Guest Mark Baker is the President and CEO of AOPA, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. In the news, wake turbulence from an A380 flips a Challenger 604, two flight attendants sue American Airlines for failure to enforce company policy, an engine on a Saab 340 loses its propeller in flight. Also, an interview from the National Air & Space Museum Restoration Hangar, and an idea for a circular runway.
Mark Baker, president and CEO, AOPA.
Mark Baker is President and CEO of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. He is also chairman of AOPA’s Political Action Committee, chief executive officer for the AOPA Foundation, president of the International Council of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Associations representing pilots in 72 countries, and publisher of AOPA Pilot, the world’s largest aviation publication.
We talk about air traffic control privatization, user fees, BasicMed, and other areas of aviation advocacy by AOPA. Mark tells us about the effectiveness of AOPA regional fly-ins, and touches on aviation safety and Congressional general aviation caucuses.
Mark is a longtime general aviation pilot and has been flying for 35 years with over 7,500 hours. He holds certificates for commercial pilot with single- and multi-engine land and seaplane ratings, rotorcraft rating, and type ratings in the Cessna Citation 500 and 525s
President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget would privatize air traffic control operations by creating an “independent, non-governmental organization.” Who would control the new corporate entity, and how it will be funded?
An Emirates Airbus A380-800 was at FL350 over the Arabian Sea when a Challenger 604 business jet passed 1000 feet underneath in opposite direction. The A380 continued to Sydney uneventfully. The Challenger didn’t fare so well in the wake turbulence from the A380.
Two flight attendants claiming sexual and gender harassment on social media have filed federal lawsuits against American Airlines for failed to enforce its policies governing employee use of social media.
Interviews from Heli-Expo 2017, a Boeing 797 might be in our future, a hybrid/electric powered vertical takeoff airplane is taking shape, companies attend the 2017 International Women in Aviation Conference looking to hire, some post-merger developments for Alaska and Virgin America, and a flight instructor who really was not. Also, a report on EAA at SXSW, and another memorable flight from a listener.
An MI-24 was displayed at the 2017 Heli-Expo. Courtesy Cold War Air Museum.
Helicopter Association International says over 17,000 people attended Heli-Expo 2017 in Dallas, Texas, with 731 exhibiting businesses and organizations, and 62 aircraft on display. Our Airplane Geeks Reporter-at-Large “Launchpad” Marzari attended the event and recorded a number of interviews.
Charles Schneider, CEO of MyGoFlight. This company offers iPad flight apps and accessories, and introduced a HUD concept product.
Emmanuel Davidson, President of AOPA France, talks about bringing medical certification reform to Europe for light planes, and the role of IAOPA, the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations.
Bill Thompson from Embry-Riddle was at the show to support their graduates.
John Batey from the Cold War Air Museum (CWAM) brought one of their Mi-24 helicopter gunships. The museum is located on Lancaster Airport, 20 minutes south of Dallas.
Giovanni Mazzoni, AW609 program manager, describes the twin-engined tiltrotor VTOL aircraft with a configuration similar to the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey, and aimed at the civil aviation market.
And then Launchpad ran into an aviation journalist named Rob Mark.
There has been talk of a so-called “B757 replacement.” Something between the single-aisle 737 and the widebody 787. It’s been called the MOM airplane (Middle of the Market) and the NMA (either New Mid-sized Airplane or New Market Airplane). Now Steven Udvar-Hazy, chairman of Air Lease Corporation, says, “Call it a 797. That’s what it’s going to be.”
XTI Aircraft Company is teaming up with Bye Aerospace to develop a hybrid/electric powered prototype of their TriFan vertical takeoff airplane. XTI says that because of cost and weight reductions, the first TriFan prototype will be a full-size rather than the 65% scale version that had been planned.
The 2017 International Women in Aviation Conference was held March 2-4, 2017 and Dr. Peggy Chabrian, president and co-founder of WAI noted that, “Major airlines have been coming to WAI for the past four years and hiring WAI members in significant numbers, but this year the companies accepting résumés seem to be more diverse.
Since its merger with Alaska, Virgin America has added a number of new destinations from San Francisco. It looks like a strategy shift with Virgin America now adding mid-sized markets (as Alaska was successful doing) instead of the large-market approach that characterized Virgin America.
