AirplaneGeeks 373 Airplane Repossession

Airplane Repo

Airplane repossessions, European investigations of possible anticompetitive practices in commercial aviation, United Continental Holdings new CEO in the hospital, the launch customer for the ultra-long-range Airbus A350, the final US Airways flight, and airline growth into Latin America and the Caribbean.


Ken Cage is owner and president of International Recovery & Remarketing Group (IRG).  IRG specializes in services such as investigation, recovery, and remarketing of specialty assets, including aircraft and yachts. Their repossession agents are licensed, bonded, and insured by the State of Florida. Ken joined IRG in 2005, and has been involved in thousands of repossessions and investigations in all 50 states, as well as several foreign countries.

Ken describes the process that initiates an aircraft repossession, how the owner is located, the preparation work required, actually taking the airplane, and how it is sold to recover the note-holder’s investment.

We ask Ken where he finds the pilots to fly the planes away, what their role is, and how they contribute to a safe repo. Ken also describes how the Airplane Repo TV series came about, and how closely it matches the reality of Ken’s professional experiences.

Ken is a licensed repossession agent, private investigator, and yacht broker with over 20 years experience in the banking and collections industry. Ken has experience in skip tracing and investigation in the finance sector.

Ken has been a member of many organizations related to the investigation field including American Society of Industrial Security, the International Society of Healthcare Safety and Security, the National Association of Chiefs of Police, Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA), National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA), and International Association of Marine Investigators (IAMI).

Follow Ken on Twitter at @KenCageRepo and on Facebook at Ken Cage Airplane Repo. See also the Discovery Channel webpage for the TV series Airplane Repo, and the Airplane Repo Fan Club on Facebook.

As an extra surprise, our Main(e) Man Micah joins us this episode as a guest co-host!


Europe Mulls Aircraft-Parts Competition Investigation Amid Airline Complaints

IATA and the European Commission are looking into possible anticompetitive practices in the marketplace for aircraft, engines, spare parts, and maintenance services. IATA says they are looking into the problem. The EC hasn’t launched a formal investigation, but is “closely monitoring competitive conditions as regards maintenance of engines and components of large commercial aircraft.” [Article WSJ paywall]

United CEO suffers heart attack, shares drop even lower

United Continental Holdings Inc’s new CEO Oscar Munoz has suffered a heart attack, just weeks after he took the job.

Singapore Air To Re-Start Non-Stop Singapore-US Flights With New A350 Variant


A350-900ULR Courtesy Airbus

Singapore Airlines has signed an agreement to be the launch customer for the new A350-900ULR, an ultra-long-range variant of the Airbus A350. This will let them resume non-stop flights between Singapore and the United States.

Singapore Airlines has 63 firm/20 option A350-900s on order. They will convert 7 firm and 4 options to the -900ULR, which will have a range of up to 8,700nm. The Airline also has 20 purchase options, four of which will be converted into firm A350-900 orders. This results in 67 firm A350s and 16 options.

Singapore Airlines operated non-stop flights between Singapore and both Los Angeles and New York with A340-500s until 2013, when the airplanes were retired.

Final US Airways Flight Completes Journey, Lands in Philly

An Airbus A321 became the last US Airways branded flight when it landed in Philadelphia. From now on they’re all American Airlines flights. The plane was designated as Flight 1939, named for the airline’s founding year.

U.S. airlines betting big on Latin America, Caribbean flights

Southwest, JetBlue, and Spirit are adding destinations to Latin America and the Caribbean. A strong U.S. dollar makes overseas travel attractive for Americans, and a growing Latin American middle class has more disposable income and looks to travel to the U.S.

The Airplane of the Week

David's desk

David’s desk

David continues his Journey to the Force awakened by discussing the Seinar Fleet Systems TIE Fighter and it’s derivations. It has almost as many variants as a C-130. Almost but not quite.

Across the Pond

RootshootPieter talks to Gary Wilson from Routeshoot, a smartphone and tablet app being utilised for aviation. It is designed to record video and tag GPS coordinates together so that the user can see where and when they were at a location, along with a video record. Pilots are using it for IFR purposes and commercial organisations such as utilities are using it to track their products and equipment filmed and coordinated using helicopters and UAS. Follow them at @RouteShoot.


Spicewood Airport 88R video.

The Deadly Cargo Inside MH370: How Exploding Batteries Explain the Mystery


Post photo: Ken Cage is the guy on the left. The big guy on the right is bounty hunter, MMA fighter, and champion power lifter Danny Thompson.

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

AirplaneGeeks 372 Flying the Seabee

Seabee N713ET

Flying a seaplane, the “right” to airline seat space, stacked passenger seats, a KC-46A Pegasus milestone, an A330 faceplant, U.S. Customs and Border Protection drones in the National Airspace, and The Air League.


Ed and his planesEdgar “E.T.” Tello owns and flys a Seabee, and he is also a United Airlines Captain with experience in DC-8s, B-737, B-747, B-757, B-767, and B-777. He flew T-37s and T-38s at Williams AFB and went on to C-141s at Norton AFB, and T-41s (Cessna 172s) instructing Air Force Academy cadets in Colorado Springs. Currently, Ed and his family live in Long Island Airpark, at Lake Norman, North Carolina (NC26).

Ed tells us how he was impressed by seaplanes at an early age. Years later when he saw his dream at AirVenture Oshkosh, he bought it. Seaplanes offer a unique unique flying experience, with the ability to land on water and pull up to the dock or a boat. Ed brings his Seabee to Oshkosh, Sun ‘n Fun, seaplane splash-ins, and other events.

