On January 11, 2023, the Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system failed and the FAA issued a domestic ground stop, leading to thousands of delayed and canceled flights. A corrupt database file has been cited as the cause of the failure. NAV CANADA reported issues with their NOTAM system on the same day. At the time, they did not believe the Canadian outage was related to the FAA outage. See FAA’s NOTAM computer outage affected military flights.
A Delta Air Lines 737-900 (Flight 1943) was on its takeoff roll when ATC noticed an American Airlines Boeing 777 (Flight 106) crossing the active runway. The Delta plane stopped about 1,000 feet before the crossing. The American 737 returned to the gate and passengers disembarked. Due to a crew resource issue, the flight resumed the next morning. Customers were given overnight accommodations.
Airbus is testing a pilot assistance feature called DragonFly, which can automatically divert a flight in an emergency. The system can pick a flight path to the best airport and communicate with air traffic control and an airline’s operations center. Even if the pilots are incapacitated, DragonFly can land the aircraft safely.
Australia News Desk
This week we have a follow-up on the news about Bonza Airline’s air operators certificate, which was approved by the regulator the day last week’s episode went live. There’s some consternation among the travel agent sector over Bonza’s decision not to service Sydney at all, but as we talked about last week, they’re trying a different strategy. Time will tell if it works or not.
On the tourism front, two of China’s three major carriers – Air China and China Southern – are boosting their schedule for flights to Australia, in a move that many hope will see the lucrative inbound Chinese tourist market ramping back up.
And a new network of satellites from Skykraft, sporting significant levels of Australian-made components, has been successfully deployed over the country, in a move that will eventually allow more accurate and reliable tracking of aircraft and WHF communications in some of the more remote areas of the continent.
We talk about cabin air management technology with the president of Pexco Aerospace. In the news, an AD for A220 engines, a terrible ground crew accident, the Southwest meltdown, an airport without jet fuel, and happy pets. Also, our safety card and T-Mobile Un‑carrier On giveaway winners and an Australia News Desk report.
Jon Page is the President of Pexco Aerospace, a company that produces aircraft interior systems, including trim and finish components. Pexco has developed AirShield, a cabin air management technology that augments existing HEPA filters to reduce shared air by 76 percent and doubles the rate particles are expelled from the cabin and replaced by purified air.
Jon explains how the AirShield product mounts over the gasper air vents in an airliner and creates “air curtains” or compartments for each person. Besides reducing shared air, the AirShields return more air to the HEPA filters and increase the effectiveness of the air purification system. Jon tells us about the design challenges and the STC certification process.
Before joining Pexco in July 2021, Jon was the President of Shield Restraint Systems. Prior to that, he was Vice President of Sales and General Manager at L.O.F., Inc., which sells automotive aftermarket accessories and hardware. Jon also had multiple roles as Director or Manager of Sales for companies including the IMMI Child Restraints team. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Purdue University and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin Consortium.
An airBaltic Airbus A220-300, registered as YL-AAQ, experienced a dual-engine shutdown while landing at Copenhagen Airport (CPH) in July 2021. The FAA investigation found that “the sequence of the auto-throttle increasing throttle to maintain Mach number, immediately followed by pilot command to decrease throttle to idle, caused a transient disagreement between actual and commanded thrust.” This triggered the thrust control malfunction (TCM) detection logic which shut down both engines as soon as wheel sensors detected that the aircraft had physically landed on the runway. The FAA issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD) that requires a FADEC software update.
A ground handling agent was killed after being sucked into the jet engine of an Embraer E175LR at Montgomery Regional Airport in Alabama. The victim was an employee of Piedmont Airlines, a subsidiary of American Airlines. FAA and NTSB are investigating.
In a regulatory filing, the airline says that holiday disruptions could cost as much as $825 million. More than 16,700 flights were canceled due to weather, staff shortages, and an outdated crew scheduling computer system. Thousands were stranded and luggage piled up at airports. SWAPA (the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association) published a letter that places the blame on the airline’s lack of leadership.
