Category Archives: Episodes

594 Coronavirus Impact on Airlines

The Coronavirus is heavily impacting the airlines, the entire travel industry, and global economies in general. Airlines are cutting back on flights, looking at hiring freezes and unpaid leave, flying empty planes to avoid losing valuable airport slots, and reassigning widebodies to fly narrowbody routes. We also look at hiring at Boeing, a congressional committee preliminary report on the 737 MAX, aviation event cancellations, the first A220 assembled at the Mobile, Alabama plant, the gigantic market forecast for air taxis, and a petition to drop gender-exclusive words from FAA and ICAO publications.

Coronavirus News

The Coronavirus (or COVID-19) continues to take its toll on airlines and the aviation industry in general. We discuss some of the effects of the virus and the actions being taken.

United trims schedules up to 20%, imposes hiring freeze amid coronavirus fears

Delta’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) website

Lufthansa Considers Grounding Entire Airbus A380 Fleet

Airlines are burning thousands of gallons of fuel flying empty ‘ghost’ planes so they can keep their flight slots during the coronavirus outbreak

IATA requests suspension of slot rules due to COVID-19

#PaxEx Podcast: Coronavirus and MAX grounding level one-two punch

Emirates Offers Leave to Staff as Virus Saps Demand for Travel

Southwest Airlines Has More Bad Coronavirus News for Travel Stocks

The (rare) travel upside to coronavirus? You might have a swankier plane on your spring flight

Trump seeks to stamp out airline bailout talk

Airlines, travel and cruise industries hurt by coronavirus could get tax relief from White House

In Other Aviation News…

Boeing Goes on Hiring Spree in High-Stakes Gamble on 737 Max

When Boeing halted 737 MAX production and redeployed workers, people wondered what all those mechanics would do. We now see that some were deployed to study and improve production processes. In addition, Boeing is looking ahead to the time when deliveries of the jet can resume, and they are staffing up to handle the task.

Boeing : Congressional Report Says MAX Crashes Stemmed From Boeing’s Design Failures and Lax FAA Oversight

After five public hearings over the last year into the design and certification of the 737 MAX, Democrats on the House Transportation Committee have released preliminary findings. The report notes Boeing’s engineering mistakes, a “culture of concealment,” and insufficient federal safety oversight.

Aero Friedrichshafen postponed over coronavirus concerns

AERO Friedrichshafen Postpones Due To Coronavirus Concerns; Sun ’n Fun Weighs In, Too

AERO Friedrichshafen is the big GA show for Europe but the event scheduled for April 1-4, 2020 has been postponed. The Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg is also postponed. As of now, Sun N’ Fun will take place as planned.

Airbus Receives No New Orders In February 2020

Airbus received 274 orders in January, but none in February, Boeing received no new orders in January. 

Airbus rolls out first A220 assembled in Mobile

The first A220 assembled at the Airbus Mobile, Alabama plant rolled off the line. The A220-300 jet is due to be delivered to Delta Air Lines by September. Jets for both Delta and JetBlue Airways will be assembled in Mobile.

The flying taxi market is ready for takeoff, changing the travel experience forever

Flying cars, electric air taxis, urban air mobility, call it what you like, but it’s not going away anytime soon. Companies investing in this idea include Airbus, Boeing, Bell, Toyota, Uber, and  Hyundai. A Morgan Stanley Research study published in January says “…autonomous urban aircraft may no longer be the stuff of comic books. Accelerating tech advances and investment could create a $1.5 trillion market by 2040.” Another study by Frost & Sullivan, sees a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of about 46% over the next 20 years with more than 430,000 units in operation by then.

Petition: Help Eliminate Gender-Exclusive Words that Keep Women out of Aviation

There are over 40,000 references to Airman or Airmen on the FAA’s website. ICAO’s website lists close to 2,000 airmen references. This petition asks the FAA and ICAO to remove gender-exclusive words from all their publications, on- and off-line. The petition is sponsored by the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide (iWOAW) – a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Montreal, Canada.

Mentioned

Flight Safety Detectives, Episode 14: Lion Air Accident Report Analysis.

593 Women in the Aviation Industry

We address the question, “is gender still holding women back in the aviation industry?” In the news, pilots might be required to take sim training before flying the 737 MAX, Coronavirus concerns hit air travel hard and impact profitability, regional carriers continue to struggle, a pilot is arrested and jailed in Turkey, and a good story about American Airlines.

Guest

Arpad Szakal

Arpad Szakal

Arpad Szakal is an aviation and aerospace lead at Cellence Plus, an executive search and assessment firm specializing in aviation and aerospace. Arpad is an aviation attorney who earned a Master of Laws in Air and Space Law (LL.M. Air & Space) from Leiden University. He’s also a hobby glider pilot.

Arpad researched and authored Is gender still holding women back in the aviation industry?, which was published in the February edition of the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Aerospace magazine as well as in the January Newsletter of the International Aviation Women’s Association (IAWA).

We discuss the current state of gender diversity in aviation and aerospace, at both the leadership and operational levels. Also, what the industry can learn from other sectors about gender diversity and inclusion, how men can be better allies to women in the industry, and tips and best practices for aspiring female (and male) leaders to advance their careers.