N713ET on the waterThe Seabee’s high wing at the rear of the cockpit affords great visibility, and the plane is unique in that it can be reversed, but it does have heavy maintenance requirements. Ed tells us about the Seaplane Pilots Association and advocating for the type. Some organizations think flying a seaplane into a lake is dangerous, and the Association takes on the task of making them aware that such flights are actually safer than a lot of other recreational activities taking place on the water.

Ed also tells us about life in a residential airpark, the freedoms it brings, and he offers some advice for people considering moving to an airpark. is a helpful resource.

The Beast at Home

The Beast at home. Does it get any better than this?


Airline space wars are shifting to the human rights front

This article by Chris Elliott asks the question, “Do you have the right to room on a plane?” As Chris points out, most people probably think the answer is “no, you don’t have a right.”

But as we know, seat space (width and legroom) have been shrinking as airlines look to increase profitability by increasing seat density. Now, the consumer groups Travelers United and FlyersRights want to see that change.

Travelers United has lobbied a government advisory committee to address the amount of space given to air travelers. FlyersRights wants minimum seat width and seat pitch regulations for commercial airlines.

Are stacked seats the new plan to pack in airline passengers?

Airbus has a patent application for an interior design where passengers are placed above in a sort of mezzanine. That would allow the upper and lower passengers to fully recline for sleep during flight. Is this a good idea or something crazy?

(Max joins Mary Kirby and John Walton in a discussion of this topic in #PaxEx Podcast Episode 28.)

Pegasus drogue, hose, boom systems deployed

KC-46A Pegasus November 462 Kilo Charlie reached a program milestone when it deployed its boom and wing mounted pods using a hose and drogue. The Boeing tanker will test the ability to successfully pass gas before meeting the requirement for 18 of the aircraft to be operational by August 2017.

Singapore Airlines jet ‘faceplants’ as landing gear retracts

A Singapore Airlines A330-300 undergoing a landing gear check at Changi Airport had its nose gear retract unexpectedly, dropping the airplane to the ground.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems

We play two clips from interview with John Murphy, Jr., Deputy Director, National Air Security Operations for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Air and Marine Operations (AMO). John talks about how CBP operates unmanned aircraft in the National Air Space, and where CBP gets UAV pilots.

The Australia News Desk

Grant is back on deck (and so is Nykolai) but he’s struggling to remember how to do the AusDesk. Not to worry, Steve helps him get back in the groove and the guys report on:

Across the Pond

The Air League

Pieter brings Scott Pendry onto the show to talk about The Air League, a charitable organisation partnering organisations across the sector to help people get into aviation and aerospace. The Air League particularly helps youngsters as well as those who can not normally access aviation to get involved. If you are in the UK and want to get into the sector, you really should be involved with The Air League. They help with scholarships and bursaries too, contributing to the £1m awarded in aviation scholarships over the past decade. Follow The Air League on Twitter and Instagram.


DUDE, WHERE’S YOUR GEAR?! FedEx MD-10-10F N559FE – gear-up on KORD approach into RWY 28 – Rob points out a video that suggests the pilots of a FedEx MD-10 forgot to lower the landing gear, until close to the last minute.

Charles F Blair Jr.Seaplane Terminal Dedication Ceremony [PDF] – August 27, 2013, St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands.

The flying fanatic who helped babies breathe – “Dr Forrest Bird died in August at the age of 96. He was still flying in his 90s and was the oldest helicopter pilot in the world – and he never stopped inventing.”

From listener Matthew:

Probe of 777 engine’s explosive failure pinpoints its origin

The ICON A5 – The Only Stall/Spin Resistant Production Airplane?

Watch an iPad Land an Airplane

Michigan teens building airplane from scratch

Austin to be first U.S. City to receive British Airways’ new 787-9 Dreamliner


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



AirplaneGeeks 371 Kevin Michaels

We talk with Kevin Michaels about United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz and his strategy to repair the airline’s image, radical ideas for air travel, and Southwest Airlines purchase of two gates for $120 million. Also, risks that the airliner order bubble could burst, Bombardier strategy, and the viability of the A380neo.


Dr. Kevin Michaels is Vice President – Aerospace & MRO Practice at ICF International. 

Kevin Michaels

Dr. Kevin Michaels

Kevin began his career as a project engineer with gas turbine OEM Williams International. Since then, Kevin has accumulated more than 25 years of aviation experience, including hundreds of consulting engagements for leading aviation and aerospace companies worldwide.

He is a globally recognized expert in the aerospace manufacturing and maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) sectors. Kevin has significant expertise in business-to-business marketing, customer satisfaction, and strategic planning.

Kevin’s experience spans all major market segments, including air transport, business and general aviation, and military. He was director of Strategic Development with Rockwell Collins Government Systems, and principal with The Canaan Group.

Kevin has a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan; he also has an M.Sc. and a Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics.

Our conversation covers a number of current topics, including:

  • The airline order “super cycle,” the risk that it is a bubble that could burst, and the effects of sinking fuel prices and low cost of capital.
  • The situation at Bombardier, including their balance sheet and strategic problems given the market and actions by Boeing and Airbus.
  • The viability of the A380neo and how the engine manufacturers might look at it,
  • Retirements from the fleet where the aircraft have more value entering the surplus parts market. This has a significant impact on the OEM new parts market.


United’s new CEO acknowledges airline’s failures
United Airlines’ CEO wants to hear from you [VIDEO]

Oscar Munoz appears to be taking a different approach to managing the public image of the airline came from the merger of United Airlines and Continental five years ago. In full page newspaper ads he said, “The journey hasn’t always been smooth” and “We are committed to re-earning your trust.” On the new website.Munoz says:

“Let’s be honest, the implementation of the United and Continental merger has been rocky for customers and employees. While it’s been improving recently, we still haven’t lived up to our promise or our potential.”

