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 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 and 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.
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 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 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.
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.
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 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.”
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.
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).
Next, 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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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
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.
David Woods, Professor, Integrated Systems Engineering, The Ohio State University. Complexity in Human, Natural and Engineered Systems.
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 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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
NO it will not be the C-130 nor a tanker!
Not following directions might void your entry.***
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.
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.
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.
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 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.”
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.
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.
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 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
“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.”
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
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 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.
“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.”
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, 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 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.
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.
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.
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
We 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.
John Mollison tells us how his artwork and his interviews capture the human side of aviation history. In the news, we talk about the FAA reauthorization bill, and consider if United Airlines is getting better. Also, spraying airplanes to fight the Zika virus, the A-10 gets a reprieve, and Icelandair steps up their game with a Stopover Buddy.
Artist and writer John Mollison has interviewed well over 100 highly decorated airman since 1999 including: Medal of Honor recipients Joe Foss and Leo Thorsness, Presidential candidate and Senator George McGovern, bestselling author Robert Mason, and Morris Jeppson, the Bomb-Electronics Officer aboard the Enola Gay, to name a few.
In his words, John “Interviews old guys and draws their airplanes.” He uses the process of capturing an exact, historically accurate rendering of a particular combat aircraft to learn more about the human side of history.
John interviews the pilots and aircrew of particular aircraft to to learn: What makes people go to war? What makes people cope with stress? How do people define success? And most importantly, what can be passed on to future generations so they can avoid the mistakes of the past?
The AIRR Act proposes privatizing ATC via a federally chartered not-for-profit organization, third class medical reform, certification reform, and user fees for airlines and Part 135 charter operators.
In his press release, Shuster says, “The comprehensive reauthorization bill, which removes over 30,000 people from the federal government’s payroll, also streamlines the FAA’s aviation equipment and aircraft certification processes, provides additional consumer protections, addresses aviation safety issues, gives the FAA more tools for the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems, and provides for airport infrastructure improvements across the country.”
CEO Oscar Munoz was upbeat and enthusiastic in the earnings call, 79% of the United pilots ratified a two-year contract extension, United operations are improving, United is building its San Francisco hub as the primary U.S. gateway to Asia, Boston-based PAR Capital Management increased its stake in the carrier to 8.9 million shares or 2.4% of the airline.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the DOD is “…investing to maintain more of our 4th-generation fighter and attack jets than we previously planned — including the A-10, which has been devastating ISIL from the air. The budget defers the A-10’s final retirement until 2022, replacing it with F-35s on a squadron-by-squadron basis so we’ll always have enough aircraft for today’s conflicts.”
Icelandair and WOW Air are competing with low fares between the U.S. and Europe using Iceland as a waypoint. But now Icelandair is stepping up the game and testing an idea where passengers enjoy Iceland’s sights during a layover, before proceeding to their destination. Under this program, passengers can request an Icelandair Stopover Buddy to act as a kind of free tour guide.
Jeff Pino was president of Sikorsky aircraft from 2006 to 2012. Recently, he was the Vice Chairman of XTI Aircraft Company, developing the Trifan 600 VTOL for the commercial market. Pino and was killed February 5, 2016 in the crash of his P-51 Mustang in Arizona.