Tag Archives: Boeing

594 Coronavirus Impact on Airlines

The Coronavirus is heavily impacting the airlines, the entire travel industry, and global economies in general. Airlines are cutting back on flights, looking at hiring freezes and unpaid leave, flying empty planes to avoid losing valuable airport slots, and reassigning widebodies to fly narrowbody routes. We also look at hiring at Boeing, a congressional committee preliminary report on the 737 MAX, aviation event cancellations, the first A220 assembled at the Mobile, Alabama plant, the gigantic market forecast for air taxis, and a petition to drop gender-exclusive words from FAA and ICAO publications.

Coronavirus News

The Coronavirus (or COVID-19) continues to take its toll on airlines and the aviation industry in general. We discuss some of the effects of the virus and the actions being taken.

United trims schedules up to 20%, imposes hiring freeze amid coronavirus fears

Delta’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) website

Lufthansa Considers Grounding Entire Airbus A380 Fleet

Airlines are burning thousands of gallons of fuel flying empty ‘ghost’ planes so they can keep their flight slots during the coronavirus outbreak

IATA requests suspension of slot rules due to COVID-19

#PaxEx Podcast: Coronavirus and MAX grounding level one-two punch

Emirates Offers Leave to Staff as Virus Saps Demand for Travel

Southwest Airlines Has More Bad Coronavirus News for Travel Stocks

The (rare) travel upside to coronavirus? You might have a swankier plane on your spring flight

Trump seeks to stamp out airline bailout talk

Airlines, travel and cruise industries hurt by coronavirus could get tax relief from White House

In Other Aviation News…

Boeing Goes on Hiring Spree in High-Stakes Gamble on 737 Max

When Boeing halted 737 MAX production and redeployed workers, people wondered what all those mechanics would do. We now see that some were deployed to study and improve production processes. In addition, Boeing is looking ahead to the time when deliveries of the jet can resume, and they are staffing up to handle the task.

Boeing : Congressional Report Says MAX Crashes Stemmed From Boeing’s Design Failures and Lax FAA Oversight

After five public hearings over the last year into the design and certification of the 737 MAX, Democrats on the House Transportation Committee have released preliminary findings. The report notes Boeing’s engineering mistakes, a “culture of concealment,” and insufficient federal safety oversight.

Aero Friedrichshafen postponed over coronavirus concerns

AERO Friedrichshafen Postpones Due To Coronavirus Concerns; Sun ’n Fun Weighs In, Too

AERO Friedrichshafen is the big GA show for Europe but the event scheduled for April 1-4, 2020 has been postponed. The Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg is also postponed. As of now, Sun N’ Fun will take place as planned.

Airbus Receives No New Orders In February 2020

Airbus received 274 orders in January, but none in February, Boeing received no new orders in January. 

Airbus rolls out first A220 assembled in Mobile

The first A220 assembled at the Airbus Mobile, Alabama plant rolled off the line. The A220-300 jet is due to be delivered to Delta Air Lines by September. Jets for both Delta and JetBlue Airways will be assembled in Mobile.

The flying taxi market is ready for takeoff, changing the travel experience forever

Flying cars, electric air taxis, urban air mobility, call it what you like, but it’s not going away anytime soon. Companies investing in this idea include Airbus, Boeing, Bell, Toyota, Uber, and  Hyundai. A Morgan Stanley Research study published in January says “…autonomous urban aircraft may no longer be the stuff of comic books. Accelerating tech advances and investment could create a $1.5 trillion market by 2040.” Another study by Frost & Sullivan, sees a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of about 46% over the next 20 years with more than 430,000 units in operation by then.

Petition: Help Eliminate Gender-Exclusive Words that Keep Women out of Aviation

There are over 40,000 references to Airman or Airmen on the FAA’s website. ICAO’s website lists close to 2,000 airmen references. This petition asks the FAA and ICAO to remove gender-exclusive words from all their publications, on- and off-line. The petition is sponsored by the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide (iWOAW) – a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Montreal, Canada.

Mentioned

Flight Safety Detectives, Episode 14: Lion Air Accident Report Analysis.

592 FOD in the Fuel Tanks

This episode, we have an interview with the president of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen. In the news, more woes for Boeing with FOD discovered in undelivered 737 MAX airplanes and the DOJ is reported to be investigating the company. Also, the Coronavirus continues to disrupt commercial aviation, a solar electric UAV planned to stay aloft for a year, a new tail-rotor design from Bell that should be quieter and safer, and this year’s Collier Trophy nominees are announced.

Interview

Mel Payne, president, Greater Philadelphia Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen.

David Vanderhoof and Mel Payne, president, Greater Philadelphia Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen.

At the American Helicopter Museum, David talks with Mel Payne, president of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen.

Tuskegee in Philadelphia: Rising to the Challenge is the story of dozens of Philadelphia-area natives who served as fighter pilots, bombers, nurses, mechanics, and in many other support roles.

