Tag Archives: Southwest

520 UPS Airlines

We look at UPS Airlines, including the fleet, the pilots, the technology, and the processes employed. Also, the Perlan 2 altitude record flight, GA accident rates, an F-35C incident, and pizza for 159 American Airlines passengers. We celebrate the 97th birthday of a WASP, look at the Immortal Red Baron air show act and a new Old Guys and Their Airplanes video. We also have a promo code for tickets to the 2018 Audi Stuart Air Show.

UPS Airlines 747-8F

UPS Airlines 747-8F. Courtesy UPS.

Guest

Jim Mayer is public relations manager for UPS Airlines. He’s based at the airline’s headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky.

Jim Mayer, UPS Airlines Public Relations Manager.

Jim Mayer, UPS Airlines Public Relations Manager.

We talk about the UPS Airlines fleet makeup: the “brown tails” (including the new 747-8F freighters) and the small feeder aircraft vendors. Jim explains the daily cycle at the Worldport® global air hub in Louisville, Kentucky. This is the world’s largest automated package sorting hub, where they experience airplane landings every 70 seconds over about a three hour period each night.

Jim tells us about cockpit technology projects, the hot spare aircraft that stand ready, and the UPS Flight Path program with Ameriflight to help keep new pilots in the pipeline.

UPS is the official logistics provider for Expo 2020 Dubai and we talk about the daily nonstop flight from the Worldport hub to Dubai, UAE. Made possible with the Boeing 747-8F freighter, this route improves time-in-transit from North and South America to Middle East destinations by one business day.

Of course, over the years UPS Airlines has encountered some unique shipments, and Jim tells us about a few of them, as well as recent humanitarian flights to Puerto Rico.

Jim joined UPS in 2003 following a career as an Emmy-award-winning broadcast reporter. As PR manager at UPS Airlines, Jim manages media relations and external communications for one of the world’s largest airlines. He has traveled extensively around the world, helping to tell the UPS story, including coverage of major facility expansions in China and Europe; and unique charter moves such as whale sharks and humanitarian aid flights.

Jim is a Chicago-area native and has a B.A. in Telecommunications from Indiana University in Bloomington.

Follow UPS Airlines on Twitter at @UPSAirlines, and find them on Facebook and Instagram. Also, see the latest news at the UPS Pressroom, where you’ll also find UPS Air Operations Facts

UPS Airlines Worldport global hub.

UPS Airlines Worldport global hub. Courtesy UPS.

Pushing the tank onto UPS Airlines. Courtesy UPS.

Pushing the tank onto UPS Airlines. Courtesy UPS.

Aviation News

Experimental Perlan 2 aircraft breaks high-altitude human flight record

The Airbus Perlan Mission II pressurized glider has been out riding atmospheric pressure waves, and it’s reached more than 76,000 feet. That’s believed to be the record for subsonic human flight in a winged aircraft. This meant the flight crossed the Armstrong Line, the altitude above which a human’s blood will boil without some kind of protection.

AOPA Nall Report: Accident Rates Drop Again

The AOPA Air Safety Institute’s Joseph T. Nall Report [PDF] says that the general aviation overall and fatal accident rates are at a 10-year low. Fatal crashes decreased to 0.84 per 100,000 hours. Accidents with pilot-related causes make up 74 percent of non-commercial, fixed-wing accidents. Accidents related to mechanical and maintenance issues made up about 16 percent of the overall total.

F-35C, Super Hornet Damaged During At-Sea Aerial Refueling

An F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter flying from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) was damaged during an aerial refueling exercise. The engine ingested debris from an aerial refueling basket.

American Airlines pilot buys Papa John’s Pizza for 159 passengers after flight is diverted

American Airlines Flight 2354 from Los Angeles to Dallas/Fort-Worth experienced extreme thunderstorms and was diverted to Wichita Falls, Texas. The next flight to DFW was the following day. Captain Jeff Raines responded by ordering 40 pizzas from the local Papa John’s store, and even hand carried the pizzas from the delivery car to the waiting passengers.

Audi Stuart Air Show

November 2-4, 2018 in Stuart, Florida you can experience the Treasure Coast’s largest annual event with breathtaking performances including by the United States Marine Corp Harrier, the Air Combat Command F-16 Viper Demonstration Team, the Phillips 66 Aerostars, and others. Of course, there will be many static displays like The Movie Memphis Belle, the C-17 Globemaster III, and the OV1 Mohawk. 

At the Stuart Air Show, you can also take advantage of rides offered with special guests, including a Cobra Attack Helicopter and a T-6 Texan. Plan your Audi Stuart Air Show experience now at stuartairshow.com.

Also, starting September 17th, Airplane Geeks has teamed up with the Stuart Air Show for a week of aviation trivia.  Each day September 17 – 23rd at 6 pm on their Facebook page, they will be posting an aviation-related trivia question.  The person with the most correct answers (and who answers the fastest) will win 4 tickets to their VIP event on November 2nd! That is a $600 value!  Learn more about the Stuart Air Show at stuartairshow.com and on Facebook.

We are thrilled to be able to bring our listeners a special ticket offer to the Stuart Air Show. Use promo code “geekspodcast” at checkout to enjoy a special $10 ticket offer through October 31, 2018.

Immortal Red Baron

At the Blue Bonnet Air Show at the Burnet, Texas Municipal Airport, Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari interviewed Stefan Trischuk of the “Immortal Red Baron” air show. This was a different act as it was a staged dogfight with another airshow performer.

Immortal Red Baron

Jane Doyle

Also at the Blue Bonnet show, Launchpad met Mrs. Jane Doyle, celebrating her 97th birthday. Jane is one of the last WASP.

