Tag Archives: Boeing

550 AOPA Foundation You Can Fly Challenge

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

Guest

Jennifer Storm, Vice President of the AOPA Foundation.

Jennifer Storm, Vice President of the AOPA Foundation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aviation News

FAA Grounds All Cirrus Vision Jets over Angle of Attack Issues

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

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

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

Claims of Shoddy Production Draw Scrutiny to a Second Boeing Jet

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

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

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

Study shows accidents less likely with ADS-B In

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

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

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

Mentioned

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

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

Equator P2 Xcursion

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

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

545 Boeing 737 MAX, Someone’s Got Some ‘Splaining to Do

Two guests this episode: An airline Captain who flies the Boeing 737-800 and the 737 MAX 8, and the International President of the Association of Flight Attendants. In the news, we look at the nominee to be the next FAA Administrator, private pilots providing services to disaster victims, and the decision to replace aging F-15’s with the F-15X.

Guest: Jeff Fellmeth

Jeff Fellmeth, Boeing 737 MAX 8 Captain.

Captain Jeff Fellmeth,

Jeff Fellmeth, Lt Col, USAF (Ret) is a Captain on the Boeing 737, both the -800 and the MAX 8.

He has over 16,000 hours of flight time, including more than 12,000 civilian hours. In addition to the 737, Jeff has time in the A300, the Boeing 767, 757, and 727, as well as the Saab 340 and the Seminole. In the Air Force, Jeff flew the F-16D, the F-15A through E, as well as the T-41, T-37, T-38, and OV-10A.

Jeff explains the 737 MAX training provided and how the airlines had no knowledge of the MCAS system. We talk about the pressure Boeing was under to counter the Airbus A320neo as well as the quality of mainstream press reporting on the recent two fatal crashes.

Jeff discusses some differences between flying the 737 NG and the 737 MAX, including the power, braking ability, and location of some cockpit controls. He notes that most emergency procedures are the same for both aircraft and that there is currently no separate emergency procedure on either the NG or the MAX for runaway trim. He and other pilots have been surprised to learn just how much trim the MCAS supplies on the MAX.

We learn about the limited pilot training on the 737 MAX and Jeff answers the question if he would fly the plane based on what he knows now. He also explains the actions required of the pilot in the case of runaway trim, and we talk about the previously optional AOA features that Boeing has announced will now be standard equipment.

In our conversation, we characterize recent events as the first time a fleet has been grounded due to social media. A contributing factor may have been the telephone game that the mainstream press seems to have played.

Jeff is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He has type ratings in the B757/767, A300, MD-80, and B737.

[Conversation starts at 20:32]

Guest: Sara Nelson

Sara Nelson, International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO.

Sara Nelson, International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO.

Sara Nelson is the International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO. She took office on June 1, 2014, and she is currently serving her second four-year term.

Sara frequently refers to flight attendants as “aviation’s first responders.” She is passionate about AFA’s mission to achieve fair compensation, job security, and improved quality of life, as well as a safe, healthy and secure aircraft cabin for both passengers and crew. She believes flight attendants can play a pivotal role in strengthening the labor movement with more public contact than almost any other job and access to every corner of the earth.

Sara explains how the recent partial government shutdown in the U.S. was creating an increasingly unsafe situation, and why that led her to call for a general strike. We talk about a resurgence in the imperative for labor unions and the increasing positive view of unions from the public.

Sara tells us why aviation unions have remained strong, and how the different unions stay in communication with each other. We look at some of the successes achieved by the AFA, such as the 100,000 eyes in the skies program where flight attendants were trained to detect human trafficking. Also, a two-hour increase in minimum legal rest for flight attendants and other efforts to combat fatigue on the job.

We look at other important issues that the union is focused on, such as the need to revamp the 90-second evacuation tests and the outdated practice of allowing children to travel on passenger laps.

Sara became a United Airlines Flight Attendant in 1996 and has been a union activist since nearly the beginning of her flying career. She served as strike chair and lead communications for nearly 10 years at AFA’s United chapter.

[Conversation starts at 57:55]

Aviation News

Former Delta executive nominated to head FAA

The White House has nominated Steve Dickson to be the new FAA Administrator. If confirmed, Dickson would succeed interim administrator Dan Elwell, who has been acting administrator since the retirement of Michael Huerta. Dickson retired from Delta in October 2018 after a 27-year career, most recently senior vice president of global flight operations.

Private pilots are giving free flights to stranded residents of a flooded Nebraska town

CNN tells the story of a GA pilot named Adam Liston who was himself evacuated as a result of the flooding. When he and his wife Mandi returned, they knew they had to help others and he had been flying people in and out of Fremont, Nebraska, which was otherwise cut off.

Industrial base considerations played role in F-15X decision

F-15X aircraft were requested in the Air Force’s fiscal 2020 budget to replace aging F-15C/Ds. However, the Defense Department’s inspector general announced that acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is under investigation for allegations that he showed favoritism toward Boeing. Shanahan had been employed by Boeing for 30 years before becoming being Deputy Secretary of Defense in 2017. In his defence, Shanahan says that he had recused himself from all decisions involving Boeing.

