695 Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and how it is being made available, how you can save on airline tickets, an F-35 shoots down a drone, and the eighth anniversary of the loss of flight MH370.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Richard Thacker, Atlantic Aviation
Richard Thacker

Richard Thacker is the Director of Strategy and Operations at Atlantic Aviation. Rich has been with Atlantic for more than 30 years and has been a leading voice for the company, and broadly in the aviation industry on increasing sustainability through education and outreach.

Atlantic operates one of the largest FBO networks in the U.S. and they provide a full suite of services to the private aviation sector. We asked Rich to come on the show and talk about sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) because Atlantic is making it available at some airports.

SAF is jet fuel and no change is required to the aircraft or ground support infrastructure. It can be freely co-mingled with JET-A. Rich explains why now is the time for sustainable aviation fuel. We look at sources, availability, and the cost of SAF.

There are two main producers of SAF at this time: Neste and World Energy. Most SAF comes from Neste, a supplier of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel, through Avfuel. (See Neste’s role in sustainable aviation and Sustainable Aviation Fuel: Now Offering Neste MY SAF). World Fuel Services gets SAF through an agreement with World Energy.

Atlantic is providing SAF at its Aspen and Los Angeles locations but has plans for wider distribution. Rich notes that since SAF availability is primarily on the coast, road transportation is required to reach inland airports. For its Aspen facility, Atlantic uses renewable diesel in the tanker trucks since burning fossil fuel to deliver sustainable aviation fuel wouldn’t make sense.

Rich explains the “Book and Claim” process for purchasing fuel where SAF isn’t available. “Green credits” are purchased equal to the SAF premium and the SAF is consumed where it is available.

Atlantic is taking other measures to reduce carbon footprint, including switching to LED lighting and electrifying ground support equipment. For more on the classification of emissions, see the article What are scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions?

Scott’s Cheap Flights

Scott Keyes, Scott's Cheap Flights.
Scott Keyes

Brian Coleman interviewed Scott Keyes, the founder and chief flight expert from Scott’s Cheap Flights, a service that notifies subscribers about great airline deals from their home airport. We learn how a hobby turned into a business and Scott provides some good context for the current state of airline fares. Free and paid membership options are available.

Scott’s Cheap Flights serves nearly 2 million members and has a distributed team of more than fifty travel aficionados. Scott authored a bestselling book divulging some of the secrets used to find amazing deals for members, Take More Vacations: How to Search Better, Book Better Cheaper, and Travel the World.

Through April 30, 2022, Scott is offering Airplane Geeks listeners a 25% discount on a Premium membership. Use the discount code GEEKS.

Israeli News Desk

Eyal relates that an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman released an announcement on March 1, 2022, about a shootdown of two Iranian UAVs in June 2021 carrying weapons destined for HAMAS. The interception and shootdown had been made by an Israeli F-35A, the first operational and actual kill for the F-35 family worldwide.

MH370

Rob Coates marks the eighth anniversary of the disappearance of flight MH 370. As of this date, the plane has still not been located.

American Helicopter Museum

Airplane Geeks listeners can enjoy a one-year individual membership at a 50% discount. For $25.00 (normally $50.00) you get:

  • Unlimited admission to the Museum for one year.
  • Two One-Day Guest Passes.
  • Admission to FamilyFest and SantaFest.
  • Invitations to Member Receptions.
  • 10% discount on gift shop purchases.

The offer is good through May 31, 2022, at this link.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, Max Trescott, and Brian Coleman, with contributions from Eyal Shay and Rob Coates.

694 Airline Livery

Our guest explains the art and the science of designing airline livery. Also, our Main(e) man Micah helps celebrate the 400th episode of the Plane Talking UK podcast.

Guest

Edmond Huot

Edmond Huot is chief creative officer and partner at Forward Media, as well as its design division Forward Studio. His team designed the livery for Northern Pacific Airways and Edmond gives us a behind-the-scenes look designing the livery for an airline.

Edmond explains that a good livery tells a story and says the airplane is more than just a canvas. You have to get “personal” with the aircraft and understand its elements and visual characteristics from different angles if you want to tell a compelling story.

Typically, the exterior airplane graphics aren’t the only part of a project. Websites, corporate branding, the company logo, and even the aircraft interior all need to be complimentary. Sometimes creative differences have to be accommodated and Edmond navigates these through best-in-class benchmarking and highly realistic mock-ups.

Livery for Northern Pacific B757.
Northern Pacific livery

Growing up on a farm in midwest Canada, Edmond spent countless hours lost in imaginative storytelling, obsessing over all things airliner, architecture, and design. His penchant for the dramatic and theatrical laid a formative foundation for what would eventually blossom into a career in advertising.

Working alongside his longtime friend, business partner, and entrepreneurial collaborator Peter Clark, the two men founded several companies in both Canada and the U.S. In his late thirties, Edmond rose to become the creative head of a New York City-based holding company comprising more than 20 advertising, design, and public relations firms, whose clients have included Honda Cars, TD Bank, Expedia, Singapore Airlines, Microsoft’s Tableau, and Kenneth Cole Fashions. In 2016, he shifted gears, focusing his time and attention to revisit his childhood passion for aviation, building a practice area in the airline space. Today, his creative outlook and point of view touch a range of bespoke services including brand design, PR, media, advertising, and special events.

Video: Northern Pacific Airways Reveal

Mentioned

Brand New is a division of UnderConsideration that chronicles and provides opinions on corporate and brand identity work. They cover redesigns and new designs of notable products, companies, services, and organizations across all industries and locations.

