Tag Archives: 737MAX

671 Pilot Mental Health

An airline captain focuses on pilot mental health and tells us what she is doing to bring that conversation into the light. In the news, another aerial refueling tanker competition, a Rolls-Royce electric airplane first flight, an X-Wing at the Smithsonian, a criminal charge stemming from the 737 MAX probe, the Cranky Dorkfest you missed, and emergency landings in Maine. Also, checked baggage issues and gifts for flight attendants.

Guest

Reyné O’Shaughnessy was a commercial airline pilot for over 34 years with a Fortune 50 company. She was a captain on the B767 and logged over 10,000 hours of total heavy jet flight time. In addition to the B767, her experience includes the A300/310, B727, and B747. Notably, thirty-four years ago she was one of the first women to be B747 qualified.

Now retired, Reyné founded Piloting 2 Wellbeing (or P2W) with a mission to create awareness about pilot mental health and mental wellness in the aviation industry. P2W serves individuals, schools, and corporations that want to implement supportive and practical training, experience compassionate forums, and be part of creating a better aviation world.

Reyné explains why the aviation community is so averse to talking about pilot mental health. We look at the need to normalize the conversation about pilot mental health and teach airlines and pilots a more holistic approach to wellbeing, that being a factor in safety performance. Companies need to support their employees with mental health training but the regulator is not currently forcing this. Reyné argues that reaching student pilots with information early in their career will help normalize mental health. The top flight schools are focused on technical training, but they need to incorporate wellness training into their programs.

Reyné’s new book, This is Your Captain Speaking: What You Should Know About Your Pilot’s Mental Health is available on Amazon.com. It looks at stress, anxiety, and depression in the aviation community.

Pilot mental health book This is Your Captain Speaking

Aviation News

Lockheed reveals new LMXT refueling tanker, firing the opening salvo in US Air Force competition

The U.S. Air Force has a bridge tanker competition coming up, also known as the KC-Y, and they released a sources-sought notification in June. The Boeing KC-46 is the incumbent, but they don’t have a lock on it. Lockheed Martin has just announced they will offer their LMXT aerial refueling tanker, based on the Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT).

Rolls-Royce’s all-electric ‘Spirit of Innovation’ takes to the skies for the first time

We previously reported Rolls-Royce’s intentions to build an all-electric airplane and use it in a world-record attempt reaching speeds of 300+ MPH (480+ KMH). They’ve built the plane, which they call the “Spirit of Innovation,” and succeeded in flying it for the first time. Power comes from a 400kW (500+hp) electric powertrain. Rolls-Royce says it has “the most power-dense battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft.”

Spirit of Innovation, courtesy Rolls-Royce.

Why There’s an X-Wing Flyer at the Smithsonian

The National Air and Space Museum has a Star Wars X-wing on loan from Lucasfilm. Dr. Margaret Weiteka, Curator and Department Chair of the Space History Department, explains why they have it and how it is being prepared for display.

Video: Why There’s an X-Wing Flyer at the Smithsonian

What You Missed at Yesterday’s Cranky Dorkfest

Cranky Flier reports on the event.

Former Boeing Pilot Expected to Face Prosecution in 737 MAX Probe

The Wall Street Journal reports that Federal prosecutors plan to criminally charge Boeing’s chief technical pilot during the 737 MAX development. Mark Forkner was Boeing’s lead contact with the FAA concerning pilot training for the jet. In a criminal settlement with prosecutors earlier this year, Boeing admitted that two unnamed employees conspired to defraud the FAA about 737 MAX training issues in order to benefit themselves and the company.

Bangor airport to close for 2 days in early October for runway repairs

Bangor International Airport will shut down for runway repairs. Concrete runways can degrade as a result of an alkali-silica reaction, which is sometimes called concrete cancer. Since BGR is the last US airport for emergency landings eastbound over the Atlantic, and the first westbound, any emergencies will have to land elsewhere.

Prerecorded

In Defense of the Flight Attendant by Joe A. Kunzler.

Brian Coleman’s gifts to cabin crew.

Why Brian doesn’t check bags.

669 Daedalean Flight Control Software

Daedalean AI-based flight control software for pilot assist and eventual autonomous flight, a Boeing 737MAX flight report, and a travel report on a trip to Germany.

Guest

Dr. Luuk van Dijk

Dr. Luuk van Dijk is CEO and co-founder of Daedalean, a Zürich-based startup developing flight control software for autonomous flight. The eventual goal is to create an AI pilot that measurably outperforms human pilots. Currently, Daedalean is working with regulators, leading aerospace manufacturers, and major eVTOL companies to test and certify the first machine learning-based sensor systems for guidance, navigation, and flight control.

Daedalean has created a pilot assist system that uses optical cameras for visual positioning without GPS, visual traffic detection without transponders or radar, and visual landing guidance without ILS. The Avidyne PilotEye system using Daedalean technology was introduced on the first day of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2021.

Avidyne Uses Daedalean AI Software in New PilotEye Vision System

“Daedalean’s neural network functions by taking high-resolution video input extracted in real-time by high-resolution cameras and sends it through a Convolutional Neural Network, which determines whether the images captured by the cameras are part of cooperative or uncooperative traffic. The system can also be used to identify safe landing areas if the pilot encounters an emergency situation.”

Aviation Today

The Daedalean product roadmap outlines the progression From Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems to Single Pilot Operations to Full Autonomy.

Luuk holds a PhD in Physics (UvA, RuG) and previously held Senior Software Engineering positions at Google Zürich and SpaceX, where he worked on infrastructure, flight software, and machine learning projects, among others.

Daedalean flight control software
Daedalean flight control software

Brian’s Travel Experience

We have two travel experience reports for this episode. First. Brian Coleman talks with Micah about his recent 737MAX flight. Then we hear about Brian’s trip to Germany on United, where everything did not go according to Brian’s perfectly planned itinerary.

