A longtime AvGeek plans to present photographs and tell the stories of vintage aviation. Also, an electric airplane company goes under, the FAA publishes new ADS-B pre-flight policy, the massive GE9X engine gets Guinness Book of World Records recognition, commercial aviation is in the crosshairs of environmentalists, the latest on “DB” Cooper, and a hotel room with a full flight simulator.
Martt Clupper and the restored 1959 Super Cub.
Martt Clupper is planning to create the Vintage Aviation print magazine to show the photographs and tell the stories of early aviation. Martt has a Kickstarter Campaign to create the premier issue of the magazine that will showcase historical photographs and provide in-depth storytelling of vintage aviation, focusing on the period from the early 1900s until 1960. He is also producing episodes of Vintage Aviation Podcast.
Zunum Aero benefited from Boeing and JetBlue investments as it sought to develop hybrid electric airplanes. But Zunum has run out of cash and the company has laid off employees and reportedly vacated its facilities. Zunum Aero founder Matt Knapp was our guest in Episode 453 The Zunum Aero Electric Airplane.
Under the circumstances identified in this policy, the FAA is providing assurance to operators that it will not consider degradation in Global Positioning System performance due to conditions outside the operator’s control that results in an operation falling below ADS–B rule requirements to constitute non-compliance provided the operator has exercised appropriate due diligence prior to conducting an operation.
The GE9X has been officially declared by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most powerful jet engine at 134,300 pounds of thrust. The engine, which will power the Boeing 777X, produced this thrust during an engineering test in November 2017. GE announced the record this month as part of their 100-year celebration.
Environmentalism continues to grow and commercial air travel is a target. France has announced an “eco-tax” and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is urging travelers to consider flying less, especially over short distances. In Europe, rail is a viable alternative, but not so much in the US.
The mystery identity of “DB” Cooper has stymied law enforcement since he parachuted out the back of a Northwest Orient 727 in 1971 with $200,000 in cash. Some speculated that Robert Rackstraw was “DB” Cooper. Cold case expert Thomas Colbert wrote that the evidence pointed to Rackstraw. Now Rackstraw family members say the man has just died of natural causes at age 75.
We talk with the president of VREF about aircraft valuation. In the news, we look at a replacement for the Fat Albert C-130, an electric airplane being developed by Solar Impulse 2 pilot André Borschberg, EASA concerns with the 737 MAX, additive manufacturing in aerospace, and a supersonic flight challenge that is not about the boom. We also have interviews with a Boeing T-X experimental test pilot and a Major General with the Japanese Ministry of Defense on the C-2 transport aircraft.
Jason Zilberbrand, president of VREF.
Jason Zilberbrand is president & CTO of VREF Aircraft Value Reference and Appraisal Services. He is an aircraft appraiser, expert witness, broker, inventorying dealer, acquisition agent, aircraft owner and operator, contract negotiator, consultant, teacher, conference speaker, and an author.
VREF delivers aircraft and engine data through online subscription services and published quarterly digests. The company provides valuations, appraisals, and litigation consulting services to a worldwide client base of aviation professionals including, law firms, banks, financial institutions, leasing companies, manufacturers, aircraft owners, aircraft operators, and suppliers. VREF is the official Valuation Guide and Appraisal company for AOPA.
Jason says that VREF tracks about 6800 models and 440 makes. He explains how aircraft valuation is determined, who wants to see the appraisal and why. He touches on how experimental and low volume aircraft are handled, including warbirds. We take a look at the current “seller’s market” and also consider the implications of large numbers of turbine aircraft that are not ADS-B compliant.
VREF is launching a new-from-the-ground-up application that will provide scrap value. VREF is also switching to a tiered service model. Tier 1 will continue the traditional service while Tier 2 will add fair market value and inventory. Orderly liquidation and future residual values come with Tier 3.
