West Houston Airport

Running a privately owned/public use general aviation airport, flight instruction, FAA position on GA ride sharing, biometric technology at the airport, an airline passenger survey, the C-130, Exercise Black Pitch, and a HondaJet interview.

Guests

Shelly DeZevallos from West Houston Airport tells about running a general aviation airport. She grew up around the small, gravel strip airport where her father worked as a flight instructor. He bought the airport in the 1970’s, and now West Houston Airport is the family’s privately owned/public use airport with a dual taxiway, a 4000 foot runway. About 375 airplanes are based there.

Mike Camelin from SunState Aviation also joins in with Shelly to talk about flight training. The demand for pilots makes this a good time to get your license and we discuss paying for training, pacing the instruction, and what to look for in a flight school, such as maintenance of the aircraft, dedication of the flight instructors to your learning, and the professionalism of the entire staff, not just the CFIs.

The News

FAA Bans GA Ride Sharing Companies

Airpooler is a web-based system where private pilots with passenger space available on a planned flight, offer to take on passengers who only pay their pro-rata share of flight costs. The FAA has issued a legal interpretation against “peer-to-peer general aviation flight sharing.”

Biometric technology – the key enabler of a single passenger token and improved passenger tracking?

In early 2015 a biometric-based trial called “Happy Flow” could launch at Aruba Airport. A biometric scan at check-in would create a “passenger token” that would then be used at other checkpoints. No more boarding passes. This is a collaboration between Air France-KLM, the governments of Aruba and the Netherlands, and Aruba and Schiphol airports.

Survey: Nearly Two-thirds of Americans Do Not Have A Preferred Airline

The Street conducted a telephone survey with about 1,000 interviews, and 63% don’t have a preferred airline, while only 5% consider frequent flier miles important. What annoys Americans when traveling by airplane? 73% say high ticket prices.

HondaJet Interview

HondaJets in Formation

Rob Mark interviewed Andrew Broom, Division Director of Corporate Communications and marketing at HondaJet. Recorded at Airventure 2014.

David Vanderhoof’s Airplane of the Week

YC-130s formation

In Honour of the 60th anniversary of the aircraft that Kelly Johnson thought would, “destroy Lockheed,” David does a “Not a History Segment” on his all-time favorite aircraft: the Lockheed C-130 Hercules.

“The First Lady” resides peacefully at Eglin Air Force Base. Fulton Recovery System video.

The Australia News Desk

Operation Pitch Black

Grant’s back from a week in Cairns covering Exercise Pitch Black 2014 which brought together combat aircraft from Australia, Singapore, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. Thanks to our contacts with the RAAF media department, Grant was airside at Darwin and Tindal RAAF bases getting photos and videos plus recording plenty of content for a future PCDU episode.

In amongst the many interviews Grant recorded, he spoke with Lt Col Scott Abogast, the detachment commander for the 12 US Air National Guard F16s.

Mentioned

American Association of Airport Executives

PaxEx Podcast Episode 16: Fierce Competition and Blind Recognition with Ryan Ghee, editor and event strategy manager at Future Travel Experience.

Credit

Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. Find his great music at brotherloverocks.com.

TravelSkills founder Chris McGinnis

This Episode: A great new resource for business travelers, an FAA hangar policy change, the airliner manufacturing ramp-up, an MH370 update, the Griffon Lionheart, and some space news.

Guest

Chris McGinnis has had a long career in travel journalism, appearing on television and writing online. He recently created the Travel Skills blog, part of Boarding Area network, with news, information, tips, advice, and trip reports. Chris also co-hosts the #travelskills chat on Twitter with travel guru Johnny Jet every Friday morning at 9:00am Pacific Time (noon Eastern). There you’ll find topics discussed for an hour by people who are passionate about travel.

The News

New FAA Hangar Policy Draft: Much Confusion in GA Community

The FAA issued a draft policy that addresses the allowed uses for hangars at airports that receive federal grant funding. The policy as stated impacts airplane homebuilders.

