423 Airplane Geeks Listener Survey

The 2016 Airplane Geeks Listener Survey is now out. As in the past, we’ll use your feedback to gain a better understanding of you and what you look for in an aviation podcast. The anonymous survey should take only about 5 minutes to complete, and we look forward to your participation.

You’ll find the survey at http://AirplaneGeeks.com/survey.

Thank you!

422 A Look at The Crash Detectives

We talk about aviation accidents and look at a possible scenario for MH 370 with the author of a new book. Also, likely impacts of airline carbon offsets, building the giant An-225 in China, more fun with aircraft designations, and listener feedback.


The Crash DetectivesChristine Negroni is a journalist, published author, speaker, and broadcaster specializing in aviation and travel. Her new book, THE CRASH DETECTIVES: Investigating the World’s Most Mysterious Air Disasters, is a look at the disappearance of Malaysia Flight 370 in 2014, and other mysterious aviation accidents that have baffled the world.

Christine proposes a sequence of events aboard MH 370 that starts with aircraft decompression and pilot hypoxia, and ultimately leads to the aircraft flying on until it runs out of fuel. She supports the scenario with known facts and precedent from other accidents.

Christine Negroni

Christine Negroni

Christine has worked for many journalism organizations including, The New York Times, ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Air & Space Magazine, Executive Travel Magazine, Parade, as well as a number of local newspapers and television stations.

She covered the TWA Flight 800 crash for CNN, and wrote the book, Deadly Departure. Christine was asked by the FAA to participate in the advisory committee formed to address problems surfaced the the investigations of TWA 800 and the fatal in-flight fire of Swissair Flight 111. After the 9/11 attacks, Christine joined aviation law firm Kreindler & Kreindler and qualified for membership in the International Society of Air Safety Investigators.


Airline Pollution Deal Hinges on Complex World of Carbon Offsets

The agreement for an international scheme for commercial aviation carbon credits we looked at previously was finalized in Montreal. On one level, the idea is simple: the cost of carbon credits incentivise the industry to develop lower-carbon fuels and technologies, while the money raised by the credits will fund environmental initiatives to help to tackle climate change. At issue is the quality and availability of the credits.

Is it all over for the age of cheap air travel?

What will be the impact of the carbon credits scheme on airlines?

China plans to resurrect The World’s Largest Plane by restarting Antonov AN-225 ‘Mriya’ production

China will reportedly sign a deal with Ukraine to re-start production of the giant AN-225 cargo aircraft. Ukraine will also “provide a complete transfer of technology for the turbofan engines to be license produced in China…”

Airplane of the Week

David provides more fun with military aircraft designations.

Listener Recording

Part 3 of Ric’s series on getting a type rating in the Lear 45.



EAA Oshkosh 2016 post on AgTalk with great photographs.


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

421 Alternative Fuels for Aviation

We speak with the Executive Director of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative. Also, Data Comm technology, CSeries delays, MRJ delays, another lawsuit against an airline, and virtual currency for Canadian Pilots. Plus listener recordings, aviation awards, military aircraft designations, a safety stand down, and some videos.



Steve Csonka is Executive Director, Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI). Steve gives us an update on the development and commercialization of sustainable alternative jet fuels (SAJF).

Steve is a commercial aviation professional with 31 years of broad aviation experience with OEMs, airlines, and CAAFI. He has a strong technical background which covers the commercial aircraft/engine life-cycle. Steve’s engagements include business development and long-term strategic planning.

Supporting information:

