Tag Archives: ATC

415 Airman Certification Standards

An FAA Designated Pilot Examiner talks about checkrides, the old Practical Test Standards (PTS) and the new Airman Certification Standards (ACS).  Also, government interest in airline IT system failures, pilot recruiting in China, the Boeing cabin of the future, the huge ATC applicant response, and Textron interest in Learjet.

Guest

Jason Blair is an active single and multi-engine instructor. He is a National Association of Flight Instructors Master Flight Instructor, and an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner for both part 61 and part 141 training providers. Jason was involved in the early stages of the FAA/industry efforts that developed the new Airman Certification Standards (ACS) that became effective June, 2016.

Jason Blair

Jason Blair

In this episode, Jason explains the differences between the Practical Test Standards and the new Airman Certification Standards, and when they apply. He offers advice for private, CFI, and ATP checkrides, and explains some of the common errors made by applicants. Jason tells us about the checks that Examiners make, the process they follow, and what the FAA is looking for. We also hear about the process for becoming an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner.

Jason was named the 2016 Michigan CFI of the Year by the FAA, and over 1000 pilot certificates have been issued in Jason’s role as Examiner. Jason writes for a number of aviation publications and he’s active in the general aviation industry.

Starting his flying experience at the age of 15, and soloing at 16, Jason received his private pilot’s certificate at 17. While he pursued both undergraduate and master’s degrees from Western Michigan University in non-aviation fields, he continued his aviation passion through flight training at local FBOs, obtaining his instrument, commercial, and instructor certificates.

Jason flies general aviation aircraft for much of his personal and business travel, and has served as the Executive Director of the National Association of Flight Instructors, and represented the flight training community on a variety of committees including the FAA’s Runway Safety Council, the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee, the TSA Aviation Safety Advisory Council, NATA’s Flight Training Committee, and others. Currently, Jason works for a variety of companies and associations focusing on flight training regulations, procedures, and safety as a writer and consultant.

News

U.S. senators quiz airlines on IT systems after Delta disruption

Senators Richard Blumenthal and Edward Markey sent letters of concern to a number of airlines in the wake of recent computer system failures at Southwest and Delta. They point out that with such a concentrated industry, any one outage can affect a large portion of commercial aviation, and inconvenience many travelers. The senators want to know how affected travelers will be accommodated, and what measures are being taken to ensure the security and reliability of airline IT systems.

China-based airlines are putting up lots of cash to recruit foreign pilots

Industry projections put the greatest airline growth in Asia. Boeing projects that the number of commercial planes in China will triple by 2034. Bloomberg says that means China will need to hire 100 pilots per week over that time period, and they are paying big salaries to get them: as much as five times more for new hires, and in some cases about 50 percent more than senior captains at Delta. See also Chinese Airlines Wave Wads of Cash to Lure Foreign Pilots.

Dim the lights, order lunch: Boeing develops smartphone app for jet cabin interior of the future

Boeing is looking at a future cabin experience that includes the ability for passengers to interact with the airplane from their smartphone. Commercial Airplanes’ Product Development engineers have created an airplane cabin technology demonstrator they call v-Cabin where concepts can be developed and tested. Passengers could control personal lighting, order food or drink items, interact with the IFE system, and even check lavatory availability, all over a wireless network.

As of Aug. 15, 2016, the FAA says 29,000 applicants have applied for the 1,400 positions

It comes as no surprise that the interest in open ATC positions is very high.

Cessna-maker Textron Inc would be interested in Bombardier Inc’s Learjet ‘at the right price’

Will Textron seek to add Learjet to its portfolio?

The Airplane of the Week

The OV-10 Bronco, Part 1. If your specs are drawn right, you get an aircraft that can successfully complete its mission. Sometimes that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what it can do. This episode we talk about development and combat and Medal of Honors. In Part 2, we’ll look at foreigners, civilians, and the return to combat.

Mentioned

David participated in the AirlineGeeks/American Airlines activities for National Aviation Day. His interviews and stories will be presented in episode 417 Bits and Pieces XV.

In episode 39 of Lucas Weakley’s The Logbook Podcast, Don “the pre-buy guy” Sebastion tells some more great stories.

B747-400 Global SuperTanker – A fascinating 3D tour of the Global SuperTanker by Matterport. See also What It Feels Like to Fly a Firefighting 747.

