Tag Archives: American Airlines

402 A Young Airline Geek

We talk with a teenage aviation enthusiast who created an aviation news site and has organized a major avgeek event with American Airlines for National Aviation Day. In the news, we discuss narrowbody production ramp ups, a B-29 receives an airworthiness certificate, the CSeries, and EgyptAir Flight 804.


Ryan Ewing

Ryan Ewing

Ryan Ewing is the teenage founder and president of AirlineGeeks.com, a news site where a team of young journalists create the content. Most of them hope to work in the aviation industry as professionals when they grow older.

Ryan is quite knowledgeable about the airline industry for someone his age, and he’s been working with American Airlines to create AAviation Day 2016 on National Aviation Day, Friday, August 19th, 2016. On that day, American will open certain facilities to #AvGeeks who have registered for unique tours and events. The facilities include PHL, DCA, MIA, CLT, LGA, DFW, American’s HQ and Integrated Operations Center in Fort Worth, the Tulsa Maintenance Base, ORD, LAX, LHR, and Envoy’s HQ in Irving, Texas.

Ryan EwingWe first met Ryan in 2013 at the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center during the 9th annual Become a Pilot Family Day and Aviation Display. That the event that is now called the Innovations in Flight Family Day and Outdoor Aviation Display. Ryan will have a table at this year’s Innovations in Flight Day June 18, 2016. He plans to focus on encouraging young people to develop interests in aviation.

Visit AirlineGeeks.com, and follow the team at @AirlineGeeks and on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Ryan tweets at @flyinghighryan.

AAviation Day 2016


Boeing shows off new 777X wing center

Boeing has spent $1B to create a 1.2-million-square-foot 777X center in Everett, Washington to manufacture wing components for that airplane. The 110-foot composite wing includes an 11-foot folding wingtip, which will be built by Boeing in St. Louis and sent to Everett for assembly. Power for the 777X comes from the advanced GE9X engine which has the largest fan that GE has built.

Behind The Scenes Of P&W’s Production Plan

Pratt & Whitney must nearly triple its output of engines to meet demand for the GTF and engines for the F-35 and the KC-46 tanker. To meet the production ramp-up, P&W has invested $1B and created a 600,000 square foot facility in Manchester NH, operated by United Parcel Service (UPS), that will receive parts from suppliers, kit them, and deliver them to manufacturing and assembly plants around the world.

FAA Deems B-29 Doc Airworthy, First Flight Imminent

The FAA has issued a Special Airworthiness Certificate to the B-29 known as Doc, which has been undergoing restoration Wichita since May 23, 2000. Next, the restoration team will request access to a runway at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita for test flight operations. See, Photo Gallery: Doc’s Airworthiness Celebration.

Bombardier cuts Republic CSeries order from production schedule

In 2010, Republic Airways placed 40 firm orders and 40 options for the CS300, with deliveries initially scheduled to start in 2015. Bombardier has kept the order in the backlog, but removed it from their production schedule. Frontier filed for bankruptcy protection in February.

Aircraft of the Week

David begins giving the histories of aircraft requested by listeners in Episode 400. The first topic will be done in two segments for Michael and Tony. In part one, David talks about the development of the Mirage III. Next week he’ll cover the variants and conflicts fought with the the Dassault jet.

Davids Mirage IIIB

David’s 1/48th Scale Mirage IIIB from Heller with Aeromaster Decals

Mirage IIIB 286 was from 245 Squadron  “Negev”  and is the Highest Kill Mirage IIIB with 4.5.

Report on Shuttle External Tank “ET”

Brian watches the Shuttle Tank pass by

Brian watches the Shuttle Tank pass by

Brian reports on the movement of the Shuttle External Tank (“ET”) through the streets of LA on it’s way to the California Science Center, which describes how it:

“carried propellants—liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen—that flowed into the Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSMEs), where they combined and ignited to produce almost one and a half million pounds of thrust to help push the space shuttle to orbit. The external tank also served as the structural support for the whole shuttle stack, with attachment points for the orbiter and booster rockets.”

ET-94 is the last flight-qualified external tank in existence and was donated to the Science Center by NASA.  The California Science Center’s Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center will be the only place in the world that people will be able to go to see a complete shuttle stack—orbiter, external tank, and solid rocket boosters—with all real flight hardware in launch configuration.


Video: John Waldron Memorial, from John Mollison.

Advanced Flight Systems

Aircraft photos, and more photos from Ryan Hothersall.

The Airplane Geeks episode archive kindly provided by Willem.

Air National Guard Units Interested In V-22 Osprey via Tom.


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



AirplaneGeeks 399 Differentiating Air Travel Products

We talk with aviation journalist Jason Rabinowitz about the recent Delta media day, the Aircraft Interiors Expo, flying in a China Eastern 777, and the RouteHappy service. In the news, we discuss the Delta order for CS100 aircraft, Boeing’s desire to increase spare parts revenue, American Airlines earnings, ATC privatization, and what Boeing needs to do to make the 737 better.


