The Stuart Air Show highlights the importance of aviation and the service of Veterans it also provides hundreds of opportunities to schools and school age children to learn about aviation, American history and about the Armed Forces. On Friday afternoon prior to the show, schools and children service agencies from all over the Treasure Coast participate in the show for free, allowing underserved children and families an opportunity to see and be a part of the experience. The Air Show is also a ‘fundraiser’ as well as a ‘friendraiser’ for many non profit organizations. Each year the Stuart Air show donates tens of thousands of dollars each year to area charities as well as service programs for children and Veterans.
Wepromote a safe, family entertainment event while providing financial support to its benefiting non-profit organizations including: the Special Olympics, United Way of Martin County, Civil Air Patrol, as well as many other deserving community charities. We offer many different types fundraising opportunities for local non-profit organizations and community groups. Nearly a dozen organizations benefit each year.
Our air show is a three-day event featuring thrilling performances by nationally known performers as well as interesting and historical static displays of aircraft and vehicles. We provide multiple benefits to the surrounding community through our direct charitable giving, through fundraising opportunities for nonprofit and civic groups during the show, and through our significant impact on the local economy.
The president of Hoar Program Management tells us about plans for the Boom Supersonic Overture facility. In the news, we discuss Bombardier’s actions to exit commercial aviation, a government probe into production practices of the 787 Dreamliner, and UTC’s project for a hybrid-electric regional plane. We also talk with a 14-year-old who flew a glider from California to Maine solo, and an interview with PPG from the Paris Air Show.
Mike explains the primary criteria used to select the initial target list of sites: the amount of developable land, minimum runway length, and proximity to a supersonic test corridor. The next phase will involve a deeper dive into the candidate sites and creating a shortlist. The final site selection should occur by early 2020 and will consider a number of factors, including a cultural fit between Boom Supersonic and the local community.
The facility design process will take perhaps a year, followed by 2 to 3 years of construction. All this to support first flight in the mid-2020s. HPM performed the same service for Airbus in developing their Mobile, Alabama A320 facility.
As for Boom Supersonic, they are currently assembling the XB-1, a Mach-2.2 supersonic demonstrator aircraft. Data from XB-1 test flights will help refine the design of Overture which will hold 55-75 pax in a 170’ fuselage with a 60’ wingspan. Japan Airlines and Virgin Group have thirty of the all business class tri-jet on pre-order. Boom Supersonic founder and CEO Blake Scholl was our guest in Episode 463, published in August 2017.
Mike has led HPM since its inception in 1997, and his team of more than 150 professionals is engaged in the management of capital building projects located throughout the US and in Europe. Over its 22-year history, Mike and his team have grown the company from a division of a southern US-based construction company into its own nationally-ranked program management firm which handles almost a billion dollars of construction value for clients on an annual basis. A native of Louisiana, Mike began his career in construction in Atlanta after receiving his civil engineering degree from Tulane University.
United Technologies Corp. (UTC) is developing a hybrid-electric flight demonstrator based on a Bombardier Dash 8 regional turboprop. “Project 804” replaces one of the engines with a two-megawatt hybrid-electric engine. The hybrid-electric powerplant is produced through a collaboration between its Collins Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney subsidiaries. First flight should take place “in about three years.”
P&W president Bob Leduc is retiring and Chris Calio will be replacing him. Leduc started his long career in engineering. Calio has a legal background. Both men held senior leadership positions at various UTC aerospace units.
According to “sources” Boeing has been subpoenaed for records relating to 787 Dreamliner in production in South Carolina. This after reports of poor quality work at that facility. The DOJ is also conducting a criminal investigation into the certification and design of the 737 MAX.
Bombardier has sold its regional jet business to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for $550 million in cash. Bombardier will now focus on trains and private planes. Bombardier will assemble the remaining backlog of regional jets for Mitsubishi, then cease production. That should be in the second half of 2020.
Riley Speidel, Glider Pilot
Riley Speidel comes from a flying family. Her father, grandfather, grandmother and aunt are all pilots. With flying in her blood, Riley soloed a glider just after her fourteenth birthday and shortly after that, she flew a glider solo from Marina, California to Sanford, Maine. Our Main(e) Man Micah caught up with her at the Southern Maine Aviation FBO.