Aviation News

Boeing Finds Fuel-Tank Debris in Two-Thirds of 737 MAX Jets Inspected So Far — Update

Foreign Object Debris (FOD) has been a problem for Boeing. Two-thirds of the undelivered 737 MAX jets that have been inspected were found to contain tools, rags, and boot coverings in fuel tanks.

The DOJ is reportedly probing whether Boeing’s chief pilot misled regulators over the 737 Max

The Department of Justice wants to know if Boeing knowingly lied to the FAA while seeking certification of the 737 MAX. Boeing’s former 737 MAX chief pilot Mark Forkner was subpoenaed last year to answer questions from federal prosecutors in front of a grand jury. He invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Coronavirus flight cancellations top 200,000, sending jet fuel prices to more than 2-year lows

More than 200,000 flights, mostly in China, have been canceled as a result of the Coronavirus. Delta, United, and American have halted service to mainland China and Hong Kong. With the resulting decrease in demand, jet fuel prices have fallen 17% in 2020. For an excellent explanation of the virus, see: You’re Likely to Get the Coronavirus.

Solar airplane aims to stay afloat for a whole year

BAE Systems and Prismatic designed the unmanned solar-powered PHASA-35 airplane, and have tested it at the Royal Australian Air Force’s Woomera in South Australia. A High Altitude, Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (HALE UAV), this “pseudo-satellite” could provide persistent service for defense, security, resource management, and communications. Another high-altitude solar-electric airplane under development is the manned SolarStratos.

Bell’s New Design Could Make Helicopters Quieter—and Safer

Helicopters with a single main rotor need an additional tail rotor to counteract the torque of the main rotor. But the tail rotor contributes a lot of noise and represents a safety hazard on the ground. Bell has come up with a different approach: four smaller shrouded electric fans in the tail.

Video: Bell’s Electrically Distributed Anti-Torque EDAT

Trailblazing Projects to Compete for Collier Trophy

The National Aeronautic Association announced nine projects that will compete for the Robert J. Collier Trophy:

  • Airborne Collision Avoidance System Team
  • Bombardier Global 7500
  • Gulfstream G500 and G600
  • Hubble Space Telescope Team
  • magni500 Electric Propulsion System
  • Project Heaviside
  • Stratolaunch Carrier Aircraft
  • The United States Air Force-Boeing X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle Team
  • Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management Team

The Collier Trophy Selection Committee will meet on April 2, 2020, 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 11, 2020, at a location to be determined.

Mentioned

Big Ass Fans

Crisis Communications Training For Airline Executives

Airport webcams:

Airbus’s New Concept Passenger Plane Is for the Birds

Waco Air Museum

591 Aviation News

Airbus buys out Bombardier, the Gulfstream G700 makes its maiden flight, Airbus is testing a blended wing body aircraft, Boeing gets a 30 aircraft LOI for the passenger 747-8, Delta Airlines says they’ll spend $1B to become carbon neutral, a Canadian aviation museum seeks to appeal to people who aren’t #AvGeeks, the risks of turning off your ADS-B transponder, and the U.S. might block sale of the LEAP-1C engine to China.

Also, a great positive airline story of the week, an emergency AD for the Cirrus Vision Jet, the Girls Go Fly organization, a Harrier jump jet for sale, a really good sonic boom story, the oldest continuously operating military base in the world, and an addendum to last week’s baseball toss on a moving train scenario. Einstein would be proud. Perhaps.

Aviation News

Airbus Buys Bombardier Out Of Commercial Aviation For $591 Million

With this deal, Bombardier has fully exited the CSeries/A220 program. Bombardier receives $591 million, with $531 million paid at closing and $60 million to be paid in installments through 2021. Bombardier said with this deal the company avoids a roughly $700 million payment it would have had to make to fund production expansion. Airbus now holds 75% of Airbus Canada with the Government of Québec holding 25%, but Airbus can redeem the remaining government stake by 2026.

All-New Gulfstream G700 Makes First Flight

The Gulfstream G700 completed a successful two hour and 32-minute maiden flight, operating on a 30/70 blend of sustainable aviation fuel. Introduced in October 2019, the flagship G700 model has five flight-test aircraft. A structural test article has completed load testing. Powered by Rolls-Royce Pearl 700 engines, the G700 has an all-new winglet, it can fly at its high-speed cruise of Mach 0.90 for 6,400 nautical miles/11,853 kilometers or at its long-range cruise of Mach 0.85 for 7,500 nm/13,890 km.

Airbus reveals futuristic blended wing aircraft design

Airbus has been flying a small-scale, remote-controlled blended wing body aircraft demonstrator. They showed the 2-meter long model at the Singapore Air Show. If the MAVERIC (Model Aircraft for Validation and Experimentation of Robust Innovative Controls) leads to a full-scale aircraft, it could cut fuel consumption up to 20%.

