Category Archives: Episodes

547 Live at Sun ‘n Fun 2019

Airplane Geeks Max Trescott, Launchpad Marzari, Rob Mark, and Max Flight.

Airplane Geeks Max Trescott, Launchpad Marzari, Rob Mark, and Max Flight on the deck of Sun ‘n Fun Radio

This special edition was recorded live at the SUN ‘n FUN International Fly- in and Expo on April 3, 2019. It aired on AM 1510 in Lakeland, Florida and on LiveATC.net/snf.

Sun ‘n Fun is the annual week-long gathering of lovers of aviation and it features daily airshows, seminars, manufacturer exhibits, vendors, food, fun, and friendship. You’ll be hearing more about this amazing event in some upcoming episodes. Visit the Sun ‘n Fun website at FlySnF.org and listen to all the programming from Sun ‘n Fun Radio throughout the year at LiveATC.net/snf.

Join Max Flight, Max Trescott, Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari, and Rob Mark for our ever first live show, from the deck of the Sun ‘n Fun radio station.

546 Women Take Flight at NEAM

New England Air Museum, host of Women Can FlyThe Women Take Flight event at the New England Air Museum was held March 9, 2019, to commemorate Women’s History Month and in conjunction with Women of Aviation Worldwide Week. Visitors of all ages celebrated women’s contributions to aerospace history through a variety of hands-on activities, special events, and guest lecturers.

In addition to the lectures, Women Take Flight offered visitors the opportunity to meet women pilots, engineers, and industry professionals who were set up at tables throughout the museum. Airplane Geeks was there to capture interviews.

Interviews

Leah is a senior at a girl’s high school participating in the year-long Sikorsky STEM challenge with a project to modernize cockpit control mechanisms. [Starts at 1:36]

Mary Ann Cannon is Vice President of Commercial Engine Programs at Pratt and Whitney. She has had a 30-year career at Pratt, and was one of the guest speakers. [Starts at 7:39]

The Ninety-Nines were at the event in force and we spoke with Glenna Blackwell and Lori Plourd. Glenna is from the Connecticut Chapter of the Ninety-Nines. [Starts at 14:51]

Former Air Force pilot Kristi Fleischmann is from Acrojet, which provides in-aircraft training for professional and high-performance aircraft pilots. The company is now actively trying to address the pilot shortage by creating and presenting STEM in aviation programs for students at the middle and high school level. [Starts at 29:09]

Debbie Reed is the newly appointed executive director of the New England Air Museum. We talk about the museum, the employees and volunteers, restoration activities, and the programs and events this year. [Starts at 42:32]

University of Connecticut senior Alexis Coppola and Assistant Professor Dianyun Zhang from the Department of Mechanical Engineering talked with us about composites in aviation. [Starts at 56:20]

Shaesta Waiz flew around the world solo in a Beechcraft Bonanza. She has an interesting history and a strong drive to shape the future for girls and young women in aviation and STEM. She’s the founder and president of Dreams Soar, Inc. [Starts at 1:05:02]

The Museum

The New England Air Museum museum is located adjacent to Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut midway between Hartford, Connecticut, and Springfield, Massachusetts.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

Event Photos

UConn table.

The UConn table.

Fun with balloons.

Glenna and Lori, Ninety-Nines.

Kristi Fleischmann and her husband, both pilots!

Explaining the C-5.

Pilot Shaesta Waiz.

New England Air Museum Executive Director Debbie Reed.

 

545 Boeing 737 MAX, Someone’s Got Some ‘Splaining to Do

Two guests this episode: An airline Captain who flies the Boeing 737-800 and the 737 MAX 8, and the International President of the Association of Flight Attendants. In the news, we look at the nominee to be the next FAA Administrator, private pilots providing services to disaster victims, and the decision to replace aging F-15’s with the F-15X.

Guest: Jeff Fellmeth

Jeff Fellmeth, Boeing 737 MAX 8 Captain.

Captain Jeff Fellmeth,

Jeff Fellmeth, Lt Col, USAF (Ret) is a Captain on the Boeing 737, both the -800 and the MAX 8.

He has over 16,000 hours of flight time, including more than 12,000 civilian hours. In addition to the 737, Jeff has time in the A300, the Boeing 767, 757, and 727, as well as the Saab 340 and the Seminole. In the Air Force, Jeff flew the F-16D, the F-15A through E, as well as the T-41, T-37, T-38, and OV-10A.

Jeff explains the 737 MAX training provided and how the airlines had no knowledge of the MCAS system. We talk about the pressure Boeing was under to counter the Airbus A320neo as well as the quality of mainstream press reporting on the recent two fatal crashes.

