Tag Archives: B787

799 Doomsday Planes

Korean Air 747s will become the new doomsday planes, the new ATC rest rules have been delayed by the FAA, Breeze flight attendants voted to join the union, a United jumpseat pilot has upset some Southwest pilots, the GA flyover in DC was a success, Boeing employees were found to have falsified 787 Dreamliner inspection records, Airbus hasn’t leveraged an advantage in light of Boeing’s woes, and airlines sue the DOT over a new rule requiring the disclosure of fees.

Aviation News

Former Korean Air 747s Slated To Become USAF Doomsday Planes

Korean Air has confirmed the sale of five of its 747-8s to Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), which is building the new Survivable Airborne Operations Center (SAOC) aircraft, also referred to as “doomsday planes.” The USAF states: 

The E-4B “Nightwatch” serves as the National Airborne Operations Center and is a component of the National Military Command System for the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

In case of national emergency or destruction of ground command and control centers, the aircraft provides a highly survivable command, control, and communications center to direct U.S. forces, execute emergency war orders, and coordinate actions by civil authorities.

SNC acquired five Boeing 747-8s from Korean Air. The current E-4B aircraft are based on the 747-200. SNC specializes in aircraft modification and integration as well as space technologies.

FAA Delaying the Start of ATC Rest Rules

The new FAA ATC rest requirements require controllers to have at least 10 hours off between shifts and 12 hours off before a midnight shift. The rule was to have taken effect by mid-July. However, the FAA has delayed those requirements while it talks to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) union. FAA Air Traffic Organization Chief Operating Officer Timothy Arel hopes to reach a joint rest period agreement for the 2025 schedule “or sooner where feasible.”

Flight attendants at this Utah airline just voted ‘overwhelmingly’ to unionize

More than 76% of the roughly 600 Breeze Airways flight attendants voted to join the Association of Flight Attendants. AFA international president Sara Nelson said “We are inspired by their solidarity and thrilled to welcome them to our AFA family. Our labor movement is growing. Everywhere.” See: Breeze Flight Attendants Vote Overwhelmingly to Join the Flight Attendant Union.

“Breeze Flight Attendants organized for a union and a contract due to ongoing issues with constantly-changing work rules, substandard pay for time on the job, inadequate hotel accommodations, insufficient work hours, and inconsistent and disrespectful treatment from management.”

American Airlines is Issuing ‘Poverty Verification Letters’ For New-Hire Flight Attendants Because Their Wages Are So Low

Nearly One in Ten Alaska Airlines Flight Attendants Have Experienced Homelessness in the Past Year and Over a Third Have Been Forced to Use a Food Bank

Poverty verification letters are being sent to some new-hire flight attendants based in expensive areas.

Airline Feud Escalates: United Pilots Barred From Southwest Airlines Jump Seats After Controversial Incident

This stems from an incident where a “relatively new” United pilot reported some “inadequacies” to the FAA after jumpseating on a Southwest flight.

AOPA’s General Aviation Flyover in DC

Video: LIVE DC Flyover – AOPA’s National Celebration of General Aviation

FAA is investigating Boeing for apparent missed inspections on 787 Dreamliner

Boeing voluntarily disclosed to the FAA that some B787 Dreamliner inspections may not have been performed, but were signed off as completed. The inspections are intended to verify adequate bonding and grounding at the wing-fuselage joint.

In a statement to NPR, the FAA said it’s also investigating “whether Boeing completed the inspections and whether company employees may have falsified aircraft records.” The agency also said Boeing is re-inspecting “all 787 airplanes still within the production system and must also create a plan to address the in-service fleet.”

Boeing told NPR it “promptly notified the FAA and this is not an immediate safety of flight issue”.

Commercial jet maker Airbus is staying humble even as Boeing flounders. There’s a reason for that

Airbus has over 8,600 orders in backlog and can’t build planes fast enough. There is not much ability of Airbus to take orders from Boeing. (Boeing’s commercial backlog is more than 5,660 planes.)

Major airlines sue Biden administration over fee disclosure rule

The airlines don’t like the new DOT rule requiring upfront disclosure of airline fees. Filing a lawsuit against the DOT are Airlines for America, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, and Alaska Airlines. A4A said the new rules would confuse consumers and that its “attempt to regulate private business operations in a thriving marketplace is beyond its authority.”

Mentioned

Leo J. Kohn Digitization Project and Fundraising – Press Release [PDF]. The digitization and preservation project page where donations are accepted is https://www.wahf.org/kohn/.

Boeing YB-29J, "Pacsuan Dreamboat" on the tarmac.
Leo J. Kohn Photography Collection, #957 – Boeing YB-29J, “Pacsuan Dreamboat”, 44-84061. New York, NY. Photo by Larkins.

Exciting #SpotLAX24 Updates

ANA Star Wars livery
SpotLAX is a must-attend event!

Got $200K & Want To Fly Electric? This Ultralight eVTOL Ships In July & Doesn’t Require A Pilot License

Pivotal Helix eVTOL

Pivotal Helix eVTOL rendering.
Pivotal Helix eVTOL

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Max Trescott, Rob Mark, and our Main(e) Man Micah.

741 Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance

We look at how the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance advances an aerospace cluster. In the news, the American Airlines flight attendant union asks for compensation increases, the last year for the air races at Reno, and the first Boeing Dreamliners to leave service are being parted out. Also, an Australia News Desk report, the State of NASA, hydrogen fuel, Rolls Royce F130 engine testing, an Aerospace Media Awards call for nominations, and Boeing 747-400 N401PW.