A leaking fuel pipe that serves San Diego County has led to the unavailability of jet fuel at San Diego International Airport. Some flights are being canceled, others are being diverted for refueling stops, and airlines are tankering extra fuel.
A puppy was abandoned by his owner at San Francisco International Airport after the dog lacked the paperwork to remain in the United States. United Airlines partnered with SF SPCA to find a new home for the pup.
The Animal Foundation named three kittens up for adoption: Frontier, Delta, and Spirit. Frontier offered up to four flight vouchers to anyone who adopted the Frontier kitten, and two vouchers each for the other kittens.
Aviation training at the University of Maine Augusta, Boeing and Airbus orders at Farnborough, Delta TechOps LEAP-1B MRO, a fighter market forecast, an open fan engine demonstrator, dropping the KC-46 co-pilot, electronic bag tags from Alaska Airlines, airline pilots who decide to exit the plane, and rebalancing travel demand and airline capacity.
Aviation Training at the University of Maine Augusta
Experimental Aircraft Association president Tom Poberezny has died at the age of 75. Tom was EAA president from 1989-2010 and succeeded his father, EAA founder Paul Poberezny. EAA CEO and Chairman of the Board Jack Pelton said, “It is not lost on us that Tom’s passing occurred on the opening day of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, the event he led into world prominence as its chairman beginning in the 1970s.”
Boeing received 172 firm orders at Farnborough while Airbus saw 85 orders. However, Airbus holds a much more significant backlog than Boeing and received a commitment for 292 jets from Chinese customers recently.
Delta TechOps will become a provider of MRO services for CMFI LEAP-1B engines. Delta TechOps provides support for Delta’s fleet of aircraft and more than 150 other aviation and airline customers worldwide.
Forecast International released a new study, “The Market for Fighter Aircraft” ($2050). The company projects over 3,855 fighters built from 2022 through 2031. In 2022 dollars, that represents $281.4 billion.
Airbus and CFM International are collaborating on an open fan (open rotor or unducted fan) engine architecture. The Flight Test Demonstrator is under CFM’s Revolutionary Innovation for Sustainable Engine (RISE) technology demonstration program. Testing is on an A380 with the engine replacing the usual #2 engine.
The Air Force’s Air Mobility Command is thinking about reducing crew size on Boeing KC-46 Pegasus tankers during dangerous missions. The concern is that a conflict in the Indo-Pacific region could involve a Chinese anti-aircraft missile attack. Tankers are particularly vulnerable. Reducing the number of airmen onboard a tanker would minimize casualties.
Alaska Airlines is selectively rolling out electronic bag tags that can be activated up to 24 hours before a flight with the Alaska Airlines mobile app. At the airport, touching your phone to the tag will display flight information. No check-in is required. The program starts at San Jose International Airport in California.
It was a disagreement between the two after a 90-minute weather delay. Following an announcement by the pilot, the plane returned to the gate. Live and Let’s Fly claims “a credible source” said the captain was arguing with ramp agents and barking orders.
The FAA IASA program (International Aviation Safety Assessment), Bombardier’s business jet strategy, possibly another AN-225, the American/Sabre antitrust verdict, ALPA and pilot retirement age, a lawsuit alleges Southwest concealed safety defects, the Facebook free ticket scam, and a NEXUS interview report.
In May 2021, the FAA announced that the Government of Mexico did not meet ICAO safety standards and downgraded Mexico’s rating to Category 2 from Category 1. (Federal Aviation Administration Announces Results of Mexico’s Safety Assessment.) Under that rating, Mexican air carrier level of service to the U.S would be frozen: they could continue existing service to the United States, but any new service and routes were prohibited. Also, codesharing with a U.S. airline would only be permitted one-way and no U.S. carrier codes on Mexican-operated flights.