Jeff discusses some differences between flying the 737 NG and the 737 MAX, including the power, braking ability, and location of some cockpit controls. He notes that most emergency procedures are the same for both aircraft and that there is currently no separate emergency procedure on either the NG or the MAX for runaway trim. He and other pilots have been surprised to learn just how much trim the MCAS supplies on the MAX.

We learn about the limited pilot training on the 737 MAX and Jeff answers the question if he would fly the plane based on what he knows now. He also explains the actions required of the pilot in the case of runaway trim, and we talk about the previously optional AOA features that Boeing has announced will now be standard equipment.

In our conversation, we characterize recent events as the first time a fleet has been grounded due to social media. A contributing factor may have been the telephone game that the mainstream press seems to have played.

Jeff is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He has type ratings in the B757/767, A300, MD-80, and B737.

[Conversation starts at 20:32]

Guest: Sara Nelson

Sara Nelson, International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO.

Sara Nelson, International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO.

Sara Nelson is the International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO. She took office on June 1, 2014, and she is currently serving her second four-year term.

Sara frequently refers to flight attendants as “aviation’s first responders.” She is passionate about AFA’s mission to achieve fair compensation, job security, and improved quality of life, as well as a safe, healthy and secure aircraft cabin for both passengers and crew. She believes flight attendants can play a pivotal role in strengthening the labor movement with more public contact than almost any other job and access to every corner of the earth.

Sara explains how the recent partial government shutdown in the U.S. was creating an increasingly unsafe situation, and why that led her to call for a general strike. We talk about a resurgence in the imperative for labor unions and the increasing positive view of unions from the public.

Sara tells us why aviation unions have remained strong, and how the different unions stay in communication with each other. We look at some of the successes achieved by the AFA, such as the 100,000 eyes in the skies program where flight attendants were trained to detect human trafficking. Also, a two-hour increase in minimum legal rest for flight attendants and other efforts to combat fatigue on the job.

We look at other important issues that the union is focused on, such as the need to revamp the 90-second evacuation tests and the outdated practice of allowing children to travel on passenger laps.

Sara became a United Airlines Flight Attendant in 1996 and has been a union activist since nearly the beginning of her flying career. She served as strike chair and lead communications for nearly 10 years at AFA’s United chapter.

[Conversation starts at 57:55]

Aviation News

Former Delta executive nominated to head FAA

The White House has nominated Steve Dickson to be the new FAA Administrator. If confirmed, Dickson would succeed interim administrator Dan Elwell, who has been acting administrator since the retirement of Michael Huerta. Dickson retired from Delta in October 2018 after a 27-year career, most recently senior vice president of global flight operations.

Private pilots are giving free flights to stranded residents of a flooded Nebraska town

CNN tells the story of a GA pilot named Adam Liston who was himself evacuated as a result of the flooding. When he and his wife Mandi returned, they knew they had to help others and he had been flying people in and out of Fremont, Nebraska, which was otherwise cut off.

Industrial base considerations played role in F-15X decision

F-15X aircraft were requested in the Air Force’s fiscal 2020 budget to replace aging F-15C/Ds. However, the Defense Department’s inspector general announced that acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is under investigation for allegations that he showed favoritism toward Boeing. Shanahan had been employed by Boeing for 30 years before becoming being Deputy Secretary of Defense in 2017. In his defence, Shanahan says that he had recused himself from all decisions involving Boeing.

Mentioned

The Evolution Of Boeing’s 737 Jetliner

Boeing didn’t want to re-engine the 737–but had design standing

The Shutdown Made Sara Nelson Into America’s Most Powerful Flight Attendant

Flight Attendant Leader: How Can Airline With ‘Misogynist’ CEO Offer a Diversity Award?

With Just 22 Words, This United Airlines Flight Attendant Brilliantly Explained What’s at Stake With the Boeing 737 MAX

Curiosity Stream – See the new four-part docu-series starting April 18, 2019 ,called SPEED looking at some of history’s greatest transportation breakthroughs.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

544 NBAA Regional Forum

Reports from NBAA’s Regional Forum in Houston, attacking the pilot and mechanic shortage, and NBAA’s top safety focus areas. Wo look at the Boeing 737 Max, AOA indicators, MCAS, and the certification process. Also, a Southwest Airlines labor agreement, more coin tosses for good luck, B-52 re-engining, famous aviation siblings, Red Bull air races, and the Boeing 747.

Aviation News

Flawed analysis, failed oversight: How Boeing and FAA certified the suspect 737 MAX flight control system

The original safety analysis that Boeing delivered to the FAA for MCAS understated the amount of horizontal stabilizer movement that the system ultimately provided.

