The Sun Flyer solar-electric General Aviation airplane, the FAA and GA accidents, the SpaceShipTwo accident, the Ford bomber plant, and the last MD-11 passenger flight.
George Bye is CEO of Bye Aerospace and also Chairman of AEAC, the Aero Electric Aircraft Corporation which was created to produce and market the Aero Electric “Sun Flyer,” a two seat solar-electric general aviation aircraft.
George is an ATP rated pilot who has logged over 4,000 flying hours. He was a USAF instructor pilot in the Northrop T-38 Talon, a C-141B Aircraft Commander, and he is a Desert Storm veteran.
George has developed a number of aircraft and technologies, including electric and solar UAVs, and the Javelin, that beautiful two-seat jet that was intended for military training as well as civil use.
We talk with George about the technology and the economic imperative of the Sun Flyer solar electric aircraft. The current synergy of technology in aerodynamics and structure, motors, batteries, and solar cells creates the possibility of a solar electric trainer with significantly lower cost of operation.
A USA Today article titled “Investigation: Post-crash fires in small planes cost 600 lives” says that in the early 1990s the FAA proposed changes for small aircraft that would help prevent post-crash fires. But the cost of installing the equipment on new airplanes was deemed to be “too high compared to the dollar value of the lives that would be saved.” So the changes were not implemented and since 1993 604 people have died from post-crash fires.
Shortly after being released by the WhiteKnightTwo, the rocket powered SpaceShipTwo came apart, killing one of the two pilots.
Virgin Galactic was founded by Richard Branson to provide commercial space tourism. The WhiteKnightTwo airplane is powered by commercially available jet engines and carries the rocket-powered of SpaceShipTwo to altitude. SpaceShipTwo is released, fires it’s rocket motor, and shoots up to suborbital space. From there, it glides to a landing.
Before the accident, listener Trevor sent in a link to a fascinating video: Commercial Jetliner Joined by Virgin Galactic.
During WWII, the Ford Bomber Plant at Willow Run in Ypsilanti, Michigan produced the B-24 Liberator. Since then the facility changed owners, but now it will be saved to become a museum. The Yankee Air Museum will now become the National Museum of Aviation and Technology at Historic Willow Run.
The last commercial passenger revenue flight by a McDonnell Douglas MD-11 has taken place. It was a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight from Montreal to Amsterdam. KLM planned events around the flight and many aviation enthusiasts were onboard.
David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week
The deHavilland Canada DHC-7 or DASH-7.
Rob Mark’s Aviation Minute
Rob thanks the men and women who worked tirelessly to restore ATC service after the Chicago Center fire.
Across the Pond
Matt Willis returns to talk with Pieter Johnson about Naval Air History and his latest projects including the Fairey Barracuda, a new novel, and why the P51 has so many myths surrounding it. Follow @NavalAirHistory on Twitter.
From photographer Paul Filmer: