We discuss the crash of the Collings Foundation B-17 and present our interview with pilot Mac McCauley, recorded one week prior to the fatal crash. Also, NTSB recommendations for the FAA after the fatal 737 MAX crashes, ICAO’s push ahead with the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, tariffs after the WTO rules on unfair aviation subsidies, and two airliners make emergency landings.
Collings Foundation B-17
Collings Foundation B-17 pilot Ernest “Mac” McCauley. Copyright Max Flight.
One week prior to the fatal crash at BDL of the Collings Foundation B-17, we toured the aircraft and interviewed B-17 pilot Ernest “Mac” McCauley. We present that interview in full, examine safety concerns for such warbird flights, and provide our thoughts about the crash and its implications for warbird flights in the future.
B-17 crash raises questions about vintage plane safety. We take issue with “… Arthur Alan Wolk, a lawyer who specializes in crash litigation in Philadelphia, said Friday that the accident shows the risks associated with flying old planes: They break. He said the rules for operating vintage aircraft are stringent, but he questioned whether compliance and training are adequate.”
Keep History Flying: Warbirds In The Wake Of The B-17 Crash. “These aircraft serve as traveling museums, able to visit communities across America and engage people who are not able to journey to the National Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio, or the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.”
The National Transportation Safety Board issued seven safety recommendations to the FAA that address concerns about how multiple alerts and indications are considered when making assumptions as part of design safety assessments.
The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) assembly approved moving forward with the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). China, India, and Russia objected.
The World Trade Organization has been considering claims against Boeing and Airbus that they each received unfair government subsidies. The WTO determined that both charges are valid. They haven’t yet quantified the “damage” that resulted from Boeing subsidies, but they have quantified it for Airbus and given Washington the right to impose tariffs on $7.5 billion worth of EU goods annually.
Delta said that new U.S. tariffs placed on Airbus planes “will inflict serious harm on U.S. airlines” and impact its profits. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said it will impose a 10 percent tariff on large commercial aircraft. Agricultural and other industrial goods will face even higher tariffs.
A longtime AvGeek plans to present photographs and tell the stories of vintage aviation. Also, an electric airplane company goes under, the FAA publishes new ADS-B pre-flight policy, the massive GE9X engine gets Guinness Book of World Records recognition, commercial aviation is in the crosshairs of environmentalists, the latest on “DB” Cooper, and a hotel room with a full flight simulator.
Martt Clupper and the restored 1959 Super Cub.
Martt Clupper is planning to create the Vintage Aviation print magazine to show the photographs and tell the stories of early aviation. Martt has a Kickstarter Campaign to create the premier issue of the magazine that will showcase historical photographs and provide in-depth storytelling of vintage aviation, focusing on the period from the early 1900s until 1960. He is also producing episodes of Vintage Aviation Podcast.
Zunum Aero benefited from Boeing and JetBlue investments as it sought to develop hybrid electric airplanes. But Zunum has run out of cash and the company has laid off employees and reportedly vacated its facilities. Zunum Aero founder Matt Knapp was our guest in Episode 453 The Zunum Aero Electric Airplane.
Under the circumstances identified in this policy, the FAA is providing assurance to operators that it will not consider degradation in Global Positioning System performance due to conditions outside the operator’s control that results in an operation falling below ADS–B rule requirements to constitute non-compliance provided the operator has exercised appropriate due diligence prior to conducting an operation.
The GE9X has been officially declared by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most powerful jet engine at 134,300 pounds of thrust. The engine, which will power the Boeing 777X, produced this thrust during an engineering test in November 2017. GE announced the record this month as part of their 100-year celebration.
Environmentalism continues to grow and commercial air travel is a target. France has announced an “eco-tax” and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is urging travelers to consider flying less, especially over short distances. In Europe, rail is a viable alternative, but not so much in the US.
The mystery identity of “DB” Cooper has stymied law enforcement since he parachuted out the back of a Northwest Orient 727 in 1971 with $200,000 in cash. Some speculated that Robert Rackstraw was “DB” Cooper. Cold case expert Thomas Colbert wrote that the evidence pointed to Rackstraw. Now Rackstraw family members say the man has just died of natural causes at age 75.
We talk about aviation accidents and look at a possible scenario for MH 370 with the author of a new book. Also, likely impacts of airline carbon offsets, building the giant An-225 in China, more fun with aircraft designations, and listener feedback.
Christine proposes a sequence of events aboard MH 370 that starts with aircraft decompression and pilot hypoxia, and ultimately leads to the aircraft flying on until it runs out of fuel. She supports the scenario with known facts and precedent from other accidents.
Christine has worked for many journalism organizations including, The New York Times, ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Air & Space Magazine, Executive Travel Magazine, Parade, as well as a number of local newspapers and television stations.
She covered the TWA Flight 800 crash for CNN, and wrote the book, Deadly Departure. Christine was asked by the FAA to participate in the advisory committee formed to address problems surfaced the the investigations of TWA 800 and the fatal in-flight fire of Swissair Flight 111. After the 9/11 attacks, Christine joined aviation law firm Kreindler & Kreindler and qualified for membership in the International Society of Air Safety Investigators.
The agreement for an international scheme for commercial aviation carbon credits we looked at previously was finalized in Montreal. On one level, the idea is simple: the cost of carbon credits incentivise the industry to develop lower-carbon fuels and technologies, while the money raised by the credits will fund environmental initiatives to help to tackle climate change. At issue is the quality and availability of the credits.
China will reportedly sign a deal with Ukraine to re-start production of the giant AN-225 cargo aircraft. Ukraine will also “provide a complete transfer of technology for the turbofan engines to be license produced in China…”
Airplane of the Week
David provides more fun with military aircraft designations.
Part 3 of Ric’s series on getting a type rating in the Lear 45.
We speak with the Executive Director of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative. Also, Data Comm technology, CSeries delays, MRJ delays, another lawsuit against an airline, and virtual currency for Canadian Pilots. Plus listener recordings, aviation awards, military aircraft designations, a safety stand down, and some videos.
Steve Csonka is Executive Director, Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI). Steve gives us an update on the development and commercialization of sustainable alternative jet fuels (SAJF).
Steve is a commercial aviation professional with 31 years of broad aviation experience with OEMs, airlines, and CAAFI. He has a strong technical background which covers the commercial aircraft/engine life-cycle. Steve’s engagements include business development and long-term strategic planning.
Initiation of continuous production of renewable jet fuel from the AltAir refinery in Paramount, CA, for regular delivery to the fuel farm at LAX, via contracting with United Airlines. The deal entails 5M gpy delivered as a 30% blend with petro-jet. First flight to use the fuel was UA 708 departing LAX for SFO on 10 Mar 16.
Fuel from AltAir is also being delivered to the Navy (F76 diesel for Great Green Fleet exercises), Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation in Savannah, GA (SAJF for use in their FAST fleet, flight testing, and corporate flights), and for KLM flights out of LAX.
SAJF is also being introduced into several airports in Scandinavia, primarily through the efforts of SkyNRG, with supply being pulled from batch production at NESTE.
The industry has approved two additional SAJF production pathways. Seven more are in the process of being evaluated for approval, and about 20 others are on the horizon. Feedstocks include four general families (lipids, sugars, cellulose, and other stranded hydrocarbons (various waste streams)) and a broad range of thermochemical, biochemical, catalytic, and hybrid processes.
Another reflection of CAAFI collaboration with Federal Agencies can be seen in the recently released Federal AJF R&D Strategy, which identifies goals and programs to be undertaken by multiple Agencies to help meet the need for the aviation enterprise. Conclusions in the Strategy also mirror findings from the release this summer of a NAS/ASEB Low Carbon Aviation Committee report, sponsored by NASA, looking at the near term research priorities to lower carbon from propulsion and energy.
The FAA’s ASCENT center of excellence continues to make progress on multiple themes associated with SAJF: Removing supply chain roadblocks; National Jet Fuel Combustion Program.
Upcoming CAAFI Biennial General Meeting 2016. (at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC from October 25-27, 2016.
The International Civil Aviation Organization is meeting at their General Assembly and a major theme there will be reaching agreement on a framework for the use of Market Based Measures to help aviation close any future gap toward their commitment to limit net CO2 emissions from 2020 onward.
The FAA announced that “the revolutionary NextGen technology called Data Communications (Data Comm) is now operational at Washington Dulles International Airport.” Data Comm allows ATC and pilots to send and receive flight information using digital text-based messages. The FAA is on target to deliver Data Comm to 56 airport towers by the end of 2016.
Slow deliveries of GTF engines is causing Bombardier to lower its plan for CSeries jetliner shipments in 2016, 7 instead of 15. CEO Alain Bellemare says “it’s a great engine” and “I’m still very pleased that we made that choice. It’s the best engine available out there today for commercial aircraft.” But the engine delivery delays are “disappointing.”
Transport Canada enacted a rule that allows pilots to stay current without actually flying an airplane.
The Airplane of the Week
The 1962 Tri-Service Designation System, aka “McNamara’s Success.” David was asked by Patrick how US military aircraft get their numbers. We look at how the system is supposed to work, and how it works in this day in age.
Part 2 of Ric’s series on getting a type rating in the Lear 45. Ric had the opportunity to see the Delta Air Museum and sent some photos.
Registration for Banquet honoring the 34th Crystal Eagle winner, Steve Hinton, Sr. Reno Racer and former world speed record for piston-driven aircraft. The event will be at 6:15 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, at the Hiller Aviation Museum, 601 Skyway Road at San Carlos Airport. Dinner will be served at 7:30 p.m.
Hinton won unlimited national championships in Reno 1978 in the RB-51 Red Baron and 1985 in the Super Corsair. At his first Reno win, he was 26, the youngest pilot ever to win, a record that stood until his son won in 2009 at age 22. He held the 3-km course world speed record for piston-driven aircraft at 499.019 mph from 1979 to 1989. Again he was the youngest person to hold that record. Hinton retired from air racing in 1990 and since then has flown the T-33 pace plane for the unlimited races at Reno. He is president of the Planes of Fame Air Museums at Chino in Southern California and Valley-Grand Canyon, Arizona. He is owner of Fighter Rebuilders, a military aircraft restoration company, in Chino. Hinton is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and a charter member of the Motion Picture Pilots Association. He has worked on more than 60 films, including Pearl Harbor in 2002.
Induction of Tom Poberezny into National Aviation Hall of Fame
Former EAA Chairman and CEO Tom Poberezny was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Poberezny is joined by three others; Capt. Robert Crippen, the first NASA space shuttle pilot; Christopher Kraft, NASA’s first flight director; and the late Col. Bud Day. Poberezny’s appointment was noteworthy in that he became part of the first father-son team to be honored. EAA’s founder, the late Paul Poberezny, was inducted in 1999.
Although Tom Poberezny was best known in his EAA role, he was also an accomplished pilot in his own right. “We at EAA are overjoyed at the recognition for Tom in respect to his long and varied career in the flying community,” EAA Chairman Jack Pelton said in a statement. “That includes his aerobatic skill as U.S. National Unlimited Aerobatic Champion, a member of the American world championship team in 1972, and dazzling air show audiences as a member of the Red Devils and Eagles aerobatic teams for 25 years.
A United Nations plan to regulate airline emissions, the U-2 accident and the current role of that airplane, the FAA provides some aviation career guidance, a U.S. Department Of Transportation committee is reviewing accommodations for disabled passengers, and F-117s back in the air.
A UN-led proposal to address commercial aviation pollution emissions has gotten a lot of international support. The agreement would take effect in 2021 and be voluntary at the start. It would become mandatory in 2027. The program would require international airlines to limit their emissions to 2020 levels, or buy credits to offset their pollution. The credits would support renewable energy development, forest preservation, or other environmental efforts.
