Our guest is the president and founder of ADSBexchange, a flight data aggregation co-op. In the news, some lawmakers want civil action against Boeing over the 737 MAX, Nexflix releases a 737 MAX documentary, United Aviate Academy will use Cirrus aircraft for training, a GA electric/gas hybrid takes flight, technology export from Icon Aircraft is probed, the FAA Administrator announces he’ll leave the post early, and an autonomous Blackhawk helicopter.
Dan Streufert founded ADSBexchange in 2016 as a “hobby project.” Since then, it has grown to encompass 7500+ volunteer-run ADS-B receivers throughout the world, ingesting 500,000 – 900,000 ADS-B messages per second. Although ADSBexchange has grown from its initial small beginning, it remains focused on the aviation enthusiast. The service has none of the “paywalls” associated with some other flight tracking services and does not filter its traffic display.
Dan explains that ADSB signals are broadcast unencrypted over the air and anyone can receive them. ADSBexchange was mainly developed for hobbyists and others who want to know what’s flying, but commercial customers and some NGOs benefit from the information as well.
Some interests don’t want ADSB transmissions to be used to track their flights. They may be legitimate commercial companies that want to mask their activity for competitive reasons, governments, those engaged in criminal operations, or even military flights. Dan describes two FAA programs that seek to mitigate at least some of the privacy concerns:
With Limiting Aircraft Data Displayed (LADD), aircraft owners or designated representatives may request limiting aircraft data displayed (formally referred to as blocking) or unblocking of flight tracking data. Flight tracking services that draw the data from FAA agree to block the information.
More recently, the FAA initiated the Privacy ICAO Aircraft (PIA) program to improve the privacy of eligible aircraft by enabling aircraft owners to request an alternate, temporary ICAO aircraft address, which will not be assigned to the owner in the Civil Aviation Registry (CAR).
Both an “Airplane Geek” and a “Tech Geek” at heart, Dan is a commercially-rated, multi-engine pilot with instrument rating and currently flys a 1967 Piper Comanche 260B out of Falcon Field in Mesa, Arizona. Prior to devoting his full-time attention to ADSBexchange, Dan spent 12 years leading the IT department at Viant Medical, a $1 billion global medical manufacturing firm.
The U.S. House Transportation chair and the aviation subcommittee chair want civil action taken against Boeing, and even individual employees for the 737 MAX crashes. Rep. DeFazio, D-Ore., and Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett sent a letter to DOT Inspector General Eric Soskin saying, “We respectfully request that you review FAA’s refusal to exercise proper oversight over Boeing’s apparent misconduct.”
Netflix premiered the documentary film that details the 18-month investigation by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio into the causes of the Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashes, which resulted in the deaths of 346 people.
Cirrus Aircraft announced that the United Aviate Academy (UAA) has purchased a fleet of twenty-five TRAC SR20 aircraft for its program. The Academy is part of United’s pilot career development program offering pilots the most direct path to a United flight deck. They have option and purchase rights to fifty more TRAC SR20 aircraft.
Rolls-Royce, Tecnam, and BRP-Rotax announced the December 2021 flight of the first general aviation aircraft powered by a parallel hybrid propulsion system. The modified Tecnam P2010 H3PS was powered by a 104 kW Rotax 915 IS internal combustion engine and a 30 kW Rolls-Royce electric power system for a total power output of 134 kW in a parallel hybrid configuration. H3PS stands for “High Power High Scalability Aircraft Hybrid Powertrain.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI and a U.S. government panel are looking into accusations of illegal technology transfer to China. Shanghai Pudong Science & Technology Investment Co. holds a nearly 47% stake in Icon Aircraft and is Icon’s largest shareholder. Some Icon shareholders raised a red flag to the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment alleging that Shanghai Pudong sent its technology to China with the potential for military applications.
FAA Administrator Steve Dickson announced he is leaving the FAA effective March 31, 2022. Dickson is a pilot and former Delta Air Lines executive appointed by President Donald Trump in 2019. He cited family reasons for his decision.
With the flick of a switch, the DARPA S-70 Blackhawk helicopter goes from piloted to unpiloted. In this first flight, the S-70 autonomously completed a pre-flight checklist, started its engines, spun up its rotors, and took off with no crew on board. The ALIAS system (Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System) on-board sensors provided real-time obstacle data as the helicopter navigated through a simulated cityscape.
Israeli News Desk
Eyal Shay describes the emergency landing of a Piper AZTEC PA23-250F registration 4X-CCM. The airplane took off from Haifa airport (LLHA) with an instructor and student pilot. When they came back to the pattern, the right main gear failed to open. After some unsuccessful attempts to solve the problem, or to retract the landing gear, the plane was rerouted to Ben-Gurion airport (LLBG). The pilot made a perfect landing, managing to cutoff the right engine and bring the two-blade propeller to horizontal position when at short final. The plane successfully kept near the center line and just veered from the runway direction at his final stop. The pilot and passenger were unharmed.
Gail Halvorsen, the Utah farm boy who became a hero in post-World War II Europe for fastening candy to handkerchiefs and dropping them from his U.S. Air Force cargo plane to the children of West Berlin, earning him the nickname the “Berlin Candy Bomber,” has died. He was 101.
Airplane Geeks listeners can enjoy a one-year individual membership at a 50% discount. For $25.00 (normally $50.00) you get:
- Unlimited admission to the Museum for one year, including the March 4 event, “The Helicopter and the Presidency.”
- Two One-Day Guest Passes.
- Admission to FamilyFest and SantaFest.
- Invitations to Member Receptions.
- 10% discount on gift shop purchases.
The offer is good through May 31, 2022, at this link.
Hosts this Episode
Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, and Rob Mark. With contributions from Brian Coleman and Eyal Shay.