Category Archives: Episodes

734 Grand Dames of Aviation

We speak with the Founder and Chairman of the Board of Grand Dames of Aviation. In the news, Boeing and NASA team up to develop a Transonic Truss-Braced Wing airliner, a US judge orders Boeing to appear for an arraignment on a 737 Max fraud charge, SWAPA authorizes a strike vote, and a procedure change and the JFK runway incursion. We also have an Australia News Desk report and interviews from the 2023 Seattle Aerospace BBQ.

Guest

Grand Dames of Aviation founder Carol Dean in the cockpit.
Carol Dean, founder of Grand Dames of Aviation

Carol Dean is the Founder and Chairman of the Board of the non-profit Grand Dames of Aviation. Formed in 2017, the Grand Dames of Aviation is an exclusive group of accomplished women in professional aviation. What started as a private Facebook group has grown into a large organization that celebrates, educates, and inspires women to believe, achieve, and lead in aviation.

Carol explains the requirements to become a Grand Dame of Aviation and mentions some of the notable members. We learn about scholarships, mentoring, and leadership networking. Cultivating the talent, innovation, and leadership of women is critical for the future of aviation and aerospace.

Carol is currently a B757 pilot for a major carrier and has over 30 years of experience in aviation. As a test pilot and pilot instructor on the Design-Build Team, she helped certify the Gulfstream V in 1997 and was the first woman to fly the aircraft. Carol is an FAA-Designated GV Pilot Examiner and a JAA-certified GV Type Check Airman. She flew Gulfstreams Part 91 and 135 for various Fortune 500 companies for 20 years before going to the airline in 2016.

Grand Dames of Aviation Watch

Grand Dames of Aviation Watch – The “Grand Dame” is offered by Abingdon Company. This timepiece was designed to honor trailblazing women in aviation. Fierce. Accomplished. Confident. Skilled. All proceeds go to the Grand Dames of Aviation scholarship fund. For a limited time, Grand Dames receive a special 15% discount.

Grand Dames of Aviation private Facebook group.

Sisters of the Skies  

AVIATE with Shaesta

Carol Dean standing in front of jet.

Aviation News

New aircraft design from NASA and Boeing could benefit passengers in the 2030s

The Sustainable Flight Demonstrator Project brings NASA and Boeing together to create a plane with a Transonic Truss-Braced Wing (or TTBW) configuration. This features long thin high wings supported by diagonal struts to the fuselage belly. Boeing is to produce and test a full-scale single-aisle demonstrator aircraft with the first test flight planned for 2028.

Artist’s concept of Boeing Transonic Truss-Braced Wing aircraft.
Artist’s concept. Courtesy Boeing

US Judge Orders Boeing Arraigned on 737Max Fraud Charge

In January 2021 the U.S. Department of Justice granted Boeing immunity under a $2.5 billion deferred prosecution agreement. A Texas federal judge has now ruled that Boeing must appear in court on Jan. 26, 2023, to be arraigned on federal criminal charges over the 346 deaths in two Boeing MAX 737 crashes in 2018 and 2019. The judge believes the victim’s families were not part of the process and he ruled under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act.

SWAPA President Casey Murray Calls for Strike Authorization Vote

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association has authorized a strike vote beginning May 1, 2023. “This historic action on the part of the pilot union comes in the wake of Southwest’s largest meltdown and the utter lack of meaningful progress on a contract negotiation, with scheduling work rules and information technology asks in particular, that has been ongoing for more than three years.”

First Officer On American JFK Runway Incursion Flight Had Added Task At Departure, Source Says

New cockpit procedures Introduced on January 2 were being executed for the first time by the first officer. These procedures required the first officer to make a takeoff announcement for the passengers and flight attendants. The announcement must be made with precise timing, and other tasks are to be interrupted. An unnamed source said, “She has all this data to analyze and input, plus she has a new task on top of all that. She was overwhelmed.”

Australia News Desk

The guys recap a little of their history with the show, for the benefit of newer listeners, digging into the archives to find their first report as a team from episode 52 in 2009.

On the news front, Bonza Airline announces its inaugural flight

‘Overdelivering on expectations’: excitement builds for a Bonza first flight

The Defence Department announces a confirmed order for 40 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for the Australian Army, with deliveries to commence at the end of this year

Black Hawk helicopters for Defence

And QANTAS has sure had better weeks, with multiple in-flight mechanical issues making the news and causing a media frenzy!   Oh dear….

