Category Archives: Episodes

AirplaneGeeks 368 Membership Flights with Surf Air

Surf Air Pilatus PC-12/47E

Surf Air Pilatus PC-12/47E

We talk with CEO Jeff Potter about the Surf Air all-you-can-fly private membership air travel club. Also, an uncontained engine failure on a BA flight, low airline fares, management changes at United, American Airlines used the wrong plane, and remotely manned towers may be on the way.


Jeff Potter is the Chief Executive Officer of Surf Air, an all-you-can-fly private membership club for business and leisure travelers. Surf Air uses Pilatus PC-12 aircraft on scheduled routes, currently from airports in California. However, the company looks to expand and provide service in other regions, even internationally.

Jeff S Potter

Jeff S Potter

Jeff has luxury product experience as Chief Executive Officer of Exclusive Resorts. He also has an aviation background and worked his way up from airplane cleaner to President and Chief Executive Officer of Frontier Airlines, as well as being a member of their Board of Directors. Jeff was also the CEO of Vanguard Airlines for a short period.

Jeff explains how the Surf Air fixed monthly fee makes the private aviation experience affordable. He characterizes it as a disruptive model that competes with commercial carriers.

Follow Surf Air on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.


BA jet engine failure uncontained, pieces hit runway: investigators

NTSB Issues Update on the British Airways Engine Fire at Las Vegas

The NTSB reports that the engine fire on takeoff at McCarran International Airport (LAS) by British Airways flight 2276, a Boeing 777 with GE90-85B engines, was an uncontained engine failure.

$100 Airline Ticket Deals, as Carriers Increase Profits

JetBlue Airways can fly you from JFK to Chicago for $74. A holiday promotion at Delta can cost as little as $78. American Airlines has a $97 fare from Columbus to Washington Reagan. Is there an airline fare war? Jeff helps understand what’s going on.

Why Dump Smisek? United Wasn’t First Airline to Fly a Pol’s Route

United CEO Smisek and two other executives resigned as a federal investigation is underway about the propriety of United creating a route between Newark Airport and Columbia, S.C, near where then chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey David Samson had his weekend home.

American Airlines accidentally used the wrong plane to fly to Hawaii

An American Airlines A321 left LA for Hawaii, but it didn’t have the requisite ETOPS certification. American discovered the problem enroute and notified the FAA, but the plane continued to it’s destination.

Air traffic controllers for some airports are now miles away, watching the planes on camera

Ornskoldsvik Airport in northern Sweden has an unmanned tower. The controllers are 90 miles away at another airport watching by camera. The idea is being tested elsewhere, even at one airport in the United States.

The Aircraft of the Week

Guppy by NASA

David goes fishing this week for a History Segment.  He hopes to catch one of these in the wild at Joint Base Andrews for a whale of a tale.  This episode we talk about The Aero Spacelines Guppies, and the lure of the aircraft that put a man on the moon.

Guppy by NASA

Guppy photos courtesy NASA

The Aviation Minute

Rob Mark talks about customer service at United Airlines.


The Bristol Hercules engine startup courtesy Ian.

Listener Photos

Lamont sends this photo taken in a practice area West / slightly Northwest of San Jose, California. The photo shows the marine layer being held back by the Santa Cruz Mountain Range in the early afternoon.

Marine layer

Marine layer

Jodi Brommer sends this shot of the smallest 777. She was hanging out on the approach path of San Francisco, 2.5 miles off the touchdown markers.

The smallest 777 by Jodi Brommer

The smallest 777 by Jodi Brommer


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


AirplaneGeeks 367 Bits & Pieces XV

Alan Brown F117

Alan Brown

This Episode: F-117A designer Alan Brown, Duxford Flying Legends Airshow, Landing Aircraft in a Whiteout, Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center, the C-5 Galaxy, aviation safety, and a Labor Day message.

This is a Bits & Pieces episode. If you’ve been with us for a while, you know what that means. If you are new to the show, this is something we do occasionally instead of our usual format.

You see, we record Airplane Geeks Monday evenings, but sometimes Monday is a national holiday and we want to spend the day with our families and friends. Since we don’t want to leave you without a show to listen to, we put together something we call Bits & Pieces.

The Bits & Pieces idea is simple: We ask the co-hosts and contributors to provide pre-recorded segments for the episode, then we just stitch them together and it’s Bits & Pieces. This time we really encouraged you to send us recordings, and we were pleased to have received a number of them.

This week’s segments:

Interview with F-117A designer Alan Brown

Max Trescott interviews, Alan Brown, an aeronautical engineer by training, who was program manager and chief engineer for the F-117A Stealth Fighter from initial concept until the first production aircraft was built.

Duxford Flying Legends Airshow

Listener Ray Williams sends his report from the Duxford Flying Legends Airshow held July 11-12, 2015.

Hawker Nimrod I

Hawker Nimrod I



Line up at Duxford Flying Legends

Line up at Duxford Flying Legends

Morane-Saulnier 406 D-3801

Morane-Saulnier 406 D-3801

Hispano HA-112 MIL (Buchon)

Hispano HA-112 MIL (Buchon) G-AWHE [Note non-Bf109 bulges on engine cowling to house the Merlin engine]

Lightning and Mitchell in a flypast

Lightning and Mitchell in a flypast

Landing Aircraft in a Whiteout

Geeks on Ice reporter Juan Fernandez, who brought us the Reports from an Airplane Geek from McMurdo Station Antarctica series, shares a short story about the special procedures to land an airplane under the zero visibility conditions of a whiteout.

Emergency Whiteout Landing


Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center

Brian Coleman stops in the Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center while he was on vacation in Idaho.

