Tag Archives: slots

629 Boeing 737 MAX Return to Service Airworthiness Directive

We talk with an Air Traffic Controller at London Heathrow who also acts as deputy manager of the ATC team for the RIAT airshow. In the news, FAA airworthiness directive permits the Boeing 737 MAX to return to service, Delta and tariffs on Airbus aircraft, Gatwick slot usage and planned labor action at Heathrow, speed dating in the air, Norwegian Air Shuttle troubles, autonomous airplane tugs, and a F/A-18C Hornet goes into the National Air & Space Museum.

Guest

Adam Spink has been an air traffic controller at the Heathrow Airport tower for 22 years. He’s also an instructor, examiner, and supervisor. Adam’s main job is in the Procedures and Development office working on new procedures and equipment.

Adam explains aircraft wake turbulence and the Time Based Separation (TBS) used at Heathrow to increase the aircraft landing rate, including the implications for air traffic controllers when planes are separated by time instead of by distance. See: New separation standard permanently adopted over the North Atlantic.

We also learn how the environmental aspects of aviation fit into key performance measures and controller metrics that include reduced emissions.

In addition to his job as a NATS controller at Heathrow, Adam acts as deputy manager of the ATC team for the Royal International Air Tattoo airshow (RIAT) held at RAF Fairford in the UK. He’s a member of the UK Air Transport Confidential Human Factors Incident Reporting Programme (the equivalent of NASA ASRS), and a member of various international working groups on low visibility ops, satellite-based navigation, and radar systems. Adam speaks about human factors at various medical school/medical university courses.

Find Adam on Twitter and Instagram.

Aviation News

U.S. lifts Boeing 737 MAX flight ban after crash probes, tough hurdles remain

On November 20, 2020, the FAA issued AD 2020-24-02, Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes [PDF] superseding Airworthiness Directive 2018-23-51, which applied to all Boeing Company Model 737-8 and 737-9 (737 MAX) airplanes. AD 2018-23-51 required revising certificate limitations and operating procedures of the Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) to provide the flight crew with runaway horizontal stabilizer trim procedures to follow under certain conditions. 

The new AD requires installing new flight control computer (FCC) software, revising the existing Airplane Flight Manual to incorporate new and revised flight crew procedures, installing new MAX display system (MDS) software, changing the horizontal stabilizer trim wire routing installations, completing an angle of attack (AOA) sensor system test, and performing an operational readiness flight.

Southwest deploys team to bring 737 MAX jets out of desert

Southwest Airlines has 34 Boeing 737 MAX jets in storage in Victorville, California. The airline sent a team of mechanics to start the process of bringing its jets out of storage. 737 MAX flights at Southwest should resume the second quarter of 2021. There will be no re-booking charge for passengers who are uncomfortable flying on the MAX.

European regulator to lift Boeing 737 MAX grounding in January

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) executive director said the 737 MAX is safe to fly.  “We wanted to carry out a totally independent analysis of the safety of this aircraft, so we performed our own checks and flight tests. All these studies tell us that the 737 MAX can return to service. We have started to put in place all the measures. It is likely that in our case we will adopt the decisions, allowing it to return to service, sometime in January.”

Delta Skirts Trump Tariffs by Sending Airbus Jets on World Tour

As part of the Boeing/Airbus subsidy battle, tariffs were placed on European-built Airbus aircraft in October 2019. Delta has taken delivery of seven planes since then, but instead of flying them to the United States, the airline based them overseas, avoiding the tariff because they weren’t imports. In a statement to Bloomberg News, Delta said “We have made the decision not to import any new aircraft from Europe while these tariffs are in effect. Instead, we have opted to use the new aircraft exclusively for international service, which does not require importation.”

Suspension of airport “80/20” slot usage rule to last till end of March 2021 – Gatwick not happy

Until March 2020, European regulations required that an airline use 80% of its landing slots or they were lost. But because of the huge drop in travel demand, the rule was suspended for six months, then extended for another 6 months, to 27th March 2021. Gatwick airport wants the old slot rules reinstated before summer 2021.

Heathrow Staff To Strike For 4 Days In December

London’s Heathrow Airport wants to cut costs by reducing wages. The large Unite trade union says the airport plans to fire some 4,000 workers, then rehire them at lower wages. 85% of the union membership voted in favor of strikes in protest.

