Tag Archives: FAA

416 Reducing Loss of Control Accidents with Airball

The grand prize winner of the first annual EAA Founder’s Innovation Prize explains his concept for reducing the number of accidents induced by loss of control. Also, an Airbus autonomous flying vehicle concept, Part 107 regulations for small commercial UAS, a laser pointer goes to prison, a federal lawsuit against United Airlines, pay raises for airline employees, and 787 Dreamliner engine woes.


Ihab Awad

Ihab Awad

Ihab Awad is the grand prize winner of the first annual EAA Founder’s Innovation Prize for his Airball concept designed to reduce accidents induced by loss of control. Ihab explains how the loss of correct relative wind can result in stalls and spins, and how the Airball graphical representation (a blue ball) allows the pilot to quickly understand and manage the flight state of the airplane.  Airball does this using air data from a number of sensors.

Airball Simulator

Airball Simulator


Ihab is a programmer working at Google in Silicon Valley. He holds Master’s degrees in mechanical engineering and computer and information sciences from the University of Minnesota. Ihab is a Sport Pilot with 150 hours, and looks forward to building his own experimental aircraft.

Follow the project at Airball.aero. Also, find Ihab on Twitter and Facebook.

Airball EAA Founder’s Innovation Prize Entry

Founder’s Innovation Finalists Forging Forward by Beth E. Stanton describes the five finalists in some detail, with videos.

Airball demo for EAA


Airbus Vahana autonomous flying vehicle concept under development

In Airbus Group: Future of urban mobility, My Kind of Flyover, the company says, “By 2030, 60% of the world’s population will live in cities… Airbus Group is harnessing its experience to make the dream of all commuters and travellers come true one day: to fly over traffic jams at the push of a button.” Vahana is the Airbus concept for an autonomous flying vehicle for passengers and cargo. It’s under development at the A3 “innovation outpost” in Silicon Valley.

FAA Begins Accepting Applications for Remote Pilot Operator

The new small unmanned aircraft rule for non-hobbyists (also known as Part 107 to Title 14 CFR) became effective August 29, 2016. The person flying a drone must have a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating, or be directly supervised by someone with that certificate.

For more information about the new small UAS rules, see:

The UAV Digest, episode 151: Part 107: Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems where we provide a summary of the major provisions of Part 107.

The UAV Digest, episode 159: Taking the FAA Online UAS Training Course where Max Trescott talks about completing the FAA UAS online training course.

Press Conference – FAA (Small UAS Rule) (Conference starts at 10:00 into the video.)

Man sentenced to federal prison for pointing a Laser Pointer at Sheriff’s Helicopter

A 35-year-old California was has been sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for pointing a laser pointer at a police helicopter flying over a traffic accident.

U.S. lawsuit says United denied sick leave to pilot on active duty

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in Chicago federal court claiming that United Airlines failed to provide a pilot with sick leave when he was called to active duty by the U.S. Air Force. The suit charges that the pilot, a reservist, was denied his employment rights and violated the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).

Airline employees are getting huge pay raises

After years of concessions, airline employees are starting to benefit from high airline profits.

Boeing 787 engine trouble prompts ANA to cancel some flights

All Nippon Airways (ANA) is seeing sulfidation-corrosion cracking of turbine blades on some of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets. All 50 aircraft in the ANA 787 fleet are powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines.

Airplane of the Week

The OV-10 Bronco, Part 2: Foreign Variants and Civilian Applications. Sometimes history repeats itself. After being moved into the civilian world, the Bronco returned to combat twenty-plus years after it was retired, with only protest from the Marines.


Last episode, we mentioned the 3D tour of the B747-400 Global SuperTanker using Matterport technology. If you enjoyed that, here are more aircraft 3D tours:

Tiira homemade airplane designed and built by Raimo Päätalo.

Tiira homemade airplane designed and built by Raimo Päätalo.


Intro music courtesy Brother Love from his Album Of The Year CD. Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.


410 Ask Patrick Smith, He’s a Pilot

An airline pilot and world traveler talks about the theater of air travel, airport security, cockpit automation, and the aesthetics of airliners. In the news, we discuss Farnborough 2016, Airbus, Boeing, and the F-35B. Also, the FAA authorization extension, third class medical reform, and the Boeing B-29 Superfortress known as “Doc.”


Patrick Smith

Patrick Smith

Patrick Smith is an active airline pilot, air travel blogger and author.  He is curator of the Ask the Pilot website, and author of the NY Times bestselling book Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel.”

Patrick has appeared on hundreds of radio and television outlets, including PBS, Discovery Channel, CNN, the BBC, and National Public Radio.  His work is regularly cited in print publications worldwide and he was voted one of the “25 Best Bloggers of 2013” by TIME magazine.

Patrick took his first flying lesson at age fourteen. His first job with an airline came in 1990, when he was hired as a copilot on 15-passenger turboprops earning $850 a month. He has since flown cargo andCockpit Confidential cover passenger jets on both domestic and intercontinental routes.  He has flown the 767, 757, 737, MD-80 and DC-8, plus five different turboprops, including the Dash-8 and ATR.  

Patrick’s self-published punk rock fanzines and poetry journals of the 1980s and 1990s are considered among the more peculiar works of literature ever produced by an airline pilot. He also travels extensively in his spare time, and has visited more than eighty countries.