Video: MAVERIC, a “blended wing body” scale model technological demonstrator

Boeing gets LOI for 30 747-8 passenger jets a deal worth over $10 billion

Boeing received a Letter of Intent from Avatar Airlines for the purchase of 30 new 747-8 passenger version aircraft. Boeing has been selling the 747-8F freighter, but no new passenger orders were received in 2019. Avatar plans to operate low-fare scheduled service to large major city pairs throughout the U.S. and Hawaii, beginning with fourteen 747-400s using aircraft currently in storage. Then the airline plans to transition to the 747-8 with 539 economy seats on the lower deck and 42 business seats on the upper deck

Investor Video: Avatar Airlines A Radical Departure 11 13 19 VER

Delta Air Lines Commits $1 Billion To Curb Its Carbon Emissions

Delta Air Lines wants to be the world’s first carbon-neutral airline. To do that, they say that starting March 1, 2020, they’ll commit $1 billion over the next 10 years. Press release: Delta commits $1 billion to become first carbon neutral airline globally. “The airline will invest in driving innovation, advancing clean air travel technologies, accelerating the reduction of carbon emissions and waste, and establishing new projects to mitigate the balance of emissions.”

Delta Airlines’ Claim Of Becoming Carbon Neutral In March Is Disingenuous At Best

Michael Barnard, the Chief Strategist with TFIE Strategy Inc. (The Future is Electric), is not so impressed, noting that the Delta outlay is about 0.2% of their annual revenue. He also takes issue with Delta’s statement that they will continue to use jet fuel.

The aviation museum for people who don’t care about aviation

If you are not an #AvGeek, aviation museums can be boring. But the Canada National Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa aims “to spark interest in those who don’t think they care about planes — especially (but not exclusively) women, who often don’t feel like aviation museums are a place for them.” The museum wants visitors to hear stories about people who are like them. Curator Erin Gregory says, “One of my goals as a curator is to feminize the collection and to try to have the floor be much more representative of all the people who fly, including women. I’m working to revise and revamp the museum to make it as inclusive as possible.”

Turn Off Your ADS-B, Go To Jail?

The FAA posted a National Policy effective January 24, 2020 [PDF] that deals, in part, with ADS-B transponders:

Page 9-13 says, “Single Acts of Misconduct Generally Warranting Revocation. Some acts of misconduct are, by their very nature, so egregious or significant as to demonstrate that the certificate holder does not possess the care, judgment, or responsibility to hold a certificate. These acts include, but are not limited to, those listed in Figure 9-5.”

The referenced Figure 9-5 lists 30 Single Acts Generally Warranting Revocation. One is “Operating an aircraft without activated transponder or ADS-B Out transmission (except as provided in 14 C.F.R. § 91.225(f)) for purposes of evading detection.”

See also, Owners seek battery ADS-B in nonelectrical aircraft.

U.S. weighs blocking GE engine sales for China’s new airplane: sources

In order to export certain technologies to China (and some other countries), you need an export license from the U.S. Commerce Department. The Chinese Comac C919 uses LEAP-1C engines produced by CFM, International, a joint venture between General Electric and the French company Safran. There are reports that the U.S. Government is considering denying GE’s latest license request, thus blocking those exports.

FAA Emergency AD Grounds Cirrus Jet Fleet

A cabin ground fire destroyed a first-generation Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet on the ramp, and the FAA responded with an emergency airworthiness directive AD 2020-03-50 grounding the fleet. The problem is with audio amplifiers that drive the audio/microphone jacks in the passenger cabin. The AD requires removal of the 12 amplifiers before the next flight, typically an 8-hour task.

Positive Airline Story of the Week

A couple flew home with their adopted infant. Strangers threw an impromptu baby shower on the plane.

A couple flying home on Southwest with their 8-day old adopted daughter found lots of love from the flight attendants and the other passengers.

Mentioned

Save runway 6-24 at Chicago Executive Airport. A safety runway needed by small planes.

Girls Go Fly

Barbie releases pilot and engineer dolls to encourage young girls into STEM subjects

International Women’s Day, March 8, 2020.

Airshow Harrier For Sale

With a Loud KABOOM, an F-105 Upstaged Our Air Force Graduation

590 Richard Aboulafia

David Neeleman’s new airline, Breeze Aviation; Boeing’s board of directors, the 737 MAX, the NMA, and the FSA; United’s flight school purchase; NASA’s experimental X-59 jet and the prospects for supersonic transport; and a Southwest Airlines Teddy bear. Plus, the Igor Sikorsky Weekend Fly-In, other upcoming aviation events, the EAA mobile unit, carbon monoxide detectors and pulse oximetry, and a physics lesson.

Guest

Richard Aboulafia

Richard Aboulafia

Richard Aboulafia is Vice President, Analysis at Teal Group. He manages consulting projects for clients in the commercial and military aircraft field, and has advised numerous aerospace companies. He also writes and edits Teal’s World Military and Civil Aircraft Briefing, a forecasting tool covering over 135 aircraft programs and markets. Richard also writes publicly about the aviation field, with numerous articles in Aviation Week, Aerospace America, and other publications. Frequently cited as an aviation industry authority by trade and news publications, he has appeared on numerous television news programs and has spoken at a wide variety of conferences.