Arpad explains the importance of coaching and mentoring, and the role search firms play in increasing diversity. He offered some resources:

Reach Arpad on LinkedIn

Aviation News

FAA Tells Boeing More Training For 737 Max Pilots May Be Needed

Boeing originally said pilots would not need simulator training for the 737 MAX, but that position has changed. The December sim tests with pilots revealed that the updated flight control software was an improvement, but there were many mistakes apparently made. The FAA wants additional tests.

Amazon tells employees to pause nonessential travel in U.S. due to coronavirus

Amazon sent a notice to employees asking them to defer nonessential employee travel in the United States. Amazon will reassess the directive at the end of April. In January, Amazon said it was restricting employee travel to China “until further notice.” Employees returning home from China were asked to self-quarantine for two weeks and work from home.

United Airlines offers pilots a month off as coronavirus prompts flight cuts

United Airlines and others have cut flights in the face of outright prohibitions and reduced demand. The airline is offering pilots a month off at reduced pay. United’s China trans-Pacific routes (excluding China) are down 75%

Bizjet Operators See COVID-19 Bump

Demand for short-notice, on-demand charter is rising.

United Airlines affiliate Trans States Airlines to cease flying

Regional airline Trans States Airlines is expected to stop flying by the end of 2020. The airline operates feeder flights for United Airlines under the United Express brand. And will transfer its 36 Embraer ERJ-145 aircraft to ExpressJet by February 2021. Reasons for the shutdown include the industry-wide pilot shortage making hiring difficult, and the desire of Mainline partner United to streamline its regional providers.

Pilot of Pegasus airplane that skidded off Istanbul airport runway arrested

Three people were killed and 179 injured in February when A Pegasus Airlines 737 skidded off the runway at Istanbul’s international airport. The pilot has been arrested and taken to prison, charged with “causing death and injury by negligence.” The cause of the accident is not yet established, although hydroplaning is suspected.

A priceless gift: How AA employees bought one traveler extra time with her dying father

American Airlines employees assisted a woman trying to get to her father before he passed.

Mentioned

Video: Ten Questions with James Lipton

GoFly Prize program rewards disruptive tech in personal aviation, but it’s no-go for $1M grand prize

Japan’s teTra Aviation

Comics Kingdom, a Mike Shelton spoof on airline seats.

eVTOL to be used as ambulances in the coronavirus crisis

eHang 216 eVTOL

eHang 216 eVTOL

592 FOD in the Fuel Tanks

This episode, we have an interview with the president of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen. In the news, more woes for Boeing with FOD discovered in undelivered 737 MAX airplanes and the DOJ is reported to be investigating the company. Also, the Coronavirus continues to disrupt commercial aviation, a solar electric UAV planned to stay aloft for a year, a new tail-rotor design from Bell that should be quieter and safer, and this year’s Collier Trophy nominees are announced.

Interview

Mel Payne, president, Greater Philadelphia Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen.

David Vanderhoof and Mel Payne, president, Greater Philadelphia Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen.

At the American Helicopter Museum, David talks with Mel Payne, president of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen.

Tuskegee in Philadelphia: Rising to the Challenge is the story of dozens of Philadelphia-area natives who served as fighter pilots, bombers, nurses, mechanics, and in many other support roles.

Aviation News

Boeing Finds Fuel-Tank Debris in Two-Thirds of 737 MAX Jets Inspected So Far — Update

Foreign Object Debris (FOD) has been a problem for Boeing. Two-thirds of the undelivered 737 MAX jets that have been inspected were found to contain tools, rags, and boot coverings in fuel tanks.

The DOJ is reportedly probing whether Boeing’s chief pilot misled regulators over the 737 Max

The Department of Justice wants to know if Boeing knowingly lied to the FAA while seeking certification of the 737 MAX. Boeing’s former 737 MAX chief pilot Mark Forkner was subpoenaed last year to answer questions from federal prosecutors in front of a grand jury. He invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Coronavirus flight cancellations top 200,000, sending jet fuel prices to more than 2-year lows

More than 200,000 flights, mostly in China, have been canceled as a result of the Coronavirus. Delta, United, and American have halted service to mainland China and Hong Kong. With the resulting decrease in demand, jet fuel prices have fallen 17% in 2020. For an excellent explanation of the virus, see: You’re Likely to Get the Coronavirus.

Solar airplane aims to stay afloat for a whole year

BAE Systems and Prismatic designed the unmanned solar-powered PHASA-35 airplane, and have tested it at the Royal Australian Air Force’s Woomera in South Australia. A High Altitude, Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (HALE UAV), this “pseudo-satellite” could provide persistent service for defense, security, resource management, and communications. Another high-altitude solar-electric airplane under development is the manned SolarStratos.

Bell’s New Design Could Make Helicopters Quieter—and Safer

Helicopters with a single main rotor need an additional tail rotor to counteract the torque of the main rotor. But the tail rotor contributes a lot of noise and represents a safety hazard on the ground. Bell has come up with a different approach: four smaller shrouded electric fans in the tail.

Video: Bell’s Electrically Distributed Anti-Torque EDAT

Trailblazing Projects to Compete for Collier Trophy

The National Aeronautic Association announced nine projects that will compete for the Robert J. Collier Trophy:

  • Airborne Collision Avoidance System Team
  • Bombardier Global 7500
  • Gulfstream G500 and G600
  • Hubble Space Telescope Team
  • magni500 Electric Propulsion System
  • Project Heaviside
  • Stratolaunch Carrier Aircraft
  • The United States Air Force-Boeing X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle Team
  • Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management Team

The Collier Trophy Selection Committee will meet on April 2, 2020, 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 11, 2020, at a location to be determined.

