Eileen Bjorkman is an author who tells veteran stories, She’s a speaker and a retired U.S. Air Force colonel with 700+ hours of flying time as a flight test engineer in 25 different types of military aircraft, primarily the F-4, F-16, C-130, and C-141. Eileen holds an Airline Transport Pilot rating and she is a Certificated Flight Instructor with more than 2,000 hours of flying time. She owns an aerobatic airplane, a Decathlon.
Eileen had just published her book Unforgotten in the Gulf of Tonkin: A Story of the U.S. Military’s Commitment to Leave No One Behind, which tells the story of U.S. Navy pilot Willie Sharp who had to eject from his F-8 fighter after being hit over North Vietnam.
Look for Eileen’s new book titled The Fly Girls Revolt. It’s described as the untold story of the women military aviators of the 1970s and 1980s who finally kicked open the door to fly in combat in 1993—along with the story of the women who paved the way before them.
In addition to her books, Eileen has published many articles and technical journals. She has both MS and BS degrees in Aeronautical Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in Ohio, and a BS in Computer Science from the University of Washington in Seattle. She also has a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from The George Washington University in Washington, DC.
Visit Eileen’s web page EileenBjorkman.com for more about her books, publications, and her blog.
The Spurwink Farm Fly-In and Pancake Breakfast is coming up on July 9, 2023.
This annual event is hosted by EAA Chapter 141 on the 1,800-foot grass runway at the Spurwink Farm Airfield in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. The farm is a 40-stall private boarding facility owned by the Sprague family. The fly-in runs from 0800 until 1100 AM. The pancakes are freshly cooked and the blueberries and maple syrup are Maine products.
Last year Micah and Max recorded a number of interviews at Spurwink for Episode 708. Since we’re on our summer 2023 hiatus, and because we don’t want to leave you without an Airplane Geeks episode, we replay those interviews for this episode. Perhaps they’ll inspire you to attend the fly-in July 9. Perhaps they’ll inspire you to attend a fly-in in your area.
Fred Wilcoxen tells us about his Bede BD-5 micro-homebuilt airplane.
Douglas Corrigan relates his story about getting the aviation bug as a youngster and now working ATC.
JD is a retired military pilot who flies long-haul cargo in a Boeing 777. He flew up from New Jersey in his Cessna 177B Cardinal.
Mike Smith brought his beautiful Sonex up from Massachusetts.
We talked with Bill Barry, the former NASA chief historian and glider enthusiast.
MaryLou Sprague tells us how she and her late husband Phineas (Phin) started a relationship with EAA Chapter 141 and how the airstrip came about.
Ward is a former F-14 Naval Aviator who spent 20 years as an F-14 Radar Intercept Officer. He is the author of the bestselling Punk trilogy about life in an F-14 squadron. Punk’s Fight, Punk’s War, and Punk’s Wing are widely considered to be realistic portrayals of naval aviators in the context of a techno-thriller.
A replay of our conversation with Igor Sikorsky III from Episode 144, published on April 19, 2011. Igor is the grandson of Igor Sikorsky, who many consider to be the father of the helicopter industry. Igor III flies a Skyhawk on floats. He and his wife Karen operate The Bradford Camps on Munsungun Lake in the North Maine Woods, a premier lodge in the North Maine Woods located fifty miles from the nearest paved road. The camp dates back to 1890 and offers fishing, hunting, and relaxing vacations.
The Sikorsky Seminar Weekend is held each year at the camp with videos, books, artifacts, photos, and Sikorsky family speakers. Hear the stories of Igor’s Russian years in aviation, the large Pan Am flying clipper ships, and of course the helicopter. The price includes all meals, private lodging, and full use of all facilities including boats, motors, and kayaks. You might even get a scenic flight with Igor I. Sikorsky, III.
Hosts this Episode
Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Dan Webb, and Chris Mano.
Brett Snyder is the President & Chief Airline Dork of the Cranky empire, which has grown to include the award-winning consumer air travel blog Cranky Flier, Cranky Concierge offering domestic and international travel planning, Cranky Network Weekly, Cranky Network Awards, and the popular Cranky Dorkfest. There is even a Cranky Talk Podcast. Micah and Brian chatted with Cranky about air travel.
Max Flight, our Main(e) Man Micah, and Brian Coleman.
We speak with a retired USAF General about the challenges involved in providing Ukraine with F-16s.
Brigadier General John “Dragon” Teichert (Ret) is recently retired from the U.S. Air Force. He was the Assistant Deputy Undersecretary of the Air Force, International Affairs, and was responsible for worldwide international engagement on behalf of the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Space Force. He led the services’ $240 billion security cooperation portfolio.
