Category Archives: Episodes

608 Aviation Oxygen Systems

The president and CEO of Aerox Aviation Oxygen Systems explains the role of onboard aviation oxygen and gives us an update on the New England Air Museum and Patient Airlift Services. In the news, current industry troubles are having impacts on flight safety, a Twin Otter and an MV-22 Osprey meet on the tarmac, a lawsuit is filed over the October 2019 fatal crash of a Collings Foundation B-17G bomber, and a Senate bill might change Air Force plans to retire some legacy aircraft.

Guest

Scott E. Ashton is president and CEO of Aerox Aviation Oxygen Systems, which designs and manufactures aviation oxygen systems and accessories. Scott is an aerospace industry executive with more than 25 years of experience working for such leading companies as Sikorsky, General Electric, and Goodrich.

Scott describes the types of aviation oxygen systems and their importance to pilots for safety and comfort. We look at the associated accessories, such as cannula, masks, and the regulators that need to be assembled without the presence of any oil or petroleum products. Scott talks about steel vs. Kevlar oxygen bottles, pressure test requirements, lifespan, and refilling.

Scott currently serves as the president and board member of the New England Air Museum, based in Hartford, Connecticut. He tells us about the gradual re-opening process, starting with outside exhibits and open hangar doors, leading up to the opening of the indoor exhibits. A new women in aviation exhibit is being constructed, and a Redbird flight simulator is coming to augment the STEM program.

Scott is also on the Board of Patient Airlift Services, a charitable organization that arranges private air transportation at no cost for individuals requiring medical diagnosis, treatment or follow-up, and for humanitarian purposes. That operation was temporarily shut down during the pandemic.

Scott began his career at General Electric as an engineer and served in both engineering and business development capacities in both GE Aircraft Engines and Corporate Aircraft Finance.

He joined forces with Don Burr, the founder of Peoples Express, and Bob Crandall, then recently retired Chairman of American Airlines, to help launch Pogo, the world’s first large scale attempt at solving the urban air mobility challenge.  

In 2011 Scott became the president of Sikorsky’s helicopter fractional ownership and MRO business, Associated Aircraft Group (AAG). In 2018 he shifted his career to entrepreneurship and joined a small family-owned repair station as president (Corporate Services Supply & Manufacturing) specializing in the repair and overhaul of corporate aircraft and helicopter engine and airframe accessories. In 2020, Scott purchased Aerox Aviation Oxygen Systems and became president and CEO.

Scott is an ATP and has ratings in airplanes, seaplanes, gliders, helicopters, and is a Certificated Flight Instructor, with more than 2,600 hours of flight time.

Aviation News

FAA warns of tail strikes, off-course flying by near-empty jets

In May 2020, the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST) issued more than 50 warnings to carriers about things that need to be watched carefully. The pandemic-inspired industry turmoil has opened opportunities for safety lapses.

CAST was founded in 1997 to develop an integrated, data-driven strategy to reduce the commercial aviation fatality risk in the United States and promote new Government and industry safety initiatives throughout the world.

The organization includes members from the FAA, NASA, Transport Canada, the unions (ALPA, NATCA, APA), and industry (airframers, A4A, ACI-NA, GE Aviation), as well as observers (EASA, IATA, ICAO, NTSB) and others. CAST aims to reduce the U.S. commercial fatality risk by 50 percent from 2010 to 2025.

Twin Otter v Osprey… Both Lose

On May 30, 2020, a DHC-6 Twin Otter and a USMC MV-22 Osprey collided on the ramp at Brown Field Municipal Airport, a California airfield close to the US-Mexico border. The Osprey had been on a training mission and parked at Brown. The Twin Otter started up and taxied under power into the MV-22. The Twin Otter’s right engine was left hanging from its mount. Both propellers were bent, and there was damage to the nose, right windscreen, and right windscreen frame. The Osprey’s left propeller was damaged, as was the left engine compartment, wing, and landing gear. The right engine propeller blade impacted the ground.

Lawsuit filed over fatal crash of WWII-era airplane

The Collings Foundation B-17G bomber crashed at Bradley International Airport in October 2019, killing seven people. A lawsuit has been filed by survivors and the families of those killed against the owners and operators. The 200-page lawsuit includes allegations such as:

  • An engine inspection would have shown that some parts were worn beyond repair.
  • The passengers were not given proper safety instructions (two were seated on the floor of the aircraft)
  • “Neither the Pilot in Command, nor any of the other crew members, informed the passengers of the flight’s peril, advised them what to do or instructed them to brace for a crash. The passengers were left to presume what was happening.”
  • The flight’s departure was delayed by 48 minutes as the “crew struggled to start the engines”
  • Unbeknownst to the passengers, the two engines on the right hand of the plane experienced roughness the day prior to the crash.
  • “The crash and subsequent collision were violent” and “It ejected many of the passengers from where they were sitting and turned unsecured cargo into dangerous projectiles.”
  • A couple on board were able to pull themselves out of the wreckage through a shattered window in the rear of the cockpit. They fell onto the deicing tank below the plane and sustained “serious and permanent injuries.”

