Tag Archives: Southwest

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


474 The 2017 NBAA-BACE Convention

The National Business Aviation Association’s 2017 Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE). Also, Airbus takes a majority position in the CSeries program, the Global Supertanker is firefighting in California, the Scaled Composites experimental Model 401 first flight, and trouble for Kestrel in Wisconsin and Maine.


Arthur Rosen is a retired Judge, AOPA-ASN (Airport Support Network) for Scottsdale Airport (SDL), and Chairman Emeritus of the Scottsdale Aviation Commission. He served on the Super Bowl Committee for Aviation, he’s past President of the Arizona Soaring Association, and an aviation expert for ABC TV-Phoenix. Arthur blogs at My Opinion: Thoughts and Comments on General Aviation. Follow him on Twitter at @judgearr.

 NBAA-BACE Convention

Arthur, Rob, and Brian all attended NBAA-BACE held Oct. 10–12 in Las Vegas, and we explore their impressions of the event. Brian recorded some of the speakers, and the following are condensed versions:

Opening Remarks from the Keynote: Ed Bolen and Clark County City Commissioner Lawrence Weekly:

Congresswoman Dina Titus, Representative for Nevada’s 1st congressional district:

Michael Huerta – FAA Administrator:

Robert Sumwalt – NTSB Chairman:

Capt Jim Lovell – Retired test pilot and astronaut:

Rob and Brian at NBAA EBACE 2017.

Rob and Brian at NBAA BACE 2017.

Aviation News

Delta Vows Not to Pay U.S. Duties on Bombardier’s C Series

Despite the tariffs recommended by the U.S. Commerce Department, Delta Air Lines says they will not pay import duties on the 75 CSeries aircraft it ordered from Bombardier. Delta CEO Ed Bastian said, “I can’t tell you how this is going to eventually work out. There may be a delay in us taking the aircraft, as we work through the issues with Bombardier, who is being a great partner in this.”

Airbus to buy majority stake in Bombardier CSeries program

Airbus Group is buying a majority stake in Bombardier’s CSeries program. The CSeries headquarters will remain in the Montreal area but a second assembly line for the 100- to 150-seat plane will be set up at Airbus’ facility in Alabama.

Cal File Calls for “The Largest Tool”

The Global SuperTanker is fighting wildfires in California.

Bombardier’s Global 7000 Debuts in Vegas

The fourth of Bombardier’s Global 7000 test aircraft debuted in Las Vegas the NBAA-BACE
Called “The Architect” it is the “largest purpose-built business jet in the industry.”

Scaled Composites Completes First Flight of Secretive Experimental

Scaled Composites conducted the first flight of the experimental Model 401 proof-of-concept airplane. The airplane (N401XP) was designed for a “proprietary customer” and is the first of two commissioned.

Wisconsin suing Kestrel Aircraft over loan debt, stalled financing

Kestrel Aircraft Company evicted from Brunswick Landing

In 2012, the state of Wisconsin gave Kestrel $4 million in state loans and more in tax incentives to build a plant that was to employ 665 people. Kestrel didn’t build the plant and is in default on their loan payments. Meanwhile, Kestrel has been evicted from its facility in Maine for failure to meet its financial obligations.

Airline Story of the Month

Letter: A positive airline experience

One passenger’s Southwest Airlines experience after giving up her seat.

Aviation Story

Our Main(e) man Micah tells a story about seeing the Blue Angels prior to the The Great State of Maine Air Show.

Our Main(e) Man Micah

Our Main(e) Man Micah

Trip Report

Brian’s “big trip” continues with conversations at the Hamburg meetup with listeners Hendrik, Jan, and Christof talking about their flying experiences.

Then Brian talks with listeners Tilman and Matt about GA flying in Europe during the meetup in Berlin.

Tilman, Brian and Matt

Tilman, Brian and Matt


Video: Unbelievable Airbus A380 Hard Crosswind Landing during a storm at Düsseldorf

Video: A fond farewell to the Boeing 747


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

465 Richard Aboulafia Returns at Last

Richard Aboulafia gives us his insights on the Boeing “middle-of-the-market” airplane, pilotless airliners, a comeback for Midwest Express, ATC privatization, United Technologies Corporation interest in Rockwell Collins, seat pitch, Russian and Chinese airliner programs, the Mitsubishi MRJ, and the HondaJet.


Richard Aboulafia

Richard Aboulafia

Richard Aboulafia is Vice President of Analysis at Teal Group. He manages both commercial and military consulting projects, and he analyzes broader defense and aerospace trends. Richard’s insights appear on television and radio programs, and in almost every major publication through his columns, his articles, or because he is being quoted. Richard writes and edits Teal Group’s World Military and Civil Aircraft Briefing forecasting tool that covers over 135 aircraft programs and markets.

Aviation News

New Boeing plane moves closer to reality, and North Charleston campus could build it

A Boeing “middle-of-the-market” commercial plane (or 797) would fill the gap between the 737 and the twin-aisle 787. It would compete with the Airbus A321.

Pilotless Airliners Could Save Carriers Billions, UBS Says

Swiss Bank UBS performed an analysis and concluded that pilotless airliners could improve safety, they could save airlines as much as $35 billion per year, but would the public accept such a plane?