Aviation News

JetBlue founder unveils new, Utah-based ‘world’s nicest airline’

The new airline being started by David Neeleman will be known as Breeze Aviation, headquartered in Utah. Neeleman’s previous startups include Morris Air, WestJet, JetBlue, and Azul. Breeze will nonstop fly between currently underserved airports. Breeze ordered 60 new Airbus 220-300 aircraft, with deliveries beginning in April 2021. The company leased 30 Embraer 195 aircraft from Azul, which will be delivered starting May 2020.

Experts question whether Boeing’s board of directors is capable of righting the company

Some think the Boeing board took a long time to fire Muilenberg. Is that an indicator of the board’s ability to deal with the crisis Boeing faces? New CEO Dave Calhoun says the board repeatedly considered confidence, but then in December decided it was lost. Richard Aboulafia was quoted: “The board you see today was largely created by McNerney, and he packed it with people with zero engineering experience.”

United Airlines buys flight-training academy to speed up hiring of 10,000 pilots

United Airlines needs to hire more than 10,000 pilots during the next decade. The airline is buying the Westwind School of Aeronautics in Phoenix, a flight-training academy, with plans to bring student pilots into the academy with zero flight experience to become fully-rated commercial pilots.

NASA’s experimental X-59 supersonic jet could be built by the end of 2020

The X-59 QueSST is designed to test “quiet” supersonic transport over land. The aircraft was approved for final assembly in 2019. NASA commissioned Lockheed Martin to build the plane and they expect to have it completed by the end of 2020. First flight is expected in 2021.

Video: Quiet Supersonic X-Plane

Unbearably cute: A boy lost his teddy bear on a Southwest flight – so the airline sent him a new one

 After a young boy lost his favorite Teddy bear on a Southwest flight during the Thanksgiving holiday, his mother took to social media to try and locate the Teddy. The airline assigned an employee to find the bear but after an investigation, the Teddy couldn’t be located. So the corporate office decided to send the boy a new Teddy bear along with a storyline on how it was coming to live with the boy.

Mentioned

Igor I. Sikorsky Weekend Fly-In at The Bradford Camps on Munsungun Lake in northern Maine.  Meals and private lodging in waterfront cabins are included. July 10-12,  2020.

College Park Aviation Museum

That Last Decade, by Courtney Miller.

The Air Current Expands with new analysis, new director

The Experimental Aircraft Association will deliver the excitement of flight throughout the United States in 2020 as EAA’s “Spirit of Aviation” mobile unit, sponsored by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), visits numerous events in 2020. The traveling experiential exhibit introduces EAA to enthusiasts through aviation activities for people of all ages.

AOPA’s 2020 Fly-ins (now in AvGeekFests.com)

#StormCiara at London Heathrow – 20+ Go-Arounds and Crosswind Landings!!

 

589 Coronavirus Impacts Aviation

What the Coronavirus means for air travelers, airlines, and other aviation-related activities. Also, a “test flight” program for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the only US state without commercial airline service, the Collings Foundation institutes a ground tour policy, former CEO Dennis Muilenburg’s departure package is announced, a Boeing announcement about the NMA, and the crash that killed Kobe Bryant and 8 others.

Aviation News

The Coronavirus is impacting air travelers, airlines, and other aviation-related activities:

‘Test flight’ for people with disabilities to practice air travel

The Wings for All Program is designed for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to make the flying experience better, or even possible. For many with these disabilities, the anxiety of being at an airport and flying on a plane can be enough to keep them from traveling by air. This program offers “flight tests” where the airport experience can be practiced in advance. Chapters of The Arc, local partners, and airport/airline/TSA personnel work collaboratively to design and carry out each Wings event.

There’s only one US state with no commercial airline service. That’s about to change

Delaware is the second-smallest US state, with a population of 967,171 in 2018, and a total area of 1,982 square miles, and it is the only state with no regular commercial airline service. Now, Frontier Airlines is returning to the Wilmington – New Castle Airport (ILG) May 14, 2020 with nonstop flights to Orlando. The airline left Delaware in 2015.

Collings Foundation agrees to offer ground-only tours following last fall’s deadly crash.

The Collings Foundation said it will now only offer ground tours for its airplanes. The foundation was the owner of the B-17 that crashed at Bradley Airport last year. This was part of an agreement it reached with the FAA. Hunter Chaney, director of marketing of the Collings Foundation said, “We have agreed to a temporary stand-down with our LHFE flights (living history flight exemption) as we work with the FAA thoroughly addressing questions regarding operations. We hope to have this resolved soon and continue this extraordinary living history experience.”

Boeing’s fired CEO got his $62 million payout confirmed the same day 2,800 people in the 737 Max supply chain were laid off

Former CEO Dennis Muilenburg forfeits a $14.6 million severance package, contractually receives equity and pension benefits valued at $62.2 million and retains stock options worth about $18.5 million. New CEO David Calhoun receives a $28 million compensation package, including a $7 million long term incentive award.

Boeing collapses NMA and FSA into a single search for its next airplane

Boeing’s new CEO, David Calhoun sent the NMA back to the drawing board to start with a clean sheet of paper. The New Mid-Market Airplane had planned to hold 220-270 seats.