Airline offers speed-dating on dead-end ‘flight to nowhere’

Taiwanese carrier EVA Air and travel experience company are offering flights called “Fly! Love Is In the Air!” Twenty men and twenty women will depart from Taipei, fly around the island for three hours, return to the airport, and pairs will then enjoy a two-hour date. Seating on the plane is by random draw, but mingling is allowed. Food is prepared by a Michelin-starred chef.

Norwegian Air Is the Latest Trans-Atlantic Carrier to File for Bankruptcy in 2020 Due to Covid-19

Norwegian Air Shuttle has filed for protection from creditors in Ireland.

Autonomous Electric Tow Tugs Could Cut Handling Costs

Californian start-up Moonware says the aviation industry is stagnant. They want to do something about that. Moonware says they are “building an AI-powered fleet management network and subsequently deploying autonomous & electric vehicles to fundamentally reshape airport operations.” The company is developing a family of autonomous electrically powered tow tugs for aircraft ground handling.

National Air and Space Museum Welcomes Blue Angels’ F/A-18C Hornet

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum has brought a Blue Angels’ F/A-18C Hornet BuNo 163439 into the collection. This is the first “Blue Angels” aircraft and the first F-18 the museum has acquired. 

Mentioned

Save Whiteman airport, a change.org petition.

Dobbins Reservists Tie the Knot Aboard a C-130

625 Aerospace Internships

We talk with a co-founder of the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship which matches interns with aerospace companies. He’s also a former USAF combat pilot and an astronaut who flew on two Space Shuttle missions. In the news, EASA and the Boeing 737 MAX, the NTSB finds that alcohol caused a fatal accident, the U.S. Army plans to review its aviation fleet, expansion opportunities for budget airlines, and a dog evades capture at an airport for 12 hours.

Guest

Alvin DrewAlvin Drew Jr. is the Department of Defense Liaison at NASA Headquarters and a cofounder of the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship. That organization is designed for Black and African-American students who are looking for their first aerospace internship. Alvin is also a former USAF combat pilot and an astronaut with over 600 hours in space.

The mission of the Fellowship is to provide a pathway into successful aerospace careers and future aerospace industry leadership to people whose race and ethnicity has made them the subject of systemic bias. Participating companies identify internship opportunities and the Fellowship matches those with student candidates. Aerospace internship applications are being accepted this year through November 15, 2020.

In addition to hearing Alvin explain the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship, we are treated to some perspectives that can only come from an astronaut who has flown the Space Shuttle twice and visited the International Space Station.

Alvin graduated from the United States Air Force Academy, served as a combat rescue helicopter pilot, then transitioned into USAF special operations, where he flew 60 combat missions. Alvin went on to become a test pilot, and served in the U.S. Air Force’s Air Combat Command staff, retiring in 2010 as a Colonel. Alvin has more than 3,500 hours of flying experience and has piloted 30 different types of aircraft.  

Selected as a mission specialist by NASA, Alvin was initially assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office Station Operations Branch. He served as Director of Operations at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia and logged more than 612 hours in space on STS-118 in 2007 and STS-133 in 2011. Alvin is the 200th person to walk in space. 

Alvin holds two bachelor’s degrees from the United States Air Force Academy as well as master’s degrees from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and the United States Air Force Air University. He is an active member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, and the American Helicopter Society.

Learn more about the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship at their website, and follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Aviation News

Boeing Max Judged Safe to Fly by Europe’s Aviation Regulator

EASA is reviewing the documents for a draft 737 MAX airworthiness directive that it expects to issue in November. The organization is satisfied with the September test flights. After the draft is issued, there will be a 4-week public comment period. EASA wants a synthetic sensor added in addition to the two mechanical AOA indicators. Boeing says that will take 20 to 24 months, but EASA says, “Our analysis is showing that this is safe, and the level of safety reached is high enough for us. What we discussed with Boeing is the fact that with the third sensor, we could reach even higher safety levels.”