Guest

Nikki Malcom photo. Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance CEO and Executive Director.
Nikki Malcom

Nikki Malcom is the CEO and Executive Director of the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance (PNAA), a non-profit trade association that promotes the growth and global competitiveness of the Pacific Northwest aerospace cluster.  The PNAA holds conferences and educational events, provides market intelligence, conducts B2B meetings, and provides networking opportunities.

The region is attractive for aerospace companies because it has a built-in “ecosystem” and offers sustainability advantages for the industry. The workforce is skilled but Nikki feels that diversity needs to be taken more seriously by the industry. She also comments on the conservative and risk-averse reputation that aerospace holds, and the ongoing supply chain challenges.

Nikki encourages others to join the aerospace industry, and volunteers on multiple trade school advisory boards and STEM education programs in an effort to promote the message that “Aerospace is for Everyone.” To support the effort of encouraging more women and girls to join the aerospace industry, she registered National Women in Aerospace Day for May 20th and is continuing that campaign to celebrate all of the cutting-edge work being done by women to advance the industry past, present, and future. 

Nikki has spent the past 23 years dedicated to the aerospace industry. She has had roles in supply chain, business development, and executive leadership in companies ranging from materials to manufacturing and testing. She’s obsessed with all things aviation and aerospace, including manufacturing, and is also president of NFM Enterprises, LLC. Nikki is looking forward to chasing her dream of pursuing her private pilot’s license this year!

See: Washington state aerospace companies take off for AVALON airshow and exposition in Australia this week.

From the Washington State Dept. of Commerce: Aerospace & Aviation.

Aviation News

American Airlines Flight Attendants Demand 35% Hike in Hourly Pay Rates and Boarding Pay in Latest Contract Proposals

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) represents about 23,000 members at American Airlines. They are demanding a 35 percent hike in hourly pay rates, boarding pay of 50% of the standard hourly rate (the same as Delta), pay increases for galley work and night shifts, increased per diem allowance rates, a “me too” clause that would automatically increase allowances if pilots won a higher rate, and an hourly pay rate increase of 6 percent in each of the three contract years.

Related: American Airlines CEO Offers Pilots Up To $590K In Pay.

Reno Stead Airport to Hold its Final National Championship Air Races Event in 2023

The Reno Air Racing Association issued a statement saying, “While we knew this day might come, we had hoped it wouldn’t come so soon. Citing the region’s significant growth amongst other concerns, the Reno Tahoe Airport Authority has made the decision to sunset the event. However, we are confident the event will continue. In fact, we are currently exploring several other possible locations to host the event in the future.” The National Championship Air Races have been taking place outside Reno since 1964. See To Our Loyal Fans and Passionate Community.

Two 10-year-old Boeing 787 Dreamliners are already being scrapped

Two former Norwegian Air Shuttle Boeing 787-8s are being parted out at Prestwick Airport near Glasgow, Scotland. These were delivered in June and August 2013 and are the first Dreamliners to be retired. The Dublin-based EirTrade Aviation is managing the disassembly. The planes were coming up to their 12-year heavy maintenance check.

Australia News Desk

ATSB releases preliminary report from on-going Gold Coast helicopter mid-air collision investigation

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) this week released a preliminary report into the collision of two EC130 helicopters on January 2nd, at the Gold Coast in Queensland, resulting in the loss of four lives. It is important to note that this is not the full finding of the investigation – only a preliminary, high-level overview.  The full findings will be many months away, or longer.

Straddie ‘brewairy’ flight takes beer tasting to new heights

Grant’s found a new air-charter operation further north in Queensland which combines his love of flying with his other great passion….beer!   The company is called Brewairy and allows tourists to climb on board a Cessna and sample a few local ales while making the short hop to Stradbroke Island.  At last news, Grant was hightailing his way north to file a first-hand report…

More flying coffees forecast as Google to expand drone tech

Switching from beer to coffee, Australians could see many more of them flying around the suburbs after Google announced plans to test technology designed to load its drones and boost the number of airborne deliveries.

Mentioned

Alyssa Carson –  Future Mars Walker, creator of the Blueberry Foundation. Find her on LinkedIn. The Spring 2023 Issue of Let’s Go Aerospace magazine has an article about Alyssa.

Inside the world of aviation, space and defense news with the team behind Hype Aviation – The GeekWire Podcast talks with Isaac Alexander and Robin Koenig of Hype: Aviation, Defense and Space News.

Video: 2023 ‘State of NASA’ Address from Administrator Bill Nelson

Hydrogen colours codes

Video: Rolls-Royce Begins F130 Dual Pod Engine Test For B52 Aircraft

The 2023 Aerospace Media Awards, Fourth Call for Nominations, closing date – 31st March.

Delta Flight Museum, Boeing 747-400

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, and Max Trescott. Contributions by Grant McHerron and Steve Visscher.

688 A Pilot Wife

The producer of the Pilot Wife Podcast explains navigating life in an aviation family, and the CEO of Northern Pacific Airways talks about the new airline. In the news, an Emirates 777 close call, FAA clears low-visibility landings at 5G airports, FlyersRights sues FAA over seat standards, American Airlines and The Points Guy sue each other, American reduces service, lost money at the airport, a mystery coating on stealth fighters, and a listener report on the aircraft assisting Tonga after the eruption.