The FAA International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) Program was established in 1992 and employs a 4-person IASA assessment team that looks at eight critical elements of a safety oversight system. The assessment is performed with IASA Assessment Checklists available on FAA’s website. The assessment results are either Category 1 (the country complies with ICAO standards) or Category 2 (they do not comply with ICAO standards.)
When the IASA program first began, over 66% of assessed countries with operators seeking U.S. service did not meet ICAO standards. Now, 90% of countries with an IASA rating are Category 1. See IASA Program Results.
At EBACE 2022, Bombardier showed a model of their blended-wing Eco Jet concept. The company describes its three pillars to reduce business aviation carbon emissions: aerodynamic improvements, sustainable aviation fuel, and new propulsion systems (hydrogen, hybrid-electric, and all-electric).
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky referenced the An-225 in an online meeting with Ukrainian students. He said there had been plans to build a second An-225 but that project was too expensive. “But in this case,” he says, “it’s not a matter of money, it’s a matter of ambition.”
In its long-running antitrust lawsuit, American Airlines Group claimed Sabre Corp charged excessive fees and suppressed competition. After five days of deliberation, the federal jury ruled in favor of American and awarded the carrier $1 in damages. The case goes back to 2011 in a suit brought by US Airways before it merged with American.
The Air Line Pilots Association says it will oppose any attempt to raise the retirement age for pilots. The union believes such a change would disrupt the seniority-based flight bidding process. The older pilots wouldn’t be able to bid on international flights if other countries stayed with the age 65 retirement mandate. In a statement, ALPA said:
“When age 65+ airline pilots return to domestic-only flying, they will then displace more junior pilots and both cohorts may require training on different aircraft, adding to the training costs of air carriers. Furthermore, most regional airline pilots leave the regional industry long before age 65 for more lucrative jobs at mainline or low-cost carriers or other opportunities. Therefore, the pool of domestic-service pilots will not increase appreciably without additional training costs or disruptions.”
Reportedly, a Southwest manager asked Boeing officials if engineers could install a new flight-control safety alert required for the MAX on one of Southwest’s older 737s, and then once the MAX was certified, deactivate it. Plaintiffs allege that this move would let Boeing tell the FAA that the alert was not new on the MAX. Thus, no additional pilot training would be required, which Southwest wanted to avoid. The class-action lawsuit was brought on behalf of Southwest passengers who purchased tickets between the time of the first crash and the second.
A former TWA flight attendant describes the freedom of air travel in a new memoir. In the news, Delta says it will pay flight attendants during the boarding process, a resurrected Jet Airways says it won’t hire male flight attendants, American Airlines fires some reserve flight attendants, a custom 747-8 with 42 hours goes to the boneyard, add fuel shortages to the list of summer air travel challenges, and the F-15EX program faces some headwind.
From the time she graduated college in 1978 until 1986, Ann Hood was a TWA flight attendant. In her new book Fly Girl: A Memoir she reveals how she went from being a small-town girl with big-time dreams to flying 35,000 feet up in the air.
In Fly Girl, Ann gives the reader a look at the freedom and love of life that aviation offered. She tells us how the job empowered her, despite its roots in sexist standards where stewardesses were part of blatant innuendo in airline marketing.
In our conversation, Ann describes how air travel was different in the 1970s and 80s when passengers dressed up for the flight and wrote letters onboard for the cabin crew to mail. Of course, the food served was something altogether different, even in coach.
Ann observes how life unfolds on the airplane, meaning that the passengers all have different life stories, emotional states, and reasons for traveling. Flight attendants learn how to understand that and be compassionate and respectful of the passengers. She also comments on the qualities of a really good flight attendant and talks about long layovers and the L-1011.
As a bestselling author, Ann has written 14 novels, a collection of short stories, some nonfiction, a book series for middle readers, and much more. Find her and where to buy Fly Girl at her website AnnHood.us.
Delta is the only major U.S. airline whose flight attendants aren’t unionized. Delta has more than 20,000 flight attendants. The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) wants to change that and a union campaign is underway. Now Delta says that starting June 2, 2022, they will pay their flight attendants while the plane is boarding, upending the block-to-block standard. However, the pay will be half the hourly rate.
