Tag Archives: Boeing

492 Flying the Boeing 787 Dreamliner

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

Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Courtesy Boeing.


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

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

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

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

Aviation News

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump’s Pilot for FAA Administrator

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

Airline Story of the Week

Woman surprises husband with pregnancy announcement on flight from Tampa

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

Listener Recording

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


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


Robert Poole’s libertarian think-tank Reason Foundation.

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

Qantas Group Pilot Academy | Qantas

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


Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

491 Igor Sikorsky III

Igor Sikorsky III joins us and talks about the history of his grandfather, aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky. Our airplane of the week is the Sikorsky VS-300. We also look at Boeing’s belief that the industry has put its cyclic business nature in the past, new fees proposed for air travelers, and the International Trade Commission report denying Boeing’s claim against Bombardier.

Igor Sikorsky's plane in front of the Bradford Camps lodge.

Igor Sikorsky’s plane in front of the Bradford Camps lodge.


Igor Sikorsky III gassing up at Munsungan Lake.

Igor Sikorsky III gassing up at Munsungan Lake.

Igor Sikorsky III is the grandson of aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky and he conducts the annual “Sikorsky Weekend” at The Bradford Camps in the North Maine woods. It’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the history of Igor’s grandfather with family memorabilia, stories, and videos.

Igor gives us a few slices of the Sikorsky history, including how his grandfather was inspired at age 12 by a dream he had of flying over an ocean. We talk about the early days in Russia when the family entrusted their savings to him and then his time in Paris. That was the hub of early aviation where designers and other dreamers congregated to try and build flying machines. We learn about Sikorsky’s emigration from Russia to the U.S. where other Russian immigrants worked with him, sometimes without pay, to develop early aircraft.

Igor is a pilot himself and owns a Skyhawk on floats, which he uses regularly to ferry visitors to his camp and to fishing spots in Maine. We talk about the unique aspects of flying in the North Maine woods, and how having an airplane is critical to the life Igor and his wife Karen lead.

Igor tells us how he thinks his grandfather would have felt about the 2015 sale of Sikorsky Aircraft by United Technologies Corporation. We also learn about the Russian Imperial Stout that Two Roads Brewing Company produces each year to honor Sikorsky and Stratford, Connecticut.

Learn more about the annual Sikorsky Weekend at The Bradford Camps website, and be sure to visit the Igor I. Sikorsky Historical Archives.

Igor Sikorsky III plane at Munsungan Lake, Maine.

Does it get any better than this?


Boeing CEO: Aerospace now viewed as an industry with ‘long-term sustained growth’

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg says the industry has gone “from being a high-cycle business in the past” to now becoming “a long-term sustained growth business.”

New Aviation Fees Could Cost Travelers $3 Billion

The proposed 2019 Federal budget released on February 12, 2018, increases Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) fees, which could potentially cost consumers up to an additional $3 billion. Industry trade group Airlines for America (A4A) urged Congress to reject all TSA and CBP fee increases and instead return the billions of dollars now collected by the TSA and CBP and used for non-aviation related purposes.

U.S. ITC details why it rejected CSeries duties, says Boeing not hurt

The International Trade Commission published their 194-page ruling that rejected Boeing’s claim against Bombardier, saying “Boeing lost no sales or revenues.”

The Airplane of the Week

David tells us the history of the Vought Sikorsky VS-300 (Sikorsky S-42), the first practical helicopter in the United States and the model for most helicopters that were to come.

The Sikorsky VS-300. Credit: unknown (Smithsonian Institution)

The Sikorsky VS-300. Credit: unknown (Smithsonian Institution)


New England Air Museum

Xtended Episode 79

The Fighter Pilot Podcast

Imperial notifies Transport Canada of potential aviation fuel quality issue

Accident: Spirit A20N near Fort Lauderdale on Jan 28th 2018, fumes on board, crew feeling increasingly incapacitated

Air Force Special OPS plane carrying US Commandos makes “surprise” landing in Libya

Leaping elk crashes low-flying research helicopter in Utah

North Korea Military Parade 2018: Best Moments – Parada Militar na Coreia do Norte 2018


Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.


490 The Airbus A350

We talk with an Airbus A350 captain who has a long history flying commercial aircraft. In the news, we consider one-person flight crews, U.S. airlines looking to scale back consumer protection regulations, ADS-B vulnerabilities for military aircraft, and largest ever Piper order for training planes, plans for the Air Force bomber fleet, and Southwest runs out of glycol. We also have a conversation about ATIS with the Chief of the Air Traffic Control Division at Robert Gray Army Airfield.

Malaysia Airlines Airbus A350.

Malaysia Airlines A350. Photo by H Gousse, courtesy Airbus.


Airbus A350 Captain Bill Palmer.

Airbus A350 Captain Bill Palmer.

Bill Palmer is an A350 captain and an instructor pilot/check airman. He has been heavily involved in Airbus training since the early 1990’s, and Bill is the author of Understanding Air France 447 and other publications on Airbus flight control laws. Bill also holds a commercial glider rating and flies his Rolladen-Schneider LS-3 for fun in southern California.

