We discuss the erosion of manual piloting skills, pickle fork cracks in the B737NG, the EC review of Boeing’s interest in Embraer, a helicopter crash “close to home,” an “MCAS-like” system on the KC-46 tanker, tracking stealth fighters with passive radar, Delta’s proposed stake in LATAM, and Delta’s rules change for emotional support animals.
Some Boeing 737NGs are exhibiting pickle fork cracks. These are structures that connect the wing to the fuselage and transmit the load to the fuselage as the wings flex. The pickle forks are reportedly meant to last a lifetime so the cracking is of some concern.
More than $2.8 million was contributed by more than 5,000 individual donors to the 2019 AOPA You Can Fly Challenge. The 2019 challenge exceeded expectations and the Ray Foundation voted to increase its matching grant to $2.5 million. In total, more than $5.3 million in new funding was provided for You Can Fly.
Flightglobal reports that the FAA has concerns about pilots who cannot handle the aircraft when the automation fails. Some pilots have inadequate manual flying skills. The FAA believes ICAO standards and guidance need to evolve as automation continues to expand. Daily bulletins are available from ICAO’s 40th Assembly in Montreal September 24 through October 4, 2019.
German radar-maker Hensoldt claims to have tracked two F-35s for 150 kilometers following the 2018 Berlin Air Show in Germany in 2018. The TwInvis system passive radar system uses existing electromagnetic energy from radio and TV broadcast transmitters and evaluates their echoes when reflected by an object.
LATAM Airlines, formerly LAN Airlines S.A. and Lan Chile, is a OneWorld Alliance member. Delta Air Lines is planning to take a 20% stake in the airline for $1.9 billion says they’ll spend $350 million to expand the partnership. LATAM will be exiting the OneWorld alliance. No word if they will join SkyTeam led by Delta.
Delta lifted its ban on emotional support animals on flights longer than eight hours. This puts them back in compliance with the Department of Transportation. However, Delta continues to ban pit bulls, even though breed bans are not allowed.
We talk with Sonia Greteman about the history of Wichita and the new book Wichita: Where Aviation Took Wing. Also, conversations from Dorkfest LAX including with United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz. In the news, the FAA and European regulators differ over the 737 Max, general aviation responds to the devastation caused by hurricane Dorian, and the last Red Bull Air Race. Launchpad Marzari’s reveals the airplane he’s purchasing, Micah reflects on a summer of aviation, and two Australians begin podcasting again.
Sonia Greteman, president and creative director of Greteman Group.
Sonia Greteman is the president and creative director of Greteman Group, an aviation-specialty marketing agency based in Wichita, Kansas.
Sonia tells us some of the rich aviation history captured in the new book Wichita: Where Aviation Took Wing, which celebrates the history of Wichita, the “Air Capital of the World.”
Greteman Group clients include aircraft manufacturers, flight support companies, aftermarket service providers, fractional ownership organizations, insurance companies, regional airlines, and those with an interest in airport analytics and in-flight Wi-Fi.
The firm is a founding member of the Wichita Aero Club and a longstanding member of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA). Greteman Group is a woman-owned business enterprise (WBE) and in 2019 celebrated their 30th anniversary since its founding in 1989.
Reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari gives us Red Bull Air Race competition results for this last race of the season and the last race of the series.
Innovations in Flight – 2019 or The Summer Scenes of an Airplane Geek
Our Main(e) Man Micah reflects on the many aviation events he’s participated in this year.
Cranky Dorkfest LAX 2019, Part 1
Brian Colemen spoke with some of the participants at this year’s Dorkfest, including United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz, Airplane Geeks co-founder Courtney Miller, and aviation uber-geek Isaac Alexander. More interviews are to come. See also: Cranky Dorkfest LAX 2019 Was One for the Record Books.
Brian Coleman speaks with Oscar Munoz. Photo by Isaac Alexander.
Lufthansa A380. Photo by Isaac Alexander.
We’ll have more interviews from the event in next week’s episode.
Buying a Plane, Part 3
We learn more details about the airplane that reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari is purchasing, and the complicated process involved.
Plane Crazy Down Under refugees Steve Vischer and Grant McHerron are again teamed up and the boys have started a new podcast called Airwaves by Aviation Trader. Coming soon to iTunes and major podcast apps. If you can’t wait, copy and paste their RSS feed into your podcast app to subscribe now.
