Tag Archives: NTSB

428 The Life of a Second Officer

We talk about being a second officer with an expat from a major Asian airline. In the news, families of MH-370 victims take the search into their own hands, a new flight approach pattern is under study, a WASP T-6 trainer and a film, a looming strike at Chicago O’Hare, and a Suzy story.

Guest

Andy Bard is a second officer at a major Asian airline, and he currently flies the Airbus 330 and A350. Originally from Northern Europe, Andy now considers himself a lifetime expat, and for the past 15 years he has worked all over the world in sales and office jobs before giving it all up to pursue a career as an airline pilot.

Andy explains the role and responsibilities of the second officer, also known as a cruise pilot or cruise relief pilot. He tells us about the training provided by the airline and how the class was composed of both locals and expats. Some had flight experience, and others had very little.

We talk about the implications of heavy demand for pilots in a region that has relatively little general aviation activity. Andy also gives us some insight into the life of an expat pilot, as well as his impressions of flying the A350.

Before being hired by the airline, Andy had around 300 hours, with a FAA CPL with instrument and multi ratings.  He also has as “frozen” EASA ATPL. To date, Andy has about 1,000 total hours, and he explains how the loggable hours for license purposes derived from second officer time are significantly lower.

News

MH-370: Families of those onboard missing aircraft to mount a debris-hunting trip to Madagascar

Six pieces of wreckage from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-370 have been found on the coast of Madagascar. The Voice 370 family association says “there has been no systematic, organized search by any responsible party. This leaves the (next-of-kin) no other choice except to take it upon ourselves to do something to find answers and closure.” Four Malaysians, two Chinese, and a French next-of-kin are planning a self-financed trip to Madagascar in December.

AOPA Air Safety Institute, UND Study Stabilized Approach

The University of North Dakota and the AOPA Air Safety Institute are studying the use of a continuous turning approach or “circular pattern” as an alternative to the traditional “box” or rectangular traffic pattern. The idea came out of a recent loss-of-control panel where it was thought that changing the landing pattern might improve safety and reduce loss-of-control accidents.

GA loss of control on NTSB ‘Most Wanted’ list for third year

The NTSB said “better training on how to eliminate distraction, avoid stalls, and manage weather issues will put pilots back in control and give them better command of their outcomes.” The GA accident rate per 100,000 flight hours dropped from 8.45 in 1994 to 4.66 in 2015, and the fatal accident rate dropped from 1.73 to 0.89 during the same period, according to the AOPA Air Safety Institute.

The ups and downs of being an airline pilot

This is not a news story per se, but it does contain some interesting aspects about being a notable airline pilot, including a story about past Airplane Geeks podcast guest Patrick Smith, publisher of the Ask the Pilot website, and author of the NY Times bestselling book “Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel.”

CAF Wants to Restore WASP T-6 Trainer & Fund Film

The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) started a Kickstarter program to fund the acquisition and restoration of one of the actual AT-6 aircraft used for Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) flight training. This aircraft will be featured in a new film, Rise Above: WASP, narrated by actress Sigourney Weaver.

Hundreds of workers at Chicago O’Hare International Airport plan to strike on Tuesday, November 29

Some of the airport janitors, baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, and wheelchair attendants are paid minimum wage, which is $8.25 an hour in Illinois. They want to be paid $15 an hour and so they plan to strike. But after the very busy Thanksgiving holiday.

Airplane of the Week

David brings us another Suzy story, this one called Suzy and the Turkey Shoot. Suzy also appeared in Episode 279 Christmas, Episode 286 Valentine’s Day, and Episode 412 Stars.

Mentioned

Q&A: Benét Wilson, aviation journalist

The Order of the A-4 Tail Hook

Project 236 RAZORBAK by BOHinventing

Photos by Ian Allen from Ardmore

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Credit

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

AirplaneGeeks 385 Even More Intellectually Stimulating Than Useful

James Fallows talks with us about aviation in China. Also, the NTSB Most Wanted List, A-10 retirement put on hold, the C-130 keeps on flying, a flight attendant meltdown, a new study about lasers pointed at pilots, and more on-demand flying.

James Fallows and his Cirrus SR22

James Fallows and his Cirrus SR22

Guest

James Fallows is an American writer and journalist. He has been a national correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly for many years, and his work has appeared in Slate, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker and The American Prospect, among others. He is a former editor of U.S. News & World Report, and as President Jimmy Carter’s chief speechwriter for two years, he was the youngest person ever to hold that job.

Jim has been a visiting professor at a number of universities in the U.S. and China. He is the author of ten books, including National Defense, for which he received the 1983 National Book Award, and China Airborne, which examines China’s plan to rival America as the world’s leading aerospace power. Jim is an instrument-rated pilot and owner of a Cirrus SR22.

In our conversation, Jim describes how China Airborne tells the larger story of China through the aviation lens. We talk about building the airport infrastructure and how that’s being funded, and issues for General Aviation in China, such as the shortage of airports, military control of the airspace, and training for controllers. Jim gives us his thoughts on the Comac C919 program and the state of business aviation in China.

Learn more about Jim’s work at JamesFallows.com and AmericanFutures.org. Mentioned were China: Fragile Superpower by Susan L. Shirk and How to Not Fly an Airplane by Shirley Phillips.

An "original Chinese design" at the Zhuhai airport.

An “original Chinese design” at the Zhuhai airport. By James Fallows.

Refueling at Changsha airport.

Refueling at Changsha airport.