Jason is watching the growth of electric aircraft, and the company is even bringing in a couple of drone appraisers. VREF is also adding cybersecurity capability to provide flight department assessments.
Jason spent 25 years in General Aviation working directly with aircraft owners and operators. He owned and operating his own aircraft as well. Jason knows the international aviation marketplace well and is considered an expert in aircraft valuations and aircraft transactions.
Founded in 1994, VREF is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa with offices in Chicago, Rockford, Los Angeles, Boise, Daytona Beach Florida, Austria, Switzerland, Australia, and Shanghai China.
The Blue Angels C-130T support aircraft known as Fat Albert is scheduled to be replaced in 2020 with a C-130J purchased from the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence for $29.7million. A new C-130J would cost $50 million more.
André Borschberg (our guest in Episode 361) and Bertrand Piccard flew around the world in the Solar Impulse 2. Now Borschberg has started a new company called H55 to build practical electric airplanes, starting with a two-seater that achieves a 90 minute flight time. The Bristell Energic flight trainer is a modified version of a BRM Aero airplane.
The Washington Post reports that the FAA had been frustrated by the number of safety issues at Boeing and the company’s repeated failure to rectify the situation as agreed. That led to a 2015 settlement agreement that bundled all the problems with one $12 million fine and one corrective action plan for systemic issues. But the degree to which Boeing has lived up to the agreement is being questioned.
Carnegie Mellon University’s Next Manufacturing Center and Manufacturing Futures Initiative (MFI) has been selected by NASA to lead a research team to examine new ways to build and power aircraft of the future. Metals additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing “has had a significant impact on aviation manufacturing for jet engine components, airframe structural elements, and other applications.”
The project will explore new methods for using additive manufacturing to reduce costs and increase the speed of mass-producing aircraft without sacrificing quality, reliability, and safety. Process qualification is a challenge and a focus area.
Partners include Argonne National Laboratory, ANSYS, Lockheed Martin, Trumpf, Eaton, General Electric, Pratt & Whitney, Northrop Grumman, Metal Powder Works, Siemens, Materials Solutions and The Barnes Group.
Developers of supersonic airplanes have to deal with the sonic boom problem, but there is another issue looming: increased carbon footprint. Fuel burned per passenger is high with the speedy new designs. Boom Supersonic has addressed this by stating the company’s commitment to green aviation and an alternative fuel partnership with Prometheus Fuels.
Paris Air Show Interviews
Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari brings us his final two interviews from the Paris Air Show.
Matthew (Phat) Giese, Chief Pilot F15/F22 Programs and T-X Experimental Test Pilot talks about the Boeing T-X that will replace the T-38.
Boeing T-X, courtesy Boeing.
Masahito Goto, Ph.D., Major General, Deputy Director General, Japanese Ministry of Defense talks about the C-2 Transport Aircraft.
C-2, courtesy ATLA.
David Hamilton, last living WWII Pathfinder pilot drops paratroopers out of C-47 on his 97th birthday.
97 year old (on July 20, 2019) Lt Col David Hamilton, enlisted on December 8, 1941. Dave then trained as a C-47 pilot and then later as a Pathfinder pilot. Pathfinder aircrews were specially trained WWII aircrews who flew C-47s that had cutting edge navigational equipment. Prior to the major airborne operations in the European Theater of Operation, these aircrews were tasked with dropping in specially trained pathfinder paratroopers to set up radar equipment on the drop zones to which the other C-47s would navigate when carrying in the main force of the airborne troops. Dave did this function during Operation Overlord at Normandy on D-Day, Operation Dragoon in Southern France, and Operation Market Garden in Holland. Dave also led in the aircraft for the supply drop to the 101st Airborne when they were surrounded at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. (Dave led in 27 planes and led out 9 on that mission.) Sadly, Dave is the last living Pathfinder pilot who flew all those missions.
Lt Col David Hamilton and past guest Christine Negroni with the D-Day Squadron at Waterbury-Oxford Airport. Photo by Max Flight.
