Tag Archives: Boeing

735 Aircraft Automation

The co-founder and CEO of Reliable Robotics explains how aircraft automation sets the path to bringing certified autonomous vehicles to commercial aviation. In the news, the first graduating class from United Aviate Academy, the NTSB and BEA comment on the Ethiopian Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau’s final report on the 737 Max crash, pilots working to make their airport safer, the government wants to know if the Southwest meltdown was caused by unrealistic scheduling, and ADS-B Exchange purchase by Jetnet.

Guest

Robert Rose headshot.

Robert Rose is the co-founder and CEO of Reliable Robotics, a company that seeks to bring certified autonomous vehicles to commercial aviation. Their vision is to leverage aircraft automation to transform the way we move goods and people around the planet with safer, more convenient, and more affordable air transportation. The company is headquartered in Mountain View, California, and has a distributed global workforce.

Robert explains how incremental safety enhancements can lead to the long-term goal of remotely piloted aircraft. Reliable Robotics is developing a higher precision navigation system, followed by the capability for auto-land without airport infrastructure. From there, an auto-takeoff capability that includes takeoff rejection, and auto-taxi. Altogether, these significantly impact the safety of GA aircraft

Admitting that fully autonomous aircraft are not a near-term possibility, Robert says that aircraft automation takes us down the path to autonomous operation.

He sees certification in three phases:

  1. Certification of a continuous engagement autopilot for the Cessna Caravan.
  2. Certifying the management of contingencies outside the system’s control.
  3. Certifying detect and avoid and the communication system with the pilot in a control center.

Robert’s engineering experience spans aerospace, self-driving cars, robotics, gaming, and consumer products. Prior to co-founding Reliable Robotics, he was the Director of Flight Software at SpaceX where he led the development of the onboard flight software for the Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon spacecraft, resulting in the first commercial mission to the International Space Station. At Tesla, Robert was the Senior Director of Autopilot, Robert brought to market the first consumer automobile with fully unassisted self-driving capability. At X (Google’s skunkworks division), Robert led a team bringing advanced machine perception and manipulation technologies to large vehicles. 

Earlier in his career, he developed three Game of the Year award-winning titles as a Game Engine Programmer at Sony PlayStation. Robert holds a B.S. in Computer Science, a B.S. in Computer Engineering, and an M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Oregon State University.

Aviation News

United Airlines celebrates historic first graduating class of Flight Academy Pilots

United Aviate Academy graduated the first 51 student pilots out of what United hopes will be 5,000 by 2030. United is the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school. Nearly 80% of this inaugural graduating class is made up of women or people of color. The airline hopes that at least half of the graduates will be women or people of color. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says only 5.6% of pilots are women and 6% are people of color.

What’s next for the graduates?

  • Some will work as Certified Flight Instructors at the academy and build their hours toward 1,500 required flying hours
  • Others will build hours at participating flight schools or universities, including Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Purdue University and Hampton University.
  • Graduates are encouraged to eventually fly for a United Express carrier, take on leadership roles at an Aviate participating Part 135 operator, or become a Fleet Technical Instructor at United to complete their training.
  • Aviate participants can expect to become a United pilot within about six years of graduating from United Aviate Academy.

NTSB Finds More Problems in Ethiopian 737 Max Final Report

The Ethiopian Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (EAIB) final report focuses on system failures, not the actions (or inactions) of the pilots. The NTSB and BEA believe the failure of the pilots to execute proper procedures was a contributing factor. Comments made by NTSB and BEA to that effect were not included in the EAIB final report. NTSB and BEA have gone on record to express their belief that the final report is deficient in this respect.

Boeing pleads not guilty to fraud in criminal case over deadly 737 Max crashes

Boeing pleaded not guilty to felony fraud in the recent arraignment in federal court. The families asked Judge O’Connor to impose certain conditions on Boeing as a condition of release, including appointing an independent monitor to oversee Boeing’s compliance with the terms of the previous deferred prosecution agreement, and that the company’s compliance efforts “be made public to the fullest extent possible.” Boeing and the Justice Department opposed the request and the judge did not rule on those at the time.

Aspen Pilots Want to Improve Airport Safety Record

The Aspen Airport (KASE) has been regarded as a dangerous airport. The Aspen Times called it “the most dangerous [airport] in the United States.” A number of jet and piston accidents have occurred there, some fatal. In December 2022, the formation of the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport FlightOps Safety Task Force was announced. The task force includes a dozen volunteer pilots

Transportation Department looking into whether ‘unrealistic scheduling’ played role in Southwest holiday meltdown

A Department of Transportation (DOT) spokesperson said, “DOT is in the initial phase of a rigorous and comprehensive investigation into Southwest Airlines’ holiday debacle that stranded millions … [and] probing whether Southwest executives engaged in unrealistic scheduling of flights which under federal law is considered an unfair and deceptive practice.”

Southwest Airlines says travel disruptions could cost $800 million

“In a …filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, [Southwest Airlines] estimated pretax losses from the disruption of $725 million to $825 million for the quarter. Of that, it expects to lose $400 million to $425 million in revenue directly from the flight cancellations.”

The Flight Tracker That Powered @ElonJet Just Took a Left Turn

ADS-B Exchange was purchased by Jetnet, which Silversmith Capital Partners own. Some people are expressing outrage and worry that ADS-B Exchange will lose its openness. Founder and president of ADS-B Exchange Dan Streufert was our guest in Episode 692.