653 Archer Aviation eVTOL

Dr. Geoffrey Bower, the Chief Engineer at Archer Aviation, discusses eVTOL aircraft for the urban air mobility industry. In the news, bad behavior can get your frequent flyer account deleted, more 737 MAX woes, the Airbus A380 is fading for many airlines, LCC Avelo Airlines starts operation, the Aviation Safety Reporting System is extended to drone operators, and a story of missing luggage.

Guest

Archer Aviation chief engineer.
Dr. Geoffrey Bower

Dr. Geoffrey Bower is the Chief Engineer at Archer Aviation, a California-based startup in the emerging Urban Air Mobility (UAM) industry. The company is developing an all-electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft with a mission to advance the benefits of sustainable air mobility.

Geoff describes why UAM is receiving so much attention and why so many companies are involved. We look at the different eVTOL missions and design approaches, and the factors that affect efficiency and the cost of the aircraft. Geoff helps us understand crewed vs. autonomous eVTOL aircraft, and what is limiting the number of passengers they will carry. Pilot type ratings and the GAMA Simplified Vehicle Operations concept are also covered.

Infrastructure requirements are key to UAM success, as are regulator support and managing public acceptance, particularly with respect to noise footprint and affordability. Geoff talks about Archer Aviation eVTOL development and testing, and their timeline for first flight of a demonstrator aircraft.

Archer Aviation eVTOL.
Archer Aviation eVTOL

Geoff has nearly 10 years of industry experience working on eVTOL aircraft. He started his career working on flight control system development and aerodynamic modeling at Zee.Aero. From 2016 through 2019 he was Chief Engineer for Project Vahana at A3, the Silicon Valley innovation center of Airbus. He led the engineering team that designed, built, and completed a successful flight test campaign of the Vahana Alpha demonstrator. 

Geoff received a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University. 

Aviation News

Threaten a Delta employee? Say goodbye to your SkyMiles account and elite status

The FAA is cracking down on unruly passengers, and so is Delta. After an update to the airline’s SkyMiles program terms and conditions, “documented abusive behavior” is now grounds for termination of the offender’s frequent flyer account. Even being banned from flying on Delta is possible. Delta says examples of abusive behavior include personal threats, profanity, obscene language, insults or slurs directed to a Delta employee or ambassador. It also covers any intentional destruction to Delta property.

Fresh FAA Concerns Set To Delay Grounded 737 MAX’s Return To Service

Last month, Boeing asked 16 customers to temporarily ground 737 MAX airplanes due to an electrical grounding problem on some specific tail numbers. Boeing said this manufacturing issue was unrelated to the MCAS problem and “could affect the operation of a backup power control unit.” The problem arises from a manufacturing process change. Now the FAA wants to see more analysis that shows this electrical problem does not affect other subsystems.

Corrosion caused by storage prompts FAA to order Leap-1B checks

The FAA issued an Airworthiness Directive to check a pressure transducer for possible corrosion in Boeing 737 MAX CFM LEAP-1B engines after long-term storage. “The checks must be completed before each flight during the first 15h of power being applied to engines following prolonged storage.”

FAA to require inspections of Leap-1A high-pressure turbine cases

The FAA says a “manufacturing quality escape” affecting high pressure turbine cases could cause uncontained engine failures. “Several x-rays of the bleed ports of the HPT case showed 148 parts with nonconforming indications, eight of which were significant enough to impact the life of the HPT case.” 

Malaysia Airlines is latest to say it will abandon the Airbus A380

The A380 was a great idea at the time, motivated by high passenger volume and low airport capacity. But those conditions have changed. Air France, Etihad, Lufthansa, Qatar, and Thai have grounded some or all of their A380s. Malaysia Airlines is about to join that list, with the carrier’s half-dozen A380s unlikely to fly passengers again.

Avelo Airlines Becomes the Nation’s Newest Passenger Carrier

Avelo Airlines is an ultra-LCC targeting smaller, under-served airports with 189-seat Boeing 737-800 aircraft. They charge $10 to check a bag, no change fees, and “everyday low fares starting at $19.”

America’s newest airline, known for its $19 flights, is spending $1.2 million to bring its cheap trips to the East Coast

Avelo Airlines is planning a a new base in New Haven, Connecticut at Tweed-New Haven Regional Airport. Routes have not yet been announced.

FAA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) now available for drones

The Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) is operated by NASA to collect confidential information from pilots and others about near misses. The data is used by the FAA to make aviation safer. Confidentiality is maintained to maximize the number of incidents reported. The Aviation Safety Reporting Program (ASRP) for UAS is now available for the UAS community.

Airplane Compartment Opens, Luggage Drops

Reports were received that an airplane departed Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport with an unsecured luggage compartment. It seems the compartment opened in flight and some luggage may have fallen out. The CRJ-700 returned to the airport without incident and passengers took another airplane to the flight destination, Chicago. One customer reported a missing bag. American Airlines says they are investigating.

Mentioned

Manned Electric Aircraft: Smart City and Regional 2021-2041

This April, 2021 report on the electric aircraft market pegs it at $30 billion where eVTOL accounts for 48%, eCTOL (electric conventional take off and land) under 20PAX at 32%, and eCTOL for 20-100PAX at 20%.

A Rationale Construct for Simplified Vehicle Operations (SVO); Whitepaper Version 1.0 (May2019) [PDF] from GAMA.

Notification when The Points Guy iOS app is available.

Eat at the Airport.com helps you support eating establishments at airports and airfields.

Aviation News Talk podcast, Episode 187 What Pilots Need to Know about Hearing Loss – Dr. Greg Van + GA News.

Mayo Clinic Clear Approach podcast – The podcast for aerospace medicine that matters, by Greg Vanichkachorn, M.D., M.P.H., and aerospace medicine specialist, family physician, occupational medicine specialist.

