Tag Archives: Airport

595 Airport Watch

We look at Airport Watch, a group of airplane enthusiasts that have built a valuable relationship with their airport, law enforcement, and the community. In the news, we again look at the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that is continuing to impact aviation. Also, a Southwest B737 experiences a fuselage rupture, and a man shoots at a police helicopter.

Guest

Peter Wagner, Airport Watch

Peter Wagner, Airport Watch.

Peter Wagner is board president of Airport Watch, a crime prevention initiative that includes people who have an interest in various aspects of aviation and who spend time in the vicinity of the O’Hare Airport to observe the various airport operations. These airplane spotters provide safety and security value to the airport, law enforcement, businesses and the local community.

Peter is a professional photographer who has enjoyed aviation since he was young. He started plane spotting in 2001 at O’Hare Airport and now enjoys traveling to airports and air shows around the country photographing planes. While Peter’s personal favorites are the 747 and C-17, he enjoys all types of aviation.

Airport Watch holds monthly meetings, training sessions, and field tours at O’hare Airport. They liaison with the FBI, Chicago Police Department, Chicago Department of Aviation, and the TSA. Their connection to the Secret Service is through the FBI. Members come from all walks of life and include airport employees, the media, firefighters, pilots, other professionals, and the general public.

C-17 by Peter Wagner, Airport Watch

C-17 by Peter Wagner.

Peter explains how the organization came into existence and how it was structured using the Canadian model. The highly-detailed Airport Watch bylaws offer a comprehensive roadmap for others who might like to form a similar organization.

B747 by Peter Wagner.

B747 by Peter Wagner.

We also discuss airplane spotting, including what spotters look for, spotting locations, and camera gear. Anyone in the United States can join Airport Watch. Find them on Instagram. Peter also has an Instagram where you can find his professional and personal photography.

Airport Watch

Airport Watch

Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

American Airlines will suspend all but 3 long-haul routes, park most wide-body jets

American was flying 150 widebody aircraft at the end of December. Now about 135 of them will go into temporary storage from March 16 through at least May 6, 2020. This includes Airbus A330 and Boeing 767, 777 and 787 models. The airline is cutting international capacity by 75%

Delta Air Lines announced they’d cut global capacity by 40% and park up to 300 jets, including both narrow-bodies and wide-bodies.

Finnair cuts capacity by 90% as travel demand falls because of COVID-19

Finnair will cut capacity by 90%, starting from 1 April and keep critical air connections for Finland, limited connections to Europe, and one remaining intercontinental route to Japan. The airline cites the “severe impact on demand for air travel” resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

United Airlines in talks with U.S. officials about financial support

United CEO Oscar Munoz sent an email to employees saying, he “has spent the last two days in Washington, D.C., meeting with senior officials in the Trump Administration and senior members of the U.S. House and Senate in both parties to understand what government policies they may be considering and explain to them the impact that the coronavirus has had on our business.”

Support Aviation—Airline Sector Pleads With Governments For Immediate Financial Support To Prevent Widespread Job Losses

British Airways CEO Alex Cruz sent a video message to employees titled “The Survival of British Airways,” saying “It is a crisis of global proportions like no other we have known.”

Sun ‘n Fun Postpones Event Due To Coronavirus Threat

The new show dates for Sun ‘n Fun are May 5-10, 2020.

Air Force Suspends Public Outreach Programs Through May 15

Official U.S. Air Force Statement: “The Air Force is committed to upholding the complete trust and confidence of Americans and our community engagement is the key to those connections. However, due to the uncertainty regarding COVID-19 and to protect our Airmen, their families and the communities that support us, the Department of the Air Force is suspending all outreach activities and support to community events through May 15.  This includes, but is not limited to, on-base and civilian sponsored air shows, band performances and community engagements and meetings (speaking engagements, community meetings on installations, base tours, Pentagon visits, etc.).

NBAA, EBAA Shelve EBACE for 2020

NBAA and the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) announced they have canceled the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition 2020 (EBACE2020).

DOD Officials Explain New Coronavirus Domestic Travel Restrictions

Defense officials issued a memorandum [PDF] halting domestic travel for service members, Defense Department employees and family members. That includes permanent changes of station and temporary duty travel. The ban is in effect from March 16 to May 11, 2020.

American Airlines pilot tests positive for coronavirus, carrier says

Fourth TSA officer at SJ airport infected with coronavirus

San Francisco-based Alaska Airlines employee tests positive for COVID-19

Coronavirus live updates: COVID-19 death toll at 6,500 worldwide; markets plummet again

Travelers returning to the United States are faced with long lines for health checks.

