Tag Archives: Airport

727 Air Mobility Solutions

A Michigan technology activation manager explains grants made to companies developing air mobility solutions at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. We also look at the NTSB preliminary report on the fatal Wings Over Dallas airshow collision, retiring the F-22 Raptor, a Boeing 777X engine issue, the Delta pilot’s “me too” contract clause, and an F-16 destroyed by a pilot.

Gerald R. Ford International Airport
Gerald R. Ford International Airport

Guest

Charlie Tyson

Charlie Tyson is the Technology Activation Manager at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), in the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification. The MEDC is a public-private partnership between the state and local communities that seeks to accelerate economic development opportunities in the mobility space. Charlie talks to us about grants for air mobility solutions and an air mobility corridor.

Air Mobility Solutions

Recently, the Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) in West Michigan announced the second round of grant funding to test air mobility solutions at the airport. The grants are made possible through the Ford Launchpad for Innovative Technologies and Entrepreneurship (FLITE) program, which provides grants and testing opportunities to companies focused on bringing emerging air travel solutions to market.

Cutting Edge Mobility Technologies Coming to Gerald R. Ford International Airport through State-Industry Collaboration

First-round FLITE recipients (see press release here): 

  • Aurrigo: Leveraging their Auto-Sim® software platform, created a “digital twin” of airport operations to optimize targeted metrics and increase operational efficiency.
  • WHILL: Deployed their autonomous mobility device to increase traveler independence and reduce wait times for wheelchair requests.
  • Sunflower Labs: Deployed their remote autonomous drone-in-a-box security system used to conduct inspections and security monitoring tasks.

Second-round FLITE recipients:

  • Aircraft Data Fusion: Utilizing web-based cloud solutions to provide real-time passenger forecasting.
  • Dataspeed: Revolutionizing aviation operations with the Kinetic360 Autonomous Service Vehicle.
  • EVA: Retooling EVA’s drone infrastructure to provide airport services to revolutionize baggage delivery.
  • Renu Robotics: Revolutionizing aviation facilities’ vegetation management with autonomous lawn mowers.
  • Spotter: Developing innovative sensor technology to help travelers identify open parking spots.

Michigan-Ontario Air Mobility Corridor

The aerial mobility corridor study will test the feasibility of commercial drones and other aerial systems, including cross-border between Michigan and Ontario. The study is exploring whether small drones can be flown beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) and be used in operations like just-in-time delivery, medical transport, or other small-scale deployments of UAS. The information gathered from this feasibility study will be used to further decision-making in preparing for the future of advanced air mobility in North America.

A newly formed partnership with Airspace Link, a Detroit-based drone technology start-up, and their partners (including Thales) will develop a feasibility analysis as a first step to establishing the infrastructure required to support a range of commercial and public advanced air mobility use cases.

The Airspace Link team will provide an analysis of existing airspace, air traffic infrastructure, and ground infrastructure required to ensure the operational safety of commercial drone skyways.

Another key partner will be the Michigan Central mobility innovation district in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit. Their collaboration with key stakeholders from the state and city will help advance this research and innovation to a broader idea of autonomy that goes beyond vehicles on the road, but also the water or sky.

Aviation News

No Altitude Advice Before Dallas Air Show Crash NTSB Says

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a preliminary report [PDF, Accident Number: CEN23MA034] on the November 12, 2022 midair collision between a B-17G and a P-63F during the Wings Over Dallas airshow. According to the NTSB report, the fighter planes were told to fly ahead of the bombers, but there were no altitude deconfliction briefings. The NTSB is looking into the sequence of maneuvers that led to the crash and if air shows normally have altitude deconfliction plans.

Why Would America Want to Retire the F-22?

Reasons include the relatively small number of aircraft and the high cost of operation, outdated avionics, and the new fighter being developed in the Next Generation Air Dominance Program.

Boeing 777X Test Flights Suspended Over Engine Issue

The unspecified issue was discovered during a borescope inspection of a high-time GE9X flight test engine. Apparently, there was a temperature alert. GE Aerospace says, “We are reviewing a technical issue that occurred during GE9X post-certification engineering testing, and we are closely coordinating with Boeing on our findings to support their return to flight testing.” 