The September/October 2016 edition of the FAA Safety Briefing is titled “Avenues to Aviation.” [PDF]. In it, the FAA explores different and aviation careers, with a focus on general aviation. Feature articles explore flying and non-flying aviation career options, and some of the new vocations that the small Unmanned Aircraft Systems rule has enabled.
There is a distinction between Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals. The exact definitions of each depends on the Act that applies: the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the 1986 Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). The ACAA recognizes emotional support animals as service animals, so U.S. airlines must allow them. But some passengers seem to abuse this and claim their pet is an emotional support animal. In April, 2016, the DOT created an Accessible Air Transportation Advisory Committee looking at passengers with disabilities. In October, the government/industry Committee is to propose a rule based on consensus recommendations.
Arnold Palmer was a long-time supporter of aviation, and he will be missed.
Arnold Palmer’s trip to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2008. From left is former EAA president Tom Poberezny, Arnold Palmer, Rose Pelton and Jack Pelton. Photo courtesy EAA.org.
Airplane of the Week
The F-105 Thunderchief. In Part 1 of a two-part series on the Thud, David explains the airplane’s development and the single seaters. Check out these articles comparing the modern-day F-35 to the Vietnam era Thud:
Anthony Nalli from The Aviators, a Sonex crash takes two lives, United spurns the A380, EPA to announce aviation emissions regulations, EasyJet using drones for aircraft inspections, and JetBlue does the right thing for autism.
Anthony Nalli is Executive Producer and Director of The Aviators, an independently produced television series with 5 seasons completed so far. Anthony is an instrument rated pilot and published writer with a passion for aviation. As the show’s “everyman” Anthony does things most weekend pilots can relate to.
We talk with Anthony about growth in viewership, some of the people featured in past episodes, and the new Air Boss program that provides an inside view of that very demanding job.
The Aviators airs on most PBS stations across the United States, it’s on in Canada on Travel+Escape, and on Discovery Channel in many countries. You can also find episodes on iTunes, Hulu, and Amazon. Visit The Aviators website, find them on IMDB, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.
Some sad news. Jeremy Monnett, the CEO of Sonex Aircraft, and Michael Clark, a Sonex assembly mechanic, were killed when their plane crashed near Wittman Regional Airport. Jeremy Monnett was 40 and Michael Clark was 20. Jeremy was our guest on Airplane Geeks Episode 65, in 2009. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.
According to “unnamed” sources, the Environmental Protection Agency will soon announce carbon emission standards for commercial aviation. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta says, “This is something that we have been working with EPA on. It’s going to be a long-term process really to bring aviation into compliance with a lot of policy level initiatives taking place globally. What we want to make sure is that anything EPA does, they understand the technical situation in the aviation industry and what is within the realm of possible.”
UK company Blue Bear Systems is working with EasyJet to use the Remote Intelligent Survey Equipment for Radiation (RISER) quadrotor UAV for aircraft inspection. The RISER was originally designed for gamma radiation inspection. A two-laser infrared system keep the RISER 1m away from the aircraft it is inspecting. RISER has a number of sensors (electro-optical, light detection, and ranging) which can locate damage caused by lightning strikes. The Riser area of operation can be geofenced.
The Australia News Desk
It’s the Queen’s Birthday long weekend here in Australia and while the boys didn’t get any recognition from Her Majesty, some of their friends and guests of Plane Crazy Down Under did as Chris Sperou and Dave Jacka both get Order of Australia Medals and Dick Smith gets upgraded to Companion of the Order of Australia:
Guest Steve McNeilly is president and founder of Aviation Tutorials, providing interactive training software for pilots and flight simmers. He’s been in aviation for thirty years, he’s an airline pilot, A&P mechanic, instructor, examiner, book author, and FAA WINGS training provider.
We talk about how Steve came to develop these professional grade simulation tutorials which are light on theory and heavy on “this is what you need to do.” Also, pilots using iPads, drones in the airspace, electric drive systems for airliners, thrust reverser depoyment at altitude (Steve’s done that in a DC-8).