Fixation on Qantas won’t end, even if string of incidents were unconnected

Qantas calls for calm after engine failure and three flight turnbacks

Seattle Aerospace BBQ 2023

Brian Coleman attended the 2023 Seattle Aerospace BBQ and recorded four interviews:

Isaac Alexander from Hype Aviation and the organizer of the Seattle Aerospace BBQ.

Robin Koenig, the founder of Hype Aviation, the news aggregator and media intelligence service for aerospace industry professionals and enthusiasts.

Nick Benson of JetTip.net, the smart flight alert service for aviation enthusiasts. Flight alerts are sent by app notification or email, and filterable arrival/departure boards make aircraft spotting a breeze. JetTip tracks flights of interesting and unusual aircraft at major US and Canadian airports.

Dave Honan, a photographer and plane and train spotter living in the Seattle area. See his Instagram.

Attendees eating at the 2023 Seattle Aerospace BBQ.
2023 Seattle Aerospace BBQ. Photo by Isaac Alexander.

Mentioned

ZeroAvia successfully completes first flight of world’s largest hydrogen-electric plane

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, Max Trescott, and David Vanderhoof. With contributions by Grant McHerron, Steve Vischer, and Brian Coleman.

733 NOTAM Outage

The NOTAM outage and subsequent ground stop, why Amazon Air is selling cargo capacity, the runway incursion at JFK, the Airbus automated emergency diversion system, and an Australia News Desk report.

Aviation News

Here’s the latest on the NOTAM outage that caused flight delays and cancellations

On January 11, 2023, the Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system failed and the FAA issued a domestic ground stop, leading to thousands of delayed and canceled flights. A corrupt database file has been cited as the cause of the failure. NAV CANADA reported issues with their NOTAM system on the same day. At the time, they did not believe the Canadian outage was related to the FAA outage. See FAA’s NOTAM computer outage affected military flights.

Amazon Air to Sell Surplus Capacity Onboard its Jets Ahead of Predicted Market Slump

In 2023, the global air freight market is forecast to shrink by about 25%. Amazon Air has decided to sell excess air freight capacity on its fleet of 97 wet-leased planes.

The FAA is investigating a near-miss between two passenger planes at JFK airport

A Delta Air Lines 737-900 (Flight 1943) was on its takeoff roll when ATC noticed an American Airlines Boeing 777 (Flight 106) crossing the active runway. The Delta plane stopped about 1,000 feet before the crossing. The American 737 returned to the gate and passengers disembarked. Due to a crew resource issue, the flight resumed the next morning. Customers were given overnight accommodations.

Airbus tests pilot assist that can automatically divert flights

Airbus is testing a pilot assistance feature called DragonFly, which can automatically divert a flight in an emergency. The system can pick a flight path to the best airport and communicate with air traffic control and an airline’s operations center. Even if the pilots are incapacitated, DragonFly can land the aircraft safely.

Australia News Desk

This week we have a follow-up on the news about Bonza Airline’s air operators certificate, which was approved by the regulator the day last week’s episode went live. There’s some consternation among the travel agent sector over Bonza’s decision not to service Sydney at all, but as we talked about last week, they’re trying a different strategy.  Time will tell if it works or not.

Australia’s Bonza awarded AOC

On the tourism front, two of China’s three major carriers – Air China and China Southern – are boosting their schedule for flights to Australia, in a move that many hope will see the lucrative inbound Chinese tourist market ramping back up.

China Southern, Air China boosting flights to Australia

And a new network of satellites from Skykraft, sporting significant levels of Australian-made components, has been successfully deployed over the country, in a move that will eventually allow more accurate and reliable tracking of aircraft and WHF communications in some of the more remote areas of the continent.

Australia’s largest ever satellite constellation now active

Mentioned

Airline Pilot Study –  A questionnaire for pilots to learn about what aspects of innovation might make an airline more attractive to pilots when they decide which airline to apply to fly for.

Rob’s Newest jet:

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, and David Vanderhoof.

732 Cabin Air Management

We talk about cabin air management technology with the president of Pexco Aerospace. In the news, an AD for A220 engines, a terrible ground crew accident, the Southwest meltdown, an airport without jet fuel, and happy pets. Also, our safety card and T-Mobile Un‑carrier On giveaway winners and an Australia News Desk report.

Guest

Jon Page photo.

Jon Page is the President of Pexco Aerospace, a company that produces aircraft interior systems, including trim and finish components. Pexco has developed AirShield, a cabin air management technology that augments existing HEPA filters to reduce shared air by 76 percent and doubles the rate particles are expelled from the cabin and replaced by purified air.

