Aerial firefighting with a Boeing 747-400, airline policies for overbooking and bumping passengers, Mar-a-Lago air restrictions for presidential visits, and F-16 fighter service life.
The Global SuperTanker in Chile for aerial firefighting operations. Courtesy Global SuperTanker Services, LLC, (c) Bill Gabbert.
Capt. Tom Parsons, Assistant Chief Supervisor/Pilot and Scott Olson, VP Maintenance for Global SuperTanker Services, LLC. The company was formed in 2015 and acquired a B747-400 to use for aerial firefighting and other operations.
We talk about the kinds of missions the Global SuperTanker can fly, and Tom and Scott explain the aircraft modifications, the loading and delivery system, and the recent activity in Chile fighting wildfires. We also learn about the coordination required for all the air and ground participants in this kind of operation.
The passenger who was violently removed from the United Express flight operated by Republic Airways intends to take legal action. The man’s lawyer claimed his client lost two teeth and his nose was broken. We discuss the resulting media storm, airline practice of overbooking flights, and the procedure for bumping passengers.
We talk about commercial aviation with the editor-in-chief and founder of Airline Reporter. Also, the violent removal of a passenger from a flight, the new Boeing venture-capital group, the 50th anniversary of the Boeing 737 first flight, more seats for the A380, and a lawsuit to stop the Planes of Fame Air Show. Plus, reports from Sun ‘n Fun 2017, memorable flights, and a new aviation podcast.
David Parker Brown is editor-in-chief and founder of Airline Reporter. With a team of over 30 writers located in 18 different cities, AirlineReporter.com is a goto resource for aviation, travel, and airline industry content. This is quality material by passionate AvGeeks. As for David, he has written, consulted, and presented on many airline and travel topics since 2008. He caught the aviation bug at an early age, and has been blogging since 1999.
United Express flight 3411 operated by Republic Airways and departing O’Hare International Airport was overbooked. But four Republic crew members needed to get onboard so they could deadhead to work. One passenger refused to give up his seat and was violently removed by an aviation security officer.
Boeing has recently formed a division called HorizonX as a small venture-capital group to invest in companies with interesting technologies. HorizonX is led by Steve Nordlund, formerly the head of drone company InSitu, which was acquired by Boeing in 2008. As examples of technology areas that HorizonX might invest in, Nordlund pointed to autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and additive manufacturing. Initial investments were with Upskill, an augmented reality company, and Zunum Aero that is developing small hybrid-electric aircraft.
Airbus is offering customers some A380 configuration changes that result in additional seats. These include removing an upper-deck stowage area, moving the main staircase, 11-abreast on the main deck, 9-abreast in premium-economy, a rear spiral staircase, and moving the pilot rest area.
A group of Chino Airport tenants are suing the Planes of Fame Air Museum (another tenant) to halt this year’s Planes of Fame Air Show May 6-7. Chino Airport is a county-owned airport in San Bernardino County, California. The plaintiffs allege the air show negatively impacts their business. The tenants bringing suit want the County of San Bernardino to appoint a coalition of tenants to oversee future air shows at the Chino Airport. Find a petition at: Don’t Let them Stop Your Air Show!
Learn about what Reliability Centered Maintenance means for aviation from a well-known A&P/IA and the CEO of Savvy Aviation. In the news, first flights of the Boeing 787-10, the Airbus A319neo, the Antonov An-132D, and the Embraer E195-E2. Also, the Fairness for Pilots Act, important news for Continental engine owners, some talk about restarting the F-22 line, and an update from Airbus on an electric airplane.
Savvy Aviator CEO Mike Busch
Mike Busch is the CEO of Savvy Aviation and a co-founder of AVweb. Mike is one of the best-known A&P/IAs in general aviation and he writes the monthly “Savvy Maintenance” column in AOPA Pilot magazine. He also hosts free monthly EAA-sponsored maintenance webinars. Mike was honored as “National Aviation Maintenance Technician of the Year” for 2008, he’s been a pilot and aircraft owner for 50 years with 7,500+ hours logged, and is a CFIA/I/ME.
