Tag Archives: Airbus

521 Appareo Systems ADS-B

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 flying in Alaska.

Guest

Kelly Keller is the Central US Territory Manager for Appareo Systems, maker of the Stratus line of transponders for ADS-B systems.

Appareo Stratus ADS-B In.

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's Grandfather in a B-17.

Kelly’s Grandfather in a B-17.

Kelly attended the 2018 AOPA Santa Fe Fly-In and she shares her impressions from that event.

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.

Kelly’s family in front of the Staggerwing at Oshkosh.

Kelly in her old Citabria,

Kelly in her old Citabria,

Aviation News

United CEO announces his airline is going to cut greenhouse emissions by 50% and power its jets with biofuels

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.

Video: Fulcrum Corporate Video 2017-Nov

The airplane of the future might have synthetic spider silk inside it

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.

Surprising Details Emerge From Sunday’s Cessna 335 Crash

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.

Flight attendant survey says 61 percent worked flights where emotional support animal caused a disturbance

In its survey Emotional Support Animals Negatively Affecting Air Travel, the Association of Flight Attendants asked about 5,000 flight attendants across 30 airlines for their experiences with emotional support animals. The results are concerning and the AFA has called on the Department of Transportation to take action to limit abuse.

Mentioned

Audi Stuart Air Show, November 2-4, 2018 in Stuart, Florida.

Cirrus Aircraft Vision Jet – Max Trescott tells us about his experience passing his checkride on the SF50.

Brian will be attending Dorkfest 2018.

The Aviation is Your Future self-paced Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) celebrates Girls in Aviation Day on October 13. This course is a project of the Woman in Aviation International Chapter at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide. Oct 8 – Oct 22, 2018.

NBAA Chair, Gen. Newton, To Receive Wright Trophy

Delta Belatedly Is Facing Up To Its One Big Mistake: Investing In An Oil Refinery

How do you move 11 whales and dolphins 1,000 miles?

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

 

515 Jon Ostrower’s The Air Current

Aviation journalist Jon Ostrower is now editor-in-chief of The Air Current. Jon shares his views on Farnborough, electric aircraft, the Embraer/Boeing and Bombardier/Airbus linkups, and a Boeing middle market jet. Also, union reaction to single pilot cargo planes, Rolls-Royce financial woes in light of Trent 1000 problems, and a general aviation exhibit coming to the National Air & Space Museum. We also announce the winner of the Pima Air Museum book giveaway.

Guest

Jon Ostrower, editor-in chief, The Air Current.

Jon Ostrower, editor-in-chief, The Air Current.

Jon Ostrower is a longtime professional aviation journalist. He was editor of FlightBlogger for Flightglobal, a staff reporter covering aerospace at The Wall Street Journal, and aviation editor at CNN. Jon has recently embarked on a new project as editor-in-chief of The Air Current, a subscription-based service providing in-depth industry analysis which “connects the dots” of current aviation news stories.

In our conversation, Jon gives his perspectives on this year’s Farnborough Air Show, the Embraer/Boeing and Bombardier/Airbus linkups, and a possible Boeing middle market “B797.” He ties these together with a possible rise in stature of the Chinese aviation industry. Jon also explains how he believes electric aircraft are poised to bring more change to aviation.

As a special offer for Airplane Geeks listeners, Jon is giving a discount on subscriptions to The Air Current. To take advantage of the discount, use the offer code “airplanegeeks” when you subscribe at subscribe.theaircurrent.com.

Aviation News

Airline pilots protest study on allowing cargo planes to have one pilot, remote help

Sec. 744 of H.R.4 – FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 says, “The FAA, in consultation with NASA and other relevant agencies, shall establish a research and development program in support of single-piloted cargo aircraft assisted with remote piloting and computer piloting.” A group of unions representing many commercial airlines doesn’t know who put that in the legislation, or why, and they are not happy.

In Stop Government Funding of Single-Piloted Commercial Aircraft, ALPA urges members to submit a “Call to Action to urge your Senators and Members of Congress to protect aviation safety and airline pilot careers.”

Rolls-Royce flies into loss on Trent engine trouble

This article quantifies some of the financial impacts on Rolls-Royce of their Trent 1000 engine problems. In the first half of 2018, Rolls suffered an after-tax loss of £962 million ($1.26 billion). In the first half of 2017, RR earned a net profit of £1.17 billion. Rolls-Royce took an extra £554-million exceptional charge linked to costs involved in fixing the Trent 1000, and the company estimates the total cost of Trent 1000 repairs between 2018 and 2022 to be upwards of £1.3 billion.

Rolls-Royce Offers Airlines Credits for 787 Groundings

Rolls-Royce Holdings “plans to offer airlines maintenance credits, limiting direct compensation for grounding Boeing Co. 787 planes in a bid to minimize the impact of unexpected wear issues on cash flow…”

Donations Energize NASM’s New GA Exhibit

The Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. is undertaking a seven-year upgrade project that will include a new “We All Fly” exhibit about the many forms of general aviation. To help finance the exhibit, the NASM has accepted a $10 million donation from the Thomas W. Haas Foundation. The exhibit will include an aerobatic biplane flown by Sean D. Tucker and is scheduled to open in 2021.