Credit

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

413 Pay the Airline for What’s Important

We talk with an experienced travel writer about the air travel experience, frequent flyer programs (should they be regulated?), and an idea to centrally lock overhead bins. Also, regulating commercial balloon operators, the future of the A-10 (yet again), GA and biz jet sales, and a massive FAA hiring plan for Air Traffic Controllers. We learn who really did fly first, and why an AMT career might be worth a second look.

Guest

Kyle Stewart

Kyle Stewart

Kyle Stewart is a travel editor for Upgrd.com, a freelance travel writer, and he writes the Trip Sherpa blog. Upgrd.com is a resource website for frequent fliers featuring tricks of the trade and how to enjoy a first class experience on a coach budget.

Kyle tells us how frequent flyer programs and the travel experience have changed to what they are today. We also learn about airline mileage runs and status runs, what’s in Kyle’s “travel goodie bag,” and why the most important travel decision is to pay for the services that are most important to you.

Kyle flies several hundred thousand miles every year and has visited more than 50 countries on every continent except Antarctica. He has contributed to articles for Time, USA Today, Reuters, CNBC, MSN, Yahoo!, Huffington Post and many other media outlets.

News

Let’s Regulate Frequent Flier Programs. Here’s Why.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s has released an investigative report on airline loyalty programs. The report concluded that the government has the authority to regulate frequent-flier programs and asked for disclosure rules. The Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings at DOT wants to learn more about problems with frequent flyer programs, and has a complaint form to collect data: DOT Air Travel Complaint – Comment Form.

Should overhead lockers be centrally locked?

When an emergency evacuation occurs on an airliner, passengers are instructed to immediately exit the airplane and leave all carry on luggage behind. Of course, that’s not what happens. A fire safety expert from London’s Greenwich University has called for a central locking system controlled by the flight deck.

Tighter oversight of balloon operators urged after Texas crash

The NTSB is investigating a hot air balloon accident in where the balloon struck power lines, exploded, and all 16 aboard were killed. Should commercial balloon pilots be more strongly regulated in the U.S.?

Air Force To Make A-10 Replacement Recommendations as Early As Fall

The U.S. Air Force will begin working on its next five-year budget plan, and part of the plan will include a strategy for a close air support aircraft. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said options they’ll be looking at options for replacing or augmenting the A-10 Warthog. See also, The US Air Force has an absurd plan for replacing the A-10 Warthog.

GAMA: Airplane shipments, billings down across the board

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) reports that in the first half of 2016, shipments for general aviation aircraft, turboprops, and business jets were down 4.5 percent over 2015. Billings were down 11 percent.

FAA Set To Hire 1,400 Entry-Level Air Traffic Controllers. The Catch: Only One Week To Apply

The FAA expects more than 25,000 people to apply for 1,400 Air Traffic Control Specialist – Trainee positions, so the application period is only one week: August 8-15, 2016.

The Airplane of the Week

More like the pilot(s) of the week, this time. After the 2016 Rio Olympic Opening Ceremonies, David was once again thrust into the argument of who flew first. It wasn’t Alberto Santos-Dumont for sure, but he does deserve to be a Hero of Brazil. Listen to David prove it.

Some of the articles:

Mentioned in the segment:

On The Mark

The Realities of AMT TrainingHere’s why an AMT career is worth a second look.

Mentioned

The Flight Deal

Deal Ray

Express VPN

Milestones of Flight, Milestones in Life By David

43’rd Annual International SeaPlane Fly-in, Moosehead Lake, Maine, September 8th to the 11th, 2016.

Denver, Colorado to Jacksonville, Texas in a Cessna 150!

What a fire retardant drop looks like from right underneath

Help Wanted: Part-Time Pilots

Credit

Intro music courtesy Brother Love from his Album Of The Year CD. Outtro F/A-18 flyby recorded by Ted at the 2016 Dayton Airshow.