Bird Aviation Museum_1

Bird Aviation Museum_2

Bird Aviation Museum_3

The C-5 Galaxy

C-5 by Paul Filmer

C-5 by Paul Filmer

Listener JD gives us some interesting facts and experiences from the perspective of a C-5A instructor pilot with over 5200 hours in the airplane, including 192 combat sorties before retiring in 2013.

Across the Pond

PA-38-112 Tomahawk, G-BNDE

PA-38-112 Tomahawk, G-BNDE (copyright XTPMedia)

Pieter Johnson discovers a “new” source of information on aviation safety whilst photo editing: the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB). It’s a gentle and sobering reminder of safety in the air (and on the ground).

Rob Mark on Labor Day

As the grandson of a Chicago Labor Leader and a former ALPA pilot himself, Rob adds his own unique two cents about the meaning of Labor Day.

David Vanderhoof Gives Thanks

David makes Max blush, but more importantly he gives you a sense of what this podcast means to us. We are truly blessed to know each other, our guests, and many of you. It’s all quite remarkable.


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

AirplaneGeeks 366 Getting Your Air Transport Pilot Certificate

XTI Aircraft Company TriFan 600

XTI Aircraft Company TriFan 600

Strategies for getting your ATP certificate, a new VTOL aircraft offers an equity stake via crowdfunding, F-35 operational testing and a close-air support match up with the A-10, Skytrax rates the world’s airlines, inflight WiFi prices going up, and a retired Google executive receives an award from the Aero Club of Northern California.


Don Sebastian is President of Aviation Consulting Services Incorporated. He was our guest on Episode 336, back in February of this year, when we talked about the airplane pre-buy process. Don has a variety of aviation experiences and no shortage of opinions, so we asked him back, this time to talk about getting an Air Transport Pilot rating.

We talk with Don about different strategies to obtain an ATP rating. The cost today is not like it was in the “old days,” and prospective flight training students are different than the generations of the past, but Don believes there are ways it can be done without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Don Sebastion

Don Sebastian

Don has a number of certificates from the FAA. They include Air Transport Pilot certificates for single engine and multiengine aircraft, a commercial certificate for helicopters, and a Private certificate for gliders. He’s also a flight instructor for airplanes, holds two ground instructor certificates, and has an A and P mechanics certificate for airframe and powerplants. He also has a parachute Jumpmaster license from the Parachute Club of America, which has since been renamed the United States Parachute Association.

Don has performed over 2,000 pre-buys and flight tests. He was a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, testifies as an expert witness, and has eight lecture tours under his belt. Outside of aviation, Don contributes his energy to a variety of community and charitable activities.

Don produced the document Getting the ATP Rating which contains biographical information and great photographs,  as well as advice and links to online resources for those considering an Air Transport Pilot career. These are some of those resources:


XTI Aircraft Company offers stakes in the TriFan 600 VTOL business plane

A group of experienced aviation professionals has formed XTI Aircraft Company to develop a six-seat aircraft called the TriFan 600. It’s powered by two turboshaft engines that drive three ducted fans. The VTOL aircraft can hover and transition to horizontal flight by rotating the wing-mounted fans horizontal to vertical.

XTI Aircraft is using crowdfunding to raise a portion of the total investment required. This is now possible because new Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules allow startups to “test the waters” before a stock offering.

A-4 Skyhawks support F-35 operational testing

Partner countries buying the F-35 each have their own operational tests. The Royal Netherlands Air Force test of the F-35A includes A-4 Skyhawks, F-16s, and a KDC-10 aerial tanker.

The F-35 vs. the A-10 Warthog, head-to-head in close-air support. It’s on.

The A-10 Thunderbolt II is to be retired due to budget constraints, with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter taking over the close-air support mission. Some think this is a fine idea, and others don’t. The two aircraft will participate in comparison evaluations starting in 2018.

The world’s worst airlines to fly with

The Skytrax World Airline Star Ratings classify airlines “by the quality of their front-line product and staff service standards.”  Topping the list as the world’s worst airline is North Korea’s Koryo Air.

In-Flight Wi-Fi Prices Jump as Demand Surges

Inflight connectivity provider Gogo has increased prices for WiFi significantly in the past few years. Gogo says increased demand is causing some congestion, but also that demand-based pricing is normal in business.

Retired Google VP Alan Eustace, holder of world free fall record, awarded Crystal Eagle award by the Aero Club of Northern California

Alan Eustace’s 135,908-foot leap broke the world record for highest free-fall parachute jump, and the Aero Club of Northern California is presenting him with an award.

The Shoreham air display crash

Listener John Eckersley sends us an update on the Hawker Hunter crash.

The Airplane of the Week

KC-130 BOB

Photo by David Vanderhoof

After getting trolled on Twitter, David presents the KC-130 Marine Battleherc: a history of Fat Albert, BOB, and Look Ma No Hook.

The Australia News Desk

Grant is back and the boys are gobsmacked by Alan Joyce’s $12 million salary. They’re pretty sure their morals would get corrupted for that amount of money!

Still with Qantas, they’ve painted A380 VH-OQH to support the Wallabies rugby union team (Grant tries to explain what that means):

Getting into the computer games, the RAAF C130J sim at Richmond was used to take part in the global event Virtual Flag 2015:

Keeping to the Hercules theme, a Coulson C130 tanker arrives at RAAF Richmond for NSW’s fire season:


Meet Lou Briasco, 33 Years At The Castro’s Michael Bruno Luggage Shop

Photo: Sari Staver/Hoodline

Photo: Sari Staver/Hoodline

Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase

Grimes Field Urbana Municipal Airport

Worst Place to Be a Pilot (2014)

Worst Place To Be a Pilot Season 1 Episode 4

Civil Aviation Authority – Standard Passenger and Baggage Weights [PDF]

Lady Dragged Off United Airlines Flight for Refusing to Put Dog in Pet Carrier

August 1985: The worst month for air disasters

Listener Photos

Listener Ted Corgan tells us he “recently saw and toured one of the exact airplanes that was featured in Air & Space Magazine. Aluminum Overcast, the EAA’s B-17 in Eileen Bjorkman’s article entitled “Learning to Fly the Fortress,” was flown to Lunken Airport in Cincinnati, OH, for its Aviation Days event in early June of 2015.”