India’s Jet Airways went out of business in 2019, but investors are trying to bring it back to life. They want to do everything they can to keep costs down, so they plan to have flight attendants share hotel rooms. That’s fine, as long as the roommates are of the same gender. Otherwise, the airline would have to pay for two rooms. Their solution is to start with a flight attendant staff of just one gender, only allowing males into the company once a certain operational scale is reached.
When called, flight attendants on “reserve duty” have to be at work within two hours. If they are commuters (not living in the city of their assigned airport) they are expected to stay within two hours of travel to that airport. It seems some flight attendants were staying at their home location, betting they wouldn’t get called. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) is warning its members that American is investigating no-show reserve flight attendants to see if they were AWOL. In an internal memo, the union told members, “During this investigation, they will pull all your travel benefits history, including past, current AA listings, travel, and other airlines. They will use other evidence to substantiate their claim that a Flight Attendant was not in a position to report within the contractual timeline.”
In 2012, a new Boeing 747-8 was delivered for the personal use of Saudi Arabian Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Before the full VIP refit was accomplished, the Sultan passed away and the jet was abandoned for a full decade. N458BJ only clocked 42 hours of flight time. Recently, the 747 was flown to Pinal Airpark in Arizona.
“We’re sorry to let you know that your flight has been canceled because of an airport-wide fuel shortage at Johannesburg Airport. We are closely monitoring the situation and we will resume operations as soon as possible.”
Officials in the U.S. Air Force are examining options for canceling the service’s new F-15EX Eagle II fighter program. Originally 144 aircraft were planned, but now the U.S Air Force is considering capping the program at 80 aircraft, making more funding available for the F-35A.
JetBlue and Frontier eye Spirit Airlines, an Air France B777 and a DHL 757 make emergency landings, the Collier Trophy winner is announced and Airplane Geeks listeners predicted the outcome, airlines are replacing some regional flights with buses, and Boston shuts down a flight crew crash pad.
The BEA says an Air France Boeing 777 on approach to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport was involved in a “serious incident.” The BEA reported on social media “instability of flight controls on final, go-around, hard controls, flight path oscillations.”
A DHL Boeing 757-200 cargo aircraft made an emergency landing shortly after takeoff, exited the runway, and broke in two. The crew was reportedly unharmed. A hydraulic system failure was apparently a factor in the pilot’s request to make an emergency landing.
The National Aeronautic Association announced that NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Team has been named the recipient of the 2021 Robert J. Collier Trophy for “… the first powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet, thereby opening the skies of Mars and other worlds for future scientific discovery and exploration.”
The Landline Company is providing bus service for American Airlines passengers between airports. Landline provides a similar service for Sun Country Airlines in Minneapolis-St. Paul and United Airlines in Denver.
“Crash Pads” are a popular arrangement for airline crew, but Boston’s Inspectional Services Department raided what they said was an illegal flight attendant crash pad. It was a garage with bunk beds for as many as 20 flight attendants.
Hosts this Episode
Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, and Rob Mark.
The producer of the Pilot Wife Podcast explains navigating life in an aviation family, and the CEO of Northern Pacific Airways talks about the new airline. In the news, an Emirates 777 close call, FAA clears low-visibility landings at 5G airports, FlyersRights sues FAA over seat standards, American Airlines and The Points Guy sue each other, American reduces service, lost money at the airport, a mystery coating on stealth fighters, and a listener report on the aircraft assisting Tonga after the eruption.
Jackie Ulmer produces the Pilot Wife Podcast which helps aviation families navigate life. She’s been married to an airline pilot for over three decades, so she has more than a little experience living with a commercial pilot.
Pilot Wife Podcast explores the challenges faced by the spouse of a pilot, including understanding airline employee scheduling, living with the realities of a 27/7 business, and how to manage holidays and important life events that often have to come second. Add to that managing the children and overcoming loneliness.