  1. Initiation of continuous production of renewable jet fuel from the AltAir refinery in Paramount, CA, for regular delivery to the fuel farm at LAX, via contracting with United Airlines.  The deal entails 5M gpy delivered as a 30% blend with petro-jet. First flight to use the fuel was UA 708 departing LAX for SFO on 10 Mar 16.
  2. Fuel from AltAir is also being delivered to the Navy (F76 diesel for Great Green Fleet exercises), Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation in Savannah, GA (SAJF for use in their FAST fleet, flight testing, and corporate flights), and for KLM flights out of LAX.
  3. SAJF is also being introduced into several airports in Scandinavia, primarily through the efforts of SkyNRG, with supply being pulled from batch production at NESTE.
  4. The industry has approved two additional SAJF production pathways.  Seven more are in the process of being evaluated for approval, and about 20 others are on the horizon. Feedstocks include four general families (lipids, sugars, cellulose, and other stranded hydrocarbons (various waste streams)) and a broad range of thermochemical, biochemical, catalytic, and hybrid processes.
  5. LanzaTech produces jet fuel from waste gases for Virgin Atlantic
  6. Total/Amyris have agreed to supply SAJF (HFS-SIP) to fuel 48 new A350 aircraft deliveries to Cathay Pacific.
  7. Gevo and Lufthansa are pursuing an agreement to supply up to 40M gallons of SAJF (ATJ-SPK) over a 5 year period.
  8. JetBlue Strikes Big Biofuel Agreement for Select Flights
  9. CAAFI continues to foster research and commercial development through its work teams and public-private-partnerships: CAAFI’s R&D Team Kicks off the Fourth SOAP-Jet Webinar Series Focusing on Deployment and State Initiative Activities.
  10. Another reflection of CAAFI collaboration with Federal Agencies can be seen in the recently released Federal AJF R&D Strategy, which identifies goals and programs to be undertaken by multiple Agencies to help meet the need for the aviation enterprise.  Conclusions in the Strategy also mirror findings from the release this summer of a NAS/ASEB Low Carbon Aviation Committee report, sponsored by NASA, looking at the near term research priorities to lower carbon from propulsion and energy.
  11. The FAA’s ASCENT center of excellence continues to make progress on multiple themes associated with SAJF: Removing supply chain roadblocks; National Jet Fuel Combustion Program.
  12. Upcoming CAAFI Biennial General Meeting 2016. (at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC from October 25-27, 2016.
  13. The International Civil Aviation Organization is meeting at their General Assembly and a major theme there will be reaching agreement on a framework for the use of Market Based Measures to help aviation close any future gap toward their commitment to limit net CO2 emissions from 2020 onward.


Data Comm Now at Washington Dulles

The FAA announced that “the revolutionary NextGen technology called Data Communications (Data Comm) is now operational at Washington Dulles International Airport.” Data Comm allows ATC and pilots to send and receive flight information using digital text-based messages. The FAA is on target to deliver Data Comm to 56 airport towers by the end of 2016.

C Series engine is not pulling its weight, Bombardier CEO says

Slow deliveries of GTF engines is causing Bombardier to lower its plan for CSeries jetliner shipments in 2016, 7 instead of 15. CEO Alain Bellemare says “it’s a great engine” and “I’m still very pleased that we made that choice. It’s the best engine available out there today for commercial aircraft.” But the engine delivery delays are “disappointing.”

ANA Facing Risk of Delay in Delivery of Mitsubishi Regional Jets

The MRJ is scheduled for first delivery in mid-2018 to ANA, but that date may be in jeopardy due to problems with the environmental control system. The MRJ is being flight tested at Moses Lake in Washington state.

NBAA Welcomes FAA’s Prompt Investigation into SMO Evictions

FAA Hits SMO Evictions

The FAA is investigating an attempt by the city of Santa Monica, California to evict two Atlantic Aviation and American Flyers from Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO).

Mother sues airline after staff fly 5-year-old boy to wrong city and present her with a different ‘son’

JetBlue mixed up two unaccompanied youngsters, delivering them to the wrong parents.

Regs OK Virtual Currency For Canada Pilots

Transport Canada enacted a rule that allows pilots to stay current without actually flying an airplane.

The Airplane of the Week

The 1962 Tri-Service Designation System, aka “McNamara’s Success.” David was asked by Patrick how US military aircraft get their numbers. We look at how the system is supposed to work, and how it works in this day in age.

See David’s Civilian to Military conversion table.

Listener Recording

Part 2 of Ric’s series on getting a type rating in the Lear 45. Ric had the opportunity to see the Delta Air Museum and sent some photos.







Registration for Banquet honoring the 34th Crystal Eagle winner, Steve Hinton, Sr. Reno Racer and former world speed record for piston-driven aircraft. The event will be at 6:15 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, at the Hiller Aviation Museum, 601 Skyway Road at San Carlos Airport. Dinner will be served at 7:30 p.m.

Hinton won unlimited national championships in Reno 1978 in the RB-51 Red Baron and 1985 in the Super Corsair. At his first Reno win, he was 26, the youngest pilot ever to win, a record that stood until his son won in 2009 at age 22. He held the 3-km course world speed record for piston-driven aircraft at 499.019 mph from 1979 to 1989. Again he was the youngest person to hold that record. Hinton retired from air racing in 1990 and since then has flown the T-33 pace plane for the unlimited races at Reno. He is president of the Planes of Fame Air Museums at Chino in Southern California and Valley-Grand Canyon, Arizona. He is owner of Fighter Rebuilders, a military aircraft restoration company, in Chino. Hinton is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and a charter member of the Motion Picture Pilots Association. He has worked on more than 60 films, including Pearl Harbor in 2002.