Video: Airventure Trip 2019. Listener Mike Smith captured the 2019 trip from Boston to Oshkosh in his home-built Sonex. Mike stopped at the U.S. Air Force Museum in Dayton along the way in his 1,900 nautical mile trip with 20 hours of flight time.
Our guests tell us about circumnavigating the globe three times in a Pilatus PC-12: eastbound, westbound, and polar. In the news, Allegiant is testing a new service offering more seat pitch, the fuel dump from a Norwegian flight ruins a runway, more 737 MAX fallout, an English Channel attempt on a hoverboard, the Senate confirms a controversial nominee to be the new FAA administrator, Congress considers the PLANE Act with positive implications for GA, and China is growing the number of carrier pilots.
The Pilatus at Sangster International Airport, Jamaica.
Josh and Jack with the Pilatus PC-12.
Joshua Marvil and Jack Long are recipients of the eastbound and polar circumnavigation diplomas awarded by the International Aeronautic Federation (FAI) and the National Aeronautic Association (NAA). Their westbound circumnavigation was completed in January 2019 and the diploma is forthcoming. All flights were on a Pilatus PC-12 and Jack and Josh have landed in more than 40 different countries and all seven continents.
On the 2015 eastbound trip, Josh and Jack were joined by pilots Jerry Seckler and Giuseppe Caltabiano at various points along the way. For the 2016-2017 polar circumnavigation, Giuseppe was along most of the way and Jerry joined the flight in Punta Arenas, Chile to fly the Antarctic segment. For the 2018-2019 westbound trip, the only pilots were Josh and Jack. Their wives Becky and Carolyn were along for almost all of these trips in their entirety except for some of the polar legs.
Jack is an entrepreneur by profession and a pilot by passion. He started two software businesses and one transportation business. In 2003, he became part of the founding faculty of the Acton School of Business where he teaches entrepreneurship. Jack soloed in a Piper Cherokee 140 in 1977 and moved-up the aviation food chain to a Mooney 201, a Cirrus SR-22, and now the Pilatus PC-12.
Allegiant Extra seating will get you priority boarding, an extra 6 inches of seat pitch, designated bin space, and a complimentary drink on the plane. Allegiant does this without changing the overall seat count: an additional row is added in the rear section and there is less Legroom+ option. Allegiant is testing Extra on flights to and from Los Angeles. At the end of the 2019-2020 winter season, the company will make a decision as to the future of the program.
It came out recently that some former WOW Air executives were planning to launch a new airline similar to WOW but not called WOW. Right after that, American investors purchased WOW Air’s assets. American businesswoman Michele Ballarin, one of the owners of USAerospace, is currently creating a new Icelandic company that looks to provide freight transport between Iceland and the US, with passenger operations to come.
A Norwegian Air flight from Orlando to London operating with an Airbus from Hi-Fly of Portugal experienced hydraulic trouble and was forced to return to Orlando. For some reason, a large quantity of fuel was dumped on Orlando’s airport runway and taxiway and it appears that the asphalt will need to be replaced.
In its second-quarter earnings report, Southwest said it had lost an estimated $175 million in profit. The Airline said it would shut down its operations at Newark Liberty International Airport and consolidate its operations in the New York area at LaGuardia Airport.
Franky Zapata made an attempt to cross the English Channel on a jet-powered hoverboard. While attempting to land on a refueling platform pitching in the waves in the middle of the Channel, Zapata fell into the water, just missing the platform. The Zapata Flyboard Air is powered by five small turbo engines, each producing up to 250 horsepower each.
Former Delta Air Lines pilot and executive Steve Dickson has been confirmed by the Senate to lead the FAA. The opposition voiced claims that while at Delta, Dickson mistreated a pilot who raised safety concerns. See also Politics and Aviation in the Flight to Success blog.
The bipartisan legislation Promoting the Launch of Aviation’s Next Era (PLANE) Act of 2019, S.2198, was introduced on July 23, 2019. The PLANE Act would benefit general aviation by empowering pilots, investing in airports, and ensuring opportunities for a sustainable, well-trained workforce. Boeing’s new Pilot and Technician Outlook predicts a need for more than 800,000 new pilots and 750,000 new aviation technicians in the next 20 years.
The annual program to recruit pilots for the People’s Liberation Army resulted in 20% more recruits than last year. Enrollment in the carrier-based fighter pilot program increased 41%. China currently has one operational aircraft carrier, with a second carrier expected to enter service soon, and a third is under construction.