Guest

Jackie Ulmer produces the Pilot Wife Podcast which helps aviation families navigate life. She’s been married to an airline pilot for over three decades, so she has more than a little experience living with a commercial pilot.

Pilot Wife Podcast explores the challenges faced by the spouse of a pilot, including understanding airline employee scheduling, living with the realities of a 27/7 business, and how to manage holidays and important life events that often have to come second. Add to that managing the children and overcoming loneliness.

In 2021, others in her online network encouraged Jackie to mentor pilot wives. As a life coach and a business coach, she had the requisite skills, and as the long-time spouse of a pilot she had the life experience. The idea of a podcast came to her and she dove into it, going live in December 2021.

The Pilot Wife Podcast features a variety of guests that offer valuable perspectives for spouses of pilots. In our conversation with Jackie, we learn about some of the issues and how to manage them. She provides the free Pilot Wife Checklist – 7 Keys to To a Fabulous Pilot Wife Life as a useful resource.

On the Pilot Wife Podcast website, you’ll find the Checklist, Jackie’s blog, and of course the podcast episodes. In addition, she co-runs the Aviation Fitness Facebook group which looks at fitness from a mind-body-spirit perspective. The group is for anyone in aviation, including spouses and partners. Her business site Peak Performance Habits is where you’ll find all of that plus coaching and recipes.

Aviation News

Emirates 777 close call in Dubai returns spotlight to automation over-reliance

Last December, an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER came within 175 feet of the ground in a neighborhood near Dubai International Airport. Emirates says only that the incident is under investigation. Some evidence suggests that an incorrect setting was made in the airplane’s autopilot during the pre-flight.

Majority of US fleets cleared for ‘low-visibility landings’ at airports with 5G: FAA

Last week, the FAA said that almost two-thirds of U.S. commercial fleets have been cleared “to perform low-visibility landings at airports” where 5G wireless service has been deployed. Among the aircraft models that have been cleared by the FAA are Airbus A300, A310, A319, A320, A330, A340, A350, and A380 models and Boeing 717, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, and MD-10/-11 models.

FAA Warns 787s Especially Susceptible To 5G

Missing from the above list is the Boeing 787. The FAA issued an AD for the Boeing 787 saying that 5G interference with its radar altimeter could affect other systems. These “could prevent engine and braking systems from transitioning to landing mode, which could prevent an aircraft from stopping on the runway” under certain circumstances. 

FlyersRights sues FA for failure to establish minimum seat standards mandated by Congress more than three years ago

The FAA had a statutory deadline more than two years ago to issue minimum airline seat size standards. So far, the FAA hasn’t even started the rulemaking process. So FlyersRights.org has filed a court petition that seeks to order the FAA to issue the standards. FlyersRights claims to be the largest airline passenger non-profit organization with over 60,000 members.

AA and The Points Guy are suing Each Other

American Airlines has been taking action against websites that use AAdvantage member data, such as tracking frequent flier program balances. One way these sites get the member data is through a process called “screen scraping” where members provide their login credentials to the site, which then logs in as the customer and reads the data off the screen. American says this method violates their terms of service and additionally that The Points Guy has been using airline trademarks and copyrighted material.

American Flight Attendants Want Service Reductions

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), representing American Airlines’ flight attendants, wants a temporary reduction of onboard service levels and customer touchpoints. This is intended to “maintain the highest level of flight attendant and passenger safety.” As of January 26, 2022, American will be making a number of service reductions.

Man Loses €33,600 at Dubai International Airport But Is Reunited With His Money On His Return Flight

A passenger traveling from Germany to Thailand via Dubai International Airport found at his destination that he’d lost a small bag containing €33,600 (approx US$38,000) in bank notes. Fearing the worst, the man thought his money was gone for good. But he was to learn that the bag and its contents were found and ultimately reunited with him.

F-35 And F-117 Spotted Flying With Mysterious Mirror-Like Skin

The U.S. Air Force has been testing some kind of coating on stealthy aircraft. It looks metallic, but depending on the viewing angle it looks either shiny or matte. Seen before on the F-22 and the Scaled Composites Model 401, it’s been spotted now on the F-35C and the F-117 Nighthawk.

Aviation after the Tonga disaster

A report from listener Errol Cavit looks at the impact on commercial aviation and the aircraft involved in relief operations in Tonga.

Northern Pacific Airways

Brian Coleman talked with Northern Pacific Airways CEO Rob McKinney at the hangar event where the airline revealed its livery on its first Boeing 757-200. The new long-haul airline plans to serve cities in the states of New York, Florida, California, Texas, and Nevada, with direct flights to cities in Japan and Korea through Anchorage over the Northern route. Operations are planned to start in 2022.

Northern Pacific Airways B757.

Northern Pacific Airways

Update March 6, 2022: Our guest in Episode 694 (published March 9, 2022) is Edmond Huot. His team designed the Northern Pacific livery and you might want to give that fascinating interview a listen. Also, a video of the livery reveal is now available:

Video: Northern Pacific Airways Reveal

Mentioned

Somatogravic Illusion

Innovations in Flight Outdoor Aviation Display is scheduled for Saturday, June 18, 2022, at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Free tickets are required, parking is $15, and registration will launch soon.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, David Vanderhoof, and Max Trescott. With contributions from Brian Coleman and Errol Cavit.