Mentioned

The Evolution Of Boeing’s 737 Jetliner

Boeing didn’t want to re-engine the 737–but had design standing

The Shutdown Made Sara Nelson Into America’s Most Powerful Flight Attendant

Flight Attendant Leader: How Can Airline With ‘Misogynist’ CEO Offer a Diversity Award?

With Just 22 Words, This United Airlines Flight Attendant Brilliantly Explained What’s at Stake With the Boeing 737 MAX

Curiosity Stream – See the new four-part docu-series starting April 18, 2019 ,called SPEED looking at some of history’s greatest transportation breakthroughs.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

544 NBAA Regional Forum

Reports from NBAA’s Regional Forum in Houston, attacking the pilot and mechanic shortage, and NBAA’s top safety focus areas. Wo look at the Boeing 737 Max, AOA indicators, MCAS, and the certification process. Also, a Southwest Airlines labor agreement, more coin tosses for good luck, B-52 re-engining, famous aviation siblings, Red Bull air races, and the Boeing 747.

Aviation News

Flawed analysis, failed oversight: How Boeing and FAA certified the suspect 737 MAX flight control system

The original safety analysis that Boeing delivered to the FAA for MCAS understated the amount of horizontal stabilizer movement that the system ultimately provided.

Pilots offer insights on Boeing 737 crashes

A good explanation on how the system was meant to make the control forces feel the same as older 737s, and how either pilot can easily just turn the system off.

Airlines with buyers’ remorse may use Boeing 737 MAX ban to revise orders

Comments from analysts suggest that “airlines that over-ordered the latest version of Boeing’s 737 workhorse, the grounding could be a good excuse to delay or cancel purchases, saving cash on the balance sheet.”

See also, Letter from Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg to Airlines, Passengers and the Aviation Community.

Southwest Airlines’ new mechanics contract gives immediate 20 percent pay hike

After six years of negotiations, Southwest Airlines and the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association have an agreement in principle for a new five-year contract.

Air Force resumes KC-46 deliveries after Boeing changes inspections

After passing a foreign object debris inspection, Boeing has been giving the go-ahead to resume KC-46 tanker deliveries.

Lucky Air flight #8L9616 delayed because two passengers tossed coins to aircraft engine for good luck

It’s happened again. This time two women were observed tossing coins at the engine as they boarded the aircraft.

NBAA Regional Forum

Airplane Geeks Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari attended the 2019 NBAA Regional Forum March 14, 2019, in Houston Texas. He recorded these interviews:

Blain Stanley, Aircare International Emergency Procedures Instructor on fire training classes for aircraft crew.

NBAA Senior Manager of Flight Operations and Regulations Brain Koester on ADS-B in corporate aircraft.

Dave Brown, Sales Manager at Garmin, on jets and ADS-B.

Russell Otowchits, Regional Sales Manager with Gogo Business Aviation on inflight connectivity.

Raymond Goyco from Baker Aviation, the maker of fireproof bags for lithium-ion fires. Aircraft Specialties, Inc. is the sole U.S. stocking dealer for the HOT-STOP® ‘L’ Fire Containment Kit.

Also….

NBAA’s Bolen Asks Industry To Be Bizav Ambassadors

NBAA chief executive Ed Bolen says business aviation industry’s next big test is the pilot and maintenance technician shortage. Interest in business aviation careers needs to be generated among young people. Ed has some suggestions on how to accomplish that.

Prior to the Forum, the NBAA Safety Committee identified the 2019 NBAA Top Safety Focus Areas and provided many good supporting resources.

Mentioned

PaxEx Podcast: Max Flight and Mary Kirby on why no-MAX flight.

January/February 2019 Air Force Magazine: Re-Engining the B-52 and The Air Force Wants to Install New Engines on the B-52 Bomber.

Ross Macpherson Smith and Keith Macpherson Smith, the first pilots to fly from England to Australia, in 1919.

Video: Auckland from the Skies (1918) – Charles F. Newham – Auckland Museum Collection.

Qantas introduces twin sister pilots.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

543 Aviation Career Opportunities

Carl Valeri talks about aviation career opportunities, including the current employment outlook, some industry trends, and the wide availability of scholarships. We look at the Boeing acquisition of ForeFlight, the crash of an Ethiopian 737 MAX 8, FOD on new KC-46 tankers, a pilot who left his handgun on the plane, and a passenger with an RPG. We also talk about this year’s SUN ‘n FUN week-long fly-in and air show.

Guest

Carl Valeri, aviation careers expert

Carl Valeri

Carl Valeri is a flight instructor and airline pilot. He hosts the Aviation Careers Podcast and the Stuck Mic AvCast and you’ll find him on SUN ‘n FUN Radio. Carl also coaches the Polk State Flight Team.

Carl tells us about the current state of aviation employment opportunities, including the shortage of pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, managers, ground support personnel, office support, and many others. He also explains the current lack of instrument flying skills, building hours to meet the airline transport pilot requirement, airline pilot starting pay and first-year bonuses, as well as the trend of conditional hiring, the E-3 visa program, and the inclusion of rotor pilot hours in total time.