Prior to that, John was the Senior Defense Official and Defense Attaché to Iraq. He has been an F-15E combat pilot, an F-22 test pilot, the commander of Joint Base Andrews, and the commander of Edwards Air Force Base. John has more than 2,000 hours in 38 different aircraft types.
The President of the United States has agreed to allow F-16 fighter jets to be provided to Ukraine. John explains what the F-16 could mean for Ukraine and how it could be used strategically and tactically. We then consider the complexities involved in making it happen: sourcing the F-16s, training pilots and support crew, facilities requirements, and logistics and maintenance support. Also how this ties the West to Ukraine long term.
John has written and spoken extensively on leadership, innovation, technology, national security, security cooperation, cross-cultural relationships, risk management, resilience, and international affairs. He holds engineering degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University, and is the founder and president of Capital Leadership LLC.
A ruling in the Northeast Alliance antitrust suit, American Airlines flight attendants troubled by the “ConnectMe” app, new service and routes from Breeze Airways, Republic Airways to fine pilots who leave early, Cessna Citation Ascend unveiled, and a YouTuber charged in the crash of his plane.
In a May 19, 2023 ruling, the judge in the Northeast Alliance antitrust suit determined that the Alliance “substantially diminishes competition in the domestic market for air travel.” The Department of Justice alleged that by codesharing and collaborating to run complementary route networks through New York and Boston, the Northeast Alliance would “eliminate significant competition between American and JetBlue that has led to lower fares and higher quality service for consumers traveling to and from those airports.” Unless the ruling is appealed, the Alliance must end within 30 days.
In the first months of 2020, executives at American Airlines and JetBlue negotiated and signed a first-of-its-kind alliance, in which the two carriers essentially agreed to operate as one airline for most of their flights in and out of New York City and Boston.
This case turns on what “competition” means. To the defendants, competition is enhanced if they join forces to unseat a powerful rival. The Sherman Act, however, has a different focus. Federal antitrust law is not concerned with making individual competitors larger or more powerful. It aims to preserve the free functioning of markets and foster participation by a diverse array of competitors. Those principles are generally undermined, rather than promoted, by agreements among horizontal competitors to dispense with competition and cooperate instead. That is precisely what happened here.
In May 2022, American Airlines announced they were partnering with Microsoft “to use technology to create better, more connected experiences for customers and American Airlines team members… American will use Microsoft Azure as its preferred cloud platform for its airline applications and key workloads.”
Now the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) representing American Airlines flight attendants takes issue with the Airline’s “ConnectMe” app. The mandatory internal messaging app works within Microsoft Teams and allows flight attendants to communicate with gate agents, pilots, and engineers during pre-boarding and boarding.
The union says they didn’t have any input into the use of ConnectMe, interruptions through the app are a distraction, and there is a “constant barrage of texts [which] prioritizes another department’s objectives over safety which should be first and foremost.”
The fifth-generation Citation 560XL arrives in 2025 at a price of $16.7 million. Changes include a new and larger flight deck and cabin windows, Pratt & Whitney Canada PW545D engines, and interior improvements. The APU now is approved for unattended operation and the cockpit incorporates the latest version of the Garmin G5000 integrated flight deck, as well as Garmin’s 3D exocentric view airport diagrams on PFDs, including runway and taxiway signs, obstacle symbols, and building images.
It’s a felony charge for the YouTuber who deliberately abandoned his plane in 2021 and recorded the event while he parachuted out, in an effort to get views.
AeroXplorer (previously TheExplorerBlog) is an aviation photography and news source that provides industry news and an airframe photography database with more than 30,000 photos. They have a map showing many airports. Click on one and see spotting photos from that airport.
Brian Shul, our guest from Episode 375 (2015) died on May 20, 2023. He was an Air Force fighter pilot, flew A-7D, flew A-10, taught at the Air Force’s TopGun school in the F-5B, and became an SR-71 spy plane pilot.
We look at human trafficking, how airports play into the issue, and what one organization is doing at airports to address the problem.
Betty Ann Hagenau is the Founder and Executive Director of the Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition (BAATC) and Airport Initiative. BAATC has observed a “Move, Work, Sleep” pattern in human trafficking cases and the organization has created a targeted approach to disrupt the cycle at frontline industries: airports, apartments, and hotels. Airport Initiative is the training division of BAATC that brings human trafficking identification training to airport employees.
We look at the scope of the problem, who the victims of human trafficking are, and how airports (large and small) play an unwitting role in the transportation of victims. Betty Ann describes common trafficking myths and the BAATC training-based approach to disrupting human trafficking.
Betty Ann has focused her career on being an anti-trafficking thought leader, and she’s known for her collaborative work with over 100 anti-trafficking organizations and government agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area and around the world.
Betty Ann spent 18 months interviewing former human traffickers in San Quentin Prison to better understand their lucrative business practices and to inform the development of BAATC’s strategies and programs to train frontline employees in the airline and hospitality industries to effectively identify and report trafficking.
