The GAO issues aircraft cybersecurity recommendations, the Southwest pilot’s union balks at a pay cut, some think commercial aviation hasn’t seen the worst of it yet, Congress looks to establish the National Center for the Advancement of Aviation, Singapore Airlines has a new use for idled A380 aircraft, the Boom Supersonic XB-1 demonstrator rolls out, and an all-electric airplane racing league is announced.
Southwest Airlines has never had a furlough and the company is trying to avoid that for 2021. Management proposed a 10% pay cut for pilots, but the pilot’s union is balking. The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association is concerned that the across-the-board reduction and force majeure clauses could allow the airline to furlough pilots anyway.
Bloomberg says that “the worst period for the aviation industry is probably ahead of it, rather than behind.” Carriers have been using their bank balances, government bailout money, and some cost-cutting measures. But the cash is dwindling.
Two bipartisan bills have been introduced in the U.S. Congress that would create a National Center for the Advancement of Aviation (NCAA). One in the House and one in the Senate. The NCAA “would create an independent center to facilitate collaboration among commercial, general, and military aviation sectors to address the mounting workforce challenges facing the industry.” More than 130 organizations [PDF] representing all segments of aviation support the legislation, including AOPA.
An all-electric aircraft racing league is being formed and they plan to start racing in 2022. Air Race E says pilots will fly in fields of eight electric-powered aircraft, wingtip-to-wingtip, at 280 mph 10 meters above the ground, over a 1.5-kilometer oval circuit. Twelve teams have formed from nine countries: the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Norway, Ukraine, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
The Ohio State University’s Center for Aviation Studies, a student pilot killed under mysterious circumstances, new wings for F-15C/Ds, new airline regulations, Bombardier layoffs, seat assignments by passenger size, hot props, airshow and air race reports, and a paint job that fails as a conspiracy theory.
Martin Rottler, M.S., CFI, is a Lecturer and the Industry Relations Coordinator for the Ohio State University’s Center for Aviation Studies in Columbus, OH.
Martin explains the degree programs offered for students seeking professional pilot, management, operations, airport planning, or airport management careers. We discuss the passion for aviation that students have today, the cost of education and flight training, the pilot shortage, and accumulating hours with activities such as giving flight instruction, flying 135 cargo, and skydiving operations. Martin talks about efforts to increase student diversity, as well as pilot cadet programs in conjunction with airlines. These offer several benefits to students, including tuition reimbursement, airline company introductions, ground school, and social events.
As a lecturer, Martin is primarily responsible for teaching several courses a semester and advising students. As the Center’s Industry Relations Coordinator, Martin is the primary point of contact for the program’s industry partners across all facets of the aviation industry, including airlines, business aviation, and airports.
Martin brings a variety of aviation experiences to his teaching, having worked in Corporate Flight Operations for Cirrus Aircraft in Duluth, MN and in Flight Operations Quality Assurance at Korean Air in Seoul, South Korea. He currently holds a Commercial Pilot certificate, an Instrument Rating and is a Certified Flight Instructor.
Student pilot Feras M. Freitekh, a Jordanian national, was killed and his instructor, Arian Prevalla injured when their twin-engine Piper PA-34 crashed on Main Street, in East Hartford, Connecticut. The crash site is directly across the street from Pratt & Whitney. Reportedly, Freitekh was arguing with his instructor before the flight.
In 2005, an airplane crashed after an engine failure, killing the pilot. His spouse sued the engine manufacturer, claiming a carburetor design defect. In 2014, a U.S. District Court found that there was no design defect in the carburetor because the engine was certified and approved by the FAA. A U.S. Court of Appeals reversed the decision in April 2016, ruling that FAA certification of the engine did not mean there was no design defect, and the FAA does not preempt state law standards of care as far as aviation products liability goes.
Federal complaints against Hawaiian Airlines claimed the airline practice of assigning seats only at the terminal discriminated against Samoans. The complaint has been denied and Hawaiian will continue the policy on flights between Honolulu and American Samoa.
