Category Archives: Episodes

511 Aircraft Dispatcher

An aircraft dispatcher for a major airline tells us about the training and knowledge requirements of a dispatcher. Also, the FAA says they don’t need to regulate airline seat space, Delta goes only nine abreast on the 777-200ER, Boeing and Embraer sign an MOU, and JetBlue steps up to help a pet in distress. We have an interview with the executive director of the PIMA Air & Space Museum, and we talk about going supersonic, more airmail navigation arrows, and the Equator Aircraft P2 Xcursion first test flight.

Guest

Aircraft Dispatcher Mike

Dispatcher Mike

Mike Karrels is an aircraft dispatcher for a major airline based in the United States. He owns a share of a vintage 1963 Beechcraft Musketeer and hosts the Flying and Life podcast which covers the duties of a dispatcher and dives into the complex details of airline operations and flight planning. We last talked with Mike at the National Air & Space Museum in Episode 508 and here we expand the conversation about becoming an aircraft dispatcher.

Mike explains that dispatcher training requirements are defined in 14 CFR Part 65, Subpart C – Aircraft Dispatchers. Content and minimum hours are specified in 14 CFR 65.61 – Aircraft dispatcher certification courses: Content and minimum hours and 14 CFR Appendix A to Part 65, Aircraft Dispatcher Courses lists the knowledge topics. There are currently 57 Part 65 schools approved to teach: FAA-Approved 14 CFR Part 65 Aircraft Dispatcher Certification Courses [PDF]. We also look at the dispatcher practical exam, recurrent training, and the annual desk check.

We explore the differences between dispatching domestically and internationally, and between trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific where Mike tells us about the system of tracks system. He also explains how an awareness of the geopolitical situation is important to an aircraft dispatcher. We look at dispatcher trade associations and the union situation.

Mike graduated from Lewis University with an undergraduate degree in Aviation Flight Management and a few years later earned a Masters in Aviation and Transportation. He holds FAA certificates for Commercial Single engine land with an instrument rating, a Remote Pilot Certificate, and an Aircraft Dispatcher certificate.

Aircraft Dispatcher Mike's 1963 Beechcraft Musketeer at Sun 'n Fun.

Aircraft Dispatcher Mike’s 1963 Beechcraft Musketeer at Sun ‘n Fun.

Aviation News

FAA declines to regulate more legroom for airline passengers

In response to a rulemaking petition filed by FlyersRights, in March 2017 the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, DC ordered the FAA to take a second look at regulating seat size and passenger room. FlyersRights argued that shrinking seat room and increasing passenger size made airliners unsafe in evacuation situations. The FAA has now responded saying, “The FAA has no evidence that there is an immediate safety issue necessitating rulemaking at this time.”

Delta Just Made a Huge Announcement That Puts Other Airlines to Shame

Delta announced that their 777-200ER fleet refresh includes “9-abreast seating in Main Cabin versus the industry norm of 10 across.” Also in the refresh are seatback entertainment screens throughout with Delta Studio and thousands of hours of free content, and full-spectrum LED ambient lighting with customized lighting schemes depending on the phase of flight.

Boeing’s $4.75 billion Embraer deal leaves long to-do list

Boeing and Embraer signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a strategic partnership. In a joint press release, the companies say, “The non-binding agreement proposes the formation of a joint venture comprising the commercial aircraft and services business of Embraer that would strategically align with Boeing’s commercial development, production, marketing and lifecycle services operations. Under the terms of the agreement, Boeing will hold an 80 percent ownership stake in the joint venture and Embraer will own the remaining 20 percent stake.”

JetBlue Just Did Something Wonderful (Something Other Airlines Have Struggled With)

Both United and Delta have been in the news with horror stories about pets on planes. Now we see a good news story about a French Bulldog named Darcy on JetBlue.

Interview

The Pima Air & Space Museum opened in 1976 and is the third largest aviation museum in the world. The museum exhibits about 335 aircraft and 125,000 artifacts, attracts more than 170,000 visitors annually, and houses its own aircraft restoration shop. The museum also offers exclusive tours of the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Known as the “Boneyard,” it is the world’s largest military aircraft storage facility.

Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad spoke with Scott Marchand, Executive Director of the PIMA Air & Space Museum.

Pima Air & Space Museum

Pima Air & Space Museum

Mentioned

North Atlantic Tracks published by Shanwick Center and Gander Center.

PACOTS Flight Planning Guidance [PDF]

Airline Dispatchers Federation

International Federation Of Airline Dispatchers Association

Professional Airline Flight Control Association (PAFCA)

Equator Aircraft Norway achieved first fully balanced flight with the P2 Xcursion prototype aircraft: First Runway Test Flight.

Northern Utah Aircraft Navigation Arrows Circa Early 20th Century by Patrick Wiggins.

An interesting graphic from Two wings “is megl’ che one!” (1) Some notes about sound:

Pressure waves of air flowing off an airplane

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

 

510 U.S. Airmail 100th Anniversary

The Head Curator of the History Department at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum tells us about the early history of airmail service in the U.S., which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

In the news, Goodyear has a new airship, Facebook cancelled its Aquila project, Boeing has reportedly asked engine makers to bid for the 797, Boeing unveiled a hypersonic airliner concept, a stealth tanker model was spotted, the TSA wants to look at your snacks, a third Heathrow runway gets closer to reality, NASA demonstrates a quieter airplane, and the Air Force reduces pilot training time. Also, finding airmail airway beacons, a conversation with Air Evac Lifeteam at the Circuit of the Americas, and student pilot Nicki talks about her new flight instructor.

Curtiss Jenny carrying airmail to Philadelphia from Washington, DC. Courtesy National Postal Museum.