Also, “I took the exciting opportunity to walk—or perhaps more accurately, climb—through the historic aircraft. The experience further heightened my respect for those who have served our country with it and those who keep it airworthy today, and also deepened my appreciation for the engineering marvel that is the B-17.”

Ted Corgan, Air & Space mag, and Aluminum Overcast

Ted Corgan, nephew Zach, Air & Space mag, and Aluminum Overcast

B-17 Aluminum Overcast left engines view

B-17 Aluminum Overcast left engines view


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


AirplaneGeeks 365 How to Run an Airshow

River Days

Conversation with an airshow air boss, U.S. airlines in the crosshairs of consumer advocates and government agencies, ALPA’s concerns about UAVs, and the importance of an airport’s name.


Steve Tupper was air boss at the GM Detroit River Days Airshow on the Detroit River 20-21 June 2015. Steve tells us a little about the about what it took to pull off a full airshow in the very challenging box that is the Detroit River.

We also get an update on Steve’s Acrocamp movie and also A Pilots Story from Will Hawkins and Rico Sharqawi. Steve tells us a CFI episode is coming out, and he’s going to get type-rated in the world’s only 2-place jet glider at Desert Aerospace in Moriarty, New Mexico. Oh, and Steve has already started planning for next year’s airshow!

See the Detroit Tuskegee Airmen Glider Club on a Mission article written by Benét Wilson for AOPA.

Steve Tupper

Steve Tupper

Steve Tupper is the well-known producer and host of the Airspeed podcast, with more than 200 episodes over the last 10 years. He’s covered everything from motion sickness to the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft to flight experiences in aircraft like the T-38 Talon and the F-16D Fighting Falcon with the USAF Thunderbirds.

Steve is also a commercial pilot and flight instructor with private, commercial, or instructor privileges in gliders, single- and multi-engine land airplanes, and single-engine seaplanes.  He holds an instrument rating in airplanes and is type-rated (second-in-command) in the DC-3/C-47.

Steve is a lieutenant colonel in the Civil Air Patrol and he serves as the Michigan Wing’s judge advocate, in addition to being a search-and-rescue pilot and disaster-relief pilot.


Airline Fares Just Plummeted — or Did They?

Airline Cartel on the Loose?

If Airlines Are Reporting Record Profits They Must Be Colluding, Right? Probably Not, And Here’s Why

Consumer advocates and government agencies are after the airlines. The US Department of Justice is investigating United, Southwest, American, and Delta airlines for “possible unlawful coordination” and allegedly colluding. Some believe airline mergers, falling oil prices, falling airfares, massive revenue from fees, and big profits are contributors or indicators that consumers are being hurt.

ALPA: Airline pilots ‘very concerned’ about UAVs

Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) president Tim Canoll noted, “pilot reports of unmanned aircraft have increased dramatically over the past year, from a total of 238 sightings in all of 2014 to more than 650 by Aug. 9 of this year.”

With respect to small UAVs operated below the airspace used by commercial aircraft, ALPA advocates: educating operators; using “geo-fencing” to keep small UAVs from operating within 5 mi. of airports;UAV registration at point of sale so owners can be identified after an incident; and “more formalized” enforcement.

For larger UAVs sharing the airspace with airliners, APLA would like to see FAA regulations and oversight the same as for airliners: operator licensing and collision avoidance technology.

The Local Airport, by Any Other Name

Sometimes the name of the airport can help or hinder public awareness of the facility, particularly for smaller, regional airports. Some airports are responding by changing their name.

Airplane of the Week

"Rich Field Jenny" by George Johnson, Aviation Section, US Army Signal Corps

“Rich Field Jenny” by George Johnson, Aviation Section, US Army Signal Corps

The Curtiss JN-4 or Jenny, which was suggested by our listener Jodi.

The Australia News Desk

Steve is solo this week as we cover the huge turnaround in the Qantas full year profit – $575 million profit after a $2.8 billion loss the year before.  We present an edited interview with CEO Alan Joyce, speaking with Ross Greenwood on Sydney radio station 2GB about why he thinks such a turnaround has been possible.  For the full version of that interview, see:

Ross Greenwood- QANTAS CEO Alan Joyce

Qantas confirms an order for eight 787-9s in Red Tail livery:

Qantas orders Dreamliners, announces shareholder return and posts return to profitability

Australia’s Matt Hall returned to the podium in the Red Bull Air Race recently, this time coming second to Britain’s Paul Bonhomme at Ascot in the UK.  We play some audio from the post race press conference:

RBAR Ascot: Hall returns to podium at Royal Ascot

Across the Pond

Pieter reflects on the sad events last week at the RAFA Airshow at Shoreham.

Shoreham crash pilot ‘is an expert’

Civil Aviation Authority announces series of immediate restrictions and changes to UK civil air displays


Sioux Gateway Airport gifts

Sioux Gateway Airport

International Council of Air Shows

Sioux Gateway Airport (SUX) gifts

A Finite Fraternity: Combat Fighter Ace by Scott Spangler in Jetwhine.

DXB A380 takeoff from seat 2F – Watching an A380 takeoff on 12R from DXB on the skycam from seat 2F.

Richie McCaw’s other passion – gliding and Richie McCaw in Wikipedia.


