Delta Airlines celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Delta/Northwest merger, opening their new engine repair shop, and their first A220-100. An American Airlines a baggage handler gets an unexpected free ride, then another one home. We look at the latest on the fatal Lion Air crash, Boeing 737 MAX data servers, and two Iceland airlines that plan to join forces. Also, young pilot Solomon’s interview with an aviation Youtuber in Australia, and Launchpad Marzari talks with Snowbird #1.
Some two thousand Delta Air Lines employees celebrated the ten-year anniversary of the Delta/Northwest merger, the grand opening of a new 127,000-square-foot state-of-the-art engine repair shop at Atlanta, and the arrival of their first Airbus A220-100.
Icelandair says the brands will continue to operate independently. Icelandair shareholders and regulators must approve the acquisition. Icelandair operates an all-Boeing fleet while WOW is an all-Airbus fleet.
Sixteen-year-old pilot Solomon talks with aviation Youtuber Stefan Drury, an expat Brit living in Australia. He makes videos on YouTube for viewers to experience the world of aviation, get travel tips and ideas, learn about gear and gadgets, and follow his adventures in regularly posted vlogs. Stefan’s website is stef747.com.
A new airline from the founder of Jetblue, a proposed change to flight training regulations for experimental light-sport aircraft, the devastation to Tyndall AFB as a result of hurricane Michael, Bombardier’s lawsuit against Mitsubishi, a helicopter passenger saves the day when the pilot passes out, and the Lion Air fatal accident. Also, interviews from the Great Pacific Airshow at Huntington Beach, California and the EAA Chapter 141 Stick ‘n Rudda Fall Fly-In and Poker Run.
JetBlue founder David Neeleman’s new airline should start flying in 2021 and probably won’t be named Moxy, Brazil’s Azul will feed traffic to the new airline, it will fly hundreds of routes, including from the U.S. to Europe and South America. Neeleman will be using the A220-300 for long range and lower maintenance and operating costs. Customer interaction will be through an app.
A lawsuit filed by Bombardier alleges that Mitsubishi Aircraft received trade secrets from former Bombardier employees. The employees, now with Mitsubishi Aircraft, worked on the C Series jet. According to the lawsuit, the employees allegedly sent C-Series data to their personal e-mail accounts. Mitsubishi Aircraft stated that the allegations are “without merit.”
During a sightseeing flight in Hawaii, a newly engaged couple found their pilot had slumped over. As the Robinson R-44 began a dive, the man sitting in the back yelled to his fiancé to “pull up!” She did, which arrested the fall enough that they survived.
An airplane operated by The Indonesian low-cost airline Lion Air crashed into the sea 13 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta. All passengers and crew onboard are missing and presumed dead. Flightradar24 showed the 737 reached an altitude of about 5,500ft before a rapid descent.
Great Pacific Airshow
At the Great Pacific Airshow in Huntington Beach, California (October 19-21, 2018) contributing editor-at-large, Brian Coleman spoke with representatives of airshow sponsors FedEx and the Lyon Air Museum. He also caught up with aviation attorney and former guest of the show Ray Johnson, as well as some very enthusiastic fans of aviation and the Thunderbirds.
The CEO of magniX talks about electric airplane propulsion. Also, FAA reauthorization, an initial NTSB report, why bad airline service is profitable, a possible increase in the LSA weight limit, and Air Force contracts for helicopters and the T-38 replacement.
Roei Ganzarski, CEO of magniX.
Roei Ganzarski is the CEO of magniX, a company developing high-power-density electric motors for aircraft propulsion.
magniX sees itself as a propulsion company, developing electric motors for existing and future airframes. Roei describes how the electric airplane (or hybrid-electric) offers the prospect of connecting communities through lower costs to fly. In addition to reduced fuel and maintenance costs, electric airplanes benefit from lower emissions.
Roei describes some of the challenges faced, including battery energy density, lifespan, and replacement cost.
The magniX 350SHP electric airplane motor.
magniX is currently testing a 350 hp motor, while the 375 hp and 750 hp production motors are in final design. Flight tests are planned for the second half of 2019, with certification and start of commercial operation in 2022. Beyond that, magniX looks to develop one-megawatt and superconductor motors for very high output per kilogram.