Pilots offer insights on Boeing 737 crashes

A good explanation on how the system was meant to make the control forces feel the same as older 737s, and how either pilot can easily just turn the system off.

Airlines with buyers’ remorse may use Boeing 737 MAX ban to revise orders

Comments from analysts suggest that “airlines that over-ordered the latest version of Boeing’s 737 workhorse, the grounding could be a good excuse to delay or cancel purchases, saving cash on the balance sheet.”

See also, Letter from Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg to Airlines, Passengers and the Aviation Community.

Southwest Airlines’ new mechanics contract gives immediate 20 percent pay hike

After six years of negotiations, Southwest Airlines and the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association have an agreement in principle for a new five-year contract.

Air Force resumes KC-46 deliveries after Boeing changes inspections

After passing a foreign object debris inspection, Boeing has been giving the go-ahead to resume KC-46 tanker deliveries.

Lucky Air flight #8L9616 delayed because two passengers tossed coins to aircraft engine for good luck

It’s happened again. This time two women were observed tossing coins at the engine as they boarded the aircraft.

NBAA Regional Forum

Airplane Geeks Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari attended the 2019 NBAA Regional Forum March 14, 2019, in Houston Texas. He recorded these interviews:

Blain Stanley, Aircare International Emergency Procedures Instructor on fire training classes for aircraft crew.

NBAA Senior Manager of Flight Operations and Regulations Brain Koester on ADS-B in corporate aircraft.

Dave Brown, Sales Manager at Garmin, on jets and ADS-B.

Russell Otowchits, Regional Sales Manager with Gogo Business Aviation on inflight connectivity.

Raymond Goyco from Baker Aviation, the maker of fireproof bags for lithium-ion fires. Aircraft Specialties, Inc. is the sole U.S. stocking dealer for the HOT-STOP® ‘L’ Fire Containment Kit.

Also….

NBAA’s Bolen Asks Industry To Be Bizav Ambassadors

NBAA chief executive Ed Bolen says business aviation industry’s next big test is the pilot and maintenance technician shortage. Interest in business aviation careers needs to be generated among young people. Ed has some suggestions on how to accomplish that.

Prior to the Forum, the NBAA Safety Committee identified the 2019 NBAA Top Safety Focus Areas and provided many good supporting resources.

Mentioned

PaxEx Podcast: Max Flight and Mary Kirby on why no-MAX flight.

January/February 2019 Air Force Magazine: Re-Engining the B-52 and The Air Force Wants to Install New Engines on the B-52 Bomber.

Ross Macpherson Smith and Keith Macpherson Smith, the first pilots to fly from England to Australia, in 1919.

Video: Auckland from the Skies (1918) – Charles F. Newham – Auckland Museum Collection.

Qantas introduces twin sister pilots.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

543 Aviation Career Opportunities

Carl Valeri talks about aviation career opportunities, including the current employment outlook, some industry trends, and the wide availability of scholarships. We look at the Boeing acquisition of ForeFlight, the crash of an Ethiopian 737 MAX 8, FOD on new KC-46 tankers, a pilot who left his handgun on the plane, and a passenger with an RPG. We also talk about this year’s SUN ‘n FUN week-long fly-in and air show.

Guest

Carl Valeri, aviation careers expert

Carl Valeri

Carl Valeri is a flight instructor and airline pilot. He hosts the Aviation Careers Podcast and the Stuck Mic AvCast and you’ll find him on SUN ‘n FUN Radio. Carl also coaches the Polk State Flight Team.

Carl tells us about the current state of aviation employment opportunities, including the shortage of pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, managers, ground support personnel, office support, and many others. He also explains the current lack of instrument flying skills, building hours to meet the airline transport pilot requirement, airline pilot starting pay and first-year bonuses, as well as the trend of conditional hiring, the E-3 visa program, and the inclusion of rotor pilot hours in total time.

In addition to the podcasts, Carl provides career counseling as well as an extensive directory of scholarships that are available for people who want to get into an aviation career, or who want to advance their ratings.

As is the case every year, Carl will be managing SUN ‘n FUN Radio at the SUN ‘n FUN International Fly-In and Expo April 2-7, 2019 in Lakeland, Florida.

Mystery Aircraft

Carl sent us a photo asking David to identify the aircraft. Can you?

Of course, David knew right away what this is. Answer below.

Aviation News

Boeing Acquires ForeFlight

Flight planning company ForeFlight joins Jeppesen in Boeing’s Digital Solutions and Analytics group, part of Boeing Global Services. ForeFlight products are used by individual pilots, professional flight crews, flight departments, and others. Boeing VP Ken Sain said, “This acquisition… expands Boeing’s rapidly growing, unparalleled digital services portfolio which will enable us to compete and win in the $2.8 trillion, 10-year services market.”

