540 Sky Kids

Sky Kids is a project that puts children with special needs and disabilities in general aviation aircraft to give them confidence and self-esteem. In the news, Airbus announces that A380 production will cease, Southwest Airlines declares an “operations emergency” concerning aircraft maintenance, Southwest is also conducting certification flights for routes to Hawaii, and Icon A5 demo flights spark calls to emergency dispatch.

Guest

Claire Schindler, event coordinator for Sky Kids California, with the Falcon 7X.

Claire Schindler, event coordinator for Sky Kids California, with the Falcon 7X.

Claire Schindler is the event coordinator for Sky Kids California. Sky Kids originated in Goodyear, Arizona with Bill Antonucci, his wife, and friends. They created a day to give children with special needs and disabilities the opportunity to fly a general aviation aircraft, free of charge. The event gives these children and their families the chance to have a fun-filled day and just be a kid. The event typically includes a full lunch buffet, clowns and face painting, and firefighters and police presence. The hope is that Sky Kids will give these children something to look back on for many years to come.

Sky Kids was so popular and successful in Arizona that it morphed into two events: in Scottsdale, Arizona in November and in Goodyear, Arizona in April.

Along with some friends, Claire volunteered at the Sky Kids event in Scottsdale and is now working to create a Sky Kids event in California. Planned for September 14, 2019, at Chino Airport (KCNO), Threshold Aviation will host the event at their FBO.

Claire attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona from 2013 to 2017. While there she served as president of the local chapter of Women in Aviation International (WAI), and participated in many community service events.

After graduating, Claire started her first flying job at a company called Chalk 2 Inc which involved chasing UAVs and working toward her CFI. After earning her hours, Claire was hired at her dream job flying the Falcon 7X for a private charter company.

Sky Kids Bonanza flight.

Sky Kids Bonanza flight.

Josh's Sky Kids flight.

Josh’s Sky Kids flight.

Aviation News

Airbus Will Stop Making the World’s Largest Passenger Jet

Airbus announced It will end production of the A380 by 2021. Emirates, the largest A380 customer, has reduced its open order of A380 aircraft and will instead purchase A330neo and A350 airplanes. The total number of A380 deliveries is expected to be just over 250.

See Ian Bott’s illustration on the demise of the era of the four-engined superjumbo.

Southwest declares operations ’emergency’ amid labor dispute with mechanics

Southwest Airlines has had to remove airplanes from service and declared an “operational emergency,” The company told its mechanics that those who call in sick will need a detailed doctor’s note when they return to work. Southwest has been in lengthy contract talks with its mechanics represented by the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association.

Southwest Airlines first flight to Hawaii departs Oakland

Meanwhile, a Southwest Airlines spokesperson confirms the airline “…is slated to perform a long-range navigation and communication validation flight from Oakland to Honolulu.” Southwest started the FAA certification process in late 2017 and these proving flights are one of the last steps for Southwest in the FAA’s ETOPS (Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards) certification process. Southwest already has a landing page for the service to come.

Icon Demo Prompts Emergency Response

The amphibious Icon A5 is said to be for “adventure flying,” but witnesses to a demo flight called first responders.

Mentioned

Fully Charged podcast, Episode 2, Honda Announcement, VW DIY Assembly Tour, Rolls Royce, Largest Prototype Offshore Wind Turbine & Tesco.

Introducing ACCEL: The world’s fastest electric-powered aeroplane

Chicken Wings Comics

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

539 Boeing 747 First Flight

We mark the 50th anniversary of the first flight of the Boeing 747 with a member of that flight test team, now a docent at The Museum of Flight in Seattle. Also, the NTSB Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements, the last commercial flight of the Boeing 727, Airbnb may be doing something with air travel, SFO’s new outdoor observation deck, two Virgin Galactic pilots earn astronaut wings, and the Collier Trophy nominees list is released.

Boeing 747 ceremony.

Boeing 747 ceremony, courtesy The Museum of Flight.

Guests

Sean Mobley, Docent Services Specialist with The Museum of Flight joins us. Sean also hosts the Museum’s Flight Deck Podcast. In addition, Docent Thomas Gray brings us recollections of the Boeing 747 flight test program and the first flight, fifty years ago.

From 1968 to 1985, Thomas was a member of the Boeing 747 first flight test team. That airplane, the “City of Everett,” resides at The Museum of Flight. Thomas was also the lead instrumentation engineer when RA001 was later used as the flying test bed for the 757/767 engines.

Thomas graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering in 1961. He served in the New Mexico Air National Guard as a Radio Technician for one year where he provided maintenance service on F-100 fighter aircraft radio equipment. After that, he joined the Washington Air National Guard until 1967 as a Radio Technician, providing maintenance service on the mobile teletype and cryptographic equipment.

Thomas was hired by Boeing as the Systems Test Engineer on the Dyna-Soar program. From there he moved over to the Flight Test organization as an Instrumentation Engineer for 24 years. Thomas worked on the 737, 747, 757, 767, the Boeing Hydrofoil Test Craft, and John F. Kennedy’s Air Force One 26000. He also served as the test engineer on the Space Shuttle Carrier aircraft during Space Shuttle Landing tests at Edwards AFB, California. Thomas then worked as a Commercial Sales Support Engineer for three years and worked seven years as a Customer Service Engineer until retiring in 1995.