Prior to joining magniX, Roei was CEO of BoldIQ, a global provider of dynamic real-time scheduling optimization software. Under Roei’s leadership, BoldIQ grew from a seed software startup to a profitable multi-million dollar SaaS company.
Before BoldIQ, Roei was Chief Customer Officer for Boeing’s Flight Services division where he led all worldwide customer and market-facing organizations. Other experiences prior to Boeing include private investment banking, corporate finance, advertising, and the military.
Roei is a graduate of Wharton’s Advanced Management Program. He earned an MBA from the University of Washington, and a BA in Economics from The University of Haifa. Roei sits on the board of the Washington Technology Industry Association.
Appareo Systems is the maker of Stratus transponders for ADS-B systems. United Airlines announces its goal to cut greenhouse emissions by 50%, Airbus is investing in synthetic spider silk for composite aerostructures, the fatal crash of a Cessna 335, flight attendants on bad behavior by emotional support animals. Also, a conversation about passing the Cirrus SF50 checkride.
Kelly Keller flying in Alaska.
Kelly Keller is the Central US Territory Manager for Appareo Systems, maker of the Stratus line of transponders for ADS-B systems.
Stratus ADS-B In.
Kelly tells us about ADS-B In and ADS-B Out and explains what each does. From the Appareo website: “ADS-B is the technology being implemented by the FAA to provide surveillance and improved situational awareness to both pilots and air traffic controllers. The FAA mandate states that all aircraft operating in current Mode-C airspace must be ADS-B Out equipped by 2020. For the pilot, the two primary benefits come in the form of ADS-B In weather and traffic information.”
We explore the “hockey puck” and the “ghosting” effects and come to understand the implications if your airplane is ADS-B In equipped but not ADS-B Out equipped. Kelly also discusses the demand for installation and certification services and the increasing labor rates.
Kelly is a third generation pilot. Her grandfather was a WWII B-17 bomber pilot who flew two tours in the European theater, and her father was a Vietnam veteran, an airline pilot, an A&P/IA, and an avid advocate for general aviation. Kelly has been a private pilot since 2010, with ASEL and ASES class ratings. She’s currently finishing up her instrument rating.
Kelly’s family in front of the Staggerwing at Oshkosh.
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz says, “…United Airlines became the first U.S. airline to make a public commitment to reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions – 50 percent by the year 2050.” This will be accomplished through engine and airframe technology developments, and the use of biofuels. United made an aviation fuel purchase agreement with Fulcrum BioEnergy, and the airline celebrated their commitment with the longest transatlantic biofuel flight to date, from San Francisco to Zurich. See also: Major air carriers plan to use more biofuels.
Airbus partnered with AMSilk to develop a prototype composite material composed of Biosteel fiber and resin. AMSilk is a German company that produces Biosteel in the lab which is designed to mimic spider silk in terms of flexibility and strength. Biosteel is created through a “closed-loop, bacterial fermentation process.” They hope to debut the composite in 2019.
A Cessna 335 recently crashed on approach to Florida’s Palm Beach County Park/Lantana Airport. The twin-engine airplane hit the ground a mile from the airport, killing the pilot and his wife. The man did not hold a valid pilot certificate. In fact, his certificate had been revoked in 1997 “for making fraudulent or intentionally false statements on his application for a medical certificate.” See also, Crash Pilot Had Certificate Revoked.
The aviation program at the University of Maine at Augusta, the stolen and crashed Horizon Air turboprop plane, the proposed British jet fighter, the effect of elevated carbon monoxide levels in the flight deck, the percentage of women pilots, a lawsuit over lavatory access, the fatal Ju 52 crash, and a pancake breakfast and fly-in.
Greg Jolda, aviation program coordinator at the University of Maine at Augusta.
Greg was a United States Air Force pilot and retired as Lieutenant Colonel and Command Pilot with over 3000 hours in four operational aircraft, including over 1000 hours as an instructor pilot. He served as Fighter Pilot, T-33; Instructor Pilot, T-37; Group Chief, Systems Avionics Group, Wright Aeronautical Labs, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; Aircraft Commander C-130 and Air Operations Officer, Yokota Air Base, Tokyo, Japan; Instructor Pilot and Flight Commander, T-38, Chief, Wing Academics, Reese Air Force Base, Lubbock, Texas; Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.
Greg earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University in Boston and an MS in Electrical Engineering, from the Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton.
He is also a Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot (CSIP).