Jon explains how the AirShield product mounts over the gasper air vents in an airliner and creates “air curtains” or compartments for each person. Besides reducing shared air, the AirShields return more air to the HEPA filters and increase the effectiveness of the air purification system. Jon tells us about the design challenges and the STC certification process.

Photo of airplane cabin showing AirShield "air curtains" and 3 passengers.
AirShield “air curtains.”

Before joining Pexco in July 2021, Jon was the President of Shield Restraint Systems. Prior to that, he was Vice President of Sales and General Manager at L.O.F., Inc., which sells automotive aftermarket accessories and hardware. Jon also had multiple roles as Director or Manager of Sales for companies including the IMMI Child Restraints team. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Purdue University and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin Consortium.

Closeup of AirShield cabin air management system installed over gaspers.
AirShield installed over gaspers.

Aviation News

FAA addresses dual-engine shutdown of A220 P&W engines

An airBaltic Airbus A220-300, registered as YL-AAQ, experienced a dual-engine shutdown while landing at Copenhagen Airport (CPH) in July 2021. The FAA investigation found that “the sequence of the auto-throttle increasing throttle to maintain Mach number, immediately followed by pilot command to decrease throttle to idle, caused a transient disagreement between actual and commanded thrust.” This triggered the thrust control malfunction (TCM) detection logic which shut down both engines as soon as wheel sensors detected that the aircraft had physically landed on the runway. The FAA issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD) that requires a FADEC software update.

American Airlines Ground Worker Reportedly Killed in Horrific Accident After Being Sucked Into Jet Engine

A ground handling agent was killed after being sucked into the jet engine of an Embraer E175LR at Montgomery Regional Airport in Alabama. The victim was an employee of Piedmont Airlines, a subsidiary of American Airlines. FAA and NTSB are investigating.

Southwest Airlines’ holiday chaos could cost the company as much as $825 million

In a regulatory filing, the airline says that holiday disruptions could cost as much as $825 million. More than 16,700 flights were canceled due to weather, staff shortages, and an outdated crew scheduling computer system. Thousands were stranded and luggage piled up at airports. SWAPA (the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association) published a letter that places the blame on the airline’s lack of leadership.

San Diego Airport Has Run Dry of Jet Fuel, Resulting in Lengthy Diversions For Some United and British Airways Flights

A leaking fuel pipe that serves San Diego County has led to the unavailability of jet fuel at San Diego International Airport. Some flights are being canceled, others are being diverted for refueling stops, and airlines are tankering extra fuel.

Puppy abandoned at SFO adopted by airline captain and family

A puppy was abandoned by his owner at San Francisco International Airport after the dog lacked the paperwork to remain in the United States. United Airlines partnered with SF SPCA to find a new home for the pup.

Frontier Airlines will Give You Free Flights For Adopting These Cats

The Animal Foundation named three kittens up for adoption: Frontier, Delta, and Spirit. Frontier offered up to four flight vouchers to anyone who adopted the Frontier kitten, and two vouchers each for the other kittens.

Giveaway Drawing

The winners of the two giveaways from Episode 728 were announced. The Interaction Group owner Trisha Ferguson kindly provides airline safety cards, while T-Mobile Senior Manager of Communications Steve Carlson donated the Un‑carrier On hard-sided suitcase.

Australia News Desk

Steve Visscher and Grant McHerron bring us an installment of The Australia Desk with aviation news from Down Under.

Mentioned

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

Pilot Proficiency Center
Pilot Proficiency Center

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, Max Trescott, and David Vanderhoof. Contribution by Steve Visscher and Grant McHerron.

731 Bits and Pieces 30

We speak with the President and CFO of DG Fuels LLC about producing Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), and the Co-Founder and Chief AI at Fetcherr about continuous pricing models for airlines. We also take a look back at 2022.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)

Christopher J. Chaput is the President of DG Fuels, LLC. He has over 23 years of experience as an executive, an investment banker, a restructuring advisor and investor, primarily in the aviation sector.

Christopher J. Chaput, the President of DG Fuels, LLC.
Christopher J. Chaput

DG Fuels is developing a Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) production facility at Loring Commerce Centre in Limestone, Maine, the former Loring Air Force Base. Chris explains SAF and biofuels and describes how the DG Fuels process uses waste timber products and stranded electricity to make SAF efficiently and sustainably. An existing pipeline to the coast will facilitate the transport of the SAF to Boston and New York markets.