Boeing 747.

Courtesy The Museum of Flight.

Boeing 747 First Flight

The first flight took place on February 9, 1969 and we learn that the three initial flights were around Paine Field with a pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer, and F-86 escort. It wasn’t until the fourth flight that the full crew was aboard and the plane was allowed to fly over populated areas.

Thomas helps us understand the mood at Boeing leading up to the B747 first flight, as well as his role as part of the first flight test team. He explains the 747 test Instrumentation, the telemetry system, and the ballast system that moved water between barrels to change the airplane’s center of gravity.

The first flight Boeing 747 is on display at The Museum of Flight in the test configuration. An excellent 3D tour of the plane is available from the Museum. See Aviation Pavilion Virtual Tour for that aircraft tour and others in the collection.

Boeing 747 test aircraft virtual tour. Courtesy The Museum of Flight.

Boeing 747 test aircraft virtual tour. Courtesy The Museum of Flight.

Videos of interest:

To learn more about upcoming activities, visit The Museum of Flight Calendar of Events. Be sure to look at Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission. This is an exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. This traveling exhibit comes to the Museum April 13th through September 2nd, 2019.

Aviation News

NTSB 2019-2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements

The National Transportation Safety Board (the NTSB) has issued its 2019-2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements. The NTSB would like the FAA to close the gap in safety requirements between commercial airlines and those operating under Part 135. The NTSB argues that all flights should be safe, no matter the purpose of the flight or the type of aircraft. Most Part 135 organizations don’t have a safety management system (SMS), flight data monitoring (FDM), or a controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) avoidance training program.

Boeing’s famous trijet 727 makes last commercial flight

In mid-January, 2019, a 38-year-old Boeing 727-200 owned by Iran Aseman Airlines became the last 727 on a commercial passenger flight. See the Boeing history page for more on the 727.

Airbnb Hires Aviation Industry Veteran to Lead New Transportation Division

Home-sharing service Airbnb has hired long-time aviation industry veteran Fred Reid to be the company’s global head of transportation. His task is “building partnerships and services that make travel seamless while delivering the kind of people-to-people hospitality Airbnb is known for around the world.” CEO Brian Chesky says, “I’m not interested in building our own airline or creating just another place on the Internet where you can buy a plane ticket, but there is a tremendous opportunity to improve the transportation experience for everyone.”

SFO unveils dramatic outdoor observation deck

A $55 million upgrade at San Francisco International Airport’s International Terminal includes a new, 3,000 square foot roofless observation deck on the Terminal G side. Since the outdoor lounge is behind security, only passengers using Terminal 3 (United) and the International G-side will have access to it. The deck offers a 180+ degree view of the ramp and runways on the north side of the airport.

San Francisco International Airport’s observation deck. Credit: Chris McGinnis | Tim Jue

San Francisco International Airport’s observation deck. Credit: Chris McGinnis | Tim Jue

Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Pilots Awarded FAA Astronaut Wings

The two Virgin Galactic test pilots who flew the SpaceShipTwo “VSS Unity” into space on December 13, 2018, were recognized in a ceremony at the Department of Transportation in Washington, DC. Mark “Forger” Stucky and Frederick “CJ” Sturckow were awarded Commercial Astronaut Wings by the FAA on February 7.

Credit: FAA/Virgin Galactic via collectSPACE.com.

Credit: FAA/Virgin Galactic via collectSPACE.com.

Collier Nominees Released

The National Aeronautic Association announced that eleven aviation and space achievements will compete for the 2018 Robert J. Collier Trophy:

The Collier Trophy Selection Committee will meet on April 4, 2019, in Arlington, Virginia, and the recipient will be announced publicly the following day. The formal presentation of the Collier Trophy will take place on June 13, 2019, at a location to be determined.

Mentioned

Red Bull Air Race app

Evening With Enshrinees Dick and Burt Rutan February 22, 2019

#PaxEx Podcast

Two podcast episodes recommended by Max Trescott:

Chicken Wings Comics

Eat at the Airport

Call for Nominations for the 2019 Aerospace Media Awards

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

538 AI and the Aviation Industry

We look at how artificial intelligence is impacting commercial aviation and a consider a few of the areas that hold the greatest promise. In the news, a concept that would have pilot conversations monitored by an AI agent, how to get new airplanes signed off by the FAA during a furlough, Norwegian Air Shuttle’s share offering, and the loss of a remarkable female military aviator.

Guest

Mark Roboff, General Manager for Digital Transformation, Aerospace & Defense at DXC.

Mark Roboff, General Manager for Digital Transformation, Aerospace & Defense at DXC.

Mark Roboff is an IT executive with over 15 years experience in artificial intelligence and related fields. He’s been a true AvGeek since he was little, and Mark loves working in aviation – first as Global Solution Leader for Aerospace at IBM, then more recently as VP of Aviation at a prominent AI startup, and now as General Manager for Digital Transformation, Aerospace & Defense at DXC. Mark has worked with OEMs, Tier-1 suppliers, and numerous airlines on AI, advanced analytics, and IoT/sensors, with a focus on key application areas such as AI-driven maintenance and autonomous flight.