Mentioned

Big Ass Fans

Crisis Communications Training For Airline Executives

Airport webcams:

Airbus’s New Concept Passenger Plane Is for the Birds

Waco Air Museum

591 Aviation News

Airbus buys out Bombardier, the Gulfstream G700 makes its maiden flight, Airbus is testing a blended wing body aircraft, Boeing gets a 30 aircraft LOI for the passenger 747-8, Delta Airlines says they’ll spend $1B to become carbon neutral, a Canadian aviation museum seeks to appeal to people who aren’t #AvGeeks, the risks of turning off your ADS-B transponder, and the U.S. might block sale of the LEAP-1C engine to China.

Also, a great positive airline story of the week, an emergency AD for the Cirrus Vision Jet, the Girls Go Fly organization, a Harrier jump jet for sale, a really good sonic boom story, the oldest continuously operating military base in the world, and an addendum to last week’s baseball toss on a moving train scenario. Einstein would be proud. Perhaps.

Aviation News

Airbus Buys Bombardier Out Of Commercial Aviation For $591 Million

With this deal, Bombardier has fully exited the CSeries/A220 program. Bombardier receives $591 million, with $531 million paid at closing and $60 million to be paid in installments through 2021. Bombardier said with this deal the company avoids a roughly $700 million payment it would have had to make to fund production expansion. Airbus now holds 75% of Airbus Canada with the Government of Québec holding 25%, but Airbus can redeem the remaining government stake by 2026.

All-New Gulfstream G700 Makes First Flight

The Gulfstream G700 completed a successful two hour and 32-minute maiden flight, operating on a 30/70 blend of sustainable aviation fuel. Introduced in October 2019, the flagship G700 model has five flight-test aircraft. A structural test article has completed load testing. Powered by Rolls-Royce Pearl 700 engines, the G700 has an all-new winglet, it can fly at its high-speed cruise of Mach 0.90 for 6,400 nautical miles/11,853 kilometers or at its long-range cruise of Mach 0.85 for 7,500 nm/13,890 km.

Airbus reveals futuristic blended wing aircraft design

Airbus has been flying a small-scale, remote-controlled blended wing body aircraft demonstrator. They showed the 2-meter long model at the Singapore Air Show. If the MAVERIC (Model Aircraft for Validation and Experimentation of Robust Innovative Controls) leads to a full-scale aircraft, it could cut fuel consumption up to 20%.

Video: MAVERIC, a “blended wing body” scale model technological demonstrator

Boeing gets LOI for 30 747-8 passenger jets a deal worth over $10 billion

Boeing received a Letter of Intent from Avatar Airlines for the purchase of 30 new 747-8 passenger version aircraft. Boeing has been selling the 747-8F freighter, but no new passenger orders were received in 2019. Avatar plans to operate low-fare scheduled service to large major city pairs throughout the U.S. and Hawaii, beginning with fourteen 747-400s using aircraft currently in storage. Then the airline plans to transition to the 747-8 with 539 economy seats on the lower deck and 42 business seats on the upper deck

Investor Video: Avatar Airlines A Radical Departure 11 13 19 VER

Delta Air Lines Commits $1 Billion To Curb Its Carbon Emissions

Delta Air Lines wants to be the world’s first carbon-neutral airline. To do that, they say that starting March 1, 2020, they’ll commit $1 billion over the next 10 years. Press release: Delta commits $1 billion to become first carbon neutral airline globally. “The airline will invest in driving innovation, advancing clean air travel technologies, accelerating the reduction of carbon emissions and waste, and establishing new projects to mitigate the balance of emissions.”

Delta Airlines’ Claim Of Becoming Carbon Neutral In March Is Disingenuous At Best

Michael Barnard, the Chief Strategist with TFIE Strategy Inc. (The Future is Electric), is not so impressed, noting that the Delta outlay is about 0.2% of their annual revenue. He also takes issue with Delta’s statement that they will continue to use jet fuel.

The aviation museum for people who don’t care about aviation

If you are not an #AvGeek, aviation museums can be boring. But the Canada National Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa aims “to spark interest in those who don’t think they care about planes — especially (but not exclusively) women, who often don’t feel like aviation museums are a place for them.” The museum wants visitors to hear stories about people who are like them. Curator Erin Gregory says, “One of my goals as a curator is to feminize the collection and to try to have the floor be much more representative of all the people who fly, including women. I’m working to revise and revamp the museum to make it as inclusive as possible.”

Turn Off Your ADS-B, Go To Jail?

The FAA posted a National Policy effective January 24, 2020 [PDF] that deals, in part, with ADS-B transponders:

Page 9-13 says, “Single Acts of Misconduct Generally Warranting Revocation. Some acts of misconduct are, by their very nature, so egregious or significant as to demonstrate that the certificate holder does not possess the care, judgment, or responsibility to hold a certificate. These acts include, but are not limited to, those listed in Figure 9-5.”

The referenced Figure 9-5 lists 30 Single Acts Generally Warranting Revocation. One is “Operating an aircraft without activated transponder or ADS-B Out transmission (except as provided in 14 C.F.R. § 91.225(f)) for purposes of evading detection.”

See also, Owners seek battery ADS-B in nonelectrical aircraft.