In 2021, others in her online network encouraged Jackie to mentor pilot wives. As a life coach and a business coach, she had the requisite skills, and as the long-time spouse of a pilot she had the life experience. The idea of a podcast came to her and she dove into it, going live in December 2021.
On the Pilot Wife Podcast website, you’ll find the Checklist, Jackie’s blog, and of course the podcast episodes. In addition, she co-runs the Aviation Fitness Facebook group which looks at fitness from a mind-body-spirit perspective. The group is for anyone in aviation, including spouses and partners. Her business site Peak Performance Habits is where you’ll find all of that plus coaching and recipes.
Last December, an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER came within 175 feet of the ground in a neighborhood near Dubai International Airport. Emirates says only that the incident is under investigation. Some evidence suggests that an incorrect setting was made in the airplane’s autopilot during the pre-flight.
Last week, the FAA said that almost two-thirds of U.S. commercial fleets have been cleared “to perform low-visibility landings at airports” where 5G wireless service has been deployed. Among the aircraft models that have been cleared by the FAA are Airbus A300, A310, A319, A320, A330, A340, A350, and A380 models and Boeing 717, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, and MD-10/-11 models.
Missing from the above list is the Boeing 787. The FAA issued an AD for the Boeing 787 saying that 5G interference with its radar altimeter could affect other systems. These “could prevent engine and braking systems from transitioning to landing mode, which could prevent an aircraft from stopping on the runway” under certain circumstances.
The FAA had a statutory deadline more than two years ago to issue minimum airline seat size standards. So far, the FAA hasn’t even started the rulemaking process. So FlyersRights.org has filed a court petition that seeks to order the FAA to issue the standards. FlyersRights claims to be the largest airline passenger non-profit organization with over 60,000 members.
American Airlines has been taking action against websites that use AAdvantage member data, such as tracking frequent flier program balances. One way these sites get the member data is through a process called “screen scraping” where members provide their login credentials to the site, which then logs in as the customer and reads the data off the screen. American says this method violates their terms of service and additionally that The Points Guy has been using airline trademarks and copyrighted material.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), representing American Airlines’ flight attendants, wants a temporary reduction of onboard service levels and customer touchpoints. This is intended to “maintain the highest level of flight attendant and passenger safety.” As of January 26, 2022, American will be making a number of service reductions.
A passenger traveling from Germany to Thailand via Dubai International Airport found at his destination that he’d lost a small bag containing €33,600 (approx US$38,000) in bank notes. Fearing the worst, the man thought his money was gone for good. But he was to learn that the bag and its contents were found and ultimately reunited with him.
The U.S. Air Force has been testing some kind of coating on stealthy aircraft. It looks metallic, but depending on the viewing angle it looks either shiny or matte. Seen before on the F-22 and the Scaled Composites Model 401, it’s been spotted now on the F-35C and the F-117 Nighthawk.
Aviation after the Tonga disaster
A report from listener Errol Cavit looks at the impact on commercial aviation and the aircraft involved in relief operations in Tonga.
Northern Pacific Airways
Brian Coleman talked with Northern Pacific Airways CEO Rob McKinney at the hangar event where the airline revealed its livery on its first Boeing 757-200. The new long-haul airline plans to serve cities in the states of New York, Florida, California, Texas, and Nevada, with direct flights to cities in Japan and Korea through Anchorage over the Northern route. Operations are planned to start in 2022.
Update March 6, 2022: Our guest in Episode 694 (published March 9, 2022) is Edmond Huot. His team designed the Northern Pacific livery and you might want to give that fascinating interview a listen. Also, a video of the livery reveal is now available:
Innovations in Flight Outdoor Aviation Display is scheduled for Saturday, June 18, 2022, at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Free tickets are required, parking is $15, and registration will launch soon.
Hosts this Episode
Max Flight, Rob Mark, David Vanderhoof, and Max Trescott. With contributions from Brian Coleman and Errol Cavit.
