Tag Archives: Spirit Airlines

701 Aviation Weather

How aviation weather intelligence affects airlines and airports, the FAA wants radio altimeters replaced, Easyjet has a solution to fly with less crew, Spirit Airlines says no to JetBlue, an electric airplane first, jail time for some unruly passengers, and Virgin Atlantic flight training requirements.

Guest

Scott Gilmore, Tomorrow.io aviation weather information

Scott Gilmore is the Global Vice President and GM of Aviation at Tomorrow.io, a company that provides an aviation weather and climate security platform. Scott has over 40 years in the aviation industry, including 27 as a pilot. He drives Tomorrow.io’s aviation go-to-market offerings, including sales activity, revenue management, and the product roadmap.

Scott explains the sources and uses of aviation weather data, and how weather intelligence results in fewer turnbacks, more payload, and better fuel load. He also tells us about the impact on airport ground staffing and de-icing planning.

Tomorrow.io is deploying its own constellation of LEO weather satellites equipped with radar and microwave sounders. This will provide global coverage with a significantly improved refresh rate. Scott describes the goal of being able to machine generate a custom “TAF” (Terminal Aerodrome Forecast) for any selected location.

It’s with noting that the non-profit TomorrowNow.org is committed to helping vulnerable populations adapt to the climate changes that are happening now.

Prior to Tomorrow.io, Scott served as the Head of Flight Deck Solutions with The Weather Company, an IBM Business; Senior Manager of Strategic Partnerships at the International Air Transport Association (IATA); and Director Of Business Development Airline Industry Solutions, and Head Of Application Development Aircraft Mission Kit / Electronic Flight Bag at Unisys. Scott was a Senior Strategic Airlift Manager C-5, C-17, and Tanker Operations with the United States Air Force. He’s an FAA Rated Flight Engineer with over 21,000 hours in the flight deck, an Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic, and a member of the American Association of Airport Executives.

Aviation News

FAA wants U.S. airlines to retrofit, replace radio altimeters

The FAA wants to establish “an achievable timeframe to retrofit/replace radar altimeters in the U.S. fleet” due to possible interference from C-Band 5G wireless service. So they are meeting with telecom and airline industry officials where they can hear “options and commit to actions necessary to meet these objectives.”

EasyJet to take out seats so it can fly with fewer crew

Staff shortages are affecting commercial flight schedules globally and EasyJet has a solution to reduce its cabin crew from four to three legally: Take out the back row of seats in its A319 fleet. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulates the number of cabin crew based on seats, not passengers on board.

Nigerian airlines are threatening to ground domestic flights amid soaring jet fuel prices

Nine Nigerian airlines issued a statement saying that the cost of imported jet fuel had increased nearly fourfold as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and that they are threatening to stop domestic flights. Airline operating costs have increased from about 40% to nearly 95%

Frustrated Alaska Airlines Pilots to Vote on Strike

Alaska Airlines pilots have been without a contract for some three years. Pilots started voting on May 9 on whether to strike. Balloting will end on May 25. The Air Line Pilots Association is seeking higher pay and better scheduling for its pilots.

Spirit Airlines rejects JetBlue’s buyout bid, citing approval concerns

The Spirit Airlines board rejected the $3.6 billion takeover bid by JetBlue Airways. They say Spirit will continue to pursue a merger with Frontier Airlines.

The Board determined that the JetBlue proposal involves an unacceptable level of closing risk that would be assumed by Spirit stockholders. We believe that our pending merger with Frontier will start an exciting new chapter for Spirit.

Mac Gardner, Spirit Airlines board chairman.

U.S. Aviation First: Private Pilot Certificate Earned Using an Electric Airplane

In a U.S. first, a student pilot has earned a private pilot certificate with an electric aircraft. Shane Fisher flew his check ride in a two-seat Pipistrel Velis Electro, the world’s first and still only electric-powered airplane to receive a type certificate. Certificated by EASA in 2020, it operates in the U.S. as a light sport experimental aircraft. Fisher’s cross-country was accomplished in a Pipistrel Virus SW, which has a similar airframe but is powered by a Rotax 912 engine. 