Jason Rabinowitz

Jason Rabinowitz

Aviation journalist Jason Rabinowitz is a contributing writer for Mary Kirby’s Runwaygirl Network, a correspondent for AirlineReporter, a writer for Forbes, and the Data Research Manager for Routehappy, where he tracks the passenger experience.

We talk with Jason about the recent Delta media day and the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg held earlier this month. Jason also discusses airplane seat issues including seatback displays, embedded temperature controls, and how seat manufacturers are starting to respond to consumer needs. We look at inflight WiFi, and how Routehappy follows the passenger experience, spotting new trends and developments. Jason also tells us about his recent trip on a China Eastern 777-300ER.


Bombardier Scores Watershed Win With Delta CSeries Order

Delta has placed an order with Bombardier for 75 firm and 50 option CS100 aircraft, giving that program a much needed boost. Deliveries are to start Spring 2018 and Delta has conversion rights to the CS300. Bombardier President and CEO Alain Bellemare said, “The addition of Delta to our marquee CSeries customer list gives us tremendous momentum as we approach entry-into-service this summer.”

Bombardier: Our turnaround plan is gaining traction

CEO Bellemare also said “Our turnaround plan is gaining traction” and that Bombardier is finalizing the agreement with Air Canada for 45 firm CS300 orders and 30 options. Leeham News and Comment points out that these orders may have been won with deep discounts.

Boeing Boosts Push Into Plane-Parts Arena — WSJ

Boeing wants to grow the spares revenue stream, they’ve pulled back licensing agreements with suppliers, and they intend to sell direct to Boeing customers.

Come on, You Know You Want a Chair Made Out of a 737 Engine

Fallen Furniture takes objects that are not furniture and turns them into furniture. That includes the Cowling Chair that started life as a Boeing 737 engine cowling.

American Airlines earns $700 million, beats Street forecasts

Airline profits are healthy but average fares are falling, and that causes investors some concern.

Air traffic control plan faces tough fight ahead

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, intends to continue to push for air traffic control privatization.

What the Geeks are Doing

Embraer Legacy 450

Embraer Legacy 450

On Chicago’s WBEZ radio program Working Shift: Professional PilotRob Mark answered listener questions and gave insights into what it’s like to fly. Rob also had the distinct pleasure recently of flying the Embraer Legacy 450.

Max Trescott tells us about the recent Moffett Field safety event he attended.

C-17 by Brian Coleman

C-17 by Brian Coleman

Brian Coleman attended the Chino Planes of Fame Airshow and recorded an interview with two US Air Force Majors stationed at March Air Reserve Base. Majors Frantel and Condor discussed the military missions of the C-17 and its contributions to global humanitarian relief efforts. Be sure to listen for the story of the C-17s interesting use of in-flight thrust reversers. It’s a great way to get to the deck fast! (See Brian’s Chino report below.)

Also, Brian had his two beautiful John Mollison prints framed and they now proudly hang on his office wall.

John Mollison print

John Mollison print

Prints by John Mollison


Chino Planes of Fame Airshow Report

The Planes of Fame Air show in Chino, California, April 29 – May 1, 2016

If you are into vintage war birds, this is the place for you.  I don’t believe in one day that I’ve ever seen so many vintage aircraft in the air… plus there were a ton of static displays of beautiful restored aircraft.

The airshow started with a salute to Pearl Harbor / WWII aircraft with appearances by a Japanese Zero that just the day before came out of refurbishment, five P-40 Warhawks, a VAL, and other planes that few during the Japanese invasion were all airborne.  Several P-51 Mustangs were in the air along with a B-25 Mitchel, C-47, P-47 and P-38 lightning to name a few.  Personally, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many Mustangs in one place, let alone in the air all at the same time.  It was great to hear people talk about which model was their favorite.

Joining the WWII flying exhibit was a B-25 Mitchel as well as a C-47, P-47, and a P-38 Lightning.

With the end of WWII, the show moved onto Korean and Vietnam ear aircraft.  In the air were the YAK 55 and YAK -18.  You would have also seen the Skyraider, L-19, and T-28.  Sadly, the Huey helicopter was not able to fly.  Nor was the Northrup Flying Wing… but I did get a great picture of me standing next to it for David.

In addition to the numerous planes Steve Hinton few that day, he was in command of the F-86 Sabre, while the T-33 Shooting Star Demonstration Team shared the airspace.

Taking a break from vintage aircraft, Sean D. Tucker did some amazing aerobatics with the Oracle Challenger III Biplane.

The Granley YAK Aerobatic Team was in the air with their UAKs.  And the Jelly Belly aircraft pulled off an amazing landing on top of a pickup truck as it sped down the runway.  There is nothing like watching a plane land on a moving piece of plywood mounted to a pickup truck!