Riley and Micah.
David Palermo, PPG Transparencies
David Palermo is the PPG Global Director, Military and Defense Transparencies. Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari spoke with David at the Paris Air Show about windshields and canopies.
The Women Take Flight event at the New England Air Museum was held March 9, 2019, to commemorate Women’s History Month and in conjunction with Women of Aviation Worldwide Week. Visitors of all ages celebrated women’s contributions to aerospace history through a variety of hands-on activities, special events, and guest lecturers.
In addition to the lectures, Women Take Flight offered visitors the opportunity to meet women pilots, engineers, and industry professionals who were set up at tables throughout the museum. Airplane Geeks was there to capture interviews.
Leah is a senior at a girl’s high school participating in the year-long Sikorsky STEM challenge with a project to modernize cockpit control mechanisms. [Starts at 1:36]
Mary Ann Cannon is Vice President of Commercial Engine Programs at Pratt and Whitney. She has had a 30-year career at Pratt, and was one of the guest speakers. [Starts at 7:39]
Former Air Force pilot Kristi Fleischmann is from Acrojet, which provides in-aircraft training for professional and high-performance aircraft pilots. The company is now actively trying to address the pilot shortage by creating and presenting STEM in aviation programs for students at the middle and high school level. [Starts at 29:09]
Debbie Reed is the newly appointed executive director of the New England Air Museum. We talk about the museum, the employees and volunteers, restoration activities, and the programs and events this year. [Starts at 42:32]
University of Connecticut senior Alexis Coppola and Assistant Professor Dianyun Zhang from the Department of Mechanical Engineering talked with us about composites in aviation. [Starts at 56:20]
Shaesta Waiz flew around the world solo in a Beechcraft Bonanza. She has an interesting history and a strong drive to shape the future for girls and young women in aviation and STEM. She’s the founder and president of Dreams Soar, Inc. [Starts at 1:05:02]
The New England Air Museum museum is located adjacent to Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut midway between Hartford, Connecticut, and Springfield, Massachusetts.
This episode we take a look at some of the stories to come out of the 2018 Farnborough Airshow including the orders, the Boeing NMA, the Airbus A220, a startup airline, and engines powering new aircraft. In the news, we look at the Ryanair strikes, the top ten airlines, United flight attendants preparing to pitch the airline’s credit card, and the Airbus A321LR and XLR. We also have an interview with the director of the Portland International Jetport, and an important announcement.
Even if Boeing’s power requirement for the New Mid-market Airplane’s engines goes over 50,000 lb-thrust each, CFM International still plans to participate in the competition. CFMI is the joint venture between GE Aviation and Safran Aircraft Engines (formerly known as Snecma).
Airbus and Boeing announcing firm net orders and commitments for more than 960 aircraft, valued at $160 billion at list prices. This compares to sales of 917 aircraft announced at the Paris Air Show in 2017.
United plans to take the 25 of the E175 SC variant in 2019, replacing Bombardier CRJ700s at a regional operator. The SC variant is configured with 70 seats instead of the US standard of 76 seats. United’s scope clause with its pilots limits it to 255 large regional jets with 70-76 seats, including 102 70-seaters and 153 76-seaters. The United chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) responded, “This aircraft is designed to hold over 80 seats and will be flown to outsourced express carriers in the 70-seat configuration. Revenue plummets and costs skyrocket. Bringing this flying back to mainline United Airlines will lower costs, increase revenue, and allow United to once again control its product.”
Pratt & Whitney’s PW1500G geared turbofan has been granted extended twin-engined operations (ETOPS) of up to three hours. A total of 38 A220s are in service at Swiss, Air Baltic, and Korean Air. Another 424 are on order, including the 60 ordered by JetBlue Airways earlier this month.
Airbus Chief Commercial Officer Eric Schulz announced that Pratt & Whitney will supply at least 120 geared turbofan engines to power the 60 Airbus A220-300 aircraft for David Neeleman’s new airline. Airbus signed a memorandum of understanding at the Farnborough International Airshow with a group of “experienced investors” who plan to start the new U.S. airline.