Mark tells us about the state of the aviation industry with respect to AI technology and AI applications. He characterizes maintenance and flight operations as the low hanging fruit. An AI-driven predictive maintenance capability would provide great value to the airlines.

We consider what is required to close the gap and bring these applications to the industry. The need for data to teach the AI engines is key, and Mark explains how the “terabyte of data per flight” that we hear about isn’t representative of the entire fleet. Many aircraft are simply not architected to provide that volume.

Mark also explains the circumstances where AI be useful. An interesting example is prognostic maintenance models for components like seats. Premium airline seats are complex, expensive, and don’t necessarily have sensors. A health management system where AI is trained from maintenance logs offers real potential.

We also look at AI and autonomous flight. Mark points out some differences between autonomous automobiles and autonomous aircraft and how their respective technological gaps are different. Social and regulatory issues remain a challenge.

Mark has worked closely with IATA as a strategic partner on AI-driven maintenance, helping to define the next generation of aircraft health management tooling and predictive maintenance solutions. He has given keynotes at the IATA Safety & Flight Ops Conference and the IATA Maintenance Cost Conference, and he has also spoken at AviationWeek’s MRO conferences across the globe. Mark gave the AI keynote at the SAE Aerospace Standards Summit this past October and is chairing a proposed SAE committee focused on Applied AI in Safety-Critical Systems.

See these resources:

Aviation News

Airlines Mull Real-Time Monitoring of Pilot Conversations

NIIT Technologies is recommending that airlines use AI to monitor pilot voices to predict whether a crew will be late on their way to the airport, to determine if a particular pilot is the right “fit” for the job, or to monitor pilot conversations and improving safety through flight operation quality assurance (FOQA) and real-time monitoring.

The company says, “Using our data technology, we can acquire the voice of the pilot while they are flying and use AI to differentiate between what is a normal and expected conversation or determine if there is increased stress in the pilot’s voice.”

Southwest Agreed to Pay FAA for Inspector’s Time During Government Shutdown

Southwest Airlines wanted to put three new jets into service. For that, they needed the sign off of an FAA safety inspector. The problem was, the safety inspectors were furloughed during the partial government shutdown. Southwest agreed to cover the cost of briefly recalling a furloughed inspector. Is this special treatment? The Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, AFL-CIO (or PASS) feels they should have been notified.

Norwegian Air Shuttle’s Revolution Comes Unstuck

In an effort to keep the airline afloat, Norwegian is undertaking a 3 billion kroner ($353 million) rights offering. They just announced a 2.5 billion kroner yearly pretax loss and they have a 250 million euro ($286 million) bond maturing in December.

Rosemary Mariner, The First Female Military Air Commander, Dies At 65

She was the first woman to fly a tactical fighter jet in the US Navy, the first woman to land on an aircraft carrier, and the first woman to command a squadron. At age 65, Rosemary Mariner lost her 5-year battle with ovarian cancer. To honor her, a 4-plane “missing man” formation was flown by an all-women pilot and ground crew.

Mentioned

Sticks, Stories, and Scotch

Ace Combat 7

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

537 Chicken Wings Comics

The brothers who create the Chicken Wings comics tell us about the very popular cartoons with aviation humor, and 10-year-old listener Jackson reports on flying a full-motion flight simulator at the United Airlines flight training center in Denver. Also, the effects on aviation of the now-concluded partial US Government shutdown, the Airlander 10 prototype is retired, Boeing delivers two KC-46A tankers, and the Russians seem to be integrating unmanned “wingmen” with Sukhoi Su-57 fighters.

Chicken Wings Comics

Stefan Strasser (left) and Mike Strasser (right).

Guests

Stefan Strasser and Mike Strasser are the brothers behind the Chicken Wings comics. Their work is well known in the aviation community and is published globally in many different publications.

Mike Strasser is an experienced helicopter pilot and lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has many years of experience in aviation as a commercial pilot, an aircraft mechanic, and a flight instructor. Mostly, Mike now fights forest fires flying CH-47 Chinook helicopters.

Stefan Strasser lives and works near Vienna, Austria. He’s an accomplished cartoon artist and independent illustrator. He actually has a Master’s Degree in International Trade, but instead of finding a real job, Stefan decided to become a freelance artist. “Chicken Wings” is his most important project, but you can find his work in many other magazines, books, and newsletters all around the world.

Find Chicken Wings at their website, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Jackson is a 10-year-old flight sim enthusiast and fan of the podcast. He had an opportunity to visit the United Airlines flight training center in Denver to fly one of their full-motion simulators. Jackson tells us about his experience.

Chicken Wings Book Giveaway

Be sure to listen for the Chicken Wings book giveaway rules. Entries are due by February 22, 2019.

Chicken Wings book giveaway.

Chicken Wings book giveaway inscription.

 

Aviation News

Potential return of shutdown looms on air traffic controllers’ radars

The partial shutdown of the U.S. Government is over for now. The impacts on aviation have been significant, but will anything be different if it happens again?

