Boeing 737 MAX certification flight tests, Airbus job eliminations, updated airline COVID-19 health safety protocol requirements, Aeromexico bankruptcy, NBAA convention cancellation, concept of operations for Urban Air Mobility, possible Ryanair 737 MAX buy, Austrian Airlines to operate rail service, 2018 uncontained engine failure report, geared turbofan engine replacements, and yellow warning cards at Alaska Airlines.
Boeing and FAA complete certification flight testing for the 737 MAX. A review of the data gathered from flight testing will be performed and a new Airworthiness Directive for 737 MAX operators will be published allowing a return to service. Also, Airbus plans to eliminate up to 15,000 jobs by the Summer of 2021. EASA has updated airline COVID-19 health safety protocol requirements including mandated aircraft cleaning and disinfecting. Aeromexico has filed for bankruptcy. NBAA canceled the Oct. 6-8, 2020 Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Orlando, Florida. FAA has released Concept of Operations V1.0 for Urban Air Mobility.
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary believes it’s a buyer’s market for the 737 MAX. “We’re in active negotiations now with Boeing for a MAX 10 order,” he said. Any deal is expected to close after the 737 MAX returns to service. Ryanair says they operate “a fleet of over 450 Boeing 737-800 series aircraft, with orders of up to 210 new Boeing 737 aircraft. This includes 135 new Boeing 737 MAX 200s, and options for 75 more MAX 200s, which will enable Ryanair to grow its fleet to 585 by 2024… The average age of the Ryanair fleet is approximately 6.5 years, and is set to get younger with the latest aircraft order.”
Under the recent €600 million ($680m) government aid package for Australian Airlines, the airline must reduce domestic emissions by 50% by 2050. It must also end flights where there is a direct train connection to the airport that takes “considerably less than three hours.” To help meet these requirements, Austrian will discontinue its flight between Vienna and Salzburg and instead operate rail service.
In 2018, a United Airlines 777-200 with PW4077 engines flying from San Francisco to Honolulu experienced an uncontained engine failure when a fan blade broke loose. The National Transportation Safety Board’s final report points to a training issue and says two previous blade inspections revealed weakened material in the titanium blade. But the inspector interpreted the indications as to the way the blade was painted. The NTSB said P&W didn’t create specific training for inspectors or certify how they performed the work.
A320neo airplanes powered by older geared turbofan engines have been problematic for Indian airlines IndiGo and GoAir. Pratt is replacing those engines against an August 31, 2020 deadline, and says it will complete the job before that date.
In July 2020 Alaska Airlines flight attendants will use yellow warning cards with passengers who fail to comply with the airline’s in-flight face mask policy. Under the new system, any passenger who “repeatedly refuses” to keep a mask on will be handed a yellow card by a flight attendant. “With that warning … the guest’s travel with us will be reviewed and could be suspended for a period,” Alaska said.
An aviation and space reporter helps us understand the current state of the aviation industry and where it might lead. We also bring you an inside look at how an article for an aviation magazine is produced.
Tom Risen is a Space and Aviation Reporter based in Washington, DC. He’s been covering the latest news and writing analysis about how airlines and aerospace manufacturers are adapting to the quarantine measures to slow the spread of Coronavirus.
Tom is co-authoring a book about government oversight, he is the web editor and reporter for Future Flight News, and Tom was formerly technology and business reporter at U.S. News & World Report, and a staff reporter for Aerospace America.
Boeing says they’ll recall about 2,500 employees out of the 30,000 employees impacted by the shutdown. The recalled workers will support defense programs like the Navy’s P-8 and the Air Force KC-46 tanker, and also maintenance operations for 737 MAX jets stored at Moses Lake. Employees will be provided with personal protective equipment and enforce social distancing measures.
In response to airlines suspending orders, Airbus cut its production. The company said it delivered 122 planes in the first quarter, with 60 remaining undelivered. 55 were delivered in February, 36 in March.
Boeing 737 MAX jets have two independent flight controlled computers: the Collins Aerospace FCC-730 series computers, first built in 1996. These use single-core, 16-bit processors. They have limited compute power, but they are reliable.