A former F-14 Naval Aviator communicates the military aviation experience through his novels, videos, and writing. In the news, the Rolls-Royce all-electric airplane appears to have set three world records, an F-35B crash, flight attendant bonuses for the holiday travel season, flying under the influence, and an open rotor engine demonstrator program. Plus, an Across the Pond segment.
Ward Carroll is a former F-14 Naval Aviator who spent 20 years as an F-14 Radar Intercept Officer. He is the author of the bestselling Punk trilogy about life in an F-14 squadron. Punk’s Fight, Punk’s War, and the new Punk’s Wing are widely considered to be realistic portrayals of naval aviators in the context of a techno-thriller.
In his novels, Ward creates characters that are recognizable as representatives of real people doing real jobs. As an example, through his female character, Ward confronts the issues surrounding the integration of women into the Tomcat community.
Ward’s YouTube channel has grown to be very popular and gets much of his focus these days. He talks, as he says, about “airplanes, music, and writing . . . but mostly airplanes.”
In our aviation news segment, Ward shares the perspectives of a Naval Aviator as we discuss the recent F-35B crash after takeoff from a British aircraft carrier.
Outside the Navy, Ward has extensive experience as a military journalist. He was editor of Military.com and Approach magazine, and writes for the US Naval Institute. Besides his passion for aviation, Ward is a lover of music and plays in the band MiLES FRoM CLEVeR.
In test runs, the Rolls-Royce “Spirit of Innovation” electric airplane has flown 387.4 mph (623 km/h). The company believes they have set three all-electric world records and await verification from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI): top speed over 3 km of 345.4 mph, top speed over 15 km of 330 mph, and time to climb to 3,000 meters of 202 seconds.
According to a company memo, JetBlue Airways flight attendants could earn a $1,000 attendance bonus if they don’t call out through early January. Meanwhile, if they meet attendance goals, Southwest Airlines will provide flight attendants and some other operations employees 120,000 points in the airline’s frequent flyer program. American Airlines flight attendants can earn pay bonuses for peak holiday trips as well as for meeting attendance goals through early next year. $1,000 bonuses are available to other staff and regional airline subsidiaries.
A 63-year-old United Airlines pilot was arrested after being found four times over the legal limit. After drinking whiskey at a Glasgow pub during a 2019 layover, the man became fall-over drunk. A concerned member of the public tipped off the airline with a Tweet. The pilot was sentenced to 10 months in jail.
GE Aviation and Safran launched the Revolutionary Innovations for Sustainable Engines (RISE) initiative in 2021. This open-fan demonstrator program anticipates a mid-2030s application. It could also feed technologies to the LEAP-1 turbofan engine. The open rotor design features a second stage of fixed variable pitch stators, a fan-drive gear system, a compact high-pressure core for increased thermodynamic efficiency, waste exhaust heat used to preheat combustion air, and ceramic matrix composites in the hot section.
Across the Pond
Aviation from the European perspective with Pieter Johnson.
Erika Armstrong joins us to talk about teaching the next generation of pilots. In the news, GE plans to split into three companies, preliminary details on the MD-87 crash, Boeing liability for 737 MAX crashes, and a Northeast Alliance update. Also, the Australia Desk and the MotoArt/Plane Tag festival.
Erika Armstrong has had an extensive career as a Red Cross, charter, corporate, cargo, hazmat, and air ambulance pilot and captain. She flew 28 different aircraft before going to the airlines and eventually becoming captain on a B727-200.
We look at teaching the next generation of pilots and the effects of Covid on student pilot instruction. Erika has been focused on teaching student pilots to spend more time looking at themselves and understanding their startle reflexes in order to better react in an emergency. Erika also comments on student pilot diversity and the high washout rate.
Erika believes this is a good time to become a pilot and explains how business aviation has opened up due to the pandemic. We also hear how business aviation is different from commercial aviation, especially from a pilot’s perspective.
Concerning unruly passengers, Erika makes a good point that airlines and airports should look at how they can help passengers de-stress.