A Horizon Air Bombardier Q400 turboprop was stolen by an airline employee at Seattle’s SeaTac International airport and made an unauthorized takeoff. Horizon is a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group. During a 75-minute flight, the plane made some aerobatic maneuvers, was chased by two Air National Guard F-15Cs, and crashed on Ketron Island in Puget Sound.
A full-scale model of the UK’s new Tempest fighter jet was displayed at Farnborough this year. It’s being called a 6th generation fighter with two engines and twin vertical stabilizers, not unlike the F-22. The UK’s Ministry of Defense plans on spending $2.6 billion to develop the plane through 2025. Then a decision will be made to proceed with a 2035 rollout.
The 1986 Air Carrier Access Act prohibits discrimination based on disability in air travel. New twin-aisle planes are required to have a wheelchair accessible lavatory. Single-aisle planes have no such requirement. The Paralyzed Veterans of America organization has filed a lawsuit against the United States Department of Transportation.
“…on behalf of Paralyzed Veterans of America, Democracy Forward challenged the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for its unjustified and unlawful delay in issuing rules intended to make airplane restrooms accessible for travelers with disabilities.”
Ju 52 Crash in Switzerland
Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari presents his findings on the fatal crash.
Our guest documents aircraft crash sites and helps next of kin find closure. In the news, we look at Boeing’s Aviall unit helping Antonov, a statement by aviation groups concerning GA fees charged by FBO’s, Delta’s test of a new dining experience for some international coach travelers, and an update on fan blade inspections following the fatal uncontained engine failure on Southwest. We also reminisce a bit about our past experiences with model rockets.
Pat Macha, founder of the Project Remembrance Team.
Pat Macha began documenting aircraft crash sites in the mountains and deserts of California in 1963. Twenty-five years ago Pat founded the all-volunteer Project Remembrance Team that is dedicated to facilitating the requests of next of kin who wish to learn more about the loss of loved ones in aircraft accidents. The Project Remembrance Team has assisted more than one-hundred-fifty next of kin to fulfill their wishes for accident reports, maps, photographs and crash site visitations. More than two dozen memorial markers have been placed at or near aircraft crash sites. All with the permission of the property owners.
All missions are completed with respect and admiration for those who have come forth to honor the memory of those whom they have lost. Losses suffered by first responders and members of armed forces receive an appropriate extra measure of attention.
The Project Remembrance Team includes retired military service members, pilots, rangers, educators, firefighters, law enforcement officers, professional scuba divers, and business people. Pat has authored six books on crash sites in California, and he is a well-received speaker on aviation accident history and aircraft archaeology.
At the Farnborough International Airshow, Boeing and Antonov signed a deal where Boeing’s Aviall unit would supply components to Antonov. This will allow Antonov to resume production. Antonov chief Oleksandr Donets said Aviall will support Antonov to build AN-1X8 planes and will have exclusive rights to help service the planes.
AOPA reported in Coalition Calls for Action on Airport Access that “16 general aviation groups issued a joint statement calling on the FAA to take action against ‘egregious, hidden fees and denial of affordable access to airport ramps.’” Among the groups signing the statement was Women in Aviation International, but now WAI has rescinded their support. WAI President Dr. Peggy Chabrian said, “As a pilot myself, I am sympathetic to the financial challenges inherent in flying, but we also recognize that FBOs provide services crucial to our flying as well as extending comforts which enhance general aviation operations.”
Delta Air Lines is testing an “enhanced meal and beverage service” for international economy class passengers on flights between Portland, Oregon, and Tokyo. The dinner service includes cocktails and sparkling water, appetizers, choice of three-course dinner, and Haagen-Dazs ice cream for dessert. The meal is served in courses, on white dishes.
Following the April fatal uncontained engine failure of a CFM International engine on a Southwest flight, GE spokesman Rick Kennedy said about 150,000 blades have been inspected. A small number of fan blades with cracks have been found and Southwest CEO Mike Van de Ven said “maybe four or five” cracked fan blades have been found at other carriers.
Brian attended the launching of some model rockets as part of the after-school program sponsored by the Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum based in Compton, CA. In addition to successfully launching some rockets built by students Sarah and Jonathan, Brian let them launch two of his 3D printed rockets. One rocket failed to deploy the parachute, as the 3D printed plastic melted from the engine heat. The other rocket properly deployed the parachute but experienced an internal structural failure that resulted in the rocket coming to earth in two pieces. Both launches were considered a success as all parts were recovered and the students will learn from the failure analysis and design better rockets in the future.
