Tag Archives: American Airlines

665 Spirit Airlines Meltdown

Spirit Airlines cancels over 2000 flights, American Airlines offers free TikTok access, a cargo flight returns to Narita with a fire indication, a GA gallery is coming to the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum, and aviation jet fuel shortages impact aerial firefighting operations. Also, an Across the Pond segment with Pieter Johnson and managing editor of Aerospace magazine, Tim Robinson.

Aviation News

Spirit Airlines’ meltdown: Carrier cancels thousands of flights

Spirit Airlines canceled more than 2000 flights around the country, resulting in long lines of passengers trying to find flights. At Fort Lauderdale International Airport in Florida, the wait to re-book was as long as 2½ hours on August 7 and grew longer.

‘We couldn’t get in front of it.’ Spirit Airlines CEO explains what caused the carrier’s meltdown

Spirit Airlines says all this was caused by weather, technology outages, travel volume, and staffing shortages. Delays caused crews to time out. On one day alone, Spirit canceled 450 flights, 56% of its operation. Spirit does not have interline agreements which compounds the problem.

American Airlines Takes TikTok to New Heights with Free Inflight Access for Customers

American Airlines provides some free inflight WiFi offerings, and they’ve just added TikTok, the popular social networking service owned by Chinese company ByteDance. On Viasat-equipped narrowbody aircraft, American will let you connect free for 30 minutes.

Rubio Calls on American Airlines to Suspend “Innovative Partnership” With TikTok

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter to American Airlines Chairman and CEO Doug Parker after the airline announced an “innovative partnership” with TikTok.

“As you know, in 2019, the U.S. Government launched a national security review of TikTok due to data privacy and data security concerns — a review which remains active to this day.” 

“By partnering with TikTok, American Airlines is now lending its brand credibility to a company that endangers national security and the data security of tens of millions of Americans, many of them minors. I urge you to suspend American Airlines’ ‘innovative partnership’ with TikTok while the U.S. Government completes its investigation into the national security risks posed by the Chinese-owned app.”

Fire in cargo compartment | National Cargo Boeing 747-400 | Tokyo Narita, ATC

A National Cargo Boeing 747-400 (B744), registration N756CA, performing flight NCR891 / N8891 from Tokyo Narita International Airport (Japan) to Seoul Incheon International Airport (South Korea) during climb out of Narita Airport, about at 27000 feet, reported a fire indication in a cargo compartment and requested return back to Narita.

A New Gallery Celebrates the Variety That Is General Aviation

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum has a new general aviation gallery scheduled to open in 2022. The Thomas W. Haas We All Fly gallery will tell the story of GA, how it impacts everyday life and how it has influenced society. This will be through interactive exhibits and audiovisual displays and is scheduled to open in 2022. The Thomas W. Haas Foundation made a $10M donation for the gallery.

Aviation fuel shortage could affect aerial firefighting

Air travel dropped as a result of the pandemic, and the supply of Jet A aviation fuel scaled back. Now air travel is rebounding but fuel logistics has not. Shortages include the fuel supply for firefighting. One contributing factor is that a wildfire could explode in no time at all and when that happens the demand for fuel in that area can soar.

American Airlines warns about jet fuel shortages around the U.S., asks pilots to conserve

Last month, American Airlines said it might have to add stops to some flights because of fuel delivery delays. They also asked pilots to save fuel when they could. Airlines have experienced delays due to a lack of truck drivers, trucks, and fuel supply.

Across the Pond

In this week on Across The Pond, Pieter talks to fellow Xtended presenter and Managing Editor of Aerospace magazine, Tim Robinson. They discuss Tim’s recent award of the International Aerospace Media award 2021 for his article on Airbus developing hydrogen-powered aircraft as well as his news item on the current worrying trend of air rage and its impact on aircraft safety.

ZEROe concept aircraft formation flight, courtesy Airbus.

Best Commercial Aviation submission – Airbus spearheads hydrogen moonshot

Back to air rage and cabin baggage issues?

Mentioned

Brad “Launchpad” Marzari EAA Memorial – A campaign to honor Launchpad with bricks at the EAA Brown Arch at Oshkosh and donate to the EAA Aviation Foundation.

The Pacific Airshow is adding a two-night Afterburner Music Festival at Huntington City Beach on October 1 and 2, 2021.

The Unchained Eagle

The Unchained Eagle live Q&A.

658 Helping Youngsters in Aviation

We talk with Ellie Carter, Britain’s youngest solo glider pilot, and youngest single-engined PPL holder. Ellie has a passion for helping youngsters in aviation. In the news, the possibility of just one pilot on the flight deck for long haul flights, Airbus eyes an A350 freighter derivative, airlines struggle to meet the growing travel demand, a unique checked baggage item, a delay and possible price increase for the new Air Force One planes, the U.S. Air Force wants to know who would bid on a contract for the KC-Y bridge tanker, and an open rotor engine.

Across the Pond

Pieter Johnson welcomes Ellie Carter to Across The Pond. At age 14, Ellie became Britain’s youngest solo glider pilot and later went on to become Britain’s Youngest single-engined PPL holder, having soloed at 16. She is currently qualifying for her aerobatic and IFR ratings.

A STEM ambassador and Chair of the Light Aircraft Association’s Youth and Education Support Strut, Ellie has a passion for helping youngsters into aviation and has just completed her A-Level exams specializing in maths.

Ellie has been awarded the British Women’s Pilots Association, Hilda Hewitt Trophy, for her actions and her example, being an inspiration to her peer group. Most recently Ellie was awarded the Light Aircraft Association’s President’s Breitling Certificate for her work in promoting younger people in aviation.