Group working to bring back Midwest Express Airlines

The Midwest brand disappeared in 2010 when Republic Airways Holdings, the parent company of Midwest Airlines merged that airline with Frontier Airlines. Now, a group of business and airline professionals have plans to bring the brand back. The Midwest Express website asks, “Remember when flying was hassle-free? It can be again!”

Sully’s misleading statements on US ATC reform

Previously, we pointed out Alliance for Aviation Across America videos featuring “Sully” Sullenberger arguing against ATC privatization. Karen Walker, the Editor-in-Chief at Air Transport World, thinks Sully is using his status to mislead people.

General Electric: Time to Worry About United Technologies & Rockwell Collins?

Reportedly, United Technologies Corporation (UTC) is interested in buying avionics and information technology systems company, Rockwell Collins.

American’s Terrible New 737 MAX Is Now On Sale

American Airlines has 100 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft on order, and looks to a high density configuration.

Airline Story of the Week

Conrad Rond: A positive airlines story

Southwest Airlines helps a couple who went to the wrong airport.


The Northeastern Pennsylvania Air Show

National Aviation Day, NASA’s 10 Favorite Ways to Celebrate National Aviation Day, and 6 Ways to Celebrate National Aviation Day.

The Prebuy Guys, and the Airplane Intel Podcast

Southern California Logistics Airport, Victorville, CA, USA (KVCV) – May 2017 from aviation photographer Paul Filmer:

Victorville by Paul Filmer

A few of the Victorville photographs by Paul Filmer. Click for more.

Russian surveillance plane soars over the Pentagon, Capitol and other Washington sites. See also Treaty on Open Skies.

The man behind the camera and the Ken Hackman flyer.

AirVenture 2017 photos from listener Richard:

AirVenture 2017 Slideshow-Videos from Mike Smith:


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

426 FlyOtto

A new on-demand service that matches travelers with professional pilots and GA aircraft. Also, a turboprop with one third of the parts 3D printed, more on the American uncontained engine failure, recovery parachutes for larger aircraft, flexible airplane wings, Southwest pilots ratify a new contract, and enlisted pilots for remotely piloted aircraft.


Rod Rakic

Rod Rakic

Rod Rakic co-founded OpenAirplane in 2013 to make renting an airplane as easy as renting a car. The “universal pilot checkout” resets the clock on the flight review, offers a renter’s insurance discount, and gives pilots access to the same make and model of aircraft across the U.S.

Now the company has launched FlyOtto, a new service that matches travelers with professional pilots and certified general aviation aircraft. On-demand private charter avoids the hassles of major commercial airports and increases the utilization of the GA fleet. FlyOtto takes advantage of the over 5,000 public use airports in the U.S.

A pioneer in the development of innovative experiences, Rod has spent 20 years creating online products that enhance and manage brands. In 2007, he co-founded myTransponder, a pioneering social media tool for aviation. Rod has years of experience developing tools and community specific to the aviation industry.

Rod started flying when he was sixteen and holds an FAA commercial pilot certificate with an instrument rating.

Follow @OpenAirplane, @FlyOtto, and @rodrakic on Twitter. Find FlyOtto on Facebook.


GE Aviation fires up engine made from 35 percent printed parts

General Electric has tested the a-CT7 demonstrator engine which incorporates a very high percentage of “3D printed” parts. In the Advanced Turboprop (ATP) engine to come, 12 printed parts are planned to replace 855 conventionally manufactured parts. The ATP will power the all-new Cessna Denali single-engine turboprop aircraft.

GE Aviation’s Advanced Turboprop Engine

NTSB: Failed airline engine disk had fatigue cracking

In a preliminary report, investigators say the failed turbine disk that exploded on American Airlines Flight 383 showed evidence of an internal anomaly at the source of some fatigue cracking.

Will a Large-Aircraft Parachute Recovery System Catch On?

Aviation Safety Resources (ARS) is working on the TriChute Safe Landing system that could be used on larger aircraft, such as the 8,000-pound Cessna Caravan. When this system is activated, the fuel-laden wings separate from the fuselage, and all three portions of the aircraft descend under their own parachutes.

TriChute Demonstration

MIT and NASA’s flexible wing could be the future of aviation

Researchers from MIT, the University of California Santa Cruz, and NASA are working to develop flexible wing technology. This concept uses an “array of tiny, lightweight structural pieces” called “digital materials” that twist “when put under pressure from a pair of motors on the wingtip.”

Southwest Airlines Pilots Ratify New Agreement

Southwest Airlines says its pilots ratified a new collective bargaining agreement. The Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA) says 84 percent of the pilots who voted were in favor of the new contract. SWAPA announced the deal means a 15 percent pay raise, with a 3 percent annual increase through 2020. Also, pilots are no longer required to contribute to the pension plan.

First two enlisted pilots complete solo flights

The U.S. Air Force has an initiative to train enlisted Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) pilots for RQ-4 Global Hawk missions. The October 12 Enlisted Pilot Initial Class (EPIC) included four enlisted students along with twenty commissioned officers.