Curtiss Jenny carrying airmail to Philadelphia from Washington, DC. Courtesy National Postal Museum.

Guest

Nancy Pope is the Head Curator of the History Department at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum. 2018 is the 100th anniversary of airmail service in the U.S. and Nancy tells us about the early history of airmail, including the pilots, the aircraft, and the initial difficulties getting the service operating properly. She talks about some of the airplanes and artifacts at the museum as well as the Postmen of the Skies: Celebrating 100 Years of Airmail Service exhibition that is open through May 27, 2019.

USPS airmail commemorative stamp

USPS airmail commemorative stamp

Earlier this year, the first of two commemorative stamps was released. See: U.S. Postal Service Commemorates Air Mail with Stamp. You can purchase the blue airmail stamp at the post office, or at the USPS online store. The second (red) stamp will be released Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, at 11 a.m. at College Park Aviation Museum (1985 Corporal Frank Scott Drive, College Park, MD 20740). “Red Letter” day at the museum will be an exciting event to attend if you are in the area. See Red Letter Day: U.S. Postal Service Continues 100th Anniversary Commemoration. Followers of the U.S. Postal Service’s Facebook page can view the ceremony live at facebook.com/USPS.

Nancy has worked with the items that are now in that collection since 1984. She curated the opening exhibits for the Museum in 1993 and more than a dozen at the museum since then. She has written about many elements of postal history, including the Pony Express, Rural Free Delivery, Parcel Post Service, the Postal Service during 9/11, as well as the later anthrax attacks and airmail.

Nancy’s most recent exhibits are “Systems at Work,” which examines mail processing from Colonial America to the present, and “Postmen of the Skies,” a celebration of 100 years of airmail service in America.

The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum is located at 2 Massachusetts Ave., N.E. in Washington, DC. Admission is always free.

Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum.

Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum.

Pegboard for tracking the location of airmail pilots and planes:

Max Miller’s log book. Courtesy National Postal Museum.

Courtesy National Postal Museum.

The logbook was recovered from Max Miller’s fatal crash on September 1, 1920. The Junkers-Larsen JL6 caught fire in midair. Max Miller and his mechanic Gustav Reirson died in the fire and subsequent crash. Miller was Praeger and Lipsner’s favorite pilot and his death hit both men hard. Though slightly damaged by the fire, the handwritten entries remain clear. Airmail pilots used logs to record details about their flights and, on occasion, landing field conditions. Miller wrote his name on the front of this book, adding the name of his service, the “U.S. Aerial Mail,” and a notation of his home address in Woodland Hills Park in Cleveland, Ohio.

Max Miller’s logbook. Courtesy National Postal Museum.

Eddie Gardner’s face mask is a nice leather piece that Nancy unofficially refers to as the “Hannibal Lecter mask.”

Airmail pilot Eddie Gardner's facemask.

Eddie Gardner’s facemask. Courtesy National Postal Museum.

The Post Office’s airmail flag. You will recognize the globe/wings that became the ubiquitous symbol of airmail.

Postal Service airmail flag.

Postal Service airmail flag. Courtesy National Postal Museum.

Our Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari located some of the airways beacon sites in Texas that guided early airmail pilots. He sent in a report about what he found. See Map of Airway Beacons and Arrows Across America to find these sites near you.

Launchpad Marzari and friend.

Aviation News

Goodyear’s new Wingfoot Three takes to the skies

Goodyear’s newest semi-rigid airship is the Wingfoot Three. Built by Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH, the blimp still has to undergo flight tests before formal handover to Goodyear.

Goodyear’s U.S. fleet consists of three semi-rigid airships: the Wingfoot One (N1A), based in Pompano Beach, Florida; Wingfoot Two (N2A), based in Carson, California; and Wingfoot Three (N3A), based in Suffield, Ohio. Compared to Goodyear’s old model, the GZ-20, the Zeppelin NT model is longer, a little narrower, faster, and seats more passengers.

Video: Goodyear’s Wingfoot Three flies for first time

Facebook’s quest for fleet of solar-powered Internet drones grounded forever

Facebook has canceled the Aquila project – a solar-powered “atmospheric satellite” that would beam Internet connectivity to areas that had none.

Boeing reportedly tells engine makers to make bids for a new 797 plane

Boeing wants to build a new mid-sized airliner to be flying by 2025 – a middle-of-the-market jet. Call it a Boeing 797, or a New Middle Market Airplane, or the NMA. Reports say the engine manufacturers were asked to respond to a Boeing RFP by June 27, 2018. Boeing wants 25 percent less fuel burn per pound of thrust than the engines used on Boeing’s 757 planes. The big three engine manufacturers are named: CFM International, (the General Electric – Safran joint venture), Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce. See also, This is Boeing’s NMA by Jon Ostrower.

Boeing unveils hypersonic 4,000mph airliner capable of New York to London in Two Hours

Boeing unveils rendering of hypersonic jet that would fly from US to Japan in 3 hours

Under this concept, the aircraft would fly at Mach 5, three times faster than Concorde, and cruise at 95,000 feet. It would be smaller than a 737, with both commercial and military applications.

New Stealth Tanker Model Is Touted By Air Force Research Lab At Aviation Conference

At the recent AIAA conference, Aviation Week’s Guy Norris noticed a model of an “Advanced Aerial Refueling” aircraft in the Air Force Research Lab’s area. The Air Force may be looking for a more survivable aerial tanker.

It started with your shoes, then your water. Now the TSA wants your snacks.

