Tag Archives: B787

AirplaneGeeks 376 Van’s Aircraft Founder and CEO Dick VanGrunsven

Vans RV-14

Van’s Aircraft kitplanes, Boeing doesn’t plan to change the Dreamliner for Emirates, NASA is looking for astronauts, the first customer-built SubSonex jet flies, the Pilatus PC-12 business jet also has its first flight, and livestock pass gas.


Photo of Van and RV-10 by Jim Koepnick.

Dick VanGrunsven

Dick (“Van”) VanGrunsven is founder and CEO of kitplane maker Van’s Aircraft. Van has been flying since 1956 and has logged more than 15,000+ hours (the majority of it in airplanes of his own design) and holds CFI, multi-engine, and ATP ratings.

We talk with Van about the kitplane business in general and the Van’s Aircraft planes in particular. Van tells us what it is about the character of the planes that makes them so popular with kit builders and with the pilots who fly them. We also touch on personal jets, the decrease in numbers of amateur built planes, and how the availability of used experimental planes contributes to shrinking sales of new kits. Van also talks about getting good flight instruction in experimental aircraft.

Throughout high school and college Van flew a Cub and a Taylorcraft from the 670 foot grass strip on his parent’s farm. After finishing engineering school and a stint in the Air Force, he purchased a homebuilt 65 hp Stits Playboy, which he rebuilt with a 125 hp Lycoming engine, bubble canopy, Hoerner style wingtips, and an all new set of cantilever aluminum wings to replace the strut-braced wood and fabric originals. Renamed the RV-1, the Playboy flew like a new airplane.

Van flew the RV-1 from 1965 through 1968 but he felt something better was possible. He wanted an airplane that was able to fly in and out of any reasonable airstrip, with enough power and maneuverability to do good basic aerobatics, and cruise as fast as possible. He reluctantly sold the RV-1 and began design and construction of a completely original airplane.

The single-seat RV-3 flew for the first time in August 1971. Van quit his job at a forklift manufacturer and began supplying basic kits for the RV-3.

Over the next forty years, Van’s Aircraft became the acknowledged leader in the kit aircraft world.  New aircraft, from the RV-4 through the Light Sport RV-12 and now the “widebody” RV-14,  have been introduced and each has proven successful in the marketplace. For most of that time, Van was chief engineer, head designer, and CEO of the company.

For homebuilt resources, see the Van’s Aircraft homepage and Facebook page, the independent Van’s Air Force site, and the EAA homepage.

Guest Co-Host

Mark Newton in his RV-6

Mark Newton in his RV-6

Mark Newton is an Australian private pilot who started learning to fly in 1999, after a weather diversion as a passenger in a Grumman Traveller light aircraft wound-up as an unexpected overnight stay at a gliding field. Over the years Mark has flown 24 types of gliders, and he holds a glider instructor rating.

Gliders in Australia don’t require pilot licenses, so Mark didn’t start training for his PPL until 2008. He bought a well-built RV-6 in 2011, and enjoys using it for traveling to distant parts of the country, aerobatics, the odd “$100 hamburger,” and installing “RV-grins” on new aviators as part of their first taste of flight, including several who have gone on to gain pilot licenses of their own.


Boeing says will not make changes to Dreamliner stretch for Emirates

Emirates has said they will decide in 2016 if they will order almost 100 planes, either the Boeing 787-10 or the Airbus for A350-900. Emirates needs long-range planes that can operate in hot climates. Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of marketing Randy Tinseth says, “The plan is not to change the aircraft, we really like what we have.”

Wanted: Astronauts. Got the right stuff?

NASA announced that by summer 2017 they will begin recruiting a new astronaut class of 8 to 14 people. This is an item that Yong-Lim Foo should pay attention to, our listener from Singapore. There are some basic requirements: You have to be between 62 and 75 inches tall and have a military, science, or technical background. You could end up on the International Space Station, traveling to the moon, or maybe even going to Mars. For more information, see http://www.nasa.gov/astronauts.

First Customer-Built SubSonex Personal Jet Flies

Redge Greenberg, of Durango, Colorado, received the first SubSonex kit (S/N JSX0003) in February and is now the first customer to build and fly the SubSonex Personal Jet. The SubSonex is sold as a Quick Build Kit only. Greenberg has 4,500-plus hours in numerous aircraft and says, “…I never got the chance to fly a jet. I first saw the prototype of the SubSonex at Oshkosh, and followed the development for over a year. When Sonex offered the jet as a kit, I was first in line. Like my RV8, the SubSonex is aerobatic, but the Sonex company also included a ballistic parachute for extra safety.”

Swiss-built business jet to compete against Cessna Citations

Pilatus Aircraft is entering the business jet market with its six-passenger PC-24, which had its first flight in May. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2017, the second half of that year for U.S. deliveries. This will compete with the Cessna Citation business jets.

No Evidence Farting Livestock Caused Emergency Landing, Airline Says

The Aviation Herald reported that a Singapore Airlines plane with 2,186 sheep onboard diverted to Bali after “exhaust gasses and manure produced by the sheep” caused the smoke detector to go off. The airline says there is no evidence the livestock were responsible.