In addition to the podcasts, Carl provides career counseling as well as an extensive directory of scholarships that are available for people who want to get into an aviation career, or who want to advance their ratings.

As is the case every year, Carl will be managing SUN ‘n FUN Radio at the SUN ‘n FUN International Fly-In and Expo April 2-7, 2019 in Lakeland, Florida.

Mystery Aircraft

Carl sent us a photo asking David to identify the aircraft. Can you?

Of course, David knew right away what this is. Answer below.

Aviation News

Boeing Acquires ForeFlight

Flight planning company ForeFlight joins Jeppesen in Boeing’s Digital Solutions and Analytics group, part of Boeing Global Services. ForeFlight products are used by individual pilots, professional flight crews, flight departments, and others. Boeing VP Ken Sain said, “This acquisition… expands Boeing’s rapidly growing, unparalleled digital services portfolio which will enable us to compete and win in the $2.8 trillion, 10-year services market.”

See also the Boeing press release, the new joint website, and from AOPA Live Boeing acquires ForeFlight – Interview with CEO Tyson Weihs.

Ethiopia, China, other countries ground Boeing aircraft after devastating crash

An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 bound for Nairobi, Kenya crashed six minutes after takeoff from the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. All 157 people on board Flight ET-302 were killed. Many countries initially responded by grounding the 737 MAX fleet.

Reports: Air Force won’t accept more KC-46 tankers until they’re cleaned of debris

In response to Foreign Object Debris (FOD) found by the U.S. Air Force in Boeing’s delivered KC-46 tankers, the aircraft are no longer being accepted by the government.

Pilot left gun behind in the cockpit of a Delta plane

The handgun was found by an airline ground worker. Delta has not identified the pilot and won’t say what action it will take against the pilot.

TSA agents find rocket-propelled grenade launcher in luggage

The unassembled parts of the launcher and a replica grenade were found in a checked bag at Lehigh Valley International Airport in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The owner told officials he thought he could bring the non-functioning launcher in his checked bag. The items were confiscated.

Mentioned

Women Take Flight, at the New England Air Museum, Saturday, March 9, 2019.

SUN ‘n FUN, April 2 – 7, 2019, Lakeland, Florida.

Aviation News Talk Podcast #101: Emergency Landing: Controller Talks Down Student Pilot After Oil Covers Windshield

F-35 Demo Team, including 2019 schedule.

New York International Air Show, August 24-25, 2019 at New York Stewart Int’l Airport.

Bjorn Moerman Photography. Excellent aviation images.

Mystery Aircraft

David knew immediately this is the Bell P-63 King Cobra. He also sent along photos of a few museum examples:

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

542 Airline Seats

Airline seats from Layer Design that you control with an app, Boeing-Embraer deals, business jet deliveries, re-engining the B-52 fleet, regional jets and scope clauses, lithium-ion battery ban on commercial flights, another MH360 theory, F117 rumors, and flying with a fake license. Also, an airplane of the week, and two must-see videos.

"Move" prototype airline seats. Courtesy Layer Design.

“Move” prototype airline seats. Courtesy Layer Design.

Aviation News

Airbus economy seat prototype: Are these the future of airline cabins?

London-based Layer Design has developed the prototype “Move” airline seats for Airbus. These are intended to improve the experience of Economy Class short- to mid-haul flying. Sensors in the seat and measure seat tension, temperature, pressure, and movement. The Move app can be used to maintain optimal ergonomic comfort.

Boeing-Embraer Venture Gets Shareholders Approval

Embraer shareholders approved the deal to sell 80 percent of their commercial jet division to Boeing. They also voted to approve a separate JV for the KC-390. Regulatory approval is pending.

The Vision Jet Was the Most-Delivered Business Jet in 2018

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) says Cirrus delivered 63 SF50 Vision Jets, 22 in the fourth quarter. Bombardier delivered 60 Challenger 350 jets, the Cessna Citation Latitude had 57 deliveries, the Embraer Phenom 300E light jet saw 53 deliveries, while HondaJet and the Cessna Citation CJ3+ tied at 37 deliveries. Overall, business jet deliveries increased to 703 last year, up from 677 in 2017.

Rolls-Royce Indianapolis to compete for $1B U.S. Air Force contract, new jobs

In 2017, U.S. Air Force announced plans to replace the ancient Pratt & Whitney TF33 engines that currently power its B-52 bombers. Rolls-Royce wants to bid on the 650 re-engine contract with its F130 engine. The Air Force hasn’t yet issued an RFP

United Airlines Orders First Class Regional Jets – But They’re Not For You

This is a story about scope clauses, under configuring an airplane and sending a message to the labor union, according to writer Samuel Engel. United plans to seat 50 in the CRJ550, a new variant of the Bombardier CRJ-700 series aircraft that normally seats 70-76. The plan is 10 first-class seats, 20 economy-plus seats, and 20 economy-class seats.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao Announces Major Rule to Strengthen Safety Provisions for Lithium Batteries Transported by Aircraft

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, in coordination with the FAA, issued an Interim Final Rule that prohibits the transport of lithium ion cells or batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft.  In addition, lithium ion cells and batteries must be shipped at not more than a 30 percent state of charge aboard cargo-only aircraft. For further information, see the Interim Final Rule as submitted to the Federal Register. You may submit comments to the Rule under Docket Number PHMSA‑2016‑0014 at Regulations.gov.