Pima Air & Space Museum Book Giveaway

Airplane Geeks Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari announces the winner of our PIMA Air & Space Museum guidebook giveaway. We again want to thank Scott Marchand for his generous gift to our listeners. An album of listener photographs is available at AirplaneGeeks.com/pimabook.

Mentioned

WeatherSpork –  An all-purpose weather planning app for aviators at all experience levels.   

A spork, but not a WeatherSpork.

A spork, but not a WeatherSpork. A KFC spork.

Police: Man tried to steal plane for concert

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

513 Farnborough Airshow 2018

This episode we take a look at some of the stories to come out of the 2018 Farnborough Airshow including the orders, the Boeing NMA, the Airbus A220, a startup airline, and engines powering new aircraft. In the news, we look at the Ryanair strikes, the top ten airlines, United flight attendants preparing to pitch the airline’s credit card, and the Airbus A321LR and XLR. We also have an interview with the director of the Portland International Jetport, and an important announcement.

Farnborough Airshow

The Farnborough Airshow was 16-22 July 2018. We talked about some of the stories from that week:

CFM to compete for NMA even if required thrust rises

Even if Boeing’s power requirement for the New Mid-market Airplane’s engines goes over 50,000 lb-thrust each, CFM International still plans to participate in the competition. CFMI is the joint venture between GE Aviation and Safran Aircraft Engines (formerly known as Snecma).

Airbus, Boeing gain more than 960 aircraft orders at Farnborough

Airbus and Boeing announcing firm net orders and commitments for more than 960 aircraft, valued at $160 billion at list prices. This compares to sales of 917 aircraft announced at the Paris Air Show in 2017.

Airbus says Pratt & Whitney catching up on engine delays

Airbus has had up to 100 A320neo jets sitting on the ground waiting for engines, mainly from Pratt & Whitney.

United order for 70-seat E175s raises questions

United plans to take the 25 of the E175 SC variant in 2019, replacing Bombardier CRJ700s at a regional operator. The SC variant is configured with 70 seats instead of the US standard of 76 seats. United’s scope clause with its pilots limits it to 255 large regional jets with 70-76 seats, including 102 70-seaters and 153 76-seaters. The United chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) responded, “This aircraft is designed to hold over 80 seats and will be flown to outsourced express carriers in the 70-seat configuration. Revenue plummets and costs skyrocket. Bringing this flying back to mainline United Airlines will lower costs, increase revenue, and allow United to once again control its product.”

A220 gains ETOPS certification

Pratt & Whitney’s PW1500G geared turbofan has been granted extended twin-engined operations (ETOPS) of up to three hours. A total of 38 A220s are in service at Swiss, Air Baltic, and Korean Air. Another 424 are on order, including the 60 ordered by JetBlue Airways earlier this month.

Pratt engines to power planes for startup airline

Airbus Chief Commercial Officer Eric Schulz announced that Pratt & Whitney will supply at least 120 geared turbofan engines to power the 60 Airbus A220-300 aircraft for David Neeleman’s new airline. Airbus signed a memorandum of understanding at the Farnborough International Airshow with a group of “experienced investors” who plan to start the new U.S. airline.

GoFly Personal Air Taxi Competition Racks Up Support

GoFly was launched in September 2017 as a contest to create a personal aircraft that can fly a human 20 miles safely without recharging or refueling and using VTOL or near-VTOL capability. Pratt & Whitney is sponsoring the $100,000 Disruptor Award for the most innovative team in the competition. Over the next two years, teams will compete to win $2,000,000 in prizes. At the Farnborough Airshow, GoFly announced the 10 Winners of the GoFly Challenge: Phase 1.

Video: GoFly Prize: Celebrating the Phase I Winners

The LM-100J Wows a Global Audience at Farnborough Airshow

The Lockheed Martin LM-100J civil cargo plane performed a loop at the Farnborough Airshow.

Other Aviation News

Ryanair says biggest-ever strike to ground 600 flights next week

Labor issues continue at Ryanair with a strike by cabin crew scheduled for two days. Ryanair, published a list of cabin crew benefits on Twitter, while the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) convened a group called Cabin Crew United and released the Ryanair Cabin Crew Charter.

The World’s Best Airlines for 2018

The 2018 Skytrax World Airline Awards are out and Singapore Airlines tops the list, followed by Qatar Airways, ANA All Nippon Airways, Emirates, and EVA Air. U.S. carriers placed deep in the list. This year’s survey saw over twenty million entries.

United Becomes Latest Airline to Deploy Flight Crews to Pitch Credit Cards

Travel news website Skift reports that starting in September, United will join other airlines in pushing their branded credit card to passengers. Flight attendants will receive $100 for every customer they sign up. John Slater, the senior vice president of in-flight services said, “Some of our biggest competitors, including American, actively promote their cards through the Inflight division and have a sizable lead on the number of new customers their flight attendants generate by marketing the card on board. We need to answer this challenge just as we would any other competitive threat.”

For more background, see Study: Intro Bonus Offers for Travel Rewards Cards Nearly Triple in 10 Years by Benét J. Wilson.