The Australia News Desk

Across the Pond

Pieter visits the Science Museum in London to show what visitors can see from an aviation perspective in the center of London. He gives a quick review of the aviation, aerospace and space exhibits on display and talks about other potential aviation sites to visit in the capital and elsewhere in the UK. The Science Museum is free and has a couple of hours worth of aviation exhibits if you want to slowly browse. If you want to speed around you can do them in less than an hour. However, the reset of the Museum will attract some attention as well and worthy of a whole day if you can spare it. Pieter also suggests making contact with him, if you are visiting and he (and his network) will help point you in the direction of aviation sites to visit in both London as well as the rest of the UK.


Barrage balloon cuts power to Seattle and causes air raid scare on January 12, 1942

Benfica safety video with Emirates:

Do you know what this clock is? Can you explain the markings? Leave any information in the comments.


Flying 101 paint job:

flying 101 paint job

Garmin AOA indicator calibration, via listener Craig:


Photos by Neil from San Francisco Fleet Week:

nrphotography L-27

nrphotography L-29-2

nrphotography L-27-2


Photo of RV-14 copyright Van jones photos.

Photo of Van and RV-10 by Jim Koepnick.

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


AirplaneGeeks 371 Kevin Michaels

We talk with Kevin Michaels about United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz and his strategy to repair the airline’s image, radical ideas for air travel, and Southwest Airlines purchase of two gates for $120 million. Also, risks that the airliner order bubble could burst, Bombardier strategy, and the viability of the A380neo.


Dr. Kevin Michaels is Vice President – Aerospace & MRO Practice at ICF International. 

Kevin Michaels

Dr. Kevin Michaels

Kevin began his career as a project engineer with gas turbine OEM Williams International. Since then, Kevin has accumulated more than 25 years of aviation experience, including hundreds of consulting engagements for leading aviation and aerospace companies worldwide.

He is a globally recognized expert in the aerospace manufacturing and maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) sectors. Kevin has significant expertise in business-to-business marketing, customer satisfaction, and strategic planning.

Kevin’s experience spans all major market segments, including air transport, business and general aviation, and military. He was director of Strategic Development with Rockwell Collins Government Systems, and principal with The Canaan Group.

Kevin has a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan; he also has an M.Sc. and a Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics.

Our conversation covers a number of current topics, including:

  • The airline order “super cycle,” the risk that it is a bubble that could burst, and the effects of sinking fuel prices and low cost of capital.
  • The situation at Bombardier, including their balance sheet and strategic problems given the market and actions by Boeing and Airbus.
  • The viability of the A380neo and how the engine manufacturers might look at it,
  • Retirements from the fleet where the aircraft have more value entering the surplus parts market. This has a significant impact on the OEM new parts market.


United’s new CEO acknowledges airline’s failures
United Airlines’ CEO wants to hear from you [VIDEO]

Oscar Munoz appears to be taking a different approach to managing the public image of the airline came from the merger of United Airlines and Continental five years ago. In full page newspaper ads he said, “The journey hasn’t always been smooth” and “We are committed to re-earning your trust.” On the new UnitedAirtime.com website.Munoz says:

“Let’s be honest, the implementation of the United and Continental merger has been rocky for customers and employees. While it’s been improving recently, we still haven’t lived up to our promise or our potential.”

See also: Alaska Airlines CEO admits his own airline lost his bag

Inside the Dream Factory – watch amazing footage of a British Airways Dreamliner plane being built in USA

British Airways has taken delivery of its first 787-9 Dreamliner of the 22 planes it has ordered. The -9 is 20 feet longer than the base -8, has a higher maximum take-off weight (MTOW), can seat 280 in a three-class configuration, and has an 8,300 nautical mile range. BA also released a time-lapse video of the aircraft being assembled in Seattle.

Three Ideas That Could Change Air Travel Forever

The Teague design consultancy firm shared with Fast Company some radical concepts for an imaginary future airline called Poppi. Teague asked themselves, “If we started an airline from scratch, what would we do?” At the recent Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) conference their Poppi concept was presented:

  • Ban carry-on luggage.
  • Make middle seats feel exclusive.
  • Encourage Amazon Prime-style memberships.

Southwest Defends $120 Million Payment for 2 Airport Gates

Southwest Airlines paid United Airlines $120 million to sublease two gates at Dallas Love Field. Southwest had already controlled 16 of the 20 gates at Love Field. United and Virgin America controlled two each. Delta Air Lines argues the gates are owned by the city and airlines can’t sell them. All this is being heard by a federal judge.

David Cush, Virgin America

We found this piece after recording the episode. Virgin America CEO David Cush talks about the Love Field gates.

The Airplane of the Week

NASA Super Guppy N941NA

NASA Super Guppy N941NA

David attended the Joint Base Andrews’ open house on September 19th 2015. Last week we brought you David’s interview with Lieutenant Colonel Christine “Grinder” Mau, Deputy Commander for the Operations Group of the 33rd Fighter Wing. Col. Mau was the first woman cleared to fly the F-35A Lightning II, and one of only 52 women fighter pilots in the USAF.