Mistaking diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) additive for fuel system icing inhibitor PRIST on the flight line is a growing problem on ramps all over the world. This can be disastrous since DEF causes jet-A to crystallize and clog aircraft fuel filters and lines. In fact, DEF contamination of jet-A has already forced several business aircraft crews to perform engine-out landings in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Women in Aviation President Dr. Peggy Chabrian announced at the WAI Connect Breakfast at Oshkosh that she would retire in April 2020. The transition period will allow for an executive search to determine her replacement.
We talk with the president of VREF about aircraft valuation. In the news, we look at a replacement for the Fat Albert C-130, an electric airplane being developed by Solar Impulse 2 pilot André Borschberg, EASA concerns with the 737 MAX, additive manufacturing in aerospace, and a supersonic flight challenge that is not about the boom. We also have interviews with a Boeing T-X experimental test pilot and a Major General with the Japanese Ministry of Defense on the C-2 transport aircraft.
Jason Zilberbrand, president of VREF.
Jason Zilberbrand is president & CTO of VREF Aircraft Value Reference and Appraisal Services. He is an aircraft appraiser, expert witness, broker, inventorying dealer, acquisition agent, aircraft owner and operator, contract negotiator, consultant, teacher, conference speaker, and an author.
VREF delivers aircraft and engine data through online subscription services and published quarterly digests. The company provides valuations, appraisals, and litigation consulting services to a worldwide client base of aviation professionals including, law firms, banks, financial institutions, leasing companies, manufacturers, aircraft owners, aircraft operators, and suppliers. VREF is the official Valuation Guide and Appraisal company for AOPA.
Jason says that VREF tracks about 6800 models and 440 makes. He explains how aircraft valuation is determined, who wants to see the appraisal and why. He touches on how experimental and low volume aircraft are handled, including warbirds. We take a look at the current “seller’s market” and also consider the implications of large numbers of turbine aircraft that are not ADS-B compliant.
VREF is launching a new-from-the-ground-up application that will provide scrap value. VREF is also switching to a tiered service model. Tier 1 will continue the traditional service while Tier 2 will add fair market value and inventory. Orderly liquidation and future residual values come with Tier 3.
Jason is watching the growth of electric aircraft, and the company is even bringing in a couple of drone appraisers. VREF is also adding cybersecurity capability to provide flight department assessments.
Jason spent 25 years in General Aviation working directly with aircraft owners and operators. He owned and operating his own aircraft as well. Jason knows the international aviation marketplace well and is considered an expert in aircraft valuations and aircraft transactions.
Founded in 1994, VREF is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa with offices in Chicago, Rockford, Los Angeles, Boise, Daytona Beach Florida, Austria, Switzerland, Australia, and Shanghai China.
The Blue Angels C-130T support aircraft known as Fat Albert is scheduled to be replaced in 2020 with a C-130J purchased from the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence for $29.7million. A new C-130J would cost $50 million more.
André Borschberg (our guest in Episode 361) and Bertrand Piccard flew around the world in the Solar Impulse 2. Now Borschberg has started a new company called H55 to build practical electric airplanes, starting with a two-seater that achieves a 90 minute flight time. The Bristell Energic flight trainer is a modified version of a BRM Aero airplane.
The Washington Post reports that the FAA had been frustrated by the number of safety issues at Boeing and the company’s repeated failure to rectify the situation as agreed. That led to a 2015 settlement agreement that bundled all the problems with one $12 million fine and one corrective action plan for systemic issues. But the degree to which Boeing has lived up to the agreement is being questioned.
Carnegie Mellon University’s Next Manufacturing Center and Manufacturing Futures Initiative (MFI) has been selected by NASA to lead a research team to examine new ways to build and power aircraft of the future. Metals additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing “has had a significant impact on aviation manufacturing for jet engine components, airframe structural elements, and other applications.”
The project will explore new methods for using additive manufacturing to reduce costs and increase the speed of mass-producing aircraft without sacrificing quality, reliability, and safety. Process qualification is a challenge and a focus area.
Partners include Argonne National Laboratory, ANSYS, Lockheed Martin, Trumpf, Eaton, General Electric, Pratt & Whitney, Northrop Grumman, Metal Powder Works, Siemens, Materials Solutions and The Barnes Group.