A 25 year old man represented himself to North Weald Airfield (EGSX) in Essex, England as a pilot and flight instructor. Suspicious work colleagues investigated and found he was not. After the man plead guilty to several counts, he was sentenced to an eight-month jail sentence suspended for 14 months, 140 hours of unpaid work, and costs.
Listener John tells us about his most memorable flight.
Visit AvGeekFests.com for a calendar of aviation events where AvGeeks can meet up and participate in aviation events.
Episode 186 of The UAV Digest features the AOPA Senior Director for UAS Programs Kat Swain talking about why AOPA is welcoming drone pilots to the organization.
We talk about being a second officer with an expat from a major Asian airline. In the news, families of MH-370 victims take the search into their own hands, a new flight approach pattern is under study, a WASP T-6 trainer and a film, a looming strike at Chicago O’Hare, and a Suzy story.
Andy Bard is a second officer at a major Asian airline, and he currently flies the Airbus 330 and A350. Originally from Northern Europe, Andy now considers himself a lifetime expat, and for the past 15 years he has worked all over the world in sales and office jobs before giving it all up to pursue a career as an airline pilot.
Andy explains the role and responsibilities of the second officer, also known as a cruise pilot or cruise relief pilot. He tells us about the training provided by the airline and how the class was composed of both locals and expats. Some had flight experience, and others had very little.
We talk about the implications of heavy demand for pilots in a region that has relatively little general aviation activity. Andy also gives us some insight into the life of an expat pilot, as well as his impressions of flying the A350.
Before being hired by the airline, Andy had around 300 hours, with a FAA CPL with instrument and multi ratings. He also has as “frozen” EASA ATPL. To date, Andy has about 1,000 total hours, and he explains how the loggable hours for license purposes derived from second officer time are significantly lower.
Six pieces of wreckage from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-370 have been found on the coast of Madagascar. The Voice 370 family association says “there has been no systematic, organized search by any responsible party. This leaves the (next-of-kin) no other choice except to take it upon ourselves to do something to find answers and closure.” Four Malaysians, two Chinese, and a French next-of-kin are planning a self-financed trip to Madagascar in December.
The University of North Dakota and the AOPA Air Safety Institute are studying the use of a continuous turning approach or “circular pattern” as an alternative to the traditional “box” or rectangular traffic pattern. The idea came out of a recent loss-of-control panel where it was thought that changing the landing pattern might improve safety and reduce loss-of-control accidents.
The NTSB said “better training on how to eliminate distraction, avoid stalls, and manage weather issues will put pilots back in control and give them better command of their outcomes.” The GA accident rate per 100,000 flight hours dropped from 8.45 in 1994 to 4.66 in 2015, and the fatal accident rate dropped from 1.73 to 0.89 during the same period, according to the AOPA Air Safety Institute.
This is not a news story per se, but it does contain some interesting aspects about being a notable airline pilot, including a story about past Airplane Geeks podcast guest Patrick Smith, publisher of the Ask the Pilot website, and author of the NY Times bestselling book “Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel.”
The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) started a Kickstarter program to fund the acquisition and restoration of one of the actual AT-6 aircraft used for Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) flight training. This aircraft will be featured in a new film, Rise Above: WASP, narrated by actress Sigourney Weaver.
Some of the airport janitors, baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, and wheelchair attendants are paid minimum wage, which is $8.25 an hour in Illinois. They want to be paid $15 an hour and so they plan to strike. But after the very busy Thanksgiving holiday.
Airplane of the Week
David brings us another Suzy story, this one called Suzy and the Turkey Shoot. Suzy also appeared in Episode 279Christmas, Episode 286Valentine’s Day, and Episode 412Stars.
The Ohio State University’s Center for Aviation Studies, a student pilot killed under mysterious circumstances, new wings for F-15C/Ds, new airline regulations, Bombardier layoffs, seat assignments by passenger size, hot props, airshow and air race reports, and a paint job that fails as a conspiracy theory.
Martin Rottler, M.S., CFI, is a Lecturer and the Industry Relations Coordinator for the Ohio State University’s Center for Aviation Studies in Columbus, OH.