James Fallows and wife Deb on their current see-America trip

James Fallows and wife Deb on their current see-America trip

News

The Next Big Aviation Safety Issues

Each year, the National Transportation Safety Board publishes its Most Wanted List. The NTSB covers all modes of transportation, but several aviation-related items made the list:

  • Prevent Loss of Control in Flight in General Aviation
  • Reduce Fatigue-Related Accidents
  • Disconnect from Deadly Distractions
  • Require Medical Fitness for Duty
  • Expand Use of Recorders to Enhance Transportation Safety

US Air Force shelves Warthog plane retirement amid ISIS fight

For years, the U.S. Air Force has wanted to retire the A-10 Warthog ground attack airplane. That’s been met with congressional criticism, as well as cries from many A-10 enthusiasts. According to sources, the USAF will postpone mothballing the plane in its 2017 budget request to Congress in February.

See also, This GAU-8/A Avenger 30 mm gun firing test footage is pretty impressive in The Aviationist.

A-10 by Paul Filmer

A-10 by Paul Filmer

New Pentagon Contract Signals Lockheed Martin’s C-130 Airlifter Is Headed For 100 Years of Service

The C-130 might become the first military aircraft to see continuous service for 100 years. The first Hercules was delivered to the U.S. Air Force 60 years ago in 1956.

Did American Airlines handle erratic flight attendant correctly?

A 67-year old flight attendant who has been employed by American Airlines for more than 45 years, faces federal charges for some reportedly serious behaviour on a November flight between Charlotte and Frankfurt. These include “claims that she slapped co-workers, punched air marshals, even attempted to open the door of her jetliner as it taxied for takeoff in Germany.”

‘No Lasting Damage’ From Laser Attacks

A new study by researchers at the University of Calgary suggests that pilots struck by lasers do not suffer permanent eye damage. Momentary blindness or blurry vision, yes. Permanent damage, no. Dr. Michael Fielden, assistant clinical professor for the Cumming School of Medicine said, “Once their eyes settle down, they’re worried if there’s any permanent damage that could affect their ability to fly in the future. Fortunately we haven’t found any permanent damage.”

Airbus to Join Forces With Uber for On-Demand Helicopter Service, CEO Says

Personal transportation company Uber is expanding beyond vehicles to other modes of transportation. You can now order up on-demand rickshaws in India and boats in Turkey. Now Uber and Airbus Group are planning to launch a pilot program at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah using Airbus H125 and H130 helicopters.

The Airplane of the Week

You would never guess David’s favorite aircraft…

1911 Coolbaugh Curtiss Pusher replica. Photo by David Vanderhoof.

1911 Coolbaugh Curtiss Pusher replica. Photo by David Vanderhoof.

Listener Recording

Christopher Sims tells the story of how he commenced as an Avgeek.

Mentioned

Bradford Camps, the Igor Sikorsky Weekend Seminar.

Fulton surface-to-air recovery system

Porter Ranch stench could endanger aircraft: Federal Aviation Administration bans low-level flights over gas leak area

Provincial Aerospace

Pratt & Whitney B747SP by Paul Filmer.

Pratt & Whitney B747SP by Paul Filmer.

Credit

Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at brotherloverocks.com.

 

AirplaneGeeks 352 Jennifer Rodi, NTSB Air Safety Investigator

The A400M military airlifter on display at the 2014 ILA Berlin Air Show.

Conversation with an NTSB investigator, the A400M accident, pilots and controllers texting, US majors react to Middle East expansion, ceramic matrix material from GE, F-35B trials, Malaysia Airlines tries to recover.

Guest

Jennifer Rodi is a senior air safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board in the Central Region. She served as the Survival Factors Group Chairman for the Lubbock, Texas Empire Airlines accident, the Witness Group Chairman for the Oklahoma City Cessna Citation accident, and has participated in other major investigations, public hearings, special investigation reports, and Board meetings conducted by the NTSB.

NTSB LogoWe talk with Jennifer about a variety of topics, including some of the investigations she’s worked, the role of Group Chairmen in investigations, and how the NTSB supports and learns from investigations in other countries. We discuss survival factors, Board independence and transparency, and primacy in investigations.

Jennifer Rodi currently holds a commercial pilot certificate with single, multiengine, and instrument ratings. She is a certified flight and ground instructor with single, multiengine, and instrument privileges for flight instruction, and advanced and instrument privileges for ground instruction.

Prior to her employment with the Safety Board, Jennifer was a flight instructor and she also worked as a photo-recon pilot and performed aerial surveys of oil and gas lines.

Jennifer has a Bachelor’s of Science in Professional Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, a Master’s of Science in Aeronautical Science with specializations in Human Factors and Systems Safety, also from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, from Capella University.

News

Airbus A400M plane crash linked to software fault

Airbus Admits ‘Assembly Quality Problem’ After A400M Crash

In looking at the aircraft data logs after the Airbus A400M crash near Seville on May 9, Airbus engineers found some anomalies. The analysis of the flight recorders now shows there were no structural faults, but there was a “serious final assembly quality problem” according to Airbus group’s chief of strategy. The Europrop TP400 turboprop Electronic Control Units (ECU) were poorly installed at final assembly.

Pilots and air traffic controllers can finally stop talking and start texting

Texting from tower to cockpit could speed flights

For two years the FAA has been testing “Data Comm,” a piece of NextGen that lets pilots and ATC text each other. Data Comm rolls this summer, starting with Houston Hobby, Houston Intercontinental and Salt Lake City International airports. The system should be operating at more than 50 air traffic control towers by 2016.

Anti-ME airline claims by US majors grow louder, what if they win?

US airlines have fought expansion in the US by major Middle East carriers. Recently at the National Press Club in Washington, the CEOs of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Continental Holdings made a group appearance to voice their concerns about subsidies and competition.

‘Stubborn’ GE scientist pioneers breakthrough ‘dream material’

A GE researcher developed a ceramic matrix that is resistant to the very high temperatures in jet engines (20% higher than the exotic metal alloys now used), strong like metal, and very light. GE is using the material in the LEAP engine produced through CFM International.

