Tag Archives: Boeing

802 Boeing Safety and Quality Plan

We take a look at the Boeing Safety and Quality Plan, the NTSB recommendations after the Southwest/FedEx near miss, the suspension of some ATC staff in India, Essential Air Service contracts, BARK Air’s lawsuit over airport-use restrictions, the sale of a B-17, and the NTSB inspection of the USAirways flight 1549 engines.

Aviation News

Boeing Safety & Quality Plan

Boeing had 90 days to deliver a comprehensive plan to the FAA to improve the company’s safety management and quality assurance, including in the supply chain. We look at The Boeing Product Safety and Quality Plan Executive Summary [PDF, 11 pages.]

The Plan includes the containment and mitigation actions Boeing took immediately after the accident. It also introduces Boeing’s new Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of production system health and associated control limits for each KPI. Boeing intends that these metrics will provide “a continuous assessment of factory health and provide early warning of emerging quality and safety risks. They also will facilitate tracking of Boeing’s improvement under the Product Safety and Quality Plan and guide decisions about system readiness for rate increases.”

Boeing’s Immediate Containment and Mitigation

Improvements directed at the Boeing production system:

Photo of Admiral Kirkland Donald.
Admiral Kirkland Donald
  • Revised the build plans, training, maintenance planning, aircraft manual documentation, removal requirements and inspection criteria for the Mid-Exit Door (MED) plug;
  • Instituted additional controls to prevent defects in the MED plug and similar structures and assemblies;
  • Added conformance inspections to nine critical build points;
  • Processed fleet and production inspection findings through Boeing’s SMS and Quality Management System (QMS);
  • Published alerts on removals and rework, signed by all factory employees;
  • Hosted representatives from 737 airline customers to review Boeing’s production and quality procedures, and to provide feedback;
  • Appointed a recognized safety and quality leader, Admiral Kirkland Donald, to independently assess Boeing’s production system; and
  • Implemented a revised management and salaried compensation model focused on quality and safety, with aligned key performance indicators across all programs.

Improvements directed at the Boeing supply chain:

  • Instituted additional controls at Spirit to prevent defects in the MED plug and similar structures and assemblies;
  • Added new inspections at Spirit, as well as pre-shipment approval requirements on fuselages prior to shipment to Boeing;
  • Added competency assessments for all supplier mechanics doing structural work at Boeing sites; and
  • Issued supplier bulletins to strengthen focus on conformance and reduce the risks of defects being shipped.

Key Performance Indicators

A significant component of the Product Safety and Quality Plan is the identification of six critical, safety-focused production health KPIs:

  1. Employee Proficiency (measures share of employees currently staffed to commercial programs who are proficient);
  2. Notice of Escape (NoE) Rework Hours (measures rework due to Fabrication and supplier-provided escapes to Final Assembly);
  3. Supplier Shortages (measures Fabrication and supplier shortages/day);
  4. Rework Hours per airplane (measures total rework hours per airplane in Final Assembly);
  5. Travelers at Factory Rollout (measures jobs traveling from Final Assembly); and
  6. Ticketing Performance (measures average escapes per ticketed airplane).

Each KPI also has associated control limits and defined criteria that will trigger corrective action and SMS risk monitoring.

Product Safety and Quality Plan Attention Areas

Safety Management System three main initiatives: 

  1. Streamlining employee reporting channels; [Submissions are up 500%]
  2. Addressing traveled work risk; [implemented a “move ready” process—737 airplanes may not move to the next factory position until identified build milestones are completed, unless a Safety Risk Assessment (SRA) is conducted and a mitigation plan is in place.]
  3. Deepening the integration of Boeing’s SMS with the QMS.

Simplification of Processes and Procedures [To help employees better understand their obligations, execute work instructions, and deploy solutions to overcome roadblocks.]

Supply Chain Defect Reduction

  • Strengthening data and analytics capabilities to provide proactive notification of supplier issues, including the creation of an advanced analysis tool;
  • Standardizing supplier oversight actions to prioritize safety and quality, including through the implementation of a common supplier engagement model; 
  • Simplifying and improving supplier quality processes;
  • Driving industry change and dialogue about quality and safety issues.

Training

  • Planned enhancements in late 2024, 
  • New manufacturing and quality employees will receive up to two more weeks of foundational training, followed by enhanced structured on-the-job training (SOJT)

Production System Compliance

  • Foreign Object Debris (FOD) control; 
  • Tool control; 
  • Parts and materials control; 
  • Employees’ adherence to work instructions. 

Engagement and Communications

  • Holding full-day quality stand downs and Safety and Quality events across the Company;
  • Creating and supporting Employee Involvement Teams (“EITs”) to conduct weekly problem-solving sessions and review employee ideas for improving the production system; 
  • Establishing a leadership program for manufacturing, quality, and fulfillment managers;
  • Improving the Company’s messaging about safety, quality, and compliance.

Installation Plan Improvements [work plans]

Special Audit Items

  • For Boeing quality escapes; 
  • Boeing liaison engineering and Material Review Board (MRB) issues; 
  • and Boeing’s approach to Spirit-related findings

Expert Review Panel Recommendations

Boeing agrees with the findings and recommendations of the Expert Review Panel.

NTSB Proposes More Training, Tech After Southwest and FedEx Jets Near-Miss in Texas

In February 2023, Southwest Airlines and FedEx jets came close to colliding in Austin, Texas. After seeing the Southwest Boeing 737-700 plane at the last second, the FedEx pilots flew their Boeing 767-300 over the Southwest jet to avoid a collision. The two planes were only about 150 to 170 feet apart.

The NTSB determined the probable cause of the near miss was a bad assumption by the air traffic controller that the departing Southwest plane would be clear before the FedEx plane landed on the same runway.

 The Board also identified two contributing factors:

  • Southwest crew members failed “to account for the traffic on short final approach and to notify the controller” that they would need additional time for takeoff. 
  • The FAA did not require surface detection equipment at the Austin airport.

India’s Aviation Regulator Suspends Mumbai ATC Staff Involved In IndiGo & Air India Airbus A320neo Close Call

The IndiGo A320neo was on approach to Runway 27 at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (BOM) in Mumbai, India. The plane touched down seconds after an Air India A320neo had departed the same runway. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is investigating and has “derostered” the ATC staff working at the time of the incident.

Video: Indigo a320 Landing and Air India a320 Takeoff at The Same time at Mumbai Airport

JetBlue Awarded First-Ever Essential Air Service Contract

JetBlue will serve Presque Isle under a two-year contract. 

Essential Air Service

The Essential Air Service (EAS) program was implemented to guarantee that small communities served by certified air carriers before airline deregulation maintain a minimal level of scheduled air service.

This is generally accomplished by subsidizing two round trips a day with 30- to 50-seat aircraft, or additional frequencies with aircraft with 9-seat[s] or fewer, usually to a large- or medium-hub airport.  The Department currently subsidizes commuter and certificated air carriers to serve approximately 60 communities in Alaska and 115 communities in the lower 48 contiguous states that otherwise would not receive any scheduled air service.