Senate defense bill limits Air Force’s aircraft retirement plans

In the Air Force’s fiscal 2021 budget request, the service proposed retiring a number of its B-1 bombers, A-10 Warthog attack planes, RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drones, KC-135 and KC-10 tankers, and C-130H planes. However, the Senate Armed Services Committee’s proposed FY21 National Defense Authorization Act limits the cuts proposed by the Air Force.  The SASC’s defense bill “establishes a minimum number of aircraft for each major mission area … and prohibits the divestment of aircraft until the minima are reached to ensure that Air Force can meet [National Defense Strategy] and combatant command requirements,” SASC said in a summary of the bill.

The bill “increases funding for critical capabilities that will help the United States maintain air superiority in contested environments, including Systems of Systems Technology Integration Tool Chain for Heterogeneous Electronic Systems (STITCHES) and advanced air-to-air weapons.”

Mentioned

13 Minutes to the Moon, Season 2: The Apollo 13 story

Who is that masked man?…

Masked Max Trescott

Masked Max Trescott

607 Spirit of Aviation Week

The EAA plans for Spirit of Aviation Week, their big virtual aviation event. Also, Boeing customers defer 737 MAX orders, WOW Air plans to return as a cargo airline, and commercial pilots might seek refuge with the U.S. Air Force. Plus, a new AusDesk from the boys down under!

Aviation News

EAA Spirit of Aviation Week coming July 21-25

The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) is celebrating the aviation community virtually this July 2020. Over the course of 5 days, EAA Spirit of Aviation WeekTM will include streamed and on-demand content with a focus on education, information, and entertainment. Planned events include presentations, forums, discussions, historical and archival content, homebuilding workshops, pilot proficiency and learning to fly, a virtual exhibit space, features from air show performers, and more. The dedicated event website is https://eaatogether.org/. Use the hashtag #EAAtogether.

Boeing Preserves 737 Max Orders After Cancellations Surge; Hedge Fund Buys Debt

Boeing saw 150 737 MAX cancellations in March 2020 and 108 more in April, but now instead of canceling orders customers are deferring delivery. Boeing says it doesn’t expect any more cancellations. Japanese aircraft leasing company SMBC Aviation Capital is deferring delivery of 68 Max jets by four years to 2025-2027. Lessor AerCap is deferring the delivery of 37 aircraft from 2021-2022 to 2023 and later.

WOW Air Becomes A Global Cargo Airline Based In West Virginia

WOW Air liquidated in 2019, but the name was purchased and West Virginia businesswoman Michele Ballarin planned to re-launch WOW in October 2019 as an ultra-low-cost carrier, then as a cargo airline, then something called WOW Air Italy. Now WOW Air announced on Facebook that they’d become a cargo airline based in Martinsburg, West Virginia:

WOW Worldwide Cargo Hub Launches operations in Martinsburg, West Virginia [MRB]

WOW carGO is proud to announce the commencement of worldwide cargo operations from its US base in the capital region on the East Coast at Martinsburg. The facility is 100,000 SF of hangar and warehouse with 25,000 SF of administrative offices for global dispatch operations.

We are WOW!

Air Force Preparing for Furloughed Commercial Pilots to Request Return to Duty

Air Force pilots are asking to stay past their original retirement or separation dates, given the prospects for commercial pilots. Also, the USAF is preparing for an October 1 surge of commercial pilots requesting a return to active duty. That’s when the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (or CARES Act) expires.

Australia News Desk

Steve Visscher and Grant McHerron return with a special AusDesk. As always, the boys make us laugh as they cover the aviation news Down Under.

606 Cessna SkyCourier

A technical marketing advisor from Textron Aviation explains the new Cessna SkyCourier. In the news, strategic moves by aerostructures maker Triumph affect the Boeing 747, engine competitions are underway for the B-52 fleet and the F-15EX, a Pakistani airliner crashes under unusual circumstances, Delta Airlines retires the MD-80 fleet, and the U.S. Air Force drops the blanket height requirement for pilot candidates. We also hear about youth programs from the president of EAA Chapter 196.

Cessna SkyCourier

Martin Tuck is a technical marketing advisor with Textron Aviation. He recently spoke with Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari about the new Cessna SkyCourier which successfully completed its first flight recently.

The SkyCourier is powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney PT6 turboprops. It can carry 6,000 pounds of cargo or 19 passengers, depending on the configuration. The freight configuration accommodates three LD3 shipping containers. The aircraft features single-point pressure refueling capability and rugged landing gear for use on unimproved strips. FedEx is the launch customer for the SkyCourier, with 50 firm and 50 option orders.

Cessna SkyCourier cargo configuration.

Cessna SkyCourier cargo configuration, courtesy Cessna.