Bill describes the transition to the A350 as like going from DOS to Windows. The aircraft shares some commonality with A380, and Bill describes fly-by-wire and the flight control laws. We also hear about other features of the A350, such as the paperless cockpit implementation and the availability airport runway, taxiway, and gate information to pilot. The plane will calculate landing distance and brake to the correct speed for the selected taxiway. Bill also describes the A350 runway overrun protection and the auto-flight system’s automatic TCAS and wind shear recovery.

Bill started flying at the age of 15, soloed on his 16th birthday and completed his private certificate at 17. He attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and holds a BS in Aeronautical Science. He earned his flight instructor certificate in 1978 and has been instructing almost non-stop since then while holding airplane, instrument, multi-engine, and ground instructor certificates. Besides light aircraft he has also taught on the 727, 757, A320, DC-10, and A330, and written manuals for the DC-10, A330, and B-787 fleets. He has also produced numerous training publications and videos for the various fleets as well.

Visit Bill’s webpage Understanding Air France 447 and his Trend Vector blog. His books Understanding Air France 447Airbus A330 Normal Law: Putting fly-by-wire into perspective, and Airbus Flight Control Laws: The Reconfiguration Laws are available on Amazon.com and at other retailers.

Aviation News

Boeing raises prospect of only one pilot in the cockpit of planes

At the Singapore Airshow, Boeing research and technology vice-president Charles Toups said, “We are studying [one pilot operations], and where you will first see that is probably in cargo transport, so the passenger question is off the table.” Also at the Singapore Air Show, ST Aerospace showed the concept for an unmanned freighter piloted by an artificially intelligent computer. ST Aero was optimistic about an unmanned freighter within the next five years.

Airlines seeking to snuff traveler rights?

In the Wall Street Journal, Scott McCartney reports that last October the U.S. Department of Transportation asked airlines to suggest changes or cuts to regulations. Airlines for America filed 222 pages of comments. United Airlines added 50 pages.

Vulnerable To Cyber Attacks, ADS-B May Expose F-22s To Web Based Tracking GAO Warns

A 45-page Government Accountability Office report titled Urgent Need for DOD and FAA to Address Risks and Improve Planning for Technology That Tracks Military Aircraft [PDF] says that neither the Department of Defense nor the FAA has taken significant steps to mitigate security risks associated with openly transmitting flight data from military aircraft.

Piper Receives Largest Trainer Order in Company History

Chinese Fanmei Aviation Technologies has ordered 152 training aircraft from Piper Aircraft. Fanmei is Piper’s dealer in China, and a subsidiary of Sichuan Fan-Mei Education Group Co., which provides aviation education in China. This is reported to be the largest single order for training airplanes in Piper’s history. The seven-year purchase agreement is valued at $74 million and includes 100 Archer TX single-engine trainers, 50 twin-engine Seminoles, one Seneca twin, and one Piper M350.

Air Force outlines future of bomber force

In its Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request, the Air Force outlined plans for its bomber fleet, which include a plan to update the B-52 Stratofortress fleet, continue modifications to the B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit fleets, while continuing to acquire B-21 Raiders.

‘How does one airline run out of de-icer?’: Some gripes at Midway after Southwest’s cancellations

Southwest Airlines had to cancel more than 250 flights from Midway Airport after running out of de-icing fluid. One of the glycol tank pumps wasn’t working properly and some of the de-icing fluid could not be accessed.


Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari talks about ATIS (automatic terminal information service) with Mark N. Vick, Chief, Air Traffic Control Division, Directorate of Aviation Operations at Robert Gray Army Airfield, Fort Hood Texas, a military joint-use airport that operates alongside Killeen–Fort Hood Regional Airport.


Rolls-Royce UltraFan® – The Ultimate Jet Engine and Lego Ultrafan in the flesh! @RollsRoyce, a video on Twitter by Andrew Smyth‏.

Nine Aviation and Space Achievements Compete for the 2017 Collier Trophy [PDF] and GA Companies Among Those Vying for Collier Trophy.

Heavens Above

The 101-year-old woman who flew Spitfires in WW2

MH370: Malaysian military sidelines crash investigators as power play emerges on search team and MH370 conspiracy theory involves Seabed Constructor and chest from shipwreck.


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

488 NASA Chief Historian

The NASA Chief Historian helps us look at some events from the past, anniversaries coming up, and what the future holds for NASA. Also, the International Trade Commission rules for Bombardier and against Boeing, more information about the pilot in the fatal Icon A5 crash, Putin wants a supersonic civilian airliner, and a look at big aerospace and defense deals in 2017.


Bill Barry, NASA Chief Historian.

Bill Barry, NASA Chief Historian.

Dr. William P. Barry is the NASA Chief Historian. We talk with Bill about the upcoming 60th anniversary of NASA on October 1, 2018, the 60th anniversary of the first U.S. satellite, and the 50th anniversary of the Apollo missions. Bill gives us some insights into the tragic Apollo 1 accident, known simply as “The Fire.”