An Airbus A321XLR Could Be a Game Changer for JetBlue

JetBlue has the option to convert some of its Airbus A321neo orders to the A320LR with a range of up to 4,000 nautical miles, but they must give Airbus 24 months notice. JetBlue is considering where they can make the greatest margins – on domestic flights with the A321neo or transatlantic flights with the LR neo variant. But a possible A321XLR with a 4,500-mile range may be on the way with a larger center fuel tank and increased maximum take-off weight.

Interview

Our Main(e) Man Micah spoke with Paul Bradbury, airport director at Portland International Jetport about a number of topics that impact the airport and the community.

See Federal grant will fund improvements to help jetport handle more passengers.

PWM Airport Director Paul Bradbury & Main(e) man Micah.

PWM Airport Director Paul Bradbury & Main(e) man Micah.

Mentioned

Brian Coleman attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Compton Airport for a new DC-3 food truck:

DC3 food truck

 

 

 

 

 

The Columbia from the Undone podcast, by Gimlet from January 23, 2017.

Craftplicator

The Wings Over New Zealand Show.

National Advanced Fire & Resource Institute (NAFRI).

Tankers Is a Job for a “True Airman” from Flying Magazine. For more aerial firefighting videos, see the Neptune Aviation Services Inc. YouTube channel.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

 

512 Aerial Firefighting

The COO of an aerial firefighting company tells us about the aircraft, the pilots, and flying the missions. In the news: early Farnborough orders, the rebranded CSeries (now the Airbus A220), a Rolls Royce Hybrid VTOL concept, and an engine OEM says, “not so fast.” Also, Pieter Johnson’s aviation weekend (rather amazing), listener Nicki takes Brian on a flight, Hangar Hotel, and information about AirVenture Oshkosh 2018 gatherings of aviation podcasters and listeners.

Aerial firefighting with the BAE 146-200 jet. Courtesy Neptune Aviation Services.

Aerial firefighting with the BAE 146-200 jet. Courtesy Neptune Aviation Services.

Guest

Dan Snyder is the chief operating officer of Neptune Aviation Services, an aerial firefighting company and the primary provider of large airtanker services to the United States Forest Service for more than 25 years.

Dan tells us about Neptune Aviation’s transition from the Lockheed P-2V Neptune to the BAE 146-200 jet for aerial firefighting. In making its selection to replace the aging aircraft, the company considered factors such as jet spool-up time and how to slow the aircraft. Another significant issue was the culture change going from radial to turbofan.

We look at how the fire retardant tanking system was designed and the approvals required. Dan describes the life of an air tanker pilot and what Neptune looks for in a pilot. We touch on safety issues, Forest Service contract models, and aerial firefighting safety – now and in the past.

Aerial Firefighting. Courtesy Neptune Aviation Services.

Aerial Firefighting. Photo courtesy Neptune Aviation Services.

Dan has been involved in both flight and maintenance related aviation for over 24 years. At Neptune Aviation Services, he manages all of Neptune’s day-to-day operations, including aerial firefighting operations. Prior to his current position, Dan spent time in Alaska flying and maintaining aircraft. He served as Director of Maintenance for several repair stations and operators and flew for various corporate operators. Dan also has experience as a Part 142 ground and simulator instructor, a part 135 check airman, and an FAA examiner in several corporate jet types. Dan continues to fly and flight instruct from time to time. He holds FAA ATP, CFI, CFII, A&P, and IA certificates.

In Alaska, Dan flew a de Havilland Buffalo. This video features the Buffalo, but that’s not Dan flying (we don’t think): CC-115 de Havilland DHC-5 Buffalo STOL Takeoff.

Aviation News

Airbus Takes The Lead At Farnborough With 186 Order Commitments, Advantage In Asia

The Farnborough International Airshow kicked off this week, launching the annual “contest” for orders. The forecasts point to the most aviation growth in the Asia-Pacific region. Airbus placed orders for 186 planes compared to 175 for Boeing. The A320neo picked up 159 orders and options and the 737 MAX received 145. Additionally, Airbus had orders for 27 A350 aircraft while Boeing reported that United Airlines had previously put in an undisclosed order for four 787-9 planes.

Airbus wins JetBlue order for its newly rebranded A220

The same day that Airbus unveiled the A220 name for the jet formerly known as the Bombardier CSeries, JetBlue announced it would buy 60 of the A220-300 jets. These are to replace JetBlue’s 60 Embraer E190 aircraft and are powered by Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan (GTF) PW1500G engines. These A220s will be assembled at Airbus’ Mobile, Alabama, facility.

Rolls Royce Reveals Hybrid VTOL

At Farnborough, Rolls-Royce showed a hybrid VTOL concept that could carry four or five passengers at speeds up to 217 knots with a range of up to 435 nm. The design should be flying by the “early 2020s.” The concept vehicle uses a gas-turbine to generate the electricity that powers six electric propulsors. A battery provides energy storage.

Engine Maker to Boeing-Airbus: Not So Fast on 737, A320 Ramp

CFM International has signaled Boeing and Airbus to be careful about increasing their production rates. With record backlogs of B737 and A320 family aircraft, the airframers are motivated to increase the rates but CFMI wants to catch up before committing to a higher production rate.