The Airplane of the Week
This week, the conspiracy theorists came out to play. VFC-12 debuted a new camouflage scheme, based on the SU-34 Fullbacks seen in action over Syria. Photos of the new camo appeared first on Facebook, on a page that is dedicated to Adversary and Aggressor aircraft. The photos were then somehow hijacked into a story about the U.S. planning a “false flag” operation in Syria.
Photo by David Vanderhoof.
Ted attended the Red Bull Air Race in Indianapolis and sent us a great audio report.
Race plane, airliner, and helicopter at the Red Bull air race. Can you spot all three? Photo by Ted.
Max Flight was a guest on the FS In Focus podcast with host Nicolas Jackson. The show aired live on Sky Blue Radio on October 15th, 2016. The episode starts with Capt. Nick from the Airline Pilot Guy podcast, then Max comes in at 1:03:00 talking jet engine technology. Tracy Shiffman from VATSIM’s Worldflight charity group starts at 1:42:00.
Brian has been traveling quite a bit lately, including to Singapore and Hong Kong. He did manage to see the last flight of the Cathay 747.
Huntington Beach Airshow
Back in California, Brian caught the Huntington Beach Airshow and recorded an interview with Staff Sgt Danny Wolfram of the United States Air Force. He was entertained by the “Screamin Sasquatch,” a biplane with a jet engine.
Guest Steve Hinton is a record holding air racer, president of Planes of Fame Air Museum, and owner of a military aircraft restoration company. In the news, United is replacing 50-seaters with larger aircraft, more bad behavior by airline crew members, military drone crashes, desert beetles and airplane frost, and airlines sucking away regional pilots. Also, the Boeing P-26 Peashooter, and the A-10. Again.
Northrop N9MB. Courtesy Planes of Fame Air Museum
Steve Hinton is an American aviator who 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.
Steve is now president of Planes of Fame Air Museum with locations in Chino, California and Valle-Grand Canyon, Arizona, and owner of Fighter Rebuilders, a military aircraft restoration company.
On August 14, 1979, Steve set the piston-driven aircraft 3-kilometer world speed record at 499.018 mph in the highly-modified RB51 Red Baron at Tonopah, Nevada. At age 27, he was the youngest person ever to capture the speed record.
On September 16, 1979 while racing the RB-51 in Reno, Steve’s plane suffered catastrophic engine failure. He finished the race in second place, but crashed short of the runway. Although the plane’s fuel erupted in a fireball, the cockpit was thrown away from the fire and Steve survived with a broken back, leg, and ankle.
Steve became the chief test pilot for the Tsunami Racer in 1987. Some of his notable wins in air racing include:
1978, Mojave, Red Baron
1978, Reno (Unlimited National Champion), Red Baron
1979, Miami, Red Baron
1979, Mojave, Red Baron
1985, Reno (Unlimited National Champion), Super Corsair
1990, Sherman, Texas, Tsunami
Steve is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and charter member of the Motion Picture Pilots Association. He has worked on more than 60 films. In 2002 he received a nomination from the World Stunt Awards for the Taurus Award, Best Aerial Work in Pearl Harbor.
United intends to retire many of its 50-seat regional fleet by 2019 and replace them with larger aircraft. This is just the first buy. FlightGlobal reports United has 256 50-seat regional jets and had “considered the 110-set Bombardier CS100 and both the 90-seat Embraer 190 and 120-seat E190-E2 aircraft.”
The man faces Federal charges for allegedly flying two Alaska Airlines flights while under the influence of alcohol. Arntson was selected for drug and alcohol testing after he landed at John Wayne Airport.
A Washington Post investigation says that over 400 large U.S. military drones have crashed since 2001. In one incident, the pilot didn’t realize she had been flying the aircraft upside-down. In another, the pilot didn’t notice he had squeezed the wrong red button on his joystick, putting the plane into a spin.
Scientists at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute think they have learned something about controlling frost from a beetle that lives in the desert. The Namib Desert beetle can collect water in the air through bumps on its shell which then directs water droplets into the beetle’s mouth. The scientists believe they can scale this up to work on large objects, like airplanes.