GoFly was launched in September 2017 as a contest to create a personal aircraft that can fly a human 20 miles safely without recharging or refueling and using VTOL or near-VTOL capability. Pratt & Whitney is sponsoring the $100,000 Disruptor Award for the most innovative team in the competition. Over the next two years, teams will compete to win $2,000,000 in prizes. At the Farnborough Airshow, GoFly announced the 10 Winners of the GoFly Challenge: Phase 1.
Labor issues continue at Ryanair with a strike by cabin crew scheduled for two days. Ryanair, published a list of cabin crew benefits on Twitter, while the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) convened a group called Cabin Crew United and released the Ryanair Cabin Crew Charter.
The 2018 Skytrax World Airline Awards are out and Singapore Airlines tops the list, followed by Qatar Airways, ANA All Nippon Airways, Emirates, and EVA Air. U.S. carriers placed deep in the list. This year’s survey saw over twenty million entries.
Travel news website Skift reports that starting in September, United will join other airlines in pushing their branded credit card to passengers. Flight attendants will receive $100 for every customer they sign up. John Slater, the senior vice president of in-flight services said, “Some of our biggest competitors, including American, actively promote their cards through the Inflight division and have a sizable lead on the number of new customers their flight attendants generate by marketing the card on board. We need to answer this challenge just as we would any other competitive threat.”
JetBlue has the option to convert some of its Airbus A321neo orders to the A320LR with a range of up to 4,000 nautical miles, but they must give Airbus 24 months notice. JetBlue is considering where they can make the greatest margins – on domestic flights with the A321neo or transatlantic flights with the LR neo variant. But a possible A321XLR with a 4,500-mile range may be on the way with a larger center fuel tank and increased maximum take-off weight.
Our Main(e) Man Micah spoke with Paul Bradbury, airport director at Portland International Jetport about a number of topics that impact the airport and the community.
The president of Planes of Fame tells us about the museum, restoring warbirds and historic aircraft, and flying heritage flights. Also, we look at the world’s largest jet engine, restraints on open-door helicopter flights, United Airlines and dogs, facial scanning at airports, the Boeing 737 Max 7 first flight, hacking the aviation industry, and GPS vulnerabilities.
Planes of Fame Air Museum P-51 Mustang
Steve Hinton is president of Planes of Fame Air Museum, which opened in 1957 and now has a collection of over 150 aircraft, more than 50 of which are flyable. The mission of the museum is to preserve aviation history, inspire interest in aviation, educate the public, and honor aviation pioneers and veterans. The Museum spans the history of manned flight from the Chanute Hang Glider of 1896 to the Space Age of Apollo, with locations in Chino, California and Valle-Grand Canyon, Arizona.
We talk with Steve about the Museum and the annual Planes of Fame Airshow, in 2018 to be held May 5-6 at Chino Airport in California with about 45 flying warbirds.
Steve explains how the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation pairs modern aircraft with fighter aircraft from the WWII, Korea, and Vietnam eras for dramatic heritage flights around the world. This year he flew a P-51 Mustang leading two A-10s and an F-16 in the heritage flight over the Super Bowl LII opening ceremony.
Steve held a world speed record from 1979 to 1989 and won six Unlimited-class air races, including two national championships. He won four consecutive Unlimited races in one year and remains the only pilot ever to do so. He retired from racing in 1990 and was honored in 2016 with the Crystal Eagle Award from the Aero Club of Northern California.
Steve also owns Fighter Rebuilders, a military aircraft restoration company. He was our guest on Episode 386 in January 2016.
On March 13, from Victorville, California, GE’s new GE9X engine flew more than four hours mounted to the company’s 747 testbed aircraft. The 100,000-pound thrust-class engine has a 134-inch fan and is intended for the Boeing 777X, scheduled for EIS in 2020.
Open-door helicopter flights are popular with tourists and photographers, but recently one of these flights went down in a river, killing all 5 passengers on board. It appears that they were unable to escape from the harnesses that held them in the chopper. The family of one victim has filed a lawsuit and the FAA issued a temporary nationwide ban on open-door flights unless they are equipped with restraint systems that open with one action.