See also: Alaska Airlines CEO admits his own airline lost his bag

Inside the Dream Factory – watch amazing footage of a British Airways Dreamliner plane being built in USA

British Airways has taken delivery of its first 787-9 Dreamliner of the 22 planes it has ordered. The -9 is 20 feet longer than the base -8, has a higher maximum take-off weight (MTOW), can seat 280 in a three-class configuration, and has an 8,300 nautical mile range. BA also released a time-lapse video of the aircraft being assembled in Seattle.

Three Ideas That Could Change Air Travel Forever

The Teague design consultancy firm shared with Fast Company some radical concepts for an imaginary future airline called Poppi. Teague asked themselves, “If we started an airline from scratch, what would we do?” At the recent Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) conference their Poppi concept was presented:

  • Ban carry-on luggage.
  • Make middle seats feel exclusive.
  • Encourage Amazon Prime-style memberships.

Southwest Defends $120 Million Payment for 2 Airport Gates

Southwest Airlines paid United Airlines $120 million to sublease two gates at Dallas Love Field. Southwest had already controlled 16 of the 20 gates at Love Field. United and Virgin America controlled two each. Delta Air Lines argues the gates are owned by the city and airlines can’t sell them. All this is being heard by a federal judge.

David Cush, Virgin America

We found this piece after recording the episode. Virgin America CEO David Cush talks about the Love Field gates.

The Airplane of the Week

NASA Super Guppy N941NA

NASA Super Guppy N941NA

David attended the Joint Base Andrews’ open house on September 19th 2015. Last week we brought you David’s interview with Lieutenant Colonel Christine “Grinder” Mau, Deputy Commander for the Operations Group of the 33rd Fighter Wing. Col. Mau was the first woman cleared to fly the F-35A Lightning II, and one of only 52 women fighter pilots in the USAF.

This week we have the interview with David Elliot, the Flight Engineer and Program Manager for the NASA Super Guppy N941NA.  David talks about flying and the planning for missions. A unique aircraft with unique missions.

The Australia News Desk

ATC Ben on the ramp at Karratha, Western Australia

ATC Ben on the ramp at Karratha, Western Australia

Finally back after a bit of a break although Grant has subbed out due to family reasons, being ably replaced by ATC Ben.  Ben tells us about his recent slight change of job, and location, having moved from the world of en-route controller in Melbourne to tower controller in the remote Western Australian town of Karratha.  He tells about the aircraft movement this predominantly mining based town hosts each day, including scheduled airline services through to multiple helicopter flights going out to the oil and gas rigs off the coast.

In the news, the RAAF has used a KC-30A tanker to successfully conduct air to air refuelling sorties with a USAF F-35A in the skies over California recently.  Using the boom system, the Lighting II make 59 contacts, taking on 23,000lbs of fuel in total.  A busy day for all involved.

Ben then talks about his participation in the annual World Flight event, the Australian version of which raises funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.  Ben is a regular participant in this virtual around the world flight, using a fixed based 737 simulator in Hobart, Tasmania.  More details can be found at

Across the Pond

Astronaut Major Tim Peake

Astronaut Major Tim Peake

This week Pieter celebrates #WorldSpaceWeek with an update on the UK Space Agency’s first European Space Agency astronaut Major Tim Peake who will fly to the International Space Station on December 15th 2015. His mission title is Principia and he will be on the space station for up to 6 months. We also get an update on the latest Arianne 5 launch last week from French Guiana.


Make History Fly – Send B-29 “Doc” Through Flight Testing

You can also follow Doc’s Friends progress on their website, Facebook and Twitter.

World-first remote air traffic control system lands in Sweden

My Grandfather And The Plane That Changed Seattle


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


AirplaneGeeks 370 NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System

The NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System, the European Aviation Safety Agency takes issue with pilot license renewal practices in Germany, medical requirements under the Pilot’s Bill of Rights, ICAO creates a site for aircraft tracking, the consequences for air traffic controllers who make mistakes, and the first woman cleared to fly the F-35A Lightning II.


Linda Connell

Linda Connell

Guest Linda Connell is Director of the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System and a Research Psychologist for NASA Ames Research Center. The ASRS collects and acts on voluntarily submitted aviation safety incident/situation reports from pilots, controllers, and others.

Linda has been working at NASA Ames Research Center since 1981, and has participated in a number of studies with domestic and international research teams exploring human factor issues in aviation environments.

A Registered Nurse and member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Linda continues to evaluate proactive aviation safety information on a variety of topics, including pilot/controller voice communication, emergency medical helicopter operations, aviation maintenance, cabin safety, and technology applications in aviation environments.

We talk with Linda about the formation of the ASRS, the process to collect safety data in a way that guarantees immunity, the analysis of the data and how subcontractors are utilized, and the 10 day window. We also discuss the alerts process and how to submit reports.


EU Challenging Germany’s Air Safety Authorities Post Germanwings Crash

The European Aviation Safety Agency says license renewal practices for pilots in Germany favor privacy over safety. Noting that Germany has addressed some of the concerns, the EU says others remain.  If Germany does not comply with the Commission’s demands, it could be taken to court.