AirplaneGeeks 399 Differentiating Air Travel Products

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

Guest

Jason Rabinowitz

Jason Rabinowitz

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

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

News

Bombardier Scores Watershed Win With Delta CSeries Order

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

Bombardier: Our turnaround plan is gaining traction

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

Boeing Boosts Push Into Plane-Parts Arena — WSJ

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

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

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

American Airlines earns $700 million, beats Street forecasts

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

Air traffic control plan faces tough fight ahead

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

What the Geeks are Doing

Embraer Legacy 450

Embraer Legacy 450

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

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

C-17 by Brian Coleman

C-17 by Brian Coleman

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

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

John Mollison print

John Mollison print

Prints by John Mollison

Mentioned

Chino Planes of Fame Airshow Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brian T. Coleman
Associate Producer, Airplane Geeks

Credit

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

AirplaneGeeks 389 Women Airforce Service Pilots

The history of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) and the controversy surrounding their burial at Arlington National Cemetery. Also, battle lines forming over privatization of air traffic control, Southwest pilots take a stand, Iran orders more airplanes, a high altitude long endurance pseudo-satellite, tanker news, the Knightwatch E-4B, and your favorite airplanes.

Sarah Byrn Rickman

Sarah Byrn Rickman

Guest

Sarah Rickman is the editor of WASP News, published by Texas Woman’s University (TWU), the home of the official WASP Archives. The Women Airforce Service Pilots flew for the U.S. Army in World War II. Since 2003, Sarah has been a WASP oral historian for TWU, recording many of these ladies’ stories on audiotape.

Sarah tells us about the history of the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) and the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). We also discuss the current controversy about the burial of WASPs at Arlington National Cemetery, the United States military cemetery.

Sarah has authored five books about the WASP:

WASP of the Ferry Command coverTwo new books on the WASP will be published this spring: WASP of the Ferry Command: Women Pilots, Uncommon Deeds from the University of North Texas Press, and Finding Dorothy Scott: Letters of a WASP Pilot, from Texas Tech University Press.

Sarah received the Combs-Gates Award for 2009 presented by the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio. Her grant is to research and write the story of the WASP who flew for the Ferrying Division in World War II. In addition to her books on the WASPs, Sarah is the author of numerous magazine and journal articles about the WASP.

Sarah is a former reporter/columnist for The Detroit News and former editor of the Centerville-Bellbrook Times (Ohio). She earned her B.A. in English from Vanderbilt University and an M.A. in Creative Writing from Antioch University McGregor. She describes herself as a former journalist and former novelist who “found” herself when she met these amazing women who flew airplanes for the Army back when many women didn’t even drive cars.

ATC Privatization News

EAA Statement to House Committee Strongly Opposes ATC Privatization Plan

The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee conducted a “markup” hearing February 11 on the Aviation Innovation, Reform and Reauthorization Act of 2016 (H.R. 4441). The bill was amended and the Committee voted to send the legislation to the full House for consideration.

The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) voiced its opposition to privatizing ATC by submitting a statement in opposition to privatized ATC.

Jack J. Pelton, EAA’s CEO and chairman said, “ATC privatization is simply a bad idea on many levels; it will not solve the FAA’s funding dilemma and will create a substantial number of new problems and challenges that would cripple general aviation.”

House ATC Privatization Bill Advances; NBAA Continues Opposition

National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen said the association would remain undeterred in opposing the bill as it makes its way through the legislative process.

AOPA opposes user fees as reauthorization moves to full House

AOPA President Mark Baker said, “We’re profoundly disappointed that user fees are still part of this legislation.AOPA simply won’t accept user fees in any form on any segment of general aviation. And while there are some very positive provisions for GA in this proposal, user fees are a nonstarter for us.”

A4A President Calio: Reform ATC today for a better tomorrow

Nicholas Calio, the president and CEO of Airlines for America says separating ATC is “an international best practice that a growing consensus believes will create a more nimble, efficient, reliable and even safer system than the one we have today. Doing so will remove the kinks from an uneven and unpredictable funding apparatus while clearing the way for other improvements: more choices for customers, more direct flights, lower fuel consumption and reduced air emissions. So it’s puzzling why some would argue that everything is working just fine — an assertion that flies in the face of all that travelers have experienced over the past decade.”

Conservatives rally behind independent air traffic control plan

A group of 13 right-leaning groups sent a letter to Congress stating that moving ATC to a new nongovernmental organization is “an excellent foundation upon which to build a new model for an operation historically mired in old-style thinking and fiscal ineptitude. To us it is an axiomatic economic principle that user-funded, user-accountable entities are far more capable of delivering innovation and timely improvements in a cost-effective manner than government agencies.”