676 Boeing 787

A Boeing 787 Captain explains getting type-certified and his career journey. In the news, an MD-87 is destroyed but all aboard survive, Piedmont Airlines flight attendants authorize a strike, flight statistics comparing 2019 with 2020 and 2121, buying an airline flight from a vending machine, a protest by Alitalia flight attendants, and a proposed hypersonic passenger plane. Also, plane spotting at LAX and the new parking structure.

Guest

Arnie Quast is a new Boeing 787 Captain for United Airlines based at Chicago-O’Hare International Airport.  He has been a pilot at United for 31 years, and has flown as a crewmember in just about every aircraft type United has in their fleet.

Boeing 787 captain Arnie Quast.

Arnie describes the process of becoming a Boeing 787 captain after flying Airbus equipment, including the vacancy bid openings and how seniority determines where a pilot fits on the bid. We look into the United training process in some detail, including computer-based training (CBT) modules, the training center, transitioning to the aircraft, and the role of the line check airman (LCA). Arnie tells us about systems training, classroom ground school, using the simulator, the systems knowledge validation (SKV) test followed by procedures training and procedures validation, as well as maneuvers training in the full flight sim, maneuvers validation, practice flights through line-oriented flight training (LOFT), and the type-rating check-ride supervised by a standards captain.

Arnie touches on flight security issues, engaging with passengers, and United’s Aviate pilot career development program that offers aspiring and established pilots pathways to a United flight deck.

Arnie began learning to fly when he was 15 years old at a central New Jersey airport and earned his private pilot license at age 17.  After high school, he attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University where he earned the rest of his pilot ratings as well as a bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Science. During his senior year at Embry-Riddle, Arnie worked for United Airlines as a Flight Operations Intern. That internship helped him get hired as a United pilot at age 23 and launched his career as an airline pilot.

Aviation News

NTSB: Plane that ran off runway in Brookshire had not flown in 10 months

An MD-87 attempted to take off from Houston Executive Airport but ran off the end of the runway, struck a fence and power poles, and burned. The eighteen passengers and three crew members were able to exit the aircraft after a flight mechanic opened the main cabin door and activated the evacuation slide. Video shows a puff of smoke at the tail of the aircraft and tire marks were found on the runway. 

Hundreds of American Airlines Regional Flight Attendants Vote to Strike, but Walkout Still Distant

Piedmont Airlines flight attendants at PHL unanimously vote to authorize a strike

Flight attendants at American Airlines’ Piedmont Airlines regional carrier voted unanimously to strike. The Association of Flight Attendants-Communications Workers of America claims that flight attendants just starting have a base pay of $16,500 a year and 10-year veterans make only $28,000 a year. According to the union, the airline offered a small pay increase that was more than offset by higher health insurance premiums.

Flight tracking statistics

The Flightradar24 global flight tracking service tracks over 180,000 flights from more than 1,200 airlines, flying to or from some 4,000 airports around the world – in real-time. Their aggregate flight tracking statistics compare 2019 (pre-pandemic), 2020, and 2021 to date.

This Japanese Airline is Selling Flights to Surprise Destinations Out of Vending Machines

The LCC Peach Aviation marketing campaign has been a big hit. Last August, Peach launched a vending machine in Osaka that sells capsules with the name of a surprise destination and Peach points that can be used towards the cost of the flight. Peach has sold more than 3,000 capsules so far.

Watch: Ex-Alitalia Flight Attendants Strip Off Uniforms in Flash Mob Protest

Alitalia is gone and was replaced by Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA). Alitalia had huge debts which were written off in a deal between the Italian government and the European Commission. But an agreement with the unions wasn’t reached for ITA. Only 30% of the Alitalia workers were brought into ITA and the union says their wages dropped by 30%.

Why a Mach 5 passenger plane is a crazy idea that might just work

Atlanta-based startup Hermeus is thinking about hypersonic Mach 5 air travel. The company is testing an engine for small, unmanned hypersonic aircraft for the US Air Force. Hermeus believes the engine design could be scaled to a size that could power a passenger plane. Engine tests of a “Turbine-Based Combined Cycle (TBCC) engine started in February 2020 based on the existing GE J85-21 turbojet engine used on the F-5.

LAX, Mayor Garcetti Announce Opening Of $294 Million Economy Parking Structure

Plane spotters at LAX.

Brian Coleman attended the event and speaks with:

Mentioned

Honoring the legacy of the WASP, November 11, 2021, at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, in Dayton, Ohio.

96-year-old World War II Veteran granted dream flight in 1920s airplane

Veteran’s Last Patrol

Twin Cities Man Accused Of Operating Private Airport In Field Behind His Home

This Is The Most Incredible Tour Of A B-52 Stratofortress We Have Ever Seen

Erik Johnston’s Youtube channel

619 Spending Too Much Time at Home

Some Boeing 787s are grounded due to structural problems, Rolls-Royce financials don’t look good, a positive TSA story, another virtual flight option, US DOE funding for electric aircraft technologies, Pipistrel to set electric aircraft world records, Elon Musk says 3-4 years for effective electric aircraft batteries, Spirit avoids layoffs, and $200 ticket change fees are dropped.

Some co-hosts know how to make a podcast producer laugh…

Aviation News

Boeing yanks eight 787s from service over structural issue

Boeing discovered “two distinct manufacturing issues” that impact the structural integrity of eight recently manufactured 787 Dreamliners. The deficiencies are associated with the joining of composite aft body fuselage barrels. Planes delivered to United, Air Canada, and Singapore were pulled from service.