Prior to DG Fuels, Chris was a partner in and co-founder of RPK Capital Management, investing in commercial aircraft and other aviation-related assets. Chris was a partner and head of the Structured Finance Group at the Seabury Group where he arranged secured financings of aircraft and other assets. Chris was a senior member of the advisory team that represented US Airways in its merger with America West Airlines and that restructured US Airways, Air Canada, and Northwest Airlines in bankruptcy. Prior to that he structured and executed public and private aircraft-backed secured bonds at Morgan Stanley. Early in his career, Chris was the Managing Director-Corporate Finance at Northwest Airlines.

Chris earned his B.A. from Creighton University, magna cum laude, and his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Minnesota Law School, where he also taught Business Planning for two years as an adjunct professor.

Continuous pricing models for airlines

Dr. Uri Yerushalmi, the co-founder and chief AI officer at Fetcher.
Dr. Uri Yerushalmi

Dr. Uri Yerushalmi is the co-founder and chief AI officer at Fetcherr, an Israeli tech company that developed a proprietary AI-powered engine that predicts demand and enables continuous pricing for the airline industry. The company was founded in 2019 by experts rooted in deep learning, algorithmic trading, e-commerce, and the digitization of legacy architecture.

Uri explains the continuous pricing approach and how that can solve airline challenges and maximize revenue. Airlines typically employ dynamic pricing where the prices are bucketed into certain levels and change infrequently. Under a continuous pricing model, the price can be set at any level. Dynamic pricing is all that was allowed by the technology in the 80s. Now, however, deep learning and reinforcement learning technology can predict the behavior of the market by considering factors such as travel origins, destinations, number of stops, days of advance purchase, stay days, capacity (load factor), seasonality, and time of day.

Old pricing models are inefficient and utilize “middlemen” that introduce an added cost. Uri tells us that the efficiency of continuous pricing models negates the need for middlemen and creates a revenue uplift for the airlines.

Fetcherr technology is running live now with low-cost Azul Airlines. The company is onboarding a large traditional global airline and exploring advanced functionality with another major airline.

2022 I Can Hardly Remember

Our Main(e) Man Micah brings us his year-in-review piece. He originally thought 2022 was pretty quiet for him aviation-wise, but when he reflected on it Micah realized that quite a lot actually happened. 2022 was very much an #AvGeek year for Micah.

John Bush VSF50 VisionJet
Micah in the 787 headed for the UK
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Helicopter
Friends at Spurwink
More friends at Spurwink
Sunday Roast at The Greyhound Inn
Micah and Lt Hardinger

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, our Main(e) Man Micah, and Brian Coleman.

730 Christmas Trees and B-17s

B-17 crew with Si Seigel, standing far right.
Si Seigel, standing far right.

In this special holiday episode, our Main(e) Man Micah tells the story of Si Spiegel. As a young man, Si wanted to serve his country and he joined the US Army Air Corp. After completing his training, he flew his first mission over Europe in a B-17 at the age of 20. On one mission, two of the B-17 engines became disabled and Si made an emergency landing in Poland. Micah tells us how Si was able to make an incredible escape over occupied territory and went on to complete 35 missions during the war.

But that’s not the end of Si’s story because after the war he went on to develop something that was unusual for the time, but commonplace now during the Christmas season. It’s all in Micah’s story.

At the time of this episode, Si Spiegel is 98 years old and lives in a Manhattan apartment with a view of Central Park.

Si Seigel, May 2016.
Si Seigel, May 2016.

Hosts this Episode

Our Main(e) Man Micah and Max Flight.

729 Airport Lounges

We speak with the operator of the world’s largest network of airport lounges. In the news, United’s order for Boeing planes, air travel trends for 2023, Boom Supersonic plans to develop its own engine, the U.S. Army selects the Bell V-280 over the Sikorsky/Boeing offering, and passengers are injured by turbulence on a Hawaiian Airlines flight.

Guest

Stuart Vella is Vice President of Commercial Development and Operations with the Plaza Premium Group (PPG), an award-winning leader in premium airport hospitality services. PPG operates the world’s largest network of airport lounges. In the U.S. the company operates the Plaza Premium Lounge at DFW Terminal E and recently opened a lounge at Orlando (MCO) Terminal C. Stuart has been in the hospitality industry for some 30 years and has an extensive travel background.

Stuart Vella
Stuart Vella

We talk with Stuart about airport lounges and making the travel experience less hectic. He explains how PPG was formed to cater to those without access to elite lounges. PPG offers lounges for all travelers, regardless of cabin class or airline. Customer demand is high for more lounge access not necessarily tied to an airline or credit card.

PPG owns the lounges they operate and offers full food and beverage service with production kitchens, full bars, showers, play areas for children, and quiet areas for business people. The benefits of each lounge are tailored to the demographics of travelers going through that specific airport.

