pilot Chris Manno

Chris Manno

Chris Mano writes the Jethead blog and has recently published a start-to-finish true-life story of his 42 years as a professional pilot, which includes seven years with the USAF and over 34 years with American Airlines. It’s titled An Airline Pilot’s Lifeand the paperback release is May 2020. The first part is currently Amazon Kindle’s #1 new release in commercial aviation. The book tells the stories of Chris’ USAF pilot training and squadron flying for 6 years, and then his airline career through DC-10 engineer to MD-80 FO to DC-10 FO to MD-80 captain, F-100 captain, MD-80 Check Airman, and B-737-800 captain.

The book describes a life-long dedication to aviation, a path that Chris knew he wanted to take even as a youngster. Through this first-hand view, the reader learns what it is like to be an air force pilot or an airline pilot.

An Airline Pilots LifeChris tells us about the difference between military and airline flying, the role of labor unions, and flight and cabin crew relationships. We learn why he likes the 737-800 so much, and what he didn’t like about the MD-80. Chris also provides his thoughts, from a pilot’s perspective, on the loss of confidence in the 737 Max, the process, and the regulator.

Find Chris at the JetHead blog and look for An Airline Pilot’s Lifeon Amazon.com.

Quarterly earnings reports, production cuts, layoffs…

Southwest Airlines Reports First Quarter Loss

Boeing plans to cut airplane production, 10% of its workforce in aircraft market ‘frozen’ by coronavirus crisis

The Non-Bailout: How the Fed Saved Boeing Without Paying a Dime

Warren Buffett & Berkshire Hathaway has completely sold out of its airline stakes.

Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita to lay off 1,450 employees

United Launches Plan To Cut At Least A Third Of Its Pilots

Boeing’s Biggest 737 MAX Customer Slashes Aircraft Delivery Schedule

Airline safety measures…

JetBlue To Require Passenger Face Masks

United Airlines adds safety procedures, ticket changes

Airport safety measures and federal grants…

Paine Field Airport to test passengers for fever before boarding

How did a small coastal airport in Owls Head get an $18 million federal bailout?

Tiny airports rake in big cash after botched stimulus formula

Other aviation news…

Airbus and Rolls-Royce cancel E-Fan X hybrid-electric RJ100 experiment

Air Force Is Down To One Tired Old Jet To Fly Open Skies Surveillance Flights

Mentioned

Airport Ambience, A whole day in 4K