Seaport Airlines based in Portland, Ore., has been forced to drop some routes because of a pilot shortage. Seaport executive vice president Tim Sieber said, “A lot of regional airlines are undergoing this challenge right now, one we think will last a long time.” He said once Seaport pilots accumulate 1,500 hours of flight time, they typically leave for more lucrative jet-flying jobs on bigger airlines, and their vacancies are not being filled fast enough by newly-licensed pilots. “We’ve downsized the airline to one where we can focus on providing a reliable level of service with our smaller fleet,” Sieber said.
The Airplane of the Week
David tells us the history of the Boeing P-26A Peashooter.
Boeing P-26A Peashooter at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, by David Vanderhoof
Christopher Sims talks about affordable air charter travel, and creating a secondary charter market.
Our “Main(e) Man” Micah brings us the last conversation on the A-10. Maybe.
We talk with Vicky Benzing, a pilot, skydiver, aerobatic performer, and air racer. In the news, we have earnings reports for Boeing and some of the airlines, an air show parachutist lands in the crowd, an angle-of-attack indicator video for GA aircraft, the effect of Syrian sand on Russian jets, and Boeing fears the loss of the ExIm Bank.
Vicky Benzing is an accomplished pilot, skydiver, aerobatic performer, and air racer. She has more than 7000 hours of flight time and over 1200 parachute jumps in a flying career spanning over thirty years. Vicky currently holds an Airline Transport Pilot rating as well as a commercial rating in helicopters and seaplanes.
We talk with Vicky about aerobatic performances at air shows, including training and preparation, the “chicken dance,” the maneuvers Vicky likes, and which ones the audience likes. Also, the difference between flying the Stearman and flying high performance jets, how competing in the Reno Air Races compares to flying aerobatics at air shows, and what the crowd interaction means to a performer like Vicky. Along the way, Vicky tells us about skydiving and that the United States Parachute Association is a good resource for finding jump zones and advice.
In 2005, Vicky began training with air show legend Wayne Handley. She entered in aerobatic competitions throughout the US, and won first place in the Intermediate category in both the Northwest and Southwest Regional Championships in 2006. Two years later, she placed in the top 10 finishers at the US National Aerobatic Championships in the Advanced category.
Vicky Benzing performing
In between flying aerobatic competitions, Vicky began performing in air shows and today she focuses her energies on her airshow flying. Vicky holds a surface level waiver and a formation card, and has flown well over 100 air show performances at venues across the US, including performing at the airshow during EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh.
In 2010, Vicky began racing in the National Championship Air Races. She was chosen “Rookie of the Year” twice by her fellow Sport and Jet Class racers, and made history in Reno this year as the “fastest woman” racer ever in the history of the Reno Air Races, flying Dianna Stanger’s one-of-a-kind L-139 jet on the race course at 469.831 mph. See Live from the Reno Air Races with SkyChick and Team Darkstar for a video interview with Vicky and Dianna.
L-139 Courtesy Dark Star Racing
In addition to her aviation pursuits, Vicky holds a PhD in Physical Chemistry from UC Berkeley and has enjoyed a successful career in the Silicon Valley high tech industry. Vicky is currently Vice President of the Sport Class Air Racing Association and is on the Board of Directors of the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, CA.
Vicky is sponsored by APECS Aerospace Corporation, an engineering consulting firm that specializes in providing support to aviation maintenance repair organizations. Other sponsors are Oregon Aero, maker of seating systems and helmet and headset upgrades and ASL Camguard, creator of advanced engine oil supplements to reduce engine wear.
Boeing Co. third quarter earnings were up 25 percent to $1.7 billion, and the company raised its earnings outlook for the year. In the quarter, Boeing delivered 199 commercial jets versus 186 jets a year ago.
Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson said many wide-body jets coming off lease in the near future, will be available relatively cheaply, and will compete with new more fuel efficient jets.
Lower fuel spend helped jump net income 80 percent to $1.69 billion. Because 87 percent of American Airlines fliers fly only once a year and buy tickets based on price, next year American will offer cheap tickets with “less frills” on certain nonstop routes where it competes with discount carriers.
With record net income of $584 million on revenue of $5.32 billion for the quarter, Southwest beat the same quarter last year which had net income of $324 million on revenue of $4.8 billion. The company put $228 million into its profit-sharing program.