This week we have the interview with David Elliot, the Flight Engineer and Program Manager for the NASA Super Guppy N941NA.  David talks about flying and the planning for missions. A unique aircraft with unique missions.

The Australia News Desk

ATC Ben on the ramp at Karratha, Western Australia

ATC Ben on the ramp at Karratha, Western Australia

Finally back after a bit of a break although Grant has subbed out due to family reasons, being ably replaced by ATC Ben.  Ben tells us about his recent slight change of job, and location, having moved from the world of en-route controller in Melbourne to tower controller in the remote Western Australian town of Karratha.  He tells about the aircraft movement this predominantly mining based town hosts each day, including scheduled airline services through to multiple helicopter flights going out to the oil and gas rigs off the coast.

In the news, the RAAF has used a KC-30A tanker to successfully conduct air to air refuelling sorties with a USAF F-35A in the skies over California recently.  Using the boom system, the Lighting II make 59 contacts, taking on 23,000lbs of fuel in total.  A busy day for all involved.

Ben then talks about his participation in the annual World Flight event, the Australian version of which raises funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.  Ben is a regular participant in this virtual around the world flight, using a fixed based 737 simulator in Hobart, Tasmania.  More details can be found at http://worldflight.com.au/.

Across the Pond

Astronaut Major Tim Peake

Astronaut Major Tim Peake

This week Pieter celebrates #WorldSpaceWeek with an update on the UK Space Agency’s first European Space Agency astronaut Major Tim Peake who will fly to the International Space Station on December 15th 2015. His mission title is Principia and he will be on the space station for up to 6 months. We also get an update on the latest Arianne 5 launch last week from French Guiana.


Make History Fly – Send B-29 “Doc” Through Flight Testing

You can also follow Doc’s Friends progress on their website, Facebook and Twitter.

World-first remote air traffic control system lands in Sweden

My Grandfather And The Plane That Changed Seattle


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


AirplaneGeeks 328 ExpressJet Airlines Flight Operations

Brad Sheehan, Vice President – Flight Operations at ExpressJet Airlines

A regional airline’s flight operations center, NTSB report on 787 battery fire, a cracked Dreamliner window, outgoing TSA security chief John Pistole, why cheap fuel might not be a good thing, and airports that court avgeeks.


Brad Sheehan is Vice President of Flight Operations at ExpressJet Airlines. He’s responsible for the daily operations of more than 4,000 pilots and all Flight Operations functions.

We talk about the responsibilities of Flight Operations, managing “irregular operations” such as weather events, and accommodating passengers when there are disruptions. Brad describes the operations center job functions: mostly dispatchers, but also a team of managers, maintenance controllers, and schedulers.

The gap in the U.S. created by pilots retiring in next 10 – 15 years means majors will draw on the regionals for pilots. While many see the regionals as a stepping stone to the majors, a regional career could be attractive and Brad describes how that applied to him.

Brad has a degree in Aviation Management from Auburn University, and began his career at Atlantic Southeast Airlines in 1997 as a pilot based in Atlanta. In his 17 years with ExpressJet, he’s served as a line check airman, instructor pilot, project manager, and chief pilot. He served as the director of Corporate Safety, Security and Compliance from 2010 to 2013 where he was instrumental in launching numerous safety programs including their Safety Management System (SMS).

Headquartered in Atlanta, ExpressJet is the world’s largest regional airline with 9,000 aviation professionals, an average of 2,000 daily flights, and an all-jet fleet. ExpressJet operates as American Eagle, Delta Connection, and United Express to serve more than 190 airports in the U.S., Bahamas, Canada and Mexico.

If you’re looking for a career in aviation, ExpressJet is hiring pilots, mechanics, flight attendants, crew schedulers, and more. If you want to begin your career as a pilot but don’t have your ATP CTP yet, ExpressJet offers a free, in-house CTP course for new hire pilots.

Find ExpressJet on their Facebook page, and learn more about employment opportunities on their ExpressJet Airlines Pilot Recruiting Facebook page. Follow @ExpressJetPilot on Twitter and expressjetpilots on Instagram.


Temperature in 787 battery cells spikes in cold conditions: NTSB

The NTSB issued its final report on the January 7, 2013 incident where ground workers discovered smoke and flames coming from an auxiliary power unit lithium-ion battery in a Japan Airlines 787 that was parked at the gate at Boston Logan International Airport.

Previously, the NTSB said that one of the battery’s cells experienced an internal short circuit which caused thermal runaway in the cell. That then spread to the other cells and caused a full battery thermal runaway.

NTSB Press release: NTSB Recommends Process Improvements for Certifying Lithium-ion Batteries as it Concludes its Investigation of the 787 Boston Battery Fire Incident

“As a result of its findings, the NTSB is recommending that the FAA improve the guidance and training provided to industry and FAA certification engineers on safety assessments and methods of compliance for designs involving new technology.”

Man Punches And Cracks A Magical 787 Dreamliner Window

A man aboard a Thomson Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner punching one of the plane’s windows, causing it to crack and frightening the other passengers. He was arrested on arrival, pleaded guilty, and is awaiting sentencing in January.

