Tag Archives: American Airlines

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.


Episode 262 – Mow and Flow with the F-22 Raptor

Red Flag 2010 49th Operational Group Command Aircraft by Paul Filmer

F-22 pilot Rob Burgon talks to us about fighter performance, engines, thrust vectoring nozzles, and more. Also, his Red Flag experience and how he earned the call sign “Shotz,” and the move from Holloman AFB to Tyndall AFB as the 7th Fighter Squadron shuts down. Tally One is Rob’s new blog, a place to share the fighter jet experience, and for others to share their stories too. He’s even created the Tally One Store with aviation apparel.

Returning guest Henry Harteveldt talks to us about the Justice Department civil lawsuit blocking the proposed merger between American Airlines and US Airways.

The week’s aviation news:

David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week: the C-130 Hercules.

In this week’s Australia Desk:

Grant spent the week vacationing in Bali, Indonesia, and while this is enough to make the rest of us jealous, he did take the time to compile some notes on the flights he took to get there, flying on Virgin Australia in business class.

In other news, Jetstar & Qantas announce that Melbourne will be the base for their 787 Dreamliner fleets, no doubt taking up residence in the former maintenance centre that Qantas closed down recently.

United Airlines announced this week that their regular 747 services from the US to Sydney & Melbourne will be replaced from April next year with 777’s.   This represents a slight decrease in seat capacity on these very competitive routes, but somewhat balanced by the anticipated improvement to comfort and service, and no doubt operating costs to the airline.

Steve & Grant will be in Brisbane this weekend thanks to Aviation Australia for the annual Careers Expo.  If you’re in the Brisbane area, drop by and say hello!

In this week’s Across the Pond segment:

Taking time out from his vacation Frenchez Pietersz from AviationPlatform joins us to update us on developments in Holland and France with Air France and KLM looking to make significant savings across the group. One of the areas of focus is maintenance and changes are being made to the use of facilities for heavy maintenance and C-checks across the world. LinkedIn, Facebook.

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


David's F-22 Photo

David’s F-22 Photo

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

Episode 236 – The Last Great Airline Merger

The Helicopter MuseumPhoto courtesy of The Helicopter Museum

Industry analyst Henry Harteveldt returns as our guest. Henry is now with Hudson Crossing. Previously, he was Chief Research Officer and Co-Founder of Atmosphere Research Group, and before that he was with Forrester Research.

We talk with Henry about the merger of US Airways and American Airlines, including labor relationships, maintenance, competitive effects, the merging of company cultures, and other steps necessary before the deal is done. We also touch on airline brand loyalty and airline fees.

The week’s aviation news:

This week David takes a break from his Aircraft of the Week segment and gives his views on budget sequestration, a means of budget control used under the Budget Control Act of 2011.

In this week’s Australia Desk report:

We’re joined by Ben Ippolito, a PCDU team member and Air Traffic Controller, to discuss future changes to air traffic management in Australia and the news that authorities are looking at ways to better integrate civil and military systems.

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. Australia Desk archives can be found at www.australiadesk.net.

In this week’s Across the Pond segment:

This week we visit the world’s largest dedicated helicopter museum. With over 80 aircraft from all parts of the world its a wonderful place for all Avgeeks and certainly a hidden gem of a museum.

For more, see The Helicopter Museum website, The Helicopter Museum on Facebook and @HeliCollections on Twitter.

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.

Episode 232 – The Airline Reporter Returns


New American Airlines livery

David Parker Brown from the Airline Reporter.com blog returns as our guest.

We talk about the grounding of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet, the new American Airlines livery, and using personal electronic devices on flights.

David is organizing the Aviation Geekfest in Seattle February 16 and 17, 2013 with lots of exciting activities planned for the event.

Also find Airline Reporter.com on Twitter as @airlinereporter and on Facebook.

The week’s aviation news:

NTSB photo of Lithium Ion batteryNTSB photo of Lithium Ion battery

David’s Aircraft of the Week is the The Martin 167 Maryland bomber.

In this week’s Australia Desk report:

Qantas reduces its 787-8 order by one airframe (not related to the current AD issues) while their management is still managing to upset the their international pilots, BAE Systems to test their Taranis stealth UAV in the remote Outback areas of Australia, HNZ takes delivery of three new AW109SP helicopters for use on a ten year contract with mining company Rio Tinto, and the federal government blocks a bid by a local municipal government to have a second airport built in their area.