Across the Pond

Pieter Johnson tells us about his aviation experiences over a weekend – one memorable, one hopefully not to be repeated.

Recorded Segments

Brian Coleman goes flying with listener Nicki.

Brian Coleman and Nicki.

Brian Coleman and Nicki.

Airplane Geeks Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari talks with Kelly Criddle, senior marketing manager for Hangar Hotel. Mentioned is Fredericksburg Brewing Co.

Photo courtesy Hangar Hotel

Photo courtesy Hangar Hotel

Mike Harris from the Why We Fly podcast provided a run-down of some podcast / social media events happening at Oshkosh this year.

Nick Herring provides some very nice feedback and introduces us to V1: The Podcast.

Mentioned

Aircraft in Pretoria crash was a 1954 Convair 340, recently acquired by a Dutch museum

Two Qantas pilots in South African Convair 340 plane crash

Wonderboom plane crash: It was a ‘thank you’ flight

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

501 OAG Travel Tech Innovation Survey

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.

Guest

Mike Benjamin, OAG Chief Technology Officer

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.

Aviation News

The Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Uncontained Engine Failure

Emergency engine inspections lead to cancellations, scores of delays for travelers on Southwest Airlines

FAA Airworthiness Directive 2018-09-51 issued April 20, 2018.

How does a CFM56-7B work? – This animated video from CFM International shows how a jet engine works and gives you a good view of the fan.

Bjorn’s corner: Turbofan Engine Challenges, Part 2

CFM fan blades

CFM fan blades: composite with titanium leading edge, hollow wide-chord blade, solid titanium blade. Courtesy CFMI.

Airbus heads for dogfight with UTC over CSeries costs

Airbus may be looking for suppliers to lower their prices. How will Airbus brand the CSeries airplanes, and will it Integrate the Airbus and CSeries sales forces, or keep them separate?

Aircraft seat size in the spotlight as House passes FAA reauthorization

U.S. House approves bill to reauthorize federal aviation agency

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.

American Airlines CEO warns higher fares are coming

Fuel is the second largest expense for airlines (after labor). With fuel costs increasing in the U.S., higher airfares are a possibility.

Listener Recordings

Hillel congratulates Airplane Geeks on the 500th episode.

Mike Harris, the host of the Why We Fly podcast, tells us about his week at Sun ‘n Fun 2018.

Mentioned

Questionable Motives and Tactics Cast a Shadow on the 60 Minutes Allegiant Story

First all-electric trainer plane gets airworthiness certification from the FAA in the US

Flying Pipistrel’s Electric Airplane

The “Remora Boys” presentation to the NTSB Round Table

Remora Systems

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

 

497 Designing an Airplane

The Chief Engineer at Vashon Aircraft talks about designing an airplane. Also, Bombardier and Embraer and the market for small commercial jets, the corporate culture of Boeing, the future of the A-10 Thunderbolt, and a preliminary report from the NTSB on the fatal helicopter crash into the river.

Vashon Aircraft Chief Engineer Ken Krueger talks about designing an airplane.

The Vashon Ranger R7 flying near Mt Baker. Courtesy Vashon Aircraft.

Guest

new Ken Krueger, Chief Engineer at Vashon Aircraft.

Ken Krueger is Chief Engineer at Vashon Aircraft and principal designer of the Ranger R7 2-place aircraft.

We talk with Ken about designing an airplane. He tells us about the things that push you to design a new airplane, design objectives, and engineering reality. Ken describes the manufacturability of airplane designs and how to keep costs down through manufacturing automation, vertical integration, and the company culture. Ken explains how materials and construction affect repairability, and talks to us about engine selection, the considerations for good flying ability, and even the contribution of workforce diversity.

Ken played a tiny part in the development of large airplanes such as C-17, B-2, and F-22. He played a greater role in the design of small airplanes such as the RV-7, RV-8, RV-9, RV-10, RV-12, RV-14, and the Ranger. Along the way, he has built, owned, and maintained several airplanes, including an RV-4, an RV-6, and a single seat aircraft of his own design. This combination of education and experience gives Ken a unique perspective on successfully designing and manufacturing light aircraft in today’s world.

Ken grew up in an aviation family and his passion for aviation sparked early. He earned his pilot’s license while still a teenager and graduated a few years later from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering. Ken and his wife, Susan, live in Washington State and they currently own an RV-4 and a Cessna 150.

Visit the Vashon Aircraft website, and follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Also, check out the article by Pia Bergqvist in Flying Magazine, What It’s Like to Fly the Vashon Ranger R7: The Jeep of the light-sport aircraft category makes a surprise entrance.

 

Aviation News

Boeing, Airbus Gird for New Duel in Niche Market for Small Jets

Airbus has aligned with Bombardier on the CSeries. Boeing is courting Embraer. Bombardier and Embraer have new fuel-efficient jets in the 100 – 150 seat range and orders for the smaller jets may be out there from Air France-KLM, United Continental Holdings, and JetBlue Airways.