FAA Reauthorization 2016 – NATA

National Air Transportation Association (NATA) President & CEO Thomas L. Hendricks calls ATC privatization a “threat” to general aviation. More at the NATA Congressional Action Center.

Don’t Privatize Air Traffic Control

In an editorial piece, the New York Times characterizes privatizing air traffic control as a “solution in search of a problem” that “would do nothing to improve the present, federally operated system and indeed could make it worse.”

In Other News…

Southwest Airlines pilots picket for contract negotiations

350 members of the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association flew to Las Vegas on their day off to tell the public that they are upset. Why? because they don’t have a contract. Union president Jon Weaks said the pilots love Southwest and wouldn’t engage in travel disruptions. But they want to “give our company avenues so that we can trust them again.”

Iran Joins the ATR Club

Under the sanctions, Iran’s commercial aviation capability suffered greatly. That’s all changing now. Iran Air has signed a purchase agreement with ATR for 20 firm and 20 option ATR 72-600 turboprop aircraft. The deal is valued at €1 billion.

In January, Iran Air placed an order for 118 Airbus single-aisle and widebody aircraft: A320ceo and A320neo families, A330ceo and neo airplanes, A350-1000s and 12 A380s. (Three A380’s were also purchased by Japan’s ANA in January.)

How To Build A Plane That Never Needs To Land

Solar-powered, long duration drones and other aircraft are development by companies like Google and Facebook to provide Internet service using them as pseudo-satellites. Now the British military is purchasing two solar-powered “Zephyr” high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) UAVs from Airbus. These autonomous unmanned systems would be used for long-term surveillance missions, and possibly to provide communication and ground support in remote areas.

The Zephyr, originally developed by UK firm QinetiQ, has a 23m wingspan and yet only weighs 55kg and cruises at 20km.

This Week in Tanker News

RAAF KC-30 completes first refuelling of a C-17

The first air-to-air refuelling from a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport.

Boeing’s KC-46 Successfully Refuels F/A-18

For the first time, a Boeing’s KC-46 tanker refueled a Navy F/A-18 using its hose and drogue system.

Unmanned CBARS Tanker Air Segment Draft RFP Expected Later This Year

Naval Air Systems Command plans to release a new draft request for proposal later this year for an unmanned aerial refueling tanker. According to sources, the final RFP for the Carrier Based Aerial Refueling System (CBARS) is due out in FY 2017, with contract award in FY 2018.

The Airplane of the Week

E-4B

David finishes out his discussion of Doomsday Planes with the converted 747-200Bs, otherwise known as the E-4B Nightwatch that serves as the National Airborne Operations Center (NAOC).

Guided Tour Inside the E-4B NAOC Doomsday Plane

Listener Favorite Airpanes

Rob gives us the results of the call for our listeners to tell us what their favorite airplane is and why. Like many others, Micah had trouble picking just one.

Mentioned

The Sound of Flaps

Bruno Misonne composes music that incorporates the sounds of aviation in very unique ways. His latest creation is “The Sound of Flaps.” Bruno tells us this was “the most challenging project ever created. Everyone who regularly takes the plane becomes aware of this characteristic sound of flaps extending or retracting, a sound that becomes very audible when you are sitting in the cabin above the wings! It has been challenging to find a way to mix that sound with music since at first glance it seems quite impossible to do in such way that the result is pleasant!

New certification standards for mechanics in the works

The Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee’s Airman Certification System working group (chaired by AOPA) has been tasked with developing new certification standards, handbooks, and test development guidance for aircraft mechanics.

Credit

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

 

AirplaneGeeks 387 Flight Training with Greg Brown

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

Greg Brown with artwork

Greg Brown with two of his photo art prints

Guest

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

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

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

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

News

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

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

American Airlines posts record profit for all of 2015

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

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

Boeing 737 MAX first flight

Boeing 737 MAX first flight. Courtesy Boeing.

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

Boeing wins contract to build new Air Force One presidential jets

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

Private Air Traffic Control Plan Hits Turbulence in Senate

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

Opposition launched against privatizing air-traffic control

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

See also the NBAA Advocacy page.

