AirplaneGeeks 358 Just an Episode

Hawker Hind

DOJ investigating airlines for collusion, United plans biofuel flights, future jet engine tech from Rolls-Royce, Solar Impulse makes it to Hawaii, a report from the Shuttleworth Collection air show, looking back on McNerney and ahead to AirVenture Oshkosh.


Justice Dept. investigating potential airline price collusion

Government faces burden in proving airline collusion

The United States Justice Department is investigating a number of airlines to determine if they illegally colluded to keep airfares high. The Justice Department confirmed the investigation, but would not name the airlines. However, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, and United Airlines each said they were being investigated.

United Airlines to test biofuel on L.A. to San Francisco route

This Airline Just Invested Millions Into Turning Garbage Into Jet Fuel

This summer, United plans to use biofuel on a regular scheduled route. The biofuel will be “generated from farm waste and oils derived [from] animal fats.” Four to five flights per day will use a 30 percent biofuel mix.

United Airlines has invested $30 million in California-based biofuel company Fulcrum BioEnergy. The strategic partnership includes an agreement that contemplates the joint development of up to five projects located near United’s hubs. These projects expect to produce as much as 180 million gallons of biofuel per year, with United agreeing to buy up to half that amount.

Rolls-Royce Details Advance And UltraFan Test Plan

Rolls-Royce UltraFan

UltraFan courtesy Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce previously made public its strategic plan for developing new jet engines. Now we have more details.

First, the “Advance” engine with a bypass ratio of more than 11:1, a pressure ratio more than 60:1, fuel-burn at least 20% better than the current Trent 700, a composite-titanium fan, and a composite fan casing. EIS around 2020.

Second, the “UltraFan” engine with 25% better fuel-burn than the Trent 700, a gear-driven variable-pitch fan, a 15:1 bypass ratio, and overall pressure ratio of 70:1. EIS around 2025.

Changes for the Advance include reallocating the work contributed by the various compressors and turbines. By lightening the load on the HP spool, RR achieves better efficiency and commonality with the UltraFan core.

With the geared UltraFan, the low pressure turbine is gone and the engine is more like the 2-spool engines P&W and GE produce. Other technologies to be introduced include cooled cooling air (compressor bleed air through a heat exchanger) and blings or bladed rings, an advancement from blisks, or bladed disks.

Ever-Bigger Engines Challenge Conventional Airliner Designs

As fan engine diameter continues to increase, mounting under the wing becomes less practical. Clean sheet airplane designs are gravitating to engines on top of wings, or engines embedded (or partially embedded) in the tail.

Solar Impulse lands in Hawaii, sets record for longest solar-powered flight

The Solar Impulse finally left Japan on June 28 and landed in Hawaii on July 3.

Listener recording

Bristol Boxkite

Bristol Boxkite

Roland attended a rather special airshow at the Shuttleworth Collection museum in Bedfordshire, England. He brings us his impressions, and some great photographs.


Spitfire 944

The producer’s great uncle recorded 90 minutes of personal footage during WW II that he mailed home from the war. The footage was transferred to digital media, then the producer had the thought to find the pilot of a Spitfire that crashed on film. He found the pilot, who had never seen the footage.

What does it take to restore a World War Two Spitfire?

A rare Mark 1 Spitfire shot down during World War Two was restored and will be sold at Christie’s July 9, 2015. 22,500 Spitfires were originally built, just 56 are still airworthy, and most of these are later versions of the aircraft. There are only four Mark 1s still flying.

New Lavi trainer better prepares IAF cadets for Hezbollah, Iran

What do you do when the wheel from a jet lands on your roof?

Crash Test Assesses Plane Emergency Locator Transmitters

Old F-16 vs. next-generation F-35: Guess who wins?

Why The “F-35 v F-16″ Article Is Garbage

McNerney lifted Boeing above turbulence


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


AirplaneGeeks 357 Einar Enevoldson and the Perlan Project


Perlan Project

Perlan Project aims to soar to 90,000 feet in a glider, a sightseeing crash in Alaska, United buys into Azul Brazilian Airlines, China building airport infrastructure, news media companies start drone testing, OneGo to offer flights for a fixed monthly fee, and Solar Impulse leaves Japan.


Einar Enevoldson is a lifelong glider pilot and a former NASA test pilot.

In 1992, Einar first envisioned the Perlan Project when a LIDAR image was shown of a stratospheric mountain wave at 75,000 feet above Northern Scandinavia. Einar believed that these mountain waves could be used to fly a sailplane to great heights.