World’s biggest aircraft, Airlander 10, moves toward commercial model

Hybrid Air Vehicles calls it part airship, part helicopter, and part plane. Others call it the “flying bum.” The prototype Airlander 10 is a hybrid helium airship. It’s being retired to be replaced by a production model that has already secured approved from the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). In addition to the Airlander 10 luxury touring airship, the Airlander 50 is being developed for the cargo or heavy lift market.

The Airlander 10. Courtesy Hybrid Air Vehicles.

The Airlander 10. Courtesy Hybrid Air Vehicles.

Surprise! Boeing hands Air Force the keys to not just one, but two KC-46 tanker jets

At the handover ceremony at the in Everett, Washington assembly plant, Boeing surprised the employees in attendance with one more KC-46 than they had been expecting. Leanne Caret, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space and Security, announced, “I am delighted to be with you all today to celebrate the delivery of the first KC-46 tanker from Boeing to the United States Air Force. Wait a minute! I’m sorry, I have made a mistake. I think I had that wrong. I believe I am delivering two KC-46 aircraft to the United States Air Force! Two!”

Oh great, Russian fighter pilots are going to start flying with scary AI wingmen

Images have been spotted of an unmanned combat vehicle called Hunter. Also seen are images of a Sukhoi Su-57 with a logo that looks like the Hunter on the tail, as well as the image of a lightning bolt.

Mentioned

An evening with Dick and Burt Rutan. This joint event by the National Aviation Hall of Fame and the Air Force Museum Foundation will be held February 22, 2019, at the National Museum of the US Air Force. You can reserve tickets at the Living History site.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

536 AOPA with Tom Haines

Tom Haines from AOPA joins us this episode to talk about the organization’s accomplishments and future priorities. In the news, we look at seven airline innovations, the fatal training accident rate, and the ANA dual engine shutdown. Also, Launchpad Marzari on snarge, plans for an around-Australia charity flight, and an idea to open Meigs Field Airport for a new kind of aviation.

Guest

Tom Haines, AOPA SVP of Media, Communications & Outreach.

Tom Haines, SVP of Media, Communications & Outreach. Courtesy AOPA.

Tom Haines is Senior Vice President, Media, Communications & Outreach for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. He hosts AOPA Live This Week with Melissa Rudinger, and he owns and flies a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza. Since soloing at 16 and earning a private pilot certificate at 17, Tom has flown more than 100 models of general aviation airplanes.

We look back at some of AOPA’s accomplishments from 2018, and ahead to future imperatives. Tom talks about ATC privatization and how the 5-year reauthorization means it is unlikely to come up again soon, the 2020 ASDB mandate and the need for agreement on the path for NextGen, and the drive for lower cost solutions for the general aviation fleet.

We also take a look at the activities of the AOPA Washington, DC office as well as the regional fly-ins planned for 2019. There will be three this year (see 2019 AOPA Fly-In locations revealed) and the season kicks off May 10 and 11, 2019 at AOPA headquarters in Frederick, Maryland, at Frederick Municipal Airport. The second fly-in will take place June 21 and 22 in Livermore, California, at Livermore Municipal Airport. The third fly-in of the season will be on Sept. 13 and 14 in Tullahoma, Tennessee, at Tullahoma Regional Airport. This year is the 80th anniversary of AOPA and the celebration at Frederick promises to be something special.

Tom touches on AOPA’s drone pilot membership and email newsletter, as well as the magazines and other resources and programs that the organization provides. The You Can Fly program offers a STEM curriculum for high school students, the Rusty Pilots initiative, and activity with flight schools to help students complete their training. The 2019 You Can Fly Challenge is now open with the Ray Foundation offering $2 million in matching funds.

Tom also explains AOPA’s role in the May 9, 2020 Arsenal of Democracy flyover. This is expected to include nearly 100 vintage warbirds in 24 formations representing the major battles of WWII.

Aviation News

These Airline Innovations Will Change the Way You Fly

Airlines are engaging aviation think tanks, looking for the next big thing. Air France and KLM have incubation studio Big Blank. IAG, the parent company of BA, Iberia, Vueling, Aer Lingus, has its accelerator, Hangar 51. Lufthansa has the Innovation Hub and JetBlue has Technology Ventures.

Seven projects are described:

  1. Facial recognition at the airport/virtual passports (BA at JFK)
  2. Interlinked services that automatically rebook after disruptions (Lufthansa’s Yilu)
  3. Flight delay prediction. (JetBlue Technology Ventures’ Lumo)
  4. Pay for flights by the hour, or in bulk, rather than one ticket at a time (JetBlue’s Skyhour and Flightpass)
  5. Automated self-driving baggage cars (BA)
  6. Real-time baggage tracking and reimbursement for “lost” bags (Lufthansa Linea)
  7. Electric VTOL flying cars.

Number of fatal training accidents drops 35%

A report from the AOPA Air Safety Institute (ASI) and Liberty University School of Aeronautics looks at 240 fatal instructional accidents in piston-engine airplanes from 2000 – 2015. The greatest risks in flight training are loss of control inflight (54%) and midair collisions (10%).