Find Ellie on social media: Twitter, Instagram, and at the Youth Education branch of the Light Aircraft Association. Pieter can be found on Twitter and Aviation Xtended.

Aviation News

Cathay working with Airbus on single-pilot system for long-haul

Long-haul flights typically have three or four pilots, with two pilots on the flight deck. Airbus and Cathay Pacific are working on a system to allow only one pilot on the flight deck at cruising altitude on long-haul flights. 

Airbus Set to Move Ahead With A350 Freighter Within Weeks

Airbus is interested in competing in a market dominated by Boeing, and will reportedly be seeking board approval to proceed with an A350-based freighter. The modified A350-900 might be slightly longer than the passenger version and take four to five years from the launch date to enter service.

American Airlines asking Dallas-based employees to volunteer to work without pay as travel skyrockets

Travel demand is going up in the U.S. and American Airlines wants to be ready. A company memo is asking non-union employees to volunteer their help at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. The corporate scheduling, planning, and communications workers are being asked to work unpaid 6-hour shifts helping travelers in international terminals and other tasks.

TSA checkpoint travel numbers

The TSA reports 20221 traveler throughput by day compared to throughput for 2020 and 2021.

College student gets $20 to check pool noodle on Southwest flight

It started as a bet. The airline’s response is notable.

Delivery of new Air Force One planes could be delayed until 2025

Boeing has notified the US Air Force that the two 747-8 Air Force One aircraft could cost more than the $3.9 billion previously agreed to, and the planes could be delivered a year late, in 2025.

Air Force Begins Search For New Refueling Tanker as Lawmakers Push Airbus

The U.S. Air Force posted a Contracting Opportunity for new tankers. The “Sources Sought” request is “to determine if there exists an adequate number of qualified interested contractors capable of providing solutions to meet the requirement. The Government may use the responses to this Sources Sought for information and planning purposes.” The Air Force is looking for companies that can deliver approximately 140-160 Commercial Derivative Tanker Aircraft—at a rate of 12 to 15 per year—to supplement the Air Force Tanker Aircraft fleet at the end of KC-46A production, and bridge the gap to the next Tanker recapitalization phase.

Wild-Looking ‘Open Rotor’ Engine Could Cut Airliner Emissions by a Massive 20 Percent

A CFM design looks to address the noise issues of past oper rotor (or unducted fan) turbine engines.

Mentioned

American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic order e-air taxis from UK startup

Vertical Aerospace is an electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL) startup based in the UK. The company announced pre-orders for up to 1,000 of its electric VA-X4 vertical takeoff aircraft. American Airlines ordered between 250 and 350 aircraft, Virgin Atlantic ordered between 50 and 150, and aircraft leasing group Avolon ordered 310.

The VA-X4 seats 4 PAX and a pilot, with commercial flights expected in 2024. The aircraft can cruise at 202 mph, has a usable range of up to 120 miles, and is claimed to be 100x quieter than a helicopter thanks to the VA-X4’s distributed propulsion system.

Vertical plans to go public this year on the New York Stock Exchange via a SPAC merger (special purpose acquisition) in a deal valuing it at $2.2 billion. SPAC investors include American Airlines, Avolon, Honeywell, Rolls-Royce, and Microsoft’s venture capital fund M12.

Huntsman spider drops on top of pilot

656 World Championship Air Race

World Championship Air Race is coming in 2022 and we speak with the series race director. In the news, Aerion’s supersonic intentions falter while Boom Supersonic flourishes, the 2020 Robert J. Collier Trophy winner is announced, the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A turns 60, and an American Airlines diversion due to lack of water.

Guest

World Championship Air Race

Willie Cruickshank is Race Series Director for the World Championship Air Race (WCAR). Sanctioned by the FAI, the WCAR will consist of two series that run in parallel: GP1 contested by top-ranking teams, and GT contested by developing pilots. Willie explains how the series differs from similar races in the past, the teams and venues, and the aircraft that will compete. He also comments on how new propulsion technologies might be introduced. Racing is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2022.

Willie was an RAF fighter pilot for 26 years, retiring as a Group Captain. He went on to spend nine years as a display pilot with the UK-based Wildcat Aerobatics team before joining the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. As Head of Aviation and Sport for that Championship, he was responsible for all aspects of flying operations including flight safety, racecourse design, pilot training, and briefing. Now as a board director of WCAR, Willie oversees all operational aspects of the series.

Follow @TheAirRace on Twitter, visit the website at wcairrace.com, and subscribe to the World Championship Air Race YouTube Channel. Also, listen to the World Championship Air Race Podcast.

World Championship Air Race appoints CSM to support global partnership strategy

World Championship Air Race (WCAR) has agreed a three-year partnership with 2Excel Aviation

Aviation News

The dream of supersonic passenger flight hits turbulence

Aerion announced on May 21, 2021 that “in the current financial environment, it has proven hugely challenging to close on the scheduled and necessary large new capital requirements to finalize the transition of the AS2 into production.” The AS2 was to be a business jet carrying 8-12 passengers at 1,000 mph.

United Airlines will buy 15 ultrafast airplanes from start-up Boom Supersonic

United ordered 15 of the 88-PAX Overture, and has options for 35 additional planes. Boom CEO Blake Scholl Scholl said in a statement, “The world’s first purchase agreement for net-zero carbon supersonic aircraft marks a significant step toward our mission to create a more accessible world.” He told The Air Current that the estimated total investment required is $8B. Boom is planning test flights in 2026 and passenger service of the Mach 1.7 plane in 2029.