Dave just returned from England and France where he flew across the English Channel in a WWII veteran aircraft (C-53) as part of the D-Day Squadron formation of American C-47s and C-53s which flew across the channel on 5 June. Dave was actually at the controls of the C-53 for part of that flight 75 years after he made his original D-Day flight. (Yes, the pathfinders did take off on 5 June 1944) When Dave was in England, he was honored in North Witham by folks who live near where the RAF base from which he flew the D-Day mission was located and was a guest at the ceremonies at the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach on June 6. Dave was pretty much treated like a rock star everywhere he went in England and France!!
Dave and the 75th anniversary of D-Day are going to be honored again at this year’s 5 October Wings Out West Airshow in Dave’s home town of Prescott, Arizona where another WWII D-Day veteran, the C-53 “D-Day Doll”, will be doing a drop of WWII type paratroopers to honor Dave and the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Also, Dave is going to be inducted into the San Diego Air and Space Museum Hall of Fame in November and he has been invited by the CAF to be in one of the WWII aircraft that will overfly the Mall in Washington D.C. during the 75th celebration of VE day in May 2020.
D-Day Doll. Photo by Max Flight.
Dave is also going to be in the cockpit of a C-47 near Frederick Oklahoma dropping the Airborne Demonstration Team’s (ADT) WWII style paratroopers on July 20, 2019, which happens to be Dave’s 97th birthday. The Frederick Oklahoma airfield is the home of Frederick Army Air Field (FAAF) which still has a wonderful WWII era wooden hanger in which sit a couple of C-47s, various WWII vehicles. FAAF is the home of the ADT’s WWII style jump school, complete with all the paraphernalia such a jump school would need, such as parachute packing tables, training hangers, mess hall, classroom, barracks, etc. When one walks into the FAAF hanger one steps back in time 75 years. ADT runs WWII style jump schools several times a year. July 20th will also be ADT’s “Open Hangar Day” for the graduation ceremony for the jumpers who have completed the 5 jumps required to graduate from their July Jump School.
Come on out to FAAF for a great story about the last living Pathfinder dropping paratroopers on his 97th birthday.
The president of Hoar Program Management tells us about plans for the Boom Supersonic Overture facility. In the news, we discuss Bombardier’s actions to exit commercial aviation, a government probe into production practices of the 787 Dreamliner, and UTC’s project for a hybrid-electric regional plane. We also talk with a 14-year-old who flew a glider from California to Maine solo, and an interview with PPG from the Paris Air Show.
Mike explains the primary criteria used to select the initial target list of sites: the amount of developable land, minimum runway length, and proximity to a supersonic test corridor. The next phase will involve a deeper dive into the candidate sites and creating a shortlist. The final site selection should occur by early 2020 and will consider a number of factors, including a cultural fit between Boom Supersonic and the local community.
The facility design process will take perhaps a year, followed by 2 to 3 years of construction. All this to support first flight in the mid-2020s. HPM performed the same service for Airbus in developing their Mobile, Alabama A320 facility.
As for Boom Supersonic, they are currently assembling the XB-1, a Mach-2.2 supersonic demonstrator aircraft. Data from XB-1 test flights will help refine the design of Overture which will hold 55-75 pax in a 170’ fuselage with a 60’ wingspan. Japan Airlines and Virgin Group have thirty of the all business class tri-jet on pre-order. Boom Supersonic founder and CEO Blake Scholl was our guest in Episode 463, published in August 2017.
Mike has led HPM since its inception in 1997, and his team of more than 150 professionals is engaged in the management of capital building projects located throughout the US and in Europe. Over its 22-year history, Mike and his team have grown the company from a division of a southern US-based construction company into its own nationally-ranked program management firm which handles almost a billion dollars of construction value for clients on an annual basis. A native of Louisiana, Mike began his career in construction in Atlanta after receiving his civil engineering degree from Tulane University.