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


AirplaneGeeks 364 Aviation Stories

Uzbekistan by Paul Filmer

We look at the Logbook Podcast with aviation stories told by those who lived them, Uzbekistan Airways weighing passengers, a patent for variable seat pitch, IndiGo firms up a big A320neo order, the fatality rate in GA, a Delta flight pummeled by hail, Emirates launching a 17 hour, 35 minute flight, and an interesting aircraft of the week.


Lucas Weakley

Lucas Weakley

Lucas Weakley is an Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University student in the aerospace engineering program. Fascinated by flight from a young age, he’s a builder of model rockets and airplanes, and he hopes to one day design kit-built aircraft.

Lucas is also the creator of The Logbook Podcast, where pilots and enthusiasts tell their stories of aviation. He also produced a 23-episode tutorial series for Make Magazine titled Maker Hangar that teaches you everything you need to know to build and fly three custom R/C aircraft.

We also take the opportunity to learn a little more about Embry-Riddle and the aerospace engineering program.

Learn more at Lucas Weakley’s Blog, see his videos on his YouTube channel, and follow Lucas on Twitter at @L_Weakley.

Varga Kachina

Varga Kachina


Airline To Weigh Passengers Before Boarding, Travel Hits New Low

Uzbekistan Airways announced on its website that they would begin weighing passengers and carry-on baggage before boarding to ensure flight safety. The airline says, “After passing check-in on flight and prior to boarding into the aircraft, we will suggest you to pass the procedure of weighing with the special weighing machine placed in the departure gate zone. The weighing record will only contain the corresponding passenger category (i.e. male/ female/ children). As for the rest, the full confidentiality of results is guaranteed.”

This idea could solve the worst thing about air travel

B/E Aerospace has filed a patent application for airline seats that are adjustable for passenger height. Shorter passengers (like children) would get less legroom. Mary Kirby would get more. B/E Aerospace manufactures aircraft cabin interior products for both commercial aircraft and business jets: seating products, galley systems, oxygen, water and waste systems; de-icing, lighting.

Airbus says it takes ‘historical’ aircraft order

IndiGo firmed up a 2014 commitment by placing an order for 250 Airbus A320 new engine option jets. IndiGo has now ordered a total of 530 A320 family aircraft.

US general aviation reports highest fatal accident rate since 1998

According to the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the number of general aviation flight hours is at at all time low. But in 2014 the rate of fatal GA accidents was the highest it has been since 1998.

Delta Pilots Make Blind Emergency Landing

Baseball-sized hail pummeled the airplane, shattered the nose cone and windshield. The pilots were able to land the jet safely.

Emirates Flight To Panama Will Be World’s Longest Non-Stop Route

Emirates announced its plans to launch services to Panama City, beginning 1st February, 2016, with a 17 hour 35 minute flight time.

The Airplane of the Week

The Incom T-65. (It’s David’s segment and he can do what he wants!)


Short final for runway 10 at St Barths in the Caribbean

Short final for runway 10 at St Barths in the Caribbean

Landing at St Barthelemy Airport (SBH-TFFH) | PrivateFly – Video of a DHC-6-300 Twin Otter landing at St Barts.

Crazy Cockpit Landing at St. Barths – Landing runway 10 at St. Barthelemy aboard a Winair DHC-6 Twin Otter.

The Aviation Historian – The modern journal of classic aeroplanes and the history of flying.

American Airlines’ New First Class Pet Cabins – From the Fly and Dine blog in Boarding Area by Jason Kessler.

U.S.-China aviation talks hit stumbling block on airport access – The US and China have been negotiating over limits on flights between the United States and China. The U.S. is worried its airlines will be get less attractive time slots for take-off and landing than the Chinese airlines. So the US negotiators won’t move forward until China looks at a different slot allocation system.

Men In Black Safety Defenders #AirNZSafetyVideo – It’s got international rugby stars, members of the All Blacks, even Rip Torn from MIB 1 and 2, and Frank the pug!


Uzbekistan Airways photo (c) and courtesy Paul Filmer.

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


AirplaneGeeks 363 A Chat with David and Max

Two F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters

The F-35B goes operational, sparks in the cabin on United Airlines flight, AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 facts and figures, the spat between (and among) US and Middle East airlines, and airline fees in the spotlight.


Marine Corps declared F-35B operational

After a five-day Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI) in July, the U.S. Marine Corps’ F-35B Lightning II aircraft reached initial operational capability. The Yuma, Arizona-based Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 (VMFA-121) is now operational with the F-35B variant.

United Airlines flight makes emergency return to London

A United Airlines 777 flying Los Angeles declared an emergency and returned to London Heathrow Airport after sparks were seen coming out of first class seats and passengers reported smelling smoke.

United Airlines flight diverted to Indy after dropping 10,000 feet

United flight 5919 enroute to Chicago from Charlotte was rerouted to Indianapolis after it dropped 10,000 feet. The cause for the loss of altitude is unknown at this time.

AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 Facts and Figures

This year’s event saw an attendance of approximately 550,000, more than 10,000 aircraft, 2,668 show planes, 976 vintage airplanes, 350 warbirds, 130 ultralights and light-sport aircraft, 101 seaplanes, 30 rotorcraft, and 50 aerobatic aircraft. There were over 800 commercial exhibitors, 1,048 forums and workshops attended by more than 75,000 people.

New group further divides airline association’s membership

Delta, United, and American have gone on the offensive alleging that the Qatar and United Arab Emirates state-owned airlines are subsidized in violation of the Open Skies agreements. Now, JetBlue Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, FedEx, and Atlas Air Worldwide have formed a coalition with a different viewpoint.

Hawaiian CEO Mark Dunkerley says, “The Big 3 do not speak for all, or even most, U.S. airlines. Our coalition believes that the United States should honor its Open Skies commitments, which opens markets for U.S. carriers, promotes competition on international and domestic routes, and facilitates U.S. exports.”

