General aviation and hurricane disaster relief, flight simulation, the need for more mandatory pilot training, United Technologies purchase of Rockwell Collins, and geared turbofan engines.
GA providing hurricane disaster relief., courtesy Nicholas Rizzo.
Nicholas Rizzo is a Flight Training Technology Designer at Redbird Flight Simulations, Inc. Recently, Nicholas has been flying supplies into the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Harvey: Rockport, Orange, Houston, and Beaumont Texas. Nicholas tells us about general aviation providing hurricane disaster relief.
As a youngster, Nicholas was fascinated by planes and he turned to home flight simulation flying X-Plane. In fact, he’s Chief Captain at X-Plane Junkies. Last year, he decided to become a real flying junky and he has logged 250 hours since last September obtaining his private pilot’s license and Instrument rating. Nicholas plans to pursue his Commercial, CFI, and CFII over the next few months.
Nicholas tells us a little about Redbird, including Guided Independent Flight Training (GIFT) for private pilots. This simulator-based maneuvers training supplement is designed to help pilots achieve their goals faster and for less money.
Organizations mentioned in articles and/or active in the relief effort: AeroBridge, Operation Airdrop, Cajun Air Force, Angel Flight SouthCentral, Air Charity Networks, NOAA Aircraft, Remote Area Medical, Texas Wing of the Civil Air Patrol.
United Technologies chairman and CEO Greg Hayes confirmed his company will purchase Rockwell Collins for $30 billion. The new company is to be called Collins Aerospace Systems. Rockwell shareholders get $140 per share in cash ($93.33) and UTC stock ($46.67). Current Rockwell Collins chairman Kelly Ortberg is to become CEO, and UTC Aerospace Systems’ president David Gitlin is to become president and COO.
Rolls-Royce confirmed that their Power Gearbox for the next-generation UltraFan engine has reached 70,000 horsepower on a test rig. Their goal is a gearbox capable of 100,000 horsepower. The Ultrafan is expected in 2025.
A perspective on the pilot shortage from an Army aviator in Afghanistan and his thoughts on flying in combat, bringing a biz jet to the Reno Air Races, aviation humor from the M&R Joke Hour, and an interview with the COO of uAvionix on ADS-B equipment for manned and unmanned aircraft.
The Thunderbirds, an F-22, and actual people. Photo by David Vanderhoof.
Bits & Pieces
Segments in this episode [with start times]:
Longtime listener Austin tells us a little about the pilot shortage from the perspective of an Army aviator in Afghanistan. He also gives us his thoughts on flying in combat. [1:39]
Rob Mark talks to Dassault Falcon 7X test pilots at the Reno Air Races to find out why they brought a bizjet to an air race. [9:03]
At Oshkosh, Tim Trott, “The Drone Professor,” interviewed Ryan Braun, the COO of uAvionix Corporation. uAvionix offers a very interesting line of transponders, ADS-B receivers, and transceivers for GA and unmanned aircraft. Tim and Ryan Braun talk about the outlook for ADS-B use with sUAS and general aviation. [23:00]
We talk with the three high school students who won the EAA Founder’s Innovation Prize competition for 2017. In the news, we look at the decline in short haul traffic in the US, how the US Air Force is responding to the flight crew shortage, using airport data to improve efficiency, the grounding of the MRJ test fleet, and AOPA taking action against egregious FBO charges.
Justin Zhou, Thomas Baron, and Max Lord
Thomas Baron, Max Lord, and Justin Zhou won the 2017 EAA Founder’s Innovation Prize with their “Remora System” which takes sensor inputs and displays airspeed and angle of attack on a head-mounted display. All three are seniors at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Northern Virginia.
The students explain their system which places the sensors in a pod under the airplane and transmits data which is displayed in a Vufine high definition wearable display. We talk about how the project started, and how it came to be entered in the EAA Founder’s Innovation Prize competition.
The EAA Founder’s Innovation Prize was presented by Airbus and leveraged the creativity of the EAA community to solve specific challenges facing general aviation. The competition was featured at AirVenture Oshkosh where five finalists presented their ideas.
Courtney Miller discusses three theories why U.S. short-haul traffic under 500 miles has declined by almost 30% since 2000 while the total U.S. domestic market has grown almost 30% since then. Courtney is Director, Lessor Sales at Bombardier Aerospace.