United Technologies Corp. (UTC) is developing a hybrid-electric flight demonstrator based on a Bombardier Dash 8 regional turboprop. “Project 804” replaces one of the engines with a two-megawatt hybrid-electric engine. The hybrid-electric powerplant is produced through a collaboration between its Collins Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney subsidiaries. First flight should take place “in about three years.”
P&W president Bob Leduc is retiring and Chris Calio will be replacing him. Leduc started his long career in engineering. Calio has a legal background. Both men held senior leadership positions at various UTC aerospace units.
According to “sources” Boeing has been subpoenaed for records relating to 787 Dreamliner in production in South Carolina. This after reports of poor quality work at that facility. The DOJ is also conducting a criminal investigation into the certification and design of the 737 MAX.
Bombardier has sold its regional jet business to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for $550 million in cash. Bombardier will now focus on trains and private planes. Bombardier will assemble the remaining backlog of regional jets for Mitsubishi, then cease production. That should be in the second half of 2020.
Riley Speidel, Glider Pilot
Riley Speidel comes from a flying family. Her father, grandfather, grandmother and aunt are all pilots. With flying in her blood, Riley soloed a glider just after her fourteenth birthday and shortly after that, she flew a glider solo from Marina, California to Sanford, Maine. Our Main(e) Man Micah caught up with her at the Southern Maine Aviation FBO.
Riley and Micah.
David Palermo, PPG Transparencies
David Palermo is the PPG Global Director, Military and Defense Transparencies. Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari spoke with David at the Paris Air Show about windshields and canopies.
What to expect at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019. In the news, we discuss a woman trapped in an airliner, crosswind testing in Iceland, the Boeing 737 MAX grounding, and the Paris Air Show.
Dick Knapinski, EAA director of communications, and Karen Kryzaniak, EAA’s vice president of risk management and human resources, accept the inaugural Community Partnership Award from the City of Oshkosh in recognition of 50 consecutive years of EAA fly-in conventions in the city. Photo courtesy EAA.
Dick Knapinski is the director of communications for the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). In this preview of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, Dick explains that the July 22-28, 2019 event represents the 50th consecutive year in Oshkosh, and describes how EAA AirVenture has changed over time as well as what to expect in 2019.
This year is also the 50th anniversary of the landing on the moon and Apollo 11 command module pilot Michael Collins will be a featured guest. Burt Rutan and many of his aircraft designs will also be at Osh, along with air force demo teams and other performers.
The drone cage returns with demonstrations and hands-on opportunities. Urban air mobility (UAM) is getting increased attention from prominent aviation companies and startups and AirVenture will offer opportunities to discuss and explore that topic.
Dick explains that people come to Oshkosh (and come back year after year) for their own personal reasons, but the week-long event offers it all. He also has some tips for first-timers, both those flying in and those arriving by other means of transportation.
Crosswind testing at Keflavik International Airport was banned following the 2013 Sukhoi SSJ100 crash. Boeing and Airbus have wanted to resume certification testing in Iceland and may once again have the opportunity.
Innovations in Flight adds special indoor exhibitors and an outdoor fly-in to the regular museum exhibits. This podcast has had the honor of being included as an exhibitor for many years. The aircraft outside include military, commercial, and private aircraft, several of which were flown in by Airplane Geeks listeners.
This year, Airplane Geeks was represented by Max Flight, our Main(e) Man Micah, and Robert Fairbairn. During the course of the day, we recorded a number of interviews for this episode:
Betty Chen from the Vertical Flight Society, a non-profit technical society for the advancement of vertical flight. The organization was formerly known as the American Helicopter Society. [6:33]
Past guests Jonathan Baron and his son Thomas talk about the Shark airplane and give us an update on the Remora heads up display for GA showing airspeed and AOA to reduce loss-of-control accidents. [20:14]
We meet Oscar Gagliardi Kindlimann who flew Republic P-47 Thunderbolts and other aircraft in the Peruvian air force in the 1950’s. [30:16]
Oscar Gagliardi’s Peruvian Air Force pilot wings.