PTUK 400

Our Main(e) Man Micah and Brian Coleman traveled to the Brooklands Museum to help celebrate the 400th episode of the Plane Talking UK Podcast. Micah describes the community that is aviation podcasting and his rather convoluted journey across the pond.

Video: Celebrating the 400th episode of Plane Talking UK

American Helicopter Museum

Airplane Geeks listeners can enjoy a one-year individual membership at a 50% discount. For $25.00 (normally $50.00) you get:

  • Unlimited admission to the Museum for one year, including the March 4 event, “The Helicopter and the Presidency.”
  • Two One-Day Guest Passes.
  • Admission to FamilyFest and SantaFest.
  • Invitations to Member Receptions.
  • 10% discount on gift shop purchases.

The offer is good through May 31, 2022, at this link.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, Max Trescott, and Brian Coleman

693 Bye Aerospace Electric Airplane

The Bye Aerospace founder, CEO, and chairman on electric airplanes. Also, AeroShark aircraft skin technology, the Collier Trophy finalists, a hydrogen fuel-powered aircraft engine, more lasers pointed at aircraft, F-35C crash video leakers charged, and the closing of airspace.

Guest

George E. Bye is the Founder, CEO, and Chairman of Bye Aerospace, founded in 2007. He has two decades of experience as an aerospace entrepreneur, engineer, and executive.

Bye Aerospace founder, CEO, and chairman George Bye.
George Bye

George describes recent developments in the electric airplane industry, including new interest and investments by a number of companies of all sizes – startups to major aerospace companies. What was seen just a few years ago as “too futuristic” is now considered overdue. We look at the regulatory landscape and how that has changed, and the significant advances in battery energy density.

George explains the advantages of electric aircraft and specifically how the Bye Aerospace electric eFlyer 2 is designed for pilot training. The eFlyer is attractive from an operating cost perspective, efficiency, and aesthetically. George provides the status of the program and tells us the company is now building the first production conforming eFlyer 2, serial number one. Two more examples are planned for 2023.

Along the way, we discuss the charging infrastructure for electric aircraft, the safety aspect of very quiet airplane engines, electric airplane student pilot training, and what that means for subsequent transitioning to other propulsion types.

Bye Aerospace eFlyer.
The electric eFlyer, courtesy Bye Aerospace.

George has developed several aircraft designs, including the all-electric eFlyer 2, eFlyer 4, and eFlyer 800 aircraft. The eFlyer 2 is now in the FAA certification process.  Previously he designed the 14-foot wing-span solar-electric hybrid UAV, “Silent Falcon,” now in production in a former Bye Aerospace subsidiary.  He also conceived the new, piloted solar-electric SOLESA design which has completed initial flight test.

As a well-known conceptual design engineer, he has consulted for major OEMs on their advanced development programs. George was a part of the conceptual design leadership team on the Boeing T-X program, now known as the T-7A “Red Hawk” USAF advanced jet trainer. He provides expert reviews for Lockheed Martin.

George holds a B.S. in Engineering from the University of Washington and is an ATP-rated pilot with over 4,000 flying hours. He was a USAF instructor pilot in the supersonic T-38 for Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training, C-141B Instructor Aircraft Commander, and is a Desert Storm veteran.

Aviation News

SWISS adopts AeroSHARK aircraft skin technology

Lufthansa Technik and BASF co-developed an aircraft skin technology they call AeroSHARK which contains 50-micrometer “riblets” that imitate the flow characteristics of sharkskin. It’s meant to reduce drag and thus improve fuel consumption and lower emissions. Swiss International Air Lines plans to begin equipping its twelve Boeing 777-300ERs with AeroShark beginning in mid-2022. The fuel savings are said to be more than one percent. AeroSHARK was launched on the  Boeing 777Fs of Lufthansa Cargo.

See also:

2021 Collier Finalists Announced

The finalists competing for the 2021 Collier Trophy are:

The Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon program seeks to develop and demonstrate the technologies that enable effective and affordable air-launched hypersonic cruise missiles.

The Gremlins are groups of UASs flown from existing aircraft out of range of adversary defenses. After mission completion, the Gremlins are retrieved by a C-130 transport aircraft to be taken home and turned around within 24 hours for the next mission.

Ingenuity is a technology demonstration to test powered flight on Mars. The helicopter rode to Mars attached to the belly of the Perseverance rover.

The Mission Extension Vehicle is a satellite life extension vehicle. It docks to a client geostationary satellite whose fuel is nearly depleted and uses its own thrusters and fuel supply to extend the satellite’s lifetime.

The Collier Trophy Selection Committee plans to meet on March 31, 2022, and announce the winner shortly thereafter.

Airbus and CFM to equip A380 with hydrogen-powered engine

Airbus and CFM International plan to use an A380 for a hydrogen-powered flight demonstration program. The engine will be mounted on the rear fuselage. Four hydrogen tanks will be fitted in the rear cabin. Airbus says that flight of the aircraft will occur “around the middle of this decade.”  Airbus A380-800 serial number MSN001 will be used for the demonstration. CFM is modifying an existing engine type in the U.S., a GE Passport engine.

See also:

On February 7, 2022, eleven airliners were struck by lasers in a one-hour period near the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). No injuries were reported, but the industry is very concerned about the rising trend. Addressing this problem is difficult.