ANA Boeing 787 dual engine shutdown upon landing

B787 ANA Flight NH985 from Tokyo Haneda to Osaka Itami touched down, and when the thrust reversers were deployed the pilots noticed both Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines had shut down. Was this a software glitch? Perhaps an issue with the Thrust Control Malfunction Accommodation (TCMA) system for which Boeing has a 2002 patent?

Mentioned

Teenager Solomon will be flying around Australia in March of 2019 to raise money for Angel Flight and to promote the aviation industry to kids his age. On my trip, he will be stopping at schools to hold a fundraiser and to talk about the aviation industry. The trip is being planned to take 30 days and to visit 25 schools, covering a distance of 7,500nm with around 75 hours of flying. See Solomon’s Facebook page: SoloMan around Australia, his website, and the GoFundMe site: SoloMan Flight – Angel Flight Fundraiser.

Flyabout, a documentary film by Monika Petrillo

Willie L. Wilson, candidate for mayor, with an interesting Meigs Field proposal.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.ANA

535 SITA Lab and a Seamless Travel Experience

We learn about identity management, seamless travel at the airport, and the work of the SITA Lab. In the news: rogue drones at airports, impacts on aviation of the government shutdown, Generation 2 of the Cirrus Vision Jet, and USAF acceptance of the first KC-46 aerial tanker.

Guest

Sherry Stein, SITA LAB identity management.

Sherry Stein, SITA LAB identity management.

Sherry Stein leads the identity management program at SITA Lab, the strategic technology research arm of SITA. Sherry has over 20 years of experience in travel technology, and she has a passion for business transformation and technology innovation.

We explore the concepts of “seamless travel” and the “autonomous airport” through the advancements in airport technology that passengers can take advantage of today. That includes biometric identity management, passenger service robots, artificial intelligence, wearable devices, and single token travel through virtual or digital passports.

The Sita Lab is focused on strategic research to create a secure, frictionless travel experience through the applied use of emerging technologies and co-innovation with key industry stakeholders.  The Lab seeks to “stimulate technological innovation in the air transport industry and bring emerging technologies into SITA’s portfolio.”

SITA is an air transport IT and communications specialist. SITA’s information and communication technology solutions are used by airlines, airports, ground handlers, governments, air cargo, air navigation service providers and other organizations.

Follow SITA on Twitter at @SITAOnline, on Facebook, and YouTube.

Aviation News

Why airports can’t stop drones from causing chaos

The recent spate of rogue drone incursions has been a wake-up call for airports. A few drone flights into the airspace can have a hugely disruptive impact on airport operations. Counter drone technology is available, but airports aren’t able to immediately make them operational.

Shutdown effects are being felt at airports

Some TSA agents are calling in sick and airports are responding to the reduced security manpower.

NATCA sues US government over shutdown

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) filed suit against the US government claiming its members are being unlawfully deprived of wages because of the partial government shutdown. The lawsuit also alleges violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Cirrus Vision Jet G2 Certified

Cirrus Aircraft has received FAA certification for the Generation 2 (G2) version of its Vision Jet. New features include a higher maximum operating altitude, autothrottle, lithium-ion main-ship batteries, upgraded avionics, new cabin appointments, and additional paint schemes.

The Air Force finally takes ownership of its first Boeing tanker — with serious misgivings

The U.S. Air Force has accepted and took ownership of its first Boeing KC-46A air-to-air refueling tanker, but did not take delivery. The Air Force is still not happy with the “remote vision system” for operating the tanker’s refueling boom.

Mentioned

Eat at the Airport – Map of airports with eating establishments.

2019 You Can Fly Challenge opens: Ray Foundation offers $2 million in matching funds. For more information or to make a donation toward the Ray Foundation matching challenge, visit the AOPA Foundation website.

XP-82 Restoration Project

Accidental take-off of Victor Bob Prothero explains what happened

Extraordinary helicopter rescue in the French Alps

Elon Musk: A version of Tesla Roadster will fly thanks to SpaceX technology

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

534 Flying the DC-8 for Emergency Relief

Guest George Kalbfleisch is the Deputy Director of DC-8 Flight Operations for the Samaritan’s Purse emergency relief organization. In the news, we discuss the Twin Mustang Prototype unexpected flight, the Chinese soft landing on the back side of the moon, commercial flights that get diverted due to rocket launches, the worsening controller shortage, and paying tips to Frontier cabin crew.

Samaritans Purse DC-8 for emergency relief.

Samaritans Purse DC-8.

Guest

George Kalbfleisch uses the DC-8 for emergency relief.

George Kalbfleisch

George Kalbfleisch is Deputy Director of DC-8 Flight Operations for Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief organization. Samaritan’s Purse delivers critical emergency relief supplies to people in need around the world. Examples include the Saipan typhoon victims, Bangladesh refugees, Iraq during the battle for Mosul, the Caribbean following Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and Ecuador following a magnitude 7.8 earthquake.

George tells us about the configuration of the CFM56-powered DC-8-72, it’s range and payload capabilities, and the types of emergency relief missions it undertakes. We learn about the teams that fly and maintain the airplane, and how flight planning takes place, sometimes into devastated areas without electricity. George also treats us to a few of his most exciting and most unusual flights.