Pilot’s Bill Of Rights Changes; One-Time Medicals For Some

The Pilot’s Bill of Rights introduced earlier this year by Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla. was designed to waive the third-class medical for private pilots flying light aircraft. Now the bill has changed to include:

  • An online aeromedical course every two years.
  • Logbook entries that certify the pilot has seen their personal doctors at least once every four years (and received any needed treatment for medical conditions).
  • A one-time medical for new pilots and pilots who haven’t had a medical in the last 10 years.

ICAO starts aircraft tracking information web page

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has created a Global Tracking Initiatives web page to serve as “a repository of documents related to aircraft tracking.” The page presents a timeline of events and documents. Adoption of a 15-minute aircraft tracking Standard is expected at the end of 2015.

Air traffic controllers making major errors remain on job, including at IAH

KPRC-TV in Houston, Texas reports that “air traffic controllers who have made major errors have been allowed to stay on the job, without loss of rank or pay.”  This has occurred at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, and at other airports. KPRC reporter Joel Eisenbaum asked, “So you can make an error that causes a plane to crash and you’re not losing your job?”

The FAA response was, “The FAA has learned through experience that a non-punitive safety culture encourages employees to share information and engage in frank and open discussions about situations that they might otherwise be reluctant to bring to a supervisor’s attention. In cases involving willful neglect or dereliction of duties by an employee, the agency does not hesitate to take the appropriate measures as defined under agency policies and collective bargaining agreements.”

Textron Aviation customer Wheels Up completes capital raise

The New York-based private aviation membership company Wheels Up has an order for 105 Beechcraft King Air 350i’s, and has raised $115 million in capital for business expansion.

Boeing’s new tanker achieves first flight

Boeing flew the KC-46A Paine Field in Everett, Washington for a four hour first flight. The KC-46A is based on the Boeing 767 commercial airliner.

Other Segments

Lieutenant Colonel Christine “Grinder” Mau

Lieutenant Colonel Christine “Grinder” Mau

  • David attended the Joint Base Andrews’ open house on September 19th 2015, where he interviewed Lieutenant Colonel Christine “Grinder” Mau, Deputy Commander for the Operations Group of the 33rd Fighter Wing. Col. Mau was the first woman cleared to fly the F-35A Lightning II, and one of only 52 women fighter pilots in the USAF. She talks about what it’s like to fly the F-35A, and believing in your dreams.
F-35A and R2D2

F-35A and R2D2

  • Micah gives us some thoughts on the late Alan Purwin.
  • Brian talks with listener Hendrik in Hamburg, Germany.


Listener Photo

Michael sends this photo from his Cirrus SR22T looking over Los Angeles on airway V186 from the Paradise VOR to Van Nuys VOR, September 17, 2015. The light in the top right of the picture is a 777 going into LAX.

Cirrus SR22T looking over Los Angeles


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

AirplaneGeeks 369 The National Aeronautic Association

Concorde by Paul Filmer

Concorde © Paul Filmer

Conversation with Jonathan Gaffney, President and CEO of the National Aeronautic Association. Also, returning a Concorde to flight, Airbus sets up shop in the U.S., San Diego International Airport launches a traveler program to benefit the environment.


Jonathan Gaffney is President and CEO, of the National Aeronautic Association (NAA), a position he has held since 2007. We talk about aviation awards, like the Robert J. Collier Trophy and the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy. We also learn about the aviation records that the NAA maintains.

Prior to arriving at NAA, Jonathan served for 12 years as the Vice President for Communications of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which operates Washington Dulles International and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airports.

Jonathan had a 22-year career as an Officer in the Navy Reserve, retiring with the rank of Commander. He completed tours of duty onboard the nuclear aircraft carrier USS NIMITZ, and was recalled to active duty during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He also worked in Washington as a senior staff member in the United States House of Representatives.

Jonathan and the staff of NAA have transformed one of the world’s oldest aeronautical organizations (founded in 1905) from near-insolvency into a vibrant, sustainable association dedicated to its original charter: “…the advancement of the art, sport and science of aviation in the United States.”


Group Plans To Fly Concorde By 2019

Club Concorde has a “Return To Flight” project that seeks to return one of the retired supersonic airliners to flight by 2019.  About $190 million has been committed by unidentified financial backers. Club Concorde says they are “a club for all things Concorde, run by ex-Captains, ex-charterers and people passionate about Concorde, working together to keep Concorde in people’s hearts and minds.”

Airbus Sharpens Challenge to Boeing With Factory in U.S.

Airbus has a plan for a $600 million plant in Mobile, Alabama for the A320, most of them destined for North American customers. Deliveries are due to start in early 2016 from the 53-acre facility, with the production rate increasing to four aircraft per month by early 2018.

Michel Merluzeau, vice president for aerospace strategy and business development with consultant Frost & Sullivan says, “It’s all about location. It’s about where you do business, and how that property is going to grow over time.”

San Diego International Airport Launches Sustainable Travel Program

The San Diego Airport Authority announced “The Good Traveler” pilot program. Travelers pay $1 for a Good Traveler tag or sticker with the proceeds going to three environmental projects: a forest restoration project, a wind farm, and a water restoration project. Each Good Traveler tag purchase offsets “the equivalent of the carbon footprint created by 500 miles of air travel or 200 miles of driving.”

Qatar 777 Takes Out Approach Lights on Takeoff From Miami

We’re not sure how this one got in here, and we didn’t talk about it. But here it is as, left as an exercise for you.

Airplane of the Week

Li-2 by Paul Filmer

Li-2 by Paul Filmer

David goes behind the Iron Curtain to talk about the DC-3skis The Soviet Built Li-2 NATO (CAB). Eventually over 4000 Li-2s were produced and it was as successful as it’s US Cousin, the DC-3/C-47.

Across the Pond

Pieter talks to the “ATP adopted pilot” Neil Bradon about his return to GA flying in Europe and then his role in the forthcoming 48 hour B737-800 Sim flight around Europe to raise critically needed funds for charity. The dates are 11th to 13th January 2016.

ATP for Ep 369 (ATP 188) cockpit

Follow @flight48hour on Twitter, and the Charity Flight Simulator 48 Hour Challenge on Facebook. Also see: Flight Deck Experience, the Christie NHS Foundation Trust, and North West Air Ambulance Charity.


Teen charged for carrying bomb-shaped alarm clock in carry-on

International Air Transport Passenger Association


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

AirplaneGeeks 368 Membership Flights with Surf Air

Surf Air Pilatus PC-12/47E

Surf Air Pilatus PC-12/47E

We talk with CEO Jeff Potter about the Surf Air all-you-can-fly private membership air travel club. Also, an uncontained engine failure on a BA flight, low airline fares, management changes at United, American Airlines used the wrong plane, and remotely manned towers may be on the way.


Jeff Potter is the Chief Executive Officer of Surf Air, an all-you-can-fly private membership club for business and leisure travelers. Surf Air uses Pilatus PC-12 aircraft on scheduled routes, currently from airports in California. However, the company looks to expand and provide service in other regions, even internationally.

Jeff S Potter

Jeff S Potter

Jeff has luxury product experience as Chief Executive Officer of Exclusive Resorts. He also has an aviation background and worked his way up from airplane cleaner to President and Chief Executive Officer of Frontier Airlines, as well as being a member of their Board of Directors. Jeff was also the CEO of Vanguard Airlines for a short period.

Jeff explains how the Surf Air fixed monthly fee makes the private aviation experience affordable. He characterizes it as a disruptive model that competes with commercial carriers.

Follow Surf Air on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.


BA jet engine failure uncontained, pieces hit runway: investigators

NTSB Issues Update on the British Airways Engine Fire at Las Vegas

The NTSB reports that the engine fire on takeoff at McCarran International Airport (LAS) by British Airways flight 2276, a Boeing 777 with GE90-85B engines, was an uncontained engine failure.

$100 Airline Ticket Deals, as Carriers Increase Profits

JetBlue Airways can fly you from JFK to Chicago for $74. A holiday promotion at Delta can cost as little as $78. American Airlines has a $97 fare from Columbus to Washington Reagan. Is there an airline fare war? Jeff helps understand what’s going on.

Why Dump Smisek? United Wasn’t First Airline to Fly a Pol’s Route

United CEO Smisek and two other executives resigned as a federal investigation is underway about the propriety of United creating a route between Newark Airport and Columbia, S.C, near where then chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey David Samson had his weekend home.

American Airlines accidentally used the wrong plane to fly to Hawaii

An American Airlines A321 left LA for Hawaii, but it didn’t have the requisite ETOPS certification. American discovered the problem enroute and notified the FAA, but the plane continued to it’s destination.

Air traffic controllers for some airports are now miles away, watching the planes on camera

Ornskoldsvik Airport in northern Sweden has an unmanned tower. The controllers are 90 miles away at another airport watching by camera. The idea is being tested elsewhere, even at one airport in the United States.

The Aircraft of the Week

Guppy by NASA

David goes fishing this week for a History Segment.  He hopes to catch one of these in the wild at Joint Base Andrews for a whale of a tale.  This episode we talk about The Aero Spacelines Guppies, and the lure of the aircraft that put a man on the moon.

Guppy by NASA

Guppy photos courtesy NASA

The Aviation Minute

Rob Mark talks about customer service at United Airlines.


The Bristol Hercules engine startup courtesy Ian.

Listener Photos

Lamont sends this photo taken in a practice area West / slightly Northwest of San Jose, California. The photo shows the marine layer being held back by the Santa Cruz Mountain Range in the early afternoon.

Marine layer

Marine layer

Jodi Brommer sends this shot of the smallest 777. She was hanging out on the approach path of San Francisco, 2.5 miles off the touchdown markers.

The smallest 777 by Jodi Brommer

The smallest 777 by Jodi Brommer


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


AirplaneGeeks 367 Bits & Pieces XV

Alan Brown F117

Alan Brown

This Episode: F-117A designer Alan Brown, Duxford Flying Legends Airshow, Landing Aircraft in a Whiteout, Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center, the C-5 Galaxy, aviation safety, and a Labor Day message.

This is a Bits & Pieces episode. If you’ve been with us for a while, you know what that means. If you are new to the show, this is something we do occasionally instead of our usual format.

You see, we record Airplane Geeks Monday evenings, but sometimes Monday is a national holiday and we want to spend the day with our families and friends. Since we don’t want to leave you without a show to listen to, we put together something we call Bits & Pieces.

The Bits & Pieces idea is simple: We ask the co-hosts and contributors to provide pre-recorded segments for the episode, then we just stitch them together and it’s Bits & Pieces. This time we really encouraged you to send us recordings, and we were pleased to have received a number of them.

This week’s segments:

Interview with F-117A designer Alan Brown

Max Trescott interviews, Alan Brown, an aeronautical engineer by training, who was program manager and chief engineer for the F-117A Stealth Fighter from initial concept until the first production aircraft was built.

Duxford Flying Legends Airshow

Listener Ray Williams sends his report from the Duxford Flying Legends Airshow held July 11-12, 2015.