The Fascinating ‘Me Too’ Clause That Will Guarantee Delta Air Pilots The Best Pay in the Industry

The tentative labor agreement with Delta pilots includes a “me too” clause. This benchmarks the Delta pilot’s contract against American Airlines and United Airlines and guarantees at least one percent higher wages than American and United pay their pilots. If the Delta contract is approved, the pilots would get an immediate 18 percent pay rise, as well as a one-time payment equal to 22 percent of their earnings between 2020 and 2022. Then Delta pilots would receive a 5 percent pay rise after the first year of the contract, followed by 4 percent pay raises in the two years thereafter. Delta Allied Pilots Union (ALPA) members must still vote in favor of the proposed contract.

Fighter pilot who tailed a civilian plane blamed for destroying F-16

In March 2022, an Oklahoma Air National Guard F-16C crashed while on a two-jet homeland defense “aerospace control alert” training mission. A GA plane was used as a practice aircraft however neither the GA plane nor air traffic control was notified about the attempted interception. One of the F-16 pilots experienced a “shudder” after selecting the wrong switch and ejected. According to the investigation, “Flight simulations confirmed … the [aircraft] was still in a flyable state prior to ejection. A noticeable shudder and movement of the aircraft [was] indicative of the flight controls responding properly. … The aircraft was not out of control and could have been recovered.”

Mentioned

Flying in 2022, by Patrick Smith in Ask the Pilot.

Covenant Aviation Security

U.S. again delays deadline for Real IDs, until May 2025

ChatGPT

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, Max Trescott, and our Main(e) Man Micah.

726 One-Pilot Cockpits

Thoughts on one-pilot cockpits, Frontier drops its customer service line, pigeons on an aircraft carrier, get ready for Real ID, an A-10 pilot gets a flying award, the A-1H Skyraider joins the Museum of the US Air Force, a Mooney crashes into a transmission tower, and America’s best airports.

Aviation News

One-pilot cockpits? Here’s what QF32 hero and ‘Sully’ Sullenberger think

On November 4, 2010, Flight QF32 from Singapore to Sydney experienced a massive engine failure on the A380. Captain Richard Champion de Crespigny describes the explosion, the subsequent systems damage, the resulting cockpit chaos, and how the crew worked together to save all aboard. Sully said, “Those who propose single-pilot airline operations are wrong, dead wrong.”

By Australian Transport Safety Bureau - In-flight uncontained engine failure Airbus A380-842, VH-OQA, Cover Page, CC BY-SA 3.0 au, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=81280480
In-flight uncontained engine failure Airbus A380-842, VH-OQA.
Courtesy Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

Frontier Airlines drops its customer service line

Customers can no longer call Frontier airlines on the phone and speak with a live agent. Instead, customer service options are a chatbot Frontier’s website, 24/7 live chat, and social media channels including WhatsApp. The airline said, “[this] enables us to ensure our customers get the information they need as expeditiously and efficiently as possible.” Also, most customers prefer communicating through online channels.

Why the US Navy’s First Aircraft Carrier Also Carried a Pigeoneer

By U.S. Navy photo 80-G-460108 - commons, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=91295306
USS Langley underway, 1927. U.S. Navy photo.

The USS Langley, America’s first aircraft carrier and the US Navy’s first turbo-electric-powered ship, was launched on August 14, 1912. A pigeon house was built on the stern for food storage, nesting, training, and trapping areas. Carrier pigeons were used extensively in the past for military communications.

States begin final push for compliance as Real ID deadline nears

Real ID is an enhanced verification process for State-issued IDs, such as driver’s licenses. The Real ID Act was passed by the U.S. Congress after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and requires that driver’s licenses or state-issued IDs must meet the federal Real ID requirements to be accepted for boarding commercial flights. This takes effect on May 3, 2023.

A-10C pilot earns top flying award for combat successes in Afghanistan

Maj. Kyle Adkison accepted the Distinguished Flying Cross at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, for his combat achievements in Afghanistan. The Major is a test pilot with the 59th Test and Evaluation Squadron. In 2019, Adkison and his wingman, Capt. Erin Fullam, drove away enemy forces, protected the positions of friendly forces, and kept members of the U.S.-led military coalition alive, the Air Force said in a release.

A-1H Skyraider now on display at AF museum

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force now has an A-1H Skyraider on display in the museum’s Southeast Asia War Gallery. This radial engine aircraft preceded the A-10 in an attack role and was in service from 1946 to the early 1970s in the U.S. and elsewhere to the 1980s.