In addition to these amazing feats of airmanship, there were also aerobatic shows put on by Dennis Sanders of Sea Fury Aerobatics and John Collver in control of an AT-6.

Then it was back to watching the warbirds.  They brought out the P-51 Mustangs, the P-40s, a Spitfire and B-25 flown by the Texas Flying Legends.

There was a Naval aircraft flyby that featured the F7F Tigercat, F8F Bearcat, the Hawker Sea Fury, TBM Avengers and my favorite, the F4U Corsairs.  Joining them was an F6F Hellcat and I’m sure there were others but I couldn’t take notes fast enough and watch the show!

Then, if that wasn’t enough, they brought out the loud gun, an F-16.  She ruled the sky for a while making tight turns, accelerating at incredible speeds with her afterburner in full blaze and she would also just about stand on her tail going what seemed like 20 knots.  It was amazing to see the F-16 blast around the Chino valley, I’m sure impressing neighbors for miles.

The show closed with a spectacular performance and fantastic tribute by the F-16 and three P-40 Warhawks flying side by side.  When they flew the missing man formation, it brought a tear to my eye.  I could only think about my dad who served in the Air Force, who gave me the opportunity and inspiration to love airplanes and afforded me the opportunity to appreciate such greatness that I had just witnessed by all of those who put on the airshow.

It really was an amazing day to see all of these aircraft in the air.  I have to thank the folks at Planes of Fame for providing me with the media pass.

I highly encourage anyone who is interested in vintage aircraft to support the Planes of Fame Museum and come out next year to see for yourself this great event.  I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Brian T. Coleman
Associate Producer, Airplane Geeks


Intro music courtesy Brother Love from his Album Of The Year CD. Outtro is the P-40 and F-16 recorded by Brian Coleman.

AirplaneGeeks 387 Flight Training with Greg Brown

We talk with Master Flight Instructor Greg Brown about flight training and flight instructors, pilot training at American Airlines, the Boeing 737 MAX first flight, air traffic control privatization and user fees.

Greg Brown with artwork

Greg Brown with two of his photo art prints


Greg Brown writes the Flying Carpet column in AOPA Flight Training magazine. He also runs a Group on Facebook for student pilots called Greg Brown’s Student Pilot Pep Talk Group. Greg has been a licensed pilot since 1972 and a CFI since 1979. He was the 2000 National Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year, winner of the 1999 NATA Excellence in Pilot Training Award, and the first-ever Master Flight Instructor.

Greg has authored five popular aviation books, including The Savvy Flight Instructor, The Turbine Pilot’s Flight Manual, Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane, Job Hunting for Pilots, and You Can Fly! He has flown professionally in both scheduled and corporate aviation, and holds an ATP pilot certificate with Boeing 737 type rating, and Flight Instructor certificate with all fixed-wing aircraft ratings.

Along with his writing activities, Greg has been an avid photographer from childhood. Since earning his pilot’s license at age 19, he’s been shooting photos from aloft, some of which have illustrated his Flying Carpet column and book. Many are now available as fine art metal prints.

Learn more about Greg and his books at Greg Brown’s Flying Carpet, follow him on Facebook, and be sure see his Facebook Group, Greg Brown’s Student Pilot Prep Talk.


American Airlines launches pilot training and recruiting program at its regional carriers

The new pilot training and recruiting program will take place at regional subsidiaries Envoy Air, Piedmont Airlines, and PSA Airlines. This is intended to bring more pilots into the system, and eventually feed mainline operations. The program offers up to $16,000 in tuition reimbursement, and training in the Airline Transport Pilot Certification Training Program course at no charge.  American has created partnerships with more than 40 universities and flight schools.

American Airlines posts record profit for all of 2015

American Airlines reported lower revenue for the fourth quarter, but the drop in fuel prices more than compensated and resulted in record profits. They expect to save another $2 billion on fuel in 2016.

Boeing’s 737 MAX takes wing with new engines, high hopes

Boeing 737 MAX first flight

Boeing 737 MAX first flight. Courtesy Boeing.

Boeing conducted a successful first flight of the 737 MAX on January 29, 2016. This was an initial test flight conducted mostly at 15,000 feet and with speed limited to 250 knots. Takeoff was at 9:48 in the morning with the landing at 12:32. There are three more test aircraft to come, and Boeing plans flights six days a week through the summer.

Boeing wins contract to build new Air Force One presidential jets

Boeing was awarded a $25.8 million contract for preliminary work on Air Force One aircraft based on the 747-8. The total value of the two airplanes is believed to be $1.65 billion. The only other viable option was the A380.

Private Air Traffic Control Plan Hits Turbulence in Senate

Some in Congress want to put Air Traffic Control under a new non-governmental, non-profit organization, funded by with user fees. In his On the Mark video episode titled How the Airlines Could Soon Control the U.S. ATC System, Rob talks about this issue.

