Guest Mark Baker is the President and CEO of AOPA, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. In the news, wake turbulence from an A380 flips a Challenger 604, two flight attendants sue American Airlines for failure to enforce company policy, an engine on a Saab 340 loses its propeller in flight. Also, an interview from the National Air & Space Museum Restoration Hangar, and an idea for a circular runway.
Mark Baker, president and CEO, AOPA.
Mark Baker is President and CEO of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. He is also chairman of AOPA’s Political Action Committee, chief executive officer for the AOPA Foundation, president of the International Council of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Associations representing pilots in 72 countries, and publisher of AOPA Pilot, the world’s largest aviation publication.
We talk about air traffic control privatization, user fees, BasicMed, and other areas of aviation advocacy by AOPA. Mark tells us about the effectiveness of AOPA regional fly-ins, and touches on aviation safety and Congressional general aviation caucuses.
Mark is a longtime general aviation pilot and has been flying for 35 years with over 7,500 hours. He holds certificates for commercial pilot with single- and multi-engine land and seaplane ratings, rotorcraft rating, and type ratings in the Cessna Citation 500 and 525s
President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget would privatize air traffic control operations by creating an “independent, non-governmental organization.” Who would control the new corporate entity, and how it will be funded?
An Emirates Airbus A380-800 was at FL350 over the Arabian Sea when a Challenger 604 business jet passed 1000 feet underneath in opposite direction. The A380 continued to Sydney uneventfully. The Challenger didn’t fare so well in the wake turbulence from the A380.
Two flight attendants claiming sexual and gender harassment on social media have filed federal lawsuits against American Airlines for failed to enforce its policies governing employee use of social media.
Interviews from Heli-Expo 2017, a Boeing 797 might be in our future, a hybrid/electric powered vertical takeoff airplane is taking shape, companies attend the 2017 International Women in Aviation Conference looking to hire, some post-merger developments for Alaska and Virgin America, and a flight instructor who really was not. Also, a report on EAA at SXSW, and another memorable flight from a listener.
An MI-24 was displayed at the 2017 Heli-Expo. Courtesy Cold War Air Museum.
Helicopter Association International says over 17,000 people attended Heli-Expo 2017 in Dallas, Texas, with 731 exhibiting businesses and organizations, and 62 aircraft on display. Our Airplane Geeks Reporter-at-Large “Launchpad” Marzari attended the event and recorded a number of interviews.
Charles Schneider, CEO of MyGoFlight. This company offers iPad flight apps and accessories, and introduced a HUD concept product.
Emmanuel Davidson, President of AOPA France, talks about bringing medical certification reform to Europe for light planes, and the role of IAOPA, the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations.
Bill Thompson from Embry-Riddle was at the show to support their graduates.
John Batey from the Cold War Air Museum (CWAM) brought one of their Mi-24 helicopter gunships. The museum is located on Lancaster Airport, 20 minutes south of Dallas.
Giovanni Mazzoni, AW609 program manager, describes the twin-engined tiltrotor VTOL aircraft with a configuration similar to the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey, and aimed at the civil aviation market.
And then Launchpad ran into an aviation journalist named Rob Mark.
There has been talk of a so-called “B757 replacement.” Something between the single-aisle 737 and the widebody 787. It’s been called the MOM airplane (Middle of the Market) and the NMA (either New Mid-sized Airplane or New Market Airplane). Now Steven Udvar-Hazy, chairman of Air Lease Corporation, says, “Call it a 797. That’s what it’s going to be.”
XTI Aircraft Company is teaming up with Bye Aerospace to develop a hybrid/electric powered prototype of their TriFan vertical takeoff airplane. XTI says that because of cost and weight reductions, the first TriFan prototype will be a full-size rather than the 65% scale version that had been planned.
The 2017 International Women in Aviation Conference was held March 2-4, 2017 and Dr. Peggy Chabrian, president and co-founder of WAI noted that, “Major airlines have been coming to WAI for the past four years and hiring WAI members in significant numbers, but this year the companies accepting résumés seem to be more diverse.