The Perlan Project is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit aeronautical exploration and atmospheric science research organization that utilizes sailplanes (gliders) designed to fly at extremely high altitudes.

Einar and Steve Fossett proved their concept when they set a world altitude record for gliders of 50,671 feet on August 30, 2006. They flew the Perlan I, a modified DG505M, in stratospheric mountain waves generated by the Polar Vortex over el Calafate, Argentina.

In July 2014, Airbus Group became the partner and title sponsor of Airbus Perlan Mission II.

Sometime in 2015/16 the Airbus Perlan Mission II intends to set new altitude records by flying a purpose-built pressurized high-altitude glider higher than any other manned wing borne aircraft has ever flown in sustained flight using stratospheric mountain waves and the polar vortex. Perlan Project intends to use the Airbus Perlan Mission II to expand their educational programmes by creating more partnerships and forming an international education committee.



Einar’s military service includes test pilot on the Hunter, Lightning, and Javelin British fighter aircraft from 1966 to 1967. Following that, Einar was a NASA research pilot at the Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards, California. Among the many planes he flew for NASA were the YF-12A (Interceptor version of the SR-71), the oblique wing AD-1, the Controlled Deep Stall Sailplane, and the X-24B Lifting Body. He was twice awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal.




Eight Holland America Guests Die in Alaska “Flightseeing” Accident

Eight passengers and the pilot died when their “flightseeing” DeHavilland DHC-3T Turbine Otter crashed into a rock face about 20 from Ketchikan, Alaska. The floatplane was providing a tour for passengers from Holland America Line’s MS Westerdam cruise ship. The wreckage is on a 60 degree slope at the base of a mountainside cliff.

Azul by Paul Flimer

Azul by Paul Flimer

United Airlines to pay $100 mln for Azul stake, for foothold in Brazil

Azul Brazilian Airlines is the third largest airline in Brazil, and was founded in 2008 by Brazilian-born David Neeleman, who also founded JetBlue Airways. Neeleman is Azul’s chief executive. United would gain access to Brazilian cities. Azul gets investment money where they have been unable to offer an initial public offering due to Brazil’s poor economy.

China’s aviation boom drives airport building frenzy

More than 60 inland airports in China are expanding, and another 30 new regional airports are  being built. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), says more than $80 billion will be invested in aviation projects this year alone. Driving this are business travel and outbound tourism.

News Coalition Launches Hands-On Drone Testing Program with Virginia Tech

Fifteen news media companies launched research testing of sUAS for news gathering in partnership with Virginia Tech, one of the six FAA UAS test sites. Flight tests will include a series of scenarios to simulate news gathering with small UAVs.

OneGo Will Offer Unlimited West Coast Flights For $1,500 A Month

Startup OneGo wants to offer this service to small and medium businesses where team members have to do a lot of travel. In exchange for the fixed monthly fee, travelers will get unlimited economy class direct flights on major airlines like American, Delta, United and Virgin America, as well as Gogo WiFi membership, and enrollment in TSA Pre for faster security screenings.

Solar Impulse Crossing The Pacific

Solar Impulse 2 finally launched from Nagoya, Japan, en route to Hawaii. The flight is expected to take five days.

The Australia News Desk

Grant’s holding together with cold and flu medicine long enough to get an AusDesk recorded with Steve covering:


  • Flight Threats – An iOS app designed as a situational awareness improvement tool for pilots.

Patrick Wiggins 50th anniversary jump

Courtesy of Skydive Utah: NASA Ambassador Patrick Wiggins, 66, is no stranger to the sky with about 760 jumps under his belt as he logs another while stepping out of a Skydive Utah plane near Tooele. On Friday the education assistant at the University of Utah donned his original 1965 “antique parachute” and gear to mark the 50th anniversary of his first jump while joining friends at Skydive Utah, at the Tooele Valley Airport in Erda.


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


AirplaneGeeks 356 A Forum for Professional Pilots

Gulfstream G450

Conversation with founder Mark Matzuka, a close call at Midway, privatization of air traffic control, and observations on the Paris Air Show.


Mark Matzuka is Founder and President of, an online forum for pilots. As Mark looked at other pilot forums, he found they sometimes lacked accountability and didn’t have the level of professionalism he was after. Anybody could join those forums and offer advice and comments, but sometimes it wasn’t clear if these people were qualified, or even who they really were.