Five Sailors Charged in F-35C Crash Video Leak

An ensign and four chief petty officers have been charged with violations of Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, failure to obey a lawful order. The Navy is not releasing the names of the charged sailors.

European Union Closes Airspace to All Russian Aircraft

In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, countries around the world are closing their airspace to Russian aircraft.

Israeli News Desk

Eyal describes a fatal accident where an LSA Sierra P2002 with two persons on board crashed in the mountains near Jerusalem. Weather conditions likely played a role with the LSA that was certified for VFR only.

Tecnam P2002 Sierra

Also, Elbit Systems will introduce a new version of the Skylark 3 short-range UAV at the Singapore Airshow 2022. The drone is equipped with a hybrid propulsion system that includes an electric engine and a combustion engine. The Skylark family of drones has been ordered by 27 countries.

Elbit Systems Skylark 3

Mentioned

Yvonne Pope Sintes obituary

A “Pioneering aviator whose childhood obsession culminated in her becoming the first woman in Britain to captain a commercial jet.” Her book is Trailblazer in Flight.

18 Things You Never Knew About The B-52 Stratofortress

2 Black Hawk helicopters crash near Snowbird; crew escapes serious injuries

Video: Witness describes frightening Black Hawk crash in mountains

American Helicopter Museum

Airplane Geeks listeners can enjoy a one-year individual membership at a 50% discount. For $25.00 (normally $50.00) you get:

  • Unlimited admission to the Museum for one year, including the March 4 event, “The Helicopter and the Presidency.”
  • Two One-Day Guest Passes.
  • Admission to FamilyFest and SantaFest.
  • Invitations to Member Receptions.
  • 10% discount on gift shop purchases.

The offer is good through May 31, 2022, at this link.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, and Rob Mark.  With contribution from Eyal Shay.

692 ADSBexchange

Our guest is the president and founder of ADSBexchange, a flight data aggregation co-op. In the news, some lawmakers want civil action against Boeing over the 737 MAX, Nexflix releases a 737 MAX documentary, United Aviate Academy will use Cirrus aircraft for training, a GA electric/gas hybrid takes flight, technology export from Icon Aircraft is probed, the FAA Administrator announces he’ll leave the post early, and an autonomous Blackhawk helicopter.

Guest

ADSBexchange president and founder Dan Streufert.
Dan Streufert

Dan Streufert founded ADSBexchange in 2016 as a “hobby project.” Since then, it has grown to encompass 7500+ volunteer-run ADS-B receivers throughout the world, ingesting 500,000 – 900,000 ADS-B messages per second. Although ADSBexchange has grown from its initial small beginning, it remains focused on the aviation enthusiast. The service has none of the “paywalls” associated with some other flight tracking services and does not filter its traffic display.

Dan explains that ADSB signals are broadcast unencrypted over the air and anyone can receive them. ADSBexchange was mainly developed for hobbyists and others who want to know what’s flying, but commercial customers and some NGOs benefit from the information as well.

Some interests don’t want ADSB transmissions to be used to track their flights. They may be legitimate commercial companies that want to mask their activity for competitive reasons, governments, those engaged in criminal operations, or even military flights. Dan describes two FAA programs that seek to mitigate at least some of the privacy concerns:

With Limiting Aircraft Data Displayed (LADD), aircraft owners or designated representatives may request limiting aircraft data displayed (formally referred to as blocking) or unblocking of flight tracking data. Flight tracking services that draw the data from FAA agree to block the information.

More recently, the FAA initiated the Privacy ICAO Aircraft (PIA) program to improve the privacy of eligible aircraft by enabling aircraft owners to request an alternate, temporary ICAO aircraft address, which will not be assigned to the owner in the Civil Aviation Registry (CAR).

Both an “Airplane Geek” and a “Tech Geek” at heart, Dan is a commercially-rated, multi-engine pilot with instrument rating and currently flys a 1967 Piper Comanche 260B out of Falcon Field in Mesa, Arizona. Prior to devoting his full-time attention to ADSBexchange, Dan spent 12 years leading the IT department at Viant Medical, a $1 billion global medical manufacturing firm.

Aviation News

Lawmakers Demand Fresh Investigation into FAA Decision Not to Penalize Boeing for MAX Failures

The U.S. House Transportation chair and the aviation subcommittee chair want civil action taken against Boeing, and even individual employees for the 737 MAX crashes. Rep. DeFazio, D-Ore., and Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett sent a letter to DOT Inspector General Eric Soskin saying, “We respectfully request that you review FAA’s refusal to exercise proper oversight over Boeing’s apparent misconduct.”

Downfall: The Case Against Boeing

Netflix premiered the documentary film that details the 18-month investigation by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio into the causes of the Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashes, which resulted in the deaths of 346 people.

Cirrus Aircraft Equips United Aviate Academy with a Fleet of TRAC SR20 for Ab-Initio Pilot Training

Cirrus Aircraft announced that the United Aviate Academy (UAA) has purchased a fleet of twenty-five TRAC SR20 aircraft for its program. The Academy is part of United’s pilot career development program offering pilots the most direct path to a United flight deck. They have option and purchase rights to fifty more TRAC SR20 aircraft.

First general aviation aircraft with hybrid power plant has been successfully flown

Rolls-Royce, Tecnam, and BRP-Rotax announced the December 2021 flight of the first general aviation aircraft powered by a parallel hybrid propulsion system. The modified Tecnam P2010 H3PS was powered by a 104 kW Rotax 915 IS internal combustion engine and a 30 kW Rolls-Royce electric power system for a total power output of 134 kW in a parallel hybrid configuration. H3PS stands for “High Power High Scalability Aircraft Hybrid Powertrain.”