2024-6-3 Order Selecting Air Carrier

Posted by the Department of Transportation on Jun 4, 2024:

“By this Order, the U.S. Department of Transportation (the Department) selects JetBlue Airways Corporation (JetBlue) to provide Essential Air Service (EAS) at Presque Isle, Maine (Presque Isle), for the two-year term from September 1, 2024, through August 31, 2026. JetBlue will provide Presque Isle with seven (7) nonstop round trips per week from Presque Isle International Airport (PQI) to Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) using 100-passenger Embraer E190 (E190) aircraft for the first year and 140-passenger Airbus A220-300 aircraft for the second year. JetBlue will be compensated at the annual subsidy rates outlined below.”

BARK Air for dogs sued days after first flight

Westchester County sued BARK Air alleging violations of the county’s airport-use restrictions.  Those restrictions include a prohibition on the operation of commercial and chartered aircraft with more than nine seats from using the private jet terminal. BARK Air’s Gulfstream Aerospace GV jet has 14 seats. In a filing to the FAA, Westchester County said that the public charters “closely resemble” services offered by large, commercial airlines.

Michigan Flight Museum (former Yankee Air Museum) Sells Centerpiece B-17 ‘Yankee Lady’

The Boeing B-17G has been sold to an undisclosed buyer for an undisclosed price. For some 40 years, the museum generated revenue with rides on the B-17. The money from the sale will be invested to support the museum.

Mentioned

NTSB Docket No. SA-532 Exhibit No. 8-A

William (Bill) Anders, Apollo 8 astronaut, Killed in San Juan Islands Plane Crash

Apollo 8: Earthrise

Taken aboard Apollo 8 by Bill Anders, this iconic picture shows Earth peeking out from beyond the lunar surface as the first crewed spacecraft circumnavigated the Moon, with astronauts Anders, Frank Borman, and Jim Lovell aboard.
Taken aboard Apollo 8 by Bill Anders. Image Credit: NASA.

Hosts this Episode

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

800 Tail Strike

Airplane tail strike, miracle flights, 737 MAX Deferred Prosecution Agreement, the FAA Reauthorization Act, airport name changes, and fatal helicopter crash in Iran. Also, a report on the Valdez Fly-In and Airshow, and a scenic flight around Denali Mountain.

Aviation News

NTSB Releases Final Report Of United Airlines Boeing 737 Tail Strike In Houston

The NTSB report of the January 2024 tail strike says the 737-900ER touched down three times while landing. The aircraft’s aft fuselage “impacted the runway as a result of a delayed flare and subsequent nose-high pitch inputs.” The initial touchdown force was 1.87G and the second touchdown was 2.87G.

An article in SKYbrary states that “various studies by several of the major aircraft manufacturers have arrived at similar conclusions regarding the primary cause of tail strike. The most significant common factor is the amount of flight crew experience with the specific model of aircraft being flown.” Studies identified eight specific Causal Factors that greatly increase the risk of a tail strike:

During take-off:

  • Improperly Set Elevator Trim or Mis-Trimmed Stabiliser 
  • Rotation at Incorrect Speed
  • Excessive Rotation Rate
  • Improper Use of the Flight Director

During landing:

  • Unstabilized Approach
  • Excessive Hold-Off in the Flare 
  • Crosswinds
  • Over-Rotation During Go-Around

Over 65% of tail strikes occur during landings, while only 25% happen during takeoffs.

With One Simple Change, Southwest Airlines Will Deal Blow To Wheelchair Scammers, Unruly Passengers And Seat Savers

Southwest Airlines is considering implementing assigned seating, eliminating the need for passengers to board early to get a good seat. The change would address “the phenomenon of passengers faking disabilities to board early, end the practice of seat saving, and make it easier to identify unruly passengers on board.” Currently, Southwest is the only airline that doesn’t have passenger names and seat assignments on the flight’s manifest.

DOJ Takes Key Step to Hold Boeing Accountable for 737 MAX8 Crash Deaths

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has determined that Boeing breached the January 2021 Deferred Prosecution Agreement. The Clifford law firm (which represents families of the Boeing 787 MAX8 crash victims) says that Boeing could now face a criminal trial, although more action is needed from the DOJ.

Bipartisan FAA Reauthorization Act Signed Into Law

American Airlines Bus Service Connecting Wilmington Delaware Airport (ILG) to PHL to Start This Fall

The Delaware River & Bay Authority announced that American Airlines and its partner Landline Co. plan to launch a bus service between Wilmington Airport (ILG) and Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). Passengers flying out of Philly can park, check bags, and pass through security at the Wilmington Airport.

Chicago-Bound United Airlines Boeing 767 Diverts to Ireland After Passenger Gets Laptop Wedged Stuck in Business Class Seat

United Airlines flight 12 from Zurich to Chicago O’Hare was forced to make an emergency diversion to Shannon, Ireland after a passenger got their laptop stuck in a Business Class seat aboard the Boeing 767-300.

Two More Airports Are Fighting Over Using a City Name, This Time in Canada Where a Lawsuit Is Already Underway

Montreal-Trudeau International Airport (YUL) is suing Saint-Hubert Airport after the smaller airport decided to rebrand itself as Montreal Metropolitan Airport.

Valdez Fly-In and Airshow

Listener Brian and Cora attended the 2024 Valdez Fly-In and Airshow in Alaska and provided a trip report. The couple also took a scenic flight around Denali Mountain and the report highlights the unique experiences and stunning views.

The Valdez Fly-In and Airshow is an annual aviation event held at Valdez Pioneer Field Airport in Valdez, Alaska. Established in 2003, the Valdez Fly-In features world-class competitions, aerobatic displays, and a variety of activities for aviation enthusiasts and families alike.

Brian and Cora on the glacier.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Max Trescott, David Vanderhoof, and our Main(e) Man Micah.

798 Satellite Communications

Satellite communications for aviation with the Executive Director of Aviation at Iridium Communications Inc. In the news, we’ve lost an aviation icon, a DOT Office of Inspector General report looks NextGen, an unruly passenger pays the price, a second Boeing whistleblower dies, the declining value of frequent flyer programs, and squawking the 7700 emergency distress code.

Guest

Logo of satellite communications provider Iridium Communications.

John Peterson is the Executive Director of Aviation at Iridium Communications Inc., a satellite communications company offering global voice and data coverage. John helps deliver Iridium’s safety, voice, and data solutions to pilots and operators. John is an aviation enthusiast and private pilot who has worked in the industry for 30 years in different roles, including engineering, product management, and leadership roles at Boeing, Collins, Gogo, and Honeywell.

Iridium provides an L-band service with signals that pass through weather effectively. The Ku-band and Ka-band frequencies used by others have higher data rates but are more susceptible to degradation caused by weather. Because of the L-band reliability, those frequencies are permitted for safety applications.