Bad press seems to dog United Airlines frequently these days. But they went above and beyond after mistakenly shipping a German Shepherd Dog to Japan. They returned the pooch via a privately chartered jet.
Customs and Border Protection is testing biometric scanning at some U.S. international airports at boarding points. Cameras at the gate send passenger photographs to CBP where they are checked against photos on file and to make sure that person is booked on the manifest. Some critics point to possible bias and privacy protection issues.
The smallest member of the family, the Boeing 737 MAX 7, flew on March 17, 2018, for 3 hours and 5 minutes. The flight test program now begins with certification and delivery expected in 2019. The airplane has a maximum capacity of 172 passengers and a range of 3,850 nautical miles.
Bloomberg reports that hackers were attempted to penetrate the U.S. civilian aviation industry early in 2017. Details aren’t provided, but Jeff Troy, executive director of the Aviation Information Sharing and Analysis Center (A-ISAC), said the attack had limited impact. Also that the industry has taken steps to prevent a repeat of the intrusion. US-CERT has issued a detailed report.
Although not specifically about commercial aircraft, it is a great story about the contribution woman have made to Pratt & Whitney.
Airplane Geeks Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari speaks with Ken VeArd from Pilot Partner about getting paper out of the cockpit. Ken was kind enough to offer a discount code for Airplane Geeks listeners. The interview begins at about 1:28 into the episode.
Jeanette Remak and Joe Ventolo Jr. from Phoenix Aviation Research tell the story behind the Lockheed A-12 Blackbird at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in Manhattan. In the news, we look at FAA reauthorization bills and the battle shaping up in Congress, this year’s Paris Air Show, the Catalina Flying Boats’ DC-3 aircraft, the youngest pilot in Australia, and an Israeli court ruling on reseating women in the airplane.
Janet Remak and Joe Ventolo Jr. with the A-12 on the Intrepid.
Jeannette Remak is the owner of Phoenix Aviation Research. She’s a military aviation historian, a writer, author, artist, and photographic engineer. Her books include XB-70 Valkyrie: The Ride to Valhalla and A-12 Blackbird: Declassified.
In the mid-1990s, Jeannette worked as the volunteer Aircraft Historian for the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in Manhattan. She performed research for maintenance and restoration, and worked on the aircraft under her control at the museum, including many U.S. Naval and U.S. Air Force aircraft on loan. Jeannette restored sheet metal, she controlled airframe titanium corrosion, and she appropriated parts and specialized equipment for work on A-12 aircraft.
Working with the US Navy’s Curator office, Jeannette is responsible for the rescue of the Sikorsky RH-53D that is the lone survivor of the failed United States hostage rescue mission in Iran. The CH-53D is now restored and on display at the JFK/ US Navy Seal Training School in North Carolina.
Jeannette has a degree in Commercial Photographic Engineering and obtained her Master’s Degree in Aviation Science in 2000. Jeannette also has a degree in Commercial Photography from the NY Institute of Photography.
Joseph A. Ventolo, Jr. is the former curator of the National Museum of the US Air Force. His career started in November 1959 when Joe joined the 269th Combat Communications Squadron of the Ohio Air National Guard. In 1965, he received a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant as a communications officer. He left the Ohio Air National Guard in 1966 and transferred to the Air Force Reserve where he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant and remained in the Air Force Reserve until 1970.
In 1962, Joe joined the staff of the U.S. Air Force Motion Picture Film Archives at Wright-Patterson AFB as a Motion Picture Archivist. In 1979, he transferred to the U.S. Air Force Museum’s Research Division as the Museum’s Historian. Two years later he became a Curator of Aeronautics. Joe has co-authored articles that appeared in such periodicals as Air Enthusiast, WW I Aero, and Friends Bulletin. In 1993 he was appointed Curator of the U.S. Air Force Museum and named Curator of the United States Air Force. He remained in that position until his retirement in 1995.
Joe is currently a co-owner/consultant with Phoenix Aviation Research. He has co-authored articles in the Atlantic Flyer, and written three aviation books, all with Jeannette Remak.