NTSB Points to Alcohol-Impaired Pilot as the Cause of Alaska Accident

In a 2019 accident near Girdwood, Alaska, a Piper PA22-150 impacted a 5,512-foot ridge about 15 feet below the peak. The ATP-rated pilot and three passengers died. The NTSB reported that both the pilot and the student pilot had elevated levels of alcohol in their bloodstream.

Army to conduct thorough review of aviation fleet in FY23

The U.S. Army is trying to balance funding for the current fleet vs. investments in future technology, including the Future Armed Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) and the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA).

Budget airlines muscle into big airports as coronavirus creates new opportunities

In the past, some airlines would have liked to expand into new airports but their ability to do so was prevented by the lack of airport capacity. Now, with incumbent airlines cutting back on some routes, the door has opened for others to move in. At the Boyd Group International Aviation Forecast Summit this month, most estimates for when air travel will return to 2019 levels put that recovery in 2025 or 2026.

Dog Disrupts Airport For 12 Hours

Arriving at Pearson International Airport in Toronto from Spain, Crystal, a Spanish podenco, escaped from her crate. The podenco is related to the greyhound and is a fast runner. It took airport personnel 12-hours to chase Crystal down.

Eat at the Airport

Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari speaks with Gate 12 Bar and Grill owner Cody Whitten for a live Eat at the Airport review from Easterwood Airport (KCLL) in College Station, Texas. Find more airport eating establishments at EatAtTheAirport.com.

Mentioned

Request for Feedback on the Standardization Community’s Interest in Developing Space Cyber Standards – The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is seeking information on efforts by members of the standardization community to develop space cybersecurity standards, or any plans to develop such standards.

Six Minutes to Freedom: An Evening with Kurt Muse – At the American Helicopter Museum, November 14, 2020. Hear the amazing story online or in-person of Kurt Muse, who was rescued from a Panamanian prison by American Special Operations Forces after being interrogated and confined by military dictator General Manuel Noriega. Muse will tell the story of his fight for freedom in Panama as the leader of a group of patriots broadcasting on The Voice of Liberty, an underground radio station; his harrowing interrogation and imprisonment; and his dramatic rescue by the elite Delta forces in Operation Acid Gambit. He will offer his presentation in front of the Museum’s Hughes MH-6J helicopter, which was recreated from parts of the helicopter that rescued him.

Powering a Sustainable Future, an Aerospace Industry Business After Hours Webinar at the New England Air Museum with Dr. Michael Winter, Senior Fellow, Advanced Technology, Pratt & Whitney.

Airplane Geeks Listener poll #625

Video: Space Shuttle Launch Audio – play LOUD (no music) HD 1080p

Airplane Geeks – Episode 190 – Steve Fulton Knows RNP

1000th Boeing 777 delivered to Emirates

Guest Steve Fulton is a Technical Fellow with GE Aviation. He was the pilot at Alaska Airlines who helped develop the world’s first RNP procedure (that’s Required Navigation Performance), and he was a co-founder of Naverus, now part of GE. RNP enables aircraft to be placed on efficient predefined paths from top of descent to the runway.

We discuss RNP, the FAA reauthorization, and what the U.S. Congress has mandated. We talk about bringing what was developed in simpler situations to more complex ones here in the U.S., and mention “The Highways in the Sky” study where GE identifies significant benefits at airports that are not at the top of the FAA priority list. Steve points out that besides techincal challanges, this technology requires attention to the human element because it represents such a large change for pilots and air traffic controllers. Controllers, for example, have great vectoring skills that work well for loading the runways, but not very efficiently. RNP brings efficiency, but the task is more about managing automation. Steve also talks about translating the benefits of RNP to general aviation and unmanned aviation as well.

Steve writes for the GE Aviation Skyward Blog, and you can follow him Twitter at @captstevefulton.

The week’s aviation news:

In this week’s Australia Desk report: Virgin Australia restructure goes ahead despite Qantas trying to block it, damaged Qantas A380 V-OQA repaired and returning to Aus next month, AirNZ ATR 72s grounded due to wing cracks, and Air Asia X pulling out of Christchurch route.

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.

In his Across The Pond segment, Pieter Johnson talks with AeroBlogger Rohit Rao about the situation for airlines in India. Rohit gives his views on Kingfisher and their well publicised troubles as well as looking at Indigo. It’s a fascinating insight into Indian aviation.