Copenhagen Optimization is using mathematical models and data to help airports optimize their activities. Waiting time was reduced by more than 50% at Geneva Airport in Switzerland, passenger throughput increased by 10% at Dublin Airport, and peak in check-in counter demand was decreased by 5.5% at Stockholm Arlanda.
Mitsubishi has four U.S.-based MRJ flight-test airplanes. The left engine on FTA-2 experienced an uncommanded shutdown and the plane was diverted to Portland International Airport where it landed “without incident.” The engine has been removed and sent to Pratt & Whitney for inspection.
After pilots started reporting that some fixed base operators are charging excessive fees, AOPA analyzed the data and found some “exceptionally egregious,” fees: fuel more than $6 a gallon or fees for minimal or no services over $100. AOPA and seven affected pilots have “filed FAA Part 13 complaints over egregious FBO pricing practices at Illinois’s Waukegan National Airport, North Carolina’s Asheville Regional Airport, and Florida’s Key West International Airport, on behalf of its membership.”
Airline Story of the Week
Virgin Atlantic helps a family of four enjoy a memorable flight from London Gatwick to Orlando, especially for the two daughters aged 10 and 12.
David tells us about Thunder Over Dover, the 2017 Dover AFB Open House. All photos by copyright by David Vanderhoof:
The OLC website lets sailplane, paraglider, and hang glider pilots from all over the world upload their flight tracks. It’s competitive and there are several categories of competitions and most are based on distance. See Help… How things work in OLC? And All Flights of Jim Payne which shows Jim Payne’s flights from the Perlan 2 project.
Total Solar Eclipse August 21, 2017, by Max Flight.
Max went off to chase the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, so we take the week off.
In the days leading up to August 21, Max and @dronemama watched the weather forecasts for South Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky. The forecasts kept changing so they left home unsure where they’d end up. In Virginia, the bet was placed and they headed to a farmer’s field in Cerulean, Kentucky.
A partial eclipse is interesting, but a total solar eclipse is something else altogether. Photographs give you a hint, but when you see that black disk with the corona streaming outward, it elicits an almost primal reaction. That was evidenced by the shouts, gasps, and other exclamations of disbelief from the eclipse chasers in that Kentucky field.
If you ever have the opportunity to travel to a total solar eclipse, do whatever it takes to get there.
Richard Aboulafia gives us his insights on the Boeing “middle-of-the-market” airplane, pilotless airliners, a comeback for Midwest Express, ATC privatization, United Technologies Corporation interest in Rockwell Collins, seat pitch, Russian and Chinese airliner programs, the Mitsubishi MRJ, and the HondaJet.
Richard Aboulafia is Vice President of Analysis at Teal Group. He manages both commercial and military consulting projects, and he analyzes broader defense and aerospace trends. Richard’s insights appear on television and radio programs, and in almost every major publication through his columns, his articles, or because he is being quoted. Richard writes and edits Teal Group’s World Military and Civil Aircraft Briefing forecasting tool that covers over 135 aircraft programs and markets.
The Midwest brand disappeared in 2010 when Republic Airways Holdings, the parent company of Midwest Airlines merged that airline with Frontier Airlines. Now, a group of business and airline professionals have plans to bring the brand back. The Midwest Express website asks, “Remember when flying was hassle-free? It can be again!”
Previously, we pointed out Alliance for Aviation Across America videos featuring “Sully” Sullenberger arguing against ATC privatization. Karen Walker, the Editor-in-Chief at Air Transport World, thinks Sully is using his status to mislead people.
Steve Visscher joins us to bring us up to date on his activities and contribute to our conversation about Airventure Oshkosh 2017. In the news, we look at ATC privatization, saving money on new Air Force One airplanes, a 15-year-old girl takes flight, and a symposium for disabled airline passengers. Also, a song about SFO, airplane-themed eateries, some positive airline stories, viewing the August solar eclipse, and student pilot Niki’s continuing adventure.
Smokey Joe’s food stand outside Munich terminal 2, by Mark Newton.
Steve Visscher is co-producer of the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast, an air show announcer, and now a business development manager for Bright Events – Wings Over Illawarra, “the Sydney Airshow.”
The inaugural Wheelchair in the Cabin Symposium is scheduled for September 22 at The Base at Virgin Atlantic near London Gatwick Airport. The Symposium is supported by Virgin Atlantic Airways and “aims to engage stakeholders in the aviation industry and the accessibility world to discuss the possibility of creating a wheelchair space on board commercial aircraft.” Spearheaded by activist Chris Wood and the Flying Disabled organization.
The founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic explains commercial supersonic air travel. In the news, we look at a push out of FAA reauthorization, a court ruling on airline seat size, a NASA supersonic demonstrator, a couple of aircraft carriers, and United Airlines.
Blake Scholl is founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic, the Denver startup seeking to build a commercially viable supersonic passenger aircraft.
We talk about the restrictions that have prevented supersonic flights over the United States, and how modern manufacturing methods allow supersonic airplanes to be built with much lower operating costs than was the case with the Concorde.
Blake describes how Boom aims to build a small supersonic airliner that is accessible and affordable, and not “a flying gas can with a billionaire in the front of it.” We look at the tradeoff between loudness and efficiency, as well as propulsion and airframe issues, and the objectives of the “Baby Boom” demonstrator. First flight of that ⅓ scale aircraft is targeted for late 2018.
Boom looks to have the full size 55-seat supersonic airplane in air at the end 2020, with first delivery to launch customer Virgin in late 2023. Blake tells us that Boom has 76 pre-orders across 5 airlines.
Prior to establishing Boom Supersonic, Blake held leadership roles at Amazon.com, and he was co-founder and CEO at Kima Labs, which was acquired by Groupon. Blake is an avid pilot and holds a BS in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University.
Isaac Alexander at Boom Supersonic HQ June 2017, looking through the aircraft in virtual reality.
The Flyers Rights passenger group asked FAA to write rules governing seat space. The FAA rejected the request, saying it was a comfort issue, not a safety issue. Now a three-judge federal appeals court in Washington has sided with Flyers Rights and it goes back to the FAA for a better response.
A small-scale model of the NASA/Lockheed supersonic jet was tested in the wind tunnel in June. NASA will take bids in August to construct a 94 ft. demonstration model, and expects to spend $390 million to build and test the demo plane.
The USS Gerald R. Ford launched and recovered its first fixed-wing flight, an F/A-18F Superhornet from the Air Test and Evaluation Squad based at Patuxent River, Maryland. The carrier employs new technology, including the advanced arresting gear system (AAG) and an electromagnetic launch system, (EMALS).
The USS George HW Bush is participating with the Royal Navy in the Saxon Warrior exercise. Lt Cdr Michael Tremel of the Strike Fighter Squadron VFA-87 Golden Warriors shot down a Syrian Su-22 Fitter, the first US air-to-air kill since a USAF F-16 shot down a Serbian MiG-29 in 1999, during the Kosovo campaign.
Aviation journalist Mary Kirby talks about the airline passenger experience. Also, ATC privatization, drones and wildfires, a new Air France airline targeted at Millennials, congressional action to address airline seat size and pitch, and airline revenue from fees and frequent flyer programs.
Mary Kirby has covered the aviation industry for almost 20 years as both a journalist and an editor. After working many years for Flightglobal, she launched Runway Girl Network, which delivers news and intelligence about the airline passenger experience industry, and also highlights the work and accomplishments of women in aviation. Runway Girl Network is a go-to site that encompasses a B2B2C model.
Mary describes the objectives of Runway Girl Network and gives us the benefit of her knowledge concerning current airline passenger experience issues. Seat space, both width and pitch, continues to grow as a concern in the eyes of the flying public.
We also talk about the job of aviation journalists today, and the role of the vocal passenger. Mary considers lessons learned from the Network and the need for increased diversity of gender and color among those writing about the passenger experience. We also look at the gap in coverage of the passenger experience from the perspective of those with disabilities or reduced mobility.
In its press release [PDF] Air France describes Joon as a Millennial-focused carrier “aimed at a young working clientele whose lifestyles revolve around digital technology.” Air France plans to start operating medium-haul flights from Paris-Charles de Gaulle later this year, with long-haul flights in mid-2018.
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) introduced H.R.1467, the Safe Egress in Air Travel (SEAT) Act into the FAA reauthorization bill as an amendment. The amendment would ask the FAA to study evacuations and issue regulations for minimum safe-seat sizes.
The annual study of airline ancillary revenues from IdeaWorks Company and Cartrawler, is out. For 2016, the big U.S. legacy airlines are the ones hauling in the most ancillary revenues.
Nicki and her flight instructor.
In May, we received an email from listener Nicki. She was asking our advice about starting flying lessons in her late 30s and making a possible career change into flying. Nicki enjoys flying and in college, her friends used to take her up and let her fly the plane. At the time, Nicki couldn’t afford flying lessons and even now it would be a stretch for her.