Cessna SkyCourier passenger configuration, courtesy Cessna.

Cessna SkyCourier passenger configuration, courtesy Cessna.

Located in Wichita, Kansas, Martin is a 42-year veteran of the aviation industry and has experience with the Hawker, Cessna, and Beechcraft brands, particularly in the King Air turboprops. He is part of the project team working on the new Cessna SkyCourier.

Aviation News

Boeing Debates Future of 747 Program

Aerostructures company Triumph Group is a long-time producer of the fuselage and horizontal stabilizer panels for the 747. The problem is that Triumph announced it will shut down the two plants manufacturing these components. Boeing has enough parts for the 747 backlog, but that’s the end of the supply. To continue production, Boeing would have to find a new source.

Triumph Group Reports Progress On Aerospace Structures Strategic Review

Triumph announced it was undertaking a comprehensive review of its structures business as it focuses on its core systems and product support markets and capabilities.  The Company has divested its 10 build-to-print machine shops, five fabrication shops, two metal finishing facilities, and its two million square foot Nashville large structures plant.

US Air Force launches contest to replace the B-52 bomber’s engine

The U.S. Air Force is again looking to replace the TF33 engines on its 76 B-52s. RFPs have gone to Pratt & Whitney, GE, and Rolls-Royce. The eight engines on each bomber would be replaced by eight General Electric TF34, GE Passport, Pratt & Whitney PW800, or Rolls-Royce F130 engines. The engine makers have until July 22, 2020, to submit final proposals.

US Air Force cancels GE Aviation sole-source for F-15EX engine, asks for competitive bids

The US Air Force initially said engines for the Boeing F-15EX would be sole-sourced to GE Aviation for 480 F110 jet turbines. Now the USAF is asking GE and P&W for engine proposals.

Pakistan Airliner Landed Gear Up On First Try: Report

Pakistan International Airlines Flight PK8303 attempted it’s first landing with gear up, scraping the engine nacelles on the runway before executing a go-around. It crashed into a residential area on its second landing attempt after both engines failed, killing all but 2 of the 99 people aboard, and one child on the ground.

See also:

Delta Air Lines will be the last US passenger airline to retire its MD-80 fleet in June. Take a look back at the all-American ‘Mad Dog’ jet.

Delta will retire its McDonnell Douglas MD-88/MD-90 fleet on June 2, 2020. MD-80 series was powered by two rear-mounted Pratt & Whitney JT8D-200 engines while the MD-90 was powered by IAE V2500 engines.

The Air Force Thunderbirds Say They Are Done With “America Strong” Flyovers

The Thunderbirds posted a message on social media that their recent flight over Southern California would be the last of the America Strong flyovers. This may have been a change in plans since some people expected flights over the Pacific Northwest and even other western locations.

Air Force Drops Pilot Height Requirement

The US Air Force Medical Standards Directory requirement previously required pilot applicants to stand between 5’4″ and 6’5″ tall. Applicants sitting height was to be between 34 and 40 inches. The Air Force said dropping those requirements was intended to attract a more diverse group of candidates. The Air Force Times said, “Instead of a blanket height requirement, the Air Force said that it will apply an ‘anthropometric screening process’ to figure out which specific aircraft applicants would be able to fly. These measurements, in addition to standing height, also measure an applicant’s eye height while sitting, buttocks-to-knee length, and arm span, are entered into a computer to determine which aircraft the applicant could and could not safely fit in.”

EAA Youth Programs

EAA Chapter 196 president Mike Smith tells us about some of their local chapter youth programs. The Experimental Aircraft Association is very focused on developing the next generation of aviation enthusiasts through the Young Eagles program, scholarships, internships, and aviation camps.

Van’s RV Formation Team

Mark Newton and a Van’s RV formation team landed in a 4-ship on runway 16R at Sydney International.

Mentioned

The Last B-24, investigating the wreckage in the Mediterranean of the last B-24 built.

Across The Pacific: Airborne, the Pan Am documentary.

Chris Manno’s new book An Airline Pilot’s Life is now available in paperback on Amazon.com.

Thromby Air: Social Distancing for Dummies

605 Bits & Pieces XXVII

A Memorial Day tale of the loss of a Douglas A-26 Invader, conversation with the young founder of an airship company, and flying a Focke-Wulf into a major airport.

This is a special Bits & Pieces episode:

Our Main(e) Man Micah tells a story he calls Disaster On Brick Hill – The Worst Day in Maine Aviation History. It’s a fitting piece for Memorial Day. See Douglas A/B-26 Invader Accidents for more.

Max Flight interviews Benjamin Youngstrom, a recent college graduate and the founder of CirroStratus Airship Company. He has a vision and he’s working to make it a reality.

Reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari has been getting some flying in and explains how he managed to land his Focke-Wulf at Dallas.