Developers of supersonic airplanes have to deal with the sonic boom problem, but there is another issue looming: increased carbon footprint. Fuel burned per passenger is high with the speedy new designs. Boom Supersonic has addressed this by stating the company’s commitment to green aviation and an alternative fuel partnership with Prometheus Fuels.
Paris Air Show Interviews
Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari brings us his final two interviews from the Paris Air Show.
Matthew (Phat) Giese, Chief Pilot F15/F22 Programs and T-X Experimental Test Pilot talks about the Boeing T-X that will replace the T-38.
Boeing T-X, courtesy Boeing.
Masahito Goto, Ph.D., Major General, Deputy Director General, Japanese Ministry of Defense talks about the C-2 Transport Aircraft.
C-2, courtesy ATLA.
David Hamilton, last living WWII Pathfinder pilot drops paratroopers out of C-47 on his 97th birthday.
97 year old (on July 20, 2019) Lt Col David Hamilton, enlisted on December 8, 1941. Dave then trained as a C-47 pilot and then later as a Pathfinder pilot. Pathfinder aircrews were specially trained WWII aircrews who flew C-47s that had cutting edge navigational equipment. Prior to the major airborne operations in the European Theater of Operation, these aircrews were tasked with dropping in specially trained pathfinder paratroopers to set up radar equipment on the drop zones to which the other C-47s would navigate when carrying in the main force of the airborne troops. Dave did this function during Operation Overlord at Normandy on D-Day, Operation Dragoon in Southern France, and Operation Market Garden in Holland. Dave also led in the aircraft for the supply drop to the 101st Airborne when they were surrounded at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. (Dave led in 27 planes and led out 9 on that mission.) Sadly, Dave is the last living Pathfinder pilot who flew all those missions.
Lt Col David Hamilton and past guest Christine Negroni with the D-Day Squadron at Waterbury-Oxford Airport. Photo by Max Flight.
Dave just returned from England and France where he flew across the English Channel in a WWII veteran aircraft (C-53) as part of the D-Day Squadron formation of American C-47s and C-53s which flew across the channel on 5 June. Dave was actually at the controls of the C-53 for part of that flight 75 years after he made his original D-Day flight. (Yes, the pathfinders did take off on 5 June 1944) When Dave was in England, he was honored in North Witham by folks who live near where the RAF base from which he flew the D-Day mission was located and was a guest at the ceremonies at the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach on June 6. Dave was pretty much treated like a rock star everywhere he went in England and France!!
Dave and the 75th anniversary of D-Day are going to be honored again at this year’s 5 October Wings Out West Airshow in Dave’s home town of Prescott, Arizona where another WWII D-Day veteran, the C-53 “D-Day Doll”, will be doing a drop of WWII type paratroopers to honor Dave and the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Also, Dave is going to be inducted into the San Diego Air and Space Museum Hall of Fame in November and he has been invited by the CAF to be in one of the WWII aircraft that will overfly the Mall in Washington D.C. during the 75th celebration of VE day in May 2020.
D-Day Doll. Photo by Max Flight.
Dave is also going to be in the cockpit of a C-47 near Frederick Oklahoma dropping the Airborne Demonstration Team’s (ADT) WWII style paratroopers on July 20, 2019, which happens to be Dave’s 97th birthday. The Frederick Oklahoma airfield is the home of Frederick Army Air Field (FAAF) which still has a wonderful WWII era wooden hanger in which sit a couple of C-47s, various WWII vehicles. FAAF is the home of the ADT’s WWII style jump school, complete with all the paraphernalia such a jump school would need, such as parachute packing tables, training hangers, mess hall, classroom, barracks, etc. When one walks into the FAAF hanger one steps back in time 75 years. ADT runs WWII style jump schools several times a year. July 20th will also be ADT’s “Open Hangar Day” for the graduation ceremony for the jumpers who have completed the 5 jumps required to graduate from their July Jump School.
Come on out to FAAF for a great story about the last living Pathfinder dropping paratroopers on his 97th birthday.
The president of Hoar Program Management tells us about plans for the Boom Supersonic Overture facility. In the news, we discuss Bombardier’s actions to exit commercial aviation, a government probe into production practices of the 787 Dreamliner, and UTC’s project for a hybrid-electric regional plane. We also talk with a 14-year-old who flew a glider from California to Maine solo, and an interview with PPG from the Paris Air Show.