Australia News Desk

Auckland floods: International flights resume at Auckland Airport, 600% increase in calls to Air NZ

This week we take a look across the Tasman Sea as New Zealand’s capital, Auckland, was hit with historic levels of flooding, leading to the temporary closure of their International Airport, leaving passengers from all corners of the globe stranded for many hours in the terminal, and saw a number of inbound flights diverted.

Steve’s a little tired after being recertified as an instructor…not for airplanes…but for trains.  We discuss the similarities in approaches to training between rail and aviation, including one of Steve’s more interesting sim sessions.

Train simulation

Saber announces first projects to fly in Australian Astronaut Program

Meanwhile, Grant’s literally over the moon following Saber Astronautics’ plans to send Australian tech to the International Space Station in coming years, including beer in a specially made zero-G bottle.  

Sydney Airport chaos as control tower incident triggers evacuations and grounds flights

Flights were temporarily halted in and out of Sydney Airport this weekend when the control tower had to be evacuated following the smell of gaseous fumes in the ventilation system.

And finally, we pay tribute to local aviation photographer Matt Savage, of Mach One Aeromedia, who passed away recently after a long battle with illness.  Matt was a man who shared our passion for aviation and was a big supporter of our work.  Though he left us way too soon, his skill with the lens will live on as a lasting legacy for all of us to enjoy. 

Plane in flight photograph by Matt Savage.
Image by Matt Savage – 2022

Mentioned

AutoGyro USA

Calidus Gyroplane on the tarmac.
2014 Calidus Gyroplane

New aviation museum planned at the Santa Maria Airport ready to take off

Donate here: https://www.pofsantamaria.org/

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, Max Trescott, and David Vanderhoof. With contributions by Grant McHerron and Steve Vischer.

734 Grand Dames of Aviation

We speak with the Founder and Chairman of the Board of Grand Dames of Aviation. In the news, Boeing and NASA team up to develop a Transonic Truss-Braced Wing airliner, a US judge orders Boeing to appear for an arraignment on a 737 Max fraud charge, SWAPA authorizes a strike vote, and a procedure change and the JFK runway incursion. We also have an Australia News Desk report and interviews from the 2023 Seattle Aerospace BBQ.

Guest

Grand Dames of Aviation founder Carol Dean in the cockpit.
Carol Dean, founder of Grand Dames of Aviation

Carol Dean is the Founder and Chairman of the Board of the non-profit Grand Dames of Aviation. Formed in 2017, the Grand Dames of Aviation is an exclusive group of accomplished women in professional aviation. What started as a private Facebook group has grown into a large organization that celebrates, educates, and inspires women to believe, achieve, and lead in aviation.

Carol explains the requirements to become a Grand Dame of Aviation and mentions some of the notable members. We learn about scholarships, mentoring, and leadership networking. Cultivating the talent, innovation, and leadership of women is critical for the future of aviation and aerospace.

Carol is currently a B757 pilot for a major carrier and has over 30 years of experience in aviation. As a test pilot and pilot instructor on the Design-Build Team, she helped certify the Gulfstream V in 1997 and was the first woman to fly the aircraft. Carol is an FAA-Designated GV Pilot Examiner and a JAA-certified GV Type Check Airman. She flew Gulfstreams Part 91 and 135 for various Fortune 500 companies for 20 years before going to the airline in 2016.

Grand Dames of Aviation Watch

Grand Dames of Aviation Watch – The “Grand Dame” is offered by Abingdon Company. This timepiece was designed to honor trailblazing women in aviation. Fierce. Accomplished. Confident. Skilled. All proceeds go to the Grand Dames of Aviation scholarship fund. For a limited time, Grand Dames receive a special 15% discount.

Grand Dames of Aviation private Facebook group.

Sisters of the Skies  

AVIATE with Shaesta

Carol Dean standing in front of jet.

Aviation News

New aircraft design from NASA and Boeing could benefit passengers in the 2030s

The Sustainable Flight Demonstrator Project brings NASA and Boeing together to create a plane with a Transonic Truss-Braced Wing (or TTBW) configuration. This features long thin high wings supported by diagonal struts to the fuselage belly. Boeing is to produce and test a full-scale single-aisle demonstrator aircraft with the first test flight planned for 2028.

Artist’s concept of Boeing Transonic Truss-Braced Wing aircraft.
Artist’s concept. Courtesy Boeing

US Judge Orders Boeing Arraigned on 737Max Fraud Charge

In January 2021 the U.S. Department of Justice granted Boeing immunity under a $2.5 billion deferred prosecution agreement. A Texas federal judge has now ruled that Boeing must appear in court on Jan. 26, 2023, to be arraigned on federal criminal charges over the 346 deaths in two Boeing MAX 737 crashes in 2018 and 2019. The judge believes the victim’s families were not part of the process under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act.

SWAPA President Casey Murray Calls for Strike Authorization Vote

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association has authorized a strike vote beginning May 1, 2023. “This historic action on the part of the pilot union comes in the wake of Southwest’s largest meltdown and the utter lack of meaningful progress on a contract negotiation, with scheduling work rules and information technology asks in particular, that has been ongoing for more than three years.”

First Officer On American JFK Runway Incursion Flight Had Added Task At Departure, Source Says

New cockpit procedures Introduced on January 2 were being executed for the first time by the first officer. These procedures required the first officer to make a takeoff announcement for the passengers and flight attendants. The announcement must be made with precise timing, and other tasks are to be interrupted. An unnamed source said, “She has all this data to analyze and input, plus she has a new task on top of all that. She was overwhelmed.”