Mark responded by creating, a paid membership site that he calls, “The Premier Information Exchange and Networking Resource for Professional Pilots.” Registered members are vetted. Because the site is funded through membership fees, the forum does not rely on advertisers. Over 100 forums and subforums provide plenty of opportunities for the over 14,500 member pilots to exchange information and network. An associate membership is available for qualified professionals who are not pilots.

Mark has been flying for 27 years, 22 in business aviation with more than 13,000 flight hours, 10,000 of those in jets. He started his flying career in Chicago where he spent 20 years working as a flight instructor, charter and corporate pilot, and eventually became chief pilot. He now lives in Southern California as the chief pilot and aviation manager on a Gulfstream G450.


NTSB expected to investigate close call at Midway

A Southwest Airlines plane and a Delta Air Lines plane with similar sounding flight numbers simultaneously initiated takeoff rolls on intersecting runways.

Shuster Meets With NATA Members Over ATC Reform

Congressman proposes privatizing air traffic control

U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman Bill Shuster plans to introduce a bill to create an independent ATC corporation funded by user fees.

Boeing leads firm orders, but Airbus beats in total numbers

Paris Airshow racks up $107 billion in Airbus and Boeing total orders and commitments, 421 aircraft for Airbus, 331 aircraft for Boeing.


G450 post photo courtesy Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation. Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at

AirplaneGeeks 355 Innovations in Flight Family Day 2015

NASM Innovations in Flight Family Day and Outdoor Aviation Display

Interviews from the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum’s Innovations in Flight Family Day and Outdoor Aviation Display.

Micah, Brian, Max, and David

Airplane Geeks Micah, Brian, Max, and David set up recording gear in front of the Junkers Ju-52 3M trimotor, and spent the day interviewing interesting Avgeeks.


Elizabeth Borja

Elizabeth Borja

Elizabeth is Reference Coordinator for the National Air & Space Museum Archives. She tells us about the huge quantity of historic data is available in the Archives, and how it is used.

Hungarian baseball team

Hungarian baseball team

Peter Duro

A baseball team from Hungary attended the Innovations in Flight event, and stopped by to visit the Airplane Geeks.

Roger Connor

Roger Connor is Curator for Vertical Flight at the National Air & Space Museum and he tells us about some of the exciting new exhibits that are coming. August 1, 2015, a CH56 in Viet Nam configuration will fly in to join the displays. This public event will include an Osprey and both will be available for walkthrough.

In the Fall, the Sikorsky X-2 prototype will arrive, and an HH-52 joins the Museum next April.

Hillel Glazer

Aerospace engineer and faithful listener Hillel Glazer stopped by with some of his children. Hillel attended the recent AOPA homecoming fly-in and tells us about that, as well as a recent flight in instrument conditions that was a “learning experience.” Son Jacob takes the mic as well.

Dave Klain Mitsubishi MU-2B-60

Dave Klain

Dave Klain and daughter Lauren flew his Mitsubishi MU-2B-60 twin turboprop in for the event. Dave listens to Airplane Geeks and also flies wounded warriors for Veteran’s Airlift Command.

Gen. J.R. “Jack” Dailey, USMC (Ret.)

Jack Dailey is the John and Adrienne Mars Director of the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum. He oversees the operation of both National Air and Space Museum locations — the Museum in Washington, DC and the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.


Additional interviews with Roger Connor on unmanned aircraft, and Princess Aliyah Pandolfi on the Kashmir World Foundation will appear in future episodes of The UAV Digest.


Thanks to all our friends who joined us for dinner after the Innovations in Flight event: John Leech, Rick Engber, Hillel Glazer (and Jacob, Alexander, and Sarah), Stephanie Plummer, Miami Rick, Capt. Jeff, Fred Samson, Ken Coburn and Greg Garretson from GoEngineer, Peter and Mai, as well as our “roadies” Lisa Leard and Michelle Vanderhoof.

Fun for kids


Columbia at NASM


United 767 at NASM


Post photos by @DroneMama and @MaxFlight.
Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at

AirplaneGeeks 354 Controlling the Airport Conversation

Chino Airport

Chino Airport Community Ambassador Bob Velker, an alternative to radar, smaller airline carry-on bags, an update on the A400M crash, shooting wildlife from a plane, and two airlines make a top 10 list that you don’t want to be on.


Bob Velker is Business Liaison & Community Outreach Manager, Chino Airport (CNO), County of San Bernardino – Department of Airports.

We talk with Bob about his role as the “community ambassador” for Chino Airport, one of the country’s largest general aviation airports and located in the County of San Bernardino, close to Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside counties in Southern California.