Thirty Thousand Feet aviation podcast directory.

643 Aeronautical Charts

We learn about aeronautical charts produced by the FAA’s Aeronautical Information Services team. In the news, the NTSB will decommission the TWA Flight 800 reconstruction, Collier Trophy finalists announced as are Flying Magazine Editors’ Choice Awards and FAA General Aviation Awards, Boeing fined by the FAA, United orders the Boeing 737 MAX, Delta plans to reactivate pilots, Icelandair flies to Antarctica and back.

Aeronautical chart

Guest

Katie Murphy is a Supervisory Aeronautical Information Specialist in the FAA’s Aeronautical Information Services Visual Charting Team. Katie has worked with both VFR and IFR charts for over 17 years and is a self-proclaimed “map geek.”

Aeronautical Information Services (AIS) is the authority for the development of aeronautical charts and services. They are also the authoritative government source for collecting, storing, maintaining, and disseminating aeronautical data for the U.S. and its territories.

The Interagency Air Committee (IAC) Specifications are used in the preparation of United States Government Charts and thus define what appears in aeronautical charts.
Changes can be proposed through the Aeronautical Charting Meeting. Use the Aeronautical Information Portal to submit data forms, make inquiries, and sign up for notifications.

Aviation News

NTSB’s TWA Flight 800 Reconstruction to be Decommissioned

The lease is expiring on the National Transportation Safety Board training facility and the NTSB plans to dispose of the TWA Flight 800 reconstruction. With advances such as 3-D scanning, the need for large-scale reconstruction in teaching investigative techniques is less relevant.

Seven aviation and space achievements to compete for the 2020 Robert J. Collier Trophy [PDF]

The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) announced the seven finalists competing for the prestigious 2020 Robert J. Collier Trophy:

The Collier Trophy Selection Committee will meet virtually in June and the winner will be announced publicly following the selection. The formal presentation of the Collier Trophy will take place when health and safety protocols allow.

Flying Announces Editors’ Choice Awards for 2021

These awards recognize collaboration in aviation innovation and one of these teams will be chosen to receive the Flying Innovation Award:

  • Autoland: Garmin Aviation + Piper Aircraft + Cirrus Aircraft + Daher
  • ThrustSense Autothrottle: Innovative Solutions & Support + Pilatus + Textron Aviation
  • Crewed Dragon Capsule to the International Space Station: NASA + SpaceX

Boeing, hit with $6.6 million FAA fine, faces much bigger 787 repair bill – sources

In 2015, Boeing paid a $12 million fine and pledged to implement and improve several certification processes to further enhance the airworthiness and continued compliance of all Boeing Commercial Aircraft products. The settlement agreement resolved multiple pending and potential enforcement cases.  

Press Release – Boeing Agrees to Pay $12 Million and Enhance its Compliance Systems to Settle Enforcement Cases (December 22, 2015)

Under the agreement, Boeing could face up to $24 million in additional penalties over the following five years if it failed to implement its obligations.

Press Release – Boeing to Pay $6.6 Million in Penalties to FAA (February 25, 2021)

Now, the FAA has assessed $5.4 million in deferred civil penalties against The Boeing Company for failing to meet its performance obligations under the 2015 settlement agreement. Boeing also agreed to pay $1.21 million to settle two pending FAA enforcement cases. 

FAA says, “Boeing missed some of its improvement targets, and …some company managers did not sufficiently prioritize compliance with FAA regulations.”

See: Delegated Organizations

United orders another 25 Boeing 737 MAX jets to prepare for recovery

United Airlines ordered 25 new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft for delivery in 2023. The company also accelerated the delivery of other aircraft in anticipation of post-pandemic demand growth.

Delta To Reactivate All Pilots By October

Expecting a strong recovery, Delta informed pilots it plans to return them to flying status by October, 2021.

Icelandair 767 flying between Iceland & Antarctica

The 20 year old Boeing 767-300 is currently flying between Iceland and Antarctica via South Africa. The 767 has a crew of 20 people, including six pilots, 13 flight attendants, and one mechanic. The roundtrip journey covers over 20,000 miles.

Mentioned

Australian Frontline Machinery will hold the March 2021 Aviation Auction, auctioning demilitarised aircraft and spare parts direct from the Australian Defence Force. See Can civilians buy ex-military aircraft? for more information.

Virtual aviation events:

Aircraft Cabin Air International Conference 2021, March 15 – March 18, 2021.

Creating the Future of Vertical Flight: A Sikorsky Innovations Perspective, March 25, 2021.

Video: UNITED 328 Engine Failure! WHAT CHECKLISTS did the pilots use? Explained by CAPTAIN JOE

631 Airlines Plan 737 MAX Return to Service

US airlines are releasing plans for the 737 MAX return to service, pilots are being advised to hold off participation in clinical vaccine trials, Southwest Airlines warns of its first-ever furlough, in-flight cell phone calls are off the table at the FCC, a final rule is announced for traveling by air with service animals, and the Paris Air Show is canceled for 2021.

Aviation News

US airlines detail plans for resuming Boeing 737 Max flights

In the US, the 737 MAX is operated by American Airlines, United, and Southwest. Those airlines are already making return to service announcements and passengers who don’t want to fly the MAX can change flights without penalty. American starts service on December 29, 2020, between New York LaGuardia and Miami, United service starts first quarter 2021, and Southwest service starts in the second quarter of 2021.

Post-crash recovery: How one airline plans to restore confidence in the Boeing 737 MAX

American Airlines COO David Seymour says, “We didn’t intend to be first to put the Max back in the air. But the only way to truly build confidence is by flying it. You don’t build that back by sitting on the ground.” American Airlines TechOps said it will take six to eight days to make each aircraft compliant with the new requirements for MCAS software updates (which take six hours) and flight control system re-wiring. That will be followed by a two-hour Operational Readiness Flight (ORF).