Rolls-Royce Is Fast Becoming a British Calamity

Rolls-Royce just announced a 5.4 billion-pound ($7.1 billion) loss for the first six months of 2020. The company’s balance sheet shows liabilities exceeding assets by 8 billion pounds.

TSA Employee Rescues Bride’s Wedding Dress Left at Airport Security: She ‘Saved’ the Wedding

One day before her wedding, a bride and her family passed through Newark Liberty International Airport, but the mother accidentally left a roller bag with the bride’s gown (and hers) at the checkpoint. TSA administrative assistant Loletta Nathan-Gordon jumped into action and saved the wedding.

‘Airplane Mode’ will let you relive the monotony of economy class this fall

The Airplane Mode simulator from AMC Games will let you fly in real-time from New York City to Reykjavik or from New York City to Halifax, Canada. Not from the cockpit, but in the cabin. In coach. Expect delays, rude passengers, and screaming babies. You do get a window seat.

US Department of Energy: $33 Million for Carbon-Neutral Hybrid Electric Aviation

The U.S. Department of Energy announced $33 million in funding for 17 electric aviation projects. This is under the ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy) ASCEND (Aviation-class Synergistically Cooled Electric-motors with iNtegrated Drives) and REEACH (Range Extenders for Electric Aviation with Low Carbon and High Efficiency) programs.

Pipistrel Ready To Set 7 Electric Aircraft World Records

Pipistrel plans to fly its Velis Electro more than 700 kilometers from the Swiss Alps to the North Sea, and break 7 world records along the way: lowest energy consumption, highest average speed, highest flight altitude ever reached with an electric aircraft, fastest climbing performance, fastest average speed, smallest number of intermediate stops, and longest electrically flown route. Follow the flight on the website and Facebook.

Tesla’s Elon Musk says that batteries enabling electric aircraft are coming in ‘3 to 4 years’

Last year, when commenting on the need for increased battery energy density, Musk said that was 5 years off.  Tesla’s batteries were then achieving around 260 Wh/kg. He said around 400 Wh/kg was needed for aviation. Elon’s current prediction is now 3 to 5 years.

Spirit Airlines Strikes Deal to Avoid Pilot Furloughs

Spirit Airlines has used voluntary leave initiatives to minimize the number of pilot layoffs, limiting them to 117 pilot furloughs. Now the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) announced that almost half of Spirit’s pilots had agreed to work fewer hours each month, which let the airline cancel all 117 of its planned pilot furloughs. 

United says it will drop widely scorned ticket-change fees

United Airlines says it is dropping its $200 ticket change fee. January, it will let customers fly standby for free on other flights the same day as their booked flight. “When we hear from customers about where we can improve, getting rid of fees is often the top request,” United CEO Scott Kirby said in a video posted Sunday. See also: United Ditches Domestic Change Fees… Let the Games Begin.

Mentioned

Sci-Fi Short Film “The OceanMaker”

Inventing the Joint Strike Fighter, a Zoom meeting Saturday, October 10, 2020, with Dr. Paul Bevilaqua, Chief Engineer of the Skunk Works, Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Arsenal of Democracy – On Friday, September 25, 2020, approximately 70 World War II aircraft will fly over the Washington Mall.

618 Leave No One Behind

A retired U.S. Air Force colonel tells the “leave no one behind” story of a pilot who ejected over the Gulf of Tonkin. In the news, Boeing could consolidate 787 assembly lines, ski jump launch trials for the F/A-18 Super Hornet, a live air-to-air missile is found at Lakeland Airport, a man is arrested after driving under a taxiing airplane, a virtual airline that can help with your air travel withdrawal, and AI bests a human F-16 pilot in simulated dogfights.

Guest

Eileen Bjorkman

Eileen Bjorkman

Eileen Bjorkman is an author who tells veteran’s stories, a speaker, and a retired U.S. Air Force colonel with 700+ hours of flying time as a flight test engineer in 25 different types of military aircraft, primarily the F-4, F-16, C-130, and C-141. As a civilian pilot, she holds an Airline Transport Pilot rating and is a Certificated Flight Instructor with more than 2,000 hours of flying time. She owns an aerobatic airplane, a Decathlon.

Eileen has just published her book Unforgotten in the Gulf of Tonkin: A Story of the U.S. Military’s Commitment to Leave No One Behind, available on Amazon and from University of Nebraska Press/Potomac Books where for a limited time you can use code 6AF20 to get a 40% discount on the book. Outside North America, call Combined Academic Publishers in the UK at +44(0)1423 526350 and use discount code CS40UNP.

Unforgotten in the Gulf of TonkinThe book tells the story of U.S. Navy pilot Willie Sharp who ejected from his F-8 fighter after being hit on November 18, 1965, over a target in North Vietnam. With a cloud layer beneath him, he did not know if he was over land or over the Gulf of Tonkin. As he ejected, both navy and air force aircraft were already heading toward him to help.

In addition to her books, Eileen has had articles published in Air & Space/Smithsonian, Aviation History, Portland, Equinox: Poetry and Prose, Sport Aviation, the Everett Daily Herald, and many technical journals. She has both MS and BS degrees in Aeronautical Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in Ohio, and a BS in Computer Science from the University of Washington in Seattle. She also has a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from The George Washington University in Washington, DC.

Visit Eileen’s web page at EileenBjorkman.com for more about her books, publications, and her blog.

Aviation News

Boeing’s 787 choice could gut Washington state’s aircraft industry

Boeing has two 787 Dreamliner assembly lines – one in Everett, Washington, and one in South Carolina. Boeing is expected to decide soon if those lines will be consolidated at a single site. The speculation is that If the company eliminates one facility, it will be Everett, impacting some 30,000 employees.