Bye Aerospace founder George Bye tells us about his electric and solar aircraft projects, including the electric Sun Flyer training aircraft, the StratoAirNet, the Silent Falcon UAV, the TriFan 600, the Mars SOLESA, and the Starlight UAV. In the news, we look at the WC-130H crash in Georgia, breaking airplane windows, and companies developing supersonic transports. Also, an installment from student pilot Nicki, the history of Soviet airliners from Will, Tom Larkin’s mini-jet, the Mercury 13 documentary, the centennial of U.S. airmail service, and lip syncing while flying.
The Sun Flyer electric aircraft prototype. Courtesy Bye Aerospace.
George Bye is the founder and CEO of Bye Aerospace, which focuses on electric and solar aircraft projects, such as:
Sun Flyer electric training aircraft.
StratoAirNet family of solar-electric UAVs for medium and high altitude missions.
Silent Falcon UAV using stored electric power and thin film solar photovoltaics.
Mars SOLESA, a solar electric survey aircraft for Mars.
Starlight lighter than air solar electric UAV under a U.S. Navy contract.
George is an ATP rated pilot with over 4,000 flying hours. He was a USAF instructor pilot in the Northrop T-38 Talon at Sheppard AFB (ENJJPT), a C-141B Aircraft Commander, and he is a Desert Storm veteran.
The Puerto Rico Air National Guard unit lost nine airmen in the crash of a WC-130H Hercules cargo plane in Georgia, just after takeoff. The plane was on its final flight, to an air base in Arizona. A short video from the private memorial ceremony honoring the fallen crew was released.
A JetBlue flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Tampa, Florida, was diverted to Fort Lauderdale after damage to the plane’s windscreen. A Southwest Airlines flight from Chicago to Newark, New Jersey, made an unplanned landing after a window cracked. A Southwest B737 experienced an uncontained engine failure which threw debris into a passenger window.
A recent OAG survey looks at future travel tech innovation and disruption. Also, the uncontained engine failure on the Southwest Airlines Boeing 737, integrating the Bombardier CSeries into the Airbus organization, the FAA reauthorization bill, and the effect of rising fuel prices on airfares.
Mike Benjamin, OAG Chief Technology Officer
Mike Benjamin is Chief Technology Officer at OAG, a global provider of digital flight information for airlines, airports, government agencies, aircraft manufacturers, consultancies, and travel-related companies. OAG is in the business of data aggregation and distribution, with flight information used for real-time and analytical tools.
Mike tells us about the Travel Tech Innovation: Market Report where OAG surveyed more than 2,000 U.S. travelers to gain insight into which future advancements will resonate. We look at traveler interest in artificial intelligence applications, supersonic travel, booking process innovations, the use of autonomous vehicles, and biometrics at the airport to speed travelers along.
Mike has over 30 years of experience in aviation, travel, technology, and business development. After completing his education at MIT, he held several leadership positions during the first years in his career, and then took over leadership of FlightView, a US-based day-of-travel information and technology provider. Mike joined OAG via the FlightView acquisition in January 2015.
In his current role as Chief Technology Officer at OAG, Mike works with airlines, airports, and travel providers to utilize data-driven solutions to plan more profitable routes, improve customer satisfaction, and operate more efficiently.
The Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Uncontained Engine Failure
The U.S. House of Representatives approved five-year H.R.4 – FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 by a 393-to-13 vote. The bill includes no ATC privatization. Also, airlines would not be able to involuntarily bump an already-boarded revenue passenger, large and medium-sized airports would be required to provide private rooms in every terminal for nursing mothers. Minimum dimensions for seat pitch, width, and length would be determined by the FAA within one year. A feasibility study of in-cabin wheelchair restraint systems would be conducted.
We celebrate our 500th episode with messages from our listeners and contributors, some Airplane Geeks facts and trivia, an AusDesk report, and a big announcement. In the news, we look at an emergency airworthiness directive for certain CFM engines, and a proposed mandatory retirement age for charter pilots.