Australia News Desk

The guys recap a little of their history with the show, for the benefit of newer listeners, digging into the archives to find their first report as a team from episode 52 in 2009.

On the news front, Bonza Airline announces its inaugural flight

‘Overdelivering on expectations’: excitement builds for a Bonza first flight

The Defence Department announces a confirmed order for 40 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for the Australian Army, with deliveries to commence at the end of this year

Black Hawk helicopters for Defence

And QANTAS has sure had better weeks, with multiple in-flight mechanical issues making the news and causing a media frenzy!   Oh dear….

Fixation on Qantas won’t end, even if string of incidents were unconnected

Qantas calls for calm after engine failure and three flight turnbacks

Seattle Aerospace BBQ 2023

Brian Coleman attended the 2023 Seattle Aerospace BBQ and recorded four interviews:

Isaac Alexander from Hype Aviation and the organizer of the Seattle Aerospace BBQ.

Robin Koenig, the founder of Hype Aviation, the news aggregator and media intelligence service for aerospace industry professionals and enthusiasts.

Nick Benson of JetTip.net, the smart flight alert service for aviation enthusiasts. Flight alerts are sent by app notification or email, and filterable arrival/departure boards make aircraft spotting a breeze. JetTip tracks flights of interesting and unusual aircraft at major US and Canadian airports.

Dave Honan, a photographer and plane and train spotter living in the Seattle area. See his Instagram.

Attendees eating at the 2023 Seattle Aerospace BBQ.
2023 Seattle Aerospace BBQ. Photo by Isaac Alexander.

Mentioned

ZeroAvia successfully completes first flight of world’s largest hydrogen-electric plane

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, Max Trescott, and David Vanderhoof. With contributions by Grant McHerron, Steve Vischer, and Brian Coleman.

729 Airport Lounges

We speak with the operator of the world’s largest network of airport lounges. In the news, United’s order for Boeing planes, air travel trends for 2023, Boom Supersonic plans to develop its own engine, the U.S. Army selects the Bell V-280 over the Sikorsky/Boeing offering, and passengers are injured by turbulence on a Hawaiian Airlines flight.

Guest

Stuart Vella is Vice President of Commercial Development and Operations with the Plaza Premium Group (PPG), an award-winning leader in premium airport hospitality services. PPG operates the world’s largest network of airport lounges. In the U.S. the company operates the Plaza Premium Lounge at DFW Terminal E and recently opened a lounge at Orlando (MCO) Terminal C. Stuart has been in the hospitality industry for some 30 years and has an extensive travel background.

Stuart Vella
Stuart Vella

We talk with Stuart about airport lounges and making the travel experience less hectic. He explains how PPG was formed to cater to those without access to elite lounges. PPG offers lounges for all travelers, regardless of cabin class or airline. Customer demand is high for more lounge access not necessarily tied to an airline or credit card.

PPG owns the lounges they operate and offers full food and beverage service with production kitchens, full bars, showers, play areas for children, and quiet areas for business people. The benefits of each lounge are tailored to the demographics of travelers going through that specific airport.

We discuss the PPG pricing model, LEED ratings, and the “ALWAYS” meet and greet at DFW.

Plaza Premium Lounge Opens at Orlando International Airport

Plaza Premium Lounge Wins Skytrax Awards Six Years in a Row [PDF]

Airport lounge

Aviation News

United places order for 200 Boeing planes, giving two troubled jets a vote of confidence

The United order represents 35% of the orders received by Boeing commercial airplanes this year. The announced order includes 100 firm/100 option 787 Dreamliners and 56 firm 737 Max planes for delivery between 2024 and 2026. The airline also exercised options on 44 737 Max jets with delivery between 2024 and 2026.

3 air travel trends to watch for in 2023

Three trends are noted in a conversation with United’s Director of UK, Ireland, Israel and Off-line Sales:

  1. “Alternative” airports will increase in popularity
  2. Greener air travel will remain a top priority
  3. Travel will become a lighter-touch experience

Boom plans new Symphony supersonic engine design

Boom Supersonic could not get any of the major engine manufacturers to commit to developing an engine for them. Boom now plans to develop its own engine, called Symphony, a medium-bypass engine producing 35,000 pounds of thrust. Three partners were announced:

Boom Supersonic Symphony engine.
Symphony (conceptual render). Courtesy Boom Supersonic.

Kratos purchased Florida Turbine Technologies in February 2019 and formed the Kratos Turbine Technologies (KTT) division. KTT develops and produces small high-performance jet engines for cruise missiles and unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

A Reality Check On The Army Picking V-280 Valor Over SB>1 Defiant

U.S. Army’s fleet of UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters is to be replaced under the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft initiative, or FLRAA. The Army has chosen the Bell V-280 Valor tiltrotor over the Sikorsky/Boeing Defiant X, a compound coaxial helicopter based on Sikorsky’s X2 technology. The Army said the V-280 offered the “best value proposition” without providing any specifics.

Note: Paul Wilson, chief engineer for the Bell V-280 Valor program was our guest in Episode 576 Bell V-280 Valor.

Passengers and Flight Attendants Hit the Ceiling After Severe Turbulence Strikes Hawaiian Airlines Plane From Phoenix

The A330 flight from Phoenix to Honolulu encountered severe turbulence, injuring as many as 36 passengers, 11 seriously. The pilots declared an emergency following the incident due to the number of injuries and the plane was given priority clearance to land.