Airplane of the Week

David asks for your help to decide which aviation book to review next. Review Que: I need your help.


FAA Safety Briefing November/December 2016 (PDF), Why Can’t I Uber with my Airplane?

Man admits to shining laser light at SkyFOX

Breakdown at 30,000 Feet


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


411 Making Airlines Remarkable

Airline branding and marketing strategies, Farnborough International Airshow 2016 coverage, an MH370 update, Southwest Airlines revenue and a system glitch, a large Chinese amphibian, a few world records, and news from Maine.


Shashank Nigam, CEO, SimpliFlying

Shashank Nigam, CEO, SimpliFlying

Shashank Nigam is the CEO of SimpliFlying, a large aviation marketing strategy firm. We talk with Shashank about airline branding strategies and how they need to be different from those of typical consumer goods. He tells us about the changes implemented by some of his airline clients to better serve the new connected traveler, how airlines should manage crisis, and the value of empowered employees.

A sought-after consultant and speaker on aviation marketing, Shashank started SimpliFlying in 2009 as a blog on airline marketing. Since then, he and his team have built SimpliFlying into a global leader in airline consulting, having worked with more than 70 airlines and airports over the past seven years. Their latest projects include the Bombardier CSeries launch, and a re-design of the customer service strategy for Cebu Pacific. Shashank has a book coming out about airline marketing called SOAR. The book shares how some of the most innovative airline brands delight customers and inspire employees.

Farnborough International Airshow 2016

Brian, Micah, and the Trent

Brian, Micah, and the Trent

We kick off our coverage of the Farnborough Airshow with two interviews by Brian and Micah. First, we hear from Capt. Jeff and Dr. Steff from the Airline Pilot Guy show. They discuss their efforts to put together the live recording and meetup at Farnborough. Then Brian and Micah have an interesting conversation with Airbus A350 XWB marketing director Mike Bausor about the A350. We’ll bring you many additional interviews in future episodes.

The guys also had an opportunity to speak with Rolls Royce about the Trent Ultra in development. The Ultra will be a geared turbofan with all-carbon fiber fan blades. Perhaps most interesting, the fan blades will have adjustable pitch and be fully reversible, eliminating the need for thrust reversers. The engine in development after the Ultra features electrically driven fans powered by constant speed turbines that drive a generator.

Post Podcast- Entire Crew

Seated from left to right: Captain Nick, Captain Jeff, Dr. Steph. Standing: Markus Völter (Omega Tau), Micah, Carlos Stebbins (Plane Talking UK), Pilot Pip (Plane Safety Podcast) , Captain Al Evans (PTUK guest host and contributor), Brian. Photo by Daniel Hannington,

F35 on static display.

The F-35 on static display.


MH370 Pilot Flew a Suicide Route on His Home Simulator Closely Matching Final Flight

This publication “obtained a confidential document from the Malaysian police investigation into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 that shows that the plane’s captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, conducted a simulated flight deep into the remote southern Indian Ocean less than a month before the plane vanished under uncannily similar circumstances.”

Southwest Sees Revenue Reversal As Terror Fears Hit Delta, United

Southwest’s second quarter earnings per share were up 15.5% to 1.19, slightly under estimate.  Revenue was up 5% to $5.38 billion, and traffic growth was 6%, while capacity was up 4.8%. See also Southwest Airlines: “Things Are Getting Better” An Update and an Apology on Systemwide Outages and Delta Air Lines Will Slow Growth to Ensure Business Travelers Pay Higher Fares.

China introduces Boeing 737-sized seaplane

The state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China just introduced the AG600, the biggest amphibian of any modern military.

Fedor Konyukhov breaks world hot air balloon record

64-year old Russian balloonist Fedor Konyukhov flew around the world solo in eleven days.

The Last Flight of the Round-the-World Solar Flight

Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg have realized their dream of achieving the first ever Round-The-World Solar Flight! From the Solar Impulse website: “Beyond this historic milestone, the two Swiss pioneers will continue to urge the global implementation of energy efficient solutions through the creation of the International Committee for Clean Technologies and leverage the expertise and technology gained over the years in Solar Impulse by launching new innovative projects, such as the development of solar powered drones. Join the movement with #futureisclean.”


Video Captures Apparent Spin Accident

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh Wins Best Air Show – The results from the USA Today 10 Best U.S. Airshows voting.

Boeing’s Centennial Projection Spectacular – A highly recommended video.

This plane could cross the Atlantic in 3.5 hours. Why did it fail?


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


AirplaneGeeks 401 Aviation Accidents as Emergent Properties of Complex Systems

We explore aviation accidents as emergent properties of complex systems, and discuss: the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association complaints about pilot wages, a survey on frequent flier rewards programs, an NPRM that would change FAR Part 61, third class medical reform in yet more legislation, and a two seat Robinson R44. David has an onfire history segment and Rob talks TSA.


Captain Shem Malmquist has a broad aviation experience ranging from teaching aerobatics and instructing in a wide variety of both general aviation and transport aircraft, to academic research and safety investigation.