To learn more about the issues involved here, see:

Sen. Nelson: Airlines collected $38 billion in fees

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson from Florida wondered why the cost to fly is going up when the cost of fuel has gone down and airline profits are up, so he commissioned a study. Nelson learned that in 2014, airlines collected $38B in fees. The report found a lack of relationship between the price a fee and the cost to provide the service, and that fees are not proportional to ticket price.

The US Airlines Industry: Sky High Prices Drive Soaring Profits

An infographic that shows the US airline industry contributes nearly $1.5 trillion in economic activity in the US alone and generates over 11 million jobs. Airfare has been steadily increasing in price since 1995, however, when you account for inflation, the actual value of the tickets has decreased.

The Australia News Desk

Virgin Australia to use their subsidiary TigerAir on flights to Bali as well as completely pulling out of flights to Phuket.

Virgin are also converting 17 of their 737-800 orders into 737 MAX 8 orders (and delaying them – saving more money) which will give them a total of 40 orders … eventually.

Moody’s upgrades Qantas’ credit rating

Alliance Aviation Services sending its fleet of Fokkers up to Slovakia for heavy maintenance ‘cos it’s cheaper to fly all the way from Australia to Europe than maintain a heavy maintenance facility in Australia.

Across the Pond

Pieter talks to FlightChic Marisa Garcia about Baggage Tracking from Emirates, the KLM App and Apple Watch interface, and why Ryanair are no longer basing aircraft in Denmark.


S2F Firecats and an OV-10 Bronco

S2F Firecats and an OV-10 Bronco

Does the F-35 really suck in air combat?

Dambusters pilot Les Munro dies in New Zealand aged 96

Delta Private Jets – Not Your Ordinary Medallion Upgrade

Dispute with JetBlue over dog carrier leaves travelers from Florida grounded in Portland


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

AirplaneGeeks 362 The Doctor is in… Talking About Medical Issues

Doctor (and pilot) Stephanie Plummer on inflight medical emergencies, hypoxia, 3rd class medical reform, and more. News on MH370, cosmic rays and passenger safety, an emergency Allegiant Airlines landing, and hackers hit United Airlines. Also, the NASA UTM Drone conference, the CH-46 Retirement Ceremony at the National Air & Space Museum, an Australia Desk, and plane spotting the 427th Special Operations Squadron.


Dr. Stephanie Plummer

Dr. Stephanie Plummer

Dr. Stephanie Plummer is a frequent co-host on the Airline Pilot Guy podcast. She’s an instrument-rated commercial pilot who flies primarily for personal enjoyment. As a physician, Dr. Steph answers the occasional listener question regarding in-flight or aviation-related medical topics.

We talk about the frequency of inflight medical emergencies, medical supplies on airlines, and what you do if you are a doctor on a flight and the call for help goes out. Also, we cover the three classes of aviation medicals in the US, and the role of aviation medical examiners, and 3rd class medical reform for private pilots.

Dr. Steph gives us a good tutorial on the forms and effects of hypoxia, time of useful consciousness, and effective performance time. She tells us about hypoxic hypoxia, hypemic hypoxia, carbon monoxide poisoning, stagnant hypoxia, and histotoxic hypoxia.

In her day job, Dr Plummer is a physician practicing in the Charlotte, NC area.  She has a degree in Osteopathic Medicine (DO) from what was formerly The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, now part of Rowan University, School of Osteopathic Medicine.  She completed a traditional rotating internship through the Crozer-Keystone Healthcare System in the Philadelphia area and then did her residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. Dr Plummer then went on to a fellowship program for interventional spine and now she works with a predominantly Orthopedic Spine group as one of their non-surgical providers.

Aviation Medical Resources

FAA AC 121-33B Emergency Medical Equipment (PDF)

FAA AC 121-34B Emergency Medical Equipment Training (PDF)

Outcomes of Medical Emergencies on Commercial Airline Flights from The New England Journal of Medicine.

What medical conditions does the FAA consider disqualifying? from FAA Pilot Medical Certification Questions and Answers.

A Guide for Prospective FAA Aviation Medical Examiners from FAA Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) Training.

Aviation Physiology (PDF), common medical considerations affecting pilots in flight. A booklet from FAA.


MH370: Reunion debris discovery lifts hopes for missing flight clues

Boeing 777 Wing Flaperon (Part_No._657_BB)Last week, a piece of a Boeing 777 called a “flaperon” was found washed up on Reunion Island, in the western Indian Ocean. If it proves to be from MH370, which is likely, it may provide clues about the missing jetliner.

Long-haul air passengers at risk from cosmic rays, government fears

The earth’s atmosphere provides some degree of protection against cosmic rays. The higher you go, the less atmosphere you have above you blocking this high-energy radiation. We’ve seen studies in the past that suggest pilots are vulnerable to long term effects. Now solar radiation in the form of magnetically charged particles is of concern. Public Health England (PHE) has established The Cosmic Radiation Advisory Group, which includes experts from British Airways, the Cabinet Office, the Department of Health, the Met Office, and some universities.

Allegiant Air pilot pleads with tower to make emergency landing

An Allegiant Airlines pilot with a fuel emergency wanted to land at Fargo’s Hector International Airport. The airport was closed because the Blue Angels were practicing for an air show, and an exchange between the pilot and the tower ensued.

Hackers with ties to China said to breach United Airlines

A group of China-backed hackers has been linked to a May or June attack on United Airlines. This is supposedly the same group that breached the US Office of Personnel Management and health insurer Anthem Inc. The hackers may had had access to passenger lists and information about United’s mergers and acquisitions strategy. But they don’t know for sure.