Martin explains the degree programs offered for students seeking professional pilot, management, operations, airport planning, or airport management careers. We discuss the passion for aviation that students have today, the cost of education and flight training, the pilot shortage, and accumulating hours with activities such as giving flight instruction, flying 135 cargo, and skydiving operations. Martin talks about efforts to increase student diversity, as well as pilot cadet programs in conjunction with airlines. These offer several benefits to students, including tuition reimbursement, airline company introductions, ground school, and social events.
As a lecturer, Martin is primarily responsible for teaching several courses a semester and advising students. As the Center’s Industry Relations Coordinator, Martin is the primary point of contact for the program’s industry partners across all facets of the aviation industry, including airlines, business aviation, and airports.
Martin brings a variety of aviation experiences to his teaching, having worked in Corporate Flight Operations for Cirrus Aircraft in Duluth, MN and in Flight Operations Quality Assurance at Korean Air in Seoul, South Korea. He currently holds a Commercial Pilot certificate, an Instrument Rating and is a Certified Flight Instructor.
Student pilot Feras M. Freitekh, a Jordanian national, was killed and his instructor, Arian Prevalla injured when their twin-engine Piper PA-34 crashed on Main Street, in East Hartford, Connecticut. The crash site is directly across the street from Pratt & Whitney. Reportedly, Freitekh was arguing with his instructor before the flight.
In 2005, an airplane crashed after an engine failure, killing the pilot. His spouse sued the engine manufacturer, claiming a carburetor design defect. In 2014, a U.S. District Court found that there was no design defect in the carburetor because the engine was certified and approved by the FAA. A U.S. Court of Appeals reversed the decision in April 2016, ruling that FAA certification of the engine did not mean there was no design defect, and the FAA does not preempt state law standards of care as far as aviation products liability goes.
Federal complaints against Hawaiian Airlines claimed the airline practice of assigning seats only at the terminal discriminated against Samoans. The complaint has been denied and Hawaiian will continue the policy on flights between Honolulu and American Samoa.
The Airplane of the Week
This week, the conspiracy theorists came out to play. VFC-12 debuted a new camouflage scheme, based on the SU-34 Fullbacks seen in action over Syria. Photos of the new camo appeared first on Facebook, on a page that is dedicated to Adversary and Aggressor aircraft. The photos were then somehow hijacked into a story about the U.S. planning a “false flag” operation in Syria.
Photo by David Vanderhoof.
Ted attended the Red Bull Air Race in Indianapolis and sent us a great audio report.
Race plane, airliner, and helicopter at the Red Bull air race. Can you spot all three? Photo by Ted.
Max Flight was a guest on the FS In Focus podcast with host Nicolas Jackson. The show aired live on Sky Blue Radio on October 15th, 2016. The episode starts with Capt. Nick from the Airline Pilot Guy podcast, then Max comes in at 1:03:00 talking jet engine technology. Tracy Shiffman from VATSIM’s Worldflight charity group starts at 1:42:00.
Brian has been traveling quite a bit lately, including to Singapore and Hong Kong. He did manage to see the last flight of the Cathay 747.
Huntington Beach Airshow
Back in California, Brian caught the Huntington Beach Airshow and recorded an interview with Staff Sgt Danny Wolfram of the United States Air Force. He was entertained by the “Screamin Sasquatch,” a biplane with a jet engine.
We talk with Master Flight Instructor Greg Brown about flight training and flight instructors, pilot training at American Airlines, the Boeing 737 MAX first flight, air traffic control privatization and user fees.
Greg Brown with two of his photo art prints
Greg Brown writes the Flying Carpet column in AOPA Flight Training magazine. He also runs a Group on Facebook for student pilots called Greg Brown’s Student Pilot Pep Talk Group. Greg has been a licensed pilot since 1972 and a CFI since 1979. He was the 2000 National Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year, winner of the 1999 NATA Excellence in Pilot Training Award, and the first-ever Master Flight Instructor.
Along with his writing activities, Greg has been an avid photographer from childhood. Since earning his pilot’s license at age 19, he’s been shooting photos from aloft, some of which have illustrated his Flying Carpet column and book. Many are now available as fine art metal prints.