Marine Corps F-35Bs depart USS Wasp after carrier tests

Six US Marine Corps F-35Bs conducted a one-and-a-half-week trial aboard the USS Wasp amphibious assault ship. The trial included 108 test sorties and an F135 engine delivery from a V-22 Osprey. The squadrons involved hope to pass a final operational readiness assessment over a two-week period in July.

Malaysia Airlines’ new CEO is off to a good start but doubts loom about the airline’s future

New Malaysia Airlines CEO Christoph Mueller has the job of salvaging the airline. Previously, he was Chief Executive of Belgian airline Sabena, he restructured Ireland’s Aer Lingus, and led a revamp at Lufthansa.

More on this topic:

Malaysia A380 Decision Deepens Airbus Worries

Malaysia Airlines Restructuring Fleet: Selling A380s

Troubled Malaysia Airlines to be completely revamped: new CEO

Things look grim and brutal for ‘new’ Malaysia Airlines

The Australia News Desk

Can a reduction in cabotage restrictions in the north end lead to sabotage of domestic operations? Everyone outside of the government seems to think so!

Matt Hall comes third in Rovinj after an exciting session on the weekend (audio supplied by the Red Bull Radio Service).

RAAF’s Wedgetail E-7A AEW&C aircraft attains Final Operational Capacity

The first of two new RAAF C17s has been sighted at Longbeach.

Mentioned

Passenger Choice Awards – Created by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX), air-travelers from around the world are invited to rate their recent inflight experiences. The deadline is June 30, 2015.

Solar Impulse – Follow the solar powered around the world flight.

Cyber-Attack Warning: Could Hackers Bring Down a Plane?

FliteTest Podcast 074 Burt Rutan

Credit

Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at brotherloverocks.com.

AirplaneGeeks 333 The Airport Experience, From Roadway to Runway

Washington Dulles International Airport

Managing airport customer service, new TSA security measures, guns on a plane, FAA NPRM rules, the NTSB 10 most wanted, new airline routes, and the inaugural Airplane Geeks Inflight Movie of the Month.

Guest

Dennis Hazell is Manager, Customer Service at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. Dennis supports the terminal and airfield operations, while focusing on the overall customer service experience at Washington Dulles International Airport.

Prior to joining the Airports Authority in June 2007, Dennis spent twenty-three years with American Airlines.  He began his career as a flight attendant, and accepted management positions in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Tulsa, Albany, Richmond, and Washington Dulles, where he spent the last ten years as the General Manager.

He has also been involved in several community activities including Big Brothers/Big Sisters, The United Way, and working with The George Washington University-Virginia Campus in focusing attention on STEM education.  He also serves as a Board Director for the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Follow Washington Dulles International Airport on Twitter and Instagram.

News

TSA Considering New Security Measures for Airport Workers

The Department of Homeland Security announced some additional security measures: enhanced screening for airline employees, some random security checks, and more patrols in secure areas by the TSA and law enforcement. The Aviation Security Advisory Committee has been asked to look into airport security.

TSA: Inspector had .22-caliber revolver in carry-on bag

An FAA Aviation Safety Inspector was passing through a security checkpoint at New York’s LaGuardia airport, after arriving from Atlanta, and a loaded firearm was discovered in his carry-on bag. He was arrested, saying it was his wife’s gun and he forgot he had it.

Instrument Sim Rule Rescinded

The FAA issued a final rule Dec. 3 that allowed up to 20 hours on an approved simulator for instrument training. Before that it was up to 10 hours. Now the FAA is withdrawing the rule.

New rules are established through the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) process. The FAA normally issues an NPRM, followed by a public comment period before the final rule is released. Here, the FAA issued the rule first, with the comment period after. But in that case, if anyone objects to the rule, it is rescinded. Two people objected.

NTSB 2015 Most Wanted List

The annual TSA Most Wanted List represents the Board’s 10 advocacy priorities. Some are directed at aviation, and some at other modes of transportation.

New Routes can lead to lower fares

Route expansions may not seem like exciting news, but they’re a bigger deal than you probably think. Why? Because they often spark competition between airlines and drive down fares on multiple carriers.

The Aviation Movie of the Month

This week, David starts the inaugural Airplane Geeks Inflight Movie of the Month: Always, the modern retelling of A Guy Named Joe. So what did David think? 4 out of 5 props.

4 props

The Australia News Desk

B767-338 VH-OGM

B767-338 VH-OGM departs Sydney for the final time on January 7th. Image by Damien Aiello.

Grant’s tired after completing his CASA panel interview process for aircraft maintenance management and Steve’s hungover after a few too many red wines with the “Infrequent Flyer” himself at the Members’ Reserve in the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Oh my!!!

Despite this, the boys still manage to report on:

  • More Qantas 767s flying to the Alice Springs boneyard (where a UT-Air Antonov 74-200 may wind up if it’s not careful!)

Aviation Museum Review

Brian Coleman visited the Aviation Hall of Fame and Museum of New Jersey in Teterboro, New Jersey and brings us his report.

Airplane Geeks on Ice

Juan Fernandez

Report 4 by Juan Fernandez from McMurdo Bay in Antarctica. See more at AirplaneGeeks.com/ice.

Listener Recording

Micah tells the story of “Undergraduate Air.”

Mentioned

  • The Igor Sikorsky Weekend Seminar at the Bradford Camps in the North Maine Woods with Igor Sikorsky III.

Credit

Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at brotherloverocks.com.

 

 

AirplaneGeeks 329 Air Taxi

Linear Air

An air taxi operation, cabin branding at Delta, Phenom 100 crash initial findings, IATA recommendations for airline tracking, Airbus A380 orders, and A350 first delivery in the news.