Airplane of the Week

CH-46 Retirement Ceremony Arrival

Photos courtesy David W. Aungst

David attended the CH-46 Sea Knight “Phrog” retirement ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.  David interviews:

  • Corporal Greg Hamper, HMX-1 MV-22 Crew Chief.
  • Major P.B. Benning, HMX-1 MV-22 and former CH-46E pilot.
  • Lt. Colonel Dominic DeFazio, Commanding Officer HMM-774 and pilot of BuNo 153369, the retiring CH-46E.


Be sure to see the article Phrog Farewell by museum specialist Roger Connor, and the fly-in video CH-46 Retirement Ceremony Aug 1, 2015.

Gen. J.R. “Jack” Dailey, USMC (Ret.)

Gen. J.R. “Jack” Dailey, USMC (Ret.)

DM Vanderhoof

Special thanks to Nick Partridge and Sarah Banks of the National Air & Space Museum.

The Australia News Desk

HATS 135 factory acceptance No.1. (Airbus Helicopters)

HATS 135 factory acceptance No.1. (Airbus Helicopters)

It’s a week of firsts for the Australian Defence Force as the boys give progress on still more new or updated airframes coming down under:

Meanwhile, Qantas long-haul pilots have approved a new wage deal.

But it’s terrible news for the Australian helicopter charter industry as Bronwyn Bishop resigns (Satire).


The UAV Digest Episode 106, UAS Traffic Management

Observations from the NASA Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Traffic Management Convention, including the Amazon Prime Air proposal for drone traffic management.

The LogBook

A podcast by Embry Riddle Aeronautical University student Lucas Weakley with aviation stories told in the first person.

427th Special Operations Squadron

You didn’t see this:



Brian’s United 737-8 window seat…

Brian's United 737-8 window seat


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

AirplaneGeeks 361 A Solar Impulse Pilot, a Cirrus Pilot, and an Oshkosh Debrief

Solar Impulse 2 Hawaii

We interview Solar Impulse 2 pilot André Borschberg, and Rob gives us an AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 debrief. We also talk with Rick Beach, the Safety Chair of the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association.

Guest André Borschberg

The Solar Impulse 2 is attempting to become the first solar powered aircraft to fly around the world. This is a privately financed effort led by Swiss engineer and businessman André Borschberg and Swiss psychiatrist Bertrand Piccard. They are also the pilots for the Solar Impulse, but since the plane has only one seat, they’ve been alternating legs on this around the world trip. In this episode we talk with André Borschberg, who flew the most recent leg from Japan to Hawaii over a period of five days, setting a new world record for solo flight.

Andre_Borschberg_HawaiiThe Solar Impulse 1 first flew in 2009, and was designed to fly for up to 36 hours. In July 2010, it became the first solar plane to fly for more than 24 hours, including nearly 9 hours of night flight. In 2013, it flew a multi-stop flight across the entire United States.

The Solar Impulse 2 carries over 17,000 solar cells which can generate 66 kW of power during peak sunlight. It’s 73 feet long, has a wingspan of 236 feet, and weighs just 5,100 pounds.

The aircraft carries 1400 pounds of Lithium-ion batteries that drive four 17.4 horsepower electric motors, each swinging a 13-foot long propeller. Maximum speed is 77 knots, though typically the plane flies at 33 knots at night to save power when the aircraft is running off just battery power.

During the daytime, when maximum power is available, the batteries are charged to 100% of capacity and the aircraft climbs to about 29,000 feet. At night, the aircraft is allowed to slowly drift down to about 6,000 feet, to minimize the drain on the batteries. Even so, the batteries typically discharge to about 15% to 20% of total capacity before the sun comes up and the cycle is repeated.

Solar Impulse 2

The real limit to how far the Solar Impulse can fly is the pilot. On multi-day flights, the pilots take 20 minute naps that only about 2 ½ hours during a 24-hour period. Yoga and other exercises are used to maintain alertness.

Guest Rick Beach

Rick is Aviation Safety Chair of the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association. He wanted to understand how pilot behavior needed to change to fully take advantage of the innovative safety features on the Cirrus and other aircraft. Rick wanted to know why pilots were crashing and he found that it was because of the way pilots were making risk assessments.


Rick has a life-long interest in aviation, but didn’t start pilot training until 2001 when he bought a Cirrus SR22 based on its safety and technology features, as well as the strong pilots and owners community. Rick now has over 3500 hours in the Cirrus.

Cirrus, of course, has an airframe parachute system and Rick began studying Cirrus accidents to uncover reasons why pilots did not use the system. He even coined the phrase “Pull Early, Pull Often!” to encourage pilots to use the system before the situation turned dire.

Rick chaired the Cirrus Pilot Proficiency Program, encouraged Cirrus Aircraft to focus on telling the story of successful parachute saves, and has participated in three NTSB investigations contributing operational knowledge of Cirrus pilot procedures and especially training.

Now Rick is working on a concept for the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) University to expand their safety activities, funded in part by a charitable COPA Safety and Education Foundation.

AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

Rob attended AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 and was an instructor at the EAA Pilot Proficiency Center. He gives us his observations from the event.

Society of Aviation and Flight Educators – SAFE is a member-oriented organization of aviation educators fostering professionalism and excellence in aviation.

NASA-Pioneered Automatic Ground-Collision Avoidance System Operational

Third Class Medical Reform heated up during Oshkosh week:

Drones got a lot of attention with Jack Pelton underscoring their importance. Embry-Riddle was there to talk about their drone degree and a drone cage was set up for demonstrations. Ghost Drone and other Chinese manufacturers exhibited their products.

The Australia News Desk

The boys are back in the studio and Grant’s trying VERY hard not to explode over the news that Qantas is doing very well thanks to Alan Joyce. It’s not that they haven’t turned the corner and improved their stock price, it’s more that they’ve done it despite Joyce’s previous management disasters.