We discuss the PPG pricing model, LEED ratings, and the “ALWAYS” meet and greet at DFW.

Plaza Premium Lounge Opens at Orlando International Airport

Plaza Premium Lounge Wins Skytrax Awards Six Years in a Row [PDF]

Airport lounge

Aviation News

United places order for 200 Boeing planes, giving two troubled jets a vote of confidence

The United order represents 35% of the orders received by Boeing commercial airplanes this year. The announced order includes 100 firm/100 option 787 Dreamliners and 56 firm 737 Max planes for delivery between 2024 and 2026. The airline also exercised options on 44 737 Max jets with delivery between 2024 and 2026.

3 air travel trends to watch for in 2023

Three trends are noted in a conversation with United’s Director of UK, Ireland, Israel and Off-line Sales:

  1. “Alternative” airports will increase in popularity
  2. Greener air travel will remain a top priority
  3. Travel will become a lighter-touch experience

Boom plans new Symphony supersonic engine design

Boom Supersonic could not get any of the major engine manufacturers to commit to developing an engine for them. Boom now plans to develop its own engine, called Symphony, a medium-bypass engine producing 35,000 pounds of thrust. Three partners were announced:

Boom Supersonic Symphony engine.
Symphony (conceptual render). Courtesy Boom Supersonic.

Kratos purchased Florida Turbine Technologies in February 2019 and formed the Kratos Turbine Technologies (KTT) division. KTT develops and produces small high-performance jet engines for cruise missiles and unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

A Reality Check On The Army Picking V-280 Valor Over SB>1 Defiant

U.S. Army’s fleet of UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters is to be replaced under the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft initiative, or FLRAA. The Army has chosen the Bell V-280 Valor tiltrotor over the Sikorsky/Boeing Defiant X, a compound coaxial helicopter based on Sikorsky’s X2 technology. The Army said the V-280 offered the “best value proposition” without providing any specifics.

Note: Paul Wilson, chief engineer for the Bell V-280 Valor program was our guest in Episode 576 Bell V-280 Valor.

Passengers and Flight Attendants Hit the Ceiling After Severe Turbulence Strikes Hawaiian Airlines Plane From Phoenix

The A330 flight from Phoenix to Honolulu encountered severe turbulence, injuring as many as 36 passengers, 11 seriously. The pilots declared an emergency following the incident due to the number of injuries and the plane was given priority clearance to land.

See inside of Hawaiian Airlines plane rocked by turbulence

David’s Christmas Story

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Max Trescott, David Vanderhoof, Brian Coleman, and our Main(e) Man Micah.

728 Safety Cards and Carry-on Luggage

We speak with the owner of a company that designs and creates airline safety cards and talk with a T-Mobile manager about an interesting new product for air travelers.

Guests

The Interaction Group

Trisha Ferguson is the owner of The Interaction Group, a company that designs and creates airline safety cards for leading airlines such as American, JetBlue, Lufthansa, Canadian carriers, and Etihad Airways.

Trisha Ferguson
Trisha Ferguson

The company believes that 90% of people tested should understand what to do based on the images on the card. If less than 90% of people (of all ages) don’t understand the instructions or interpret them incorrectly, then design elements need to be changed. When airlines need to update their safety cards, they work with the design team to make the changes. Safety cards in the seat backs have to be the tallest printed material in a seat back, ie. so they stick out, and every seat needs one as a part of the Minimum Equipment.

Tricia started at The Interaction Group 25 years ago and then fell in love with the intersection of safety, design, and airlines. She earned a Master’s degree in Human Factors Science and now owns the company.

Safety cards

T-Mobile

Steve Carlson
Steve Carlson

Steve Carlson is the Senior Manager of Communications for T-Mobile. We look at some considerations for travelers who are choosing a mobile carrier, as well as the travel benefits that T-Mobile offers.

T-Mobile had launched a suite of travel benefits called Coverage Beyond, and now they have introduced the Un‑carrier On, a hard-sided suitcase with wireless (and USB-C) charging. The battery pack is removable and other features include a flat top work surface, a packing set of bags, and Tag Smart tracking via Bluetooth.

T-Mobile Un-carrier On
T-Mobile Un-carrier On

Hosts this Episode

Brian Coleman, our Main(e) Man Micah, and Max Flight.

727 Air Mobility Solutions

A Michigan technology activation manager explains grants made to companies developing air mobility solutions at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. We also look at the NTSB preliminary report on the fatal Wings Over Dallas airshow collision, retiring the F-22 Raptor, a Boeing 777X engine issue, the Delta pilot’s “me too” contract clause, and an F-16 destroyed by a pilot.