Induction of Tom Poberezny into National Aviation Hall of Fame

Former EAA Chairman and CEO Tom Poberezny was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Poberezny is joined by three others; Capt. Robert Crippen, the first NASA space shuttle pilot; Christopher Kraft, NASA’s first flight director; and the late Col. Bud Day. Poberezny’s appointment was noteworthy in that he became part of the first father-son team to be honored. EAA’s founder, the late Paul Poberezny, was inducted in 1999.

Although Tom Poberezny was best known in his EAA role, he was also an accomplished pilot in his own right. “We at EAA are overjoyed at the recognition for Tom in respect to his long and varied career in the flying community,” EAA Chairman Jack Pelton said in a statement. “That includes his aerobatic skill as U.S. National Unlimited Aerobatic Champion, a member of the American world championship team in 1972, and dazzling air show audiences as a member of the Red Devils and Eagles aerobatic teams for 25 years.

Planes & Drones in Sedona, AZ


North Korea Hosts First Air Show Ever

Meet the 26-year-old airline captain and her 19-year-old co-pilot

VintageAirRally Crete2Cape


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


420 Regulating Airline Emissions

A United Nations plan to regulate airline emissions, the U-2 accident and the current role of that airplane, the FAA provides some aviation career guidance, a U.S. Department Of Transportation committee is reviewing accommodations for disabled passengers, and F-117s back in the air.


More Nations Sign on to Plan to Regulate Airline Emissions

Landmark deal to curb airline emissions expected in Montreal

A UN-led proposal to address commercial aviation pollution emissions has gotten a lot of international support. The agreement would take effect in 2021 and be voluntary at the start. It would become mandatory in 2027. The program would require international airlines to limit their emissions to 2020 levels, or buy credits to offset their pollution.  The credits would support renewable energy development, forest preservation, or other environmental efforts.

U-2 Spy Plane Crash: Why ‘Cold War’ Aircraft Are Still Relevant Today

Lt Col Steve "Shooter" Eadie

Lt Col Steve “Shooter” Eadie

A Lockheed U-2CT on a training mission crashed in northern California September 20 shortly after takeoff from Beale Air Force Base. Both pilots ejected, but one did not survive. A memorial fund for Lieutenant Colonel Steve “Shooter” Eadie has been established.


The FAA Explores General Aviation Careers In Their Latest Safety Briefing

The September/October 2016 edition of the FAA Safety Briefing is titled “Avenues to Aviation.” [PDF]. In it, the FAA explores different and aviation careers, with a focus on general aviation. Feature articles explore flying and non-flying aviation career options, and some of the new vocations that the small Unmanned Aircraft Systems rule has enabled.

Airlines Seek To Curb Service-Animal Rules

There is a distinction between Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals. The exact definitions of each depends on the Act that applies: the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the 1986 Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). The ACAA recognizes emotional support animals as service animals, so U.S. airlines must allow them. But some passengers seem to abuse this and claim their pet is an emotional support animal. In April, 2016, the DOT created an Accessible Air Transportation Advisory Committee looking at passengers with disabilities. In October, the government/industry Committee is to propose a rule based on consensus recommendations.

F-117s Back In The Air

“Retired” F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighters have been seen flying in Nevada. Speculation as to the reasons for this run rampant.

Arnold Palmer flew, set records in Learjets before turning to Cessna

Arnold Palmer was a long-time supporter of aviation, and he will be missed.

Arnold Palmer

Arnold Palmer’s trip to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2008. From left is former EAA president Tom Poberezny, Arnold Palmer, Rose Pelton and Jack Pelton. Photo courtesy EAA.org.

Airplane of the Week

The F-105 Thunderchief. In Part 1 of a two-part series on the Thud, David explains the airplane’s development and the single seaters.  Check out these articles comparing the modern-day F-35 to the Vietnam era Thud:

America’s F-105 Thunderchief Fighter-Bomber: The F-35 of the Vietnam War?

Joint Strike Fighter = Thunderchief II?

And then there is this that David mentioned: VH1 Corvette Collection – Tease.


Miraculous Water Landings Before There Was “Sully”

Columbia Memorial Space Center

A Pilot’s Review of the Movie “Sully” in The Rogue Aviator

Aeroengine Corporation of China plans to compete with the likes of Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce and General Electric from Defence Aviation.