Mike explains the primary criteria used to select the initial target list of sites: the amount of developable land, minimum runway length, and proximity to a supersonic test corridor. The next phase will involve a deeper dive into the candidate sites and creating a shortlist. The final site selection should occur by early 2020 and will consider a number of factors, including a cultural fit between Boom Supersonic and the local community.
The facility design process will take perhaps a year, followed by 2 to 3 years of construction. All this to support first flight in the mid-2020s. HPM performed the same service for Airbus in developing their Mobile, Alabama A320 facility.
As for Boom Supersonic, they are currently assembling the XB-1, a Mach-2.2 supersonic demonstrator aircraft. Data from XB-1 test flights will help refine the design of Overture which will hold 55-75 pax in a 170’ fuselage with a 60’ wingspan. Japan Airlines and Virgin Group have thirty of the all business class tri-jet on pre-order. Boom Supersonic founder and CEO Blake Scholl was our guest in Episode 463, published in August 2017.
Mike has led HPM since its inception in 1997, and his team of more than 150 professionals is engaged in the management of capital building projects located throughout the US and in Europe. Over its 22-year history, Mike and his team have grown the company from a division of a southern US-based construction company into its own nationally-ranked program management firm which handles almost a billion dollars of construction value for clients on an annual basis. A native of Louisiana, Mike began his career in construction in Atlanta after receiving his civil engineering degree from Tulane University.
United Technologies Corp. (UTC) is developing a hybrid-electric flight demonstrator based on a Bombardier Dash 8 regional turboprop. “Project 804” replaces one of the engines with a two-megawatt hybrid-electric engine. The hybrid-electric powerplant is produced through a collaboration between its Collins Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney subsidiaries. First flight should take place “in about three years.”
P&W president Bob Leduc is retiring and Chris Calio will be replacing him. Leduc started his long career in engineering. Calio has a legal background. Both men held senior leadership positions at various UTC aerospace units.
According to “sources” Boeing has been subpoenaed for records relating to 787 Dreamliner in production in South Carolina. This after reports of poor quality work at that facility. The DOJ is also conducting a criminal investigation into the certification and design of the 737 MAX.
Bombardier has sold its regional jet business to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for $550 million in cash. Bombardier will now focus on trains and private planes. Bombardier will assemble the remaining backlog of regional jets for Mitsubishi, then cease production. That should be in the second half of 2020.
Riley Speidel, Glider Pilot
Riley Speidel comes from a flying family. Her father, grandfather, grandmother and aunt are all pilots. With flying in her blood, Riley soloed a glider just after her fourteenth birthday and shortly after that, she flew a glider solo from Marina, California to Sanford, Maine. Our Main(e) Man Micah caught up with her at the Southern Maine Aviation FBO.
Riley and Micah.
David Palermo, PPG Transparencies
David Palermo is the PPG Global Director, Military and Defense Transparencies. Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari spoke with David at the Paris Air Show about windshields and canopies.
Microsoft Flight Simulator returns in 2020, Launchpad Marzari talks with the operations manager and the chief pilot at Skydive Spaceland San Marcos, the Boeing 737 has an issue with slats, fun facts about business jets, Raytheon and United Technologies propose a merger, airport facial scans raise privacy concerns, and an electric hybrid Cessna 337 Skymaster takes flight.
Advocacy group No Plane, No Gain offers data that illustrates the importance of business aviation, such as jobs supported, economic activity, accessibility to locations not served by airlines, humanitarian missions, and many more.
Under the proposed merger, UTCs aerospace unit would combine with Raytheon in an all-stock transaction to create Raytheon Technologies Corporation. As previously planned, Carrier and Otis would spin off UTC as distinct companies.
The Ampaire Inc. six-seat Cessna 337 Skymaster was retrofitted with a proprietary battery-powered electric propulsion system that replaces the rear combustion engine. The “resulting system is a ‘parallel hybrid’, meaning the internal combustion engine and electric motor work in concert to optimize power output as the plane flies.”
Skydive Spaceland (Part 2)
Two final interviews conclude the report by Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari on his visit to Skydive Spaceland: Thomas Hughes, Operations Manager, Skydive Spaceland, San Marcos; and Chief pilot Matt Wampler.
Interviews from the 2019 Planes of Fame Air Show and also with Commemorative Air Force support crew. In the news, we look at the AOA Disagree alert on the 737 Max, military pilot training with virtual reality, Airbus A380s being parted out, and the pilot of the fatal Planes of Fame Northrop N9MB Flying Wing crash has been identified.