604 Aircraft Storage

The chief commercial officer of one of the largest aircraft maintenance, storage, and reclamation operations explains aircraft storage in light of the large number of airplanes taken out of service. In the news, members of the new Women in Aviation Advisory Board are announced, the fatal Canadian Snowbird crash, the Cessna SkyCourier first flight, airline passenger policies for wearing masks, and Airbus looks to a downsized future.

Guest

Scott Butler

Scott Butler, chief commercial officer, Ascent Aviation Services.

Scott Butler is chief commercial officer of Ascent Aviation Services, one of the largest aircraft storage, maintenance, and reclamation operations in the world. Ascent provides fully integrated aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), line maintenance, storage, reclamation, paint, and interior services to owners, operators, and lessors of wide-body, narrow-body, and regional aircraft.

Ascent Aviation Services currently operates two maintenance facilities in southern Arizona that cover more than 1,250 acres and house 5 hangars.  Now managing over 400 aircraft, the company is a Class IV 14 CFR Part 145 certified Repair Station and maintains approvals and certifications from regulatory authorities globally, including FAA, EASA, BDA/AMO, TCCA, NCAA, and 2-REG.

Aircraft parking and storage are regulator-approved maintenance programs. Scott explains the categories of aircraft storage and describes aircraft preparation and maintenance while in storage:

  • Active parking for aircraft that could be activated within days and put into revenue service quickly. Maintenance includes running the engines, inspections, periodic ops checks, etc.
  • Short-term parking, usually for 1-3 months. Maintenance includes short-term engine and controls preservation, disconnecting batteries, and covering tubes and sensors. Activation might take a few days or a week.
  • Long-term storage, perhaps for up to a year, with an option for storage exceeding one year. Maintenance includes full engine preservation (“pickling”), fluid draining, use of preservation oil, corrosion protection coverings, sealing the landing gear, and animal protection.

We also talk about the reasons for parking or storing aircraft, and the types of aircraft now being stored. Ascent also performs dismantling operations and they are even using drones for dent mapping. Scott comments on the outlook for freighter and specialty conversions, and changes to how cargo is being moved.

Scott is an aviation professional with more than 10 years in the aerospace industry. Prior to joining Ascent Aviation Services as CCO, he was the Director of Sales for Zodiac Aerospace, owned by Safran since February 2018 and offering aerosystems, cabin interiors, and seats.

Scott has held leadership positions in program management, engineering and operations management at TE Connectivity and Rockwell Collins. He holds a degree in Aviation Human Factors and Aerospace Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Aviation News

US aviation industry leaders appointed to Women in Aviation Advisory Board

The Women in Aviation Advisory Board (WIAAB) was established in October 2019 under the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. The FAA states, “The objective of the Women in Aviation Advisory Board (PDF) is to develop and provide independent recommendations and strategies to the… FAA to explore opportunities for encouraging and supporting female students and aviators to pursue a career in aviation, with the objective of promoting organizations and programs that are providing education, training, mentorship, outreach, and recruitment of women for positions in the aviation industry.”

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao announced the appointment of 30 board members. Former U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson will serve as chair of the board. She’s currently President of The University of Texas at El Paso. See Women in Aviation Advisory Board Membership (PDF).

CAF member who died in Snowbird plane crash identified

One of the Canadian Snowbirds planes crashed in Kamloops, BC. The team was on a tour of the country under Operation Inspiration, similar to the U.S. tour of the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds. The Royal Canadian Air Force CT-114 Tutor with Captain Richard MacDougall and Captain Jennifer Casey on board had just lifted off when something went wrong. Captain Casey was killed and Captain MacDougall sustained serious but not life-threatening injuries. The plane crashed into a house in a residential neighborhood.

Cessna SkyCourier Successfully Completes First Flight

In March 2020, the Cessna SkyCourier successfully completed initial ground tests. Now the first flight of the prototype Cessna 408 SkyCourier twin-turboprop has been accomplished lasting 2-hours and 15-minutes. A common platform will support various configurations, including a 6,000-pound payload freighter, a 19-seat passenger version, and a mixed passenger/freight combination. FedEx is the launch customer for the SkyCourier, with 50 firm and 50 option orders. It will have a maximum cruise speed of 200 ktas and 900-nm range.

U.S. airlines tell crews not to force passengers to wear masks

Southwest memo says it will not deny boarding if customers don’t wear masks

American Airlines’ policy says customers “may be denied boarding” for not wearing a mask. United’s policy allows boarding in most cases, but the policy states, “there could be an isolated situation where a customer may be denied boarding as a last resort.” JetBlue says, “Customers who refuse to comply with our policy will be denied boarding.” Southwest policy says wearing a mask is a “requirement,” but a memo obtained by CNN states, “We will not deny boarding solely based on a Customer’s refusal to wear a face covering.” and… “You are expected to inform Customers of our face covering requirement but are not expected to be the enforcers — ask the Customer to comply with wearing a face covering if they are able.”

