Category Archives: Episodes

570 Flying in the B-2 Stealth Bomber

Our guest is the only person ever granted access to film the B-2 stealth bomber from the cockpit in flight. He’s producing a television series examining the United States military’s global nuclear mission in the 21st century. In the news, we discuss the protest with drones at Heathrow, the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority views on the 737 MAX, a Boeing 707 struggling to get to Australia, and an A330 flight diversion due to spilled coffee. Plus, more interviews from Cranky Flier’s Dorkfest and SpotLAX2019, and part 4 of Launchpad Marzari’s quest to buy an airplane.

Guest

Jeff Bolton, first to film inside the B-2 Stealth Bomber.

Jeff Bolton

Jeff Bolton tells the stories of the men, women, and families of the United States military. For more than 20 years he has been embedded in military commands, combat theatres, and natural disaster zones around the world.

This past July, Jeff became the first person ever to film a B-2 stealth bomber cockpit tour narrated by the pilot in-flight. He also filmed a B-2 aerial refueling from the bomber’s cockpit. More recently, Jeff has taken a camera inside the B-52.

Jeff is developing and producing a television series in partnership with Defense News that examines the United States military’s global nuclear mission in the 21st century titled GUARDIANS: A Mission For Peace. His previous projects include the documentary film America’s Marine Aviators.

Jeff’s website is JeffBolton.org and you can learn more at Educational Media Enterprises which produces documentary educational programming. He also volunteers at the Cavanaugh Flight Museum, a non-profit educational organization which restores, operates, maintains and displays historically significant vintage aircraft.

Full Reveal Video inside the B2 Stealth Bomber

B2 Cockpit Tour & Aerial Refueling

JeffBolton.org B-52 Experience

Aviation News

Heathrow climate change drone protest arrests rise to 19

UK climate activists made a plan to protest near Heathrow Airport by flying drones inside the airport’s 5km no-fly zone. Their expectation was that the airport protocol would require halting flights. The group called Heathrow Pause said they’d use toy drones, fly them 6 feet high, outside of flight paths, and early in the morning when no flights were scheduled. Authorities responded with some unspecified technology that prevented the drones from flying.

See also: London’s Heathrow Airport appears to have worked out how to jam drone signals to stop climate-change protesters from shutting down its airspace

UAE regulator not optimistic on Boeing 737 MAX return this year

The United Arab Emirates’ General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) joins EASA in saying they too will conduct their own assessment of the 737 Max before allowing it to return to service.

High-flyer Travolta to jet into Australia but pricey gift grounded

Since 1998, John Travolta has owned a former Qantas Boeing 707. Travolta is attempting to gift the plane to the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society in Albion Park, but repairs necessary to make it flightworthy may cost $2 million.

Plane carrying 326 passengers diverted after pilot spills coffee

An Airbus A330-243 operated by Condor as flight DE2116 from Frankfurt to Cancún last February had to divert after the commanding pilot spilled some coffee onto the audio control panel (ACP). The panel started smoking, there was an electrical burning smell, and one of the buttons on the co-pilot’s ACP began to melt. The flight was diverted to Shannon airport and jettisoned fuel. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch interim report [PDF] describes operator safety actions, including ensuring that cup lids are provided for flights on all routes.

Reports

Buying a Plane, Part 4

Reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari tells us more about the Focke-Wulf he’s purchasing.

Cranky Flier’s Dorkfest and SpotLAX2019, Part 2

Brian Colemen spoke with Ben Granucci from NYCAviation, Poppy (age 3), KC-10 pilot Doug and Bob, Tracy from the UK, Ian Petchenik from Flightradar24, Nick from JetTip, Pilot Mike, and Ross.

Mentioned

Eat at the Airport.com

American Helicopter Museum – 1220 American Boulevard, West Chester, Pennsylvania.

AvTalk Episode 66: Our Super Avgeek Week – Covers Cranky Flier’s Dorkfest and SpotLAX2019, the Super80 send-off, and more.

569 Wichita, Air Capital of the World

We talk with Sonia Greteman about the history of Wichita and the new book Wichita: Where Aviation Took Wing. Also, conversations from Dorkfest LAX including with United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz. In the news, the FAA and European regulators differ over the 737 Max, general aviation responds to the devastation caused by hurricane Dorian, and the last Red Bull Air Race. Launchpad Marzari’s reveals the airplane he’s purchasing, Micah reflects on a summer of aviation, and two Australians begin podcasting again.

Guest

Sonia Greteman in Wichita.

Sonia Greteman, president and creative director of Greteman Group.

Sonia Greteman is the president and creative director of Greteman Group, an aviation-specialty marketing agency based in Wichita, Kansas.

Sonia tells us some of the rich aviation history captured in the new book Wichita: Where Aviation Took Wing, which celebrates the history of Wichita, the “Air Capital of the World.”