Garmin Autoland to Receive the 2020 Robert J. Collier Trophy [PDF]

The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) announced that Garmin Autoland has been named as the recipient of the 2020 Robert J. Collier Trophy for “… designing, developing, and fielding Garmin Autoland – the world’s first certified autonomous system that activates during an emergency to safely control and land an aircraft without human intervention.” The Collier Trophy is awarded annually for “… the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year.”

60th anniversary of the P&WC PT6A engine’s first flight

The Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) PT6A is a turboprop engine used in many aircraft. It was produced in variants from 500 to 1,940 shp. First flight was May 30, 1961, from Toronto’s Downsview Airport in a twin-engine RCAF Beech 18 Expeditor 3T that had the PT6 attached to the nose. The engine entered service in 1964.

American Airlines Flight to London Diverts After Water Supply Drys Up

When flight attendants realised there was no running water aboard an American Airlines flight to London Heathrow, the Boeing 777-300 returned to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport an hour and a half after departure.

Mentioned

Spurwink Farm Pancake Breakfast and Fly-In, at Spurwink Farm in Cape Elizabeth, Maine on July 11, 2021.

International Vintage Sailplane Meet – July 10-17, 2021 at the National Soaring Museum.

EAA Chapter 141, Limington Harmon Airport, Maine. And while you’re there, stop by the Runway Restaurant located right at the entrance, 13 Airport Road, Limington, Maine.

Great Electric Airplane Race

654 Tri-Wing Jet

A tri-wing jet concept, a court ruling and flight instruction, aviation fuel supply vulnerability, more baggage falling out of airplanes, Flying Tiger Line Flight 739, and an Across the Pond segment.

Aviation News

This Bonkers Tri-Wing Jumbo Jet Concept Reduces Fuel Consumption by 70%

The SE200 concept airliner from SE Aeronautics is a tri-wing design with two rear-mounted engines and a double tail fin. The widebody jet would seat 264+ passengers and burn 70 percent less fuel than a plane of similar size. The SE200 is a 100% molded composite aircraft, with a claimed 80% reduction in CO2 emissions per seat kilometer. Flying at Mach .9, the jet would have a range of 10,560 miles at 500+ PMPG. 

American Airlines is adding refueling stops to some flights as fuel pipeline hack chokes supplies

Colonial Pipeline’s insufficient security allowed a ransomware attack to shut down the company’s 5,500 mile fuel pipeline from the Texas Gulf Coast to New Jersey. This led to widespread gasoline shortages across the U.S. East Coast, and impacted the supplies of jet fuel.

Airline fires 2 pilots after emergency door flew off U.P.-bound airplane just before takeoff

Boutique Airlines fires 2 pilots, pulls out of Gogebic-Iron Co. Airport

The emergency exit door separated from a Boutique Airlines flight just before takeoff from Gogebic-Iron County Airport in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. One passenger said his carry-on bag was sucked out. Apparently, the pilots failed to complete a pre-flight checklist.

Honored at last: Remembering the heroes of Flying Tiger Line Flight 739

Soldiers who went missing on secret US military mission in 1962 to be honored with Maine memorial

On March 16, 1962, 93 soldiers, 11 crew, and 3 South Vietnamese soldiers boarded Flying Tiger Line Flight 739 for a secret mission to Saigon. They never arrived and the subsequent search and rescue operation found nothing. The families of those lost never knew what happened.

The Warbird Adventures case

Warbird Adventures, which operates a World War II P-40 fighter training aircraft certificated in the limited category, asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review an FAA emergency cease-and-desist order. The company was providing flight instruction without an exemption to FAR 91.315. In a two-page ruling Warbird Adventures, Inc., et. al. v. FAA., the court refused to review the emergency cease-and-desist order.

Across the Pond

Pieter Johnson (XTP Media) and Gareth Stringer (Editor of Global Aviation Resource) provide a special Across the Pond segment to mark the tenth anniversary of the first ATP segment on Airplane Geeks. 

For more great aviation content, listen to the Xtended podcast, including Episode 116 – Restoration Force & the Cockpiteers with Gavin Hoffen on his new book Restoration Force about cockpit restoration projects.

Fridge Magnet Give-a-way

Send an aviation-themed postcard to:

Airplane Geeks Give-A-Way
2935 Mystic Mountain Lane
Belton, Texas. 76513

While supplies last.

Mentioned

Teams compete in “Aircraft Pull” event to help Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine and Photos: Pull an airplane — raise some money

Elite Airways in Auburn, Maine hosted an “Aircraft Pulling” event to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine.  Teams competed to pull a 31,000-pound CRJ200 15 feet. The team that pulled the aircraft 15-feet the fastest won a trophy. Elite Airways also gave out two round-trip tickets to the team that raised the most money.

Germany’s Greens plan to cut jet fuel subsidies -Bild am Sonntag

Explore the Wright Flyer

Air Force Chief Hints at Retiring the F-22 Raptor in Fighter Downsize and The F-22 will go away, eventually. But not before the Air Force gets comfortable with its successor

Air Force awards A-10 pilot for skillfully belly-landing her plane without landing gear after ‘catastrophic’ failure

Deke Slayton Airfest, La Crosse Regional Airport, Wisconsin, June 12-13.

647 Glass Cockpit

We explore the glass cockpit and the new book on the Garmin G3000 and G5000. In the news, the shape of the airline recovery, JetBlue scores London slots, Boeing gets a very large 737 MAX order, a special National Aviation Hall of Fame volunteer, an update on the Cessna SkyCourier, possible relief for Wichita aviation jobs, and a fun mod for Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Glass Cockpit

Glass Cockpit Handbook by Max Trescott.