Guest

William Herp is CEO and Co-Founder of Linear Air. Bill holds an Airline Transport Pilot certificate, is single-pilot type-rated in the Eclipse 500 Very Light Jet, and is Director of Operations of Linear Air’s Eclipse charter management company, as well as CEO of Linear Air’s air taxi digital marketplace.

We talk about the air taxi business, how it operates today, and where it is headed. Bill likes to operate at the “intersection of technology and aviation” and he applies that approach at Linear Air.

Bill explains the economics of air taxi and how it represents good value for many travelers. We consider pilot qualifications, applicable regulations, the pricing model, and how large numbers of today’s technically advanced small airplanes can play a role in the future of air taxi.

Linear Air has been creating the technical connections that let people find them through online booking services. They expect to expand their reach by bringing in additional operators, and also focus on creating more awareness among potential customers through promotional events in 2015.

Linear Air staff

Bill has a background in consumer marketing and has used this experience to guide Linear Air’s strategy in the air taxi marketplace. He co-founded e-Dialog, a 500 person online marketing company now owned by eBay, with clients including Dell, British Airways, Avis, and CheapTickets.  Bill is a member of the Entrepreneur’s Organization and serves on the board of directors of Junior Achievement of Eastern Massachusetts, the non-profit educating young people in financial literacy, entrepreneurship and workforce readiness.  Bill graduated from the University of Notre Dame and Harvard Business School.

News

Delta’s New Seating Arrangement Somehow Makes Coach Even Worse

Delta’s Big Branding Exercise Reflects Changes That Have Already Been Made, Not New Ones

Delta has a plan: segment the cabin into three economy sections and two premium cabins. These would be distinguished by price and service. Delta looks to bring branding into the cabin starting March 1, 2015.

NTSB Releases Preliminary Information on Phenom Crash

A Phenom 100 crashed in Maryland on December 8, killing 3 on board and 3 in a house struck by the aircraft. NTSB member Robert Sumwalt reported on the initial findings from the flight data recorder: both the landing gear and flaps were down, “automated stall warnings began about 20 seconds before the end of the flight” and continued to the end of the recording at impact.

IATA submits aircraft tracking recommendations to ICAO

Airlines Push Back at Plane-Tracking Proposals From IATA

The International Air Transport Association’s Aircraft Tracking Task Force submitted its report to ICAO.  The report will be considered in ICAO’s development of a Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System, or GADSS.

Airbus Faces Investment Conundrum as A380 Orders Vanish

Airbus hasn’t been finding new buyers for the A380. They now have a choice: invest a lot of additional money, or just let it go.

Qatar Airways Refusal Of First Airbus A350: Looks Bad But No Cause For Concern, Expert Says

Airbus A350 launch customer Qatar Airways has delayed delivery of the first aircraft due to “a couple of minor issues.”

Flight Attendant Says Korean Air Exec Made Him Kneel After Nut Mishap

The Daughter of Korean Air’s chairman ordered a flight attendant off the plane when she didn’t like the way the nuts were served. She had the plane return to the gate. The daughter is also an executive in charge of cabin service. Or at least she was at the time.

David Vanderhoof’s History Segment

David’s gives us his annual Holiday message.

The Australia News Desk

Qantas is in the news with reports of a shake-up in some senior positions. It’s time to re-visit the PelAir crash of 2009 as the ATSB is re-opening the case following a scathing review of the original report by the Transport Safety Board of Canada. Steve and Grant take a moment to thank Pieter for his efforts with Across the Pond and, sadly, announce the loss of our friend Charlie Willwerth from the FlightTime Radio Show in Florida.

Rob Mark’s Aviation Minute

On the issue of pilots taking photographs from the cockpit.

WWII Flying Tigers Photo Exhibit Review

Brian Coleman gives us his review

Mentioned

Credit

Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at brotherloverocks.com.

 

 

AirplaneGeeks 328 ExpressJet Airlines Flight Operations

Brad Sheehan, Vice President – Flight Operations at ExpressJet Airlines

A regional airline’s flight operations center, NTSB report on 787 battery fire, a cracked Dreamliner window, outgoing TSA security chief John Pistole, why cheap fuel might not be a good thing, and airports that court avgeeks.

Guest

Brad Sheehan is Vice President of Flight Operations at ExpressJet Airlines. He’s responsible for the daily operations of more than 4,000 pilots and all Flight Operations functions.

We talk about the responsibilities of Flight Operations, managing “irregular operations” such as weather events, and accommodating passengers when there are disruptions. Brad describes the operations center job functions: mostly dispatchers, but also a team of managers, maintenance controllers, and schedulers.

The gap in the U.S. created by pilots retiring in next 10 – 15 years means majors will draw on the regionals for pilots. While many see the regionals as a stepping stone to the majors, a regional career could be attractive and Brad describes how that applied to him.

Brad has a degree in Aviation Management from Auburn University, and began his career at Atlantic Southeast Airlines in 1997 as a pilot based in Atlanta. In his 17 years with ExpressJet, he’s served as a line check airman, instructor pilot, project manager, and chief pilot. He served as the director of Corporate Safety, Security and Compliance from 2010 to 2013 where he was instrumental in launching numerous safety programs including their Safety Management System (SMS).

Headquartered in Atlanta, ExpressJet is the world’s largest regional airline with 9,000 aviation professionals, an average of 2,000 daily flights, and an all-jet fleet. ExpressJet operates as American Eagle, Delta Connection, and United Express to serve more than 190 airports in the U.S., Bahamas, Canada and Mexico.

If you’re looking for a career in aviation, ExpressJet is hiring pilots, mechanics, flight attendants, crew schedulers, and more. If you want to begin your career as a pilot but don’t have your ATP CTP yet, ExpressJet offers a free, in-house CTP course for new hire pilots.