His primary task is to dispel the notion that Chino Airport is a “gated community filled with rich boys and their toys.” More precisely, that Chino is a small business park with runways, made up of dozens of businesses, employing hundreds of people, and pouring millions of dollars into the local economy.

Bob tells us how he builds synergy for all the airport stakeholders: the developers, the community, the Planes of Fame Air Museum, area businesses, and the airport itself. He creates education and awareness programs that engage the community with the airport and help them see the important role the airport plays in the local economy.

Chino Airshow

We also talk about the Planes of Fame Airshow and the notion of an “aerotropolis,” where an airport is in the center of a city which then grows around it, connecting workers, suppliers, executives, and goods to the global marketplace. Bob gives us a great example of how an airport can work with drone flyers for their mutual benefit.

Bob has been in-and-around Chino Airport for 18 years. He’s also a pilot, a businessman, a strategic planner, and a management consultant, plus, he says, a recovering engineer.

Reporting directly to the county’s Director of Airports, Bob’s role also requires a close working relationship with local governments, elected officials, chambers of commerce, community service organizations, local school districts and colleges, pilot’s groups, and high-profile businesses in and around the airport.

Bob is responsible for creating and maintaining the airport’s social media platform. Their website is, and you can find them on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. The History of Chino Airport (formerly Cal Aero Field) is a video worth watching.


Television signals a possible alternative to radar

NATS, in conjunction with Thales ATM UK and Roke Manor, have been testing a system that uses standard TV signals to detect and direct aircraft.

Get ready for smaller airline carry-on bags

At its annual meeting, IATA (The International Air Transport Association) proposed the Cabin OK program to try and standardize the size of cabin bags allowed by airlines.

On its webpage, IATA says, “…the current variety of policies among airlines can lead to frustration for passengers. Bags that do not correspond to the allowance are regularly checked in at the gate, which adds inconvenience for the traveller, slows down the boarding process, increases airline costs and occasionally delays flights.”

The bag size proposed by IATA is a little smaller than the standard size used by most U.S. carriers, including Delta, United, American, and Southwest.

Vital engine software files accidentally wiped, linked to fatal A400M plane crash

On May 9, an Airbus A400M crashed near Spain’s Seville Airport. Four of six crew members were killed. A BBC source says investigators believe that when software was installed, the torque calibration parameters had accidentally been deleted, causing the ECU’s to fail to operate properly.

Ranchers mourn wildlife employees killed in plane crash

The pilot and a gunner were killed while attempting to shoot a coyote in northeastern New Mexico as part of the Wildlife Services program under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

According to the USDA, Wildlife Services resolves “wildlife conflicts to allow people and wildlife to coexist.” The Predator Defense organization takes a dim view of the USDA methodology, but nonetheless the Wildlife Services use of aerial gunning has led to a number of accidents and deaths.

10 Companies That Act Like They Hate Their Customers

The list of major corporations with terrible customer service includes cable companies, telecommunications companies, banks, insurance companies, and (no surprise) two U.S. airlines.

The Australia News Desk

In order to prevent a Rob Mark moment on the Oz Desk, Grant has to pass Steve’s Breathalyzer test before he can join in reporting on:

  • Qantas and American teaming up on the SYD-LAX route allowing Qantas to redeploy some 747-400s to the SYD-SFO route
  • Alan Joyce joins the chorus of howls against the government’s proposed northern cabotage reductions.

The Aviation Minute

Rob Mark has been watching the growth of commercial and hobby drone use, and provides his thoughts on some of the technology being employed.



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

AirplaneGeeks 353 Passionate Aviators on TV

The Aviators

Anthony Nalli from The Aviators, a Sonex crash takes two lives, United spurns the A380, EPA to announce aviation emissions regulations, EasyJet using drones for aircraft inspections, and JetBlue does the right thing for autism.


Anthony Nalli is Executive Producer and Director of The Aviators, an independently produced television series with 5 seasons completed so far. Anthony is an instrument rated pilot and published writer with a passion for aviation. As the show’s “everyman” Anthony does things most weekend pilots can relate to.

Anthony first appeared as our guest on Episode 242.

We talk with Anthony about growth in viewership, some of the people featured in past episodes, and the new Air Boss program that provides an inside view of that very demanding job.

The Aviators airs on most PBS stations across the United States, it’s on in Canada on Travel+Escape, and on Discovery Channel in many countries. You can also find episodes on iTunes, Hulu, and Amazon. Visit The Aviators website, find them on IMDB, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.