AA Reviewing Whether Pilots Can Take COVID Vaccine

Should commercial pilots take the Covid vaccine when it becomes available? Can they and still keep their medical? The FAA is waiting for the outcome of the upcoming meeting of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. The Air Line Pilots Association is telling its members to not take part in clinical trials for vaccines.

Southwest Airlines warns it could furlough 6,800 employees to cut costs

If they occur, these would be the first furloughs ever for Southwest Airlines. The number amounts to 12% of the airline’s staff. Southwest says negotiations with labor unions to cut costs have produced a “lack of meaningful progress.”

FCC Walks Back Plan To Allow In Flight Cell Service

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) is no longer going to look into a ruling that would allow passengers to make in-flight cell phone calls on domestic United States flights. 

The FCC said, “The record is insufficient to determine any reasonable solution that would strike an appropriate balance of competing interests.  There is strong opposition to the Commission’s proposals from many commenters in this proceeding, including our nation’s airline pilots and flight attendants.”

U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Final Rule on Traveling by Air with Service Animals

The U.S. Department of Transportation is revising its Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) regulation concerning the transportation of service animals by air. The final rule defines a service animal as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability. An emotional support animal is no longer considered to be a service animal. The final rule will be effective 30 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register.

Cancellation of the 2021 edition of the Paris Air Show [PDF]

“In light of the uncertainty linked to the current COVID-19 health crisis, the Paris Air Show organization has made the decision to cancel the 2021 edition of the show, which was scheduled to take place from 21 to 27 June 2021. The next edition of the Paris Air Show will be held in June 2023, at a date that will be announced shortly. Exhibitors will receive a full refund of all sums already paid and the Paris Air Show will take full financial responsibility for this decision.”

Airplane Geeks Listener Poll 628 

Do you intend to fly to a vacation destination in 2021? 50% said Yes, 16% said No, and 34% said Maybe.
Do you expect to fly for business in 2021? 41% said Yes, 36% said No, and 23% said Maybe.

Mentioned

Obituary: Ralph Weymouth

629 Boeing 737 MAX Return to Service Airworthiness Directive

We talk with an Air Traffic Controller at London Heathrow who also acts as deputy manager of the ATC team for the RIAT airshow. In the news, FAA airworthiness directive permits the Boeing 737 MAX to return to service, Delta and tariffs on Airbus aircraft, Gatwick slot usage and planned labor action at Heathrow, speed dating in the air, Norwegian Air Shuttle troubles, autonomous airplane tugs, and a F/A-18C Hornet goes into the National Air & Space Museum.

Guest

Adam Spink has been an air traffic controller at the Heathrow Airport tower for 22 years. He’s also an instructor, examiner, and supervisor. Adam’s main job is in the Procedures and Development office working on new procedures and equipment.

Adam explains aircraft wake turbulence and the Time Based Separation (TBS) used at Heathrow to increase the aircraft landing rate, including the implications for air traffic controllers when planes are separated by time instead of by distance. See: New separation standard permanently adopted over the North Atlantic.

We also learn how the environmental aspects of aviation fit into key performance measures and controller metrics that include reduced emissions.

In addition to his job as a NATS controller at Heathrow, Adam acts as deputy manager of the ATC team for the Royal International Air Tattoo airshow (RIAT) held at RAF Fairford in the UK. He’s a member of the UK Air Transport Confidential Human Factors Incident Reporting Programme (the equivalent of NASA ASRS), and a member of various international working groups on low visibility ops, satellite-based navigation, and radar systems. Adam speaks about human factors at various medical school/medical university courses.

Find Adam on Twitter and Instagram.

Aviation News

U.S. lifts Boeing 737 MAX flight ban after crash probes, tough hurdles remain

On November 20, 2020, the FAA issued AD 2020-24-02, Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes [PDF] superseding Airworthiness Directive 2018-23-51, which applied to all Boeing Company Model 737-8 and 737-9 (737 MAX) airplanes. AD 2018-23-51 required revising certificate limitations and operating procedures of the Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) to provide the flight crew with runaway horizontal stabilizer trim procedures to follow under certain conditions. 

The new AD requires installing new flight control computer (FCC) software, revising the existing Airplane Flight Manual to incorporate new and revised flight crew procedures, installing new MAX display system (MDS) software, changing the horizontal stabilizer trim wire routing installations, completing an angle of attack (AOA) sensor system test, and performing an operational readiness flight.

Southwest deploys team to bring 737 MAX jets out of desert

Southwest Airlines has 34 Boeing 737 MAX jets in storage in Victorville, California. The airline sent a team of mechanics to start the process of bringing its jets out of storage. 737 MAX flights at Southwest should resume the second quarter of 2021. There will be no re-booking charge for passengers who are uncomfortable flying on the MAX.

European regulator to lift Boeing 737 MAX grounding in January

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) executive director said the 737 MAX is safe to fly.  “We wanted to carry out a totally independent analysis of the safety of this aircraft, so we performed our own checks and flight tests. All these studies tell us that the 737 MAX can return to service. We have started to put in place all the measures. It is likely that in our case we will adopt the decisions, allowing it to return to service, sometime in January.”

Delta Skirts Trump Tariffs by Sending Airbus Jets on World Tour

As part of the Boeing/Airbus subsidy battle, tariffs were placed on European-built Airbus aircraft in October 2019. Delta has taken delivery of seven planes since then, but instead of flying them to the United States, the airline based them overseas, avoiding the tariff because they weren’t imports. In a statement to Bloomberg News, Delta said “We have made the decision not to import any new aircraft from Europe while these tariffs are in effect. Instead, we have opted to use the new aircraft exclusively for international service, which does not require importation.”