Follow Rohit on Twitter as @TheAeroBlogger and Pieter can be found on Twitter as @Nascothornet or XTP Media’s Facebook Page.

Opening and closing music is provided by Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at http://www.brotherloverocks.com/.

Episode 176 – Greg Morris Flys Warbirds

Gauntlet Warbirds

Greg Morris is Chief Pilot at Gauntlet Warbirds, a warbird, aerobatic, and tailwheel training center with headquarters at Aurora Airport, just west of downtown Chicago. They are on the web at http://www.gauntletwarbirds.com/.

He has been flying for fifteen years, and instructing in warbirds and aerobatic aircraft for the past ten. He holds a current low level aerobatic waiver in the L-39 and T-6 and is a FAST rated formation pilot.

Greg has flown the FM-2 Wildcat, Extra 300, Su-29, Pitts S-2B and S-2C, Lazer Z-200, Cap-10B, Great Lakes, T-34, T-6, T-28, Ju-52, and is rated in the L-29 Delfin and L-39 Albatros.

A graduate of the University of Southern California with a degree in aerospace engineering, Greg was designated a Master CFI-Aerobatic by the National Association of Flight Instructors and the IAC in September 2005. Greg has been published in the International Aerobatic Club’s Sport Aerobatics magazine and Warbirds of America’s Warbirds magazine writing about maneuver technique, how to get started flying warbirds and safety and risk management. He is a regular presenter at Oshkosh.

The week’s aviation news:

In this week’s Australia Desk report: Steve gets his instructor rating…for trains, doubts raised over new Qantas Asian airline, PCDU code share activated!….David gets serious with the light saber, RAAF KC-30A aerial refuelling trials begin, a little air to air refuelling history lesson, Army MRH90 helicopter contract comes under scrutiny. 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.

This week on his Across the Pond segment, Pieter Johnson highlights the change in European Air Law which will make pilots work longer hours and he gives thanks for their so far excellent flying safety record. He also says thanks for a few other things too! Find Pieter on Twitter as @Nascothornet.

The Grill the Geeks questions this week are both great and goofy, and both Dan and David have Grill the Listeners questions.

Mentioned in the episode:

Follow the @AirplaneGeeks on Twitter and on Facebook, send us email at thegeeks@airplanegeeks.com, or leave a message on our listener line: (361) GEEKS01.

Opening and closing music is provided by Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at http://www.brotherloverocks.com/.

Episode 111 – Airline Revenue Management

F-15 by Paul Filmer

Guest Jesse Ziglar works for a large airline in revenue management. He was previously with DHL Express, and he interned with Delta Air Lines in schedule planning. Jesse got his private pilot license at Peter O. Knight Airport in Tampa, but went on to earn an under graduate degree in Aviation Management (With Flight) and his flight training ending with commercial, multi-engine, and instrument licenses. Jesse blogs at Airtransparency and has a few things to say about the need for more creativity in the airlines.

The week’s aviation news:

Mentions:

Follow the @AirplaneGeeks on Twitter and on Facebook, send us email at thegeeks@airplanegeeks.com, or leave a message on our listener line: (361) GEEKS01.

Opening and closing music is provided by Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at http://www.brotherloverocks.com/.

F-15 photo by Paul Filmer. Find his aviation photography at http://skippyscage.com/.

Episode 106 – Walking the Elk

Beech C90B King Air

Bruce Landsberg, President of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Air Safety Foundation (http://www.asf.org/),
a nonprofit pilot education and safety organization, joins as this week’s guest. We talk about the week’s aviation news and discuss the resources offered by ASF for new pilots, experienced pilots, and prospective pilots.

The week’s aviation news:

Mentions:

  • The Bradford Camps, the North Maine Woods sporting camp owned by Igor and Karen Sikorsky III.
  • Stitcher, where you can stream the Airplane Geeks podcast (and others) right to your mobile device.

Follow the @AirplaneGeeks on Twitter and on Facebook, send us email at thegeeks@airplanegeeks.com, or leave a message on our listener line: (361) GEEKS01.

Opening and closing music is provided by Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at http://www.brotherloverocks.com/.