Well, Nicki has started to take some steps and sent us a recording describing her progress so far.
The founder and CEO of Metamaterial Technologies explains the effects on pilots of aircraft laser strikes, and the new technology that protects pilots. In the news, we look at a future where airlines pay you to fly, biometric facial-recognition technology at the airport, how climate change may impact aviation, a very close call at SFO, and odors in the cabin.
Metamaterial Technologies Inc. demonstrates the metaAIR™ film that provides pilots with protection from laser strikes. (Photo courtesy Metamaterial Technologies Inc.)
George Palikaras is an entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Metamaterial Technologies Inc. MTI is a smart materials and photonics company working on some difficult problems that involve light, including the threat to pilots of laser strikes.
We explore the danger to pilots of laser strikes, such as temporary flash blindness, glare and disruption, and distraction. George explains the metaAIR™ metamaterial thin film that can be applied to cockpit windows and provide protection from laser strikes. metaAIR has been tested with Airbus and has the additional benefit of providing UV protection in daylight.
The sales strategy for metaAIR is being worked out with Satair Group. (Satair provides an integrated portfolio of material management services.) MTI is also developing very thin solar cells that could have aviation applications.
George was a post-doctoral researcher at Queen Mary University in London working on wearable and implantable sensors projects. He founded Medical Wireless Sensing Ltd. (MediWise), a research and development medtech company based in London. In 2014, George received the Frost & Sullivan Global Aerospace Product Leadership Award for Lamda Guard metaAIR.
When asked about how low airline fares can go, WOW Air founder and CEO Skúli Mogensen told Business Insider, “I can see a day when we pay you to fly.” Ticket prices continue to tumble while airlines generate significant revenue from fees for services and partnerships with hotels, car rental agencies, restaurants, and other travel industry players. Where do the trends end?
Biometric facial-recognition technology was piloted last year at Atlanta International Airport, and it’s been deployed at Washington Dulles and George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Now US Customs and Border Protection is bringing facial recognition biometric exit technology to Chicago O’Hare International Airport for select flights.
Researchers from Columbia University and Virginia’s Logistics Management Institute modeled how aircraft departures will be affected by hotter days driven by climate change. They say airlines will have to reduce weight, meaning people, cargo, or fuel.
The International Business Times reported that a sick man “broke wind so violently it caused nausea and headaches among his fellow passengers.” An airport employee reported that, “The resulting smell was so noxious that fellow passengers became ill and were rushed off the flight.”
Long-time aviation industry veteran Jon Norris is the senior director, corporate sales & marketing for Panasonic Avionics. He describes the Panasonic NEXT in-flight entertainment and connectivity system.
Dan Pimentel tells us about the #Oshbash social media meetup coming up at Airventure Oshkosh 2017. We also look into freelance writing for aviation publications and the Airplanista Aviation Blog. In the news, we talk about support for supersonic civil air travel in the FAA reauthorization bills before Congress, ATC privatization, United Airlines in the press again, and Turkey’s first female professional acrobatics pilot.
We also explore freelance writing for aviation publications, look at the process, and learn some tips for success. Along the way, we discuss ATC privatization, rivets and clecos, preserving EAA history, the importance of collegiate aviation programs, and how airshow performers physically and mentally prepare for the task.
Since 1973, there has been a ban on supersonic travel in the U.S. over land. However, both FAA reauthorization bills in Congress direct the FAA to revisit that restriction and determine if changes need to be made. An amendment to the House bill directs the FAA to “consider the needs of the aerospace industry and other stakeholders when creating policies, regulations, and standards that enable the safe commercial deployment of civil supersonic aircraft technology and the safe and efficient operation of civil supersonic aircraft.”
A middle school teacher traveling from Hawaii to a teacher’s conference in Boston purchased a ticket for herself, and one for her two-year-old 25-pound son. Waiting onboard the Houston to Boston leg, she was told another passenger had a valid boarding pass for the son’s seat. Rather than make a scene, the boy flew on her lap for the 3 ½ hour flight. According to a United spokesman, the boy’s boarding pass scan had been unsuccessful and he wasn’t logged in to the system. His seat was released to a standby passenger.
26-year-old Semin Öztürk is Turkey’s first female professional aerobatics pilot. She flew to great acclaim at a recent air show organized by the International Sportive Aviation Center and featuring 25 acrobatic pilots from Turkey. She began flying when she was 12 years old and her father was also an aerobatics pilot.