John explains that the infrastructure for ground-based communication is robust in the U.S., but not so over the ocean. Thus, satellite communications are necessary for flights over areas without ground stations.

We learn that the Iridium “legacy” satellites have a data rate of 2.4 kbps while the new Iridium Certus® satellites offer a faster 700 kbps. John explains the orbital planes of the Iridium Low Earth Orbit satellites and how data gets to ground stations via cross-links between satellites.

John tells us about GA applications for satellite communications and the value-added resellers. We also explore critical infrastructure support, narrow-band IoT (direct-to-device) technologies,  and how low-cost hand-held transponders could bring significant value to aviation.

Aviation News

Dick Rutan, co-pilot of historic round-the-world flight, dies aged 85

Dick Rutan was a USAF pilot, a Vietnam War veteran who flew 325 missions, and a test pilot. He flew the first unrefueled non-stop flight around the world with Jeana Yeager in the Rutan Voyager, designed by his brother Burt. Dick Rutan and Mike Melvill flew two Rutan Long-EZ kit aircraft around the world as the Spirit of EAA Friendship World Tour. Dick set the point-to-point distance record in a ground-launched, rocket-powered aircraft. He died from complications of Long COVID in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, on May 3, 2024. He was 85.

DOT Inspector General Report Faults FAA NextGen Progress

The Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), is a large-scale FAA initiative to modernize the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS). According to the FAA, “NextGen… has modernized air traffic infrastructure in communications, navigation, surveillance, automation, and information management with the aim of increasing the safety, efficiency, capacity, predictability, flexibility, and resiliency of American aviation. NextGen’s scope includes airport infrastructure improvements, new air traffic technologies and procedures, and safety and security enhancements.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) report says the NextGen air traffic management technology is not living up to FAA promises.

See: FAA’s Report on Air Traffic Modernization Presents an Incomplete and Out-of-Date Assessment of NextGen [PDF] from the OIG.

A United Airlines passenger got “belligerent” with flight attendants. Here’s what that will cost him.

A passenger from Chelmsford, England on a flight from London to Newark, New Jersey had a loud argument with his girlfriend. Then he started yelling at a flight attendant. Court documents indicate that he was verbally and physically aggressive. The TSA said, “When flight attendants asked [the man] to be quiet and attempted to calm him, he became belligerent, threatening, and intimidating towards them. He also said that he would “mess up the plane.” The man was restrained and the plane diverted to Bangor, Maine. On March 22, 2024, he pleaded guilty to one count of interfering with a flight crew and was sentenced to time already served and ordered to pay United Airlines $20,638.

Was Foul Play Involved in the Boeing Whistleblowers’ Deaths? People Are Definitely Worried About It.

A second Boeing whistleblower has died, in this case, the man was 45 and passed after becoming suddenly ill. Two months ago, another whistleblower was found dead in his truck from a gunshot wound.

The bad news about your airline points

It’s harder to gain status on Delta, Alaska has increased points needed for some destinations, American limited what tickets earn points (based on where you bought the tickets), some airlines stopped posting redemption charts so you don’t know what your points are worth, airlines sometimes charge more for “mileage multipliers” than what the points are worth, and some airlines charge a fee to transfer points.

Mystery of Why Multiple Flights Over Belgium Suddenly Started Transmitting Emergency Distress Call in Quick Succession Has Been Solved 

At least four aircraft flying over Belgium squawked the 7700 emergency distress code at about the same time. Observers were curious about why, but the controller asked them to squawk 7700 when rerouting them through airspace where the military was conducting training.

Mentioned

Graphic for the Rockets and Rotors special exhibit at the American Helicopter Museum & Education Center.

Hosts this Episode

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

795 Airline Industry Insights

Marisa Garcia offers airline industry insights. In the news, orders from Korean Air and Japan Air Lines, the Frontier financial incentive to retain new pilots, lower reward values for frequent flyer programs, landing a plane on the road, changing the name of an airport, and jet service for your dog.

Guest

Marisa Garcia headshot

Marisa Garcia is the founder, editor, and writer at FCMedia | FlightChic. She’s a freelance writer and senior contributor with Forbes.

FlightChic provides airline industry insights, analysis, and reviews, strongly focusing on the passenger experience. Marisa covers aircraft interiors, technical advancements, aviation safety and regulations, airline branding, and marketing strategies. Frequent flyers and aviation enthusiasts will find that Marisa’s writing provides valuable insights and perspectives on the evolving aviation landscape.

Marisa joins the conversation as we discuss recent JAL and Korean widebody orders. She offers her perspectives on the premium economy “sweet spot” for airlines and how onboard comfort has improved. Other topics include cabin crew training (especially safety training), the eroding value of airline frequent flyer programs, the criticality of aircraft interiors to safety, and how she became a “safety geek.” Marisa just published Why A B797 Revival Should Be Boeing’s New $50 Billion Plane in Forbes and has a lot to say about a Boeing “middle of the market” aircraft.

Marisa has worked directly designing and manufacturing aircraft interiors and safety equipment for many of the world’s leading airlines. She now applies that hands-on experience to reporting on product innovations, certification requirements, and new programs. The editorial aim of FlightChic is to highlight trends and make the industry easier to understand, both for professionals and everyday travelers.

See some recent articles by Marisa:

Aviation News

Korean Air Favors Airbus With Order For 33 New A350s

Korean Air announced an order for 33 A350 family aircraft: 27 A350-1000s and six A350-900s. The deal is valued at USD 13.7 billion. The A350-1000 can accommodate 350 to 410 passengers in a standard three-class configuration. The A350-900 variant is about 7 meters shorter than the A350-1000 and typically seats 300-350 passengers in a three-class layout.

Japan Airlines Will Introduce 42 New Planes from Airbus and Boeing. Accelerating International Network Growth With Advanced Fuel-Efficient Aircraft

JAL is acquiring 21 Airbus A350-900s, 11 A321neos, and 10 Boeing 787-9 planes. The A350s will be added to its international routes, augmenting its current A350 domestic operations. In January 2024, Japan Airlines debuted new cabins on their A350-1000 fleet of aircraft with enclosed suites.

Frontier Airlines Will Make New Hire Pilots Pay Nearly $60,000 If They Leave the Airline Within Two Years

As of May 1, 2024, the new Frontier Training Cost Repayment Agreement is designed to help the airline recoup the training cost for new pilots. Pilots who leave within two years will pay a prorated portion of the currently estimated $59,190 training cost.

Also, Frontier Airlines recently started a new out-and-back model business model where airplanes (and crew) return to their home base each night. Flight attendants don’t like the out-and-back model saying they earn less and spend more on hotel accommodation and commuting costs. The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) says that most of Frontier’s crew members don’t live close to their home base, and many commute more than 90 miles. The union wants Frontier to enter into contract negotiations over the issue.