GE Aviation invests $50M in 3-D printing plant

Alcoa Continues Aerospace Push With $1.1 Billion Pratt & Whitney Deal

Boeing, United Technologies Stockpile Titanium Parts

GE’s upgrade to their 300,000-square-foot Auburn, Alabama manufacturing plant is intended to let them mass produce fuel nozzles for the Leap-X engine. More broadly, we talk about the huge manufacturing ramp up required to satisfy the production requirements for new aircraft such as the A320neo family, 737 MAX, Comac C919, and Irkut MC-21.

Australia to announce next MH370 search

Malaysia Steps In to Save Its Reeling National Airline

Australia has selected Dutch company Fugro Survey to undertake the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The operation is expected to begin in September and last as long as a year. We also see that the Malaysian government plans to take full control of the company through a stock, buyback and restructure the airline’s operations.

David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week

Lionheart

David is off this week, but Jamie Dodson from NickGrantAdventures.com steps in to tell us about the Griffon Lionheart, an American single-engined, six-seat biplane designed and produced in kit form for home building by Griffon Aerospace of Harvest, Alabama.

Across the Pond

Pieter is back reporting on the European Space Agency news that the Rosetta mission is now close to Comet 67P, ATV5 is close to docking with the ISS, the possibility that the UK will get its own Spaceport. Listen to Ep.27 – From rocket history to spaceplanes for more space content.

Listener Recording

Harriet and Micah

Harriet and Micah

Micah tells the story, “Favorite Flights I Never Flew.”

Mentioned

The 8 best beds on a Boeing 777

Chris McGinnis’ video tour of the crew rest area on Cathay Pacific’s new Boeing 777-300ER.

Boeing looking to expand presence in South Africa

Boeing Partners with South African Airways to Turn New Tobacco Plant into Jet Fuel

Activities include training, manufacturing, and biofuels. Boeing and South African Airways signed an agreement last year to establish a sustainable aviation biofuel supply chain in Southern Africa.

Photos from Paul Filmer

NCAR by Paul Filmer

NCAR by Paul Filmer

NCAR FRAPPE and NASA DISCOVER-AQ Operations in Colorado – July 2014

Aviation News – NCAR FRAPPE and NASA DISCOVER-AQ Operations in Colorado

Xtended Episode.29 – FIA 2014 (Live)

Pieter in the A350

Pieter in the A350

Recorded at the Farnborough International Airshow, Pieter and Tim talk to Jean Vincent Reymondon, Social Media Manager with the Media Relations Department of the Airbus Group. You’ll also hear interviews with several key suppliers.

Credit

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

Pilatus PC-12

Boeing’s ab initio pilot program, the airline industry sues the TSA over security fees, the Pilatus PC-12, an interview with AOPA President Mark Baker, and listener feedback.

The News

Boeing Announces Ab Initio Pilot Program … except it doesn’t work in the U.S.

Boeing announced a new airline pilot training program where graduates will be qualified to go directly into the right seat of airliners. But not in the U.S. which now requires more flight hours.

The first part of the program (from Boeing subsidiary Jeppeson) includes 12-18 months of flight training, giving an Airline Transport Pilot license. The second part of the program includes two months of training at a Boeing facility with a full-motion jet simulator, giving a Boeing type rating.

Airline Industry Takes Gloves Off, Sues TSA Over Security Fee Hike

The Transportation Security Administration increased the security fee that airline passengers pay. Previously, the fee was $2.50 per flight (“enplanement”) with a $10 maximum. As of July 21, 2014, there is a flat fee of $5.60 per one-way trip, with no limit on the number of enplanements. Except, a layover of more than 4 hours is another “trip” and subject to another $5.60.

U.S. airline trade group Airlines for America (A4A) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), filed a petition over the fee increase in federal court.

Regional Airline Buzz Job

Making a low pass flyover of your home during a commercial flight is not looked upon favorably.

David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week

The Pilatus PC-12.

Mark Baker Interview

Rob Mark talked to AOPA President Mark Baker at Oshkosh about his personal history, how he started in flying, and how he came to AOPA. Baker talks about injecting some fun into AOPA and the regional fly-ins, where participation has exceeded expectations. They also talk about the Rusty Pilots program to encourage lapsed pilots and the fantastic results achieved so far, and ideas for bringing in new pilots, including Reimagined Airplanes.