‘Desperate’ final 12 minutes of MH370 passengers and crew

March 8 marks the 5th anniversary of the loss of MH370. In his book The Hunt for MH370, Journalist Ean Higgins explores a theory that portrays the flight crew as valiantly trying to deal with a cockpit fire.

Let’s Talk About The Rumor That F117s Have Flown Missions In The Middle East Recently

F-117 Nighthawks have been spotted flying over Death Valley recently. One source claimed that F-117s were sent to the Middle East on a highly covert mission.

Senior SAA pilot fired for flying with fake licence for 20 years

A South African Airways pilot flew for 20 years on a forged airline transport pilot license. This came to light during an investigation into an over speed incident.

Video of the Week

FIRST LOOK – New USAF F-35 Full Aerobatic Demonstration!

A video of the new aerobatic demonstration routine flown by the US Air Force F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team. Filmed opposite the crowd at the 2019 Heritage Flight Conference at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Arizona.

The Airplane of the Week

Nakajima B5N, Type 97 Bomber (the “Kate”) at the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum, formerly known as Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.

Nakajima B5N, Type 97 Bomber (the “Kate”) at the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum.

Nakajima B5N, Type 97 Bomber (the “Kate”) at the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum.

The Zero.

The Zero.

Mentioned

Women Take Flight, at the New England Air Museum, Saturday, March 9, 2019.

SUN ‘n FUN, April 2 – 7, 2019, Lakeland, Florida.

USAF Female Fighter Pilots: March 8 recruitment campaign upcoming movie

 

Listener Jonathan behind the bar on the Emirates 380.

539 Boeing 747 First Flight

We mark the 50th anniversary of the first flight of the Boeing 747 with a member of that flight test team, now a docent at The Museum of Flight in Seattle. Also, the NTSB Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements, the last commercial flight of the Boeing 727, Airbnb may be doing something with air travel, SFO’s new outdoor observation deck, two Virgin Galactic pilots earn astronaut wings, and the Collier Trophy nominees list is released.

Boeing 747 ceremony.

Boeing 747 ceremony, courtesy The Museum of Flight.

Guests

Sean Mobley, Docent Services Specialist with The Museum of Flight joins us. Sean also hosts the Museum’s Flight Deck Podcast. In addition, Docent Thomas Gray brings us recollections of the Boeing 747 flight test program and the first flight, fifty years ago.

From 1968 to 1985, Thomas was a member of the Boeing 747 first flight test team. That airplane, the “City of Everett,” resides at The Museum of Flight. Thomas was also the lead instrumentation engineer when RA001 was later used as the flying test bed for the 757/767 engines.

Thomas graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering in 1961. He served in the New Mexico Air National Guard as a Radio Technician for one year where he provided maintenance service on F-100 fighter aircraft radio equipment. After that, he joined the Washington Air National Guard until 1967 as a Radio Technician, providing maintenance service on the mobile teletype and cryptographic equipment.

Thomas was hired by Boeing as the Systems Test Engineer on the Dyna-Soar program. From there he moved over to the Flight Test organization as an Instrumentation Engineer for 24 years. Thomas worked on the 737, 747, 757, 767, the Boeing Hydrofoil Test Craft, and John F. Kennedy’s Air Force One 26000. He also served as the test engineer on the Space Shuttle Carrier aircraft during Space Shuttle Landing tests at Edwards AFB, California. Thomas then worked as a Commercial Sales Support Engineer for three years and worked seven years as a Customer Service Engineer until retiring in 1995.

Boeing 747.

Courtesy The Museum of Flight.

Boeing 747 First Flight

The first flight took place on February 9, 1969 and we learn that the three initial flights were around Paine Field with a pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer, and F-86 escort. It wasn’t until the fourth flight that the full crew was aboard and the plane was allowed to fly over populated areas.

Thomas helps us understand the mood at Boeing leading up to the B747 first flight, as well as his role as part of the first flight test team. He explains the 747 test Instrumentation, the telemetry system, and the ballast system that moved water between barrels to change the airplane’s center of gravity.

The first flight Boeing 747 is on display at The Museum of Flight in the test configuration. An excellent 3D tour of the plane is available from the Museum. See Aviation Pavilion Virtual Tour for that aircraft tour and others in the collection.

Boeing 747 test aircraft virtual tour. Courtesy The Museum of Flight.

Boeing 747 test aircraft virtual tour. Courtesy The Museum of Flight.

Videos of interest:

To learn more about upcoming activities, visit The Museum of Flight Calendar of Events. Be sure to look at Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission. This is an exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. This traveling exhibit comes to the Museum April 13th through September 2nd, 2019.