News from Farnborough 2016

Airbus to cut A380 production rate in 2018

Boeing modifies one MAX model and is seriously studying two more new airplanes

Boeing Strikes Out at the Farnborough Airshow

Five ‘wow’ moments at the world’s ‘greatest’ airshow

First F-35 Flight At Farnborough Airshow by AIRBOYD

Other News

Medical Reform Becomes Law

EAA Reaches Its Goal! Third-Class Medical Reform Now Law!

It wasn’t easy, but B-29 Doc takes to Wichita skies

Airplane of the Week

Part II of the Mirage III: The Exports. David discusses the Mirage IIIE and its export successes. Listen to Part I  on Episode 402.


Mirage III E from the Royal Australian Air Force. TSGT Curt Eddings.


Intro music courtesy Brother Love from his Album Of The Year CD. Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

409 Vet Air: Flying Veterans in Need of Medical Care

Providing veterans with air transportation to and from healthcare facilities, an around-the-world record attempt, Air Force to use enlisted airmen as RPA pilots, FAA encourages GA aircraft owners to voluntarily install safety equipment, a cable break during a carrier landing, and growing military aircraft in chemical vats. Plus, a report on the new Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum.


Karen and Jesus Pereira

Karen and Vet Air’s Jesus Pereira

Jesus Pereira founded Vet Air in 2015 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) charity that uses volunteer pilots and GA airplanes to provide veterans with air transportation to and from healthcare facilities, as well as flights for compassionate reasons.

Having joined the Massachusetts Army National Guard in February 1996, Jesus attended basic training at Fort Jackson South Carolina, and received his Advanced Individual Training at Fort Lee Virginia as a Petroleum Supply Specialist. He is currently serving with HHC 126th BSB with the grade of E-7, Sergeant First Class. He has one deployment to Kuwait in 2010 where he served with the Army Aviation Task Force.

Jesus with therapy dogs Gizmo and Bella

Jesus with therapy dogs Gizmo and Bella

Jesus is currently a Veteran Service Officer for the Town of Longmeadow in Massachusetts. His primary function is to provide Veterans with MGL Chapter 115 benefits and assistance with federal VA benefits. Jesus holds a private pilot certificate with complex, high performance, and tailwheel endorsements.

Learn more at VetAir.org, and on the VetAir Facebook page.


Teen pilot Lachlan Smart on track for world record

Eighteen year old Lachlan Smart wants to become the youngest person to fly solo around the world in a single-engine aircraft, and he plans to make 24 stops in his Cirrus SR22 doing it. Follow his journey at Wings Around the World.

Air Force plans 100 enlisted drone pilots by 2020

The Air Force expects to graduate the first class of enlisted airmen in 2017 for remotely piloted aircraft, specifically unarmed RQ-4 Global Hawks used for high-altitude reconnaissance missions. The graduates would become the first Air Force enlisted pilots since World War II.

FAA Policy Helps Modernize GA Airplanes and Helicopters

FAA Policy No: PS-AIR-21.8-1602 [PDF] “encourages general aviation aircraft owners to voluntarily install safety equipment on airplanes and helicopters that is not required by the agency’s regulations.”

Navy: Human error to blame for March cable break aboard USS Eisenhower flight deck

An arresting cable broke when an E2-C Hawkeye attempted to make a carrier landing, injuring eight sailors. The video shows the dramatic recovery by the pilot of the Hawkeye.

Cable snaps on USS Eisenhower during landing

BAE Systems wants to grow military aircraft in chemical vats

BAE Systems and the University of Glasgow are working on a manufacturing method that utilizes a “Chemputer” at the molecular level to assemble objects. Originally developed for pharmaceuticals, this might allow the construction of small UAVs or components for large manned aircraft.

Growing UAVs Through Chemistry


Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall

Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall

Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall

David attended the opening of the new Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum. We hear opening remarks from Dr. Bob van der Linden, Chairman of the Aeronautics Department, and Dr. Margaret Weitekamp, a curator in the Space History Department.

We then hear David’s interview with Bob van der Linden, who describes some of the changes made, the visitor experience, and the special photo op with the Spirit of St. Louis and the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM).

NASM app logoNext, David talks with Vicki Portway and Sarah Banks from the social media team about how the museum is reaching out and transforming itself through the “experience loop.” We also hear about the new GO FLIGHT: National Air and Space Museum app for iOS and Android. The app lets you connect to the museum from wherever you are.

Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall


Routehappy job page.


Intro music courtesy Brother Love from his Album Of The Year CD. Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps

408 AirVenture Oshkosh 2016 Preview

Jack Pelton, Chairman of the Board of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), tells us about what’s been called the World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration. In the news, we talk about a call for more ramp checks at airports, Airbus plans to offer real-time transmission of flight data, the Chinese ARJ regional jet makes its first commercial flight, and the U.S. State Department schedules talks about Gulf carriers and government subsidies.

Marquee Bearhawk homebuilt. Photo courtesy EAA.

Marquee Bearhawk homebuilt. Photo courtesy EAA.


Jack Pelton is Chairman of the Board of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). He tells us about some of the things you can expect at AirVenture 2016 at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, July 25-31, 2016. We talk about the 100 Years of Boeing, the JetBlue “BluesMobile” Airbus, Memories of WWI, Aircraft of Desert Storm, the Snowbirds, the evening airshows, and many other exciting events planned for the week-long event.

Jack also explains the new Founder’s Innovation Prize, presented by Airbus Group and leveraging the creativity of the EAA community toward solving challenges facing the general aviation community. The top finishers will receive a cash grant toward developing their product and prominent exposure at AirVenture.