American told its pilots, “Once on board and off the gate, the face covering policy becomes more lenient. The flight attendant’s role is informational, not enforcement, with respect to the face covering policy… Bottom line to the pilots: a passenger on board your aircraft who is being compliant with the exception of wearing a face covering is NOT considered disruptive enough to trigger a Threat Level 1 response.”

Airbus to be ‘resized,’ could cut output again – sources

Airbus executives were told to “face reality” and that Airbus may not survive without change. “Radical,” “proactive,” and urgent steps are needed, particularly if the pandemic produces a second wave.

Boeing CEO: It could take 3 to 5 years for airline industry to return from ‘apocalyptic’ state

In an edited interview, Boeing CEO David Calhoun was asked on NBC television “do you think there might be a major US carrier that may have to go out of business? He responded, “I don’t want to get too predictive on that but yes, most likely. Something will happen when September comes around.”

Delta to retire Boeing 777s as pandemic dims outlook for international travel

Delta Air Lines said it will retire its fleet of Boeing 777s. Also that this fall it may have 7,000 too many pilots. Long-haul international travel is not expected to recover quickly. Delta’s daily cash burn is down to $50 million a day. CEO Ed Bastian said “Our principal financial goal for 2020 is to reduce our cash burn to zero by the end of the year, which will mean, for the next two to three years, a smaller network, fleet, and operation in response to substantially reduced customer demand.”

603 The RenegadeAV8R

David Costa, the RenegadeAV8R, on being a jet airshow demo pilot, hosting the RenegadeAV8R Radio Show and engaging young engineers in a project to set new jet records. Also, ALPA wants COVID rules and not just guidelines, airline cash flow with sale/leaseback transactions, a tragic runway accident, the unending Heathrow airport controversy, Frontier rethinks their middle seat strategy, and Qatar Airlines wants training expenses reimbursed by a terminated pilot.

Guest

RenegadeAV8RDavid “Taz” Costa is a jet airshow demonstration pilot flying the TS-11 Iskra, an advanced military jet trainer. He also hosts the RenegadeAV8R Radio Show and is CEO of Renegade Jets. David is also an airline transport pilot with over 15,000 hours of flight time in over 100 different makes and models of aircraft.

The RenegadeAV8R Radio Show promotes aviation to a wide audience using interviews and stories from guests that demonstrate excellence, overcoming obstacles, and achieving big goals. Both aviation enthusiasts and others admire and appreciate the radio show, which is also released as a podcast.

We talk with David about airshows and the value they provide. He describes what being an airshow performer means to him, and how he interfaces with people while he’s on the ground. David loves talking to the crowd, answering their questions, and serving the fans. We discuss the future of airshows and the need for the “new normal” to be like the “old normal.”

Dave Costa

Dave Costa

The original Iskra achieved four world records at the time, but those have been eclipsed. David explains his plan to upgrade the Iskra and launch a world record attempt using the skills of engineering students. This brings the latest engineering knowledge to the project and offers the students a unique opportunity to apply their skills to real-world aircraft.

Be sure to catch the RenegadeAV8R Radio Show podcast.

The RenegadeAV8R TS-11 Iskra

The RenegadeAV8R TS-11 Iskra

Aviation News

ALPA Wants FAA To Enact COVID Rules

Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) President Capt. Joe DePete wants the FAA to mandate compliance with CDC recommendations, not just suggest guidelines. “There are carriers that are doing a good job and there are carriers that are doing not such a great job,” DePete said. “So there is this varying patchwork of compliance or lack thereof and that’s no way to handle a pandemic.” 

Southwest Airlines Sells 20 Boeing 737s For $815 million

Southwest Airlines has entered into a sale/leaseback agreement with BOC Aviation for 10 Boeing 737-800s and 10 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. This generates $815 million in cash for the airline. BOC Aviation is a global aircraft leasing company, originally founded as Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise (SALE) in 1993.

Person killed by Southwest plane on Austin airport runway

A Southwest flight landing at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas struck and killed a man on the runway. The unidentified man was not a badged airport employee.

Heathrow Third Runway May NEVER be Built

London Heathrow’s John Holland-Kaye says it could be 10 to 15 years before the airport needs a third runway. The Heathrow £14billion expansion plan could be scrapped given the poor economic situation. At the least, it’s not a priority now. Also, Heathrow expansion: What is the third runway plan?

Frontier Airlines will drop open-seat fee that drew attacks

Frontier Airlines had a plan to charge passengers at least a $39 “More Room” fee to sit next to an empty middle seat. Amid accusations that Frontier was attempting to profit from coronavirus fear, the airline has dropped the plan.

Qatar Airlines Demands Training Repayment From Fired Pilot

Qatar Airlines fired a pilot trainee and now demands a payment of $162,000 for training expenses. Qatar created a cadet scholarship program for locals, which this woman joined in 2013 and graduated in 2017.

What to do at home

Open access to online training materials at Pipistrel Online.

Gleim Aviation is offering free online courses.

Sporty’s online flight instructor refresher course offered for free.