How to Fix United Airlines’ Culture Problem

United Airlines treatment of their customers has been well documented in the press. With almost alarming frequency. Does United suffer from a corporate culture problem? If so, what can be done?

The Air Force has the money it needs for the A-10 Thunderbolt — but may soon get a new partner to help keep it in the air

What needs to happen for the A-10 to have a future, and who would have a role in keeping it flying?

NTSB Releases Preliminary Report on NY Helicopter Accident

The NTSB preliminary report contains no analysis or probable cause but describes the sequence of events is described, subject to change as the investigation proceeds.

Listener Recording

Student pilot Nicki provides an update on her flight training and tells us about her solo and experiences with a GPS.

Mentioned

After decade of restoration in Auburn, iconic ’50s airliner returning to Germany

Lufthansa L-1649 Starliner – A commercial from Lufthansa circa 1960 for a flight from Hamburg to New York on the L-1649A Starliner. In German with subtitles.

Cora VTOL: Autonomous Electric Sky Taxi from Zephyr Airworks/Kitty Hawk

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

492 Flying the Boeing 787 Dreamliner

A Boeing 787 Senior First Officer tells us about flying that plane. We discuss the implications of privatizing air traffic control, replacing the T-38C Talon with the Advanced Pilot Trainer, the impact of subsidy claims on Open Skies agreements, and a candidate for the top FAA spot. We also have an interview with the Commander of 302 Squadron of the Dutch Royal Air Force.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Courtesy Boeing.

Guest

Senior First Officer Mike currently flies the Boeing 787 for a major for European airline and is based out of London Heathrow. In our wide-ranging conversation, we learn about the transition from the Airbus to the Boeing 787, some of the differences, and training aspects. Mike tells us about the Lithium-Ion batteries used in the aircraft and cabin crew procedures for passenger battery problems.

FO Mike adds his perspectives as we discuss ATC privatization (or is it ATC corporatization?) and U.S. airline claims that Middle Eastern carriers received unfair subsidies. Mike isn’t shy about expressing his views, and along the way, we discover his preference for Boeing over Airbus.

Mike learned to fly in a Cessna 152 at age 17, then moved onto a Piper PA-28.  After completing the obligatory requirements, PPL, ME/IR, CPL and theoretical knowledge exams, FO Mike applied for the Advanced Entry Programme with a major Middle Eastern Airline. Starting with the Airbus A330, Mike progressed to become MFF/CCQ on the A330/A340, before moving over to the Boeing 787 as part of the entry into service crew for the airline.

Mike moved back to Europe in 2016 where he joined his current airline.  He holds a number of ratings: CPL, ME/IR, ATPL and is also Training First Officer and Type Rated Instructor. Altogether, Mike has flown the Airbus A330-200 and -300, the A340-500 and -600, and now the Boeing 787-9. Follow him on Twitter as @FOMike787.

Aviation News

Still Wondering Why GA/Biz Av Think the Airlines Will Run a Privatized ATC System?

One contentious aspect of the proposal to privatize Air Traffic Control in the U.S. is the makeup of the 13-member ATC board. What interests would be represented, in what numbers, and how might that impact general aviation?

T-X to replace T-38 at pilot training bases

The contract to replace the T-38C Talon with the Advanced Pilot Trainer (T-X) is yet to be awarded, but the U.S. Air Force is already planning the first pilot training base to receive the aircraft as early as 2022.

Emirates Airline boss reveals that the nastiest feud in the airline industry could kill his $76 billion Boeing order

Some U.S. airlines have accused Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways of receiving more than $50 billion state subsidies, a violation of Open Skies. Sir Tim Clark, the president of Emirates Airline, believes that Open Skies is at risk and the US aviation industry stands to lose.

Trump’s Pilot for FAA Administrator

We don’t know if the man is qualified, or even if this is a good idea.

Airline Story of the Week

Woman surprises husband with pregnancy announcement on flight from Tampa

An American Airlines crew helps a woman announce her pregnancy to her husband inflight, and catches his reaction on video.

Listener Recording

Thirteen-year-old Will gives us a teaser about his research project and his Airplane Geeks segment to come.

Interview

Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari interviews Lt Col Grijspaardt, Commander 302 Squadron, Dutch Royal Air Force.

Mentioned

Robert Poole’s libertarian think-tank Reason Foundation.

Black Lightning: The Legacy of the Lockheed Blackbirds by Jeannette Remak and Joseph Ventolo Jr.

Qantas Group Pilot Academy | Qantas

A pilot lost his daughter in the Parkland shooting and over 100 colleagues came to her funeral

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

490 The Airbus A350

We talk with an Airbus A350 captain who has a long history flying commercial aircraft. In the news, we consider one-person flight crews, U.S. airlines looking to scale back consumer protection regulations, ADS-B vulnerabilities for military aircraft, and largest ever Piper order for training planes, plans for the Air Force bomber fleet, and Southwest runs out of glycol. We also have a conversation about ATIS with the Chief of the Air Traffic Control Division at Robert Gray Army Airfield.

Malaysia Airlines Airbus A350.

Malaysia Airlines A350. Photo by H Gousse, courtesy Airbus.

Guest

Airbus A350 Captain Bill Palmer.