Douglas A-1E Skyraider. Courtesy National Museum of the United States Air Force.
Douglas A-1E Skyraider.
Courtesy National Museum of the United States Air Force.

Pilot, passenger rescued from plane after crash into power lines that caused widespread outages in Montgomery County [Maryland]

Small Plane Crashes Into Transmission Tower in Maryland

The single-engine Mooney M20J crashed into a transmission tower. It took almost seven hours to extricate the pilot and passenger. Both individuals were injured and ambulances transported them to area trauma centers.

How SFO ended up ranked as America’s best airport

The Wall Street Journal says that San Francisco International is the best among the 20 busiest airports based on passenger numbers. Sacramento International is No.1 among 30 midsize facilities. In its ranking, the WSJ considered 19 factors, including airline on-time performance, average ticket prices, security line wait time, and airport concession costs. Also, the results of J.D. Power’s annual survey of passenger satisfaction and more. 

Mentioned

21st Century Aerospace Writers Facebook group.

Mastodon – Decentralized social media.

Explained: What is Post.news, the emerging easy-to-use Twitter alternative. Link to sign up.

Western Museum of Flight

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Rob Mark, and Max Trescott.

725 Airshow Crash

An airshow crash involving two warbirds, Flight MH17 convictions, A350 carryon weight, GA airplane shipments, A-10s and B-1Bs as attack aircraft, an airport closure impacts seaplanes, G700 on a world tour, and a sustainable jet fuel plant.

Aviation News

B-17 involved in airshow crash.

Dallas air show crash: Two World War Two planes collide in mid-air

A P-63 Kingcobra fighter and a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress collided at a commemorative air show near Dallas. The P-63 pilot and all five occupants aboard the B-17 died.

Video: Early Analysis: Wings Over Dallas Midair Collision WWII Airshow November 12, 2022

3 convicted in 2014 downing of Malaysian jet over Ukraine

Malaysian Flight MH17 from Amsterdam was headed to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down over Ukraine with a Russian surface-to-air missile. All 283 passengers and 15 crew aboard the 777-200ER perished. The investigation by the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) determined that the plane had been downed by a missile launched from pro-Russian separatist-controlled territory in Ukraine. Specifically, the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of the Russian Federation. A Dutch court has now convicted two Russians and a pro-Moscow Ukrainian.

Spanish Court Orders Flag Carrier Iberia to Limit Hand Luggage On Airbus A350 Because Overhead Lockers Are So Big

Airbus has been offering larger overhead luggage bins as new equipment and as a retrofit. The so-called “XL Bins” on the A350 are truly huge. Airbus says the compartments on the A350 can accommodate five full-size carry-on suitcases. The cantilevered bins are designed to hold a maximum of 30-45 kg (66-99 pounds) and fold up into the ceiling.

Iberia flight attendants thought that lifting that weight for as many as 112 bins on the A350-900 was too much to ask, and filed a lawsuit. They asked for the XL Bins to be replaced with smaller bins, or ban Iberia from expecting them to close the XL Bins. The judge dismissed those demands and ordered the airline to start weighing passenger carry-on luggage and make sure that Iberia’s own weight allowance was being adhered to.

U.S. Air Force wants to use A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft along with B-1B Lancer supersonic bombers to destroy enemy air defense systems

ADM-160 MALD (Miniature Air Launched Decoy) drones will be used as decoys with electronic warfare systems instead of warheads. Mounted on the A-10, the decoys should improve the survivability of the attack aircraft. U.S. Air Force exercises on Guam have been using the B-1B Lancer paired with the A-10.

Twitchell Airport property in Turner under contract to be sold

Twitchell Airport is the last privately owned and commercially operated airport in Maine. It’s been operating for 76 years. The land owners are selling the 145 acres that the airport and seaplane facilities share, reportedly to build a self-storage facility. Twitchell is the only seaplane base providing fuel between its location and Rhode Island, about 200 miles.

Gulfstream Unveils Newest Business Jet Model G700 In Nigeria

Gulfstream Aerospace is taking two G700 aircraft on a world tour that includes major events and private showings in 20 cities. These are fully outfitted G700 production test aircraft.

Elon Musk has reportedly added a new $78 million jet to his growing fleet of private planes.