At the Wings Over Houston Airshow, a parachutist from a vintage Lockheed C-60 and using a WWII-era parachute landed in the crowd and took down a small tent. He suffered a broken limb. No spectators were injured.
For those looking for an introduction to angle-of-attack indicators in GA aircraft, the FAA has a new video to get started. The 19-minute video includes an introduction to angle-of-attack indicators, their use and general advice on installation in airplanes – plus references to FAA documents for further research. It also has demonstrations of three AOA indicators in the market – Alpha Systems, Bendix King, and Safe Flight. The devices have gained increased attention in the last year as the FAA’s safety arm focused on studying loss-of-control accidents, which can be mitigated with AOA indicators, the agency said.
He is, however, rather excited about the next Retro Roo colour scheme from Qantas. As we record an existing 737-800 is in the paintshop at Townsville getting one of the old Qantas paint schemes applied. We’re hoping for the V-Jet look.
Finally, Steve’s going to be Em-Cee for the Angel Flight charity dinner at Bankstown in Sydney on Saturday, October 31, 2015. Get on down and support the cause if you’re in the area!
AOPA Live This Week for October 22, 2015 has a really good special report from the Red Bull Air Races in Las Vegas. Matt Hall from Australia (and frequently heard on Plane Crazy Down Under) won the race. Second place finisher Paul Bonhomme from Great Britain won the championship.
This week our scheduled guest was called away at the last minute, so the Geeks go it alone to talk about some of the recent aviation news and discuss a lot of interesting listener mail. Of course, we also have David’s This Week in Aviation history segment, Steve and Grant’s Australia News Desk, and Pieter’s Across the Pond Segment.
David’s aircraft of the Week: the Rockwell Space Transportation Systems OV-103, otherwise known as the Space Shuttle Discovery.
In this week’s Australia Desk report: Steve has a new get rich quick idea as Qantas operates an A330 from Sydney to Adelaide on April 13th partially powered by biofuel, Qantas A380 VH-OQA takes to the skies after 18 months of repairs following its infamous incident above Indonesia in 2010.
This week on Across the Pond, Pieter talks to Frenchez Pietersz from Aviation Platform about airline news from the Benelux countries of Europe, that’s Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. With so much to cover we focused this week’s talk on Belgium and Holland, how the KLM Air France merger is developing, and how Lufthansa is challenging them with flights from Brussels.
This Special Edition of the Airplane Geeks podcast is the second of two parts with interviews from the 2011 AOPA Aviation Summit. This three-day event was held 22-24 September 2011 in Hartford, Connecticut. Max recorded brief interviews with exhibitors, speakers, and participants.
In this week’s Australia Desk Report, Steve and Grant talk about Tiger Airways new CEO, the Qantas search to find an appropriate name for its new Japanese airline brand, Grant’s conspiracy theory, Virgin Australia at the recent APEX Awards, and the RAAF getting 5th C-17A Globemaster III. Find them on the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast, and follow the show on Twitter at @pcdu. Steve’s at @stevevisscher and Grant at @falcon124.
Matt Falcus is the author of Airport Spotting Guide:Europe, he’s a journalist, and private pilot. He joins Pieter Johnson this week on Across the Pond to talk about the best places at major airports in Europe to watch aeroplanes, take photo’s, and stay within the law. The Guides can be purchased from Matt’s website http://www.airportspotting.com/ and he can be found on Twitter at @airportspotting. You can find Pieter on Twitter at @Nascothornet.
Dan, Rob, and Max are joined this episode by two guests: Chris Webb, who directed and co-produced the documentary film, Air Racer: Chasing the Dream, and Blogger Bob from The TSA Blog, a very active site.
As always, we have a report from the boys down under at the Airplane Geeks Australia Desk. Steve and Grant, by the way, now have their own podcast, Plane Crazy Down Under. We also have a This Week in Aviation segment.
Don’t forget to send us your ideas for Airplane Geeks T-Shirts and we’re still collecting good United stories so send them in by email, voice mail, or mp3.
Follow the Airplane Geeks on Twitter as @AirplaneGeeks, send us email at email@example.com, or leave us voice mail at (812) 757-4252.
This episode’s opening and closing music is provided by Brother Love. You can visit his site at brotherloverocks.com.