The Airplane of the Week

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

Boeing EC-135C Looking Glass

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

U.S. Navy Boeing E-6B Mercury

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

Mentioned

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

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

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

World’s Most Expensive Jet Somehow Gets Worse

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

Installation of the Incity tower spire by helicopter

Credit

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

 

AirplaneGeeks 370 NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System

The NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System, the European Aviation Safety Agency takes issue with pilot license renewal practices in Germany, medical requirements under the Pilot’s Bill of Rights, ICAO creates a site for aircraft tracking, the consequences for air traffic controllers who make mistakes, and the first woman cleared to fly the F-35A Lightning II.

Guest

Linda Connell

Linda Connell

Guest Linda Connell is Director of the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System and a Research Psychologist for NASA Ames Research Center. The ASRS collects and acts on voluntarily submitted aviation safety incident/situation reports from pilots, controllers, and others.

Linda has been working at NASA Ames Research Center since 1981, and has participated in a number of studies with domestic and international research teams exploring human factor issues in aviation environments.

A Registered Nurse and member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Linda continues to evaluate proactive aviation safety information on a variety of topics, including pilot/controller voice communication, emergency medical helicopter operations, aviation maintenance, cabin safety, and technology applications in aviation environments.

We talk with Linda about the formation of the ASRS, the process to collect safety data in a way that guarantees immunity, the analysis of the data and how subcontractors are utilized, and the 10 day window. We also discuss the alerts process and how to submit reports.

News

EU Challenging Germany’s Air Safety Authorities Post Germanwings Crash

The European Aviation Safety Agency says license renewal practices for pilots in Germany favor privacy over safety. Noting that Germany has addressed some of the concerns, the EU says others remain.  If Germany does not comply with the Commission’s demands, it could be taken to court.

Pilot’s Bill Of Rights Changes; One-Time Medicals For Some

The Pilot’s Bill of Rights introduced earlier this year by Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla. was designed to waive the third-class medical for private pilots flying light aircraft. Now the bill has changed to include:

  • An online aeromedical course every two years.
  • Logbook entries that certify the pilot has seen their personal doctors at least once every four years (and received any needed treatment for medical conditions).
  • A one-time medical for new pilots and pilots who haven’t had a medical in the last 10 years.

ICAO starts aircraft tracking information web page

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has created a Global Tracking Initiatives web page to serve as “a repository of documents related to aircraft tracking.” The page presents a timeline of events and documents. Adoption of a 15-minute aircraft tracking Standard is expected at the end of 2015.

Air traffic controllers making major errors remain on job, including at IAH

KPRC-TV in Houston, Texas reports that “air traffic controllers who have made major errors have been allowed to stay on the job, without loss of rank or pay.”  This has occurred at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, and at other airports. KPRC reporter Joel Eisenbaum asked, “So you can make an error that causes a plane to crash and you’re not losing your job?”

The FAA response was, “The FAA has learned through experience that a non-punitive safety culture encourages employees to share information and engage in frank and open discussions about situations that they might otherwise be reluctant to bring to a supervisor’s attention. In cases involving willful neglect or dereliction of duties by an employee, the agency does not hesitate to take the appropriate measures as defined under agency policies and collective bargaining agreements.”

Textron Aviation customer Wheels Up completes capital raise

The New York-based private aviation membership company Wheels Up has an order for 105 Beechcraft King Air 350i’s, and has raised $115 million in capital for business expansion.

Boeing’s new tanker achieves first flight

Boeing flew the KC-46A Paine Field in Everett, Washington for a four hour first flight. The KC-46A is based on the Boeing 767 commercial airliner.

Other Segments

Lieutenant Colonel Christine “Grinder” Mau

Lieutenant Colonel Christine “Grinder” Mau

  • David attended the Joint Base Andrews’ open house on September 19th 2015, where he interviewed Lieutenant Colonel Christine “Grinder” Mau, Deputy Commander for the Operations Group of the 33rd Fighter Wing. Col. Mau was the first woman cleared to fly the F-35A Lightning II, and one of only 52 women fighter pilots in the USAF. She talks about what it’s like to fly the F-35A, and believing in your dreams.
F-35A and R2D2

F-35A and R2D2

  • Micah gives us some thoughts on the late Alan Purwin.
  • Brian talks with listener Hendrik in Hamburg, Germany.