The Australia News Desk

Steve and Grant are in Sydney to shoot video for Airbus as the A350 XWB makes its first visit to Australia so where else should they record the OzDesk than beside the bizjet ramp?

TigerAir may be growing a little too quickly once again as they have had a couple of recent safety related incidents.

Growth is good for Brumby Aircraft, an Australian light sport manufacturer who have just signed a manufacturing deal with China’s Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC).

Mentioned

Credit

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

B25 Mitchell of the Royal Netherlands Dutch Historic Flight lining up at RNAS Yeovilton

Airchive.com and Airways Magazine working together, airline citations over passenger rights, airline safety, and announcements from AirVenture Oshkosh.

Guest

Guest Chris Sloan is the founder of Airchive.com and president and founder of 2C Media, a television production and promotion company. Previously, Chris held senior level executive positions with NBC, TLC, and USA Networks.

Chris produced “International Airport 24/7: Miami” on the Travel Channel, and oversaw the TLC documentary on the building of the Airbus A-380 featuring John Travolta.

We talk about changes at Airchive.com and their cross-promotion with Airways magazine, which is becoming more feature driven.  Airchive.com will become AirwaysNews.com and deliver the digital product.

Also, Chris tells us about the challenges producing Airport 24/7 and other aviation programs he has in the works. We talk about  aviation shows on TV, thoughts on an all-aviation television channel, and how different markets demand different aviation programming.

News

Passenger rights rules lead to jump in U.S. airline citations

The LA Times looked at U.S. Department of Transportation records for citations issued against airlines and travel agencies from 2010 to 2013. 521 citations were issued in that time period, almost twice the annual rate for the previous four years. Airlines were cited airlines 181 times for violating rules of unfair and deceptive practices, like advertising fares that were not available. Mistreating disabled passengers resulted in the largest fines.

Elsewhere:

Netherlands and Germany fine foreign airlines over ETS

Swiss Regulator Fines Airlines $11M For Price-Fixing

Despite All the Recent Accidents, Flying is Still Very Safe

It’s been a bad time recently for commercial aviation: MH70 still missing, MH17 shot down by a missile over Ukraine, TransAsia ATR-72 crashed a Taiwanese in heavy rains killing 40, aAn Air Algerie MD-83 with 116 on board crashed in Mali.

Flight Bans Show Skittishness Over Trouble Spots

Airlines are acting ahead of their regulatory agencies.

How Israel persuaded the Airlines that Ben Gurion is Safe

Israel’s Civil Aviation authorities sent a memo to international airline regulators and airlines, describing that Ben-Gurion is safe. In part, the memo says, “The Iron dome launch batteries covering Ben-Gurion Airport operate under a specific set of procedures which I cannot go into in detail due to security reasons. I would like to note, however, that out of over 2,250 rockets fired from Gaza into Israeli territory… not a single one has landed in Ben-Gurion Airport.”

News from AirVenture Oshkosh 2014

AeroVue Cockpit Retrofit Launched By BendixKing

There’s A New Light Sport Amphib Coming To The Block

Cessna Introduces Turbo Skyhawk JT-A

Brown Aviation Lease and Redhawk Aero Partner to Address High Cost Flight Training Combining Hardware, Software and Services

Premier Launches Diesel Cessna 172 Upgrade Program

David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week

Lockheed M21and D21

The Tagboard Senior Trend 30, and the M/D-21 – the MACH 3.5 drone that had a serious disaster in July 1966. See a video of the accident: SR71 Sistership, The MD21 Blackbird Accident and JC-130 Recovery.

The Australia News Desk

The first two RAAF F-35s are unveiled in Texas, and Qantas are once again considering splitting their International and Domestic arms, as the proposed changes to the Qantas Sale Act just aren’t enough in their eyes.

Find more from Grant and Steve at the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast, and follow the show on Twitter at @pcdu. Steve’s at @stevevisscher and Grant at @falcon124.