The NTSB provided details of the fatal October 19, 2021 crash of Boeing MD-87, N987AK, operated by 987 Investments LLC. The plane overran the departure end of runway 36 at Houston Executive Airport (TME), Brookshire, Texas after a rejected takeoff. The left and right elevator geared tab input rod links were found to be damaged. This is similar to the damage found during an investigation of a Boeing MD-83 which crashed after a rejected takeoff on March 8, 2017. See: Rejected takeoff and runway excursion at Willow Run Airport, Ypsilanti, Michigan.
The joint court motion was filed by Boeing lawyers with lawyers for the families of the 157 victims of the 737 MAX crash in Ethiopia. The company accepted sole liability for the accident. Boeing explicitly agreed that the pilots were not at fault.
The defendant, Boeing, has admitted that it produced an airplane that had an unsafe condition that was a proximate cause of Plaintiff’s compensatory damages caused by the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accident.
American Airlines acquired the legacy assets of the Eastern Air Shuttle when it merged with US Airways in 2013. American plans to end the Boston to New York LaGuardia service by summer 2022. Instead, Northeast Alliance partner JetBlue Airways will operate the Boston – LaGuardia route for both carriers. Boston to New York JFK and Washington Reagan National service will continue under American branding.
Australia News Desk
Steve and Grant provide news and views from Down Under:
Green aviation topics such as sustainable aviation fuels and hydrogen power. Also, airline flight cancellations due to weather and staff shortages, flight automation for non-pilots, the F-15EX engine competition, FAA and FCC disagreement on 5G interference for pilots, a possible national no-fly list for unruly passengers, and interviews from the 2021 Pacific Air Show.
A number of Cessna piston-powered aircraft are now approved for 91-octane unleaded (91UL), 94UL, or 100VLL (very low lead) fuel. Textron Aviation announced this for the Cessna 172 Skyhawk and 182 Skylane. The 206 Turbo Stationair HD aircraft is now approved for 100VLL. These fuels are cleaner burning compared to others with higher lead levels.
The short answer: maybe 3 or 4 decades. There are issues with carrying the fuel onboard a large commercial aircraft, creating the infrastructure, and price. SAF, or sustainable aviation fuels, is a much shorter-term step.
Biodiesel is in high demand and Government incentives are helping ramp up production significantly. A third of all soybean oil produced in the U.S. already goes to make biodiesel. This is putting pressure on feedstocks, like soybean oil, which costs around a dollar per pound now. Last year it was $0.35.
Weekend staff shortages and bad weather were blamed for the cancellations. American reported that 376 flights were canceled on Friday, October 29, 551 flights were canceled on Saturday, and 480 more on Sunday. FlightAware said American has delayed more than 1,000 flights since Friday. About 1,800 flight attendants are scheduled to return from leave. The airline recently hired over 600 more and plans to start them by the end of December.
The first lot of eight F-15EX fighters were powered by the competing GE F110-129 engine. The Air Force announced that the engine will continue to power the F-15EX. The firm-fixed-price deal could be for up to 329 engines. Deliveries will start in October 2023 and run through June 2031
In FAA Plans Warnings to Pilots, Airlines Over New 5G Rollout, the Wall Street Journal says the FAA is preparing a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin and an airworthiness directive saying that cell towers transmitting 5G signals could affect certain automated features that help fly and land airplanes. Like radar altimeters. On the other hand, both the FCC and the telecom industry say there is no evidence the 5G signals will interfere with aviation.
The FAA gathered top U.S. airline executives for a meeting to discuss the problem of unruly passengers. The airlines were given a month to develop concrete “additional steps” that reduce such incidents. A national “no-fly” list used by all airlines was suggested by Delta, but others prefer that the issue is handled by law enforcement.
Pacific Air Show
Brian Coleman attended the Pacific Air Show and spoke with a number of people, including Air Force Reserve Master Sgt Uscanga Harris, Ed, Gary with the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, Jay, and Stephanie.