In other aviation news…

Southwest Airlines : FAA Probes Problem With Southwest Jet — Update

A Southwest flight en route from Las Vegas to Boise, Idaho experienced some loss of pressure. They descended to a safe altitude and landed safely in Boise.A 12-inch rupture was found in the skin of the B737.

Man Arrested For Allegedly Shooting At San Diego Police Helicopter

The helicopter was responding to a call about a possible burglar. As it circled overhead, the man allegedly fired one round at the aircraft. He was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

592 FOD in the Fuel Tanks

This episode, we have an interview with the president of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen. In the news, more woes for Boeing with FOD discovered in undelivered 737 MAX airplanes and the DOJ is reported to be investigating the company. Also, the Coronavirus continues to disrupt commercial aviation, a solar electric UAV planned to stay aloft for a year, a new tail-rotor design from Bell that should be quieter and safer, and this year’s Collier Trophy nominees are announced.

Interview

Mel Payne, president, Greater Philadelphia Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen.

David Vanderhoof and Mel Payne, president, Greater Philadelphia Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen.

At the American Helicopter Museum, David talks with Mel Payne, president of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen.

Tuskegee in Philadelphia: Rising to the Challenge is the story of dozens of Philadelphia-area natives who served as fighter pilots, bombers, nurses, mechanics, and in many other support roles.

Aviation News

Boeing Finds Fuel-Tank Debris in Two-Thirds of 737 MAX Jets Inspected So Far — Update

Foreign Object Debris (FOD) has been a problem for Boeing. Two-thirds of the undelivered 737 MAX jets that have been inspected were found to contain tools, rags, and boot coverings in fuel tanks.

The DOJ is reportedly probing whether Boeing’s chief pilot misled regulators over the 737 Max

The Department of Justice wants to know if Boeing knowingly lied to the FAA while seeking certification of the 737 MAX. Boeing’s former 737 MAX chief pilot Mark Forkner was subpoenaed last year to answer questions from federal prosecutors in front of a grand jury. He invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Coronavirus flight cancellations top 200,000, sending jet fuel prices to more than 2-year lows

More than 200,000 flights, mostly in China, have been canceled as a result of the Coronavirus. Delta, United, and American have halted service to mainland China and Hong Kong. With the resulting decrease in demand, jet fuel prices have fallen 17% in 2020. For an excellent explanation of the virus, see: You’re Likely to Get the Coronavirus.

Solar airplane aims to stay afloat for a whole year

BAE Systems and Prismatic designed the unmanned solar-powered PHASA-35 airplane, and have tested it at the Royal Australian Air Force’s Woomera in South Australia. A High Altitude, Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (HALE UAV), this “pseudo-satellite” could provide persistent service for defense, security, resource management, and communications. Another high-altitude solar-electric airplane under development is the manned SolarStratos.

Bell’s New Design Could Make Helicopters Quieter—and Safer

Helicopters with a single main rotor need an additional tail rotor to counteract the torque of the main rotor. But the tail rotor contributes a lot of noise and represents a safety hazard on the ground. Bell has come up with a different approach: four smaller shrouded electric fans in the tail.

Video: Bell’s Electrically Distributed Anti-Torque EDAT

Trailblazing Projects to Compete for Collier Trophy

The National Aeronautic Association announced nine projects that will compete for the Robert J. Collier Trophy:

  • Airborne Collision Avoidance System Team
  • Bombardier Global 7500
  • Gulfstream G500 and G600
  • Hubble Space Telescope Team
  • magni500 Electric Propulsion System
  • Project Heaviside
  • Stratolaunch Carrier Aircraft
  • The United States Air Force-Boeing X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle Team
  • Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management Team

The Collier Trophy Selection Committee will meet on April 2, 2020, in Arlington, Virginia, and the recipient will be announced publicly the following day. The formal presentation of the Collier Trophy will take place on June 11, 2020, at a location to be determined.

Mentioned

Big Ass Fans

Crisis Communications Training For Airline Executives

Airport webcams:

Airbus’s New Concept Passenger Plane Is for the Birds

Waco Air Museum

583 Flight Planning with SkyVector

We talk about flight planning with the founder and CEO of SkyVector. In the news, we look at transferring funding for light attack planes to the U.S. Special Operations Command, the Aircraft Noise Reduction Act, Boeing’s Board of Directors’ decision to pause 737 MAX production, and Alaska Airlines ugly holiday sweater promotion. We also have the Australia News Desk from the boys down under.