We discover mission aviation from JAARS. In the news, airlines add staff in anticipation of the coming summer travel boom, Congress looks at increased educational funding for flight training programs, compensating passengers for preventable delays, and DOT’s Airline Customer Service Dashboard.
Mission aviation is the use of aircraft to transport people, supplies, and medical care to remote areas that would otherwise be inaccessible. It is often used by missionaries to reach people who live in isolated communities and do not have access to other forms of transportation.
JAARS is a community of missionaries, volunteers, and a few employees who provide Scripture to people around the world in a language and form that they can clearly understand. They support Bible translation and language development partners globally and work with prayer and financial partners in the United States to help make a range of on-the-field solutions possible.
Brendan Palmer is a mechanical engineer who designs modifications and fabricates parts for special needs at JAARS. His wife Allie Palmer is an aircraft mechanic, working primarily in avionics. As a hobby, the couple is constructing a KR-2S home-built aircraft.
Based in Waxhaw, North Carolina, JAARS maintains training aircraft and performs heavy overhauls for overseas aircraft. Pilots receive preliminary training for conditions like short field landings and severe strip upslopes, then receive additional training overseas in the actual environment where they will be flying.
Aircraft are either received as a donation or purchased by JAARS and include Pilatus PC-6 Porter, Cessna 206, Helio Courier, Kodiak, and Robinson R66 aircraft. Current areas of operation include Indonesia, Cameroon, Papua New Guinea, and locations in South America.
JAARS hosts events, tours, and vision flights. See their website for more information and how to support the organization. Find JAARS on Facebook and Instagram.
A robust air travel season is predicted for Summer 2023 and airlines have been hiring workers in response. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the air transportation industry had around 534,400 employees in March, which is up 9.5% from 2022. It’s the largest pool of employees since April 2003. United Airlines hired more than 7,000 workers so far in 2023 and plans to hire 8,000 more this year.
Two bipartisan bills offer options for increased educational funding for flight training programs.
The Flight Education Access Act (H.R. 2874) would make federal student loans available to university and Part 141 flight schools, raise loan limits for flight students, and create a public/private partnership grant program to increase scholarship and outreach programs.
The Aviation Workforce Development Act (H.R. 1818) would extend 529 college savings plans to training at FAA-certified commercial pilot and aircraft maintenance technician schools.
The rulemaking process has started which would require airlines to compensate passengers in the case of preventable delays and cancelations. Meals would be covered along with hotel rooms and rebooking fees.
The Dashboard shows airline policies for family seating, controllable delays, and controllable cancelations.
Australia News Desk
Qantas has dominated this week’s airline news, as long-time, and often controversial CEO Alan Joyce announced his intention to step down in November, handing the reins to the company’s current Chief Financial Officer, Vanessa Hudson.
Hudson has been working at the airline in various roles over her 28-year career, and her appointment comes as no surprise, despite claims of a worldwide search for Joyce’s replacement, taking in around 40 potential candidates.
Alan Joyce began his airline career in 1988 at Aer Lingus, coming to Australia in 1996 for roles at Ansett before joining Qantas in 2000. He became the CEO of low-cost offshoot Jetstar in 2003 before being appointed Qantas CEO in 2008.
Meanwhile, Qantas is once again taking unions to court, this time over the question of A380 Second Officer vacancies, and whether they’re able to bypass the long-standing convention of pilot seniority to fill current gaps. Their proposal includes recruiting aircrew from outside the company. The Australian and International Pilots Association wants the seniority system retained, and the decision of the court may well have broader implications for Australian workers, should they be unsuccessful.
This episode focuses on the “Queen of the Skies,” the Boeing 747.
We look at the history of the Boeing 747, some facts and figures, our memories of the plane, the 747 in the news, and we discuss a few of the accidents and incidents. We also have some personal photos of the Boeing 747 taken by our listeners.
This week being episode 747, the boys decided to have a little fun and look at some Australian Boeing 747 milestones over the years. There are so many to cover, so these are just a snapshot. We highly recommend checking out http://aussieairliners.org/ as a superb reference on Jumbo’s and many, many other types in Australian service.
In the news this week, regional operator ReX have made the decision to cut schedules across their route network, citing the impact of global supply chain issues impacting their ability to service and operate their fleet, especially in terms of sourcing parts & spares for their SAAB 340’s.
The Australian Government’s Defence Strategic Review has been released, and we continue to pour over the details, with the Army appearing to cop the brunt of cutbacks and/or changes to equipment and posturing, while the impact, if any, on defence aviation operations remains to be seen. We’ll have more on this in future editions of this report, and on Plane Crazy Down Under and the Australian Defence Magazine podcast in coming weeks.