Gerald R. Ford International Airport
Gerald R. Ford International Airport

Guest

Charlie Tyson

Charlie Tyson is the Technology Activation Manager at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), in the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification. The MEDC is a public-private partnership between the state and local communities that seeks to accelerate economic development opportunities in the mobility space. Charlie talks to us about grants for air mobility solutions and an air mobility corridor.

Air Mobility Solutions

Recently, the Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) in West Michigan announced the second round of grant funding to test air mobility solutions at the airport. The grants are made possible through the Ford Launchpad for Innovative Technologies and Entrepreneurship (FLITE) program, which provides grants and testing opportunities to companies focused on bringing emerging air travel solutions to market.

Cutting Edge Mobility Technologies Coming to Gerald R. Ford International Airport through State-Industry Collaboration

First-round FLITE recipients (see press release here): 

  • Aurrigo: Leveraging their Auto-Sim® software platform, created a “digital twin” of airport operations to optimize targeted metrics and increase operational efficiency.
  • WHILL: Deployed their autonomous mobility device to increase traveler independence and reduce wait times for wheelchair requests.
  • Sunflower Labs: Deployed their remote autonomous drone-in-a-box security system used to conduct inspections and security monitoring tasks.

Second-round FLITE recipients:

  • Aircraft Data Fusion: Utilizing web-based cloud solutions to provide real-time passenger forecasting.
  • Dataspeed: Revolutionizing aviation operations with the Kinetic360 Autonomous Service Vehicle.
  • EVA: Retooling EVA’s drone infrastructure to provide airport services to revolutionize baggage delivery.
  • Renu Robotics: Revolutionizing aviation facilities’ vegetation management with autonomous lawn mowers.
  • Spotter: Developing innovative sensor technology to help travelers identify open parking spots.

Michigan-Ontario Air Mobility Corridor

The aerial mobility corridor study will test the feasibility of commercial drones and other aerial systems, including cross-border between Michigan and Ontario. The study is exploring whether small drones can be flown beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) and be used in operations like just-in-time delivery, medical transport, or other small-scale deployments of UAS. The information gathered from this feasibility study will be used to further decision-making in preparing for the future of advanced air mobility in North America.

A newly formed partnership with Airspace Link, a Detroit-based drone technology start-up, and their partners (including Thales) will develop a feasibility analysis as a first step to establishing the infrastructure required to support a range of commercial and public advanced air mobility use cases.

The Airspace Link team will provide an analysis of existing airspace, air traffic infrastructure, and ground infrastructure required to ensure the operational safety of commercial drone skyways.

Another key partner will be the Michigan Central mobility innovation district in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit. Their collaboration with key stakeholders from the state and city will help advance this research and innovation to a broader idea of autonomy that goes beyond vehicles on the road, but also the water or sky.

Aviation News

No Altitude Advice Before Dallas Air Show Crash NTSB Says

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a preliminary report [PDF, Accident Number: CEN23MA034] on the November 12, 2022 midair collision between a B-17G and a P-63F during the Wings Over Dallas airshow. According to the NTSB report, the fighter planes were told to fly ahead of the bombers, but there were no altitude deconfliction briefings. The NTSB is looking into the sequence of maneuvers that led to the crash and if air shows normally have altitude deconfliction plans.

Why Would America Want to Retire the F-22?

Reasons include the relatively small number of aircraft and the high cost of operation, outdated avionics, and the new fighter being developed in the Next Generation Air Dominance Program.

Boeing 777X Test Flights Suspended Over Engine Issue

The unspecified issue was discovered during a borescope inspection of a high-time GE9X flight test engine. Apparently, there was a temperature alert. GE Aerospace says, “We are reviewing a technical issue that occurred during GE9X post-certification engineering testing, and we are closely coordinating with Boeing on our findings to support their return to flight testing.” 

The Fascinating ‘Me Too’ Clause That Will Guarantee Delta Air Pilots The Best Pay in the Industry

The tentative labor agreement with Delta pilots includes a “me too” clause. This benchmarks the Delta pilot’s contract against American Airlines and United Airlines and guarantees at least one percent higher wages than American and United pay their pilots. If the Delta contract is approved, the pilots would get an immediate 18 percent pay rise, as well as a one-time payment equal to 22 percent of their earnings between 2020 and 2022. Then Delta pilots would receive a 5 percent pay rise after the first year of the contract, followed by 4 percent pay raises in the two years thereafter. Delta Allied Pilots Union (ALPA) members must still vote in favor of the proposed contract.