Unruly Passenger Who Managed to Open Plane Door Inflight is Sentenced to Just One Year in Jail

A disruptive and violent passenger who opened the aircraft door on a United Express flight just before landing could have received 20-years imprisonment and a $200,000 fine. But instead, he was sentenced to one year behind bars for interfering with a flight crew. Kameron C. Stone, 30, of Fairfax, Virginia was also ordered to pay a $7,500 fine and undergo three years of supervised release. He can also look forward to a fine from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Man Who Assaulted Flight Attendants Gets 60 Days in Jail

Witnesses Describe the Scene When Man Exited Moving Plane at O’Hare, Slid Down Wing

A person opened the emergency exit door of United flight 2874 at O’Hare International Airport as the plane was moving on the runway. The passenger then walked out onto the wing and slid down onto the airfield. 

Our ground crew stopped the individual outside of the aircraft, and the person is now with law enforcement.

United Airlines statement.

Virgin Atlantic Flight Aborted After Pilot Found To Be ‘Untrained’

This was a Virgin Atlantic internal training protocol compliance violation, not a regulatory violation. The first officer had not completed his final assessment, and the captain was not yet qualified as a check airman. The plane returned and the first officer was replaced.

Australia News Desk

This week’s segment covers the big announcement by QANTAS of the purchase of 12 A350-1000s, along with a ton of other variants which will gradually replace, and effectively phase out, Boeing aircraft over the next five years.  We also take a look at QANTAS purchasing regional operator Alliance Airlines, the upcoming RAAF Amberley Air Tattoo, the Pacific Air Show scheduled for Queensland in 2023, and the World Championship Air Race round for Australia which was recently announced.  We also may have had a little fun at Rob’s expense….

What passengers can expect on Qantas’ longest commercial flight in the world

Introducing the Airbus A350-1000

Pacific Airshow comes to Gold Coast in 2023

Pacific Airshow

Qantas has reached an agreement to fully acquire Australian-based operator, Alliance Aviation Services

QANTAS to acquire Alliance Aviation to Better Support Resources Segment

Air race 2022: Lake Macquarie locks in $8 million drawcard for November

Ipswich Amberley Air Tattoo

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott

697 JetBlue and Spirit Airlines

JetBlue and Frontier eye Spirit Airlines, an Air France B777 and a DHL 757 make emergency landings, the Collier Trophy winner is announced and Airplane Geeks listeners predicted the outcome, airlines are replacing some regional flights with buses, and Boston shuts down a flight crew crash pad.

Aviation News

JetBlue Twists Itself in Knots Trying to Create a Rationale for Buying Spirit

JetBlue is offering Spirit Airlines $33 per share in cash, roughly $3.6 billion. Can Spirit refuse? Is Frontier likely to get into a bidding war? Why is JetBlue interested in Spirit?

French investigators open probe of ‘serious incident’ on Air France flight

The BEA says an Air France Boeing 777 on approach to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport was involved in a “serious incident.” The BEA reported on social media “instability of flight controls on final, go-around, hard controls, flight path oscillations.”

Video: Pilots of Air France #AF11 reported their B777 didn’t react to commands on final approach to CDG

Costa Rica airport reopens after DHL plane skids off runway in emergency landing

A DHL Boeing 757-200 cargo aircraft made an emergency landing shortly after takeoff, exited the runway, and broke in two. The crew was reportedly unharmed. A hydraulic system failure was apparently a factor in the pilot’s request to make an emergency landing.

NASA’s Pioneering Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Awarded Collier Trophy

The National Aeronautic Association announced that NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Team has been named the recipient of the 2021 Robert J. Collier Trophy for “… the first powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet, thereby opening the skies of Mars and other worlds for future scientific discovery and exploration.”

American Airlines Restarts Philadelphia Regional Routes With Landline Buses

The Landline Company is providing bus service for American Airlines passengers between airports. Landline provides a similar service for Sun Country Airlines in Minneapolis-St. Paul and United Airlines in Denver.