Mike explains the origins of Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) and how it grew to be used by commercial, business and military aviation, but hasn’t fully trickled down to small general aviation.
RCM is an optimal maintenance program that differs from the old, traditional maintenance approach that follows the assumption that components start out reliable and become less so over time. RCM is a data-driven engineering method that assesses each aircraft component for possible functional failures, failure modes, failure effects and consequences. It then creates a maintenance plan that can even allow a component to run to failure. The result is lower maintenance costs and increased reliability.
Indian aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is requiring a borescope test for Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engines at 1000 flight hours instead of the usual 1500. Meanwhile, IndiGo Airlines has set at a maximum altitude of 30,000 feet for its A320neos. All this is due to problems with the engine combustion chambers and an oil seal.
Airbus will not be producing the electric E-Fan two-seater training aircraft because the technology has advanced so much in the past three years. However, Airbus is considering an E-FAN X with another order of magnitude jump in electric power.
The Airplane of the Week
The favorite airplane of David’s father was the P-61 Black Widow.
Update: Our listener Utah Patrick wrote us with the following:
“Like Max, I was touched by the story related in the current episode about Thomas Hudner and Jesse Brown. So much so that I decided to dig a bit deeper into the story. Turns out Hudner received the Medal of Honor for his efforts to rescue his wingman. The part about leaving Brown’s body behind bothered me. I understand the reasoning but I wondered if it had ever been recovered.
“Turns out Brown’s body and his aircraft were napalmed to keep them out of enemy hands. However, figuring something was left behind, attempts have been made to retrieve remains including one attempt 63 years later by (and this really surprised me) Thomas Hudner himself.”
The CEO of Iridium Communications tells us about the satellites being placed into orbit and the services they’ll provide to aviation. In the news, airlines react to the laptop ban, a proposed TSA fee increase draws criticism, FAA forecasts slow growth for general aviation, and an engine manufacturer looks to expand. Also, interviews from the Heart of Texas Airshow.
Successful First Launch of Ten Iridium NEXT Satellites
Matthew Desch. Iridium photo.
Matt Desch is the CEO of Iridium Communications, a satellite communications company that offers global voice and data coverage through its constellation of low-Earth orbiting (LEO) cross-linked satellites.
Matt explains the company’s next-generation constellation, Iridium NEXT, with deployment expected for completion in 2018. We talk about how the satellites are placed into orbit with SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets, and what will happen to the old constellation being replaced.
Matt describes the capabilities of Iridium NEXT and the implications for aviation. That includes the Aireon service, a hosted payload that will listen for ADS-B signals and relay them in real time to air navigation service providers.
A long time telecom/technology executive, Matt started his career at Bell Laboratories, and was an early pioneer in the cellular phone business. He was involved with a number of high tech companies over the years prior to becoming CEO at Iridium.
Affected airlines have been quick to react to the PED ban. Royal Jordanian has continued it’s marketing campaign that pokes fun at the U.S. presidential election and recent government policies. Emirates started a service where you hand over your banned devices at the gate, which they package and place in the cargo hold. You get to work right up to boarding time. Etihad has a Make Flying Great Again video that illustrates the features of their IFE system. They also tout their seats that fully recline for sleeping, and their flying nanny to help keep children entertained.
The Trump administration proposes to increase the TSA fee that passengers pay. But the U.S. airline trade group Airlines for America says that each year, about $1.3 billion of the fees collected do not go to fund aviation security. Instead, they are allocated to overall deficit reduction.
In its 20-year forecast, the FAA estimated slow growth for general aviation. The agency sees a decline of 17,500 fixed-wing piston aircraft, offsetting a small annual increase in turbine aircraft and other segments, with a net annual growth rate of 0.1 percent.
The number of small commercial drones in the domestic UAS fleet is expected to grow from 42,000 at the end of last year to 442,000 by the end of 2021. FAA projects commercial U.S. passenger growth of 1.9 percent a year over the next two decades.