Suspension of airport “80/20” slot usage rule to last till end of March 2021 – Gatwick not happy

Until March 2020, European regulations required that an airline use 80% of its landing slots or they were lost. But because of the huge drop in travel demand, the rule was suspended for six months, then extended for another 6 months, to 27th March 2021. Gatwick airport wants the old slot rules reinstated before summer 2021.

Heathrow Staff To Strike For 4 Days In December

London’s Heathrow Airport wants to cut costs by reducing wages. The large Unite trade union says the airport plans to fire some 4,000 workers, then rehire them at lower wages. 85% of the union membership voted in favor of strikes in protest.

Airline offers speed-dating on dead-end ‘flight to nowhere’

Taiwanese carrier EVA Air and travel experience company are offering flights called “Fly! Love Is In the Air!” Twenty men and twenty women will depart from Taipei, fly around the island for three hours, return to the airport, and pairs will then enjoy a two-hour date. Seating on the plane is by random draw, but mingling is allowed. Food is prepared by a Michelin-starred chef.

Norwegian Air Is the Latest Trans-Atlantic Carrier to File for Bankruptcy in 2020 Due to Covid-19

Norwegian Air Shuttle has filed for protection from creditors in Ireland.

Autonomous Electric Tow Tugs Could Cut Handling Costs

Californian start-up Moonware says the aviation industry is stagnant. They want to do something about that. Moonware says they are “building an AI-powered fleet management network and subsequently deploying autonomous & electric vehicles to fundamentally reshape airport operations.” The company is developing a family of autonomous electrically powered tow tugs for aircraft ground handling.

National Air and Space Museum Welcomes Blue Angels’ F/A-18C Hornet

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum has brought a Blue Angels’ F/A-18C Hornet BuNo 163439 into the collection. This is the first “Blue Angels” aircraft and the first F-18 the museum has acquired. 

Mentioned

Save Whiteman airport, a change.org petition.

Dobbins Reservists Tie the Knot Aboard a C-130

627 Airline Pay Cuts

Airline pay cuts, prospective student pilots told to wait, proposed 737 MAX training requirements, the boat that Boeing sold, and a Brit is set to pilot Air Force One. Also, a holiday flying festival, the Kitty Hawk Flyers, an A-10 pilot receives the Distinguished Flying Cross, an upcoming electric air speed record attempt, and New Zealand’s first electric airplane.

Aviation News

Dutch Airline Pilots Association VNV signs commitment clause

KLM pilots agreed to accept pay cuts that allow the government to make the next installment of a 3.4 billion-euro ($3.96 billion) bailout package that includes a 1 billion-euro loan and guarantees for 2.4 billion euros in bank loans. The Dutch Airline Pilots Association VNV and seven other trade unions agreed to sign a “commitment clause.” 

Nearly all Cathay Pacific pilots, vast majority of cabin crew sign new salary-slashing contracts

98.5% of Cathay Pacific pilots (or 2,613 pilots) and 91.6% of the airline’s cabin crew staff (or 7,346 cabin crew) have accepted what’s characterized as a take-it-or-leave-it deal. Those who refused to accept the new contract would receive an exit package on their way out. The new contracts cut flight attendants pay by 20 to 40 percent, and aircrew pay by 40 to 60 percent.

Air New Zealand’s Staff Ask The Airline To Save Jobs

Over 1,000 staff signed a petition asking the airline to keep jobs in New Zealand. The Kia Kaha Aotearoa petition, meaning Be Strong New Zealand in Maori, asks Air New Zealand to save jobs and stop outsourcing work.

The airlines insist flying is safe. But nearly 100 U.S. air marshals have been infected with COVID-19.

The Transportation Security Administration says 98 federal air marshals have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. 14 of those cases are active. It’s not known if those Marshals contracted the virus on the job.

Pilots union warns students against starting pilot training courses for the foreseeable future

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) has issued a warning to everyone who is thinking about starting a pilot training course – think again. BALPA wants to help students avoid paying upwards of £100,000 for training only to find there are no jobs available. BALPA urges “potential pilots to get experience in another profession first which will postpone any training until the industry is in a more robust shape, provide additional skills and experience and also give them another avenue to fall back on.”

Pilots Want More Frequent 737 MAX Special Training

The public comment period on the FAA proposal for 737 MAX training ended November 2, 2020, and we are hearing about some concerns from the pilot unions. Unions feel the 8-step runaway stabilizer non-normal checklist (NNC) has too many steps and would be difficult to remember. The frequency of recurrent training is also being questioned.

RAF pilot is set to become first non-American to fly US President on Air Force One

According to the Daily Mail, a non-American has never piloted Air Force One. A wing commander with the RAF is set to become the first foreigner to do so. 

Boeing Just Sold The Superyacht You Didn’t Even Know They Owned

Reportedly, Boeing has sold the 151-foot motor yacht Daedalus for $13 million. The yacht can accommodate 10 guests in cabins and has been used for entertaining and hosting corporate customers.

A private jet company is offering $28,000 ‘weddings in the sky’ as charter firms try to offset the loss of business travel

If you want to get married during the pandemic, Air Charter Service is offering a “Wedding in the Sky” experience. These take place in a private jet during a 2-hour flight to nowhere. Vows must have been exchanged in an official setting before boarding the flight. 

Listener Poll

This episode’s listener poll: Besides the Airplane Geeks podcast, what other podcasts do you listen to in order to feed your aviation habit?

Mentioned

Sun ‘n Fun Holiday Flying Festival and Car Show, December 4-5, 2020 on the SUN ‘n FUN Expo Campus in Lakeland Florida.

Kitty Hawk ends Flyer program, shifts focus to once-secret autonomous aircraft. (The American Helicopter Museum has acquired two Flyer aircraft.)

Kitty Hawk Flyer

Kitty Hawk Flyer at the American Helicopter Museum.