This Chicken Wings trailer is a parody of the “Top Gun 2 Maverick” trailer.

Mentioned

Black Files Declassified, from the Discovery Channel.

Across the Pacific, the long-awaited PBS documentary on Pan American Airways.

Jamie Dodson, co-author of Hunting the Wind: Pan American World Airways’ Epic Flying Boat Era, 1929–1946.

Listener Michael flew his SR-22T over KVCV, Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, California:

KVCV, Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, CA

KVCV, Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, CA

Michael and the Cirrus SR22T

Michael and the Cirrus SR22T

602 The Life of a Pilot

Chris Manno talks about his 42 years as a professional pilot, first with the U.S. Air Force and then with a major U.S. airline. Chris has written An Airline Pilot’s Life which captures his military and commercial career. In the news, we look at industry first-quarter losses, production cuts, furloughs, and layoffs. Also, airline and airport safety measures, Federal bailout money, a hybrid-electric aircraft, and the Treaty on Open Skies.

Guest

Pilot Chris Manno

Chris Manno

Chris Mano writes the Jethead blog and has recently published a start-to-finish true-life story of his 42 years as a professional pilot, which includes seven years with the USAF and over 34 years with American Airlines. It’s titled An Airline Pilot’s Lifeand the paperback release is May 2020. The first part is currently Amazon Kindle’s #1 new release in commercial aviation. The book tells the stories of Chris’ USAF pilot training and squadron flying for 6 years, and then his airline career through DC-10 engineer to MD-80 FO to DC-10 FO to MD-80 captain, F-100 captain, MD-80 Check Airman, and B-737-800 captain.

The book describes a life-long dedication to aviation, a path that Chris knew he wanted to take even as a youngster. Through this first-hand view, the reader learns what it is like to be an air force pilot or an airline pilot.

An Airline Pilots LifeChris tells us about the difference between military and airline flying, the role of labor unions, and flight and cabin crew relationships. We learn why he likes the 737-800 so much, and what he didn’t like about the MD-80. Chris also provides his thoughts, from a pilot’s perspective, on the loss of confidence in the 737 Max, the process, and the regulator.

Find Chris at the JetHead blog and look for An Airline Pilot’s Lifeon Amazon.com.

Quarterly earnings reports, production cuts, layoffs…

Southwest Airlines Reports First Quarter Loss

Boeing plans to cut airplane production, 10% of its workforce in aircraft market ‘frozen’ by coronavirus crisis

The Non-Bailout: How the Fed Saved Boeing Without Paying a Dime

Warren Buffett & Berkshire Hathaway has completely sold out of its airline stakes.

Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita to lay off 1,450 employees

United Launches Plan To Cut At Least A Third Of Its Pilots

Boeing’s Biggest 737 MAX Customer Slashes Aircraft Delivery Schedule

Airline safety measures…

JetBlue To Require Passenger Face Masks

United Airlines adds safety procedures, ticket changes

Airport safety measures and federal grants…

Paine Field Airport to test passengers for fever before boarding

How did a small coastal airport in Owls Head get an $18 million federal bailout?

Tiny airports rake in big cash after botched stimulus formula

Other aviation news…

Airbus and Rolls-Royce cancel E-Fan X hybrid-electric RJ100 experiment

Air Force Is Down To One Tired Old Jet To Fly Open Skies Surveillance Flights

Mentioned

Airport Ambience, A whole day in 4K

601 Business Aviation

The CEO of Imperium Jets explains the current demand for business jets, particularly from new charter customers. Also, Airbus lays off 3200, Boeing pulls out of the $4.2B Embraer deal and pushes back the projected date for 737 MAX return to service, some post-COVID-19 airliner seat designs, American Airlines checked bag fees, and a 42-foot limousine built from a Learjet.

Guest

Lidor Revah is CEO and co-founder of Imperium Jets, a company that matches business aviation operators with brokers and travel agents. Imperium developed all-in-one private aircraft booking software that brings business jet brokers and operators together. Brokers get access to flights, and business aircraft operators get access to brokers. 

The business aircraft sector is active in these troubled times and Lidor explains that with COVID-19, more people are looking to business aviation for their transportation needs. These are often people who hadn’t utilized this service in the past.

Reasons for turning to business jets include the unavailability of commercial flights, the perceived safety of bizjets, evacuation flights, travel to funerals, humanitarian flights, and cargo shipments.

Many new customers are going to charter brokers and travel agents for the first time. Often they are surprised at the shorter airport wait times and the service level found on business aircraft flights. Lidor talks about the prospects for business aviation retaining some of the new customers after the pandemic.

Lidor founded two travel-focused companies, has been featured in Fox Business, Quartz, and LeehamNews among other publications, and is an ex-special forces soldier.

Aviation News

Airbus to furlough 3,200 staff at Broughton factory in Wales

The company’s 135,000 employees were told to brace for potentially deeper job cuts due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the aerospace sector. Britain’s job retention scheme allows employers to furlough staff and claim cash grants up to 80% of wages, capped at 2,500 pounds per worker.