More than 230 applications from air carriers for payroll grants have been received by the Treasury Department. United, Delta, JetBlue, Spirit and others have applied for the aid. The Treasury Department said that it would not require applicants seeking $100 million or less to provide compensation. Officials have said the compensation could include stock warrants and or other financial instruments.
Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants union and our guest in Episode 545 said, “This will lead to airline bankruptcies. The Treasury Department is destabilizing the industry, not helping save it.” The Treasury Department decided to make 30% of each cash grant offer a low-interest loan payable to the federal government. Nelson says Congress earmarked the money to immediately pay airline workers. If it’s turned into a loan, the airlines may choose not to take it.
The voluntary leave or retirement would occur in April or May, 2020. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants said about 7,960 members signed up for voluntary leave or early retirement out of 25,300 total. About 7,200 flight attendants signed up for three-, six- or 12-month leaves and about 760 will take early retirement.
Government aid under the CARES Act requires US airlines to avoid involuntarily furloughs or employee layoffs, and continuing service to all existing markets. Alaska Airlines is creating tag flights. For example, instead of flying from Seattle to Dallas and from Seattle to Houston, Alaska will fly from Seattle to Dallas to Houston.
HOK says they don’t foresee the need to make significant physical changes to terminals in response to COVID-19 because passenger terminals have been designed to be open and flexible. Thermal scanners and handheld thermometers for traveler screening are easily accommodated. But airports might look at “more comprehensive passenger wellness screening solutions.” We may also see “additional medical clinics within airports for use by passengers as well as airport and airline employees.”
The remaining Royal Australian Air Force legacy Hornets are coming back to the US to become civilian aggressors. The surplus RAAF F/A-18 Hornets are to be used in a contractor adversary air support role.
United Airlines has partnered with California Governor Newsom to provide free, round-trip flights for medical volunteers traveling to California to help in the frontline fight against the COVID-19 crisis. If you are interested in volunteering or learning more about the program, visit California Health Corps.
RavnAir Group was a regional airline serving small Alaskan communities. They’ve ceased all operations but Alaska Airlines says they will maintain service to its destinations, start some summer seasonal service sooner, work to develop service to communities in the Aleutian Islands, and Cold Bay.
The carrier and its customers raised more than $1 million for the American Red Cross in the first 24 hours of the campaign.
A few months ago, Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari tagged along with Rob Mark, senior editor at Flying Magazine, as Rob was writing an article about the Texas Aircraft Colt LSA for the magazine. We get a “behind the scenes” look at what is involved in producing an article for an aviation magazine. That piece became the cover story for the May 2020 issue.
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.
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.
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.
We look at the airline cabin environment, cameras in seatback IFE systems, Alaska Airlines and Sisters of the Skies working for more industry diversity, bringing a gun on a plane, the Amazon Prime Air B767 crash, a new drone marking requirement, and the winners of the Chicken Wings comics giveaway.
Jennifer Coutts Clay, author of Jetliner Cabins
Jennifer Coutts Clay is the principal of J. Clay Consulting, a consultancy based on over four decades of pioneering work in the airline industry. Jennifer is also the author of Jetliner Cabins: Evolution and Innovation which examines the history, evolution, and development of airline cabin interiors in great detail.
In our conversation, Jennifer explains airline considerations for seller-furnished or buyer-furnished equipment. We explore “trickle down product upgrades” from first class to business to coach, and what that means for the future of first class. Jennifer also explains how corporate travel departments have indirectly affected cabin design and fare structures, and the importance of minor miscellaneous items (MMI) to the passenger experience. We also discuss slimline seats, green cabin design, and future trends. Jennifer also gives us her perspective on the impacts of the Boeing 747 and the Concorde, both iconic aircraft.
At British Airways, Jennifer was the first woman to serve as Head of Operations and Sales for the Western US. After serving as the General Manager of Product Design and Development at Pan American World Airways for three years in the late 1980s, Jennifer became a consultant and now provides technical advice and marketing support to the aviation industry, with a focus on airline interior and corporate branding programs.
Seat-back entertainment systems on some American, United, and Singapore Airlines planes have cameras. All three airlines have said those cameras are part of the IFE systems from suppliers such as Panasonic and Thales. The airlines say the cameras are not activated and they have no plans to do so.