Bill also tells us about the Space Launch System, the James Webb Space Telescope, and the emerging role of commercial space companies like Boeing and SpaceX. We touch on the change of the NASA administrator, and even jobs available at NASA through USAjobs.

Bill has been NASA’s Chief Historian since 2010. He began work at NASA in 2001 after retiring from a 22-year career in the US Air Force. Bill worked in NASA’s international relations office for several years, and served as the NASA European Representative at the United States Embassy in Paris before being appointed NASA Chief Historian. A graduate, with honors, of the United States Air Force Academy, Bill also holds a Masters Degree from Stanford University and a Doctorate from Oxford University.

Apollo’s Worst Day: Veterans of NASA’s moon program referred to it simply as “The Fire.” Did it have to happen?

This excellent article by Andy Chaikin appeared in the Dec 2016/Jan 2017 edition of Air&Space Smithsonian. See also Apollo-1 (204) and The Accident, taken from the Report of Apollo 204 Review Board.

Find more at the NASA History Program Office webpage, and follow NASA History on Twitter and Facebook.

Aviation News

100- to 150-Seat Large Civil Aircraft from Canada Do Not Injure U.S. Industry, Says USITC

The United States International Trade Commission is “an independent, quasi-judicial Federal agency with broad investigative responsibilities on matters of trade.” The USITC issued this statement on January 26, 2018:

“The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) today determined that a U.S. industry is not materially injured or threatened with material injury by reason of imports of 100- to 150-seat large civil aircraft from Canada that the U.S. Department of Commerce… has determined are subsidized and sold at less than fair value. As a result of the USITC’s negative determinations, no antidumping or countervailing duty orders will be issued.”

The Commission’s final report will be published by March 2, 2018, can be accessed on the USITC website.

Roy Halladay Autopsy Findings Catch Industry by Surprise

Former baseball star Roy Halladay died following the crash of his Icon A5 in shallow water last November. An autopsy revealed that Halladay did not immediately die of the impact – a contributing cause of death was drowning. He also had “enough mood-altering drugs in his system to confirm he shouldn’t have been driving a car, much less flying an airplane.”

Russia’s Concorde: Putin proposes supersonic civilian aircraft based on its Tu-160 bomber

Vladimir Putin wants to build a civilian version of the Tupolev Tu-160 supersonic nuclear bomber as a supersonic passenger jet for wealthy customers. The United Aircraft Corporation has told Putin that designers already have a supersonic civilian airliner project.

Global aerospace and defense deals insights: Q4 2017

Pricewaterhouse Coopers reports that the global aerospace and defense industry saw $72 billion worth of deals in 2017. This betters the previous record of $67 billion set in 2015, and represents a whopping 79% increase over 2016. Nine deals with announced value greater than $1 billion accounted for 86% of the total value this year. Global Aerospace and Defense Deals Insights Year-End 2017 [PDF].

The largest deals from 2017:

United Technologies’ $30 billion acquisition of Rockwell Collins tops the list, followed by Northrop Grumman’s $9 billion acquisition of Orbital ATK, Safran’s $8 billion acquisition of Zodiac Aerospace, and Thales’ $5 billion acquisition of Gemalto.

Airline Story of the Week

Southwest Airlines rescues 62 stray dogs, cats from Puerto Rico

Sixty-two dogs and cats were rescued from hurricane-battered Puerto Rico, courtesy of Southwest Airlines.


The Aviators Season Seven.

AirSpace Podcast from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

NP Simulations, the UK flight simulator company based in London.

How Three High Schoolers Won EAA’s Founder’s Innovation Prize

See the Remora Systems website to learn more.

EAA’s Founder’s Innovation Prize (presented by Airbus)

Submissions will be accepted through June 1, 2018. Five finalists will be chosen to pitch their ideas in front of a panel of expert judges.

Interjet images by aviation photographer Paul Filmer:

​Interjet at IAH in 2015. Photo by Paul Filmer.

Interjet at IAH in 2015. Photo by Paul Filmer.

​Interjet at Toluca. Mexico. Photo by Paul Filmer.

Interjet at Toluca. Mexico. Photo by Paul Filmer.

Kiwi airline exec breaks record for world circumnavigation on commercial airlines

Andrew Fisher made a 52-hour, 34-minute journey from Shanghai to Auckland to Buenos Aires to Amsterdam and back to Shanghai. The old record was 55 hours.

Your ADS-B Questions Answered: Get the Facts Here

Did the airlines get an exemption from the 2020 ADS-B requirement, or not…

Rocket Lab’s ‘Humanity Star’ is New Zealand first satellite and the Humanity Star website.

No Passport or Ticket: How a Woman Evaded Airport Security and Flew to London


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


487 Build an Airport then Take it Down

Our guest is the president and founder of Flying Eyes, a maker of eyewear for pilots and others, who also happens to be involved in setting up the airport each year at Burning Man, then taking it all down. In the news, we look at the impact of a U.S. Government shutdown on aviation, TSA formally ending the unloved Large Aircraft Security Program, the carrier with the most legroom, Boeing’s overtures to Embraer, the Emirates A380 order, and new support animal rules at Delta. Also, our Main(e) Man Micah looks back at Apollo 1 and how it shaped NASA.