F/A-18 Super Hornet Is Now Undergoing Ski Jump Launch Trials For The Indian Navy

Boeing is competing the F/A-18 Super Hornet for an Indian Navy contract. Since the Indian Navy only has aircraft carriers with ski jumps, Boeing has been demonstrating the aircraft off a ground-based ski jump at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland.

Live Missile Found At Lakeland Airport

The live but unarmed air-to-air missile is a French S-530. It was found at Florida’s Lakeland Linder International Airport (LAL) in a shipment delivered to Draken International. That defense contractor operates a fleet of about 150 tactical ex-military fighter jets. Draken provides contract air services to locations in the U.S. and internationally.

Man Arrested In Portland After Driving Under A Taxiing Aircraft

A family of four in their sedan drove off a local road and crashed through gates at the north side of Portland International Airport. The 24-year-old driver was stopped and said he had no option because he was being chased by several trucks. But then the man returned to his car and drove off with one of his children, right underneath an aircraft that was taxiing to the runway, which stopped to let the vehicle pass. The man then stopped the vehicle near the gates and was detained and charged him with three felonies.

A US Air Force F-16 pilot just battled AI in 5 simulated dogfights, and the machine emerged victorious every time

Under DARPA’s AlphaDogfight competition, an artificial intelligence program developed by Heron Systems was pitted against a seasoned Air Force F-16 pilot in a simulated dogfight. Heron’s AI achieved five straight wins.

Travelers miss flying so much that they’re taking ‘flights’ to nowhere

Japanese company First Airlines offers an option for those who just need to take a first-class flight: virtual reality flight experiences. You get a two-hour experience, a first-class “lounge” with departure screens, a first-class Airbus seat, a four-course “in-flight” meal, TV screens for windows, and flight attendants carrying out safety protocols.

Mentioned

Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA)

Video: Landing on the Melbourne Citadel in Microsoft Flight Simulator

Micah and the KC-135 at MAC Jets FBO at The Portland International Jetport

559 Boom Supersonic Overture Facility

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.

Boom Supersonic Overture

Boom Supersonic Overture. Courtesy Boom Supersonic.

Guest

Mike Lanier, President of Hoar Program Management (HPM).

Mike Lanier is president of Hoar Program Management (HPM), a company that provides program management services for construction projects. HPM was chosen by Boom Supersonic to manage the process of site selection, planning, design, and construction of Boom Supersonic’s first U.S. manufacturing facility for its Overture Mach-2.2 supersonic commercial airliner.

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.

Aviation News

UTC’s Hybrid-Electric Regional Plane Promises 30 Percent Fuel Savings

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.”

Calio to succeed Leduc as Pratt & Whitney president

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.

DOJ probe expands beyond Boeing 737 MAX, includes 787 Dreamliner

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 quits commercial aviation after failing to break the Boeing-Airbus stranglehold

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 Speidel and Micah

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.

Mentioned

Letchworth State Park. Photo by Max Flight.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

550 AOPA Foundation You Can Fly Challenge

AOPA Foundation vice president Jennifer Storm explains initiatives to create a stronger and safer pilot community, as well as the opportunity to double the impact of your donation to the You Can Fly Challenge. In the news, the Cirrus SF50 Vision fleet is grounded, CFMI Leap engines are seeing a coking issue, Boeing 787 Dreamliner production quality is questioned, the N9M flying wing has crashed killing the pilot, ADS-B reduces the accident rate, and power lines save a Cessna 172.

Guest

Jennifer Storm, Vice President of the AOPA Foundation.

Jennifer Storm, Vice President of the AOPA Foundation.

Jennifer Storm is vice president of the AOPA Foundation. She oversees all aspects of the Foundation, including donor stewardship, major and planned gifts, annual giving, corporate grants, and operations. Jennifer holds FAA Commercial Pilot and Flight Instructor Certificates, both with Instrument and Multi-Engine Ratings. As vice president of the AOPA Foundation, Jennifer is focused on funding programs that grow the pilot population, improve safety, and make flying more accessible and affordable.

Jennifer explains that the AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) membership organization is supported by member dues. The non-profit 501(c)(3) AOPA Foundation, on the other hand, is funded through donations which in turn support the AOPA Air Safety Institute and the You Can Fly program.

Four initiatives make up the You Can Fly program: the high school initiative that features an aviation STEM curriculum, the flight training initiative that’s designed to improve the flight training experience and reduce the student pilot dropout rate, the flying clubs initiative that creates new (and supports existing) clubs to help pilots stay engaged and help make flying more affordable, and the Rusty Pilots initiative that makes it easier for “lapsed” pilots to get flying again.

This year, the Ray Foundation challenged the AOPA Foundation to raise $2 million by August 31, 2019, to support the You Can Fly program, and they will match those donations dollar-for-dollar.

Donations to the AOPA Foundation You Can Fly Challenge can be made online. Be sure to use that link to take advantage of the matching grant opportunity. For those who’d prefer to send a check to the AOPA Foundation at 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, MD 21701, please write “You Can Fly” on the memo line to get the match.

Jennifer joined AOPA in 2004 after flight instructing at the University of North Dakota. She developed education programs for the Air Safety Institute and later lead the production team. She then went on to serve as the Director of the AOPA Airport Support Network, the national network of 2,000 volunteers who help AOPA promote, protect, and defend community airports. Jennifer then led AOPA’s public relations efforts and the flight training initiative, which was the precursor to the You Can Fly program.