Captain Shem Malmquist, FRAeS

Captain Shem Malmquist, FRAeS

We talk with Shem about improvements that have made air travel safer, and the gaps we now face for identifying problems that might arise in the future. Shem explains how aviation accidents currently present themselves as interactions of complex components. Resilience engineering is an example of a different approach to how we look at complex accidents. We discuss flight simulators, mitigating lithium battery risk, and autonomous vehicles, including both manned and unmanned aircraft.

Shem worked as an instructor and evaluator on several transport aircraft and has served as flight crew on the Embraer EMB-110, Shorts 360, B-727, DC-8, B-747 and MD-11. He continues to work a full flight schedule, mostly international long haul flights.

Shem has been part of the Air Line Pilot Association’s (ALPA) National Charting and Instrument Procedures Committee (CHIPS), and he was selected by his airline to be the chairman of both the airline’s Safety Committee and the Aircraft Design and Operations Committee.

As Flight Duty Officer, he led several initiatives, including a volcanic ash avoidance plan, air security procedures, and a number of regulatory compliance issues. Shem completed NTSB’s accident investigation training and acted as Party Coordinator for an MD-11 accident in Newark, New jersey, and he was on the “go-team” for an MD-11 accident in Narita Japan.

Last year, Shem was a keynote speaker at FAA’s InfoShare and has presented at several International Society of Air Safety Investigators (ISASI) events. He has also authored numerous articles on various issues involving flight safety and operations covering a broad range of topics from technical to human factors.

Shem earned a Masters (MSc) degree in Human Factors in Aeronautics through the Florida Institute of Technology, and a Bachelors of Science (BSc) from Embry-Riddle University. He is an elected Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, a full member of the International Society of Air Safety Investigators (ISASI), and a member of AIAA, IEEE, and SAE where he also serves on three committees: Flight Deck Handling Quality Standards for Transport Aircraft, Aerospace Behavior Engineering Technology, and Lithium Battery Packaging Performance.

Related Resources:

David Woods, Professor, Integrated Systems Engineering, The Ohio State University. Complexity in Human, Natural and Engineered Systems.

Sidney Dekker, professor at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, author on human factors and safety: Field Guide to Understanding Human Error.

Air Transport Safety Articles A collection of articles written by Shem Malmquist FRAeS.

Airline Safety and Accident Investigation Community on Facebook.

Driverless Cars and the Myths of Autonomy by David A. Mindell, MIT Professor of engineering and the history of technology, author of Our Robots, Ourselves: Robotics and the Myths of Autonomy.


Southwest Pilots Sue City of Chicago Over Billboard Advertising

SWAPA billboard

SWAPA billboard

The Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA) wanted to make a point about pilot wages on a billboard at Chicago Midway International Airport. City Hall told them they could not post their message, so the union filed suit against the city of Chicago, claiming an unconstitutional restriction on their First Amendment rights and asking for a temporary restraining order to allow the pilots to display the ad. As a result, a Judge orders Chicago to allow Southwest pilots billboard at Midway.

The Best and Worst Frequent-Flier Rewards Programs for 2016

Switchfly-Reward-Infographic-2016The Switchfly Reward Seat Availability Survey conducted by consulting firm IdeaWorks found that for the third year in a row, free seats open for booking increased. “Overall, I think the consumer is being better served than the year before,” says Jay Sorensen, president of IdeaWorks.

Switchfly CEO Daniel Farrar said, “This survey reflects the fact that airlines can’t afford to take their customers for granted. 21st century consumers are savvy and plugged-in. They know when their loyalty programs are offering them a real value and when they are not delivering; and they don’t have time for loyalty programs that aren’t delivering, especially in such a competitive space. Increasingly, consumers expect a personalized booking, travel and reward experience. Every time a customer interacts with the brand – online, offline or mobile – the user experience must be on-point. Airlines must make this happen and ensure that zero customers have a bad experience anywhere along the booking or redemption path.”

See Southwest and airberlin Top Reward Rankings but Turkish Airlines and Air China Rise High [Ideaworks press release, PDF]

Proposed Part 61 changes would benefit GA

The FAA has published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would change FAR Part 61 which governs the certification of pilots, flight instructors, and ground instructors. AOPA is supportive of the proposed changes, which include “increased use of aviation training devices (ATDs) for maintaining instrument currency, the option to use new technically advanced aircraft instead of older complex or turbine aircraft for single-engine commercial pilot training, and giving credit for hours accumulated during sport pilot training toward earning a recreational or private pilot certificate.”

Defense Bill Includes Medical Reform Language

Third class medical reform from the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 keeps getting into legislation: As standalone legislation in the Senate, again as part of the Senate’s FAA reauthorization bill, and now by the Senate Armed Services Committee in the National Defense Authorization Act.

FAA Approves Two-Place R44

The FAA has certified Robinson’s two-place R44 Cadet The Cadet is essentially an R44 Raven, but with the rear seats removed for more cargo space. Maximum gross weight is reduced to 2200 pounds, engine power is derated to 210 hp takeoff and 185 hp continuous.

The Aircraft of the Week

Aviation Historian David Venderhoof comments on The F-35 Stealth Fighter’s Dirty Little Secret Is Now Out in the Open.

On the Mark

Rob is talking about why he likes something the TSA did … well, sort of.