The new pilot training and recruiting program will take place at regional subsidiaries Envoy Air, Piedmont Airlines, and PSA Airlines. This is intended to bring more pilots into the system, and eventually feed mainline operations. The program offers up to $16,000 in tuition reimbursement, and training in the Airline Transport Pilot Certification Training Program course at no charge. American has created partnerships with more than 40 universities and flight schools.
American Airlines reported lower revenue for the fourth quarter, but the drop in fuel prices more than compensated and resulted in record profits. They expect to save another $2 billion on fuel in 2016.
Boeing conducted a successful first flight of the 737 MAX on January 29, 2016. This was an initial test flight conducted mostly at 15,000 feet and with speed limited to 250 knots. Takeoff was at 9:48 in the morning with the landing at 12:32. There are three more test aircraft to come, and Boeing plans flights six days a week through the summer.
Boeing was awarded a $25.8 million contract for preliminary work on Air Force One aircraft based on the 747-8. The total value of the two airplanes is believed to be $1.65 billion. The only other viable option was the A380.
A coalition of consumer-advocacy groups created a petition addressed to Chairman Shuster, Ranking Member DeFazio, and the members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The petition asks, “Instead of privatizing air traffic control, we believe that Congress should create a pathway to allow the FAA to move forward with long-term capital planning without relinquishing Congressional oversight or allowing a new corporate monopoly run by the airlines to slash air traffic control jobs. The cost of privatization is simply too high. It is bad for workers, bad for passengers, and harmful to smaller and rural communities.”
This week David doesn’t look at just one plane. Instead, he tells us the history of one mission flown by three airplanes over time. All three were Boeing products, and with a 55-year anniversary this week, and Boeing’s 100th, it’s time to go through the Looking Glass.
Boeing EC-135C Looking Glass by Mike Freer – Touchdown-aviation.
U.S. Navy Boeing E-6B Mercury airborne command post. U.S. Navy photo.
The Logbook podcast – Don “The Pre-Buy Guy” Sebastian is the storyteller in Episode 26 of Lucas Weakley’s podcast.
The Age of Aerospace – This five-part series sponsored by Boeing explores the advancements in civilian, military and space technology around some of America’s greatest achievements. On Science Channel.
Links from listener Stuart on the topic of shining lasers at aircraft:
Boeing announced a new airline pilot training program where graduates will be qualified to go directly into the right seat of airliners. But not in the U.S. which now requires more flight hours.
The first part of the program (from Boeing subsidiary Jeppeson) includes 12-18 months of flight training, giving an Airline Transport Pilot license. The second part of the program includes two months of training at a Boeing facility with a full-motion jet simulator, giving a Boeing type rating.
The Transportation Security Administration increased the security fee that airline passengers pay. Previously, the fee was $2.50 per flight (“enplanement”) with a $10 maximum. As of July 21, 2014, there is a flat fee of $5.60 per one-way trip, with no limit on the number of enplanements. Except, a layover of more than 4 hours is another “trip” and subject to another $5.60.
U.S. airline trade group Airlines for America (A4A) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), filed a petition over the fee increase in federal court.
Making a low pass flyover of your home during a commercial flight is not looked upon favorably.
David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week
The Pilatus PC-12.
Mark Baker Interview
Rob Mark talked to AOPA President Mark Baker at Oshkosh about his personal history, how he started in flying, and how he came to AOPA. Baker talks about injecting some fun into AOPA and the regional fly-ins, where participation has exceeded expectations. They also talk about the Rusty Pilots program to encourage lapsed pilots and the fantastic results achieved so far, and ideas for bringing in new pilots, including Reimagined Airplanes.
The Australia News Desk
Steve and Grant are in Sydney to shoot video for Airbus as the A350 XWB makes its first visit to Australia so where else should they record the OzDesk than beside the bizjet ramp?
Mike Collins flew with pilot and aviation businessman Mike Laver around the world in a Mitsubishi MU–2 to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the MU–2’s first flight. The 26,568 nautical mile journey required 98 hours of flight time.
David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week: the AgustaWestland AW-139 Helicopter.