Boeing pulls out of $4.2 billion deal for Embraer’s commercial jet unit

Brazil’s Embraer says Boeing ‘wrongfully terminated’ deal for $4 billion tie-up

Boeing backed out of the planned $4.2 billion deal to buy an 80% stake in Embraer’s commercial aircraft division. The Brazilian company is not amused and says “Embraer believes strongly that Boeing has wrongfully terminated the (agreement).” Boeing says Embraer failed to meet conditions for closing the transaction.

Boeing pushes back target date for fixing 737 Max as coronavirus hinders progress

Sources tell CNBC that Boeing’s latest expectations for returning the 737 MAX to service indicate late summer 2020. Two software updates and a recertification flight remain to be accomplished.

How airplane seats could look in the post-coronavirus era

Italian manufacturer Aviointeriors has shown two airline seat concepts that look to provide some protection for passengers. Glassafe has transparent upper body hoods while the Janus concept features rearward-facing middle seats. (See #PaxEx Podcast 72, The future of air travel in a post-pandemic world for more on this.)

American Thinks Now is the Perfect Time to Raise Checked Baggage Fees

Fares between Europe, Israel, Morocco and the United States, the Caribbean, Canada, Mexico, Latin America, and South America will be subject to a $75 per bag fee.

Someone turned a Learjet into a street legal 42 foot limo, and it’s for sale.

The street-legal Learjet limo is 42 feet long and 8 feet wide. Power comes from an 8.1 liter Chevy V8 and the 17,000 watt sound system simulates jet sound as the vehicle drives down the road. The “Learmousine” is scheduled for auction at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The winning bidder will also receive a custom-built 44-foot trailer and a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD to pull it.

Bad Aviation Movie Contest

The “winner” is Airplane vs. Volcano, first submitted by Brian Burke, who calls it “the worst aviation film ever to exist.” His YouTube channel is called Just Plane Silly, A Comical View of Aviation, where you’ll find a review of the movie:

Mentioned

#PaxEx Podcast: The future of air travel in a post-pandemic world

Co-hosts Max Flight and Mary Kirby break down how COVID-19 is rapidly changing virtually every touchpoint of the passenger experience, and consider whether air travel will be forever altered at the airport and in-flight.

Replay: Aerospace Industry Business After Hours Webinar hosted by the New England Air Museum with guest presenter Richard Aboulafia.

13 Minutes to the Moon: The Apollo 13 Story

Australian family recreates cancelled 15-hour Europe flight in home loungeroom

 

600 Live with a Studio Audience

Episode 600 cake

Episode 600 cake courtesy Linda.

To celebrate our 600th episode milestone, we invited our audience to join us in a Zoom meeting. The fifty participants included our listeners, hosts, contributors, past guests, and friends.

The Airplane Geeks, by Lily.

The Airplane Geeks, by Lily.

Photos of past adventures

After Party – Innovations in Flight 2018.

APG, PTUK, & Airplane Geeks Showing Love at Wings Over Pittsburgh

APG, PTUK, and Airplane Geeks Showing Love at Wings Over Pittsburgh.

Farnborough with some of our APG, PTUK, and UK Friends.

Major Rick Barbara Parish & Micah Wings Over Pittsburgh

Major Rick, Barbara Parish, and Micah at Wings Over Pittsburgh.

Wings Over Pittsburgh Crew

Wings Over Pittsburgh Crew

Max & Micah - On The Job

Max and Micah interviewing a vet (WWII B-17 tail gunner).

Innovations in Flight 2019

Innovations in Flight 2019.

Harriet & the Geeks - Udvar Hazy

Harriet & the Geeks at the Udvar Hazy Center.

Innovations in Flight 2016 with Bill Barry, Benet & Drone Mamma

Innovations in Flight 2016 with Bill Barry, Benet, and Drone Mamma.

Thanks to everyone who joined us for episode 600!

Just a few of the participants in our Episode 600 Zoom meeting.

Just a few of the participants in our Episode 600 Zoom meeting.

599 One Less Than 600

An aviation and space reporter helps us understand the current state of the aviation industry and where it might lead. We also bring you an inside look at how an article for an aviation magazine is produced.

Guest

Tom Risen is a Space and Aviation Reporter based in Washington, DC. He’s been covering the latest news and writing analysis about how airlines and aerospace manufacturers are adapting to the quarantine measures to slow the spread of Coronavirus.

Tom is co-authoring a book about government oversight, he is the web editor and reporter for Future Flight News, and Tom was formerly technology and business reporter at U.S. News & World Report, and a staff reporter for Aerospace America.

Aviation News

Boeing to restart limited local work on jets

Boeing says they’ll recall about 2,500 employees out of the 30,000 employees impacted by the shutdown. The recalled workers will support defense programs like the Navy’s P-8 and the Air Force KC-46 tanker, and also maintenance operations for 737 MAX jets stored at Moses Lake. Employees will be provided with personal protective equipment and enforce social distancing measures.