U.S. weighs blocking GE engine sales for China’s new airplane: sources

In order to export certain technologies to China (and some other countries), you need an export license from the U.S. Commerce Department. The Chinese Comac C919 uses LEAP-1C engines produced by CFM, International, a joint venture between General Electric and the French company Safran. There are reports that the U.S. Government is considering denying GE’s latest license request, thus blocking those exports.

FAA Emergency AD Grounds Cirrus Jet Fleet

A cabin ground fire destroyed a first-generation Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet on the ramp, and the FAA responded with an emergency airworthiness directive AD 2020-03-50 grounding the fleet. The problem is with audio amplifiers that drive the audio/microphone jacks in the passenger cabin. The AD requires removal of the 12 amplifiers before the next flight, typically an 8-hour task.

Positive Airline Story of the Week

A couple flew home with their adopted infant. Strangers threw an impromptu baby shower on the plane.

A couple flying home on Southwest with their 8-day old adopted daughter found lots of love from the flight attendants and the other passengers.

Mentioned

Save runway 6-24 at Chicago Executive Airport. A safety runway needed by small planes.

Girls Go Fly

Barbie releases pilot and engineer dolls to encourage young girls into STEM subjects

International Women’s Day, March 8, 2020.

Airshow Harrier For Sale

With a Loud KABOOM, an F-105 Upstaged Our Air Force Graduation

590 Richard Aboulafia

David Neeleman’s new airline, Breeze Aviation; Boeing’s board of directors, the 737 MAX, the NMA, and the FSA; United’s flight school purchase; NASA’s experimental X-59 jet and the prospects for supersonic transport; and a Southwest Airlines Teddy bear. Plus, the Igor Sikorsky Weekend Fly-In, other upcoming aviation events, the EAA mobile unit, carbon monoxide detectors and pulse oximetry, and a physics lesson.

Guest

Richard Aboulafia

Richard Aboulafia

Richard Aboulafia is Vice President, Analysis at Teal Group. He manages consulting projects for clients in the commercial and military aircraft field, and has advised numerous aerospace companies. He also writes and edits Teal’s World Military and Civil Aircraft Briefing, a forecasting tool covering over 135 aircraft programs and markets. Richard also writes publicly about the aviation field, with numerous articles in Aviation Week, Aerospace America, and other publications. Frequently cited as an aviation industry authority by trade and news publications, he has appeared on numerous television news programs and has spoken at a wide variety of conferences.

Aviation News

JetBlue founder unveils new, Utah-based ‘world’s nicest airline’

The new airline being started by David Neeleman will be known as Breeze Aviation, headquartered in Utah. Neeleman’s previous startups include Morris Air, WestJet, JetBlue, and Azul. Breeze will nonstop fly between currently underserved airports. Breeze ordered 60 new Airbus 220-300 aircraft, with deliveries beginning in April 2021. The company leased 30 Embraer 195 aircraft from Azul, which will be delivered starting May 2020.

Experts question whether Boeing’s board of directors is capable of righting the company

Some think the Boeing board took a long time to fire Muilenberg. Is that an indicator of the board’s ability to deal with the crisis Boeing faces? New CEO Dave Calhoun says the board repeatedly considered confidence, but then in December decided it was lost. Richard Aboulafia was quoted: “The board you see today was largely created by McNerney, and he packed it with people with zero engineering experience.”

United Airlines buys flight-training academy to speed up hiring of 10,000 pilots

United Airlines needs to hire more than 10,000 pilots during the next decade. The airline is buying the Westwind School of Aeronautics in Phoenix, a flight-training academy, with plans to bring student pilots into the academy with zero flight experience to become fully-rated commercial pilots.

NASA’s experimental X-59 supersonic jet could be built by the end of 2020

The X-59 QueSST is designed to test “quiet” supersonic transport over land. The aircraft was approved for final assembly in 2019. NASA commissioned Lockheed Martin to build the plane and they expect to have it completed by the end of 2020. First flight is expected in 2021.

Video: Quiet Supersonic X-Plane

Unbearably cute: A boy lost his teddy bear on a Southwest flight – so the airline sent him a new one

 After a young boy lost his favorite Teddy bear on a Southwest flight during the Thanksgiving holiday, his mother took to social media to try and locate the Teddy. The airline assigned an employee to find the bear but after an investigation, the Teddy couldn’t be located. So the corporate office decided to send the boy a new Teddy bear along with a storyline on how it was coming to live with the boy.

Mentioned

Igor I. Sikorsky Weekend Fly-In at The Bradford Camps on Munsungun Lake in northern Maine.  Meals and private lodging in waterfront cabins are included. July 10-12,  2020.

College Park Aviation Museum

That Last Decade, by Courtney Miller.

The Air Current Expands with new analysis, new director

The Experimental Aircraft Association will deliver the excitement of flight throughout the United States in 2020 as EAA’s “Spirit of Aviation” mobile unit, sponsored by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), visits numerous events in 2020. The traveling experiential exhibit introduces EAA to enthusiasts through aviation activities for people of all ages.

AOPA’s 2020 Fly-ins (now in AvGeekFests.com)

#StormCiara at London Heathrow – 20+ Go-Arounds and Crosswind Landings!!

 

589 Coronavirus Impacts Aviation

What the Coronavirus means for air travelers, airlines, and other aviation-related activities. Also, a “test flight” program for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the only US state without commercial airline service, the Collings Foundation institutes a ground tour policy, former CEO Dennis Muilenburg’s departure package is announced, a Boeing announcement about the NMA, and the crash that killed Kobe Bryant and 8 others.