Across the Pond

This week Pieter is at the home of the Fleet Air Arm, Royal Navy Air Station Yeovilton in Somerset in the UK, for their annual Air Show. There are no flying Swordfish this year but the Royal Navy Historic Flight Sea Fury certainly starts off the display with a growl in the hands of Lt Commander Chris Gotke. Visitors from the Army and RAF, as well as Germany, France, Switzerland, Denmark, Jordan and Belgium made it a truly international show. This years theme follows the naming of HMS Queen Elizabeth and is all about operating at sea.

Find Pieter on Twitter as @Nascothornet, on Facebook at XTPMedia, and at the Aviation Xtended podcast.

Mentioned

Carl Valeri’s Aviation Careers Podcast.

Credit

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

Airbus Test and Evaluation Aircraft A350 on final approach - Copyright XTPMedia

EAA Airventure Oshkosh 2014 preview, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, and the Farnborough International Airshow.

Guest

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

We talk about AirVenture Oshkosh 2014 – what’s new and what to expect, including the USAF Thunderbirds, static displays, air-features, the 100th anniversary of WW I aviation, forums and workshops. KidVenture, and the One Week Wonder build of a Zenith 705.

Jack gives us an update on the EAA focus topics: the 3rd class medical, 100LL fuel, ADS-B implementation costs,  and views on the shrinking pilot population.

You can find the EAA at EAA.org. on Twitter as @eaaupdate, Facebook, and Instagram.

News

The Downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17

We talk about airliner routes over areas of military conflict, counter-measures on civilian aircraft, and preserving the integrity of the crash site and allowing access by investigators.

The Farnborough Interational Airshow

Aircraft orders announced at the show, the A330neo is launched, and the B737 MAX 8.

David Vanderhoof’s Airplane of the Week

LM-2 At the NATIONAL AIR AND SPACE Museum on the MALL.  DMV Photo

On the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11, we talk about the Grumman craft that couldn’t move on Earth: the Lunar excursion module.

See Apollo 15 Ascent stage launch video and Lunar Lander Model photo (the Bug).

The Australia News Desk

Steve and Grant are joined by their friend Owen Zupp who has recently finished re-enacting the first airmail flight in Australia to help celebrate its centenary. He’s also recently launched a new website called The Pilot’s Blog, seen great traffic from his new book, and been in France with the new A350.

Find more from Grant and Steve at the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast, and follow the show on Twitter at @pcdu. Steve’s at @stevevisscher and Grant at @falcon124.

Rob Mark’s Aviation Minute

Rob talks about safety and General Aviation airplanes.

Across the Pond

Pieter brings us a report from the Farnborough International Airshow as he walks along the flightline taking in the aircraft on display. He also has the chance to talk to Managing Editor of The Aviation Historian to preview their latest edition, which has a Farnborough link.

Find Pieter on Twitter as @Nascothornet, on Facebook at XTPMedia, and at the Aviation Xtended podcast.

Credit

Post photo: Airbus Test and Evaluation Aircraft A350 on final approach – Copyright XTPMedia.

Airplane of the Week photo: LM-2 at the National Air and Space Museum on the Mall.  DM Vanderhoof Photo.

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

Aviation Weather Center

Aviation weather training, airline fare disclosure, angle of attack indicators, Boeing market forecast, the pilot shortage, aviation scholarships, aero clubs, and funny cartoons.

Guest

Scott Dennstaedt specializes in aviation weather training for pilots. He’s a flight instructor, trained in meteorology, and he owns Chesapeake Aviation Training, headquartered in South Carolina. In addition to flight instruction, he operates the subscription-based website Aviation Weather Workshops, where you’ll find many aviation weather resources. Scott also delivers live workshops all over the country,

We discuss how weather is a challenge for many pilots, yet it affects all pilots, regardless of the aircraft type. Also, where the data used in aviation weather forecasts comes from, and if the current curriculum provides training that considers the new technologies that are available.

We discuss the questions, “Are pilots capable of properly interpreting the information that newer technology provide?” and “What data should meteorologists  be interpreting, and what data can pilots interpret on their own?”