Breastfeeding pilots file discrimination charges

Tell Frontier Airlines: Sexism Won’t Fly – ACLU petition.

Breastfeeding pilots’ claims against airline seen as advance

Pilots And ACLU Sue Airline Over Breast Milk Pumping At Work


Air Data System Failure Involving Airbus A320-243 A6-EYJ [PDF] from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.


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

AirplaneGeeks 389 Women Airforce Service Pilots

The history of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) and the controversy surrounding their burial at Arlington National Cemetery. Also, battle lines forming over privatization of air traffic control, Southwest pilots take a stand, Iran orders more airplanes, a high altitude long endurance pseudo-satellite, tanker news, the Knightwatch E-4B, and your favorite airplanes.

Sarah Byrn Rickman

Sarah Byrn Rickman


Sarah Rickman is the editor of WASP News, published by Texas Woman’s University (TWU), the home of the official WASP Archives. The Women Airforce Service Pilots flew for the U.S. Army in World War II. Since 2003, Sarah has been a WASP oral historian for TWU, recording many of these ladies’ stories on audiotape.

Sarah tells us about the history of the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) and the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). We also discuss the current controversy about the burial of WASPs at Arlington National Cemetery, the United States military cemetery.

Sarah has authored five books about the WASP:

WASP of the Ferry Command coverTwo new books on the WASP will be published this spring: WASP of the Ferry Command: Women Pilots, Uncommon Deeds from the University of North Texas Press, and Finding Dorothy Scott: Letters of a WASP Pilot, from Texas Tech University Press.

Sarah received the Combs-Gates Award for 2009 presented by the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio. Her grant is to research and write the story of the WASP who flew for the Ferrying Division in World War II. In addition to her books on the WASPs, Sarah is the author of numerous magazine and journal articles about the WASP.

Sarah is a former reporter/columnist for The Detroit News and former editor of the Centerville-Bellbrook Times (Ohio). She earned her B.A. in English from Vanderbilt University and an M.A. in Creative Writing from Antioch University McGregor. She describes herself as a former journalist and former novelist who “found” herself when she met these amazing women who flew airplanes for the Army back when many women didn’t even drive cars.

ATC Privatization News

EAA Statement to House Committee Strongly Opposes ATC Privatization Plan

The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee conducted a “markup” hearing February 11 on the Aviation Innovation, Reform and Reauthorization Act of 2016 (H.R. 4441). The bill was amended and the Committee voted to send the legislation to the full House for consideration.

The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) voiced its opposition to privatizing ATC by submitting a statement in opposition to privatized ATC.

Jack J. Pelton, EAA’s CEO and chairman said, “ATC privatization is simply a bad idea on many levels; it will not solve the FAA’s funding dilemma and will create a substantial number of new problems and challenges that would cripple general aviation.”

House ATC Privatization Bill Advances; NBAA Continues Opposition

National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen said the association would remain undeterred in opposing the bill as it makes its way through the legislative process.

AOPA opposes user fees as reauthorization moves to full House

AOPA President Mark Baker said, “We’re profoundly disappointed that user fees are still part of this legislation.AOPA simply won’t accept user fees in any form on any segment of general aviation. And while there are some very positive provisions for GA in this proposal, user fees are a nonstarter for us.”

A4A President Calio: Reform ATC today for a better tomorrow

Nicholas Calio, the president and CEO of Airlines for America says separating ATC is “an international best practice that a growing consensus believes will create a more nimble, efficient, reliable and even safer system than the one we have today. Doing so will remove the kinks from an uneven and unpredictable funding apparatus while clearing the way for other improvements: more choices for customers, more direct flights, lower fuel consumption and reduced air emissions. So it’s puzzling why some would argue that everything is working just fine — an assertion that flies in the face of all that travelers have experienced over the past decade.”

Conservatives rally behind independent air traffic control plan

A group of 13 right-leaning groups sent a letter to Congress stating that moving ATC to a new nongovernmental organization is “an excellent foundation upon which to build a new model for an operation historically mired in old-style thinking and fiscal ineptitude. To us it is an axiomatic economic principle that user-funded, user-accountable entities are far more capable of delivering innovation and timely improvements in a cost-effective manner than government agencies.”

FAA Reauthorization 2016 – NATA

National Air Transportation Association (NATA) President & CEO Thomas L. Hendricks calls ATC privatization a “threat” to general aviation. More at the NATA Congressional Action Center.

Don’t Privatize Air Traffic Control

In an editorial piece, the New York Times characterizes privatizing air traffic control as a “solution in search of a problem” that “would do nothing to improve the present, federally operated system and indeed could make it worse.”

In Other News…

Southwest Airlines pilots picket for contract negotiations

350 members of the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association flew to Las Vegas on their day off to tell the public that they are upset. Why? because they don’t have a contract. Union president Jon Weaks said the pilots love Southwest and wouldn’t engage in travel disruptions. But they want to “give our company avenues so that we can trust them again.”

Iran Joins the ATR Club

Under the sanctions, Iran’s commercial aviation capability suffered greatly. That’s all changing now. Iran Air has signed a purchase agreement with ATR for 20 firm and 20 option ATR 72-600 turboprop aircraft. The deal is valued at €1 billion.