Mentioned

Listener Photo

Michael sends this photo from his Cirrus SR22T looking over Los Angeles on airway V186 from the Paradise VOR to Van Nuys VOR, September 17, 2015. The light in the top right of the picture is a 777 going into LAX.

Cirrus SR22T looking over Los Angeles

Credit

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.

Guest

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.

News

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.

Mentioned

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

Credit

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

 

AirplaneGeeks 360 Different Sides of Aviation

Conversation with a retired charter pilot and freight dog, UTC agrees to sell Sikorsky to Lockheed Martin, Solar Impulse 2 grounded, a SkyWest high altitude “slow speed event,” new NASA astronauts, Piper woes, fault found with an air traffic controller, and United pays out in bug bounty program.

Guest

Kimber C. Turner

Kimber C. Turner

Kimber C. Turner is both a retired airline pilot with over 18,000 hours of flight time, and a former radio talk show host. Now he is out of the sky and off of the air. In his retirement, Captain Turner does some voiceover work, and an occasional guest spot on the radio.  He also writes a book now and then.

Kimber was a Captain on the Airbus A-300 for the last ten years of his career and a Captain on the Boeing 727 before that.  He has written three books so far.

The first is “Crooked Creek Farm” which is a humor book about a city family moving to the farm.

The other two books are aviation-related. Freight Dog: The Dark Side of Aviation is an exposé and memoir that covers Kimber’s path to an airline career at DHL, and the company’s missteps and eventual downfall.  Kimber flew for DHL for over 24 years.

In Learjets and Layovers: The Bright Side of Aviation, Kimber shares tales of adventurous travel and layovers in exotic locals and encounters with celebrities during his charter and airline days.

Find Kimber at kimbercturner.com, and on Amazon.com.

News

United Technologies Announces Agreement To Sell Sikorsky Aircraft

United Technologies plans to sell Sikorsky to Lockheed Martin for $9 billion in cash. Sikorsky will become part of Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems and Training division, and not a separate entity.

United Technologies is the parent corporation of aerospace companies Pratt & Whitney, Sikorsky, Hamilton Sundstrand, and Goodrich, and building and industrial systems companies Otis, Carrier, and Kidde.

Solar Impulse 2 to stay grounded in Hawaii until next April at earliest

The flight across the Pacific was considered to be the riskiest part of the Solar Impulse 2’s journey around the world. And they successfully completed the leg to Hawaii. But there was a problem with the batteries: They overheated on the first day of the trip from Japan to Hawaii. Lacking any means to cool them down, the batteries are ruined. The Solar Impulse 2 will stay in Hawaii until repairs can be made.

After Plane Stalls Mid-Flight, FAA Slaps SkyWest with Altitude and Speed Restrictions

The FAA says last April, a SkyWest plane experienced a stall en route from Denver to Oklahoma City. The plane rapidly descended from 39,000 feet to 27,000 feet, then landed without incident at Oklahoma City.

In a statement to ABC News, SkyWest said, “Months ago, one SkyWest CRJ aircraft experienced an isolated slow speed event, which is when an aircraft reaches less than optimal speeds. The aircraft’s slow speed alert systems functioned perfectly, and the crew responded appropriately with a 4,000-foot descent. No stall occurred.”

NASA picks 4 astronauts to fly 1st commercial space missions in couple years; all test pilots

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden named four test pilots who will fly on capsules built by private companies SpaceX and Boeing. The commercial crew astronauts are:

  • Air Force Col. Robert Behnken, who was head of the astronaut office;
  • Air Force Col. Eric Boe, part of shuttle Discovery’s last crew;
  • retired Marine Col. Douglas Hurley, pilot of the final shuttle crew; and
  • Navy Capt. Sunita Williams, who has been to the International Space Station twice.

Piper To Lay Off Up To 150 Workers

Sales are sluggish and Piper plans to cut its workforce of 750 employees by 15 to 20 percent.

Newark air traffic controller blamed for near collision, but was it really his fault?

An ExpressJet Embraer waited 15 seconds before starting his takeoff roll, which allowed a United Airlines jet to fly closer to the runway intersection at Newark Liberty International Airport where the near collision occurred. The NTSB says fault lies solely on the Newark air traffic controller.

