Our guest is Steve Hinton, the president of the Planes of Fame Air Museum. In the news, Delta Airlines signs a contract for sustainable aviation fuel, United Airlines decides to resume cargo-only flights, Qatar Airways profits were cut by Covid, and British Airways pilots may have the opportunity to fly for Qatar.
Steve Hinton is president of the Planes of Fame Air Museum and the owner of Fighter Rebuilders. Steve tells us about the living history collection of aircraft that is the museum, as well as the events held to create participation. Planes of Fame restores many warbirds to flightworthy condition and these are flown at demonstrations, airshows, and even in movies. A Bearcat and a Corsair were used in the production of the upcoming action war drama film Devotion.
Steve also works with the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation which celebrates U.S. airpower history and is a living memorial to those who have served in the U.S. Air Force. Heritage Flight demonstrations are flown around the world which pair modern aircraft with fighter aircraft from the past. Steve explains how the selected civilian pilots practice with the military pilots and he describes the challenges of flying old prop warbirds with modern jets.
After our conversation with Steve, Brian Finnegan joined us and he describes the history of Planes of Fame which was founded by Ed Maloney. Brian is the Director, Education Programs and Development at Planes Of Fame Air Museum.
Delta Airlines signed an agreement with Aemetis for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The 10-year contract is worth more than $1 billion for 250 million gallons of blended fuel. The fuel will be produced at the company’s Riverbank, California renewable jet/diesel plant from waste forest and orchard wood. Aemetis expects the fuel to be available in 2024.
United Airlines had just responded to a surge in passenger bookings by phasing out special freighter services. Now the airline will resume cargo-only flights using empty passenger planes. Passenger planes can be used for freight by simply using the cargo hold or carrying the freight in the passenger cabin. Some airlines just strapped items to seats and others removed the seats to make even more room.
According to an internal BA memo, up to 40 Boeing 777 Captains and First Officers have an opportunity to fly planes with Qatar for around six months during the London winter lull. Pilots would temporarily relocate to Doha and would retain their contracts and seniority. They would continue being paid by British Airways.
Those losses in revenue are a result of reduced demand for long-haul travel over the last fiscal year. However, Qatar reported an increase in earnings to $1.6 billion (before taxes and other costs) over the prior year. While the airline saved on jet fuel, it also reduced salaries by 15% and cut 13,400 employees from its workforce. Qatar had been the subject of a political embargo that kept them from flying in the airspace of Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
David Costa, the RenegadeAV8R, on being a jet airshow demo pilot, hosting the RenegadeAV8R Radio Show and engaging young engineers in a project to set new jet records. Also, ALPA wants COVID rules and not just guidelines, airline cash flow with sale/leaseback transactions, a tragic runway accident, the unending Heathrow airport controversy, Frontier rethinks their middle seat strategy, and Qatar Airlines wants training expenses reimbursed by a terminated pilot.
David “Taz” Costa is a jet airshow demonstration pilot flying the TS-11 Iskra, an advanced military jet trainer. He also hosts the RenegadeAV8R Radio Show and is CEO of Renegade Jets. David is also an airline transport pilot with over 15,000 hours of flight time in over 100 different makes and models of aircraft.
The RenegadeAV8R Radio Show promotes aviation to a wide audience using interviews and stories from guests that demonstrate excellence, overcoming obstacles, and achieving big goals. Both aviation enthusiasts and others admire and appreciate the radio show, which is also released as a podcast.
We talk with David about airshows and the value they provide. He describes what being an airshow performer means to him, and how he interfaces with people while he’s on the ground. David loves talking to the crowd, answering their questions, and serving the fans. We discuss the future of airshows and the need for the “new normal” to be like the “old normal.”
The original Iskra achieved four world records at the time, but those have been eclipsed. David explains his plan to upgrade the Iskra and launch a world record attempt using the skills of engineering students. This brings the latest engineering knowledge to the project and offers the students a unique opportunity to apply their skills to real-world aircraft.
Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) President Capt. Joe DePete wants the FAA to mandate compliance with CDC recommendations, not just suggest guidelines. “There are carriers that are doing a good job and there are carriers that are doing not such a great job,” DePete said. “So there is this varying patchwork of compliance or lack thereof and that’s no way to handle a pandemic.”
Southwest Airlines has entered into a sale/leaseback agreement with BOC Aviation for 10 Boeing 737-800s and 10 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. This generates $815 million in cash for the airline. BOC Aviation is a global aircraft leasing company, originally founded as Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise (SALE) in 1993.
London Heathrow’s John Holland-Kaye says it could be 10 to 15 years before the airport needs a third runway. The Heathrow £14billion expansion plan could be scrapped given the poor economic situation. At the least, it’s not a priority now. Also, Heathrow expansion: What is the third runway plan?
Frontier Airlines had a plan to charge passengers at least a $39 “More Room” fee to sit next to an empty middle seat. Amid accusations that Frontier was attempting to profit from coronavirus fear, the airline has dropped the plan.
Qatar Airlines fired a pilot trainee and now demands a payment of $162,000 for training expenses. Qatar created a cadet scholarship program for locals, which this woman joined in 2013 and graduated in 2017.
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.
We talk with Kitfox Aircraft about kit-built airplanes. Also, a digital co-pilot for GA, the Stratolaunch airplane, Middle Eastern airlines shun Qatar, an aviation-themed playground, the U.S. Secretary of the Air Force wants mandatory budget caps removed, and President Trump wants the U.S. air traffic control system privatized. We also have a very informative listener recording about pulling through and hand propping radial engines.
Kitfox Aircraft S7 Super Sport
Kitfox Aircraft is owned and operated by John and Debra McBean from the Homedale Municipal Airport (S66) in southwest Idaho. The McBean’s were builders before they owned the company and they often helped other builders with their projects. John McBean holds commercial and instructor ratings and we welcome him to the Airplane Geeks podcast.
Also joining us from Kitfox is Brandon Petersen who joined the team in 2012 as the wing builder. His role has evolved over time. You can find his fingerprints on the company social media posts, videos, wings, and fiberglass products that are shipped to builders around the world.
The original Kitfox Model I was introduced at Oshkosh AirVenture in 1984 by Denney Aerocraft. The modern Kitfox has stayed true to the concept of the original design – it’s a fun, comfortable, and affordable airplane that can be easily built without any special tools or training.
Kitfox Aircraft is introducing the Kitfox Speedster at EAA Airventure Oshkosh 2017. Based on the Series 7 platform, it offers a bigger fuselage, higher gross weight capability, a shortened wing, and a cleaned up and faired airframe. This allows the builder to get up and go fast without giving up a whole lot of the STOL characteristics of the airplane.
The plane going to Air Venture will display a new brightly colored paint scheme designed by Jason Noll of Dream Scheme Designs. It pays homage to the original Speedster with a modern twist. Kitfox has arranged with Kyle Franklin to perform with the Speedster in the air show. Kyle’s late father Jimmy flew the original Speedster.
Kitfox Aircraft Speedster with paint scheme designed by Jason Noll of Dream Scheme Designs,
Researchers from Mitre Corp.’s Center for Advanced Aviation System Development have developed a “Digital Copilot.” The concept is that general aviation single-pilot flight operations would benefit from a tablet app that monitors and communicates safety-critical flight information to the pilot.
The Stratolaunch is a twin fuselage, 385-foot wingspan aircraft designed to carry a launch vehicle as part of an air launch to orbit system. What is not called Stratolaunch Systems Corporation was officially announced in December 2011 by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen and Scaled Composites founder Burt Rutan.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and Egypt have accused Qatar of supporting terrorism, and have broken off relations with that country. As a result, Etihad, Emirates, Fly Dubai, and Gulf Air are discontinuing flights in and out of the capital of Qatar, Doha. The Qatari government called this “unjustified and based on baseless allegations.”
