An airline captain focuses on pilot mental health and tells us what she is doing to bring that conversation into the light. In the news, another aerial refueling tanker competition, a Rolls-Royce electric airplane first flight, an X-Wing at the Smithsonian, a criminal charge stemming from the 737 MAX probe, the Cranky Dorkfest you missed, and emergency landings in Maine. Also, checked baggage issues and gifts for flight attendants.
Reyné O’Shaughnessy was a commercial airline pilot for over 34 years with a Fortune 50 company. She was a captain on the B767 and logged over 10,000 hours of total heavy jet flight time. In addition to the B767, her experience includes the A300/310, B727, and B747. Notably, thirty-four years ago she was one of the first women to be B747 qualified.
Now retired, Reyné founded Piloting 2 Wellbeing (or P2W) with a mission to create awareness about pilot mental health and mental wellness in the aviation industry. P2W serves individuals, schools, and corporations that want to implement supportive and practical training, experience compassionate forums, and be part of creating a better aviation world.
Reyné explains why the aviation community is so averse to talking about pilot mental health. We look at the need to normalize the conversation about pilot mental health and teach airlines and pilots a more holistic approach to wellbeing, that being a factor in safety performance. Companies need to support their employees with mental health training but the regulator is not currently forcing this. Reyné argues that reaching student pilots with information early in their career will help normalize mental health. The top flight schools are focused on technical training, but they need to incorporate wellness training into their programs.
Reyné’s new book, This is Your Captain Speaking: What You Should Know About Your Pilot’s Mental Health is available on Amazon.com. It looks at stress, anxiety, and depression in the aviation community.
The U.S. Air Force has a bridge tanker competition coming up, also known as the KC-Y, and they released a sources-sought notification in June. The Boeing KC-46 is the incumbent, but they don’t have a lock on it. Lockheed Martin has just announced they will offer their LMXT aerial refueling tanker, based on the Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT).
We previously reported Rolls-Royce’s intentions to build an all-electric airplane and use it in a world-record attempt reaching speeds of 300+ MPH (480+ KMH). They’ve built the plane, which they call the “Spirit of Innovation,” and succeeded in flying it for the first time. Power comes from a 400kW (500+hp) electric powertrain. Rolls-Royce says it has “the most power-dense battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft.”
The National Air and Space Museum has a Star Wars X-wing on loan from Lucasfilm. Dr. Margaret Weiteka, Curator and Department Chair of the Space History Department, explains why they have it and how it is being prepared for display.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Federal prosecutors plan to criminally charge Boeing’s chief technical pilot during the 737 MAX development. Mark Forkner was Boeing’s lead contact with the FAA concerning pilot training for the jet. In a criminal settlement with prosecutors earlier this year, Boeing admitted that two unnamed employees conspired to defraud the FAA about 737 MAX training issues in order to benefit themselves and the company.
Bangor International Airport will shut down for runway repairs. Concrete runways can degrade as a result of an alkali-silica reaction, which is sometimes called concrete cancer. Since BGR is the last US airport for emergency landings eastbound over the Atlantic, and the first westbound, any emergencies will have to land elsewhere.
In Defense of the Flight Attendant by Joe A. Kunzler.
We talk with the founder of Winged Vision about aerial sports broadcasting. In the news, Emirates intends to fly the A380 for the next two decades, Scaled Composites may have a Loyal Wingman contender, legislation that would eliminate the diversion of the airline ticket security fee, a 2-megawatt electric motor for aircraft propulsion, and an eVTOL company founder plans to be the first passenger on their uncrewed aircraft.
Bob Mikkelson is the president and founder of Winged Vision, a pioneering leader in aerial sports broadcasting and the largest operator of stabilized aerial camera systems for sports coverage in the country. If you’ve watched professional football, golf, and many other sports events, you’ve probably seen the work of Winged Vision.
The company was the first in the world to stabilize 40x lenses from aerial platforms in the mid-1980s and the first to fly a new generation of ENG-style telephoto lenses in the early 1990s, setting the pattern for today’s aerial camera systems.