Aviation News

NTSB 2019-2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements

The National Transportation Safety Board (the NTSB) has issued its 2019-2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements. The NTSB would like the FAA to close the gap in safety requirements between commercial airlines and those operating under Part 135. The NTSB argues that all flights should be safe, no matter the purpose of the flight or the type of aircraft. Most Part 135 organizations don’t have a safety management system (SMS), flight data monitoring (FDM), or a controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) avoidance training program.

Boeing’s famous trijet 727 makes last commercial flight

In mid-January, 2019, a 38-year-old Boeing 727-200 owned by Iran Aseman Airlines became the last 727 on a commercial passenger flight. See the Boeing history page for more on the 727.

Airbnb Hires Aviation Industry Veteran to Lead New Transportation Division

Home-sharing service Airbnb has hired long-time aviation industry veteran Fred Reid to be the company’s global head of transportation. His task is “building partnerships and services that make travel seamless while delivering the kind of people-to-people hospitality Airbnb is known for around the world.” CEO Brian Chesky says, “I’m not interested in building our own airline or creating just another place on the Internet where you can buy a plane ticket, but there is a tremendous opportunity to improve the transportation experience for everyone.”

SFO unveils dramatic outdoor observation deck

A $55 million upgrade at San Francisco International Airport’s International Terminal includes a new, 3,000 square foot roofless observation deck on the Terminal G side. Since the outdoor lounge is behind security, only passengers using Terminal 3 (United) and the International G-side will have access to it. The deck offers a 180+ degree view of the ramp and runways on the north side of the airport.

San Francisco International Airport’s observation deck. Credit: Chris McGinnis | Tim Jue

San Francisco International Airport’s observation deck. Credit: Chris McGinnis | Tim Jue

Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Pilots Awarded FAA Astronaut Wings

The two Virgin Galactic test pilots who flew the SpaceShipTwo “VSS Unity” into space on December 13, 2018, were recognized in a ceremony at the Department of Transportation in Washington, DC. Mark “Forger” Stucky and Frederick “CJ” Sturckow were awarded Commercial Astronaut Wings by the FAA on February 7.

Credit: FAA/Virgin Galactic via collectSPACE.com.

Credit: FAA/Virgin Galactic via collectSPACE.com.

Collier Nominees Released

The National Aeronautic Association announced that eleven aviation and space achievements will compete for the 2018 Robert J. Collier Trophy:

The Collier Trophy Selection Committee will meet on April 4, 2019, in Arlington, Virginia, and the recipient will be announced publicly the following day. The formal presentation of the Collier Trophy will take place on June 13, 2019, at a location to be determined.

Mentioned

Red Bull Air Race app

Evening With Enshrinees Dick and Burt Rutan February 22, 2019

#PaxEx Podcast

Two podcast episodes recommended by Max Trescott:

Chicken Wings Comics

Eat at the Airport

Call for Nominations for the 2019 Aerospace Media Awards

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

538 AI and the Aviation Industry

We look at how artificial intelligence is impacting commercial aviation and a consider a few of the areas that hold the greatest promise. In the news, a concept that would have pilot conversations monitored by an AI agent, how to get new airplanes signed off by the FAA during a furlough, Norwegian Air Shuttle’s share offering, and the loss of a remarkable female military aviator.

Guest

Mark Roboff, General Manager for Digital Transformation, Aerospace & Defense at DXC.

Mark Roboff, General Manager for Digital Transformation, Aerospace & Defense at DXC.

Mark Roboff is an IT executive with over 15 years experience in artificial intelligence and related fields. He’s been a true AvGeek since he was little, and Mark loves working in aviation – first as Global Solution Leader for Aerospace at IBM, then more recently as VP of Aviation at a prominent AI startup, and now as General Manager for Digital Transformation, Aerospace & Defense at DXC. Mark has worked with OEMs, Tier-1 suppliers, and numerous airlines on AI, advanced analytics, and IoT/sensors, with a focus on key application areas such as AI-driven maintenance and autonomous flight.

Mark tells us about the state of the aviation industry with respect to AI technology and AI applications. He characterizes maintenance and flight operations as the low hanging fruit. An AI-driven predictive maintenance capability would provide great value to the airlines.

We consider what is required to close the gap and bring these applications to the industry. The need for data to teach the AI engines is key, and Mark explains how the “terabyte of data per flight” that we hear about isn’t representative of the entire fleet. Many aircraft are simply not architected to provide that volume.

Mark also explains the circumstances where AI be useful. An interesting example is prognostic maintenance models for components like seats. Premium airline seats are complex, expensive, and don’t necessarily have sensors. A health management system where AI is trained from maintenance logs offers real potential.

We also look at AI and autonomous flight. Mark points out some differences between autonomous automobiles and autonomous aircraft and how their respective technological gaps are different. Social and regulatory issues remain a challenge.

Mark has worked closely with IATA as a strategic partner on AI-driven maintenance, helping to define the next generation of aircraft health management tooling and predictive maintenance solutions. He has given keynotes at the IATA Safety & Flight Ops Conference and the IATA Maintenance Cost Conference, and he has also spoken at AviationWeek’s MRO conferences across the globe. Mark gave the AI keynote at the SAE Aerospace Standards Summit this past October and is chairing a proposed SAE committee focused on Applied AI in Safety-Critical Systems.

