The CEO of Equator Aircraft talks about the P2 Xcursion high-performance hybrid amphibious aircraft. In the news, debris from the Air France engine failure is found in Greenland, American Airlines is apparently destined to be profitable forever, and Boeing plans to acquire Aurora Flight Sciences.
The P2 Xcursion. Photo courtesy Equator Aircraft.
Tomas Brødreskift is the CEO Equator Aircraft, which is developing the P2 Xcursion, a high-performance hybrid amphibious aircraft.
Tomas decided to develop a float wing amphibious aircraft at design school. After that, he knew he had to find a way to continue, and so without money or any grasp of the complexity involved, Tomas started building and designing the aircraft, learning as he progressed.
Most of the design was based on things he saw in other planes, and he added a few of his own ideas. As for building the aircraft, Thomas was lucky to have his father join in, along with many other volunteers, and it has ended up being a volunteer / open source project. The project has now accumulated over 30,000 work hours and 7 years from the first concept.
Tomas became interested in aviation at a very early age, growing up in the 80’s watching VHS tapes of Burt Rutan. Tomas’ father built and flew a Long EZ and at the age of 7 Tomas started to build his own aircraft. He started flying gliders and took his PPL in 2002. Tomas interned at Airbus in Germany for a short while where he realized big companies were not the right fit for him. Luckily he met an awesome retired aircraft designer, G. Poeschel, and got totally inspired by his mind and his aircraft.
At the recent American Airlines annual meeting with Wall Street analysts at company headquarters, chairman and CEO Doug Parker said, “I don’t think we’re ever going to lose money again. We have an industry that’s going to be profitable in good and bad times.” It wasn’t clear if Parker was talking about American Airlines, the entire airline industry.
Boeing announced that it plans to acquire Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation, which develops and manufactures advanced aerospace platforms, specializing in autonomous systems technologies and robotic aircraft. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Francois and Brian at Thaba Tholo. Note the wildlife in the background.
Brian was hosted by listener Francois at his game farm, Thaba Tholo. They talk about what it’s like to operate an airstrip in the South African bush, and the special aircraft that have visited the strip.
Then, listener Eoin talks with Brian in Hamburg, Germany about being a flight attendant at “Harp Jet” and his promotions in the growing airline.
The chief test pilot for Martin Aircraft Company tells us about the Martin Jetpack. Also, the major engine failure of Air France Flight 66, the Emirates A380 that descended below the glideslope on approach, dumping and subsidization claims against Bombardier, a Boeing 737 near miss, and the Airbus Laminar Flow Wing Demonstrator.
Prospero “Paco” Uybarreta is head of Aircrew & Testing, and the chief test pilot for Martin Aircraft Company Ltd. The Martin Jetpack is an optionally piloted hovering air vehicle currently being developed and tested in New Zealand.
Paco explains the recent interest in personal VTOL air vehicles and describes the use cases. He also tells us about how the Martin Jetpack is more of a small vehicle platform than a backpack-style jetpack. We look at how the regulatory agencies treat vehicles like this, safety considerations, and why the Jetpack operates in both manned and unmanned modes.
Paco has been an experimental test pilot for the U.S. Air Force, Bombardier Aerospace, and Scaled Composites. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School and has over 4,400 total pilot hours in 44 different aircraft types with 1,000 instructor pilot hours, 600 flight test hours, and 460 combat hours.
He holds FAA ATPL, Transport Canada ATPL, FAA CFII, and CAA CPL and Cat 1 Test Pilot certificates, with multiple type ratings in Boeing, Bombardier, Beechcraft, and Mitsubishi jet aircraft, and an AV-L39C Experimental Authorization. Paco was the 2015 recipient of the prestigious Iven C. Kincheloe Award for outstanding flight test accomplishments with Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.
Paco has been signed off by the New Zealand CAA as a Category 1 test pilot for the Martin Jetpack, which means he is able to conduct manned flight tests of the Martin Jetpack now that it has been awarded experimental aircraft status. He is also approved to train a team of pilots to act as test pilots for the new prototype aircraft. To that end, Paco has designed a test pilot course based on CAA requirements. This includes six hours of academic learning and ten hours of Jetpack simulator training in techniques and maneuvers along with actual flight training.