Mentioned

Artist John Mollison has released another “Old Guys and Their Airplanes” video featuring 2nd Lt. James Kunkle who flew P-38s with the 9th Air Force over Europe during WWII. Jim was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his combat action on Sept. 16, 1944.  In this video, Jim describes a terrific dogfight that he experienced in 1944 where he took on 20 or so German fighter planes. OGTA #12 – Split Second – The Jim Kunkle Story.

Listener Hendrik sent in a picture from his wedding to his lovely wife Marielle.  If you remember a few weeks back, on their way to Hawaii for their honeymoon, they got a tour of Los Angeles from Brian during their LAX layover.  Featured in the picture is a Beluga, Marielle’s favorite plane, carrying some precious cargo: their wedding rings.

Whirly-Girls opens their 2019 scholarship season.

This photographer captured total solar eclipse from a commercial airplane at 39,000 feet

Above and Beyond

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

And special thanks to co-host Max Trescott for constructing Knoxville Studio B, just for this episode:

Now that’s how you do it in a hotel room!

 

517 Back at the Airport

Social and technology changes at airports, including ridesharing, facial recognition, and carry-on screening. Also, the recent AAviation Day with American Airlines, working the de-icing pad, airport outreach, and stairs trucks. In the news, Norwegian wet leases an A380 and Southwest issues a policy for trained service animals.

Guest

Jennifer Adams, airport enthusiast, employee, and blogger.

Jennifer Adams

Jennifer Adams combines her experience in accounting with her passion for aviation by working in the accounting and finance department of a mid-sized midwestern airport. When she’s not paying the bills and sending invoices to airlines, you can find her helping out on the de-ice pad, plane spotting, and getting unreasonably excited about stairs trucks.

Jennifer reports on her experience at the AAviation Day event with American Airlines and Airline Geeks at PHL. The annual event takes place at a number of airports in conjunction with National Aviation Day, held August 19 each year to celebrate the history and development of aviation.

Jennifer gives us insights into the impact at airports of social and technology changes, such as the rise in the use of ridesharing services and changing airport security methods. We look at some statistics that characterize the growth in airport passengers and the cargo business and hear about some of the factors that facilitated the change. Jennifer describes examples of good airport outreach, and her experience training to manage the de-icing pad.

And of course any conversation with Jennifer is incomplete without talking about stairs trucks, and we don’t disappoint.

Jennifer blogs about her aviation adventures at Tales From the Terminal. Follow her on Twitter at @Jen_Niffer.

Aviation News

Facial scan technology makes debut in airports

Orlando International Airport is using facial recognition technology for all arriving and departing international travelers. The program comes from a partnership with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and SITA, a private cyber security company. Passengers stand on a yellow footprint and a camera takes an image which is then matched against the CBP passport photo database. The system offers security and processing speed advantages.

A new scanner could speed up airport security

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is testing a new x-ray machine for carry-on bags. If the tests are successful, removing liquids and electronics from bags may become unnecessary. The promise is that explosives could be detected inside the bags. Fifteen airports are testing the device.

There’s curbside chaos at DFW Airport — thanks in part to the surge of Uber and Lyft

With limited curbside space at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport arrivals, the increased popularity of ridesharing services, and the length of time some people park outside arrivals, a significant traffic problem is created. DFW is responding with some changes.

Norwegian to deploy Hi Fly’s A380 as 787 cover

Norwegian is negatively impacted by the Trent 1000 engine problem on their Boeing 787s. In response, the airline has been leasing an A380 from Hi Fly to cover their evening London-New York service.

Southwest Airlines is formally allowing miniature horses on its planes as service animals

On their Customers with Disabilities page, Southwest Airlines says, “Effective for travel beginning September 17, 2018, Southwest is making changes to our existing policies for accommodating Customers with disabilities who seek to travel with a fully trained service animal in the cabin. Customers with disabilities seeking to travel with a trained service animal must still provide credible verbal assurance that the animal is a trained service animal.”

Mentioned

Stinar SPS-3518 Passenger Stair Truck, 96-228″ – on offer from Aero Specialties.

Airport Vehicle Racing – Top Gear – BBC

Plane Narrowly Misses Collision with Van

Asking the right questions after a q400 is stolen, in The Air Current by Jon Ostrower.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

514 Aircraft Crash Sites

Our guest documents aircraft crash sites and helps next of kin find closure. In the news, we look at Boeing’s Aviall unit helping Antonov, a statement by aviation groups concerning GA fees charged by FBO’s, Delta’s test of a new dining experience for some international coach travelers, and an update on fan blade inspections following the fatal uncontained engine failure on Southwest. We also reminisce a bit about our past experiences with model rockets.

Guest

Pat Macha documents aircraft crash sites.

Pat Macha, founder of the Project Remembrance Team.

Pat Macha began documenting aircraft crash sites in the mountains and deserts of California in 1963. Twenty-five years ago Pat founded the all-volunteer Project Remembrance Team that is dedicated to facilitating the requests of next of kin who wish to learn more about the loss of loved ones in aircraft accidents. The Project Remembrance Team has assisted more than one-hundred-fifty next of kin to fulfill their wishes for accident reports, maps, photographs and crash site visitations. More than two dozen memorial markers have been placed at or near aircraft crash sites. All with the permission of the property owners.

All missions are completed with respect and admiration for those who have come forth to honor the memory of those whom they have lost. Losses suffered by first responders and members of armed forces receive an appropriate extra measure of attention.