Airbus A350 Captain Bill Palmer.

Bill Palmer is an A350 captain and an instructor pilot/check airman. He has been heavily involved in Airbus training since the early 1990’s, and Bill is the author of Understanding Air France 447 and other publications on Airbus flight control laws. Bill also holds a commercial glider rating and flies his Rolladen-Schneider LS-3 for fun in southern California.

Bill describes the transition to the A350 as like going from DOS to Windows. The aircraft shares some commonality with A380, and Bill describes fly-by-wire and the flight control laws. We also hear about other features of the A350, such as the paperless cockpit implementation and the availability airport runway, taxiway, and gate information to pilot. The plane will calculate landing distance and brake to the correct speed for the selected taxiway. Bill also describes the A350 runway overrun protection and the auto-flight system’s automatic TCAS and wind shear recovery.

Bill started flying at the age of 15, soloed on his 16th birthday and completed his private certificate at 17. He attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and holds a BS in Aeronautical Science. He earned his flight instructor certificate in 1978 and has been instructing almost non-stop since then while holding airplane, instrument, multi-engine, and ground instructor certificates. Besides light aircraft he has also taught on the 727, 757, A320, DC-10, and A330, and written manuals for the DC-10, A330, and B-787 fleets. He has also produced numerous training publications and videos for the various fleets as well.

Visit Bill’s webpage Understanding Air France 447 and his Trend Vector blog. His books Understanding Air France 447Airbus A330 Normal Law: Putting fly-by-wire into perspective, and Airbus Flight Control Laws: The Reconfiguration Laws are available on Amazon.com and at other retailers.

Aviation News

Boeing raises prospect of only one pilot in the cockpit of planes

At the Singapore Airshow, Boeing research and technology vice-president Charles Toups said, “We are studying [one pilot operations], and where you will first see that is probably in cargo transport, so the passenger question is off the table.” Also at the Singapore Air Show, ST Aerospace showed the concept for an unmanned freighter piloted by an artificially intelligent computer. ST Aero was optimistic about an unmanned freighter within the next five years.

Airlines seeking to snuff traveler rights?

In the Wall Street Journal, Scott McCartney reports that last October the U.S. Department of Transportation asked airlines to suggest changes or cuts to regulations. Airlines for America filed 222 pages of comments. United Airlines added 50 pages.

Vulnerable To Cyber Attacks, ADS-B May Expose F-22s To Web Based Tracking GAO Warns

A 45-page Government Accountability Office report titled Urgent Need for DOD and FAA to Address Risks and Improve Planning for Technology That Tracks Military Aircraft [PDF] says that neither the Department of Defense nor the FAA has taken significant steps to mitigate security risks associated with openly transmitting flight data from military aircraft.

Piper Receives Largest Trainer Order in Company History

Chinese Fanmei Aviation Technologies has ordered 152 training aircraft from Piper Aircraft. Fanmei is Piper’s dealer in China, and a subsidiary of Sichuan Fan-Mei Education Group Co., which provides aviation education in China. This is reported to be the largest single order for training airplanes in Piper’s history. The seven-year purchase agreement is valued at $74 million and includes 100 Archer TX single-engine trainers, 50 twin-engine Seminoles, one Seneca twin, and one Piper M350.

Air Force outlines future of bomber force

In its Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request, the Air Force outlined plans for its bomber fleet, which include a plan to update the B-52 Stratofortress fleet, continue modifications to the B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit fleets, while continuing to acquire B-21 Raiders.

‘How does one airline run out of de-icer?’: Some gripes at Midway after Southwest’s cancellations

Southwest Airlines had to cancel more than 250 flights from Midway Airport after running out of de-icing fluid. One of the glycol tank pumps wasn’t working properly and some of the de-icing fluid could not be accessed.

Interview

Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari talks about ATIS (automatic terminal information service) with Mark N. Vick, Chief, Air Traffic Control Division, Directorate of Aviation Operations at Robert Gray Army Airfield, Fort Hood Texas, a military joint-use airport that operates alongside Killeen–Fort Hood Regional Airport.

Mentioned

Rolls-Royce UltraFan® – The Ultimate Jet Engine and Lego Ultrafan in the flesh! @RollsRoyce, a video on Twitter by Andrew Smyth‏.

Nine Aviation and Space Achievements Compete for the 2017 Collier Trophy [PDF] and GA Companies Among Those Vying for Collier Trophy.

Heavens Above

The 101-year-old woman who flew Spitfires in WW2

MH370: Malaysian military sidelines crash investigators as power play emerges on search team and MH370 conspiracy theory involves Seabed Constructor and chest from shipwreck.

Credit

Intro music courtesy Brother Love from his Album Of The Year CD. Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

480 General Aviation Trip Booking with Flightbridge

We talk with the founder and CEO of FlightBridge, which provides booking and reservation technology for services related to General Aviation trips. In the news, we look at pilotless airliners, the purchase of roadable airplane maker Terrafugia, the preliminary report from the NTSB on the recent Icon A5 crash, general aviation safety trends, the outlook for the A380, and Fort Worth delivers last F-16 fighter.

Guest

FlightBridge founder and CEO Dudley King.