The Emirates General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is investigating an Emirates Airbus A380 that “descended below the glideslope on approach” to Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport. Emirates flight EK131 descended to 400 feet at 14.8 kilometers from the runway, aborted the approach, made a second unsuccessful attempt to land, then finally landed safely.
The U.S. Commerce Department is sympathetic to Boeing’s complaint that Bombardier is “dumping” CSeries passenger jets at below manufacturing cost. That was not unexpected. But what wasn’t expected is the preliminary decision to recommend a 220% tariff on Bombardier. See: US government recommends 220% import tariff on CSeries.
Brazil asked the World Trade Organization to investigate Canada’s alleged use of more than $3 billion in government subsidies. Brazil claims the loans, equity infusions, grants, and tax credits offered to Bombardier harmed Embraer.
A United Airlines Flight 246 flying from Vancouver to Chicago reportedly had to take evasive action to avoid colliding with a glider. The pilot had to execute a climb 400 feet and banked the Boeing 737 hard to the right.
BLADE is an acronym for Breakthrough Laminar Aircraft Demonstrator in Europe, an EU-sponsored Clean Sky aeronautical research program. BLADE looks to achieve a 50 percent reduction in wing friction and up to 5 percent lower CO2 emissions. The Airbus A340 named Flight Lab made its first test flight in France with two transonic laminar outer wings and a flight-test-instrumentation station in the cabin. Airbus news release: European laminar flow research takes a new step with Airbus’ BLADE Flight Lab.
Airbus BLADE test aircraft. Image courtesy Airbus.
Conversation with the recruitment manager for Emirates about opportunities at the airline. Also, possible layoffs (or retirements) at Boeing, Air France service returning to Iran, new student pilot rules from the FAA, a buyer for Virgin America, and dogs – can they really fly?
Andrew Longley is Head of Recruitment – Flight Operations (Pilots) at Emirates. The airline operates to over 140 destinations with an all-widebody fleet of Boeing and Airbus aircraft. Emirates is the world’s largest operator of 777 and A380 aircraft.
Andy describes how the Emirates employment model is different than that of many other airlines. We take a look at the need to attract pilots and cabin crew from an international pool of candidates with strong leadership potential and good CRM skills. We also talk about pilot certification requirements, the Dubai lifestyle and airline accommodation of employee families, salaries, housing, medical insurance, and other career opportunities at Emirates.
Andy started his career in 2006 in the Royal New Zealand Navy as a Military Psychologist where he was responsible for the selection and assessment of specialist trades including helicopter pilots, special forces, and Navy divers. He also served as a UN peacekeeper for a year where he worked and lived in Syria and Lebanon monitoring the peace between the various at-war countries.
After Andy’s military time commitment ended in 2013, he worked as a consultant in the telecommunications and business fields including a year working at IBM.
But Andy saw a unique opportunity with Emirates and he moved to Dubai as a senior psychologist. He became involved in Emirates pilot assessment and was responsible for profiling and assessing pilot candidates. He moved into pilot recruitment and leads the effort to find enough safe and capable pilots to fly a quickly growing fleet of wide-body aircraft.
Boeing says that at least 4,000 (or 5%) of it’s workforce needs to be cut, and maybe as much as 10% (or 8,000 jobs). CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) Ray Conner points to pricing pressure from Airbus with their A320 family and its effect on the 737.
Loren Thompson describes some other factors where the U.S. government shares blame:
Illegal European launch aid subsidies.
The Ex-Im Bank cannot make new deals until the Senate acts to confirm a necessary quorum of board members.
Low tanker price will drain funds from Boeing that could have been used to compete with Airbus.
Aerospace analyst Scott Hamilton of Leeham Co. says early retirements by factory-floor workers could be a bigger impact than layoffs on the 737 and 787 production ramp up starting next year. The IAM (International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers) told told Hamilton that between 7,000 and 9,000 workers are eligible for early retirement in November, and they expect 3-5,000 might actually retire. However, Dennis Muilenburg, the CEO of The Boeing Co.says that “booking rates have held up well.” Cost cutting is offensive rather than defensive.