This will replace his Gulfstream G650ER. Musk currently owns four jets, including three Gulfstream and one Dassault.

Company hopes to produce sustainable jet fuel at Loring Air Force Base

The former Loring Air Force Base was a large cold-war era base in far northeastern Maine. It was used by the U.S. Air Force’s Strategic Air Command. In 1994, the base was closed and then redeveloped into an industrial and aviation park called the Loring Commerce Centre. The airfield became Loring International Airport. Now DG Fuels LLC (DGF) plans to lease 1,240 acres from the Loring Development Authority and produce Sustainable Aviation Fuel. (SAF). Press release: DG Fuels Signs Key Maine Land Agreement.

Mentioned

Plane Talking UK Podcast

Grand Dames of Aviation

Charity auctions off AN-225 “Mriya” debris pieces to raise funds for Ukrainian Soldiers

Video: ONBOARD Emirates New A380 FIRST CLASS *It ONLY Cost $___*

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Rob Mark, and Micah.

722 Flight Tracking with Flighty

Flight tracking app Flighty.

Ryan Jones, founder and CEO of Flighty, describes the flight tracking app that pulls together a number of tools for flyers into one application. It features fast push notifications, flight delay predictions, and pilot-grade data.

Ryan is giving away lifetime subscriptions to two Airplane Geeks listeners. At the end of the interview, Ryan describes that if you install the app and leave a comment, you’ll be entered in the drawing. We really appreciate that Flighty is doing this for you.

Follow @rjonesy and @FlightyApp on Twitter.

Mentioned

As a follow-up to our conversation in episode 721 about Rotax engines in Iranian drones, listener Mark Newton posted in our Slack team the link to an article from The Drive. It’s titled Same Type Of Rotax Engines Used In Iranian Drones Targeted In Bizarre Theft Wave, published October 25, 2022. Many of these engines have been stolen and that might be how Iran obtained them. 

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Brian Coleman, and our Main(e) Man Micah.

720 SkySquad

We have two interviews recorded by Hillel Glazer, our Innovations and Entrepreneurship Correspondent, and our Main(e) Man Micah.

SkySquad founder and CEO Julie Melnick
Julie Melnick

The first is with Julie Melnick the founder and CEO of SkySquad. SkySquad provides an extra set of helping hands at the airport for people who need assistance. It’s a very creative business idea.

Lift book covers.
Lift by John & Martha King

Then we hear from John and Martha King. When it comes to pilot training programs, King Schools is legendary. Now the couple has written a new book about their life lessons: LIFT: How to Start, Run and Grow Your Own Successful Business.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Hillel Glazer, and our Main(e) Man Micah.

706 Airport Flight Delays

Flight delays and cancellations, long lines at the airport, higher fares, and travel woes with travel guru Johnny Jet. Also, Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta tips, Spurwink Farm International Fly-In, PlaneTags Festival, and an ultra-efficient business plane.

Guest

Johnny Jet is a well-known travel and technology expert who provides tips, guides, articles, and a newsletter to help the traveler with ticket booking, points and rewards, and credit cards. He offers information about travel apps, products, and available online resources.

Travel guru Johnny Jet
Johnny Jet

We talk with Johnny about the current air travel situation, including canceled and delayed flights, airfare and rental car prices, and long lines at the airport. He offers some strategies to reduce the pain and anxiety that is air travel today.

Johnny logs around 150,000 air miles each year. He and his website JohnnyJet.com have been featured thousands of times in major publications, including USA Today, Time, Fortune, and The New York Times. He’s appeared on ABC, CBS, CNBC, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, NBC, and PBS.

You can also find Johnny every Saturday on Leo Laporte’s The Tech Guy Show where he talks about travel and technology. JohnnyJet.com has been named “one of the top best money-saving websites for travel” by Budget Travel Magazine, and the L.A. Times calls it “one of the top 10 essential travel resources on the internet.”

Current travel news topics:

Mentioned

The Journey is the Reward

25th Annual Spurwink Farm International Fly-In

Sunday, July 10, 2022 pancake breakfast 8:00 – 11:00. Spurwink Farm, Cape Elizabeth, Maine, off Route 77.

Second Annual PlaneTags Festival

August 12th and 13th, 2022 at MotoArt Studios in Torrance, California. This is your chance to join fellow Tagnatics and the MotoArt PlaneTags crew for the weekend’s festivities. In Episode 644 Aviation Art Designs we spoke with Dave Hall, the owner of MotoArt and PlaneTags.