Frequent Flyer Programs Deliver Lower Reward Value in the Era of Basic Economy Fares and Co-Branded Cards – Press Release

The IdeaWorksCompany Reward Seat Availability Survey answers the question, “How costly is points redemption for the most popular basic reward type offered by top US airlines?” The survey reviewed flight award programs from Alaska, American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, and United. These programs were found to have declining value to flyers.

Plane lands near Poland Springs building after running low on gas

A Cessna running low on fuel made an emergency landing on a road in an industrial area.

Oakland officials vote to include ‘San Francisco’ in airport’s name

The Board of Commissioners for the Port of Oakland voted to change the name of Oakland International Airport to San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport. Oakland airport officials say travelers sometimes fly into San Francisco’s airport when their destination is closer to the Oakland airport. San Francisco has claimed a trademark violation and has threatened a lawsuit.

The world’s first doggy jet service will cost you $6K for a one-way ticket

BARK Air offers a “white paw” experience. The check-in process involves no crates or TSA checkpoints. Calming aids are provided in the cabin along with leashes, poop bags and a beverage. The first BARK Air flights take off on May 23, 2024.

Mentioned

LeVeL33 – Meetup April 19 or 20, 2024.

NASA Retires DC-8 Flying Lab

Hosts this Episode

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

794 SouthWings Environmental Flights

The SouthWings volunteer pilot organization uses aircraft for environmental monitoring and survey flights. In the news, the best-selling piston aircraft in 2023, student pilot statistics, around the world in a LearJet, an additional Las Vegas airport, skipping security at airports, failure to disclose flight deck features, and a Spirit Airlines order deferral.

Guests

SouthWings is a volunteer pilot organization that flies conservation groups, community groups, the media, and decision-makers on environmental monitoring and survey flights, as well as flights of persuasion, and media flights.

Volunteer pilots donate their aircraft, time, and money to fulfill the 130-150 flight requests received annually. The aerial perspective and photographs that these groups and individuals capture help to tell the story to those on the ground. 

SouthWings is a member of the Air Care Alliance, a nonprofit public service organization representing a nationwide network of volunteer pilot groups that are putting charitable aviation to use to meet all sorts of needs throughout this country. 

Chelsea Easter, SouthWings Director of Operations and Volunteer Pilot Engagement.

Chelsea Easter is SouthWings’ Director of Operations and Volunteer Pilot Engagement. A 2012 graduate of Auburn University, Chelsea began working in the fields of mental health and education, and then took a look into the nonprofit world and was introduced to SouthWings where, for the past four years now, she has been recruiting, onboarding, and working closely with their volunteer pilots.

Landon Thorne, SouthWings volunteer pilot and board member.

Landon Thorne is a SouthWings volunteer pilot who also serves on SouthWings’ board. Landon has been flying since his teens. He has a long career in private equity and venture capital investing, and he served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps Reserve, retiring in 2002 with the rank of Colonel. During his military career and many active duty deployments, he served in Vietnam, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. In Vietnam, he flew 163 missions as a back-seater in the Cessna O-1 Bird Dog and vowed that he would eventually own one of those wonderful airplanes. Today he flies N68VN, his fully restored Bird Dog painted in the colors of Marine Observation Squadron 6.

Video: SouthWings Overview

SouthWings 2023 Program Report

Landon Thorne's Cessna O-1 Bird Dog in the hangar.
Landon Thorne’s Cessna O-1 Bird Dog

Aviation News

10 best-selling piston airplanes in 2023

In 2023, piston airplane shipments increased 11.8% to 1,682 worldwide. Cirrus figures prominently in the top ten. See the 2023 General Aviation Aircraft Shipment Report [PDF] from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.

More pilots in 2023

The FAA U.S. Civil Airmen Statistics shows that 69,503 student pilot certificates were issued in 2023, a 24% increase over 2022. The U.S. Civil Airmen Statistics is an annual study published for the benefit of the FAA, other government agencies, and industry. It contains detailed airmen statistics not published in other FAA reports. Statistics about airmen, both pilot and nonpilot, are obtained from the official airmen certification records maintained by the FAA. An active airman is defined as one who holds both an airmen certificate and a valid medical certificate. Active Civil Airmen Statistics are currently available in spreadsheet form for 2018 to 2023.

Learjet 36A Crew Departs Wichita For Record Round-The-World Flight

Four pilots and one observer departed on April 3, 2024, for a 60-hour, 11-stop, record-setting flight around the world. The “Century Mission” commemorates the first around-the-world flight 100 years ago. The flight is a fundraiser for the restoration of an historic 1964 Lear Jet Model 23, Serial 23-003 owned by the Classic Lear Jet Foundation. That was the first Lear Jet delivered to a customer.

Plans for new Las Vegas airport no longer up in the air

In the 1990s, a second airport serving Las Vegas, Nevada was considered. Sixteen candidate sites were considered. Now the Southern Nevada Supplemental Airport project is finally moving ahead into the environmental phase. The Clark County Department of Aviation (CCDOA) plans to go before the Clark County Commission to award bids for project contracts. Project completion is planned for 2037.

Hundreds of people bypassed parts of airport security in last year

The Transportation Security Administration says that since March 2023, there have been at least 300 instances of people bypassing parts of airport security. The TSA says these aren’t full security breaches – passengers who bypassed some checks went through others or were stopped. Since March 2023, 200 people bypassed “exit lanes” often marked with “no reentry” signs, and 80 people evaded the travel document checker.

Duckworth wants FAA to review Boeing’s failure to disclose flight deck features

Senator Tammy Duckworth feels there is a pattern of Boeing not disclosing 737 Max flight deck features to pilots. A recent example is the design of the cockpit door which opens automatically during rapid depressurization. Duckworth wrote in a letter to the FAA “Boeing’s failure to disclose this feature is chilling given its history of concealing 737 MAX information from pilots.”

Spirit Airlines to defer Airbus deliveries, furlough 260 pilots to save cash

To conserve cash, Spirit Airlines plans to furlough about 260 pilots starting September 1, 2024. Additionally, Airbus has agreed to delay aircraft deliveries scheduled from the second quarter of 2025 through 2026 to 2030-2031. Spirit says the aircraft pushout has a positive $340 million liquidity impact over the next two years. Deliveries scheduled for 2027-2029 are unchanged.

Flight Team Internship

This California Science Center project exposes disadvantaged students to the many possible careers in aviation. The project needs support from aviation companies.

Mentioned

Mach Speed: From Mach 1 To Mach 3 Speed and Beyond

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Max Trescott, Rob Mark, and David Vanderhoof.

792 Boom Supersonic XB-1 Demonstrator

The milestone reached by Boom Supersonic with their XB-1 demonstrator and the recent leadership changes at Boeing, including the resignation of CEO Dave Calhoun. Also, the FBI contacted the passengers of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282, quality issues with Boeing MAX jets, FAA oversight of United Airlines, engine issues with Pratt & Whitney, and the farewell tour of the A-10 demonstration team.

