Our guest is Erika Armstrong, an experienced pilot, author, speaker, instructional design director for aircrew training, and a university aviation professor. In the news, JetSuite is the launch customer for Zunum hybrid-electric planes, a fatal electric airplane accident, onboard pet monitoring technology, airline flight 1’s, a Geico Skytyper is lost, Southwest Airline’s financial outlook, and kidnapping charges at a flight school.
Erika Armstrong was an international corporate and airline pilot, and she’s currently the Director of Instructional Design at Advanced Aircrew Academy. She’s also an aviation professor at Metropolitan State University in Denver, specializing in aircraft systems and propulsion.
We talk with Erika about what it takes to be a pilot and what it does not, the “pilot personality,” training for a flying career, and some of her experiences during her 30 years in aviation.
Erika holds an ATP with 6,000 hours, primarily as captain in a Boeing 727-200 and Cessna Citation 500 series aircraft. She has international flight experience in a Gulfstream and performed the FAA proving runs for a Falcon 20 Part 135 certification. Erika flew for the Red Cross and spent 12 years in the charter and business aviation sector as a pilot, dispatcher, and maintenance/avionics coordinator. She also flew 24/7 air ambulance in the Midwest.
Erika has seen many changes in aviation, but she finds that the single common thread holding all the generations together is the spirit of aviation. It’s her goal to help reignite that passion in the up and coming generations and to help change the perspective of aviation, for both men and women. Be sure to read her article Pilot Evolution: Begin at the End for some insightful advice.
You can find Erika’s professional pilot columns in national aviation magazines and she is the author of “A Chick in the Cockpit: My Life Up in the Air.” She has a new book to be released called “Zen and the Art of Being a Pilot.”
JetSuite is to be the launch customer for Zunum hybrid-electric planes. The private charter jet company plans to acquire up to 100 of the 6 to 12 passenger aircraft in the early 2020’s for short flights. In the Zunum aircraft, JetSuite looks to 80% lower emissions, reduced noise, a 7700-mile range, and a maximum cruise speed of 340 miles per hour.
Matt Knapp, the founder of Zunum Aero, and our guest in Airplane Geeks episode #453 says, “We remain on track for flight testing in 2019 and continue to grow our technical leadership across power electronics, electric motors, propulsors and aircraft. If you or someone you know are interested in joining our team, please visit our Careers page.”
Two pilots were killed in a crash involving the Siemens-powered Magnus eFusion electric aircraft in Hungary. Initial reports from witnesses describe the plane maneuvering at low altitude, catching fire, then crashing in a near vertical dive.
The Unisys Corporation Digi-Pet system lets owners monitor their pet while they are in the cargo hold of an aircraft. Sensors attached to the pet’s kennel or carry case transmit data such as temperature, oxygen levels, vibration, and light. Pet owners are alerted if any problems arise. The system offers live video streaming, photos and voice exchange via a smartphone or tablet app.
Airlines sometimes designate “Flight 1” for a special purpose. This list and infographic collects presents all the airline Flight 1s.
Sadly, Executive Officer/Wing Pilot Ken Johansen, age 52, died when his GEICO Skytypers plane went down shortly after takeoff from Republic Airport in Farmingdale, New York. There were no injuries on the ground. David has flown with the Skytypers several times and reported his experiences on this podcast.
Bookings at Southwest Airlines have declined after the fatal engine failure in April. The airline expects second quarter revenue per seat mile to drop 3 percent and additionally, Southwest is lowering growth plans for 2018 due to increased fuel prices.
The IASCO Flight Training general manager and his assistant have been arrested on suspicion of kidnapping. They are charged with kidnapping one of their students, allegedly to take the student on a plane and send him to China. A defence attorney says the two were only taking the student to the airport because he flunked his classes and his visa had expired.
Airline Story of the Week
Via @nt_planespotter, we see Hailey’s #Journeyto30 takes off. Hailey Dawson is an 8-year-old with Poland syndrome. She was born missing three fingers on her right hand and she wears a prosthetic hand made with a 3D printer. The youngster wants to throw out the first pitch at every Major League Baseball park. All 30 MLB teams invited her to be their guest of honor, and United Airlines offered to fly her to each of her stadium visits. Follow #Journeyto30 on Twitter for the latest news and photos.
Video of the Week
Tim Trott (the Drone Professor) sent in the AvWeb article Video Captures Damage-Free Road Landing. “A young pilot who some sources say is a student ducked power lines, dodged cars, buildings and pedestrians and put her Cessna 172 down without a scratch on a busy Huntington Beach, California, street.”
David comments on the new book by Tim Trott, Out of the Blue: The Life and Legend of Kirby ‘Sky King’ Grant. In the book, Tim answers the questions: Do you remember the Sky King TV show? Do you know who flew the plane in the shows? Was Kirby Grant a “real” pilot? How many different “Songbird” planes were there? What happened to the “missing episodes”? What did Kirby Grant do after the TV series ended? Did you know that Kirby Grant was a singer?
Listener Andrew is a pilot with Alaska Airlines and has flown the new B737-700 cargo jet we talked about in a previous episode. He sent along a couple of photos:
Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.