Considering the Year in Airport Security, With the T.S.A. Chief

The New York Times’ Business Day section did an extensive interview with John Pistole, the outgoing administrator of the Transportation Security Administration. Among the topics discussed: the growth of TSA’s PreCheck program and possibly switching the program to private contractors.

Airlines: Another Reason to Worry About Cheap Fuel

Investors are looking too much at fuel costs and not enough at controllable expenses. But the airline industry outlook has been driven by capacity discipline, consolidation, and unbundling. Capacity discipline driven by high fuel prices. Also, airlines will not all benefit equally from lower fuel prices do to different hedging practices.

Airport Programs Help Cultivate Avgeek Population

Washington Dulles and Miami International airports are courting avgeeks with special programs and social media. The Discover Dulles program is a way for those who love aviation to connect and experience things that are typically off limits to the general public.

Under the Miami Watch security program, airplane spotters are the eyes on the perimeter of the airport, like a neighborhood crime watch. Spotters get good access to the airfield and the airport gets another layer of security.

David Vanderhoof’s History Segment

David proposes some changes to the weekly history segment, and asks the community for input.

Across the Pond

Pieter Johnson

Pieter reminisces over the past four years and the inspirational sources we all have for aviation. He also announces that he’s taking some time off from the Across the Pond segment. Learn about Anthony Kenneth Johnson (1925 – 2011) – Telegraphist Air Gunner (Royal Navy) at the Wartime Heritage Association.


The Romance of Aviation

Listener Shreenand send us this list illustrating that aviation may be different these days, but it still has a romance all its own:

That the romance is when you get to see day, dusk, and night, all at the same time, from your office window.

The romance is when you depart on a overcast, gloomy, dark day, break out on top and realise the sun really does exist.

The romance is when you fly during a meteor shower and see so many shooting stars, you run out of wishes.

The romance is when you check in at 37,000 feet, and whisper, “Honey I’m home.”

The romance is when you get to see a thunderstorm in HD. Only this time it’s close enough for you to touch.

The romance is when you fly from Moscow to Houston – fifty years ago you would’ve had to do it in a spy plane and fly high enough to be out of range of communist missiles. Or when you fly across the Atlantic without batting an eyelid, eighty years ago, they were handing out rewards for this sort of thing.

The romance is when you fly across countries and realise there are no real borders that divide us. Except, when you fly over the Line of Control between India and Pakistan. And you see it lit up like a major street for as far as the eye can see.

The romance is when you fly over Europe on a clear day. Within minutes you’ve seen the Alps, the Eiffel tower and the Big Ben.

The romance is when people tell you it’s a small world, and having seen the length of the Pacific, you beg to disagree.

The romance is when you ride along the tops of stratus and you can tell you are really shifting. Even magic carpets don’t ride this well.

The romance is when you speak to the same air traffic controller for the umpteenth time. You’ve never met him and probably never will, but you recognise him from his voice.

The romance is when you are number 10 for take-off on a gusty day. You get a ring-side view of your kind, doing their magic, earning a living.

The romance is when you are cleared for a visual approach, and from that point on, it’s no computers and no automatics. Just good old stick and rudder.

The romance is when you pop out of low cloud, and ahead of you lies three kilometres of velvet smooth tarmac, lit up like a Christmas tree.

The romance is when after a fourteen hour transcontinental flight, you look back at your office, and smile!

The romance is that no matter how prosaic you make it out to be, aeroplanes are still mankind’s greatest achievement.

The romance is very much alive and kicking ladies and gentlemen! But a window seat and an open heart, would help you see it.

Aviation Books for the Holidays

Ace Abbott says the best holiday gifts money can buy are books. If you have friends, neighbors, relatives, or airport and pilot colleagues who may be remotely interested in aviation, the following list of aviation books will pleasantly entertain these people. In honor of the “Twelve Days of Christmas” here is Ace Abbott’s list of 12 great aviation books.

  • Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach; non-pilots as well as aviation folks have enjoyed this classic for nearly 40 years; available anywhere books are sold.
  • Falling to Earth by Al Worden: A memoir of an astronaut who went from a small farm in Michigan to become the first man ever to venture to the back side of the moon as the Apollo 15 command module pilot. Amazon: http://amzn.to/1FJxW61.
  • Fighter Pilot (Robin Olds) with Christina Olds and Ed Rasimus: A must read for every current or ex-military person, particularly any pilot from the Vietnam War era. The story of an iconic fighter pilot who was a heroic and courageous leader. Amazon: http://amzn.to/1vgIKaz
  • Rules of Engagement by Joe Weber: This book complements Fighter Pilot. It is Tom Clancy-like fiction, since it is laced with reality. The primary theme of a free-spirited Marine fighter pilot during the air war over Vietnam is complemented with a poignant love story; available at http://bit.ly/1CBtBFK.
  • The Rogue Aviator by Ace Abbott: A memoir of an adventuresome, maverick pilot who experienced a radical roller-coaster-like ride through a diversified aviation career; filled with entertaining and implausible aviation anecdotes; as well as an insider’s look at commercial aviation. Amazon: http://amzn.to/1tHUaid, or http://therogueaviator.com/.
  • Cruising Altitude: Tales of Crash Pads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet by Heather Poole:  As the title reveals, this book relates many radical anecdotes of craziness in the cabin, and provides insight into the multifaceted drama that can occur in the cabin of a passenger airplane. Amazon: http://amzn.to/1yep9sy.
  • Chuck Yeager– An Autobiography by Chuck Yeager; This story of the renowned test pilot will take you way beyond the speed of sound and into the world of swashbuckling fighter pilots and test pilots. Amazon: http://amzn.to/1vFuvfi.
  • Area 51 by Annie Jacobsen: This well researched book will provide revelations about the famed top-secret “black-area” in the Nevada desert. It will clear up some misconceptions about aliens while revealing insight into the depth of the level of energy and effort by the U.S. government into the development and use of spy planes, such as the SR 71 “Blackbird.” Amazon: http://amzn.to/1FJBDbQ.
  • The Darkest Mission by Rick Burton; This well-researched spy-vs-spy thriller was very well researched and contains troves of information derived from the real world of international espionage. The primary narrative revolves around a WW II B-17 crew that was shot down over enemy territory; an adrenalin-pumper from start to finish. Available at http://amzn.to/1pMIyi.
  • An Extraordinary Life-Gone To The Dogs by Lisa Weiss; A powerfully poignant non-fiction account of a Jewish B-24 pilot who was shot down over France and captured by the Germans. Protagonist Irwin Stovroff relates his experiences as a POW and provides unique insight into the nuanced relationships of POWs and their colleagues as well as their captors. Irwin’s yeoman humanitarian efforts toward American Veterans is the glorious outcome of his improbable survival. Amazon: http://amzn.to/1zdLuEZ.
  • Squawk 7700 by Peter Buffington; This auto biography relates the trials and tribulations of life as a commuter/regional air carrier pilot who reveals his very unpalatable training experience as a co-pilot for American Eagle Airlines. This book functions as an expose’ of the underpaid and overworked commuter pilots in the U.S. Amazon: http://amzn.to/1w0DzgV.
  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand; This WW II aviation bestseller is a story of survival, resilience, and redemption. It is available wherever books are sold. Amazon: http://amzn.to/1wjWRx.


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


Episode 318 Listener Survey Results

Oceana Airshow Geico Flight / Honor Flight

Results from our listener survey, the B787 battery issue, Air Traffic Control Center vulnerability, historic aircraft, flying a float plane, and air-to-air photography.


Boeing, FAA Don’t Understand 787 Battery Shortcomings, Japanese Say

After the Boeing 787 experienced Lithium Ion battery problems, Boeing made some changes designed to reduce the chances of thermal runaway, and to better manage the situation should it occur. But the root cause for the problem was never determined. By Christine Negroni in her Flying Lessons blog.

Illinois man accused of torching air traffic center was being transferred to Hawaii

A disgruntled FAA contractor posted a suicide note on Facebook, brought a can of gasoline into the Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center, and set the place on fire, affecting more than 2,000 flights. The man was found by paramedics as he attempted to end his life with a knife.

Allen vs Jackson to restore or recreate the battle for collections

Paul Allen (co-Founder of Microsoft) and Peter Jackson of (Lord Of The Rings Fame) are both amassing huge warbird collections.  They are being painstakingly restored by Allen and  completely recreated from scratch by Jackson using original plans.  The article questions if flying these on of a kind aircraft is worth the risk.  Also does creating a “Clone” of an original demean the original and cloud the historical significance.

Flying a Seaplane

Rob’s been learning to fly a float plane.

David’s Report

Geico Skytypers Blue Angels

The Geico Skytypers were invited by the Blue Angels to do a formation flight, and they wanted to David to take some air-to-air photographs. David relates that adventure.

David in Texan

At the Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show, David spoke with Kenneth Hess, the Public Affairs Officer for the Chief of Naval Operations, Energy and Environmental Readiness Division. They discussed biofuels and goals of the Navy to reduce energy consumption. Ken mentions the free Energy Warrior app, which lets you discover what the Navy is doing to lead change and increase combat capability. You also learn facts about U.S. oil dependence, and what America’s Navy is doing about it.

Also at Oceana, David spoke with air show and event announcer Ric Peterson about what it takes to be an announcer.

The Australia News Desk

WONZ DH.83 Fox Moth

In one of the shortest AusDesks of all time, Grant chats briefly with Errol Cavit and Zac Yates after the recent Wings Over New Zealand Forum meet-up at Ardmore Airport near Auckland.

WONZ Two Seat Spitfire

In addition to Grant scoring a flight in a de Havilland DH.83 Fox Moth, there were plenty of amazing aircraft (including a 2-seat Spitfire) and excellent presentations during the day (plus some beer at the end).

Across the Pond

Ascender © Bristol Spaceplanes

Ascender © Bristol Spaceplanes

Pieter looks at the UK Government Review of commercial spaceplane certification and operations: Technical Report [PDF], as well as the recent news on MOM, MAVEN and Rosetta.