A Southwest Airlines B737 experienced an uncontained failure in one of its CFM56-7B engines that resulted in the death of one passenger. The engine manufacturer, CFM International, issued a service bulletin for ultrasonic testing of the fan blades. This can be performed on-engine in about four hours. The FAA said the “emergency” order was based on a service bulletin. CFMI estimates 352 engines in the U.S. are affected and 681 engines worldwide.
A manager’s amendment in the FAA reauthorization bill would require a mandatory retirement age of 65 for certain Part 135 charter and Part 91K fractional pilots. In a letter to House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster and ranking member Pete DeFazio, the AARP says they have “long opposed mandatory retirement; using an arbitrary age as a proxy for competence is wrong in any occupation, and it is wrong for pilots.”
Well Wishes and Messages for 500 Episodes
Our sincere thanks to all our listeners, past guests, and especially:
The president of Planes of Fame tells us about the museum, restoring warbirds and historic aircraft, and flying heritage flights. Also, we look at the world’s largest jet engine, restraints on open-door helicopter flights, United Airlines and dogs, facial scanning at airports, the Boeing 737 Max 7 first flight, hacking the aviation industry, and GPS vulnerabilities.
Planes of Fame Air Museum P-51 Mustang
Steve Hinton is president of Planes of Fame Air Museum, which opened in 1957 and now has a collection of over 150 aircraft, more than 50 of which are flyable. The mission of the museum is to preserve aviation history, inspire interest in aviation, educate the public, and honor aviation pioneers and veterans. The Museum spans the history of manned flight from the Chanute Hang Glider of 1896 to the Space Age of Apollo, with locations in Chino, California and Valle-Grand Canyon, Arizona.
We talk with Steve about the Museum and the annual Planes of Fame Airshow, in 2018 to be held May 5-6 at Chino Airport in California with about 45 flying warbirds.
Steve explains how the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation pairs modern aircraft with fighter aircraft from the WWII, Korea, and Vietnam eras for dramatic heritage flights around the world. This year he flew a P-51 Mustang leading two A-10s and an F-16 in the heritage flight over the Super Bowl LII opening ceremony.
Steve held a world speed record from 1979 to 1989 and won six Unlimited-class air races, including two national championships. He won four consecutive Unlimited races in one year and remains the only pilot ever to do so. He retired from racing in 1990 and was honored in 2016 with the Crystal Eagle Award from the Aero Club of Northern California.
Steve also owns Fighter Rebuilders, a military aircraft restoration company. He was our guest on Episode 386 in January 2016.
On March 13, from Victorville, California, GE’s new GE9X engine flew more than four hours mounted to the company’s 747 testbed aircraft. The 100,000-pound thrust-class engine has a 134-inch fan and is intended for the Boeing 777X, scheduled for EIS in 2020.
Open-door helicopter flights are popular with tourists and photographers, but recently one of these flights went down in a river, killing all 5 passengers on board. It appears that they were unable to escape from the harnesses that held them in the chopper. The family of one victim has filed a lawsuit and the FAA issued a temporary nationwide ban on open-door flights unless they are equipped with restraint systems that open with one action.
Bad press seems to dog United Airlines frequently these days. But they went above and beyond after mistakenly shipping a German Shepherd Dog to Japan. They returned the pooch via a privately chartered jet.
Customs and Border Protection is testing biometric scanning at some U.S. international airports at boarding points. Cameras at the gate send passenger photographs to CBP where they are checked against photos on file and to make sure that person is booked on the manifest. Some critics point to possible bias and privacy protection issues.
The smallest member of the family, the Boeing 737 MAX 7, flew on March 17, 2018, for 3 hours and 5 minutes. The flight test program now begins with certification and delivery expected in 2019. The airplane has a maximum capacity of 172 passengers and a range of 3,850 nautical miles.
Bloomberg reports that hackers were attempted to penetrate the U.S. civilian aviation industry early in 2017. Details aren’t provided, but Jeff Troy, executive director of the Aviation Information Sharing and Analysis Center (A-ISAC), said the attack had limited impact. Also that the industry has taken steps to prevent a repeat of the intrusion. US-CERT has issued a detailed report.
Although not specifically about commercial aircraft, it is a great story about the contribution woman have made to Pratt & Whitney.
Airplane Geeks Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari speaks with Ken VeArd from Pilot Partner about getting paper out of the cockpit. Ken was kind enough to offer a discount code for Airplane Geeks listeners. The interview begins at about 1:28 into the episode.