Aviation News

The Coronavirus is impacting air travelers, airlines, and other aviation-related activities:

‘Test flight’ for people with disabilities to practice air travel

The Wings for All Program is designed for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to make the flying experience better, or even possible. For many with these disabilities, the anxiety of being at an airport and flying on a plane can be enough to keep them from traveling by air. This program offers “flight tests” where the airport experience can be practiced in advance. Chapters of The Arc, local partners, and airport/airline/TSA personnel work collaboratively to design and carry out each Wings event.

There’s only one US state with no commercial airline service. That’s about to change

Delaware is the second-smallest US state, with a population of 967,171 in 2018, and a total area of 1,982 square miles, and it is the only state with no regular commercial airline service. Now, Frontier Airlines is returning to the Wilmington – New Castle Airport (ILG) May 14, 2020 with nonstop flights to Orlando. The airline left Delaware in 2015.

Collings Foundation agrees to offer ground-only tours following last fall’s deadly crash.

The Collings Foundation said it will now only offer ground tours for its airplanes. The foundation was the owner of the B-17 that crashed at Bradley Airport last year. This was part of an agreement it reached with the FAA. Hunter Chaney, director of marketing of the Collings Foundation said, “We have agreed to a temporary stand-down with our LHFE flights (living history flight exemption) as we work with the FAA thoroughly addressing questions regarding operations. We hope to have this resolved soon and continue this extraordinary living history experience.”

Boeing’s fired CEO got his $62 million payout confirmed the same day 2,800 people in the 737 Max supply chain were laid off

Former CEO Dennis Muilenburg forfeits a $14.6 million severance package, contractually receives equity and pension benefits valued at $62.2 million and retains stock options worth about $18.5 million. New CEO David Calhoun receives a $28 million compensation package, including a $7 million long term incentive award.

Boeing collapses NMA and FSA into a single search for its next airplane

Boeing’s new CEO, David Calhoun sent the NMA back to the drawing board to start with a clean sheet of paper. The New Mid-Market Airplane had planned to hold 220-270 seats.

NTSB details the final moments of the helicopter before it crashed, killing Kobe Bryant and 8 others

In his final transmission, the pilot of a helicopter that crashed, killing nine people including NBA legend Kobe Bryant, told air traffic control he was climbing to avoid a cloud layer, the National Transportation Safety Board said Monday.

Mentioned

Aviation Festival Americas 2020

Spray planes combat billions of locusts in Kenya

A350 engine shutdown incidents linked to cockpit drink spills

588 Aircraft Insurance

The recent rise in aircraft insurance premiums and how the increases can be mitigated, with AOPA’s Tom Haines. Also, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s NPRM for service animals on flights, Delta’s solution for transporting your pet in a luxury carrier, the Boeing 777X first flight, and vision-based flight control for General Aviation. Plus more on fuel dumping and some good airline stories from listeners.

Guest

Tom Haines on aviation insurance rates on the rise.

Tom Haines

Tom Haines is Editor in Chief and Senior Vice President of Media, Communications, and Outreach for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). He manages a staff of 35 writers, editors, graphic artists, photographers, videographers, event planners, communications experts, and support personnel.

Tom has been reporting on increases in aircraft insurance premiums and how that’s impacting aircraft owners. These hull liability insurance premiums are growing despite a downward trend in the GA accident rate. The reasons are related to the global insurance industry which has been beset with wildfires, natural disasters, and accidents. We look at other factors contributing to the  “hardening of the market,” including the severity of some accidents and the percentage of the fleet that is now composed of high-cost aircraft. Finally, Tom explains some ways GA pilots can mitigate the increased premiums.

Why insurance rates are increasing 10 to 100 percent

Tom also tells us about the AOPA regional fly-ins, which in 2020 will take place in Texas in May in conjunction with Go Wheels Up! Texas, Casper, Wyoming in June, and Rochester, New York in September.

As an update on some of the AOPA programs, Tom talks about the You Can Fly program that seeks to increase the pilot population, the STEM-based curriculum for high school students, efforts to increase the number of flying clubs, support for flight schools, and the Rusty Pilot program.

Tom earned his pilot certificate in his late teens and has logged more than 4,000 hours. He has a commercial pilot certificate with multiengine, instrument, and seaplane ratings, and holds type ratings in the Eclipse 500 and Cessna CJ business jets and has a second-in-command type rating in the North American B-25 Mitchell. He owns a Beech A36 Bonanza.

Tom oversees the publication of AOPA Pilot magazine, the world’s largest aviation magazine; Flight Training magazine, a magazine specifically for student pilots and flight instructors; the weekly AOPA ePilot electronic newsletter; the Flight Training edition of ePilot, AOPA Online; and the association’s video-on-demand channel, AOPA Live.

Tom is often sought out for his publishing and aviation expertise. He often speaks at regional and national publishing conferences and has appeared on news shows at NBC, CNN, and MSNBC. He has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Businessweek, and many other national publications.

Catch AOPA on their website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and AOPA Live on YouTube.

Aviation News

U.S. Department of Transportation Seeks Comment on Proposed Amendments to Regulation of Service Animals on Flights

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced that it is seeking public comment on proposed amendments to its Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) regulation on the transportation of service animals by air. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Traveling by Air with Service Animals provides the public with 60 days to comment on the proposed changes.