Aviation News

Boom Announces Successful Flight of XB-1 Demonstrator Aircraft

The XB-1 supersonic jet demonstrator flew from the Mojave Air and Space Port. Boom Supersonic calls it the world’s first independently developed supersonic jet. The XB-1 incorporates carbon fiber composites, advanced avionics, digitally-optimized aerodynamics, and an advanced supersonic propulsion system. Boom said the “XB-1 met all of its test objectives, including safely and successfully achieving an altitude of 7,120 feet and speeds up to 238 knots (273 mph). While XB-1 was in the air, the team performed an initial assessment of the aircraft’s handling qualities, including airspeed checks with the T-38 chase aircraft, and assessing the aircraft’s stability in the landing attitude (at a high angle of attack).”

Boom’s supersonic airliner Overture “…will carry 64-80 passengers at Mach 1.7, about twice the speed of today’s subsonic airliners. Overture is designed to run on up to 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).”

Video: Full Video: XB-1 Takes Flight

Boeing C.E.O. to Step Down in Major Reshuffle at Embattled Plane Maker

Boeing announced leadership changes:

  • CEO Dave Calhoun leaves at the end of 2024
  • Stan Deal, the head of Boeing commercial planes left immediately
  • Stephanie Pope, Boeing’s COO, replaces Stan Deal.
  • Board Chairman Larry Kellner will not stand for re-election.
  • Steve Mollenkopf was elected by the board to be the new chairman. He’s an electrical engineer by training and the former chief executive of Qualcomm.
  • The Board will choose the next Boeing chief executive.

Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 passengers receive FBI letter identifying them as the victims of a possible crime

Attorney Mark Lindquist represents passengers who were on Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 when the door plug blew out. He shared a letter from the FBI’s Seattle division under the Justice Department that he says was received by the passengers he represents. The letter says “I’m contacting you because we have identified you as a possible victim of a crime.”

Boeing Charged with 737 Max Fraud Conspiracy and Agrees to Pay over $2.5 Billion

The DOJ press release from 2021 describes the conditions of the Boeing deferred prosecution agreement. In part:

“The Boeing Company (Boeing) has entered into an agreement with the Department of Justice to resolve a criminal charge related to a conspiracy to defraud the Federal Aviation Administration’s Aircraft Evaluation Group (FAA AEG) in connection with the FAA AEG’s evaluation of Boeing’s 737 MAX airplane.”

“The tragic crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 exposed fraudulent and deceptive conduct by employees of one of the world’s leading commercial airplane manufacturers…”

“Boeing’s employees chose the path of profit over candor by concealing material information from the FAA concerning the operation of its 737 Max airplane and engaging in an effort to cover up their deception. This resolution holds Boeing accountable for its employees’ criminal misconduct, addresses the financial impact to Boeing’s airline customers, and hopefully provides some measure of compensation to the crash-victims’ families and beneficiaries.”

FAA wants inspections of Boeing Max planes for wiring flaws that could lead to ‘loss of control’

A recent FAA proposed airworthiness directive would require the inspection of about 207 737 Max airplane wings for wiring damage within three years. The Agency says an “unsafe condition” could result in a “loss of control” of certain Boeing 737 Max jets due to the “nonconforming” installation of spoiler control wires.

FAA to increase oversight of United Airlines after recent issues

Oversight of United Airlines by the FAA is increasing after recent incidents. The airlines vice president of corporate safety, Sasha Johnson said in a memo to employees that the “number of safety-related events in recent weeks have rightfully caused us to pause and evaluate whether there is anything we can and should do differently.”

The FAA will review some work processes, manuals, and facilities. Johnson said, “We welcome their engagement and are very open to hear from them about what they find and their perspective on things we may need to change to make us even safer.”

FAA responds to PW1100G ‘misaligned’ vane issue that caused a 2022 failure

Photo of a "blisk" by Olivier Cleynen - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30317852
A “blisk.” Image by Olivier Cleynen.

In 2022, the low-pressure compressor first-stage integrally bladed rotor (or “blisk”) in an Airbus A320neo engine failed, resulting in an engine shutdown. In a proposed rule, the FAA wants to require that airlines replace the rotor. Pratt & Whitney says “The [proposal] relates to a known issue that affected a limited number of engines and is unrelated to powder metal. The improved hardware has been deploying to the fleet over the past two years through previously released service bulletins.”

According to the FAA, a “misaligned” inlet guide vane ahead of the low-pressure compressor resulted in “aerodynamic excitement,” which caused the rotor to fail.

Improvements made by Pratt & Whitney include redesigns of the arm assembly and the first-stage integrally bladed rotor.

Why You’ve Never Been in a Plane Crash

Subtitle: The United States leads the world in airline safety. That’s because of the way we assign blame when accidents do happen.

Understanding the Boeing Mess

Mentioned

A-10 Demo Team Announces Its Final Year As The Warthog’s End Draws Near

A-10 Demo Team

Great Electric Airplane Race Preview

The Air Show podcast.

Hosts this Episode

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

791 U.S. Space Force

We learn about the U.S. Space Force with this week’s guest. In the news, aviation groups are unhappy with new tax proposals, a probable cause for the LATAM B787 sudden dive, results from the recent FAA production audit at Boeing, the NTSB plans a hearing on the 737-9 MAX door plug blowout, and JetBlue is getting an unfavorable response after a couple didn’t get what they paid for.

Guest

Colonel Erin Dick, standing.

Colonel Erin Dick currently serves in both civilian and military roles. On the civilian side, she is the Director of Public Affairs for the RAND Corporation. This non-profit, non-partisan research organization helps improve public policy through research and analysis. Her military position is IMA to the Director of Public Affairs, U.S. Forces Japan.

Erin’s previous military assignments were with the Space Training and Readiness Command (Space Force) and the US Space Command (Joint Combatant Command). She is a communications and public affairs executive with over 26 years of experience including leadership positions with multiple Fortune 100 aerospace/defense and engineering/architecture firms.

While Erin is not currently in the U.S. Space Force and did not speak to us as a representative of the Space Force, she provides valuable insights that help us understand the organization, its mission, people, and training.

Erin explains that space has become a contested domain and the Space Force was created to address the resulting challenges. The Space Force was formed by pulling resources from all the services and only includes three career fields: satellite operations, cyber, and space intel.

Seal of the US Space Force

Erin helps us understand the challenges of public perception faced by the service and provides her insights on the future of the Space Force and the importance of partnerships with industry and academia.

On a personal level, Erin shares her background in aviation, including her experience as a private pilot. She tells of joining the CV-22 squadron and reflects on her involvement in crisis communication following the recent tragic CV-22 crash.

A Colonel in the US Air Force Reserve, Erin has served for 26 years. As an Individual Mobilization Augmentee (IMA) in the Air Force, Erin has some unique responsibilities being directly assigned to an active duty unit and stepping in when needed. She has an MA in Strategic Public Relations from George Washington University and a BA in English from Texas A&M University.

New Commands, Ranks, and More: Big Changes for Air Force & Space Force

Growing the Space Force: Is Outsourcing Operations the Answer?

