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.”
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.”
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?
Eastern Airlines Flight 401 50th Anniversary Memorial Monument – Dedication December 29, 2022, at 1:00 pm. Contact email@example.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.
Fly-in conversations, lost baggage woes, limiting airport passenger volume, and a missed runway crash investigation.
25th Annual Spurwink Farm Fly-In and Pancake Breakfast
Max Flight and our Main(e) Man Micah attended the fly-in on July 10, 2022, at the Spurwink Farm in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. This annual event is held at the grass strip on the Farm and is hosted by EAA Chapter 141 on the first Sunday after Independence Day. The fly-in is well-attended with a wide variety of aircraft flown in for the pancake breakfast.
We captured conversations with several who were in attendance, including some listeners and friends of this podcast:
Fred Wilcoxen tells us about his Bede BD-5 micro-homebuilt airplane.
Douglas Corrigan relates his story about getting the aviation bug as a youngster and now working ATC.
JD is a retired military pilot who now flies long-haul cargo in a Boeing 777. He flew up from New Jersey in his Cessna 177B Cardinal.
Mike Smith brought his beautiful Sonex up from Massachusets.
We talked with Bill Barry, the former NASA chief historian and now glider enthusiast.
Spurwink Farm is a 40-stall private boarding facility owned by the Sprague family. We spoke with MaryLou Sprague who tells us how she and her late husband Phineas (Phin) started a relationship with EAA Chapter 141 and how the airstrip came about.
Airports are experiencing severe operational problems as a result of staff shortages and increased travel. This has impacted baggage processing and thousands of bags are piled up at some airports. Through September 11, 2022, London Heathrow wants to limit the number of departing customers to 100,000. Heathrow’s pre-pandemic levels were between 110,000 and 125,000 daily departing customers.
Emirates says they won’t agree to limit passengers at Heathrow. They plan to continue operating six daily A380 flights into the airport. Emirates said Heathrow gave them 36 hours to reduce capacity on its daily A380 flights. “Their communications not only dictated the specific flights on which we should throw out paying passengers but also threatened legal action for non-compliance.” In a statement, the airline said, “Until further notice, Emirates plans to operate as scheduled to and from (Heathrow).”
Icelandair has a different passenger-friendly solution: Fly their own baggage handlers on the plane instead of relying on overworked and under-staffed airport workers. Icelandair took this action for flights to Amsterdam’s Schipol airport.
CommutAir, operating a 50-seat Embraer EMB145 as a United Express flight, missed the runway on March 4, 2019, and ended up in the snow. Of the 31 passengers and crew, thankfully only three suffered minor injuries. The NTSB investigation revealed that the instrument landing system was out of adjustment by about 200 feet to the right of the runway. At least six other pilots previously encountered the problem, but none filed a company safety report.
The producer of the Pilot Wife Podcast explains navigating life in an aviation family, and the CEO of Northern Pacific Airways talks about the new airline. In the news, an Emirates 777 close call, FAA clears low-visibility landings at 5G airports, FlyersRights sues FAA over seat standards, American Airlines and The Points Guy sue each other, American reduces service, lost money at the airport, a mystery coating on stealth fighters, and a listener report on the aircraft assisting Tonga after the eruption.
Jackie Ulmer produces the Pilot Wife Podcast which helps aviation families navigate life. She’s been married to an airline pilot for over three decades, so she has more than a little experience living with a commercial pilot.
Pilot Wife Podcast explores the challenges faced by the spouse of a pilot, including understanding airline employee scheduling, living with the realities of a 27/7 business, and how to manage holidays and important life events that often have to come second. Add to that managing the children and overcoming loneliness.
In 2021, others in her online network encouraged Jackie to mentor pilot wives. As a life coach and a business coach, she had the requisite skills, and as the long-time spouse of a pilot she had the life experience. The idea of a podcast came to her and she dove into it, going live in December 2021.