Find ExpressJet on their Facebook page, and learn more about employment opportunities on their ExpressJet Airlines Pilot Recruiting Facebook page. Follow @ExpressJetPilot on Twitter and expressjetpilots on Instagram.

News

Temperature in 787 battery cells spikes in cold conditions: NTSB

The NTSB issued its final report on the January 7, 2013 incident where ground workers discovered smoke and flames coming from an auxiliary power unit lithium-ion battery in a Japan Airlines 787 that was parked at the gate at Boston Logan International Airport.

Previously, the NTSB said that one of the battery’s cells experienced an internal short circuit which caused thermal runaway in the cell. That then spread to the other cells and caused a full battery thermal runaway.

NTSB Press release: NTSB Recommends Process Improvements for Certifying Lithium-ion Batteries as it Concludes its Investigation of the 787 Boston Battery Fire Incident

“As a result of its findings, the NTSB is recommending that the FAA improve the guidance and training provided to industry and FAA certification engineers on safety assessments and methods of compliance for designs involving new technology.”

Man Punches And Cracks A Magical 787 Dreamliner Window

A man aboard a Thomson Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner punching one of the plane’s windows, causing it to crack and frightening the other passengers. He was arrested on arrival, pleaded guilty, and is awaiting sentencing in January.

Considering the Year in Airport Security, With the T.S.A. Chief

The New York Times’ Business Day section did an extensive interview with John Pistole, the outgoing administrator of the Transportation Security Administration. Among the topics discussed: the growth of TSA’s PreCheck program and possibly switching the program to private contractors.

Airlines: Another Reason to Worry About Cheap Fuel

Investors are looking too much at fuel costs and not enough at controllable expenses. But the airline industry outlook has been driven by capacity discipline, consolidation, and unbundling. Capacity discipline driven by high fuel prices. Also, airlines will not all benefit equally from lower fuel prices do to different hedging practices.

Airport Programs Help Cultivate Avgeek Population

Washington Dulles and Miami International airports are courting avgeeks with special programs and social media. The Discover Dulles program is a way for those who love aviation to connect and experience things that are typically off limits to the general public.

Under the Miami Watch security program, airplane spotters are the eyes on the perimeter of the airport, like a neighborhood crime watch. Spotters get good access to the airfield and the airport gets another layer of security.

David Vanderhoof’s History Segment

David proposes some changes to the weekly history segment, and asks the community for input.

Across the Pond

Pieter Johnson

Pieter reminisces over the past four years and the inspirational sources we all have for aviation. He also announces that he’s taking some time off from the Across the Pond segment. Learn about Anthony Kenneth Johnson (1925 – 2011) – Telegraphist Air Gunner (Royal Navy) at the Wartime Heritage Association.

Mentioned

The Romance of Aviation

Listener Shreenand send us this list illustrating that aviation may be different these days, but it still has a romance all its own:

That the romance is when you get to see day, dusk, and night, all at the same time, from your office window.

The romance is when you depart on a overcast, gloomy, dark day, break out on top and realise the sun really does exist.

The romance is when you fly during a meteor shower and see so many shooting stars, you run out of wishes.

The romance is when you check in at 37,000 feet, and whisper, “Honey I’m home.”

The romance is when you get to see a thunderstorm in HD. Only this time it’s close enough for you to touch.

The romance is when you fly from Moscow to Houston – fifty years ago you would’ve had to do it in a spy plane and fly high enough to be out of range of communist missiles. Or when you fly across the Atlantic without batting an eyelid, eighty years ago, they were handing out rewards for this sort of thing.

The romance is when you fly across countries and realise there are no real borders that divide us. Except, when you fly over the Line of Control between India and Pakistan. And you see it lit up like a major street for as far as the eye can see.

The romance is when you fly over Europe on a clear day. Within minutes you’ve seen the Alps, the Eiffel tower and the Big Ben.

The romance is when people tell you it’s a small world, and having seen the length of the Pacific, you beg to disagree.

The romance is when you ride along the tops of stratus and you can tell you are really shifting. Even magic carpets don’t ride this well.

The romance is when you speak to the same air traffic controller for the umpteenth time. You’ve never met him and probably never will, but you recognise him from his voice.

The romance is when you are number 10 for take-off on a gusty day. You get a ring-side view of your kind, doing their magic, earning a living.

The romance is when you are cleared for a visual approach, and from that point on, it’s no computers and no automatics. Just good old stick and rudder.

The romance is when you pop out of low cloud, and ahead of you lies three kilometres of velvet smooth tarmac, lit up like a Christmas tree.

The romance is when after a fourteen hour transcontinental flight, you look back at your office, and smile!

The romance is that no matter how prosaic you make it out to be, aeroplanes are still mankind’s greatest achievement.

The romance is very much alive and kicking ladies and gentlemen! But a window seat and an open heart, would help you see it.

Aviation Books for the Holidays

Ace Abbott says the best holiday gifts money can buy are books. If you have friends, neighbors, relatives, or airport and pilot colleagues who may be remotely interested in aviation, the following list of aviation books will pleasantly entertain these people. In honor of the “Twelve Days of Christmas” here is Ace Abbott’s list of 12 great aviation books.

  • Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach; non-pilots as well as aviation folks have enjoyed this classic for nearly 40 years; available anywhere books are sold.
  • Falling to Earth by Al Worden: A memoir of an astronaut who went from a small farm in Michigan to become the first man ever to venture to the back side of the moon as the Apollo 15 command module pilot. Amazon: http://amzn.to/1FJxW61.
  • Fighter Pilot (Robin Olds) with Christina Olds and Ed Rasimus: A must read for every current or ex-military person, particularly any pilot from the Vietnam War era. The story of an iconic fighter pilot who was a heroic and courageous leader. Amazon: http://amzn.to/1vgIKaz
  • Rules of Engagement by Joe Weber: This book complements Fighter Pilot. It is Tom Clancy-like fiction, since it is laced with reality. The primary theme of a free-spirited Marine fighter pilot during the air war over Vietnam is complemented with a poignant love story; available at http://bit.ly/1CBtBFK.
  • The Rogue Aviator by Ace Abbott: A memoir of an adventuresome, maverick pilot who experienced a radical roller-coaster-like ride through a diversified aviation career; filled with entertaining and implausible aviation anecdotes; as well as an insider’s look at commercial aviation. Amazon: http://amzn.to/1tHUaid, or http://therogueaviator.com/.
  • Cruising Altitude: Tales of Crash Pads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet by Heather Poole:  As the title reveals, this book relates many radical anecdotes of craziness in the cabin, and provides insight into the multifaceted drama that can occur in the cabin of a passenger airplane. Amazon: http://amzn.to/1yep9sy.
  • Chuck Yeager– An Autobiography by Chuck Yeager; This story of the renowned test pilot will take you way beyond the speed of sound and into the world of swashbuckling fighter pilots and test pilots. Amazon: http://amzn.to/1vFuvfi.
  • Area 51 by Annie Jacobsen: This well researched book will provide revelations about the famed top-secret “black-area” in the Nevada desert. It will clear up some misconceptions about aliens while revealing insight into the depth of the level of energy and effort by the U.S. government into the development and use of spy planes, such as the SR 71 “Blackbird.” Amazon: http://amzn.to/1FJBDbQ.
  • The Darkest Mission by Rick Burton; This well-researched spy-vs-spy thriller was very well researched and contains troves of information derived from the real world of international espionage. The primary narrative revolves around a WW II B-17 crew that was shot down over enemy territory; an adrenalin-pumper from start to finish. Available at http://amzn.to/1pMIyi.
  • An Extraordinary Life-Gone To The Dogs by Lisa Weiss; A powerfully poignant non-fiction account of a Jewish B-24 pilot who was shot down over France and captured by the Germans. Protagonist Irwin Stovroff relates his experiences as a POW and provides unique insight into the nuanced relationships of POWs and their colleagues as well as their captors. Irwin’s yeoman humanitarian efforts toward American Veterans is the glorious outcome of his improbable survival. Amazon: http://amzn.to/1zdLuEZ.
  • Squawk 7700 by Peter Buffington; This auto biography relates the trials and tribulations of life as a commuter/regional air carrier pilot who reveals his very unpalatable training experience as a co-pilot for American Eagle Airlines. This book functions as an expose’ of the underpaid and overworked commuter pilots in the U.S. Amazon: http://amzn.to/1w0DzgV.
  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand; This WW II aviation bestseller is a story of survival, resilience, and redemption. It is available wherever books are sold. Amazon: http://amzn.to/1wjWRx.

Credit

Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at brotherloverocks.com.

 

AirplaneGeeks 325 Conversation with an NTSB Board Member

NTSB animation of Asiana Flight 214

NTSB Board Member Robert Sumwalt, a penalty against Asiana Airlines, A350-900 type certification, the Fisher P-75 Eagle, Jabiru engines, UAV sense and avoid, Etihad growth into Europe, and aircraft at the G20 summit.

Guest

Robert Sumwalt, Board Member, National Transportation Safety Board.

We talk with Robert about the process for being nominated and confirmed as an NTSB Board member, and the roles played by Board members, including being the face to the public for accident investigations, and reviewing and approving investigation reports.

We also talk about the NTSB’s “Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements,” the Board’s function as a court of appeals, and how the Board reaches consensus.

Robert was sworn in as the 37th Member of the NTSB in 2006, and President George W. Bush designated him as Vice Chairman of the Board for a two-year term. Then in 2011, President Barack Obama reappointed Robert to an additional five year term.

Prior to joining the Board, Robert was a pilot for 32 years, including 24 years as an airline pilot with Piedmont Airlines and US Airways. After his airline career, he managed the flight department for a Fortune 500 company. Robert has over 14,000 flight hours and has type ratings in five aircraft.

Robert conducted aviation safety research as a consultant to NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System, and he has written extensively on aviation safety matters, having published over 90 articles and papers, as well as co-authoring a book on aircraft accidents.

He holds a Master of Aeronautical Science (with Distinction) from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, specializing in Aviation/Aerospace Safety Systems and Human Factors Aviation Systems.

Follow the NTSB on Twitter at @NTSB.

News

Asiana Airlines Suspends Service to San Francisco

As a penalty for last year’s crash landing at SFO, Asiana Airlines must cease flights from Incheon, South Korea, to San Francisco for 45 days. This comes from the South Korean government. Unless the airline appeals, the flight suspension must take place within six months.

Airbus A350-900 Receives FAA Type Certification

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) previously awarded type certification in September.

David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week

Fisher P-75 Eagle

David explores the Eagle that was a turkey – the Fisher P-75 Eagle. The P-75 was an aircraft so bad it never got into production. However, it spared GM and Fisher Auto Body from producing B-29s, and put them into position after the war of being able to quickly get back into the auto business.

The Australia News Desk

Steve and Grant bring you the Australia Sports Desk report … ooops, hang on, that’s the Australia Aviation News Desk report – sorry about that.

CASA are all but grounding aircraft with Jabiru engines due to 40 engine failures in the past year (representing about 0.03% of all Jabiru movements)

The world’s longest serving commercial 747 pilot has been flying with Qantas since 1969 and will be commanding his final flight as we record. His son will be on board as his copilot

Spotters Mag (www.spottersmag.com) have launched an Australia/New Zealand variant of their online magazine.

Lots of aircraft in Brisbane for the G20 summit, including Air Force One which landed at RAAF Base Amberley bringing President Obama to the event (he ferried from Amberley to Brisbane in the Marine One helicopter).

Rob Mark’s Aviation Minute

Rob asks the question, “how do we safely separate manned and unmanned aircraft?” Sense and avoid doesn’t yet exist for unmanned drones.

Across the Pond

Ethihad 777-300ER A6-ETC Copyright BRIYYZ

Ethihad 777-300ER A6-ETC Copyright BRIYYZ

Pieter revisits the Middle East with Oussama Salah talking exclusively about Etihad growth into Europe. Oussamas Take Blog.

Mentioned

UK’s NATS Releases A Cool ATC Video

UK’s NATS Releases A Cool ATC Video

G20 Brisbane: World leaders and their super planes

Credit

Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at brotherloverocks.com.

 

AirplaneGeeks 316 – NASA’s Aeronautics Research

Altair with Infrared Imaging Sensor

NASA’s aeronautical research activities, Boeing and Airbus production rates, an NTSB report on pilots and drugs, and an update on the F-35 engine fire.

Guest

Maj. Gen. Charles Frank Bolden, Jr., (USMC-Ret.) has been the NASA Administrator since July, 2009. During Charlie’s 34-year career with the Marine Corps, he served 14 years in NASA’s Astronaut Office and traveled to orbit four times aboard the space shuttle.

Charlie flew more than 100 combat missions in North and South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. He has a lengthy and distinguished career serving his country, including receiving the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in May 2006.

We talk about the role of government in general and NASA in particular when it comes to taking the development risks that industry cannot. Charlie tells us about NASA’s development of software tools for the FAA, including NextGen air traffic management tools.

We also discuss the allocation of funding between aeronautics and space, NASA activities in aircraft propulsion such as increasing efficiency of existing systems, recent biofuel tests, and projects with the Boeing eco-Demonstrator airplanes.

Charlie believes that supersonic transports can be in our future and tells us about NASA activity to address the sonic boom problem.

NASA is actively involved with the FAA and the six UAS test sites as autonomous flight technologies are developed. NASA focuses on sense and avoid and is looking at sUAS air traffic control.

We get an update on the commercialization of space flight, climate change and greenhouse warming, and space technology management.

Visit the NASA web page for a wealth of information, follow them on Twitter, and read NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden’s Blog.

The News

Boeing, Airbus seriously studying speeding factories

Boeing and Airbus are looking at boosting the production rates for the 737 and A320 families of airplanes. Orders have poured in and the airframers have years of backlog. Will the supply chain be able to sustain higher rates?

NTSB Study on Drug Use in Aviation Shows Upward Trend in Use of Potentially Impairing Medications; First Step in Understanding Drug Use and Accident Risk

The NTSB looked at more than 6,600 toxicology tests performed on pilots killed in aviation accidents from 1990 through 2012, 96% of which were GA. NTSB Acting Chairman Christopher A. Hart said, “I think that the key take-away from this study for every pilot is to think twice about the medications you’re taking and how they might affect your flying. Many over-the-counter and prescription drugs have the potential to impair performance, so pilots must be vigilant to ensure that their abilities are in no way compromised before taking to the skies.”

See also, NTSB releases study on medication, drug use: AOPA cautions findings are incomplete and inconclusive.

F-35 Fire: In Search Of A Solution

At Eglin AFB on June 23, 2014, F-35 AF-27 experienced a significant engine fire, grounding the fleet. It appears that engine flex caused a “hard rub” of the fan stage stator against the rotor. The friction caused heating, which led to micro-cracks in some blades. Then in normal operation, the cracks grew and the blades eventually failed. Pratt & Whitney is redesigning some components, but the root cause for the engine flex has not yet been identified.

David Vanderhoof’s Airplane of the Week

Douglas C-74 Globemaster

The Douglas C-74 Globemaster.

With all the recent humanitarian news, the Boeing C-17A is getting a lot of attention. It’s often referred to as a Globemaster, but it’s time to set the record straight and talk about the real Globemaster – the Douglas C-74 and its son the C-124 Globemaster II, making the C-17A the Globemaster III.

Across the Pond

Finnair

Pieter Johnson has news of the UK Airports Commission decision to reject London Mayor Boris Johnson’s idea for an Estuary Airport (affectionately known as “Boris Island”). He also looks at Ryanair’s Boeing 737Max order, and some new services from both Finnair and Qatar Airways.

Find Pieter on Twitter as @Nascothornet, on Facebook at XTPMedia, and at the Aviation Xtended podcast.

Shout Out

In Episode 134 of the Airline Pilot Guy podcast, Capt. Jeff offers a very good discussion of hypoxia, with ATC recordings from the TBM-900 that crashed off Jamaica, and other examples.

Mentioned

Credit

Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at brotherloverocks.com.

AirplaneGeeks 306 – Make a Plan and Become a Pilot

Delta B757 N698DL

New ATP written exam requirements going into effect, a Boeing 757 successor, NTSB investigation of the TWA Flight 800 accident, the AOPA Rusty Pilot program, and what you need to do to become a professional pilot.

Guest

Guest Kevin Garrison is a CFI, journalist, and author with many articles in prominent aviation publications. He’s flown the MD-88, DC-9, 727, 757, 767, and 777. He’s currently working on a series of inexpensive “CEO of the Cockpit” guidebooks about getting into the professional flying business. Kevin also provides services to medium-sized companies through Aerospace Media Partners.

Kevin’s website is Kevin Creates, and his new site called CEOoftheCockpit.com is under development. You can also find Kevin on Facebook.