Prior to Samaritan’s Purse, George flew DC-8s with an international freight company for twenty years as captain, line check airman, sim instructor, check airman, and the aircrew program designee to issue type ratings for the airplane.

George earned his Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management at Oklahoma State University and received his pilot’s license in 1980. He is a certified airline transport pilot with type ratings in the A320, B-777, DC-8, and SA-227. George is an active General Aviation pilot who enjoys flying tail wheel and aerobatics in his spare time.

Cut away illustration. of Samaritan's Purse DC-8 used for emergency relief.

DC-8 cutaway illustration, showing the cargo and passenger compartments. Courtesy Samaritan’s Purse.

Aviation News

XP-82 Takes Accidental First Flight

Ray Fowler was conducting high-speed taxi tests of the XP-82 Twin Mustang Prototype. The plan was to lift the wheels for just a second, deploy the flaps, and roll out. Except it accelerated so fast that the plane couldn’t get back down in the remaining runway.  So up he went. See XP-82 Twin Mustang Restoration Project for more.

China’s Chang’e-4 lands on moon’s far side

China’s Chang’e-4 spacecraft made the first successful soft landing on the far side of the moon. The spacecraft combines a lander and a rover and utilizes a relay satellite Queqiao for communication. From China National Space Administration: China’s Chang’e-4 probe makes historic landing on moon’s far side.

Gridlock in the sky

The Feb 6, 2018 launch of the SpaceX Heavy Falcon closed the airspace over a 1,300-mile section the Atlantic for over three hours. Commercial flights had to fly significantly diverted routes, costing time and fuel. What happens when commercial space flight launches become frequent? ALPA says these closures “have led to extensive and expensive delays to commercial air traffic that are unsustainable.”

Government Shutdown Worsens a Controller Shortage

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association is not happy with the partial government shutdown because of its effect on members. But another consequence is the negative effect on training for new controllers. The FAA training academy in Oklahoma City is shut down, and classroom and simulator training at air traffic control facilities has stopped.

That’s a First: I Was Asked for a Tip From a Flight Attendant

PointsGuy.com writer JT Genter was on a Frontier Airlines flight. After ordering his beverage and providing his credit card, the flight attendant handed him a tablet which offered him the ability to select a tip.

Herb Kelleher, Aviation Pioneer and Southwest Airlines Founder, Dies at 87

Kelleher co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of Southwest Airlines had died at the age of 87. From Southwest: Farewell to Southwest’s Founder.

Mentioned

XP-82 Restoration Project

Eat at the Airport – Map of airports with eating establishments.

Tales from the Terminal 2019 Airport Challenge.

Arsenal of Democracy 75th World War II Victory Commemoration Flyover.

Ion Propulsion – The Plane With No Moving Parts from Real Engineering.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

533 Bits & Pieces XXIII

This is a Bits & Pieces episode with recorded segments from the hosts, contributors, and listeners.

The segments that make up this episode [with start times]:

Flight Deck PodcastSean Mobley from The Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington hosts the Museum’s “Flight Deck Podcast” and he has two clips from that show. [2:16]

 

Airplane Geeks Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari speaks with Jim Dimatteo, the race director for Red Bull Air Race. [12:26]

The decorated former TOPGUN Commander Jim DiMatteo, now Race Director of the Red Bull Air Race. Courtesy of Red Bull Air Race Media Service.

The decorated former TOPGUN Commander Jim DiMatteo, now Race Director of the Red Bull Air Race. Courtesy of Red Bull Air Race Media Service.

Red Bull race control . Photo by Launchpad Marzari.

Red Bull race control. Photo by Launchpad Marzari.

Main(e) man and Contributor-at-Large Micah tells his story called New Years Dad. The new year comes at least once annually, sometimes with thoughts of airplanes, and sometimes those thoughts come in combination with other things. Micah gives us some thoughts that occurred to him over two New Years. [32:28]

Micah and his Dad

Micah and his Dad, leaving London and headed to Paris.

Max Flight gives an update on the Eat at the Airport project. [41:36]

Eat at the Airport

Eat at the Airport

Launchpad Marzari talks with Capt Skip “Loose” Lussier (USN retired) who flew President George W. Bush in an S-3 to the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln for a televised address on May 1, 2003. [47:41]

Preflight brief.

Preflight brief.

Navy 1

Pacific Ocean (May 1, 2003) — President George W. Bush successfully traps aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) in a S-3B Viking assigned to the Blue Wolves of Sea Control Squadron Three Five (VS-35) designated “NAVY 1”. President Bush is the first sitting President to trap aboard an aircraft carrier at sea. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Airman Gabriel Piper.

Dave Homewood from the Wings Over New Zealand Show has a history segment on the de Havilland Mosquito. [1:12:57]

de Havilland Mosquito at the Warbirds Open Day at Ardmore, on the 18th of November 2018.

de Havilland Mosquito at the Warbirds Open Day at Ardmore, on the 18th of November 2018.

Mossie in the Avspecs hangar during the  WONZ Christmas party visit, 8th of December, 2018.

Mossie in the Avspecs hangar during the WONZ Christmas party visit, 8th of December, 2018.

Dr. Ellen Stofan.

Dr. Ellen Stofan. Copyright Smithsonian Institution.