On the Pilot Wife Podcast website, you’ll find the Checklist, Jackie’s blog, and of course the podcast episodes. In addition, she co-runs the Aviation Fitness Facebook group which looks at fitness from a mind-body-spirit perspective. The group is for anyone in aviation, including spouses and partners. Her business site Peak Performance Habits is where you’ll find all of that plus coaching and recipes.
Last December, an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER came within 175 feet of the ground in a neighborhood near Dubai International Airport. Emirates says only that the incident is under investigation. Some evidence suggests that an incorrect setting was made in the airplane’s autopilot during the pre-flight.
Last week, the FAA said that almost two-thirds of U.S. commercial fleets have been cleared “to perform low-visibility landings at airports” where 5G wireless service has been deployed. Among the aircraft models that have been cleared by the FAA are Airbus A300, A310, A319, A320, A330, A340, A350, and A380 models and Boeing 717, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, and MD-10/-11 models.
Missing from the above list is the Boeing 787. The FAA issued an AD for the Boeing 787 saying that 5G interference with its radar altimeter could affect other systems. These “could prevent engine and braking systems from transitioning to landing mode, which could prevent an aircraft from stopping on the runway” under certain circumstances.
The FAA had a statutory deadline more than two years ago to issue minimum airline seat size standards. So far, the FAA hasn’t even started the rulemaking process. So FlyersRights.org has filed a court petition that seeks to order the FAA to issue the standards. FlyersRights claims to be the largest airline passenger non-profit organization with over 60,000 members.
American Airlines has been taking action against websites that use AAdvantage member data, such as tracking frequent flier program balances. One way these sites get the member data is through a process called “screen scraping” where members provide their login credentials to the site, which then logs in as the customer and reads the data off the screen. American says this method violates their terms of service and additionally that The Points Guy has been using airline trademarks and copyrighted material.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), representing American Airlines’ flight attendants, wants a temporary reduction of onboard service levels and customer touchpoints. This is intended to “maintain the highest level of flight attendant and passenger safety.” As of January 26, 2022, American will be making a number of service reductions.
A passenger traveling from Germany to Thailand via Dubai International Airport found at his destination that he’d lost a small bag containing €33,600 (approx US$38,000) in bank notes. Fearing the worst, the man thought his money was gone for good. But he was to learn that the bag and its contents were found and ultimately reunited with him.
The U.S. Air Force has been testing some kind of coating on stealthy aircraft. It looks metallic, but depending on the viewing angle it looks either shiny or matte. Seen before on the F-22 and the Scaled Composites Model 401, it’s been spotted now on the F-35C and the F-117 Nighthawk.
Aviation after the Tonga disaster
A report from listener Errol Cavit looks at the impact on commercial aviation and the aircraft involved in relief operations in Tonga.
Northern Pacific Airways
Brian Coleman talked with Northern Pacific Airways CEO Rob McKinney at the hangar event where the airline revealed its livery on its first Boeing 757-200. The new long-haul airline plans to serve cities in the states of New York, Florida, California, Texas, and Nevada, with direct flights to cities in Japan and Korea through Anchorage over the Northern route. Operations are planned to start in 2022.
Update March 6, 2022: Our guest in Episode 694 (published March 9, 2022) is Edmond Huot. His team designed the Northern Pacific livery and you might want to give that fascinating interview a listen. Also, a video of the livery reveal is now available:
Innovations in Flight Outdoor Aviation Display is scheduled for Saturday, June 18, 2022, at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Free tickets are required, parking is $15, and registration will launch soon.
Hosts this Episode
Max Flight, Rob Mark, David Vanderhoof, and Max Trescott. With contributions from Brian Coleman and Errol Cavit.
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.
A former A-10 pilot who flew combat missions during Operation Desert Storm tells us about the A-10 from a first-hand perspective. Also, Boeing 737 MAX cancellations, airline layoffs and furloughs, Emirates plan for the A380, an American Airlines and JetBlue partnership, a bizarre Icelandair plan, aviation museums are re-opening, the B-52 Chrome Dome mission, a drive-in airshow, and thoughts on Urban Air Mobility.