Airbus helps develop first supersonic biz jet

Rand Peck Aviation Photography

AIR14 – The pilots’ view

Plane Spotting: U.N. Brings Rare Jets to NYC

Melanoma Incidence Is Much Higher for Flight Crews


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

AirplaneGeeks 290 – David Parker Brown, Airline Reporter

Boeing Tour

Guest David Parker Brown from AirlineReporter.com knows the airline industry, and he also plays a big role in the annual Aviation Geek Fest in Seattle.

In 2014, the two-day event included the Museum of Flight Restoration Center and tours of the Future of Flight Aviation Center, the Boeing Everett Factory, and the Passenger Experience Research Center (PERC). Boeing even held a Dreamlifter next to the Future of Flight for the group to view from the ground. They also saw the Delivery Center and an amazing time was had by all.

Boeing Dreamlifter by AvGeekJoe

Boeing Dreamlifter by AvGeekJoe

Airplane Geeks listener AvGeekJoe has a collection of pictures of the Museum of Flight’s restoration of a DH 106 Comet Mk 4C and of one of the Dreamlifters. Also see the Future of Flight’s photographs from the event.

The event received some favorable press, including Aviation Buffs Get To Embrace Their Inner Nerd At Annual ‘Geek Fest’ by Seattle NPR station KPLU, and Wow! Making planes in the world’s biggest building by CNN.

Malaysia Airlines B777-200

Malaysia Airlines B777-200

The week’s aviation news:

Harbin SH-5

Harbin SH-5

David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week: the Harbin SH-5, a Chinese turboprop flying boat.

Rob Mark’s Aviation Minute: Women in aviation.

Jack Newman from GetIntoFlying

Jack Newman from GetIntoFlying

In this week’s Across the Pond segment:

After recently appearing on Xtended, resident pilot and advisor Fl Lt Jonathan Duke RN, a Sea King Mk 7 Pilot for the Royal Navy joined Pieter to talk about GetIntoFlying. A project all about helping those interested in careers, enjoyment and interest in aviation and aerospace achieve their goals, GetIntoFlying has been a great success. Following last weeks discussion on British Airways careers, here is another great resource for those interested in an aviation career. Follow @GetIntoFlying on Twitter.

Find Pieter on Twitter as @Nascothornet, on Facebook at XTPMedia, and at the Aviation Xtended podcast.


Junkers Ju 52

Junkers Ju 52

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

AirplaneGeeks 272 – NBAA 2013 Report



Guests Jon Ostrower from the Wall Street Journal and Molly McMillin from The Wichita Eagle discuss the just concluded National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) 2013 Convention. This year the event saw 1100 exhibitors and over 25,000 attendees.

Jon and Molly give their observations of the event, including the demand for business jets and the outlook, new programs and money going into product development, the unveiling of Dassault 5X, Learjet’s 50th anniversary and the Learjet 85, Beechcraft making it through bankruptcy, lithium batteries, new Aviation Partner scimitar winglets, and consumer electronics in cabin interiors.

Molly was the recipient of the NBAA’s 2013 Journalism Award for her article, “Corporate Planes Give Business Owners an Edge.”

The Week’s Aviation News:

David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week: The Ryan NYP, the Spirit of St. Louis by Randy dePasquale.

In this week’s Australia Desk:

There’s no AusDesk Report this week, but David uncovers some spooky hidden messages from the boys down under, just in time for Halloween.

BAE 146

Banned by the EU Avia Air Traffic flies BAE 146’s amongst others. Jason Smart flew on this aircraft type on his travels.

In this week’s Across the Pond segment:

We ask Jason Smart back onto the show to talk about his travel writing career that has seen him travel to every former ex Soviet state in his book The Red Quest. We then follow Jason’s journeys through the airlines and aircraft he has flown around the world, his scariest flight ever and what the food served on some airlines tastes like. A different look at the aviation sector through the eyes of someone who has flown on banned airlines and broken airliners.

His books can be found at www.theredquest.com and cover an amusing look at his travels through Europe, Asia, the America’s and The Middle East. Certainly many of these could be added to your holiday shopping list.

Find Pieter on Twitter as @Nascothornet, on Facebook at XTPMedia, and at the Aviation Xtended podcast.


From Errol Cavit on folding wings:

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

AirplaneGeeks 270 – Understanding Air France 447

Air France A330-200 F-GZCP lands at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport by Pawel Kierzkowski.

Guest Bill Palmer is an A330 captain for a major international airline, and author of “Understanding Air France 447,” available in paperback and as an eBook.

Bill was a member the A330 development team introducing the airplane to his airline’s fleet, and was lead author and editor for the airline’s A330 systems manual. He’s also written many A330 training publications, served as an airplane and simulator instructor, check airman, and designated examiner.

Bill is an Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University graduate, holds a BS in Aeronautical Science, and an ATP with type ratings in A320, A330, B757/767, B777, DC10, and commercial glider and flight engineer-turbojet ratings.

We talk about the facts of the Air France 447 accident, including the events in the cockpit, the difficulty locating the flight recorders, and the messages sent from the maintenance computer.