Hawker Nimrod I

Hawker Nimrod I



Line up at Duxford Flying Legends

Line up at Duxford Flying Legends

Morane-Saulnier 406 D-3801

Morane-Saulnier 406 D-3801

Hispano HA-112 MIL (Buchon)

Hispano HA-112 MIL (Buchon) G-AWHE [Note non-Bf109 bulges on engine cowling to house the Merlin engine]

Lightning and Mitchell in a flypast

Lightning and Mitchell in a flypast

Landing Aircraft in a Whiteout

Geeks on Ice reporter Juan Fernandez, who brought us the Reports from an Airplane Geek from McMurdo Station Antarctica series, shares a short story about the special procedures to land an airplane under the zero visibility conditions of a whiteout.

Emergency Whiteout Landing


Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center

Brian Coleman stops in the Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center while he was on vacation in Idaho.

Bird Aviation Museum_1

Bird Aviation Museum_2

Bird Aviation Museum_3

The C-5 Galaxy

C-5 by Paul Filmer

C-5 by Paul Filmer

Listener JD gives us some interesting facts and experiences from the perspective of a C-5A instructor pilot with over 5200 hours in the airplane, including 192 combat sorties before retiring in 2013.

Across the Pond

PA-38-112 Tomahawk, G-BNDE

PA-38-112 Tomahawk, G-BNDE (copyright XTPMedia)

Pieter Johnson discovers a “new” source of information on aviation safety whilst photo editing: the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB). It’s a gentle and sobering reminder of safety in the air (and on the ground).

Rob Mark on Labor Day

As the grandson of a Chicago Labor Leader and a former ALPA pilot himself, Rob adds his own unique two cents about the meaning of Labor Day.

David Vanderhoof Gives Thanks

David makes Max blush, but more importantly he gives you a sense of what this podcast means to us. We are truly blessed to know each other, our guests, and many of you. It’s all quite remarkable.


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

AirplaneGeeks 366 Getting Your Air Transport Pilot Certificate

XTI Aircraft Company TriFan 600

XTI Aircraft Company TriFan 600

Strategies for getting your ATP certificate, a new VTOL aircraft offers an equity stake via crowdfunding, F-35 operational testing and a close-air support match up with the A-10, Skytrax rates the world’s airlines, inflight WiFi prices going up, and a retired Google executive receives an award from the Aero Club of Northern California.


Don Sebastian is President of Aviation Consulting Services Incorporated. He was our guest on Episode 336, back in February of this year, when we talked about the airplane pre-buy process. Don has a variety of aviation experiences and no shortage of opinions, so we asked him back, this time to talk about getting an Air Transport Pilot rating.

We talk with Don about different strategies to obtain an ATP rating. The cost today is not like it was in the “old days,” and prospective flight training students are different than the generations of the past, but Don believes there are ways it can be done without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Don Sebastion

Don Sebastian

Don has a number of certificates from the FAA. They include Air Transport Pilot certificates for single engine and multiengine aircraft, a commercial certificate for helicopters, and a Private certificate for gliders. He’s also a flight instructor for airplanes, holds two ground instructor certificates, and has an A and P mechanics certificate for airframe and powerplants. He also has a parachute Jumpmaster license from the Parachute Club of America, which has since been renamed the United States Parachute Association.

Don has performed over 2,000 pre-buys and flight tests. He was a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, testifies as an expert witness, and has eight lecture tours under his belt. Outside of aviation, Don contributes his energy to a variety of community and charitable activities.

Don produced the document Getting the ATP Rating which contains biographical information and great photographs,  as well as advice and links to online resources for those considering an Air Transport Pilot career. These are some of those resources:


XTI Aircraft Company offers stakes in the TriFan 600 VTOL business plane

A group of experienced aviation professionals has formed XTI Aircraft Company to develop a six-seat aircraft called the TriFan 600. It’s powered by two turboshaft engines that drive three ducted fans. The VTOL aircraft can hover and transition to horizontal flight by rotating the wing-mounted fans horizontal to vertical.

XTI Aircraft is using crowdfunding to raise a portion of the total investment required. This is now possible because new Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules allow startups to “test the waters” before a stock offering.

Update in XTI Aircraft Company Earns SEC Qualification, January 21, 2016:

XTI Aircraft Company (XTI) today launched a formal stock offering and is accepting investments to support development of the revolutionary new TriFan 600 aircraft. This 30-day opportunity to invest is not only open to those who have expressed interest in investing in the company, but to all investors around the globe. Shares in XTI may be purchased at

Note: Airplane Geeks makes no investment recommendation with respect to XTI Aircraft. We are only providing this information to inform our audience. Carefully consider your own situation before making any investment decisions.

A-4 Skyhawks support F-35 operational testing

Partner countries buying the F-35 each have their own operational tests. The Royal Netherlands Air Force test of the F-35A includes A-4 Skyhawks, F-16s, and a KDC-10 aerial tanker.

The F-35 vs. the A-10 Warthog, head-to-head in close-air support. It’s on.

The A-10 Thunderbolt II is to be retired due to budget constraints, with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter taking over the close-air support mission. Some think this is a fine idea, and others don’t. The two aircraft will participate in comparison evaluations starting in 2018.

The world’s worst airlines to fly with

The Skytrax World Airline Star Ratings classify airlines “by the quality of their front-line product and staff service standards.”  Topping the list as the world’s worst airline is North Korea’s Koryo Air.

In-Flight Wi-Fi Prices Jump as Demand Surges

Inflight connectivity provider Gogo has increased prices for WiFi significantly in the past few years. Gogo says increased demand is causing some congestion, but also that demand-based pricing is normal in business.