Max Trescott’s G3000 and G5000 Glass Cockpit Handbook is a newly published resource for pilots flying with these Garmin flight decks for light turbine jets. The Garmin G3000 and G5000 are currently used in twenty-three aircraft models, with plans for adding more. Max describes glass cockpit hardware and software, and how the presentation of information differs from traditional cockpit gauges. We talk about reliability and lower maintenance considerations compared to steam gauges, weight advantages including paper document elimination, and the glass cockpit learning curve.

The G3000 and G5000 have nearly identical user interfaces, but the G3000 is designed for smaller and lighter Part 23 aircraft, while the G5000 is targeted to the Part 25 regulations which apply to larger aircraft, including the transport aircraft used by the airlines.

Besides being a host on this podcast, Max Trescott produces the Aviation News Talk podcast which focuses on General Aviation news, general tips for pilots, and technical details on glass cockpits and flying GPS approaches. The show features listener questions and occasional interviews. He’s the 2008 National CFI of the Year, and a Cirrus Platinum CSIP.

Aviation News

American Airlines Reports V-Shaped Recovery

American Airlines direct bookings are up 150-400% over 2020, and close to 2019 levels. Domestic load factors were 80% recently and all planes will be flying in May, 2021. Do leisure travelers believe the pandemic is over?

United unveils 26 new point-to-point routes from Midwest, East Coast

Since business travel isn’t indicating anything like a V-recovery, airlines want to capture the leisure travel recovery. The new United routes include “flights from Cleveland (CLE), Cincinnati (CVG), Columbus (CMH), Indianapolis (IND), Milwaukee (MKE), St. Louis (STL), and Pittsburgh (PIT) to a variety of coastal destinations, from Portland, Maine (PWM), to Pensacola, Florida (PNS).” These are point-to-point, non-stop routes that avoid hubs with service by the Bombardier CRJ550. The routes begin May 27, and will operate through Labor Day Weekend. See: With business travel lagging, Portland lands direct flights to cities around the U.S.

JetBlue Secures London Heathrow Slots for its Transatlantic Debut

JetBlue plans to launch transatlantic service this year with Airbus A321LR aircraft. In it’s summer 2021 schedule report, Airport Coordination Limited included allocated 270 slots to JetBlue for flights to and from London Heathrow (LHR) airport. 180 slots are for flights to New York-JFK and 90 slots for service to Boston. The slots phase in over time and expire on Oct. 30, 2021.

National Aviation Hall of Fame Volunteer Alice Griffin Turns 100

The National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) in Dayton announced that volunteer Alice Griffin celebrated her 100th birthday on March 28, 2021. She was asked if she had any words of wisdom to share and replied, “Work hard, don’t take anything for granted, and give ten percent of your salary to charity.” The National Aviation Hall of Fame was founded in 1962 and is located adjacent to the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

The NAHF collaborated with the National Aeronautic Association for a series of aviation webinars in 2020, including:

Airports, Airlines and Airplanes: A Webinar  (May 28, 2020) with panelists Cirrus Aircraft co-founder and NAHF Enshrinee Dale Klapmeier, CVG Airport CEO and NAA Board Member Candace McGraw, Oliver Wyman Partner, and NAHF Trustee Geoff Murray, and United Airlines Executive and NAHF Chair Michael Quiello.

SPACE: Charting the next trajectory (Jun 25, 2020) Panelists included National Air and Space Musuem Director Ellen Stofan, NAHF Enshrinee and NAA Record holder Hoot Gibson, Blue Origin Director Business Development Brett Alexander, and former NASA Administrator and NAHF Enshrinee Charlie Bolden.

Aerobatics and Air Shows: Get your fix (Jul 24, 2020) Panelists included NAHF Enshrinee and Aerobatic Champion Patty Wagstaff, NAHF Candidate and Aerobatic pilot Julie Clark, IAC International judge and NAA Board Member Peggy Riedinger, and Aerobatic Pilot Vicki Benzig.

Sustainability and Innovation: Ensuring the future of aviation (Sep  10, 2020) Panelists included MagniX CEO and NAA Board Member Roei Ganzarski, Founder and CEO Bye Aerospace George Bye, President and CEO NBAA Ed Bolen, and President Environmental Affairs Airlines 4 America and NAA Board Member Nancy Young.

Cessna SkyCourier Begins Final Phase of Flight Testing

Textron Aviation is hoping to begin deliveries of the Cessna SkyCourier this year, however, the company first needs type-approval from the FAA. The certification flight test phase is underway. 

Production final assembly of the SkyCourier will start at the airframer’s east Wichita campus. Launch customer for the airplane is FedEx with 50 firm orders and 50 options.

New COVID relief bill could help bring back Wichita aviation jobs. Here’s how

The Aviation Manufacturing Jobs Protection Act was swept into the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the COVID-19 relief package signed into law. It is a $3 billion public-private partnership where the federal government contributes 50% of the compensation for eligible employee groups, as long as the company commits to continuing employment of those workers. The funding is available until Sept. 30, 2023, but an employee group cannot receive the federal money for more than six months.

Here’s the stuck Suez cargo ship in Microsoft Flight Simulator

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 allows you to add things as modifications. YouTube and TikTok poster donut_enforcement has added the Ever Given cargo ship that has been stuck in the Suez Canal and completely shut down ship movement. 