Since its merger with Alaska, Virgin America has added a number of new destinations from San Francisco. It looks like a strategy shift with Virgin America now adding mid-sized markets (as Alaska was successful doing) instead of the large-market approach that characterized Virgin America.
A 25 year old man represented himself to North Weald Airfield (EGSX) in Essex, England as a pilot and flight instructor. Suspicious work colleagues investigated and found he was not. After the man plead guilty to several counts, he was sentenced to an eight-month jail sentence suspended for 14 months, 140 hours of unpaid work, and costs.
Listener John tells us about his most memorable flight.
Visit AvGeekFests.com for a calendar of aviation events where AvGeeks can meet up and participate in aviation events.
Episode 186 of The UAV Digest features the AOPA Senior Director for UAS Programs Kat Swain talking about why AOPA is welcoming drone pilots to the organization.
We talk to the U.S. representative and importer for Shark Aero, and learn what it takes to bring a new airplane into the country. In the news, the House Aviation Subcommittee is holding hearings in advance of FAA reauthorization, a town targets a membership airline, a new online aviation video service launches, travel bookings to the U.S. slow down, and the former chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is sentenced. Plus, the story of memorable flights from a listener, and an Australia News Desk segment.
Shark Aero N235HK
Jonathan “JB” Baron owns the first and only Shark UL in the Americas, and is the Shark Aero US representative and importer. The Shark UL is manufactured by Shark.aero s.r.o. and type certified in Germany and the Czech Republic as an “Ultralight Aircraft.” It’s too fast and too complex to be a Light Sport Aircraft in the U.S., so the Shark UL is offered as the Shark US, an Experimental Amateur Built Kit with Builder Education and Assistance.
JB explains the process for importing an aircraft, including identifying the applicable certification type, obtaining an airworthiness certificate, transition training, registration, shipping and customs, and obtaining insurance.
JB recently retired from the Navy after two decades as a Naval Aviator flying Seahawks. He’s flown from every class of US Navy combatant including frigates, destroyers, cruisers, and aircraft carriers. In in the Navy, JB was a Fleet Replacement Instructor Pilot, a Weapons and Tactics Instructor, and the Commanding Officer of the West Coast Seahawk Weapons School. He holds a commercial airplane and helicopter pilot rating, is an avid first person video aero-modeler, and he currently works as a lead systems engineer in the Washington DC area.
Features of the Shark Aero include an aircraft parachute, a cockpit safety cell, and a wide, forgiving flight envelope. Able to cruise at 150 knots consuming just five gallons of unleaded gasoline per hour, it can easily fly from DC to Atlanta in about three and a half hours. Its tandem seat, dual controls, glass cockpit, and bubble canopy gives the Shark the feel of a modern “pocket fighter.”
Residents of San Mateo county don’t like the noise from the Surf Air Pilatus PC-12s. The County Board of Supervisors has proposed a new curfew ordinance limiting one takeoff and landings of “noisy airplanes.” A noisy airplane is defined a one with a certificated noise level above 74.5 dB. The quietest PC-12 is rated at 74.6 dB.
The new aviation video service Uflytv comes from Tom Poberezny and Jim Irwin. Poberezny was EAA AirVenture chairman from 1977 to 2011, and president of EAA from 1989 to 2010. Jim Irwin is president of Aircraft Specialty & Spruce. Currently offering 220 titles.
Dave said, “The thing that got me the most about the Spitfire was on the start up how hot and fumey the cockpit suddenly becomes, I’d seriously never thought about it before but wow there’s a wave of very hot air blasting you from the Merlin up front, and the fumes are choking and I gagged slightly. The first thought was oh no, is it going to be like this for half an hour? But no it quickly passed and you could breath again, plus with the canopy shut it was all good.”
Also, “The other sensation in the Spitfire was looking out at those famous elliptical wings and smiling so much, more than I’d done on any other flight. I also spent a bit of time thinking about all the amazing veterans I have met and interviewed over the years who flew these machines in combat. I had over time gathered a vivid mental impression of what it was like to fly in a Spitfire from them, but having the actual real opportunity with all the sounds, smells, vibrations, sights and other sensations absolutely took that appreciation to a whole new level.”