Inside The Illegal Flight Attendant ‘Crash Pad’ With 20 Bunk Beds That Was Shut Down by Boston Building Inspectors

“Crash Pads” are a popular arrangement for airline crew, but Boston’s Inspectional Services Department raided what they said was an illegal flight attendant crash pad. It was a garage with bunk beds for as many as 20 flight attendants.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, and Rob Mark.

690 Charlie Bolden

Our guest is Charlie Bolden, former NASA administrator, astronaut, and naval aviator. In the news, the first production Falcon 6X arrives at the completion center, Air Force accidents decline, FAA proposes changes to autopilot training, Frontier and Spirit propose a merger, and Delta wants a federal no-fly list for unruly passengers.

Guest

Charlie Bolden photo
Charlie Bolden

Charles (Charlie) F. Bolden Jr., was Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration from 2009 to 2017. He’s a former astronaut who flew on four Shuttle missions, and a retired United States Marine Corps Major General. He is the Founder and CEO Emeritus of the Charles F. Bolden Group.

In our open and wide-ranging conversation with Charlie, he talks about the factors that have led to the prominence of commercial space companies. We look at how Congress reacted to the shift and why the commercial industry changed NASA for the better. These “New Space” companies often use an iterative development process that is very different from the regimented process used, for example, with the James Webb Space Telescope.

We touch on the role of NASA and the need for the Administrator to navigate the politics of Washington. We also consider whether the NTSB or FAA should investigate space accidents.

Charlie explains how returning to the Moon and going on to Mars raised concerns that funding would shift to human space flight at the expense of science missions. He also describes initial skepticism that the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter was a good idea. Charlie has some interesting thoughts on the notion of “colonizing” Mars and if that planet is really an alternative to Earth.

Along the way, we look at spherical aberration on the Hubble telescope (and its twin), what the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and the Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser bring, and of course SpaceX. Charlie describes an overwhelmingly emotional moment on his first Shuttle flight and how astronauts used ham radio to talk to their families from the Orbiter.

Charlie also provides some insight into the criteria used to select who would receive the four Space Shuttle orbiters after that program ended.

Among a number of other activities, STEM education is a focus of the Charles F. Bolden Group. Charlie talks about the SERVIR-West Africa project, a joint initiative by the US agency for International Development (USAID) and NASA.

Aviation News

First Falcon 6X Arrives at Dassault’s Little Rock Completion Center

The first production Falcon 6X extra widebody twin arrived at Dassault Aviation’s 1.25 million square foot completion center in Little Rock, Arkansas. Serial number five was ferried from Dassault’s production facility in France. The Pratt & Whitney Canada PW812D-powered Falcon 6X is expected to enter into service later in 2022.

Deadly aircraft accidents declined in 2021, Air Force says

The Air Force reported 63 severe mishaps in fiscal 2021, compared to 71 the prior year. “Class A” incidents dropped to 21 from 30 in 2020. The 5-year average is about 27 Class A mishaps.  The manned aircraft rate fell to 0.94 accidents per 100,000 flying hours, the lowest since 2014. At the same time, the rate for unmanned aircraft accidents jumped to 1.96 unmanned aircraft accidents per 100,000 flying hours, which is the highest since 2017.

Retired Boeing 747 Bought for $1.30 Begins New Life As Party Plane

This retired British Airways Boeing 747 can be rented from Cotswold Airport in the south of England. Purchased for just £1 ($1.30), almost £500,000 ($671,000) has been invested in the plane, which costs $1,300 an hour to rent, or $16,000 for 24-hours.

FAA proposes changes in autopilot training

The FAA wants pilots to avoid overreliance on the autopilot and make sure they focus on flight path management. So the FAA issued draft guidance and recommended practices. The FAAs action comes in response to NTSB recommendations after the July 2013 accident where Asiana Airlines Flight 214 struck a seawall at SFO, killing three passengers. Also prompting the draft guidance are requirements specified by Congress after the two fatal Boeing 737 MAX accidents.