Opposition launched against privatizing air-traffic control

A coalition of consumer-advocacy groups created a petition addressed to Chairman Shuster, Ranking Member DeFazio, and the members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The petition asks, “Instead of privatizing air traffic control, we believe that Congress should create a pathway to allow the FAA to move forward with long-term capital planning without relinquishing Congressional oversight or allowing a new corporate monopoly run by the airlines to slash air traffic control jobs. The cost of privatization is simply too high. It is bad for workers, bad for passengers, and harmful to smaller and rural communities.”

See also the NBAA Advocacy page.

The Airplane of the Week

This week David doesn’t look at just one plane. Instead, he tells us the history of one mission flown by three airplanes over time.  All three were Boeing products, and with a 55-year anniversary this week, and Boeing’s 100th, it’s time to go through the Looking Glass.

Boeing EC-135C Looking Glass

Boeing EC-135C Looking Glass by Mike Freer – Touchdown-aviation.

U.S. Navy Boeing E-6B Mercury

U.S. Navy Boeing E-6B Mercury airborne command post. U.S. Navy photo.


The Logbook podcast – Don “The Pre-Buy Guy” Sebastian is the storyteller in Episode 26 of Lucas Weakley’s podcast.

The Age of Aerospace – This five-part series sponsored by Boeing explores the advancements in civilian, military and space technology around some of America’s greatest achievements. On Science Channel.

Links from listener Stuart on the topic of shining lasers at aircraft:

World’s Most Expensive Jet Somehow Gets Worse

Airport Observation Decks Around the World in George Hobica’s Airfare Watchdog.

Installation of the Incity tower spire by helicopter


Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at brotherloverocks.com.


AirplaneGeeks 385 Even More Intellectually Stimulating Than Useful

James Fallows talks with us about aviation in China. Also, the NTSB Most Wanted List, A-10 retirement put on hold, the C-130 keeps on flying, a flight attendant meltdown, a new study about lasers pointed at pilots, and more on-demand flying.

James Fallows and his Cirrus SR22

James Fallows and his Cirrus SR22


James Fallows is an American writer and journalist. He has been a national correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly for many years, and his work has appeared in Slate, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker and The American Prospect, among others. He is a former editor of U.S. News & World Report, and as President Jimmy Carter’s chief speechwriter for two years, he was the youngest person ever to hold that job.

Jim has been a visiting professor at a number of universities in the U.S. and China. He is the author of ten books, including National Defense, for which he received the 1983 National Book Award, and China Airborne, which examines China’s plan to rival America as the world’s leading aerospace power. Jim is an instrument-rated pilot and owner of a Cirrus SR22.

In our conversation, Jim describes how China Airborne tells the larger story of China through the aviation lens. We talk about building the airport infrastructure and how that’s being funded, and issues for General Aviation in China, such as the shortage of airports, military control of the airspace, and training for controllers. Jim gives us his thoughts on the Comac C919 program and the state of business aviation in China.

Learn more about Jim’s work at JamesFallows.com and AmericanFutures.org. Mentioned were China: Fragile Superpower by Susan L. Shirk and How to Not Fly an Airplane by Shirley Phillips.

An "original Chinese design" at the Zhuhai airport.

An “original Chinese design” at the Zhuhai airport. By James Fallows.

Refueling at Changsha airport.

Refueling at Changsha airport.

James Fallows and wife Deb on their current see-America trip

James Fallows and wife Deb on their current see-America trip


The Next Big Aviation Safety Issues

Each year, the National Transportation Safety Board publishes its Most Wanted List. The NTSB covers all modes of transportation, but several aviation-related items made the list:

  • Prevent Loss of Control in Flight in General Aviation
  • Reduce Fatigue-Related Accidents
  • Disconnect from Deadly Distractions
  • Require Medical Fitness for Duty
  • Expand Use of Recorders to Enhance Transportation Safety

US Air Force shelves Warthog plane retirement amid ISIS fight

For years, the U.S. Air Force has wanted to retire the A-10 Warthog ground attack airplane. That’s been met with congressional criticism, as well as cries from many A-10 enthusiasts. According to sources, the USAF will postpone mothballing the plane in its 2017 budget request to Congress in February.

See also, This GAU-8/A Avenger 30 mm gun firing test footage is pretty impressive in The Aviationist.

A-10 by Paul Filmer

A-10 by Paul Filmer

New Pentagon Contract Signals Lockheed Martin’s C-130 Airlifter Is Headed For 100 Years of Service

The C-130 might become the first military aircraft to see continuous service for 100 years. The first Hercules was delivered to the U.S. Air Force 60 years ago in 1956.

Did American Airlines handle erratic flight attendant correctly?

A 67-year old flight attendant who has been employed by American Airlines for more than 45 years, faces federal charges for some reportedly serious behaviour on a November flight between Charlotte and Frankfurt. These include “claims that she slapped co-workers, punched air marshals, even attempted to open the door of her jetliner as it taxied for takeoff in Germany.”