Sonex aviation CEO, mechanic die in Oshkosh crash

Some sad news. Jeremy Monnett, the CEO of Sonex Aircraft, and Michael Clark, a Sonex assembly mechanic, were killed when their plane crashed near Wittman Regional Airport. Jeremy Monnett was 40 and Michael Clark was 20. Jeremy was our guest on Airplane Geeks Episode 65, in 2009. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.

United Airlines does not see a fit for Airbus A380

United Continental Holdings has confirmed that they have been talking with Airbus about the A380, but the plane just doesn’t work for them. The A380 trip cost is more than using Boeing 787’s.

Commercial airlines industry mixed on imminent emission regulations

According to “unnamed” sources, the Environmental Protection Agency will soon announce carbon emission standards for commercial aviation. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta says, “This is something that we have been working with EPA on. It’s going to be a long-term process really to bring aviation into compliance with a lot of policy level initiatives taking place globally. What we want to make sure is that anything EPA does, they understand the technical ‎situation in the aviation industry and what is within the realm of possible.”

For more background, look into the ICAO Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection, which addresses Aircraft Engine Emissions.

EasyJet tests UAV with A320 inspection

UK company Blue Bear Systems is working with EasyJet to use the Remote Intelligent Survey Equipment for Radiation (RISER) quadrotor UAV for aircraft inspection. The RISER was originally designed for gamma radiation inspection. A two-laser infrared system keep the RISER 1m away from the aircraft it is inspecting. RISER has a number of sensors (electro-optical, light detection, and ranging) which can locate damage caused by lightning strikes. The Riser area of operation can be geofenced.

The Australia News Desk

It’s the Queen’s Birthday long weekend here in Australia and while the boys didn’t get any recognition from Her Majesty, some of their friends and guests of Plane Crazy Down Under did as Chris Sperou and Dave Jacka both get Order of Australia Medals and Dick Smith gets upgraded to Companion of the Order of Australia:

Meanwhile, Qantas is saying it can restore its investment grade credit rating AND get the new 787-9s it has on order.

The Air Traffic Controller union in Australia is less than enthused with CASA’s decision to allow non-ATC people provide Unicom services.



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

AirplaneGeeks 352 Jennifer Rodi, NTSB Air Safety Investigator

The A400M military airlifter on display at the 2014 ILA Berlin Air Show.

Conversation with an NTSB investigator, the A400M accident, pilots and controllers texting, US majors react to Middle East expansion, ceramic matrix material from GE, F-35B trials, Malaysia Airlines tries to recover.


Jennifer Rodi is a senior air safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board in the Central Region. She served as the Survival Factors Group Chairman for the Lubbock, Texas Empire Airlines accident, the Witness Group Chairman for the Oklahoma City Cessna Citation accident, and has participated in other major investigations, public hearings, special investigation reports, and Board meetings conducted by the NTSB.

NTSB LogoWe talk with Jennifer about a variety of topics, including some of the investigations she’s worked, the role of Group Chairmen in investigations, and how the NTSB supports and learns from investigations in other countries. We discuss survival factors, Board independence and transparency, and primacy in investigations.

Jennifer Rodi currently holds a commercial pilot certificate with single, multiengine, and instrument ratings. She is a certified flight and ground instructor with single, multiengine, and instrument privileges for flight instruction, and advanced and instrument privileges for ground instruction.

Prior to her employment with the Safety Board, Jennifer was a flight instructor and she also worked as a photo-recon pilot and performed aerial surveys of oil and gas lines.

Jennifer has a Bachelor’s of Science in Professional Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, a Master’s of Science in Aeronautical Science with specializations in Human Factors and Systems Safety, also from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, from Capella University.


Airbus A400M plane crash linked to software fault

Airbus Admits ‘Assembly Quality Problem’ After A400M Crash

In looking at the aircraft data logs after the Airbus A400M crash near Seville on May 9, Airbus engineers found some anomalies. The analysis of the flight recorders now shows there were no structural faults, but there was a “serious final assembly quality problem” according to Airbus group’s chief of strategy. The Europrop TP400 turboprop Electronic Control Units (ECU) were poorly installed at final assembly.

Pilots and air traffic controllers can finally stop talking and start texting

Texting from tower to cockpit could speed flights

For two years the FAA has been testing “Data Comm,” a piece of NextGen that lets pilots and ATC text each other. Data Comm rolls this summer, starting with Houston Hobby, Houston Intercontinental and Salt Lake City International airports. The system should be operating at more than 50 air traffic control towers by 2016.