Video: Tecnam P2010 H3PS Hybrid first flight

Chinese Stake in Icon Probed by Gov’t Panel

The Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI and a U.S. government panel are looking into accusations of illegal technology transfer to China. Shanghai Pudong Science & Technology Investment Co. holds a nearly 47% stake in Icon Aircraft and is Icon’s largest shareholder. Some Icon shareholders raised a red flag to the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment alleging that Shanghai Pudong sent its technology to China with the potential for military applications.

U.S. FAA administrator says he was not pressured to step down

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson announced he is leaving the FAA effective March 31, 2022. Dickson is a pilot and former Delta Air Lines executive appointed by President Donald Trump in 2019. He cited family reasons for his decision.

A Black Hawk helicopter flew for the first time without pilots

With the flick of a switch, the DARPA S-70 Blackhawk helicopter goes from piloted to unpiloted. In this first flight, the S-70 autonomously completed a pre-flight checklist, started its engines, spun up its rotors, and took off with no crew on board. The ALIAS system (Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System) on-board sensors provided real-time obstacle data as the helicopter navigated through a simulated cityscape.

Video: First Uninhabited Black Hawk Flight

Israeli News Desk

Piper AZTEC PA23-250F

Eyal Shay describes the emergency landing of a Piper AZTEC PA23-250F registration 4X-CCM. The airplane took off from Haifa airport (LLHA) with an instructor and student pilot. When they came back to the pattern, the right main gear failed to open. After some unsuccessful attempts to solve the problem, or to retract the landing gear, the plane was rerouted to Ben-Gurion airport (LLBG). The pilot made a perfect landing, managing to cutoff the right engine and bring the two-blade propeller to horizontal position when at short final. The plane successfully kept near the center line and just veered from the runway direction at his final stop. The pilot and passenger were unharmed.

Eyal and Hillel meet in Israel.
Eyal and Hillel

Mentioned

The Journey is the Reward

The Great Aero Recovery, a webinar with Richard Aboulafia from the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Registration.

The brains that launched GPS

Savvy Maintenance – Cold starts are a culprit in engine damage

Utah’s Gail Halvorsen, the ‘Berlin Candy Bomber,’ dies at 101

Gail Halvorsen, the Utah farm boy who became a hero in post-World War II Europe for fastening candy to handkerchiefs and dropping them from his U.S. Air Force cargo plane to the children of West Berlin, earning him the nickname the “Berlin Candy Bomber,” has died. He was 101.

Bagley Cartoon: Candy Bomber

American Helicopter Museum

Airplane Geeks listeners can enjoy a one-year individual membership at a 50% discount. For $25.00 (normally $50.00) you get:

  • Unlimited admission to the Museum for one year, including the March 4 event, “The Helicopter and the Presidency.”
  • Two One-Day Guest Passes.
  • Admission to FamilyFest and SantaFest.
  • Invitations to Member Receptions.
  • 10% discount on gift shop purchases.

The offer is good through May 31, 2022, at this link.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, and Rob Mark.  With contributions from Brian Coleman and Eyal Shay.

691 Runway Rehabilitation

Managing a runway rehabilitation project and minimizing the effects on operators, the airport, and the public. In the news, airports are hamstrung in dealing with drone threats, handling emergency landings, some Boeing 737 Max charges are dropped, and North Atlantic tracks below FL330.

Guest

Paul H. Bradbury, P.E. is the airport director for the Portland International Jetport (PWM) in Portland, Maine. 

Paul Bradbury

The Jetport is planning a runway rehabilitation project that will see 34,000 tons of asphalt removed and replaced over 27.5 acres of pavement. A runway lighting upgrade will require 19.7 miles of wire and over 5,000 flights will be affected as the primary runway is closed for two months. The airport has been working with operators and the public to minimize the impact.

Paul explains the difference between runway maintenance, rehabilitation, and reconstruction. We learn about the pavement management plan that includes an assessment of runway condition. Also, the difference between concrete and asphalt runways, and how the paving contractor was selected. 90% of this project was funded through the Airport Improvement Program.

Beyond the runway rehabilitation project, Paul brings us up to date on the Jetport’s de-icing fluid recovery process that allows them to resell the fluid to other airports. The Jetport is the only airport in the U.S. doing this.

Other topics in our conversation with Paul include Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), drone incursions at airports, unruly passengers, and flight diversions.

Portland jetport’s primary runway to close for nearly 2 months this spring

Runway 11-29 Rehabilitation Project website

Paul was appointed the airport director in 2008 and is responsible for the overall management, operations, and planning for the Portland International Jetport. He’s a licensed professional engineer with a B.S. in Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Paul is an avid runner, triathlete, and snowmobiler.

Aviation News

Airports around the world have been plagued by drone incursions, but the actions they can take are very limited. The non-profit, FAA-funded National Safe Skies Alliance issued a report in September 2021 titled “Airport Response to Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Threats.” [PDF] Both passive and active counter-drone technology exists, but in the U.S., only four federal agencies can use them: the Departments of Defense, Energy, Homeland Security, and Justice.

Is This The Worst Airline Passenger of 2022, So Far?