Space Force reveals official song: ‘Semper Supra’

Video: The Official United States Space Force Song (Lyric Video)

Aviation News

Aviation-Labor Coalition Warns of Harm from Tax Proposals Targeting Business Aviation

President Biden recently unveiled the Administration’s FY25 budget plan. It includes increasing the business aviation fuel tax five times and reducing the depreciation schedule to seven years from five for purchased business aircraft. The aviation and labor alphabet groups expressed their displeasure by sending a letter [PDF] to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance and the House Committee on Ways and Means.

The letter was signed by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP), and Vertical Aviation International (VAI).

Boeing Tells Airlines to Check 787 Cockpit Seats After Mishap on Latam Flight

The “technical event” on the LATAM flight that recently experienced a severe dive, injuring many passengers, may have been identified. It appears that a flight attendant serving a meal to the cockpit crew might have inadvertently bumped the switch that adjusts the pilot’s seat. The pilot then pitched forward into the controls. In a memo to 787 operators, Boeing recommends inspecting cockpit seats for loose switch covers and instructs operators how to turn off power to the pilot seat motor if needed. Boeing says this is a known issue and issued a service bulletin in 2017. 

FAA audit of Boeing’s 737 Max production reportedly found ‘dozens of issues’

The New York Times reports that in a recent FAA 6-week production audit at Boeing, the airframer passed 56 tests and failed 33 tests. The NYT based its reporting after reviewing an internal FAA slide presentation. Many of the failed tests centered around a failure to follow “approved manufacturing processes” and a failure to keep proper quality control documentation. The FAA also performed a product audit at SpiritAerosystems which resulted in six passes and seven fails.

NTSB to hear sworn testimonies at public hearing into 737-9 door plug blowout

On August 6 and 7, 2024 the NTSB plans to hold an investigative hearing into the Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 door plug blowout on January 5, 2024. Sworn testimonies from witnesses help the NTSB determine the facts, circumstances, and probable cause of the incident. The hearing will be open to the public and will be live-streamed. Only NTSB board members, investigators, scheduled witnesses, and parties to the hearing will be allowed to participate.

See:

Alaska Airlines Flight Was Scheduled for Safety Check on Day Panel Blew Off

Alaska Airlines “engineers and technicians” had concerns and the aircraft was due to go out of service that evening. The NYT implies that the airline should have immediately taken the plane out of passenger service. They report that “Alaska Airlines says the plane did not meet its standards for immediately taking it out of service.”

JetBlue is slammed for charging elderly couple $5,200 for lie-flat seats that wouldn’t recline during seven-hour flight – then offering them just $400 travel credit even though neither wants to set foot on airline again

Traveling from Boston to California and wanting to travel in comfort, the 83-year-old couple purchased JetBlue’s “Mint Class” seats. Available on all transatlantic and select coast-to-coast flights, the service offers: “All suites. All aisle access. All the better to deliver our personalized, award-winning service. Featuring lie-flat seats and our exclusive Tuft & Needle sleep experience.”

But his seat was stuck halfway between upright and flat. Her seat was stuck fully upright. The crew managed to get his seat upright, but neither would recline. Then on the return flight, his seat reclined but her seat did not. Jetblue offered the couple $400 in Jetblue credit, but they plan to never fly on Jetblue again. The airline did increase their offer to $1,200 in travel credit.

Mentioned

Masters of the Air on Apple TV.

35th and Final Heli-Expo Sets Record Attendance Mark

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Max Trescott, David Vanderhoof, and our Main(e) Man Micah.

790 Airline Ticket Price

The components of an airline ticket price, Boeing’s contract negotiations with the International Association of Machinists, the NTSB’s frustration with Boeing’s cooperation, American Airlines’ order of 260 planes, an Alaska Airlines flight with an open cargo door, pilots falling asleep mid-flight, an Alaska Supreme Court ruling on aircraft surveillance, and a “technical event” involving a LATAM flight.

Aviation News

UK Air Passenger Duty Increasing, Premium Cabins Hit Hardest

The passenger tax in the UK is called the Air Passenger Duty (APD) and it is just one part of an airline ticket price. One Mile at a Time calls the APD “the highest passenger tax on air travel anywhere in the world.” As of April 1, 2024, the APD is going up:

  • The domestic economy APD will increase by £0.50, from £6.50 to £7 (~$9)
  • The domestic premium APD will increase by £1, from £13 to £14 (~$18)
  • The long haul economy APD will increase by £4, from £84 to £88 (~$112)
  • The long haul premium APD will increase by £9, from £185 to £194 (~$246)
  • The ultra long haul economy APD will increase by £1, from £91 to £92 (~$117)
  • The ultra long haul premium APD will increase by £2, from £200 to £202 (~$257)

Additional increases are planned for 2025.

An airline ticket price is made up of the base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges. Government taxes and fees include an excise tax (a 7.5% tax imposed by the U.S. government on domestic flights), flight segment tax (a $4 fee per flight segment), a passenger facility charge (an airport fee determined by the U.S. airport from which you depart), the September 11 security fee ($5.60 per one-way trip to offset security costs), Air Passenger Duty (APD) (for flights departing from the U.K.), and other country-specific charges.

As watershed contract talks with Boeing open, Machinists think big

International Association of Machinists logo.

Boeing and the International Association of Machinists are negotiating a new labor contract. The union’s District 751 represents more than 32,000 Boeing Machinists. The union says they’ll ask for a wage increase of over 40% over the next three years and the restoration of its traditional pension. Also, a commitment to build the next new Boeing airplane in Seattle, more quality inspectors, more union input into quality control, and a shift in the corporate culture to one that doesn’t alienate employees. IAM president Jon Holden said the union “must stand up and save this company from itself.” A mass meeting and strike authorization vote are scheduled for mid-July. The contract expires on September 12, 2024.

NTSB Chair Not Pleased With Boeing’s Cooperation On Door Plug Probe

Regarding the investigation into the Alaska Airlines door plug incident, NTSB chair Jennifer Homendy recently testified at a Senate hearing that “Boeing has not provided us with the documents and information that we have requested numerous times over the past few months.” At the hearing, Homendy complained that Boeing was not cooperating as the NTSB attempted to interview team members.

NTSB Chair: Alaska 1282 investigation is like ‘peeling an onion’

In an exclusive interview with The Air Current, Jennifer Homendy said the NTSB is planning a public investigative hearing into the January 5 accident aboard Alaska Airlines 1282. Homendy told TAC that the hearing will occur towards the end of the summer.

American Airlines to buy 260 new planes from Boeing, Airbus and Embraer to meet growing demand

American Airlines ordered 260 new aircraft and placed options for up to 193 more planes. The orders include 85 Boeing 737 Max 10s, 85 A321neo planes from Airbus, and 90 E175 aircraft from Embraer.