Also exhibiting at the museum was the Bishop O’Connell High School engineering club. We talk with students Kayvon and Alex about creating and launching “thin-sat” satellites into extremely low earth orbit. [38:27]
The Smithsonian’s Family Day Coordinator Nick Murray talks about the Innovations in Flight event, which draws the second largest crowd of visitors to the museum each year. (You’ll have to listen to find out what event draws more!) [50:14]
Victoria Neuville from the Stuck Mic AvCast came to the event representing the Ninety-Nines, an international organization of women pilots. She flew into Dulles in an AutoGyro. [1:00:35]
Regional jet pilot Frank Noe also flew in on a gyroplane (or autogyro or gyrocopter). [1:06:39]
Since we last saw him, First Officer Craig has become Captain Craig, flying the Embraer 175. [1:10:08]
Lt. Col. Katrina Davis is the Admissions Liaison Officer for the US Air Force Academy. The Academy provides opportunities for students in many areas and she explains the Academy Admissions process. [1:23:05]
Air & Space Magazine Art Director Ted Lopez tells us about the magazine’s new look and explains what makes a good photograph to accompany an article. [1:36:12]
Past guest Princess Aliyah Pandolfi from the Kashmir World Foundation gives us an update on the foundation’s activities, including drone workshops now taught internationally and the Teachers Take Flight program. [1:43:38]
Microsoft Flight Simulator returns in 2020, Launchpad Marzari talks with the operations manager and the chief pilot at Skydive Spaceland San Marcos, the Boeing 737 has an issue with slats, fun facts about business jets, Raytheon and United Technologies propose a merger, airport facial scans raise privacy concerns, and an electric hybrid Cessna 337 Skymaster takes flight.
Advocacy group No Plane, No Gain offers data that illustrates the importance of business aviation, such as jobs supported, economic activity, accessibility to locations not served by airlines, humanitarian missions, and many more.
Under the proposed merger, UTCs aerospace unit would combine with Raytheon in an all-stock transaction to create Raytheon Technologies Corporation. As previously planned, Carrier and Otis would spin off UTC as distinct companies.
The Ampaire Inc. six-seat Cessna 337 Skymaster was retrofitted with a proprietary battery-powered electric propulsion system that replaces the rear combustion engine. The “resulting system is a ‘parallel hybrid’, meaning the internal combustion engine and electric motor work in concert to optimize power output as the plane flies.”
Skydive Spaceland (Part 2)
Two final interviews conclude the report by Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari on his visit to Skydive Spaceland: Thomas Hughes, Operations Manager, Skydive Spaceland, San Marcos; and Chief pilot Matt Wampler.
Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari goes skydiving! Our Main(e) Man Micah talks with Bunk and Diana Chase about the Spurwink Farm Pancake Breakfast & Fly-In. A proud papa talks with a new Civil Air Patrol cadet, and more on cryogenic hydrogen fuel cells for electric airplanes. In the news, an eVTOL with a claimed 400-mile range, the CBS interview with Boeing’s CEO, a report on assumptions made during 737 MAX design and certification, and a rather strange story about trapping flight attendants in the plane.
Alaka’i Technologies is an electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) air taxi company in the news. The Massachusetts-based company says their Skai aircraft will hold five passengers, including a pilot for up to four hours of flight time with a 400-mile range.
In a CBS interview, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg apologized for the crashes. “Boeing and the FAA continue efforts to implement a software fix that corrects the fatal flaws in the 737 MAX’s new MCAS technology (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System)…”
The New York Times describes a scenario where the MCAS was originally designed with multiple sensor inputs for a specific scenario but later enlarged the scope and dropped some of those inputs. The changes weren’t fully understood and “test pilots, engineers, and regulators were left in the dark…”
A Delta’s operations control center employee told the Delta gate agent to keep the door shut while some maintenance was performed. “Do not open door,” the message read. “flt attendants out of time and none available.” Delta says it was a breakdown of company protocol.