Passengers are being asked at security checkpoints by the TSA to remove their snacks and other food items from their carry-ons and place them in plastic bins for separate screening. This is a TSA recommendation to screening supervisors, not a strict policy. Some food looks similar to explosives which results in a secondary inspection. The intent here is to prevent that additional inspection.

Heathrow gets go-ahead to become world’s biggest airport

They’ve been talking about a third runway at Heathrow for years. It’s a contentious issue but now a parliamentary vote has passed that would allow construction of a third runway. Under the proposal, passenger capacity at Heathrow could jump from nearly 80 million passengers per year to 110 million by 2030.

NASA: Tests Show ‘Significant’ Aircraft Noise Reduction

NASA flight tests in a Gulfstream III research aircraft flying at 350 feet demonstrated a “significant reduction” in the noise generated by aircraft operating near airports. The jet had porous landing-gear fairings, an Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge wing flap, and chevrons near the leading edge of the landing-gear cavity with a net to modify the airflow.

Air Force cuts pilot training by 5 weeks

This represents about a 10% reduction in training time.

Interview

Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari talks with John P. Jones and John Linardose from the Air Evac Lifeteam which provides air ambulance service at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) outside Austin, Texas.

Courtesy Air Evac Lifeteam.

Listener Recording

Listener Nicki continues her pilot training series with installment 13 about her new flight instructor.

Mentioned

Vote for your favorite American air show!

David was again asked to provide a list of the 20 best airshows for USA Today.

Hiller Aviation Museum Open Cockpit Day

The Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, California will be holding an Open Cockpit Day on July 11, 2018. While this fabulous museum is relatively unknown to the general public, it has a fabulous collection of more than fifty aircraft and numerous interesting artifacts and displays.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

509 New Distribution Capability for Airlines

We discuss New Distribution Capability (NDC) in the airline industry with Henry Harteveldt, as well as travel booking trends, the airport experience, airline computer systems, and challenges for new airline entrants. Also, a career pathway program with United Airlines, the return of ATC privatization, a new airline takes form and Rolls-Royce compressor problems.

Guest

Henry H. Harteveldt explains New Distribution Capability

Henry H. Harteveldt

Henry H. Harteveldt is president of Atmosphere Research Group and a well-known analyst and advisor to the travel industry. Henry spent more than 15 years in marketing, planning, distribution, and strategy roles at companies such as TWA, Continental Airlines, the Fairmont Hotel Management Company, and GetThere. He was head of Forrester Research’s global travel research practice and launched Atmosphere Research in September 2011.

Henry explains the concept of New Distribution Capability (NDC) where airfares become products and the airlines become retailers. We also talk about airline computer systems, travel booking trends, challenges for new airline entrants, the airport experience, and more.

Atmosphere Research provides trustworthy research and perspective on the global travel industry. Atmosphere’s research helps clients understand emerging trends and opportunities in areas such as brand strategy, distribution, product development and retailing, customer experience, loyalty marketing, and digital commerce and technologies. Atmosphere’s clients include airlines, lodging firms, cruise lines, car rental agencies, travel agencies, GDSs, financial services firms, and technology companies.

Henry is regularly quoted in the media such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Reuters, and appears on CBS, CNBC, Bloomberg, and CNN. He actively shares his industry perspectives on Twitter.

Aviation News

University of North Dakota Announces Career Pathway Program with United Airlines

The new University of North Dakota Career Pathway Program (CPP) with United Airlines solves two problems: the UND need for flight instructors and United Airlines (and its regional partners) need for first officer candidates. Once a UND student is accepted into the CPP, they have conditional employment with United as long as the airline is hiring pilots.

ATC Privatization Comes Around Again

Latest ATC spinoff proposal meets continued and heavy opposition

The White House just released a plan for a sweeping government reorganization: Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century: Reform Plan and Reorganization Recommendations [PDF]. Included in the proposal are provisions to privatize air traffic control services.

Six general aviation associations issued a statement saying, “We are disappointed that the Administration continues to reintroduce a failed proposal. Instead, it should put its weight behind FAA legislation pending in Congress that will advance the aviation industry, including general aviation, which contributes $219 billion to the U.S. economy and creates over one million jobs in the U.S.”

JetBlue Could Make It Hard for the JetBlue Founder’s New Airline to Succeed

David Neeleman founded JetBlue Airways Morris Air, WestJet, and Azul Brazilian Airlines. Now he’s raising $100 million to start another airline, provisionally named Moxy Airways. The strategy is for an airline similar to JetBlue, but one that uses secondary airports instead of the major U.S. hubs.

Rolls-Royce, preparing to cut thousands of jobs, says engine problem has spread

The Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 package C engine powering Boeing 787 Dreamliners has experienced intermediate-pressure compressor problems. These have forced groundings for inspections. Now the company says some package B engines are also affected, particularly high life engines. Also, as part of a restructuring program, Rolls-Royce will cut thousands of jobs.

Interview

Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari talks with Jim Daniel about Angel Flight South Central which helps people in need of free air transportation for medical and humanitarian purposes.

Listener Recording

Nicki continues her pilot training series with this installment on roadblocks of flight training.

Video of the Week

From Mick: Thomas Sopwith Documentary 1984

Mentioned

Major Tech Players – Including Amazon, Google and Facebook – Loom Large Over the Future of Travel Booking

The Future of Travel Booking and Payments report from OAG.

Air Hollywood Inc. –  Providing “realistic, film-friendly airport and aircraft standing sets and props to the motion picture production industry.”

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

 

 

508 Innovations In Flight 2018

Innovations in Flight Family Day and Outdoor Aviation Display

Innovations in Flight Family Day and Outdoor Aviation Display

Innovations in Flight Family Day and Outdoor Aviation Display

June 16, 2018

This is an annual event by the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. Innovations in Flight is sponsored by United Airlines.