Frontier to buy Spirit Airlines in $2.9 billion low-cost carriers deal

The two carriers are proposing a merger where Frontier Airlines would hold 51.5 percent and Spirit would hold 48.5 percent. A name for the combined airline hasn’t been offered, nor has the CEO or location of headquarters identified.

Delta Air Lines CEO Edward Bastian asked the U.S. Attorney General to set up a nationwide no-fly list for unruly passengers. The ACLU and others are critical, citing problems with the TSA’s current terrorist list.

Mentioned

Inside Marine One
On March 4, 2022, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, the American Helicopter Museum is offering members a sneak preview of the new Inside Marine One exhibit. A conversation will feature USMC Colonel Ray “Frenchy” L’Heureux (former Marine One pilot and author of Inside Marine One: Four U.S. Presidents, One Proud Marine, and the World’s Most Amazing Helicopter) and Roger D. Connor, Ph.D. (Curator of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Aeronautics Department). You can still participate in the discussion via Zoom (6:30-7:30) if you can’t join in person. Register by March 3, 2022.

The American Helicopter Museum's graphic for their Inside Marine One exhibit.
Inside Marine One

You Can Now Learn to Fly at Owls Head Airport

Penobscot Island Air has started a new flight school at the Knox County Regional Airport in Owls Head, Maine. PIA provides mail, freight delivery, and even medevac services. The CFIs are Penobscot Island Air pilots and in the first three weeks, seven students enrolled.

The airport is shared by the Owls Head Transportation Museum which conducts many events throughout the year, including the annual Wings and Wheels Spectacular Airshow, to be held August 6, 2022, 10:00-3:00.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, and Max Trescott.

665 Spirit Airlines Meltdown

Spirit Airlines cancels over 2000 flights, American Airlines offers free TikTok access, a cargo flight returns to Narita with a fire indication, a GA gallery is coming to the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum, and aviation jet fuel shortages impact aerial firefighting operations. Also, an Across the Pond segment with Pieter Johnson and managing editor of Aerospace magazine, Tim Robinson.

Aviation News

Spirit Airlines’ meltdown: Carrier cancels thousands of flights

Spirit Airlines canceled more than 2000 flights around the country, resulting in long lines of passengers trying to find flights. At Fort Lauderdale International Airport in Florida, the wait to re-book was as long as 2½ hours on August 7 and grew longer.

‘We couldn’t get in front of it.’ Spirit Airlines CEO explains what caused the carrier’s meltdown

Spirit Airlines says all this was caused by weather, technology outages, travel volume, and staffing shortages. Delays caused crews to time out. On one day alone, Spirit canceled 450 flights, 56% of its operation. Spirit does not have interline agreements which compounds the problem.

American Airlines Takes TikTok to New Heights with Free Inflight Access for Customers

American Airlines provides some free inflight WiFi offerings, and they’ve just added TikTok, the popular social networking service owned by Chinese company ByteDance. On Viasat-equipped narrowbody aircraft, American will let you connect free for 30 minutes.

Rubio Calls on American Airlines to Suspend “Innovative Partnership” With TikTok

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter to American Airlines Chairman and CEO Doug Parker after the airline announced an “innovative partnership” with TikTok.

“As you know, in 2019, the U.S. Government launched a national security review of TikTok due to data privacy and data security concerns — a review which remains active to this day.” 

“By partnering with TikTok, American Airlines is now lending its brand credibility to a company that endangers national security and the data security of tens of millions of Americans, many of them minors. I urge you to suspend American Airlines’ ‘innovative partnership’ with TikTok while the U.S. Government completes its investigation into the national security risks posed by the Chinese-owned app.”

Fire in cargo compartment | National Cargo Boeing 747-400 | Tokyo Narita, ATC

A National Cargo Boeing 747-400 (B744), registration N756CA, performing flight NCR891 / N8891 from Tokyo Narita International Airport (Japan) to Seoul Incheon International Airport (South Korea) during climb out of Narita Airport, about at 27000 feet, reported a fire indication in a cargo compartment and requested return back to Narita.