News

ATP Written Prerequisites About to Change Drastically

Effective August 1, 2014, those who wish to take the ATP written exam must have completed an FAA-approved “airline transport pilot certification training program.”

Boeing Advancing on Successor to 757 Jet, Air Astana Says

The President of Air Astana, the flag carrier of Kazakhstan, says he talked to Boeing at the IATA annual meeting in Doha, saying that a new plane would be announced soon.

NTSB Will Not Reopen TWA Flight 800 Investigation

A group called “The TWA 800 Project” petitioned the NTSB to reconsider and modify the findings and determination of probable cause for the TWA Flight 800 accident.

An NTSB team of investigators not previously associated with the original investigation concluded that the NTSB’s earlier determination of probable cause was not wrong.

Two arguments theorizing a missile strike were advanced by the petitioners. The NTSB says:

“…the petitioners relied on a subset of previously available radar evidence organized around their alternative explanation of the crash. However, this analysis, upon review, was flawed.”

and

“…the petitioners introduced witness summaries obtained from the FBI that we treated as new evidence. But the witness summaries did not differ substantially from the evidence available during the NTSB’s original investigation.”

Read the NTSB’s Response to Petition for Reconsideration [PDF] for more details on this topic.

David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week

David invokes the “It’s my segment and I’ll do what I want” clause in his contract, and talks about podcast sponsorship.

Rob Mark’s Aviation Minute

This week Rob talks about our tour of the NTSB training facility, and how that trip made him rethink how he reports accident stories himself.

Mentioned

AOPA Rusty Pilot program

AOPA says there are more than 500,000 lapsed pilots in the United States under the age of 75. The Rusty Pilot program seeks to get those pilots back in the cockpit. Rusty Pilot presentations and discussions around the country cover the use of newer technology, changes in the airspace system, new resources available to pilots, and much more.

Listener Feedback

Listener Micah sent us a recorded story he calls, “Fearless Flying.”

We comment on a listener email describing the writer’s frustration with getting into a professional flying career: the cost, the time, the low wages. Our panel offers a different way to think about this admittedly difficult path.

Credits

Listener Brian Coleman asked if there was some way he could “give back” to the Airplane Geeks podcast and help us out. So we made him Associate Producer and now Brian is busy booking guests for us. Thank you Brian!

Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at www.brotherloverocks.com.

AirplaneGeeks 305 – Alternative Jet Fuel

Field

Aviation biofuel, the NTSB summary report on the Asiana flight 214 accident, the SAAB 105 trainer, an Air New Zealand and Etihad maintenance agreement, and aviation news from the UK.

Co-host Rob Mark will be away for a few months to focus on some other projects, and we welcome National CFI of the Year Max Trescott to help shoulder the co-hosting load.

Guest

Guest Steve Csonka is a long-time commercial aviation professional with airline and aviation OEM experience, and he’s the Executive Director of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI), a public/private partnership.

We discuss the aviation industry motivations for moving to biofuel, some of the challenges, the importance of it being a “drop in fuel,” and supply chain implications. Also, how biofuel is being used today and what to expect in the future.

There are many issues to be resolved, because as Steve puts it, we’re standing up a new industrial sector.

Aviation News

Animation of Asiana Flight 214 accident sequence

NTSB Report on Asiana 214 Crash Investigation

On July 6, 2013, Asiana flight 214 crashed on approach at San Francisco International Airport. It struck the seawall at the end of the runway. Three of the 291 passengers died and 40 passengers, eight of the 12 flight attendants, and one of the four flight crewmembers received serious injuries. The rest received minor injuries or were not injured.

From Crash of Asiana Flight 214 Accident Report Summary from the NTSB:

“The NTSB determined that the flight crew mismanaged the initial approach and that the airplane was well above the desired glidepath as it neared the runway. In response to the excessive altitude, the captain selected an inappropriate autopilot mode and took other actions that, unbeknownst to him, resulted in the autothrottle no longer controlling airspeed.”

NTSB faults flight crew for fatal Asiana crash in San Francisco

NTSB Press Release

Asiana 214 Crew Errors Caused Accident, Rules NTSB

David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week

Saab 105

The Saab 105 two place four seat trainer of the Swedish and Austrian air forces.

The Australia News Desk

The southern winter weather has taken its toll on Grant this week, so Steve flies the segment solo.  In the news, the constant doom and gloom surrounding aviation maintenance job losses was brightened slightly with the announcement by Air New Zealand and Etihad of an agreement to use each other’s line facilities in Melbourne and Los Angeles.  In a boost for Melbourne, Etihad’s local line maintenance facility will service Air New Zealand aircraft. In return, their aircraft will be serviced in LA at Air New Zealand’s facility.

In an era where QANTAS continues to claim that Australian aircraft maintenance is unviable, Etihad has shown that the opposite can be the case.  It also operates a line maintenance facility in Sydney.

Steve also catches up with 17 year old Alex Fisher as he continues his Flight of Solidarity around Australia in a Cessna 172, raising awareness of – and funds for – the Royal Flying Doctor Service.  This week we find Alex in Perth, Western Australia.

Find more from Grant and Steve at the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast, and follow the show on Twitter at @pcdu. Steve’s at @stevevisscher and Grant at @falcon124.

Across the Pond

Virgin Atlantic

Pieter Johnson brings us some UK aviation, airline, and airport news this week, including the new Virgin 787-9 route confirmation, the ups and downs for British Airways, and what it costs to fly on a private Boeing 767 around with world with Captain’s Choice. He opens with a refreshing approach to general aviation with the Civil Aviation Authority consulting on its new policy framework and how it plans to reduce bureaucracy and help improve the sector in the UK. Wow!

Find Pieter on Twitter as @Nascothornet, on Facebook at XTPMedia, and at the Aviation Xtended podcast.