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


419 Regional Airlines Raise Pilot Pay

Pay for regional pilots, prospects for the A380, Auto-GCAS saving F-16 pilot’s lives, travel security, large airports and GA airplanes, a rebate for ADS-B, and flying the Eclipse 550.


American Airlines raises pay for regional pilots

American Airlines Group subsidiary Envoy Air announced they are raising their starting pay for new hires 47% to $37.90 per hour. AA subsidiary PSA Airlines is increasing starting pay 56% to $38.50 per hour. This is in addition to opportunities for bonuses. First-year pilots can make about $58,000.

Singapore Airlines Won’t Extend Lease on First Airbus A380 Jet

Singapore Airlines operates 19 A380 jets. The first five of them were obtained on a 10-year lease deal. Now Singapore has announced they will not be renewing the lease for the first A380, which expires in October, 2017. The WSJ notes that it “isn’t a fateful blow for the program” but “it is another symbolic hit for the double-deck aircraft.”

Auto-GCAS Saves Unconscious F-16 Pilot—Declassified USAF Footage

An international F-16 student pilot experienced G-induced loss of consciousness, and his aircraft went into a steep supersonic dive with full afterburner. The Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto-GCAS) kicked in and executed a recovery maneuver, saving the pilot. This was the fourth confirmed “save” of an aircraft by the system.

This Muslim Woman Says The TSA Stopped Her At Least 10 Different Times In One Round Trip

25 year-old Zainab Merchant from Gainesville, Florida was traveling with her husband and 6-month-old baby to a wedding in Vancouver, Canada. Over the course of the trip, she and her family experienced many security checks, rechecks, missed flights, they were held overnight, the at times the family was separated.

Pilot Sues SF Airport Over General Aviation

For the last three years, Robert Reinheimer’s Cessna 182 has been the only piston airplane tied down or home-based at San Francisco International Airport. Reinheimer claims the airport is trying to force him out.

ADS-B Rebate Reservation System to go Live

The FAA is offering a rebate reservation system for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) systems. Aircraft owners will be able to apply online for a $500 rebate toward the cost of installing ADS-B Out equipment in their aircraft. A total of 20,000 rebates will be available through the program.


Rob tells us about his flight in the Eclipse 550, and compares it to the original model. He also attended the EAA chapter 932 meeting at Galt Airport, in Greenwood, Illinois, and the AOPA regional Fly-In at Battle Creek, Michigan.

Max West posted his first Facebook Live video from the traffic pattern.

Max East visited the South Dakota Air & Space Museum at Ellsworth AFB, home to B1-B Lancers.

Design a Boeing Dreamliner! Hainan Airlines is hosting a Design Your Own Livery contest in which you can design a paint scheme on a 787 airplane through a custom built web based tool. Whoever wins the contest could get their design painted on a real Boeing 787 Dreamliner airplane, and also get a free business class trip to China.

Listener at Large Launchpad Marzari sent a recording examining the question, “if you fly a drone, are you a pilot or an operator?” To go along with that, he sent a link to Brain Surgeon – That Mitchell & Webb Look , Series 3 – BBC Two.

John Mollison, producer of Old Guys and Their Airplanes sent a nice little animation he made with his new Apple Pencil. It’s a study for an upcoming quick-short featuring an RAF pilot.

Spitfire from 41 Squadron nails a Doodlebug

Navy: Pilot Error Primary Cause of Fatal Blue Angels Crash

A member of the Blue Angels flight demonstration team killed during practice in Tennessee lost control of his fighter jet because it was traveling too fast and then failed to recover because it was too low for the maneuver he was performing, a Navy investigation shows.

China to spend $1 trillion on 6,810 new aircraft

Chinese airlines will spend more than $1 trillion on new aircraft over the next two decades as they seek to meet booming demand for air travel, according to a new forecast by Boeing. Randy Tinseth, a marketing executive at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said that he expects passenger traffic in China to grow by 6.4% a year over the next 20 years.

Gigantic RC Crash SAAB Gripen XXXL 1:2 Scale Model Turbine Jet Fatal End Total Destroyed

Computer Engineering Student Donates Five Million Air Miles to Student Organizations

Ryan Pickren, a senior computer engineering major in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at the Georgia Institute of Technology, is donating five million United Airlines miles to Georgia Tech student organizations that participate in charity work.


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


418 Airline Security and Safety


Aviation security since 9/11, smartphones on airplanes and more lithium-ion battery woes, the Boeing middle of the market airplane, another idea on how to find MH370, flying commercially to Cuba, and a review of the movie Sully.


Cynthia Drescher

Cynthia Drescher

Cynthia Drescher is a professional travel journalist, a contributing digital editor at Condé Nast Traveler, and a contributing editor at the Runwaygirl Network.

We discuss how airline and airport security have changed in the fifteen years since the 9/11 attacks. Also, the current issue with smartphone battery fires and how the airlines are responding. Cynthia recently examined safety problems when passenger smartphones fall into airplane seats, and we talk about what the airlines might do in response.

Cynthia visited Cuba, having flown there on the first JetBlue flight. She tells us about the travel experience and her impressions of the country and its people. We also learn which airplanes Cynthia enjoys, and the one that is not her favorite.

Follow Cynthia on Twitter at @JetSetCD, and on Instagram.


How Airport Security Has Changed Since 9/11

It is estimated that the U.S. has spent almost $100 billion on security since the September 11 attack. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was created by Congress, we have hardened and bulletproof cockpit doors, no-fly lists, detection machines of various sorts, shoe removal, limits on liquids, profiling, checkpoints, and much more. Are we more secure? And what’s next?

Air Force, Running Low on Drone Pilots, Turns to Contractors in Terror Fight

Drones play a large role in the military response to terrorism. A drone requires a pilot, and with lots of drones, the U.S. Air Force needs lots of drone pilots. Private contractors are being used for reconnaissance missions, but are prohibited from being “trigger pullers” and firing weapons.

Samsung’s exploding Galaxy Note faces airline bans

Some Galaxy Note7 smartphones have experienced lithium-ion battery fires. While Samsung has stopped sales of the phone and has initiated an Exchange Program for U.S. consumers, airlines and the FAA are taking action.

The necessity of smart stowage for smartphones on aircraft

Guest Cynthia Drescher describes the safety implications of smartphones that slip inside airline seats, and what might be done about it.

Can Boeing compete with the Airbus A321neo? And does it want to?

In the mid-size aircraft arena, the Boeing 737 MAX 9 is losing to the Airbus A321neo, which is larger and has a longer range. This size-class has been called MOM, or Middle Of the Market, while Boeing is calling it the New Mid-range Airplane or NMA. Such a plane could be a 737 stretch, while others are saying a new twin-aisle is possible.

Drifting Flaperon Decoys Next MH370 Gambit

There’s a new idea in the search for MH370: Drop Boeing 777 flaperon replicas into the sea at suspected crash sites, and see if any end up at the beach on Reunion Island. That’s where a flaperon from the 777 drifted. If one of the replicas does as well, the drop point gives you a targeted area to search.

Lawsuit seeks to block Alaska Airlines’ $4 billion acquisition of Virgin

The plaintiffs argue the deal would weaken competition in the industry, causing job loss and higher fare prices.

The Aircraft of the Week


David continues through this collection of listener-requested aircraft of the week. This week’s aircraft was requested by Mike Stuemer. The Grumman AF Guardian was the bridge between two Classic aircraft: the Grumman TBF Avenger and the S-2 Tracker. It was too big, too slow, and flown in pairs, but it wrote the book on how to track subs.

In the next few weeks, David will take on the challenge brought forth by Chris Ruark: the F-105 Thunderchief, or THUD!

Movie Review

Rob Mark reviews the film “Sully.”


Airventure 2016 in my Sonex – from Mike Smith

How to Eat an Airplane

Tesla hires top designer Randy Rodriguez, man behind: Nissan 370Z, Titan and ICON A5 aircraft

Airbus Loses 2 Orders, Boeing May Gain $7 Billion Fighter Sale

Aeroshell Aerobatic Team 360VR Experience Launched at Oshkosh 2016

AeroShell 2016 VR Experience 360

Yankee Air Museum Destroyed In Fire (OV-10 Bronco Association)

Yankee Air Museum (Wikipedia)

Yankee Air Museum (official site)

The F-35 Stealth Fighter May Never Be Ready for Combat


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



417 Bits & Pieces XVII

Interviews from National Aviation Day with American Airlines at Philadelphia International airport, a listener reflects on one effect of September 11, a story about the Missing Man formation, a lesson learned as a student pilot, a review of an aviation history book, an opinion piece on a lawsuit against United Airlines, a bit more from Farnborough 2016, and something about 82 foot tall pylons for air racing.

American 757

National Aviation Day

PHL AA VisitDavid participated in the National Aviation Day activities with American Airlines at Philadelphia International airport, and recorded three interviews. First, David spoke with American Airlines first officer and chief pilot Deborah Hecker. Look for available scholarships at the Women in Aviation International website.

David also spoke with Philip Moore, the manager on duty at the American Airlines flight control tower in Philadelphia. And finally, David has a short conversation with Anthony Stanley about flying the Eagles football team to away games. Also, how they handle other teams flying in for Eagles home games.

Thanks to Ryan Ewing at Airline Geeks for all his organizational efforts to make National Aviation Day in conjunction with American Airlines a great success.

September 11

Listener Launchpad Marzari recorded a piece reflecting on September 11. He calls it “What I Lost in 9/11.”

The Missing Man

Back on Episode 404, David provided us with the history of the Missing Man formation. This got Micah to thinking about one of his experiences with this somber event. So for this Labor Day Bits & Pieces episode, our Main(e) man Micah tells us his story titled, “The Missing, Missing Man.”

A lesson learned

Xavier posted a short story in our Slack Listener Team about a time when he was a student pilot. We asked him if he could record it in his own words for this episode and he graciously agreed. It was sparked by our episode 415 with guest Jason Blair, an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner.

Book Review

David reviews Jet City Rewind: Aviation History of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest by Timothy A. Nelson.

Jet City Rewind

An opinion on the United lawsuit

Associate producer Brian shares his opinions about the the lawsuit being brought against United that we talked about in episode 416.  Longtime listeners to the show might be surprised to hear Brian’s position.

Top Ten Airlines, from Farnborough

You might have thought we were finished with Farnborough content, but Brian and Micah were able to contribute one more for this Bits and Pieces show.  As guest hosts on the Plane Talking UK Podcast, they sit down with Matt, Carlos and Capt Al to go over the results of a top 10 list of the best airlines.

Controlling air race airgates

From Sun n Fun 2016, Launchpad Marzari speaks with an airgate controller for the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. They were demonstrating the 82 foot tall pylons and how they quickly repair them during the races.

Upcoming Red Bull Air Races in the Unites States:




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


416 Reducing Loss of Control Accidents with Airball

The grand prize winner of the first annual EAA Founder’s Innovation Prize explains his concept for reducing the number of accidents induced by loss of control. Also, an Airbus autonomous flying vehicle concept, Part 107 regulations for small commercial UAS, a laser pointer goes to prison, a federal lawsuit against United Airlines, pay raises for airline employees, and 787 Dreamliner engine woes.


Ihab Awad

Ihab Awad

Ihab Awad is the grand prize winner of the first annual EAA Founder’s Innovation Prize for his Airball concept designed to reduce accidents induced by loss of control. Ihab explains how the loss of correct relative wind can result in stalls and spins, and how the Airball graphical representation (a blue ball) allows the pilot to quickly understand and manage the flight state of the airplane.  Airball does this using air data from a number of sensors.

Airball Simulator

Airball Simulator


Ihab is a programmer working at Google in Silicon Valley. He holds Master’s degrees in mechanical engineering and computer and information sciences from the University of Minnesota. Ihab is a Sport Pilot with 150 hours, and looks forward to building his own experimental aircraft.

Follow the project at Airball.aero. Also, find Ihab on Twitter and Facebook.

Airball EAA Founder’s Innovation Prize Entry

Founder’s Innovation Finalists Forging Forward by Beth E. Stanton describes the five finalists in some detail, with videos.

Airball demo for EAA


Airbus Vahana autonomous flying vehicle concept under development

In Airbus Group: Future of urban mobility, My Kind of Flyover, the company says, “By 2030, 60% of the world’s population will live in cities… Airbus Group is harnessing its experience to make the dream of all commuters and travellers come true one day: to fly over traffic jams at the push of a button.” Vahana is the Airbus concept for an autonomous flying vehicle for passengers and cargo. It’s under development at the A3 “innovation outpost” in Silicon Valley.

FAA Begins Accepting Applications for Remote Pilot Operator

The new small unmanned aircraft rule for non-hobbyists (also known as Part 107 to Title 14 CFR) became effective August 29, 2016. The person flying a drone must have a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating, or be directly supervised by someone with that certificate.

For more information about the new small UAS rules, see:

The UAV Digest, episode 151: Part 107: Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems where we provide a summary of the major provisions of Part 107.

The UAV Digest, episode 159: Taking the FAA Online UAS Training Course where Max Trescott talks about completing the FAA UAS online training course.

Press Conference – FAA (Small UAS Rule) (Conference starts at 10:00 into the video.)

Man sentenced to federal prison for pointing a Laser Pointer at Sheriff’s Helicopter

A 35-year-old California was has been sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for pointing a laser pointer at a police helicopter flying over a traffic accident.