Alaska Airlines flight carrying pets arrives with cargo door open as carrier and Boeing face $1B lawsuit

Alaska Airlines logo

An Alaska Airlines flight from Los Cabos, Mexico arrived at Portland, Oregon with its cargo door partly open. None of the pets in the cargo hold were injured. Alaska Airlines told KOIN in a statement that “there was no indication to the crew that the door was unsealed during [last Friday’s] flight and all indications point to the door partially opening after landing.” Also, “Our maintenance teams inspected the aircraft, replaced a spring in the door, tested the door, and reentered it into service.”

A plane was flying with 159 onboard. Then both pilots fell asleep

A preliminary report by Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee says both pilots of a PT Batik Air Indonesia flight fell asleep at about the same time for around 28 minutes. The plane was carrying 153 passengers and four crew members headed to Jakarta on a two-hour and 35-minute flight.

Officers need warrants to use aircraft, zoom lenses to surveil areas around homes, Alaska court says

According to the Alaska Supreme Court, law enforcement officers cannot use aircraft with binoculars or cameras with zoom lenses to surveil a person’s home, unless they obtain a warrant. This stems from a 2012 case where Alaska State Troopers flew past a property to verify a tip that marijuana was being grown there. The officers used a camera and zoom lens to take photos of the property. Based on what they saw, a search warrant was obtained.

At least 50 hurt as LATAM’s Boeing 787 to Auckland ‘just dropped’ mid-flight

A Boeing 787 operated by LATAM Airlines experienced what the airline called a “technical event” mid-flight from Sydney to Auckland. Reportedly, the plane abruptly dropped and at least 50 people were hurt. Ten passengers and three cabin crew members were taken to a hospital. One person is in serious condition. The 787-9 Dreamliner (registered CC-BGG) operated as flight LA800 between Sydney, Australia, and Auckland, New Zealand.

A passenger told the BBC “The plane, unannounced, just dropped. I mean it dropped unlike anything I’ve ever experienced on any kind of minor turbulence, and people were thrown out of their seats, hit the top of the roof of the plane, throwing down the aisles. Some of the roof panels were broken from people being thrown up and knocking through the plastic roof panels in the aisle ways. And there was blood coming from several people’s heads.”

Mentioned

Understanding The UK Air Passenger Duty (APD)

FlightSimExpo

This new Airbus air taxi has a 50-mile range and is quieter than a hairdryer

XPeng’s AeroHT flexes its eVTOL expertise, taking its X2 flying car to the skies above Guangzhou

Aviation Careers Podcast

Hosts this Episode

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

789 Scaled Composites

We talk with both the President of Scaled Composites and the VP of Flight Operations. In the news, the FAA tells Boeing to make a plan, Boeing looks at re-acquiring SpiritAerosystems, Skyryse takes deposits for a fly-by-wire helicopter, the V-22 Osprey could be returning to flight, airlines scale back pilot hiring, and the JetBlue – Spirit merger is off.

Guests

Peter Siebold and Greg Norris of Scaled Composites standing on the apron.
Peter Siebold and Greg Morris

Greg Morris is the president of Scaled Composites, and Pete Siebold is the VP of Flight Operations. Scaled Composites is the aerospace company founded by Burt Rutan to develop experimental aircraft. Currently owned by Northrop Grumman and located at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, Scaled focuses on designing and developing concept aircraft that are often unconventional.

Greg and Pete describe the Scaled “secret sauce” and the company culture that keeps employees engaged and operating at their creative best. We hear about the experience of a first flight in a Scaled aircraft and the preparations made before test flights. Also how Scaled helps customers define their requirements and then designs the aircraft technology to meet those requirements. Interestingly, the design for a technology demonstrator can be quite different than the design for manufacturability. The two explain the personal and professional qualities that position an individual for an aviation career such as you might find at a company like Scaled Composites.

Greg Morris

Greg joined Scaled Composites in 2023 from Gauntlet Aerospace where he was President and Chief Test Pilot. He operated a flight school for 7 years and had 10 years of experience in flight test operations, including teaching in the Qualitative Evaluation Program for the United States Air Force Test Pilot School and target and chase support for the 412th Test Wing. Greg is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and serves on the SETP Membership Committee. He is a nationally designated FAA Experimental Examiner and he’s conducted check-rides for a variety of aircraft, both Scaled Composites and others. 

Greg received a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California and a Masters of Science in Flight Test Engineering from the National Test Pilot School.

Peter Siebold

Pete joined Scaled Composites in 1996 as a Design Engineer on the VisionAire Vantage. He worked extensively as a Flight Test Engineer on multiple programs before becoming a Test Pilot for the company. During his time at Scaled, Pete has held multiple leadership positions within engineering and flight operations, including Director of Flight Operations. Pete has flown 4 first flights at Scaled and 11 different Scaled aircraft. He was heavily involved in the development of Scaled’s simulator and avionics capabilities.

Pete obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He became a certified flight instructor while attending the university, a rating he retains to this day. He is an Associate Fellow in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and holds an Airline Transport Pilot Rating with seven Experimental Aircraft Authorizations and two Type Ratings. In 2004, Pete was part of the test team that won the Iven C. Kincheloe award for SpaceShipOne. He was bestowed the honor again in 2009 for his work as Project Pilot for WhiteKnightTwo.

Video: Model 401 Sierra First Flight

Video: Proteus: 25 years of Flight

Find Scaled Composites on Twitter/X, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Aviation News

FAA to Boeing: Develop a plan to fix your quality issues within 90 days

At a meeting in FAA headquarters, FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker told Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun that Boeing has 90 days to provide an action plan that addresses its “systemic quality-control issues.” After the meeting, Whitaker said, “Boeing must commit to real and profound improvements. “Making foundational change will require a sustained effort from Boeing’s leadership, and we are going to hold them accountable every step of the way, with mutually understood milestones and expectations.”

The plan must take into account the findings of the expert review panel report and the results of an FAA production-line audit. It will include the steps necessary to mature Boeing’s Safety Management System and integrate this with the company’s Quality Management System, to “ensure the same level of rigor and oversight is applied to the company’s suppliers.”

Justice Department Looking Into Boeing Blowout

The DOJ is examining whether the door panel incident falls under the government’s 2021 deferred-prosecution agreement with Boeing after the two fatal 737 Max crashes. If prosecutors determine that Boeing’s handling of the incident violated the 2021 agreement, they could rescind it and bring criminal charges against the company.

Engineering union and Boeing face off in fraught pilot contract dispute

The labor contract is with 23 flight technical and safety pilots in the flight operations group. These pilots don’t routinely fly production aircraft. The flight technical pilots develop pilot training programs and pilot manuals and liaise with airlines on their flight operations. The safety pilots help develop flight deck systems for new aircraft and support the certification process. The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace union (SPEEA) says its members have “first-hand experience of the kinds of safety-culture problems an expert panel reported on…”

Boeing in Talks to Buy Troubled Supplier Spirit AeroSystems

Spirit AeroSystems has had preliminary discussions with Boeing and has hired bankers to explore strategic options. Spirit is also looking at selling its Ireland unit that makes parts for Airbus. Both companies have confirmed they are having merger discussions. The talks might not result in a deal. In a statement, Boeing said, “We believe that the reintegration of Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems’ manufacturing operations would further strengthen aviation safety, improve quality, and serve the interests of our customers, employees, and shareholders.”