Second Annual PlaneTags Festival
Second Annual PlaneTags Festival

Brian Shul is scheduled to be a guest speaker at the PlaneTags festival. He’s an Air Force fighter pilot who flew the A-7D and the A-10, and taught at the Air Force’s TopGun school in the F-5B. He went on to become an SR-71 spy plane pilot. Brian was our guest in Episode 375 – Sled Driver Brian Shul.

Want to own an airport? There’s one for sale in southern Maine

World’s most efficient passenger plane gets hydrogen powertrain

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, our Main(e) Man Micah, and Brian Coleman.

704 The Supersonic B-1 BONE

The fascinating development and operational history of the B-1 BONE bomber, certifying the last models of the 737 Max, the Air Force Next Generation Air Dominance fighter (NGAD), Germany selects its heavy-lift helicopter, piloting an A330 while sleeping, prison time for an unruly passenger, and staff shortages impact service at European airports

Guest

Kenneth P. Katz recently published his book titled The Supersonic BONE: A Development and Operational History of the B-1 Bomber. Highly researched with rich technical data and photographs, the book describes the fascinating history of the B-1 BONE, which turned out to be a very different aircraft from what it was originally intended to be.

Ken explains how changing military technology and strategy, political imperatives, and the evolving nature of external threats all impacted U.S. bomber strategy. The B-1A was transformed into the B-1B with 100 copies built and is still in service.

Where to buy The Supersonic BONE:

Ken is a long-time airplane geek. He was educated in aerospace engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan. Ken has over three decades of experience as a US Air Force officer, flight test engineer, and project manager, and is currently employed as a staff project engineer for a major aerospace contractor. 

Ken has a commercial pilot certificate with instrument rating, and flight experience as an observer and crewmember in over 20 types of military aircraft. He’s a senior member of the Society of Flight Test Engineers.

Aviation News

Inside the Convoluted Politics of Certifying the Last 737 Max Models

If the last two 737 Max derivatives (the Max 10 and Max 7) aren’t certified by the end of 2022, Boeing will have a significant problem with the cockpits on those airplanes. Section 116 of the Aircraft Certification, Safety, and Accountability Act [PDF] signed in December 2020 prohibits the certification of any transport category aircraft that lacks “a flight crew alerting system that, at a minimum, displays and differentiates among warnings, cautions, and advisories, and includes functions to assist the flight crew in prioritizing corrective actions and responding to systems failures…” and “…any system safety assessment with respect to the Boeing 737-7, 737-8, 737-9, and 737-10 airplanes… is conducted in accordance with [this requirement].

The Air Force’s secret next-gen fighter has reached development phase

The Air Force Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) fighter is shaping up as more than just one airplane. It’s a family of systems that include new weapons, sensors, and drones that operate with the new fighter. The highly classified 6th generation fighter is now confirmed to be in the development phase.

German Heavy-Lift Helicopter Program Selects Chinook

Germany is expected to purchase up to 60 Boeing CH-47F Chinook helicopters in a deal valued at about €4 billion ($4.3 billion). These will replace the current Sikorsky CH-53G helicopter fleet. Delivery reportedly takes place between 2023 and 2029 although the agreement has not yet been finalized.

Both Pilots Flew the Airbus A330 Asleep

This past May, pilots on an ITA Airways A330-200 failed to maintain ATC communication for about 10 minutes as they allegedly slept at cruise altitude. The plane was operated by autopilot at the time. The first officer was at “controlled rest.” Italian media reports that the captain was dismissed, but he says he was not sleeping and there was a radio communication failure.

Woman Who Knocked Out Southwest Airlines Teeth Ends Up With 15 Month Prison Sentence

The woman who assaulted a Southwest Airlines flight attendant in May 2021 has been sentenced to 15 months in prison and to pay $25,981.57 in restitution and a $7,500 fine.

Expert says ministers must declare EMERGENCY and draft in army for at least six months to solve holiday hell

British airports claim they have 40,000 job vacancies. Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said that “defence personnel with experience providing security” should be called in for “three to four months” to with the travel disruption that has resulted. Author, media personality, and aviation expert Julian Bray thinks military personnel may be required for six months.