A New Gallery Celebrates the Variety That Is General Aviation

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum has a new general aviation gallery scheduled to open in 2022. The Thomas W. Haas We All Fly gallery will tell the story of GA, how it impacts everyday life and how it has influenced society. This will be through interactive exhibits and audiovisual displays and is scheduled to open in 2022. The Thomas W. Haas Foundation made a $10M donation for the gallery.

Aviation fuel shortage could affect aerial firefighting

Air travel dropped as a result of the pandemic, and the supply of Jet A aviation fuel scaled back. Now air travel is rebounding but fuel logistics has not. Shortages include the fuel supply for firefighting. One contributing factor is that a wildfire could explode in no time at all and when that happens the demand for fuel in that area can soar.

American Airlines warns about jet fuel shortages around the U.S., asks pilots to conserve

Last month, American Airlines said it might have to add stops to some flights because of fuel delivery delays. They also asked pilots to save fuel when they could. Airlines have experienced delays due to a lack of truck drivers, trucks, and fuel supply.

Across the Pond

In this week on Across The Pond, Pieter talks to fellow Xtended presenter and Managing Editor of Aerospace magazine, Tim Robinson. They discuss Tim’s recent award of the International Aerospace Media award 2021 for his article on Airbus developing hydrogen-powered aircraft as well as his news item on the current worrying trend of air rage and its impact on aircraft safety.

ZEROe concept aircraft formation flight, courtesy Airbus.

Best Commercial Aviation submission – Airbus spearheads hydrogen moonshot

Back to air rage and cabin baggage issues?

Mentioned

Brad “Launchpad” Marzari EAA Memorial – A campaign to honor Launchpad with bricks at the EAA Brown Arch at Oshkosh and donate to the EAA Aviation Foundation.

The Pacific Airshow is adding a two-night Afterburner Music Festival at Huntington City Beach on October 1 and 2, 2021.

The Unchained Eagle

The Unchained Eagle live Q&A.

619 Spending Too Much Time at Home

Some Boeing 787s are grounded due to structural problems, Rolls-Royce financials don’t look good, a positive TSA story, another virtual flight option, US DOE funding for electric aircraft technologies, Pipistrel to set electric aircraft world records, Elon Musk says 3-4 years for effective electric aircraft batteries, Spirit avoids layoffs, and $200 ticket change fees are dropped.

Some co-hosts know how to make a podcast producer laugh…

Aviation News

Boeing yanks eight 787s from service over structural issue

Boeing discovered “two distinct manufacturing issues” that impact the structural integrity of eight recently manufactured 787 Dreamliners. The deficiencies are associated with the joining of composite aft body fuselage barrels. Planes delivered to United, Air Canada, and Singapore were pulled from service.

Rolls-Royce Is Fast Becoming a British Calamity

Rolls-Royce just announced a 5.4 billion-pound ($7.1 billion) loss for the first six months of 2020. The company’s balance sheet shows liabilities exceeding assets by 8 billion pounds.

TSA Employee Rescues Bride’s Wedding Dress Left at Airport Security: She ‘Saved’ the Wedding

One day before her wedding, a bride and her family passed through Newark Liberty International Airport, but the mother accidentally left a roller bag with the bride’s gown (and hers) at the checkpoint. TSA administrative assistant Loletta Nathan-Gordon jumped into action and saved the wedding.

‘Airplane Mode’ will let you relive the monotony of economy class this fall

The Airplane Mode simulator from AMC Games will let you fly in real-time from New York City to Reykjavik or from New York City to Halifax, Canada. Not from the cockpit, but in the cabin. In coach. Expect delays, rude passengers, and screaming babies. You do get a window seat.