See Traveling by Air with Service Animals Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and U.S. Department of Transportation Issues Final Statement of Enforcement Priorities Regarding Service Animals on Flights.

Delta will fly your pet in a GPS-tracked luxury carrier — for $850 per flight

Delta has entered into an exclusive partnership with CarePod and launched “a new standard of travel with a state-of-the-art pet travel carrier that provides real-time updates for customers.” The CarePod pet travel carrier features industrial strength insulated walls, multi-layered windows and doors with specially angled blinds, a hydration system, GPS tracking and monitoring, and an app to view your pet’s travel updates,

See the press release: An industry first: Delta launches innovative solution for pet travel.

Boeing 777X Completes First Flight

The Boeing 777X has finally started its flight test program, hopefully with certification in 2021. WH001 is the first of four flight test aircraft and the Boeing 777-9 completed a three-hour, 52-minute first flight over Washington state. The plane is powered by a pair of General Electric GE9X turbofans and features composite wings and folding wingtips.

Video: Boeing 777X – What’s the Difference?

Daedalean, Honeywell Develop Vision-based Flight Control for General Aviation and eVTOL

Zürich-based startup Daedalean and Honeywell have entered into a technological and financial partnership looking to develop a fully autonomous AI pilot for General Aviation and Urban Air Mobility (UAM). Press release: Daedalean and Honeywell collaborate on vision-based flight control for General Aviation and eVTOL [PDF].

Dumping Fuel

Reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari talks about his personal experience on a jet that was forced to dump fuel.

Airliner dumping fuel.

Launchpad Marzari’s plane dumps fuel before returning to the airport.

Did The Delta Airlines Fuel Dump Possibly Prevent A Larger Disaster?

Video: Fuel DUMP over Los Angeles, WHY?!

Mentioned

The C-130 Large Air Tanker that crashed while fighting NSW fires — what we know about the plane

Coulson Aviation names three aerial firefighters who died in NSW tanker crash

 

587 Lightspeed Aviation

The Executive Vice President at Lightspeed Aviation talks about their new video series inspired by the people, business, and adventure of aviation. We also get caught up with FlightLink and ANR helmets. In the news, a new aircraft carrier is named for a WWII hero, the US Navy disrupts GPS systems, an autonomous A350-1000 take-off, Garmin electronic steam instruments, and the Delta 777 fuel dump over a populated area.

Guest

Lightspeed Aviation Executive VP Teresa De Mers

Teresa De Mers, Lightspeed Aviation Executive Vice President.

Teresa De Mers is Executive Vice President of Lightspeed Aviation responsible for marketing and corporate development. She is also a member of the company’s board of directors. Teresa earned her PPL in 1997 and an instrument rating a few years later. She loves flying small airplanes and the freedom that general aviation provides. Teresa joined Lightspeed in 2012 and she combines her passion for aviation with her passion for creating innovative products and market opportunities.

Lightspeed is focused on pursuing product innovation that brings new technology and genuine value to the aviation community. Their business model gives customers a personal and exceptional experience. The company also is privileged to give back through projects funded by the Lightspeed Aviation Foundation

As a way to help showcase the company’s passion for aviation, Lightspeed has created an episodic YouTube series titled Aviation – No Tie Downs. Recent episodes have featured an in-depth interview with retired Major General Hank Canterbury, some aerobatic flying with this former Thunderbird pilot, a tour of the museum of the US Air Force with friends from Sporty’s, a behind the scenes “day in the life” of an aerial formation team that flies general aviation aircraft, and a variety of interviews with international business leaders in the general aviation marketplace.

We talk with Teresa about the Lightspeed Aviation Foundation Foundation and some of its initiatives that are focused on growing the aviation population. The Foundation has partnered with AOPA on the Rusty Pilots program and the You Can Fly initiatives, and with the EAA and the Ray Aviation Scholarship program for young people who want to become a private pilot.

Teresa explains the Lightspeed FlightLink app that lets your iOS device act as a cockpit voice recorder. Recent changes include the ability to transfer files with Airdrop. We also hear about active noise reduction for helmets.

Find Lightspeed Aviation on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The Lightspeed Aviation Foundation is also on Instagram.

Also, check out the Lightspeed Blog with interesting articles by contributors, such as the Mountain Flying multi-part series by Colin Aro.

In 2020, look for Lightspeed Aviation at HAI Heli-Expo, Sun ‘n Fun, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, and AERO Friedrichshafen, the German trade show dedicated to European general aviation.

Aviation No Tie Downs: Pulling some Gs with Major General Hank Canterbury.

Aviation News

U.S. Navy To Name Aircraft Carrier After WWII Hero Doris Miller

A new aircraft carrier is to be named for a mess attendant who assisted wounded sailors during the attack on Pearl Harbor and manned a .50-caliber machine gun on his stricken ship. The carrier will be the first one to be named after an African-American.

Navy exercise expected to disrupt aircraft GPS systems across Southeast

A Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) was issued by the FAA warning about GPS disruptions in the US Southeast. Navy Carrier Strike Group 4 is conducting “GPS interference testing” off the extreme southeastern coast of Georgia. This has the potential to disrupt commercial and general aviation. Also possibly affected are the Wide Area Augmentation System, the Ground Base Augmentation System, and the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast system.