Continental Motors plans to break ground this year on a new $70 million manufacturing center and corporate headquarters in Mobile, Alabama. CEO Rhett Ross says, “We see that different power systems are going to be necessary. You’ll see much more electrified aircraft. This increases our flexibility for new designs.”
Airplane Geeks Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari brings us interviews from the Heart of Texas Airshow, held March 18-19, 2017 Waco, Texas / TSTC Airport.
“Laser Dave” McConkey is a flight engineer for the B-17G operated by the Gulf Coast Wing unit of the Commemorative Air Force.
Nick “Bearshark” Green from the F-18 demonstration team.
Greg Howell, flying a Mig17 built in 1960 in Poland.
Air Refueling Specialist MSG Jerry Cummings from the KC-135 Air Refueling Wing.
Fly Like a Girl – Documentary Film – “Fly Like a Girl explores the courageous history of women in aviation. This feature-length documentary reveals the contributions women have made to aviation and brings to light the many women who are doing extraordinary work in aviation and STEM today. Fly Like a Girl also examines why many young girls don’t see themselves in aviation / STEM related fields and how society can begin to change this perception. Fly Like a Girl will inspire girls and women who no longer want to be passengers.”
Guest Mark Baker is the President and CEO of AOPA, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. In the news, wake turbulence from an A380 flips a Challenger 604, two flight attendants sue American Airlines for failure to enforce company policy, an engine on a Saab 340 loses its propeller in flight. Also, an interview from the National Air & Space Museum Restoration Hangar, and an idea for a circular runway.
Mark Baker, president and CEO, AOPA.
Mark Baker is President and CEO of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. He is also chairman of AOPA’s Political Action Committee, chief executive officer for the AOPA Foundation, president of the International Council of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Associations representing pilots in 72 countries, and publisher of AOPA Pilot, the world’s largest aviation publication.
We talk about air traffic control privatization, user fees, BasicMed, and other areas of aviation advocacy by AOPA. Mark tells us about the effectiveness of AOPA regional fly-ins, and touches on aviation safety and Congressional general aviation caucuses.
Mark is a longtime general aviation pilot and has been flying for 35 years with over 7,500 hours. He holds certificates for commercial pilot with single- and multi-engine land and seaplane ratings, rotorcraft rating, and type ratings in the Cessna Citation 500 and 525s
President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget would privatize air traffic control operations by creating an “independent, non-governmental organization.” Who would control the new corporate entity, and how it will be funded?
An Emirates Airbus A380-800 was at FL350 over the Arabian Sea when a Challenger 604 business jet passed 1000 feet underneath in opposite direction. The A380 continued to Sydney uneventfully. The Challenger didn’t fare so well in the wake turbulence from the A380.
Two flight attendants claiming sexual and gender harassment on social media have filed federal lawsuits against American Airlines for failed to enforce its policies governing employee use of social media.
Interviews from Heli-Expo 2017, a Boeing 797 might be in our future, a hybrid/electric powered vertical takeoff airplane is taking shape, companies attend the 2017 International Women in Aviation Conference looking to hire, some post-merger developments for Alaska and Virgin America, and a flight instructor who really was not. Also, a report on EAA at SXSW, and another memorable flight from a listener.
An MI-24 was displayed at the 2017 Heli-Expo. Courtesy Cold War Air Museum.
Helicopter Association International says over 17,000 people attended Heli-Expo 2017 in Dallas, Texas, with 731 exhibiting businesses and organizations, and 62 aircraft on display. Our Airplane Geeks Reporter-at-Large “Launchpad” Marzari attended the event and recorded a number of interviews.
Charles Schneider, CEO of MyGoFlight. This company offers iPad flight apps and accessories, and introduced a HUD concept product.
Emmanuel Davidson, President of AOPA France, talks about bringing medical certification reform to Europe for light planes, and the role of IAOPA, the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations.
Bill Thompson from Embry-Riddle was at the show to support their graduates.
John Batey from the Cold War Air Museum (CWAM) brought one of their Mi-24 helicopter gunships. The museum is located on Lancaster Airport, 20 minutes south of Dallas.
Giovanni Mazzoni, AW609 program manager, describes the twin-engined tiltrotor VTOL aircraft with a configuration similar to the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey, and aimed at the civil aviation market.