Scott describes how satellite-delivered weather products, along with the coming ADS-B, represent a great leap forward for information in the cockpit and aviation safety.

Besides AvWxWorkshops.com, some other aviation weather resources were mentioned:

News

Airline passenger group calls on airlines to lose the asterisk

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) ordered the Full Fare Advertising Rule requiring airlines to advertise the full cost of a ticket, including all taxes and fees. Now the Transparent Airfares Act of 2014, if enacted, would let the airlines publish a base fare with an “asterisk,” and disclose the rest of the fare somewhere else.

FAA Angle of Attack Indicator Policy

Long used by the military to avoid stall/spin accidents, these safety devices are at long last inexpensive enough to install in GA aircraft. The FAA has clarified that they can be installed under the “minor alteration” rules, which reduces the paperwork and cost associated with installation.

Boeing predicts $5.2tn airplane market by 2044

Boeing’s annual 20-year forecast for new airplanes is out. The Current Market Outlook predicts a 4.2% increase over last year, to 36,770 planes. 70% are single-aisle.

Airport Directors Blame Pilot Shortage for Grounded Flights

Rule changes have impacted the availability of pilots at the regional level. What does this mean for the “pilot shortage”?

David Vanderhoof’s Airplane of the Week

Mirage F1JA in flight over Ecuador 1986

The Mirage F1. With the final flight over Paris for Bastille Day, France retired the F1CT. It seems fitting for that plane to be the topic of this week’s history segment.

The Australia News Desk

The boys are back and they’re trying to remember how to make an AusDesk. Fortunately they remember how to do it and can tell us about Air New Zealand’s new 787-9 arriving in Auckland. They also talk about Australia’s Defence Science Technology Organisation being commissioned to produce the F35 “Iron Bird” test unit.

Find more from Grant and Steve at the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast, and follow the show on Twitter at @pcdu. Steve’s at @stevevisscher and Grant at @falcon124.

Mentioned

National Aeronautic Association Regional Aero Clubs. There are six of these around the United States. In the role of the nation’s aero club, NAA serves as a clearinghouse for regional or local aero clubs that are affiliated with NAA. Co-host Max Trescott is President of the Aero Club Of Northern California.

Chris Manno’s new book, Flight Crew Like You: Airline Cartoons from the Insider View.”  Chris is an airline captain and his cartoons have been popular worldwide in aviation trade publications as well as in crew training materials for United, American, British Airways and Lufthansa flight crews.

Aviation scholarship resources:

Others:

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

Delta B757 N698DL

New ATP written exam requirements going into effect, a Boeing 757 successor, NTSB investigation of the TWA Flight 800 accident, the AOPA Rusty Pilot program, and what you need to do to become a professional pilot.

Guest

Guest Kevin Garrison is a CFI, journalist, and author with many articles in prominent aviation publications. He’s flown the MD-88, DC-9, 727, 757, 767, and 777. He’s currently working on a series of inexpensive “CEO of the Cockpit” guidebooks about getting into the professional flying business. Kevin also provides services to medium-sized companies through Aerospace Media Partners.

Kevin’s website is Kevin Creates, and his new site called CEOoftheCockpit.com is under development. You can also find Kevin on Facebook.

News

ATP Written Prerequisites About to Change Drastically

Effective August 1, 2014, those who wish to take the ATP written exam must have completed an FAA-approved “airline transport pilot certification training program.”

Boeing Advancing on Successor to 757 Jet, Air Astana Says

The President of Air Astana, the flag carrier of Kazakhstan, says he talked to Boeing at the IATA annual meeting in Doha, saying that a new plane would be announced soon.

NTSB Will Not Reopen TWA Flight 800 Investigation

A group called “The TWA 800 Project” petitioned the NTSB to reconsider and modify the findings and determination of probable cause for the TWA Flight 800 accident.

An NTSB team of investigators not previously associated with the original investigation concluded that the NTSB’s earlier determination of probable cause was not wrong.

Two arguments theorizing a missile strike were advanced by the petitioners. The NTSB says:

“…the petitioners relied on a subset of previously available radar evidence organized around their alternative explanation of the crash. However, this analysis, upon review, was flawed.”

and

“…the petitioners introduced witness summaries obtained from the FBI that we treated as new evidence. But the witness summaries did not differ substantially from the evidence available during the NTSB’s original investigation.”

Read the NTSB’s Response to Petition for Reconsideration [PDF] for more details on this topic.

David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week

David invokes the “It’s my segment and I’ll do what I want” clause in his contract, and talks about podcast sponsorship.

Rob Mark’s Aviation Minute

This week Rob talks about our tour of the NTSB training facility, and how that trip made him rethink how he reports accident stories himself.

Mentioned

AOPA Rusty Pilot program

AOPA says there are more than 500,000 lapsed pilots in the United States under the age of 75. The Rusty Pilot program seeks to get those pilots back in the cockpit. Rusty Pilot presentations and discussions around the country cover the use of newer technology, changes in the airspace system, new resources available to pilots, and much more.

Listener Feedback

Listener Micah sent us a recorded story he calls, “Fearless Flying.”

We comment on a listener email describing the writer’s frustration with getting into a professional flying career: the cost, the time, the low wages. Our panel offers a different way to think about this admittedly difficult path.

Credits

Listener Brian Coleman asked if there was some way he could “give back” to the Airplane Geeks podcast and help us out. So we made him Associate Producer and now Brian is busy booking guests for us. Thank you Brian!

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

Field

Aviation biofuel, the NTSB summary report on the Asiana flight 214 accident, the SAAB 105 trainer, an Air New Zealand and Etihad maintenance agreement, and aviation news from the UK.

Co-host Rob Mark will be away for a few months to focus on some other projects, and we welcome National CFI of the Year Max Trescott to help shoulder the co-hosting load.

Guest

Guest Steve Csonka is a long-time commercial aviation professional with airline and aviation OEM experience, and he’s the Executive Director of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI), a public/private partnership.

We discuss the aviation industry motivations for moving to biofuel, some of the challenges, the importance of it being a “drop in fuel,” and supply chain implications. Also, how biofuel is being used today and what to expect in the future.

There are many issues to be resolved, because as Steve puts it, we’re standing up a new industrial sector.

Aviation News

Animation of Asiana Flight 214 accident sequence

NTSB Report on Asiana 214 Crash Investigation

On July 6, 2013, Asiana flight 214 crashed on approach at San Francisco International Airport. It struck the seawall at the end of the runway. Three of the 291 passengers died and 40 passengers, eight of the 12 flight attendants, and one of the four flight crewmembers received serious injuries. The rest received minor injuries or were not injured.

From Crash of Asiana Flight 214 Accident Report Summary from the NTSB:

“The NTSB determined that the flight crew mismanaged the initial approach and that the airplane was well above the desired glidepath as it neared the runway. In response to the excessive altitude, the captain selected an inappropriate autopilot mode and took other actions that, unbeknownst to him, resulted in the autothrottle no longer controlling airspeed.”

NTSB faults flight crew for fatal Asiana crash in San Francisco

NTSB Press Release

Asiana 214 Crew Errors Caused Accident, Rules NTSB

David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week

Saab 105

The Saab 105 two place four seat trainer of the Swedish and Austrian air forces.

The Australia News Desk

The southern winter weather has taken its toll on Grant this week, so Steve flies the segment solo.  In the news, the constant doom and gloom surrounding aviation maintenance job losses was brightened slightly with the announcement by Air New Zealand and Etihad of an agreement to use each other’s line facilities in Melbourne and Los Angeles.  In a boost for Melbourne, Etihad’s local line maintenance facility will service Air New Zealand aircraft. In return, their aircraft will be serviced in LA at Air New Zealand’s facility.

In an era where QANTAS continues to claim that Australian aircraft maintenance is unviable, Etihad has shown that the opposite can be the case.  It also operates a line maintenance facility in Sydney.

Steve also catches up with 17 year old Alex Fisher as he continues his Flight of Solidarity around Australia in a Cessna 172, raising awareness of – and funds for – the Royal Flying Doctor Service.  This week we find Alex in Perth, Western Australia.