In January, Iran Air placed an order for 118 Airbus single-aisle and widebody aircraft: A320ceo and A320neo families, A330ceo and neo airplanes, A350-1000s and 12 A380s. (Three A380’s were also purchased by Japan’s ANA in January.)

How To Build A Plane That Never Needs To Land

Solar-powered, long duration drones and other aircraft are development by companies like Google and Facebook to provide Internet service using them as pseudo-satellites. Now the British military is purchasing two solar-powered “Zephyr” high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) UAVs from Airbus. These autonomous unmanned systems would be used for long-term surveillance missions, and possibly to provide communication and ground support in remote areas.

The Zephyr, originally developed by UK firm QinetiQ, has a 23m wingspan and yet only weighs 55kg and cruises at 20km.

This Week in Tanker News

RAAF KC-30 completes first refuelling of a C-17

The first air-to-air refuelling from a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport.

Boeing’s KC-46 Successfully Refuels F/A-18

For the first time, a Boeing’s KC-46 tanker refueled a Navy F/A-18 using its hose and drogue system.

Unmanned CBARS Tanker Air Segment Draft RFP Expected Later This Year

Naval Air Systems Command plans to release a new draft request for proposal later this year for an unmanned aerial refueling tanker. According to sources, the final RFP for the Carrier Based Aerial Refueling System (CBARS) is due out in FY 2017, with contract award in FY 2018.

The Airplane of the Week


David finishes out his discussion of Doomsday Planes with the converted 747-200Bs, otherwise known as the E-4B Nightwatch that serves as the National Airborne Operations Center (NAOC).

Guided Tour Inside the E-4B NAOC Doomsday Plane

Listener Favorite Airpanes

Rob gives us the results of the call for our listeners to tell us what their favorite airplane is and why. Like many others, Micah had trouble picking just one.


The Sound of Flaps

Bruno Misonne composes music that incorporates the sounds of aviation in very unique ways. His latest creation is “The Sound of Flaps.” Bruno tells us this was “the most challenging project ever created. Everyone who regularly takes the plane becomes aware of this characteristic sound of flaps extending or retracting, a sound that becomes very audible when you are sitting in the cabin above the wings! It has been challenging to find a way to mix that sound with music since at first glance it seems quite impossible to do in such way that the result is pleasant!

New certification standards for mechanics in the works

The Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee’s Airman Certification System working group (chaired by AOPA) has been tasked with developing new certification standards, handbooks, and test development guidance for aircraft mechanics.


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


AirplaneGeeks 374 Air Show Performer and Air Racer Vicky Benzing


Vicky Benzing

We talk with Vicky Benzing, a pilot, skydiver, aerobatic performer, and air racer. In the news, we have earnings reports for Boeing and some of the airlines, an air show parachutist lands in the crowd, an angle-of-attack indicator video for GA aircraft, the effect of Syrian sand on Russian jets, and Boeing fears the loss of the ExIm Bank.


Vicky Benzing is an accomplished pilot, skydiver, aerobatic performer, and air racer.  She has more than 7000 hours of flight time and over 1200 parachute jumps in a flying career spanning over thirty years. Vicky currently holds an Airline Transport Pilot rating as well as a commercial rating in helicopters and seaplanes.

Vicky BenzingWe talk with Vicky about aerobatic performances at air shows, including training and preparation, the “chicken dance,” the maneuvers Vicky likes, and which ones the audience likes. Also, the difference between flying the Stearman and flying high performance jets, how competing in the Reno Air Races compares to flying aerobatics at air shows, and what the crowd interaction means to a performer like Vicky. Along the way, Vicky tells us about skydiving and that the United States Parachute Association is a good resource for finding jump zones and advice.

In 2005, Vicky began training with air show legend Wayne Handley. She entered in aerobatic competitions throughout the US, and won first place in the Intermediate category in both the Northwest and Southwest Regional Championships in 2006. Two years later, she placed in the top 10 finishers at the US National Aerobatic Championships in the Advanced category.  

Vicky Benzing performing

Vicky Benzing performing

In between flying aerobatic competitions, Vicky began performing in air shows and today she focuses her energies on her airshow flying.  Vicky holds a surface level waiver and a formation card, and has flown well over 100 air show performances at venues across the US, including performing at the airshow during EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh.

In 2010, Vicky began racing in the National Championship Air Races.  She was chosen “Rookie of the Year” twice by her fellow Sport and Jet Class racers, and made history in Reno this year as the “fastest woman” racer ever in the history of the Reno Air Races, flying Dianna Stanger’s one-of-a-kind L-139 jet on the race course at 469.831 mph. See Live from the Reno Air Races with SkyChick and Team Darkstar for a video interview with Vicky and Dianna.

L-139 at Reno Air Races

L-139 Courtesy Dark Star Racing

In addition to her aviation pursuits, Vicky holds a PhD in Physical Chemistry from UC Berkeley and has enjoyed a successful career in the Silicon Valley high tech industry.  Vicky is currently Vice President of the Sport Class Air Racing Association and is on the Board of Directors of the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, CA.