Mentioned

This Cockpit View Of A C-17’s Wild Ride Through Star Wars Canyon Is Bonkers

The C-17 is a big, but incredibly nimble beast, as proven in this video of one making hard maneuvers while rocketing low through the Jedi Transition.

Video: C-17 Star Wars Canyon

Groundbreaking H3X Motor Brings Electric Aircraft One Step Closer To Reality

The startup H3X says it has developed a compact electric motor that develops more than 3 times the power and weighs less than most commercially available motors. 

Promotional video: The H3X electric motor: the power density of electric aircraft motors!

NASA Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Prepares for First Flight

Month of Ingenuity: Helicopter Flight Preview Webinar

In early April, 2021 the Mars Ingenuity helicopter will attempt the first-ever powered flight on Mars. Join this interactive webinar to hear team members describe how they will support the helicopter when it takes to the skies. Monday, April 5 at 10:30 a.m. PDT / 1:30 p.m. EDT

Support

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631 Airlines Plan 737 MAX Return to Service

US airlines are releasing plans for the 737 MAX return to service, pilots are being advised to hold off participation in clinical vaccine trials, Southwest Airlines warns of its first-ever furlough, in-flight cell phone calls are off the table at the FCC, a final rule is announced for traveling by air with service animals, and the Paris Air Show is canceled for 2021.

Aviation News

US airlines detail plans for resuming Boeing 737 Max flights

In the US, the 737 MAX is operated by American Airlines, United, and Southwest. Those airlines are already making return to service announcements and passengers who don’t want to fly the MAX can change flights without penalty. American starts service on December 29, 2020, between New York LaGuardia and Miami, United service starts first quarter 2021, and Southwest service starts in the second quarter of 2021.

Post-crash recovery: How one airline plans to restore confidence in the Boeing 737 MAX

American Airlines COO David Seymour says, “We didn’t intend to be first to put the Max back in the air. But the only way to truly build confidence is by flying it. You don’t build that back by sitting on the ground.” American Airlines TechOps said it will take six to eight days to make each aircraft compliant with the new requirements for MCAS software updates (which take six hours) and flight control system re-wiring. That will be followed by a two-hour Operational Readiness Flight (ORF).

AA Reviewing Whether Pilots Can Take COVID Vaccine

Should commercial pilots take the Covid vaccine when it becomes available? Can they and still keep their medical? The FAA is waiting for the outcome of the upcoming meeting of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. The Air Line Pilots Association is telling its members to not take part in clinical trials for vaccines.

Southwest Airlines warns it could furlough 6,800 employees to cut costs

If they occur, these would be the first furloughs ever for Southwest Airlines. The number amounts to 12% of the airline’s staff. Southwest says negotiations with labor unions to cut costs have produced a “lack of meaningful progress.”

FCC Walks Back Plan To Allow In Flight Cell Service

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) is no longer going to look into a ruling that would allow passengers to make in-flight cell phone calls on domestic United States flights. 

The FCC said, “The record is insufficient to determine any reasonable solution that would strike an appropriate balance of competing interests.  There is strong opposition to the Commission’s proposals from many commenters in this proceeding, including our nation’s airline pilots and flight attendants.”

U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Final Rule on Traveling by Air with Service Animals

The U.S. Department of Transportation is revising its Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) regulation concerning the transportation of service animals by air. The final rule defines a service animal as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability. An emotional support animal is no longer considered to be a service animal. The final rule will be effective 30 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register.

Cancellation of the 2021 edition of the Paris Air Show [PDF]

“In light of the uncertainty linked to the current COVID-19 health crisis, the Paris Air Show organization has made the decision to cancel the 2021 edition of the show, which was scheduled to take place from 21 to 27 June 2021. The next edition of the Paris Air Show will be held in June 2023, at a date that will be announced shortly. Exhibitors will receive a full refund of all sums already paid and the Paris Air Show will take full financial responsibility for this decision.”

Airplane Geeks Listener Poll 628 

Do you intend to fly to a vacation destination in 2021? 50% said Yes, 16% said No, and 34% said Maybe.
Do you expect to fly for business in 2021? 41% said Yes, 36% said No, and 23% said Maybe.

Mentioned

Obituary: Ralph Weymouth

623 Boeing 787 Dreamliner Move

Boeing decides to move 787 Dreamliner production to South Carolina, the FAA Administrator flies the 737 MAX, Germany halts its heavy-lift helicopter procurement, airlines offer Covid-19 testing to passengers, furloughs after the CARES Act expired, go-arounds and accidents, a fast electric airplane from Rolls-Royce, advanced preflight after maintenance, and Flightradar24 DDoS attack.

Aviation News

Report: Boeing to move all 787 Dreamliner production to S.C.; WA governor responds

Boeing made their decision, and all assembly of the 787 Dreamliner will be consolidated in South Carolina. Production of the 787 will end in Washington state. Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal said the move to consolidate the work in North Charleston, S.C., will be done by “mid-2021, according to our best estimate.”

‘I Like What I See’: FAA Chief Flies 737 Max, But Not Ready To Recertify Plane

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson (a former Delta Air Lines pilot) flew the 737 MAX. At a news conference, Dickson said, “I completed a number of test profiles today to examine the functionality of the aircraft and I liked what I saw, so it responded well. I did two landings and also some air work maneuvers over about a two-hour period… and I felt prepared. I think most importantly, I felt that the training prepared me to be very comfortable.”

Germany Axes Plan To Buy Either Sikorsky CH-53K Or Boeing CH-47 Helicopters

In what was called “a surprise development,” Germany decided not to replace the German Luftwaffe’s aging CH-53G series helicopters with either the CH-53K King Stallion or the CH-47F Chinook. The reason: both heavy-lift helicopters are too expensive.