Stafford Regional Airport in Virginia is building a playground around an aviation theme. Two nonprofits are making this happen: EAA Chapter 1099 and Rappahannock Aviation Outreach, a non-profit organization based in Stafford, Virginia focused on community outreach programs and initiatives that educate and inspire youth in aviation.
Dr. Heather Wilson was the first female military veteran elected to a full term in Congress. More recently, the US Senate confirmed her nomination as U.S. Secretary of the Air Force on May 8, 2017. Wilson has now asked Congress to remove the mandatory budget caps of the Budget Control Act.
We talk with the producer and director of a film about the ways aviation has transformed the world. Also, relationships between Middle Eastern and U.S. airlines, the outlook for business aircraft sales, Chinese radar advancements, a report of health problems with crew uniforms, and a compelling story by a Marine.
Twin Otter seaplane preparing to dock in the Maldives, from Living in the Age of Airplanes
Brian J. Terwilliger is a licensed pilot captivated by flight since childhood. He is a filmmaker who produced and directed the National Geographic movie Living in the Age of Airplanes, narrated by Harrison Ford and featuring an original score by the late Academy Award® winning composer James Horner (Avatar, Titanic). The movie looks at the dramatic ways aviation has transformed the world, and was filmed in 18 countries, and across all 7 continents.
Following its premiere at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC, the film continued its successful run on giant screen, digital, IMAX® and museum cinemas worldwide in 2015/2016. It has now been released digitally and on DVD / Blu-ray, along with the release of the original soundtrack.
Brian’s first film, the 2005 feature One Six Right, focuses on the romance of flight as seen through a day in the life of the Van Nuys Airport, a local general aviation airport in a Los Angeles suburb.
The CAPA Centre for Aviation awarded Qatar Airways their Airline of the Year award. In a subsequent interview with Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker, he talked about wanting to strengthen the airline’s strategic partnership with American Airlines.
GAMA, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, released a report indicating that 3rd quarter business jet and airplane shipments worldwide were 534 units, compared to 542 a year ago. Billings were $4.1 billion, versus $5.3 billion in 2015.
For some time, China has been working to develop a Very High Frequency (VHF) active-phased array radar. This kind of system has a greater ability to detect stealth aircraft. At the Zhuhai Air Show, China showed the JY-27A 3-D long-range surveillance/guidance radar and the broader bandwidth JY-26 Skywatcher-U.
A look airport operations from the back office, rebates for ADS-B installations, bigger A380’s, airlines fighting over Open Skies, the history of the missing man formation, and a Delta trip report.
Jennifer Adams works for the accounting department of a medium-sized airport in the midwest and she gives us a peek at some of the activities in the “back office.” Jen tells us about the sources of revenue for the airport, such as landing fees, rent, and long-term parking. She also gives us a look at some of the airport’s costs, which range from navaid maintenance and de-icing chemicals, to toilet paper and vet bills for the dogs. Jen also explains the many statistics that must be recorded, such as landings, aircraft weights, passengers enplaned and deplaned, cargo, and mail.
A passionate avgeek, when Jennifer isn’t buried in spreadsheets or calculating landing fees, she spends her break time plane spotting and talking about aviation with anyone who will listen. In her blog “Tales from the Terminal,” she shares stories about her adventures in aviation, her love of the airport, and her not-so-secret desire to own a stairs truck.
The FAA says they will offer rebates to aircraft owners who install ADS-B Out systems, but there are some limits to the program. The $500 rebate will only be available to the first 20,000 owners of single-engine piston aircraft who apply, and just for a one year period.
There is a new plan to increase the A380 seating to eleven in a row, up from the current ten. This would add 60 more seats to the super jumbo. Meantime, Emirates president Tim Cook has conceded that a re-engined “A380neo” looks unlikely.