See inside of Hawaiian Airlines plane rocked by turbulence

David’s Christmas Story

Hosts this Episode

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

723 Boeing MoM

Boeing won’t pursue a new middle-of-the-market airplane, propellers for aviation sustainability, high-wall super suites, passenger detention, large PAX and weight and balance, a KC-46 Class A mishap.

Aviation News

Boeing: “We won’t contemplate a new airplane”

Concerning a Boeing MoM, president and CEO David Calhoun, said, “We won’t contemplate a new airplane; we won’t even put it on the drawing board until we know we’re capable of doing that. So this is strategy for us. Capabilities. And then there’ll be a moment in time where we’ll pull the rabbit out of the hat and introduce a new airplane sometime in the middle of next decade.”

Opinion: Could Propellers Help Solve The Sustainability Conundrum?

The global civil aviation industry has pledged to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 but new technologies will require billions of dollars in investment. Hydrogen, electric and hybrid propulsion, and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) have promise, but feasibility and cost-effectiveness concerns remain. But propfans and ducted propellers “might finally be ready for use.”

The Latest in Luxurious First-Class Airplane Suites: Building Up

First-class suites with doors first appeared on the Airbus A380 then spread to other widebodies offering luxury and some degree of privacy. How do the latest class of high-wall super suites from Emirates and Lufthansa deal with the cabin view requirements?

Flight Attendant Physically Detained Passenger Because They Thought He Had Taken a Photograph of Them

The crew didn’t like being photographed and detained a passenger when they believed he’d taken a picture of them.

United Airlines Is Blocking Seats Under New Weight Requirements Per Passenger

The FAA has increased the “standard” weight of men and women which impacts airplane weight and balance. United’s B757s are affected to the degree that at least six seats per flight will be blocked.

AMC Investigating Class A Mishap That Damaged KC-46 Boom, Fuselage

The Air Mobility Command is investigating a potential Class A mishap involving a KC-46 Pegasus tanker that left the plane’s boom and fuselage damaged.

Mentioned

Albuquerque Intl. Balloon Fiesta releases 2022 attendance totals

Pawn Stars at the American Helicopter Museum – Scheduled to air on the History Channel on November 16, 2022.

Eastern Airlines Flight 401 50th Anniversary Memorial Monument – Dedication December 29, 2022, at 1:00 pm. Contact flt401memorial@gmail.com for more information. For donations:

By check payable to National Air Disaster Foundation. Note on your check that it is for Eastern 401. 100% of your tax-deductible donation goes toward the memorial. Send your check to: National Air Disaster Foundation, 2020 Pennsylvania Ave NW, #315, Washington, DC 20006.

By credit card visit www.PlaneSafe.org and click Donation.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, and Max Trescott.

714 Airline Contact Centers

We learn about airline contact centers with an expert in that field, and we talk with a Hollywood pilot and aerial coordinator who is widely known for his work on Top Gun Maverick and other major blockbusters. In the news, Boeing and Airbus are both having narrowbody delivery problems, a new US aircraft carrier reaches a milestone, a new avionics market report has some good news, and the French BEA investigates pilots who didn’t follow procedure.

Airline Contact Centers

Justin Robins from contact center company UJET.
Justin Robins

Justin Robins has had a long career in customer experience and contact centers, working at companies like Network Solutions, Intercontinental Hotels, Grizzly Industrial, and Hershey Entertainment and Resorts. His expertise is in contact center quality assurance, training and development, and workforce optimization.

Justin is Senior Director, Corporate Communications & Evangelism at UJET. The company provides a cloud-based call center application that integrates with CRM (customer relationship management) solutions.

Justin discusses airline customer contact centers broadly, including value to the airlines, contact center metrics, and utilizing the data that accumulates. He also explains reactive versus proactive service and how channels have changed over time – beginning with 800 phone numbers, then email and web-based chat, social media, and now smartphone apps.

He explains the UJET approach where the contact center system is purpose-built for the airline CRM system. Justin sees a contact center future with increased automation, self-service, and proactive outbound service.

Justin has significant experience as a keynote speaker and business consultant and is frequently recognized as one of the top experts to follow in contact center and customer experience.

Hollywood Aerial Coordinator

Kevin Larosa
Kevin Larosa

Kevin Larosa (“K2”) is a sought-after pilot and Hollywood aerial coordinator who has worked on over 100 different motion picture and commercial productions. He’s Known for his work on major blockbusters like Top Gun Maverick, The Avengers, Iron Man, Transformers, and The Last Knight.

Kevin is licensed to fly a variety of aircraft ranging from helicopters and airplanes to Learjets and more. He’s an ATP-rated pilot trained and certified in a number of aircraft, holding type ratings in several Learjet models in addition to the C-130/ L-382 Hercules and the Sikorsky S-70/ UH-60. Kevin also holds an FAA Part 107 UAS rating for flying unmanned aircraft. He’s a member of the Screen Actors Guild and the Motion Picture Pilots Association.

Aviation News

Boeing’s Problems Mount (GE and Raytheon Take Note)

Boeing Is Removing Engines From Built 737 MAX Inventory Amid Supply Chain Problems

Is recovery at risk from a broken supply chain?

Supply chain problems are affecting both Boeing and Airbus narrowbody deliveries. Boeing is delivering 31 737 MAX jets per month compared to a pre-pandemic rate of 52 per month. Airbus is building 40 A320 family aircraft per month against a target of 75 per month by 2025. Engine suppliers are behind and Boeing plans to take engines off previously built 737 MAX aircraft and install them on newly produced airplanes. 