The Project Remembrance Team includes retired military service members, pilots, rangers, educators, firefighters, law enforcement officers, professional scuba divers, and business people. Pat has authored six books on crash sites in California, and he is a well-received speaker on aviation accident history and aircraft archaeology.

To learn more about aircraft crash sites, visit AircraftWrecks.com.

Calspan Douglas B-26 crash site engine impeller.

Calspan Douglas B-26 crash site engine impeller.

Lockheed P-38 aircraft crash site.

Lockheed P-38 aircraft crash site.

Aviation News

Boeing steps in to help the manufacturer of the world’s biggest plane

At the Farnborough International Airshow, Boeing and Antonov signed a deal where Boeing’s Aviall unit would supply components to Antonov. This will allow Antonov to resume production. Antonov chief Oleksandr Donets said Aviall will support Antonov to build AN-1X8 planes and will have exclusive rights to help service the planes.

Women in Aviation Withdraws Support for Recent AOPA Letter on Airport Access

AOPA reported in Coalition Calls for Action on Airport Access that “16 general aviation groups issued a joint statement calling on the FAA to take action against ‘egregious, hidden fees and denial of affordable access to airport ramps.’” Among the groups signing the statement was Women in Aviation International, but now WAI has rescinded their support. WAI President Dr. Peggy Chabrian said, “As a pilot myself, I am sympathetic to the financial challenges inherent in flying, but we also recognize that FBOs provide services crucial to our flying as well as extending comforts which enhance general aviation operations.”

Also note: Plans Underway for WAI Girls in Aviation Day 2018. The worldwide outreach scheduled for October 13, 2018. A growing list of Girls in Aviation Day events around the world can be found at https://www.wai.org/events/girls-aviation-day-2018.

Delta Air Lines Just Made a Truly Stunning Announcement About Economy Travel. (But Will Other Airlines Just Copy Them?)

Delta Air Lines testing (majorly) enhanced international economy meals

Delta Air Lines is testing an “enhanced meal and beverage service” for international economy class passengers on flights between Portland, Oregon, and Tokyo. The dinner service includes cocktails and sparkling water, appetizers, choice of three-course dinner, and Haagen-Dazs ice cream for dessert. The meal is served in courses, on white dishes.

World’s Best Economy Class Airlines 2018

Thai Airways tops the list, followed by Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Emirates, ANA All Nippon Airways, and fifteen others.

Southwest: Other carriers finding cracked engine fan blades

Following the April fatal uncontained engine failure of a CFM International engine on a Southwest flight, GE spokesman Rick Kennedy said about 150,000 blades have been inspected. A small number of fan blades with cracks have been found and Southwest CEO Mike Van de Ven said “maybe four or five” cracked fan blades have been found at other carriers.

Airventure 2018

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018 Facts and Figures

Airplane Geeks at AirVenture.

AvGeeks at AirVenture.

Max Trescott recording at Oshkosh.

Max Trescott recording at Oshkosh.

Mentioned

B52 Crash Site in Maine, and The Wreck Chaser

United Airlines donates flights to reunite families separated at border

Mary Ellis, RAF Pilot, Dies At 101

Mary Ellis flying onboard a 2 Seat Spitfire and today (02.02.17) is her 100th Birthday

Brian attended the launching of some model rockets as part of the after-school program sponsored by the Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum based in Compton, CA. In addition to successfully launching some rockets built by students Sarah and Jonathan, Brian let them launch two of his 3D printed rockets.  One rocket failed to deploy the parachute, as the 3D printed plastic melted from the engine heat. The other rocket properly deployed the parachute but experienced an internal structural failure that resulted in the rocket coming to earth in two pieces.   Both launches were considered a success as all parts were recovered and the students will learn from the failure analysis and design better rockets in the future.

United CEO Refused to Sit Coach for an Interview About How Shitty Coach Seats Are Today

The UK’s first disabled air display team gets ready for takeoff

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

506 Erika Armstrong in the Cockpit

Our guest is Erika Armstrong, an experienced pilot, author, speaker, instructional design director for aircrew training, and a university aviation professor. In the news, JetSuite is the launch customer for Zunum hybrid-electric planes, a fatal electric airplane accident, onboard pet monitoring technology, airline flight 1’s, a Geico Skytyper is lost, Southwest Airline’s financial outlook, and kidnapping charges at a flight school.

Guest

Erika Armstrong

Erika Armstrong

Erika Armstrong was an international corporate and airline pilot, and she’s currently the Director of Instructional Design at Advanced Aircrew Academy. She’s also an aviation professor at Metropolitan State University in Denver, specializing in aircraft systems and propulsion.

We talk with Erika about what it takes to be a pilot and what it does not, the “pilot personality,” training for a flying career, and some of her experiences during her 30 years in aviation.

Erika holds an ATP with 6,000 hours, primarily as captain in a Boeing 727-200 and Cessna Citation 500 series aircraft. She has international flight experience in a Gulfstream and performed the FAA proving runs for a Falcon 20 Part 135 certification. Erika flew for the Red Cross and spent 12 years in the charter and business aviation sector as a pilot, dispatcher, and maintenance/avionics coordinator. She also flew 24/7 air ambulance in the Midwest.

Erika has seen many changes in aviation, but she finds that the single common thread holding all the generations together is the spirit of aviation. It’s her goal to help reignite that passion in the up and coming generations and to help change the perspective of aviation, for both men and women. Be sure to read her article Pilot Evolution: Begin at the End for some insightful advice.

You can find Erika’s professional pilot columns in national aviation magazines and she is the author of “A Chick in the Cockpit: My Life Up in the Air.” She has a new book to be released called “Zen and the Art of Being a Pilot.”