Qatar Airways, Emirates, Etihad, and Delta Air Lines do not see eye-to-eye when it comes to international agreements. Delta believes the Middle Eastern carriers benefit from subsidies that are a violation of U.S. Open Skies agreements. The conversation amped up with the Qatar Airways inaugural flight to Atlanta. Reportedly, Qatar had been told that a gate would not be available for their A380 and it was occupied by a Delta jet. Qatar flew in anyway, and the deplaning passengers had to be bussed to the terminal from a remote parking location.
The Aircraft of the Week
David talks about the recent Blue Angels and Thunderbirds accidents, and how they have been reported, but he also provides a somber history of the Missing Man formation, which was flown in honor of Blue Angel #6 Capt Jeff Kuss, USMC.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Finding employment through aviation job boards, a new airline seating idea, KLM caters to avgeeks, bribing your way to airline upgrades, and challenges to flying on the airlines.
Tim Kirkwood has been a flight attendant for 38 years. He’s President of the aviation jobs board AviaNation.com, an online aviation employment board and recruitment site with aviation jobs in all job categories, worldwide.
We’re also joined by aviation journalist Jason Rabinowitz. Jason is also Data Research Manager for Routehappy, the product differentiation platform for air travel. Follow Jason on Twitter at @AirlineFlyer.
We’ve seen a number of patents in the last few months from Airbus. Some a little wacky. This patent application shows an airplane that looks like the designs we’ve seen from Boeing for a blended wing body. But the seating arrangement is in the round.
On a recent trip from Los Angeles to Chicago, the writer of the article decided to try for his own upgrades. At every opportunity, he discreetly offered cash to airline employees, Transportation Security Administration employees and fellow passengers in exchange for a better seat or faster service.
JetBlue announced they will reduce leg room on some flights and they plan to introduce baggage fees. We’ve seen incidents involving seat reclining disagreements that resulted in flight diversions. What’s going on here?
David Vanderhoof’s History Segment
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, David tells us Martin’s Story.
The Australia News Desk
Aside from helping explain where “Jabiru” comes from, the boys also give an update on CASA’s “Jabiru Consultation Draft,” discuss JetGo’s decision to not fly Sydney to Roma (before it even starts), and enjoy the fact that Brisbane West Wellcamp airport in Toowoomba has gone from bare dirt to accepting its first commercial airline operation in less time than Brisbane Airport took to negotiate who’d pay for their third runway.
Across the Pond
Pieter talks further with Oussama Salah about Qatar Executive and their business jets, as well as Saudia Airlines. See Oussama’s posts on his Oussamas Take Blog.
Listener Evan Schoo tells us a little story about his one and only helicopter trial instructional flight. He also sends the link to a video from the flight.
Airplane Geeks Mission Control by the Art Department at ThrombyAir.com.
Max Trescott was the 2008 National CFI of the Year and produces training books, CD’s, and iPhone GPS guides. Max knows flying and how to teach it like few others. He’s a frequent speaker at AOPA Aviation Summits and this year’s event was no exception – Max presented on flying the new WAS-based approaches and also tips for learning to fly a glass-based cockpit. We talk with Max about the Aviation Summit in Palm Springs which launched with the Parade of Planes and saw many interesting announcements and product introductions.
An RAAF Air Traffic Controller is stood down pending an investigation after a “Loss of separation assurance” incident near Darwin, Fiji Airways reveals new A330 livery, Avalon Airport in Victoria given approval to become Melbourne’s second international airport, the Federal Government grants formal approval for the Qantas/Emirates deal, RAAF AP3-C Orions from 10SQN returning to Australia after 10 years continuous deployment in the Middle East.
We continue the Royal Navy Historic Flight Mini series with a look at the Sea Fury.
Pieter continues our behind the scenes look at the Royal Navy Historic Flight. This week we get to talk to Chief Engineer Howard Reed about the rebuild of the Swordfish and what it takes to get it and then keep it air worthy. For more see Royal Navy Historic Flight and Fly Navy Heritage Trust.