David Vanderhoof attended the celebration for the 15th anniversary of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center and recorded the interview with Dr. Ellen Stofan, the new John and Adrienne Mars Director at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. She was interviewed by Pete Muntean, a Certificated Flight Instructor and a television news reporter for WUSA9 in Washington, DC. [1:27:56]

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

532 A Jet City Star

Guest Isaac Alexander gives us a taste of aviation action in the Pacific Northwest. In the news: updates on the Boeing/Embraer deal, more WOW Air woes, Virgin Galactic test flight, MRJ engine final assembly in Japan, the Northrop Grumman Firebird MALE, an airline turnback to deliver a heart, and a pet fish. Plus David’s holiday story, Voyager spacecraft, and first flight comments.

Isaac Alexander, Jet City Star, in the Spruce Goose.

Isaac Alexander, Jet City Star, in the Hughes H-4 Hercules (the Spruce Goose) at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville Oregon.

Guest

Aviation geek Isaac Alexander is a freelance aviation writer who blogs, tweets, and posts as Jet City Star from the Pacific Northwest. In the past, Isaac was on the committee for the weekend-long Aviation Geek Fest held annually in the Greater Seattle area.

Isaac tells us about the aviation scene in the Pacific Northwest, including some of the aerospace companies based there, the senior roles held by women in area organizations, new scheduled service, must-visit museums and other attractions, recent aviation events, and some events coming up in 2019.

Follow Isaac on Twitter at @jetcitystar and see these sites to learn more:

Aviation News

Brazil court overturns injunction against Boeing-Embraer deal

Last week we reported that four congressmen with Brazil’s left-wing Workers Party won an injunction in Brazilian federal court preventing the Embraer/Boeing deal from going forward. Now a Brazilian federal appeals court has overturned the injunction.

Embraer and Boeing Approved the Terms of Strategic Aerospace Partnership, Seek Brazilian Government Approval

Both companies have come to an agreement: “The approved terms define the joint venture comprising the commercial aircraft and services operations of Embraer, in which Boeing will hold an 80 percent ownership stake and Embraer will hold the remaining 20 percent. The transaction remains subject to approval by the Government of Brazil, after which Embraer and Boeing intend to execute definitive transaction documents. The closing of the transaction will then be subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.”

Embraer Welcomes Brazil’s Filing of its First Written Submission Challenging Canada’s Subsidies to Bombardier

The dispute settlement panel at the World Trade Organization is examining subsidies received by Bombardier from the Governments of Canada and Quebec. The Brazilian Government (and Embraer) say the 19 subsidies violate Canada’s WTO obligations. More details about Brazil’s First Written Submission are available in the DS522 — FACT SHEET [PDF].

Enjoy your Holiday Laser-light Display-Responsibly

Each holiday season for the past several years, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has received reports from pilots who said they were distracted or temporarily blinded by residential laser-light displays.

Flying with WOW Air? You might need to rebook as airline sells off planes, lays off employees

Budget carrier WOW Air is taking measures to keep the company in business. They announced a cut back in the number of airplanes from 20 to 11, they plan to sell four Airbus A321s, and reportedly the airline laid off 111 employees.

Virgin Galactic gets set for SpaceShipTwo flights that aim for space — but how high?

Virgin Galactic has been flight-testing its VSS Unity rocket plane, carried by SpaceShipTwo.

Mitsubishi completes first assembly of GTF PW1200G engine for MRJ jet

The Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) is exclusively powered by the Pratt & Whitney PW1200G engine. In Komaki, Japan, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Aero Engines (MHIAEL) has completed their first final assembly of the engine for the MRJ flight test program. Pratt & Whitney’s Mirabel Aerospace Center in Canada will also assemble and test the engine.

MHI completes capital bail-out of MRJ

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) bailed out/restructured debt by Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MAC).

Video from Farnborough 2018: MRJ’s delays are over, says Mitsubishi

More flying footage: The Elegant ANA Mitsubishi Regional Jet MRJ Flying at Farnborough UK

Northrop Grumman Plans To Upend Aerial Surveillance Market With Their Optionally Manned Firebird

Northrop Grumman is developing a Medium Altitude, Long Endurance (MALE) unmanned aircraft called the Firebird. It’s being developed for aerial surveillance missions and its history goes back to Northrop Grumman subsidiary Scaled Composites that built an optionally manned demonstrator which first flew in 2010.

We now know where Seattle’s airborne heart was headed after Southwest flight was turned around

Someone forgot to unload a human heart from a Southwest Airlines in Seattle. During a subsequent flight of that plane, the error was discovered and the plane was forced to return to Seattle.

Student heartbroken, humiliated after being forced to give up pet fish prior to Southwest flight

“Cassie,” the student’s beloved pet betta fish, was refused boarding on a Southwest flight, despite being allowable according to the TSA website, and previous travel on the airline.

Holiday Story

David Vanderhoof tells us a Christmas story filled with historical figures.

Mentioned

Drone shatters passenger jet’s nosecone & radar during landing (PHOTOS) and the Tweet with photos.

JPL Voyager Mission Status page.  

The Flight Claims of Gustave Whitehead

Instagram photo of DC-3 by @mikeymcbryan.