See also the Boeing press release, the new joint website, and from AOPA Live Boeing acquires ForeFlight – Interview with CEO Tyson Weihs.

Ethiopia, China, other countries ground Boeing aircraft after devastating crash

An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 bound for Nairobi, Kenya crashed six minutes after takeoff from the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. All 157 people on board Flight ET-302 were killed. Many countries initially responded by grounding the 737 MAX fleet.

Reports: Air Force won’t accept more KC-46 tankers until they’re cleaned of debris

In response to Foreign Object Debris (FOD) found by the U.S. Air Force in Boeing’s delivered KC-46 tankers, the aircraft are no longer being accepted by the government.

Pilot left gun behind in the cockpit of a Delta plane

The handgun was found by an airline ground worker. Delta has not identified the pilot and won’t say what action it will take against the pilot.

TSA agents find rocket-propelled grenade launcher in luggage

The unassembled parts of the launcher and a replica grenade were found in a checked bag at Lehigh Valley International Airport in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The owner told officials he thought he could bring the non-functioning launcher in his checked bag. The items were confiscated.

Mentioned

Women Take Flight, at the New England Air Museum, Saturday, March 9, 2019.

SUN ‘n FUN, April 2 – 7, 2019, Lakeland, Florida.

Aviation News Talk Podcast #101: Emergency Landing: Controller Talks Down Student Pilot After Oil Covers Windshield

F-35 Demo Team, including 2019 schedule.

New York International Air Show, August 24-25, 2019 at New York Stewart Int’l Airport.

Bjorn Moerman Photography. Excellent aviation images.

Mystery Aircraft

David knew immediately this is the Bell P-63 King Cobra. He also sent along photos of a few museum examples:

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

542 Airline Seats

Airline seats from Layer Design that you control with an app, Boeing-Embraer deals, business jet deliveries, re-engining the B-52 fleet, regional jets and scope clauses, lithium-ion battery ban on commercial flights, another MH360 theory, F117 rumors, and flying with a fake license. Also, an airplane of the week, and two must-see videos.

"Move" prototype airline seats. Courtesy Layer Design.

“Move” prototype airline seats. Courtesy Layer Design.

Aviation News

Airbus economy seat prototype: Are these the future of airline cabins?

London-based Layer Design has developed the prototype “Move” airline seats for Airbus. These are intended to improve the experience of Economy Class short- to mid-haul flying. Sensors in the seat and measure seat tension, temperature, pressure, and movement. The Move app can be used to maintain optimal ergonomic comfort.

Boeing-Embraer Venture Gets Shareholders Approval

Embraer shareholders approved the deal to sell 80 percent of their commercial jet division to Boeing. They also voted to approve a separate JV for the KC-390. Regulatory approval is pending.

The Vision Jet Was the Most-Delivered Business Jet in 2018

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) says Cirrus delivered 63 SF50 Vision Jets, 22 in the fourth quarter. Bombardier delivered 60 Challenger 350 jets, the Cessna Citation Latitude had 57 deliveries, the Embraer Phenom 300E light jet saw 53 deliveries, while HondaJet and the Cessna Citation CJ3+ tied at 37 deliveries. Overall, business jet deliveries increased to 703 last year, up from 677 in 2017.

Rolls-Royce Indianapolis to compete for $1B U.S. Air Force contract, new jobs

In 2017, U.S. Air Force announced plans to replace the ancient Pratt & Whitney TF33 engines that currently power its B-52 bombers. Rolls-Royce wants to bid on the 650 re-engine contract with its F130 engine. The Air Force hasn’t yet issued an RFP

United Airlines Orders First Class Regional Jets – But They’re Not For You

This is a story about scope clauses, under configuring an airplane and sending a message to the labor union, according to writer Samuel Engel. United plans to seat 50 in the CRJ550, a new variant of the Bombardier CRJ-700 series aircraft that normally seats 70-76. The plan is 10 first-class seats, 20 economy-plus seats, and 20 economy-class seats.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao Announces Major Rule to Strengthen Safety Provisions for Lithium Batteries Transported by Aircraft

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, in coordination with the FAA, issued an Interim Final Rule that prohibits the transport of lithium ion cells or batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft.  In addition, lithium ion cells and batteries must be shipped at not more than a 30 percent state of charge aboard cargo-only aircraft. For further information, see the Interim Final Rule as submitted to the Federal Register. You may submit comments to the Rule under Docket Number PHMSA‑2016‑0014 at Regulations.gov.

‘Desperate’ final 12 minutes of MH370 passengers and crew

March 8 marks the 5th anniversary of the loss of MH370. In his book The Hunt for MH370, Journalist Ean Higgins explores a theory that portrays the flight crew as valiantly trying to deal with a cockpit fire.