“In 2014 our Wings Over New Zealand Forum raised the money to take two wartime RNZAF veterans, Alan Peart DFC and Jim Robinson, up in that very same Spitfire. They had flown together in No. 81 Squadron RAF, the same squadron that the aircraft’s markings are in. It’s marked up as the personal aircraft of Wing Commander Colin Gray, New Zealand’s top ace, who was Alan and Jim’s boss on the squadron. That was very special indeed, but I never thought for a moment then that I’d be doing it myself 18 months later. Great memories!”
The Australia News Desk
Steve Visscher and Grant McHerron from the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast bring us a report from Avalon 2017, which saw the arrival of the first two RAAF F-35’s in Australia. Steve has been doing some reports for AOPA Australia Live:
This episode, we talk to aviation and travel-industry expert Chris Kjelgaard about new Lufthansa and Iberia A350-900s, low fares from Norwegian, airlines charging fees for services, and a worrisome EASA safety report. Also, Astronics’ missed aerospace sales guidance, and the most scenic airport landings.
Chris Kjelgaard reports on airlines and the travel-industry with more than three decades of experience. He is the founder and editor of the air and destination travel news website AirlinesAndDestinations.com. Chris also serves as editor of various print and online magazine titles, and he has written for dozens of aviation trade and consumer magazines and websites. Chris has been interviewed many times by television, radio, print, and online media on aviation and travel topics. He is a contributing editor to Runway Girl Network.
Lufthansa unveiled its new A350-900 in Munich at the beginning of February at the Lufthansa Technik hangar. This was the first of ten aircraft that are to fly from Munich to Delhi and Boston. Iberia is set to take delivery of 16 A350-900s starting in the second quarter of 2018.
Norwegian Air Shuttle was offering $65 one way flights to Europe from some smaller US airports in New York state, and also Providence, Rhode Island, and Hartford, Connecticut. Norwegian Air spokesman Anders Lindström said, “I pay for what I want, you pay for what you want. We don’t pay for what everybody else on the plane wants.” Only a limited number of one-way tickets were offered at $65, and a return flight costs more.
2016 was the safest year ever measured by large commercial aircraft fatal accidents, but the 2017 Preliminary Safety Review published by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) shows an increase in the number of serious incidents involving aircraft operated by carriers from the 32 EASA member states.
When it comes to aviation education and training, John King (and his wife Martha) are about as well known as anybody. But on the basis of a seizure episode in early 2014, King was denied his third-class medical certificate in November 2015. Since then he has appealed the denial, but without success. He plans to take it to an an administrative law judge at the NTSB.
This unfortunate event has a number of connections to aviation.
PZL Mielec Prepares M28 – A PZL Mielec M28 twin turboprop aircraft is undertaking a two-month, 13-city tour across seven Caribbean and Latin America countries to demonstrate the M28’s all-weather operational capabilities to potential new customers, including airlines, government agencies and military operators.
California Black Aviation Association – A non-profit organization of aviation professionals of various ethnic backgrounds with the passion for flying and promoting aviation awareness and education through community outreach.
California Redtails– Honoring the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, also known as the “Redtails,” by educating, inspiring and promoting general aviation.
This episode, we talk to the president of Dynon Avionics, a company that designs, builds, and supports glass cockpit avionics for builders and pilots of small aircraft. In the news, we discuss a celebrity landing on a taxiway, the 2017 General Aviation Awards, a capacity cutback on commercial flights to Cuba, a town that took a man’s Cessna, and the union representation vote at Boeing’s South Carolina plant.
Robert Hamilton, president of glass cockpit avionics company Dynon Avionics
Robert Hamilton is the president of Dynon Avionics. The company was founded in 2000 and is a leader in glass cockpit avionics for light aircraft. Starting with inexpensive AOA indicators, Dynon expanded the line to affordable Electronic Flight Instrument Systems (EFIS) and a full range of glass cockpit avionics products for pilots.