Find more from Grant and Steve at the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast, and follow the show on Twitter at @pcdu. Steve’s at @stevevisscher and Grant at @falcon124.

Across the Pond

Virgin Atlantic

Pieter Johnson brings us some UK aviation, airline, and airport news this week, including the new Virgin 787-9 route confirmation, the ups and downs for British Airways, and what it costs to fly on a private Boeing 767 around with world with Captain’s Choice. He opens with a refreshing approach to general aviation with the Civil Aviation Authority consulting on its new policy framework and how it plans to reduce bureaucracy and help improve the sector in the UK. Wow!

Find Pieter on Twitter as @Nascothornet, on Facebook at XTPMedia, and at the Aviation Xtended podcast.

MiG-29SE Fulcrum of the Bangladesh Air Force

We talk about about the USA Today general aviation safety report, airline social media strategy, the youngest person to circumnavigate Australia solo, something new in the search for MH 370, the airline market in Scandinavia, and carbon airplane brakes.

Guest

Bernie Leighton travels around the world in search of aircraft to learn about, experience, and photograph. He’s been obsessed with Russian aviation in particular since he was very young. Bernie writes his stories for AirlineReporter.com.

Bernie will go anywhere to fly on anything. He spent four years in Australia learning about how to run an airline, while putting his learning into practice by mileage running around the world. You can usually find Bernie in his natural habitat: an airport.

We talk with Bernie about some of the interesting planes he’s found and even flown on, how he selects his destinations, and photography (his collection is on Flickr). We also learn about Russian ekranoplan ground effect aircraft and where you can get your own small passenger ekranoplan, the  Aquaglide  from the Russian Arctic Trade and Transport Company. They have a video library of photographs.

Bernie has flown in a Genex AN-26 in Belarus in Eastern Europe, landing with a cargo door stuck open. He characterizes flying in Russia like this: the Russian aviation  culture is operational practicality with a respect for safety, versus Western devotion to safety at the expense of operations.

The week’s aviation news

Safety last: Lies and coverups mask roots of small-plane carnage

In the past five decades, almost 45,000 people have been killed in private planes and helicopters. Investigations have said pilots caused or at least contributed to 86% of those accidents.USA Today says their investigation shows that many accidents are caused by defective parts and dangerous designs, and manufacturers have covered up problems and lied to regulators.

Airlines: Is a Customer Service Mindset at Odds with a Social Media Culture?

Marisa Garcia writes about the airline passenger experience in her Flight Chic blog. In this post, she blogs about a discussion of airline social media strategy at the SITA IT Summit in Brussels. American Airlines has built a large, very responsive social media culture that involves many employees at many levels. JetBlue Airways seems to favor more of a traditional, face-to-face customer support strategy.

David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week

Cessna Skymaster

The Cessna 336/337 O-2A  Skymaster. Cessna’s push-me-pull-me went from Air Taxi to director of air strikes in South East Asia. The aircraft’s chainsaw buzz brings back fond memories to both Rob and David.

The Australia News Desk

This week the boys are chatting with Alex Fisher, a 17 year old who’s currently flying solo around Australia to raise funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and become the youngest person to circumnavigate Australia solo by aircraft in the process.

Find more information at his Flight of Solidarity website and follow him on Twitter at @fltofsolidarity.

Find more from Grant and Steve at the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast, and follow the show on Twitter at @pcdu. Steve’s at @stevevisscher and Grant at @falcon124.

Rob Mark’s Aviation Minute

Rob tells us about the deleted files from the MH 370 pilot’s flight simulator.

Across the Pond

This week Pieter returns to talk to Marisa Garcia about the airline market in Scandinavia. They discuss key airline and airport developments and focus on Norway. Marisa can be found at FlightChic.com.

Find Pieter on Twitter as @Nascothornet, on Facebook at XTPMedia, and at the Aviation Xtended podcast.

Mentioned

It’s a Boat… It’s a Plane… It’s BOTH

Bernie Leighton’s article and photographs in AirlineReporter.com. Read all of Bernie’s Airline Reporter articles.