Retired Google VP Alan Eustace, holder of world free fall record, awarded Crystal Eagle award by the Aero Club of Northern California

Alan Eustace’s 135,908-foot leap broke the world record for highest free-fall parachute jump, and the Aero Club of Northern California is presenting him with an award.

The Shoreham air display crash

Listener John Eckersley sends us an update on the Hawker Hunter crash.

The Airplane of the Week

KC-130 BOB

Photo by David Vanderhoof

After getting trolled on Twitter, David presents the KC-130 Marine Battleherc: a history of Fat Albert, BOB, and Look Ma No Hook.

The Australia News Desk

Grant is back and the boys are gobsmacked by Alan Joyce’s $12 million salary. They’re pretty sure their morals would get corrupted for that amount of money!

Still with Qantas, they’ve painted A380 VH-OQH to support the Wallabies rugby union team (Grant tries to explain what that means):

Getting into the computer games, the RAAF C130J sim at Richmond was used to take part in the global event Virtual Flag 2015:

Keeping to the Hercules theme, a Coulson C130 tanker arrives at RAAF Richmond for NSW’s fire season:


Meet Lou Briasco, 33 Years At The Castro’s Michael Bruno Luggage Shop

Photo: Sari Staver/Hoodline

Photo: Sari Staver/Hoodline

Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase

Grimes Field Urbana Municipal Airport

Worst Place to Be a Pilot (2014)

Worst Place To Be a Pilot Season 1 Episode 4

Civil Aviation Authority – Standard Passenger and Baggage Weights [PDF]

Lady Dragged Off United Airlines Flight for Refusing to Put Dog in Pet Carrier

August 1985: The worst month for air disasters

Listener Photos

Listener Ted Corgan tells us he “recently saw and toured one of the exact airplanes that was featured in Air & Space Magazine. Aluminum Overcast, the EAA’s B-17 in Eileen Bjorkman’s article entitled “Learning to Fly the Fortress,” was flown to Lunken Airport in Cincinnati, OH, for its Aviation Days event in early June of 2015.”

Also, “I took the exciting opportunity to walk—or perhaps more accurately, climb—through the historic aircraft. The experience further heightened my respect for those who have served our country with it and those who keep it airworthy today, and also deepened my appreciation for the engineering marvel that is the B-17.”

Ted Corgan, Air & Space mag, and Aluminum Overcast

Ted Corgan, nephew Zach, Air & Space mag, and Aluminum Overcast

B-17 Aluminum Overcast left engines view

B-17 Aluminum Overcast left engines view


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


AirplaneGeeks 365 How to Run an Airshow

River Days

Conversation with an airshow air boss, U.S. airlines in the crosshairs of consumer advocates and government agencies, ALPA’s concerns about UAVs, and the importance of an airport’s name.


Steve Tupper was air boss at the GM Detroit River Days Airshow on the Detroit River 20-21 June 2015. Steve tells us a little about the about what it took to pull off a full airshow in the very challenging box that is the Detroit River.

We also get an update on Steve’s Acrocamp movie and also A Pilots Story from Will Hawkins and Rico Sharqawi. Steve tells us a CFI episode is coming out, and he’s going to get type-rated in the world’s only 2-place jet glider at Desert Aerospace in Moriarty, New Mexico. Oh, and Steve has already started planning for next year’s airshow!

See the Detroit Tuskegee Airmen Glider Club on a Mission article written by Benét Wilson for AOPA.

Steve Tupper

Steve Tupper

Steve Tupper is the well-known producer and host of the Airspeed podcast, with more than 200 episodes over the last 10 years. He’s covered everything from motion sickness to the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft to flight experiences in aircraft like the T-38 Talon and the F-16D Fighting Falcon with the USAF Thunderbirds.

Steve is also a commercial pilot and flight instructor with private, commercial, or instructor privileges in gliders, single- and multi-engine land airplanes, and single-engine seaplanes.  He holds an instrument rating in airplanes and is type-rated (second-in-command) in the DC-3/C-47.

Steve is a lieutenant colonel in the Civil Air Patrol and he serves as the Michigan Wing’s judge advocate, in addition to being a search-and-rescue pilot and disaster-relief pilot.


Airline Fares Just Plummeted — or Did They?

Airline Cartel on the Loose?

If Airlines Are Reporting Record Profits They Must Be Colluding, Right? Probably Not, And Here’s Why

Consumer advocates and government agencies are after the airlines. The US Department of Justice is investigating United, Southwest, American, and Delta airlines for “possible unlawful coordination” and allegedly colluding. Some believe airline mergers, falling oil prices, falling airfares, massive revenue from fees, and big profits are contributors or indicators that consumers are being hurt.

ALPA: Airline pilots ‘very concerned’ about UAVs

Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) president Tim Canoll noted, “pilot reports of unmanned aircraft have increased dramatically over the past year, from a total of 238 sightings in all of 2014 to more than 650 by Aug. 9 of this year.”

With respect to small UAVs operated below the airspace used by commercial aircraft, ALPA advocates: educating operators; using “geo-fencing” to keep small UAVs from operating within 5 mi. of airports;UAV registration at point of sale so owners can be identified after an incident; and “more formalized” enforcement.

For larger UAVs sharing the airspace with airliners, APLA would like to see FAA regulations and oversight the same as for airliners: operator licensing and collision avoidance technology.

The Local Airport, by Any Other Name

Sometimes the name of the airport can help or hinder public awareness of the facility, particularly for smaller, regional airports. Some airports are responding by changing their name.

Airplane of the Week

"Rich Field Jenny" by George Johnson, Aviation Section, US Army Signal Corps

“Rich Field Jenny” by George Johnson, Aviation Section, US Army Signal Corps

The Curtiss JN-4 or Jenny, which was suggested by our listener Jodi.