Aviation News

JetSuite to Launch Hybrid-to-Electric Planes by 2022

JetSuite is to be the launch customer for Zunum hybrid-electric planes. The private charter jet company plans to acquire up to 100 of the 6 to 12 passenger aircraft in the early 2020’s for short flights. In the Zunum aircraft, JetSuite looks to 80% lower emissions, reduced noise, a 7700-mile range, and a maximum cruise speed of 340 miles per hour.

Matt Knapp, the founder of Zunum Aero, and our guest in Airplane Geeks episode #453 says, “We remain on track for flight testing in 2019 and continue to grow our technical leadership across power electronics, electric motors, propulsors and aircraft. If you or someone you know are interested in joining our team, please visit our Careers page.”

Two Dead In Siemens-Powered eFusion Crash

Two pilots were killed in a crash involving the Siemens-powered Magnus eFusion electric aircraft in Hungary. Initial reports from witnesses describe the plane maneuvering at low altitude, catching fire, then crashing in a near vertical dive.

New tech allows pet owners to monitor animals during flights

The Unisys Corporation Digi-Pet system lets owners monitor their pet while they are in the cargo hold of an aircraft. Sensors attached to the pet’s kennel or carry case transmit data such as temperature, oxygen levels, vibration, and light. Pet owners are alerted if any problems arise. The system offers live video streaming, photos and voice exchange via a smartphone or tablet app.

Flight 1 – The most prestigious airline flight number

Airlines sometimes designate “Flight 1” for a special purpose. This list and infographic collects presents all the airline Flight 1s.

For pilot killed in crash, flying was a journey with his father

Sadly, Executive Officer/Wing Pilot Ken Johansen, age 52, died when his GEICO Skytypers plane went down shortly after takeoff from Republic Airport in Farmingdale, New York. There were no injuries on the ground. David has flown with the Skytypers several times and reported his experiences on this podcast.

Southwest Airlines preps for revenue drop after fatal accident, scales back growth

Bookings at Southwest Airlines have declined after the fatal engine failure in April. The airline expects second quarter revenue per seat mile to drop 3 percent and additionally, Southwest is lowering growth plans for 2018 due to increased fuel prices.

Two Redding flight school employees arrested, accused of kidnapping student

Attorney: Chinese flight student had been expelled; kidnap charges disputed

The IASCO Flight Training general manager and his assistant have been arrested on suspicion of kidnapping. They are charged with kidnapping one of their students, allegedly to take the student on a plane and send him to China. A defence attorney says the two were only taking the student to the airport because he flunked his classes and his visa had expired.

Airline Story of the Week

Via @nt_planespotter, we see Hailey’s #Journeyto30 takes off. Hailey Dawson is an 8-year-old with Poland syndrome. She was born missing three fingers on her right hand and she wears a prosthetic hand made with a 3D printer. The youngster wants to throw out the first pitch at every Major League Baseball park. All 30 MLB teams invited her to be their guest of honor, and United Airlines offered to fly her to each of her stadium visits. Follow #Journeyto30 on Twitter for the latest news and photos.

Video of the Week

Tim Trott (the Drone Professor) sent in the AvWeb article Video Captures Damage-Free Road Landing. “A young pilot who some sources say is a student ducked power lines, dodged cars, buildings and pedestrians and put her Cessna 172 down without a scratch on a busy Huntington Beach, California, street.”

Video: Light plane makes emergency landing on Huntington Beach [street]

Mentioned

David comments on the new book by Tim Trott, Out of the Blue: The Life and Legend of Kirby ‘Sky King’ Grant. In the book, Tim answers the questions: Do you remember the Sky King TV show? Do you know who flew the plane in the shows? Was Kirby Grant a “real” pilot? How many different “Songbird” planes were there? What happened to the “missing episodes”? What did Kirby Grant do after the TV series ended? Did you know that Kirby Grant was a singer?

Listener Andrew is a pilot with Alaska Airlines and has flown the new B737-700 cargo jet we talked about in a previous episode. He sent along a couple of photos:

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

502 Electric and Solar Aircraft from Bye Aerospace

Bye Aerospace founder George Bye tells us about his electric and solar aircraft projects, including the electric Sun Flyer training aircraft, the StratoAirNet, the Silent Falcon UAV, the TriFan 600, the Mars SOLESA, and the Starlight UAV. In the news, we look at the WC-130H crash in Georgia, breaking airplane windows, and companies developing supersonic transports. Also, an installment from student pilot Nicki, the history of Soviet airliners from Will, Tom Larkin’s mini-jet, the Mercury 13 documentary, the centennial of U.S. airmail service, and lip syncing while flying.

Bye Aerospace Sun Flyer Electric Aircraft

The Sun Flyer electric aircraft prototype. Courtesy Bye Aerospace.

Guest

George Bye is the founder and CEO of Bye Aerospace, which focuses on electric and solar aircraft projects, such as:

  • Sun Flyer electric training aircraft.
  • StratoAirNet family of solar-electric UAVs for medium and high altitude missions.
  • Silent Falcon UAV using stored electric power and thin film solar photovoltaics.
  • TriFan 600 hybrid-electric VTOL business aircraft in partnership with XTI Aircraft Company.
  • Mars SOLESA, a solar electric survey aircraft for Mars.
  • Starlight lighter than air solar electric UAV under a U.S. Navy contract.

George is an ATP rated pilot with over 4,000 flying hours. He was a USAF instructor pilot in the Northrop T-38 Talon at Sheppard AFB (ENJJPT), a C-141B Aircraft Commander, and he is a Desert Storm veteran.