See these resources:

Aviation News

Airlines Mull Real-Time Monitoring of Pilot Conversations

NIIT Technologies is recommending that airlines use AI to monitor pilot voices to predict whether a crew will be late on their way to the airport, to determine if a particular pilot is the right “fit” for the job, or to monitor pilot conversations and improving safety through flight operation quality assurance (FOQA) and real-time monitoring.

The company says, “Using our data technology, we can acquire the voice of the pilot while they are flying and use AI to differentiate between what is a normal and expected conversation or determine if there is increased stress in the pilot’s voice.”

Southwest Agreed to Pay FAA for Inspector’s Time During Government Shutdown

Southwest Airlines wanted to put three new jets into service. For that, they needed the sign off of an FAA safety inspector. The problem was, the safety inspectors were furloughed during the partial government shutdown. Southwest agreed to cover the cost of briefly recalling a furloughed inspector. Is this special treatment? The Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, AFL-CIO (or PASS) feels they should have been notified.

Norwegian Air Shuttle’s Revolution Comes Unstuck

In an effort to keep the airline afloat, Norwegian is undertaking a 3 billion kroner ($353 million) rights offering. They just announced a 2.5 billion kroner yearly pretax loss and they have a 250 million euro ($286 million) bond maturing in December.

Rosemary Mariner, The First Female Military Air Commander, Dies At 65

She was the first woman to fly a tactical fighter jet in the US Navy, the first woman to land on an aircraft carrier, and the first woman to command a squadron. At age 65, Rosemary Mariner lost her 5-year battle with ovarian cancer. To honor her, a 4-plane “missing man” formation was flown by an all-women pilot and ground crew.

Mentioned

Sticks, Stories, and Scotch

Ace Combat 7

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

537 Chicken Wings Comics

The brothers who create the Chicken Wings comics tell us about the very popular cartoons with aviation humor, and 10-year-old listener Jackson reports on flying a full-motion flight simulator at the United Airlines flight training center in Denver. Also, the effects on aviation of the now-concluded partial US Government shutdown, the Airlander 10 prototype is retired, Boeing delivers two KC-46A tankers, and the Russians seem to be integrating unmanned “wingmen” with Sukhoi Su-57 fighters.

Chicken Wings Comics

Stefan Strasser (left) and Mike Strasser (right).

Guests

Stefan Strasser and Mike Strasser are the brothers behind the Chicken Wings comics. Their work is well known in the aviation community and is published globally in many different publications.

Mike Strasser is an experienced helicopter pilot and lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has many years of experience in aviation as a commercial pilot, an aircraft mechanic, and a flight instructor. Mostly, Mike now fights forest fires flying CH-47 Chinook helicopters.

Stefan Strasser lives and works near Vienna, Austria. He’s an accomplished cartoon artist and independent illustrator. He actually has a Master’s Degree in International Trade, but instead of finding a real job, Stefan decided to become a freelance artist. “Chicken Wings” is his most important project, but you can find his work in many other magazines, books, and newsletters all around the world.

Find Chicken Wings at their website, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Jackson is a 10-year-old flight sim enthusiast and fan of the podcast. He had an opportunity to visit the United Airlines flight training center in Denver to fly one of their full-motion simulators. Jackson tells us about his experience.

Chicken Wings Book Giveaway

Be sure to listen for the Chicken Wings book giveaway rules. Entries are due by February 22, 2019.

Chicken Wings book giveaway.

Chicken Wings book giveaway inscription.

 

Aviation News

Potential return of shutdown looms on air traffic controllers’ radars

The partial shutdown of the U.S. Government is over for now. The impacts on aviation have been significant, but will anything be different if it happens again?

World’s biggest aircraft, Airlander 10, moves toward commercial model

Hybrid Air Vehicles calls it part airship, part helicopter, and part plane. Others call it the “flying bum.” The prototype Airlander 10 is a hybrid helium airship. It’s being retired to be replaced by a production model that has already secured approved from the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). In addition to the Airlander 10 luxury touring airship, the Airlander 50 is being developed for the cargo or heavy lift market.

The Airlander 10. Courtesy Hybrid Air Vehicles.

The Airlander 10. Courtesy Hybrid Air Vehicles.

Surprise! Boeing hands Air Force the keys to not just one, but two KC-46 tanker jets

At the handover ceremony at the in Everett, Washington assembly plant, Boeing surprised the employees in attendance with one more KC-46 than they had been expecting. Leanne Caret, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space and Security, announced, “I am delighted to be with you all today to celebrate the delivery of the first KC-46 tanker from Boeing to the United States Air Force. Wait a minute! I’m sorry, I have made a mistake. I think I had that wrong. I believe I am delivering two KC-46 aircraft to the United States Air Force! Two!”

Oh great, Russian fighter pilots are going to start flying with scary AI wingmen

Images have been spotted of an unmanned combat vehicle called Hunter. Also seen are images of a Sukhoi Su-57 with a logo that looks like the Hunter on the tail, as well as the image of a lightning bolt.