‘No Lasting Damage’ From Laser Attacks

A new study by researchers at the University of Calgary suggests that pilots struck by lasers do not suffer permanent eye damage. Momentary blindness or blurry vision, yes. Permanent damage, no. Dr. Michael Fielden, assistant clinical professor for the Cumming School of Medicine said, “Once their eyes settle down, they’re worried if there’s any permanent damage that could affect their ability to fly in the future. Fortunately we haven’t found any permanent damage.”

Airbus to Join Forces With Uber for On-Demand Helicopter Service, CEO Says

Personal transportation company Uber is expanding beyond vehicles to other modes of transportation. You can now order up on-demand rickshaws in India and boats in Turkey. Now Uber and Airbus Group are planning to launch a pilot program at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah using Airbus H125 and H130 helicopters.

The Airplane of the Week

You would never guess David’s favorite aircraft…

1911 Coolbaugh Curtiss Pusher replica. Photo by David Vanderhoof.

1911 Coolbaugh Curtiss Pusher replica. Photo by David Vanderhoof.

Listener Recording

Christopher Sims tells the story of how he commenced as an Avgeek.


Bradford Camps, the Igor Sikorsky Weekend Seminar.

Fulton surface-to-air recovery system

Porter Ranch stench could endanger aircraft: Federal Aviation Administration bans low-level flights over gas leak area

Provincial Aerospace

Pratt & Whitney B747SP by Paul Filmer.

Pratt & Whitney B747SP by Paul Filmer.


Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at brotherloverocks.com.


AirplaneGeeks 374 Air Show Performer and Air Racer Vicky Benzing


Vicky Benzing

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.

Vicky BenzingWe 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

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 at Reno Air Races

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.


Faster production of jets pushes up Boeing’s profits

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.

American Airlines posts record profit but worries more about low-cost competitors like Spirit

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.

Alaska Air reports record profits from its busiest summer ever

The airline reported record quarterly profit of $274 million, and the busiest summer in the airline’s 83-year history.

Southwest Airlines reaps record $584M quarterly profit

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.

Cheap fuel helped Delta set record profits

Delta’s operating margin grew to 21 percent and earnings per share were up 45 percent. Delta saved $1.1 billion in fuel costs year-over-year last quarter.

Allegiant Air profits leap 213 percent in 3rd quarter

Lower energy costs contributed to good financial performance and profitable growth of the network.

United, in turmoil, reports drop in revenue

United Continental saw lower sales for the quarter and missed its profit forecast.

Parachutist crashes into tent at Wings Over Houston Air Show

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.

FAA Video Provides Primer On AOA Displays

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.

Harsh conditions are foiling Russian jets in Syria

Russia is finding it difficult to keep its military aircraft in the air in Syria. A significant percentage of its attack planes and transport aircraft are grounded.

​Boeing CEO: Losing Export-Import Bank “means loss of jobs”

Boeing is concerned that Congress will not reauthorize the ExIm Bank, which acts as the official export credit agency of the United States federal government.

The Australia News Desk

Airline boss promises ‘a tiger can change its stripes’

The boys are back and the comedy flows as they report on Tiger Airways apparently improving their customer experience and even getting a new call center. Steve is less than enthused!

Qantas to unveil Retro Roo II in November

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.

Virgin to sell entire Fokker 50 fleet

Meanwhile, Grant gets to run his Big Motor Fokker vs Little Motor Fokker joke as Virgin are selling off all their Fokker 50s.

An Evening with Matt Hall

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!

OzRunways with Matt Hall


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.

These are the 15 coolest airline paint jobs in the skies What airline do you think has the coolest livery?

Reclining seat to blame? Southwest flight returns to LAX after ‘altercation’

Crammed-in jet passengers get uptight when the seat’s not upright

Inside the RAF – Britain’s Ultimate Pilots Episode 1 2015


Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at brotherloverocks.com.


AirplaneGeeks 368 Membership Flights with Surf Air

Surf Air Pilatus PC-12/47E

Surf Air Pilatus PC-12/47E

We talk with CEO Jeff Potter about the Surf Air all-you-can-fly private membership air travel club. Also, an uncontained engine failure on a BA flight, low airline fares, management changes at United, American Airlines used the wrong plane, and remotely manned towers may be on the way.


Jeff Potter is the Chief Executive Officer of Surf Air, an all-you-can-fly private membership club for business and leisure travelers. Surf Air uses Pilatus PC-12 aircraft on scheduled routes, currently from airports in California. However, the company looks to expand and provide service in other regions, even internationally.

Jeff S Potter

Jeff S Potter

Jeff has luxury product experience as Chief Executive Officer of Exclusive Resorts. He also has an aviation background and worked his way up from airplane cleaner to President and Chief Executive Officer of Frontier Airlines, as well as being a member of their Board of Directors. Jeff was also the CEO of Vanguard Airlines for a short period.

Jeff explains how the Surf Air fixed monthly fee makes the private aviation experience affordable. He characterizes it as a disruptive model that competes with commercial carriers.