U.S. lawsuit says United denied sick leave to pilot on active duty

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in Chicago federal court claiming that United Airlines failed to provide a pilot with sick leave when he was called to active duty by the U.S. Air Force. The suit charges that the pilot, a reservist, was denied his employment rights and violated the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).

Airline employees are getting huge pay raises

After years of concessions, airline employees are starting to benefit from high airline profits.

Boeing 787 engine trouble prompts ANA to cancel some flights

All Nippon Airways (ANA) is seeing sulfidation-corrosion cracking of turbine blades on some of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets. All 50 aircraft in the ANA 787 fleet are powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines.

Airplane of the Week

The OV-10 Bronco, Part 2: Foreign Variants and Civilian Applications. Sometimes history repeats itself. After being moved into the civilian world, the Bronco returned to combat twenty-plus years after it was retired, with only protest from the Marines.


Last episode, we mentioned the 3D tour of the B747-400 Global SuperTanker using Matterport technology. If you enjoyed that, here are more aircraft 3D tours:

Tiira homemade airplane designed and built by Raimo Päätalo.

Tiira homemade airplane designed and built by Raimo Päätalo.


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


415 Airman Certification Standards

An FAA Designated Pilot Examiner talks about checkrides, the old Practical Test Standards (PTS) and the new Airman Certification Standards (ACS).  Also, government interest in airline IT system failures, pilot recruiting in China, the Boeing cabin of the future, the huge ATC applicant response, and Textron interest in Learjet.


Jason Blair is an active single and multi-engine instructor. He is a National Association of Flight Instructors Master Flight Instructor, and an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner for both part 61 and part 141 training providers. Jason was involved in the early stages of the FAA/industry efforts that developed the new Airman Certification Standards (ACS) that became effective June, 2016.

Jason Blair

Jason Blair

In this episode, Jason explains the differences between the Practical Test Standards and the new Airman Certification Standards, and when they apply. He offers advice for private, CFI, and ATP checkrides, and explains some of the common errors made by applicants. Jason tells us about the checks that Examiners make, the process they follow, and what the FAA is looking for. We also hear about the process for becoming an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner.

Jason was named the 2016 Michigan CFI of the Year by the FAA, and over 1000 pilot certificates have been issued in Jason’s role as Examiner. Jason writes for a number of aviation publications and he’s active in the general aviation industry.

Starting his flying experience at the age of 15, and soloing at 16, Jason received his private pilot’s certificate at 17. While he pursued both undergraduate and master’s degrees from Western Michigan University in non-aviation fields, he continued his aviation passion through flight training at local FBOs, obtaining his instrument, commercial, and instructor certificates.

Jason flies general aviation aircraft for much of his personal and business travel, and has served as the Executive Director of the National Association of Flight Instructors, and represented the flight training community on a variety of committees including the FAA’s Runway Safety Council, the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee, the TSA Aviation Safety Advisory Council, NATA’s Flight Training Committee, and others. Currently, Jason works for a variety of companies and associations focusing on flight training regulations, procedures, and safety as a writer and consultant.


U.S. senators quiz airlines on IT systems after Delta disruption

Senators Richard Blumenthal and Edward Markey sent letters of concern to a number of airlines in the wake of recent computer system failures at Southwest and Delta. They point out that with such a concentrated industry, any one outage can affect a large portion of commercial aviation, and inconvenience many travelers. The senators want to know how affected travelers will be accommodated, and what measures are being taken to ensure the security and reliability of airline IT systems.

China-based airlines are putting up lots of cash to recruit foreign pilots

Industry projections put the greatest airline growth in Asia. Boeing projects that the number of commercial planes in China will triple by 2034. Bloomberg says that means China will need to hire 100 pilots per week over that time period, and they are paying big salaries to get them: as much as five times more for new hires, and in some cases about 50 percent more than senior captains at Delta. See also Chinese Airlines Wave Wads of Cash to Lure Foreign Pilots.

Dim the lights, order lunch: Boeing develops smartphone app for jet cabin interior of the future

Boeing is looking at a future cabin experience that includes the ability for passengers to interact with the airplane from their smartphone. Commercial Airplanes’ Product Development engineers have created an airplane cabin technology demonstrator they call v-Cabin where concepts can be developed and tested. Passengers could control personal lighting, order food or drink items, interact with the IFE system, and even check lavatory availability, all over a wireless network.

As of Aug. 15, 2016, the FAA says 29,000 applicants have applied for the 1,400 positions

It comes as no surprise that the interest in open ATC positions is very high.