Find Bye Aerospace on the web at ByeAerospace.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter at @ByeAerospaceInc. George has a personal webpage at GeorgeBye.com and he’s also on Facebook.

Sun Flyer’s First Flight Test Highlights- April 10, 2018

Test pilot, John Penney took the Bye Aerospace all-electric Sun Flyer proof of concept aircraft on its first test flight April 10, 2018, at Centennial Airport in Englewood, Colorado.

Aviation News

Fallen Air Guardsmen honored in Puerto Rico following deadly crash in Savannah

The Puerto Rico Air National Guard unit lost nine airmen in the crash of a WC-130H Hercules cargo plane in Georgia, just after takeoff. The plane was on its final flight, to an air base in Arizona. A short video from the private memorial ceremony honoring the fallen crew was released.

Third flight in three weeks diverted because of damaged window

A JetBlue flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Tampa, Florida, was diverted to Fort Lauderdale after damage to the plane’s windscreen. A Southwest Airlines flight from Chicago to Newark, New Jersey, made an unplanned landing after a window cracked. A Southwest B737 experienced an uncontained engine failure which threw debris into a passenger window.

Aviation companies are plotting the return of supersonic flight — and they think their jets will be better than the Concorde

Several companies are working on supersonic aircraft:

  • Boom Supersonic is developing the 55-seat, XB-1 with delivery planned for 2023.
  • Spike Aerospace is developing the 18-seat S-512 jet, delivery in 2023.
  • Aerion Supersonic is working on the 12-seat AS2 jet for 2025 delivery.
  • Lockheed-Martin under NASA contract is planning a low boom experimental aircraft for late 2021.

Listener Recordings

Student pilot Nicki brings us installment #8 on learning to become a pilot.

Young listener Will presents his project on the history of Soviet airliners.

Interview

Airplane Geeks Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari speaks with Tom Larkin from Mini-Jet Airshows.

Mini-Jet Airshows

Mini-Jet Airshows

Mentioned

#PaxEx Podcast 57, Airline content trends and new lav concepts revealed

Mercury 13 documentary on Netflix.

Emirates Is Parking an Airplane a Day Because It Doesn’t Have Enough Pilots

Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum and the College Park Aviation Museum.

The May 1, 2018 issue of the FlyerTalk email newsletter.

What Happens When You Mix Flying and Lip Sync? (Temper Traps – Sweet Disposition)

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

501 OAG Travel Tech Innovation Survey

A recent OAG survey looks at future travel tech innovation and disruption. Also, the uncontained engine failure on the Southwest Airlines Boeing 737, integrating the Bombardier CSeries into the Airbus organization, the FAA reauthorization bill, and the effect of rising fuel prices on airfares.

Guest

Mike Benjamin, OAG Chief Technology Officer

Mike Benjamin, OAG Chief Technology Officer

Mike Benjamin is Chief Technology Officer at OAG, a global provider of digital flight information for airlines, airports, government agencies, aircraft manufacturers, consultancies, and travel-related companies. OAG is in the business of data aggregation and distribution, with flight information used for real-time and analytical tools.

Mike tells us about the Travel Tech Innovation: Market Report where OAG surveyed more than 2,000 U.S. travelers to gain insight into which future advancements will resonate. We look at traveler interest in artificial intelligence applications, supersonic travel, booking process innovations, the use of autonomous vehicles, and biometrics at the airport to speed travelers along.

Mike has over 30 years of experience in aviation, travel, technology, and business development. After completing his education at MIT, he held several leadership positions during the first years in his career, and then took over leadership of FlightView, a US-based day-of-travel information and technology provider. Mike joined OAG via the FlightView acquisition in January 2015.

In his current role as Chief Technology Officer at OAG, Mike works with airlines, airports, and travel providers to utilize data-driven solutions to plan more profitable routes, improve customer satisfaction, and operate more efficiently.

Aviation News

The Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Uncontained Engine Failure

Emergency engine inspections lead to cancellations, scores of delays for travelers on Southwest Airlines

FAA Airworthiness Directive 2018-09-51 issued April 20, 2018.

How does a CFM56-7B work? – This animated video from CFM International shows how a jet engine works and gives you a good view of the fan.

Bjorn’s corner: Turbofan Engine Challenges, Part 2

CFM fan blades

CFM fan blades: composite with titanium leading edge, hollow wide-chord blade, solid titanium blade. Courtesy CFMI.

Airbus heads for dogfight with UTC over CSeries costs

Airbus may be looking for suppliers to lower their prices. How will Airbus brand the CSeries airplanes, and will it Integrate the Airbus and CSeries sales forces, or keep them separate?

Aircraft seat size in the spotlight as House passes FAA reauthorization

U.S. House approves bill to reauthorize federal aviation agency

The U.S. House of Representatives approved five-year H.R.4 – FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 by a 393-to-13 vote. The bill includes no ATC privatization. Also, airlines would not be able to involuntarily bump an already-boarded revenue passenger, large and medium-sized airports would be required to provide private rooms in every terminal for nursing mothers. Minimum dimensions for seat pitch, width, and length would be determined by the FAA within one year. A feasibility study of in-cabin wheelchair restraint systems would be conducted.

American Airlines CEO warns higher fares are coming

Fuel is the second largest expense for airlines (after labor). With fuel costs increasing in the U.S., higher airfares are a possibility.

Listener Recordings

Hillel congratulates Airplane Geeks on the 500th episode.

Mike Harris, the host of the Why We Fly podcast, tells us about his week at Sun ‘n Fun 2018.

