A fleet of C-47 aircraft plan to fly over Normandy to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Also, the DOT plans to take a closer look at FAA oversight of airline maintenance practices, a panel of experts looks at the disappearance of MH 370, and passengers react to airline food service takeaways.
Placid Lassie will join up with other aircraft of the D-Day Squadron in June 2019 to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion. Courtesy D-Day Squadron.
Moreno “Mo” Aguiari, Executive Director of D-Day Squadron.
Moreno “Mo” Aguiari is the Executive Director of D-Day Squadron, an organization that plans to lead an American fleet of historic, restored C-47 World War II military aircraft inDaks Over Normandy in June 2019. That event includes a flyover of more than 30 international aircraft that will drop 250 paratroopers over the shores of Normandy to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day and honor the citizen soldiers of the War.
The D-Day Squadron is the part of the Tunison Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The Squadron’s education program tells the story of the citizen soldier to audiences at air shows and events off the flight line to honor the brave Americans and ensure their memory and significance is appreciated for generations to come. The group’s efforts are funded through the generous tax-deductible contribution of their supporters.
Mo is a sales/marketing and business development professional who received a B.S. in Political Science from the University of Milan and an Aeronautical Technician diploma from the National Avio School, also in Milan, Italy. He moved to the United States in 1999 to become a commercial pilot and became a US citizen in 2008. In addition to being the Executive Director of the D-Day Squadron, Mo also runs Warbird Digest and Warbirds News, a successful vintage aviation publishing company focused on the warbird and classic aircraft community.
In June 2017, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s inspector general’s office announced they would audit how the FAA reviews airline maintenance practices. Now, the DOT inspector general’s office plans to focus on FAA response to complaints received about American Airlines and Allegiant Air maintenance practices. The DOT memo says they want to find out whether the FAA “ensures that Allegiant and American Airlines implement effective corrective actions to address the root causes of maintenance problems.”
60 Minutes Australia gathered an international group of aviation experts to talk about the disappearance of MH370. While not in complete agreement, many feel it was a deliberate criminal act by the pilot – a suicide/mass murder. See also What the 60 Minutes report into MH370 didn’t tell us.
Student pilot Nicki brings us installment #8 on learning to become a pilot.
Brian spoke with some members of the A-10 Demo Team at the Planes of Fame Airshow: Sr Airman Betty Chevalier (Team Public Affairs Representative). Tactical Sargent Dan Isaksen (Team Chief), and Capt. Cody Wilton (Team Pilot).
A recent OAG survey looks at future travel tech innovation and disruption. Also, the uncontained engine failure on the Southwest Airlines Boeing 737, integrating the Bombardier CSeries into the Airbus organization, the FAA reauthorization bill, and the effect of rising fuel prices on airfares.
Mike Benjamin, OAG Chief Technology Officer
Mike Benjamin is Chief Technology Officer at OAG, a global provider of digital flight information for airlines, airports, government agencies, aircraft manufacturers, consultancies, and travel-related companies. OAG is in the business of data aggregation and distribution, with flight information used for real-time and analytical tools.
Mike tells us about the Travel Tech Innovation: Market Report where OAG surveyed more than 2,000 U.S. travelers to gain insight into which future advancements will resonate. We look at traveler interest in artificial intelligence applications, supersonic travel, booking process innovations, the use of autonomous vehicles, and biometrics at the airport to speed travelers along.
Mike has over 30 years of experience in aviation, travel, technology, and business development. After completing his education at MIT, he held several leadership positions during the first years in his career, and then took over leadership of FlightView, a US-based day-of-travel information and technology provider. Mike joined OAG via the FlightView acquisition in January 2015.
In his current role as Chief Technology Officer at OAG, Mike works with airlines, airports, and travel providers to utilize data-driven solutions to plan more profitable routes, improve customer satisfaction, and operate more efficiently.
The Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Uncontained Engine Failure
The U.S. House of Representatives approved five-year H.R.4 – FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 by a 393-to-13 vote. The bill includes no ATC privatization. Also, airlines would not be able to involuntarily bump an already-boarded revenue passenger, large and medium-sized airports would be required to provide private rooms in every terminal for nursing mothers. Minimum dimensions for seat pitch, width, and length would be determined by the FAA within one year. A feasibility study of in-cabin wheelchair restraint systems would be conducted.
Interviews and observations from the Great British Fly-In at the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum celebrating the 100th anniversary of Great Britain’s Royal Air Force. Also, a review of Li-ion thermal runaway containment products for use on airplanes, Sun ‘n Fun, a deal to resolve the subsidy dispute between some U.S. and Gulf airlines, the F-35 reaches a developmental test flight milestone, Allegiant Air is criticized in a CBS investigation, a standoff missile makes its operational debut, and 787 Dreamliners with the Trent 1000 Package C engines get a reduced ETOPS rating.
The Great British Fly-In Celebrates the Royal Air Force Anniversary. Photo by David Vanderhoof.
Reportedly, discussions are progressing that would resolve the subsidy dispute between some U.S. airlines and those in the Middle East. Emirates and Etihad Airways would make their accounting books available and would assert that they have no current plans to add additional flights to the United States.
The F-35 Joint Program Office says the program “has accomplished the final developmental test flight of the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase of the program.” The program operated for more than 11, conducting more than 9,200 sorties, accumulating over 17,000 flight hours, and executing more than 65,000 test points to verify the design, durability, software, sensors, weapons capability and performance for all three F-35 variants.
During its 60 Minutes television program, CBS presented their findings after a 7-month investigation of Allegiant Air. They call the airline the “most dangerous” airline in the U.S. and found “serious mechanical incidents, including mid-air engine failures, smoke and fumes in the cabin, rapid descents, flight control malfunctions, hydraulic leaks and aborted take-offs.” Allegiant issued a statement calling the report “grossly misleading.”
The United States and its French and British allies launched strikes against Syrian government facilities supporting chemical weapons. Striking the Barzah Research Center in Damascus were 57 Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missiles (TLAM) and 19 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) missiles.
The Great British Fly-In Celebrates the Royal Air Force Anniversary
David attended The Great British Fly-In at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, April 15, 2018. The event was conducted in partnership with Great Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) as part of the 100th-anniversary celebration of the RAF, the oldest air force in the world. The event featured many former RAF and other military aircraft, flown in for one day only.
Dr. Peter Jakab, chief curator of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. [50:50]
Photo by David Vanderhoof.
Thermal Runaway Containment Products
Listener Nick undertook a study of products that are designed to contain the Li-on batteries in personal electronic devices when they experience thermal runaway on aircraft. Nick looked at the available products from:
A wide-ranging conversation about airlines with travel industry analyst and advisor Henry Harteveldt. Also, United bundles amenities, the Mitsubishi MRJ is delayed, Allegiant Air mis-cues, the viability of an Uber for the skies, the Westland Lysander, aviation maintenance technician training, the English Electric Lightning, a book review, and bird strikes.
Henry Harteveldt is a well-known analyst and advisor in the travel industry. He spent more than 15 years in marketing, planning, distribution, and strategy roles at companies such as TWA, Continental Airlines, the Trump Organization, the Fairmont Hotel Management Company and GetThere. He was head of Forrester Research’s global travel research practice, and launched Atmosphere Research in September 2011 serving the global travel industry.
We discuss airline strategies for bundling amenities and what an airline “loyalty” program really is these days. Henry touches on airline labor relations, he describes the things he looks for in 2016, what the airlines might do with their profits, and how they might respond to the next downturn.
Henry shares some good insight on the low cost model, how travel technology companies enhance what airlines can offer and how that changes the passenger experience. We discuss IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) standards, what that means for airline offerings and the total value presented to the consumer by the airline. (It’s more than just price.) Henry gives his opinion on the clash between US majors and Middle Eastern carriers, and why the US carriers have lost in Washington.
The Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) has been delayed again. Launch customer ANA Holdings had been planning first delivery in 2017 Q2. Mitsubishi has conducted flight tests and they are not saying specifically what is causing them to push out deliveries. Statements from the company suggest they were just too optimistic in their test schedule.
It seems Allegiant Air can’t stay out of the news. Flight 760 made an emergency landing after reporting an engine problem. A flight to Bangor, Maine was diverted after passengers reported an abnormal smell. Another flight to landed in North Dakota with a deicing equipment problem. A flight to Youngstown, Ohio was diverted to Jacksonville, Florida. That turned out to be a faulty indicator light.
Flight attendants reported smelling smoke just after takeoff and the captain returned to the airport. Emergency vehicles arrived, the captain called for an evacuation, but some unidentified voice over the radio instructed the captain to stay put. After some time and confusion, the captain evacuated the airplane.
An Allegiant Air MD-80 attempted to land at Fargo airport, but it was closed for an airshow rehearsal. They landed after using some of their emergency reserve fuel. The union questioned Allegiant’s safety. Now the FAA issued a “letter of correction,” which carries no enforcement action.
Chris Elliott asks, “Airbnb changed the hotel industry. Uber changed ground transportation. So why can’t the same change happen for air travel?” The US airline industry is now highly consolidated, and commercial flight sharing could introduce competition. For this to happen, the rules need to change. Is the entire concept viable?