And then Launchpad ran into an aviation journalist named Rob Mark.
There has been talk of a so-called “B757 replacement.” Something between the single-aisle 737 and the widebody 787. It’s been called the MOM airplane (Middle of the Market) and the NMA (either New Mid-sized Airplane or New Market Airplane). Now Steven Udvar-Hazy, chairman of Air Lease Corporation, says, “Call it a 797. That’s what it’s going to be.”
XTI Aircraft Company is teaming up with Bye Aerospace to develop a hybrid/electric powered prototype of their TriFan vertical takeoff airplane. XTI says that because of cost and weight reductions, the first TriFan prototype will be a full-size rather than the 65% scale version that had been planned.
The 2017 International Women in Aviation Conference was held March 2-4, 2017 and Dr. Peggy Chabrian, president and co-founder of WAI noted that, “Major airlines have been coming to WAI for the past four years and hiring WAI members in significant numbers, but this year the companies accepting résumés seem to be more diverse.
Since its merger with Alaska, Virgin America has added a number of new destinations from San Francisco. It looks like a strategy shift with Virgin America now adding mid-sized markets (as Alaska was successful doing) instead of the large-market approach that characterized Virgin America.
A 25 year old man represented himself to North Weald Airfield (EGSX) in Essex, England as a pilot and flight instructor. Suspicious work colleagues investigated and found he was not. After the man plead guilty to several counts, he was sentenced to an eight-month jail sentence suspended for 14 months, 140 hours of unpaid work, and costs.
Listener John tells us about his most memorable flight.
Visit AvGeekFests.com for a calendar of aviation events where AvGeeks can meet up and participate in aviation events.
Episode 186 of The UAV Digest features the AOPA Senior Director for UAS Programs Kat Swain talking about why AOPA is welcoming drone pilots to the organization.
We talk to the U.S. representative and importer for Shark Aero, and learn what it takes to bring a new airplane into the country. In the news, the House Aviation Subcommittee is holding hearings in advance of FAA reauthorization, a town targets a membership airline, a new online aviation video service launches, travel bookings to the U.S. slow down, and the former chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is sentenced. Plus, the story of memorable flights from a listener, and an Australia News Desk segment.
Shark Aero N235HK
Jonathan “JB” Baron owns the first and only Shark UL in the Americas, and is the Shark Aero US representative and importer. The Shark UL is manufactured by Shark.aero s.r.o. and type certified in Germany and the Czech Republic as an “Ultralight Aircraft.” It’s too fast and too complex to be a Light Sport Aircraft in the U.S., so the Shark UL is offered as the Shark US, an Experimental Amateur Built Kit with Builder Education and Assistance.
JB explains the process for importing an aircraft, including identifying the applicable certification type, obtaining an airworthiness certificate, transition training, registration, shipping and customs, and obtaining insurance.
JB recently retired from the Navy after two decades as a Naval Aviator flying Seahawks. He’s flown from every class of US Navy combatant including frigates, destroyers, cruisers, and aircraft carriers. In in the Navy, JB was a Fleet Replacement Instructor Pilot, a Weapons and Tactics Instructor, and the Commanding Officer of the West Coast Seahawk Weapons School. He holds a commercial airplane and helicopter pilot rating, is an avid first person video aero-modeler, and he currently works as a lead systems engineer in the Washington DC area.
Features of the Shark Aero include an aircraft parachute, a cockpit safety cell, and a wide, forgiving flight envelope. Able to cruise at 150 knots consuming just five gallons of unleaded gasoline per hour, it can easily fly from DC to Atlanta in about three and a half hours. Its tandem seat, dual controls, glass cockpit, and bubble canopy gives the Shark the feel of a modern “pocket fighter.”
Residents of San Mateo county don’t like the noise from the Surf Air Pilatus PC-12s. The County Board of Supervisors has proposed a new curfew ordinance limiting one takeoff and landings of “noisy airplanes.” A noisy airplane is defined a one with a certificated noise level above 74.5 dB. The quietest PC-12 is rated at 74.6 dB.
