Aviation journalist Mary Kirby talks about the airline passenger experience. Also, ATC privatization, drones and wildfires, a new Air France airline targeted at Millennials, congressional action to address airline seat size and pitch, and airline revenue from fees and frequent flyer programs.
Mary Kirby has covered the aviation industry for almost 20 years as both a journalist and an editor. After working many years for Flightglobal, she launched Runway Girl Network, which delivers news and intelligence about the airline passenger experience industry, and also highlights the work and accomplishments of women in aviation. Runway Girl Network is a go-to site that encompasses a B2B2C model.
Mary describes the objectives of Runway Girl Network and gives us the benefit of her knowledge concerning current airline passenger experience issues. Seat space, both width and pitch, continues to grow as a concern in the eyes of the flying public.
We also talk about the job of aviation journalists today, and the role of the vocal passenger. Mary considers lessons learned from the Network and the need for increased diversity of gender and color among those writing about the passenger experience. We also look at the gap in coverage of the passenger experience from the perspective of those with disabilities or reduced mobility.
In its press release [PDF] Air France describes Joon as a Millennial-focused carrier “aimed at a young working clientele whose lifestyles revolve around digital technology.” Air France plans to start operating medium-haul flights from Paris-Charles de Gaulle later this year, with long-haul flights in mid-2018.
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) introduced H.R.1467, the Safe Egress in Air Travel (SEAT) Act into the FAA reauthorization bill as an amendment. The amendment would ask the FAA to study evacuations and issue regulations for minimum safe-seat sizes.
The annual study of airline ancillary revenues from IdeaWorks Company and Cartrawler, is out. For 2016, the big U.S. legacy airlines are the ones hauling in the most ancillary revenues.
Nicki and her flight instructor.
In May, we received an email from listener Nicki. She was asking our advice about starting flying lessons in her late 30s and making a possible career change into flying. Nicki enjoys flying and in college, her friends used to take her up and let her fly the plane. At the time, Nicki couldn’t afford flying lessons and even now it would be a stretch for her.
Well, Nicki has started to take some steps and sent us a recording describing her progress so far.
A roundtable discussion of current aviation news, issues, and topics from our listeners. They include: the effects of the U.S. immigration ban on airlines and airports, the impacts of new executive orders on regulations like 3rd class medical reform, the bad news for Santa Monica airport, American Airlines passes on in-seat screens, another airline is grounded by a computer problem, clarity on ADS-B for non-electric aircraft, a review ordered of the F-35C and the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet. Also, glass cockpit vs. round gages, the 2017 Aerospace Media Awards, a warm airline story from Alaska, exploding airline tires, and the Global Supertanker 747 in action.
President Trump signed an executive order that fulfilled a campaign promise for new immigration policy. The order restricts immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries, it shuts off refugee admission for 120 days, and bans admission of Syrian refugees until further notice. This caused a certain amount of confusion among airlines, airports, government agencies, and the public. Demonstrations against the change broke out at many airports.
Among other provisions, this executive order requires that for every new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations must be identified for elimination. How this impacts an agency like FAA is uncertain.
The Trump administration has ordered that no new regulations be published in the Federal Register. Also, that regulations that have been issued, but not yet taken effect, are pushed out 60 days. What does that mean for third-class Medical Reform, and the recently finalized Part 23 small aircraft certification regulations?
The FAA agreed to allow the City of Santa Monica to close the Santa Monica Airport as early as 2028. The City is also allowed to shorten the runway to just 3500 feet, eliminating larger business jets. Jack Pelton, CEO/Chairman of the Experimental Aircraft Association stated, “We were surprised at the announcement of the settlement between the FAA and the city of Santa Monica regarding its airport. It is certainly a disappointing development, first concerning the immediate ability to shorten the runway, and the ultimate ability to close the airport in 2028. While we can only guess at the inside discussions to reach this settlement as to our knowledge, the airport’s stakeholders were not a part of it, the founding principles of FAA grant assurances are to maintain stability for an airport and its users as part of the national airspace system, above local political maneuvering.”
American Airlines believes in-seat entertainment screens are a technology without a future. So rather than install screens in the seats of its Boeing 737Max airplanes, the airline will offer passengers free entertainment they can watch on their mobile phones, tablets, and laptop computers.