Dubai-based Emirates has three more A380’s to be delivered this year. The airline’s president says the airline will continue to fly the A380 for two decades.
“Emirates will continue to be the largest operator of this spacious and modern aircraft for the next two decades, and we’re committed to ensuring that the Emirates A380 experience remains a customer favorite with ongoing investments to enhance our product and services.”
Under the “Loyal Wingman” concept, networked unmanned aircraft would accompany manned fighter aircraft. The U.S. Air Force has the Skyborg program and the U.K. Royal Air Force has Project Mosquito. A number of companies are developing prototype vehicles and Scaled Composites might have a contender with the Model 437, which is derived from the Model 401 Sierra, which first flew in October 2017.
A $5.60 Security Fee for air travelers was established in 2003 to pay for aviation security. In 2013, Congress began diverting one-third of the revenue generated by this fee to pay for unrelated programs. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) have reintroduced the Funding for Aviation Screeners and Threat Elimination Restoration (FASTER) Act that would end the diversion of the Security Fee.
The founder of air-taxi startup Kitty Hawk said he’ll be the first passenger in the company’s prototype. The autonomous Heaviside single-seat drone will likely fly for five minutes at about 1,000 feet above the ground.
We explore the glass cockpit and the new book on the Garmin G3000 and G5000. In the news, the shape of the airline recovery, JetBlue scores London slots, Boeing gets a very large 737 MAX order, a special National Aviation Hall of Fame volunteer, an update on the Cessna SkyCourier, possible relief for Wichita aviation jobs, and a fun mod for Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Max Trescott’s G3000 and G5000 Glass Cockpit Handbook is a newly published resource for pilots flying with these Garmin flight decks for light turbine jets. The Garmin G3000 and G5000 are currently used in twenty-three aircraft models, with plans for adding more. Max describes glass cockpit hardware and software, and how the presentation of information differs from traditional cockpit gauges. We talk about reliability and lower maintenance considerations compared to steam gauges, weight advantages including paper document elimination, and the glass cockpit learning curve.
The G3000 and G5000 have nearly identical user interfaces, but the G3000 is designed for smaller and lighter Part 23 aircraft, while the G5000 is targeted to the Part 25 regulations which apply to larger aircraft, including the transport aircraft used by the airlines.
Besides being a host on this podcast, Max Trescott produces the Aviation News Talk podcast which focuses on General Aviation news, general tips for pilots, and technical details on glass cockpits and flying GPS approaches. The show features listener questions and occasional interviews. He’s the 2008 National CFI of the Year, and a Cirrus Platinum CSIP.
American Airlines direct bookings are up 150-400% over 2020, and close to 2019 levels. Domestic load factors were 80% recently and all planes will be flying in May, 2021. Do leisure travelers believe the pandemic is over?
Since business travel isn’t indicating anything like a V-recovery, airlines want to capture the leisure travel recovery. The new United routes include “flights from Cleveland (CLE), Cincinnati (CVG), Columbus (CMH), Indianapolis (IND), Milwaukee (MKE), St. Louis (STL), and Pittsburgh (PIT) to a variety of coastal destinations, from Portland, Maine (PWM), to Pensacola, Florida (PNS).” These are point-to-point, non-stop routes that avoid hubs with service by the Bombardier CRJ550. The routes begin May 27, and will operate through Labor Day Weekend. See: With business travel lagging, Portland lands direct flights to cities around the U.S.
JetBlue plans to launch transatlantic service this year with Airbus A321LR aircraft. In it’s summer 2021 schedule report, Airport Coordination Limited included allocated 270 slots to JetBlue for flights to and from London Heathrow (LHR) airport. 180 slots are for flights to New York-JFK and 90 slots for service to Boston. The slots phase in over time and expire on Oct. 30, 2021.