Guest

David Graves, founder and CEO of the SkyVector flight planning system.

David Graves, founder and CEO of the SkyVector flight planning system.

David Graves is the founder and CEO of SkyVector, which provides worldwide aeronautical charts, online mapping, and related flight planning products and services. The company combines its aeronautical mapping capability with weather and data overlays, airport information, FBO listings, and more.

In 2003, David was working as a programmer for a Seattle startup. He took an introductory flight with a small flight school at Boeing Field and his first solo came after 4 months and 20 hours. He earned his private pilot’s license about a year later.

SkyVector.com flight planning went on-line in the fall of 2006 and by the end of 2009, it was experiencing over 100,000 unique users a month.  In 2010, David quit his job to work on SkyVector full-time. The World VFR and World IFR charts went live in 2012. Flight Plan filing went live in 2015, and at the end of the decade, SkyVector is being visited by over 550,000 unique users per month.

David explains some of the discriminators of flight planning services, the SkyVector user interface, and interaction with other flight planning products. We discuss data sources and improvements in accuracy and learn about the Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor (MRMS) project which utilizes an automated system that integrates data from multiple radars and other sources to generate seamless, high spatio-temporal resolution mosaics. (Be sure to see the Operational Product Viewer.)

We touch on the SkyVector map layer with unmanned aircraft Notams (or “Drotams”), compare the new electronic flight planning tools with the “old” paper and pencil methods, and look at future flight planning developments.

Aviation News

Congress may have given the Air Force an exit door for the light attack aircraft program

Congress wants the Air Force to consider transferring some funding allocated for light attack planes to U.S. Special Operations Command.

Congressman Neguse introduces Aircraft Noise Reduction Act

U.S. Congressman Joe Neguse representing the 2nd District of Colorado has introduced legislation that would give local general aviation airports the power to set noise restrictions. Currently, airports must get approval from the FAA if they want to establish curfews or other noise-based restrictions on flight operations. See also, Congressman Neguse Introduces Legislation to Expand Local Control of Airports in Northern Colorado

Boeing will halt 737 production in January, following two fatal MAX crashes

At the Boeing Board of Directors meeting on December 16, 2019, a decision was made to pause 737 MAX commercial production in January 2020. Boeing will not lay off any employees during the production halt. See also, Halt or Curb 737 Max Production? Boeing Faces Difficult Decision.

Ugly sweater time! Alaska Airlines to give priority boarding to people in holiday gear

December 20, 2019, is National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. It’s celebrated on the third Friday of December each year. Sometimes it’s called National Ugly Holiday Sweater Day, or simply National Ugly Sweater Day. In any event, Alaska Airlines has a promotion and passengers wearing a holiday sweater on December 20 will be allowed to board early.

Australia News Desk

Steve Visscher and Grant McHerron bring us a news report from the Australia Desk.

Mentioned

From Jon Ostrower’s The Air Current: Pilot procedure confusion adds new complication to Boeing 737 Max return

‘World’s first’ fully-electric commercial flight takes off

Uber Air & NASA Launch Airspace Simulation To Enable eVTOL Future

Video: Uber Air

Top Gun: Maverick trailers

Voice of NBAA Podcasts Pete Combs Heads West

565 Airshare COO Harry Mitchel

Airshare chief operating officer Harry Mitchel talks about fractional jet ownership and aircraft management. Also, ADS-B equipage on the business jet fleet, C-130 groundings due to cracks, an airplane hacking security alert from the DHS, airport noise, and a Southwest Airlines program to create career paths for pilots.

Airshare

Guest

Airshare Chief Operating Officer Harry Mitchel.

Airshare chief operating officer Harry Mitchel.

Harry Mitchel is chief operating officer of Airshare, a large provider of fractional and aircraft management services. Airshare operates Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 aircraft in the fractional space, and also provides managed aircraft services where they maintain, crew, and schedule the owner’s aircraft.

As COO, Harry oversees all aircraft operations for the company, including flight operations, maintenance, scheduling, and managed aircraft. He has more than 35 years of experience in commercial and corporate aviation, including serving as vice president of operations for Colgan Air in Memphis, Tennessee.

Harry was also general manager of Funair Corporation, director of aviation for Magic Carpet Aviation (the aviation department of the NBA’s Orlando Magic), director of Pinnacle Airlines’ Corporate Education Center, and vice president of Aviation Compliance Services.