The nation’s newest aircraft carrier, the Enterprise, reaches a milestone

Newport News Shipbuilding just laid the keel for the USS Enterprise, a Ford-class aircraft carrier. At over 1,100 feet long and weighing some 100,000 tons, the ship is powered by two nuclear reactors and features an electromagnetic catapult. Completion is expected by 2028.

AEA Unveils Second-Quarter 2022 Avionics Market Report

The Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) second-quarter avionics market report shows worldwide business and general aviation avionics sales up 11.7% from the first quarter, the eighth consecutive quarter of increasing sales. This is a 15.8% increase in total sales compared to the first six months of 2021, driven by a 35.6% increase in forward-fit sales compared to the same time frame one year ago.

Air France pilots suspended after brawling in cockpit

In June 2021, two pilots in the cockpit of an Airbus A320 became engaged in an altercation. The copilot would not comply with certain instructions and the captain grabbed him by the collar. There may have been a slap involved. A flight attendant broke up the fight. Air France has suspended the two pilots.

Crew of fuel-leak A330 did not shut down engine before suboptimal diversion

A French BEA investigation determined that the crew on a December 2020 Air France flight at cruise noticed the fuel level was 1.4 tons below what it should have been. The captain went on a rest break asking the first officer and relief pilot to monitor the fuel level. After about 20 minutes, the discrepancy on the A330-200 had increased to 2.1 tons. The captain was recalled and fuel leak procedures were implemented, with the exception of a required engine shutdown.  BEA says the captain’s decision to leave the engine running was not questioned.

Mentioned

Top 10 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Boeing

Video: 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Boeing

Hosts this Episode

Your hosts: Max Flight and Max Trescott.

712 Digital Co-pilot

The founder and CEO of AeroSys describes the company’s digital co-pilot. Deliveries of the 787 Dreamliner resume, a personal eVTOL, USAF eVTOL pilot training requirements, A-10 Warthog modernization updates, Wheels Up partners with ATP to draw in pilots, the Regional Airline Association disagrees with ALPA over the pilot shortage, and the B-52H may receive a new designation.

Digital Co-pilot

In this Beyond the Press Release installment, we talk with Mirko Hahn, founder, and CEO of AeroSys. The company is developing Goose, which they say is the world’s first certified digital co-pilot for commercial and general aviation. Goose is an AI-based, offline-capable voice assistant.

AeroSys says its mission is “to make single-pilot journeys at least as safe as a multi-crew flight and to replicate the pilot monitoring for all the operations where a second human pilot is not present.” Aviation Entrepreneurship and Innovation Correspondent Hillel Glazer recorded this interview at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022.

Aviation News

U.S. approves Boeing inspection, rework plan to resume 787 deliveries

The FAA has approved Boeing’s 787 inspection and modification plan and the company has resumed Dreamliner deliveries. On August 10, 2022, Boeing delivered a 787-8 to American Airlines. In September 2020, the FAA announced it was “investigating manufacturing flaws” in some 787 jetliners and deliveries of the 787 were halted in May 2021.

On Sale Flying Car Requires No LIcense

The Jetson One eVTOL from Sweeden weighs 86 kilograms (190 pounds) and is classified as an ultralight. Thus, no license is required to fly it. With a 20-minute flight time and a 102 km/hr top speed, the Jetson One can be ordered with a $22,000 deposit and a $70,000 final payment. However, production is sold out through 2023.

Video: Jetson ONE – Official Launch

Also: The brilliant Engineering behind Jetson ONE (video).

US Air Force Awards Contract for APTIMA to Evaluate Pilot Trainings on EVTOL Aircraft

The US Air Force awarded Aptima a contract to identify pilot competency requirements for eVTOL operations. Using simulators of various eVTOL prototypes with different levels of automation, Aptima will determine the training needed for eVTOL pilots. Aptima training scientist Samantha Emerson said: “The learnability study will help us not only understand the baseline pilot skills and competencies needed for proficient eVTOL flight, but also the impact of automation on pilot performance.”

A-10 Warthog’s Tusks Are Being Sharpened For A High-End Fight

The A-10 Thunderbolt II (or “Warthog”) is undergoing a modernization effort to support fifth-generation fighters. The A-10 has 10 pylons and can deploy a number of standoff weapons. Being considered are the ADM-160 Miniature Air-Launched Decoy (MALD) and the GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bomb (SDB). In the future, the AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) is a possibility.

Wheels Up Partners with ATP for Pilots

Under the new agreement with ATP Flight School, Wheels Up can interview flight instructors with at least 1,000 hours. At 1,200 hours, if they are selected, the instructors can transition first officers on Beechcraft King Air 350, Cessna Citation CJ3, or Beechjet 400 aircraft. Wheels Up members can book private aircraft from the company’s fleet, as well as from third-party operators.

RAA Responds to Inaccurate Data on Pilot Supply

The Regional Airline Association (RAA) and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) don’t agree if there is really a pilot shortage. In response to New FAA Data Shows U.S. Pilot Production Remains Strong from ALPA, the RAA issued a statement, RAA Responds to Inaccurate and Misleading Data on Pilot Shortage [PDF]. RAA claims ALPA “release[d] misleading comments and graphics seeking to deny the existence of a real and worsening pilot shortage.”

B52 to Receive at Least One New Designation After New Equipment Designation

The B-52H is getting new engines (Rolls-Royce F130s) as well as active, electronically scanned array radar, cockpit displays, and other changes. That could mean it’s time to move on from “H,” possibly to the B-52J or B-52K. The Air Force hasn’t decided yet on the new variant.

