AirplaneGeeks 315 – Flying for Law Enforcement

Patrice Billings in MD500E

Patrolling the skies September 11, passengers fighting over reclining seats, pilot hypoxia, a Dubai aviation mega-hub, airplane weather radar, and the new Southwest livery.


Guest Patrice Billings was the first female police officer to become a helicopter pilot for a U.S. law enforcement agency. She was flying air patrol for the the St Louis County Police Department on September 11, 2001. Patrice was a member of the SWAT Team for 10 years and was even nominated for TV’s America’s Most Wanted Heroes Award.

Now Patrice is a speaker and consultant, and brings her experience and wisdom to others by sharing stories of survival, of overcoming obstacles, and of re-inventing oneself.

We talk about flying air patrols in an MD-500E helicopter in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. Patrice relates the strangeness of a quiet airspace and the stress of not knowing if attacks were planned for additional targets. Patrice tells us her thoughts on being a woman pilot in law enforcement, and on flying the helicopter. She’s also writing a fiction novel based on her life experiences.

Follow Patrice on Twitter as @mooncopter or visit her website at Inquiries concerning motivational speaking engagements can be directed to her publicist Brenda Fraser at +1 (314) 704-4412 or

The News

Airlines’ reclining seats trigger passenger disputes

Recently, three U.S. commercial flights have had to make diverted landings after passengers got into fights over the ability to recline their seats. Frustrated with limited seat space, air travelers are turning to devices like the Knee DefenderTM that prohibit the seat in front from reclining. Some airlines, like Spirit and Allegiant, have seats that don’t recline. At Mary Kirby’s RunwayGirlNetwork, they have talked about new “butt-to-knee” and “eyeball to seat-back” measurements that better reflect the space provided to passengers.

TBM owner’s group chair crashes after becoming unresponsive
WOC-Based Boat Witnessed Weekend Plane Crash; Fishermen Watched As F-16 Jets Shadowed Aircraft Until It Crashed

Two general aviation accidents point to pilot hypoxia. We talk about what this is and what pilots should do.

Dubai Building Meg-hub in the Desert

Dubai plans to invest $32bn to create an aviation mega-hub and the home of Emirates Airline.

New airplane radar offers bigger picture on bad weather

Honeywell is manufacturing a new onboard 3-D weather radar system called IntuVue® 3-D Weather Radar. On their web page Honeywell says,

Weather-related delays & cancellations cost the U.S. economy $18B in 2007. Turbulence-related incidents cost airlines on average $150K/incident. Total cost to the industry exceeds $100M/year. Business jet operators experience approximately 180,000 flights that are delayed due to weather, costing an estimated $340M.”

The B787 uses the Rockwell Collins product: MultiScan ThreatTrackTM.

David Vanderhoof’s Airplane of the Week

Southwest livery

Southwest debuted their new livery for its 737s and David expresses his opinion. He isn’t faint of heart about what he thinks of the new scheme.

The Australia News Desk

Grant’s been at the Moorabbin Air Museum for the 75th anniversary of Wirraway A20-10, the oldest surviving Wirraway in the world. The Wirraway was based on the NA-16 (which became the T6 Texan) and was made in Australia by the Commonwealth Aircraft Company.

In other news, the RAAF sends two E7A Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft to Red Flag in Alaska, and the Army’s Tiger ARH simulators get a major graphics upgrade.

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.

Across the Pond

Sea Fury T20

Lt Cdr Chris Götke pictured with Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown CBE DSC AFC Royal Navy (95) the Royal Navy’s most decorated and distinguished Naval Test Pilot, in front of Sea Fury T20 just before he took off to fly to the Air Day at RNAS Culdrose

Pieter Johnson continues his reports on historic aircraft with the sad news of the recent crash landing of the Royal Navy Historic Flight’s Hawker Sea Fury T.20 last month. Having saved the aircraft from almost total write off with a textbook landing Lt Commander Chris Gotke (‘Goaty’) walked away safe and well. We now need this aircraft back where it belongs….In the air.