Launchpad visits Skydive Spaceland
Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari visited Skydive Spaceland and he tells us about his skydiving experience. Tandem instructor Andrew Lee talks about the qualifications for becoming a jump instructor.
Bunk and Diana Chase live a true airplane geek life. In the summer they live next to the Limington-Harmon Airport in Limington, Maine. In the winter they move to Lakeland, Florida where Bunk volunteers at the Central Florida Aerospace Academy and Diana works with SUN ‘n FUN media. Bunk and Diana are also part of the original group to start the Spurwink Farm Pancake Breakfast & Fly-In.
Bunk’s personal hangar in Maine opens right on the AirNav 63B’s runway 11/29. In it, he has two Pitts Specials, one of which (N6W) was built by Curtis Pitts himself for Mary Gaffaney, one of the world’s greatest aerobatic pilots. Also in that hangar is perhaps the most beautiful Piper Cub ever seen.
Bunk and Diana invited our Main(e) man Micah to their home to talk a bit about this year’s Fly-In which will take place on July 14, 2019.
The upcoming Innovations in Flight Family Day and Aviation Display at the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum, a trip report from an aviation tour of the Pacific Northwest, Micah’s update of his piece on flight simulators, observations from the D-Day Squadron gathering in Connecticut, Launchpad Marzari’s personal connection to the Normandy invasion, and the smoke oil used by airshow performers.
This is a Bits & Pieces episode with recorded segments from the hosts and contributors. The segments that make up this episode:
Innovations in Flight
Max and Micah talk about the Innovations in Flight Family Day and Aviation Display at the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum coming up June 15, 2019. The museum is located next to Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia, just west of Washington, D.C.
The Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission exhibit is open through September 2, 2019, at the Museum of Flight. Be sure to listen to the Flight Deck Podcast, produced by the museum.
Music of Modern Flight – Redux
Our Main(e) Man Micah refreshes his piece on flight simulation that we played in Episode 277.
This year is the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the invasion of Normandy. Commemoration activities are planned in Europe, including Daks over Normandy, where C-47’s and other aircraft will recreate paratrooper drops. The North American contingent of these WW airplanes is called the D-Day Squadron. Many of those aircraft assembled at the Waterbury-Oxford Airport in Connecticut before beginning their journey to Europe. Max Flight attended and was fortunate enough to take a press ride in Placid Lassie, a beautiful C-47 that was originally delivered to the U.S. Army Air Forces in 1943. See Max’s photo album of the event.
From the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington: the CEO of the museum, the curator for space history, and the director of collections. In the news, maybe one pilot for the Boeing NMA, airline deals in Canada, Michael O’Leary sees more European airline failures, a cryogenic hydrogen fuel cell, an app for getting bumped, United promotes women artists, U.S. fighters get special paint jobs, and an Air Force aggressor squadron with F-35A’s.
The Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Max Flight.
This episode, we have interviews from the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington. We spoke with Matt Hayes, the CEO and president; Geoff Nunn, exhibit developer/adjunct curator for space history; and Amy Heidrick, Director of Collections.
Multinational investment bank and financial services company Jefferies asked airline and leasing company executives what they wanted in Boeing’s New Midsize Airplane (NMA). There seems to be interest in a single onboard pilot, with a second ground-based pilot serving multiple aircraft.
Toronto-based Onex has offered $31 a share for WestJet. The deal was approved by the Canadian airline’s board of directors. Onex owns Spirit Aerosystems, which manufactures fuselages and wings for Boeing in Wichita and Kansas City. Also, Air Canada is in talks to buy leisure-market carrier Air Transat for $520 million.