Greteman Group clients include aircraft manufacturers, flight support companies, aftermarket service providers, fractional ownership organizations, insurance companies, regional airlines, and those with an interest in airport analytics and in-flight Wi-Fi.

The firm is a founding member of the Wichita Aero Club and a longstanding member of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA). Greteman Group is a woman-owned business enterprise (WBE) and in 2019 celebrated their 30th anniversary since its founding in 1989.

Wichita: Where Aviation Took Wing is available online at WichitaAviationHistory.com. It can also be found at a number of Wichita retailers and gift shops including the B-29 Doc Hangar & Education Center, the Exploration Place science center, FlightSafety Textron Aviation Training, Kansas Aviation Museum, Sedgwick County Historical Museum, The Workroom, Watermark Books, and Yingling Aviation Aviator’s Attic.

Aviation News

Aviation CEOs Warn of Europe-U.S. Split on Boeing 737 Max Review

Regulatory agencies around the world would typically defer to the FAA to reinstate flights when a fleet is grounded. But the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is conducting its own review of the airplane. EASA is expressing conditions that differ from those of the FAA. See also, European aviation safety agency sets strict demands for Boeing 737 MAX return to flight.

General Aviation Mobilizes To Help Bahamas

Hurricane Dorian flattened much of the Bahamas. As is often the case in natural disasters, general aviation steps in and provides critical assistance. However, “lone wolf” relief flights are advised to first receive approval to operate from the Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and/or the Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority. The NEMA website has a link to Hurricane Dorian Volunteer Registration Forms with instructions.

Red Bull Air Race: Australia’s Matt Hall clinches 2019 World Championship in Chiba

Reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari gives us Red Bull Air Race competition results for this last race of the season and the last race of the series.

Reports

Innovations in Flight – 2019 or The Summer Scenes of an Airplane Geek

Our Main(e) Man Micah reflects on the many aviation events he’s participated in this year.

Cranky Dorkfest LAX 2019, Part 1

Brian Colemen spoke with some of the participants at this year’s Dorkfest, including United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz, Airplane Geeks co-founder Courtney Miller, and aviation uber-geek Isaac Alexander. More interviews are to come. See also: Cranky Dorkfest LAX 2019 Was One for the Record Books.

Brian Coleman and Oscar Munoz

Brian Coleman speaks with Oscar Munoz. Photo by Isaac Alexander.

Lufthansa A380

Lufthansa A380. Photo by Isaac Alexander.

We’ll have more interviews from the event in next week’s episode.

Buying a Plane, Part 3

We learn more details about the airplane that reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari is purchasing, and the complicated process involved.

Mentioned

Plane Crazy Down Under refugees Steve Vischer and Grant McHerron are again teamed up and the boys have started a new podcast called Airwaves by Aviation Trader. Coming soon to iTunes and major podcast apps. If you can’t wait, copy and paste their RSS feed into your podcast app to subscribe now.

Video: Airventure Trip 2019. Listener Mike Smith captured the 2019 trip from Boston to Oshkosh in his home-built Sonex. Mike stopped at the U.S. Air Force Museum in Dayton along the way in his 1,900 nautical mile trip with 20 hours of flight time.

Emergency landing pilot Max Sylvester says ‘study’ saved his life after instructor collapsed

Several listeners pointed us to this story where a student pilot had to land the plane after his instructor became incapacitated.

568 Bits & Pieces XXV

Interviews about aerospace journalism, a hybrid car/airplane, the Piper Pilot 100 series aircraft, Stratux ADS-B, the Electric Jetpack, and a Wings and Wheels event at an aviation museum.

Segments this episode:

Rob Mark

Rob publishes the Jetwhine blog and is the senior editor at Flying Magazine. He describes the need for more aerospace journalists, or more accurately, people who are knowledgeable about aerospace and are skilled communicators. Rob and a group of aviation writers have formed the 21st Century Aerospace Writers Facebook group, a resource for aerospace communicators and providing mentorship for those who aspire to be aerospace communicators.

21st Century Aerospace Writers

Rob previously talked about the Facebook group on Podcasting on a Plane Episode 52, The Next Generation of Aerospace Communicators.

Sam Bousfield

Sam is the CEO of Samson Switchblade, a company working to create a hybrid car/airplane and bring it to market. The design seeks to provide personal transportation. The company expects first flight in the coming months.

Samson Switchblade

Samson Switchblade

Elise Wheelock

Elise Wheelock is a Product Marketing Coordinator at Piper Aircraft. She is in the enviable position of flying around the country in Piper’s newest product offering for the training market, the Pilot 100 series aircraft. We look at the background of the plane, what makes the Piper 100 so compelling, and the aircraft’s sales success despite not yet being in production. Elise is a recent UND graduate and her story is compelling.

Piper Pilot 100

Piper Pilot 100

Sean Chuplis

Sean is CEO of Crew Dog Electronics. We first spoke with Crew Dog Electronics at AirVenture 2018 and in this interview, we follow up with Sean to discuss their safety-in-the-cockpit successes and new products. We also hear a little about his career and speaking engagements at AirVenture 2019.

Pete Bitar

Pete is the founder and CEO of Electric Jet Aircraft. Last year at Oshkosh he was in the Innovations Pavilion with his newly crafted 4-fan “verticycle” prototype. This year Pete moved to the Urban Air Mobility pavilion and he came with his new Electric Jetpack. Pete designs, manufactures, and flight tests the vehicles himself. He tells us about his vision and his participation in the GoFly competition.

Karl Erickson

Karl is the aircraft conservator at the Owls Head Transportation Museum. He manages the restoration, maintenance, and flight of the airplanes. Karl tells us about some of the aircraft in the collection. We talk about the diversity of volunteers – where they come from, what their backgrounds are, why they volunteer, and how they are trained. 

Linda Grant

Linda is a volunteer at the Owls Head Transportation Museum. At the 2019 Wings & Wheels event, she provided the pre-flight briefing and helped load people into the two Stearman aircraft for their rides.

Max and Micah

The two each took a ride in a Stearman, and relate some impressions of their flights.

Stearman

Sophie Gabrion

Sophie is the communications director at the Owls Head Transportation Museum. We learn about the museum exhibits, marketing, and digital presence. The museum hosts eighteen annual events, including the New England Auto Auction and programs for youngsters and their families.

John Harris

John is a volunteer and trustee at the Owls Head Transportation Museum. We talk about the 1941 Aeronca Defender he donated to the museum, the role of a trustee, and museum goal setting.

Max and Micah

The boys wrap up the day at the Owls Head Transportation Museum Wings and Wheels event with their impressions. For more event images, see the event Photo Album.

567 Dream Planes

We look at the new DOT Safety Oversight and Certification Advisory Committee, the planned British Airways pilot strike, a compressor stall on a Delta Air Lines Boeing B757, a snake in the airport, and the Chinese stealth bomber. We speak with the chairman of the North 40 flight line operations for AirVenture, and we review the New York International Air Show. Launchpad Marzari brings us Part 2 of his adventure buying an airplane, we announce the winner of the GE Aviation: 100 Years of Reimagining Flight book giveaway, and we hear from some listeners about their dream plane rides.

Guest

Carol Garceau is the chairman of the North 40 flight line operations for AirVenture. We learn about how they safely and efficiently get planes in and out of a massive area with camping,  parking, and transiting of people, displays, and show operations. To volunteer for North 40 (or South 40) flight line operations for the next AirVenture, start by visiting the EAA website.

Aviation News

U.S. transport chief names aviation safety advisory panel

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao Announces Appointees to Safety Oversight and Certification Advisory Committee

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 established a DOT Safety Oversight and Certification Advisory Committee (SOCAC) to provide advice to the Secretary of Transportation on issues related to FAA safety oversight and certification programs. That advice covers the aircraft and flight standards certification processes, oversight of safety management systems, risk-based oversight efforts, and utilization of delegation and designation authorities. U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has now announced the 22 members of the SOCAC.

This airline’s pilots are planning to strike for the first time ever in September

British Airways and BALPA, the British Airline Pilots Association, have been unable to reach an agreement over pay. BALPA said 93 percent of its members voted in favor of a strike, scheduled for September 9, 10, and 27, 2019.

British Airways strike: Passengers angry at airline ‘silence’

British Airways notified customers of flight cancellations in anticipation of the strike, but apparently, some customers with tickets on other days were also told their flights were canceled. Some customers say they have spent hours trying to get in touch with BA customer service without success.

Delta Air Lines Boeing B757 Diverts To Portland Following Compressor Stall

Delta Airlines flight DL-122, a Boeing 757-200 flying from Boston to Edinburgh, experienced a compressor stall climbing through about FL270. The plane diverted to the Portland (Maine) Jetport.

Newark Airport traveler abandons snake at TSA checkpoint

A 15-inch ring-necked snake was found on the floor at a Newark Airport security checkpoint. A youngster spotted the harmless snake in Terminal C and a TSA officer trapped it with a checkpoint bin.

China’s Very Own B-2 Stealth Bomber? Meet the H-20 Stealth Bomber.

China’s new strategic bomber is a flying wing design with power believed to come from four non-afterburning WS-10A Taihang turbofans. While not yet publicly shown, the Chinese media has reported it will be shown in 2019.

Air Show Report

The New York International Air Show at New York Stewart Int’l Airport featured the F-35 Lightning II Demonstration Team, the Royal Air Force Red Arrows, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, the GEICO Skytypers, the West Point Parachute Team, and others. The RAF A400M was on static display. See Max Flight’s event photo album for a collection of images.

Red Arrows at the New York International Air Show. Photo by Max Flight

F-35 demo team

F-35 demo team at the New York International Air Show. Photo by Max Flight.

Book Giveaway

We announce the winner of the drawing for a copy of GE Aviation: 100 Years of Reimagining Flight.

Report

Launchpad Marzari brings us Part 2 of his series about buying an airplane.

Listener Dream Plane Rides

We asked listeners to tell us the aircraft they have never flown on, but would most like to:

  • Ted picks the F4U Corsair or PBY Catalina.
  • Glen chose the DeHaviland Mosquito and the Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer.
  • Martin would love to fly the Hawk flown by the RAF Red Arrows.

Meetups

Dr. Steph & Micah

Dr. Steph and Micah.

Micah and Fred Samson.

Micah and Fred Samson.

Mentioned

The Most Notorious Weapon Ever Produced? – There are no simple answers for fixing the F-35 program, as tempting as it is to look for a single root cause for its problems.

566 Aviation Conversations

We talk with an FAA NextGen portfolio manager, the CEO and digital marketing director of a flight simulation company, the crew of an NOAA WP-3D Orion hurricane hunter, a retired Vice Admiral and pilot who is the oldest living graduate of the US Naval Academy, and the owners of an aviation-themed hotel in Texas. In the news, we look at a hydrogen fuel cell-powered airplane, a $5B repair bill for China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station, new wings for the A-10 Warthog, alcohol and commercial pilots, and landing an A321 in a cornfield. Also, Part 1 of Launchpad Marzari’s adventure buying an airplane.

Guests

We present a number of aviation conversations recorded with interesting people at several events:

Jamal Wilson manages two of the FAA NextGen portfolios: performance-based navigation and separation management. Jamal attended EAA Airventure Oshkosh 2019 for ADS-B outreach with the GA community.

Laura LeBan is co-founder and CEO of InfiniteFlight. Jason Rosewell is the digital marketing director. The company produces a photo-realistic flight simulator that runs on a tablet. The software is so comprehensive and realistic that one of the biggest names in electronic flight bags uses InfiniteFlight to conduct product validation testing.

Pilot LCDR Rob Mitchell, engineer Nick Underwood, and technician Todd Richards hunt hurricanes on the NOAA WP-3D Orion.

Retired Vice Admiral Ralph Weymouth is 102 years old and currently the oldest living graduate of the US Naval Academy in Annapolis. He’s flown Curtiss SBC Helldivers, Douglas SBD Dauntless’s, and Grumman F9F Panthers. His career as a naval aviator was long enough that he transitioned from biplanes to jet fighters. Admiral Weymouth is the recipient of the Navy Cross for actions against the Japanese Navy in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, and he was also awarded the Legion of Merit, twice, and the Distinguished Flying Cross, four times.

Retired Vice Admiral Ralph Weymouth

Retired Vice Admiral Ralph Weymouth.

Jay and Mary Honeck, operate Amelia’s Landing, an aviation-themed hotel in Port Aransas, Texas. The two have been attending AirVenture for 37 consecutive years and they host a large awning/pavilion they call “The Chalet” at the North 40 camping area.

Aviation News

Navy’s China Lake Earthquake Damage Dramatically Climbs to Estimated $5 Billion

The repair bill for the damage to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake is estimated at $5 billion. The Mojave Desert facility in California suffered from the two earthquakes on July 4 and July 5, 2019.

This plane can fly 500 miles, powered entirely by hydrogen

Startup ZeroAvia has designed a hydrogen-fueled electric power plant that can be used in aircraft. They have been testing the technology in a Piper and plan to conduct a full test flight with hydrogen on-board in a few weeks. ZeroAvia says they will supply the powertrain for use in planes with as many as 20 seats on flights up to 500 miles long.

See This Strange Looking ‘New’ A-10 Warthog? It Is Special for 1 Big Reason

The Ogden Air Logistics Complex at Hill Air Force Base has finished installing new wings on A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. This under the A-10 Enhanced Wing Assembly replacement program. The new wings are expected to last for up to 10,000 equivalent flight hours without a depot inspection.

A-10 at the 2019 Geneseo, NY air show. Photo by Max Flight.

A-10 at the 2019 Geneseo, NY air show. Photo by Max Flight.

United Airlines Cracks Down On Drinking Pilots

United Airlines has new alcohol consumption rules for pilots. Under the previous policy, pilots had to stop drinking eight hours before they were due to report for duty. Now United Airlines pilots have to stop drinking at least 12 hours before they’re due to report for duty. The FAA mandates that pilots in the US can have a maximum blood alcohol level of 0.04. in the UK the maximum is 0.02.

Recording reveals the Russian Sully told air traffic control to buzz off after his emergency landing

A Ural Airlines Airbus A321 experienced dual engine failures after ingesting seagulls just after takeoff from Zhukovsky International Airport in Moscow. The plane came down in a cornfield with no serious injuries.

Airlines Are No Longer Allowed to Ban Service Dogs Based on Breed

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) now forbids airlines from discriminating against service dogs of particular breeds. That includes pit bulls. “The Department’s Enforcement Office views a limitation based exclusively on breed of the service animal to not be allowed under its service animal regulation. The Enforcement Office intends to use available resources to ensure that dogs as a species are accepted for transport.” The new rule applies specifically to service animals. Emotional support animals aren’t covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Report

Launchpad Marzari gives us Part 1 of his series about buying an airplane.

Credit

Interviews conducted by Robert Fairbairn and Hillel Glazer at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019, and by Max Flight and Main(e) Man Micah at the Owls Head Transportation Museum.

565 Airshare COO Harry Mitchel

Airshare chief operating officer Harry Mitchel talks about fractional jet ownership and aircraft management. Also, ADS-B equipage on the business jet fleet, C-130 groundings due to cracks, an airplane hacking security alert from the DHS, airport noise, and a Southwest Airlines program to create career paths for pilots.

Airshare

Guest

Airshare Chief Operating Officer Harry Mitchel.

Airshare chief operating officer Harry Mitchel.

Harry Mitchel is chief operating officer of Airshare, a large provider of fractional and aircraft management services. Airshare operates Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 aircraft in the fractional space, and also provides managed aircraft services where they maintain, crew, and schedule the owner’s aircraft.

As COO, Harry oversees all aircraft operations for the company, including flight operations, maintenance, scheduling, and managed aircraft. He has more than 35 years of experience in commercial and corporate aviation, including serving as vice president of operations for Colgan Air in Memphis, Tennessee.

Harry was also general manager of Funair Corporation, director of aviation for Magic Carpet Aviation (the aviation department of the NBA’s Orlando Magic), director of Pinnacle Airlines’ Corporate Education Center, and vice president of Aviation Compliance Services.

Holding a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Harry has more than 7,000 hours of experience as an ATP pilot in global operations.

Aviation News

U.S. Business Aircraft Fleet Equipped With ADS-B Rises To 77%

FAA regulation requires that starting Jan. 1 2020, aircraft must have ADS-B Out while flying in most controlled airspace. FlightAware reports that as of June 2019, 77% of the turbine-powered U.S. business aircraft are equipped with ADS-B

AMC Commander directs temporary removal of 123 C-130s from service

After atypical cracks were discovered during scheduled depot maintenance, the Air Mobility Command has grounded 123 of the 450 C-130 Hercules aircraft. Aircraft inspections have been ordered.

US issues hacking security alert for small planes

Associated Press reports that the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a security alert for small planes which warned that “modern flight systems are vulnerable to hacking if someone manages to gain physical access to the aircraft.” According to AP, cybersecurity firm Rapid7 looked at small aircraft and “found that an attacker could potentially disrupt electronic messages transmitted across a small plane’s network, for example by attaching a small device to its wiring, that would affect aircraft systems.”

Letter: Misleading readers about aviation security

But NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen writes that the AP story, “missed or mischaracterized some key points about small-airplane security.” He says the DHS notice applies to all aircraft, it’s not a GA notice. Also the story “misrepresented the nature of the potential security breach involved.”

See ICS-ALERT-19-211-01, CAN Bus Network Implementation in Avionics and CANaerospace from Stock Flight Systems.

Maine Voices: Issues with jetport noise are both exaggerated and avoidable

Some residents of Portland Maine have been complaining about the noise from the Portland International Jetport. United States Senator Susan Collins has even gotten herself involved. Our Main(e) man Micah stepped up and penned a letter that was published by the Portland Press Herald. In it he makes a number of points about airport noise, including the approach taken in the Salt Lake City area as related by listener Patrick.

Southwest Airlines Launches New Pilot Pathways Program

Southwest Airlines launched the Destination 225° career program to build career pathways for qualified pilots to become first officers. Program participants receive a  Southwest mentor, attend training activities and events at Southwest, and ultimately have an opportunity to apply for a position as a Southwest First Officer.

Mentioned

Video: Sea Harrier SKI JUMP Explained

Royal Air Force Red Arrows North America Tour

Blue Angels

Blue Angels photo by Stuart Galt.

564 One Hundred Years of GE Aviation

The former media relations manager at GE Aviation tells us about the 100-year history of a company that contributed so much to aviation. In the news, we look at the path forward for electric planes, hidden city ticketing, Boeing’s plans to employ a second flight computer on the 737 MAX, an employment cutback at ICON Aircraft, and a successful English Channel crossing on a flyboard.

Guest

Rick Kennedy

Rick Kennedy

Rick Kennedy retired after a 30-year career managing media relations at GE Aviation and he authored the book GE Aviation: 100 Years of Reimagining Flight. This insightful and well-researched book takes the reader through the fascinating history of GE Aviation and it’s contributions to flight. Rick describes the people, the technology, the engines, and the aircraft as well as the decisions made along the way that affected the industry. Profits from the sale of the book go to charity.

In our conversation with Rick, we touch on some of the GE aviation history and major milestones such as the high bypass turbofan and the airflow efficiency made possible through the use of ceramic matrix composite (CMC) turbine parts. Also, MRO strategies of the engine OEMs, military jet engines using GE’s variable cycle approach, electric aviation, the creation of CFMI, and the response to Pratt & Whitney’s geared turbofan engine.

Rick explains how the Boeing 737 MAX issues will affect all future aircraft. He points out that while all the technological advances we are witnessing today are exciting, our culture will expect the new technology to be as safe and reliable as what we experience now. That’s a very difficult challenge for the industry.

Video: 100 Years of Reimagining Flight

See also:

Aviation News

What’s the path forward for electric planes?

We’re seeing many companies developing (and even delivering) electric and hybrid-electric airplanes. But what are the hurdles and what is the path to widespread acceptance and use? It isn’t just all about new technology.

United Airlines Staff Told To Report Hidden City Ticketing

Hidden city ticketing is the technique of purchasing an airline ticket that makes a stop, getting off the plane, and the flight then continues on to the final destination. A traveler can save money when the long flight is priced lower than the shorter flight. Airlines are not too fond of the practice.

Boeing’s latest 737 Max fix would employ second flight computer

The Seattle Times is reporting that Boeing plans to use a second redundant flight computer to address the issue found by the FAA in simulations that could result in the plane’s nose pitching down. Just one computer was used in the past because Boeing was able to prove statistically that its system was reliable. In the new configuration, both computers would be used and pilots would receive a warning if the computers disagreed on altitude, airspeed, and the angle of attack. See Newly stringent FAA tests spur a fundamental software redesign of Boeing’s 737 MAX flight controls.

ICON Slashes Workforce

Icon has delivered about 100 two-seat A5 sport airplanes so far, but it is having difficulty converting some 1,800 deposits to sales. After a number of price increases, the retail price is up to $389,000. Icon president Thomas Wieners said, “We now have a very good understanding of costs. And while the Icon A5 is a truly exceptional plane, the necessary higher price lowers demand considerably and requires us to adjust the organization size as a result.”

Franky Zapata: Flyboarding Frenchman crosses English Channel

Zapata flew his flyboard across the English Channel, covering 22 miles in 22 minutes, reaching speeds of up to 170km/h (106mph) during the flight. He refueled by switching to another backpack during the crossing, this time from a larger boat and platform.

Mentioned

Two Hurt in Weekend ICON A5 Accident

Whirly-Girls Open 2020 Scholarship Season

The Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund, Inc. is proud to announce the opening of the 2020 scholarship season.  Deserving female aviators can apply for over $180,000 of helicopter flight training and educational scholarships.  These scholarships advance the helicopter industry by strengthening the talent pool and increasing diversity. Applications are due September 1, 2019.

B-17 and F-18

Old meets new, by Patrick Wiggins.

563 Circumnavigating the Globe in a Pilatus

Our guests tell us about circumnavigating the globe three times in a Pilatus PC-12: eastbound, westbound, and polar. In the news, Allegiant is testing a new service offering more seat pitch, the fuel dump from a Norwegian flight ruins a runway, more 737 MAX fallout, an English Channel attempt on a hoverboard, the Senate confirms a controversial nominee to be the new FAA administrator, Congress considers the PLANE Act with positive implications for GA, and China is growing the number of carrier pilots.

The Pilatus at Sangster International Airport, Jamaica.

The Pilatus at Sangster International Airport, Jamaica.

Guests

Josh and Jack with the Pilatus PC-12.

Joshua Marvil and Jack Long are recipients of the eastbound and polar circumnavigation diplomas awarded by the International Aeronautic Federation (FAI) and the National Aeronautic Association (NAA). Their westbound circumnavigation was completed in January 2019 and the diploma is forthcoming. All flights were on a Pilatus PC-12 and Jack and Josh have landed in more than 40 different countries and all seven continents.

On the 2015 eastbound trip, Josh and Jack were joined by pilots Jerry Seckler and Giuseppe Caltabiano at various points along the way. For the 2016-2017 polar circumnavigation, Giuseppe was along most of the way and Jerry joined the flight in Punta Arenas, Chile to fly the Antarctic segment. For the 2018-2019 westbound trip, the only pilots were Josh and Jack. Their wives Becky and Carolyn were along for almost all of these trips in their entirety except for some of the polar legs.

Josh is a Director (and former Chair) for LightHawk and a Trustee of the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Josh and his wife Becky have flown the Cirrus SR22 all around the U.S. and the Bahamas.

Jack is an entrepreneur by profession and a pilot by passion. He started two software businesses and one transportation business. In 2003, he became part of the founding faculty of the Acton School of Business where he teaches entrepreneurship. Jack soloed in a Piper Cherokee 140 in 1977 and moved-up the aviation food chain to a Mooney 201, a Cirrus SR-22, and now the Pilatus PC-12.

Circumnavigating the Globe Westbound.

Circumnavigating the Globe Westbound.