Meanwhile, Qantas’ competitor Virgin Australia got the gong for most punctual domestic carrier in June. Nice to see as they’ve been out of the running for a while.

And if you missed last week’s full Australia News Desk report….and trust us, you did…you can find it over here: Episode 360: Grant Made it to Fiji.


Lou Lenart

Lou Lenart

Lou Lenart is one of the men featured in “Above and Beyond,” Nancy Spielberg’s documentary film about Jewish pilots from the U.S. who established Israel’s air defenses. Lenart died from congestive heart failure at age 94. In AirplaneGeeks 348 we talked with Harold Livingston, who also appears in the Spielberg documentary.


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


AirplaneGeeks 360 Different Sides of Aviation

Conversation with a retired charter pilot and freight dog, UTC agrees to sell Sikorsky to Lockheed Martin, Solar Impulse 2 grounded, a SkyWest high altitude “slow speed event,” new NASA astronauts, Piper woes, fault found with an air traffic controller, and United pays out in bug bounty program.


Kimber C. Turner

Kimber C. Turner

Kimber C. Turner is both a retired airline pilot with over 18,000 hours of flight time, and a former radio talk show host. Now he is out of the sky and off of the air. In his retirement, Captain Turner does some voiceover work, and an occasional guest spot on the radio.  He also writes a book now and then.

Kimber was a Captain on the Airbus A-300 for the last ten years of his career and a Captain on the Boeing 727 before that.  He has written three books so far.

The first is “Crooked Creek Farm” which is a humor book about a city family moving to the farm.

The other two books are aviation-related. Freight Dog: The Dark Side of Aviation is an exposé and memoir that covers Kimber’s path to an airline career at DHL, and the company’s missteps and eventual downfall.  Kimber flew for DHL for over 24 years.

In Learjets and Layovers: The Bright Side of Aviation, Kimber shares tales of adventurous travel and layovers in exotic locals and encounters with celebrities during his charter and airline days.

Find Kimber at, and on


United Technologies Announces Agreement To Sell Sikorsky Aircraft

United Technologies plans to sell Sikorsky to Lockheed Martin for $9 billion in cash. Sikorsky will become part of Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems and Training division, and not a separate entity.

United Technologies is the parent corporation of aerospace companies Pratt & Whitney, Sikorsky, Hamilton Sundstrand, and Goodrich, and building and industrial systems companies Otis, Carrier, and Kidde.

Solar Impulse 2 to stay grounded in Hawaii until next April at earliest

The flight across the Pacific was considered to be the riskiest part of the Solar Impulse 2’s journey around the world. And they successfully completed the leg to Hawaii. But there was a problem with the batteries: They overheated on the first day of the trip from Japan to Hawaii. Lacking any means to cool them down, the batteries are ruined. The Solar Impulse 2 will stay in Hawaii until repairs can be made.

After Plane Stalls Mid-Flight, FAA Slaps SkyWest with Altitude and Speed Restrictions

The FAA says last April, a SkyWest plane experienced a stall en route from Denver to Oklahoma City. The plane rapidly descended from 39,000 feet to 27,000 feet, then landed without incident at Oklahoma City.

In a statement to ABC News, SkyWest said, “Months ago, one SkyWest CRJ aircraft experienced an isolated slow speed event, which is when an aircraft reaches less than optimal speeds. The aircraft’s slow speed alert systems functioned perfectly, and the crew responded appropriately with a 4,000-foot descent. No stall occurred.”

NASA picks 4 astronauts to fly 1st commercial space missions in couple years; all test pilots

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden named four test pilots who will fly on capsules built by private companies SpaceX and Boeing. The commercial crew astronauts are:

  • Air Force Col. Robert Behnken, who was head of the astronaut office;
  • Air Force Col. Eric Boe, part of shuttle Discovery’s last crew;
  • retired Marine Col. Douglas Hurley, pilot of the final shuttle crew; and
  • Navy Capt. Sunita Williams, who has been to the International Space Station twice.

Piper To Lay Off Up To 150 Workers

Sales are sluggish and Piper plans to cut its workforce of 750 employees by 15 to 20 percent.

Newark air traffic controller blamed for near collision, but was it really his fault?

An ExpressJet Embraer waited 15 seconds before starting his takeoff roll, which allowed a United Airlines jet to fly closer to the runway intersection at Newark Liberty International Airport where the near collision occurred. The NTSB says fault lies solely on the Newark air traffic controller.

United Airlines Pays a Man a Million Miles for Reporting Bug

Jordan Wiens, owner of the security firm Vector 35, found a remote-code execution flaw in United’s website and won a million miles in the United bug bounty program.

Aircraft of the Week

David tells the story of FRED, which has a familiar ring to it.. Due to cost overruns, some wanted the program cancelled. After several expensive fixes, Congress didn’t want to let the Air Force retire the aircraft.

The Australia News Desk

Well, Grant finally made it away for his vacation….but not to Bali as originally planned.  Instead, he and his lovely wife flew halfway across the Pacific to Fiji.  Now, of course, you’d think he’d be living it up on the beach and all, but Grant still managed to find his way to a local airport from where he filed a quick report for us.

1948 Cessna 195

1948 Cessna 195

Otter Departing

Otter Departing

DragonFly Luxury Yacht

DragonFly Luxury Yacht

Look Left Look Right Look Up

Look Left Look Right Look Up

Across the Pond

French Navy Rafale - Air Day 2015 Copyright XTPMedia

French Navy Rafale – Air Day 2015 Copyright XTPMedia

Pieter reports in from Air Day 2015 where he gets to see the new Mk1 Swordfish in the air as well as the Seafire from the Royal Navy Historic Flight. The show is lit up with lots of great aviation noise, notably from the Avro Vulcan XH558 “The Spirit of Great Britain” making her last season of displays and the RNHF Sea Vixrn. But Pieter’s report leaves us with the sound of the French Navy Rafale doing its solo display after displaying with two Super Etendards.