Cessna-maker Textron Inc would be interested in Bombardier Inc’s Learjet ‘at the right price’

Will Textron seek to add Learjet to its portfolio?

The Airplane of the Week

The OV-10 Bronco, Part 1. If your specs are drawn right, you get an aircraft that can successfully complete its mission. Sometimes that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what it can do. This episode we talk about development and combat and Medal of Honors. In Part 2, we’ll look at foreigners, civilians, and the return to combat.


David participated in the AirlineGeeks/American Airlines activities for National Aviation Day. His interviews and stories will be presented in episode 417 Bits and Pieces XV.

In episode 39 of Lucas Weakley’s The Logbook Podcast, Don “the pre-buy guy” Sebastion tells some more great stories.

B747-400 Global SuperTanker – A fascinating 3D tour of the Global SuperTanker by Matterport. See also What It Feels Like to Fly a Firefighting 747.


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

414 F/A-18, F-16, PBY, and P8 from Farnborough International Airshow 2016

More interviews from the Farnborough 2016 Airshow. We also discuss the future of widebody airliners, the U.S. Air Force pilot shortage, jetBlue air turbulence, an F-22 grounded by bees, an evacuation at a JFK terminal, a ride with the Geico Skytypers, and does the U.S. needs an airshow like Paris?

Farnborough International Airshow 2016

We bring you more interviews from the Farnborough 2016 Airshow. You’ll hear about the F/A-18, the F-16, the PBY, and the P8.

F/A-18 at Farnborough 2016

Carlos Stebbings (holding mic) of the Plane Talking UK Podcast along with Micah and Brian interviewing US Navy Aviator Lieutenant Jeff “Hoagy” Hanley about flying his F/A-18 Super Hornet. (Photo courtesy of Dan Harrington.)

F-16 at Farnborough 2016

Micah talking with Matt Smith of the Plane Talking UK Podcast about the F-16 Fighting Falcon and why it’s called a Viper. (Photo courtesy of Dan Harrington.)

Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina

PBY-5A Catalina Miss Pickup posing with (from left to right) Pilot Pip from the Plane Safety Podcast, Captain Al Evans from Flightfear Solutions, Carlos Stebbings and Matt Smith from the Plane Talking UK Podcast, Micah, Brian and Captain Rod, Miss Pickup’s pilot. (Photo courtesy of Dan Harrington.)


Lithograph of P-8A Poseidon 168754, autographed and presented to Brian and Micah in Farnborough by Patrol Squadron 30 ‘VP-30’ based at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida.


Atlas backs the B747 freighter as Boeing considers its future

Boeing has announced a cut in the 747 production rate, and in a regulatory filing stated the possibility that production of the 747 could end. At the same time, Airbus plans to cut the production rate of the A380. Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings chief executive Bill Flynn said there are three options for large widebody intercontinental cargo aircraft: the B747-800, the B747-400 and the B777. The 747 has load and loading advantages and Atlas Air looks forward to a long useful life.

Air Force sweetens bonus in facing pilot shortage

The U.S. Air Force needs 700 more fighter pilots by the end of 2016, and the shortage could reach 1000 within a few years.. Airlines offering higher salaries, better benefits, and long term career opportunities entice pilots to leave the service.

JetBlue turbulence puts 24 in hospital

A JetBlue A320 flying from Boston to Sacramento encountered rough turbulence, and was diverted to Rapid City, South Dakota. At least 22 passengers and two crew members were taken to a hospital for evaluation. Passengers reported flying out of their seats and even hitting the ceiling.

In a February 2016 article titled What Causes Turbulence? 10 Things You Need to Know, Conde Nast Traveler reports that the FAA says approximately 58 fliers are injured by turbulence each year. And PetaPixel tells us about a Military Plane Plunged 4,400ft when Pilot’s Nikon Got Stuck in the Controls.

F-22 Raptor grounded by swarm of almost 20,000 bees

192nd Fighter Wing Aircraft Maintainers at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia discovered a swarm of honey bees attached to the exhaust nozzle of an F-22 Raptor engine.

Airplane of the Week

Skytyper David

Skytyper David!


David went flying for the first time in 2 years.  He had the privilege of flying with the Geico Skytypers in a three ship formation over the Atlantic City, New Jersey coastline. Thanks to Jim Record for being an awesome pilot, and to Brenda Little for the opportunity.



Geico Skytypers

Geico Skytypers SNJ-2, the Navy’s version of the Texan T-6, a WWII training plane.

Geico Landing over KACY 08-15-2016 (Raw video of the flight.)


UK fraud probe casts shadow over Airbus jet sales


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