AirplaneGeeks 304 – Searching Out Interesting Aircraft

MiG-29SE Fulcrum of the Bangladesh Air Force

We talk about about the USA Today general aviation safety report, airline social media strategy, the youngest person to circumnavigate Australia solo, something new in the search for MH 370, the airline market in Scandinavia, and carbon airplane brakes.


Bernie Leighton travels around the world in search of aircraft to learn about, experience, and photograph. He’s been obsessed with Russian aviation in particular since he was very young. Bernie writes his stories for

Bernie will go anywhere to fly on anything. He spent four years in Australia learning about how to run an airline, while putting his learning into practice by mileage running around the world. You can usually find Bernie in his natural habitat: an airport.

We talk with Bernie about some of the interesting planes he’s found and even flown on, how he selects his destinations, and photography (his collection is on Flickr). We also learn about Russian ekranoplan ground effect aircraft and where you can get your own small passenger ekranoplan, the  Aquaglide  from the Russian Arctic Trade and Transport Company. They have a video library of photographs.

Bernie has flown in a Genex AN-26 in Belarus in Eastern Europe, landing with a cargo door stuck open. He characterizes flying in Russia like this: the Russian aviation  culture is operational practicality with a respect for safety, versus Western devotion to safety at the expense of operations.

The week’s aviation news

Safety last: Lies and coverups mask roots of small-plane carnage

In the past five decades, almost 45,000 people have been killed in private planes and helicopters. Investigations have said pilots caused or at least contributed to 86% of those accidents.USA Today says their investigation shows that many accidents are caused by defective parts and dangerous designs, and manufacturers have covered up problems and lied to regulators.

Airlines: Is a Customer Service Mindset at Odds with a Social Media Culture?

Marisa Garcia writes about the airline passenger experience in her Flight Chic blog. In this post, she blogs about a discussion of airline social media strategy at the SITA IT Summit in Brussels. American Airlines has built a large, very responsive social media culture that involves many employees at many levels. JetBlue Airways seems to favor more of a traditional, face-to-face customer support strategy.

David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week

Cessna Skymaster

The Cessna 336/337 O-2A  Skymaster. Cessna’s push-me-pull-me went from Air Taxi to director of air strikes in South East Asia. The aircraft’s chainsaw buzz brings back fond memories to both Rob and David.

The Australia News Desk

This week the boys are chatting with Alex Fisher, a 17 year old who’s currently flying solo around Australia to raise funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and become the youngest person to circumnavigate Australia solo by aircraft in the process.

Find more information at his Flight of Solidarity website and follow him on Twitter at @fltofsolidarity.

Find more from Grant and Steve at the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast, and follow the show on Twitter at @pcdu. Steve’s at @stevevisscher and Grant at @falcon124.

Rob Mark’s Aviation Minute

Rob tells us about the deleted files from the MH 370 pilot’s flight simulator.

Across the Pond

This week Pieter returns to talk to Marisa Garcia about the airline market in Scandinavia. They discuss key airline and airport developments and focus on Norway. Marisa can be found at

Find Pieter on Twitter as @Nascothornet, on Facebook at XTPMedia, and at the Aviation Xtended podcast.


It’s a Boat… It’s a Plane… It’s BOTH

Bernie Leighton’s article and photographs in Read all of Bernie’s Airline Reporter articles.

Airline Pilot Guy

Captain Jeff’s excellent aviation podcast. In the listener feedback segment, Jeff gives us a good lesson on carbon brakes on airliners.

Heavens Above

This site for astronomy enthusiasts will let you find Iridium Flares, as well as lots of other information.

Pentagon IDs 17 of 52 killed in 1952 Alaskan plane crash

The remains of 17 people onboard the C-124 Globemaster which crashed in 1952 will be returned to their families.


This is a good post on why the FAA needs to get Unmanned Aerial System regulations right.

Jodi in a Top Cub

Jodi in a Top Cub

Listen to the NBAA Flight Plan podcast from the National Business Aviation Association.

Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at