Airplane Geeks again participated in the event and we recorded interviews at our display inside the museum. Here they are, with start times:

Interviews

[09:25] Adam Klein, a research pilot for NASA at Johnson Space Center trains astronauts and flies the NT-38 NASA test aircraft. After studying permafrost in Alaska, Adam had the opportunity to fly through the eclipse on the way back to California.

NT-38 NASA test aircraft

NT-38 NASA test aircraft

[26:17] Katharine volunteers with the Society of Women Engineers. She tells us about the organization, how it is reaching young women, and how the messaging has changed to be current with the times.

[34:10] J.B. Hollyer pilots the Grumman HU-16C Albatross “Pegasus.” He’s president of Seaplane Crossings.org a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that teaches the history of seaplane aviation and is working to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the first airplane crossing of the Atlantic, achieved in May 1919 by NC-4. Also see the Flying Boat website, a documentary film about human aspiration told through the history, romance, and adventure of flying boats.

Grumman HU-16C Albatross “Pegasus”

Grumman HU-16C Albatross “Pegasus”

[46:00] Young Jack is a seasoned air traveler who was attending the event.

[50:28] Capt. Andy Schwartzman flies the A320 for United and tells us about his career path and flying side stick and yoke.

[65:21] Cadet 2nd Lieutenant Corey and Cadet Tech Sergeant Smith describes the Civil Air Patrol and the Cadet program which develops leadership skills and provides character enrichment. We talk about the classes and activities, the ranks and the progression.

[1:07:07] Brian has an Airline Story of the Week based on his United flight into Dulles.

[1:12:15] Listener Tanya Weiman flew from New York for the day and talks to us about aviation podcasts and the community they create.

[1:18:02] Eric Galler is producer/director of the Science of Flight from The Great Courses. This features 24 lectures by Smithsonian curators in a four DVD set. It was produced in cooperation with The Great Courses and the Smithsonian.

[1:27:36] Captain Rick Bell tells us about transitioning from the C-130 to the C-17, and how the C-17 is different to fly.

[1:36:24] A380 pilot Bjorn tells us what it is like to fly the A380 compared to other Airbus airplanes. Also, flying GA in Europe, the outlook for the A380, and an opinion on future unmanned airliners.

[1:45:03] Dispatcher Mike flew his 1963 Beechcraft Musketeer in from Atlanta with Capt. Jeff for the event. Mike describes the job of a dispatcher, if that makes you a better pilot, and if being a pilot make you a better dispatcher.

[2:02:33] Listener Andrew just starting his career in aviation and is moving to Wichita for his new job. We talk about what Airplane Geeks is all about and what it means.

[2:12:37] Capt. Jeff Nielsen from the Airline Pilot Guy Show talks about his military flying career and being an instructor pilot in the T-37 jet trainer. He also has some thoughts on piloting commercial aircraft.

[2:29:56] Wrap-up

[2:28:05] Post-event dinner

Credit

All photos by David Vanderhoof. Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

507 SR-71, Owning the Airspace Above 60,000 Feet

We speak with an SR-71 crew member, instructor pilot, Wing Commander, airline pilot, and author. In the news, we look at the Airbus Helicopters H160, an F-35 report from the Government Accountability Office, the grounding of the B-1B fleet, and new airports for Thailand. Also, North American fliers are happier, five must-see TV programs about airplanes, the Texas Aircraft Expo, and listener feedback.

Guest

Col. Richard H. Graham in the SR-71 cockpit.

Col. Richard H. Graham in the SR-71 cockpit.

As a 15 year veteran within the SR-71 community, Col. Richard H. Graham is uniquely qualified to tell the Blackbird story. Col. Graham entered the SR-71 strategic reconnaissance program in 1974 and after several years as a crew member, he became an instructor pilot in the SR-71. In 1978 he was selected as the Chief, Standardization/Evaluation Division. In 1980 Col. Graham became the SR-71 Squadron Commander of the 1st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron. Following four years in the Pentagon, Col. Graham was selected to be the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing Commander at Beale AFB in June 1987. He has written five books about the SR-71.

We talk about the models of the 50 Blackbirds that were built and their safety. Nineteen were lost, all but one in the first 6 years. Col. Graham tells us about the SR-71 ejection seat and the aerial refueling procedure that uses liquid nitrogen to prevent fuel tank explosions. We also compare the SR-71 with the U-2, and learn about measuring fuel drips, “unstarts,” and the pilot selection and training processes.

Col. Graham’s books are available on Amazon.com, but also on eBay where he offers autographed copies. Look for eBay seller ID SR-71 pilot 1974-1981.

Prior to entering the SR-71 program, Col Graham flew 210 combat missions in Vietnam in the F-4C/D Phantom as well as the Wild Weasel mission. He was a command pilot with more than 4,600 military flying hours. His military decorations include three Legion of Merit awards, four Distinguished Flying Cross medals, and 19 Air Medals.

After serving 25 years in the Air Force, Col. Graham flew for American Airlines for 13 years, accumulating over 8,000 flying hours. He was initially hired at American Airlines as a Flight Engineer, flying the B-727 and DC-10. After 2 years he moved to the right seat of the MD-80 and his last 3 years Rich few as a captain on the MD-80.

With over 16,000 hours total flying time, you can find Rich flying and teaching at McKinney (Texas) Airport (TKI) for the Texins Flying Club.

Aviation News

Airbus’ H160 Helicopter Helps Save Pilots from Their Own Mistakes

The Airbus Helicopters H160 medium duty helicopter is the first of the H generation. Airbus says “the entire design was based on one overriding goal: to create added value for customers in terms of performance, economic competitiveness, safety, and comfort.” The H160 features an advanced “automatic recovery mode” designed to help pilots in difficult situations.