Dean Siracusa

Dean Siracusa

Dean Siracusa is the president and founder of Flying Eyes, and an SEL/IFR rated pilot with more than 2,200 hours. Dean owned and flew a rare Meyers 200, and he operates the Meyers Aircraft Owners Association website.

Dean is involved in building Black Rock City Municipal Airport (88NV) each year for the annual Burning Man event in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. After the temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance is taken down, the airport is likewise removed and the desert returned to its natural state. Burning Man 2018 takes place August 26 – September 3.

In 2012, Dean designed, engineered, patented, and began manufacturing Flying Eyes eyewear. He realized the need for specialty sunglasses that are comfortable with helmets and aviation-style headsets. He also created Eyes That Fly, where you can locate eye doctors near you who are also pilots and thus understand the unique needs of pilots.

Flying Eyes eyewear

Flying Eyes eyewear

Dean is a bit of a serial entrepreneur and founded the Transtock, Inc. stock photo agency that specializes in transportation imagery. He also founded Siracusa Productions to create images and commercials primarily for the automotive industry, including manufacturers such as Toyota, Lexus, Volkswagen, Ford, Mercedes-Benz and many others.

Dean received a bachelor’s degree from the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. While a student, Dean worked at Road & Track Magazine, later becoming the magazine’s sole staff photographer traveling the world shooting prestigious brands.

The Impact of a Government Shutdown on Aviation

We look at the impact on aviation of a U.S. Government shutdown due to the lack of a funding bill. We find the government functions that keep operating and those that shut down:

Aviation News

A Decade Later, TSA Officially Drops LASP

In 2008, the TSA issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) for the Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP). The proposed security program that would have required security threat assessments for aircraft weighing more than 12,500 pounds.

The Airline with the Most Legroom Is This Little-Known Carrier

The Mexican low-cost carrier Interjet provides 34 inches of seat pitch across all its planes. By contrast, the average economy seat pitch on American, Delta, and United is 30 to 31 inches.

Boeing Seeks Embraer Control, With Defense Safeguards

Exclusive: Boeing willing to preserve Brazil’s ‘golden share’ in Embraer deal

Competition Begins for Production Site of Boeing’s NMA

The Brazilian government does not want to see complete control of Embraer move out of the country, and especially wants to retain it’s “golden share,” which gives the government veto power over certain decisions. Reportedly, Boeing is looking at sourcing engineering work and possibly production in Brazil. For a history of past Boeing interest in Embraer by Dominic Gates, see Boeing’s bid to buy Embraer could see Brazilian engineers work on the 797

Airbus Has Won Its Game of A380 Chicken with Emirates

Last week we commented on a statement from COO John Leahy that if Airbus couldn’t work out a deal with Emirates, the company would have to shut down the A380 program. Well, Airbus and Emirates have done a deal for 20 firm and 16 option superjumbo jets valued at $16B at list price.

British Airways in Talks Over New A380 Order

“Informed sources” have told Bloomberg news that British Airways talking with Airbus about the purchase of new A380-800s to use for high-demand flights at London Heathrow.

Delta reins in emotional support animals with new guidelines

With everything from comfort turkeys and gliding possums known as sugar gliders, to snakes and spiders being used as emotional support animals, Delta is taking a stand with new rules that require additional documentation. Report by Mary Kirby at Runwaygirl Network.

The Fire, or Apollo 1 – The Predicted Disaster

Our Main(e) Man Micah takes a look back at “The Fire” in Apollo 1 and how it shaped NASA.

Apollo 1

Apollo 1


Photo by Max Trescott.

Photo by Max Trescott.

Brian and Carlos offer a short debrief following the celebration of the 200th episode of the Plane Talking UK podcast.

Over the Poles 2018

Anderson Aviation Services Inc.

Canadian Aviator

Sturm Friederike – Grandiose Pilotenleistung am Airport Düsseldorf bei bis zu 110 km/h Seitenwind

After leading electric car adoption, Norway now aims to lead electric flight


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

486 Flying Fast, High, and Far Away

A U.S. company helps develop general aviation in China, Virgin Galactic gets closer to its first customer flight, Boeing reveals a hypersonic successor to the SR-71 Blackbird, Costa Rica’s civil aviation agency suspends a carrier, and the future of the A380 is questioned again.

We have an Across the Pond segment, a clip from GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce’s presentation at the Cirrus conference, interviews from CES 2018 about the Bell Helicopter autonomous air taxi, as well as additive manufacturing for aerospace applications, and the fifth installment from student pilot Nicki on her second solo.


Aviation News

Chino aviation group wins contract to help Chinese develop general aviation industry

Chino, California-based Threshold Aviation Group has partnered with Chinese company YXST Aviation Industry Development Co. LTD. to establish and operate training centers for Chinese pilots and mechanics, and to establish airparks and fixed base operations.

Threshold Aviation Group is based in Chino, California and is an aircraft maintenance, management, service, and support organization with more than 175,000 square feet of hangar and office space. Threshold is located at the Chino Airport (KCNO), adjacent to its 7,000-foot runway.

YXST Aviation Industry Development Co. LTD. “focuses on the full-value chain development,which integrates general aviation services, tourism, aviation education, aircraft sales and maintenance, development of aviation town, aviation medical service, aviation sport, aviation logistics, security service and extension service.”

Mark Dilullo, Threshold CEO and owner said, “This is a huge, literally huge opportunity for Threshold Aviation Group to expand its business with nearly limitless potential. The Chinese aviation market has the potential to eventually be the largest (general) aviation market in the world, and we are in on the ground floor of that providing critical services to help get it off the ground.” This summer, about 10 Chinese pilots and mechanics will come to Threshold for intensive training in general aviation skills

In March 2017, Threshold held a trade show at its Chino Airport hangar as part of the “Inaugural U.S.-China General Aviation Business Conference,” sponsored by Threshold and the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

YXST Aviation holds the exclusive right to develop six airports with the possibility of adding more.

Space tourism in MONTHS: Virgin Galactic completes groundbreaking test flight

Virgin Galactic has completed another successful glide test flight of its VSS Unity plane over the Mojave Desert. VSS Unity, is the second SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane for Virgin Galactic. The first, VSS Enterprise, was destroyed in a crash in October 2014. Unity was taken up to an altitude of 50,000 feet by its from mothership VMS Eve before being released for the descent.

“Son of Blackbird”: Boeing Reveals Hypersonic Concept That Could Replace SR-71

At a recent American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics SciTech forum, Boeing unveiled a reusable Mach 5-plus concept model. The Boeing design is seen as a hypersonic successor to the SR-71 Blackbird. Also, Boeing Unveils Hypersonic ‘Son-Of-Blackbird’ Contender.

Costa Rica Suspends Airline Amid Probe Into Fatal Crash

Nature Air has been suspended by Costa Rica’s civil aviation agency. A Nature Air Caravan crashed recently killing the two Costa Rican pilots and ten US citizens, including a family of five from New York. One of the pilots was the company’s director of training. Nature Air’s operations manager quit this week and its aerial security director has requested a leave of absence.  

Leahy confirms A380 future hinges on Emirates order

On an Airbus 2017 orders and deliveries webinar, COO-customers John Leahy said, “If we can’t work out a deal with Emirates, it is clear we will have to shut down the program.” The A380 program currently has a 95-aircraft backlog.

Airplane of the Week

David brings us Part 2 of the EC-121 Warning Star: more Willy Victor missions, the victories, and the challenges.

Across the Pond

Commander ‘Sharkey’ Ward DFC AFC RN Retired

Commander ‘Sharkey’ Ward DFC AFC RN Retired (Photo Copyright – The Daily Telegraph)

Pieter is back with an update on his 2017. He talks about the Falklands Air War and his journey to get the book on the Fairey Barracuda promoted and how it all started back here on the Airplane Geeks 7 years ago.

The Falklands Air War Series:

Aviation Xtended Episode 73 featuring the Fairey Barracuda and a book on the aircraft by Naval Air Historian, Matt Willis. Also, an interview with PO Anthony Johnson RN, a Telegraphist Air Gunner in the Barracuda who served at the end of WW2.

Photo Copyright - Charles E Brown (Aircraft P9667)

Photo Copyright – Charles E Brown (Aircraft P9667)

CES 2018

Brian Coleman attended CES 2018 in Las Vegas and recorded several interviews:

Bob Hastings, Bell Helicopter executive VP of communications and government affairs talks about the Bell Air Taxi.

BellAirTaxi at CES 2018

Dana from FlashForge and Bill Steele from Polar3D, and their unique partnership with 3D printing and how engineers are getting trained and evaluated with Polar Cloud.

From aluminum to titanium to carbon fiber, Markforged offers a wide range of material capabilities. They can 3D print functional prototypes, lightweight tooling, or fully working replacement parts. Product VP John Rielly talks about their innovative 3D printing technologies.

Markedforge at CES 2018

Oscar Meza, vice president global sales from Shining 3D describes their unique position in the market with their wide-range of 3D digitizing and printing solutions including scanners, printers, material, design and manufacturing services for a complete end-to-end virtual and physical solution.

Shining 3D at CES 2018


We listen to a clip of General Aviation Manufacturers Association president and CEO Pete Bunce’s presentation at the Cirrus CX 2018 conference. He talks about the Export Bank and infrastructure initiatives, including the consolidation of the 21 FAA Centers that manage air traffic control across the U.S. and the Pacific Ocean.


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

483 Aircraft Brokerage and Acquisition Services

We talk about aircraft brokerage and acquisition of business aircraft with a vice president at Holstein Aviation. In the news, we look at the Delta Airlines order for A321neo aircraft, Boeing’s beef with Bombardier CSeries pricing, the NBAA statement on “Ethical Business Aviation Transactions,” Aerion Corporation gets help from Lockheed Martin and GE Aviation to develop a supersonic business jet, and the Atlanta airport power outage.

Holstein Aviation provides aircraft brokerage and acquisition services for business aircraft such as the Falcon 20.

Holstein Aviation provides aircraft brokerage and acquisition services for business aircraft such as the Falcon 20.


Steve Fushelberger is vice president at Holstein Aviation, a team of professional aircraft brokers and acquisition specialists with domestic and international experience. They are responsible for some 4,700 transactions valued at over 10 billion dollars, and have 66,000 combined flight hours, with light, medium and heavy jet type ratings from nearly all major aircraft manufacturers. Holstein Aviation is one of the top 10 business aircraft brokerage and acquisition firms worldwide by transaction volume.

Steve Fushelberger

Steve Fushelberger

Steve brings extensive experience in the aerospace and defense industries with a career that includes sales, marketing, public and media relations, communications, advertising, and branding. He served as Vice President of Marketing at Cessna Aircraft Company, and Vice President of Marketing Communications for the Avolar business aviation operations of United Airlines. Steve held positions with Rolls-Royce in the corporate / regional airline aircraft, helicopters, defense, and advanced development businesses, and at AgustaWestland (now branded Leonardo) as the North American manager of marketing services.

His industry service includes public relations, public affairs, market research and advisory committees for the National Business Aviation Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, and the Transportation Research Board, as well as on the Aerospace LEAN Manufacturing Communications Initiative, and support for the industry’s GAME Plan (General Aviation Marketing Expansion) during the late 1980s, and the Learning For Life Aviation Exploring Program.

Steve has a commercial pilot license with instrument, multi-engine, and seaplane ratings. He holds a Bachelor’s degree with a marketing concentration from Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, and he is a US Army and Indiana National Guard veteran.

Find Holstein Aviation at their website, on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Also available is a company blog, the Fall 2017 edition of Business Aircraft Market Perspective magazine, and their Market Briefings.

Aviation News

Delta Air Lines to place order for Airbus jets

Delta ordered 100 firm/100 option A321neo aircraft with deliveries set to begin in the first quarter of 2020. The airline chose the A321neo over the Boeing 737 Max 10. Delta wouldn’t say if their choice was affected by the Boeing claims that Bombardier unfairly priced CSeries jets sold to Delta. Reportedly, many of the Airbus jets will be built in Mobile, Alabama. Pratt & Whitney GTF engines were selected to power the aircraft.

Boeing-Bombardier spat puts U.S.-Canadian trade deals in spotlight

At the recent U.S. International Trade Commission hearings, Boeing argued why it believes it was injured by Bombardier’s sale of C-Series jets to Delta. Reuters called it “a contentious hearing of the ITC” with Boeing accusing Bombardier of harming its ability to sell 737s in the U.S. market. Bombardier argued Boeing’s large 737 order book demonstrates that there has been no adverse impact from its CSeries jet, and also that Boeing does not manufacture a jet that competes with the CSeries.

NBAA: New Resource Underscores Industry’s Emphasis on Ethics in Business Aviation Transactions

In December 2017, NBAA’s Board of Directors approved the Ethical Business Aviation Transactions statement that outlines best practices for ethical transactions between buyers and sellers of business aircraft products and services.

Lockheed Martin plans supersonic business jet

Lockheed Martin Corp. executed a memorandum of understanding with Aerion Corp. to develop the AS2 supersonic business jet. Lockheed will study the jet’s feasibility with Aerion over the next year and the two companies will build frameworks that guide engineering, certification, and production. Aerion hopes the GE Aviation-powered jet will be operating by 2025.

Video: Aerion Corporation Announces New Partnership

Dassault terminates Silvercrest contract; cancels Falcon 5X programme

Dassault Aviation chairman Eric Trappier says: “There is still a strong market need for a brand new, long-range aircraft with a very large cabin, so I have decided to launch a new Falcon project powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada engines, featuring the same cross-section as the 5X [and] a range of 5,500nm.” The 5X program has been hampered by development delays for the Safran Silvercrest engine.

Christmas Travel Week Kicks Off With Atlanta Airport Power Outage

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport lost power this past Sunday, disrupting the entire network and stranding thousands of passengers. Georgia Power believes the power outage may have been caused by a fire which led to extensive damage in an underground electrical facility.

The Airplane of the Week

It’s that time of the year and David does his yearly Christmas card. This year he goes back to December 1944. Horsham St Faith was an RAF base taken over by the USAAC in 1942. It was home to the 56th Fighter Group flying P-47s and then 458th (H) Bomber Squadron flying B-24Js. But besides the history, there’s always a little Magic.

Brian’s Commercial Aviation Segment

Observations from Capt. Rick Bell on United Airlines.


AIN’s Human Factor: Tales from the Flight Deck podcast.

Japan Airlines signals supersonic ambitions

Keep your eyes to the skies: Airbus tests A350-1000 from Mitchell International Airport


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


479 Flight Tracking with FlightAware

FlightAware founder and CEO Daniel Baker talks about flight tracking technology. In the news, we look at the Dubai Airshow, aviation cybersecurity, the proposed Women in Aerospace Education Act, the GE Additive 3D metal printer, and a report from the Senate Republican Policy Committee on ATC privatization.


Daniel Baker is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of FlightAware, the flight tracking data company that provides over 10,000 aircraft operators and service companies as well as over 12,000,000 passengers with global flight tracking solutions.

Flight tracking company Flightaware founder and CEO Daniel Baker.

Flightaware founder and CEO Daniel Baker.

Daniel was one of the principal developers of the FlightAware technology, and he now works directly with partners and customers in both industry (e.g., airline, cargo, business aviation) and government (e.g., air traffic management).

FlightAware uses data from air traffic control systems in over 55 countries, from FlightAware’s network of ADS-B ground stations in over 150 countries, from Aireon space-based global ADS-B, and from the major providers such as ARINC, SITA, Satcom Direct, Garmin, Honeywell GDC, and UVdatalink.

Daniel explains how FlightAware’s proprietary machine learning and rules engine called Hyperfeed takes data from multiple sources and fuses it together to create the best possible flight tracking information. About 10,000 messages per second are analyzed with over a thousand rules. Hyperfeed employs predictive analysis that looks at patterns in the flight tracking data.

Some 13-14,000 ADS-B ground stations send data over the Internet to FlightAware. Complete FlightFeeder stations can be purchased, or you can build your own PiAware flight tracking station.

We talk about satellite-based ADS-B through Aireon low-earth orbit satellites equipped with ADS-B receivers. These will provide flight tracking data for areas not covered by other means. Daniel also describes FlightAware TV, a custom, real-time FlightAware HDTV map for the office, hangar, or FBO.

Daniel knows tech and has been in the Internet services business for over two decades. He is a regular speaker at aviation and technology conferences and serves as a member of the Board of Directors at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Air and Space Museum. He also holds an FAA Commercial Pilot certificate.

Find the company at FlightAware.com, on Twitter and Facebook.

Aviation News

Dubai Air Show

Boeing vs Airbus: $77 billion in deals in under 2 hours
Airbus Seals $50 Billion Jet Deal to Outdo Boeing in Dubai
Boeing signs off on a $1.3 billion deal at Dubai Airshow
Day 1 At The Dubai Airshow: Boeing Steals The Show
Dubai Airshow: Building a new supersonic airliner
EgyptAir Orders Bombardier C Series Aircraft in Dubai

FlyDubai ordered 175 Boeing 737 Max planes with options for another 50. Boeing said it was the biggest order ever from the Middle East for single-aisle passenger planes. Altogether, the 225 firm and option aircraft have a total value of $27 billion at list prices, and include more than 50 Max 10s, with the rest Max 8s and 9s.

Airbus sold 430 A320neo family jetliners to Indigo Partners. The planes will go to four Indigo companies: Frontier Airlines, Volaris, Wizz Air Holdings Plc, and JetSmart. That deal was valued at roughly $50 billion at list prices.

Boeing also booked an order for forty 787 planes, worth $15 billion at list prices, with Dubai’s Emirates airline on Sunday. In a deal valued at $1.9 billion, Azerbaijan Airlines ordered five Boeing 787-8 aircraft and committed to two freighters. In addition, Azerbaijan Airlines became the launch customer for Boeing’s 787 Landing Gear Exchange Program.

Bombardier signed a letter of intent with EgyptAir for 12 firm CSeries CS300 aircraft with options for 12.

Cybersecurity Report Fears ‘Dismissive’ Approach

The Washington think-tank Atlantic Council released the report Aviation Cybersecurity: Finding Lift, Minimizing Drag which describes an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) assessment on cybersecurity threats to ADS-B is “dismissive.” The study indicates that the aviation industry will likely experience cybersecurity challenges similar to other industries that have embraced the “digital revolution.” Previously, aviation systems were relatively secure due to the bespoke nature of their design, isolation from other systems, and little in the way of communication protocols. But air traffic management is no longer isolated, and ground services and supply chains are becoming fully integrated into an interconnected digital world.

Connecticut’s Esty sponsors women in aerospace bill

H.R. 4254: Women in Aerospace Education Act has been introduced in Congress “to amend the National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 2002 to strengthen the aerospace workforce pipeline by the promotion of Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program and National Aeronautics and Space Administration internship and fellowship opportunities to women.”

GE’s huge 3D metal printer makes aircraft parts

The GE Additive business unit of GE has a 3D metal printer capable of making aircraft parts as large as one meter in diameter. A metal powder is fused with a 1-kilowatt laser in thin layers to “print” the part. Since the machine is scalable, it should be capable of even larger parts.

Senate Republican Policy Committee Confirms ATC Privatization is Still Alive

A report from the Senate Republican Policy Committee titled NextGen Delayed, Just Like Your Plane says:

  • Air traffic control currently relies on outdated ground radar systems that cause delays throughout the aviation system.
  • The FAA is transitioning to NextGen technology, which has several components designed to allow safer and more efficient airspace management, including a switch to GPS.
  • Deployment of many NextGen components has been delayed and is expected to cost $2.6 billion more than planned.

The report says that “an ATC spinoff would very likely trigger constitutional challenges. A Congressional Research Service report [PDF] questioned whether courts might determine that a non-governmental ATC corporation would be unconstitutional under the non-delegation doctrine, Due Process Clause, or Appointments Clause. Although memoranda commissioned by proponents of a spinoff discount these concerns, the move to corporatize the ATC functions would almost definitely be challenged in court.”

Airline Story of the Week

Man who suffered brain aneurysm leaving him unable to walk takes to the skies as he makes a recovery

British Airways helps a man recovering from a brain injury to rejoin the world of commercial flight.


Retired Korean War Medal of Honor recipient passes away

More than 800 family, friends, and active duty and retired service members gathered in Concord, Mass., Nov. 16, 2017, to pay their final respects to retired Capt. Thomas J. Hudner Jr., who earned the Medal of Honor during the Korean War.Hudner passed away Nov. 13, at his home in Concord. He was 93.

Video: Thomas Hudner, Medal of Honor, Korean War


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

475 Aviation News of the Week

In the aviation news this week: An executive order allowing up to 1,000 air force pilots to be recalled, a proposed ban on laptops in checked luggage, aircraft working the California wildfires, Qantas wants an extra long range airplane, a Goodyear blimp, the CLEEN II program, and a Delta Airlines story.

Aviation News

Air Force could recall as many as 1,000 retired pilots to address serious shortage

The US military suffers a pilot shortage and needs about 1,500 more pilots. They’ve tried bonus and other incentive programs, but the gap remains. President Trump recently signed an executive order that allows the Air Force to recall as many as 1,000 retired pilots to active duty.

Nuclear Bombers Poised to Return to 24-Hour Alert After Trump Recalls Retired Pilots

There is talk that the U.S. Air Force is preparing to put nuclear-armed B-52 bombers back on 24-hour alert.

Laptops could be banned from checked bags on planes due to fire risk

The Dangerous Goods Panel of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is recommending that laptops be banned from checked luggage.

Military and Contract Air Assets (Including U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper Drones) Key in Fighting Largest Ever California Wildfires

Wildfires continued to cause major problems in California and airborne firefighting operations playing a key role. This might be the greatest combined military and contract air fire suppression operation in history.

Drone forces brief suspension of air operations battling Bear Fire in Santa Cruz Mountains

Once again drones flying near wildfires have forced firefighting operations to be halted.

Boeing and Airbus accept Qantas’s ultra-long-haul challenge

Qantas wants to fly non-stop from Sydney to London and New York. They’ve challenged Boeing and Airbus are to modify their aircraft to make 20-hour flights possible.

Goodyear Blimp Wingfoot Two Goes West: Tiremaker’s newest airship to fly over 10 states on journey to California home

The Goodyear Blimp Wingfoot Two is on a three-week, 2,600-mile cross-country trip from Akron, Ohio to California.

Fact Sheet – Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions, and Noise II (CLEEN II Program)

The Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions, and Noise (CLEEN) Program is the environmental effort that is part of the FAA’s Next Generation (NextGen) program. The Idea is to accelerate the development of new aircraft, new engine technologies, and advance the use of sustainable alternative jet fuels.

Airline Story of the Week

What Losing My First-Class Seat Taught Me About Delta Air Lines

Trip Report

Brian’s “big trip” reports conclude with his description of the flights home.


Limited leg space on commercial planes makes it harder to brace in flight emergencies: expert

Jan Davies is chair of the International Board for Research into Aircraft Crash Events (IBRACE) — a group of experts studying effective impact bracing positions. She told the SafeSkies aviation safety conference that limited leg space could have an impact on passenger safety in emergencies.

Happy Design Studio

Happy Design Studio collaborated with paint specialist Air Livery on a custom livery design for a BBJ customer. Press release [PDF]. Photo Gallery.

BBJ livery by Happy Design Studio and Air Livery. Photo courtesy Sebastien Ognier.

BBJ livery by Happy Design Studio and Air Livery. Photo courtesy Sebastien Ognier.

Pete’s discovered a Better Way to Fly with Air New Zealand

Pete the Kiwi finds out how to fly across the world and back. He’s voiced by actor Sam Neill (Jurassic Park, Hunt For The Wilderpeople), who makes a cameo appearance too. Pete the Kiwi is part of Air New Zealand’s “A Better Way To Fly” campaign.

NASA – Gulfstream III (G-III) Research Testbed Aircraft

California contrails over California by listener Sean.

Contrails over California by listener Sean.

NASA 502 flight path by listener Sean.

NASA 502 flight path by listener Sean.


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

473 Equator Aircraft P2 Xcursion

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

Equator Aircraft P2 Xcursion

The P2 Xcursion. Photo courtesy Equator Aircraft.


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Boeing to Acquire Aurora Flight Sciences to Advance Autonomous Technology Capabilities

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

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

United Airlines turned around a negative situation.

Airline Story of the Week

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

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

Trip Report

Francois and Brian at Thaba Tholo.

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

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

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


Red Stewart Airfield

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


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