The University of Illinois Center for Cryogenic High-Efficiency Electrical Technologies for Aircraft (CHEETA) has a concept for a cryogenic hydrogen fuel cell system to power all-electric aircraft. The project is a consortium with Air Force Research Laboratory, Boeing Research and Technology, General Electric Global Research, Ohio State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Arkansas, the University of Dayton Research Institute, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
American, Delta, and United already let you volunteer for the bump list through their apps. But now American is the first to award compensation through their app. You can also pick a replacement flight.
United says 51% of today’s artists are women, but not even 13% of the art on display in museums is by woman artists. So United created the “Her Art Here” contest for women artists. Two Boeing 757 aircraft will be painted with the designs of the winning artists.
The F-16C of the 64th Aggressor Squadron based at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas rolled out the new paint scheme. The design came from a crowdsourced competition at the Facebook page of 57th Wing Commander Brigadier General Robert Novotny.
The 65th Aggressor Squadron is being reactivated and they wanted improved training for fifth-generation fighter tactics development and close-air support. So nine early non-combat capable F-35A aircraft are moving from Eglin AFB, Florida, to the squadron.
United Airlines is expanding the Raptor Relocation Network to SFO. United and Audubon International trap raptors that live near the airport (primarily barn owls), and resettle them at suitable golf course habitats.
Interviews from the 2019 Planes of Fame Air Show and also with Commemorative Air Force support crew. In the news, we look at the AOA Disagree alert on the 737 Max, military pilot training with virtual reality, Airbus A380s being parted out, and the pilot of the fatal Planes of Fame Northrop N9MB Flying Wing crash has been identified.
The 2019 Planes of Fame Air Show at Chino Airport was dedicated to the memory of David Vopat, the Planes of Fame Air Museum pilot who was tragically killed in the crash of a Northrop Flying Wing.
The show featured over 50 historic aircraft, including the P-47 Thunderbolt, P-38 Lightning and P-51 Mustangs. Performances included: USAF F-16 Viper Demo and Heritage Flight; WWII Airborne Demo Team Paratroopers; the world’s fastest piston engine aircraft P-51 Mustang Voodoo; Pacific, European, Korean and Vietnam Flight Displays; Gregory ‘Wired’ Colyer T-33 Aerobatics; Eric Tucker Piper Cub demo; and Rob Harrison the Tumbling Bear.
Brian Coleman recorded the following interviews, with start times indicated in brackets.
Longtime listener Matt Haines works the ramp at the show. [29:01]
We now have reports about the failure to detect erroneous AOA readings on 737 Max aircraft. The AOA safety alert was designed to indicate faulty data, but it is only activated if optional equipment is installed. This was not what Boeing originally intended.
In their press release, Boeing Statement on AOA Disagree Alert,Boeing says “Neither the angle of attack indicator nor the AOA Disagree alert are necessary for the safe operation of the airplane. They provide supplemental information only, and have never been considered safety features on commercial jet transport airplanes.” And, “The Boeing design requirements for the 737 MAX included the AOA Disagree alert as a standard, standalone feature…” But “In 2017… engineers at Boeing identified that the 737 MAX display system software did not correctly meet the AOA Disagree alert requirements. The software delivered to Boeing linked the AOA Disagree alert to the AOA indicator, which is an optional feature on the MAX and the NG. Accordingly, the software activated the AOA Disagree alert only if an airline opted for the AOA indicator.”
The U.S. Air Force employs virtual reality for training, but they are looking at expanding the use of the technology. The Air Education and Training Command (AETC) is developing a business case in the hope that the technology will train pilots faster and with a better result.
It’s only been 12 years since entry into service, but two ex-Singapore Airlines A380s are being dismantled for scrap. They were leased for 10 years and returned to the lessor, who couldn’t find any buyers for the aircraft.
Commemorative Air Force
Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari spoke with two CAF air show support crew: