Tag Archives: Aurora Flight Sciences

482 Helicopter Association International

Our guest is the president of Helicopter Association International. In the news, we look at the role of helicopters as well as local airports in times of emergencies, medical reform around the globe, Boeing 787 Dreamliner woes, and how Aurora Flight Sciences can make any rotary-wing aircraft fly autonomously. We also have the return of the history segment.


Matthew Zuccaro, president of Helicopter Association International.

Matthew Zuccaro, president of Helicopter Association International. HAI Photo.

Matt Zuccaro is president of Helicopter Association International. HAI provides support and services to its members and to the international helicopter community. They have their headquarters Alexandria, Virginia, and HAI members fly more than 5,000 helicopters some 2.3 million hours each year.

Matt has been in the helicopter industry for 50 years and president of HAI since 2005. He held several executive levels and operations management positions with commercial, corporate, air tour, scheduled airline, and public service helicopter operations in the northeastern United States. During his tenure with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, he served in operations management positions at Kennedy International Airport and the Port Authority’s public and private heliports.

Matt received his initial helicopter flight training as a U.S. Army aviator and served with the 7/17 Air Cavalry unit in Vietnam.  He was subsequently assigned as a flight instructor at the Army Flight School at Fort Rucker, Alabama.

Matt holds Airline Transport Pilot and Instrument Flight Instructor certificates for both airplanes and helicopters. He is a recipient of HAI’s 10,000-Hour Helicopter Pilot Safety award, as well as many other industry awards for his efforts and commitment to the helicopter industry.

Find Helicopter Association International at rotor.org and on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Also, follow Heli-Expo on Twitter and use the hashtag #HAI_EXPO18.

Aviation News

LA Fires Prove Importance of Santa Monica Airport

The City of Santa Monica plans to shorten the single runway at SMO to restrict airport usage to small airplanes. When the airport closes in 10 years, there won’t be anywhere to base firefighting helicopters and other vital equipment.

Medical Reform Going Global

Medical reform in the shape of BasicMed came to the U.S. in 2017, and now Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) announced “Basic Class 2” medical for piston aircraft with up to five non-paying passengers, during daytime visual flight rules. AOPA and AOPA Australia together urged CASA to undertake reforms similar to BasicMed.

LA Helicopter Crews Navigate Through Smoke to Save Homes From Skirball Fire

Devastating fires are again plaguing California and response teams include a variety of aircraft, including helicopters. The Weather Network published a dramatic video shot from a helicopter as it navigated through heavy smoke over a residential area.

Boeing Dreamliner’s Lithium-Ion Battery Fails On United Flight To Paris

A United Airlines Boeing 787 experienced a lithium-ion battery failure on approach to Charles de Gaulle Airport on November 13. United Flight 915 was at the end of a seven-hour flight from Washington’s Dulles Airport when pilots received a warning that the main battery was overheating.

Airlines are grounding 787s for urgent maintenance

Airlines are grounding Boeing 787s for urgent maintenance as one of the engines on Air New Zealand Boeing 787 flight NZ99 failed in-flight this week. The photos of failed engine show damage to turbine blades, suggesting a part broke off and traveled through the engine.

Aurora Makes Any Helicopter Autonomous

A system developed by Aurora Flight Sciences can be installed on any rotary-wing aircraft and enable it to fly autonomously. Dennis Baker, AACUS [Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility System] program officer said this “gives revolutionary capability to our fleet and force. It can be used as a pilot aid in degraded visual environments, or allow fully autonomous flights in contested environments, keeping our pilots out of harm’s way.”

The Airplane of the Week

Our aviation historian David Vanderhoof tells us about the Douglas X-3 Stiletto. Just because an aircraft looks fast doesn’t mean it is. The X-3 is a lesson that disappointment does not necessarily mean failure.

X-3 Stiletto by David Vanderhoof.

X-3 Stiletto by David Vanderhoof.

Commercial Aviation Story of the Week

TSA Pre-check travelers will only need ID at Austin airport

If you use TSA Pre-check, you’ll notice a change when you go through the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. The TSA started testing a new technology for pre-check travelers that only requires a photo ID. The Credential Authentication Technology is expected to verify the authenticity of a passenger photo ID and validate information from the ID against TSA’s Secure Flight vetting system.


City in the Sky on PBS

This Woman Has Been an American Airlines Flight Attendant for 60 Years

The Waldron’s Dilemma Educator’s Kit – the educator’s companion to the award-winning film, South Dakota Warrior.


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

473 Equator Aircraft P2 Xcursion

The CEO of Equator Aircraft talks about the P2 Xcursion high-performance hybrid amphibious aircraft. In the news, debris from the Air France engine failure is found in Greenland, American Airlines is apparently destined to be profitable forever, and Boeing plans to acquire Aurora Flight Sciences.

Equator Aircraft P2 Xcursion

The P2 Xcursion. Photo courtesy Equator Aircraft.


Tomas Brødreskift is the CEO Equator Aircraft, which is developing the P2 Xcursion, a high-performance hybrid amphibious aircraft.

Tomas decided to develop a float wing amphibious aircraft at design school. After that, he knew he had to find a way to continue, and so without money or any grasp of the complexity involved, Tomas started building and designing the aircraft, learning as he progressed.

Equator Aircraft logoMost of the design was based on things he saw in other planes, and he added a few of his own ideas. As for building the aircraft, Thomas was lucky to have his father join in, along with many other volunteers, and it has ended up being a volunteer / open source project. The project has now accumulated over 30,000 work hours and 7 years from the first concept.

Tomas became interested in aviation at a very early age, growing up in the 80’s watching VHS tapes of Burt Rutan. Tomas’ father built and flew a Long EZ and at the age of 7 Tomas started to build his own aircraft. He started flying gliders and took his PPL in 2002. Tomas interned at Airbus in Germany for a short while where he realized big companies were not the right fit for him. Luckily he met an awesome retired aircraft designer, G. Poeschel, and got totally inspired by his mind and his aircraft.


Debris recovered in Greenland from Air France plane forced to land in Labrador

Some engine pieces from the Air France plane have been recovered in Greenland and are being sent to investigators at France’s BEA.

Airlines Won’t Ever Lose Money Again? Boasts By American’s CEO Dismiss History

At the recent American Airlines annual meeting with Wall Street analysts at company headquarters, chairman and CEO Doug Parker said, “I don’t think we’re ever going to lose money again. We have an industry that’s going to be profitable in good and bad times.” It wasn’t clear if Parker was talking about American Airlines, the entire airline industry.

Boeing to Acquire Aurora Flight Sciences to Advance Autonomous Technology Capabilities

Boeing announced that it plans to acquire Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation, which develops and manufactures advanced aerospace platforms, specializing in autonomous systems technologies and robotic aircraft. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

United Airlines tweeted Yankees-Indians scores to a fan with bad in-flight Wi-Fi

United Airlines turned around a negative situation.

Airline Story of the Week

Operation Care-Lift: Spirit, Lufthansa Technik Team Up for Puerto Rico Relief Flights: A First Person Account Onboard

Flying badly needed supplied into Puerto Rico. See the Operation Puerto Rico Care-Lift GoFundMe page and United Airlines stepping up to help relief effort in Puerto Rico.

Trip Report

Francois and Brian at Thaba Tholo.

Francois and Brian at Thaba Tholo. Note the wildlife in the background.

Brian was hosted by listener Francois at his game farm, Thaba Tholo. They talk about what it’s like to operate an airstrip in the South African bush, and the special aircraft that have visited the strip.

Then, listener Eoin talks with Brian in Hamburg, Germany about being a flight attendant at “Harp Jet” and his promotions in the growing airline.


Red Stewart Airfield

Canada Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner near Hyderabad on Sep 19th 2017, ATC tries to divert aircraft despite several Mayday calls following two diversions


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