The Australia News Desk

Steve is solo this week as we cover the huge turnaround in the Qantas full year profit – $575 million profit after a $2.8 billion loss the year before.  We present an edited interview with CEO Alan Joyce, speaking with Ross Greenwood on Sydney radio station 2GB about why he thinks such a turnaround has been possible.  For the full version of that interview, see:

Ross Greenwood- QANTAS CEO Alan Joyce

Qantas confirms an order for eight 787-9s in Red Tail livery:

Qantas orders Dreamliners, announces shareholder return and posts return to profitability

Australia’s Matt Hall returned to the podium in the Red Bull Air Race recently, this time coming second to Britain’s Paul Bonhomme at Ascot in the UK.  We play some audio from the post race press conference:

RBAR Ascot: Hall returns to podium at Royal Ascot

Across the Pond

Pieter reflects on the sad events last week at the RAFA Airshow at Shoreham.

Shoreham crash pilot ‘is an expert’

Civil Aviation Authority announces series of immediate restrictions and changes to UK civil air displays


Sioux Gateway Airport gifts

Sioux Gateway Airport

International Council of Air Shows

Sioux Gateway Airport (SUX) gifts

A Finite Fraternity: Combat Fighter Ace by Scott Spangler in Jetwhine.

DXB A380 takeoff from seat 2F – Watching an A380 takeoff on 12R from DXB on the skycam from seat 2F.

Richie McCaw’s other passion – gliding and Richie McCaw in Wikipedia.


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


AirplaneGeeks 364 Aviation Stories

Uzbekistan by Paul Filmer

We look at the Logbook Podcast with aviation stories told by those who lived them, Uzbekistan Airways weighing passengers, a patent for variable seat pitch, IndiGo firms up a big A320neo order, the fatality rate in GA, a Delta flight pummeled by hail, Emirates launching a 17 hour, 35 minute flight, and an interesting aircraft of the week.


Lucas Weakley

Lucas Weakley

Lucas Weakley is an Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University student in the aerospace engineering program. Fascinated by flight from a young age, he’s a builder of model rockets and airplanes, and he hopes to one day design kit-built aircraft.

Lucas is also the creator of The Logbook Podcast, where pilots and enthusiasts tell their stories of aviation. He also produced a 23-episode tutorial series for Make Magazine titled Maker Hangar that teaches you everything you need to know to build and fly three custom R/C aircraft.

We also take the opportunity to learn a little more about Embry-Riddle and the aerospace engineering program.

Learn more at Lucas Weakley’s Blog, see his videos on his YouTube channel, and follow Lucas on Twitter at @L_Weakley.

Varga Kachina

Varga Kachina


Airline To Weigh Passengers Before Boarding, Travel Hits New Low

Uzbekistan Airways announced on its website that they would begin weighing passengers and carry-on baggage before boarding to ensure flight safety. The airline says, “After passing check-in on flight and prior to boarding into the aircraft, we will suggest you to pass the procedure of weighing with the special weighing machine placed in the departure gate zone. The weighing record will only contain the corresponding passenger category (i.e. male/ female/ children). As for the rest, the full confidentiality of results is guaranteed.”

This idea could solve the worst thing about air travel

B/E Aerospace has filed a patent application for airline seats that are adjustable for passenger height. Shorter passengers (like children) would get less legroom. Mary Kirby would get more. B/E Aerospace manufactures aircraft cabin interior products for both commercial aircraft and business jets: seating products, galley systems, oxygen, water and waste systems; de-icing, lighting.

Airbus says it takes ‘historical’ aircraft order

IndiGo firmed up a 2014 commitment by placing an order for 250 Airbus A320 new engine option jets. IndiGo has now ordered a total of 530 A320 family aircraft.

US general aviation reports highest fatal accident rate since 1998

According to the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the number of general aviation flight hours is at at all time low. But in 2014 the rate of fatal GA accidents was the highest it has been since 1998.

Delta Pilots Make Blind Emergency Landing

Baseball-sized hail pummeled the airplane, shattered the nose cone and windshield. The pilots were able to land the jet safely.

Emirates Flight To Panama Will Be World’s Longest Non-Stop Route

Emirates announced its plans to launch services to Panama City, beginning 1st February, 2016, with a 17 hour 35 minute flight time.

The Airplane of the Week

The Incom T-65. (It’s David’s segment and he can do what he wants!)


Short final for runway 10 at St Barths in the Caribbean

Short final for runway 10 at St Barths in the Caribbean

Landing at St Barthelemy Airport (SBH-TFFH) | PrivateFly – Video of a DHC-6-300 Twin Otter landing at St Barts.

Crazy Cockpit Landing at St. Barths – Landing runway 10 at St. Barthelemy aboard a Winair DHC-6 Twin Otter.

The Aviation Historian – The modern journal of classic aeroplanes and the history of flying.

American Airlines’ New First Class Pet Cabins – From the Fly and Dine blog in Boarding Area by Jason Kessler.

U.S.-China aviation talks hit stumbling block on airport access – The US and China have been negotiating over limits on flights between the United States and China. The U.S. is worried its airlines will be get less attractive time slots for take-off and landing than the Chinese airlines. So the US negotiators won’t move forward until China looks at a different slot allocation system.

Men In Black Safety Defenders #AirNZSafetyVideo – It’s got international rugby stars, members of the All Blacks, even Rip Torn from MIB 1 and 2, and Frank the pug!


Uzbekistan Airways photo (c) and courtesy Paul Filmer.

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