Vicky is sponsored by APECS Aerospace Corporation, an engineering consulting firm that specializes in providing support to aviation maintenance repair organizations.  Other sponsors are Oregon Aero, maker of seating systems and helmet and headset upgrades and ASL Camguard, creator of advanced engine oil supplements to reduce engine wear.


Faster production of jets pushes up Boeing’s profits

Boeing Co. third quarter earnings were up 25 percent to $1.7 billion, and the company raised its earnings outlook for the year. In the quarter, Boeing delivered 199 commercial jets versus 186 jets a year ago.

Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson said many wide-body jets coming off lease in the near future, will be available relatively cheaply, and will compete with new more fuel efficient jets.

American Airlines posts record profit but worries more about low-cost competitors like Spirit

Lower fuel spend helped jump net income 80 percent to $1.69 billion. Because 87 percent of American Airlines fliers fly only once a year and buy tickets based on price, next year American will offer cheap tickets with “less frills” on certain nonstop routes where it competes with discount carriers.

Alaska Air reports record profits from its busiest summer ever

The airline reported record quarterly profit of $274 million, and the busiest summer in the airline’s 83-year history.

Southwest Airlines reaps record $584M quarterly profit

With record net income of $584 million on revenue of $5.32 billion for the quarter, Southwest beat the same quarter last year which had net income of $324 million on revenue of $4.8 billion. The company put $228 million into its profit-sharing program.

Cheap fuel helped Delta set record profits

Delta’s operating margin grew to 21 percent and earnings per share were up 45 percent. Delta saved $1.1 billion in fuel costs year-over-year last quarter.

Allegiant Air profits leap 213 percent in 3rd quarter

Lower energy costs contributed to good financial performance and profitable growth of the network.

United, in turmoil, reports drop in revenue

United Continental saw lower sales for the quarter and missed its profit forecast.

Parachutist crashes into tent at Wings Over Houston Air Show

At the Wings Over Houston Airshow, a parachutist from a vintage Lockheed C-60 and using a WWII-era parachute landed in the crowd and took down a small tent. He suffered a broken limb. No spectators were injured.

FAA Video Provides Primer On AOA Displays

For those looking for an introduction to angle-of-attack indicators in GA aircraft, the FAA has a new video to get started. The 19-minute video includes an introduction to angle-of-attack indicators, their use and general advice on installation in airplanes – plus references to FAA documents for further research. It also has demonstrations of three AOA indicators in the market – Alpha Systems, Bendix King, and Safe Flight. The devices have gained increased attention in the last year as the FAA’s safety arm focused on studying loss-of-control accidents, which can be mitigated with AOA indicators, the agency said.

Harsh conditions are foiling Russian jets in Syria

Russia is finding it difficult to keep its military aircraft in the air in Syria. A significant percentage of its attack planes and transport aircraft are grounded.

​Boeing CEO: Losing Export-Import Bank “means loss of jobs”

Boeing is concerned that Congress will not reauthorize the ExIm Bank, which acts as the official export credit agency of the United States federal government.

The Australia News Desk

Airline boss promises ‘a tiger can change its stripes’

The boys are back and the comedy flows as they report on Tiger Airways apparently improving their customer experience and even getting a new call center. Steve is less than enthused!

Qantas to unveil Retro Roo II in November

He is, however, rather excited about the next Retro Roo colour scheme from Qantas. As we record an existing 737-800 is in the paintshop at Townsville getting one of the old Qantas paint schemes applied. We’re hoping for the V-Jet look.

Virgin to sell entire Fokker 50 fleet

Meanwhile, Grant gets to run his Big Motor Fokker vs Little Motor Fokker joke as Virgin are selling off all their Fokker 50s.

An Evening with Matt Hall

Finally, Steve’s going to be Em-Cee for the Angel Flight charity dinner at Bankstown in Sydney on Saturday, October 31, 2015. Get on down and support the cause if you’re in the area!

OzRunways with Matt Hall


AOPA Live This Week for October 22, 2015 has a really good special report from the Red Bull Air Races in Las Vegas. Matt Hall from Australia (and frequently heard on Plane Crazy Down Under) won the race. Second place finisher Paul Bonhomme from Great Britain won the championship.

These are the 15 coolest airline paint jobs in the skies What airline do you think has the coolest livery?

Reclining seat to blame? Southwest flight returns to LAX after ‘altercation’

Crammed-in jet passengers get uptight when the seat’s not upright

Inside the RAF – Britain’s Ultimate Pilots Episode 1 2015


Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at brotherloverocks.com.


AirplaneGeeks 371 Kevin Michaels

We talk with Kevin Michaels about United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz and his strategy to repair the airline’s image, radical ideas for air travel, and Southwest Airlines purchase of two gates for $120 million. Also, risks that the airliner order bubble could burst, Bombardier strategy, and the viability of the A380neo.


Dr. Kevin Michaels is Vice President – Aerospace & MRO Practice at ICF International. 

Kevin Michaels

Dr. Kevin Michaels

Kevin began his career as a project engineer with gas turbine OEM Williams International. Since then, Kevin has accumulated more than 25 years of aviation experience, including hundreds of consulting engagements for leading aviation and aerospace companies worldwide.