Holding a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Harry has more than 7,000 hours of experience as an ATP pilot in global operations.

Aviation News

U.S. Business Aircraft Fleet Equipped With ADS-B Rises To 77%

FAA regulation requires that starting Jan. 1 2020, aircraft must have ADS-B Out while flying in most controlled airspace. FlightAware reports that as of June 2019, 77% of the turbine-powered U.S. business aircraft are equipped with ADS-B

AMC Commander directs temporary removal of 123 C-130s from service

After atypical cracks were discovered during scheduled depot maintenance, the Air Mobility Command has grounded 123 of the 450 C-130 Hercules aircraft. Aircraft inspections have been ordered.

US issues hacking security alert for small planes

Associated Press reports that the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a security alert for small planes which warned that “modern flight systems are vulnerable to hacking if someone manages to gain physical access to the aircraft.” According to AP, cybersecurity firm Rapid7 looked at small aircraft and “found that an attacker could potentially disrupt electronic messages transmitted across a small plane’s network, for example by attaching a small device to its wiring, that would affect aircraft systems.”

Letter: Misleading readers about aviation security

But NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen writes that the AP story, “missed or mischaracterized some key points about small-airplane security.” He says the DHS notice applies to all aircraft, it’s not a GA notice. Also the story “misrepresented the nature of the potential security breach involved.”

See ICS-ALERT-19-211-01, CAN Bus Network Implementation in Avionics and CANaerospace from Stock Flight Systems.

Maine Voices: Issues with jetport noise are both exaggerated and avoidable

Some residents of Portland Maine have been complaining about the noise from the Portland International Jetport. United States Senator Susan Collins has even gotten herself involved. Our Main(e) man Micah stepped up and penned a letter that was published by the Portland Press Herald. In it he makes a number of points about airport noise, including the approach taken in the Salt Lake City area as related by listener Patrick.

Southwest Airlines Launches New Pilot Pathways Program

Southwest Airlines launched the Destination 225° career program to build career pathways for qualified pilots to become first officers. Program participants receive a  Southwest mentor, attend training activities and events at Southwest, and ultimately have an opportunity to apply for a position as a Southwest First Officer.

Mentioned

Video: Sea Harrier SKI JUMP Explained

Royal Air Force Red Arrows North America Tour

Blue Angels

Blue Angels photo by Stuart Galt.

562 Portland International Jetport

The director of the Portland International Jetport joins us to talk about airport development, airport noise, attracting airlines, and other topics. In the news, the A321neo has an excessive pitch problem, unique airline seats with more middle seat space, an unruly passenger gets banned for life, and an electric airplane company begins taking customer letters of intent. We have interviews from the Spurwink Farm Pancake Breakfast and Fly-In: the director of the Owls Head Transportation Museum, a young cadet from the Civil Air Patrol, and a retired professional pilot.

Guest

Paul Bradbury, director of the Portland International Jetport.

Paul Bradbury, director of the Portland International Jetport.

Paul H. Bradbury, P.E. is the airport director for the Portland International Jetport (PWM) in Portland, Maine. Paul has held several positions at the Jetport since 1992 and he was appointed the airport director in 2008. In this position, he is responsible for the overall management, operations, and planning for the Jetport.

PWM reached record passenger volumes for the past two years as it has focused on service and its value proposition to customers.

Under Paul’s leadership, the Jetport completed the largest capital improvement program in its history. That included a new parking garage, a 137,000 square foot terminal expansion, an aircraft deicing fluid capture facility, and the rehabilitation of the north/south runway.

These projects have placed PWM at the forefront of sustainable design. The terminal expansion was only the second terminal project in the country to receive the US Green Building Council’s LEED Gold certification. The aircraft deicing fluid capture facility recently received the ACI-NA 2018 Environmental Achievement Award for Mitigation.

Paul is a licensed professional engineer with a B.S. in Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 

South Portland residents upset with Jetport noise

AAAE Announces Three Recipients of Airport Innovation Awards

Aviation News

The Airbus A321neo Has An Excessive Pitch Problem

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued Airworthiness Directive 2019-0171 [PDF] for Airbus A321neo airplanes. Certain Elevator Aileron Computer (ELAC) part numbers installed on some airplanes can cause an “excessive pitch attitude… in certain conditions and during specific manoeuvres… This condition, if not corrected, could result in reduced control of the aeroplane.”