Fighter pilot who tailed a civilian plane blamed for destroying F-16

In March 2022, an Oklahoma Air National Guard F-16C crashed while on a two-jet homeland defense “aerospace control alert” training mission. A GA plane was used as a practice aircraft however neither the GA plane nor air traffic control was notified about the attempted interception. One of the F-16 pilots experienced a “shudder” after selecting the wrong switch and ejected. According to the investigation, “Flight simulations confirmed … the [aircraft] was still in a flyable state prior to ejection. A noticeable shudder and movement of the aircraft [was] indicative of the flight controls responding properly. … The aircraft was not out of control and could have been recovered.”

Mentioned

Flying in 2022, by Patrick Smith in Ask the Pilot.

Covenant Aviation Security

U.S. again delays deadline for Real IDs, until May 2025

ChatGPT

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, Max Trescott, and our Main(e) Man Micah.

726 One-Pilot Cockpits

Thoughts on one-pilot cockpits, Frontier drops its customer service line, pigeons on an aircraft carrier, get ready for Real ID, an A-10 pilot gets a flying award, the A-1H Skyraider joins the Museum of the US Air Force, a Mooney crashes into a transmission tower, and America’s best airports.

Aviation News

One-pilot cockpits? Here’s what QF32 hero and ‘Sully’ Sullenberger think

On November 4, 2010, Flight QF32 from Singapore to Sydney experienced a massive engine failure on the A380. Captain Richard Champion de Crespigny describes the explosion, the subsequent systems damage, the resulting cockpit chaos, and how the crew worked together to save all aboard. Sully said, “Those who propose single-pilot airline operations are wrong, dead wrong.”

By Australian Transport Safety Bureau - In-flight uncontained engine failure Airbus A380-842, VH-OQA, Cover Page, CC BY-SA 3.0 au, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=81280480
In-flight uncontained engine failure Airbus A380-842, VH-OQA.
Courtesy Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

Frontier Airlines drops its customer service line

Customers can no longer call Frontier airlines on the phone and speak with a live agent. Instead, customer service options are a chatbot Frontier’s website, 24/7 live chat, and social media channels including WhatsApp. The airline said, “[this] enables us to ensure our customers get the information they need as expeditiously and efficiently as possible.” Also, most customers prefer communicating through online channels.

Why the US Navy’s First Aircraft Carrier Also Carried a Pigeoneer

By U.S. Navy photo 80-G-460108 - commons, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=91295306
USS Langley underway, 1927. U.S. Navy photo.

The USS Langley, America’s first aircraft carrier and the US Navy’s first turbo-electric-powered ship, was launched on August 14, 1912. A pigeon house was built on the stern for food storage, nesting, training, and trapping areas. Carrier pigeons were used extensively in the past for military communications.

States begin final push for compliance as Real ID deadline nears

Real ID is an enhanced verification process for State-issued IDs, such as driver’s licenses. The Real ID Act was passed by the U.S. Congress after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and requires that driver’s licenses or state-issued IDs must meet the federal Real ID requirements to be accepted for boarding commercial flights. This takes effect on May 3, 2023.

A-10C pilot earns top flying award for combat successes in Afghanistan

Maj. Kyle Adkison accepted the Distinguished Flying Cross at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, for his combat achievements in Afghanistan. The Major is a test pilot with the 59th Test and Evaluation Squadron. In 2019, Adkison and his wingman, Capt. Erin Fullam, drove away enemy forces, protected the positions of friendly forces, and kept members of the U.S.-led military coalition alive, the Air Force said in a release.

A-1H Skyraider now on display at AF museum

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force now has an A-1H Skyraider on display in the museum’s Southeast Asia War Gallery. This radial engine aircraft preceded the A-10 in an attack role and was in service from 1946 to the early 1970s in the U.S. and elsewhere to the 1980s.

Douglas A-1E Skyraider. Courtesy National Museum of the United States Air Force.
Douglas A-1E Skyraider.
Courtesy National Museum of the United States Air Force.

Pilot, passenger rescued from plane after crash into power lines that caused widespread outages in Montgomery County [Maryland]

Small Plane Crashes Into Transmission Tower in Maryland

The single-engine Mooney M20J crashed into a transmission tower. It took almost seven hours to extricate the pilot and passenger. Both individuals were injured and ambulances transported them to area trauma centers.