A-10 pilot awarded Distinguished Flying Cross for dramatic landing with missing canopy and no landing gear

Maj. Brett DeVries, an A-10 pilot with the Michigan Air National Guard, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for “extraordinary achievement” during a 2017 training flight in which his landing gear failed and his canopy tore off.

The Electro-Flight ACCEL project with Rolls-Royce and Yasa Motors to set a new electric air speed record. See Rolls-Royce set to break world record for fastest electric aircraft and Bremont Launches ionBIRD Timepiece as the Company Becomes Official Timing Partner for Rolls-Royce’s Groundbreaking World Record Attempt, which includes footage of the testbed.

Video: NZ’s first electric plane takes off in Christchurch

Seth Jaworski’s great photographs of aircraft parked at Alice Springs.

626 Aviation Safety Culture

The Director of Flight Operations for Quantum Spatial talks about International Standards for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) certification and building a safety culture. Also, Boeing 737 MAX order deferrals, best practices for small flight department maintenance, masks and Covid-19, fighter jets in the Middle East, the next-generation U.S. fighter, and high tech plane floats.

Guest

Josey Billington

Josey Billington, Director of Flight Operations for Quantum Spatial

Josey Billington is the Director of Flight Operations for Quantum Spatial, an NV5 company. Quantum Spatial became the first full-service geospatial company to achieve International Standards for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) certification. This designation was developed by the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) and verifies that the company’s flight operations division has adopted the best practices necessary to reach the highest levels of safety, security, and professionalism in its airborne data acquisition activities.

Josey explains the motivations behind the IS-BAO certification and how it is an ongoing piece of an organization’s safety culture. He also shares some thoughts on flying as a survey pilot.

Josey is a former U.S. Marine and airline pilot and holds an airline transport pilot (ATP) certificate, as well as a certified flight instructor (CFI, CFI, MEI) certificates from the FAA. In December of 2019, Josey obtained the coveted Certified Aviation Manager (CAM) certificate from the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).

Aviation News

Boeing’s 737 Max Gets Double Dose of Bad News

Not unexpectedly, airlines are deferring 737 MAX orders as the demand has dropped off a cliff. American has deferred delivery of 18 MAX jets from 2021 and 2022 to 2023 and 2024. Southwest is talking to Boeing about deferrals.

New Resource Outlines Best Practices for Small Flight Department Maintenance

The NBAA (National Business Aviation Association) has a new resource available for its members called, “Best Practices for Small Flight Department Maintenance.” The members-only resource is titled Best Practices for Small Flight Department Maintenance and it offers practical guidance on maximizing personnel resources while ensuring airworthiness.

In continuing Covid-19 news:

After UAE Deal, Israel Asks U.S. for F-22 Stealth Jets to Preserve Military Edge

The story of who wants what fighter jet in the Middle East.

Clues Reveal Who’s Likely Building the Air Force’s Secret New Fighter Jet

The next generation of U.S. fighter jet may be flying already.

Maine company goes high tech to make sleek plane floats

Maine-based Clamar Floats uses molded composites to create custom floats.

Listener Poll

Results from listener poll 623: “What is your favorite aircraft and why?”

  • mine, because it’s mine, Others maybe bigger, faster, more economical, practical, sexyer but this one is mine.
  • Hawker tempest 
  • CH-53 Sea Stallion because of its heavy lift capabilities. 
  • 747-8i, specifically with Lufthansa’s livery. it just looks right…
  • E-2 Hawkeye! All the brains of an E-6 but operates off of a carrier. Plus it’s got one of the most interesting tail configurations of any aircraft. Normally I’d say the CV-22, but we all know that’s really a confused helo. 
  • Boeing 747 – because it’s the queen of the skies. So beautiful. Only ever flew once, NRT-SEA back in 2013.
  • X-Wing – Took down Death Star
  • Turbine powered Grumman Albatross with VIP interior (it’s like a luxury yacht that can fly around the world using paved runways or approved waterways. Heaven! 🙂 ) 
  • DHC-2 Beaver. It’s without a doubt one of the most versatile aircraft ever made. Floats, amphib, wheels, skis. It’s got it all.
  • F-15E. – It’s the best. 
  • sr-71 Blackbird. Why? Just look at it. It has to be one of the coolest looking aircraft ever.
  • Cirrus SR22, because it is so much fun to fly on long distances as well as short trips for breakfast.
  • Any aircraft I get to fly.
  • “Boeing 747-400
  • As a teenager I did my first longhaul flight from FRA to BKK on a Thai Airways 744. I was with a group of students and teachers going for a high school exchange to Melbourne, Australia. Obviously I was super excited and I still vividly remember the moment that the 744 taxied to our gate while I was standing right at the window. It was very impressive and I’ve always loved the Jumbo’s quirky design with the big “head”. Over all those years my favorite aircraft never changed to any other model and I doubt that will ever change.
  • B-17 Flying Fortress, the plane that made Boeing what it once was but it is no longer.
  • DC-3
  • PBY
  • ATR72, flew like an old farm truck, but always would get you there. Great memories, short landings, Caribbean flying. It was the best.
  • The one I’m either flying or riding in at that moment, but my fantasy plane is, of course, the F4U Corsair
  • Boeing 757. Such a well balanced machine. Strikes the perfect balance between performance and looks. And a ton of fun to fly on.
  • F-4 sleek fast and cool n two engines . 
  • Hey airplane geeks my favorite airplane is the A10 warthog because I would like to fly it. I am only 14 and hope to get my glider  license . Keep up the good work
  • TBM-900 for its versatility.
  • Which ever one I’m looking at.
  • Curtiss P-40 Warhawk or Douglas A-4 Skyhawk
  • B1 Lancer “Bone”; it has everything.  Looks, speed, and phenomenal capability.  Take a listen to the Fighter Pilot Podcast episode on it and you’ll be sold. (066 B-1 Lancer)
  • Boeing 707 – it was my first flight in an airplane and started my lifelong passion for aviation
  • The DH Mosquito. The first multi role aircraft ever, no other aircraft did more roles than the Mosquito until the Tornado jet entered service. Also what is cooler than 2 Merlin engines?
  • SIAI Marchetti SF-260. Designed by the legendary Italian designer, Stelio Frati, the SF-260 is quite simply one of the sexiest lightplanes ever designed. Painted red, it looks like it is doing 200 mph just sitting on the ramp.
  • Cessna 177RG.   Love the extra room, better view and extra speed over the rest of the small Cessna’s…   V-Tail a close second
  • SR71. Amazing in every way
  • F-14 – it was huge, fast, agile, powerful, launched off a carrier, sexy, and carried some of the greatest hi-vis paint schemes of all time. 
  • My 11 year old “designed” an aircraft when he was 9, and has been coming up with different Lego constructs, concept drawings, and other models of it over the last 2 years.  Clearly has to be at the top of my list for obvious reasons!
  • Cirrus Vision SF50 because Max Trescott told me to say so or else…
  • Fighter: ME-262, Non-fighter: Connie
  • C130, worked on it
  • 748
  • P51 Mustang. It represents everything I like. History, speed, awesome looks. It’s on the bucket list to fly someday!
  • DC3 or de havilland vampire
  • DC3 – because as a child, there was one at the local McDonalds. I never got to have my birthday in it, but I was hooked!
  • Dehavilland Vampire. Because who doesn’t love the twin boom??
  • Supermarine Spitfire. Its contribution to WW2,  its beautiful look with those elliptical wings, and that oh so sweet sound of that Merlin engine.
  • L-188 Electra because it’s beautiful 