Their first book, XB-70 Valkyrie: The Ride to Valhalla was published in December 1998. Their second book, A-12 Blackbird: Declassified, was published in December 2000. And a third book, The Archangel and the OXCART: The Lockheed A-12 Blackbirds and the Dawn of Mach III Reconnaissance was published in 2008.
Boeing said it has 240 orders and commitments. Some orders are conversions from earlier orders for other MAX models. The MAX 10 is a stretch of the MAX 9 that seats up to 230 passengers and is designed to compete with the Airbus A321neo.
Airbus launched a new open aviation data platform called Skywise to support digital transformation of the industry. The Skywise aviation data platform was developed in collaboration with Palantir Technologies. See the video: Airbus launches new open aviation data platform, Skywise.
Test pilot Billie Flynn told Aviation Week, “After 10 years since first flight, with our first opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities and the maneuverability of the F-35, we are going to crush years of misinformation about what this aircraft is capable of doing,”
Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa. introduced a proposed FAA reauthorization bill in the House. The Bill prohibits passengers from being removed from a flight after they’ve boarded, privatizes ATC, and requires airlines to post resources for stranded passengers online when the airline is disrupted by a computer outage. It also calls for the faster development of a traffic management system for small drones, faster approval process for commercial drone operators, and a new certification system for small-drone commercial operators.
Learn about what Reliability Centered Maintenance means for aviation from a well-known A&P/IA and the CEO of Savvy Aviation. In the news, first flights of the Boeing 787-10, the Airbus A319neo, the Antonov An-132D, and the Embraer E195-E2. Also, the Fairness for Pilots Act, important news for Continental engine owners, some talk about restarting the F-22 line, and an update from Airbus on an electric airplane.
Savvy Aviator CEO Mike Busch
Mike Busch is the CEO of Savvy Aviation and a co-founder of AVweb. Mike is one of the best-known A&P/IAs in general aviation and he writes the monthly “Savvy Maintenance” column in AOPA Pilot magazine. He also hosts free monthly EAA-sponsored maintenance webinars. Mike was honored as “National Aviation Maintenance Technician of the Year” for 2008, he’s been a pilot and aircraft owner for 50 years with 7,500+ hours logged, and is a CFIA/I/ME.
Mike explains the origins of Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) and how it grew to be used by commercial, business and military aviation, but hasn’t fully trickled down to small general aviation.
RCM is an optimal maintenance program that differs from the old, traditional maintenance approach that follows the assumption that components start out reliable and become less so over time. RCM is a data-driven engineering method that assesses each aircraft component for possible functional failures, failure modes, failure effects and consequences. It then creates a maintenance plan that can even allow a component to run to failure. The result is lower maintenance costs and increased reliability.
Indian aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is requiring a borescope test for Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engines at 1000 flight hours instead of the usual 1500. Meanwhile, IndiGo Airlines has set at a maximum altitude of 30,000 feet for its A320neos. All this is due to problems with the engine combustion chambers and an oil seal.
Airbus will not be producing the electric E-Fan two-seater training aircraft because the technology has advanced so much in the past three years. However, Airbus is considering an E-FAN X with another order of magnitude jump in electric power.
The Airplane of the Week
The favorite airplane of David’s father was the P-61 Black Widow.
Update: Our listener Utah Patrick wrote us with the following:
“Like Max, I was touched by the story related in the current episode about Thomas Hudner and Jesse Brown. So much so that I decided to dig a bit deeper into the story. Turns out Hudner received the Medal of Honor for his efforts to rescue his wingman. The part about leaving Brown’s body behind bothered me. I understand the reasoning but I wondered if it had ever been recovered.
“Turns out Brown’s body and his aircraft were napalmed to keep them out of enemy hands. However, figuring something was left behind, attempts have been made to retrieve remains including one attempt 63 years later by (and this really surprised me) Thomas Hudner himself.”
We talk with a teenage aviation enthusiast who created an aviation news site and has organized a major avgeek event with American Airlines for National Aviation Day. In the news, we discuss narrowbody production ramp ups, a B-29 receives an airworthiness certificate, the CSeries, and EgyptAir Flight 804.
Ryan Ewing is the teenage founder and president of AirlineGeeks.com, a news site where a team of young journalists create the content. Most of them hope to work in the aviation industry as professionals when they grow older.