Mentioned

Wings Set Aviation Movie Standard in 1927

Video: New Lowest Landing? Wizzair Airbus A321neo Landing at Skiathos Airport

Yet another spectacular landing at Skiathos Airport (Greece), possibly lower than the famous Air Italy 737-800 approach!

Small plane crash lands on 91 Freeway in Corona

Hosts this Episode

Your hosts: Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, Rob Mark, and Hillel Glazer.

710 Plane Crash

A 737 plane crash flight attendant tells her story. In the news, JetBlue plans to purchase Spirit Airlines, Piper Aircraft and CAE partner on electric aircraft, 2 million aviation professionals needed, FAA wants secondary fight deck barrier, EAA Airventure Oshkosh 2022 numbers.

Miami Air plane crash site, courtesy NTSB.
Miami Air crash site, courtesy NTSB.

Guest

Melissa Gonzalez

Melissa Gonzalez was a flight attendant aboard Miami Air International Flight 293 on May 3, 2019. The charter from Guantanamo Bay carried military and civilian personnel. While attempting to land on an ungrooved runway in heavy rain at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, the Boeing 737-800 overran the runway, crashed over the seawall, and came to a rest in the St. Johns River.

In this episode, we learn about something we hope to never personally encounter – a plane crash – from someone who was not only there, but who was a member of the cabin crew. Melissa describes the chaos of a nighttime plane crash into the water and how her training overcame the resulting confusion. Thrust into a leadership role, she was instrumental in getting the passengers out of the plane and to safety.

In 2020, Miami Air declared bankruptcy and ceased operations. However, Melissa has a passion for flying and she’s now a flight attendant doing corporate gigs.

NTSB releases report on 2019 Miami Air crash at NAS Jax

National Transportation Safety Board Aviation Accident Final Report [PDF]

Miami Air plane crash site closeup.
Miami Air Flight 293, Courtesy NTSB.

Aviation News

Spirit terminates Frontier merger deal, paving way for possible JetBlue acquisition

Spirit Airlines has decided to pursue a merger with JetBlue and not Frontier Airlines. Spirit had urged shareholders to accept the Frontier offer but didn’t have the support. The final vote was canceled and Spirit terminated the agreement. The JetBlue offer is all cash. If Spirit shareholders agree to an acquisition, the Department of Justice would have to approve.

Piper Aircraft Partners with CAE to Create Electric Aircraft STC

The Piper Aircraft and CAE partnership intends to develop a conversion kit via a Supplemental Type Certificate for in-service Piper Archer (PA-28-181) aircraft. CAE will convert two-thirds of its Piper Archer training fleet and the conversion kit will be made available to third parties. H55 of Switzerland is set to provide the battery system and the kit will include a SAFRAN ENGINeUSTM 100 electric motor.

Boeing forecasts need for 2.1 million aviation professionals

Boeing has published its Pilot and Technician Outlook 2022 – 2041. “The commercial aviation industry (minus business aviation and helicopter operations) will need 602,000 new pilots, 610,000 new technicians, and 899,000 new cabin crew personnel globally over the next 20 years…”

FAA introduces rule requiring airlines to have secondary flight deck barrier

The FAA has proposed a rule that requires commercial airplanes to have a secondary flight deck barrier. In a statement, Air Line Pilots Association President Joe DePete said, “I am pleased that the FAA has finally taken the first step toward addressing this vulnerability after years of delay—delays caused by airline opposition and that have resulted in thousands of planes coming into service since 2001 without this critical security enhancement.” The proposed Saracini Enhanced Aviation Act is currently before Congress.

Installation and Operation of Flightdeck Installed Physical Secondary Barriers on Transport Category Airplanes in Part 121 Service

“This proposed rule would implement a mandate in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 by requiring that certain airplanes used to conduct domestic, flag, or supplemental passenger-carrying operations have an installed physical secondary barrier that protects the flightdeck from unauthorized intrusion when the flightdeck door is opened.” This document has a comment period that ends September 30, 2022.

David J. Higdon, Jr.

Our friend and fellow aviation podcaster Dave Higdon passed recently. See David Higdon Dies At 73 and the GoFundMe page Honor Dave with a brick at Brown Arch Osh.

Mentioned

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022: Facts and Figures for a Record-Setting Year

Rex Airlines announces plan to retrofit existing fleet with electric-propulsion engines in regional trial – ABC News

Hosts this Episode

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

709 Aviation Training

Aviation training at the University of Maine Augusta, Boeing and Airbus orders at Farnborough, Delta TechOps LEAP-1B MRO, a fighter market forecast, an open fan engine demonstrator, dropping the KC-46 co-pilot, electronic bag tags from Alaska Airlines, airline pilots who decide to exit the plane, and rebalancing travel demand and airline capacity.

Aviation Training at the University of Maine Augusta

Aviation training at UMA - the Cirrus SR20.
UMA’s new Cirrus SR20 G6

UMaine at Augusta prepping a new generation of students for the airline industry

The University of Maine Agusta offers aviation training with a Bachelor of Science in Aviation program, through a public-private partnership with Maine Instrument Flight

On the occasion of UMA’s introduction of their new Cirrus SR20, our Main(e) Man Micah speaks with:

  • Lt John Warren, Maine Air Guard KC-135 Pilot and UMA Graduate
  • Maj. Gen. Douglas A. Farnham, Adjutant General, Maine
  • Amber Kochaver, a recent Program graduate
  • Dr. Joseph Szakas, Interim President UMA
  • Greg Jolda, Aviation Program Director
Dr. Szakas flying the VR Simulator with Greg Jolda
Dr. Szakas flying the VR Simulator with Greg Jolda
UMA SR20 Being Admired - Gen Farnum and Greg Jolda
UMA SR20 Being Admired – Gen Farnum and Greg Jolda

Note that UMA also offers a program for remote pilots flying small unmanned aircraft or drones. The 8-course UAS certificate program allows you to become a certified FAA remote pilot.