The ADS-B Out rule takes effect January 1, 2020. If your airplane was originally certified without an electrical system, the rule doesn’t apply. But what if that same aircraft subsequently had batteries and an electrical starter installed?
POTUS vacations at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach. About 8 miles away is the Palm Beach County Park Airport, also called Lantana Airport. County commissioners are learning that they’ll have to abide by the wishes of the Secret Service, and they are worried about the financial impact of operating restrictions.
A Pentagon review of the capabilities and cost of two aircraft has been ordered by Defense Secretary James Mattis. He wants to compare the Lockheed Martin F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter and an upgraded version of the Boeing F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet.
The Ohio State University’s Center for Aviation Studies, a student pilot killed under mysterious circumstances, new wings for F-15C/Ds, new airline regulations, Bombardier layoffs, seat assignments by passenger size, hot props, airshow and air race reports, and a paint job that fails as a conspiracy theory.
Martin Rottler, M.S., CFI, is a Lecturer and the Industry Relations Coordinator for the Ohio State University’s Center for Aviation Studies in Columbus, OH.
Martin explains the degree programs offered for students seeking professional pilot, management, operations, airport planning, or airport management careers. We discuss the passion for aviation that students have today, the cost of education and flight training, the pilot shortage, and accumulating hours with activities such as giving flight instruction, flying 135 cargo, and skydiving operations. Martin talks about efforts to increase student diversity, as well as pilot cadet programs in conjunction with airlines. These offer several benefits to students, including tuition reimbursement, airline company introductions, ground school, and social events.
As a lecturer, Martin is primarily responsible for teaching several courses a semester and advising students. As the Center’s Industry Relations Coordinator, Martin is the primary point of contact for the program’s industry partners across all facets of the aviation industry, including airlines, business aviation, and airports.
Martin brings a variety of aviation experiences to his teaching, having worked in Corporate Flight Operations for Cirrus Aircraft in Duluth, MN and in Flight Operations Quality Assurance at Korean Air in Seoul, South Korea. He currently holds a Commercial Pilot certificate, an Instrument Rating and is a Certified Flight Instructor.
Student pilot Feras M. Freitekh, a Jordanian national, was killed and his instructor, Arian Prevalla injured when their twin-engine Piper PA-34 crashed on Main Street, in East Hartford, Connecticut. The crash site is directly across the street from Pratt & Whitney. Reportedly, Freitekh was arguing with his instructor before the flight.
In 2005, an airplane crashed after an engine failure, killing the pilot. His spouse sued the engine manufacturer, claiming a carburetor design defect. In 2014, a U.S. District Court found that there was no design defect in the carburetor because the engine was certified and approved by the FAA. A U.S. Court of Appeals reversed the decision in April 2016, ruling that FAA certification of the engine did not mean there was no design defect, and the FAA does not preempt state law standards of care as far as aviation products liability goes.
Federal complaints against Hawaiian Airlines claimed the airline practice of assigning seats only at the terminal discriminated against Samoans. The complaint has been denied and Hawaiian will continue the policy on flights between Honolulu and American Samoa.
The Airplane of the Week
This week, the conspiracy theorists came out to play. VFC-12 debuted a new camouflage scheme, based on the SU-34 Fullbacks seen in action over Syria. Photos of the new camo appeared first on Facebook, on a page that is dedicated to Adversary and Aggressor aircraft. The photos were then somehow hijacked into a story about the U.S. planning a “false flag” operation in Syria.
Photo by David Vanderhoof.
Ted attended the Red Bull Air Race in Indianapolis and sent us a great audio report.
Race plane, airliner, and helicopter at the Red Bull air race. Can you spot all three? Photo by Ted.
Max Flight was a guest on the FS In Focus podcast with host Nicolas Jackson. The show aired live on Sky Blue Radio on October 15th, 2016. The episode starts with Capt. Nick from the Airline Pilot Guy podcast, then Max comes in at 1:03:00 talking jet engine technology. Tracy Shiffman from VATSIM’s Worldflight charity group starts at 1:42:00.
Brian has been traveling quite a bit lately, including to Singapore and Hong Kong. He did manage to see the last flight of the Cathay 747.
Huntington Beach Airshow
Back in California, Brian caught the Huntington Beach Airshow and recorded an interview with Staff Sgt Danny Wolfram of the United States Air Force. He was entertained by the “Screamin Sasquatch,” a biplane with a jet engine.