Robert Hamilton in the Sportsman
Robert learned to fly as a teenager in the family J-3 Cub in the 1970s. More recently he owned a glass panel Diamond DA-40, and built a SkyView-equipped Glasair Sportsman. Last summer Robert earned his seaplane rating.
Robert began his career as a Flight Controls Engineer at Boeing working on the 747. But to get more into the business side, he went to the Graduate Business School at Harvard then on to Fluke Corporation as a Senior Manager where he built their electrical power business and helped develop the unique Fluke brand. But aviation called to Robert and he joined Dynon Avionics in 2008 as head of Marketing, and then became company President in 2012.
As a volunteer, Robert was the president of the Washington Pilots Association at Paine Field, and is a member of AOPA and EAA.
Some Beechcraft, Grumman, Maule, and Mooney models are now eligible for the STC allowing installation of Dynon electronic flight information systems. The EFIS-D10A and EFIS-D100 can be installed in models on the Approved Model List, which EAA says will continue to expand.
When scheduled commercial service to Cuba was announced, we were pretty excited, and so were the airlines. Large numbers of flights were allocated to the airlines and some people wondered if the Cuban infrastructure would be strained under the influx of visitors. But it’s not turning out that way.
A 69-year old pilot gave up his pilot’s license in 2015 for health reasons. He had his Cessna 152 moved to his driveway in Long Island, but neighbors and the town of Oceanside didn’t think too much of that. When the man was out of the country, the town had the plane removed from the driveway, after disassembling the wings.
According to the NLRB, 74 percent of the 2,828 voting workers at Boeing’s South Carolina plant turned down representation by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).
Flights Above the Pacific Northwest is a closed Facebook group, originally created with the intent of sharing pictures and videos of local flights around the Pacific Northwest. FATPNW has grown to become an active online community.
We look at specialty aviation marketing with Paula Williams from ABCI. In the news, we discuss President Trump’s meeting with airline and airport executives, and consider policies for ATC privatization, FAA leadership, airport infrastructure, and foreign carrier subsidies. Also, we look at 3D-printed turbine blades, a pilot melt-down, and Damian’s memorable flight, a creepy experience that saved his life.
Paula Williams, Aviation Business Consulting Inc.
Paula Williams and her husband John formed aviation marketing specialty firm Aviation Business Consulting Inc. (ABCI) to bring the discipline and technology from the finance and education industries to the aviation industry. ABCI assists aviation companies that sell complex, technical, or high-ticket products or services by helping them communicate with aviation professionals in a clear compelling way through written content, images, and video.
U.S. Aviation Policies
The Trump administration has given us a lot to think about this past week. We touch on ATC privatization, NextGen ATC, the FAA leadership, airport infrastructure improvements, foreign carrier subsidies, and even the effect on aviation businesses of the President’s time spent in Florida:
The captain for a United Airlines flight arrived out of uniform and proceeded to deliver a sharp monolog to the passengers, some of whom felt unsafe and left the airplane. The pilot also left the airplane and another flight crew arrived for the flight, which departed about two hours late.
GE Additive provides advanced machines and validated powders, as well as expert engineering services and production capabilities.
Airline and airport on-time performance measurements from OAG. Also, an update on the impact on aviation of new U.S. policies, a look at notable aviators in honor of Black History Month, air cargo expansion for Amazon Prime Air, aviation news from Super Bowl LI, and Boeing workers in South Carolina prepare to vote on union representation.
Punctuality League 2016 presents airline and airport on-time performance statistics.
OAG analyst John Grant
OAG aviation analyst John Grant started his career with the airlines, and continued with aviation consultancy services. We discuss the OAG Punctuality Report 2016 published January 2017. This annual report of airline and airport on-time performance is also available as a very useful Interactive Dashboard. The web-based tool allows you to visualize on-time performance, arrival capacity, and arrival frequency data by airline and airport category and region.
John explains how the rapid pace of airline schedule change and the desire for very current information has driven the services that OAG provides. We consider the huge history of data that is available and used by many organizations. While the printed schedules book is still the tool of choice for some, digitization and the desire for immediacy makes other OAG data formats more valuable for many others.
UK-based OAG maintains a huge network of air travel data and provides schedules, analytics, web and mobile flight tracking, articles, and reports.
Colonel Charles McGee, courtesy Pacific Aviation Museum.
Colonel McGee fought in WWII, Korea and Vietnam, and holds a record for one of the highest three-war total of fighter combat missions of any pilot in United States Air Force history. Colonel McGee began his military service as one of the Tuskegee Airmen in the 332nd Fighter Group.
His career in the U.S. Army Air Corps and U.S. Air Force spanned 30 years and three wars, where he flew 409 aerial combat missions. During his military career, Colonel McGee was awarded the Legion of Merit with Cluster, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Bronze Star and the Air Medal (25 times).
Also honored at the Hangar Talk was WWII Tuskegee Airman Philip Baham. Baham served as a crew chief for the 337th Composite Group at Tuskegee Army Air Field. He is a dedicated volunteer at Pacific Aviation Museum, sharing his story with visitors as a greeter in the lobby of Hangar 37.
Amazon announced it is creating a new centralized air hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport (CVG) to support its growing fleet of Amazon Prime Air cargo planes. When the hub opens, Amazon expects to create more than 2,000 new jobs engaged in loading, unloading, and sorting packages. In 2016, Amazon entered into agreements with two carriers to lease 40 dedicated cargo airplanes.
We look at aviation stories from Super Bowl LI, including the large volume of private jets flying in and out for the event, the swarm of Intel drones that accompanied the halftime show, and the Turkish Airlines commercial aired during the game.
Boeing production workers in North Charleston, South Carolina are set to vote February 15, 2017 on union representation by the International Association of Machinists (IAM). The company website https://weareboeingsc.com/ is filled with material intended to influence workers not to vote for union representation by the IAM. The IAM counters with their own page: https://www.facebook.com/boeingworkers/.
The Aviation Minute
Rob Mark comments on the FAA decision to allow the closure of Santa Monica Airport.
Ruben asks why regulators like the FAA create the rules, but are also the ones that police the rules.
Last episode, listener Sam described how he was on the ground at Dubai airport waiting for a flight to be pushed back, when he heard a loud explosion followed by the sound of hissing air. We suspected the nose wheel tire fuse plug blew. Well, we did a little research on aircraft wheel fusible plugs.
From Airliners.net: “Fusible plugs offer protection from tire blowouts caused by thermal expansion that is generated in the tire under extra hard braking conditions. These fusible plugs are fitted in the tubeless wheel hubs by means of a fusible alloy that melts under excessive heat conditions and allows the plug to be blown out by the tire air pressure. This prevents excessive pressure buildup in the tire by allowing the air to leak away slowly.”
Season 1 of Plane Resurrection is now on Netflix. Each episode follows the transformation of a wreck to a restored airplane, and presents the history of the aircraft. The first season’s episodes cover the P-51 Mustang, Hurricane, Triplane, Stearman, T6 Harvard, and Percival Q6. Must watch!
A roundtable discussion of current aviation news, issues, and topics from our listeners. They include: the effects of the U.S. immigration ban on airlines and airports, the impacts of new executive orders on regulations like 3rd class medical reform, the bad news for Santa Monica airport, American Airlines passes on in-seat screens, another airline is grounded by a computer problem, clarity on ADS-B for non-electric aircraft, a review ordered of the F-35C and the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet. Also, glass cockpit vs. round gages, the 2017 Aerospace Media Awards, a warm airline story from Alaska, exploding airline tires, and the Global Supertanker 747 in action.
President Trump signed an executive order that fulfilled a campaign promise for new immigration policy. The order restricts immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries, it shuts off refugee admission for 120 days, and bans admission of Syrian refugees until further notice. This caused a certain amount of confusion among airlines, airports, government agencies, and the public. Demonstrations against the change broke out at many airports.
Among other provisions, this executive order requires that for every new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations must be identified for elimination. How this impacts an agency like FAA is uncertain.