Air France is scheduled to resume service between Paris and Tehran on April 17. By law, Iranian women are required to cover their hair. Some female cabin crew members say they won’t fly to Iran if they are ordered by the airline to wear headscarves after they disembark. Reportedly, an Air France memo to staff said female employees would be required to “wear trousers during the flight with a loose fitting jacket and a scarf covering their hair on leave the plane.”
In the past, many student pilots have celebrated their 16th birthday with their solo flight on that day. Now the FAA says it cannot start processing the student pilot certificate application until all requirements are met, including age.
Alaska Air Group plans to Virgin America in a deal valued at about $2.6 billion. If it goes through, Alaska Airlines would become the fifth-largest U.S. airline, behind American, Delta, United, and Southwest.
The single engine Navion airplane, air traffic controller hiring guidelines, Air France pilot’s strike, robots flying airplanes, Delta Air Line’s refinery, and NextGen.
Chris Gardner is founder and CEO of Sierra Hotel Aero, holder of the type certificate for the single engine Navion airplane.
Chris has a commercial aviation background, as well as extensive experience with North American Aviation aircraft including rebuilding and modification for racing of the P-51 Mustang, the T- 28, and Navion aircraft.
We review a little of the history of the Navion and how it was originally envisioned by North American Aviation to attract the interest of pilots returning from World War II.
With Sierra Hotel Aero now owning the type certificate, there are opportunities to modernize and upgrade the airplane. Chris is working on an STC for larger engine for the airplane.
Sierra Hotel Aero provides rebuild and modification services, including installation of the BRS Aerospace ballistic recovery parachutes in Cessna 172’s and 182’s.
For years, when it came to recruiting new air traffic controllers the FAA favored graduates from FAA-accredited college aviation programs and also military veterans with aviation experience. The general public came last. But the FAA changed that not too long ago and started to favor inexperienced applicants. Some think this negatively impacts safety, and have introduced the Safe Towers Act.
Aviation Queen Benet Wilson is set to join Airways News, the strategic alliance between Airchive.com and Airways Magazine.
Union leader Robert E. Poli led the 1981 air traffic controllers’ strike, which prompted President Ronald Reagan to dismiss 11,500 controllers. Poli died September 15 at his home in Meridian, Idaho. He was 78.
Airplane of the Week
Jamie Dodson presents the history of the Grumman J2F Duck. Be sure to visit Jamie’s website at NickGrantAdventures.com and have a look at his historical fiction novels.
Rob Mark’s Aviation Minute
Rob gives us a list of great aviation writers you should read.
The Australia News Desk
Grant and Steve join live from Steve’s studio, and talk about RAAF fighter pilots being deployed in an active combat area, the Women’s World Hot Air Balloon Championship, and the Great Tiger Moth Air Race in Australia.
Guest Bill Palmer is an A330 captain for a major international airline, and author of “Understanding Air France 447,” available in paperback and as an eBook.
Bill was a member the A330 development team introducing the airplane to his airline’s fleet, and was lead author and editor for the airline’s A330 systems manual. He’s also written many A330 training publications, served as an airplane and simulator instructor, check airman, and designated examiner.
Bill is an Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University graduate, holds a BS in Aeronautical Science, and an ATP with type ratings in A320, A330, B757/767, B777, DC10, and commercial glider and flight engineer-turbojet ratings.
We talk about the facts of the Air France 447 accident, including the events in the cockpit, the difficulty locating the flight recorders, and the messages sent from the maintenance computer.
Bill describes “automation addiction,” a tired flight crew, and the “startle factor” at play here. We talk about high altitude stall training, practice with the flight director automation turned off, and of course lessons learned and changes that resulted from the investigation.
1957 Vickers Armstrong V745D “Viscount” Serial 233 N7471 of the Mid Atlantic Air Museum (www.MAAM.org)
David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week: The Vickers Viscount, reported by listener Ray Williams.
Jetstar 787-8, VH-VKA, on short final for runway 34 at Melbourne on October 9th (Image by Steven Pam – www.smartshots.com.au )
In this week’s Australia Desk:
Steve and Grant were on hand at Melbourne International Airport for this report as Jetstar’s first Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, VH-VKA (c/n 36227), arrived at the end of her delivery flight from the USA. Although not the first Dreamliner to operate commercially in Australia (that honour went to Air India), VKA is the first of type on the Australian civil aircraft register and the first of 14 being delivered to Jetstar over the next two years. Qantas will also be taking delivery of 787-9 aircraft in coming years.