Is the F-35 About to Be Delayed (Again)?

The annual Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the F-35 (published June 5, 2018) has identified 966 open deficiencies. About 20% of them are expected to remain open when the Pentagon is scheduled to begin full-rate production. The GAO is advising the Pentagon hold off until these are addressed.

The Air Force Has Grounded All Of Its B-1Bs Over A Fault In Their Ejection Seats

Air Force Global Strike Command has ordered its B-1 bombers to stand down after finding ‘an issue with ejection seat components’

The entire fleet of B-1B bombers is grounded as a result of an issue with the aircraft’s ejection seats. This follows from the safety investigation after an emergency landing of a B-1B at Midland International Air & Space Port in Midland, Texas on May 1, 2018.

Thailand approves new airports to serve even more travellers – while Maya Bay closes due to overtourism

Maya Bay is closed for four months as a result of over-tourism causing coral reef damage and pollution. At the same time, the approval of two new airports has been criticised by environmentalists.

Airline Story of the Week

Air Canada and WestJet see improved results in passenger-satisfaction survey

A survey of passengers shows that North Americans are happier about airline travel than they have ever been.

Interviews

Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari attended the Texas Aircraft Expo and spoke with Patrick Rydzewski of CTL Aero Solutions, and 12-year old Clare Muska.

See:

Mentioned

#PaxEx Podcast 58, Unpacking sexism at AGM, guns in carryon, pot in transit with journalist Harriet Baskas.

5 Must-See Aviation Documentaries on Netflix or Amazon

Aviodrome

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

506 Erika Armstrong in the Cockpit

Our guest is Erika Armstrong, an experienced pilot, author, speaker, instructional design director for aircrew training, and a university aviation professor. In the news, JetSuite is the launch customer for Zunum hybrid-electric planes, a fatal electric airplane accident, onboard pet monitoring technology, airline flight 1’s, a Geico Skytyper is lost, Southwest Airline’s financial outlook, and kidnapping charges at a flight school.

Guest

Erika Armstrong

Erika Armstrong

Erika Armstrong was an international corporate and airline pilot, and she’s currently the Director of Instructional Design at Advanced Aircrew Academy. She’s also an aviation professor at Metropolitan State University in Denver, specializing in aircraft systems and propulsion.

We talk with Erika about what it takes to be a pilot and what it does not, the “pilot personality,” training for a flying career, and some of her experiences during her 30 years in aviation.

Erika holds an ATP with 6,000 hours, primarily as captain in a Boeing 727-200 and Cessna Citation 500 series aircraft. She has international flight experience in a Gulfstream and performed the FAA proving runs for a Falcon 20 Part 135 certification. Erika flew for the Red Cross and spent 12 years in the charter and business aviation sector as a pilot, dispatcher, and maintenance/avionics coordinator. She also flew 24/7 air ambulance in the Midwest.

Erika has seen many changes in aviation, but she finds that the single common thread holding all the generations together is the spirit of aviation. It’s her goal to help reignite that passion in the up and coming generations and to help change the perspective of aviation, for both men and women. Be sure to read her article Pilot Evolution: Begin at the End for some insightful advice.

You can find Erika’s professional pilot columns in national aviation magazines and she is the author of “A Chick in the Cockpit: My Life Up in the Air.” She has a new book to be released called “Zen and the Art of Being a Pilot.”

Aviation News

JetSuite to Launch Hybrid-to-Electric Planes by 2022

JetSuite is to be the launch customer for Zunum hybrid-electric planes. The private charter jet company plans to acquire up to 100 of the 6 to 12 passenger aircraft in the early 2020’s for short flights. In the Zunum aircraft, JetSuite looks to 80% lower emissions, reduced noise, a 7700-mile range, and a maximum cruise speed of 340 miles per hour.

Matt Knapp, the founder of Zunum Aero, and our guest in Airplane Geeks episode #453 says, “We remain on track for flight testing in 2019 and continue to grow our technical leadership across power electronics, electric motors, propulsors and aircraft. If you or someone you know are interested in joining our team, please visit our Careers page.”

Two Dead In Siemens-Powered eFusion Crash

Two pilots were killed in a crash involving the Siemens-powered Magnus eFusion electric aircraft in Hungary. Initial reports from witnesses describe the plane maneuvering at low altitude, catching fire, then crashing in a near vertical dive.

New tech allows pet owners to monitor animals during flights

The Unisys Corporation Digi-Pet system lets owners monitor their pet while they are in the cargo hold of an aircraft. Sensors attached to the pet’s kennel or carry case transmit data such as temperature, oxygen levels, vibration, and light. Pet owners are alerted if any problems arise. The system offers live video streaming, photos and voice exchange via a smartphone or tablet app.

Flight 1 – The most prestigious airline flight number

Airlines sometimes designate “Flight 1” for a special purpose. This list and infographic collects presents all the airline Flight 1s.

For pilot killed in crash, flying was a journey with his father

Sadly, Executive Officer/Wing Pilot Ken Johansen, age 52, died when his GEICO Skytypers plane went down shortly after takeoff from Republic Airport in Farmingdale, New York. There were no injuries on the ground. David has flown with the Skytypers several times and reported his experiences on this podcast.

Southwest Airlines preps for revenue drop after fatal accident, scales back growth

Bookings at Southwest Airlines have declined after the fatal engine failure in April. The airline expects second quarter revenue per seat mile to drop 3 percent and additionally, Southwest is lowering growth plans for 2018 due to increased fuel prices.

Two Redding flight school employees arrested, accused of kidnapping student

Attorney: Chinese flight student had been expelled; kidnap charges disputed

The IASCO Flight Training general manager and his assistant have been arrested on suspicion of kidnapping. They are charged with kidnapping one of their students, allegedly to take the student on a plane and send him to China. A defence attorney says the two were only taking the student to the airport because he flunked his classes and his visa had expired.

Airline Story of the Week

Via @nt_planespotter, we see Hailey’s #Journeyto30 takes off. Hailey Dawson is an 8-year-old with Poland syndrome. She was born missing three fingers on her right hand and she wears a prosthetic hand made with a 3D printer. The youngster wants to throw out the first pitch at every Major League Baseball park. All 30 MLB teams invited her to be their guest of honor, and United Airlines offered to fly her to each of her stadium visits. Follow #Journeyto30 on Twitter for the latest news and photos.

Video of the Week

Tim Trott (the Drone Professor) sent in the AvWeb article Video Captures Damage-Free Road Landing. “A young pilot who some sources say is a student ducked power lines, dodged cars, buildings and pedestrians and put her Cessna 172 down without a scratch on a busy Huntington Beach, California, street.”

Video: Light plane makes emergency landing on Huntington Beach [street]

Mentioned

David comments on the new book by Tim Trott, Out of the Blue: The Life and Legend of Kirby ‘Sky King’ Grant. In the book, Tim answers the questions: Do you remember the Sky King TV show? Do you know who flew the plane in the shows? Was Kirby Grant a “real” pilot? How many different “Songbird” planes were there? What happened to the “missing episodes”? What did Kirby Grant do after the TV series ended? Did you know that Kirby Grant was a singer?

Listener Andrew is a pilot with Alaska Airlines and has flown the new B737-700 cargo jet we talked about in a previous episode. He sent along a couple of photos:

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

505 Bits & Pieces XXI

The Memorial Day holiday in the U.S. corresponds to our usual recording day, so as is the tradition, we have a Bits & Pieces episode for you with recorded segments from the hosts, contributors, and listeners.

Sikorsky VS-44A Flying Boat at the New England Air Museum

Sikorsky VS-44A Flying Boat at the New England Air Museum. Photo by Max Flight.

The segments that make up this episode [with approximate start times]:

Max visited the New England Air Museum to listen to a presentation on the history of Pratt & Whitney given by Mark P. Sullivan, former director of communications for P&W, now retired. Mark is the author of Dependable Engines: The Story of Pratt and Whitney. [1:42]

Reading list, courtesy Mark Sullivan:

  • The Engines of Pratt & Whitney: A Technical History by Jack Connors.
  • R2800 Pratt & Whitney’s Dependable Masterpiece by Graham White.
  • R4360 Pratt & Whitney’s Major Miracle by Graham White.
  • Development of Jet and Turbine Aero Engines by Bill Gunston.
  • Development of Piston Aero Engines by Bill Gunston.
  • World Encyclopedia of Aero Engines by Bill Gunston.
  • The Aircraft Gas Turbine and Its Operation: The Pratt & Whitney OI 200 Manual.
  • An Account of the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company by Frederick B. Rentschler (privately published).
  • The Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Story (privately published in 1950).

Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari spoke with Maj Mathew  “Squeeze” Pasquali from VMA-311, a United States Marine Corps attack squadron of AV-8B Harrier jets. [9:56]

One of the things we’ve learned in close to a decade of the Airplane Geeks podcast is that pilots can be colorful characters. Astronauts are certainly no exception to that rule. A total of twelve astronauts walked on the moon, as of this week, and with Alan Bean‘s passing, only four are left with us on earth. Our Contributor-At-Large and Main(e) Man Micah tells us a little bit about what Al Bean meant to him. [18:07]

Alan Bean

Alan Bean

Max walks through the new Kaman exhibit at the New England Air Museum with Executive Director Jerry Roberts. [25:53] Following that, Max and Jerry walked to one of the adjacent hangars and up to the new balcony overlooking the hangar for a conversation about the museum. [32:10]

The B-29 Hangar at the New England Air Museum. Photo by Max Flight.

The B-29 Hangar at the New England Air Museum. Photo by Max Flight.

Brian catches Chief Master Sergeant Frank Gamache from March Air Reserve Base at the Planes of Fame airshow in Chino, California. They discuss the role of the C-17 Globemaster III and being a loadmaster. [42:16] Brian then talks with listeners Matt (a longtime volunteer at Planes of Fame) [45:26] and Bill. [47:30]

C-17 by Brian Coleman.

C-17 by Brian Coleman.

Launchpad Marzari speaks with Tora, Tora, Tora pilot Patrick Hutchins. Tora, Tora, Tora is the Commemorative Air Force’s recreation of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It is intended as a memorial to all the soldiers on both sides who gave their lives for their countries. [51:22]

Launchpad Marzari talked with Stephen Covington from SRC Airshows about flying the Pitts cross-country to the next show. [1:01:30]

SCR Airshows

SCR Airshows

In this months Across The Pond segment, Pieter talks to Neil Bradon, who he interviewed several times for the Airplane Geeks whilst Neil was doing his Private License training in the US. [1:06:50]

Neil training in the USA.

Neil training in the USA.

United Airlines Flight Attendant Saves Mom’s Breastmilk is our positive commercial airline story of the week, submitted by a listener. [1:14:35]

Student pilot Nicki provides the eleventh segment of her journey to become a pilot. [1:22:48]

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

504 Honeywell Chief Test Pilot

Our guest is the chief test pilot for Honeywell Aerospace. In the news, we look at 737-700 freighters, folding wingtips for the 777X, and an online general aviation community from the European Aviation Safety Agency.

The B757 flight test aircraft. Courtesy Honeywell Aerospace.

The B757 flight test aircraft. Courtesy Honeywell Aerospace.

Guest

Joe Duval, chief test pilot for Honeywell Aerospace.

Joe Duval, the chief test pilot for Honeywell Aerospace.

Joe Duval is the chief test pilot and site leader for Honeywell Aerospace Flight Test Operations at Sky Harbor in Phoenix, Arizona.

Honeywell Aerospace produces a wide variety of components and systems for general and business aviation, commercial aviation, and military aircraft, as well as for space applications. That includes avionics, engine controls, APUs, and propulsion engines, including those from the legacy companies Garrett and Lycoming.

As chief test pilot, Joe is responsible for all flight test engineering efforts, development and strategy, and maintaining technical and programmatic excellence across a team of engineers, technicians, mechanics, and pilots. He pilots Honeywell’s Boeing 757 and Convair 580 aircraft and participates in flight tests on other aircraft in Honeywell’s fleet.

Before joining Honeywell, Joe served as a research and test pilot with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory Flight Facility. He designed and flew flight test profiles for emerging technology in government and commercial applications.

Joe also served in the United States Air Force as a pilot on the C-130 and B-707 (VIP) aircraft. He eventually became the chief pilot for the flight department responsible for the transportation of the general officer and staff of Special Operations Command. He also served as the chief of safety for the same department and is trained as an accident investigator.

Joe has over 7,000 hours flying time as a pilot and flight engineer in multiple aircraft and holds FAA type ratings in eight aircraft. He has a Bachelor’s of Science from Oregon State University in software engineering. He is Honeywell’s corporate point of contact for the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. Joe also attended the National Test Pilot School in Mojave, CA and is a graduate of the Southern California Safety Institute’s Flight Safety Officer Course.

Honeywell Aerospace B757 flight test aircraft., showing the pylon for mounting test en gines.

Honeywell Aerospace B757 flight test aircraft., showing the pylon for mounting test engines.

Aviation News

Alaska Airlines’ new 737-700 Freighters Provide “Lifeline” for Many Alaska Communities

Alaska Airlines cargo fleet of high-cycle 737-400 aircraft are being replaced with 737-700 Next-Gen aircraft to converted to freighters.

Boeing’s folding wingtips get the FAA green light

The FAA has accepted Boeing’s concept for folding wings on the 777X in order to allow the aircraft to operate at existing airports. FAA approved comes in the form of Special Conditions:

[Docket No. FAA-2017-0636; Special Conditions No. 25-726-SC], Special Conditions: The Boeing Company Model 777-8 and 777-9 Airplanes; Folding Wingtips [PDF]

Video: Boeing 777X folding wingtips

EASA Launches General Aviation Community Webpage

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) created a webpage for general aviation operators. They say, “This platform is for GA enthusiast to meet and share their passion.  Keep yourself updated and share the latest news and events.” Anyone can join by registering on the EASA General Aviation page.

Listener Recording

Student pilot Nicki brings us installment #10 on learning to become a pilot.

Interview

Brian spoke with Breeze Anderson from Helistream about their helicopter services. HeliStream offers many leisure and professional services, including scenic tours and sunset dinner rides. HeliStream also offers aerial photography, charters, and utility services.

Mentioned

Aviation Week’s Check 6 podcast, The Wild Ride at Uber’s Elevate Summit.

New England Air Museum

Cirrus Pilot Proficiency Program

Hangar 24 Craft Brewing

From Jamie Dodson, author of the award-winning Nick Grant Adventures Series, and Hunting the Wind: Pan American World Airways’ Epic Flying Boat Era, 1929–1946, available for pre-order.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

503 D-Day Squadron and the C-47

A fleet of C-47 aircraft plan to fly over Normandy to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Also, the DOT plans to take a closer look at FAA oversight of airline maintenance practices, a panel of experts looks at the disappearance of MH 370, and passengers react to airline food service takeaways.

Placid Lassie will join up with other aircraft of the D-Day Squadron in June 2019 to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion. Courtesy D-Day Squadron.

Placid Lassie will join up with other aircraft of the D-Day Squadron in June 2019 to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion. Courtesy D-Day Squadron.

Guest

Moreno "Mo" Aguiari, Executive Director of D-Day Squadron.

Moreno “Mo” Aguiari, Executive Director of D-Day Squadron.

Moreno “Mo” Aguiari is the Executive Director of D-Day Squadron, an organization that plans to lead an American fleet of historic, restored C-47 World War II military aircraft in Daks Over Normandy in June 2019. That event includes a flyover of more than 30 international aircraft that will drop 250 paratroopers over the shores of Normandy to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day and honor the citizen soldiers of the War.

The D-Day Squadron is the part of the Tunison Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The Squadron’s education program tells the story of the citizen soldier to audiences at air shows and events off the flight line to honor the brave Americans and ensure their memory and significance is appreciated for generations to come. The group’s efforts are funded through the generous tax-deductible contribution of their supporters.

Mo is a sales/marketing and business development professional who received a B.S. in Political Science from the University of Milan and an Aeronautical Technician diploma from the National Avio School, also in Milan, Italy. He moved to the United States in 1999 to become a commercial pilot and became a US citizen in 2008. In addition to being the Executive Director of the D-Day Squadron, Mo also runs Warbird Digest and Warbirds News, a successful vintage aviation publishing company focused on the warbird and classic aircraft community.