Anti-ME airline claims by US majors grow louder, what if they win?

US airlines have fought expansion in the US by major Middle East carriers. Recently at the National Press Club in Washington, the CEOs of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Continental Holdings made a group appearance to voice their concerns about subsidies and competition.

‘Stubborn’ GE scientist pioneers breakthrough ‘dream material’

A GE researcher developed a ceramic matrix that is resistant to the very high temperatures in jet engines (20% higher than the exotic metal alloys now used), strong like metal, and very light. GE is using the material in the LEAP engine produced through CFM International.

Marine Corps F-35Bs depart USS Wasp after carrier tests

Six US Marine Corps F-35Bs conducted a one-and-a-half-week trial aboard the USS Wasp amphibious assault ship. The trial included 108 test sorties and an F135 engine delivery from a V-22 Osprey. The squadrons involved hope to pass a final operational readiness assessment over a two-week period in July.

Malaysia Airlines’ new CEO is off to a good start but doubts loom about the airline’s future

New Malaysia Airlines CEO Christoph Mueller has the job of salvaging the airline. Previously, he was Chief Executive of Belgian airline Sabena, he restructured Ireland’s Aer Lingus, and led a revamp at Lufthansa.

More on this topic:

Malaysia A380 Decision Deepens Airbus Worries

Malaysia Airlines Restructuring Fleet: Selling A380s

Troubled Malaysia Airlines to be completely revamped: new CEO

Things look grim and brutal for ‘new’ Malaysia Airlines

The Australia News Desk

Can a reduction in cabotage restrictions in the north end lead to sabotage of domestic operations? Everyone outside of the government seems to think so!

Matt Hall comes third in Rovinj after an exciting session on the weekend (audio supplied by the Red Bull Radio Service).

RAAF’s Wedgetail E-7A AEW&C aircraft attains Final Operational Capacity

The first of two new RAAF C17s has been sighted at Longbeach.


Passenger Choice Awards – Created by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX), air-travelers from around the world are invited to rate their recent inflight experiences. The deadline is June 30, 2015.

Solar Impulse – Follow the solar powered around the world flight.

Cyber-Attack Warning: Could Hackers Bring Down a Plane?

FliteTest Podcast 074 Burt Rutan


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

AirplaneGeeks 351 Bits and Pieces XIV

Mary Kirby and the Runway Girl Network, flight sim, the USS Midway, the Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour, Canowindra International Balloon Challenge, military aviation stories, Gareth Stringer and European air shows, the PBY, and the NTSB investigation of USAirways flight 1549.

Interview with Mary Kirby

Mary KirbyMax talks with Mary Kirby, founder of the Runway Girl Network aviation news service where journalists provide informed industry intelligence covering the airline passenger experience. Runway Girl Network also serves as a platform for highlighting the achievements of women in aviation, promotes equality, and celebrates culture, compassion and diversity across the industry.

Visit the Runway Girl Network, follow the #PaxEx hashtag on Twitter, and listen to Mary and Max on the #PaxEx Podcast.

Flight Simulation

Listener Nicolas tells is about the history of flight simulation on home computers and how you can get started with flight sim. As he says, “No sim can give you the true feeling of flight. But for a person like myself who doesn’t qualify for the medical and lacks the funds to take flight lessons, it is a great option. And for most of us, flight sim gives us the very unique opportunity to fly a jet. Something that only a lucky few can do in the real world.”

You can watch Nicnacjak live playing Microsoft Flight Simulator X on Twitch.

USS Midway

USS Midway

Brian Coleman visits the USS Midway Museum in San Diego, California and provides his report.

USS Midway


Canowindra International Balloon Challenge

Grant McHerron from the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast talks about the Canowindra InternationalCanowindra Balloon Balloon Challenge, including how balloons can be steered, the tasks used to challenge pilots, and how competitions are run.

Learn more about hot air balloon events and typical tasks at Ultramagic Balloons.

Military Aviation Reminisces

Rob Mark tells some stories from his military aviation past.

Across the Pond

Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron Mig-15

Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron Mig-15

Pieter Johnson returns to talk with fellow Xtended co-host and Executive Editor of Global Aviation Resource Gareth Stringer about the latest articles on GAR, including the 75th Anniversary of The Battle of Britain and the summer airshows.

Pieter provided an addendum: A decision has been made and this is definitely the last year we will the Vulcan XH558 fly: Important announcement on the 2015 season.