The new aviation video service Uflytv comes from Tom Poberezny and Jim Irwin. Poberezny was EAA AirVenture chairman from 1977 to 2011, and president of EAA from 1989 to 2010. Jim Irwin is president of Aircraft Specialty & Spruce. Currently offering 220 titles.
Dave said, “The thing that got me the most about the Spitfire was on the start up how hot and fumey the cockpit suddenly becomes, I’d seriously never thought about it before but wow there’s a wave of very hot air blasting you from the Merlin up front, and the fumes are choking and I gagged slightly. The first thought was oh no, is it going to be like this for half an hour? But no it quickly passed and you could breath again, plus with the canopy shut it was all good.”
Also, “The other sensation in the Spitfire was looking out at those famous elliptical wings and smiling so much, more than I’d done on any other flight. I also spent a bit of time thinking about all the amazing veterans I have met and interviewed over the years who flew these machines in combat. I had over time gathered a vivid mental impression of what it was like to fly in a Spitfire from them, but having the actual real opportunity with all the sounds, smells, vibrations, sights and other sensations absolutely took that appreciation to a whole new level.”
“In 2014 our Wings Over New Zealand Forum raised the money to take two wartime RNZAF veterans, Alan Peart DFC and Jim Robinson, up in that very same Spitfire. They had flown together in No. 81 Squadron RAF, the same squadron that the aircraft’s markings are in. It’s marked up as the personal aircraft of Wing Commander Colin Gray, New Zealand’s top ace, who was Alan and Jim’s boss on the squadron. That was very special indeed, but I never thought for a moment then that I’d be doing it myself 18 months later. Great memories!”
The Australia News Desk
Steve Visscher and Grant McHerron from the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast bring us a report from Avalon 2017, which saw the arrival of the first two RAAF F-35’s in Australia. Steve has been doing some reports for AOPA Australia Live:
This episode, we talk to aviation and travel-industry expert Chris Kjelgaard about new Lufthansa and Iberia A350-900s, low fares from Norwegian, airlines charging fees for services, and a worrisome EASA safety report. Also, Astronics’ missed aerospace sales guidance, and the most scenic airport landings.
Chris Kjelgaard reports on airlines and the travel-industry with more than three decades of experience. He is the founder and editor of the air and destination travel news website AirlinesAndDestinations.com. Chris also serves as editor of various print and online magazine titles, and he has written for dozens of aviation trade and consumer magazines and websites. Chris has been interviewed many times by television, radio, print, and online media on aviation and travel topics. He is a contributing editor to Runway Girl Network.
Lufthansa unveiled its new A350-900 in Munich at the beginning of February at the Lufthansa Technik hangar. This was the first of ten aircraft that are to fly from Munich to Delhi and Boston. Iberia is set to take delivery of 16 A350-900s starting in the second quarter of 2018.
Norwegian Air Shuttle was offering $65 one way flights to Europe from some smaller US airports in New York state, and also Providence, Rhode Island, and Hartford, Connecticut. Norwegian Air spokesman Anders Lindström said, “I pay for what I want, you pay for what you want. We don’t pay for what everybody else on the plane wants.” Only a limited number of one-way tickets were offered at $65, and a return flight costs more.
2016 was the safest year ever measured by large commercial aircraft fatal accidents, but the 2017 Preliminary Safety Review published by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) shows an increase in the number of serious incidents involving aircraft operated by carriers from the 32 EASA member states.
When it comes to aviation education and training, John King (and his wife Martha) are about as well known as anybody. But on the basis of a seizure episode in early 2014, King was denied his third-class medical certificate in November 2015. Since then he has appealed the denial, but without success. He plans to take it to an an administrative law judge at the NTSB.
This unfortunate event has a number of connections to aviation.
PZL Mielec Prepares M28 – A PZL Mielec M28 twin turboprop aircraft is undertaking a two-month, 13-city tour across seven Caribbean and Latin America countries to demonstrate the M28’s all-weather operational capabilities to potential new customers, including airlines, government agencies and military operators.