In addition to her roles at AOPA, Jennifer served as Chief Operating Officer of Assessment Compliance Group and as Director of U.S. Network Engagement and Performance for United Way Worldwide. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics (majors in Commercial Aviation and Flight Education) and a Master of Science in Education (major in Instructional Design and Technology) from the University of North Dakota.

Aviation News

FAA Grounds All Cirrus Vision Jets over Angle of Attack Issues

The FAA issued an emergency airworthiness directive (2019-08-51) that grounds the Cirrus SF50 Vision fleet due to an issue with the angle of attack indicators. Uncommanded pitch-down was experienced in three incidents. Cirrus and the manufacturer of the technical standard order AOA sensor have identified the probable root cause as an AOA sensor malfunction due to a quality escape in the assembly of the AOA sensor.

Airlines Asked To Check 737 MAX and A320neo Engines After Failure Risk Found

Higher than expected coking of the fuel nozzles has occurred on the CFM International Leap-1A and Leap-1B engines. The resulting uneven temperatures and hot spots can cause premature wear in the engine hot section. Increased borescope inspections are taking place.

Claims of Shoddy Production Draw Scrutiny to a Second Boeing Jet

The New York Times reports that their investigation of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner has revealed “shoddy production and weak oversight that have threatened to compromise safety.” They found “a culture that often valued production speed over quality. Facing long manufacturing delays, Boeing pushed its workforce to quickly turn out Dreamliners, at times ignoring issues raised by employees.”

At Least 1 Killed After Plane Crashes in Prison Yard of Facility in Norco: FAA

The Planes of Fame Northrop N9M flying wing crashed in Chino, California, shortly after takeoff. The pilot was killed.

Study shows accidents less likely with ADS-B In

A Regulus Group paper says they found a 53 percent reduction in accident rates for general aviation and air taxi accident aircraft equipped with ADS-B In. The likelihood of a fatal accident decreased by 89 percent.

A Crashing Small Plane Was Snagged by Power Lines, Stopping a Foot From Disaster

The Cessna 172 ran out of fuel trying to land in New York. It came down in a Long Island residential area but the occupants were mostly unharmed after the plane became entangled in power lines.

Mentioned

D-Day Squadron Announces Kick-Off for North Atlantic Crossing

The D-Day Squadron announced the starting point for the Squadron’s journey to Europe over the original “Blue Spruce” route to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Invasion of Normandy. Aircraft will depart from Waterbury-Oxford Airport in Oxford Connecticut on May 19th, 2019, but there will be a full week of activities to kick off this event, including a special Squadron flyover of the Statue of Liberty.

Equator P2 Xcursion

The P2 is a two-seat electric amphibious (seaplane) sport aircraft. Video: Equator Aircraft Norway.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

536 AOPA with Tom Haines

Tom Haines from AOPA joins us this episode to talk about the organization’s accomplishments and future priorities. In the news, we look at seven airline innovations, the fatal training accident rate, and the ANA dual engine shutdown. Also, Launchpad Marzari on snarge, plans for an around-Australia charity flight, and an idea to open Meigs Field Airport for a new kind of aviation.

Guest

Tom Haines, AOPA SVP of Media, Communications & Outreach.

Tom Haines, SVP of Media, Communications & Outreach. Courtesy AOPA.

Tom Haines is Senior Vice President, Media, Communications & Outreach for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. He hosts AOPA Live This Week with Melissa Rudinger, and he owns and flies a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza. Since soloing at 16 and earning a private pilot certificate at 17, Tom has flown more than 100 models of general aviation airplanes.

We look back at some of AOPA’s accomplishments from 2018, and ahead to future imperatives. Tom talks about ATC privatization and how the 5-year reauthorization means it is unlikely to come up again soon, the 2020 ASDB mandate and the need for agreement on the path for NextGen, and the drive for lower cost solutions for the general aviation fleet.

We also take a look at the activities of the AOPA Washington, DC office as well as the regional fly-ins planned for 2019. There will be three this year (see 2019 AOPA Fly-In locations revealed) and the season kicks off May 10 and 11, 2019 at AOPA headquarters in Frederick, Maryland, at Frederick Municipal Airport. The second fly-in will take place June 21 and 22 in Livermore, California, at Livermore Municipal Airport. The third fly-in of the season will be on Sept. 13 and 14 in Tullahoma, Tennessee, at Tullahoma Regional Airport. This year is the 80th anniversary of AOPA and the celebration at Frederick promises to be something special.

Tom touches on AOPA’s drone pilot membership and email newsletter, as well as the magazines and other resources and programs that the organization provides. The You Can Fly program offers a STEM curriculum for high school students, the Rusty Pilots initiative, and activity with flight schools to help students complete their training. The 2019 You Can Fly Challenge is now open with the Ray Foundation offering $2 million in matching funds.

Tom also explains AOPA’s role in the May 9, 2020 Arsenal of Democracy flyover. This is expected to include nearly 100 vintage warbirds in 24 formations representing the major battles of WWII.

Aviation News

These Airline Innovations Will Change the Way You Fly

Airlines are engaging aviation think tanks, looking for the next big thing. Air France and KLM have incubation studio Big Blank. IAG, the parent company of BA, Iberia, Vueling, Aer Lingus, has its accelerator, Hangar 51. Lufthansa has the Innovation Hub and JetBlue has Technology Ventures.