We learn about the OSHALERT service for event attendees and how to sign up for those text alerts. Jack also gives us an update on some EAA advocacy activities, such as medical reform and FAA reauthorization.

Jack is the retired chairman, president, and chief executive officer for Cessna Aircraft Company.  Jack was Sr. Vice President of Engineering for Dornier Aircraft in Munich, and he started his career at Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach CA. Also, he was a member of the board and past chairman of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and served on the board of directors of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).


Senator Charles Schumer Calls for More Ramp Checks in New York

According to Charles Schumer, the U.S. Senator from New York, since 2006 the number of annual ramp inspections at major NY airports fell from over 2,800 to only 748. Schumer wants the FAA to increase the number of ramp inspections at airports across New York and the country, including the small airports that have been involved in the recent small plane crashes on Long Island.

Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband-Safety selected as a cockpit safety communications solution by Airbus

Airbus plans to offer the SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) service to allow transmission of flight data in real time. Offered on future A320 and A330 jets starting 2018, the Inmarsat technology is much faster than current transmission speeds.

First made-in-China jetliner makes debut commercial flight

The Chinese COMAC ARJ21-700 regional jet made its first commercial flight. Chengdu Airlines flew the jet with 70 passengers from Chengdu to Shanghai in a two hour flight. The ARJ21 program launched in March 2002, with first delivery initially scheduled for 2007. The ARJ21 has the same cabin cross-section, nose, and tail as the MD-80, and uses General Electric CF-34 turbofans and Rockwell Collins avionics.

United, Delta, JetBlue Jockey For Edge In Gulf Airline Spat

The U.S. State Department is getting involved in the claims of Gulf carrier unfair advantage as they seek to expand in the United States. They have invited Alaska, JetBlue, Hawaiian Holdings, and others to meet and potentially discuss the matter. Next month, the State Department meets with the UAE and Qatar for “informal, technical discussions.”

Revised Total for Mideast Airline Subsidies Is $50 Billion, Lobbying Group Says

The Partnership for Open and Fair Skies says forensic investigators have found a financial statement in Singapore for Qatar Airways that shows than the government of Qatar provided the airline with close to $7 billion in 2014.

The Partnership is the lobbying group composed of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, ALPA, the Allied Pilots Association, the Airline Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, the Communications Workers of America and the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association.

Book Review

EAA OSHKOSH, The Best AirVenture PhotographyDavid reviews EAA OSHKOSH, The Best AirVenture Photography, which is available through EAA and major booksellers.

This book showcases the many types of aircraft that have appeared for AirVenture, from classic fabric-covered covered biplanes to brawny warbirds to homebuilts and jetliners.


Sully – Official Trailer [HD]

Livermore Reads Together Survey, which includes Quest for Flight: John J. Montgomery and the Dawn of Aviation in the West by Craig S. Harwood (guest in Episode 349) and Gary B. Foge. The survey is open through July 18, 2016.

World War II Hero Dr. Roscoe C. Brown Dies at 94

Flew West – Robert “Punchy” Powell  11/21/1920 – 6/22/2016 by John Mollison.

Without Precedent: Commando, Fighter Pilot and the true story of Australia’s first Purple Heart by Owen Zupp.

Kevin Prior’s photographs from the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum’s Innovations in Flight Day 2016.

Landing gear by Kevin Prior

Landing gear by Kevin Prior

Man Calls 911 Thinking He Was in Plane Crash, But ‘It Was All Just a Dream’

Spitfire exposed, by Roland

Spitfire exposed, by Roland


Intro music courtesy Brother Love from his Album Of The Year CD. Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.


AirplaneGeeks 401 Aviation Accidents as Emergent Properties of Complex Systems

We explore aviation accidents as emergent properties of complex systems, and discuss: the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association complaints about pilot wages, a survey on frequent flier rewards programs, an NPRM that would change FAR Part 61, third class medical reform in yet more legislation, and a two seat Robinson R44. David has an onfire history segment and Rob talks TSA.


Captain Shem Malmquist has a broad aviation experience ranging from teaching aerobatics and instructing in a wide variety of both general aviation and transport aircraft, to academic research and safety investigation.

Captain Shem Malmquist, FRAeS

Captain Shem Malmquist, FRAeS

We talk with Shem about improvements that have made air travel safer, and the gaps we now face for identifying problems that might arise in the future. Shem explains how aviation accidents currently present themselves as interactions of complex components. Resilience engineering is an example of a different approach to how we look at complex accidents. We discuss flight simulators, mitigating lithium battery risk, and autonomous vehicles, including both manned and unmanned aircraft.

Shem worked as an instructor and evaluator on several transport aircraft and has served as flight crew on the Embraer EMB-110, Shorts 360, B-727, DC-8, B-747 and MD-11. He continues to work a full flight schedule, mostly international long haul flights.

Shem has been part of the Air Line Pilot Association’s (ALPA) National Charting and Instrument Procedures Committee (CHIPS), and he was selected by his airline to be the chairman of both the airline’s Safety Committee and the Aircraft Design and Operations Committee.

As Flight Duty Officer, he led several initiatives, including a volcanic ash avoidance plan, air security procedures, and a number of regulatory compliance issues. Shem completed NTSB’s accident investigation training and acted as Party Coordinator for an MD-11 accident in Newark, New jersey, and he was on the “go-team” for an MD-11 accident in Narita Japan.