New airplane seat could solve one of the most annoying things about flying

Molon Labe Seating has some unique ideas for rows of three economy seats in a staggered layout. As seen in a short company video from 2017, the middle seat is wider, lower, and farther back. NBC News reported on the Side-Slip Seat that year in the video, The Middle Plane Seat May Be The Best Soon With Revolutionary Design.

Woman fined $106,000 and banned from airline for life after trying to open plane doors

Leisure airline Jet2.com says they have has issued a lifetime ban to a 25-year-old woman and billed her more than £85,000 after her disruptive behavior caused a flight to be diverted. The RAF scrambled two Typhoon fighters to escort the aircraft. According to Jet2.com, she “displayed a catalogue of aggressive, abusive and dangerous behaviour on the aircraft, which included attempting to open the aircraft doors during the flight.” See also Couple who restrained Jet2 passenger demand payout from airline.

Ampaire To Open Order Book for Hybrid-electric Airplane

Ampaire CEO Kevin Noertker says “The Ampaire Electric EEL is the first step in bringing lower emissions, lower operating costs, and quieter operations to general aviation through electrification.” The company was to begin taking letters of intent for its Electric EEL hybrid airplane at EAA AirVenture.

Spurwink Farm Pancake Breakfast and Fly-In

Our Main(e) Man and contributor-at-large Micah attended this year’s Spurwink Farm event and recorded three interviews:

Cadet First Lt Emily Earle from the Civil Air Patrol.

Tom O’Connell, a retired professional pilot.

Kevin Bedford, executive director of the Owls Head Transportation Museum, who arrived in a 1941 PT-17 Stearman Bi-Plane. The Wings & Wheels Spectacular will be taking place on August 3-4, 2019.

 

Micah and Kevin with the Stearman.

Micah and Kevin with the Stearman.

Stearman Landing with Micah.

Action shot! Stearman landing with Micah.

Mentioned

The Cooper Vortex podcast.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

 

556 A New Microsoft Flight Simulator

Microsoft Flight Simulator returns in 2020, Launchpad Marzari talks with the operations manager and the chief pilot at Skydive Spaceland San Marcos, the Boeing 737 has an issue with slats, fun facts about business jets, Raytheon and United Technologies propose a merger, airport facial scans raise privacy concerns, and an electric hybrid Cessna 337 Skymaster takes flight.

Aviation News

E3: Microsoft Flight Simulator coming to Xbox, PC

Azure artificial intelligence and satellite imagery give the new Microsoft Flight Simulator stunning 4K effects. Coming in 2020, the sim is reportedly written for the PC and is not a port from Xbox.

Video: Microsoft Flight Simulator – Announcement Trailer | E3 2019

 

More than 300 Boeing 737s to be inspected for faulty parts

Slat track assemblies manufactured for the Boeing 737 have been found to have a hydrogen embrittlement issue. Operators are required to perform inspections to identify and remove faulty parts. See also, Spirit AeroSystems supplier made potentially faulty 737 wing parts.

Know The Facts About Private Jets Before You Bash Them

Advocacy group No Plane, No Gain offers data that illustrates the importance of business aviation, such as jobs supported, economic activity, accessibility to locations not served by airlines, humanitarian missions, and many more.

Raytheon and United Technologies Aerospace Businesses to Combine in Merger of Equals

Under the proposed merger, UTCs aerospace unit would combine with Raytheon in an all-stock transaction to create Raytheon Technologies Corporation. As previously planned, Carrier and Otis would spin off UTC as distinct companies.

Don’t smile for surveillance: Why airport face scans are a privacy trap

U.S. Customs and Border Protection says photos of travelers taken in a data breach

Face recognition is increasingly being used at airports. Is this a threat to personal privacy?

Ampaire Announces First Public Electric Flight

The Ampaire Inc. six-seat Cessna 337 Skymaster was retrofitted with a proprietary battery-powered electric propulsion system that replaces the rear combustion engine. The “resulting system is a ‘parallel hybrid’, meaning the internal combustion engine and electric motor work in concert to optimize power output as the plane flies.”

Skydive Spaceland (Part 2)

Two final interviews conclude the report by Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari on his visit to Skydive SpacelandThomas Hughes, Operations Manager, Skydive Spaceland, San Marcos; and Chief pilot Matt Wampler.

Mentioned

FAA UAS Symposium 2019 report in episode 290 of The UAV Digest.

Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)

535 SITA Lab and a Seamless Travel Experience

We learn about identity management, seamless travel at the airport, and the work of the SITA Lab. In the news: rogue drones at airports, impacts on aviation of the government shutdown, Generation 2 of the Cirrus Vision Jet, and USAF acceptance of the first KC-46 aerial tanker.

Guest

Sherry Stein, SITA LAB identity management.

Sherry Stein, SITA LAB identity management.

Sherry Stein leads the identity management program at SITA Lab, the strategic technology research arm of SITA. Sherry has over 20 years of experience in travel technology, and she has a passion for business transformation and technology innovation.

We explore the concepts of “seamless travel” and the “autonomous airport” through the advancements in airport technology that passengers can take advantage of today. That includes biometric identity management, passenger service robots, artificial intelligence, wearable devices, and single token travel through virtual or digital passports.

The Sita Lab is focused on strategic research to create a secure, frictionless travel experience through the applied use of emerging technologies and co-innovation with key industry stakeholders.  The Lab seeks to “stimulate technological innovation in the air transport industry and bring emerging technologies into SITA’s portfolio.”

SITA is an air transport IT and communications specialist. SITA’s information and communication technology solutions are used by airlines, airports, ground handlers, governments, air cargo, air navigation service providers and other organizations.

Follow SITA on Twitter at @SITAOnline, on Facebook, and YouTube.

Aviation News

Why airports can’t stop drones from causing chaos

The recent spate of rogue drone incursions has been a wake-up call for airports. A few drone flights into the airspace can have a hugely disruptive impact on airport operations. Counter drone technology is available, but airports aren’t able to immediately make them operational.

Shutdown effects are being felt at airports

Some TSA agents are calling in sick and airports are responding to the reduced security manpower.

NATCA sues US government over shutdown

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) filed suit against the US government claiming its members are being unlawfully deprived of wages because of the partial government shutdown. The lawsuit also alleges violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Cirrus Vision Jet G2 Certified

Cirrus Aircraft has received FAA certification for the Generation 2 (G2) version of its Vision Jet. New features include a higher maximum operating altitude, autothrottle, lithium-ion main-ship batteries, upgraded avionics, new cabin appointments, and additional paint schemes.

The Air Force finally takes ownership of its first Boeing tanker — with serious misgivings

The U.S. Air Force has accepted and took ownership of its first Boeing KC-46A air-to-air refueling tanker, but did not take delivery. The Air Force is still not happy with the “remote vision system” for operating the tanker’s refueling boom.

Mentioned

Eat at the Airport – Map of airports with eating establishments.

2019 You Can Fly Challenge opens: Ray Foundation offers $2 million in matching funds. For more information or to make a donation toward the Ray Foundation matching challenge, visit the AOPA Foundation website.

XP-82 Restoration Project

Accidental take-off of Victor Bob Prothero explains what happened

Extraordinary helicopter rescue in the French Alps

Elon Musk: A version of Tesla Roadster will fly thanks to SpaceX technology

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

527 Bombardier Sheds Business Units

Bombardier sells off major portions of its commercial aviation business, FAA issues an Emergency Airworthiness Directive for Boeing 737, an American Airlines executive flys United, an update on United’s Polaris business class, Japanese pilots and alcohol consumption, and some visitors allowed to the gate at Sea-Tac. Also, a talk with a Challenger Class Red Bull air race pilot and crosswind landings with the B-52.

Bombardier Q400

Bombardier Q400

Aviation News

Bombardier To Sell Q400 Program to Viking Air

CAE To Buy Bombardier’s Bizav Training Biz for $645M

Bombardier announced it will sell its Q400 turboprop program to Viking Air for $300 million and sell its Business Aircraft Training (BAT) business unit to CAE for $645 million. See CAE to acquire Bombardier Business Aircraft Training for US$645 million to expand its position in business aviation training.

FAA Emergency Airworthiness Directive 2018-23-51

FAA says this Boeing 737 MAX emergency AD “was prompted by analysis performed by the manufacturer showing that if an erroneously high single angle of attack (AOA) sensor input is received by the flight control system, there is a potential for repeated nose-down trim commands of the horizontal stabilizer. This condition, if not addressed, could cause the flight crew to have difficulty controlling the airplane, and lead to excessive nose-down attitude, significant altitude loss, and possible impact with terrain.”

A Senior American Airlines Executive Flew on United Airlines. This Is Her Critical Review

American Airlines Executive Vice President for People and Communications Elise Eberwein flew from Chicago to Salt Lake City in first class on United Airlines. She live-Tweeted her impressions.