David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week is the D.H. 86 Express Airliner.
In this week’s Australia Desk:
After an “interesting” week in Australian federal politics, Minister for Transport & Infrastructure, Anthony Albanese, is now also the Deputy Prime Minister, leaving Steve & Grant to ponder whether this will be good for aviation or not. In more positive aviation news, 19 year old Ryan Campbell has set out on his attempt to become the youngest person to fly solo around the world; a record which has only recently been set by American, Jack Wiegant. Ryan is flying in a Cirrus SR-22, VH-OLS, named “Spirit of the Sapphire Coast”, tracking east from Wollongong, just south of Sydney, across the Pacific to the USA (including a stop at Airventure 2013), then on to Europe, Asia and back to Australia. We spoke to Ryan a couple of days prior to launch and we present part of that interview in the week’s report.
In other news, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau has handed down it’s findings into the cause of the Qantas A380 engine failure on board VH-OQA, in 2010. Although this has been covered earlier in the show, we popped our two cents in as well, including the fact that Rolls Royce ended up paying some hefty compensation.
Esther Emma Rose Noffke passed away June 28, 2013. A WASP (Women Air Force Service Pilot) assigned to the 318th AAF Flying Detachment in Sweetwater, Texas, she received her pilot certificate in June 1944 and was assigned B-26 flying duty at McGowen Field, Boise, Idaho. She received the Congressional Medal in April 2010 for service to her country.
Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at www.brotherloverocks.com.
Jason Paur is an instrument rated pilot and a journalist and writer covering aerospace at Wired.com. He’s been following and reporting on the Solar Impulse, a solar powered aircraft currently on a flight across the U.S., with the objective of a future around-the-world flight.
We talk with Jason about the Solar Impulse, which has a 208 foot wingspan yet weighs only 3500 pounds. Four electric motors rated about 10HP each are powered by photovoltaic cells, which cover the wings and horizontal stabilizers. The cells charge onboard batteries which allow the Solar Impulse to fly through the night. Jason describes what it’s like to fly the aircraft
We also discuss Jason’s visit to Wichita, including a rather dramatic demo flight in a Cessna Citation X flight test aircraft. Also, will we see airliners without pilots, and if so when?
Jason is also involved in Medium, an interesting new project from Ev Williams, founder of Blogger and Twitter. This is a collaborative platform that puts collections of writing into themed collections. Jason started an aerospace collection called Lift and Drag with some thoughts about the lost magic of flight. You can read all about it at the introductory post. Anybody who is interested in contributing to Medium and help expand the aviation collection can contact Jason.
We have spoken highly in recent years of Australian manufacturer GippsAero and their successes in creating aircraft that have sold all around the world. So it is with some concern this week that we report on the announcement of a corporate restructuring by parent company, Mahindra Aerospace, which although confusingly worded, indicated the loss of 40 jobs at the plant in Morwell, Victoria. There is widespread concern in the region that Mahindra may have a bigger plan in store, and one which may not be well received. We’ll keep a close eye on development.
In airline news this week, Virgin Australia has issued a profit warning to the Australian Stock Exchange indicating that revenues have not been as strong as previously expected, well below the $83million pre tax estimate but not yet specified. The share market reacted by dropping Virgin’s stock by 7% Worse still, their new low cost carrier, Steve’s favourite airline Tiger Airways, has also indicated that it has lost a significant amount of money over the past year. Virgin will no doubt be aiming to reverse these fortunes in the coming year.
Piper Warrior II 161 of Freedom Aviation, fresh from the paint shop with new avionics and engine
In this week’s Across the Pond segment:
This week Pieter visits Dave Jelly from Freedom Aviation at Cotswold Airfield in the UK, to talk about the unique style of flying training that Freedom undertakes and what sort of flight sorties they make with both students and qualified pilots. Kitted out with new and refurbished aircraft Freedom is bringing a new and refreshing style of flight training and aircraft leasing to the UK general aviation market. Pieter came away enthused that GA is still ‘alive’ and blossoming here in some parts of Europe (weather permitting).