Bill describes “automation addiction,” a tired flight crew, and the “startle factor” at play here. We talk about high altitude stall training, practice with the flight director automation turned off, and of course lessons learned and changes that resulted from the investigation.

You can get Understanding Air France 447 in paperback or as an eBook through Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, the Apple bookstore, and at the book’s companion website: UnderstandingAF447.com. Bill’s personal blog is Trend Vector and you can follow him on Twitter as @wfpalmer.

Photo credit: Air France A330-200 F-GZCP lands at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport by Pawel Kierzkowski.

The Week’s Aviation News:

1957 Vickers Armstrong V745D Viscount

1957 Vickers Armstrong V745D “Viscount” Serial 233 N7471 of the Mid Atlantic Air Museum (www.MAAM.org)

David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week: The Vickers Viscount, reported by listener Ray Williams.

Jetstar 787-8

Jetstar 787-8, VH-VKA, on short final for runway 34 at Melbourne on October 9th (Image by Steven Pam – www.smartshots.com.au )

In this week’s Australia Desk:

Steve and Grant were on hand at Melbourne International Airport for this report as Jetstar’s first Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, VH-VKA (c/n 36227), arrived at the end of her delivery flight from the USA.  Although not the first Dreamliner to operate commercially in Australia (that honour went to Air India), VKA is the first of type on the Australian civil aircraft register and the first of 14 being delivered to Jetstar over the next two years.  Qantas will also be taking delivery of 787-9 aircraft in coming years. 

The aircraft touched down smoothly on runway 34, despite very high winds, and was welcomed with a traditional water cannon salute before making its way to the Qantas Maintenance Centre for a more formal ceremony with Qantas and Jetstar management, local and federal politicians, and a large group of staff in attendance.

In this report, we speak to Jetstar Australia/New Zealand CEO David Hall about his vision for the this new aircraft type, and the process the airline went through to have it certified for Australian commercial use.

See also:


In this week’s Across the Pond segment:

Pieter Johnson talks to Francois De Watteville, a design engineer who created the AGA-33 and presented it to the Paris Air Show. Francois is not an aircraft designer but turned his hand to aircraft design for the purposes of creating an airliner after travelling regularly across the Atlantic, that was efficient. Find out why and how you may be able to help prove the concept.


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

APG 267 – The Expert Aviator

Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at <a href="http://www.brotherloverocks.com/">www.brotherloverocks.com</a>.

Guest Carl Valeri is a commercial pilot and a flight instructor. He is also a prolific creator of aviation content. The broad appeal of his Aviation Careers Podcast goes beyond those looking for career advice. Its interesting to learn about what the jobs of others are like.

We talk about airline furloughs and seniority lists, things to think about when considering flying for a different airline, the age/seniority situation and what that means after an airline merger. Carl talks about how the Sun N Fun activities support and promote aviation. It’s not just the annual event. Sun N Fun radio broadcasts great interviews year round at Sun N Fun Radio.

Find Carl at the Aviation Careers Podcast (@FlyingCareers on Twitter), the Stuck Mic Avcast (@StuckMicAvCast on Twitter) and the ExpertAviator.com blog (@ExpertAviator on Twitter).

The Week’s Aviation News:

David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week:

The so you want to be a Historian?  Since David will be celebrating Thanksgiving with his family on October 14.  He didn’t want to leave the show without a segment so this is where you come in.  We are looking to have you write a 1000 word history segment on the Aircraft, Helicopter, Blimp or space craft of your choice.  Here’s your chance to get that airplane you always wanted that David hasn’t done yet.  So here’s the requirements:

  • A subject that hasn’t been done

  • Minimum of 800 words maximum of 1200 words

  • Provide your references

  • Proper Spelling and Grammar

  • Must be submitted to theGeeks@airplanegeeks.com by October 9th, 2013

So let’s see them. David will choose one to record for the episode.  The others we’ll either post or maybe use them in later episodes. Good Luck Future Airplane Geeks Historians.

In this week’s Australia Desk:

Steve and Grant have finally finished running around to various events in Australia (for now :) ) and have (finally!) put together a “real” Australia Desk. They quickly review a few headlines before settling down to discuss a recent AirProx between two Qantas A330s.

All that plus a shout-out to Aunt Benet’s piloting skills and news that Grant’s appearing in the latest Australian Pilot magazine from AOPA.

Find more from Grant and Steve at the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast, and follow the show on Twitter at @pcdu. Steve’s at @stevevisscher and Grant at @falcon124. Australia Desk archives can be found at www.australiadesk.net.

Iberia Maintenance

Iberia Maintenance

In this week’s Across the Pond segment:

This week our contributor from Spain Diego Lopez Salazar from AeroPodcast takes us behind the scenes at the Iberia Maintenance facility at Madrid Airport. In the first of two segments we hear all about seeing an A340 stripped down to its barest minimums, who owns the aircrafts tyres and how quickly emergency chutes are deployed.

Find Pieter on Twitter as @Nascothornet, on Facebook at XTPMedia, and at the Aviation Xtended podcast.