The 2019 Planes of Fame Air Show at Chino Airport was dedicated to the memory of David Vopat, the Planes of Fame Air Museum pilot who was tragically killed in the crash of a Northrop Flying Wing.
The show featured over 50 historic aircraft, including the P-47 Thunderbolt, P-38 Lightning and P-51 Mustangs. Performances included: USAF F-16 Viper Demo and Heritage Flight; WWII Airborne Demo Team Paratroopers; the world’s fastest piston engine aircraft P-51 Mustang Voodoo; Pacific, European, Korean and Vietnam Flight Displays; Gregory ‘Wired’ Colyer T-33 Aerobatics; Eric Tucker Piper Cub demo; and Rob Harrison the Tumbling Bear.
Brian Coleman recorded the following interviews, with start times indicated in brackets.
Longtime listener Matt Haines works the ramp at the show. [29:01]
We now have reports about the failure to detect erroneous AOA readings on 737 Max aircraft. The AOA safety alert was designed to indicate faulty data, but it is only activated if optional equipment is installed. This was not what Boeing originally intended.
In their press release, Boeing Statement on AOA Disagree Alert,Boeing says “Neither the angle of attack indicator nor the AOA Disagree alert are necessary for the safe operation of the airplane. They provide supplemental information only, and have never been considered safety features on commercial jet transport airplanes.” And, “The Boeing design requirements for the 737 MAX included the AOA Disagree alert as a standard, standalone feature…” But “In 2017… engineers at Boeing identified that the 737 MAX display system software did not correctly meet the AOA Disagree alert requirements. The software delivered to Boeing linked the AOA Disagree alert to the AOA indicator, which is an optional feature on the MAX and the NG. Accordingly, the software activated the AOA Disagree alert only if an airline opted for the AOA indicator.”
The U.S. Air Force employs virtual reality for training, but they are looking at expanding the use of the technology. The Air Education and Training Command (AETC) is developing a business case in the hope that the technology will train pilots faster and with a better result.
It’s only been 12 years since entry into service, but two ex-Singapore Airlines A380s are being dismantled for scrap. They were leased for 10 years and returned to the lessor, who couldn’t find any buyers for the aircraft.
Commemorative Air Force
Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari spoke with two CAF air show support crew:
Two guests this episode: An airline Captain who flies the Boeing 737-800 and the 737 MAX 8, and the International President of the Association of Flight Attendants. In the news, we look at the nominee to be the next FAA Administrator, private pilots providing services to disaster victims, and the decision to replace aging F-15’s with the F-15X.
Guest: Jeff Fellmeth
Captain Jeff Fellmeth,
Jeff Fellmeth, Lt Col, USAF (Ret) is a Captain on the Boeing 737, both the -800 and the MAX 8.
He has over 16,000 hours of flight time, including more than 12,000 civilian hours. In addition to the 737, Jeff has time in the A300, the Boeing 767, 757, and 727, as well as the Saab 340 and the Seminole. In the Air Force, Jeff flew the F-16D, the F-15A through E, as well as the T-41, T-37, T-38, and OV-10A.
Jeff explains the 737 MAX training provided and how the airlines had no knowledge of the MCAS system. We talk about the pressure Boeing was under to counter the Airbus A320neo as well as the quality of mainstream press reporting on the recent two fatal crashes.
Jeff discusses some differences between flying the 737 NG and the 737 MAX, including the power, braking ability, and location of some cockpit controls. He notes that most emergency procedures are the same for both aircraft and that there is currently no separate emergency procedure on either the NG or the MAX for runaway trim. He and other pilots have been surprised to learn just how much trim the MCAS supplies on the MAX.
We learn about the limited pilot training on the 737 MAX and Jeff answers the question if he would fly the plane based on what he knows now. He also explains the actions required of the pilot in the case of runaway trim, and we talk about the previously optional AOA features that Boeing has announced will now be standard equipment.
In our conversation, we characterize recent events as the first time a fleet has been grounded due to social media. A contributing factor may have been the telephone game that the mainstream press seems to have played.
Jeff is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He has type ratings in the B757/767, A300, MD-80, and B737.
[Conversation starts at 20:32]
Guest: Sara Nelson
Sara Nelson, International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO.