Here are the U.S. airlines offering COVID-19 testing to travelers

JetBlue has partnered with Vault Health to provide at-home saliva tests to customers “wanting peace of mind and those who must secure a negative COVID-19 test result before entering certain states and countries or in order to avoid certain mandatory quarantines.” United Airlines will offer testing for customers traveling from San Francisco International Airport to Hawaii beginning Oct. American Airlines will offer pre-flight testing to travelers at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport going to Hawaii starting on Oct. 15.

Black Thursday Has Arrived: It’s Bad, But Not As Bad As Feared

The CARES Act has expired and while thousands were furloughed, others have negotiated new agreements with airlines or are in the process of negotiating new deals.

Failure to Go Around Leads to Runway Excursion

The August 15, 2019 crash of Dale Earnhardt Jr’s Cessna Citation Latitude at Elizabethton, Tennessee (0A9) followed “an unstable VFR approach, a poorly executed landing, and a botched go-around attempt.”

Rolls-Royce Thinks It’s Developing The Fastest Electric Airplane In The World

The concept includes a 500hp motor, and “a battery with enough energy to supply 250 homes.”  Rolls-Royce is ground testing the technology on a full-scale replica of the plane’s core. Project partners include YASA, a British electric powertrain company, and electric aviation startup Electroflight. Rolls-Royce said, “The first flight is planned for later this year and we are aiming to beat the current all-electric flight world record early next year.”

Advanced Preflight After Maintenance

General Aviation fatalities have occurred after in-flight emergencies that have been the direct result of maintenance personnel who have serviced or installed systems incorrectly. The General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) say that a significant number of those fatalities could have been avoided if pilots conducted more thorough preflight inspections of aircraft that have just been returned to service.

Resources:

Update on Flightradar24’s extended downtime

Flightradar24 experienced a sustained Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack that resulted in extensive downtime. “We are continuing to do everything possible to mitigate the effects of the attack and to harden our systems to reduce the likelihood of future attacks making our services unavailable.”

Mentioned

Listener Poll 623

Whirly-Girls New Instrument Rating Scholarship for Female Aviators for 2021

Aviation Careers Podcast and the Aerospace Scholarships guide.

SUN ‘n FUN Holiday Flying Festival and Car Show

Last ever Airbus A380 superjumbo assembled in France

Airbus A380 Struggles But a Business Case Exists for Neo

Airbus debuts hydrogen net-zero concept aircraft for 2035 launch

Video: How Delta Fixes $32 Million Jet Engines | Big Business

Video: Coulson Aviation CH47

Video: Awesome Chinook helicopter firefighting system in action

Jet World Record Project – A video report from KTVN, the CBS affiliate in Reno, Nevada on the TS-11 project to rebuild the airplane. See also Renegade Jets.

620 The Master Minimum Equipment List (MMEL)

A 737 crew couldn’t properly hand fly the airplane after autopilot failures, and we discuss the Master Minimum Equipment List. Also, airline furloughs loom, unwanted Austrian Eurofighter Typhoons, Air Force efforts to produce more pilots, an engine shutdown due to rain, commercial flights to nowhere, too much PPE isn’t allowed on American Airlines, and an airport throws out an operator.

Aviation News

Experienced crew struggled with instrument flight after 737 lost autopilots

The Lithuanian carrier Klasjet 737-500 departed Madrid Barajas for Kaunas on April 5, 2019, with the captain’s autopilot inoperative. That’s permitted under the minimum equipment list regulations because the officer’s autopilot was working. However, the FO’s autopilot failed 2 minutes after take-off. The pilots had difficulty flying the plane, with large altitude and pitch variations, several go-arounds, flight below the required minimum, and failure to follow ATC instructions.

For an example of an MMEL, see Master Minimum Equipment List (MMEL) for the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet. [PDF]

United Eyes Extensive Furloughs

United Airlines plans to furlough 16,370 employees as early as October 2020: 6,920 flight attendants, 2,850 pilots, 2,260 airport operations personnel, 2,010 mechanics, and 1,400 in management. American and Delta have also announced plans to reduce their workforces beginning Oct. 1.

Austria Wants To Offload Its Unwanted Eurofighter Typhoons On Indonesia

The Austrian defense minister said she plans to hold talks that aim to sell the country’s Eurofighter Typhoons to Indonesia. Indonesia is interested in buying the 15 Typhoons, the only fighter jets the Austrian Air Force has. We discuss why Austria wants to get rid of the fighters and wonder why anybody would want them.

USAF Looks to Address Pilot Shortage with New Programs

Earlier this year, the Air Force told Congress that the service had a shortage of about 2,100 pilots, 10% of the pilots it needs to execute the National Defense Strategy. Air Force initiatives to address the shortage include the use of simulation, reality (VR), and artificial intelligence (AI) programs. A new $38 million Virtual Test and Training Center (VTTC) at Nellis Air Force Base (AFB), NV will be used for joint-aerial combat training.

U.S. Air Force Trains Robotic Dogs to Scout Battlefields

The Department of the Air Force, the U.S. Northern Command, and the U.S. Space Command just performed a field test of the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS). The ABMS is a digital battle network system that collects, processes, and shares data among U.S. and allied forces. In addition to shooting down a cruise missile with a hypervelocity weapon, the Air Force tested the Vision 60 quadrupedal robots developed by Ghost Robotics.