NTSB details the final moments of the helicopter before it crashed, killing Kobe Bryant and 8 others

In his final transmission, the pilot of a helicopter that crashed, killing nine people including NBA legend Kobe Bryant, told air traffic control he was climbing to avoid a cloud layer, the National Transportation Safety Board said Monday.

Mentioned

Aviation Festival Americas 2020

Spray planes combat billions of locusts in Kenya

A350 engine shutdown incidents linked to cockpit drink spills

585 Wings Over New Zealand, Australia, and Britain

Preservation of World War II aviation history with Dave Homewood. In the news, we look at labor contract negotiations at US airlines, the latest on the 737 MAX crisis, the safest airlines to fly in 2020, the Punctuality League 2020 results, a great story from United Airlines, and why the A-10 Warthog can’t be stopped.

Guest

Dave Homewood on his ride. Photo by Stu Russell.

Dave Homewood goes for a ride. Photo by Stu Russell.

Dave Homewood is a New Zealander who grew up in an aviation-loving home. He joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1989 and served as a Safety Equipment Technician in the Safety And Surface trade till 1993. Along the way, Dave developed a huge interest in WWII air force history.

Living in Cambridge, he began researching the people from his town who’d served in the Air Force in WWII. That massive Wings Over Cambridge project continues today, along with the Wings Over New Zealand Aviation Forum that has become a hub for the New Zealand aviation community.

Dave created a podcast called the Wings Over New Zealand Show, or WONZ, and even hosted a live version of the show for several years. Taking the show on the road to Australia with James Kightly to visit museums, aircraft collections, restoration shops, and an airshow, Wings Over Australia was born containing interviews with interesting Aussie aviation personalities.

Dave interviews wartime Spitfie pilot Jim Robinson.  Photo by Peter Wheeler.

Dave interviews wartime Spitfire pilot Jim Robinson. Photo by Peter Wheeler.

This year, Dave plans to create a similar sub-series, Wings Over Britain, traveling to England to visit museums, airfields, aircraft collections, airshows and memorials and interview people involved in aviation there and particularly in the preservation of both warbirds and the memories of the people they represent.

Dave says he “will weave into the series the stories of the thousands of New Zealanders who traveled halfway around the world to fly and fight in the defense of Britain and the liberation of Europe in WWII. Particularly of note will be marking the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain, and also the Battle of France. During both battles, New Zealanders made up the largest number of non-UK pilots and aircrew to take part. I’ll also cover Kiwis taking the fight to Europe, including D-Day, and also Kiwis in the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm, and probably a few stories of Kiwis who also flew and fought in WWI.”

Dave is the editor of Sport Flying magazine and does freelance writing as well as research for other writers, and for warbird aircraft owners tracing the history of their airplanes, and for families seeking info on their ancestors who flew or served in the RNZAF. He also interviews veterans for his Courage And Valour: New Zealanders in the Italian Campaign podcast.

Aviation News

US airlines are set for a 10th year of profits. More than 120,000 employees want a raise

After ten consecutive years of profitability for airlines, organized labor is looking to share in the good fortune and also advance some quality-of-life benefits. Labor agreements with over 120,000 unionized airline employees are scheduled for this year.

737 crisis leaves Boeing badly behind in race with Airbus

2019 was a “disastrous year” for Boeing and 2020 will be “precarious.” Boeing has new leadership, the company is hemorrhaging financial resources, engineering resources are focused on the 737 MAX, and Boeing has lost strategic advantage to Airbus. Boeing faces a damaged reputation with airlines, regulators, pilots, and the flying public.

Revealed: The safest airlines to fly in 2020

Airlineratings.com announced the Top Twenty Safest Airlines for 2020: Qantas, Air New Zealand, EVA Air, Etihad, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Alaska Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Virgin Australia, Hawaiian Airlines, Virgin Atlantic Airlines, TAP Portugal, SAS, Royal Jordanian, Swiss, Finnair, Lufthansa, Aer Lingus, and KLM.

The site also announced the Top Ten Safest Low-Cost Airlines for 2020, in alphabetical order: Air Arabia, Flybe, Frontier, HK Express, IndiGo, Jetblue, Volaris, Vueling, Westjet, and Wizz.

United’s Fantasy Flight Makes Holiday Wishes Come True

For many years, United Airlines has taken children in need on a “Fantasy Flight to the North Pole.” This season, flights originated from 16 cities around the world.

Delta Air Lines is the Most Punctual Mega Airline in the U.S. for the Third-Straight Year, According to OAG’s Punctuality League 2020

OAG announced the results of its Punctuality League 2020, and Delta ranked number 1 for U.S. airlines in the Mega Airline category for a third consecutive year with an OTP of 83.56%. The U.S. remains a world leader for punctuality, finishing with four of the top 10 most punctual Mega Airlines and six of the top 10 Mega Airports globally.

Why It Seems Like Nothing Can Stop the A-10 Warthog

The U.S Air Force has given up trying to retire the A-10 and will instead upgrade the aircraft.