California Black Aviation Association – A non-profit organization of aviation professionals of various ethnic backgrounds with the passion for flying and promoting aviation awareness and education through community outreach.
California Redtails– Honoring the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, also known as the “Redtails,” by educating, inspiring and promoting general aviation.
This episode, we talk to the president of Dynon Avionics, a company that designs, builds, and supports glass cockpit avionics for builders and pilots of small aircraft. In the news, we discuss a celebrity landing on a taxiway, the 2017 General Aviation Awards, a capacity cutback on commercial flights to Cuba, a town that took a man’s Cessna, and the union representation vote at Boeing’s South Carolina plant.
Robert Hamilton, president of glass cockpit avionics company Dynon Avionics
Robert Hamilton is the president of Dynon Avionics. The company was founded in 2000 and is a leader in glass cockpit avionics for light aircraft. Starting with inexpensive AOA indicators, Dynon expanded the line to affordable Electronic Flight Instrument Systems (EFIS) and a full range of glass cockpit avionics products for pilots.
Robert Hamilton in the Sportsman
Robert learned to fly as a teenager in the family J-3 Cub in the 1970s. More recently he owned a glass panel Diamond DA-40, and built a SkyView-equipped Glasair Sportsman. Last summer Robert earned his seaplane rating.
Robert began his career as a Flight Controls Engineer at Boeing working on the 747. But to get more into the business side, he went to the Graduate Business School at Harvard then on to Fluke Corporation as a Senior Manager where he built their electrical power business and helped develop the unique Fluke brand. But aviation called to Robert and he joined Dynon Avionics in 2008 as head of Marketing, and then became company President in 2012.
As a volunteer, Robert was the president of the Washington Pilots Association at Paine Field, and is a member of AOPA and EAA.
Some Beechcraft, Grumman, Maule, and Mooney models are now eligible for the STC allowing installation of Dynon electronic flight information systems. The EFIS-D10A and EFIS-D100 can be installed in models on the Approved Model List, which EAA says will continue to expand.
When scheduled commercial service to Cuba was announced, we were pretty excited, and so were the airlines. Large numbers of flights were allocated to the airlines and some people wondered if the Cuban infrastructure would be strained under the influx of visitors. But it’s not turning out that way.
A 69-year old pilot gave up his pilot’s license in 2015 for health reasons. He had his Cessna 152 moved to his driveway in Long Island, but neighbors and the town of Oceanside didn’t think too much of that. When the man was out of the country, the town had the plane removed from the driveway, after disassembling the wings.
According to the NLRB, 74 percent of the 2,828 voting workers at Boeing’s South Carolina plant turned down representation by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).
Flights Above the Pacific Northwest is a closed Facebook group, originally created with the intent of sharing pictures and videos of local flights around the Pacific Northwest. FATPNW has grown to become an active online community.
We look at specialty aviation marketing with Paula Williams from ABCI. In the news, we discuss President Trump’s meeting with airline and airport executives, and consider policies for ATC privatization, FAA leadership, airport infrastructure, and foreign carrier subsidies. Also, we look at 3D-printed turbine blades, a pilot melt-down, and Damian’s memorable flight, a creepy experience that saved his life.
Paula Williams, Aviation Business Consulting Inc.
Paula Williams and her husband John formed aviation marketing specialty firm Aviation Business Consulting Inc. (ABCI) to bring the discipline and technology from the finance and education industries to the aviation industry. ABCI assists aviation companies that sell complex, technical, or high-ticket products or services by helping them communicate with aviation professionals in a clear compelling way through written content, images, and video.
U.S. Aviation Policies
The Trump administration has given us a lot to think about this past week. We touch on ATC privatization, NextGen ATC, the FAA leadership, airport infrastructure improvements, foreign carrier subsidies, and even the effect on aviation businesses of the President’s time spent in Florida:
The captain for a United Airlines flight arrived out of uniform and proceeded to deliver a sharp monolog to the passengers, some of whom felt unsafe and left the airplane. The pilot also left the airplane and another flight crew arrived for the flight, which departed about two hours late.
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