Seven projects are described:

  1. Facial recognition at the airport/virtual passports (BA at JFK)
  2. Interlinked services that automatically rebook after disruptions (Lufthansa’s Yilu)
  3. Flight delay prediction. (JetBlue Technology Ventures’ Lumo)
  4. Pay for flights by the hour, or in bulk, rather than one ticket at a time (JetBlue’s Skyhour and Flightpass)
  5. Automated self-driving baggage cars (BA)
  6. Real-time baggage tracking and reimbursement for “lost” bags (Lufthansa Linea)
  7. Electric VTOL flying cars.

Number of fatal training accidents drops 35%

A report from the AOPA Air Safety Institute (ASI) and Liberty University School of Aeronautics looks at 240 fatal instructional accidents in piston-engine airplanes from 2000 – 2015. The greatest risks in flight training are loss of control inflight (54%) and midair collisions (10%).

ANA Boeing 787 dual engine shutdown upon landing

B787 ANA Flight NH985 from Tokyo Haneda to Osaka Itami touched down, and when the thrust reversers were deployed the pilots noticed both Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines had shut down. Was this a software glitch? Perhaps an issue with the Thrust Control Malfunction Accommodation (TCMA) system for which Boeing has a 2002 patent?

Mentioned

Teenager Solomon will be flying around Australia in March of 2019 to raise money for Angel Flight and to promote the aviation industry to kids his age. On my trip, he will be stopping at schools to hold a fundraiser and to talk about the aviation industry. The trip is being planned to take 30 days and to visit 25 schools, covering a distance of 7,500nm with around 75 hours of flying. See Solomon’s Facebook page: SoloMan around Australia, his website, and the GoFundMe site: SoloMan Flight – Angel Flight Fundraiser.

Flyabout, a documentary film by Monika Petrillo

Willie L. Wilson, candidate for mayor, with an interesting Meigs Field proposal.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.ANA

492 Flying the Boeing 787 Dreamliner

A Boeing 787 Senior First Officer tells us about flying that plane. We discuss the implications of privatizing air traffic control, replacing the T-38C Talon with the Advanced Pilot Trainer, the impact of subsidy claims on Open Skies agreements, and a candidate for the top FAA spot. We also have an interview with the Commander of 302 Squadron of the Dutch Royal Air Force.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Courtesy Boeing.

Guest

Senior First Officer Mike currently flies the Boeing 787 for a major for European airline and is based out of London Heathrow. In our wide-ranging conversation, we learn about the transition from the Airbus to the Boeing 787, some of the differences, and training aspects. Mike tells us about the Lithium-Ion batteries used in the aircraft and cabin crew procedures for passenger battery problems.

FO Mike adds his perspectives as we discuss ATC privatization (or is it ATC corporatization?) and U.S. airline claims that Middle Eastern carriers received unfair subsidies. Mike isn’t shy about expressing his views, and along the way, we discover his preference for Boeing over Airbus.

Mike learned to fly in a Cessna 152 at age 17, then moved onto a Piper PA-28.  After completing the obligatory requirements, PPL, ME/IR, CPL and theoretical knowledge exams, FO Mike applied for the Advanced Entry Programme with a major Middle Eastern Airline. Starting with the Airbus A330, Mike progressed to become MFF/CCQ on the A330/A340, before moving over to the Boeing 787 as part of the entry into service crew for the airline.

Mike moved back to Europe in 2016 where he joined his current airline.  He holds a number of ratings: CPL, ME/IR, ATPL and is also Training First Officer and Type Rated Instructor. Altogether, Mike has flown the Airbus A330-200 and -300, the A340-500 and -600, and now the Boeing 787-9. Follow him on Twitter as @FOMike787.

Aviation News

Still Wondering Why GA/Biz Av Think the Airlines Will Run a Privatized ATC System?

One contentious aspect of the proposal to privatize Air Traffic Control in the U.S. is the makeup of the 13-member ATC board. What interests would be represented, in what numbers, and how might that impact general aviation?

T-X to replace T-38 at pilot training bases

The contract to replace the T-38C Talon with the Advanced Pilot Trainer (T-X) is yet to be awarded, but the U.S. Air Force is already planning the first pilot training base to receive the aircraft as early as 2022.

Emirates Airline boss reveals that the nastiest feud in the airline industry could kill his $76 billion Boeing order

Some U.S. airlines have accused Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways of receiving more than $50 billion state subsidies, a violation of Open Skies. Sir Tim Clark, the president of Emirates Airline, believes that Open Skies is at risk and the US aviation industry stands to lose.

Trump’s Pilot for FAA Administrator

We don’t know if the man is qualified, or even if this is a good idea.

Airline Story of the Week

Woman surprises husband with pregnancy announcement on flight from Tampa

An American Airlines crew helps a woman announce her pregnancy to her husband inflight, and catches his reaction on video.

Listener Recording

Thirteen-year-old Will gives us a teaser about his research project and his Airplane Geeks segment to come.

Interview

Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari interviews Lt Col Grijspaardt, Commander 302 Squadron, Dutch Royal Air Force.

Mentioned

Robert Poole’s libertarian think-tank Reason Foundation.

Black Lightning: The Legacy of the Lockheed Blackbirds by Jeannette Remak and Joseph Ventolo Jr.

Qantas Group Pilot Academy | Qantas

A pilot lost his daughter in the Parkland shooting and over 100 colleagues came to her funeral

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.