The travel industry is dominated by white males, and Alaska Airlines has committed to hiring more African American female pilots. The airline has teamed up with the nonprofit Sisters of the Skies organization to sign a pledge promising to hire more Black woman pilots to its ranks.
According to Sisters of the Skies, “Currently, there are less than 150 black women pilots in the United States holding Airline Transport Pilot, Commercial, Military, and or Certified Flight Instructor Licenses.”
The man was traveling on a United flight with a properly checked gun. But the flight was delayed and the gun flew on a different plane. Apparently, when it did arrive, it sat on the baggage carousel for some time and was then stolen.
An Amazon Prime Air B767-300 operated by Atlas Air crashed in Trinity Bay near Anahuac, Texas. The plane was flying from Miami to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport. All three on board were lost.
Effective immediately, drone operators must display their aircraft registration number on the outside of the drone. Previously, the number could be located inside a component, like in the battery case.
Chicken Wings Comics – We announce the two winners of the book giveaway. Thanks to all who entered, and to Michael and Stefan Strasser at Chicken Wings for donating and autographing the books.
Our guest is the chief test pilot for Honeywell Aerospace. In the news, we look at 737-700 freighters, folding wingtips for the 777X, and an online general aviation community from the European Aviation Safety Agency.
The B757 flight test aircraft. Courtesy Honeywell Aerospace.
Joe Duval, the chief test pilot for Honeywell Aerospace.
Joe Duval is the chief test pilot and site leader for Honeywell Aerospace Flight Test Operations at Sky Harbor in Phoenix, Arizona.
Honeywell Aerospace produces a wide variety of components and systems for general and business aviation, commercial aviation, and military aircraft, as well as for space applications. That includes avionics, engine controls, APUs, and propulsion engines, including those from the legacy companies Garrett and Lycoming.
As chief test pilot, Joe is responsible for all flight test engineering efforts, development and strategy, and maintaining technical and programmatic excellence across a team of engineers, technicians, mechanics, and pilots. He pilots Honeywell’s Boeing 757 and Convair 580 aircraft and participates in flight tests on other aircraft in Honeywell’s fleet.
Before joining Honeywell, Joe served as a research and test pilot with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory Flight Facility. He designed and flew flight test profiles for emerging technology in government and commercial applications.
Joe also served in the United States Air Force as a pilot on the C-130 and B-707 (VIP) aircraft. He eventually became the chief pilot for the flight department responsible for the transportation of the general officer and staff of Special Operations Command. He also served as the chief of safety for the same department and is trained as an accident investigator.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) created a webpage for general aviation operators. They say, “This platform is for GA enthusiast to meet and share their passion. Keep yourself updated and share the latest news and events.” Anyone can join by registering on the EASA General Aviation page.
Student pilot Nicki brings us installment #10 on learning to become a pilot.
Brian spoke with Breeze Anderson from Helistream about their helicopter services. HeliStream offers many leisure and professional services, including scenic tours and sunset dinner rides. HeliStream also offers aerial photography, charters, and utility services.
Interviews from Heli-Expo 2017, a Boeing 797 might be in our future, a hybrid/electric powered vertical takeoff airplane is taking shape, companies attend the 2017 International Women in Aviation Conference looking to hire, some post-merger developments for Alaska and Virgin America, and a flight instructor who really was not. Also, a report on EAA at SXSW, and another memorable flight from a listener.
An MI-24 was displayed at the 2017 Heli-Expo. Courtesy Cold War Air Museum.
Helicopter Association International says over 17,000 people attended Heli-Expo 2017 in Dallas, Texas, with 731 exhibiting businesses and organizations, and 62 aircraft on display. Our Airplane Geeks Reporter-at-Large “Launchpad” Marzari attended the event and recorded a number of interviews.
Charles Schneider, CEO of MyGoFlight. This company offers iPad flight apps and accessories, and introduced a HUD concept product.
Emmanuel Davidson, President of AOPA France, talks about bringing medical certification reform to Europe for light planes, and the role of IAOPA, the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations.
Bill Thompson from Embry-Riddle was at the show to support their graduates.
John Batey from the Cold War Air Museum (CWAM) brought one of their Mi-24 helicopter gunships. The museum is located on Lancaster Airport, 20 minutes south of Dallas.