Airline Pilot Guy

Captain Jeff’s excellent aviation podcast. In the listener feedback segment, Jeff gives us a good lesson on carbon brakes on airliners.

Heavens Above

This site for astronomy enthusiasts will let you find Iridium Flares, as well as lots of other information.

Pentagon IDs 17 of 52 killed in 1952 Alaskan plane crash

The remains of 17 people onboard the C-124 Globemaster which crashed in 1952 will be returned to their families.

FAA and UAS

This is a good post on why the FAA needs to get Unmanned Aerial System regulations right.

Jodi in a Top Cub

Jodi in a Top Cub

Listen to the NBAA Flight Plan podcast from the National Business Aviation Association.

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

David, Rob, Max, and Benet

Recorded at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum during the 10th annual Become a Pilot Family Day and Aviation Display.

This annual event at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, located in Chantilly, Virginia offers not only the Museum’s amazing exhibits, but also about 50 vintage, recreational, and home-built aircraft flown in for one day only. This year, United brought in a Boeing 777 that was open for a tour.

Our visit this year was sponsored by Iridium Communications Inc.

National Transportation Safety Board training center tour

TWA 800

The day before the event at the NASM, the NTSB was kind enough to provide us special access to their training center in Ashburn, Virginia. This marvelous facility is used to train NTSB accident investigators, as well as investigators from other agencies and organizations.

We were given a briefing on the TWA Flight 800 accident investigation, and then toured the aircraft reconstruction, which is used for training with permission of the victim’s families. The depth of the investigation (which took over four years) is amazing and the examining the physical evidence first hand is an experience we will not forget.

None of us came away with any faith in the conspiracy theories that continue to swirl around the accident. All the analysis points to an internal explosion of the fuel vapor in the center tank.

General (ret) John R. “Jack” Dailey

A retired U.S. Marine Corps four-star general and pilot, he’s been the director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum since 2000. We talk with the General about his expectations for the event and stimulating STEM. Also, about the future of the Museum with more people visiting online. The NASM is digitizing their database and is planning for free online accessibility. The Museum also plans to bring in more of the aircraft they have.

Capt. Robert Randazzo

1941 ex-Pan American World Airways DC-3 (NC33611)

Robert Randazzo flew-in the 1945 ex-Pan American World Airways DC-3 (NC33611) he has restored in full Pan Am livery and named the “Tabatha May.” We also talk a bit about Randazzio’s past experience racing a T-6 at Reno.

Matt Desch

Iridium Go!

Matt Desch is the CEO of Iridium Communications, the world’s largest satellite system. Their new Iridium Go! product is the first satellite WiFi voice and data hotspot that works anywhere on the planet at any altitude. Interestingly, Iridium offers an API so developers can create apps for the device.

Matt is also on the Board of AOPA, and we talk about the organization’s mission, the value of being a member, current aviation issues, and the Rusty Pilots program. New AOPA President Mark Baker has initiated a series of regional fly-ins across the U.S., with very good results. On the topic of the cost to be a private pilot, we chat about renovating older airplanes as an affordable option.

Iridium was kind enough to sponsor the Airplane Geeks at the event.

Bill Barry

Bill Barry is Chief Historian with the NASA History Program Office, and we talk about what interests an historian at the NASM and the relationship between NASA and the NASM. The predecessor organization of NASA, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), will have been founded 100 ago next year, and we talk about the many significant contributions they made.

Follow the History Program Office on Twitter at @NASAHistory and visit them on Facebook.

Edgar “E.T.” Tello

Seabee

A current B757/767 Captain with United, Tello flew in the B777 on display. But he also owns a Republic Seabee and Rob talks with him about that aircraft. The Seabee was envisioned as a sport plane for pilots returning after the Second World War.

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

Become a Pilot Day 2014, NASM

We’d like to thank the staff and crew at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center for their hard work to make this event a success, and for facilitating the content we bring to you. We’d also like to thank the NTSB for giving us access to their training center, and for their strong dedication to making aviation safer for all of us.

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