Mentioned

John Mollison from Old Guys and Their Airplanes has a new film titled The Mettle Behind the Merit – The Steve Pisanos Story. Produced with the Distinguished Flying Cross Society, it is about an immigrant who came to live the American Dream and ended up an ace and WWII war hero. An Educator’s Kit is available to bring the story into the classroom.

Important Charter Guidance for Pilots and Passengers – The FAA says this posting will be removed on January 19, 2020.

Contact Ground, Point Niner – OpenAirplane.com and FlyOtto.com have shut down.

583 Flight Planning with SkyVector

We talk about flight planning with the founder and CEO of SkyVector. In the news, we look at transferring funding for light attack planes to the U.S. Special Operations Command, the Aircraft Noise Reduction Act, Boeing’s Board of Directors’ decision to pause 737 MAX production, and Alaska Airlines ugly holiday sweater promotion. We also have the Australia News Desk from the boys down under.

Guest

David Graves, founder and CEO of the SkyVector flight planning system.

David Graves, founder and CEO of the SkyVector flight planning system.

David Graves is the founder and CEO of SkyVector, which provides worldwide aeronautical charts, online mapping, and related flight planning products and services. The company combines its aeronautical mapping capability with weather and data overlays, airport information, FBO listings, and more.

In 2003, David was working as a programmer for a Seattle startup. He took an introductory flight with a small flight school at Boeing Field and his first solo came after 4 months and 20 hours. He earned his private pilot’s license about a year later.

SkyVector.com flight planning went on-line in the fall of 2006 and by the end of 2009, it was experiencing over 100,000 unique users a month.  In 2010, David quit his job to work on SkyVector full-time. The World VFR and World IFR charts went live in 2012. Flight Plan filing went live in 2015, and at the end of the decade, SkyVector is being visited by over 550,000 unique users per month.

David explains some of the discriminators of flight planning services, the SkyVector user interface, and interaction with other flight planning products. We discuss data sources and improvements in accuracy and learn about the Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor (MRMS) project which utilizes an automated system that integrates data from multiple radars and other sources to generate seamless, high spatio-temporal resolution mosaics. (Be sure to see the Operational Product Viewer.)

We touch on the SkyVector map layer with unmanned aircraft Notams (or “Drotams”), compare the new electronic flight planning tools with the “old” paper and pencil methods, and look at future flight planning developments.

Aviation News

Congress may have given the Air Force an exit door for the light attack aircraft program

Congress wants the Air Force to consider transferring some funding allocated for light attack planes to U.S. Special Operations Command.

Congressman Neguse introduces Aircraft Noise Reduction Act

U.S. Congressman Joe Neguse representing the 2nd District of Colorado has introduced legislation that would give local general aviation airports the power to set noise restrictions. Currently, airports must get approval from the FAA if they want to establish curfews or other noise-based restrictions on flight operations. See also, Congressman Neguse Introduces Legislation to Expand Local Control of Airports in Northern Colorado

Boeing will halt 737 production in January, following two fatal MAX crashes

At the Boeing Board of Directors meeting on December 16, 2019, a decision was made to pause 737 MAX commercial production in January 2020. Boeing will not lay off any employees during the production halt. See also, Halt or Curb 737 Max Production? Boeing Faces Difficult Decision.

Ugly sweater time! Alaska Airlines to give priority boarding to people in holiday gear

December 20, 2019, is National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. It’s celebrated on the third Friday of December each year. Sometimes it’s called National Ugly Holiday Sweater Day, or simply National Ugly Sweater Day. In any event, Alaska Airlines has a promotion and passengers wearing a holiday sweater on December 20 will be allowed to board early.

Australia News Desk

Steve Visscher and Grant McHerron bring us a news report from the Australia Desk.

Mentioned

From Jon Ostrower’s The Air Current: Pilot procedure confusion adds new complication to Boeing 737 Max return

‘World’s first’ fully-electric commercial flight takes off

Uber Air & NASA Launch Airspace Simulation To Enable eVTOL Future

Video: Uber Air

Top Gun: Maverick trailers

Voice of NBAA Podcasts Pete Combs Heads West

581 AERObridge and Disaster Response

AERObridge coordinates business and general aviation aircraft for disaster response in times of need. In the news, we look at airliner formation flying, IndiGo engine failures, Boeing’s hand in X-Wing drones, a volcanic eruption forcing a turnback, a jet blast injury, a bill to spur transportation careers, and slipping a president out of the country.

AERObridge disaster response.

Disaster response flight. Courtesy AERObridge.

Guest

Trevor Norman is the AERObridge national chapter coordinator. AERObridge is a non-profit organization that coordinates donated business and general aviation aircraft to provide disaster response in times of catastrophic emergencies. They transport critically needed items and personnel to where they are needed.

Trevor explains how AERObridge matches aircraft with emergency response teams and critical supplies. The organization delivers aid from donors like AirCare Alliance and Crossroads Alliance. We discuss how AERObridge coordinates with other organizations and local agencies, and how pilots are vetted and matched with missions that fit with their aircraft and their skills. Trevor describes how no two disasters are the same and the need to be flexible and change plans on a moment’s notice.

As a non-profit organization, AERObridge accepts donations of time, talent, and treasure.