Let’s Talk About The Rumor That F117s Have Flown Missions In The Middle East Recently

F-117 Nighthawks have been spotted flying over Death Valley recently. One source claimed that F-117s were sent to the Middle East on a highly covert mission.

Senior SAA pilot fired for flying with fake licence for 20 years

A South African Airways pilot flew for 20 years on a forged airline transport pilot license. This came to light during an investigation into an over speed incident.

Video of the Week

FIRST LOOK – New USAF F-35 Full Aerobatic Demonstration!

A video of the new aerobatic demonstration routine flown by the US Air Force F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team. Filmed opposite the crowd at the 2019 Heritage Flight Conference at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Arizona.

The Airplane of the Week

Nakajima B5N, Type 97 Bomber (the “Kate”) at the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum, formerly known as Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.

Nakajima B5N, Type 97 Bomber (the “Kate”) at the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum.

Nakajima B5N, Type 97 Bomber (the “Kate”) at the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum.

The Zero.

The Zero.

Mentioned

Women Take Flight, at the New England Air Museum, Saturday, March 9, 2019.

SUN ‘n FUN, April 2 – 7, 2019, Lakeland, Florida.

USAF Female Fighter Pilots: March 8 recruitment campaign upcoming movie

 

Listener Jonathan behind the bar on the Emirates 380.

541 Airline Cabins

We look at the airline cabin environment, cameras in seatback IFE systems, Alaska Airlines and Sisters of the Skies working for more industry diversity, bringing a gun on a plane, the Amazon Prime Air B767 crash, a new drone marking requirement, and the winners of the Chicken Wings comics giveaway.

Guest

Jennifer Coutts Clay, author of Jetliner Cabins detailing airline cabins

Jennifer Coutts Clay, author of Jetliner Cabins

Jennifer Coutts Clay is the principal of J. Clay Consulting, a consultancy based on over four decades of pioneering work in the airline industry. Jennifer is also the author of Jetliner Cabins: Evolution and Innovation which examines the history, evolution, and development of airline cabin interiors in great detail.

In our conversation, Jennifer explains airline considerations for seller-furnished or buyer-furnished equipment. We explore “trickle down product upgrades” from first class to business to coach, and what that means for the future of first class. Jennifer also explains how corporate travel departments have indirectly affected cabin design and fare structures, and the importance of minor miscellaneous items (MMI) to the passenger experience. We also discuss slimline seats, green cabin design, and future trends. Jennifer also gives us her perspective on the impacts of the Boeing 747 and the Concorde, both iconic aircraft.

At British Airways, Jennifer was the first woman to serve as Head of Operations and Sales for the Western US. After serving as the General Manager of Product Design and Development at Pan American World Airways for three years in the late 1980s, Jennifer became a consultant and now provides technical advice and marketing support to the aviation industry, with a focus on airline interior and corporate branding programs.

Jennifer has been featured, interviewed, and published by dozens of news media outlets, including The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes.com, Conde Nast Traveler, and CNN.com. She is a founding sponsor of the Crystal Cabin Awards, a founding member of the Pan American Historical Foundation Museum, and she serves on the Concorde Advisory Committee at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City.

Jetliner Cabins: Evolution and Innovation is available as an eBook from Amazon, the Apple App Store, and Google Play.

Jennifer Coutts Clay and the Concorde.

Jennifer Coutts Clay and the Concorde.

Aviation News

Airline seats now equipped with cameras — aimed at passengers

Seat-back entertainment systems on some American, United, and Singapore Airlines planes have cameras. All three airlines have said those cameras are part of the IFE systems from suppliers such as Panasonic and Thales. The airlines say the cameras are not activated and they have no plans to do so.

Alaska Airlines promises to bring more Black women pilots into the fold

The travel industry is dominated by white males, and Alaska Airlines has committed to hiring more African American female pilots. The airline has teamed up with the nonprofit Sisters of the Skies organization to sign a pledge promising to hire more Black woman pilots to its ranks.

According to Sisters of the Skies, “Currently, there are less than 150 black women pilots in the United States holding Airline Transport Pilot, Commercial, Military, and or Certified Flight Instructor Licenses.”

Man’s gun reportedly stolen from SFO baggage carousel

The man was traveling on a United flight with a properly checked gun. But the flight was delayed and the gun flew on a different plane. Apparently, when it did arrive, it sat on the baggage carousel for some time and was then stolen.

For information about flying with a firearm, see 9 Must Do Tips for Flying with a Gun on Gun Goals, a site dedicated to gun enthusiasts.