Airbus releases photos of automatic takeoffs

Last December, Airbus tested an A350-1000 that was able to take off automatically, without pilot input. The Airbus system utilized image recognition technology and is part of the Airbus Autonomous Taxi, Take-Off, and Landing (ATTOL) project on aviation autonomy. Automatic vision-based landing and taxi sequences are planned for mid-2020.

Press release: Airbus demonstrates first fully automatic vision-based take-off

Video: ATTOL: Autonomous Taxiing, Take-Off and Landing test flight

Garmin launches electronic ‘steam’ instruments

Garmin announced the GI 275 electronic flight instrument that directly replaces legacy primary flight instruments in the cockpit. The GI 275 is suitable as a direct replacement for a variety of instruments including attitude indicator, attitude directional indicator (ADI), course deviation indicator (CDI), horizontal situation indicator (HSI), and engine indication system (EIS).

Fuel dump over L.A. schools puzzles aviation experts

Delta Flight 89, a Boeing 777, experienced an engine-related issue inflight and returned to LAX less than 20 minutes after takeoff. The airplane dumped fuel at about 2,000 feet over a heavily populated area. Reportedly, ATC was not notified of the fuel dump.

See also, Los Angeles teachers sue Delta after jet fuel dump over schools, playgrounds.

Mentioned

Vanderhoof International Airshow 2020, Vanderhoof, BC Canada, August 1 and 2, 2020.

Erebus Flight 901: Litany of lies?

White Silence

Electric Aircraft Pilot Training Is Arriving

586 Flight Shaming

A conversation about flight shaming with the creative director of SimpliFlying, an international aviation marketing consulting firm. In the news, we look at Airbus production rates and employment growth at its Mobile, Alabama facility, China’s struggle with the COMAC C919 airliner, the first autonomous flight of the Bell V-280 Valor tiltrotor, and how a fugitive navigated through the aircraft charter business to make good his escape.

Guest

Dirk Singer

Dirk Singer

Dirk Singer is the creative director at SimpliFlying and the editor of Airline Marketing Monthly, an aviation marketing trade magazine. SimpliFlying is an international aviation marketing consulting firm with a 100% remote team based in Singapore, India, Spain, UK, and Canada.

Dirk looks after the creative and content side of SimpliFlying. He’s written over 1000 articles on aviation marketing and produced special industry reports including a recent one on “flight shaming” and the aviation industry.

In our conversation with Dirk, we discover what flight shaming is (sometimes simply called “flight shame”) and the arguments its proponents are making. Dirk describes the industry’s response so far and how their messaging lacks the clarity of flight shaming groups. He also warns against industry counter-arguments based on the relatively small contribution commercial aviation makes to carbon emissions.

Flight shaming special issue of Airline Marketing Monthly.The climate change movement is not an amorphous mass. There are a number of climate change advocacy groups with some showing a willingness to engage in a conversation, and others not. The groups have differing views on commercial aviation and range from a ban on non-essential flying to a frequent-flyer tax.

Some LCCs are positioning themselves as “green airlines” and Dirk explains the dangers of a strategy that offers nothing more than high-density aircraft. We also touch on crisis simulation company Polpeo and their simulation exercises that can prepare an airline for a communication crisis over environmental issues.

For more detailed information and analysis on flight shaming, see Issue 83 (December 2019) of Airline Marketing Monthly. Free subscriptions are available.

Dirk has over 20 years of experience as a digital marketer. He’s created two agencies from scratch, both of which won agency-of-the-year awards in the PR and social media industries. In addition to working for brands ranging from Google to Phillips, Dirk’s aviation experience includes airports such as London Gatwick and airlines such as British Midland International.

Aviation News

Airbus Plans Big A320 Rate Hike in Alabama

Airbus has been producing five A320s per month at its Mobile, Alabama plant. By the start of 2021, they intend to increase the production rate to seven per month. Airbus’ worldwide goal is a production rate of 63 A320-family aircraft per month at its four assembly sites. To support the A320 rate increase at the Alabama plant, as well as manufacturing needs for the A220, Airbus intends to hire 275 additional employees over the next year. Airbus added 600 new jobs at the Alabama facility last year.

China’s bid to challenge Boeing and Airbus falters

China’s COMAC (the Commercial Aircraft Corporation) has struggled to produce the C919 (A320/737 class) single-aisle plane. It is at least five years behind schedule. A range of technical issues that impacted the test flight schedule. To gain approval from the CAAC (the Civil Aviation Administration of China), COMAC needs 4,200 test flight hours. Less than a fifth have been completed.

Bell V-280 flies autonomously for first time

On December 18, 2019, Bell’s V-280 Valor tilt-rotor demonstrator flew autonomously for the first time. “The V-280 performed an autonomous takeoff, conversion into cruise mode, precision navigation to various waypoints, loiter maneuvers, conversion into vertical-takeoff-and-landing mode, and landed autonomously.” Paul Wilson, the chief engineer for the Bell V-280 Valor program, was our guest in Episode #576.

Carlos Ghosn’s Pilots And Others May Have Been In The Dark – Forbes

Carlos Ghosn was an automotive industry executive. He was the CEO of Michelin North America, chairman and CEO of Renault, chairman and CEO of Nissan, chairman of Mitsubishi Motors, and chairman and CEO of the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance. He was internationally recognized as a respected business leader but he was arrested for under-reporting his earnings and misuse of company assets funds. While on bail, Ghosn escaped Japan through several clever charter aircraft flights.