More changes coming to United Polaris business class

United says the Polaris business class seat is experiencing “changes” while others see them as “cuts.”

Japan to set up panel to tighten airline pilot drinking rules following recent scandals

The Japanese transport minister says they’ll create an expert panel to look at drinking rules for aviation staff. There have been a number of recent alcohol-related problems involving Japanese airline pilots.

Seattle airport hopes to let friends and family meet passengers at gate — among the first of a new post-9/11 trend?

Sea-Tac, the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, has proposed a “Visitor Pass Program” that would grant some visitors access to boarding areas. See Port Begins Pilot Program to Allow Visitors Past Security at Sea-Tac Airport.

Interviews

Launchpad Marzari Interviewed Patrick Davidson, Red Bull Challenger 77. The Challenger Cup was conceived to help the next generation of pilots develop the skills needed for potential advancement to the Master Class.

Launchpad also spoke with LTC Roy “Street”  Lohse, Instructor pilot, 307th Bomb Wing, Barksdale AFB about how the B-52 can land in a crab. or sideways in a crosswind.

Video: B-52 crosswind crab landing

Mentioned

Minimum Interval Take Off (MITO) on YouTube

AOPA High School Aviation STEM Symposium

Teachers from across the country came to AOPA’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) conference, hosted and sponsored by UPS in Louisville, Kentucky. The event featured two keynotes, two panel discussions, and 15 breakout sessions.

SpaceX Highlight Reel (2018)

New SpaceX highlight reel that was showed by Gwynne Shotwell at the AOPA High School Aviation STEM Symposium in November 2018.

Kermit Weeks Hangar channel on YouTube

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

 

517 Back at the Airport

Social and technology changes at airports, including ridesharing, facial recognition, and carry-on screening. Also, the recent AAviation Day with American Airlines, working the de-icing pad, airport outreach, and stairs trucks. In the news, Norwegian wet leases an A380 and Southwest issues a policy for trained service animals.

Guest

Jennifer Adams, airport enthusiast, employee, and blogger.

Jennifer Adams

Jennifer Adams combines her experience in accounting with her passion for aviation by working in the accounting and finance department of a mid-sized midwestern airport. When she’s not paying the bills and sending invoices to airlines, you can find her helping out on the de-ice pad, plane spotting, and getting unreasonably excited about stairs trucks.

Jennifer reports on her experience at the AAviation Day event with American Airlines and Airline Geeks at PHL. The annual event takes place at a number of airports in conjunction with National Aviation Day, held August 19 each year to celebrate the history and development of aviation.

Jennifer gives us insights into the impact at airports of social and technology changes, such as the rise in the use of ridesharing services and changing airport security methods. We look at some statistics that characterize the growth in airport passengers and the cargo business and hear about some of the factors that facilitated the change. Jennifer describes examples of good airport outreach, and her experience training to manage the de-icing pad.

And of course any conversation with Jennifer is incomplete without talking about stairs trucks, and we don’t disappoint.

Jennifer blogs about her aviation adventures at Tales From the Terminal. Follow her on Twitter at @Jen_Niffer.

Aviation News

Facial scan technology makes debut in airports

Orlando International Airport is using facial recognition technology for all arriving and departing international travelers. The program comes from a partnership with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and SITA, a private cyber security company. Passengers stand on a yellow footprint and a camera takes an image which is then matched against the CBP passport photo database. The system offers security and processing speed advantages.

A new scanner could speed up airport security

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is testing a new x-ray machine for carry-on bags. If the tests are successful, removing liquids and electronics from bags may become unnecessary. The promise is that explosives could be detected inside the bags. Fifteen airports are testing the device.

There’s curbside chaos at DFW Airport — thanks in part to the surge of Uber and Lyft

With limited curbside space at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport arrivals, the increased popularity of ridesharing services, and the length of time some people park outside arrivals, a significant traffic problem is created. DFW is responding with some changes.

Norwegian to deploy Hi Fly’s A380 as 787 cover

Norwegian is negatively impacted by the Trent 1000 engine problem on their Boeing 787s. In response, the airline has been leasing an A380 from Hi Fly to cover their evening London-New York service.

Southwest Airlines is formally allowing miniature horses on its planes as service animals

On their Customers with Disabilities page, Southwest Airlines says, “Effective for travel beginning September 17, 2018, Southwest is making changes to our existing policies for accommodating Customers with disabilities who seek to travel with a fully trained service animal in the cabin. Customers with disabilities seeking to travel with a trained service animal must still provide credible verbal assurance that the animal is a trained service animal.”