See also:

Mentioned

Innovations in Flight – Outdoor Aviation Display at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum June 18, 2022, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.

Into Flight Once More –  Brings the history of June 6, 1944, to the present through the lens of one squadron and their epic recreation journey across the North Atlantic to Normandy for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day.

In 1994, Lt. Carey Lohrenz, U.S. Navy, retired, became one of the first women to fly the F-14 Tomcat… This is a story that has had generational impact and continues to inspire women in the armed forces and beyond: Video: Flying an F-14 ‘I Can’t Believe It Was Legal’

Accurate Ranging Perception for Assisted and Automated Driving

This report by Sam Abuelsamid provides an overview of the assistive and automated driving technology landscape including the steps these systems take and how distance and trajectory are measured by various sensor types.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, David Vanderhoof, and Max Trescott.

691 Runway Rehabilitation

Managing a runway rehabilitation project and minimizing the effects on operators, the airport, and the public. In the news, airports are hamstrung in dealing with drone threats, handling emergency landings, some Boeing 737 Max charges are dropped, and North Atlantic tracks below FL330.

Guest

Paul H. Bradbury, P.E. is the airport director for the Portland International Jetport (PWM) in Portland, Maine. 

Paul Bradbury

The Jetport is planning a runway rehabilitation project that will see 34,000 tons of asphalt removed and replaced over 27.5 acres of pavement. A runway lighting upgrade will require 19.7 miles of wire and over 5,000 flights will be affected as the primary runway is closed for two months. The airport has been working with operators and the public to minimize the impact.

Paul explains the difference between runway maintenance, rehabilitation, and reconstruction. We learn about the pavement management plan that includes an assessment of runway condition. Also, the difference between concrete and asphalt runways, and how the paving contractor was selected. 90% of this project was funded through the Airport Improvement Program.

Beyond the runway rehabilitation project, Paul brings us up to date on the Jetport’s de-icing fluid recovery process that allows them to resell the fluid to other airports. The Jetport is the only airport in the U.S. doing this.

Other topics in our conversation with Paul include Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), drone incursions at airports, unruly passengers, and flight diversions.

Portland jetport’s primary runway to close for nearly 2 months this spring

Runway 11-29 Rehabilitation Project website

Paul was appointed the airport director in 2008 and is responsible for the overall management, operations, and planning for the Portland International Jetport. He’s a licensed professional engineer with a B.S. in Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Paul is an avid runner, triathlete, and snowmobiler.

Aviation News

Airports around the world have been plagued by drone incursions, but the actions they can take are very limited. The non-profit, FAA-funded National Safe Skies Alliance issued a report in September 2021 titled “Airport Response to Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Threats.” [PDF] Both passive and active counter-drone technology exists, but in the U.S., only four federal agencies can use them: the Departments of Defense, Energy, Homeland Security, and Justice.

Is This The Worst Airline Passenger of 2022, So Far?

Frontier Airlines flight 1335 from New York to Orlando had to make an emergency landing in North Carolina. A passenger was convinced the woman in the seat behind him was stabbing him with needles and stealing his DNA. When the man started harassing others, six passengers restrained him and tied him down to his seat. Local police were waiting at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Two Charges Against Former Boeing 737 Max Chief Technical Pilot Dismissed

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas Fort Worth Division dismissed two counts against former Boeing Chief Technical Pilot Mark Forkner. In the counts, Forkner was alleged to have “knowingly and with the intent to defraud, made and used a materially false writing, entry, certification, document, record, data plate, label, and electronic communication concerning an aircraft part.” The judge wrote, “Because MCAS is not an aircraft ‘part’ as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 3l(a)(7), the indictment fails to allege an offense that Defendant violated § 38(a)(1)(C).” Forkner still has counts on wire fraud. The trial is scheduled for March 2022.

Why Are North Atlantic Tracks Below FL330 Being Scrapped?

The North Atlantic Organised Track System (NAT-OTS), popularly called the North Atlantic Tracks, are flight path tracks flown by airlines between North America and Europe. The tracks are created daily and take into account the prevailing jet streams. Starting March 1, 2022, operators can fly outside North Atlantic Tracks if they stay below 33,000 feet. Airlines will have more flexibility to fly more efficient routes and produce fewer emissions. This is made possible by the Aireon satellite-based ADS-B system.