FlightBridge founder and CEO Dudley King.

Dudley King is the founder and CEO of FlightBridge Inc. He’s a “repeat entrepreneur” with a historical focus on technology services and consulting.

FlightBridge is a booking and reservation tool for services related to General Aviation trips. As Dudley says “There’s more to a trip than flying a plane and passengers from point A to point B. Rental Cars or limos, catering, crew accommodation, and FBO services are just some of the logistics that must be coordinated and run smoothly for a successful trip.”  

FlightBridge supports these efforts with an online booking and operations management tool that is completely tailored to private aviation. FlightBridge was developed with input and feedback from flight department staff, crew members, FBOs, and service providers.

Before founding FlightBridge, Dudley spent over 20 years in custom software development for customers that included several fortune 500 companies and leaders in the aviation industry.

Aviation News

Airbus Looking Forward to a Pilotless Future

Airbus Chief Technology Officer Paul Eremenko says the company wants to develop autonomous aircraft and technologies that will allow a single pilot to operate commercial jetliners: “We’re pursuing single-pilot operation as a potential option and a lot of the technologies needed to make that happen has also put us on the path towards unpiloted operation.”

Terrafugia Sale May Accelerate Flying Car’s Arrival

Chinese firm Zhejiang Geely Holding Group has acquired Terrafugia. Founder Carl Dietrich moves to chief technology officer and the Transition market entry is planned for 2019, followed by a 4-seater VTOL craft in 2023. See the press release: Zhejiang Geely Holding Group completes acquisition of Terrafugia, Inc.

National Transportation Safety Board Aviation Accident Preliminary Report

The NTSB released a preliminary report on the fatal Icon A5 crash of November 7, 2017. The report details data received from the Icon’s onboard “digital data module that recorded basic GPS, engine, and flight parameters. The airplane was also equipped with a Rockwell Collins engine control unit that recorded engine parameters.” The data seems to confirm eyewitness accounts that the pilot was flying as low as 11 feet above the water.

NTSB: GA Safety Best In 50 Years

The NTSB reports that in 2016, the general aviation accident rate dropped below 1 fatal accident per 100,000 flight hours. It’s the first time the rate has been that low in 50 years. Most aviation fatalities (almost 94%) occurred in general aviation accidents. Other forms of transport, like cars, trains, and boats, all showed increases. See the NTSB press release: Highway Deaths Lead National Increase in Transportation Fatalities.

Does Lack Of A Deal In Dubai Mean The End For A380 Jumbo Jet?

Leading up to the Dubai Air Show, the speculation was that Emirates would order between 36 and 38 A380s, but that didn’t happen. Analyst Richard Aboulafia noted that at least 30 aircraft are needed “for annual recurring breakeven.” Sir Tim Clark said Emirates won’t order any more until Airbus assures the airline that it will keep production open for 10 to 15 years.

How the F-16 fighter jet put Fort Worth on the aerospace map

F-16 production is moving out of Fort Worth. Lockheed needs the room at the plant for the ramp-up of the F-35.

Mentioned

#PaxEx Podcast 52: Bending Bluetooth to become an onboard network

Max and Mary Kirby talk with Ron Chapman, president of ASI Group, which provides low-cost in-flight connectivity solutions to the business aviation market, and is now working in the commercial airline space.

Zahorsky Aviation: Worldflight 2017

Karl-Heinz Zahorsky and Karl Karbach chronicle their journey around the world with a Piper Malibu. Web page in German and English: Logbook entries, photographs, route maps.

Etihad Airways A380 Flyover at the 2017 Abu Dhabi GP

Airbus A380 and the Al Fursan Aerobatic Display Team performing a low flyover of the 2017 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi GP.

Boeing 747 jumbo jet: Pilot farewells the iconic plane. Mark Vanhoenacker is also the author of Skyfaring: A Journey with a Pilot.

Credit

Intro music courtesy Brother Love from his Album Of The Year CD. Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

479 Flight Tracking with FlightAware

FlightAware founder and CEO Daniel Baker talks about flight tracking technology. In the news, we look at the Dubai Airshow, aviation cybersecurity, the proposed Women in Aerospace Education Act, the GE Additive 3D metal printer, and a report from the Senate Republican Policy Committee on ATC privatization.

Guest

Daniel Baker is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of FlightAware, the flight tracking data company that provides over 10,000 aircraft operators and service companies as well as over 12,000,000 passengers with global flight tracking solutions.

Flight tracking company Flightaware founder and CEO Daniel Baker.

Flightaware founder and CEO Daniel Baker.

Daniel was one of the principal developers of the FlightAware technology, and he now works directly with partners and customers in both industry (e.g., airline, cargo, business aviation) and government (e.g., air traffic management).

FlightAware uses data from air traffic control systems in over 55 countries, from FlightAware’s network of ADS-B ground stations in over 150 countries, from Aireon space-based global ADS-B, and from the major providers such as ARINC, SITA, Satcom Direct, Garmin, Honeywell GDC, and UVdatalink.