Skyryse Taking Deposits for Fly-by-wire Turbine Single

Skyryse One is a Robinson R66 helicopter that has been retrofitted with the proprietary SkyOS operating system. This features a single-stick control and two touchscreens. It’s an IFR-capable, aircraft-agnostic, triple-redundant fly-by-wire system. Skyryse is taking refundable, non-transferrable $2,500 deposits.

V-22 Osprey Fleet To Return To Flight After 3-Month Worldwide Grounding

The V-22 Osprey fleet received approval from U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin for a safe and measured return to operations. The Naval Air Systems Command could lift the grounding and allow the services to resume V-22 flight operations. The cause of the crash has been identified, but the reason for the failure has not. The investigation continues.

Southwest Airlines Scales Back Pilot Hiring In 2024

A Southwest memo says, “Based on expected capacity growth beyond 2024, we’ve made the difficult decision to suspend Initial First Officer Training classes through the remainder of 2024 and defer job offers, beginning with our April classes.” The airline said pilots with conditional job offers would be placed in a “deferred candidate pool.” Once hiring resumes, those pilots would be called up.

JetBlue, Spirit end $3.8 billion merger agreement after losing antitrust suit

Citing regulatory hurdles, the two airlines ended their merger agreement. Attorney General Merrick Garland said, “Today’s decision by JetBlue is yet another victory for the Justice Department’s work on behalf of American consumers.”

Mentioned

Making Like Maverick in an L-39 by Rob Mark in JetWhine.

Bob Heil

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver

Tesla Model S and Model 3 vulnerable to GNSS spoofing attacks

Wheel Bearings podcast.

Hosts this Episode

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

788 Corporate Flight Attendant

The struggle to mandate corporate flight attendant egress training, the Bombardier Challenger jet crash in Florida, major executive changes at Boeing, Spirit AeroSystems whistleblowers, 737 Max Service Difficulty Reports, FAA’s Enhanced Air Traffic-Collegiate Training Initiative program, FAA safety recommendations for Boeing, and details on Boeing’s “traveled work.”

Guest

Susan C. Friedenberg is the CEO of Corporate Flight Attendant – Tech Training and Consulting. Over the past 25 years, Susan has been committed to continually raising the standards for flight attendants in all aspects of business aviation. Her school teaches students the professional role of a corporate flight attendant. She has dedicated herself to the idea that egress training is critical to ensuring the safety of the passengers and crew in an emergency.

Susan C. Friedenberg, advocate for corporate flight attendant egress training.

Susan started Corporate Flight Attendant – Tech Training in 1999 when she realized there were just two valid egress training companies for business aviation and that neither offered students a chance to learn the professional role of a corporate flight attendant. In her 5-day – 50-hour Zoom training, guests include a senior Pfizer employee explaining cockpit resource management and a major business aviation caterer who discusses what their kitchens need to know to expedite and deliver a perfect catering order.

Starting her aviation career as a flight attendant at American Airlines, Susan eventually moved on to Capitol Air until 1984 when that company went bankrupt. Discovering business aviation, she flew full-time for Coca-Cola’s flight department in Atlanta, Dupont Aviation in Wilmington, Delaware, and American Standard Companies from Teterboro, New Jersey. She’s also flown as a contract flight attendant.  

Susan has been active for decades with the NBAA and served on the association’s Flight Attendant Committee and the Scholarship Committee. Susan was also the Chair of the Contract Flight Attendant Group for two years. 

She’s written numerous articles about the corporate flight attendant’s professional role and created a safety presentation called, “Why You Need a Trained Person in the Back of Your Aircraft.” Her company also provides abridged training for Flight Techs (A&P’s) who act in a dual role aboard a business aviation aircraft as both a mechanic and a flight attendant in the back of the plane.

Aviation News

‘We’ve lost both engines,’ pilot said before private jet crashed onto Florida interstate, killing 2

A Bombardier Challenger 600 series jet carrying five people crashed while attempting to make an emergency landing on Interstate 75 near Naples, Florida. The pilot and co-pilot were killed. A crew member and two passengers escaped.

Boeing removes the Head of 737 Max program in wake of safety incidents

Eighteen-year Boeing veteran Ed Clark has been removed from head of the 737 Max passenger jet program. He had previously held the roles of 737 Max chief engineer and chief 737 mechanic. Katie Ringgold fills Clark’s position as head of the 737 Max program. She had been vice president of 737 Max deliveries. Boeing also announced the creation of a new executive position, Senior Vice President for BCA Quality. Elizabeth Lund fills that position. Lund had been senior vice president and general manager of airplane programs for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Mike Fleming fills Lund’s position. He had been senior vice president of development and customer service.

With Boeing in hot seat, claims against supplier Spirit AeroSystems take shape

Two former Spirit AeroSystems employees have come forward with quality deficiency allegations. The first was a quality auditor at the Wichita plant who was fired in 2022 for allegedly failing to conduct inspections that were his responsibility. Now a second ex-employee who worked alongside the first has corroborated the allegations.

Airlines Filed 1,800 Reports Warning Regulators About Boeing’s 737 Max

More than 1,800 service difficulty reports concerning the 737 Max were filed by operators over the last three years. Alaska Airlines alone filed more than 1,230 737 Max reports over that period. The nonprofit Foundation for Aviation Safety compiled federal safety reports and found 737 Max issues including fuel leaks resulting from misapplied sealant, malfunctioning stabilizing motors, fuel tank FOD, engine stalls, and anti-ice system problems. Under § 121.703, certificate holders must file Service difficulty reports for the occurrence or detection of certain failures, malfunctions, or defects.

FAA panel finds Boeing safety culture wanting, recommends overhaul

The FAA commissioned a panel of independent aviation experts. Their report is critical of Boeing’s safety culture and makes more than 50 recommendations: Section 103 Organizational Designation Authorizations (ODA) for Transport Airplanes, Expert Panel Review Report, Final Report. [PDF]

FAA Moves to Accelerate Air Traffic Controller Hiring by Enhancing College Training Program

FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker says, “Hiring more air traffic controllers is a priority. We need more entry points for controller candidates and this enhanced college controller training program is an additional avenue to get controllers into facilities sooner.” The Enhanced Air Traffic-Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) program is designed to increase the number of students who can begin facility training immediately upon graduation. As of May 2023, the FAA lists 31 approved AT-CTI schools. [PDF]

Mentioned

Why a Good Flight Attendant Matters

Gulfstream 550 Evacuation Crewmember Training

G550 Will Require Evac Crewmember

PBS – The American Experience: Come Fly With Me: They Wanted to See the World and Ended Up Changing It

The Biden administration’s bet on sustainable aviation fuel

Hosts this Episode

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