He is a globally recognized expert in the aerospace manufacturing and maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) sectors. Kevin has significant expertise in business-to-business marketing, customer satisfaction, and strategic planning.

Kevin’s experience spans all major market segments, including air transport, business and general aviation, and military. He was director of Strategic Development with Rockwell Collins Government Systems, and principal with The Canaan Group.

Kevin has a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan; he also has an M.Sc. and a Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics.

Our conversation covers a number of current topics, including:

  • The airline order “super cycle,” the risk that it is a bubble that could burst, and the effects of sinking fuel prices and low cost of capital.
  • The situation at Bombardier, including their balance sheet and strategic problems given the market and actions by Boeing and Airbus.
  • The viability of the A380neo and how the engine manufacturers might look at it,
  • Retirements from the fleet where the aircraft have more value entering the surplus parts market. This has a significant impact on the OEM new parts market.


United’s new CEO acknowledges airline’s failures
United Airlines’ CEO wants to hear from you [VIDEO]

Oscar Munoz appears to be taking a different approach to managing the public image of the airline came from the merger of United Airlines and Continental five years ago. In full page newspaper ads he said, “The journey hasn’t always been smooth” and “We are committed to re-earning your trust.” On the new UnitedAirtime.com website.Munoz says:

“Let’s be honest, the implementation of the United and Continental merger has been rocky for customers and employees. While it’s been improving recently, we still haven’t lived up to our promise or our potential.”

See also: Alaska Airlines CEO admits his own airline lost his bag

Inside the Dream Factory – watch amazing footage of a British Airways Dreamliner plane being built in USA

British Airways has taken delivery of its first 787-9 Dreamliner of the 22 planes it has ordered. The -9 is 20 feet longer than the base -8, has a higher maximum take-off weight (MTOW), can seat 280 in a three-class configuration, and has an 8,300 nautical mile range. BA also released a time-lapse video of the aircraft being assembled in Seattle.

Three Ideas That Could Change Air Travel Forever

The Teague design consultancy firm shared with Fast Company some radical concepts for an imaginary future airline called Poppi. Teague asked themselves, “If we started an airline from scratch, what would we do?” At the recent Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) conference their Poppi concept was presented:

  • Ban carry-on luggage.
  • Make middle seats feel exclusive.
  • Encourage Amazon Prime-style memberships.

Southwest Defends $120 Million Payment for 2 Airport Gates

Southwest Airlines paid United Airlines $120 million to sublease two gates at Dallas Love Field. Southwest had already controlled 16 of the 20 gates at Love Field. United and Virgin America controlled two each. Delta Air Lines argues the gates are owned by the city and airlines can’t sell them. All this is being heard by a federal judge.

David Cush, Virgin America

We found this piece after recording the episode. Virgin America CEO David Cush talks about the Love Field gates.

The Airplane of the Week

NASA Super Guppy N941NA

NASA Super Guppy N941NA

David attended the Joint Base Andrews’ open house on September 19th 2015. Last week we brought you David’s interview with Lieutenant Colonel Christine “Grinder” Mau, Deputy Commander for the Operations Group of the 33rd Fighter Wing. Col. Mau was the first woman cleared to fly the F-35A Lightning II, and one of only 52 women fighter pilots in the USAF.

This week we have the interview with David Elliot, the Flight Engineer and Program Manager for the NASA Super Guppy N941NA.  David talks about flying and the planning for missions. A unique aircraft with unique missions.

The Australia News Desk

ATC Ben on the ramp at Karratha, Western Australia

ATC Ben on the ramp at Karratha, Western Australia

Finally back after a bit of a break although Grant has subbed out due to family reasons, being ably replaced by ATC Ben.  Ben tells us about his recent slight change of job, and location, having moved from the world of en-route controller in Melbourne to tower controller in the remote Western Australian town of Karratha.  He tells about the aircraft movement this predominantly mining based town hosts each day, including scheduled airline services through to multiple helicopter flights going out to the oil and gas rigs off the coast.

In the news, the RAAF has used a KC-30A tanker to successfully conduct air to air refuelling sorties with a USAF F-35A in the skies over California recently.  Using the boom system, the Lighting II make 59 contacts, taking on 23,000lbs of fuel in total.  A busy day for all involved.

Ben then talks about his participation in the annual World Flight event, the Australian version of which raises funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.  Ben is a regular participant in this virtual around the world flight, using a fixed based 737 simulator in Hobart, Tasmania.  More details can be found at http://worldflight.com.au/.

Across the Pond

Astronaut Major Tim Peake

Astronaut Major Tim Peake

This week Pieter celebrates #WorldSpaceWeek with an update on the UK Space Agency’s first European Space Agency astronaut Major Tim Peake who will fly to the International Space Station on December 15th 2015. His mission title is Principia and he will be on the space station for up to 6 months. We also get an update on the latest Arianne 5 launch last week from French Guiana.


Make History Fly – Send B-29 “Doc” Through Flight Testing

You can also follow Doc’s Friends progress on their website, Facebook and Twitter.

World-first remote air traffic control system lands in Sweden

My Grandfather And The Plane That Changed Seattle


Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at brotherloverocks.com.