Aviation News

Longtime EAA President Tom Poberezny dies as AirVenture 2022 kicks off

Experimental Aircraft Association president Tom Poberezny has died at the age of 75. Tom was EAA president from 1989-2010 and succeeded his father, EAA founder Paul Poberezny. EAA CEO and Chairman of the Board Jack Pelton said, “It is not lost on us that Tom’s passing occurred on the opening day of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, the event he led into world prominence as its chairman beginning in the 1970s.”

Boeing Arrives with Max Order Boon from Delta, ANA

At the 2022 Farnborough Airshow, Delta Air Lines ordered 100 Boeing 737 Max 10 jets with options for 30 more. All Nippon Airways ordered twenty 737 Max 8s and two 777-8F cargo variants.

Boeing Smokes Airbus at Farnborough Airshow

Boeing received 172 firm orders at Farnborough while Airbus saw 85 orders. However, Airbus holds a much more significant backlog than Boeing and received a commitment for 292 jets from Chinese customers recently.

Delta TechOps to provide maintenance services for next-gen LEAP engines

Delta TechOps will become a provider of MRO services for CMFI LEAP-1B engines. Delta TechOps provides support for Delta’s fleet of aircraft and more than 150 other aviation and airline customers worldwide.

Forecast International: Fighter Aircraft Market Worth $260B over Next 10 Years

Forecast International released a new study, “The Market for Fighter Aircraft” ($2050). The company projects over 3,855 fighters built from 2022 through 2031. In 2022 dollars, that represents $281.4 billion.

Airbus and CFM International launch a flight test demonstrator for advanced open fan architecture

Airbus and CFM International are collaborating on an open fan (open rotor or unducted fan) engine architecture. The Flight Test Demonstrator is under CFM’s Revolutionary Innovation for Sustainable Engine (RISE) technology demonstration program. Testing is on an A380 with the engine replacing the usual #2 engine.

Air Force Considers Dropping KC-46 Co-Pilot on Some MIssions

The Air Force’s Air Mobility Command is thinking about reducing crew size on Boeing KC-46 Pegasus tankers during dangerous missions. The concern is that a conflict in the Indo-Pacific region could involve a Chinese anti-aircraft missile attack. Tankers are particularly vulnerable.  Reducing the number of airmen onboard a tanker would minimize casualties.

This airline is launching electronic bag tags to speed up airport check-in

Alaska Airlines is selectively rolling out electronic bag tags that can be activated up to 24 hours before a flight with the Alaska Airlines mobile app. At the airport, touching your phone to the tag will display flight information. No check-in is required. The program starts at San Jose International Airport in California.

Captain Walks Off Alaska Airlines Flight After Fighting With First Officer

It was a disagreement between the two after a 90-minute weather delay. Following an announcement by the pilot, the plane returned to the gate. Live and Let’s Fly claims “a credible source” said the captain was arguing with ramp agents and barking orders.

Captain, Crew Abandon Passengers In Burning Plane

Reportedly, after an explosion and smoke on a Vueling plane, the captain and most of the crew ran out of the plane leaving passengers to fend for themselves.

It could be up to 3 years before flight capacity and pilot supply are ‘back in sync,’ American Airlines CEO says

CEO Robert Isom told investors the surge in demand is outpacing staffing levels. Mainline route capacity should be sufficient in about a year. Regional routes could take two or three years.

Mentioned

American Helicopter Museum Voted Best Museum for Families

History of El Avion

Hosts this Episode

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

707 Boeing 707

This episode is dedicated to the Boeing 707. Our guest is the facilities manager for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute which displays a Boeing VC-137C used as Air Force One for seven U.S. presidents. In the news, Lufthansa looks to reactivate some A380s, sometimes it’s a good idea to toss something into the cockpit, and how old planes are repurposed.

Boeing 707 in flight, courtesy Boeing.
Boeing 707, courtesy Boeing.

Guest

John Lehne is the facilities manager for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute, located at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

John’s responsibilities include the operations and maintenance of Foundation property and displayed artifacts, such as the Air Force One Pavilion and SAM 27000, the Boeing VC-137C aircraft used by the president of the United States.

In October 2005, John was asked to help the Foundation on a “temporary” basis. The completed Air Force One Pavilion was being transitioned from the general contractor to the Reagan Foundation. That “temporary” job turned into a 16+ year career with the Foundation.  

He also oversees construction projects, contracted services such as maintenance, and various trades, as well as special event logistics.  John has a small staff of foundation employees and outside contractors that make up his “on-site” facilities team.  It is an ever-changing job that presents some unique challenges, especially the care of the aircraft and other displays. 

Boeing 707

Our Main(e) Man Micah reflects on the history of the Boeing 707.

Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute

SAM 27000 was the second of two Boeing VC-137C United States Air Force presidential aircraft. It is a specially-built Model 707-353B that served seven United States presidents over 29 years.

SAM 27000 at Reagan Library in Simi Valley, by Rlwagner. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
SAM 27000 at Reagan Library

John explains the acquisition process and ownership of the aircraft, along with the transportation challenges to get it to the facility. He tells us about how the aircraft was prepared and the display constructed. We learn about the maintenance challenge in the face of large numbers of visitors who go through the aircraft. John describes the interior of the plane, including the presidential suite and other cabins. He also tells us about the other aircraft and exhibits at the site.