How SFO ended up ranked as America’s best airport

The Wall Street Journal says that San Francisco International is the best among the 20 busiest airports based on passenger numbers. Sacramento International is No.1 among 30 midsize facilities. In its ranking, the WSJ considered 19 factors, including airline on-time performance, average ticket prices, security line wait time, and airport concession costs. Also, the results of J.D. Power’s annual survey of passenger satisfaction and more. 

Mentioned

21st Century Aerospace Writers Facebook group.

Mastodon – Decentralized social media.

Explained: What is Post.news, the emerging easy-to-use Twitter alternative. Link to sign up.

Western Museum of Flight

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Rob Mark, and Max Trescott.

725 Airshow Crash

An airshow crash involving two warbirds, Flight MH17 convictions, A350 carryon weight, GA airplane shipments, A-10s and B-1Bs as attack aircraft, an airport closure impacts seaplanes, G700 on a world tour, and a sustainable jet fuel plant.

Aviation News

B-17 involved in airshow crash.

Dallas air show crash: Two World War Two planes collide in mid-air

A P-63 Kingcobra fighter and a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress collided at a commemorative air show near Dallas. The P-63 pilot and all five occupants aboard the B-17 died.

Video: Early Analysis: Wings Over Dallas Midair Collision WWII Airshow November 12, 2022

3 convicted in 2014 downing of Malaysian jet over Ukraine

Malaysian Flight MH17 from Amsterdam was headed to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down over Ukraine with a Russian surface-to-air missile. All 283 passengers and 15 crew aboard the 777-200ER perished. The investigation by the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) determined that the plane had been downed by a missile launched from pro-Russian separatist-controlled territory in Ukraine. Specifically, the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of the Russian Federation. A Dutch court has now convicted two Russians and a pro-Moscow Ukrainian.

Spanish Court Orders Flag Carrier Iberia to Limit Hand Luggage On Airbus A350 Because Overhead Lockers Are So Big

Airbus has been offering larger overhead luggage bins as new equipment and as a retrofit. The so-called “XL Bins” on the A350 are truly huge. Airbus says the compartments on the A350 can accommodate five full-size carry-on suitcases. The cantilevered bins are designed to hold a maximum of 30-45 kg (66-99 pounds) and fold up into the ceiling.

Iberia flight attendants thought that lifting that weight for as many as 112 bins on the A350-900 was too much to ask, and filed a lawsuit. They asked for the XL Bins to be replaced with smaller bins, or ban Iberia from expecting them to close the XL Bins. The judge dismissed those demands and ordered the airline to start weighing passenger carry-on luggage and make sure that Iberia’s own weight allowance was being adhered to.

U.S. Air Force wants to use A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft along with B-1B Lancer supersonic bombers to destroy enemy air defense systems

ADM-160 MALD (Miniature Air Launched Decoy) drones will be used as decoys with electronic warfare systems instead of warheads. Mounted on the A-10, the decoys should improve the survivability of the attack aircraft. U.S. Air Force exercises on Guam have been using the B-1B Lancer paired with the A-10.

Twitchell Airport property in Turner under contract to be sold

Twitchell Airport is the last privately owned and commercially operated airport in Maine. It’s been operating for 76 years. The land owners are selling the 145 acres that the airport and seaplane facilities share, reportedly to build a self-storage facility. Twitchell is the only seaplane base providing fuel between its location and Rhode Island, about 200 miles.

Gulfstream Unveils Newest Business Jet Model G700 In Nigeria

Gulfstream Aerospace is taking two G700 aircraft on a world tour that includes major events and private showings in 20 cities. These are fully outfitted G700 production test aircraft.

Elon Musk has reportedly added a new $78 million jet to his growing fleet of private planes.

This will replace his Gulfstream G650ER. Musk currently owns four jets, including three Gulfstream and one Dassault.

Company hopes to produce sustainable jet fuel at Loring Air Force Base

The former Loring Air Force Base was a large cold-war era base in far northeastern Maine. It was used by the U.S. Air Force’s Strategic Air Command. In 1994, the base was closed and then redeveloped into an industrial and aviation park called the Loring Commerce Centre. The airfield became Loring International Airport. Now DG Fuels LLC (DGF) plans to lease 1,240 acres from the Loring Development Authority and produce Sustainable Aviation Fuel. (SAF). Press release: DG Fuels Signs Key Maine Land Agreement.

Mentioned

Plane Talking UK Podcast

Grand Dames of Aviation

Charity auctions off AN-225 “Mriya” debris pieces to raise funds for Ukrainian Soldiers

Video: ONBOARD Emirates New A380 FIRST CLASS *It ONLY Cost $___*

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Rob Mark, and Micah.