29(R) Squadron Eurofighter Typhoon

29(R) Squadron Eurofighter Typhoon wears the No. 249 Squadron markings of the Hawker Hurricane flown by Wing Commander Eric James Brindley Nicolson VC DFC. Photo © Gary Parsons

My Favorite Airplane

PBY Micah and Tim

Listener Micah tells us about his favorite, the PBY.


Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour

Brian Coleman visits the Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour and brings us his report.

NTSB investigation of USAirways flight 1549

Listener Carl Klaiber describes one interesting aspect of the NTSB investigation of USAirways flight 1549 – the “Miracle on the Hudson.”  It illustrates some of the sophisticated analysis techniques that are at the disposal of the NTSB in doing their investigations.


SMAC091-Nancy Spielberg producer of “Above And Beyond – The Untold True Story”

A great interview by Carl Valeri that adds additional perspective and complements our AirplaneGeeks 348, Flying Above and Beyond with Harold Livingston.

Aviation Careers Podcast 83

Aerospace Scholarships – There Is Money Out There For You! Aerospace Scholarships 2015 is available as an e-book.

Innovations in Flight Family Day and Outdoor Aviation Display

#InFlight15 is the hashtag for this June 20, 2015 event. See you there!

Lightweight Membrane Can Significantly Reduce In-Flight Aircraft Noise

Iconic British War Planes video 


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


AirplaneGeeks 350 Burt Rutan Is At It Again

Filming Burt Rutan

Antenna Films documents Burt Rutan as he builds the SkiGull, FBI investigates alleged IFE hacker, United Airlines offers bug bounty program, autistic child removed from flight, passenger prevented from making emergency call, and crowdfunding a startup airline.


Scott B and Sandy Guthrie are the Executive Producers and Co-Creative Directors of Antenna Films, which is producing the documentary film Looking Up, Way Up! The Burt Rutan Story. They are following Burt as he designs and builds the SkiGull plane which he intends to fly around the world in a “Walter Mitty flight” that avoids airports. Scott and Sandy tell us about the SkiGull and the film, but also give us some insights into Burt Rutan, the man.

The team used Kickstarter to jumpstart the documentary since Burt is moving ahead quickly, but they intend to build a sustainable community around this project. Visit the documentary website at and the project Facebook page.

Scott and Sandy have been making films for more than 20 years and formed Antenna Films in 2000 to tell compelling stories. Their work has appeared on National Geographic, Discovery, A&E, Lifetime and Sundance TV. Antenna produced the award winning Virgin Galactic series following the development of the world’s first spaceline. Other credits include the first one-hour episode of Virgin Galactic: Will it Fly for National Geographic, and the Peabody Award and Cine Golden Eagle Award-winning specials Black Sky: The Race for Space and  Winning the X-Prize on Discovery.


FBI Investigating Claim Computer Expert Hacked Plane In-Flight

Computer security expert Chris Roberts has told investigators that he hacked into the IFE system through boxes under the seats 15 to 20 times. He says he even “caused one of the airplane engines to climb resulting in a lateral or sideways movement of the plane.”

Law enforcement is investigating and says the electronics box under the seat shows signs of tampering. But they also say “there is no credible information to suggest an airplane’s flight control system can be accessed or manipulated from its in-flight entertainment system.”

United Airlines bug bounty program

White hat hackers are invited to probe for bugs that affect United “websites, apps and/or online portals” in exchange for up to one million award miles.

An autistic girl’s entire family was kicked off a plane because she wanted a First Class meal

Woman Claims She and Daughter With Autism Were Kicked Off United Airlines Flight

A Range of Reactions to Airline’s Removal of Autistic Child

A United Airlines pilot diverted a Portland flight to Salt Lake City to remove a family with an autistic 15 year old daughter. The situation developed after the girl required a hot meal. Was she disruptive? Some say no.

Woman told she couldn’t call suicidal husband during flight

A woman on a Southwest Airlines flight received a text from her husband that read, “Karen, please forgive me for what I am about to do, I am going to kill myself.” The cabin crew would not allow the call. Upon arrival at the gate, the woman called the police, but it was too late.

Struggling start-up airline turns to crowdfunding for cash

Avatar Airlines claims it’s “poised to revolutionize the airline industry as ‘the ultra-low fare’ leader with no baggage fees (up to two) and fares as low as $19” on 581-seat Boeing 747-400 aircraft. Avatar has started a crowdfunding campaign.

The Australia News Desk

The boys are back with the sad news that the “Wings Over Illawarra” show had to be cancelled due to terrible weather.