Sara frequently refers to flight attendants as “aviation’s first responders.” She is passionate about AFA’s mission to achieve fair compensation, job security, and improved quality of life, as well as a safe, healthy and secure aircraft cabin for both passengers and crew. She believes flight attendants can play a pivotal role in strengthening the labor movement with more public contact than almost any other job and access to every corner of the earth.
Sara explains how the recent partial government shutdown in the U.S. was creating an increasingly unsafe situation, and why that led her to call for a general strike. We talk about a resurgence in the imperative for labor unions and the increasing positive view of unions from the public.
Sara tells us why aviation unions have remained strong, and how the different unions stay in communication with each other. We look at some of the successes achieved by the AFA, such as the 100,000 eyes in the skies program where flight attendants were trained to detect human trafficking. Also, a two-hour increase in minimum legal rest for flight attendants and other efforts to combat fatigue on the job.
We look at other important issues that the union is focused on, such as the need to revamp the 90-second evacuation tests and the outdated practice of allowing children to travel on passenger laps.
Sara became a United Airlines Flight Attendant in 1996 and has been a union activist since nearly the beginning of her flying career. She served as strike chair and lead communications for nearly 10 years at AFA’s United chapter.
The White House has nominated Steve Dickson to be the new FAA Administrator. If confirmed, Dickson would succeed interim administrator Dan Elwell, who has been acting administrator since the retirement of Michael Huerta. Dickson retired from Delta in October 2018 after a 27-year career, most recently senior vice president of global flight operations.
CNN tells the story of a GA pilot named Adam Liston who was himself evacuated as a result of the flooding. When he and his wife Mandi returned, they knew they had to help others and he had been flying people in and out of Fremont, Nebraska, which was otherwise cut off.
F-15X aircraft were requested in the Air Force’s fiscal 2020 budget to replace aging F-15C/Ds. However, the Defense Department’s inspector general announced that acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is under investigation for allegations that he showed favoritism toward Boeing. Shanahan had been employed by Boeing for 30 years before becoming being Deputy Secretary of Defense in 2017. In his defence, Shanahan says that he had recused himself from all decisions involving Boeing.
Reports from NBAA’s Regional Forum in Houston, attacking the pilot and mechanic shortage, and NBAA’s top safety focus areas. Wo look at the Boeing 737 Max, AOA indicators, MCAS, and the certification process. Also, a Southwest Airlines labor agreement, more coin tosses for good luck, B-52 re-engining, famous aviation siblings, Red Bull air races, and the Boeing 747.
Comments from analysts suggest that “airlines that over-ordered the latest version of Boeing’s 737 workhorse, the grounding could be a good excuse to delay or cancel purchases, saving cash on the balance sheet.”
NBAA chief executive Ed Bolen says business aviation industry’s next big test is the pilot and maintenance technician shortage. Interest in business aviation careers needs to be generated among young people. Ed has some suggestions on how to accomplish that.
Bombardier sells off major portions of its commercial aviation business, FAA issues an Emergency Airworthiness Directive for Boeing 737, an American Airlines executive flys United, an update on United’s Polaris business class, Japanese pilots and alcohol consumption, and some visitors allowed to the gate at Sea-Tac. Also, a talk with a Challenger Class Red Bull air race pilot and crosswind landings with the B-52.
FAA says this Boeing 737 MAX emergency AD “was prompted by analysis performed by the manufacturer showing that if an erroneously high single angle of attack (AOA) sensor input is received by the flight control system, there is a potential for repeated nose-down trim commands of the horizontal stabilizer. This condition, if not addressed, could cause the flight crew to have difficulty controlling the airplane, and lead to excessive nose-down attitude, significant altitude loss, and possible impact with terrain.”
The Japanese transport minister says they’ll create an expert panel to look at drinking rules for aviation staff. There have been a number of recent alcohol-related problems involving Japanese airline pilots.
Launchpad Marzari Interviewed Patrick Davidson, Red Bull Challenger 77. The Challenger Cup was conceived to help the next generation of pilots develop the skills needed for potential advancement to the Master Class.
Launchpad also spoke with LTC Roy “Street” Lohse, Instructor pilot, 307th Bomb Wing, Barksdale AFB about how the B-52 can land in a crab. or sideways in a crosswind.
Teachers from across the country came to AOPA’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) conference, hosted and sponsored by UPS in Louisville, Kentucky. The event featured two keynotes, two panel discussions, and 15 breakout sessions.