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. Australia Desk archives can be found at www.australiadesk.net.

In this week’s Across the Pond segment:

We find out this week why North Sea Helicopter Pilot Ian Grosz intends giving something back to aviation in the form of Take Off a scholarship programme focused at youngsters in Scotland. Follow @Austerpilot on Twitter.

AN-12 arriving in Calgary by Ian KershawAN-12 arriving in Calgary by Ian Kershaw


The music in Pieter’s recordings:

The music for both Across The Pond, Xtended and my segment on PCDU is performed by a UK band called WhiteHarts.

If you would like to see where they are on the internet you can go to my Blog – AlphaTangoPapa.Blogspot.com and see the very large credit to the band along with the links to their website presence. Not saying no one has ever been there but its quite prominent on the front page below the Airplane Geeks logo.

The link to me, is that my son Anthony played Bass for WhiteHarts for a while. They no longer play as WhiteHarts but all still play in some format or other. The guy singing the track I use in ATP which is called ‘Seven’, is Joe Bernie.

The track I use on Xtended (called ‘Epic’) is now exclusively Xtended’s to use and has not yet been published by the band (and I think unlikely to be).

The guitar infills I sometimes use you are correct are by one of my brothers, although since being involved in an road traffic accident, he is no longer able to play, which is very sad as he was very talented.

And finally I am a drummer (in the very distant past) so you never know, there might one day be a percussion insert!

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

Episode 230 – Kicking off 2013 with Richard Aboulafia

Trevor Smith from Desertpilot.com with the 1942 Champ
Trevor Smith from Desertpilot.com with the 1942 Champ

Guest Richard Aboulafia is Vice President, Analysis at Teal Group. We look at some of the major aviation developments from 2012 and look ahead to what we can expect in 2013.

We discuss narrowbody orders and the need for efficient aircraft in order to compete. With narrowbody technology on a plateau, it’s the efficiency of the engines that drive the economics.

China and Russian commercial aircraft prospects are covered as is Chinese military aviation. Also, prospects for general aviation in the U.S., the retirement of the Space Shuttles, the growth of commercial launch capability, and what that means for aerospace.

As for Boeing, Richard says watch the promptness of the 787-10 launch, and the 777X. Meanwhile Airbus is physically establishing itself on U.S. soil to mitigate exchange rate vulnerability, maybe put pressure on the unions, and help their prospects for the next military competition.

F-35 partner country concerns with price and delivery, airframer reluctance to take on commercial risk, and program vulnerability in times of budget crunch. Also watch the Korean FX3 fighter competition between the F-35 and the F-15. Even the USAF tanker resurfaces with issues getting the new hangars for them.

See Richard’s personal site at RichardAboulafia.com.

The week’s aviation news:

David’s Aircraft of the Week is the Aeronca 7AC Champion.

In this week’s Australia Desk report:

Looking forward to upcoming issues for 2013, the Qantas/Emirates tie up is going ahead as the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission gives its approval, while Virgin faces an uphill battle to get it’s buy out of Tiger Airways & Sky West approved. ADS-B will factor in the news in 2013 as Australian carriers who operate above FL290 are required to use install equipment and use it by mid December, and the LSA (RA-Aus) sector is facing an interesting period as CASA exercises its oversight powers and grounds up to 1,000 aircraft.

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. Australia Desk archives can be found at www.australiadesk.net.

In this week’s Across the Pond segment:

This week on Across The Pond we return to Southampton Airport in the UK to continue with a new mini series focusing on behind the scenes. Last year we spoke to Dave Lees, Managing Director who gave us his strategy for growth and customer service at the airport and who has now kindly allowed us a behind the scenes look at some of the areas we don’t normally see. This week we talk to Dan Townsend, Airport Assurance Manager who tells us all about their innovative and world leading technology used for avian control.

Find more about Southampton Airport at SouthamptonAirport.com and their blog, and follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Must attend events:


A Skycrane dipping at the Fern Lake Fire, Colorado by Paul Filmer
A Skycrane dipping at the Fern Lake Fire, Colorado by Paul Filmer

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