Frontier Airlines flight 1335 from New York to Orlando had to make an emergency landing in North Carolina. A passenger was convinced the woman in the seat behind him was stabbing him with needles and stealing his DNA. When the man started harassing others, six passengers restrained him and tied him down to his seat. Local police were waiting at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Two Charges Against Former Boeing 737 Max Chief Technical Pilot Dismissed

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas Fort Worth Division dismissed two counts against former Boeing Chief Technical Pilot Mark Forkner. In the counts, Forkner was alleged to have “knowingly and with the intent to defraud, made and used a materially false writing, entry, certification, document, record, data plate, label, and electronic communication concerning an aircraft part.” The judge wrote, “Because MCAS is not an aircraft ‘part’ as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 3l(a)(7), the indictment fails to allege an offense that Defendant violated § 38(a)(1)(C).” Forkner still has counts on wire fraud. The trial is scheduled for March 2022.

Why Are North Atlantic Tracks Below FL330 Being Scrapped?

The North Atlantic Organised Track System (NAT-OTS), popularly called the North Atlantic Tracks, are flight path tracks flown by airlines between North America and Europe. The tracks are created daily and take into account the prevailing jet streams. Starting March 1, 2022, operators can fly outside North Atlantic Tracks if they stay below 33,000 feet. Airlines will have more flexibility to fly more efficient routes and produce fewer emissions. This is made possible by the Aireon satellite-based ADS-B system.

American Helicopter Museum

Airplane Geeks listeners can enjoy a one-year individual membership at a 50% discount. For $25.00 (normally $50.00) you get:

  • Unlimited admission to the Museum for one year, including the March 4 event, “The Helicopter and the Presidency.”
  • Two One-Day Guest Passes.
  • Admission to FamilyFest and SantaFest.
  • Invitations to Member Receptions.
  • 10% discount on gift shop purchases.

The offer is good through May 31, 2022, at this link.

Mentioned

HermesTM 900 StarLiner [PDF]

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, Main(e) Man Micah

690 Charlie Bolden

Our guest is Charlie Bolden, former NASA administrator, astronaut, and naval aviator. In the news, the first production Falcon 6X arrives at the completion center, Air Force accidents decline, FAA proposes changes to autopilot training, Frontier and Spirit propose a merger, and Delta wants a federal no-fly list for unruly passengers.

Guest

Charlie Bolden photo
Charlie Bolden

Charles (Charlie) F. Bolden Jr., was Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration from 2009 to 2017. He’s a former astronaut who flew on four Shuttle missions, and a retired United States Marine Corps Major General. He is the Founder and CEO Emeritus of the Charles F. Bolden Group.

In our open and wide-ranging conversation with Charlie, he talks about the factors that have led to the prominence of commercial space companies. We look at how Congress reacted to the shift and why the commercial industry changed NASA for the better. These “New Space” companies often use an iterative development process that is very different from the regimented process used, for example, with the James Webb Space Telescope.

We touch on the role of NASA and the need for the Administrator to navigate the politics of Washington. We also consider whether the NTSB or FAA should investigate space accidents.

Charlie explains how returning to the Moon and going on to Mars raised concerns that funding would shift to human space flight at the expense of science missions. He also describes initial skepticism that the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter was a good idea. Charlie has some interesting thoughts on the notion of “colonizing” Mars and if that planet is really an alternative to Earth.

Along the way, we look at spherical aberration on the Hubble telescope (and its twin), what the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and the Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser bring, and of course SpaceX. Charlie describes an overwhelmingly emotional moment on his first Shuttle flight and how astronauts used ham radio to talk to their families from the Orbiter.

Charlie also provides some insight into the criteria used to select who would receive the four Space Shuttle orbiters after that program ended.

Among a number of other activities, STEM education is a focus of the Charles F. Bolden Group. Charlie talks about the SERVIR-West Africa project, a joint initiative by the US agency for International Development (USAID) and NASA.

Aviation News

First Falcon 6X Arrives at Dassault’s Little Rock Completion Center

The first production Falcon 6X extra widebody twin arrived at Dassault Aviation’s 1.25 million square foot completion center in Little Rock, Arkansas. Serial number five was ferried from Dassault’s production facility in France. The Pratt & Whitney Canada PW812D-powered Falcon 6X is expected to enter into service later in 2022.

Deadly aircraft accidents declined in 2021, Air Force says

The Air Force reported 63 severe mishaps in fiscal 2021, compared to 71 the prior year. “Class A” incidents dropped to 21 from 30 in 2020. The 5-year average is about 27 Class A mishaps.  The manned aircraft rate fell to 0.94 accidents per 100,000 flying hours, the lowest since 2014. At the same time, the rate for unmanned aircraft accidents jumped to 1.96 unmanned aircraft accidents per 100,000 flying hours, which is the highest since 2017.

Retired Boeing 747 Bought for $1.30 Begins New Life As Party Plane

This retired British Airways Boeing 747 can be rented from Cotswold Airport in the south of England. Purchased for just £1 ($1.30), almost £500,000 ($671,000) has been invested in the plane, which costs $1,300 an hour to rent, or $16,000 for 24-hours.

FAA proposes changes in autopilot training

The FAA wants pilots to avoid overreliance on the autopilot and make sure they focus on flight path management. So the FAA issued draft guidance and recommended practices. The FAAs action comes in response to NTSB recommendations after the July 2013 accident where Asiana Airlines Flight 214 struck a seawall at SFO, killing three passengers. Also prompting the draft guidance are requirements specified by Congress after the two fatal Boeing 737 MAX accidents.

Frontier to buy Spirit Airlines in $2.9 billion low-cost carriers deal

The two carriers are proposing a merger where Frontier Airlines would hold 51.5 percent and Spirit would hold 48.5 percent. A name for the combined airline hasn’t been offered, nor has the CEO or location of headquarters identified.

Delta Air Lines CEO Edward Bastian asked the U.S. Attorney General to set up a nationwide no-fly list for unruly passengers. The ACLU and others are critical, citing problems with the TSA’s current terrorist list.

Mentioned

Inside Marine One
On March 4, 2022, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, the American Helicopter Museum is offering members a sneak preview of the new Inside Marine One exhibit. A conversation will feature USMC Colonel Ray “Frenchy” L’Heureux (former Marine One pilot and author of Inside Marine One: Four U.S. Presidents, One Proud Marine, and the World’s Most Amazing Helicopter) and Roger D. Connor, Ph.D. (Curator of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Aeronautics Department). You can still participate in the discussion via Zoom (6:30-7:30) if you can’t join in person. Register by March 3, 2022.

The American Helicopter Museum's graphic for their Inside Marine One exhibit.
Inside Marine One

You Can Now Learn to Fly at Owls Head Airport

Penobscot Island Air has started a new flight school at the Knox County Regional Airport in Owls Head, Maine. PIA provides mail, freight delivery, and even medevac services. The CFIs are Penobscot Island Air pilots and in the first three weeks, seven students enrolled.

The airport is shared by the Owls Head Transportation Museum which conducts many events throughout the year, including the annual Wings and Wheels Spectacular Airshow, to be held August 6, 2022, 10:00-3:00.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, and Max Trescott.

689 Aircraft Type Club

An aircraft type club executive director talks about training and air safety. In the news, a Boeing 737 MAX lands in Antarctica for the first time, mixed GA accident messages, business aviation continues to grow, a B-52 takes a 1,400-mile journey over the road, an F-35C crashes, and Qatar Airways goes after some employees.

Guest

Tom Turner, Executive Director of the aircraft type club American Bonanza Society’s Air Safety Foundation.
Tom Turner

Thomas P. Turner is Executive Director of the Air Safety Foundation, part of the aircraft type club American Bonanza Society (ABS). He also publishes the popular FLYING LESSONS Weekly blog and writes, lectures, and instructs from his home in Wichita, Kansas, the “Air Capital of the World.”

The ABS Air Safety Foundation is the education and technical support arm of the Beech Bonanza type club. It offers its 10,000 members the opportunity to communicate and share information. Tom describes the training products and services offered to pilots, mechanics, and flight instructors. That includes the service clinic program, online training courses, and the monthly webinar open to non-members. In general, aircraft type club members have been shown to have a better safety record.

Logo of the aircraft type club American Bonanza Society.

Tom has logged over 4900 hours, including over 2900 as an instructor. He holds ATP and Flight Instructor certificates with CFII and MEI ratings and a Master’s Degree in Aviation Safety. He was inducted into the Flight Instructor Hall of Fame in 2015, he is also the 2021 Jack Eggspuhler Award recipient from the National Association of Flight Instructors, the 2010 National FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year, and the 2008 FAA Central Region Flight Instructor of the Year.

A three-time Master CFI, Tom has been Lead Instructor for Beech Bonanza pilot training at the Beech factory, turbo normalizer production test pilot, aviation insurance broker and underwriter, corporate flight department manager and safety officer, university aviation course developer, and a Captain in the United States Air Force.

For more type clubs, see the AOPA Aircraft Type Club Listing [PDF].

Aviation News

First Boeing 737 MAX jet lands in Antarctica

Czech carrier Smartwings flew a Boeing 737 MAX 8 into Troll Airfield (AT27) on January 26, 2022. The flight departed from Oslo, Norway, stopped over in Chad, proceeded to Cape Town, South Africa, and continued to Antarctica. The 737 stayed in Antarctica for just two hours before making the return flight. The Airfield opened in 2005 and is owned and operated by the Norwegian Polar Institute. It includes a 3,300 meter (10,830 foot) runway on glacial blue ice.

Wikipedia page: List of airports in Antarctica.

Flying Lessons Weekly for January 27, 2022 [PDF]

Mixed Messages on GA Accident Data: GA accidents and the accident rate have generally trended down, but AOPA Air Safety Institute’s numbers are up in 2019, while the NTSB says accidents are down in 2020, then AOPA said 2021 was the safest year in aviation ever, and then AOPA and the NBAA said an appreciable uptick in general aviation accidents.

Business Aviation Growth At a ‘Record High,’ Report Says

WingX reports that in January, U.S. bizjet traffic was up 26 percent over the previous January, and up 19 percent over January 2019. Most of the growth is from owned and managed aircraft.  seeing the most growth. Internationally, business traffic is up 25 percent compared to January 2021, and 16 percent more than reported in January 2020. WINGX Advance GmbH is a Hamburg-based company, founded in 2012, that provides aviation business and broader aviation market intelligence.

Road trip! Vietnam-era B-52 makes 1,400-mile highway journey for final mission

“Damage Inc. II” is a B-52H Stratofortress built in 1961 and retired to a boneyard in Arizona in 2008. Moved 1,407 miles in 19 days, the aircraft will serve as a mock-up at a Boeing facility near Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma.

Courtesy Tinker AFB @Team_Tinker

F-35 Crash Off Carl Vinson Is the Ship’s 5th Major Mishap in 2 Months

In what’s been called “a landing mishap,” an F-35C Lightning II “impacted the flight deck [of the USS Carl Vinson] during landing” and went into the South China Sea. The pilot safely ejected but seven sailors were injured. This was the first time the F-35C stealth fighter had been deployed aboard a carrier.

The Leaked F-35C Crash Photos Are Genuine, Confirmed the US Navy

The U.S. Navy is working to recover the jet. China’s Foreign Ministry said that China was aware but had no interest in the stealth fighter and added, “We advise [the US] to contribute more to regional peace and stability, rather than flexing force at every turn in [the South China Sea]”.

Video: Video Shows The Last Moments Of The Navy’s F-35C Before It Crashed Into The Sea

Human error, tech glitches and tape caused May 2020 F-22 crash

The Air Force Times previously reported that “the F-22 grew increasingly wobbly upon takeoff, then refused to turn left and barrel-rolled into the ground after the pilot safely ejected.” According to an Air Force investigation, the Florida crash was the result of an improper wash procedure, deficient pre-flight inspection, failure to notify the pilot of a new emergency procedure.

Qatar Airways Subpoenaed Google to Unmask Employees Who Anonymously Criticized Airline Online

Qatar Airways is said to have subpoenaed Google to find the identities of employees who have been critical of the airline. The two anonymous accounts in the Professional Pilots Rumour Network (PPRuNE) had revealed confidential information about the airline – specifically its recruitment and re-joining activities.

Mentioned

EAA Virtual Ultralight Days

State of Flight Training Survey

Thunderbirds Air Show Schedule

Air Force Heritage Flight flyover scheduled to support Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles

Air Force Facebook page

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, David Vanderhoof.

688 A Pilot Wife

The producer of the Pilot Wife Podcast explains navigating life in an aviation family, and the CEO of Northern Pacific Airways talks about the new airline. In the news, an Emirates 777 close call, FAA clears low-visibility landings at 5G airports, FlyersRights sues FAA over seat standards, American Airlines and The Points Guy sue each other, American reduces service, lost money at the airport, a mystery coating on stealth fighters, and a listener report on the aircraft assisting Tonga after the eruption.

Guest

Jackie Ulmer produces the Pilot Wife Podcast which helps aviation families navigate life. She’s been married to an airline pilot for over three decades, so she has more than a little experience living with a commercial pilot.

Pilot Wife Podcast explores the challenges faced by the spouse of a pilot, including understanding airline employee scheduling, living with the realities of a 27/7 business, and how to manage holidays and important life events that often have to come second. Add to that managing the children and overcoming loneliness.

In 2021, others in her online network encouraged Jackie to mentor pilot wives. As a life coach and a business coach, she had the requisite skills, and as the long-time spouse of a pilot she had the life experience. The idea of a podcast came to her and she dove into it, going live in December 2021.

The Pilot Wife Podcast features a variety of guests that offer valuable perspectives for spouses of pilots. In our conversation with Jackie, we learn about some of the issues and how to manage them. She provides the free Pilot Wife Checklist – 7 Keys to To a Fabulous Pilot Wife Life as a useful resource.

On the Pilot Wife Podcast website, you’ll find the Checklist, Jackie’s blog, and of course the podcast episodes. In addition, she co-runs the Aviation Fitness Facebook group which looks at fitness from a mind-body-spirit perspective. The group is for anyone in aviation, including spouses and partners. Her business site Peak Performance Habits is where you’ll find all of that plus coaching and recipes.

Aviation News

Emirates 777 close call in Dubai returns spotlight to automation over-reliance

Last December, an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER came within 175 feet of the ground in a neighborhood near Dubai International Airport. Emirates says only that the incident is under investigation. Some evidence suggests that an incorrect setting was made in the airplane’s autopilot during the pre-flight.

Majority of US fleets cleared for ‘low-visibility landings’ at airports with 5G: FAA

Last week, the FAA said that almost two-thirds of U.S. commercial fleets have been cleared “to perform low-visibility landings at airports” where 5G wireless service has been deployed. Among the aircraft models that have been cleared by the FAA are Airbus A300, A310, A319, A320, A330, A340, A350, and A380 models and Boeing 717, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, and MD-10/-11 models.

FAA Warns 787s Especially Susceptible To 5G

Missing from the above list is the Boeing 787. The FAA issued an AD for the Boeing 787 saying that 5G interference with its radar altimeter could affect other systems. These “could prevent engine and braking systems from transitioning to landing mode, which could prevent an aircraft from stopping on the runway” under certain circumstances. 

FlyersRights sues FA for failure to establish minimum seat standards mandated by Congress more than three years ago

The FAA had a statutory deadline more than two years ago to issue minimum airline seat size standards. So far, the FAA hasn’t even started the rulemaking process. So FlyersRights.org has filed a court petition that seeks to order the FAA to issue the standards. FlyersRights claims to be the largest airline passenger non-profit organization with over 60,000 members.

AA and The Points Guy are suing Each Other

American Airlines has been taking action against websites that use AAdvantage member data, such as tracking frequent flier program balances. One way these sites get the member data is through a process called “screen scraping” where members provide their login credentials to the site, which then logs in as the customer and reads the data off the screen. American says this method violates their terms of service and additionally that The Points Guy has been using airline trademarks and copyrighted material.

American Flight Attendants Want Service Reductions

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), representing American Airlines’ flight attendants, wants a temporary reduction of onboard service levels and customer touchpoints. This is intended to “maintain the highest level of flight attendant and passenger safety.” As of January 26, 2022, American will be making a number of service reductions.