The National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) in Dayton announced that volunteer Alice Griffin celebrated her 100th birthday on March 28, 2021. She was asked if she had any words of wisdom to share and replied, “Work hard, don’t take anything for granted, and give ten percent of your salary to charity.” The National Aviation Hall of Fame was founded in 1962 and is located adjacent to the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
The Aviation Manufacturing Jobs Protection Act was swept into the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the COVID-19 relief package signed into law. It is a $3 billion public-private partnership where the federal government contributes 50% of the compensation for eligible employee groups, as long as the company commits to continuing employment of those workers. The funding is available until Sept. 30, 2023, but an employee group cannot receive the federal money for more than six months.
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 allows you to add things as modifications. YouTube and TikTok poster donut_enforcement has added the Ever Given cargo ship that has been stuck in the Suez Canal and completely shut down ship movement.
In early April, 2021 the Mars Ingenuity helicopter will attempt the first-ever powered flight on Mars. Join this interactive webinar to hear team members describe how they will support the helicopter when it takes to the skies. Monday, April 5 at 10:30 a.m. PDT / 1:30 p.m. EDT
You can support the Airplane Geeks podcast by making a donation.
Some Boeing 787s are grounded due to structural problems, Rolls-Royce financials don’t look good, a positive TSA story, another virtual flight option, US DOE funding for electric aircraft technologies, Pipistrel to set electric aircraft world records, Elon Musk says 3-4 years for effective electric aircraft batteries, Spirit avoids layoffs, and $200 ticket change fees are dropped.
Some co-hosts know how to make a podcast producer laugh…
Boeing discovered “two distinct manufacturing issues” that impact the structural integrity of eight recently manufactured 787 Dreamliners. The deficiencies are associated with the joining of composite aft body fuselage barrels. Planes delivered to United, Air Canada, and Singapore were pulled from service.
One day before her wedding, a bride and her family passed through Newark Liberty International Airport, but the mother accidentally left a roller bag with the bride’s gown (and hers) at the checkpoint. TSA administrative assistant Loletta Nathan-Gordon jumped into action and saved the wedding.
The Airplane Mode simulator from AMC Games will let you fly in real-time from New York City to Reykjavik or from New York City to Halifax, Canada. Not from the cockpit, but in the cabin. In coach. Expect delays, rude passengers, and screaming babies. You do get a window seat.
The U.S. Department of Energy announced $33 million in funding for 17 electric aviation projects. This is under the ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy) ASCEND (Aviation-class Synergistically Cooled Electric-motors with iNtegrated Drives) and REEACH (Range Extenders for Electric Aviation with Low Carbon and High Efficiency) programs.
Pipistrel plans to fly its Velis Electro more than 700 kilometers from the Swiss Alps to the North Sea, and break 7 world records along the way: lowest energy consumption, highest average speed, highest flight altitude ever reached with an electric aircraft, fastest climbing performance, fastest average speed, smallest number of intermediate stops, and longest electrically flown route. Follow the flight on the website and Facebook.
Last year, when commenting on the need for increased battery energy density, Musk said that was 5 years off. Tesla’s batteries were then achieving around 260 Wh/kg. He said around 400 Wh/kg was needed for aviation. Elon’s current prediction is now 3 to 5 years.
Spirit Airlines has used voluntary leave initiatives to minimize the number of pilot layoffs, limiting them to 117 pilot furloughs. Now the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) announced that almost half of Spirit’s pilots had agreed to work fewer hours each month, which let the airline cancel all 117 of its planned pilot furloughs.
United Airlines says it is dropping its $200 ticket change fee. January, it will let customers fly standby for free on other flights the same day as their booked flight. “When we hear from customers about where we can improve, getting rid of fees is often the top request,” United CEO Scott Kirby said in a video posted Sunday. See also: United Ditches Domestic Change Fees… Let the Games Begin.
The former media relations manager at GE Aviation tells us about the 100-year history of a company that contributed so much to aviation. In the news, we look at the path forward for electric planes, hidden city ticketing, Boeing’s plans to employ a second flight computer on the 737 MAX, an employment cutback at ICON Aircraft, and a successful English Channel crossing on a flyboard.