Follow Surf Air on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.


BA jet engine failure uncontained, pieces hit runway: investigators

NTSB Issues Update on the British Airways Engine Fire at Las Vegas

The NTSB reports that the engine fire on takeoff at McCarran International Airport (LAS) by British Airways flight 2276, a Boeing 777 with GE90-85B engines, was an uncontained engine failure.

$100 Airline Ticket Deals, as Carriers Increase Profits

JetBlue Airways can fly you from JFK to Chicago for $74. A holiday promotion at Delta can cost as little as $78. American Airlines has a $97 fare from Columbus to Washington Reagan. Is there an airline fare war? Jeff helps understand what’s going on.

Why Dump Smisek? United Wasn’t First Airline to Fly a Pol’s Route

United CEO Smisek and two other executives resigned as a federal investigation is underway about the propriety of United creating a route between Newark Airport and Columbia, S.C, near where then chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey David Samson had his weekend home.

American Airlines accidentally used the wrong plane to fly to Hawaii

An American Airlines A321 left LA for Hawaii, but it didn’t have the requisite ETOPS certification. American discovered the problem enroute and notified the FAA, but the plane continued to it’s destination.

Air traffic controllers for some airports are now miles away, watching the planes on camera

Ornskoldsvik Airport in northern Sweden has an unmanned tower. The controllers are 90 miles away at another airport watching by camera. The idea is being tested elsewhere, even at one airport in the United States.

The Aircraft of the Week

Guppy by NASA

David goes fishing this week for a History Segment.  He hopes to catch one of these in the wild at Joint Base Andrews for a whale of a tale.  This episode we talk about The Aero Spacelines Guppies, and the lure of the aircraft that put a man on the moon.

Guppy by NASA

Guppy photos courtesy NASA

The Aviation Minute

Rob Mark talks about customer service at United Airlines.


The Bristol Hercules engine startup courtesy Ian.

Listener Photos

Lamont sends this photo taken in a practice area West / slightly Northwest of San Jose, California. The photo shows the marine layer being held back by the Santa Cruz Mountain Range in the early afternoon.

Marine layer

Marine layer

Jodi Brommer sends this shot of the smallest 777. She was hanging out on the approach path of San Francisco, 2.5 miles off the touchdown markers.

The smallest 777 by Jodi Brommer

The smallest 777 by Jodi Brommer


Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at brotherloverocks.com.


AirplaneGeeks 354 Controlling the Airport Conversation

Chino Airport

Chino Airport Community Ambassador Bob Velker, an alternative to radar, smaller airline carry-on bags, an update on the A400M crash, shooting wildlife from a plane, and two airlines make a top 10 list that you don’t want to be on.


Bob Velker is Business Liaison & Community Outreach Manager, Chino Airport (CNO), County of San Bernardino – Department of Airports.

We talk with Bob about his role as the “community ambassador” for Chino Airport, one of the country’s largest general aviation airports and located in the County of San Bernardino, close to Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside counties in Southern California.

His primary task is to dispel the notion that Chino Airport is a “gated community filled with rich boys and their toys.” More precisely, that Chino is a small business park with runways, made up of dozens of businesses, employing hundreds of people, and pouring millions of dollars into the local economy.

Bob tells us how he builds synergy for all the airport stakeholders: the developers, the community, the Planes of Fame Air Museum, area businesses, and the airport itself. He creates education and awareness programs that engage the community with the airport and help them see the important role the airport plays in the local economy.

Chino Airshow

We also talk about the Planes of Fame Airshow and the notion of an “aerotropolis,” where an airport is in the center of a city which then grows around it, connecting workers, suppliers, executives, and goods to the global marketplace. Bob gives us a great example of how an airport can work with drone flyers for their mutual benefit.

Bob has been in-and-around Chino Airport for 18 years. He’s also a pilot, a businessman, a strategic planner, and a management consultant, plus, he says, a recovering engineer.

Reporting directly to the county’s Director of Airports, Bob’s role also requires a close working relationship with local governments, elected officials, chambers of commerce, community service organizations, local school districts and colleges, pilot’s groups, and high-profile businesses in and around the airport.

Bob is responsible for creating and maintaining the airport’s social media platform. Their website is ChinoAirport.org, and you can find them on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. The History of Chino Airport (formerly Cal Aero Field) is a video worth watching.


Television signals a possible alternative to radar

NATS, in conjunction with Thales ATM UK and Roke Manor, have been testing a system that uses standard TV signals to detect and direct aircraft.

Get ready for smaller airline carry-on bags

At its annual meeting, IATA (The International Air Transport Association) proposed the Cabin OK program to try and standardize the size of cabin bags allowed by airlines.

On its webpage, IATA says, “…the current variety of policies among airlines can lead to frustration for passengers. Bags that do not correspond to the allowance are regularly checked in at the gate, which adds inconvenience for the traveller, slows down the boarding process, increases airline costs and occasionally delays flights.”