Man Loses €33,600 at Dubai International Airport But Is Reunited With His Money On His Return Flight

A passenger traveling from Germany to Thailand via Dubai International Airport found at his destination that he’d lost a small bag containing €33,600 (approx US$38,000) in bank notes. Fearing the worst, the man thought his money was gone for good. But he was to learn that the bag and its contents were found and ultimately reunited with him.

F-35 And F-117 Spotted Flying With Mysterious Mirror-Like Skin

The U.S. Air Force has been testing some kind of coating on stealthy aircraft. It looks metallic, but depending on the viewing angle it looks either shiny or matte. Seen before on the F-22 and the Scaled Composites Model 401, it’s been spotted now on the F-35C and the F-117 Nighthawk.

Aviation after the Tonga disaster

A report from listener Errol Cavit looks at the impact on commercial aviation and the aircraft involved in relief operations in Tonga.

Northern Pacific Airways

Brian Coleman talked with Northern Pacific Airways CEO Rob McKinney at the hangar event where the airline revealed its livery on its first Boeing 757-200. The new long-haul airline plans to serve cities in the states of New York, Florida, California, Texas, and Nevada, with direct flights to cities in Japan and Korea through Anchorage over the Northern route. Operations are planned to start in 2022.

Northern Pacific Airways B757.

Northern Pacific Airways

Update March 6, 2022: Our guest in Episode 694 (published March 9, 2022) is Edmond Huot. His team designed the Northern Pacific livery and you might want to give that fascinating interview a listen. Also, a video of the livery reveal is now available:

Video: Northern Pacific Airways Reveal

Mentioned

Somatogravic Illusion

Innovations in Flight Outdoor Aviation Display is scheduled for Saturday, June 18, 2022, at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Free tickets are required, parking is $15, and registration will launch soon.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, David Vanderhoof, and Max Trescott. With contributions from Brian Coleman and Errol Cavit.

687 Airline Customer Service

An airline customer service story and a conversation with Brett Snyder, the Cranky Flier. In the news, the EPA is preparing a leaded aviation fuel proposal, a next-generation lav, restraints for infant safety inflight, Ryanair’s Learjets, the West Coast ground stop, lasers on aircraft, a TFR bust that involved an F-15C.

Brian Coleman and our Main(e) Man Micah discuss Brian’s airline customer service experience. He purchased a Premium Plus ticket, but the flight he took didn’t offer that class and the airline didn’t want to refund him the difference in the ticket price.

Separately, Brian had the opportunity to speak with Brett Snyder, the Cranky Flier, and get us caught up with all things Cranky.

Aviation News

EPA to Evaluate Whether Lead Emissions from Piston-Engine Aircraft Endanger Human Health and Welfare

EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan says, “EPA has been investigating the air quality impact of lead emissions from piston-engine aircraft near airports for years, and now we’re going to apply that information to determine whether this pollution endangers human health and welfare.” The EPA plans to issue a proposal for public review and comment in 2022. After evaluating comments on the proposal, the Agency plans to issue a final finding in 2023.

More information can be found at Petitions and EPA Response Memorandums related to Lead Emissions from Aircraft.

Boeing selects Collins Aerospace as next-generation lavatory supplier for the 737

There is a “next-generation” of lavatories for the 737 family of aircraft, and it’s coming from Raytheon Technologies’ Collins Aerospace. The new lavatory is customizable and modular. A touchless faucet comes standard, with other touchless amenities optional. A “centralized computing system to optimize the passenger experience, improve airline operability and help pave the way for future technology integration.” The lav is expected to be available on new 737 airplanes beginning in 2025.

Avelo looks to boost infant safety with Baby B’air

Unrestrained babies in flight is a serious safety issue and hazard and the NTSB has called for action for years. Avelo is now petitioning the Federal Aviation Administration for permission to use the Baby B’Air Flight Vest to restrain infants inflight.

The Story Of Ryanair’s 3 Learjets

Ryanair has a huge 737 fleet, about 450 in service along with 39 A320 aircraft operated by Lauda Europe. But they also lease three Learjet 45s to transport maintenance crew and parts.

What Caused The FAA To Issue A Brief Ground Stop On Monday?

The FAA issued a ground stop for all U.S. West Coast Flights that lasted 15 minutes. This was at the same time that North Korea was testing a long-range ballistic missile.

FAA statement on West Coast ground stop for some airports

FedEx Express Seeking Permission to Install Missile Downing Lasers to Some of its Aircraft

The FAA has received a proposal from FedEx Express to install a missile defense system on some of its aircraft.  When detected, heat-seeking missiles would be intercepted by infrared lasers to throw them off course.

Passengers Behaving Badly

2021 was the worst year on record for unruly airplane passengers in the US, FAA data confirms

Miami-Bound Passenger Storms Cockpit in Honduras, Causing Flight Delay

Three Long Island Women Indicted for Assaulting a Delta Airlines Security Officer at JFK Airport

Mentioned

Same model, different scales at the American Helicopter Museum:

David’s photos from a TFR bust and an F-15C orbiting the airfield.

Aviation News Talk 216: Learjet Crash update, PIREPS made simple with Virga App + GA News.

James GoPro Aviation YouTube Channel.

Wizz Air urges EU to keep ‘use it or lose it’ airport slot rule

Airlines square off with the EU and one another over ‘ghost flight’ controversy

US expected to be short 12,000 pilots by next year

Delta Drops Degree Requirement For Pilots

NASA may need more astronauts for space station, moon missions, report says

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott