Richard Aboulafia gives us his insights on the Boeing “middle-of-the-market” airplane, pilotless airliners, a comeback for Midwest Express, ATC privatization, United Technologies Corporation interest in Rockwell Collins, seat pitch, Russian and Chinese airliner programs, the Mitsubishi MRJ, and the HondaJet.
Richard Aboulafia is Vice President of Analysis at Teal Group. He manages both commercial and military consulting projects, and he analyzes broader defense and aerospace trends. Richard’s insights appear on television and radio programs, and in almost every major publication through his columns, his articles, or because he is being quoted. Richard writes and edits Teal Group’s World Military and Civil Aircraft Briefing forecasting tool that covers over 135 aircraft programs and markets.
The Midwest brand disappeared in 2010 when Republic Airways Holdings, the parent company of Midwest Airlines merged that airline with Frontier Airlines. Now, a group of business and airline professionals have plans to bring the brand back. The Midwest Express website asks, “Remember when flying was hassle-free? It can be again!”
Previously, we pointed out Alliance for Aviation Across America videos featuring “Sully” Sullenberger arguing against ATC privatization. Karen Walker, the Editor-in-Chief at Air Transport World, thinks Sully is using his status to mislead people.
Jeanette Remak and Joe Ventolo Jr. from Phoenix Aviation Research tell the story behind the Lockheed A-12 Blackbird at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in Manhattan. In the news, we look at FAA reauthorization bills and the battle shaping up in Congress, this year’s Paris Air Show, the Catalina Flying Boats’ DC-3 aircraft, the youngest pilot in Australia, and an Israeli court ruling on reseating women in the airplane.
Janet Remak and Joe Ventolo Jr. with the A-12 on the Intrepid.
Jeannette Remak is the owner of Phoenix Aviation Research. She’s a military aviation historian, a writer, author, artist, and photographic engineer. Her books include XB-70 Valkyrie: The Ride to Valhalla and A-12 Blackbird: Declassified.
In the mid-1990s, Jeannette worked as the volunteer Aircraft Historian for the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in Manhattan. She performed research for maintenance and restoration, and worked on the aircraft under her control at the museum, including many U.S. Naval and U.S. Air Force aircraft on loan. Jeannette restored sheet metal, she controlled airframe titanium corrosion, and she appropriated parts and specialized equipment for work on A-12 aircraft.
Working with the US Navy’s Curator office, Jeannette is responsible for the rescue of the Sikorsky RH-53D that is the lone survivor of the failed United States hostage rescue mission in Iran. The CH-53D is now restored and on display at the JFK/ US Navy Seal Training School in North Carolina.
Jeannette has a degree in Commercial Photographic Engineering and obtained her Master’s Degree in Aviation Science in 2000. Jeannette also has a degree in Commercial Photography from the NY Institute of Photography.
Joseph A. Ventolo, Jr. is the former curator of the National Museum of the US Air Force. His career started in November 1959 when Joe joined the 269th Combat Communications Squadron of the Ohio Air National Guard. In 1965, he received a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant as a communications officer. He left the Ohio Air National Guard in 1966 and transferred to the Air Force Reserve where he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant and remained in the Air Force Reserve until 1970.
In 1962, Joe joined the staff of the U.S. Air Force Motion Picture Film Archives at Wright-Patterson AFB as a Motion Picture Archivist. In 1979, he transferred to the U.S. Air Force Museum’s Research Division as the Museum’s Historian. Two years later he became a Curator of Aeronautics. Joe has co-authored articles that appeared in such periodicals as Air Enthusiast, WW I Aero, and Friends Bulletin. In 1993 he was appointed Curator of the U.S. Air Force Museum and named Curator of the United States Air Force. He remained in that position until his retirement in 1995.
Joe is currently a co-owner/consultant with Phoenix Aviation Research. He has co-authored articles in the Atlantic Flyer, and written three aviation books, all with Jeannette Remak.
Their first book, XB-70 Valkyrie: The Ride to Valhalla was published in December 1998. Their second book, A-12 Blackbird: Declassified, was published in December 2000. And a third book, The Archangel and the OXCART: The Lockheed A-12 Blackbirds and the Dawn of Mach III Reconnaissance was published in 2008.
Boeing said it has 240 orders and commitments. Some orders are conversions from earlier orders for other MAX models. The MAX 10 is a stretch of the MAX 9 that seats up to 230 passengers and is designed to compete with the Airbus A321neo.
Airbus launched a new open aviation data platform called Skywise to support digital transformation of the industry. The Skywise aviation data platform was developed in collaboration with Palantir Technologies. See the video: Airbus launches new open aviation data platform, Skywise.
Test pilot Billie Flynn told Aviation Week, “After 10 years since first flight, with our first opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities and the maneuverability of the F-35, we are going to crush years of misinformation about what this aircraft is capable of doing,”
Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa. introduced a proposed FAA reauthorization bill in the House. The Bill prohibits passengers from being removed from a flight after they’ve boarded, privatizes ATC, and requires airlines to post resources for stranded passengers online when the airline is disrupted by a computer outage. It also calls for the faster development of a traffic management system for small drones, faster approval process for commercial drone operators, and a new certification system for small-drone commercial operators.
Five things to watch for at the 2017 International Paris Air Show. Also, a ruling that allows the Commerce Department to proceed with its investigation of claims by Boeing that Bombardier is engaging in unfair pricing, the European Union proposes rules for complaints of alleged discriminatory practices, a temporarily grounding of F-35 fighters, certification of the Diesel Cessna Skyhawk JT-A, and the Director General’s Report to the IATA Annual General Meeting.
Paris Air Show Preview
Anand Parameswaran, Sr. Vice President – Aerospace & Defence, at Cyient authored What to watch out for at the 2017 International Paris Air Show. The report details five areas that warrant our attention:
The OEM migration from manufacturer to service provider
The impact of global politics on the defense industry
Building the future aircraft with additive manufacturing
Automating the A&D lifecycle
The rise of the East and Chinese influence in aerospace
Cyient is a global leader in engineering design services, design-led manufacturing, networks and operations, data transformation and analytics.
Anand Parameswaran heads up global Aerospace and Defence at Cyient and leverages Cyient’s capability across product design, manufacturing, and aftermarket solutions. He works around the world with OEMs and tier 1 suppliers.
The U.S. International Trade Commission has ruled that the Commerce Department can proceed with its investigation of claims by Boeing that Bombardier is selling jets in the U.S. at below fair price. Boeing says the CSeries planes benefit from illegal government subsidies. Canada warned it could cancel a planned $2 billion purchase of 18 Boeing military jets over the dispute.
News Release 17-087, June 9, 2017: “The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) today determined that there is a reasonable indication that a U.S. industry is threatened with material injury by reason of imports of 100- to 150-seat large civil aircraft from Canada that are allegedly subsidized and sold in the United States at less than fair value.”
“As a result of the Commission’s affirmative determinations, the U.S. Department of Commerce will continue to conduct its antidumping and countervailing duty investigations on imports of this product from Canada, with its preliminary countervailing duty determination due on or about July 21, 2017, and its antidumping duty determination due on or about October 4, 2017.”
Air France KLM and Lufthansa have been complaining that Gulf carriers receive illegal government subsidies. Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Etihad all deny the charge. Now the European Union has proposed rules to allow EU governments and airlines to submit complaints of alleged discriminatory practices to the European Commission.
The U.S. Air Force temporarily grounded F-35 fighters at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona because of five incidents where pilots reported hypoxia symptoms. In each case, the airplane’s backup oxygen system worked as designed and the pilot was able to land the plane safely.
The Director General’s Report on the Global Air Transport Industry was delivered at the IATA Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Cancun, Mexico.
Overall the air transport industry is generating profits above its cost of capital. In 2017 the global airline industry is expected to generate a $31.4 billion profit on $743 billion in revenues.
Protectionism is replacing globalization, and that’s a threat to the industry.
Flying remains the safest form of long distance travel. IATA is concerned about states not fully investigating air accidents.
The landmark Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) was agreed to at the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) 39th Assembly. Seventy states representing at least 80% of anticipated future growth have indicated their voluntary participation in the scheme. The U.S. pulling out of Paris Agreement is cause for concern.
Alternatives must be found to the electronics ban on large portable electronic devices.
IATA is concerned about a looming infrastructure crisis is looming. Existing infrastructure is inadequate and development plans are not ambitious enough.
IATA urged governments to be cautious when privatizing infrastructure assets.
Brian asks, “How do aviation writers come up with aviation topics?”
U.S. Air Force F-35A “AF-78” tail number 13-5072 from the 388th Fighter Wing at Hill AFB, Utah performed a low show aerial demonstration practice for the 2017 Paris Air Show, near Fort Worth, Texas. Aviation photographer Caulun Belcher of Texas shot the video of the F-35A rehearsal.
Carl Stebbings, the host of the Plane Talking UK podcast, helps us discuss the Chinese Comac C919 first flight, an F-35B assembled in Italy, a UK airline trade group manifesto, a vintage de Havilland Vampire literally tears up a runway, Boeing accuses Bombardier of dumping the CSeries in the U.S., a report on the May 2016 crash of EgyptAir MS804, and the first fatal crash of the Icon A-5 amphibious LSA.
Carl Stebbings, Plane Talking UK Podcast
Carlos (Carl) Stebbings is the host of the Plane Talking UK Podcast. He joins in our conversation of recent aviation news, and he also tells us about some of his memorable flights including a Tupolev Tu-134 and riding in the jump seat of a B757. Carl’s favorite remains the L-1011 Tristar, but he also talks about the DC-10.
The Plane Talking UK Podcast started in 2013 as an audio show, but it’s now a live program with a chat room and PTUK YouTube channel. We hear how Carl got started with podcasting and about the exciting plans for his 200th episode.
Like many AvGeeks, Carl’s love of aviation started at a young age as he was able to do a lot of traveling. He has flown on more aircraft types than most people can mention and Carl is an avid plane spotter, as well as a private pilot in training.
Carl the owner of a mobile disco business and when he isn’t spinning CDs or podcasting, he works for the largest book printer in England. In addition, his very understanding, long-suffering wife, Gemma, has grown to accept that most holidays will involve losing her husband at the airport while he goes off plane spotting!
The Chinese Comac C919 airliner made its first public flight May 5, 2017. The C919 is a single-aisle twin in the same class as the Boeing 737 MAX and the Airbus A320neo, and powered by the CFM56 LEAP-1C.
David Cenciotti writes in The Aviationist that “the first F-35B, the Short Take-Off Vertical Landing variant of the the F-35 Lightning II, destined to the Italian Navy, rolled out of the Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility at Cameri, in northwestern Italy.” This is the first F-35B assembled internationally. First flight is planned for late August, with delivery to the Italian MoD in November 2017.
Airlines UK, the industry association that represents UK-registered carriers, published a manifesto of policy actions for the next Parliament. The association believes these would result in stronger, more competitive UK airlines.
Boeing says Bombardier is selling CSeries jets in the U.S. at “absurdly low” prices and as a result, the company has suffered an injury to its business. Boeing wants the Commerce Department to impose duties on Bombardier.
Reportedly, French air accident investigation agency BEA found no trace of explosives on the bodies of the victims of the crash of EgyptAir MS804 which disappeared over the Mediterranean in May 2016. The A320’s Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), indicated smoke in an avionics bay under the flight deck and in a lavatory.
We talk about commercial aviation with the editor-in-chief and founder of Airline Reporter. Also, the violent removal of a passenger from a flight, the new Boeing venture-capital group, the 50th anniversary of the Boeing 737 first flight, more seats for the A380, and a lawsuit to stop the Planes of Fame Air Show. Plus, reports from Sun ‘n Fun 2017, memorable flights, and a new aviation podcast.
David Parker Brown is editor-in-chief and founder of Airline Reporter. With a team of over 30 writers located in 18 different cities, AirlineReporter.com is a goto resource for aviation, travel, and airline industry content. This is quality material by passionate AvGeeks. As for David, he has written, consulted, and presented on many airline and travel topics since 2008. He caught the aviation bug at an early age, and has been blogging since 1999.
United Express flight 3411 operated by Republic Airways and departing O’Hare International Airport was overbooked. But four Republic crew members needed to get onboard so they could deadhead to work. One passenger refused to give up his seat and was violently removed by an aviation security officer.
Boeing has recently formed a division called HorizonX as a small venture-capital group to invest in companies with interesting technologies. HorizonX is led by Steve Nordlund, formerly the head of drone company InSitu, which was acquired by Boeing in 2008. As examples of technology areas that HorizonX might invest in, Nordlund pointed to autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and additive manufacturing. Initial investments were with Upskill, an augmented reality company, and Zunum Aero that is developing small hybrid-electric aircraft.
Airbus is offering customers some A380 configuration changes that result in additional seats. These include removing an upper-deck stowage area, moving the main staircase, 11-abreast on the main deck, 9-abreast in premium-economy, a rear spiral staircase, and moving the pilot rest area.
A group of Chino Airport tenants are suing the Planes of Fame Air Museum (another tenant) to halt this year’s Planes of Fame Air Show May 6-7. Chino Airport is a county-owned airport in San Bernardino County, California. The plaintiffs allege the air show negatively impacts their business. The tenants bringing suit want the County of San Bernardino to appoint a coalition of tenants to oversee future air shows at the Chino Airport. Find a petition at: Don’t Let them Stop Your Air Show!
Guest Mark Baker is the President and CEO of AOPA, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. In the news, wake turbulence from an A380 flips a Challenger 604, two flight attendants sue American Airlines for failure to enforce company policy, an engine on a Saab 340 loses its propeller in flight. Also, an interview from the National Air & Space Museum Restoration Hangar, and an idea for a circular runway.
Mark Baker, president and CEO, AOPA.
Mark Baker is President and CEO of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. He is also chairman of AOPA’s Political Action Committee, chief executive officer for the AOPA Foundation, president of the International Council of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Associations representing pilots in 72 countries, and publisher of AOPA Pilot, the world’s largest aviation publication.
We talk about air traffic control privatization, user fees, BasicMed, and other areas of aviation advocacy by AOPA. Mark tells us about the effectiveness of AOPA regional fly-ins, and touches on aviation safety and Congressional general aviation caucuses.
Mark is a longtime general aviation pilot and has been flying for 35 years with over 7,500 hours. He holds certificates for commercial pilot with single- and multi-engine land and seaplane ratings, rotorcraft rating, and type ratings in the Cessna Citation 500 and 525s
President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget would privatize air traffic control operations by creating an “independent, non-governmental organization.” Who would control the new corporate entity, and how it will be funded?
An Emirates Airbus A380-800 was at FL350 over the Arabian Sea when a Challenger 604 business jet passed 1000 feet underneath in opposite direction. The A380 continued to Sydney uneventfully. The Challenger didn’t fare so well in the wake turbulence from the A380.
Two flight attendants claiming sexual and gender harassment on social media have filed federal lawsuits against American Airlines for failed to enforce its policies governing employee use of social media.
This episode, we talk to the president of Dynon Avionics, a company that designs, builds, and supports glass cockpit avionics for builders and pilots of small aircraft. In the news, we discuss a celebrity landing on a taxiway, the 2017 General Aviation Awards, a capacity cutback on commercial flights to Cuba, a town that took a man’s Cessna, and the union representation vote at Boeing’s South Carolina plant.
Robert Hamilton, president of glass cockpit avionics company Dynon Avionics
Robert Hamilton is the president of Dynon Avionics. The company was founded in 2000 and is a leader in glass cockpit avionics for light aircraft. Starting with inexpensive AOA indicators, Dynon expanded the line to affordable Electronic Flight Instrument Systems (EFIS) and a full range of glass cockpit avionics products for pilots.
Robert Hamilton in the Sportsman
Robert learned to fly as a teenager in the family J-3 Cub in the 1970s. More recently he owned a glass panel Diamond DA-40, and built a SkyView-equipped Glasair Sportsman. Last summer Robert earned his seaplane rating.
Robert began his career as a Flight Controls Engineer at Boeing working on the 747. But to get more into the business side, he went to the Graduate Business School at Harvard then on to Fluke Corporation as a Senior Manager where he built their electrical power business and helped develop the unique Fluke brand. But aviation called to Robert and he joined Dynon Avionics in 2008 as head of Marketing, and then became company President in 2012.
As a volunteer, Robert was the president of the Washington Pilots Association at Paine Field, and is a member of AOPA and EAA.
Some Beechcraft, Grumman, Maule, and Mooney models are now eligible for the STC allowing installation of Dynon electronic flight information systems. The EFIS-D10A and EFIS-D100 can be installed in models on the Approved Model List, which EAA says will continue to expand.
When scheduled commercial service to Cuba was announced, we were pretty excited, and so were the airlines. Large numbers of flights were allocated to the airlines and some people wondered if the Cuban infrastructure would be strained under the influx of visitors. But it’s not turning out that way.
A 69-year old pilot gave up his pilot’s license in 2015 for health reasons. He had his Cessna 152 moved to his driveway in Long Island, but neighbors and the town of Oceanside didn’t think too much of that. When the man was out of the country, the town had the plane removed from the driveway, after disassembling the wings.
According to the NLRB, 74 percent of the 2,828 voting workers at Boeing’s South Carolina plant turned down representation by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).
Flights Above the Pacific Northwest is a closed Facebook group, originally created with the intent of sharing pictures and videos of local flights around the Pacific Northwest. FATPNW has grown to become an active online community.
Airline and airport on-time performance measurements from OAG. Also, an update on the impact on aviation of new U.S. policies, a look at notable aviators in honor of Black History Month, air cargo expansion for Amazon Prime Air, aviation news from Super Bowl LI, and Boeing workers in South Carolina prepare to vote on union representation.
Punctuality League 2016 presents airline and airport on-time performance statistics.
OAG analyst John Grant
OAG aviation analyst John Grant started his career with the airlines, and continued with aviation consultancy services. We discuss the OAG Punctuality Report 2016 published January 2017. This annual report of airline and airport on-time performance is also available as a very useful Interactive Dashboard. The web-based tool allows you to visualize on-time performance, arrival capacity, and arrival frequency data by airline and airport category and region.
John explains how the rapid pace of airline schedule change and the desire for very current information has driven the services that OAG provides. We consider the huge history of data that is available and used by many organizations. While the printed schedules book is still the tool of choice for some, digitization and the desire for immediacy makes other OAG data formats more valuable for many others.
UK-based OAG maintains a huge network of air travel data and provides schedules, analytics, web and mobile flight tracking, articles, and reports.
Colonel Charles McGee, courtesy Pacific Aviation Museum.
Colonel McGee fought in WWII, Korea and Vietnam, and holds a record for one of the highest three-war total of fighter combat missions of any pilot in United States Air Force history. Colonel McGee began his military service as one of the Tuskegee Airmen in the 332nd Fighter Group.
His career in the U.S. Army Air Corps and U.S. Air Force spanned 30 years and three wars, where he flew 409 aerial combat missions. During his military career, Colonel McGee was awarded the Legion of Merit with Cluster, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Bronze Star and the Air Medal (25 times).
Also honored at the Hangar Talk was WWII Tuskegee Airman Philip Baham. Baham served as a crew chief for the 337th Composite Group at Tuskegee Army Air Field. He is a dedicated volunteer at Pacific Aviation Museum, sharing his story with visitors as a greeter in the lobby of Hangar 37.
Amazon announced it is creating a new centralized air hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport (CVG) to support its growing fleet of Amazon Prime Air cargo planes. When the hub opens, Amazon expects to create more than 2,000 new jobs engaged in loading, unloading, and sorting packages. In 2016, Amazon entered into agreements with two carriers to lease 40 dedicated cargo airplanes.
We look at aviation stories from Super Bowl LI, including the large volume of private jets flying in and out for the event, the swarm of Intel drones that accompanied the halftime show, and the Turkish Airlines commercial aired during the game.
Boeing production workers in North Charleston, South Carolina are set to vote February 15, 2017 on union representation by the International Association of Machinists (IAM). The company website https://weareboeingsc.com/ is filled with material intended to influence workers not to vote for union representation by the IAM. The IAM counters with their own page: https://www.facebook.com/boeingworkers/.
The Aviation Minute
Rob Mark comments on the FAA decision to allow the closure of Santa Monica Airport.
Ruben asks why regulators like the FAA create the rules, but are also the ones that police the rules.
Last episode, listener Sam described how he was on the ground at Dubai airport waiting for a flight to be pushed back, when he heard a loud explosion followed by the sound of hissing air. We suspected the nose wheel tire fuse plug blew. Well, we did a little research on aircraft wheel fusible plugs.
From Airliners.net: “Fusible plugs offer protection from tire blowouts caused by thermal expansion that is generated in the tire under extra hard braking conditions. These fusible plugs are fitted in the tubeless wheel hubs by means of a fusible alloy that melts under excessive heat conditions and allows the plug to be blown out by the tire air pressure. This prevents excessive pressure buildup in the tire by allowing the air to leak away slowly.”
Season 1 of Plane Resurrection is now on Netflix. Each episode follows the transformation of a wreck to a restored airplane, and presents the history of the aircraft. The first season’s episodes cover the P-51 Mustang, Hurricane, Triplane, Stearman, T6 Harvard, and Percival Q6. Must watch!
A Seattle Times aerospace reporter tells us about the Boeing 777X, the 787 Dreamliner, the Boeing manufacturing processes, and more. In the news, inflight WiFi phone calls, air traffic controllers behaving badly, an audit of privatized flight service, United Airlines helps young dance competitors, and a seaplane with an impressive paint job. We also have a listener report about the Canadian Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue Program.
Dominic Gates is the aerospace reporter for the Seattle Times. We discuss a variety of topics, including the recent Boeing 777 production rate cut due to softening demand and the production requirements for 777X flight test aircraft. We talk about the business decline of the 747 and the Air Force One replacement. Also, the requirement to restart 787 Dreamliner flight control modules and 787-10 final assembly in South Carolina. We look at globalization issues and Boeing’s strategy to rely on an extensive supply chain. Dominic also tells us about some of his memorable stories and scoops, as well as those that impacted labor.
Originally from Northern Ireland, Dominic taught high school calculus in Ireland and in Africa. He met his future wife and in 1992 moved to Seattle, where he switched careers to journalism. Dominic originally established himself as a journalist by freelancing, but eventually joined the Seattle Times as aerospace reporter in January 2003, his first newspaper job.
The Boeing beat is the highest-profile business beat at the Times and as the aerospace reporter, Dominic has broken many high-impact stories. His tenure at the Times coincides exactly with the story of the 787 Dreamliner. In 2003, just a month into the job, he broke the story in March that Boeing would hold a competition among the states for the final assembly location of its 7E7 airplane. On December 5 of that year, he revealed that Boeing’s 7E7 team was recommending Everett for final assembly. Ten days later, Boeing’s board made it official. Ever since, he has closely tracked the many twists and turns of the 787 story.
Dominic attends the European Air Shows each year and makes regular reporting trips to airplane leasing conferences, to Boeing plants around the U.S., including Charleston, and to Boeing suppliers, such as Spirit in Wichita. He has toured and written about the Airbus final assembly plants in Toulouse, the Airbus wing factory in Wales, and the Bombardier CSeries wing plant in Belfast.
The Chicago Tribune reports that The U.S Department of Transportation announced it could see allowing WiFi phone calls if airlines tell customers about the policy when they buy their tickets. This is so customers who don’t want to sit next to others making calls could make other travel arrangements.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx said, “Consumers deserve to have clear and accurate information about whether an airline permits voice calls before they purchase a ticket and board the aircraft. Today’s proposal will ensure that air travelers are not unwillingly exposed to voice calls, as many of them are troubled over the idea of passengers talking on cell phones in flight.”
Members of the public can comment on the NPRM at www.regulations.gov, docket number DOT-OST-2014-0002. 60 days. Look for DOT-OST-2014-0002-1795.
The Boise Idaho Police Department says that after two helicopter pilots were unable to contact controllers, officers entered the Boise Airport air traffic control tower. One controller was sleeping and the other controller had left the tower and smelled of marijuana.
United Airlines came to the assistance of a group of American dancers trying to reach a major tap dance competition in Germany. The group was stranded in Boston over the Thanksgiving holiday due to the Lufthansa pilot strike, and United arranged for flights to transport the dancers to Germany in time for the competition. See Results – IDO World Tap Dance Championships 2016 for the ultimate outcome.
Aviation security since 9/11, smartphones on airplanes and more lithium-ion battery woes, the Boeing middle of the market airplane, another idea on how to find MH370, flying commercially to Cuba, and a review of the movie Sully.
We discuss how airline and airport security have changed in the fifteen years since the 9/11 attacks. Also, the current issue with smartphone battery fires and how the airlines are responding. Cynthia recently examined safety problems when passenger smartphones fall into airplane seats, and we talk about what the airlines might do in response.
Cynthia visited Cuba, having flown there on the first JetBlue flight. She tells us about the travel experience and her impressions of the country and its people. We also learn which airplanes Cynthia enjoys, and the one that is not her favorite.
It is estimated that the U.S. has spent almost $100 billion on security since the September 11 attack. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was created by Congress, we have hardened and bulletproof cockpit doors, no-fly lists, detection machines of various sorts, shoe removal, limits on liquids, profiling, checkpoints, and much more. Are we more secure? And what’s next?
Drones play a large role in the military response to terrorism. A drone requires a pilot, and with lots of drones, the U.S. Air Force needs lots of drone pilots. Private contractors are being used for reconnaissance missions, but are prohibited from being “trigger pullers” and firing weapons.
Some Galaxy Note7 smartphones have experienced lithium-ion battery fires. While Samsung has stopped sales of the phone and has initiated an Exchange Program for U.S. consumers, airlines and the FAA are taking action.
In the mid-size aircraft arena, the Boeing 737 MAX 9 is losing to the Airbus A321neo, which is larger and has a longer range. This size-class has been called MOM, or Middle Of the Market, while Boeing is calling it the New Mid-range Airplane or NMA. Such a plane could be a 737 stretch, while others are saying a new twin-aisle is possible.
There’s a new idea in the search for MH370: Drop Boeing 777 flaperon replicas into the sea at suspected crash sites, and see if any end up at the beach on Reunion Island. That’s where a flaperon from the 777 drifted. If one of the replicas does as well, the drop point gives you a targeted area to search.
The plaintiffs argue the deal would weaken competition in the industry, causing job loss and higher fare prices.
The Aircraft of the Week
David continues through this collection of listener-requested aircraft of the week. This week’s aircraft was requested by Mike Stuemer. The Grumman AF Guardian was the bridge between two Classic aircraft: the Grumman TBF Avenger and the S-2 Tracker. It was too big, too slow, and flown in pairs, but it wrote the book on how to track subs.
In the next few weeks, David will take on the challenge brought forth by Chris Ruark: the F-105 Thunderchief, or THUD!