Giovanni Mazzoni, AW609 program manager, describes the twin-engined tiltrotor VTOL aircraft with a configuration similar to the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey, and aimed at the civil aviation market.
And then Launchpad ran into an aviation journalist named Rob Mark.
There has been talk of a so-called “B757 replacement.” Something between the single-aisle 737 and the widebody 787. It’s been called the MOM airplane (Middle of the Market) and the NMA (either New Mid-sized Airplane or New Market Airplane). Now Steven Udvar-Hazy, chairman of Air Lease Corporation, says, “Call it a 797. That’s what it’s going to be.”
XTI Aircraft Company is teaming up with Bye Aerospace to develop a hybrid/electric powered prototype of their TriFan vertical takeoff airplane. XTI says that because of cost and weight reductions, the first TriFan prototype will be a full-size rather than the 65% scale version that had been planned.
The 2017 International Women in Aviation Conference was held March 2-4, 2017 and Dr. Peggy Chabrian, president and co-founder of WAI noted that, “Major airlines have been coming to WAI for the past four years and hiring WAI members in significant numbers, but this year the companies accepting résumés seem to be more diverse.
Since its merger with Alaska, Virgin America has added a number of new destinations from San Francisco. It looks like a strategy shift with Virgin America now adding mid-sized markets (as Alaska was successful doing) instead of the large-market approach that characterized Virgin America.
A 25 year old man represented himself to North Weald Airfield (EGSX) in Essex, England as a pilot and flight instructor. Suspicious work colleagues investigated and found he was not. After the man plead guilty to several counts, he was sentenced to an eight-month jail sentence suspended for 14 months, 140 hours of unpaid work, and costs.
Listener John tells us about his most memorable flight.
Visit AvGeekFests.com for a calendar of aviation events where AvGeeks can meet up and participate in aviation events.
Episode 186 of The UAV Digest features the AOPA Senior Director for UAS Programs Kat Swain talking about why AOPA is welcoming drone pilots to the organization.
Conversation with the recruitment manager for Emirates about opportunities at the airline. Also, possible layoffs (or retirements) at Boeing, Air France service returning to Iran, new student pilot rules from the FAA, a buyer for Virgin America, and dogs – can they really fly?
Andrew Longley is Head of Recruitment – Flight Operations (Pilots) at Emirates. The airline operates to over 140 destinations with an all-widebody fleet of Boeing and Airbus aircraft. Emirates is the world’s largest operator of 777 and A380 aircraft.
Andy describes how the Emirates employment model is different than that of many other airlines. We take a look at the need to attract pilots and cabin crew from an international pool of candidates with strong leadership potential and good CRM skills. We also talk about pilot certification requirements, the Dubai lifestyle and airline accommodation of employee families, salaries, housing, medical insurance, and other career opportunities at Emirates.
Andy started his career in 2006 in the Royal New Zealand Navy as a Military Psychologist where he was responsible for the selection and assessment of specialist trades including helicopter pilots, special forces, and Navy divers. He also served as a UN peacekeeper for a year where he worked and lived in Syria and Lebanon monitoring the peace between the various at-war countries.
After Andy’s military time commitment ended in 2013, he worked as a consultant in the telecommunications and business fields including a year working at IBM.
But Andy saw a unique opportunity with Emirates and he moved to Dubai as a senior psychologist. He became involved in Emirates pilot assessment and was responsible for profiling and assessing pilot candidates. He moved into pilot recruitment and leads the effort to find enough safe and capable pilots to fly a quickly growing fleet of wide-body aircraft.
Boeing says that at least 4,000 (or 5%) of it’s workforce needs to be cut, and maybe as much as 10% (or 8,000 jobs). CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) Ray Conner points to pricing pressure from Airbus with their A320 family and its effect on the 737.
Loren Thompson describes some other factors where the U.S. government shares blame:
Illegal European launch aid subsidies.
The Ex-Im Bank cannot make new deals until the Senate acts to confirm a necessary quorum of board members.
Low tanker price will drain funds from Boeing that could have been used to compete with Airbus.
Aerospace analyst Scott Hamilton of Leeham Co. says early retirements by factory-floor workers could be a bigger impact than layoffs on the 737 and 787 production ramp up starting next year. The IAM (International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers) told told Hamilton that between 7,000 and 9,000 workers are eligible for early retirement in November, and they expect 3-5,000 might actually retire. However, Dennis Muilenburg, the CEO of The Boeing Co.says that “booking rates have held up well.” Cost cutting is offensive rather than defensive.
Air France is scheduled to resume service between Paris and Tehran on April 17. By law, Iranian women are required to cover their hair. Some female cabin crew members say they won’t fly to Iran if they are ordered by the airline to wear headscarves after they disembark. Reportedly, an Air France memo to staff said female employees would be required to “wear trousers during the flight with a loose fitting jacket and a scarf covering their hair on leave the plane.”
In the past, many student pilots have celebrated their 16th birthday with their solo flight on that day. Now the FAA says it cannot start processing the student pilot certificate application until all requirements are met, including age.
Alaska Air Group plans to Virgin America in a deal valued at about $2.6 billion. If it goes through, Alaska Airlines would become the fifth-largest U.S. airline, behind American, Delta, United, and Southwest.
Thomas P. Curran, the author of Millionaire Legacy, tells us about the success strategies of Sean D. Tucker, Captain Julie Clark, and Captain “Sully” Sullenberger. We also discuss ab initio pilot training from JetBlue, watching a solar eclipse from an airplane, a bill to curb airline fees, stricter oversight of pilot mental health, and high altitude drone flying.
Thomas P. Curran
Thomas P. Curran is a certified trainer and uses advanced strategies to coach his students to attain their dreams and goals. Tom has developed training curriculums and performance evaluations, and assists his clients with developing strategic marketing plans. As a speaker and seminar leader, he helps individuals prioritize their goals and dreams while developing a clearly defined plan for success. Tom is also a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).
Tom’s book, Millionaire Legacy, focuses on the eight success strategies self-made millionaires use to acquire wealth, peace, and contentment. Top leading business, motivational, and other leaders are examined in the book, including Sean D. Tucker, Captain Julie Clark, and Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. The book describes how these three highly regarded aviators overcame adversity and challenges to reach successful outcomes.
Sean D. Tucker overcame a deep fear of flying but persisted until he became a respected aerobatic pilot.
Captain Julie Clark fought many obstacles throughout her life and became the first and only female pilot with Golden West Airlines, a captain with Northwest Airlines, and an accomplished aerobatic pilot.
Captain Sully Sullenberger, lost both engines after a bird strike, and instead of allowing himself to become paralyzed by fear, he safely landed the US Airways plane in the Hudson River.
In Episode #379, we discussed the proposal by JetBlue to hire potential commercial pilots and provide them with ab initio training. JetBlue announced they are now taking applications for 24 Gateway Select program slots. The cost is expected to be about $125,000, but some tuition costs can be defrayed by working on the side as an instructor for CAE, the flight simulator manufacturer that has partnered with JetBlue to offer the training. The first six recruits will start training in late summer.
Alaska Airlines delayed Flight 870 from Anchorage to Honolulu allowing the plane’s path to intersect a total solar eclipse. A group of “eclipse chasers” onboard the flight witnessed the approaching shadow, Baily’s beads, the sun’s corona and prominences, and the diamond ring. The video captures their excitement.
Fed up with the proliferation of airline fees, federal legislators have introduced the Forbidding Airlines from Imposing Ridiculous Fees Act, the “FAIR Fees Act.” Senator Edward J. Markey, Democrat from Massachusetts said, “Airlines should not be allowed to overcharge captive passengers just because they need to change their flight or have to check a couple of bags.” Markey and Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat from Connecticut, authored the bill.
On March 24, 2015, pilot Andreas Lubitz flew a Germanwings Airbus A320 into the ground killing all 150 people on board. After the Captain left for a break, Lubitz locked the cockpit door and set the plane to an altitude of 100 feet, which was below the altitude of the terrain it was approaching. The French air-safety agency BEA has proposed rules for situations when pilots suffer from medical conditions that might pose a public risk.
The House voted to extend the Federal Aviation Administration’s operating authority through mid-July while Congress works on a longer aviation policy bill. The bill was approved by voice vote and Senate action is still required. The FAA’s current operating authority is due to expire on March 31, 2016.