Amazon Prime Air 767 Crashes in Texas

An Amazon Prime Air B767-300 operated by Atlas Air crashed in Trinity Bay near Anahuac, Texas. The plane was flying from Miami to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport. All three on board were lost.

FAA imposed this big change Saturday for drone pilots

Effective immediately, drone operators must display their aircraft registration number on the outside of the drone. Previously, the number could be located inside a component, like in the battery case.

Mentioned

Chicken Wings Comics – We announce the two winners of the book giveaway. Thanks to all who entered, and to Michael and Stefan Strasser at Chicken Wings for donating and autographing the books.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

540 Sky Kids

Sky Kids is a project that puts children with special needs and disabilities in general aviation aircraft to give them confidence and self-esteem. In the news, Airbus announces that A380 production will cease, Southwest Airlines declares an “operations emergency” concerning aircraft maintenance, Southwest is also conducting certification flights for routes to Hawaii, and Icon A5 demo flights spark calls to emergency dispatch.

Guest

Claire Schindler, event coordinator for Sky Kids California, with the Falcon 7X.

Claire Schindler, event coordinator for Sky Kids California, with the Falcon 7X.

Claire Schindler is the event coordinator for Sky Kids California. Sky Kids originated in Goodyear, Arizona with Bill Antonucci, his wife, and friends. They created a day to give children with special needs and disabilities the opportunity to fly a general aviation aircraft, free of charge. The event gives these children and their families the chance to have a fun-filled day and just be a kid. The event typically includes a full lunch buffet, clowns and face painting, and firefighters and police presence. The hope is that Sky Kids will give these children something to look back on for many years to come.

Sky Kids was so popular and successful in Arizona that it morphed into two events: in Scottsdale, Arizona in November and in Goodyear, Arizona in April.

Along with some friends, Claire volunteered at the Sky Kids event in Scottsdale and is now working to create a Sky Kids event in California. Planned for September 14, 2019, at Chino Airport (KCNO), Threshold Aviation will host the event at their FBO.

Claire attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona from 2013 to 2017. While there she served as president of the local chapter of Women in Aviation International (WAI), and participated in many community service events.

After graduating, Claire started her first flying job at a company called Chalk 2 Inc which involved chasing UAVs and working toward her CFI. After earning her hours, Claire was hired at her dream job flying the Falcon 7X for a private charter company.

Sky Kids Bonanza flight.

Sky Kids Bonanza flight.

Josh's Sky Kids flight.

Josh’s Sky Kids flight.

Aviation News

Airbus Will Stop Making the World’s Largest Passenger Jet

Airbus announced It will end production of the A380 by 2021. Emirates, the largest A380 customer, has reduced its open order of A380 aircraft and will instead purchase A330neo and A350 airplanes. The total number of A380 deliveries is expected to be just over 250.

See Ian Bott’s illustration on the demise of the era of the four-engined superjumbo.

Southwest declares operations ’emergency’ amid labor dispute with mechanics

Southwest Airlines has had to remove airplanes from service and declared an “operational emergency,” The company told its mechanics that those who call in sick will need a detailed doctor’s note when they return to work. Southwest has been in lengthy contract talks with its mechanics represented by the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association.

Southwest Airlines first flight to Hawaii departs Oakland

Meanwhile, a Southwest Airlines spokesperson confirms the airline “…is slated to perform a long-range navigation and communication validation flight from Oakland to Honolulu.” Southwest started the FAA certification process in late 2017 and these proving flights are one of the last steps for Southwest in the FAA’s ETOPS (Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards) certification process. Southwest already has a landing page for the service to come.

Icon Demo Prompts Emergency Response

The amphibious Icon A5 is said to be for “adventure flying,” but witnesses to a demo flight called first responders.

Mentioned

Fully Charged podcast, Episode 2, Honda Announcement, VW DIY Assembly Tour, Rolls Royce, Largest Prototype Offshore Wind Turbine & Tesco.

Introducing ACCEL: The world’s fastest electric-powered aeroplane

Chicken Wings Comics

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

539 Boeing 747 First Flight

We mark the 50th anniversary of the first flight of the Boeing 747 with a member of that flight test team, now a docent at The Museum of Flight in Seattle. Also, the NTSB Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements, the last commercial flight of the Boeing 727, Airbnb may be doing something with air travel, SFO’s new outdoor observation deck, two Virgin Galactic pilots earn astronaut wings, and the Collier Trophy nominees list is released.

Boeing 747 ceremony.

Boeing 747 ceremony, courtesy The Museum of Flight.

Guests

Sean Mobley, Docent Services Specialist with The Museum of Flight joins us. Sean also hosts the Museum’s Flight Deck Podcast. In addition, Docent Thomas Gray brings us recollections of the Boeing 747 flight test program and the first flight, fifty years ago.