Rick Kennedy retired after a 30-year career managing media relations at GE Aviation and he authored the book GE Aviation: 100 Years of Reimagining Flight. This insightful and well-researched book takes the reader through the fascinating history of GE Aviation and it’s contributions to flight. Rick describes the people, the technology, the engines, and the aircraft as well as the decisions made along the way that affected the industry. Profits from the sale of the book go to charity.
In our conversation with Rick, we touch on some of the GE aviation history and major milestones such as the high bypass turbofan and the airflow efficiency made possible through the use of ceramic matrix composite (CMC) turbine parts. Also, MRO strategies of the engine OEMs, military jet engines using GE’s variable cycle approach, electric aviation, the creation of CFMI, and the response to Pratt & Whitney’s geared turbofan engine.
Rick explains how the Boeing 737 MAX issues will affect all future aircraft. He points out that while all the technological advances we are witnessing today are exciting, our culture will expect the new technology to be as safe and reliable as what we experience now. That’s a very difficult challenge for the industry.
We’re seeing many companies developing (and even delivering) electric and hybrid-electric airplanes. But what are the hurdles and what is the path to widespread acceptance and use? It isn’t just all about new technology.
Hidden city ticketing is the technique of purchasing an airline ticket that makes a stop, getting off the plane, and the flight then continues on to the final destination. A traveler can save money when the long flight is priced lower than the shorter flight. Airlines are not too fond of the practice.
The Seattle Times is reporting that Boeing plans to use a second redundant flight computer to address the issue found by the FAA in simulations that could result in the plane’s nose pitching down. Just one computer was used in the past because Boeing was able to prove statistically that its system was reliable. In the new configuration, both computers would be used and pilots would receive a warning if the computers disagreed on altitude, airspeed, and the angle of attack. See Newly stringent FAA tests spur a fundamental software redesign of Boeing’s 737 MAX flight controls.
Icon has delivered about 100 two-seat A5 sport airplanes so far, but it is having difficulty converting some 1,800 deposits to sales. After a number of price increases, the retail price is up to $389,000. Icon president Thomas Wieners said, “We now have a very good understanding of costs. And while the Icon A5 is a truly exceptional plane, the necessary higher price lowers demand considerably and requires us to adjust the organization size as a result.”
Zapata flew his flyboard across the English Channel, covering 22 miles in 22 minutes, reaching speeds of up to 170km/h (106mph) during the flight. He refueled by switching to another backpack during the crossing, this time from a larger boat and platform.
The Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund, Inc. is proud to announce the opening of the 2020 scholarship season. Deserving female aviators can apply for over $180,000 of helicopter flight training and educational scholarships. These scholarships advance the helicopter industry by strengthening the talent pool and increasing diversity. Applications are due September 1, 2019.
The director of the Portland International Jetport joins us to talk about airport development, airport noise, attracting airlines, and other topics. In the news, the A321neo has an excessive pitch problem, unique airline seats with more middle seat space, an unruly passenger gets banned for life, and an electric airplane company begins taking customer letters of intent. We have interviews from the Spurwink Farm Pancake Breakfast and Fly-In: the director of the Owls Head Transportation Museum, a young cadet from the Civil Air Patrol, and a retired professional pilot.
Paul Bradbury, director of the Portland International Jetport.
Paul H. Bradbury, P.E. is the airport director for the Portland International Jetport (PWM) in Portland, Maine. Paul has held several positions at the Jetport since 1992 and he was appointed the airport director in 2008. In this position, he is responsible for the overall management, operations, and planning for the Jetport.
PWM reached record passenger volumes for the past two years as it has focused on service and its value proposition to customers.
Under Paul’s leadership, the Jetport completed the largest capital improvement program in its history. That included a new parking garage, a 137,000 square foot terminal expansion, an aircraft deicing fluid capture facility, and the rehabilitation of the north/south runway.
These projects have placed PWM at the forefront of sustainable design. The terminal expansion was only the second terminal project in the country to receive the US Green Building Council’s LEED Gold certification. The aircraft deicing fluid capture facility recently received the ACI-NA 2018 Environmental Achievement Award for Mitigation.