Mentioned

An evening with Dick and Burt Rutan. This joint event by the National Aviation Hall of Fame and the Air Force Museum Foundation will be held February 22, 2019, at the National Museum of the US Air Force. You can reserve tickets at the Living History site.

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Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

532 A Jet City Star

Guest Isaac Alexander gives us a taste of aviation action in the Pacific Northwest. In the news: updates on the Boeing/Embraer deal, more WOW Air woes, Virgin Galactic test flight, MRJ engine final assembly in Japan, the Northrop Grumman Firebird MALE, an airline turnback to deliver a heart, and a pet fish. Plus David’s holiday story, Voyager spacecraft, and first flight comments.

Isaac Alexander, Jet City Star, in the Spruce Goose.

Isaac Alexander, Jet City Star, in the Hughes H-4 Hercules (the Spruce Goose) at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville Oregon.

Guest

Aviation geek Isaac Alexander is a freelance aviation writer who blogs, tweets, and posts as Jet City Star from the Pacific Northwest. In the past, Isaac was on the committee for the weekend-long Aviation Geek Fest held annually in the Greater Seattle area.

Isaac tells us about the aviation scene in the Pacific Northwest, including some of the aerospace companies based there, the senior roles held by women in area organizations, new scheduled service, must-visit museums and other attractions, recent aviation events, and some events coming up in 2019.

Follow Isaac on Twitter at @jetcitystar and see these sites to learn more:

Aviation News

Brazil court overturns injunction against Boeing-Embraer deal

Last week we reported that four congressmen with Brazil’s left-wing Workers Party won an injunction in Brazilian federal court preventing the Embraer/Boeing deal from going forward. Now a Brazilian federal appeals court has overturned the injunction.

Embraer and Boeing Approved the Terms of Strategic Aerospace Partnership, Seek Brazilian Government Approval

Both companies have come to an agreement: “The approved terms define the joint venture comprising the commercial aircraft and services operations of Embraer, in which Boeing will hold an 80 percent ownership stake and Embraer will hold the remaining 20 percent. The transaction remains subject to approval by the Government of Brazil, after which Embraer and Boeing intend to execute definitive transaction documents. The closing of the transaction will then be subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.”

Embraer Welcomes Brazil’s Filing of its First Written Submission Challenging Canada’s Subsidies to Bombardier

The dispute settlement panel at the World Trade Organization is examining subsidies received by Bombardier from the Governments of Canada and Quebec. The Brazilian Government (and Embraer) say the 19 subsidies violate Canada’s WTO obligations. More details about Brazil’s First Written Submission are available in the DS522 — FACT SHEET [PDF].

Enjoy your Holiday Laser-light Display-Responsibly

Each holiday season for the past several years, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has received reports from pilots who said they were distracted or temporarily blinded by residential laser-light displays.

Flying with WOW Air? You might need to rebook as airline sells off planes, lays off employees

Budget carrier WOW Air is taking measures to keep the company in business. They announced a cut back in the number of airplanes from 20 to 11, they plan to sell four Airbus A321s, and reportedly the airline laid off 111 employees.

Virgin Galactic gets set for SpaceShipTwo flights that aim for space — but how high?

Virgin Galactic has been flight-testing its VSS Unity rocket plane, carried by SpaceShipTwo.

Mitsubishi completes first assembly of GTF PW1200G engine for MRJ jet

The Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) is exclusively powered by the Pratt & Whitney PW1200G engine. In Komaki, Japan, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Aero Engines (MHIAEL) has completed their first final assembly of the engine for the MRJ flight test program. Pratt & Whitney’s Mirabel Aerospace Center in Canada will also assemble and test the engine.

MHI completes capital bail-out of MRJ

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) bailed out/restructured debt by Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MAC).

Video from Farnborough 2018: MRJ’s delays are over, says Mitsubishi

More flying footage: The Elegant ANA Mitsubishi Regional Jet MRJ Flying at Farnborough UK

Northrop Grumman Plans To Upend Aerial Surveillance Market With Their Optionally Manned Firebird

Northrop Grumman is developing a Medium Altitude, Long Endurance (MALE) unmanned aircraft called the Firebird. It’s being developed for aerial surveillance missions and its history goes back to Northrop Grumman subsidiary Scaled Composites that built an optionally manned demonstrator which first flew in 2010.

We now know where Seattle’s airborne heart was headed after Southwest flight was turned around

Someone forgot to unload a human heart from a Southwest Airlines in Seattle. During a subsequent flight of that plane, the error was discovered and the plane was forced to return to Seattle.

Student heartbroken, humiliated after being forced to give up pet fish prior to Southwest flight

“Cassie,” the student’s beloved pet betta fish, was refused boarding on a Southwest flight, despite being allowable according to the TSA website, and previous travel on the airline.

Holiday Story

David Vanderhoof tells us a Christmas story filled with historical figures.

Mentioned

Drone shatters passenger jet’s nosecone & radar during landing (PHOTOS) and the Tweet with photos.

JPL Voyager Mission Status page.  

The Flight Claims of Gustave Whitehead

Instagram photo of DC-3 by @mikeymcbryan.