RNHF Sea Vixen - Air Day 2015 Copyright XTPMedia

RNHF Sea Vixen – Air Day 2015 Copyright XTPMedia


  • Max was Adam Knight’s guest on Episode 16 of the Go Flying Australia Podcast, talking about UAV’s.

Listener Photos

Innovations in Flight Family Day and Outdoor Aviation Display

Photos from the June 20, 2015 event at the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum by Kevin:





Aerial Firefighting in California

David sent in this dramatic photo:



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

AirplaneGeeks 359 Jack Pelton Previews AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014 by DeKevin Thornton

We talk with Jack Pelton, Chairman of the Board of the Experimental Aircraft Association about EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015.


Jack Pelton is Chairman of the Board of the Experimental Aircraft Association (the EAA). He’s the retired chairman, president, and chief executive officer for Cessna Aircraft Company. Jack was Sr. Vice President of Engineering for Dornier Aircraft in Munich, and he started his career at Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach California. Jack was a member of the board and past chairman of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and served on the board of directors of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).

We talk with Jack about EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015, taking place July 20-26, 2015. Besides the forums and educational sessions, #OSH15 visitors can expect to see daily air shows, a 45-year anniversary salute to the Apollo 13 mission, and events celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Curtis Pitts, the 75th anniversary of the Aircoupe, and major anniversaries of the beginning of World War II and the Battle of Britian. A B-52 landing at AirVenture is planned, two F-35s will be on display, and two F-22s will conduct a demonstration flight.

A row of Howard DGAs at Airventure Oshkosh 2014

A row of Howard DGAs at Airventure Oshkosh 2014

The New Goodyear Airship “Wingfoot One” will make an appearance, and Burt Rutan is scheduled to appear, arriving in a Beech Starship. A number of Viet Nam-era aircraft will be at Oshkosh, and so will an Airbus A350. WomenVenture takes place again, and Embry-Riddle hosts a sUAS challenge in the Aviation Gateway Park.

Ford Motor Company is once again supporting the Experimental Aircraft Association’s youth aviation programs by unveiling and donating for auction a one-of-a-kind Mustang.

Find the Experimental Aircraft Association and AirVenture Oshkosh information at, follow them on Twitter at @EAA, and on Facebook and Instagram.

Also, be sure to catch the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh Webcams and LiveATC.


Historic Spitfire soars in record-breaking London sales

Supermarine Spitfire P9347 sold for £3,106,500 ($4,784,010) at auction. American philanthropist and art collector Thomas Kaplan sold the Spitfire to benefit the RAF Benevolent Fund and several other charitable organizations. Kaplan also gifted a second Spitfire N3200 to the Imperial War Museum Duxford.

Boeing just patented a jet engine powered by lasers and nuclear explosions

The US Patent and Trademark Office has approved Boeing patent application 9,068,562, Laser-powered propulsion system. In one embodiment, an airplane engine uses lasers fired at radioactive material like deuterium or tritium to create a nuclear fusion reaction. The hydrogen or helium exhaust byproducts exit the rear of the engine and provide thrust. Coolant heated from the reaction drives a turbine and generator to produce electricity that powers the lasers.

Boeing Beats Airbus in June

The Motley Fool used the Boeing Orders & Deliveries Tool to examine June orders and found 161 planes ordered by customers. These were 131 single-aisle 737 commercial airliners, 24 Boeing 777s, five 787 Dreamliners, and one 747. Airbus reported 135 orders in the month.

Year to date, Boeing new plane orders are 221 single-aisle 737s, fifty 787s, forty-nine 777s, four 747s, and one 767. The total net after cancellations is 281 Boeing orders received through the first half of 2015. Airbus says they have booked 324 A320-family airplanes, 57 A330s, and one A350, for a total of 382 planes total.

Airbus’ all-electric E-Fan aircraft crosses the English Channel

First electric plane to cross the English Channel was Not Airbus!

On July 10, the electric Airbus E-Fan crossed the English Channel in a 36-minute flight. The E-Fan is a light twin-engine aircraft powered by lithium-ion batteries and electric motors. The night before the E-Fan crossing, an electrically powered Cri-Cri piloted by Hugues Duval made it’s own Channel crossing to become the first.

Originally, Pipistrel intended be first across the Channel in its Alpha Electro two-seat trainer. However, at the last minute electric motor maker Siemens banned Pipistrel from using the motor.

Calgary Lawn Chair Aviator Charged with “Mischief”

Twenty-six year-old Daniel Boria, attached 110 helium-filled balloons to a “$20 lawn chair” with the idea of skydiving from the chair into the middle of the Calgary Stampede. When he started drifting into the clouds, he bailed out, and ended up in jail. CBC News interviews the lawn chair pilot in Calgary balloon man calls adventure ‘sureal’.

United Airlines Pilot Flushes Live Bullets Down The Toilet: Here’s Why

Aerolineas Argentinas and the stripper who pulled the take off throttle

The Australia News Desk

Grant’s at home when he should be in Bali thanks to the ash cloud from Mt Raung. The boys talk briefly about flights resuming to Bali:

They also talk about the fun they had doing commentary at the Hunter Valley Airshow last weekend despite Grant losing his voice.


Listener Photos

Chinook by Jodi Bromer

Chinook by Jodi Bromer

Hon. Arthur Rosen (Ret.) flying mentally and physically challenged children and their parents for Challenge Air and Sky Kids Arizona:

Hon. Arthur Rosen (Ret.)

Hon. Arthur Rosen (Ret.)


Post photo by DeKevin Thornton.

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