See the Sea Fury Appeal at the Fly Navy Heritage Trust website.

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


The NACA Centenary: 100 Years of Aerospace Research and Development

NASA is co-hosting a history symposium (along with the Air & Space Museum) March 3-4, 2015 to mark the centennial of the creation of the NACA [National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics]. They are looking for people to write/present papers on some aspect of NACA/NASA history. The deadline for proposals is Sept 15.

Google Is Building Self-Flying Planes

Google has been working a secret drone project called Project Wing. They are testing deliveries by drone in Australia with vertical takeoff, fixed wing aircraft. The article has a good video.

A-10 Replacement?

Here’s a great video from one of the A-10 designers, Peirre Sprey. He goes into great detail on the design requirements that went into the Warthog.  Mr Sprey explains why there is no aircraft on deck to replace the A-10.  The present view of having the F-35, F-16, or F-15E pick up the A-10s close support mission is a pipe dream.

The Moth Podcast, Michael Massimino: A View of the Earth, released August 26, 2014

Astronaut Michael Massimino tells his story of dreams and persistence in getting and living a career.

International Auster Club

A club dedicated to Auster and Beagle owners and pilots.

Altitude Group LLC

First run of the V8 engine powering their new P85 kit aircraft. The P85 is a derivation of Altitude Group’s Radial Rocket airframe, with changes to accommodate a V8 firewall forward powerplant package utilizing the LS series of V8 engines.

Retired Airline Captain Christopher Brown Sets Out on Solo Flight from Montreal to Vancouver to Commemorate 75th Anniversary of First Canadian Transcontinental Flight

On September 16, 2014, retired airline Captain Christopher Brown will set out on Arcadia Mission 2014, a solo flight mission from Montreal to Vancouver, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the first Canadian intercontinental flight. Aboard Arcadia, a restored 1961 Beechcraft Bonanza, Chris will make stops in Ottawa, North Bay, Kapuskasing, Regina, Winnipeg and Lethbridge.

More Time to Comment on FAA Hangar-Use Policy

The Federal Aviation Administration will allow an additional 30 days to comment on its proposed hangar-use policy under an extension granted Tuesday following multiple requests from the GA community.


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

2 thoughts on “AirplaneGeeks 315 – Flying for Law Enforcement

  1. Ric Teves

    Now that I have a four hour commute to KEWR twice a week, the podcast comes in handy. Keep up the good work.
    One question about pressurizatuon came up. Max Trescott discussed that there was less oxygen at altitude. My understanding is there is the same amount of oxygen everywhere but there is less pressure at altitude. That’s why we pressurize cabins to compensate.
    Good insight on systems from your hosts on the TBM and the Cirrus. Every pilot who operates an aircraft that can exceed 24k ft needs a sign off for high altitude flight. That might have helped the TBM pilot. If the light or audible warning sounds get on oxygen AND decend. Declare the emergency.
    I’ve flown Beechjets, King Air 350’s and currently on a DHC-8. Think back to the B200 over Louisiana (I believe) a couple of years ago. Windshield goes south and the pilots disengage the autopilot before donning oxygen masks. Bad move.
    Keep the shinny side up.

  2. Max Flight

    Thanks, Ric. Does it work like this: Same percentage of oxygen in air everywhere; at higher altitudes air is less dense (less pressure); so less oxygen per unit volume? Meaning less oxygen per breath? [Also less nitrogen and the other stuff per breath, but the body doesn’t care about that.]

    Then again, maybe the oxygen transfer in the lungs decreases at lower pressure?

    Either way, the pilot is getting insufficient oxygen into the system.

    For more on pilots and hypoxia, listen to Capt. Jeff on Airline Pilot Guy #134. He’s got some really good ATC recordings that vividly demonstrate what happens:

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