See Josh’s blog Marvils Around the World. Jack has a blog for each circumnavigation: Round the World Flight 2015, Polar Round the World Flight 2016-2017, and Round the World 3.0.

For a register of pilots who have flown around the world in light aircraft, see Earthrounders.com.

Video: Saint Helena Landing in N575PC

Aviation News

Allegiant goes Extra with increased legroom option

Allegiant Extra seating will get you priority boarding, an extra 6 inches of seat pitch, designated bin space, and a complimentary drink on the plane. Allegiant does this without changing the overall seat count: an additional row is added in the rear section and there is less Legroom+ option. Allegiant is testing Extra on flights to and from Los Angeles. At the end of the 2019-2020 winter season, the company will make a decision as to the future of the program.

WOW Air’s American Buyer Reveals (Bizarre?) Plans

It came out recently that some former WOW Air executives were planning to launch a new airline similar to WOW but not called WOW. Right after that, American investors purchased WOW Air’s assets. American businesswoman Michele Ballarin, one of the owners of USAerospace, is currently creating a new Icelandic company that looks to provide freight transport between Iceland and the US, with passenger operations to come.

Massive Norwegian Air fuel spill at Orlando airport gives rise to fear of runway damage

A Norwegian Air flight from Orlando to London operating with an Airbus from Hi-Fly of Portugal experienced hydraulic trouble and was forced to return to Orlando. For some reason, a large quantity of fuel was dumped on Orlando’s airport runway and taxiway and it appears that the asphalt will need to be replaced.

Southwest Airlines to Leave Newark Airport as Toll of Boeing’s 737 Max Grounding Grows

In its second-quarter earnings report, Southwest said it had lost an estimated $175 million in profit. The Airline said it would shut down its operations at Newark Liberty International Airport and consolidate its operations in the New York area at LaGuardia Airport.

For more on the Boeing 737 MAX, see:

Attempt to fly hoverboard across English Channel ends in failure

Franky Zapata made an attempt to cross the English Channel on a jet-powered hoverboard. While attempting to land on a refueling platform pitching in the waves in the middle of the Channel, Zapata fell into the water, just missing the platform. The Zapata Flyboard Air is powered by five small turbo engines, each producing up to 250 horsepower each.

The Senate has confirmed a controversial new FAA administrator, a former air force pilot and Delta executive

Former Delta Air Lines pilot and executive Steve Dickson has been confirmed by the Senate to lead the FAA. The opposition voiced claims that while at Delta, Dickson mistreated a pilot who raised safety concerns. See also Politics and Aviation in the Flight to Success blog.

PLANE Act takes flight in Congress

The bipartisan legislation Promoting the Launch of Aviation’s Next Era (PLANE) Act of 2019, S.2198, was introduced on July 23, 2019. The PLANE Act would benefit general aviation by empowering pilots, investing in airports, and ensuring opportunities for a sustainable, well-trained workforce. Boeing’s new Pilot and Technician Outlook predicts a need for more than 800,000 new pilots and 750,000 new aviation technicians in the next 20 years.

China’s recruiting a lot more flattop fighter pilots — another sign China has big plans for its aircraft carriers

The annual program to recruit pilots for the People’s Liberation Army resulted in 20% more recruits than last year. Enrollment in the carrier-based fighter pilot program increased 41%. China currently has one operational aircraft carrier, with a second carrier expected to enter service soon, and a third is under construction.

Mentioned

Episode 23: DEF Contamination | AIN’s Tales from the Flight Deck Podcast

Mistaking diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) additive for fuel system icing inhibitor PRIST on the flight line is a growing problem on ramps all over the world. This can be disastrous since DEF causes jet-A to crystallize and clog aircraft fuel filters and lines. In fact, DEF contamination of jet-A has already forced several business aircraft crews to perform engine-out landings in the U.S. and elsewhere.

AOPA Foundation You Can Fly Challenge

Contribute to the Challenge by August 31, 2019, and your donation’s impact will be doubled by the Ray Foundation’s dollar-for-dollar matching grant of up to $2 million.

Women in Aviation President Chabrian Announces Retirement

Women in Aviation President Dr. Peggy Chabrian announced at the WAI Connect Breakfast at Oshkosh that she would retire in April 2020. The transition period will allow for an executive search to determine her replacement.

Airventure Oshkosh 2019

Launchpad and Josiah

Launchpad and Josiah.

The Australians visit Andy & Ed's.

The Australians visit Andy & Ed’s.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

562 Portland International Jetport

The director of the Portland International Jetport joins us to talk about airport development, airport noise, attracting airlines, and other topics. In the news, the A321neo has an excessive pitch problem, unique airline seats with more middle seat space, an unruly passenger gets banned for life, and an electric airplane company begins taking customer letters of intent. We have interviews from the Spurwink Farm Pancake Breakfast and Fly-In: the director of the Owls Head Transportation Museum, a young cadet from the Civil Air Patrol, and a retired professional pilot.

Guest

Paul Bradbury, director of the Portland International Jetport.