Buck Wyndham is an Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University graduate who joined the Air Force to fly his dream airplane, the A-10 Thunderbolt II. He became one of the very first pilots to take the Warthog into battle and flew many missions during Operation Desert Storm. He went on to fly the T-38 Talon as an instructor for over seven years.
Buck describes A-10 design and its mission as a ground support aircraft built around a 30mm rotary cannon. “The gun” is 21 feet long, weighs 4,000 pounds loaded, and can fire 70 rounds per second. Buck describes the physical sensations when firing the gun, and he tells us about the difference between air-to-air combat with fast jets and air-to-ground combat with an attack aircraft. He also explains A-10 maneuverability.
Buck’s new book, Hogs in the Sand: A Gulf War A-10 Pilot’s Combat Journal, is available in either hardcover or paperback. It’s a gritty, inside look at aerial warfare during Operation Desert Storm, but it is more personal and emotional than books of the same genre. It’s not the typical combat account. It includes that but also much more.
Currently, Buck is an A320 captain for a major US airline, and he is the Chief Pilot for Code 1 Aviation in Rockford, Illinois. Buck has written articles for Warbirds, Classic Jet Journal, and Warbird Digest. He enjoys flying vintage aircraft, building his RV-8, and working on his next book, a novel entitled Red Air.
Southwest Airlines has never had an involuntary layoff or furlough. That might change this year. Southwest’s initial plans for 2020 suggested the airline expected a recovery by year-end and Southwest originally planned to operate in November and December about as many flights as last year. However, in a letter to employees, Southwest acknowledged that this is becoming unlikely and they may see involuntary layoffs and furloughs.
25,000 front-line employees, about 29% of American’s U.S. mainline workforce, were warned that they could be furloughed this autumn. As with other airlines, employees were advised to take early retirement packages or extended leaves. American’s revenue in June was down more than 80% versus a year ago.
United Airlines has said that blocking middle seats is just PR. However, Delta Air Lines and Southwest “decided their customers would prefer those middle seats empty,” according to ZDNet. Delta is not raising ticket prices and CEO Ed Bastian says those empty middle seats are the “No. 1 reason” travelers are booking with Delta.
Only 251 A380s will have been delivered by Airbus when production stops in 2021. Emirates has about half of them and the airline’s president Tim Clark says they’ll bring them back into service: “Hopefully, we’ll see them flying for at least another 10 years. Unfortunately, it’s not being produced. So there’s nothing we can do about it. We’ll keep it going as long as we can.”
American Airlines and JetBlue Airways have again formed an alliance where each can sell seats on the other’s flights. With this agreement, American stands to gain in JetBlue strongholds Boston and New York. JetBlue could benefit from American strength in the Midwest and Southeast. The deal is subject to regulatory approval.
Icelandair and its cabin crew have had a labor dispute and last Friday the airline said starting July 20 cabin crew employment would be terminated. The airline’s pilots would temporarily assume flight attendants’ roles. In May 2019, 419,000 passengers flew on Icelandair. In May 2020, just 3,100 flew the airline. But then on Sunday… Icelandair and flight attendants have struck a deal. Icelandair and the Icelandic Cabin Crew Association (FFI) reached an agreement and the announced firing of the flight attendants was rescinded.
Airshow London (Ontario) announced its 2020 air show will take place on September 12 and 13 as a drive-in format featuring a traditional three-hour air display. The airport grounds can accommodate close to 2500 cars with this socially responsible model. Guests will arrive with a pre-purchased ticket (1 ticket per vehicle) and be directed to park in their own 20 X 25-foot space to enjoy the show either inside or outside their vehicle. Guests can bring their own refreshments, listen to the show on their car radios, and utilize portable washrooms.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Interviews and observations from the Great British Fly-In at the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum celebrating the 100th anniversary of Great Britain’s Royal Air Force. Also, a review of Li-ion thermal runaway containment products for use on airplanes, Sun ‘n Fun, a deal to resolve the subsidy dispute between some U.S. and Gulf airlines, the F-35 reaches a developmental test flight milestone, Allegiant Air is criticized in a CBS investigation, a standoff missile makes its operational debut, and 787 Dreamliners with the Trent 1000 Package C engines get a reduced ETOPS rating.
The Great British Fly-In Celebrates the Royal Air Force Anniversary. Photo by David Vanderhoof.
Reportedly, discussions are progressing that would resolve the subsidy dispute between some U.S. airlines and those in the Middle East. Emirates and Etihad Airways would make their accounting books available and would assert that they have no current plans to add additional flights to the United States.
The F-35 Joint Program Office says the program “has accomplished the final developmental test flight of the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase of the program.” The program operated for more than 11, conducting more than 9,200 sorties, accumulating over 17,000 flight hours, and executing more than 65,000 test points to verify the design, durability, software, sensors, weapons capability and performance for all three F-35 variants.
During its 60 Minutes television program, CBS presented their findings after a 7-month investigation of Allegiant Air. They call the airline the “most dangerous” airline in the U.S. and found “serious mechanical incidents, including mid-air engine failures, smoke and fumes in the cabin, rapid descents, flight control malfunctions, hydraulic leaks and aborted take-offs.” Allegiant issued a statement calling the report “grossly misleading.”
The United States and its French and British allies launched strikes against Syrian government facilities supporting chemical weapons. Striking the Barzah Research Center in Damascus were 57 Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missiles (TLAM) and 19 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) missiles.
The Great British Fly-In Celebrates the Royal Air Force Anniversary
David attended The Great British Fly-In at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, April 15, 2018. The event was conducted in partnership with Great Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) as part of the 100th-anniversary celebration of the RAF, the oldest air force in the world. The event featured many former RAF and other military aircraft, flown in for one day only.
Dr. Peter Jakab, chief curator of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. [50:50]
Photo by David Vanderhoof.
Thermal Runaway Containment Products
Listener Nick undertook a study of products that are designed to contain the Li-on batteries in personal electronic devices when they experience thermal runaway on aircraft. Nick looked at the available products from:
A Boeing 787 Senior First Officer tells us about flying that plane. We discuss the implications of privatizing air traffic control, replacing the T-38C Talon with the Advanced Pilot Trainer, the impact of subsidy claims on Open Skies agreements, and a candidate for the top FAA spot. We also have an interview with the Commander of 302 Squadron of the Dutch Royal Air Force.
The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Courtesy Boeing.
Senior First Officer Mike currently flies the Boeing 787 for a major for European airline and is based out of London Heathrow. In our wide-ranging conversation, we learn about the transition from the Airbus to the Boeing 787, some of the differences, and training aspects. Mike tells us about the Lithium-Ion batteries used in the aircraft and cabin crew procedures for passenger battery problems.
FO Mike adds his perspectives as we discuss ATC privatization (or is it ATC corporatization?) and U.S. airline claims that Middle Eastern carriers received unfair subsidies. Mike isn’t shy about expressing his views, and along the way, we discover his preference for Boeing over Airbus.
Mike learned to fly in a Cessna 152 at age 17, then moved onto a Piper PA-28. After completing the obligatory requirements, PPL, ME/IR, CPL and theoretical knowledge exams, FO Mike applied for the Advanced Entry Programme with a major Middle Eastern Airline. Starting with the Airbus A330, Mike progressed to become MFF/CCQ on the A330/A340, before moving over to the Boeing 787 as part of the entry into service crew for the airline.
Mike moved back to Europe in 2016 where he joined his current airline. He holds a number of ratings: CPL, ME/IR, ATPL and is also Training First Officer and Type Rated Instructor. Altogether, Mike has flown the Airbus A330-200 and -300, the A340-500 and -600, and now the Boeing 787-9. Follow him on Twitter as @FOMike787.
One contentious aspect of the proposal to privatize Air Traffic Control in the U.S. is the makeup of the 13-member ATC board. What interests would be represented, in what numbers, and how might that impact general aviation?
The contract to replace the T-38C Talon with the Advanced Pilot Trainer (T-X) is yet to be awarded, but the U.S. Air Force is already planning the first pilot training base to receive the aircraft as early as 2022.
Some U.S. airlines have accused Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways of receiving more than $50 billion state subsidies, a violation of Open Skies. Sir Tim Clark, the president of Emirates Airline, believes that Open Skies is at risk and the US aviation industry stands to lose.
The CEO of Iridium Communications tells us about the satellites being placed into orbit and the services they’ll provide to aviation. In the news, airlines react to the laptop ban, a proposed TSA fee increase draws criticism, FAA forecasts slow growth for general aviation, and an engine manufacturer looks to expand. Also, interviews from the Heart of Texas Airshow.
Successful First Launch of Ten Iridium NEXT Satellites
Matthew Desch. Iridium photo.
Matt Desch is the CEO of Iridium Communications, a satellite communications company that offers global voice and data coverage through its constellation of low-Earth orbiting (LEO) cross-linked satellites.
Matt explains the company’s next-generation constellation, Iridium NEXT, with deployment expected for completion in 2018. We talk about how the satellites are placed into orbit with SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets, and what will happen to the old constellation being replaced.
Matt describes the capabilities of Iridium NEXT and the implications for aviation. That includes the Aireon service, a hosted payload that will listen for ADS-B signals and relay them in real time to air navigation service providers.
A long time telecom/technology executive, Matt started his career at Bell Laboratories, and was an early pioneer in the cellular phone business. He was involved with a number of high tech companies over the years prior to becoming CEO at Iridium.
Affected airlines have been quick to react to the PED ban. Royal Jordanian has continued it’s marketing campaign that pokes fun at the U.S. presidential election and recent government policies. Emirates started a service where you hand over your banned devices at the gate, which they package and place in the cargo hold. You get to work right up to boarding time. Etihad has a Make Flying Great Again video that illustrates the features of their IFE system. They also tout their seats that fully recline for sleeping, and their flying nanny to help keep children entertained.
The Trump administration proposes to increase the TSA fee that passengers pay. But the U.S. airline trade group Airlines for America says that each year, about $1.3 billion of the fees collected do not go to fund aviation security. Instead, they are allocated to overall deficit reduction.
In its 20-year forecast, the FAA estimated slow growth for general aviation. The agency sees a decline of 17,500 fixed-wing piston aircraft, offsetting a small annual increase in turbine aircraft and other segments, with a net annual growth rate of 0.1 percent.
The number of small commercial drones in the domestic UAS fleet is expected to grow from 42,000 at the end of last year to 442,000 by the end of 2021. FAA projects commercial U.S. passenger growth of 1.9 percent a year over the next two decades.
Continental Motors plans to break ground this year on a new $70 million manufacturing center and corporate headquarters in Mobile, Alabama. CEO Rhett Ross says, “We see that different power systems are going to be necessary. You’ll see much more electrified aircraft. This increases our flexibility for new designs.”
Airplane Geeks Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari brings us interviews from the Heart of Texas Airshow, held March 18-19, 2017 Waco, Texas / TSTC Airport.
“Laser Dave” McConkey is a flight engineer for the B-17G operated by the Gulf Coast Wing unit of the Commemorative Air Force.
Nick “Bearshark” Green from the F-18 demonstration team.
Greg Howell, flying a Mig17 built in 1960 in Poland.
Air Refueling Specialist MSG Jerry Cummings from the KC-135 Air Refueling Wing.
Fly Like a Girl – Documentary Film – “Fly Like a Girl explores the courageous history of women in aviation. This feature-length documentary reveals the contributions women have made to aviation and brings to light the many women who are doing extraordinary work in aviation and STEM today. Fly Like a Girl also examines why many young girls don’t see themselves in aviation / STEM related fields and how society can begin to change this perception. Fly Like a Girl will inspire girls and women who no longer want to be passengers.”