The bag size proposed by IATA is a little smaller than the standard size used by most U.S. carriers, including Delta, United, American, and Southwest.

Vital engine software files accidentally wiped, linked to fatal A400M plane crash

On May 9, an Airbus A400M crashed near Spain’s Seville Airport. Four of six crew members were killed. A BBC source says investigators believe that when software was installed, the torque calibration parameters had accidentally been deleted, causing the ECU’s to fail to operate properly.

Ranchers mourn wildlife employees killed in plane crash

The pilot and a gunner were killed while attempting to shoot a coyote in northeastern New Mexico as part of the Wildlife Services program under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

According to the USDA, Wildlife Services resolves “wildlife conflicts to allow people and wildlife to coexist.” The Predator Defense organization takes a dim view of the USDA methodology, but nonetheless the Wildlife Services use of aerial gunning has led to a number of accidents and deaths.

10 Companies That Act Like They Hate Their Customers

The list of major corporations with terrible customer service includes cable companies, telecommunications companies, banks, insurance companies, and (no surprise) two U.S. airlines.

The Australia News Desk

In order to prevent a Rob Mark moment on the Oz Desk, Grant has to pass Steve’s Breathalyzer test before he can join in reporting on:

  • Qantas and American teaming up on the SYD-LAX route allowing Qantas to redeploy some 747-400s to the SYD-SFO route
  • Alan Joyce joins the chorus of howls against the government’s proposed northern cabotage reductions.

The Aviation Minute

Rob Mark has been watching the growth of commercial and hobby drone use, and provides his thoughts on some of the technology being employed.



Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at brotherloverocks.com.

AirplaneGeeks 335 Flying in Luxury

Lufthansa 737-500 photo copyright Jurgen

Converting airliners to private/corporate jets, a ballistic recovery parachute deployment, American Airlines pilots approve their contract, the Bombardier Learjet 85 is on hold, and the B747-8 is chosen for Air Force One.


Kent Scott is CEO and Founder of Trident 737 ER, LLC, which is in the business of modifying the Boeing 737 into private/corporate jets. He’s had a lifelong career in aviation that includes serving as President and COO of Emery Worldwide Airlines, Senior Flight Training Captain at American International Airlines (Kalitta), and VP-Flight Operations at Polar Air Cargo. Kent was also a 727 and DC-8 captain at Evergreen International Airlines, and Captain at Trans World Airlines, where he was elected head of the 4,000-member TWA Pilot union.


Video Shows Plane Using Parachute to Ditch into Ocean Near Maui

A Cirrus SR-22 on a ferry flight to Australia with a low fuel indication deployed the recovery parachute over the ocean near Hawaii. A National Guard C-130 captured video of the event.

Pilots Union Approves Contract With Airline

Nearly 95 percent of the eligible American Airlines pilots voted, with about 66 percent of them approving a new contract. They’ll receive an immediate 23% pay increase, and a 3% annual increase for the next five years.

Bombardier Learjet 85: Window of Opportunity Slams Shut

The Learjet 85 is “on hold” due to “weakness of the market.” Bombardier President and CEO Pierre Beaudoin says, “We will focus our resources on our two other clean-sheet aircraft programs under development, CSeries and Global 7000/8000.” A number of manufacturing cost cutting strategies have run into difficulties.

Limited Impact for Boeing in Air Force One Win

Under the Presidential Airlift Recapitalization program, the Boeing 747-8 has been selected as the next-generation Air Force One.

Airplane of the Week

Douglas F4D-1 Skyray

David Vanderhoof tells us the history of the Douglas F4D-1 Skyray.

The Australia News Desk

Bens new Cessna 172

With Grant stuck half way between Melbourne and Sydney with car troubles and lack of connectivity, Ben Jones steps in to join Steve instead this week.

Ben recently purchased a Cessna 172 on the east coast of Australia and flew it nearly 2,000nm back to his home base in Perth, Western Australia.  In this segment he talks about the buying experience, pre-purchase inspections and the 5 day trek back to Perth, dealing with the odd weather complication and instrument hiccup.

Airplane Geeks on Ice


In his 6th report, Juan Fernandez from McMurdo Bay in Antarctica tells us about rotorcraft at the continent at the bottom or the world.


The newly launched NATS blog includes an interactive 360 panorama view from inside Heathrow Tower in London, a view very rarely seen by members of the public.


Lufthansa 737-500 photo copyright Jurgen.

Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at brotherloverocks.com.



AirplaneGeeks 288 – Society of Aviation and Flight Educators

Society of Aviation and Flight Educators

Doug Stewart is a Master Certified Flight Instructor, a Gold Seal Instructor, and a Designated Pilot Examiner. He’s a Founding and Charter member of the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators and is the current Executive Director of SAFE.

SAFE seeks to create a safer aviation environment and a reduction in aviation accidents. They do this through increased professionalism, enhanced education, mentoring, support, and professional accreditation for aviation educators.