Daks Over Normandy

D-Day Squadron

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Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

 

531 Aerial Tankers, Again

Lockheed Martin and Airbus take another run at aerial tankers for the US Air Force, air marshals behaving badly, a Brazilian court blocks the Boeing-Embraer deal, airport biometric identity checks, a pilot and a pickup app, AOPA’s STEM program, an Antonov An-124 stationed at Houston, the Boeing 777X BBJ, and Voyager 2 in interstellar space.

Also, a aviation events Max plans to attend in 2019, his Eat at the Airport project, who flew controlled powered flight first, and more on ion drives and aircraft noise.

Airbus A330 MRTT aerial tanker.

A330 MRTT, courtesy Airbus.

Aviation News

Airbus Teams With Lockheed to Take On Boeing Tankers

In 2008, Airbus and Northrop Grumman won the contract to build tankers for the U.S. Air Force. But the award for A330-based tankers was overturned and in 2011 Boeing won the contract for  179 tankers based on the 767 aircraft, the KC-46. Since then, Boeing has been beset with difficulties and has failed to be on time or within budget. Now, Airbus and Lockheed Martin have signed a memorandum of agreement on aerial refueling and are willing to “provide aerial-refueling services to address any identified capacity shortfall and to meet requirements for the next generation of tankers capable of operating in the challenging environments of future battlespace.” See the press release: Lockheed Martin And Airbus Sign Memorandum Of Agreement On Aerial Refueling.

In-depth: Air marshal mishap led to concerns of possible hijacking at MSP control tower

Federal Air Marshal BadgeOn August 20, 2018, there was some confusion aboard a Republic Airlines flight operating as United Airlines flight 3531 from Newark to Minneapolis. Two armed air marshals were aboard the flight, and the flight and cabin crews were unaware of the marshal’s presence, one of whom identified himself by flashing his gun. The pilot reported a possible hijacking attempt and when the plane landed police arrested the two marshals.

Federal Air Marshals accused of more than 200 gun mishaps: Air marshal mishap led to concerns of possible hijacking at Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport (KMSP) control tower

The TSA’s Office of Inspection has documented more than 200 cases of air marshals allegedly misusing firearms or misbehaving with guns between 2005 and 2017, according to records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Embraer-Boeing aviation deal blocked by Brazilian court

Embraer likes the proposed tie-up with Boeing. Four congressmen with Brazil’s left-wing Workers Party not so much. They sought an injunction which a Brazilian federal court granted. The decision forbids Embraer’s board of directors from signing the deal to create a joint venture on commercial aviation that Boeing would control.

US Airport Opens First Fully Biometric Terminal

Delta Air Lines and Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport now have the first U.S. curb-to-gate biometric terminal using facial recognition. The camera-based system compares scans of travelers’ faces to a database of verified ID photos curated by US Customs and Border Protection.

Video: Delta flight boarding with facial recognition

Passenger says Delta pilot used Grindr to hit on him during flight

A passenger received a message sent inflight from the pilot via an online dating service. What should pilots do and not do with their time in the cockpit?

This high school aviation program aims to stave off the pilot shortage

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) created a four-year STEM aviation curriculum. Classes are offered to ninth grade students and involve a mix of theory and hands-on projects. Eighty U.S. public, private, and charter schools are participating.

Cargo airline to make IAH home base for massive Antonov An-124 jet

Volga-Dnepr Group will base one of its 12 Antonov AN-124-100 planes at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport. The company will provide crews, technical support teams, as well as special loading equipment.

Russian AN-124 Condor aircraft lands at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base, New Orleans from the Netherlands to deliver a diesel powered water pump in support of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. The Navy's involvement in the Hurricane Katrina humanitarian assistance operations are led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in conjunction with the Department of Defense. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Dawn C. Morrison (RELEASED)

Russian AN-124 Condor aircraft lands at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base, New Orleans from the Netherlands to deliver a diesel powered water pump in support of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Dawn C. Morrison (RELEASED)

Boeing Launches Longest-Range Business Jet Ever with BBJ 777X

Boeing Business Jets announced it is launching the BBJ 777X, which can fly more than half-way around the world without stopping, farther than any other business jet. Customers have a choice between two models: the BBJ 777-8 and BBJ 777-9. The BBJ 777-8 offers the longest range of 11,645 nautical miles and a 3,256 sq. ft. cabin. The BBJ 777-9 has a 3,689 sq. ft. cabin and an 11,000 nautical mile range.

Boeing BBJ-777X computer rendering © Boeing.

Boeing BBJ-777X computer rendering © Boeing.

NASA’s Voyager 2 Probe Enters Interstellar Space

The Voyager 2 spacecraft has now left the heliosphere – the protective bubble of particles and magnetic fields created by the Sun – and crossed into interstellar space. This follows Voyager 1, which left the heliosphere 2012. In July 2015, NASA uploaded the audio contents of the golden records to SoundCloud.

Airline Story of the Week

United CEO gives his first class seat to elderly passenger

Mentioned

AvGeekFests.com – The calendar of aviation events.

The Flying Monkey Grill and Bar at the Hartford–Brainard Airport (KHFD).

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.