Airbus A220 Operators Told To Protect Avionics Against Rainfall

Rain entered an A220 through the main cabin door and overflowed the drains. Then during taxi the water dripped into the avionics bay below and tripped a circuit breaker, causing an engine shutdown. A220 operators have 12 months to modify the drain tubing.

Starlux Airlines Plans Six More Flights To Nowhere

Last month, Taiwanese carrier Starlux Airlines flew a “flight to nowhere” so passengers could “pretend to go abroad.” The flight flew over the Pratas Islands in the northern part of the South China Sea. This was such a success that Starlux plans more of these flights in their Airbus A321neos.

American Airlines Bans Wearing Too Much Personal Protection Equipment On Board

American Airlines sent a memo to its customer care agents about “Prohibited Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).” Several “recreational” PPE items are banned from flights: personal face/body tents, personal face/body pods, personal air purifiers/refreshers, and Ozone generators. Under the Weather sells a variety of these body pods.

JetSuiteX banned at Orange Co Airport, Asks Customers for Help

According to JetSuiteX, John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California told the company that they were “no longer welcome” at Orange County Airport. No reason was given. JetSuiteX provides “hop-on service” from FBO’s with 19 Embraer ERJ-135 and -145 jet aircraft configured for 30 passengers. Customers received communications from JetSuiteX asking them to write to the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

Mentioned

Prototype of the ‘Flying-V’ plane built by KLM that burns 20% less fuel than traditional aircraft takes to the skies for the first time and TUDelft Flying-V.

“The Flying-V is a design for a highly energy-efficient long-distance aeroplane. The aircraft’s design integrates the passenger cabin, the cargo hold and the fuel tanks in the wings, creating a spectacular v-shape. Its improved aerodynamic shape and reduced weight will mean it uses 20% less fuel than the Airbus A350, today’s most advanced aircraft.”

When does flying become CO2-neutral?

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) has some concepts for “an aircraft that flies as climate-friendly as it is economical and is ready for operation by 2040… This aircraft should be able to carry at least 70 passengers for a distance of up to 2,000 kilometers.”

Calling all pilots! Corps to give up to $210,000 for Marine pilots to re-up

The Marine Corps will give out an aviation bonus of up to $210,000 for select pilots willing to extend their service commitment by up to six years, according to a new administrative message.

Major General Charles Bolden Honored with 2020 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy [PDF]

The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) announced that Major General Charles Bolden USMC (Ret.) has been selected as the recipient of the 2020 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy for “…his impassioned commitment to public service in aviation and aerospace as an aviator, astronaut, and leader and his dedication to excellence for the advancement of all humanity.”

Charlie appeared as our guest in Episode 316 – NASA’s Aeronautics Research, September 2014. His blog from his days at NASA is still online.

617 Boeing 737 MAX NPRM

We look at the Boeing 737 MAX NPRM for return to service, Phillips 66 investment in sustainable aviation fuel, JetBlue carbon neutrality on domestic flights, this year’s Collier Trophy winner, American Airlines plans to eliminate some smaller destinations, and the F-16 fighter jet sale to Taiwan.

Boeing 737 MAX NPRM

Boeing 737 MAX AD NPRM Now Available for Early Public Review

Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) for a Boeing 737 MAX airworthiness directive (AD) (PDF)

The FAA proposes to supersede Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2018-23-51, which applies to all The Boeing Company Model 737-8 and 737-9 (737 MAX) airplanes. Since AD 2018-23-51 was issued, the agency has determined that final corrective action is necessary to address the unsafe condition. This proposed AD would require installing new flight control computer (FCC) software, revising the existing Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) to incorporate new and revised flightcrew procedures, installing new MAX display system (MDS) software, changing the horizontal stabilizer trim wire routing installations, completing an angle of attack sensor system test, and performing an operational readiness flight. 

2019-NM-035-AD The Boeing Company Model 737-8 and 737-9 (737 MAX) airplanes

Comments are due Sep 21, 2020 11:59 PM ET.

Preliminary Summary of the FAA’s Review of the Boeing 737 MAX (PDF)

This report will provide a detailed technical account of the lessons learned since the two fatal accidents involving the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, as well as the actions by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ensure the airplane’s safe return to service. As the State of Design agent, the FAA is providing this report to all States of Registry and to the general public to assist in their understanding of how the agency identified and is addressing the safety issues affecting the 737 MAX.

Aviation News

Phillips 66 To Convert Plant For Sustainable Fuel Production

The company announced its San Francisco Refinery in Rodeo, California will be reconfigured to produce 680 million gallons annually of sustainable diesel, gasoline, and jet fuels using cooking oil, fats, greases, and soybean oils. If approved, the production of sustainable fuels could start in early 2024.

JetBlue is the First U.S. Airline to Commit to and Achieve Carbon Neutrality for All Domestic Flying

JetBlue previously announced a commitment to go carbon neutral on all domestic flights. The airline says it has achieved that goal and carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) from jet fuel for all domestic JetBlue-operated flights are now offset. The airline is also investing in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and flights from San Francisco International Airport are fueled with SAF.  JetBlue had already offset more than 2.6 billion pounds of CO2 emissions in partnership with CarbonFund.org Foundation.

X-37B Team Wins Collier Trophy

The United States Department of the Air Force-Boeing X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle team has won the 2019 Robert J. Collier Trophy. The National Aeronautic Association selection committee said the team was chosen for “… developing and employing the world’s only reusable, autonomous spaceplane, which logged more than 2,865 days in orbit across five missions, changing access to space and serving as the nation’s workhorse in space experimentation and technology.”

X-37B Landing

X-37B Landing.