US Department of Energy: $33 Million for Carbon-Neutral Hybrid Electric Aviation

The U.S. Department of Energy announced $33 million in funding for 17 electric aviation projects. This is under the ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy) ASCEND (Aviation-class Synergistically Cooled Electric-motors with iNtegrated Drives) and REEACH (Range Extenders for Electric Aviation with Low Carbon and High Efficiency) programs.

Pipistrel Ready To Set 7 Electric Aircraft World Records

Pipistrel plans to fly its Velis Electro more than 700 kilometers from the Swiss Alps to the North Sea, and break 7 world records along the way: lowest energy consumption, highest average speed, highest flight altitude ever reached with an electric aircraft, fastest climbing performance, fastest average speed, smallest number of intermediate stops, and longest electrically flown route. Follow the flight on the website and Facebook.

Tesla’s Elon Musk says that batteries enabling electric aircraft are coming in ‘3 to 4 years’

Last year, when commenting on the need for increased battery energy density, Musk said that was 5 years off.  Tesla’s batteries were then achieving around 260 Wh/kg. He said around 400 Wh/kg was needed for aviation. Elon’s current prediction is now 3 to 5 years.

Spirit Airlines Strikes Deal to Avoid Pilot Furloughs

Spirit Airlines has used voluntary leave initiatives to minimize the number of pilot layoffs, limiting them to 117 pilot furloughs. Now the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) announced that almost half of Spirit’s pilots had agreed to work fewer hours each month, which let the airline cancel all 117 of its planned pilot furloughs. 

United says it will drop widely scorned ticket-change fees

United Airlines says it is dropping its $200 ticket change fee. January, it will let customers fly standby for free on other flights the same day as their booked flight. “When we hear from customers about where we can improve, getting rid of fees is often the top request,” United CEO Scott Kirby said in a video posted Sunday. See also: United Ditches Domestic Change Fees… Let the Games Begin.

Mentioned

Sci-Fi Short Film “The OceanMaker”

Inventing the Joint Strike Fighter, a Zoom meeting Saturday, October 10, 2020, with Dr. Paul Bevilaqua, Chief Engineer of the Skunk Works, Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Arsenal of Democracy – On Friday, September 25, 2020, approximately 70 World War II aircraft will fly over the Washington Mall.

612 Difficult Times for Airlines

Airlines face downward booking trends and very large furloughs, flight training in a time of social distancing, airlines struggle to enforce face-covering policies, airports are responding to the pandemic, Boeing issues draft pilot training document for the 737 MAX, and Spirit Airlines steps up to help a family in need.

American Helicopter Museum & Education Center

American Helicopter Museum & Education Center

Aviation News

United Airlines to lay off up to 36,000 U.S. employees in October as travel remains depressed

United Airlines sent employees a notice saying that 36,000 employees may be subject to involuntary furloughs. That would represent 45% of its U.S. front-line workers. Most of these (26,000) would be flight attendants and airport customer service and gate agents. Up to 2,250 pilots could be affected.

United Airlines Has a Huge Warning for Airlines

In mid-April, there were days when TSA checkpoint volume was only 4% of previous year levels. In May and June, the volume rose slightly and airlines started operating more flights. But now Covid-19 infections are spiking upward in many U.S. states and bookings are again dropping.

Redbird Connect Enables Virtual Pilot Proficiency Center

A few months ago, Redbird Flight Simulations started thinking about social distancing and flight training. They’ve developed a platform for flight instructors and their students that uses video conferencing technology and a web-based version of the Redbird Navigator flight simulator operating system.

Airline passengers find ‘creative ways’ to remove masks, American pilot says

Airline passengers are required to wear face coverings in flight, except when eating and drinking. Most do, but not everyone. Cabin crew have difficulty enforcing a mask policy since there is no Federal requirement, only a recommendation.

In July 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation published a 44-page “Runway to Recovery” plan [PDF] subtitled “The United States Framework for Airlines and Airports to Mitigate the Public Health Risks of Coronavirus.”