Aviation News

Airbus Wants To Fly 2 Planes In Extra-Close Formation, Like Geese, To Save Energy

Geese fly in V-formations because they are aerodynamically more efficient than all of them flying alone. If airliners employ the same technique, they could find a 5 to 10% fuel savings on a long oceanic flight.

Pilots Revving Engines Too Hard Led to IndiGo’s Airbus Woes

IndiGo has been experiencing A320neo turbine failures in its Pratt & Whitney GTF engines and they’ve seen 13 engine shutdowns this year. Interestingly, Go Airlines India flying the same equipment has not seen these problems. India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation says IndiGo’s practice of running up A320neo jets at full thrust right after takeoff could wear down the engines.

Disney’s Plan To Fly X-Wings Over Star Wars Park Speaks To Perception Manipulation Tactics

Boeing may have been working to help Disney Imagineers create ⅔ scale X-Wing drones based on Boeing’s NeXt Cargo Air Vehicle.

Watch: Cargo Air Vehicle Completes First Outdoor Flight

Volcanic eruption forces flight with large cargo of horses onboard to turn back

KLM flight KL685 from Amsterdam to Mexico City was heading toward volcanic activity from Popocatepetl, just outside their destination. Because of the “unfavourable flying conditions” and the cargo of horses, the flight had to return to Schiphol. “Landing at another airport was not possible, because of the visa requirements of passengers and as there was a large cargo of horses onboard.”

NTSB releases report on woman injured in jet blast incident, family shares video

A woman boarding a private jet in October at Augusta Regional Airport was seriously injured when the jet blast from another aircraft knocked her over. The National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary report on the incident indicating that while the airport and the FBO had a protocol for aircraft being marshaled into the taxiway, there was no protocol for aircraft leaving the area.

Bipartisan bill would spur transportation careers

The Promoting Service in Transportation Act was recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill authorizes the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop and publish public service announcements in digital, print, and broadcast media which highlight the need for more professional airline pilots, safety inspectors, mechanics and technicians, air traffic controllers, and flight attendants, as well as railroad workers, truck drivers, and other transportation industry professionals. News release: Larsen, Young and Craig Introduce Bill to Promote Transportation Career Opportunities

What Aircraft Snuck Trump Out Of Florida On His Way To Afghanistan For Thanksgiving?

President Trump visited the Afghanistan combat zone, but he had to be whisked out of Florida without being noticed, possibly on a Senior Leader In-transit Pallet (SLIP).

Mentioned

Jacinda Ardern apologises for Air New Zealand Erebus tragedy at 40th anniversary event

The White Silence and Erebus Flight 901: Litany of lies? podcasts discuss the Erebus crash and its aftermath.

Recording screenshot

Clockwise from top left: David Vanderhoof, Max Flight, Lily the Cat, Trevor Norman.

580 Dubai Airshow 2019

News from the 2019 Dubai Airshow, Boeing’s 737 MAX 10, splitting up families who want to sit together on the airplane, NTSB findings on the fatal Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 accident, and a commercial aerial tanker company. Also, the application of structural batteries to aircraft, flying in formation down under, and romance in the air.

Dubai Airshow 2019

The 2019 Dubai Airshow ran November 17 – 21, reportedly with 1300 exhibitors, 100 aircraft on display, and around 90,000 in attendance over the five days. We talk about some of the aircraft orders placed and other topics from the airshow.

The Truth Is That Emirates Net Canceled $20 Billion Of Aircraft Orders At The Dubai Airshow—Contrary To Headlines

Dubai Air Show wraps up with $54.5b in deals

Honda Aircraft Reports Global Expansion

Video: Dubai Airshow 2019 – Watch the weeks highlights

Aviation News

Boeing Debuts 737 MAX 10

The largest Boeing 737 MAX is the MAX 10, and the company debuted the aircraft at its Renton, Washington facility. Boeing says they currently have more than 550 orders and commitments for the aircraft. With a range of 3,300 NM and maximum seating for 230 passengers, Boeing says it will offer the lowest seat-mile cost of any single-aisle airplane yet produced.

Boeing’s 737 Max shouldn’t be allowed to fly with a controversial flight-control system, an aviation regulator reportedly said in leaked emails

Reportedly, the Transport Canada Civil Aviation manager of aircraft integration and safety assessment sent an email saying the “only way I see moving forward at this point, is that MCAS has to go.” The manager’s email was sent to the FAA, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, and the National Civil Aviation Agency in Brazil.

Sen. Schumer to airlines: Stop splitting up families on flights

The FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016 directed the Department of Transportation to study guidelines that would keep families together on airlines. Carriers were to have policies that keep parents and children under 13 sitting together. But that hasn’t happened and Senator Chuck Schumer from New York isn’t happy. See Family Seating from the DOT for tips.

NTSB Issues 7 Safety Recommendations Based on Findings from Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 Investigation

As a result of the engine failure on Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 on April 17, 2018, material pierced the fuselage and caused the cabin to depressurize, with one fatality. The NTSB explains:

“…portions of the fan cowl separated in flight after a fan blade, which had fractured due to a fatigue crack, impacted the engine fan case at a location that was critical to the structural integrity and performance of the fan cowl structure.  The NTSB found that the separated fan blade impacted the engine fan case and fractured into multiple fragments. Some of the fragments traveled forward of the engine and into the inlet. The impact of the separated fan blade with the fan case also imparted significant loads into the fan cowl through the radial restraint fitting, which is what caused the fan cowl to fail.”

It was the failed engine inlet and casing that impacted the fuselage. An abstract of the final report is available and includes the findings, probable cause, and safety recommendations.

Video: A380 Blade Off Test

The First Boom-Equipped Tanker For A Private Aerial Refueling Company Has Arrived

Omega Air operates a few hose and drogue aerial tankers and has now received the first of two surplus KDC-10 tankers with aerial refueling booms from the Royal Netherlands Air Force. That will allow Omega Air to provide contractor refueling support to the USAF and other allies.

Mentioned

Video: Expedition Overland S4 EP 1:The Great Pursuit – New Horizons

Carbon fibre can act as a structural battery component in vehicle bodies

Van's Aircraft RV-7

Kevin, Eddie, Monty, Mal, Mark, and Jorgo at the HARS museum at Wollongong. Eddie’s immaculate RV-7 is behind.

LifeFlight helicopter lands in Penobscot field following mechanical anomaly

Couple tie the knot 37,000 feet in the air between Australia and New Zealand

579 NBAA-BACE 2019

Observations from the 2019 NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE). In the news, strange ideas to make airlines greener, a fleet of commuter planes to avoid road traffic, Southwest B737 maintenance records, therapy animals in the airport, Hawaiian Airlines 90th anniversary, and the Boeing 777X business jet.

Gulfstream G700_500

Gulfstream G700

2019 NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE)

Rob Mark attended NBAA-BACE held Event October 22 – 24, 2019 at the Las Vegas Convention Center and at Henderson Executive Airport. Rob offers some impressions of the event and talks about some of the new aircraft like the Gulfstream G700 and the Pilatus PC-12 NGX. He’s also pretty excited about the Vū Systems passive millimeter-wave sensor.

23rd annual Bombardier Safety Standdown 2019

Rob also attended the Bombardier Safety Standdown held November 12 to 14, 2019 at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel, in Fort Worth, Texas. The event attracted a wide variety of participants, some 550 strong, all of whom are deeply interested in aviation safety.

Aviation News

Airline CEO Wants To Ban Business Class

Several airline executives have recently offered some strange ideas: Hungarian LCC Wizz Air CEO Jozsef Varadi is calling for airlines to stop offering business class on flights less than five hours, calling it “an inefficient and archaic model.” Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr has declared that “flights for less than 10EUR shouldn’t exist.”

FLOAT Plans January Launch For SoCal Short-Distance Commuter Service

FLOAT Shuttle Inc. (Fly Over All Traffic) offers southern California commuter flights operated by Southern Airways Express, LLC. from GA airports. For a fixed monthly fee, commuters beat ground transportation with 15-30 minute flights from almost 40 airports.

Greenland airport becomes latest victim of climate change

The permafrost at Greenland’s Kangerlussuaq Airport is melting, causing the runway to crack. They say civilian flights will end within five years and so a new airport is being constructed.

Turbulence ahead for Southwest Airlines?

From 2014, Southwest Airlines purchased 88 Boeing 737 planes from more than a dozen foreign airlines. Southwest had the planes inspected and they were found compliant per FAA delegated authority. However, the FAA found some records discrepancies in May 2018 and gave Southwest 2 two years to bring the maintenance documentation into compliance. As of October 29, 2019, only 39 of the planes had been inspected.

Meet adorable therapy pig LiLou who’s helping out stressed airport passengers

San Francisco International Airport is using a “Wag Brigade” to help passengers with travel anxieties. LiLou the therapy pig sports a pilot’s cap and painted toenails. She says hello by raising a hoof, poses for selfies, and manages to entertain departing passengers with her toy piano. The Wag Brigade program also includes a number of dogs.

Video: Therapy Pig // 60 Second Docs

Hawaiian Airlines celebrates its 90th anniversary with a flight back in time

The first Hawaiian Airlines flight took place on Nov. 11, 1929, from Honolulu to Hilo. To celebrate its 90th anniversary, Hawaiian Airlines recreated that flight, flying on the same day, route and time as they did 90 years ago.

Boeing’s New Private Jet Is World’s Largest and Most Luxurious

The Boeing Business Jet isn’t just one jet – it’s a series of airliner variants for the private and corporate jet market that includes the 747-8 VIP, 737 MAX VIP,  787 VIP, and 777X VIP. The 777X VIP has a 3,256 sq. ft. cabin with a base price of $474 million. Expect to spend an additional $90–$175 million to outfit the plane.

Mentioned

AvgeekFests.com aviation events calendar.

Thursday Thunder – What I Really Want To Fly from Sticks, Stories, and Scotch.

Aircraft nose job assessed in Hertz chamber

Airline Timetable Images