Mentioned

Questionable Motives and Tactics Cast a Shadow on the 60 Minutes Allegiant Story

First all-electric trainer plane gets airworthiness certification from the FAA in the US

Flying Pipistrel’s Electric Airplane

The “Remora Boys” presentation to the NTSB Round Table

Remora Systems

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

 

500 Five Hundred Episodes!

We celebrate our 500th episode with messages from our listeners and contributors, some Airplane Geeks facts and trivia, an AusDesk report, and a big announcement. In the news, we look at an emergency airworthiness directive for certain CFM engines, and a proposed mandatory retirement age for charter pilots.

Aviation News

FAA orders ’emergency’ engine inspections after deadly explosion during Southwest flight

A Southwest Airlines B737 experienced an uncontained failure in one of its CFM56-7B engines that resulted in the death of one passenger. The engine manufacturer, CFM International, issued a service bulletin for ultrasonic testing of the fan blades. This can be performed on-engine in about four hours. The FAA said the “emergency” order was based on a service bulletin. CFMI estimates 352 engines in the U.S. are affected and 681 engines worldwide.

See also:

The FOX News Rundown Podcast for 4/20/2018.

The Pilot Who Saved That Southwest Flight Is A Badass

Video: Turbine engine blade fail test

AARP Opposes Age 65 Retirement Age for Charter Pilots

A manager’s amendment in the FAA reauthorization bill would require a mandatory retirement age of 65 for certain Part 135 charter and Part 91K fractional pilots. In a letter to House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster and ranking member Pete DeFazio, the AARP says they have “long opposed mandatory retirement; using an arbitrary age as a proxy for competence is wrong in any occupation, and it is wrong for pilots.”

Well Wishes and Messages for 500 Episodes

Our sincere thanks to all our listeners, past guests, and especially:

Five Airplane Geeks “Tips”

  1. Our first 6 episodes.
  2. The Airplane Geeks archive.
  3. Subscribe by Email.
  4. The AvGeekFests aviation calendar.
  5. The Airplane Geeks Slack Team.

Credit

CREDIT

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

496 Electric Aircraft and New Technologies

We talk about electric aircraft, automation, and new technologies in aviation with the Vice President of Global Innovation and Policy for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. Also, airport access for general aviation, a GAMA jobs rally, the Department of Defense receives more aircraft than they asked for, a proposal for increased air cargo security, and interviews from South by Southwest with an astronaut and with the EAA.

Guest

Greg Bowles talks about electric aircraft

Greg Bowles, VP of Global Innovation & Policy, GAMA

Greg Bowles is the Vice President of Global Innovation and Policy for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). Greg is responsible for identifying key technology opportunities and developing critical paths to success which will evolve the global safety, efficiency, and success of aviation.

Greg is in a unique position to talk about electric aircraft technology, regulatory changes, and other new aviation developments that impact the industry, pilots, and the general population. We discuss the state of electric propulsion, battery energy density, hybrid aircraft, and the rapid emergence of eVTOL electric aircraft. Greg illustrates some of the new options that electric power allows, and explains how the interaction between the human pilot and the technology has licensing and training implications. Greg sees a future where simplified vehicles open up aviation to a broader audience.

Greg leads the GAMA Electric Propulsion and Innovation Committee (EPIC) which represents the world’s leading aviation mobility development companies along with traditional aviation manufacturers as this community strives to enable new kinds of public transportation through the air. He also leads the worldwide design standards committee that is chartered to develop globally acceptable means of compliance for general aviation aircraft.

Greg has been an advisor to several long-standing ICAO panels and he’s the industry co-chair on the FAA’s Part 23 Reorganization ARC which has developed the rewrite of FAA part 23 regulations to assure they will address aircraft of the next twenty years.

Pipistrel Alpha Electro electric aircraft.

Alpha Electro 2-seat electric trainer. Courtesy Pipistrel.

Before he joined GAMA, Greg worked as a certification engineer at Keystone (now Sikorsky) Helicopter, and he was a design engineer at Cessna Aircraft Company (now Textron Aviation).

Greg holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Webster University. He is an active instrument-rated general aviation pilot.

Visit the GAMA website, and follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Aviation News

Maintaining Airport Access for General Aviation

In the U.S., most airports have Fixed Base Operators (FBOs) which provide many services to general aviation, including fuel and parking. Changes in the FBO customer base may have implications for general aviation.

GAMA To Stage Next Rally at Garmin’s Olathe Facility

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) is planning a jobs rally on in Olathe, Kansas, April 6, 2018, at the Garmin International Warehouse and Distribution Center. The event will feature government and industry leaders who will discuss the economic contributions of aviation, investment in products, the future workforce, and the promotion of STEM.

Congress appropriates a 28% increase in funding for new aircraft

The U.S. Government spending bill signed by the president on March 23, 2018, included 143 aircraft above what was requested by the Department of Defence. These include Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighters, F/A-18 Super Hornets, KC-46A tankers, and Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft. We look at the reasons for this and the implications.

H.R. 4176: Air Cargo Security Improvement Act of 2017

The Act passed the House by voice vote and goes to the Senate. If enacted, the TSA Administrator would establish an air cargo security division which would conduct a feasibility study on expanding the use of computed tomography (CT) technology for screening air cargo transported on passenger aircraft, followed by a 2-year pilot program.

Airline Story of the Week

Southwest Airlines Had a Brilliant Reaction When a Passenger’s Wi-Fi Wouldn’t Work

Interviews

At South by Southwest in Austin Texas, Airplane Geeks Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari spoke with astronaut Dr. John Danny Olivas and Andy Ovans from EAA headquarters.