American Helicopter Museum

Airplane Geeks listeners can enjoy a one-year individual membership at a 50% discount. For $25.00 (normally $50.00) you get:

  • Unlimited admission to the Museum for one year, including the March 4 event, “The Helicopter and the Presidency.”
  • Two One-Day Guest Passes.
  • Admission to FamilyFest and SantaFest.
  • Invitations to Member Receptions.
  • 10% discount on gift shop purchases.

The offer is good through May 31, 2022, at this link.

Mentioned

HermesTM 900 StarLiner [PDF]

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, Main(e) Man Micah

638 Geospatial Data for Airports

Geospatial data supporting airports, investment strategy for airport recovery, lower airport operations volume, halted international flights, a health bill for domestic air travel, aviation events, a criminal conviction for unsafe drone operation, a B-21 update, and the outlook for New Zealand.

Guest

Bob Vander Meer

Bob Vander Meer is vice president of business development for NV5 Geospatial (Powered by Quantum Spatial). He has over 20 years of business development and management experience in the geospatial industry, and serves within NV5 Geospatial’s public market sector, leading the business development activities with state, municipal, and county government agencies. 

Bob has provided executive support to over 700 airport projects under FAA Advisory Circular 150/5300-16A, -17C, -18B guidelines. He has managed all internal project activities, including overseeing that the airport ground surveys and collection of aerial imagery are performed in accordance with the appropriate FAA specifications.

We dive into how geospatial data for airports are collected, analyzed, and used for applications like obstruction analysis, airport mapping, and even pavement management and crack assessment, as well as interior mapping. Bob explains the sensors used and the aircraft that carry them. 

Aviation News

Brock Solutions Emphasizes Importance of Technological Investment in Airport Recovery in 2021

Mark Stokes, the Business Unit Manager – SmartSuite at Brock Solutions, notes that “Many in the aviation industry went from full speed ahead, managing the absolute peak of volumes, to a near dead stop.” As business returns, “airlines and airports are likely going to not bring back as many people as they had before.” But the pre-pandemic situation with “unmanageable volumes of traffic” tells us “what’s going to happen to our systems and our passenger flows and our facilities when those volumes come back. Now, we have some time to prepare and to adjust the course so we can avoid those problems we were inevitably facing in 2019.”

O’Hare Loses Title Of Busiest Airport As COVID-19 Brings Huge Drops In Air Traffic For 2020

O’Hare reported a 41% drop in arrivals and departures for 2020 compared to 2019. Atlanta experienced a 39% drop and LAX saw a 45% decline. Chicago’s Midway a 35% drop in flight operations.

KLM To Halt Intercontinental Flights

KLM temporarily suspends 270 flights

The Dutch government announced they will require all travelers, including crew, to get both a PCR test and an antigen test before flying to that country. In response, KLM stopped operating all its intercontinental flights and some of its European services on January 22, 2021. A KLM spokesperson said, “We cannot run the risk of our staff being stranded somewhere. This is why we are stopping all intercontinental flights from Friday & all flights to European destinations where crew members have to spend the night.”

Covid rules ‘workaround’ means KLM Cargo can continue to fly its freighters

But what about cargo and repatriation flights, and the impact on vaccine shipments? Well, now aircrew will be exempt from the rules if, either they do not leave the aircraft position upon reaching their destination, or if a PCR test is done within 12 hours before the flight, then the rapid test is not required. Crew may also operate within a “72-hour bubble,” allowing them to isolate in a hotel.

Building on Biden Exec. Order, Senators Markey and Blumenthal, Rep. Lynch Call for Coronavirus Task Force on Aviation Health and Safety

President Biden signed an executive order that calls for interagency cooperation to develop recommendations for national public health measures for domestic travel. A press release from Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) announced the reintroduction of the Ensuring Health Safety in the Skies Act of 2020, which passed the Senate unanimously last year.

The Act [PDF] “would require the Departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Transportation to establish a joint task force on air travel during and after the COVID-19 public health emergency. The task force would consist of representatives from various federal agencies, and would develop policy recommendations to address issues related to airport and air carrier operations during and after the coronavirus pandemic.”

This task force would be advised by a joint federal advisory committee to include aviation industry, security, and public health experts. It would clearly establish the risks that must be addressed, the stakeholders that should be involved, and the process for developing national standards for safe air travel.