The Trump administration has ordered that no new regulations be published in the Federal Register. Also, that regulations that have been issued, but not yet taken effect, are pushed out 60 days. What does that mean for third-class Medical Reform, and the recently finalized Part 23 small aircraft certification regulations?
The FAA agreed to allow the City of Santa Monica to close the Santa Monica Airport as early as 2028. The City is also allowed to shorten the runway to just 3500 feet, eliminating larger business jets. Jack Pelton, CEO/Chairman of the Experimental Aircraft Association stated, “We were surprised at the announcement of the settlement between the FAA and the city of Santa Monica regarding its airport. It is certainly a disappointing development, first concerning the immediate ability to shorten the runway, and the ultimate ability to close the airport in 2028. While we can only guess at the inside discussions to reach this settlement as to our knowledge, the airport’s stakeholders were not a part of it, the founding principles of FAA grant assurances are to maintain stability for an airport and its users as part of the national airspace system, above local political maneuvering.”
American Airlines believes in-seat entertainment screens are a technology without a future. So rather than install screens in the seats of its Boeing 737Max airplanes, the airline will offer passengers free entertainment they can watch on their mobile phones, tablets, and laptop computers.
The ADS-B Out rule takes effect January 1, 2020. If your airplane was originally certified without an electrical system, the rule doesn’t apply. But what if that same aircraft subsequently had batteries and an electrical starter installed?
POTUS vacations at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach. About 8 miles away is the Palm Beach County Park Airport, also called Lantana Airport. County commissioners are learning that they’ll have to abide by the wishes of the Secret Service, and they are worried about the financial impact of operating restrictions.
A Pentagon review of the capabilities and cost of two aircraft has been ordered by Defense Secretary James Mattis. He wants to compare the Lockheed Martin F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter and an upgraded version of the Boeing F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet.
We talk with Stephen Pope, the Editor-in-Chief of Flying magazine. In the news, we look at a United Airlines computer problem, tracking passengers moving through the airport, the search for MH 370 concludes, ADS-B capable satellites, the latest Mitsubishi MRJ delay, B-2 bombers fly a 30-hour mission, testing tiltrotors, a possible lead in the 1971 hijacking by D.B. Cooper, and a tribute to Gene Cernan.
Stephen Pope, Editor in Chief, Flying magazine
Stephen Pope is Editor-in-Chief of Flying magazine. We talk about Light Sport Aircraft, third class medical reform, and flying with the Garmin G1000 NXi. Steve also explains how Flying is changing its look, content, website, and e-news product to compete with digital aviation news outlets. We also get some good suggestions for those who might consider aviation journalism as a career choice, either full-time or freelance.
Steve is an award-winning aviation journalist and commercial pilot with multi-engine, instrument, and seaplane ratings. He has been writing for aviation magazines for more than 20 years on a wide range of flying topics.
Steve learned to fly at age 15 in a Piper Cub at Trinca Airport, a small grass strip in northern New Jersey. He worked as a line boy at the 60th Street Heliport in New York City and for First Aviation at Teterboro Airport. After soloing at 16, earning his private pilot’s license at 17, and gaining his instrument rating a year later, Steve enrolled at the University of Maryland as a journalism major, where he received his degree and completed an editorial internship with AOPA Pilot magazine.
After graduating, Stephen joined the editorial staff of Aviation International News, a business aviation trade magazine. During his 15 years with AIN he moved up the ranks to become Senior Editor directing avionics and technology coverage, Editor-in-Chief of Convention Publications and, in his last role with the company, Editor-in-Chief of Business Jet Traveler magazine. He joined the staff of Flying in 2010.
Steve has won seven Aerospace Journalist of the Year awards, including being named overall Aerospace Journalist of the Year in 2007. He has also won three NBAA Gold Wing Journalism Awards and has written for Barron’s, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications.
Houston airports are now monitoring Bluetooth signals from travelers’ phones. This lets the airport track checkpoint wait times in real-time. In a news release, Houston airport spokesperson Bill Begley said, “The tracking is anonymous and uses a variety of filters to ensure both anonymity and accuracy, and then uses that data to provide an average time for travelers passing through the checkpoints.”