We talk with Doug about SAFE and the Pilot Proficiency Project which addresses the fact that GA pilots are not flying as often as they used to. At quarterly regional events, students, instructors, and pilots can benefit from a series of seminars designed to improve proficiency. The next event is March 8-9, 2014 in Melbourne, Florida.

We discuss the pilot profession and today’s student expectations compared to those of year’s past. Also, the dwindling number of flight instructors, dropout rates for students and pilots, working to include aviation in STEM topics for young people of K-12 age.

SAFE is on Twitter as @SAFEPilots, and you can visit Doug’s business at Doug Stewart Flight Instruction, Inc.

The week’s aviation news:

P-8A Poseidon

David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week: The P-8A Poseidon.

In this week’s Australia Desk:

Getting right into the spirit of the Poseidon Adventure, Steve and Grant report on the recent news confirming that the RAAF will indeed be getting the P8A Poseidon (and some HALE UAVs such as the Triton).

After that, the conversation inevitably moves back to Qantas and the current brinkmanship & positioning going on around the Qantas Sale Act and requests for government backing of Qantas’ debt. Maybe it’s time for Alan Joyce to join the list of 1,000 to 3,000 Qantas employees being retrenched?

Speaking of retiring from Qantas, the last 737-400 in Qantas colours recently flew its final revenue flight. VH-TJS joined Australian Airlines in March 1993 as Qantas was in the process of buying & merging the airline into its ranks.

Finally, the founding commander of the Roulettes (the RAAF’s current formation aerobatic team) died recently in Canberra aged 79.

Find more from Grant and Steve at the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast, and follow the show on Twitter at @pcdu. Steve’s at @stevevisscher and Grant at @falcon124.

Rob Mark’s The Aviation Minute: Regional Airline Safety.


In this week’s Across the Pond segment:

Pieter looks again at the busiest airline growth area, the Middle East with Oussama Salah from Oussamas Take.  They talk Air Arabia, Etihad and Emirates. Can this area ever stop growing? They finish talking about the new Abu Dhabi based USA Customs Pre Clearance facility. Is it fair and what’s Oussama’s take on the situation?

Oussama is also on Google+ and Facebook. Find Pieter on Twitter as @Nascothornet, on Facebook at XTPMedia, and at the Aviation Xtended podcast.


Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at www.brotherloverocks.com.

AirplaneGeeks 271 – Ned Russell on Airlines

Mooney M20L PFM

Guest Edward (Ned) Russell is an airline reporter at Flightglobal. We talk about the American Airlines / US Airways merger and the DOJ antitrust suit. Also, the CSeries in China, airline capacity increases on the West Coast, and airline strategy based around considerations like anciliatory fees, airfare pricing, new more efficient aircraft, and route planning. We also get an update on the Delta refinery.

Ned has been a reporter for seven years, covering aviation throughout but only full-time since 2012 with Flightglobal. Prior to joining Flightglobal, Ned wrote for Project Finance Magazine in New York and FinanceAsia in Hong Kong. He began his writing career with a profile of the then brand new Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok for Airliners Magazine. Follow Ned on Twitter as @e_russell.

The Week’s Aviation News:

David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week:

The Mooney M20, report provided by listener Tilman Hierath from the above the ground blog. Post photo above is of a M20L PFM that Tilman took at his home base of Strausberg (EDAY), just outside of Berlin, Germany. It is one of the very rare Mooneys with a Porsche engine.

In this week’s Australia Desk:

It’s that time of year again and we’re not just meaning Spring’s inevitable hayfever allergy attacks: Yes, it’s the Qantas AGM once again!

  • Joyce forecasts red for Qantas this year as yields are expected to drop 3% across the board (no sign of increases in travellers post election).

  • Speaking of kangaroos, flying and red: a roo hopped into one of Melbourne airport’s concourse shopping areas, forcing Steve to ask if he’d just skipped through security.

  • At least Qantas has been able to get another shiny new 737-800 for their fleet, making it their 68th so far.

  • Scoot is going to start flights between Singapore and Perth with introductory fares of $88 plus taxes, fees and ancillary charges which no doubt will include baggage, check-in (with or without sabre), seating, food, drink, air, etc. etc. etc.

Find more from Grant and Steve at the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast, and follow the show on Twitter at @pcdu. Steve’s at @stevevisscher and Grant at @falcon124.


In this week’s Across the Pond segment:

This week we talk to Matt Falcus about his new book Airlines of the USA, which charts the history of the majority of the airlines that have plied their trade in the USA from the start of aviation flying through to present day. The book lists the mergers and losses of some of the greats and also manages to tell the story of the smaller airlines as well. See Matt’s Airport Spotting blog.

Find Pieter on Twitter as @Nascothornet, on Facebook at XTPMedia, and at the Aviation Xtended podcast.


Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at www.brotherloverocks.com.