Daniel explains how FlightAware’s proprietary machine learning and rules engine called Hyperfeed takes data from multiple sources and fuses it together to create the best possible flight tracking information. About 10,000 messages per second are analyzed with over a thousand rules. Hyperfeed employs predictive analysis that looks at patterns in the flight tracking data.

Some 13-14,000 ADS-B ground stations send data over the Internet to FlightAware. Complete FlightFeeder stations can be purchased, or you can build your own PiAware flight tracking station.

We talk about satellite-based ADS-B through Aireon low-earth orbit satellites equipped with ADS-B receivers. These will provide flight tracking data for areas not covered by other means. Daniel also describes FlightAware TV, a custom, real-time FlightAware HDTV map for the office, hangar, or FBO.

Daniel knows tech and has been in the Internet services business for over two decades. He is a regular speaker at aviation and technology conferences and serves as a member of the Board of Directors at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Air and Space Museum. He also holds an FAA Commercial Pilot certificate.

Find the company at FlightAware.com, on Twitter and Facebook.

Aviation News

Dubai Air Show

Boeing vs Airbus: $77 billion in deals in under 2 hours
Airbus Seals $50 Billion Jet Deal to Outdo Boeing in Dubai
Boeing signs off on a $1.3 billion deal at Dubai Airshow
Day 1 At The Dubai Airshow: Boeing Steals The Show
Dubai Airshow: Building a new supersonic airliner
EgyptAir Orders Bombardier C Series Aircraft in Dubai

FlyDubai ordered 175 Boeing 737 Max planes with options for another 50. Boeing said it was the biggest order ever from the Middle East for single-aisle passenger planes. Altogether, the 225 firm and option aircraft have a total value of $27 billion at list prices, and include more than 50 Max 10s, with the rest Max 8s and 9s.

Airbus sold 430 A320neo family jetliners to Indigo Partners. The planes will go to four Indigo companies: Frontier Airlines, Volaris, Wizz Air Holdings Plc, and JetSmart. That deal was valued at roughly $50 billion at list prices.

Boeing also booked an order for forty 787 planes, worth $15 billion at list prices, with Dubai’s Emirates airline on Sunday. In a deal valued at $1.9 billion, Azerbaijan Airlines ordered five Boeing 787-8 aircraft and committed to two freighters. In addition, Azerbaijan Airlines became the launch customer for Boeing’s 787 Landing Gear Exchange Program.

Bombardier signed a letter of intent with EgyptAir for 12 firm CSeries CS300 aircraft with options for 12.

Cybersecurity Report Fears ‘Dismissive’ Approach

The Washington think-tank Atlantic Council released the report Aviation Cybersecurity: Finding Lift, Minimizing Drag which describes an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) assessment on cybersecurity threats to ADS-B is “dismissive.” The study indicates that the aviation industry will likely experience cybersecurity challenges similar to other industries that have embraced the “digital revolution.” Previously, aviation systems were relatively secure due to the bespoke nature of their design, isolation from other systems, and little in the way of communication protocols. But air traffic management is no longer isolated, and ground services and supply chains are becoming fully integrated into an interconnected digital world.

Connecticut’s Esty sponsors women in aerospace bill

H.R. 4254: Women in Aerospace Education Act has been introduced in Congress “to amend the National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 2002 to strengthen the aerospace workforce pipeline by the promotion of Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program and National Aeronautics and Space Administration internship and fellowship opportunities to women.”

GE’s huge 3D metal printer makes aircraft parts

The GE Additive business unit of GE has a 3D metal printer capable of making aircraft parts as large as one meter in diameter. A metal powder is fused with a 1-kilowatt laser in thin layers to “print” the part. Since the machine is scalable, it should be capable of even larger parts.

Senate Republican Policy Committee Confirms ATC Privatization is Still Alive

A report from the Senate Republican Policy Committee titled NextGen Delayed, Just Like Your Plane says:

  • Air traffic control currently relies on outdated ground radar systems that cause delays throughout the aviation system.
  • The FAA is transitioning to NextGen technology, which has several components designed to allow safer and more efficient airspace management, including a switch to GPS.
  • Deployment of many NextGen components has been delayed and is expected to cost $2.6 billion more than planned.

The report says that “an ATC spinoff would very likely trigger constitutional challenges. A Congressional Research Service report [PDF] questioned whether courts might determine that a non-governmental ATC corporation would be unconstitutional under the non-delegation doctrine, Due Process Clause, or Appointments Clause. Although memoranda commissioned by proponents of a spinoff discount these concerns, the move to corporatize the ATC functions would almost definitely be challenged in court.”

Airline Story of the Week

Man who suffered brain aneurysm leaving him unable to walk takes to the skies as he makes a recovery

British Airways helps a man recovering from a brain injury to rejoin the world of commercial flight.

Mentioned

Retired Korean War Medal of Honor recipient passes away

More than 800 family, friends, and active duty and retired service members gathered in Concord, Mass., Nov. 16, 2017, to pay their final respects to retired Capt. Thomas J. Hudner Jr., who earned the Medal of Honor during the Korean War.Hudner passed away Nov. 13, at his home in Concord. He was 93.

Video: Thomas Hudner, Medal of Honor, Korean War

Credit

Intro music courtesy Brother Love from his Album Of The Year CD. Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.