United Airlines Pays a Man a Million Miles for Reporting Bug

Jordan Wiens, owner of the security firm Vector 35, found a remote-code execution flaw in United’s website and won a million miles in the United bug bounty program.

Aircraft of the Week

David tells the story of FRED, which has a familiar ring to it.. Due to cost overruns, some wanted the program cancelled. After several expensive fixes, Congress didn’t want to let the Air Force retire the aircraft.

The Australia News Desk

Well, Grant finally made it away for his vacation….but not to Bali as originally planned.  Instead, he and his lovely wife flew halfway across the Pacific to Fiji.  Now, of course, you’d think he’d be living it up on the beach and all, but Grant still managed to find his way to a local airport from where he filed a quick report for us.

1948 Cessna 195

1948 Cessna 195

Otter Departing

Otter Departing

DragonFly Luxury Yacht

DragonFly Luxury Yacht

Look Left Look Right Look Up

Look Left Look Right Look Up

Across the Pond

French Navy Rafale - Air Day 2015 Copyright XTPMedia

French Navy Rafale – Air Day 2015 Copyright XTPMedia

Pieter reports in from Air Day 2015 where he gets to see the new Mk1 Swordfish in the air as well as the Seafire from the Royal Navy Historic Flight. The show is lit up with lots of great aviation noise, notably from the Avro Vulcan XH558 “The Spirit of Great Britain” making her last season of displays and the RNHF Sea Vixrn. But Pieter’s report leaves us with the sound of the French Navy Rafale doing its solo display after displaying with two Super Etendards.

RNHF Sea Vixen - Air Day 2015 Copyright XTPMedia

RNHF Sea Vixen – Air Day 2015 Copyright XTPMedia

Mentioned

  • Max was Adam Knight’s guest on Episode 16 of the Go Flying Australia Podcast, talking about UAV’s.

Listener Photos

Innovations in Flight Family Day and Outdoor Aviation Display

Photos from the June 20, 2015 event at the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum by Kevin:

Radial

DSC_4476e_600

DSC_4521e_600

DSC_4459e_600

Aerial Firefighting in California

David sent in this dramatic photo:

BAE146_600

Credit

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

AirplaneGeeks 356 A Forum for Professional Pilots

Gulfstream G450

Conversation with ProPilotWorld.com founder Mark Matzuka, a close call at Midway, privatization of air traffic control, and observations on the Paris Air Show.

Guest

Mark Matzuka is Founder and President of ProPilotWorld.com, an online forum for pilots. As Mark looked at other pilot forums, he found they sometimes lacked accountability and didn’t have the level of professionalism he was after. Anybody could join those forums and offer advice and comments, but sometimes it wasn’t clear if these people were qualified, or even who they really were.

Mark responded by creating ProPilotWorld.com, a paid membership site that he calls, “The Premier Information Exchange and Networking Resource for Professional Pilots.” Registered members are vetted. Because the site is funded through membership fees, the forum does not rely on advertisers. Over 100 forums and subforums provide plenty of opportunities for the over 14,500 member pilots to exchange information and network. An associate membership is available for qualified professionals who are not pilots.

Mark has been flying for 27 years, 22 in business aviation with more than 13,000 flight hours, 10,000 of those in jets. He started his flying career in Chicago where he spent 20 years working as a flight instructor, charter and corporate pilot, and eventually became chief pilot. He now lives in Southern California as the chief pilot and aviation manager on a Gulfstream G450.

News

NTSB expected to investigate close call at Midway

A Southwest Airlines plane and a Delta Air Lines plane with similar sounding flight numbers simultaneously initiated takeoff rolls on intersecting runways.

Shuster Meets With NATA Members Over ATC Reform

Congressman proposes privatizing air traffic control

U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman Bill Shuster plans to introduce a bill to create an independent ATC corporation funded by user fees.

Boeing leads firm orders, but Airbus beats in total numbers

Paris Airshow racks up $107 billion in Airbus and Boeing total orders and commitments, 421 aircraft for Airbus, 331 aircraft for Boeing.

Credits

G450 post photo courtesy Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation. Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at brotherloverocks.com.

AirplaneGeeks 346 Flying for the Airlines as an Expat

 

Taipei, B-757, L-R:  Michael Johnson, Captain John Baines, Captain Lucho Arias, Mr. Steve Weisberg

Paramount Aviation Resources Group facilitates flying as an Expat, ONE Aviation Corporation brings together the Eclipse 550 and the Kestrel K350, a bill is introduced to privatize air traffic control in the US, another Washington D.C. incursion, and dynamic pricing of airline tickets.