Last year, Shem was a keynote speaker at FAA’s InfoShare and has presented at several International Society of Air Safety Investigators (ISASI) events. He has also authored numerous articles on various issues involving flight safety and operations covering a broad range of topics from technical to human factors.

Shem earned a Masters (MSc) degree in Human Factors in Aeronautics through the Florida Institute of Technology, and a Bachelors of Science (BSc) from Embry-Riddle University. He is an elected Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, a full member of the International Society of Air Safety Investigators (ISASI), and a member of AIAA, IEEE, and SAE where he also serves on three committees: Flight Deck Handling Quality Standards for Transport Aircraft, Aerospace Behavior Engineering Technology, and Lithium Battery Packaging Performance.

Related Resources:

David Woods, Professor, Integrated Systems Engineering, The Ohio State University. Complexity in Human, Natural and Engineered Systems.

Sidney Dekker, professor at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, author on human factors and safety: Field Guide to Understanding Human Error.

Air Transport Safety Articles A collection of articles written by Shem Malmquist FRAeS.

Airline Safety and Accident Investigation Community on Facebook.

Driverless Cars and the Myths of Autonomy by David A. Mindell, MIT Professor of engineering and the history of technology, author of Our Robots, Ourselves: Robotics and the Myths of Autonomy.


Southwest Pilots Sue City of Chicago Over Billboard Advertising

SWAPA billboard

SWAPA billboard

The Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA) wanted to make a point about pilot wages on a billboard at Chicago Midway International Airport. City Hall told them they could not post their message, so the union filed suit against the city of Chicago, claiming an unconstitutional restriction on their First Amendment rights and asking for a temporary restraining order to allow the pilots to display the ad. As a result, a Judge orders Chicago to allow Southwest pilots billboard at Midway.

The Best and Worst Frequent-Flier Rewards Programs for 2016

Switchfly-Reward-Infographic-2016The Switchfly Reward Seat Availability Survey conducted by consulting firm IdeaWorks found that for the third year in a row, free seats open for booking increased. “Overall, I think the consumer is being better served than the year before,” says Jay Sorensen, president of IdeaWorks.

Switchfly CEO Daniel Farrar said, “This survey reflects the fact that airlines can’t afford to take their customers for granted. 21st century consumers are savvy and plugged-in. They know when their loyalty programs are offering them a real value and when they are not delivering; and they don’t have time for loyalty programs that aren’t delivering, especially in such a competitive space. Increasingly, consumers expect a personalized booking, travel and reward experience. Every time a customer interacts with the brand – online, offline or mobile – the user experience must be on-point. Airlines must make this happen and ensure that zero customers have a bad experience anywhere along the booking or redemption path.”

See Southwest and airberlin Top Reward Rankings but Turkish Airlines and Air China Rise High [Ideaworks press release, PDF]

Proposed Part 61 changes would benefit GA

The FAA has published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would change FAR Part 61 which governs the certification of pilots, flight instructors, and ground instructors. AOPA is supportive of the proposed changes, which include “increased use of aviation training devices (ATDs) for maintaining instrument currency, the option to use new technically advanced aircraft instead of older complex or turbine aircraft for single-engine commercial pilot training, and giving credit for hours accumulated during sport pilot training toward earning a recreational or private pilot certificate.”

Defense Bill Includes Medical Reform Language

Third class medical reform from the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 keeps getting into legislation: As standalone legislation in the Senate, again as part of the Senate’s FAA reauthorization bill, and now by the Senate Armed Services Committee in the National Defense Authorization Act.

FAA Approves Two-Place R44

The FAA has certified Robinson’s two-place R44 Cadet The Cadet is essentially an R44 Raven, but with the rear seats removed for more cargo space. Maximum gross weight is reduced to 2200 pounds, engine power is derated to 210 hp takeoff and 185 hp continuous.

The Aircraft of the Week

Aviation Historian David Venderhoof comments on The F-35 Stealth Fighter’s Dirty Little Secret Is Now Out in the Open.

On the Mark

Rob is talking about why he likes something the TSA did … well, sort of.


Breastfeeding pilots file discrimination charges

Tell Frontier Airlines: Sexism Won’t Fly – ACLU petition.

Breastfeeding pilots’ claims against airline seen as advance

Pilots And ACLU Sue Airline Over Breast Milk Pumping At Work


Air Data System Failure Involving Airbus A320-243 A6-EYJ [PDF] from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.


Intro music courtesy Brother Love from his Album Of The Year CD. Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

AirplaneGeeks 397 Airman Certification Standards

We talk with the Special Technical Assistant for the FAA Flight Standards Service and editor of FAA Safety Briefing magazine. Also, electrically powered planes, an important Approved Model List STC, the FAA teams up with the auto industry, airlines restricting fare bargains, a play about United Flight 232, Solar Impulse 2 returns to mission mode, and Aviation Geek Fest Seattle 2016.


Susan Parson

Susan Parson

Susan Parson is Special Technical Assistant with the FAA Flight Standards Service, and editor of FAA Safety Briefing magazine. She serves as the lead FAA representative for the Airman Certification Standards (ACS) project to improve airman testing and training.

Susan has authored over 90 GA safety articles and several online training documents and courses, including Conducting an Effective Flight Review, Instrument Proficiency Check Guidance, and Best Practices for Mentoring in Flight Instruction.