American Airlines prepares to drop some service to smaller cities as expiration of federal aid nears

Under the terms of a $25 billion federal aid package, airlines must maintain minimum levels of service through September 30, 2020. American Airlines says they’ll discontinue flights to some as yet unidentified small and medium-sized cities. The airline may not wait until October 1, 2020, to drop the destinations from the fall schedules. There is congressional support for an additional federal payment that would sustain the flights, but the necessary legislation hasn’t come together yet.

U.S. Formalizes F-16 Jet Sale to Taiwan With China Tensions High

Taiwan signed an agreement to purchase 66 F-16 jets, to be completed by 2026. The planned sale was announced last August and at that time a spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry said “U.S. arms sales to Taiwan severely violate the one-China principle.”

Cutter Aviation

Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari visits FBO Cutter Aviation in Colorado Springs.

Mentioned

Tuskegee Airman General Charles McGee

On Wednesday, September 2, 2020, General McGee will be interviewed live as part of the Old Guys and Their Airplanes “Debrief” series.

General McGee served in WWII, The Korean War, and the Vietnam War, accumulating an astounding 409 combat missions.  His civilian service is marked by extensive honors including the nation’s highest civilian award, The Congressional Gold Medal.   Today, at age 100, he remains an active role model to youth, promoting his mantra of personal success, “Perceive, Prepare, Perform and Persevere.”

The live interview is free to the public with special emphasis on encouraging teachers and group leaders to tune-in. To this point, the 2 September interview with General McGee will be conducted during the ‘school time’ – 9 am Pacific, 10 am Mountain, 11 am Central and Noon Eastern.

Also…

Amphibious Assault Ship USS Essex Carries Load Of Gorgeous World War II Warbirds To Hawaii

615 Supersonic Commercial Aircraft

Boom Supersonic and Virgin Galactic supersonic commercial aircraft eye Rolls-Royce engine technology, China’s AG600 large seaplane, United’s ERJ-145 regional jets to CommutAir, pilot re-examinations, Boeing’s quarterly loss and good 737 MAX news, airline passengers and booze, the growing stockpile of airline nuts, and Allegiant Air’s clever “work from Vegas” packages.

Aviation News

Boom, Rolls-Royce Partner On Supersonic Overture

Boom Supersonic and Rolls-Royce announced they are exploring a Rolls-Royce propulsion system on Boom’s Overture supersonic commercial aircraft. The companies will investigate if an existing engine architecture can be adapted for supersonic flight. The smaller Boom XB-1 supersonic demonstrator is expected to roll out on Oct. 7, 2020.

See the Boom press release: Engine Studies Advance Program Development and Focus on Sustainability and the outstanding XB-1 progress animation.

Virgin Galactic Unveils Mach 3 Aircraft Design for High Speed Travel, and Signs Memorandum of Understanding with Rolls-Royce

Virgin Galactic Holdings wants to create a supersonic commercial aircraft and just unveiled its initial design of a Mach 3 airplane. The company’s manufacturer of advanced air and space vehicles, The Spaceship Company (“TSC”), announced the first stage design scope and also the signing of a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Rolls-Royce to collaborate in designing and developing engine propulsion technology for high-speed commercial aircraft.

Virgin is targeting a Mach 3 certified delta-wing aircraft, with a capacity for 9 to 19 people at an altitude above 60,000 feet, that is able to incorporate custom cabin layouts, and use sustainable aviation fuel.

The FAA’s Center for Emerging Concepts and Innovation will work with Virgin Galactic to outline a certification framework.

United to drop contract with ExpressJet, dealing fatal blow

United Airlines plans to move its 50-seat United Express Embraer ERJ-145 planes operated by ExpressJet to regional carrier CommutAir, which would become United’s sole ERJ-145 operator. Operations are being consolidated as United looks to be a smaller airline as a result of the pandemic. United says, “This transition will take a number of months.”

The World’s Largest Seaplane Pulls Off Its First Waterborne Flight

The AG600 “Kunlong” is China’s first seaplane and the world’s largest seaplane. The AG600 just had its first takeoff from the ocean, followed by a 31-minute flight. The plane, which did fly from a reservoir in 2018, can carry 50 passengers up to 2,700 miles. It has a 128-foot wingspan and a length of 121 feet. Maximum takeoff weight of 53.5 tons. Power comes from four WJ-6 turboprops.

Video: China’s AG600 amphibious aircraft completes first sea surface flight

Pilots Who Flew With Discredited Examiner Face Reexamination

The FAA has notified some pilots that they may have to be re-examined because of problems with the work of a specific examiner.

Boeing’s revenue plunges 25 percent as long-term effects of pandemic take hold

Shipments are down and so is Boeing’s second-quarter profit.

FAA gives preliminary approval on design fixes for 737 Max

Welcome news for Boeing. A few details need attention and the FAA will proceed with a 45-day public comment period.

Most airlines aren’t serving booze during the pandemic. Passengers are (illegally) bringing their own

Some people just need a drink when flying, but it’s against regulations for a passenger to bring their own.

There’s A Huge Surplus Of American Airlines Nuts

Fewer people are flying and the stockpile of airline nuts is growing. Order yours now for an at-home experience.

Viva Las remote office? Allegiant Air to pitch ‘work from Vegas’ travel packages to boost bookings

Allegiant Air has a brilliant idea to provide you with a “work at home” experience in Las Vegas.

Mentioned

For a limited time, PilotPartner.net is offering a discount code for Airplane Geeks listeners. The code “airplanegeeks18” will get you an 18-month membership for the price of 12 months. Ken was our guest in Episode 432.

There is always a ham in the crowd…