Lufthansa Set To Ban Cloth Masks Onboard From February

Lufthansa announced starting February 1st, 2021, they will stop accepting cloth masks and all passengers will have to wear a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask, (also known as KN95/N95 masks). Masks with valves will not be allowed. Lufthansa Group member Austrian Airlines says that surgical masks will not be allowed. Only  FFP2 masks.

Man pleads guilty to recklessly operating drone that collided with LAPD helicopter

A 22 year old man crashed the drone he was operating into a Los Angeles Police Department helicopter in September, 2020. He faces a statutory maximum sentence of one year in federal prison. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 12, 2021. The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and the LAPD, with the assistance of the FAA.

Mentioned

National Aviation Hall of Fame’s Spirit of Flight Award

The National Aviation Hall of Fame’s 2020 Milton Caniff Spirit of Flight Award to be presented to the American Rocketry Challenge. The Spirit of Flight Award is presented to recognize and reward aerospace organizations that exemplify the positive utilization of aviation for charitable purposes or for service to mankind.

Watch the skies in 2022 for the first B-21 bomber flight

612 Difficult Times for Airlines

Airlines face downward booking trends and very large furloughs, flight training in a time of social distancing, airlines struggle to enforce face-covering policies, airports are responding to the pandemic, Boeing issues draft pilot training document for the 737 MAX, and Spirit Airlines steps up to help a family in need.

American Helicopter Museum & Education Center

American Helicopter Museum & Education Center

Aviation News

United Airlines to lay off up to 36,000 U.S. employees in October as travel remains depressed

United Airlines sent employees a notice saying that 36,000 employees may be subject to involuntary furloughs. That would represent 45% of its U.S. front-line workers. Most of these (26,000) would be flight attendants and airport customer service and gate agents. Up to 2,250 pilots could be affected.

United Airlines Has a Huge Warning for Airlines

In mid-April, there were days when TSA checkpoint volume was only 4% of previous year levels. In May and June, the volume rose slightly and airlines started operating more flights. But now Covid-19 infections are spiking upward in many U.S. states and bookings are again dropping.

Redbird Connect Enables Virtual Pilot Proficiency Center

A few months ago, Redbird Flight Simulations started thinking about social distancing and flight training. They’ve developed a platform for flight instructors and their students that uses video conferencing technology and a web-based version of the Redbird Navigator flight simulator operating system.

Airline passengers find ‘creative ways’ to remove masks, American pilot says

Airline passengers are required to wear face coverings in flight, except when eating and drinking. Most do, but not everyone. Cabin crew have difficulty enforcing a mask policy since there is no Federal requirement, only a recommendation.

In July 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation published a 44-page “Runway to Recovery” plan [PDF] subtitled “The United States Framework for Airlines and Airports to Mitigate the Public Health Risks of Coronavirus.”

Touchless: How the world’s busiest airport envisions post-COVID travel

DFW and American Airlines plan to roll out self-check-in for luggage and touchless restrooms at the airport. The airport is piloting three luggage self-check-in systems: Amadeus’s ICM, SITA, and Materna IPS. DFW is also testing new sanitization technology including ultraviolet light to kill germs before they circulate into the HVAC system.

You couldn’t even pay me to fly United or American Airlines right now, and here’s why

Delta and Southwest Airlines are still flying with reduced seating, but American and United have resumed booking middle seats.

American pilots review Boeing’s latest Max training draft

Boeing has a draft of its new 737 MAX pilot training document. The Allied Pilots Association (APA) representing American Airlines’ pilots has a copy and they say the document is vastly more thorough than previous drafts. The APA is generally pleased with it but some concerns remain. Boeing’s latest draft includes some 10 documents and 200 pages.

Spirit to the rescue: Airline sends emergency plane to bring stranded family home

A family was flying on Spirit Airlines from San Juan to Philadelphia when their 4-year-old daughter had a medical emergency. The plane diverted to Turks and Caicos so the girl could get medical treatment. (She’s fine.) But the family didn’t have the necessary documentation when they tried to leave the island. Plus international travel is shut down there. They were trapped but Spirit and others came to the rescue. 

Mentioned

EAA’s Spirit of Aviation Week™ – July 21-25, 2020.

Meet The Navy’s First Female African American Tactical Jet Pilot

Air Force Name Tapes Can Now Include Accent Marks and Hyphens