Susan holds an ATP certificate, as well as ground and flight instructor certificates with instrument, single-engine, and multi-engine land ratings. She repeatedly earned Master Flight Instructor and Master Ground Instructor designations from NAFI and Master Instructors LLC.  

As an active GA pilot, Susan instructs on weekends for her Cessna 182 flying club and the Civil Air Patrol. Susan created a number of advanced avionics training courses and modules, for the Civil Air Patrol, and she is the primary author of CAP’s National Check Pilot Standardization Course.

Susan Parson in SP-C182Susan has a BA in international relations and French from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an MA in Education (focused on e-Education and adult learning) from the University of Phoenix, and an Aviation Safety and Security Management certificate from the George Washington University’s Aviation Institute. Susan’s work experience includes serving in the United States Department of State’s diplomatic service.

Visit Susan’s personal webpage at www.avi8rix.aero and find her on Twitter as @avi8rix. The FAA Safety Briefing webpage is www.faa.gov/news/safety_briefing/.


Airbus, Siemens to work together on electrically-powered planes

Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders says, “We believe that by 2030 passenger aircraft below 100 seats could be propelled by hybrid propulsion systems and we are determined to explore this possibility together with world-class partners like Siemens.” Airbus signed a deal with Siemens to work on these hybrid electric propulsion systems.

Experimental Avionics For Certified Aircraft: EAA, Dynon Announce STC

At Sun ‘n Fun, the EAA and Dynon Avionics announced that they’ve developed an Approved Model List – Supplemental Type Certificate (AML-STC) that allows Dynon’s D10 EFIS to be installed in certified aircraft.

FAA and Auto Industry to Team Up on Safety

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and FAA plan to hold an event April 22 with chief executives from the major automakers and aviation industry leaders. The goal is to look at how aviation industry collaboration practices could benefit automakers, particularly safety data sharing.

Three Big Airlines Just Trashed Your Cheap Fares

American Airlines Group Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc., and United Continental Holdings Inc. have taken action to restrict multi-destination fare bargains, mostly affecting business travelers. Previously, purchasing individual tickets for each leg could cost less than purchasing one multi-leg ticket.

Surviving crew of doomed United Flight 232 reunites for play

On July 19, 1989, United Airlines Flight 232, a DC-10, experienced a fan disk failure in the tail-mounted engine. The plane lost hydraulics and crashed in Sioux City, Iowa, killing 110 passengers and one flight attendant. 184 people survived.

Eight survivors from the 13-member crew reunited to watch the play “United Flight 232” by Vanessa Stalling. The play is based on the 2014 book Flight 232: A Story of Disaster and Survival by Laurence Gonzales. The performance at The House Theatre of Chicago continues through May 1, 2016.

After a Long Delay, Solar Impulse 2 Is Ready to Finish Its Round-the-World Flight

On the 3rd of July 2015, Solar Impulse 2 landed in Hawaii after having broken the record for flying non-stop for 5 days and 5 nights from Japan. Due to battery damage from overheating, the round-the-world journey was paused for repairs. However, the Solar Impulse 2 is now back in mission mode. Follow the flight at www.solarimpulse.com. We spoke with Solar Impulse 2 pilot André Borschberg in Airplane Geeks Episode 361.

The Aircraft of the Week

F-16CJ by David Vanderhoof

F-16CJ by David Vanderhoof

The Episode 400 History Segment Listener Challenge

David will select one aircraft from those submitted by listeners to be the Aircraft of the Week for Episode 400. Here are his rules:

  1. If you have hounded me to do a specific aircraft in the past, you’re automatically disqualified, and you all know who you are. I want someone to be rewarded.
  2. NO it will not be the C-130 nor a tanker!
  3. Not following directions might void your entry.***
  4. Pick your airplane.
  5. Send an email to theGeeks@Airplanegeeks.com with the Subject: David, please do this plane!
  6. Give me the full name of the plane.
  7. In 20 words or less tell me why I should do it. Creativity will be rewarded. Emoji’s won’t.
  8. Give me your name.
  9. How long have you listened to the show?
  10. What photo is associated with this post? It’s an  F-16CJ.
  11. Should you pick one I have already done, I will give you a second chance. I promise!
  12. You have until April 30, 2016 to get your entry in.

*** All decisions by the Historian are final!

Aviation Geek Fest Seattle 2016


Max and Brian report on this year’s amazing Aviation Geek Fest where about 250 #AvGeeks assembled for a weekend of Boeing facility tours, time in the Future of Flight Aviation Center and the Museum of Flight, and other exciting activities. Find more event photos here.






"Silver Wasp" Boeing PT-17 Stearman by John Mollison

“Silver Wasp” Boeing PT-17 Stearman flown by Women Airforce Service Pilot Bernice “Bee” Haydu, by John Mollison


Intro music courtesy Brother Love from his Album Of The Year CD. Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.


AirplaneGeeks 396 The Emirates Employment Model

Emirates A380 by Paul Flimer

Conversation with the recruitment manager for Emirates about opportunities at the airline. Also, possible layoffs (or retirements) at Boeing, Air France service returning to Iran, new student pilot rules from the FAA, a buyer for Virgin America, and dogs – can they really fly?


Andrew Longley is Head of Recruitment – Flight Operations (Pilots) at Emirates. The airline operates to over 140 destinations with an all-widebody fleet of Boeing and Airbus aircraft. Emirates is the world’s largest operator of 777 and A380 aircraft.