This episode’s listener poll: What is the longest flight you have ever been on?

Made My Day

Our Main(e) Man Micah tells the story about how an Airplane Geeks listener made his day.

Mentioned

How the Aurora Borealis Nearly Started World War III

Video: The U-2 Spy Plane That Got Lost in an Aurora and Almost Started WW3

Meet Jessica Traynor: Air Canada’s youngest female captain

Video: Cessna 441 Conquest II Takeoff

 

625 Aerospace Internships

We talk with a co-founder of the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship which matches interns with aerospace companies. He’s also a former USAF combat pilot and an astronaut who flew on two Space Shuttle missions. In the news, EASA and the Boeing 737 MAX, the NTSB finds that alcohol caused a fatal accident, the U.S. Army plans to review its aviation fleet, expansion opportunities for budget airlines, and a dog evades capture at an airport for 12 hours.

Guest

Alvin DrewAlvin Drew Jr. is the Department of Defense Liaison at NASA Headquarters and a cofounder of the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship. That organization is designed for Black and African-American students who are looking for their first aerospace internship. Alvin is also a former USAF combat pilot and an astronaut with over 600 hours in space.

The mission of the Fellowship is to provide a pathway into successful aerospace careers and future aerospace industry leadership to people whose race and ethnicity has made them the subject of systemic bias. Participating companies identify internship opportunities and the Fellowship matches those with student candidates. Aerospace internship applications are being accepted this year through November 15, 2020.

In addition to hearing Alvin explain the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship, we are treated to some perspectives that can only come from an astronaut who has flown the Space Shuttle twice and visited the International Space Station.

Alvin graduated from the United States Air Force Academy, served as a combat rescue helicopter pilot, then transitioned into USAF special operations, where he flew 60 combat missions. Alvin went on to become a test pilot, and served in the U.S. Air Force’s Air Combat Command staff, retiring in 2010 as a Colonel. Alvin has more than 3,500 hours of flying experience and has piloted 30 different types of aircraft.  

Selected as a mission specialist by NASA, Alvin was initially assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office Station Operations Branch. He served as Director of Operations at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia and logged more than 612 hours in space on STS-118 in 2007 and STS-133 in 2011. Alvin is the 200th person to walk in space. 

Alvin holds two bachelor’s degrees from the United States Air Force Academy as well as master’s degrees from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and the United States Air Force Air University. He is an active member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, and the American Helicopter Society.

Learn more about the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship at their website, and follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Aviation News

Boeing Max Judged Safe to Fly by Europe’s Aviation Regulator

EASA is reviewing the documents for a draft 737 MAX airworthiness directive that it expects to issue in November. The organization is satisfied with the September test flights. After the draft is issued, there will be a 4-week public comment period. EASA wants a synthetic sensor added in addition to the two mechanical AOA indicators. Boeing says that will take 20 to 24 months, but EASA says, “Our analysis is showing that this is safe, and the level of safety reached is high enough for us. What we discussed with Boeing is the fact that with the third sensor, we could reach even higher safety levels.”

NTSB Points to Alcohol-Impaired Pilot as the Cause of Alaska Accident

In a 2019 accident near Girdwood, Alaska, a Piper PA22-150 impacted a 5,512-foot ridge about 15 feet below the peak. The ATP-rated pilot and three passengers died. The NTSB reported that both the pilot and the student pilot had elevated levels of alcohol in their bloodstream.

Army to conduct thorough review of aviation fleet in FY23

The U.S. Army is trying to balance funding for the current fleet vs. investments in future technology, including the Future Armed Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) and the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA).

Budget airlines muscle into big airports as coronavirus creates new opportunities

In the past, some airlines would have liked to expand into new airports but their ability to do so was prevented by the lack of airport capacity. Now, with incumbent airlines cutting back on some routes, the door has opened for others to move in. At the Boyd Group International Aviation Forecast Summit this month, most estimates for when air travel will return to 2019 levels put that recovery in 2025 or 2026.

Dog Disrupts Airport For 12 Hours

Arriving at Pearson International Airport in Toronto from Spain, Crystal, a Spanish podenco, escaped from her crate. The podenco is related to the greyhound and is a fast runner. It took airport personnel 12-hours to chase Crystal down.