From 1968 to 1985, Thomas was a member of the Boeing 747 first flight test team. That airplane, the “City of Everett,” resides at The Museum of Flight. Thomas was also the lead instrumentation engineer when RA001 was later used as the flying test bed for the 757/767 engines.

Thomas graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering in 1961. He served in the New Mexico Air National Guard as a Radio Technician for one year where he provided maintenance service on F-100 fighter aircraft radio equipment. After that, he joined the Washington Air National Guard until 1967 as a Radio Technician, providing maintenance service on the mobile teletype and cryptographic equipment.

Thomas was hired by Boeing as the Systems Test Engineer on the Dyna-Soar program. From there he moved over to the Flight Test organization as an Instrumentation Engineer for 24 years. Thomas worked on the 737, 747, 757, 767, the Boeing Hydrofoil Test Craft, and John F. Kennedy’s Air Force One 26000. He also served as the test engineer on the Space Shuttle Carrier aircraft during Space Shuttle Landing tests at Edwards AFB, California. Thomas then worked as a Commercial Sales Support Engineer for three years and worked seven years as a Customer Service Engineer until retiring in 1995.

Boeing 747.

Courtesy The Museum of Flight.

Boeing 747 First Flight

The first flight took place on February 9, 1969 and we learn that the three initial flights were around Paine Field with a pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer, and F-86 escort. It wasn’t until the fourth flight that the full crew was aboard and the plane was allowed to fly over populated areas.

Thomas helps us understand the mood at Boeing leading up to the B747 first flight, as well as his role as part of the first flight test team. He explains the 747 test Instrumentation, the telemetry system, and the ballast system that moved water between barrels to change the airplane’s center of gravity.

The first flight Boeing 747 is on display at The Museum of Flight in the test configuration. An excellent 3D tour of the plane is available from the Museum. See Aviation Pavilion Virtual Tour for that aircraft tour and others in the collection.

Boeing 747 test aircraft virtual tour. Courtesy The Museum of Flight.

Boeing 747 test aircraft virtual tour. Courtesy The Museum of Flight.

Videos of interest:

To learn more about upcoming activities, visit The Museum of Flight Calendar of Events. Be sure to look at Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission. This is an exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. This traveling exhibit comes to the Museum April 13th through September 2nd, 2019.

Aviation News

NTSB 2019-2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements

The National Transportation Safety Board (the NTSB) has issued its 2019-2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements. The NTSB would like the FAA to close the gap in safety requirements between commercial airlines and those operating under Part 135. The NTSB argues that all flights should be safe, no matter the purpose of the flight or the type of aircraft. Most Part 135 organizations don’t have a safety management system (SMS), flight data monitoring (FDM), or a controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) avoidance training program.

Boeing’s famous trijet 727 makes last commercial flight

In mid-January, 2019, a 38-year-old Boeing 727-200 owned by Iran Aseman Airlines became the last 727 on a commercial passenger flight. See the Boeing history page for more on the 727.

Airbnb Hires Aviation Industry Veteran to Lead New Transportation Division

Home-sharing service Airbnb has hired long-time aviation industry veteran Fred Reid to be the company’s global head of transportation. His task is “building partnerships and services that make travel seamless while delivering the kind of people-to-people hospitality Airbnb is known for around the world.” CEO Brian Chesky says, “I’m not interested in building our own airline or creating just another place on the Internet where you can buy a plane ticket, but there is a tremendous opportunity to improve the transportation experience for everyone.”

SFO unveils dramatic outdoor observation deck

A $55 million upgrade at San Francisco International Airport’s International Terminal includes a new, 3,000 square foot roofless observation deck on the Terminal G side. Since the outdoor lounge is behind security, only passengers using Terminal 3 (United) and the International G-side will have access to it. The deck offers a 180+ degree view of the ramp and runways on the north side of the airport.

San Francisco International Airport’s observation deck. Credit: Chris McGinnis | Tim Jue

San Francisco International Airport’s observation deck. Credit: Chris McGinnis | Tim Jue

Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Pilots Awarded FAA Astronaut Wings

The two Virgin Galactic test pilots who flew the SpaceShipTwo “VSS Unity” into space on December 13, 2018, were recognized in a ceremony at the Department of Transportation in Washington, DC. Mark “Forger” Stucky and Frederick “CJ” Sturckow were awarded Commercial Astronaut Wings by the FAA on February 7.

Credit: FAA/Virgin Galactic via collectSPACE.com.

Credit: FAA/Virgin Galactic via collectSPACE.com.