The Airplane of the Week
The Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum’s Westland Lysander IIIa by David Vanderhoof
With the disappearance of Westland Helicopters to Finmeccanica, it was time to do a Westland aircraft. So David chose his favorite, the Lysander! It’s designer also designed the EE Lightning, so he can also say he started the Lightning segment.
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.
Doctor (and pilot) Stephanie Plummer on inflight medical emergencies, hypoxia, 3rd class medical reform, and more. News on MH370, cosmic rays and passenger safety, an emergency Allegiant Airlines landing, and hackers hit United Airlines. Also, the NASA UTM Drone conference, the CH-46 Retirement Ceremony at the National Air & Space Museum, an Australia Desk, and plane spotting the 427th Special Operations Squadron.
Dr. Stephanie Plummer
Dr. Stephanie Plummer is a frequent co-host on the Airline Pilot Guy podcast. She’s an instrument-rated commercial pilot who flies primarily for personal enjoyment. As a physician, Dr. Steph answers the occasional listener question regarding in-flight or aviation-related medical topics.
We talk about the frequency of inflight medical emergencies, medical supplies on airlines, and what you do if you are a doctor on a flight and the call for help goes out. Also, we cover the three classes of aviation medicals in the US, and the role of aviation medical examiners, and 3rd class medical reform for private pilots.
Dr. Steph gives us a good tutorial on the forms and effects of hypoxia, time of useful consciousness, and effective performance time. She tells us about hypoxic hypoxia, hypemic hypoxia, carbon monoxide poisoning, stagnant hypoxia, and histotoxic hypoxia.
In her day job, Dr Plummer is a physician practicing in the Charlotte, NC area. She has a degree in Osteopathic Medicine (DO) from what was formerly The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, now part of Rowan University, School of Osteopathic Medicine. She completed a traditional rotating internship through the Crozer-Keystone Healthcare System in the Philadelphia area and then did her residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. Dr Plummer then went on to a fellowship program for interventional spine and now she works with a predominantly Orthopedic Spine group as one of their non-surgical providers.
Last week, a piece of a Boeing 777 called a “flaperon” was found washed up on Reunion Island, in the western Indian Ocean. If it proves to be from MH370, which is likely, it may provide clues about the missing jetliner.
The earth’s atmosphere provides some degree of protection against cosmic rays. The higher you go, the less atmosphere you have above you blocking this high-energy radiation. We’ve seen studies in the past that suggest pilots are vulnerable to long term effects. Now solar radiation in the form of magnetically charged particles is of concern. Public Health England (PHE) has established The Cosmic Radiation Advisory Group, which includes experts from British Airways, the Cabinet Office, the Department of Health, the Met Office, and some universities.
An Allegiant Airlines pilot with a fuel emergency wanted to land at Fargo’s Hector International Airport. The airport was closed because the Blue Angels were practicing for an air show, and an exchange between the pilot and the tower ensued.
A group of China-backed hackers has been linked to a May or June attack on United Airlines. This is supposedly the same group that breached the US Office of Personnel Management and health insurer Anthem Inc. The hackers may had had access to passenger lists and information about United’s mergers and acquisitions strategy. But they don’t know for sure.
Airplane of the Week
Photos courtesy David W. Aungst
David attended the CH-46 Sea Knight “Phrog” retirement ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. David interviews:
Corporal Greg Hamper, HMX-1 MV-22 Crew Chief.
Major P.B. Benning, HMX-1 MV-22 and former CH-46E pilot.
Lt. Colonel Dominic DeFazio, Commanding Officer HMM-774 and pilot of BuNo 153369, the retiring CH-46E.
An Air Canada crash, Allegiant pilots try to strike, aviation safety in Asia, an advanced jet engine design, the classified Long-Range Strike Bomber, and TSA profiling. And it’s not really all about Rob…
Some 500 Allegiant Air pilots planned to strike the airline, but a federal judge granted the airline’s request and issued a restraining order against the labor action. The strike would have grounded Allegiant Air over the Easter and Passover holiday weekend.
Our guest is Mary Grady, a contributing writer for AVweb, an online aviation magazine and news service. Mary writes news, covers aviation events, writes feature stories, and takes photos. She holds pilot ratings for airplanes and balloons, and also a ground instructor certificate. She joins us as we talk aviation.
This week, Max and Court welcome Brett Snyder of the Cranky Flier blog. Brett brings his insight to the industry, and discusses Allegiant and Frontier in detail. If you’d like to fast forward to Brett’s interview, it begins at 15:30.
Several topics are discussed in the news section including:
A special thanks to Chris and Jorge for their engaging emails about the Air Force tanker situation and the future of pilot hiring. If you have a question or a comment for the Airplane Geeks, you can send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also leave us voice mail at (812) 757-4252. If you have a question you’d like mentioned on the podcast, this is the best way to go about it.