Eat at the Airport

Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari speaks with Gate 12 Bar and Grill owner Cody Whitten for a live Eat at the Airport review from Easterwood Airport (KCLL) in College Station, Texas. Find more airport eating establishments at EatAtTheAirport.com.

Mentioned

Request for Feedback on the Standardization Community’s Interest in Developing Space Cyber Standards – The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is seeking information on efforts by members of the standardization community to develop space cybersecurity standards, or any plans to develop such standards.

Six Minutes to Freedom: An Evening with Kurt Muse – At the American Helicopter Museum, November 14, 2020. Hear the amazing story online or in-person of Kurt Muse, who was rescued from a Panamanian prison by American Special Operations Forces after being interrogated and confined by military dictator General Manuel Noriega. Muse will tell the story of his fight for freedom in Panama as the leader of a group of patriots broadcasting on The Voice of Liberty, an underground radio station; his harrowing interrogation and imprisonment; and his dramatic rescue by the elite Delta forces in Operation Acid Gambit. He will offer his presentation in front of the Museum’s Hughes MH-6J helicopter, which was recreated from parts of the helicopter that rescued him.

Powering a Sustainable Future, an Aerospace Industry Business After Hours Webinar at the New England Air Museum with Dr. Michael Winter, Senior Fellow, Advanced Technology, Pratt & Whitney.

Airplane Geeks Listener poll #625

Video: Space Shuttle Launch Audio – play LOUD (no music) HD 1080p

623 Boeing 787 Dreamliner Move

Boeing decides to move 787 Dreamliner production to South Carolina, the FAA Administrator flies the 737 MAX, Germany halts its heavy-lift helicopter procurement, airlines offer Covid-19 testing to passengers, furloughs after the CARES Act expired, go-arounds and accidents, a fast electric airplane from Rolls-Royce, advanced preflight after maintenance, and Flightradar24 DDoS attack.

Aviation News

Report: Boeing to move all 787 Dreamliner production to S.C.; WA governor responds

Boeing made their decision, and all assembly of the 787 Dreamliner will be consolidated in South Carolina. Production of the 787 will end in Washington state. Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal said the move to consolidate the work in North Charleston, S.C., will be done by “mid-2021, according to our best estimate.”

‘I Like What I See’: FAA Chief Flies 737 Max, But Not Ready To Recertify Plane

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson (a former Delta Air Lines pilot) flew the 737 MAX. At a news conference, Dickson said, “I completed a number of test profiles today to examine the functionality of the aircraft and I liked what I saw, so it responded well. I did two landings and also some air work maneuvers over about a two-hour period… and I felt prepared. I think most importantly, I felt that the training prepared me to be very comfortable.”

Germany Axes Plan To Buy Either Sikorsky CH-53K Or Boeing CH-47 Helicopters

In what was called “a surprise development,” Germany decided not to replace the German Luftwaffe’s aging CH-53G series helicopters with either the CH-53K King Stallion or the CH-47F Chinook. The reason: both heavy-lift helicopters are too expensive.

Here are the U.S. airlines offering COVID-19 testing to travelers

JetBlue has partnered with Vault Health to provide at-home saliva tests to customers “wanting peace of mind and those who must secure a negative COVID-19 test result before entering certain states and countries or in order to avoid certain mandatory quarantines.” United Airlines will offer testing for customers traveling from San Francisco International Airport to Hawaii beginning Oct. American Airlines will offer pre-flight testing to travelers at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport going to Hawaii starting on Oct. 15.

Black Thursday Has Arrived: It’s Bad, But Not As Bad As Feared

The CARES Act has expired and while thousands were furloughed, others have negotiated new agreements with airlines or are in the process of negotiating new deals.

Failure to Go Around Leads to Runway Excursion

The August 15, 2019 crash of Dale Earnhardt Jr’s Cessna Citation Latitude at Elizabethton, Tennessee (0A9) followed “an unstable VFR approach, a poorly executed landing, and a botched go-around attempt.”

Rolls-Royce Thinks It’s Developing The Fastest Electric Airplane In The World

The concept includes a 500hp motor, and “a battery with enough energy to supply 250 homes.”  Rolls-Royce is ground testing the technology on a full-scale replica of the plane’s core. Project partners include YASA, a British electric powertrain company, and electric aviation startup Electroflight. Rolls-Royce said, “The first flight is planned for later this year and we are aiming to beat the current all-electric flight world record early next year.”

Advanced Preflight After Maintenance

General Aviation fatalities have occurred after in-flight emergencies that have been the direct result of maintenance personnel who have serviced or installed systems incorrectly. The General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) say that a significant number of those fatalities could have been avoided if pilots conducted more thorough preflight inspections of aircraft that have just been returned to service.

Resources:

Update on Flightradar24’s extended downtime

Flightradar24 experienced a sustained Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack that resulted in extensive downtime. “We are continuing to do everything possible to mitigate the effects of the attack and to harden our systems to reduce the likelihood of future attacks making our services unavailable.”

Mentioned

Listener Poll 623

Whirly-Girls New Instrument Rating Scholarship for Female Aviators for 2021

Aviation Careers Podcast and the Aerospace Scholarships guide.

SUN ‘n FUN Holiday Flying Festival and Car Show

Last ever Airbus A380 superjumbo assembled in France

Airbus A380 Struggles But a Business Case Exists for Neo

Airbus debuts hydrogen net-zero concept aircraft for 2035 launch

Video: How Delta Fixes $32 Million Jet Engines | Big Business

Video: Coulson Aviation CH47

Video: Awesome Chinook helicopter firefighting system in action

Jet World Record Project – A video report from KTVN, the CBS affiliate in Reno, Nevada on the TS-11 project to rebuild the airplane. See also Renegade Jets.