Collier Nominees Released

The National Aeronautic Association announced that eleven aviation and space achievements will compete for the 2018 Robert J. Collier Trophy:

The Collier Trophy Selection Committee will meet on April 4, 2019, in Arlington, Virginia, and the recipient will be announced publicly the following day. The formal presentation of the Collier Trophy will take place on June 13, 2019, at a location to be determined.

Mentioned

Red Bull Air Race app

Evening With Enshrinees Dick and Burt Rutan February 22, 2019

#PaxEx Podcast

Two podcast episodes recommended by Max Trescott:

Chicken Wings Comics

Eat at the Airport

Call for Nominations for the 2019 Aerospace Media Awards

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

538 AI and the Aviation Industry

We look at how artificial intelligence is impacting commercial aviation and a consider a few of the areas that hold the greatest promise. In the news, a concept that would have pilot conversations monitored by an AI agent, how to get new airplanes signed off by the FAA during a furlough, Norwegian Air Shuttle’s share offering, and the loss of a remarkable female military aviator.

Guest

Mark Roboff, General Manager for Digital Transformation, Aerospace & Defense at DXC.

Mark Roboff, General Manager for Digital Transformation, Aerospace & Defense at DXC.

Mark Roboff is an IT executive with over 15 years experience in artificial intelligence and related fields. He’s been a true AvGeek since he was little, and Mark loves working in aviation – first as Global Solution Leader for Aerospace at IBM, then more recently as VP of Aviation at a prominent AI startup, and now as General Manager for Digital Transformation, Aerospace & Defense at DXC. Mark has worked with OEMs, Tier-1 suppliers, and numerous airlines on AI, advanced analytics, and IoT/sensors, with a focus on key application areas such as AI-driven maintenance and autonomous flight.

Mark tells us about the state of the aviation industry with respect to AI technology and AI applications. He characterizes maintenance and flight operations as the low hanging fruit. An AI-driven predictive maintenance capability would provide great value to the airlines.

We consider what is required to close the gap and bring these applications to the industry. The need for data to teach the AI engines is key, and Mark explains how the “terabyte of data per flight” that we hear about isn’t representative of the entire fleet. Many aircraft are simply not architected to provide that volume.

Mark also explains the circumstances where AI be useful. An interesting example is prognostic maintenance models for components like seats. Premium airline seats are complex, expensive, and don’t necessarily have sensors. A health management system where AI is trained from maintenance logs offers real potential.

We also look at AI and autonomous flight. Mark points out some differences between autonomous automobiles and autonomous aircraft and how their respective technological gaps are different. Social and regulatory issues remain a challenge.

Mark has worked closely with IATA as a strategic partner on AI-driven maintenance, helping to define the next generation of aircraft health management tooling and predictive maintenance solutions. He has given keynotes at the IATA Safety & Flight Ops Conference and the IATA Maintenance Cost Conference, and he has also spoken at AviationWeek’s MRO conferences across the globe. Mark gave the AI keynote at the SAE Aerospace Standards Summit this past October and is chairing a proposed SAE committee focused on Applied AI in Safety-Critical Systems.

See these resources:

Aviation News

Airlines Mull Real-Time Monitoring of Pilot Conversations

NIIT Technologies is recommending that airlines use AI to monitor pilot voices to predict whether a crew will be late on their way to the airport, to determine if a particular pilot is the right “fit” for the job, or to monitor pilot conversations and improving safety through flight operation quality assurance (FOQA) and real-time monitoring.

The company says, “Using our data technology, we can acquire the voice of the pilot while they are flying and use AI to differentiate between what is a normal and expected conversation or determine if there is increased stress in the pilot’s voice.”

Southwest Agreed to Pay FAA for Inspector’s Time During Government Shutdown

Southwest Airlines wanted to put three new jets into service. For that, they needed the sign off of an FAA safety inspector. The problem was, the safety inspectors were furloughed during the partial government shutdown. Southwest agreed to cover the cost of briefly recalling a furloughed inspector. Is this special treatment? The Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, AFL-CIO (or PASS) feels they should have been notified.

Norwegian Air Shuttle’s Revolution Comes Unstuck

In an effort to keep the airline afloat, Norwegian is undertaking a 3 billion kroner ($353 million) rights offering. They just announced a 2.5 billion kroner yearly pretax loss and they have a 250 million euro ($286 million) bond maturing in December.

Rosemary Mariner, The First Female Military Air Commander, Dies At 65

She was the first woman to fly a tactical fighter jet in the US Navy, the first woman to land on an aircraft carrier, and the first woman to command a squadron. At age 65, Rosemary Mariner lost her 5-year battle with ovarian cancer. To honor her, a 4-plane “missing man” formation was flown by an all-women pilot and ground crew.

Mentioned

Sticks, Stories, and Scotch

Ace Combat 7

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.