Listener Story:

Listener Micah, our Main(e) man, recorded a story he calls, “Fifteen Thirty At 2-O’clock.”

Crew - Morotai, 1944

Crew – Morotai, 1944 from listener Doug Betts. Doug’s father (highlighted) flew 52 missions in a B-24 of the 307th Bomb Group, The Long Rangers.


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

Episode 254 – Simple Flight

A350XWB First Flight

At Simple Flight, Al and Marc produce a aviation radio show that goes live Sunday nights from 8:00pm to 10:00pm Central Time (U.S.) You can also listen to the audio archive anytime, or subscribe as a podcast in iTunes. Since the Simple Flight show is live, Al and Marc get a lot of listener interaction in real time.

The website offers other content for pilots, including an aviation blog, aviation photography, flight instruction. We talk about the live show, the next great flying club – delivering new pilots to aviation, and even Rod Rakic’s new Open Airplane project.

Find the guys and the site on Twitter as: @Al_H2Oloo (clever, eh?), @mepner, and @SimpleFlightNet.

The week’s aviation news:

David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week is Sue’s Bird, the Piper PA-24 Comanche.

Embraer KC-390

In this week’s Australia Desk:

Winter weather has been causing trouble in for flights Australia’s south east this week, especially with fog causing many diversions. Mid week, two B737s, one Qantas & one Virgin Australia, diverted to the rural city of Mildura in Victoria; an airport normally accustomed to regional turboprop aircraft, and one that lacks an ILS. As the fog began to envelop Mildura as well, the Virgin 737, after two missed approaches, declared a fuel emergency and landed in what has been described as below minima for the airport. This has lead to an ATSB investigation which is due to report by March 2014.

Virgin Australia flight makes emergency landing in Victoria

Low fuel diversion involving Boeing 737-8FE, VH-YIR, Mildura Airport, Victoria on 18 June 2013

RAAF KC-30A tankers now operational and recently participated in Exercise Aces North, the culmination of the Fighter Combat Instructor course, in the skies over the Northern Territory.

KC-30As participate in Aces North

GippsAero rolls out GA8 Airvan number 200

Australia’s entrant in the Airbus Fly Your Ideas contest, from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, places second overall. A great result!

Melbourne’s RMIT comes second in Airbus Fly Your Ideas global competition

Grant talks about his balloon flying over the weekend with PCDU team member, Kathy Mexted

Find more from Grant and Steve at the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast, and follow the show on Twitter at @pcdu. Steve’s at @stevevisscher and Grant at @falcon124. Australia Desk archives can be found at www.australiadesk.net.


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

Episode 248 – ASTM Creates Aviation Standards

David Pavoni

Guest Christine M. DeJong is Manager, Technical Committee Operations with ASTM International, which creates industry standards, including aviation standards. Christine serves as the Staff Manager for three committees: F37 on Light Sport Aircraft, F44 on General Aviation Aircraft, and F39 on Aircraft Systems.

We talk about the history of ASTM, the makeup of the membership, the standards they are creating and maintaining, and who are they making them for. Also, how the Committee members work together to reach a concensus and why the standards change frequently.

Concensus for these standards requires a massive 90% agreement of Committee members, who meet frequently at airshows or events that otherwise bring many of the members together. The standards are constantly being revised based on lessons learned, accident investigations, and technology changes. Meetings are open to the public and private citizens can join the committees

The week’s aviation news:

Dornier Do 228

Dornier Do 228

David Vanderhoof gives us some aviation history in his This Month in Aviation segment. David mentions the Dornier Do 228 and Rob reminisces about flying that aircraft.

In this week’s Australia Desk:

Qantas CEO Allan Joyce finds his way back into the news the week indicating that the airline’s profits are nowhere near the levels his team had predicted earlier in the financial year, and major creditor Deutscher Bank took notice also slashed its forecast back to just over $80million.

Meanwhile, Sir Richard Branson has been in Australia this week, talking up the newly branded Virgin Australia Regional Airlines as well as Virgin Galactic. He also indicated that he wasn’t above selling more of his stake in the group if he felt it prudent, and heaped praise on CEO John Borghetti and his team for their many successes.

Boeing opened a new Research & Development Centre in Port Melbourne during the week, securing it’s place as the largest such facility for the company outside of the United States.

Steve also extols the virtues of Yoo-Hoo chocolate drinks after finding them at a local US food importer in Melbourne. Grant is not so sure.

Links :

Find more from Grant and Steve at the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast, and follow the show on Twitter at @pcdu. Steve’s at @stevevisscher and Grant at @falcon124. Australia Desk archives can be found at www.australiadesk.net.

In this week’s Across the Pond segment:

Angela Waller joins Pieter this week. Angela was a Stewardess back in the fifties and sixties and is Author of the book Before There Were Trolly Dollies. We get to hear what it was like in those days to travel by air and what Angela feels about modern air travel. An intriguing segment that goes back to the glory days of flight. Follow @AngelaWaller on Twitter.

Find Pieter on Twitter as @Nascothornet, on Facebook at XTPMedia, and at the Aviation Xtended podcast.


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