Guest

Michael Johnson is the founder, President and CEO, and a member of the board of directors for Paramount Aviation Resources Group. Paramount finds qualified crew members to fill vacancies, provides crew leasing services, flight services, and ferry services.

We talk about the demand for expat pilots in countries that don’t have the infrastructure found in the the US, including opportunities for both mainline and regional pilots.

We see that the greatest airline growth is taking place in Asia, and Michael helps us understand the qualities of candidate pilots that make them best suited for expat life. He talks about the three key elements of stability, quality of life, and pay.

Michael also gives us some advice about getting into a flying career: start early, fly throughout college, and follow your passion.

Michael began his aviation career as a flight instructor and then as a commuter airline pilot with Northwest Airlink before joining Trans World Airlines (TWA) in 1996. In 2001 TWA was acquired by American Airlines.

Michael’s flight experience includes the BA-3100, DC-9, MD-80, 757, 767 and 747 aircraft in international and domestic operations throughout Asia, Australia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East as well as North America.

Serving as the Chief Pilot in Honolulu, Hawaii overseeing DC-10 and B-747 crews for JALWays (a subsidiary of Japan Airlines), Michael’s responsibilities included crew support, contractual issues, new hire interviewing, and B-747 simulator evaluations.

Photo: Boeing 757 in Taipei, L-R: Michael Johnson, Captain John Baines, Captain Lucho Arias, Mr. Steve Weisberg

Find Paramount at www.paramountarg.com, and follow them on Twitter at @ParamountARG and on Facebook. Reach Michael at +1 (540) 737-4600.

News

Eclipse and Kestrel Form ONE Aviation

Previous Airplane Geeks guest Alan Klapmeier (Episode 237, Feb 2013) is now the CEO of ONE Aviation Corporation, “formed to design, develop, and manufacture a family of aircraft, each of which will be a market leader in its category and class. ONE Aviation’s core products include the Eclipse 550 twin-engine light jet and the Kestrel K350 single-engine turboprop.” The Eclipse Jet is in production and the Kestrel K350 is currently under development.

GOP files bill to privatize air traffic control

Representative John Mica (R-Fla.) introduced a bill that would privatize some aspects of U.S. air traffic control. A new private corporation would oversee the air traffic control functions now  handled by the FAA.

As NextGen falls behind, Mica says, “We’ve tried reform and reorganization, and we’ve created positions like the Chief Operating Officer within the Air Traffic Organization, but unfortunately our ATC technology and working conditions for air traffic controllers continue to fall further behind the rest of the world.”

The bill would create an Employee Stock Ownership Corporation that would “allow stakeholders, including current air traffic controllers, airlines and users, to operate a new air traffic control system.”

“Gyrocopter” probably too small for radar to detect

A man was arrested after landing his gyrocopter at the U.S. Capitol as a protest. He was charged with operating an unregistered aircraft, and violating national airspace restrictions.

Dynamic Pricing: Which Customers Are Worth The Most? Amazon, Delta Airlines And Staples Weigh In

Consumers continue to make more and more of their purchases online. This gives businesses the opportunity to know a lot about their customers. That knowledge can be used for dynamic pricing – charging some customers more than others.

Orbitz used its customers’ demographics to charge some customers more for hotels. They found that MAC users were willing to pay up to 30 percent more for a hotel than Windows users.

Delta Airlines reportedly charged frequent flyers up to $300 more for a ticket than they charged an infrequent traveler. Why? People who travel often are probably business travelers.

Mentioned

Follow Max Trescott on Instagram as he pilots an upcoming Airplane Geeks presence on Instagram.

Photo collections from Paine Field by Ryan Hothersall:

China Sourthern Cargo-777-F1B-B-2041-13

China Sourthern Cargo 777

Burning Man:

Love’s In The Air: Newlyweds Draw Hearts In Sky

The Air Cam:

The Air Cam from Lockwood Aircraft Corp.

The Air Cam from Lockwood Aircraft Corp.

Peninsula Seniors Productions YouTube channel

National Museum of the US Air Force Podcasts

Credit

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