Ryan is quite knowledgeable about the airline industry for someone his age, and he’s been working with American Airlines to create AAviation Day 2016 on National Aviation Day, Friday, August 19th, 2016. On that day, American will open certain facilities to #AvGeeks who have registered for unique tours and events. The facilities include PHL, DCA, MIA, CLT, LGA, DFW, American’s HQ and Integrated Operations Center in Fort Worth, the Tulsa Maintenance Base, ORD, LAX, LHR, and Envoy’s HQ in Irving, Texas.
We first met Ryan in 2013 at the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center during the 9th annual Become a Pilot Family Day and Aviation Display. That the event that is now called the Innovations in Flight Family Day and Outdoor Aviation Display. Ryan will have a table at this year’s Innovations in Flight Day June 18, 2016. He plans to focus on encouraging young people to develop interests in aviation.
Boeing has spent $1B to create a 1.2-million-square-foot 777X center in Everett, Washington to manufacture wing components for that airplane. The 110-foot composite wing includes an 11-foot folding wingtip, which will be built by Boeing in St. Louis and sent to Everett for assembly. Power for the 777X comes from the advanced GE9X engine which has the largest fan that GE has built.
Pratt & Whitney must nearly triple its output of engines to meet demand for the GTF and engines for the F-35 and the KC-46 tanker. To meet the production ramp-up, P&W has invested $1B and created a 600,000 square foot facility in Manchester NH, operated by United Parcel Service (UPS), that will receive parts from suppliers, kit them, and deliver them to manufacturing and assembly plants around the world.
The FAA has issued a Special Airworthiness Certificate to the B-29 known as Doc, which has been undergoing restoration Wichita since May 23, 2000. Next, the restoration team will request access to a runway at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita for test flight operations. See, Photo Gallery: Doc’s Airworthiness Celebration.
In 2010, Republic Airways placed 40 firm orders and 40 options for the CS300, with deliveries initially scheduled to start in 2015. Bombardier has kept the order in the backlog, but removed it from their production schedule. Frontier filed for bankruptcy protection in February.
Aircraft of the Week
David begins giving the histories of aircraft requested by listeners in Episode 400. The first topic will be done in two segments for Michael and Tony. In part one, David talks about the development of the Mirage III. Next week he’ll cover the variants and conflicts fought with the the Dassault jet.
David’s 1/48th Scale Mirage IIIB from Heller with Aeromaster Decals
Mirage IIIB 286 was from 245 Squadron “Negev” and is the Highest Kill Mirage IIIB with 4.5.
Report on Shuttle External Tank “ET”
Brian watches the Shuttle Tank pass by
Brian reports on the movement of the Shuttle External Tank (“ET”) through the streets of LA on it’s way to the California Science Center, which describes how it:
“carried propellants—liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen—that flowed into the Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSMEs), where they combined and ignited to produce almost one and a half million pounds of thrust to help push the space shuttle to orbit. The external tank also served as the structural support for the whole shuttle stack, with attachment points for the orbiter and booster rockets.”
ET-94 is the last flight-qualified external tank in existence and was donated to the Science Center by NASA. The California Science Center’s Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center will be the only place in the world that people will be able to go to see a complete shuttle stack—orbiter, external tank, and solid rocket boosters—with all real flight hardware in launch configuration.
John Croft, Senior Editor at Aviation Week & Space Technology joins us for our 400th episode. We discuss Safety Management Systems (SMS), the IATA 2015 Safety Report, challenges for a safety culture that embraces self-reporting, and flight simulator changes that include models for high-altitude, high-angle of attack regimes.
In the news, we discuss airline profits and complaints (both up), an aircraft leasing company IPO, thoughts on a B-52 engine upgrade, a female aviation pioneer, sonic booms, and PSA Airlines’ pilot hiring strategy.
John Croft is Senior Editor Avionics & Safety, Aviation Week & Space Technology. He’s a part-owner of a 1978 Piper Archer II, a certified flight instructor, instrument instructor, multi-engine rated commercial pilot, and former NASA engineer. He specialized in avionics and control systems for Earth-orbiting satellites, including the Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer and Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer.