Mentioned

Stinar SPS-3518 Passenger Stair Truck, 96-228″ – on offer from Aero Specialties.

Airport Vehicle Racing – Top Gear – BBC

Plane Narrowly Misses Collision with Van

Asking the right questions after a q400 is stolen, in The Air Current by Jon Ostrower.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

496 Electric Aircraft and New Technologies

We talk about electric aircraft, automation, and new technologies in aviation with the Vice President of Global Innovation and Policy for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. Also, airport access for general aviation, a GAMA jobs rally, the Department of Defense receives more aircraft than they asked for, a proposal for increased air cargo security, and interviews from South by Southwest with an astronaut and with the EAA.

Guest

Greg Bowles talks about electric aircraft

Greg Bowles, VP of Global Innovation & Policy, GAMA

Greg Bowles is the Vice President of Global Innovation and Policy for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). Greg is responsible for identifying key technology opportunities and developing critical paths to success which will evolve the global safety, efficiency, and success of aviation.

Greg is in a unique position to talk about electric aircraft technology, regulatory changes, and other new aviation developments that impact the industry, pilots, and the general population. We discuss the state of electric propulsion, battery energy density, hybrid aircraft, and the rapid emergence of eVTOL electric aircraft. Greg illustrates some of the new options that electric power allows, and explains how the interaction between the human pilot and the technology has licensing and training implications. Greg sees a future where simplified vehicles open up aviation to a broader audience.

Greg leads the GAMA Electric Propulsion and Innovation Committee (EPIC) which represents the world’s leading aviation mobility development companies along with traditional aviation manufacturers as this community strives to enable new kinds of public transportation through the air. He also leads the worldwide design standards committee that is chartered to develop globally acceptable means of compliance for general aviation aircraft.

Greg has been an advisor to several long-standing ICAO panels and he’s the industry co-chair on the FAA’s Part 23 Reorganization ARC which has developed the rewrite of FAA part 23 regulations to assure they will address aircraft of the next twenty years.

Pipistrel Alpha Electro electric aircraft.

Alpha Electro 2-seat electric trainer. Courtesy Pipistrel.

Before he joined GAMA, Greg worked as a certification engineer at Keystone (now Sikorsky) Helicopter, and he was a design engineer at Cessna Aircraft Company (now Textron Aviation).

Greg holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Webster University. He is an active instrument-rated general aviation pilot.

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

Aviation News

Maintaining Airport Access for General Aviation

In the U.S., most airports have Fixed Base Operators (FBOs) which provide many services to general aviation, including fuel and parking. Changes in the FBO customer base may have implications for general aviation.

GAMA To Stage Next Rally at Garmin’s Olathe Facility

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) is planning a jobs rally on in Olathe, Kansas, April 6, 2018, at the Garmin International Warehouse and Distribution Center. The event will feature government and industry leaders who will discuss the economic contributions of aviation, investment in products, the future workforce, and the promotion of STEM.

Congress appropriates a 28% increase in funding for new aircraft

The U.S. Government spending bill signed by the president on March 23, 2018, included 143 aircraft above what was requested by the Department of Defence. These include Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighters, F/A-18 Super Hornets, KC-46A tankers, and Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft. We look at the reasons for this and the implications.

H.R. 4176: Air Cargo Security Improvement Act of 2017

The Act passed the House by voice vote and goes to the Senate. If enacted, the TSA Administrator would establish an air cargo security division which would conduct a feasibility study on expanding the use of computed tomography (CT) technology for screening air cargo transported on passenger aircraft, followed by a 2-year pilot program.

Airline Story of the Week

Southwest Airlines Had a Brilliant Reaction When a Passenger’s Wi-Fi Wouldn’t Work

Interviews

At South by Southwest in Austin Texas, Airplane Geeks Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari spoke with astronaut Dr. John Danny Olivas and Andy Ovans from EAA headquarters.

Listener Recording

Student pilot Nicki provides an update on her flight training and tells us about a recent episode with her flight instructor.

Mentioned

ASTM F44 General Aviation Aircraft

At Long Last, Flat Earth Rocketeer Finally Manages to Blast Himself Into Sky at God Knows What Speed

Australia-UK: First non-stop flight arrives in London from Perth

Qantas has set a new record for non-stop flight as QF9 has landed at Heathrow International Airport

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.