Airbus cuts production by a third as airlines struggle

In response to airlines suspending orders, Airbus cut its production. The company said it delivered 122 planes in the first quarter, with 60 remaining undelivered. 55 were delivered in February, 36 in March.

The ancient computers in the Boeing 737 Max are holding up a fix

Boeing 737 MAX jets have two independent flight controlled computers: the Collins Aerospace FCC-730 series computers, first built in 1996. These use single-core, 16-bit processors. They have limited compute power, but they are reliable.

Treasury Department says larger airlines need to compensate taxpayers for coronavirus aid as talks drag on

More than 230 applications from air carriers for payroll grants have been received by the Treasury Department. United, Delta, JetBlue, Spirit and others have applied for the aid. The Treasury Department said that it would not require applicants seeking $100 million or less to provide compensation. Officials have said the compensation could include stock warrants and or other financial instruments.

This will lead to airline bankruptcies’ — flight attendant union furious with Treasury bailout offers

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants union and our guest in Episode 545 said, “This will lead to airline bankruptcies. The Treasury Department is destabilizing the industry, not helping save it.” The Treasury Department decided to make 30% of each cash grant offer a low-interest loan payable to the federal government. Nelson says Congress earmarked the money to immediately pay airline workers. If it’s turned into a loan, the airlines may choose not to take it.

Nearly 13,500 American Airlines pilots and flight attendants agree to voluntary leave or early retirement

The voluntary leave or retirement would occur in April or May, 2020. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants said about 7,960 members signed up for voluntary leave or early retirement out of 25,300 total. About 7,200 flight attendants signed up for three-, six- or 12-month leaves and about 760 will take early retirement.

TSA screens fewer than 100K travelers for 2 days in a row, hits ‘record low’ as coronavirus outbreak continues

This is about 96 percent lower than the same time last year. Then TSA screened more than 2 million passengers each day.

FedEx Puts Parked Jets Back in Service to Meet Asia Cargo Surge

FedEx plans to add 150 flights over the next month to ferry masks, protective suits and other health-care supplies to the U.S. from Asia.

Air Canada Removes Seating From 777s To Increase Cargo Capacity

Air Canada is pulling the 422 seats out of three of their 777-300ER aircraft so they can use the planes for cargo.

Alaska Airlines’ Creative New “Tag” Flights

Government aid under the CARES Act requires US airlines to avoid involuntarily furloughs or employee layoffs, and continuing service to all existing markets. Alaska Airlines is creating tag flights. For example, instead of flying from Seattle to Dallas and from Seattle to Houston, Alaska will fly from Seattle to Dallas to Houston.

The Impact of Coronavirus on Airport Planning and Design

HOK says they don’t foresee the need to make significant physical changes to terminals in response to COVID-19 because passenger terminals have been designed to be open and flexible. Thermal scanners and handheld thermometers for traveler screening are easily accommodated. But airports might look at “more comprehensive passenger wellness screening solutions.” We may also see “additional medical clinics within airports for use by passengers as well as airport and airline employees.”

This Man Owns The World’s Most Advanced Private Air Force After Buying 46 F/A-18 Hornets

The remaining Royal Australian Air Force legacy Hornets are coming back to the US to become civilian aggressors. The surplus RAAF F/A-18 Hornets are to be used in a contractor adversary air support role.

Positive Airline Stories

United Airlines Partners with Governor Newsom to Fly Medical Volunteers to California to Fight COVID-19

United Airlines has partnered with California Governor Newsom to provide free, round-trip flights for medical volunteers traveling to California to help in the frontline fight against the COVID-19 crisis. If you are interested in volunteering or learning more about the program, visit California Health Corps.

Alaska Airlines to host a job fair for Ravn employees, outlines plans in response to RavnAir’s suspension of service

RavnAir Group was a regional airline serving small Alaskan communities. They’ve ceased all operations but Alaska Airlines says they will maintain service to its destinations, start some summer seasonal service sooner, work to develop service to communities in the Aleutian Islands, and Cold Bay.

American Airlines Raises $2 Million for American Red Cross COVID‑19 Relief Efforts

The carrier and its customers raised more than $1 million for the American Red Cross in the first 24 hours of the campaign.

Interview

Flying MagazineA few months ago, Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari tagged along with Rob Mark, senior editor at Flying Magazine, as Rob was writing an article about the Texas Aircraft Colt LSA for the magazine. We get a “behind the scenes” look at what is involved in producing an article for an aviation magazine. That piece became the cover story for the May 2020 issue.

Mentioned

Planes of Fame Airshow T-shirts

RenegadeAV8R Radio Show

Stay at home air show

Short Final: Hostile Target

Rafale Ride Leads To Inadvertent Ejection By Overstressed Passenger