Mentioned

Flower Aviation, a fixed base operator at Pueblo Memorial Airport (KPUB) near Pueblo, Colorado.

Wings Over Britain Facebook page and the WONZ Forum thread where you can contribute a donation to the cause.

Stunning ‘Elephant Walk’ at Hill Air Force Base Showcases 52 F-35s on Flight Line

Henry Mancini – Baby Elephant Walk

 

585 Wings Over New Zealand, Australia, and Britain

Preservation of World War II aviation history with Dave Homewood. In the news, we look at labor contract negotiations at US airlines, the latest on the 737 MAX crisis, the safest airlines to fly in 2020, the Punctuality League 2020 results, a great story from United Airlines, and why the A-10 Warthog can’t be stopped.

Guest

Dave Homewood on his ride. Photo by Stu Russell.

Dave Homewood goes for a ride. Photo by Stu Russell.

Dave Homewood is a New Zealander who grew up in an aviation-loving home. He joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1989 and served as a Safety Equipment Technician in the Safety And Surface trade till 1993. Along the way, Dave developed a huge interest in WWII air force history.

Living in Cambridge, he began researching the people from his town who’d served in the Air Force in WWII. That massive Wings Over Cambridge project continues today, along with the Wings Over New Zealand Aviation Forum that has become a hub for the New Zealand aviation community.

Dave created a podcast called the Wings Over New Zealand Show, or WONZ, and even hosted a live version of the show for several years. Taking the show on the road to Australia with James Kightly to visit museums, aircraft collections, restoration shops, and an airshow, Wings Over Australia was born containing interviews with interesting Aussie aviation personalities.

Dave interviews wartime Spitfie pilot Jim Robinson.  Photo by Peter Wheeler.

Dave interviews wartime Spitfire pilot Jim Robinson. Photo by Peter Wheeler.

This year, Dave plans to create a similar sub-series, Wings Over Britain, traveling to England to visit museums, airfields, aircraft collections, airshows and memorials and interview people involved in aviation there and particularly in the preservation of both warbirds and the memories of the people they represent.

Dave says he “will weave into the series the stories of the thousands of New Zealanders who traveled halfway around the world to fly and fight in the defense of Britain and the liberation of Europe in WWII. Particularly of note will be marking the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain, and also the Battle of France. During both battles, New Zealanders made up the largest number of non-UK pilots and aircrew to take part. I’ll also cover Kiwis taking the fight to Europe, including D-Day, and also Kiwis in the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm, and probably a few stories of Kiwis who also flew and fought in WWI.”

Dave is the editor of Sport Flying magazine and does freelance writing as well as research for other writers, and for warbird aircraft owners tracing the history of their airplanes, and for families seeking info on their ancestors who flew or served in the RNZAF. He also interviews veterans for his Courage And Valour: New Zealanders in the Italian Campaign podcast.

Aviation News

US airlines are set for a 10th year of profits. More than 120,000 employees want a raise

After ten consecutive years of profitability for airlines, organized labor is looking to share in the good fortune and also advance some quality-of-life benefits. Labor agreements with over 120,000 unionized airline employees are scheduled for this year.

737 crisis leaves Boeing badly behind in race with Airbus

2019 was a “disastrous year” for Boeing and 2020 will be “precarious.” Boeing has new leadership, the company is hemorrhaging financial resources, engineering resources are focused on the 737 MAX, and Boeing has lost strategic advantage to Airbus. Boeing faces a damaged reputation with airlines, regulators, pilots, and the flying public.

Revealed: The safest airlines to fly in 2020

Airlineratings.com announced the Top Twenty Safest Airlines for 2020: Qantas, Air New Zealand, EVA Air, Etihad, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Alaska Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Virgin Australia, Hawaiian Airlines, Virgin Atlantic Airlines, TAP Portugal, SAS, Royal Jordanian, Swiss, Finnair, Lufthansa, Aer Lingus, and KLM.

The site also announced the Top Ten Safest Low-Cost Airlines for 2020, in alphabetical order: Air Arabia, Flybe, Frontier, HK Express, IndiGo, Jetblue, Volaris, Vueling, Westjet, and Wizz.

United’s Fantasy Flight Makes Holiday Wishes Come True

For many years, United Airlines has taken children in need on a “Fantasy Flight to the North Pole.” This season, flights originated from 16 cities around the world.

Delta Air Lines is the Most Punctual Mega Airline in the U.S. for the Third-Straight Year, According to OAG’s Punctuality League 2020

OAG announced the results of its Punctuality League 2020, and Delta ranked number 1 for U.S. airlines in the Mega Airline category for a third consecutive year with an OTP of 83.56%. The U.S. remains a world leader for punctuality, finishing with four of the top 10 most punctual Mega Airlines and six of the top 10 Mega Airports globally.

Why It Seems Like Nothing Can Stop the A-10 Warthog

The U.S Air Force has given up trying to retire the A-10 and will instead upgrade the aircraft.

Mentioned

John Mollison from Old Guys and Their Airplanes has a new film titled The Mettle Behind the Merit – The Steve Pisanos Story. Produced with the Distinguished Flying Cross Society, it is about an immigrant who came to live the American Dream and ended up an ace and WWII war hero. An Educator’s Kit is available to bring the story into the classroom.

Important Charter Guidance for Pilots and Passengers – The FAA says this posting will be removed on January 19, 2020.

Contact Ground, Point Niner – OpenAirplane.com and FlyOtto.com have shut down.