In an MH370 Joint Communique, the Australian Government announced that the search for MH370 has been suspended. “The decision to suspend the underwater search has not been taken lightly nor without sadness,” the joint statement read. “We remain hopeful that new information will come to light and that at some point in the future the aircraft will be located.”
The recent successful SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch put the first 10 Iridium Next satellites into low-Earth orbit. Each satellite carries an ADS-B receiver to be part of Aireon’s global ADS-B-based aircraft-tracking system, operational by the second quarter of 2018.
In its January 23 press release, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries announced “that MHI and Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation will adjust the first delivery of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) from mid-2018 to mid-2020. The change is due to revisions of certain systems and electrical configurations on the aircraft to meet the latest requirements for certification.” See MRJ’s Latest Development Status and the Advancing the MRJ project PDF.
435 Airline Weekly’s Seth Kaplan on Commercial AviationThis episode, we talk about commercial aviation with Seth Kaplan, Managing Partner at Airline Weekly. In the news, we look at supersonic passenger jets, the third class medical reform rules, a 747 cargo jet crash, who is at fault for the Germanwings crash, the state of inflight WiFi, and Piper Archers that are headed for China.
Seth Kaplan, Managing Partner, Airline Weekly
Seth Kaplan is Managing Partner at Airline Weekly, a subscriber-supported publication that provides valuable information and analysis of the commercial aviation business. Airline Weekly is an independent company of journalists and airline industry professionals who are passionate about commercial passenger aviation.
Seth worked as a newspaper and television reporter, covering aviation, transportation, and other issues. He switched to the public sector and served in various executive roles with the Miami-Dade County government. Then in 2005 Seth combined his love of both aviation and journalism to become managing partner of Airline Weekly. Since then, he has become a globally recognized airline expert and is frequently asked by print and broadcast media to provide his perspectives. Seth speaks frequently at industry events, and has taught many airline economics courses to executives and staff at airlines around the world.
We look at the value and practicality of supersonic passenger jets. In November, 2016, Boom Technology showed a ⅓-scale prototype of their XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator called “Baby Boom.” According to their website, they have “A breakthrough aerodynamic design, state-of-the-art engine technology, and advanced composite materials [to] enable an ultra-fast airliner as efficient and affordable as business class in today’s subsonic wide-body airliners.” Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and others are also developing supersonic passenger jets.
FAA calls the new rule “BasicMed” and it becomes effective May 1, 2017. AOPA President and CEO Mark Baker says the rule is, “the best thing to happen to general aviation in decades.” AOPA plans to offer a free online medical course to let pilots comply with the BasicMed rules.
A Boeing 747 cargo jet flying from Hong Kong to Istanbul and trying to land in intermittent dense fog, crashed into a village near Kyrgyzstan’s main airport. Dozens of people on the ground were killed. (Addendum: Some of the news agencies claimed that the plane belonged to Turkish Airlines. Turkish Airlines informs us this is incorrect and the jet was actually from ACT Airlines.)
German prosecutors have determined that Andreas Lubitz is solely accountable for the Germanwings plane crash in March 2015. Lubitz concealed his illness from his employer and neither doctors, Lufthansa, Germanwings, or the German aviation authority could be held accountable.
According to a report by Routehappy, Internet availability on U.S. airlines was 83% in 2016, up from about 74% in 2015. Internet availability on foreign airlines was only 28%. However in many instances, connection speeds are too slow to support video streaming. Worldwide, only 7.2% of fliers would find Wi-Fi fast enough to stream videos or movies.
China Air Shuttle, the approved Piper Aircraft dealer for Archer airplanes in China, has ordered 50 Archers. They will distribute those aircraft to flight schools and general aviation companies in the region. Deliveries of 30 aircraft start in the second quarter of 2017, and continue with 20 more in the first half of 2018. The Archers will be manufactured and certificated at the Piper factory in Florida. After shipment to China, they will be assembled/reassembled by a China Air Shuttle affiliate company.
George tells his story about visiting a general aviation airport, and why you should too.