Daks Over Normandy

D-Day Squadron

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

 

531 Aerial Tankers, Again

Lockheed Martin and Airbus take another run at aerial tankers for the US Air Force, air marshals behaving badly, a Brazilian court blocks the Boeing-Embraer deal, airport biometric identity checks, a pilot and a pickup app, AOPA’s STEM program, an Antonov An-124 stationed at Houston, the Boeing 777X BBJ, and Voyager 2 in interstellar space.

Also, a aviation events Max plans to attend in 2019, his Eat at the Airport project, who flew controlled powered flight first, and more on ion drives and aircraft noise.

Airbus A330 MRTT aerial tanker.

A330 MRTT, courtesy Airbus.

Aviation News

Airbus Teams With Lockheed to Take On Boeing Tankers

In 2008, Airbus and Northrop Grumman won the contract to build tankers for the U.S. Air Force. But the award for A330-based tankers was overturned and in 2011 Boeing won the contract for  179 tankers based on the 767 aircraft, the KC-46. Since then, Boeing has been beset with difficulties and has failed to be on time or within budget. Now, Airbus and Lockheed Martin have signed a memorandum of agreement on aerial refueling and are willing to “provide aerial-refueling services to address any identified capacity shortfall and to meet requirements for the next generation of tankers capable of operating in the challenging environments of future battlespace.” See the press release: Lockheed Martin And Airbus Sign Memorandum Of Agreement On Aerial Refueling.

In-depth: Air marshal mishap led to concerns of possible hijacking at MSP control tower

Federal Air Marshal BadgeOn August 20, 2018, there was some confusion aboard a Republic Airlines flight operating as United Airlines flight 3531 from Newark to Minneapolis. Two armed air marshals were aboard the flight, and the flight and cabin crews were unaware of the marshal’s presence, one of whom identified himself by flashing his gun. The pilot reported a possible hijacking attempt and when the plane landed police arrested the two marshals.

Federal Air Marshals accused of more than 200 gun mishaps: Air marshal mishap led to concerns of possible hijacking at Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport (KMSP) control tower

The TSA’s Office of Inspection has documented more than 200 cases of air marshals allegedly misusing firearms or misbehaving with guns between 2005 and 2017, according to records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Embraer-Boeing aviation deal blocked by Brazilian court

Embraer likes the proposed tie-up with Boeing. Four congressmen with Brazil’s left-wing Workers Party not so much. They sought an injunction which a Brazilian federal court granted. The decision forbids Embraer’s board of directors from signing the deal to create a joint venture on commercial aviation that Boeing would control.

US Airport Opens First Fully Biometric Terminal

Delta Air Lines and Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport now have the first U.S. curb-to-gate biometric terminal using facial recognition. The camera-based system compares scans of travelers’ faces to a database of verified ID photos curated by US Customs and Border Protection.

Video: Delta flight boarding with facial recognition

Passenger says Delta pilot used Grindr to hit on him during flight

A passenger received a message sent inflight from the pilot via an online dating service. What should pilots do and not do with their time in the cockpit?

This high school aviation program aims to stave off the pilot shortage

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) created a four-year STEM aviation curriculum. Classes are offered to ninth grade students and involve a mix of theory and hands-on projects. Eighty U.S. public, private, and charter schools are participating.

Cargo airline to make IAH home base for massive Antonov An-124 jet

Volga-Dnepr Group will base one of its 12 Antonov AN-124-100 planes at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport. The company will provide crews, technical support teams, as well as special loading equipment.

Russian AN-124 Condor aircraft lands at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base, New Orleans from the Netherlands to deliver a diesel powered water pump in support of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. The Navy's involvement in the Hurricane Katrina humanitarian assistance operations are led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in conjunction with the Department of Defense. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Dawn C. Morrison (RELEASED)

Russian AN-124 Condor aircraft lands at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base, New Orleans from the Netherlands to deliver a diesel powered water pump in support of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Dawn C. Morrison (RELEASED)

Boeing Launches Longest-Range Business Jet Ever with BBJ 777X

Boeing Business Jets announced it is launching the BBJ 777X, which can fly more than half-way around the world without stopping, farther than any other business jet. Customers have a choice between two models: the BBJ 777-8 and BBJ 777-9. The BBJ 777-8 offers the longest range of 11,645 nautical miles and a 3,256 sq. ft. cabin. The BBJ 777-9 has a 3,689 sq. ft. cabin and an 11,000 nautical mile range.

Boeing BBJ-777X computer rendering © Boeing.

Boeing BBJ-777X computer rendering © Boeing.

NASA’s Voyager 2 Probe Enters Interstellar Space

The Voyager 2 spacecraft has now left the heliosphere – the protective bubble of particles and magnetic fields created by the Sun – and crossed into interstellar space. This follows Voyager 1, which left the heliosphere 2012. In July 2015, NASA uploaded the audio contents of the golden records to SoundCloud.

Airline Story of the Week

United CEO gives his first class seat to elderly passenger

Mentioned

AvGeekFests.com – The calendar of aviation events.

The Flying Monkey Grill and Bar at the Hartford–Brainard Airport (KHFD).

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.