Listener Recording

Student pilot Nicki provides an update on her flight training and tells us about a recent episode with her flight instructor.

Mentioned

ASTM F44 General Aviation Aircraft

At Long Last, Flat Earth Rocketeer Finally Manages to Blast Himself Into Sky at God Knows What Speed

Australia-UK: First non-stop flight arrives in London from Perth

Qantas has set a new record for non-stop flight as QF9 has landed at Heathrow International Airport

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

 

490 The Airbus A350

We talk with an Airbus A350 captain who has a long history flying commercial aircraft. In the news, we consider one-person flight crews, U.S. airlines looking to scale back consumer protection regulations, ADS-B vulnerabilities for military aircraft, and largest ever Piper order for training planes, plans for the Air Force bomber fleet, and Southwest runs out of glycol. We also have a conversation about ATIS with the Chief of the Air Traffic Control Division at Robert Gray Army Airfield.

Malaysia Airlines Airbus A350.

Malaysia Airlines A350. Photo by H Gousse, courtesy Airbus.

Guest

Airbus A350 Captain Bill Palmer.

Airbus A350 Captain Bill Palmer.

Bill Palmer is an A350 captain and an instructor pilot/check airman. He has been heavily involved in Airbus training since the early 1990’s, and Bill is the author of Understanding Air France 447 and other publications on Airbus flight control laws. Bill also holds a commercial glider rating and flies his Rolladen-Schneider LS-3 for fun in southern California.

Bill describes the transition to the A350 as like going from DOS to Windows. The aircraft shares some commonality with A380, and Bill describes fly-by-wire and the flight control laws. We also hear about other features of the A350, such as the paperless cockpit implementation and the availability airport runway, taxiway, and gate information to pilot. The plane will calculate landing distance and brake to the correct speed for the selected taxiway. Bill also describes the A350 runway overrun protection and the auto-flight system’s automatic TCAS and wind shear recovery.

Bill started flying at the age of 15, soloed on his 16th birthday and completed his private certificate at 17. He attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and holds a BS in Aeronautical Science. He earned his flight instructor certificate in 1978 and has been instructing almost non-stop since then while holding airplane, instrument, multi-engine, and ground instructor certificates. Besides light aircraft he has also taught on the 727, 757, A320, DC-10, and A330, and written manuals for the DC-10, A330, and B-787 fleets. He has also produced numerous training publications and videos for the various fleets as well.

Visit Bill’s webpage Understanding Air France 447 and his Trend Vector blog. His books Understanding Air France 447Airbus A330 Normal Law: Putting fly-by-wire into perspective, and Airbus Flight Control Laws: The Reconfiguration Laws are available on Amazon.com and at other retailers.

Aviation News

Boeing raises prospect of only one pilot in the cockpit of planes

At the Singapore Airshow, Boeing research and technology vice-president Charles Toups said, “We are studying [one pilot operations], and where you will first see that is probably in cargo transport, so the passenger question is off the table.” Also at the Singapore Air Show, ST Aerospace showed the concept for an unmanned freighter piloted by an artificially intelligent computer. ST Aero was optimistic about an unmanned freighter within the next five years.

Airlines seeking to snuff traveler rights?

In the Wall Street Journal, Scott McCartney reports that last October the U.S. Department of Transportation asked airlines to suggest changes or cuts to regulations. Airlines for America filed 222 pages of comments. United Airlines added 50 pages.

Vulnerable To Cyber Attacks, ADS-B May Expose F-22s To Web Based Tracking GAO Warns

A 45-page Government Accountability Office report titled Urgent Need for DOD and FAA to Address Risks and Improve Planning for Technology That Tracks Military Aircraft [PDF] says that neither the Department of Defense nor the FAA has taken significant steps to mitigate security risks associated with openly transmitting flight data from military aircraft.

Piper Receives Largest Trainer Order in Company History

Chinese Fanmei Aviation Technologies has ordered 152 training aircraft from Piper Aircraft. Fanmei is Piper’s dealer in China, and a subsidiary of Sichuan Fan-Mei Education Group Co., which provides aviation education in China. This is reported to be the largest single order for training airplanes in Piper’s history. The seven-year purchase agreement is valued at $74 million and includes 100 Archer TX single-engine trainers, 50 twin-engine Seminoles, one Seneca twin, and one Piper M350.

Air Force outlines future of bomber force

In its Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request, the Air Force outlined plans for its bomber fleet, which include a plan to update the B-52 Stratofortress fleet, continue modifications to the B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit fleets, while continuing to acquire B-21 Raiders.

‘How does one airline run out of de-icer?’: Some gripes at Midway after Southwest’s cancellations

Southwest Airlines had to cancel more than 250 flights from Midway Airport after running out of de-icing fluid. One of the glycol tank pumps wasn’t working properly and some of the de-icing fluid could not be accessed.

Interview

Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari talks about ATIS (automatic terminal information service) with Mark N. Vick, Chief, Air Traffic Control Division, Directorate of Aviation Operations at Robert Gray Army Airfield, Fort Hood Texas, a military joint-use airport that operates alongside Killeen–Fort Hood Regional Airport.

Mentioned

Rolls-Royce UltraFan® – The Ultimate Jet Engine and Lego Ultrafan in the flesh! @RollsRoyce, a video on Twitter by Andrew Smyth‏.

Nine Aviation and Space Achievements Compete for the 2017 Collier Trophy [PDF] and GA Companies Among Those Vying for Collier Trophy.

Heavens Above

The 101-year-old woman who flew Spitfires in WW2

MH370: Malaysian military sidelines crash investigators as power play emerges on search team and MH370 conspiracy theory involves Seabed Constructor and chest from shipwreck.