Video: Boeing VC-137C Air Force One – “SAM 27000 in Action” – 1982-88

Aviation News

Lufthansa to Reactivate Airbus A380

The airline anticipates increased travel demand in 2023 and is assessing the number of A380s they plan to reactivate. Delayed deliveries of other aircraft contributed to the decision to bring the A380 back into service. In 2021, Lufthansa announced a phase-out of some long-haul aircraft, including the A380. Six of the airplanes have been sold. Up to eight may be reactivated. Lufthansa plans to add more Airbus A350-900s and Boeing 787 and 777 airplanes to replace older aircraft.

Woman Forgets Purse While Boarding Flight. Ground Crew Does The Unthinkable

In a viral video, an airport worker throws a passenger’s forgotten purse from the edge of the passenger bridge to a pilot’s waiting hands in the cockpit window. It’s a perfectly executed toss.

10 Examples of How Old Planes were Transformed into New Businesses

Recycling old airplanes takes several forms: Some parts and components are sold into the used parts market. Others A few items become end up as aviation collectibles, artwork, and even functional furniture. What’s left over can be sold as scrap. This article gives some creative ways that old aircraft have been repurposed.

Mentioned

From the American Helicopter Museum & Education Center:

The Journey is the Reward

Palms to Pines Air Race – August 11 – 13, 2022.

NASA To Aviation Industry: We Can Develop Flight Tech To Cut Carbon Emissions

Hosts this Episode

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

705 Air Force One

Air Force One paint scheme and production problems, F-35s as Aggressors, Israeli extended range F-35s, Delta’s “juniority benefit,” Piedmont wage increases, and a U.S. Navy safety stand-down.

Air Force One
Air Force One

Aviation News

Hot mess: There’s a problem with Trump’s Air Force One paint job

Former President Donald Trump decided to replace the traditional Air Force One paint scheme with a different design that includes dark blue paint on the underbelly and engines. Reports say the dark color may cause cooling problems for some components. An Air Force spokesperson said the “…darker colors, among other factors, on the underside of the VC-25B aircraft might contribute to temperatures exceeding the current qualification limits of a small number of components.” 

Two days later…

Biden scraps Trump’s Air Force One paint scheme over cost

The Biden administration announced the new Air Force One planes will not change to the darker paint scheme. An administration official said, “The Trump paint scheme is not being considered because it could drive additional engineering, time, and cost.” Under the $3.9 billion fixed-price contract to modify two 747-8s, Boeing would have had to pay for any design changes.

Boeing Can’t Find Enough Workers to Build the New Air Force One

The Government Accountability Office says that Boeing is having difficulty finding enough skilled mechanics to work on the aircraft who can also pass strict security requirements. Supply chain delays and Boeing’s dispute with former subcontractor GDC Technics are contributing to the project headwind.

First F-35 Aggressor Dedicated To Replicating Chinese Threats Unveiled

The U.S. Air Force 65th Aggressor Squadron (AGRS) has been reactivated at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada using the F-35A Lightning II. The AGRS mission is “to know, teach and replicate fifth-generation air adversaries,” particularly the airpower capabilities emerging from China. See: 65th Aggressor Squadron reactivates at Nellis AFB with aggressor force of F-35s.

Israel Has Extended The Range Of Its F-35s

Israeli media reports indicate that the country has developed modifications to its F-35I fighters that give them enough range to reach Iranian targets without refueling. This could possibly come from external drop tanks or conformal fuel tanks. The Israelis have also developed a smart bomb that can be carried by their F-35s.

Delta’s ‘juniority benefit’ is saving the airline loads of cash after many of its higher-paid workers took buyouts in 2020, bucking the recent trend of companies paying more

After the federal payroll support program ran out in September 2020, most airlines furloughed workers to downsize their operations, But Delta targeted their highest-paid employees with buyouts, not furloughs. That left Delta with a relatively younger and lower-cost workforce. With the travel rebound and insufficient employees, airlines are scrambling to hire. That’s driving their workforce costs up. But Delta is able to hire younger staffers that cost less. Delta CEO Ed Bastian calls this a “juniority benefit.”

Significant wage bump for Piedmont PIlots [From Reddit.com]

A memo published to pilots by Piedmont Airlines VP, Flight Operations Stephen Keefer, and MEC Chairman Captain Ryan Miller stated that a tentative agreement (TA) had been reached for a labor contract extension through July 2029. The TA provides for wage increases for pilots, increased wage premium for Line Check Pilots, and commitment to improvements in flow-through to American.

After series of crashes, U.S. Navy to pause flight operations for safety reviews

After a spate of recent crashes, the U.S. Navy said it would pause all flight operations to conduct safety reviews and training. Units that were not deployed paused on June 13. Deployed units were to pause “at the earliest possible opportunity.” In the past few weeks:

  • A Navy pilot was killed when his F/A-18E Super Hornet crashed during a training mission.
  • An MV-22B Osprey crashed and killed five U.S. Marines during a training mission.
  • A Navy helicopter went down during a training flight and one person sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

Mentioned

The Journey is the Reward

Portland jetport’s main runway reopens, ending disruptions

Innovations in Flight – Outdoor Aviation Display at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum June 18, 2022, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.

3 Good Reasons Why The F-35 Was Not Featured In Top Gun: Maverick

Hosts this Episode

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