Guest Steve Hinton is a record holding air racer, president of Planes of Fame Air Museum, and owner of a military aircraft restoration company. In the news, United is replacing 50-seaters with larger aircraft, more bad behavior by airline crew members, military drone crashes, desert beetles and airplane frost, and airlines sucking away regional pilots. Also, the Boeing P-26 Peashooter, and the A-10. Again.
Northrop N9MB. Courtesy Planes of Fame Air Museum
Steve Hinton is an American aviator who held a world speed record from 1979 to 1989 and won six Unlimited-class air races, including two national championships. He won four consecutive Unlimited races in one year, and remains the only pilot ever to do so. He retired from racing in 1990.
Steve is now president of Planes of Fame Air Museum with locations in Chino, California and Valle-Grand Canyon, Arizona, and owner of Fighter Rebuilders, a military aircraft restoration company.
On August 14, 1979, Steve set the piston-driven aircraft 3-kilometer world speed record at 499.018 mph in the highly-modified RB51 Red Baron at Tonopah, Nevada. At age 27, he was the youngest person ever to capture the speed record.
On September 16, 1979 while racing the RB-51 in Reno, Steve’s plane suffered catastrophic engine failure. He finished the race in second place, but crashed short of the runway. Although the plane’s fuel erupted in a fireball, the cockpit was thrown away from the fire and Steve survived with a broken back, leg, and ankle.
Steve became the chief test pilot for the Tsunami Racer in 1987. Some of his notable wins in air racing include:
1978, Mojave, Red Baron
1978, Reno (Unlimited National Champion), Red Baron
1979, Miami, Red Baron
1979, Mojave, Red Baron
1985, Reno (Unlimited National Champion), Super Corsair
1990, Sherman, Texas, Tsunami
Steve is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and charter member of the Motion Picture Pilots Association. He has worked on more than 60 films. In 2002 he received a nomination from the World Stunt Awards for the Taurus Award, Best Aerial Work in Pearl Harbor.
United intends to retire many of its 50-seat regional fleet by 2019 and replace them with larger aircraft. This is just the first buy. FlightGlobal reports United has 256 50-seat regional jets and had “considered the 110-set Bombardier CS100 and both the 90-seat Embraer 190 and 120-seat E190-E2 aircraft.”
The man faces Federal charges for allegedly flying two Alaska Airlines flights while under the influence of alcohol. Arntson was selected for drug and alcohol testing after he landed at John Wayne Airport.
A Washington Post investigation says that over 400 large U.S. military drones have crashed since 2001. In one incident, the pilot didn’t realize she had been flying the aircraft upside-down. In another, the pilot didn’t notice he had squeezed the wrong red button on his joystick, putting the plane into a spin.
Scientists at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute think they have learned something about controlling frost from a beetle that lives in the desert. The Namib Desert beetle can collect water in the air through bumps on its shell which then directs water droplets into the beetle’s mouth. The scientists believe they can scale this up to work on large objects, like airplanes.
Seaport Airlines based in Portland, Ore., has been forced to drop some routes because of a pilot shortage. Seaport executive vice president Tim Sieber said, “A lot of regional airlines are undergoing this challenge right now, one we think will last a long time.” He said once Seaport pilots accumulate 1,500 hours of flight time, they typically leave for more lucrative jet-flying jobs on bigger airlines, and their vacancies are not being filled fast enough by newly-licensed pilots. “We’ve downsized the airline to one where we can focus on providing a reliable level of service with our smaller fleet,” Sieber said.
The Airplane of the Week
David tells us the history of the Boeing P-26A Peashooter.
Boeing P-26A Peashooter at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, by David Vanderhoof
Christopher Sims talks about affordable air charter travel, and creating a secondary charter market.
Our “Main(e) Man” Micah brings us the last conversation on the A-10. Maybe.
We talk with Vicky Benzing, a pilot, skydiver, aerobatic performer, and air racer. In the news, we have earnings reports for Boeing and some of the airlines, an air show parachutist lands in the crowd, an angle-of-attack indicator video for GA aircraft, the effect of Syrian sand on Russian jets, and Boeing fears the loss of the ExIm Bank.
Vicky Benzing is an accomplished pilot, skydiver, aerobatic performer, and air racer. She has more than 7000 hours of flight time and over 1200 parachute jumps in a flying career spanning over thirty years. Vicky currently holds an Airline Transport Pilot rating as well as a commercial rating in helicopters and seaplanes.