Deciding to go with military stories, the Desk opens with the news that two RAAF KC30As made multiple boom contacts off the coast of Brisbane recently. Although no gas was passed (that’s going to happen soon) it verifies that the boom is finally all but working!

Next they report that SQNLDR Andrew “Jacko” Jackson has flown the first RAAF F35. He became the first Australian to fly an F35 last month but now he’s at Luke AFB and flying A35-001 (our first RAAF F35). Apparently the kangaroo painted on the side makes all the difference!

Matt Hall took 2nd place at the Chiba (Japan) leg of the Red Bull Air Race. He’s also looking for a major “name the team” sponsor.




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


AirplaneGeeks 349 John Montgomery and his Quest for Flight

John J. Montgomery readying to launch the The Evergreen glider from a track

The history of an early aviation pioneer, update on hidden city ticketing lawsuit, Jetblue starting flights to Havana, jet engine big data, a possible narrowbody future for Rolls Royce, Leap-1B begins flight testing, and the Airbus A400M crash.


Craig Harwood is a professional Engineering Geologist and as a hobby he enjoys researching and writing about history.

His book Quest for Flight draws out of obscurity and documents the fascinating backstories in the conquest of the skies. The work and influence of American aviation pioneer John J. Montgomery serves as a framework for understanding the western contributions in the quest for flight in America.

Montgomery was a scientific inventor in the late 1800’s who observed and tried to mimic bird flight. His research caused him to turn to soaring birds for inspiration and he demonstrated controlled flight with his manned gliders.

We talk about societal attitudes toward flying at the time, the different motivations of early pioneers, and the roles of women in early aviation. We also discuss how the stories of others were overshadowed by the Wrights, who actively worked to protect their position as the originators of manned flight.

John J. Montgomery aloft in The Evergreen

Quest for Flight: John J. Montgomery and the Dawn of Aviation in the West is available from publisher The University of Oklahoma Press and You can contact Craig Harwood via email.

The 1946 movie Gallant Journey starred Glenn Ford as John J. Montgomery.


Judge throws out United Airlines lawsuit against 22-year-old

Orbitz and hidden-city ticketing site Skiplagged agree to settlement

A Chicago judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by United Airlines against a 22-year-old. Last November United Airlines and Orbitz filed a civil lawsuit in against Aktarer Zaman who created  That site helps people with the “hidden city ticketing” strategy for low cost airfare. United and Orbitz claimed that Skiplagged provided “unfair competition” and promoted “strictly prohibited” travel.

The suit was filed in the Northern District Court of Illinois, but the judge in Chicago has now ruled that court has no jurisdiction because Zaman didn’t live or do business in that city.

JetBlue will start a weekly flight from JFK to Havana every Friday, starting July 3

Travelers should make arrangements directly with Cuba Travel Services for these flights operated by JetBlue.

Big Data in Planes: New P&W GTF Engine Telemetry to Generate 10GB/S

The Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan jet engine has over 5000 sensors, creating 10 Gigabytes/second of data per engine, or 2.04 Terebits/second for a twin engine airplane. P&W estimates data streaming will reach 12 Petabytes each year and they have partnered with IBM to create the data center capacity.

Rolls Royce Sees United Technologies as Possible Jet Engine Partner

Rolls Royce, Pratt & Whitney and some other partners teamed up to form International Aero Engines in 1983 to produce the V2500 engine for the Airbus A320 family and McDonnell Douglas MD-90. In 2011, P&W bought out Rolls Royce, which effectively removed RR from the narrowbody market. Now the departing CEO of Rolls-Royce said P&W parent company United Technologies Corporation is an “obvious” potential partner.

Leap-1B For 737 MAX Begins Key Flight Tests

Competing with the P&W GTF on the A320 family is the CFM International Leap-1A. The Leap-1B is sole sourced for the B737 MAX. and the Leap-1C variant powers the Comac C919.

Airbus A400M military transporter crashes on test flight, killing four

An Airbus A400M military transport plane crashed outside Seville one mile from the airport, killing four test crew and injuring two others. The aircraft was on its maiden test flight before being delivered to Turkey.

Listener Recording

David Sudworth brings us his story of a perfect flying day in the UK.



John J. Montgomery readying to launch the “The Evergreen” glider from a track, likely near Evergreen CA — photo from the San Diego Air & Space Museum archive

John J. Montgomery aloft in “The Evergreen” — photo from the San Diego Air & Space Museum archive.

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