After leaving NASA in 2000, John earned a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Maryland and went on to work for several aerospace publications, including Flight International as Americas Editor before joining Aviation Week in 2012.
In 2015, fuel prices came down 35%, baggage fees amounted to $3.8 billion, and reservation change fees were $3 billion. At the same time, average fares were down 3.8%, yet U.S. passenger airlines enjoyed $25.6 billion in profits in 2015 vs. $7.5 billion in 2014. But formal complaints grew 30%.
Many airlines lease the airplanes they operate, from companies like ILFC, AerCap, GCAS, and BOC Aviation. Singapore-based BOC Aviation Ltd, is owned by the Bank of China, and they are looking at a possible IPO which could raise as much as $1.5 billion.
Boeing B-52 bombers are powered by Pratt & Whitney TF33 engines, 1950’s engine technology. They are loud, smoky, and burn a lot of fuel. There has been talk in the past of replacing each pair of TF33’s with a single new-technology engine, but such a re-engining would be very expensive. Instead, P&W military engines president Bennett Croswell is proposing a TF33 upgrade package that would lower the cost of maintenance.
Emily Hanrahan Warner became the first female airline pilot in the United States, and she’s now been inducted in the Irish American Hall of Fame. On April 10, 1973, Warner became the first woman hired by an American carrier and in 1976, she became America’s first female airline captain.
Under NASA’s Commercial Supersonic Technology (CST) project, Honeywell was awarded a contract in 2015 to overcome supersonic boom issues. Honeywell has developed a predictive display that tell pilots when a sonic boom is developing.
PSA AIrlines Inc. needs to hire 500 new pilots per year. To attract more pilots they will offer a $20,000 retention bonus to active first officers and a $250 monthly allowance for pilots to offset the cost of commuting hotel expenses.
NYCAviation.com editor Ben Granucci on plane spotting, CEO change at Spirit Airlines, drone news from the 2016 CES, a new FAA app, the Airbus A350, hand flying the airplane, five-engine airplanes, and the odd-looking Northrop Tacit Blue.
Ben Granucci inside Fedex A300 at EWR’s Airport Day. Photo by Maggie Bradley.
Ben Granucci is the Standards Editor for NYCAviation.com, a New York City-based, globally focused aviation news, commentary, and enthusiast website. He is an avid aviation photographer and a lifelong avgeek. In addition to his work with NYCAviation, Ben also occasionally writes for AirlineReporter.com. Follow him on Twitter at @blgranucci and visit his Facebook page.
Some of Ben’s favorite photos:
Plane spotting at St Maarten
A Tarom A310 carrying the Hungarian delegation taxis to depart while a Cathay Pacific 777-300ER lifts off in the background during UN Week 2015.
An F-22 Raptor and P-51 Mustang perform the Heritage Flight during day 2 of the first ever New York Air Show.
A LAN Airlines A320 departs Santiago, Chile at sunset.
The Spirit Airlines board announced that board member Robert Fornaro would replace Ben Baldanza as the CEO of the ultra low-cost airline. Fornaro was the AirTran CEO who managed the sale to Southwest 2011. While Spirit remains profitable, it is less so than before, and stock prices have tumbled. Could there be a merger in Spirit’s future?
China-based EHang announced its EHang 184 autonomous electric drone at CES, and says it should be in production in a year. The aircraft carries a single passenger, is limited to a 23 minute flight, and is expected to have a price of $200,000-$300,000.
At CES, FAA Administrator Huerta announced the public release of the B4UFLY app for iOS, and the beta of a version for the Android operating system. The FAA says, “B4UFLY tells users about current or upcoming requirements and restrictions in areas of the National Airspace System (NAS) where they may want to operate their unmanned aircraft system (UAS).”
The U.S. Transportation Department Office of the Inspector General released a report saying the FAA is not ensuring that airline pilots maintain the skills they need to take control from automated systems during an unexpected event.
The FAA has issued a new advisory circular for flight instructors that promotes hand flying skills during flight reviews and proficiency checks. The AC says, “The FAA reminds CFIs conducting flight reviews and IPCs to ensure that a pilot under evaluation is proficient with the automated system and knows what to do if it fails.”