Andrew Longley

Andrew Longley

Andy describes how the Emirates employment model is different than that of many other airlines. We take a look at the need to attract pilots and cabin crew from an international pool of candidates with strong leadership potential and good CRM skills. We also talk about pilot certification requirements, the Dubai lifestyle and airline accommodation of employee families, salaries, housing, medical insurance, and other career opportunities at Emirates.

Andy started his career in 2006 in the Royal New Zealand Navy as a Military Psychologist where he was responsible for the selection and assessment of specialist trades including helicopter pilots, special forces, and Navy divers. He also served as a UN peacekeeper for a year where he worked and lived in Syria and Lebanon monitoring the peace between the various at-war countries.

After Andy’s military time commitment ended in 2013, he worked as a consultant in the telecommunications and business fields including a year working at IBM.

But Andy saw a unique opportunity with Emirates and he moved to Dubai as a senior psychologist.  He became involved in Emirates pilot assessment and was responsible for profiling and assessing pilot candidates. He moved into pilot recruitment and leads the effort to find enough safe and capable pilots to fly a quickly growing fleet of wide-body aircraft.

Learn more at the Emirates Group Careers webpage. Pilots can look for the closed LinkedIn group “Future Pilots of Emirates Airlines.” Andy will be presenting and exhibiting at the FAPA Job Fair April 26, 2016 and the OBAP Spring Career Fair April 27, 2016, both in Las Vegas.


How The U.S. Government Helped Kill 4,000 Jobs This Week At Boeing

Boeing says that at least 4,000 (or 5%) of it’s workforce needs to be cut, and maybe as much as 10% (or 8,000 jobs). CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) Ray Conner points to pricing pressure from Airbus with their A320 family and its effect on the 737.

Loren Thompson describes some other factors where the U.S. government shares blame:

  • Illegal European launch aid subsidies.
  • The Ex-Im Bank cannot make new deals until the Senate acts to confirm a necessary quorum of board members.
  • Low tanker price will drain funds from Boeing that could have been used to compete with Airbus.

Forget About Airbus Pricing Pressure At Boeing; Bigger Danger Is 15,000 Early Retirements

Aerospace analyst Scott Hamilton of Leeham Co. says early retirements by factory-floor workers could be a bigger impact than layoffs on the 737 and 787 production ramp up starting next year. The IAM (International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers) told told Hamilton that between 7,000 and 9,000 workers are eligible for early retirement in November, and they expect 3-5,000 might actually retire. However, Dennis Muilenburg, the CEO of The Boeing Co.says that “booking rates have held up well.” Cost cutting is offensive rather than defensive.

Air France cabin crew defy airline chiefs order to wear headscarves in Iran

Air France is scheduled to resume service between Paris and Tehran on April 17. By law, Iranian women are required to cover their hair. Some female cabin crew members say they won’t fly to Iran if they are ordered by the airline to wear headscarves after they disembark. Reportedly, an Air France memo to staff said female employees would be required to “wear trousers during the flight with a loose fitting jacket and a scarf covering their hair on leave the plane.”

New Student Pilot Rules Take Effect Today

In the past, many student pilots have celebrated their 16th birthday with their solo flight on that day. Now the FAA says it cannot start processing the student pilot certificate application until all requirements are met, including age.

Jason Blair posted a good resource on his website: Step by Step Process for Issuance of Student Pilot Certificates Using Updated FAA Student Pilot Certificate Procedures.

Alaska Air clinches Virgin America deal for $2.6B

Alaska Air Group plans to Virgin America in a deal valued at about $2.6 billion. If it goes through, Alaska Airlines would become the fifth-largest U.S. airline, behind  American, Delta, United, and Southwest.

Abandoned Dog Learns To Fly A Plane, Becomes World’s Cutest Co-Pilot

Maybe. Maybe not.

Listener Recording

Our Main(e) man Micah tells us about his second visit to the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum’s Stephen Udvar-Hazy Center in June 2015 for the Innovations in Flight Family Day and Outdoor Aviation Display. Join us at the 2016 June 18 in Chantilly, Virginia, adjacent to Dulles International Airport. See also Scott Spangler’s visit report Udvar-Hazy: Surprises & Friends Restored on Jetwhine.com.


Top 10 Aviation Museums to Visit in the U.S.

US Chamber of Commerce’s 15th Annual Aviation Summit

Listener Photo

Ryan Hothersall's model Mil Mi-8 in Mongolian markings

Ryan Hothersall’s model Mil Mi-8 in Mongolian markings


Post photo courtesy Paul Filmer, Skippyscage Photography.

Intro music courtesy Brother Love from his Album Of The Year CD. Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.


AirplaneGeeks 393 Aviators Achieving Success

Thomas P. Curran, the author of Millionaire Legacy, tells us about the success strategies of Sean D. Tucker, Captain Julie Clark, and Captain “Sully” Sullenberger. We also discuss ab initio pilot training from JetBlue, watching a solar eclipse from an airplane, a bill to curb airline fees, stricter oversight of pilot mental health, and high altitude drone flying.


Thomas P. Curran

Thomas P. Curran

Thomas P. Curran is a certified trainer and uses advanced strategies to coach his students to attain their dreams and goals. Tom has developed training curriculums and performance evaluations, and assists his clients with developing strategic marketing plans. As a speaker and seminar leader, he helps individuals prioritize their goals and dreams while developing a clearly defined plan for success. Tom is also a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).

Millionaire Legacy book cover


Tom’s book, Millionaire Legacy, focuses on the eight success strategies self-made millionaires use to acquire wealth, peace, and contentment. Top leading business, motivational, and other leaders are examined in the book, including  Sean D. Tucker, Captain Julie Clark, and Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. The book describes how these three highly regarded aviators overcame adversity and challenges to reach successful outcomes.

  • Sean D. Tucker overcame a deep fear of flying but persisted until he became a respected aerobatic pilot.
  • Captain Julie Clark fought many obstacles throughout her life and became the first and only female pilot with Golden West Airlines, a captain with Northwest Airlines, and an accomplished aerobatic pilot.  
  • Captain Sully Sullenberger, lost both engines after a bird strike, and instead of allowing himself to become paralyzed by fear, he safely landed the US Airways plane in the Hudson River.


JetBlue Wants to Train You to Become a Pilot

In Episode #379, we discussed the proposal by JetBlue to hire potential commercial pilots and provide them with ab initio training. JetBlue announced they are now taking applications for 24 Gateway Select program slots. The cost is expected to be about $125,000, but some tuition costs can be defrayed by working on the side as an instructor for CAE, the flight simulator manufacturer that has partnered with JetBlue to offer the training. The first six recruits will start training in late summer.

Astronomers freak out watching solar eclipse from Alaska Airlines flight

Alaska Airlines delayed Flight 870 from Anchorage to Honolulu allowing the plane’s path to intersect a total solar eclipse. A group of “eclipse chasers” onboard the flight witnessed the approaching shadow, Baily’s beads, the sun’s corona and prominences, and the diamond ring. The video captures their excitement.

Alaska Airlines Solar Eclipse Flight #870

“The Great American Eclipse” will occur on Aug. 21, 2017, and cut a diagonal path from Oregon to South Carolina. Learn more at Eclipse2017.org.

Airline Fees Are Out of Hand, a Bill From Senators Says

Fed up with the proliferation of airline fees, federal legislators have introduced the Forbidding Airlines from Imposing Ridiculous Fees Act, the “FAIR Fees Act.” Senator Edward J. Markey, Democrat from Massachusetts said, “Airlines should not be allowed to overcharge captive passengers just because they need to change their flight or have to check a couple of bags.” Markey and Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat from Connecticut, authored the bill.

Germanwings Crash Inquiry Urges Stricter Oversight of Pilots’ Mental Health

Airline Plan Suggests No Pilot Privacy

On March 24, 2015, pilot Andreas Lubitz flew a Germanwings Airbus A320 into the ground killing all 150 people on board. After the Captain left for a break, Lubitz locked the cockpit door and set the plane to an altitude of 100 feet, which was below the altitude of the terrain it was approaching. The French air-safety agency BEA has proposed rules for situations when pilots suffer from medical conditions that might pose a public risk.

FAA Reauthorization bill passes the House

The House voted to extend the Federal Aviation Administration’s operating authority through mid-July while Congress works on a longer aviation policy bill. The bill was approved by voice vote and Senate action is still required. The FAA’s current operating authority is due to expire on March 31, 2016.

This Idiot Flew his Drone to 11,000 feet in the Netherlands

Someone in the Netherlands flew their DJI Phantom to 11,000 feet, in an apparent attempt to break a world record.

Airplane of the Week

Atlas Cheetah E 826 by Alan Wilson

Atlas Cheetah E 826 by Alan Wilson

This week David schools Rob on the Atlas Cheetah, the favorite airplane of one of our listeners. The Cheetah grew out of the embargos of the 70’s and 80’s in both Israel and South Africa.


American Vintage Planes Take On ISIS — Why Have Throwbacks Been Brought Back From Retirement To Bombard Terrorist Group? [Video]


Opening music courtesy Brother Love from his Album Of The Year CD. Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.


AirplaneGeeks 391 Jack Pelton, EAA Chairman of the Board

We talk with Jack Pelton, Chairman of the Board of the Experimental Aircraft Association about the status of the FAA re-authorization and ATC privatization. Also the Republic Airways bankruptcy, a WASP celebrates her 106th birthday, a first look at the Long Range Strike Bomber, and the history of the YF-12A.

Jack Pelton

Jack Pelton


Jack Pelton is Chairman of the Board of the Experimental Aircraft Association (the EAA). He’s the retired chairman, president, and chief executive officer for Cessna Aircraft Company. Jack has also worked at Dornier Aircraft in Munich, and Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach CA.

Jack was a member of the board and past chairman of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and served on the board of directors of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).

Jack gives us the background of the FAA re-authorization bill and tells us about some of its problems: the lack of GA input, heavy board control by airlines, absence of congressional oversight, taxpayer-funded assets handed to a private organization, and lack of clarity on how privatized ATC would be paid for.

You can take action at govt.eaa.org.


Republican leaders sideline a bill putting air traffic control in private hands

House leadership to shelve FAA overhaul

The House Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act is being put aside for now in favor of a continuing resolution to fund the FAA beyond March 31, when funding runs out. The chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa. said that he is working on the extension bill, but also seeking support for the privatization of air traffic control.

What’s next? Aftermath of ATC Privatization Battle

“After [the] announcement by leadership in the House of Representatives that ATC privatization is dead, EAA continues to focus on moving forward with the elements of the bill that are important to general aviation, including reforms in aeromedical and aircraft certification as well as hangar-use policy, that were included in the original House FAA reauthorization bill.”

Republic Airways CEO Says Bankruptcy Filing Will Take Airline To New Heights

Regional flier for United Airlines files for bankruptcy protection

Why Republic Airways filed for bankruptcy even though it’s profitable

Regional carrier Republic Airways has filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. Factors include: labor disputes, pilot shortages, loss of revenue and poor earnings. Flight operations will continue and employees will still get paid

A happy birthday for the woman who can fly

Doris Lockness was one of the 1,074 women who were accepted to join the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots that ferried aircraft for the U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II. Doris just celebrated her 106th birthday. After the war, Doris worked as a flight instructor, a sightseeing pilot, and she performed in air shows in a Vultee-Stinson warbird called “Swamp Angel.”

Air Force reveals first image of B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber

Bomber 21? Why Not Build a Better B-52?

B-21 artist renderingAir Force Secretary Deborah Lee James unveiled the artist rendering Friday based on the initial design concept. James said, “The B-21 has been designed from the beginning based on a set of requirements that allows the use of existing and mature technology.”

Airplane of the Week

Only every four years can we talk about aviation history from the 29th of February. In 1964, Lyndon Johnson bought the YF-12 from the world of the black and into the light, doing so only to protect the black.  The YF-12A was an extremely successful interceptor and went on to be a great test aircraft for NASA.


On the Mark

How Airports Can Help Revitalize the Aviation Industry.


Bring Right Footed to Your Community

“Right Footed” is an award winning documentary film about Jessica Cox, the first woman without arms to fly an airplane. The film is now available for screenings in movie theaters and in group settings. To bring the film to your community visit www.RightFootedMovie.com and click on “Host a Screening.”

AOPA Foundation Auction winner of one of Greg’s fine art prints

The First Air Force One

This Rotor’s POV Video Shows How Helicopters Don’t Fly, But Beat The Air Into Submission


Opening music courtesy Brother Love from his Album Of The Year CD. Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

AirplaneGeeks 390 Lightspeed ANR Headsets

We learn all about Active Noise Reduction headsets with the founder and CEO of Lightspeed Aviation. In the news: Bombardier job cuts and a CS300 order, the NASA aeronautics budget request, United 747 retirements, and the FAA reauthorization bill stalls. We also have the winner of the John Mollison print.

Allan Schrader

Allan Schrader, founder and CEO, Lightspeed Aviation.


Allan Schrader is founder and CEO of Lightspeed Aviation, a leading producer of active noise reduction headsets for aviation. Lightspeed introduced their first product in 1996 at EAA AirVenture and continues to develop and offer innovative products.

Allan tells us how he started Lightspeed and the sound cancellation technologies involved. We learn about the labs dedicated to delivering quieting, comfort, and fidelity; the headset trade-in program; and the different acoustic signatures of GA airplanes, helicopters, and airliners. Allan also talks about the introduction of the wireless headset, and integrating headsets with cockpit information to enhance the cockpit experience.

Allan has a civil engineering degree and an MBA, and started his career at Tektronix  where he learned about product development and operations. Allan left Tektronix to launch a startup company producing wireless headsets, then after five years he and some of his Tektronix co-workers started Lightspeed Technologies to design and make Active Noise Reduction headsets.


Bombardier to Cut Workforce by 10%, Gets New CSeries Orders

Bombardier plans to cut about 7,000 jobs from its worldwide workforce of 71,000. Layoffs are expected in both Canada and Europe, split between the company’s plane and train operations. The better news is that Air Canada placed orders for 45 firm and 30 option CS300 airplanes.

Boom! NASA Wants to Bring Back Supersonic X-Planes

The $19B FY 2017 NASA budget request asks for $790M to be used for aeronautics research impacting the safety, capacity, and efficiency of the air transportation system; a major new experimental flight initiative to demonstrate and validate new technologies that dramatically reduce fuel consumption, emissions, and noise, and open new markets for U.S. industry; and research and development for revolutionary low carbon emission aircraft, including associated transportation systems, as part of a multiagency effort to enable a 21st century clean transportation system.


United Airlines tells pilots it may retire all of its Boeing 747s by 2018

Aviation journalist Brian Sumers reports that almost a year ago, United indicated that its 747 fleet would be around for a while, with maybe a 2020 decision point based on aircraft maintenance requirements. Now however, pilots were told that 747 retirements may occur at a faster rate. If United does move to retire the 747 quickly, they say they will accelerate deliveries of new widebodies.

Reauthorization Bill Stalled In Committee

The FAA reauthorization bill which would privatize ATC will not be introduced to the full House as scheduled. Facing widespread opposition to the bill, Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster will instead try and consolidate support. Expect the bill to be amended before it re-emerges from Committee.

John Mollison Print Giveaway

Grandpas Untold StoryWe announce the winner of the John Mollison signed print showing the B-25 flown by Dick Cole and Doolittle, Bud Anderson’s P51B, Alden Rigby’s P51D, and Maury Magneson’s P47. John was our guest on Episode 388 where he told us about his “Old Guys and Their Airplanes” video documentaries.

We also play a moving recording called “Grandpa’s Untold Story” that describes how the picture of one man’s B-17 came to be on the wall of his grandson.

Airplane of the Week

Listener Glenn Towler tells us the history of the English Electric Lightning.


Airfare is finally getting cheaper

Why We Fly Podcast

Ryan Hothersall’s photos of the E4 when it visited Adelaide, South Australia in 2005.


Opening music courtesy Brother Love from his Album Of The Year CD. Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.