AirplaneGeeks 384 Plane Spotting with Ben Granucci

NYCAviation.com editor Ben Granucci on plane spotting, CEO change at Spirit Airlines, drone news from the 2016 CES, a new FAA app, the Airbus A350, hand flying the airplane, five-engine airplanes, and the odd-looking Northrop Tacit Blue.

Guest

Ben Granucci inside Fedex A300 at EWR's Airport Day

Ben Granucci inside Fedex A300 at EWR’s Airport Day. Photo by Maggie Bradley.

Ben Granucci is the Standards Editor for NYCAviation.com, a New York City-based, globally focused aviation news, commentary, and enthusiast website. He is an avid aviation photographer and a lifelong avgeek. In addition to his work with NYCAviation, Ben also occasionally writes for AirlineReporter.com. Follow him on Twitter at @blgranucci and visit his Facebook page.

Some of Ben’s favorite photos:

Plane spotting at St Maarten

Plane spotting at St Maarten

A Tarom A310 carrying the Hungarian delegation taxis to depart while a Cathay Pacific 777-300ER lifts off in the background during UN Week 2015.

A Tarom A310 carrying the Hungarian delegation taxis to depart while a Cathay Pacific 777-300ER lifts off in the background during UN Week 2015.

An F-22 Raptor and P-51 Mustang perform the Heritage Flight during day 2 of the first ever New York Air Show.

An F-22 Raptor and P-51 Mustang perform the Heritage Flight during day 2 of the first ever New York Air Show.

A LAN Airlines A320 departs Santiago, Chile at sunset.

A LAN Airlines A320 departs Santiago, Chile at sunset.

News

Behind The Sudden Departure of Spirit Airline’s Wildly Unconventional CEO

The Spirit Airlines board announced that board member Robert Fornaro would replace Ben Baldanza as the CEO of the ultra low-cost airline. Fornaro was the AirTran CEO who managed the sale to Southwest  2011. While Spirit remains profitable, it is less so than before, and stock prices have tumbled. Could there be a merger in Spirit’s future?

See also:

It’s Official: Human-Carrying Drones Are Happening

EHang 184

EHang 184

China-based EHang announced its EHang 184 autonomous electric drone at CES, and says it should be in production in a year. The aircraft carries a single passenger, is limited to a 23 minute flight, and is expected to have a price of $200,000-$300,000.

B4UFLY Smartphone AppB4UFLY

At CES, FAA Administrator Huerta announced the public release of the B4UFLY app for iOS, and the beta of a version for the Android operating system. The FAA says, “B4UFLY tells users about current or upcoming requirements and restrictions in areas of the National Airspace System (NAS) where they may want to operate their unmanned aircraft system (UAS).”

FAA fails to ensure pilots’ manual flying skills: government report

The U.S. Transportation Department Office of the Inspector General released a report saying the FAA is not ensuring that airline pilots maintain the skills they need to take control from automated systems during an unexpected event.

FAA Wants GA Hand Flying Skills Checked

The FAA has issued a new advisory circular for flight instructors that promotes hand flying skills during flight reviews and proficiency checks. The AC says, “The FAA reminds CFIs conducting flight reviews and IPCs to ensure that a pilot under evaluation is proficient with the automated system and knows what to do if it fails.”

That time when we strapped an extra engine onto a jumbo

Qantas ferried a Rolls Royce engine from Sydney to Johannesburg so it could be used on another B747. See the video: Qantas’ Five-Engined Boeing 747-400 Ferry Flight Takes Off From Perth. Some years ago, Aviation Week covered Pratt & Whitney’s 747SP flying testbed with a “fifth engine” GTF.

PW B747SP flying testbed

P&W B747SP flying testbed with the PW1200G. Source: Pratt & Whitney.

The Airplane of the Week

David tells us about the ugliest airplane ever, the Northrop Tacit Blue.

Northrop Tacit Blue

Northrop Tacit Blue, courtesy National Museum of the US Air Force

Across the Pond

Pieter talks to FlightChic Marisa Garcia about the A350, Finnair, RyanAir and the sad new unfolding of an accident in Sweden.

ATP Finnair

Mentioned

Aviation centennials in 2016:

The 3 Plane Crashes You’ve Never Heard Of: Aviation’s Sacrificial Lambs by Phil Derner Jr. in NYCAviation.

Jack Dunn Stories – Stories from a long time aviator, captured in video.

Tracey Curtis-Taylor finishes UK to Australia biplane flight – Tracey Curtis-Taylor flew her 1942 Boeing Stearman Spirit of Artemis from Farnborough to Sydney, retracing pioneer Amy Johnson’s 1930 flight.

NASA Research Could Save Commercial Airlines Billions in New Era of Aviation

Credit

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

 

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