Paul Bradbury, director of the Portland International Jetport.

Paul H. Bradbury, P.E. is the airport director for the Portland International Jetport (PWM) in Portland, Maine. Paul has held several positions at the Jetport since 1992 and he was appointed the airport director in 2008. In this position, he is responsible for the overall management, operations, and planning for the Jetport.

PWM reached record passenger volumes for the past two years as it has focused on service and its value proposition to customers.

Under Paul’s leadership, the Jetport completed the largest capital improvement program in its history. That included a new parking garage, a 137,000 square foot terminal expansion, an aircraft deicing fluid capture facility, and the rehabilitation of the north/south runway.

These projects have placed PWM at the forefront of sustainable design. The terminal expansion was only the second terminal project in the country to receive the US Green Building Council’s LEED Gold certification. The aircraft deicing fluid capture facility recently received the ACI-NA 2018 Environmental Achievement Award for Mitigation.

Paul is a licensed professional engineer with a B.S. in Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 

South Portland residents upset with Jetport noise

AAAE Announces Three Recipients of Airport Innovation Awards

Aviation News

The Airbus A321neo Has An Excessive Pitch Problem

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued Airworthiness Directive 2019-0171 [PDF] for Airbus A321neo airplanes. Certain Elevator Aileron Computer (ELAC) part numbers installed on some airplanes can cause an “excessive pitch attitude… in certain conditions and during specific manoeuvres… This condition, if not corrected, could result in reduced control of the aeroplane.”

New airplane seat could solve one of the most annoying things about flying

Molon Labe Seating has some unique ideas for rows of three economy seats in a staggered layout. As seen in a short company video from 2017, the middle seat is wider, lower, and farther back. NBC News reported on the Side-Slip Seat that year in the video, The Middle Plane Seat May Be The Best Soon With Revolutionary Design.

Woman fined $106,000 and banned from airline for life after trying to open plane doors

Leisure airline Jet2.com says they have has issued a lifetime ban to a 25-year-old woman and billed her more than £85,000 after her disruptive behavior caused a flight to be diverted. The RAF scrambled two Typhoon fighters to escort the aircraft. According to Jet2.com, she “displayed a catalogue of aggressive, abusive and dangerous behaviour on the aircraft, which included attempting to open the aircraft doors during the flight.” See also Couple who restrained Jet2 passenger demand payout from airline.

Ampaire To Open Order Book for Hybrid-electric Airplane

Ampaire CEO Kevin Noertker says “The Ampaire Electric EEL is the first step in bringing lower emissions, lower operating costs, and quieter operations to general aviation through electrification.” The company was to begin taking letters of intent for its Electric EEL hybrid airplane at EAA AirVenture.

Spurwink Farm Pancake Breakfast and Fly-In

Our Main(e) Man and contributor-at-large Micah attended this year’s Spurwink Farm event and recorded three interviews:

Cadet First Lt Emily Earle from the Civil Air Patrol.

Tom O’Connell, a retired professional pilot.

Kevin Bedford, executive director of the Owls Head Transportation Museum, who arrived in a 1941 PT-17 Stearman Bi-Plane. The Wings & Wheels Spectacular will be taking place on August 3-4, 2019.

 

Micah and Kevin with the Stearman.

Micah and Kevin with the Stearman.

Stearman Landing with Micah.

Action shot! Stearman landing with Micah.

Mentioned

The Cooper Vortex podcast.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

 

561 Vintage Aviation

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 his restored 1959 Super Cub.

Martt Clupper and the restored 1959 Super Cub.

Guest

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.

Vintage Aviation on Facebook

Vintage Aviation: Flight-History Print Magazine Kickstarter Campaign

Vintage Aviation Podcast

Vintage Aviation Magazine

News

Bothell-based electric-airplane startup Zunum runs out of cash

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.

FAA Publishes New 2020 ADS-B Pre-Flight Policy

Published in the Federal Register, Statement of Policy on Performance Requirements for Operators of Aircraft That are Equipped With Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS–B) Out [PDF]:

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.

GE9X Sets World Record as Most Powerful Jet Engine

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.

Video: The sound of innovation – GE9X Engine

Europe’s ‘flight shame’ movement doesn’t stand a chance in the U.S.

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.

DB Cooper Dead?

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.

‘New’ name for Ryanair 737 Max is not actually new

After spotting the 737-8200 designation on the side of a Ryanair 737-8 MAX, some wondered if Boeing was rebranding the MAX. If fact, the 737-8200 designation has existed for years.

Japanese hotel installs Boeing 737 flight simulator in ‘Superior Cockpit Room’

The Haneda Excel Hotel Tokyu has a new “Superior Cockpit Room” that includes a Boeing 747-800 flight simulator.

Haneda Excel Hotel Tokyo.

Courtesy Haneda Excel Hotel Tokyo.

Mentioned

Pod-A-Palooza 2019

National Warplane Museum and Geneseo Airshow

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.