Aviation News

Watchdog probes FAA’s review of aircraft maintenance at American Airlines and Allegiant Air

In June 2017, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s inspector general’s office announced they would audit how the FAA reviews airline maintenance practices. Now, the DOT inspector general’s office plans to focus on FAA response to complaints received about American Airlines and Allegiant Air maintenance practices. The DOT memo says they want to find out whether the FAA “ensures that Allegiant and American Airlines implement effective corrective actions to address the root causes of maintenance problems.”

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 crash was deliberate, aviation experts suggest

60 Minutes Australia gathered an international group of aviation experts to talk about the disappearance of MH370. While not in complete agreement, many feel it was a deliberate criminal act by the pilot – a suicide/mass murder. See also What the 60 Minutes report into MH370 didn’t tell us.

MH370 – The Situation Room | 60 Minutes Australia

Why passengers are so angry about an airline’s decision to scrap tomato juice

Following Brian’s comments last week about airline takeaways, we have this story. United Airlines decided to drop Sprite Zero, Jim Beam, Courvoisier, and tomato juice from flights less than 4 hours. Customers reacted strongly on social media and United reversed the decision. For more on this, see United Airlines Just Made First Class Passengers Incredibly Angry. Now the Airline is Having Second Thoughts.

Listener Recording

Student pilot Nicki brings us installment #8 on learning to become a pilot.

Interview

Brian spoke with some members of the A-10 Demo Team at the Planes of Fame Airshow: Sr Airman Betty Chevalier (Team Public Affairs Representative). Tactical Sargent Dan Isaksen (Team Chief), and Capt. Cody Wilton (Team Pilot).

A-10 by Brian Coleman.

A-10 by Brian Coleman.

Mentioned

Boeing’s Been Granted A Patent For Turning The B-1B Into A Gunship Bristling With Cannons

Air Force special ops can’t afford the AC-130 gunship lasers

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

 

502 Electric and Solar Aircraft from Bye Aerospace

Bye Aerospace founder George Bye tells us about his electric and solar aircraft projects, including the electric Sun Flyer training aircraft, the StratoAirNet, the Silent Falcon UAV, the TriFan 600, the Mars SOLESA, and the Starlight UAV. In the news, we look at the WC-130H crash in Georgia, breaking airplane windows, and companies developing supersonic transports. Also, an installment from student pilot Nicki, the history of Soviet airliners from Will, Tom Larkin’s mini-jet, the Mercury 13 documentary, the centennial of U.S. airmail service, and lip syncing while flying.

Bye Aerospace Sun Flyer Electric Aircraft

The Sun Flyer electric aircraft prototype. Courtesy Bye Aerospace.

Guest

George Bye is the founder and CEO of Bye Aerospace, which focuses on electric and solar aircraft projects, such as:

  • Sun Flyer electric training aircraft.
  • StratoAirNet family of solar-electric UAVs for medium and high altitude missions.
  • Silent Falcon UAV using stored electric power and thin film solar photovoltaics.
  • TriFan 600 hybrid-electric VTOL business aircraft in partnership with XTI Aircraft Company.
  • Mars SOLESA, a solar electric survey aircraft for Mars.
  • Starlight lighter than air solar electric UAV under a U.S. Navy contract.

George is an ATP rated pilot with over 4,000 flying hours. He was a USAF instructor pilot in the Northrop T-38 Talon at Sheppard AFB (ENJJPT), a C-141B Aircraft Commander, and he is a Desert Storm veteran.

Find Bye Aerospace on the web at ByeAerospace.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter at @ByeAerospaceInc. George has a personal webpage at GeorgeBye.com and he’s also on Facebook.

Sun Flyer’s First Flight Test Highlights- April 10, 2018

Test pilot, John Penney took the Bye Aerospace all-electric Sun Flyer proof of concept aircraft on its first test flight April 10, 2018, at Centennial Airport in Englewood, Colorado.

Aviation News

Fallen Air Guardsmen honored in Puerto Rico following deadly crash in Savannah

The Puerto Rico Air National Guard unit lost nine airmen in the crash of a WC-130H Hercules cargo plane in Georgia, just after takeoff. The plane was on its final flight, to an air base in Arizona. A short video from the private memorial ceremony honoring the fallen crew was released.

Third flight in three weeks diverted because of damaged window

A JetBlue flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Tampa, Florida, was diverted to Fort Lauderdale after damage to the plane’s windscreen. A Southwest Airlines flight from Chicago to Newark, New Jersey, made an unplanned landing after a window cracked. A Southwest B737 experienced an uncontained engine failure which threw debris into a passenger window.

Aviation companies are plotting the return of supersonic flight — and they think their jets will be better than the Concorde

Several companies are working on supersonic aircraft:

  • Boom Supersonic is developing the 55-seat, XB-1 with delivery planned for 2023.
  • Spike Aerospace is developing the 18-seat S-512 jet, delivery in 2023.
  • Aerion Supersonic is working on the 12-seat AS2 jet for 2025 delivery.
  • Lockheed-Martin under NASA contract is planning a low boom experimental aircraft for late 2021.

Listener Recordings

Student pilot Nicki brings us installment #8 on learning to become a pilot.

Young listener Will presents his project on the history of Soviet airliners.

Interview

Airplane Geeks Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari speaks with Tom Larkin from Mini-Jet Airshows.

Mini-Jet Airshows

Mini-Jet Airshows

Mentioned

#PaxEx Podcast 57, Airline content trends and new lav concepts revealed

Mercury 13 documentary on Netflix.

Emirates Is Parking an Airplane a Day Because It Doesn’t Have Enough Pilots

Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum and the College Park Aviation Museum.

The May 1, 2018 issue of the FlyerTalk email newsletter.

What Happens When You Mix Flying and Lip Sync? (Temper Traps – Sweet Disposition)

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.