The aircraft touched down smoothly on runway 34, despite very high winds, and was welcomed with a traditional water cannon salute before making its way to the Qantas Maintenance Centre for a more formal ceremony with Qantas and Jetstar management, local and federal politicians, and a large group of staff in attendance.
In this report, we speak to Jetstar Australia/New Zealand CEO David Hall about his vision for the this new aircraft type, and the process the airline went through to have it certified for Australian commercial use.
Coverage on PCDU Facebook page, including video & Grant’s radio interview.
In this week’s Across the Pond segment:
Pieter Johnson talks to Francois De Watteville, a design engineer who created the AGA-33 and presented it to the Paris Air Show. Francois is not an aircraft designer but turned his hand to aircraft design for the purposes of creating an airliner after travelling regularly across the Atlantic, that was efficient. Find out why and how you may be able to help prove the concept.
Guest Linda L. (Heid) Maloney had a 20 year military career as a naval flight officer flying the A-7, EA-6A, and the EA-6B Prowler. She was one of the first women to join a combat military flying squadron. Since then, she’s provided engineering and technical support to the Navy’s aviation acquisition programs and has just authored the book, Military Fly Moms ~ Sharing Memories, Building Legacies, Inspiring Hope.
We talk with Linda about being a female military aviator, and the time she had to eject from her plane. In her book, a collection of women military pilots tell their stories, the decisions they have had to make, the legacy they want pass down to their children, and the encouragement they give to other women. A portion of the proceeds from the book go to Girls With Wings.
David’s Aircraft of the Week: The EA-6A Electric Intruder.
In this week’s Australia Desk report:
In addition to the airshow noise, Grant and Steve talk about CASA grounding another animal themed airline, Qantas considering laying off 400 maintenance workers in Melbourne, Qantas delaying two A380s but increasing domestic capacity to fight off Virgin Australia and the recent Australian decision to delay making a decision on when to purchase the F35.
This week on Across the Pond, Pieter again talks with UK airline consultant Tim Gresty from Cognitio. Tim shares more of his views on the way the industry is developing and where he thinks things will develop for some of the carriers.
Guest Terry Mialkowsky is Executive Producer/Director of the television documentary series Dust Up, which chronicles Canadian crop dusters. Terry is an award-winning director, producer and writer, whose films have screened all over North America and Europe. Learn more about Dust Up on their Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter at @dustuptv. The Dust Up YouTube page has videos and extra content. Dust Up can currently be found on History Channel in Canada, with plans for wider distribution around the world.
We also get AirVenture 2011 observations from Rob, David, and Dan, and also Grant McHerron who was camped out at Rob’s house. Even Steve Visscher calls in for a bit of an AusDesk report.
Photo by Stephen Tornblom from his birthday trip to Chino Airport.
We talk with Milford Shirley from FlightTime Radio about their live broadcast at the upcoming Become a Pilot Family Day and Fly-In, June 18, 2011 at the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center next to Dulles International Airport. Max, Rob, Dan, and David plan to join in the show along with some other aviation podcasters.
In this week’s Across the Pond segment, Pieter Johnson gets an update from David Cenciotti on Operation Odessy Dawn in Libya, what it was like to break an international aviation story to the world, and how to track those “untraceable” black ops flights. Be sure to see David Cenciotti’s Website and follow him on Twitter at @cencio4. On Twitter, Pieter is @Nascothornet.
We spend a lot of time this episode talking about some of the great listener mail we’ve received. Click these links for more information:
Aviation historian Anne Millbrooke is our guest. Anne is the author of the award winning book Aviation History, as well as Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Alphabets of Aviation: A Guide to Contemporary and Historical Terms Found in Aviation Literature. She is an Adjunct Professor of History at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and also at the American Public University System. Anne is a writer, researcher, coach, speaker, and you can follow her on Twitter at @AMWriter.
In this episode, Rob, Max, and David discuss aviation news, with a focus on odd stories. Then Dan brings in Tom from The Airline Blog to talk about some additional stories. David has six interviews from the 2010 Joint Service Open House, as well as his usual This Week in Aviation segment. Finally, Steve and Grant have this week’s Australia Desk report.