In this week’s Australia Desk:
Steve’s back at last and Grant is very happy that he’s offered to do the editing. YAY! Once Steve manages to squeeze his funky wheel chair in behind the studio desk, the boys start chatting about the news and, wouldn’t you know it, here’s Qantas *sigh*:
Benet Wilson returns to talk aviation: what to expect at this year’s AOPA Summit and what will be replacing the Summit in 2014, her flight training and the support from other aviators, even flying with children where Benet offers some suggestions based on her experience with her child (the “Princess of Planes”). Also, irritating things that passengers do on planes and Strange But True Aviation News.
Benet is the Social Media/eNewsletters Editor for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). She blogs at Aviation Queen and is AvQueenBenet on Twitter.
David Venderhoof’s Airplane of the Week: Voyager 1, the world’s first Interstellar ship. Launched in 1977 with a “Golden Record,” Voyager 1 has finally left the solar system and entered deep space. @NASAVoyager is the official account for NASA’s twin Voyager 1 & 2 spacecraft.
In this week’s Australia Desk:
At the recent AusFly event, Grant and Ben Jones caught up with Dick Smith (an Australian entrepreneur, pilot and adventurer) and Ryan Campbell (the youngest person to fly around the world) to record a quick chat about their trips around the world & how Dick advised Ryan.
Tim Robinson Editor of Aerospace, joins Pieter to talk about the refresh of the magazine and what can be found in the new edition as well as the resources around the world from the Royal Aeronautical Society. They also discuss the upcoming aerospace career fair in London in November.
Arthur Rosen blogs at My Opinion: Thoughts and Comments on General Aviation and he doesn’t hold back on his opinions. He’s a pilot, the AOPA-ASN (Airport Support Network) volunteer for Scottsdale Airport (SDL), past Chairman of the Scottsdale Airport Advisory Commission, he served on the Super Bowl Committee for Aviation, is past President of Arizona Soaring Association, an Aviation Expert for ABC TV-Phoenix, and a retired Judge!
We talk with Arthur about flight training and how it has become more about passing the test than learning to fly. Also, local airports and local politics – how residential development is an airport killer. Arthur has strong feelings about user fees, and how they, like land development, destroy aviation.
Arthur maintains that people do have an interest in learning to fly, but for many the cost is prohibitive. He has a pretty interesting prediction for small airplanes over the next five or ten years (it isn’t pretty), and he doesn’t buy the airline pilot shortage we hear about.
We discuss light sport aircraft and why they haven’t fulfilled the promise of being affordable entry-level airplanes. Also, legacy aircraft and FAA mandated TSO (Technical Service Order) equipment (Max gets confused because TSO means something different to ex-MRO guys), how the iPad is valuable for pilots with Foreflight and WingX dominating the apps market and training through the FAA Acquisition System Toolset (FAST).
David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week: Vultee Vibrator or Valiant BT-13/SNV.
Defence Minister, Stephen Smith MP, releasing the 2013 Defence White Paper at Defence Establishment
In this week’s Australia Desk:
The Australian Government released its latest Defense White Paper this week, outlining updates on planned future equipment acquisitions for the Army, Navy and Air Force. On the aviation side of things, the purchase of 12 EA-18G “Growler” aircraft was announced, and Grant ponders whether this might mean the existing 12 “pre-wired” F18F+ Super Hornets already in the fleet will still be converted – as previously planned – into Growlers, while buying 12 new Super Hornets to replace them. Steve points out that this is far too logical for any government to consider. Additionally, there is speculation that the F-35 order book may be reduced from 100 airframes to 72.
Australia’s Attorney General, Mark Dreyfus, was in hot water this week after allegedly refusing to obey the instructions of a Qantas flight crew to turn off his mobile phone. The Federal Police was notified of the incident but were not required to attend the aircraft.
Former Qantas executive Rod Sharp took the reins at Tiger Airways this week, continuing the trend of ex-Qantas big wigs being poached away by John Borghetti, the CEO of Virgin Australia – who now own a controlling interest in Tiger, as reported last week.
No Speedos were harmed in the production of this segment
On our recent visit to the Royal Navy Historic Flight, Commander Ian Sloan told us about his plans to become an exchange pilot flying jets from a friendly nation’s aircraft carriers. Listen in and find out what aircraft type and what Navy, he is being seconded to.