Paul is a licensed professional engineer with a B.S. in Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued Airworthiness Directive 2019-0171 [PDF] for Airbus A321neo airplanes. Certain Elevator Aileron Computer (ELAC) part numbers installed on some airplanes can cause an “excessive pitch attitude… in certain conditions and during specific manoeuvres… This condition, if not corrected, could result in reduced control of the aeroplane.”
Leisure airline Jet2.com says they have has issued a lifetime ban to a 25-year-old woman and billed her more than £85,000 after her disruptive behavior caused a flight to be diverted. The RAF scrambled two Typhoon fighters to escort the aircraft. According to Jet2.com, she “displayed a catalogue of aggressive, abusive and dangerous behaviour on the aircraft, which included attempting to open the aircraft doors during the flight.” See also Couple who restrained Jet2 passenger demand payout from airline.
Ampaire CEO Kevin Noertker says “The Ampaire Electric EEL is the first step in bringing lower emissions, lower operating costs, and quieter operations to general aviation through electrification.” The company was to begin taking letters of intent for its Electric EEL hybrid airplane at EAA AirVenture.
Spurwink Farm Pancake Breakfast and Fly-In
Our Main(e) Man and contributor-at-large Micah attended this year’s Spurwink Farm event and recorded three interviews:
Cadet First Lt Emily Earle from the Civil Air Patrol.
A longtime AvGeek plans to present photographs and tell the stories of vintage aviation. Also, an electric airplane company goes under, the FAA publishes new ADS-B pre-flight policy, the massive GE9X engine gets Guinness Book of World Records recognition, commercial aviation is in the crosshairs of environmentalists, the latest on “DB” Cooper, and a hotel room with a full flight simulator.
Martt Clupper and the restored 1959 Super Cub.
Martt Clupper is planning to create the Vintage Aviation print magazine to show the photographs and tell the stories of early aviation. Martt has a Kickstarter Campaign to create the premier issue of the magazine that will showcase historical photographs and provide in-depth storytelling of vintage aviation, focusing on the period from the early 1900s until 1960. He is also producing episodes of Vintage Aviation Podcast.
Zunum Aero benefited from Boeing and JetBlue investments as it sought to develop hybrid electric airplanes. But Zunum has run out of cash and the company has laid off employees and reportedly vacated its facilities. Zunum Aero founder Matt Knapp was our guest in Episode 453 The Zunum Aero Electric Airplane.
Under the circumstances identified in this policy, the FAA is providing assurance to operators that it will not consider degradation in Global Positioning System performance due to conditions outside the operator’s control that results in an operation falling below ADS–B rule requirements to constitute non-compliance provided the operator has exercised appropriate due diligence prior to conducting an operation.
The GE9X has been officially declared by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most powerful jet engine at 134,300 pounds of thrust. The engine, which will power the Boeing 777X, produced this thrust during an engineering test in November 2017. GE announced the record this month as part of their 100-year celebration.
Environmentalism continues to grow and commercial air travel is a target. France has announced an “eco-tax” and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is urging travelers to consider flying less, especially over short distances. In Europe, rail is a viable alternative, but not so much in the US.
The mystery identity of “DB” Cooper has stymied law enforcement since he parachuted out the back of a Northwest Orient 727 in 1971 with $200,000 in cash. Some speculated that Robert Rackstraw was “DB” Cooper. Cold case expert Thomas Colbert wrote that the evidence pointed to Rackstraw. Now Rackstraw family members say the man has just died of natural causes at age 75.
We talk with the president of VREF about aircraft valuation. In the news, we look at a replacement for the Fat Albert C-130, an electric airplane being developed by Solar Impulse 2 pilot André Borschberg, EASA concerns with the 737 MAX, additive manufacturing in aerospace, and a supersonic flight challenge that is not about the boom. We also have interviews with a Boeing T-X experimental test pilot and a Major General with the Japanese Ministry of Defense on the C-2 transport aircraft.
Jason Zilberbrand, president of VREF.
Jason Zilberbrand is president & CTO of VREF Aircraft Value Reference and Appraisal Services. He is an aircraft appraiser, expert witness, broker, inventorying dealer, acquisition agent, aircraft owner and operator, contract negotiator, consultant, teacher, conference speaker, and an author.
VREF delivers aircraft and engine data through online subscription services and published quarterly digests. The company provides valuations, appraisals, and litigation consulting services to a worldwide client base of aviation professionals including, law firms, banks, financial institutions, leasing companies, manufacturers, aircraft owners, aircraft operators, and suppliers. VREF is the official Valuation Guide and Appraisal company for AOPA.
Jason says that VREF tracks about 6800 models and 440 makes. He explains how aircraft valuation is determined, who wants to see the appraisal and why. He touches on how experimental and low volume aircraft are handled, including warbirds. We take a look at the current “seller’s market” and also consider the implications of large numbers of turbine aircraft that are not ADS-B compliant.
VREF is launching a new-from-the-ground-up application that will provide scrap value. VREF is also switching to a tiered service model. Tier 1 will continue the traditional service while Tier 2 will add fair market value and inventory. Orderly liquidation and future residual values come with Tier 3.
Jason is watching the growth of electric aircraft, and the company is even bringing in a couple of drone appraisers. VREF is also adding cybersecurity capability to provide flight department assessments.
Jason spent 25 years in General Aviation working directly with aircraft owners and operators. He owned and operating his own aircraft as well. Jason knows the international aviation marketplace well and is considered an expert in aircraft valuations and aircraft transactions.
Founded in 1994, VREF is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa with offices in Chicago, Rockford, Los Angeles, Boise, Daytona Beach Florida, Austria, Switzerland, Australia, and Shanghai China.
The Blue Angels C-130T support aircraft known as Fat Albert is scheduled to be replaced in 2020 with a C-130J purchased from the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence for $29.7million. A new C-130J would cost $50 million more.
André Borschberg (our guest in Episode 361) and Bertrand Piccard flew around the world in the Solar Impulse 2. Now Borschberg has started a new company called H55 to build practical electric airplanes, starting with a two-seater that achieves a 90 minute flight time. The Bristell Energic flight trainer is a modified version of a BRM Aero airplane.
The Washington Post reports that the FAA had been frustrated by the number of safety issues at Boeing and the company’s repeated failure to rectify the situation as agreed. That led to a 2015 settlement agreement that bundled all the problems with one $12 million fine and one corrective action plan for systemic issues. But the degree to which Boeing has lived up to the agreement is being questioned.
Carnegie Mellon University’s Next Manufacturing Center and Manufacturing Futures Initiative (MFI) has been selected by NASA to lead a research team to examine new ways to build and power aircraft of the future. Metals additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing “has had a significant impact on aviation manufacturing for jet engine components, airframe structural elements, and other applications.”
The project will explore new methods for using additive manufacturing to reduce costs and increase the speed of mass-producing aircraft without sacrificing quality, reliability, and safety. Process qualification is a challenge and a focus area.
Partners include Argonne National Laboratory, ANSYS, Lockheed Martin, Trumpf, Eaton, General Electric, Pratt & Whitney, Northrop Grumman, Metal Powder Works, Siemens, Materials Solutions and The Barnes Group.
Developers of supersonic airplanes have to deal with the sonic boom problem, but there is another issue looming: increased carbon footprint. Fuel burned per passenger is high with the speedy new designs. Boom Supersonic has addressed this by stating the company’s commitment to green aviation and an alternative fuel partnership with Prometheus Fuels.
Paris Air Show Interviews
Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari brings us his final two interviews from the Paris Air Show.
Matthew (Phat) Giese, Chief Pilot F15/F22 Programs and T-X Experimental Test Pilot talks about the Boeing T-X that will replace the T-38.
Boeing T-X, courtesy Boeing.
Masahito Goto, Ph.D., Major General, Deputy Director General, Japanese Ministry of Defense talks about the C-2 Transport Aircraft.
C-2, courtesy ATLA.
David Hamilton, last living WWII Pathfinder pilot drops paratroopers out of C-47 on his 97th birthday.
97 year old (on July 20, 2019) Lt Col David Hamilton, enlisted on December 8, 1941. Dave then trained as a C-47 pilot and then later as a Pathfinder pilot. Pathfinder aircrews were specially trained WWII aircrews who flew C-47s that had cutting edge navigational equipment. Prior to the major airborne operations in the European Theater of Operation, these aircrews were tasked with dropping in specially trained pathfinder paratroopers to set up radar equipment on the drop zones to which the other C-47s would navigate when carrying in the main force of the airborne troops. Dave did this function during Operation Overlord at Normandy on D-Day, Operation Dragoon in Southern France, and Operation Market Garden in Holland. Dave also led in the aircraft for the supply drop to the 101st Airborne when they were surrounded at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. (Dave led in 27 planes and led out 9 on that mission.) Sadly, Dave is the last living Pathfinder pilot who flew all those missions.
Lt Col David Hamilton and past guest Christine Negroni with the D-Day Squadron at Waterbury-Oxford Airport. Photo by Max Flight.
Dave just returned from England and France where he flew across the English Channel in a WWII veteran aircraft (C-53) as part of the D-Day Squadron formation of American C-47s and C-53s which flew across the channel on 5 June. Dave was actually at the controls of the C-53 for part of that flight 75 years after he made his original D-Day flight. (Yes, the pathfinders did take off on 5 June 1944) When Dave was in England, he was honored in North Witham by folks who live near where the RAF base from which he flew the D-Day mission was located and was a guest at the ceremonies at the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach on June 6. Dave was pretty much treated like a rock star everywhere he went in England and France!!
Dave and the 75th anniversary of D-Day are going to be honored again at this year’s 5 October Wings Out West Airshow in Dave’s home town of Prescott, Arizona where another WWII D-Day veteran, the C-53 “D-Day Doll”, will be doing a drop of WWII type paratroopers to honor Dave and the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Also, Dave is going to be inducted into the San Diego Air and Space Museum Hall of Fame in November and he has been invited by the CAF to be in one of the WWII aircraft that will overfly the Mall in Washington D.C. during the 75th celebration of VE day in May 2020.
D-Day Doll. Photo by Max Flight.
Dave is also going to be in the cockpit of a C-47 near Frederick Oklahoma dropping the Airborne Demonstration Team’s (ADT) WWII style paratroopers on July 20, 2019, which happens to be Dave’s 97th birthday. The Frederick Oklahoma airfield is the home of Frederick Army Air Field (FAAF) which still has a wonderful WWII era wooden hanger in which sit a couple of C-47s, various WWII vehicles. FAAF is the home of the ADT’s WWII style jump school, complete with all the paraphernalia such a jump school would need, such as parachute packing tables, training hangers, mess hall, classroom, barracks, etc. When one walks into the FAAF hanger one steps back in time 75 years. ADT runs WWII style jump schools several times a year. July 20th will also be ADT’s “Open Hangar Day” for the graduation ceremony for the jumpers who have completed the 5 jumps required to graduate from their July Jump School.
Come on out to FAAF for a great story about the last living Pathfinder dropping paratroopers on his 97th birthday.
The president of Hoar Program Management tells us about plans for the Boom Supersonic Overture facility. In the news, we discuss Bombardier’s actions to exit commercial aviation, a government probe into production practices of the 787 Dreamliner, and UTC’s project for a hybrid-electric regional plane. We also talk with a 14-year-old who flew a glider from California to Maine solo, and an interview with PPG from the Paris Air Show.
Mike explains the primary criteria used to select the initial target list of sites: the amount of developable land, minimum runway length, and proximity to a supersonic test corridor. The next phase will involve a deeper dive into the candidate sites and creating a shortlist. The final site selection should occur by early 2020 and will consider a number of factors, including a cultural fit between Boom Supersonic and the local community.
The facility design process will take perhaps a year, followed by 2 to 3 years of construction. All this to support first flight in the mid-2020s. HPM performed the same service for Airbus in developing their Mobile, Alabama A320 facility.
As for Boom Supersonic, they are currently assembling the XB-1, a Mach-2.2 supersonic demonstrator aircraft. Data from XB-1 test flights will help refine the design of Overture which will hold 55-75 pax in a 170’ fuselage with a 60’ wingspan. Japan Airlines and Virgin Group have thirty of the all business class tri-jet on pre-order. Boom Supersonic founder and CEO Blake Scholl was our guest in Episode 463, published in August 2017.
Mike has led HPM since its inception in 1997, and his team of more than 150 professionals is engaged in the management of capital building projects located throughout the US and in Europe. Over its 22-year history, Mike and his team have grown the company from a division of a southern US-based construction company into its own nationally-ranked program management firm which handles almost a billion dollars of construction value for clients on an annual basis. A native of Louisiana, Mike began his career in construction in Atlanta after receiving his civil engineering degree from Tulane University.
United Technologies Corp. (UTC) is developing a hybrid-electric flight demonstrator based on a Bombardier Dash 8 regional turboprop. “Project 804” replaces one of the engines with a two-megawatt hybrid-electric engine. The hybrid-electric powerplant is produced through a collaboration between its Collins Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney subsidiaries. First flight should take place “in about three years.”
P&W president Bob Leduc is retiring and Chris Calio will be replacing him. Leduc started his long career in engineering. Calio has a legal background. Both men held senior leadership positions at various UTC aerospace units.
According to “sources” Boeing has been subpoenaed for records relating to 787 Dreamliner in production in South Carolina. This after reports of poor quality work at that facility. The DOJ is also conducting a criminal investigation into the certification and design of the 737 MAX.
Bombardier has sold its regional jet business to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for $550 million in cash. Bombardier will now focus on trains and private planes. Bombardier will assemble the remaining backlog of regional jets for Mitsubishi, then cease production. That should be in the second half of 2020.
Riley Speidel, Glider Pilot
Riley Speidel comes from a flying family. Her father, grandfather, grandmother and aunt are all pilots. With flying in her blood, Riley soloed a glider just after her fourteenth birthday and shortly after that, she flew a glider solo from Marina, California to Sanford, Maine. Our Main(e) Man Micah caught up with her at the Southern Maine Aviation FBO.
Riley and Micah.
David Palermo, PPG Transparencies
David Palermo is the PPG Global Director, Military and Defense Transparencies. Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari spoke with David at the Paris Air Show about windshields and canopies.
Microsoft Flight Simulator returns in 2020, Launchpad Marzari talks with the operations manager and the chief pilot at Skydive Spaceland San Marcos, the Boeing 737 has an issue with slats, fun facts about business jets, Raytheon and United Technologies propose a merger, airport facial scans raise privacy concerns, and an electric hybrid Cessna 337 Skymaster takes flight.
Advocacy group No Plane, No Gain offers data that illustrates the importance of business aviation, such as jobs supported, economic activity, accessibility to locations not served by airlines, humanitarian missions, and many more.
Under the proposed merger, UTCs aerospace unit would combine with Raytheon in an all-stock transaction to create Raytheon Technologies Corporation. As previously planned, Carrier and Otis would spin off UTC as distinct companies.
The Ampaire Inc. six-seat Cessna 337 Skymaster was retrofitted with a proprietary battery-powered electric propulsion system that replaces the rear combustion engine. The “resulting system is a ‘parallel hybrid’, meaning the internal combustion engine and electric motor work in concert to optimize power output as the plane flies.”
Skydive Spaceland (Part 2)
Two final interviews conclude the report by Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari on his visit to Skydive Spaceland: Thomas Hughes, Operations Manager, Skydive Spaceland, San Marcos; and Chief pilot Matt Wampler.