We talk with Vicky about aerobatic performances at air shows, including training and preparation, the “chicken dance,” the maneuvers Vicky likes, and which ones the audience likes. Also, the difference between flying the Stearman and flying high performance jets, how competing in the Reno Air Races compares to flying aerobatics at air shows, and what the crowd interaction means to a performer like Vicky. Along the way, Vicky tells us about skydiving and that the United States Parachute Association is a good resource for finding jump zones and advice.
In 2005, Vicky began training with air show legend Wayne Handley. She entered in aerobatic competitions throughout the US, and won first place in the Intermediate category in both the Northwest and Southwest Regional Championships in 2006. Two years later, she placed in the top 10 finishers at the US National Aerobatic Championships in the Advanced category.
Vicky Benzing performing
In between flying aerobatic competitions, Vicky began performing in air shows and today she focuses her energies on her airshow flying. Vicky holds a surface level waiver and a formation card, and has flown well over 100 air show performances at venues across the US, including performing at the airshow during EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh.
In 2010, Vicky began racing in the National Championship Air Races. She was chosen “Rookie of the Year” twice by her fellow Sport and Jet Class racers, and made history in Reno this year as the “fastest woman” racer ever in the history of the Reno Air Races, flying Dianna Stanger’s one-of-a-kind L-139 jet on the race course at 469.831 mph. See Live from the Reno Air Races with SkyChick and Team Darkstar for a video interview with Vicky and Dianna.
L-139 Courtesy Dark Star Racing
In addition to her aviation pursuits, Vicky holds a PhD in Physical Chemistry from UC Berkeley and has enjoyed a successful career in the Silicon Valley high tech industry. Vicky is currently Vice President of the Sport Class Air Racing Association and is on the Board of Directors of the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, CA.
Vicky is sponsored by APECS Aerospace Corporation, an engineering consulting firm that specializes in providing support to aviation maintenance repair organizations. Other sponsors are Oregon Aero, maker of seating systems and helmet and headset upgrades and ASL Camguard, creator of advanced engine oil supplements to reduce engine wear.
Boeing Co. third quarter earnings were up 25 percent to $1.7 billion, and the company raised its earnings outlook for the year. In the quarter, Boeing delivered 199 commercial jets versus 186 jets a year ago.
Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson said many wide-body jets coming off lease in the near future, will be available relatively cheaply, and will compete with new more fuel efficient jets.
Lower fuel spend helped jump net income 80 percent to $1.69 billion. Because 87 percent of American Airlines fliers fly only once a year and buy tickets based on price, next year American will offer cheap tickets with “less frills” on certain nonstop routes where it competes with discount carriers.
With record net income of $584 million on revenue of $5.32 billion for the quarter, Southwest beat the same quarter last year which had net income of $324 million on revenue of $4.8 billion. The company put $228 million into its profit-sharing program.
At the Wings Over Houston Airshow, a parachutist from a vintage Lockheed C-60 and using a WWII-era parachute landed in the crowd and took down a small tent. He suffered a broken limb. No spectators were injured.
For those looking for an introduction to angle-of-attack indicators in GA aircraft, the FAA has a new video to get started. The 19-minute video includes an introduction to angle-of-attack indicators, their use and general advice on installation in airplanes – plus references to FAA documents for further research. It also has demonstrations of three AOA indicators in the market – Alpha Systems, Bendix King, and Safe Flight. The devices have gained increased attention in the last year as the FAA’s safety arm focused on studying loss-of-control accidents, which can be mitigated with AOA indicators, the agency said.
He is, however, rather excited about the next Retro Roo colour scheme from Qantas. As we record an existing 737-800 is in the paintshop at Townsville getting one of the old Qantas paint schemes applied. We’re hoping for the V-Jet look.
Finally, Steve’s going to be Em-Cee for the Angel Flight charity dinner at Bankstown in Sydney on Saturday, October 31, 2015. Get on down and support the cause if you’re in the area!
AOPA Live This Week for October 22, 2015 has a really good special report from the Red Bull Air Races in Las Vegas. Matt Hall from Australia (and frequently heard on Plane Crazy Down Under) won the race. Second place finisher Paul Bonhomme from Great Britain won the championship.