Credit

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

488 NASA Chief Historian

The NASA Chief Historian helps us look at some events from the past, anniversaries coming up, and what the future holds for NASA. Also, the International Trade Commission rules for Bombardier and against Boeing, more information about the pilot in the fatal Icon A5 crash, Putin wants a supersonic civilian airliner, and a look at big aerospace and defense deals in 2017.

Guest

Bill Barry, NASA Chief Historian.

Bill Barry, NASA Chief Historian.

Dr. William P. Barry is the NASA Chief Historian. We talk with Bill about the upcoming 60th anniversary of NASA on October 1, 2018, the 60th anniversary of the first U.S. satellite, and the 50th anniversary of the Apollo missions. Bill gives us some insights into the tragic Apollo 1 accident, known simply as “The Fire.”

Bill also tells us about the Space Launch System, the James Webb Space Telescope, and the emerging role of commercial space companies like Boeing and SpaceX. We touch on the change of the NASA administrator, and even jobs available at NASA through USAjobs.

Bill has been NASA’s Chief Historian since 2010. He began work at NASA in 2001 after retiring from a 22-year career in the US Air Force. Bill worked in NASA’s international relations office for several years, and served as the NASA European Representative at the United States Embassy in Paris before being appointed NASA Chief Historian. A graduate, with honors, of the United States Air Force Academy, Bill also holds a Masters Degree from Stanford University and a Doctorate from Oxford University.

Apollo’s Worst Day: Veterans of NASA’s moon program referred to it simply as “The Fire.” Did it have to happen?

This excellent article by Andy Chaikin appeared in the Dec 2016/Jan 2017 edition of Air&Space Smithsonian. See also Apollo-1 (204) and The Accident, taken from the Report of Apollo 204 Review Board.

Find more at the NASA History Program Office webpage, and follow NASA History on Twitter and Facebook.

Aviation News

100- to 150-Seat Large Civil Aircraft from Canada Do Not Injure U.S. Industry, Says USITC

The United States International Trade Commission is “an independent, quasi-judicial Federal agency with broad investigative responsibilities on matters of trade.” The USITC issued this statement on January 26, 2018:

“The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) today determined that a U.S. industry is not materially injured or threatened with material injury by reason of imports of 100- to 150-seat large civil aircraft from Canada that the U.S. Department of Commerce… has determined are subsidized and sold at less than fair value. As a result of the USITC’s negative determinations, no antidumping or countervailing duty orders will be issued.”

The Commission’s final report will be published by March 2, 2018, can be accessed on the USITC website.

Roy Halladay Autopsy Findings Catch Industry by Surprise

Former baseball star Roy Halladay died following the crash of his Icon A5 in shallow water last November. An autopsy revealed that Halladay did not immediately die of the impact – a contributing cause of death was drowning. He also had “enough mood-altering drugs in his system to confirm he shouldn’t have been driving a car, much less flying an airplane.”

Russia’s Concorde: Putin proposes supersonic civilian aircraft based on its Tu-160 bomber

Vladimir Putin wants to build a civilian version of the Tupolev Tu-160 supersonic nuclear bomber as a supersonic passenger jet for wealthy customers. The United Aircraft Corporation has told Putin that designers already have a supersonic civilian airliner project.

Global aerospace and defense deals insights: Q4 2017

Pricewaterhouse Coopers reports that the global aerospace and defense industry saw $72 billion worth of deals in 2017. This betters the previous record of $67 billion set in 2015, and represents a whopping 79% increase over 2016. Nine deals with announced value greater than $1 billion accounted for 86% of the total value this year. Global Aerospace and Defense Deals Insights Year-End 2017 [PDF].

The largest deals from 2017:

United Technologies’ $30 billion acquisition of Rockwell Collins tops the list, followed by Northrop Grumman’s $9 billion acquisition of Orbital ATK, Safran’s $8 billion acquisition of Zodiac Aerospace, and Thales’ $5 billion acquisition of Gemalto.

Airline Story of the Week

Southwest Airlines rescues 62 stray dogs, cats from Puerto Rico

Sixty-two dogs and cats were rescued from hurricane-battered Puerto Rico, courtesy of Southwest Airlines.

Mentioned

The Aviators Season Seven.

AirSpace Podcast from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

NP Simulations, the UK flight simulator company based in London.

How Three High Schoolers Won EAA’s Founder’s Innovation Prize

See the Remora Systems website to learn more.

EAA’s Founder’s Innovation Prize (presented by Airbus)

Submissions will be accepted through June 1, 2018. Five finalists will be chosen to pitch their ideas in front of a panel of expert judges.

Interjet images by aviation photographer Paul Filmer:

​Interjet at IAH in 2015. Photo by Paul Filmer.

Interjet at IAH in 2015. Photo by Paul Filmer.

​Interjet at Toluca. Mexico. Photo by Paul Filmer.

Interjet at Toluca. Mexico. Photo by Paul Filmer.

Kiwi airline exec breaks record for world circumnavigation on commercial airlines

Andrew Fisher made a 52-hour, 34-minute journey from Shanghai to Auckland to Buenos Aires to Amsterdam and back to Shanghai. The old record was 55 hours.

Your ADS-B Questions Answered: Get the Facts Here

Did the airlines get an exemption from the 2020 ADS-B requirement, or not…

Rocket Lab’s ‘Humanity Star’ is New Zealand first satellite and the Humanity Star website.

No Passport or Ticket: How a Woman Evaded Airport Security and Flew to London

Credit

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