Touchless: How the world’s busiest airport envisions post-COVID travel

DFW and American Airlines plan to roll out self-check-in for luggage and touchless restrooms at the airport. The airport is piloting three luggage self-check-in systems: Amadeus’s ICM, SITA, and Materna IPS. DFW is also testing new sanitization technology including ultraviolet light to kill germs before they circulate into the HVAC system.

You couldn’t even pay me to fly United or American Airlines right now, and here’s why

Delta and Southwest Airlines are still flying with reduced seating, but American and United have resumed booking middle seats.

American pilots review Boeing’s latest Max training draft

Boeing has a draft of its new 737 MAX pilot training document. The Allied Pilots Association (APA) representing American Airlines’ pilots has a copy and they say the document is vastly more thorough than previous drafts. The APA is generally pleased with it but some concerns remain. Boeing’s latest draft includes some 10 documents and 200 pages.

Spirit to the rescue: Airline sends emergency plane to bring stranded family home

A family was flying on Spirit Airlines from San Juan to Philadelphia when their 4-year-old daughter had a medical emergency. The plane diverted to Turks and Caicos so the girl could get medical treatment. (She’s fine.) But the family didn’t have the necessary documentation when they tried to leave the island. Plus international travel is shut down there. They were trapped but Spirit and others came to the rescue. 

Mentioned

EAA’s Spirit of Aviation Week™ – July 21-25, 2020.

Meet The Navy’s First Female African American Tactical Jet Pilot

Air Force Name Tapes Can Now Include Accent Marks and Hyphens

 

AirplaneGeeks 384 Plane Spotting with Ben Granucci

NYCAviation.com editor Ben Granucci on plane spotting, CEO change at Spirit Airlines, drone news from the 2016 CES, a new FAA app, the Airbus A350, hand flying the airplane, five-engine airplanes, and the odd-looking Northrop Tacit Blue.

Guest

Ben Granucci inside Fedex A300 at EWR's Airport Day

Ben Granucci inside Fedex A300 at EWR’s Airport Day. Photo by Maggie Bradley.

Ben Granucci is the Standards Editor for NYCAviation.com, a New York City-based, globally focused aviation news, commentary, and enthusiast website. He is an avid aviation photographer and a lifelong avgeek. In addition to his work with NYCAviation, Ben also occasionally writes for AirlineReporter.com. Follow him on Twitter at @blgranucci and visit his Facebook page.

Some of Ben’s favorite photos:

Plane spotting at St Maarten

Plane spotting at St Maarten

A Tarom A310 carrying the Hungarian delegation taxis to depart while a Cathay Pacific 777-300ER lifts off in the background during UN Week 2015.

A Tarom A310 carrying the Hungarian delegation taxis to depart while a Cathay Pacific 777-300ER lifts off in the background during UN Week 2015.

An F-22 Raptor and P-51 Mustang perform the Heritage Flight during day 2 of the first ever New York Air Show.

An F-22 Raptor and P-51 Mustang perform the Heritage Flight during day 2 of the first ever New York Air Show.

A LAN Airlines A320 departs Santiago, Chile at sunset.

A LAN Airlines A320 departs Santiago, Chile at sunset.

News

Behind The Sudden Departure of Spirit Airline’s Wildly Unconventional CEO

The Spirit Airlines board announced that board member Robert Fornaro would replace Ben Baldanza as the CEO of the ultra low-cost airline. Fornaro was the AirTran CEO who managed the sale to Southwest  2011. While Spirit remains profitable, it is less so than before, and stock prices have tumbled. Could there be a merger in Spirit’s future?

See also:

It’s Official: Human-Carrying Drones Are Happening

EHang 184

EHang 184

China-based EHang announced its EHang 184 autonomous electric drone at CES, and says it should be in production in a year. The aircraft carries a single passenger, is limited to a 23 minute flight, and is expected to have a price of $200,000-$300,000.

B4UFLY Smartphone AppB4UFLY

At CES, FAA Administrator Huerta announced the public release of the B4UFLY app for iOS, and the beta of a version for the Android operating system. The FAA says, “B4UFLY tells users about current or upcoming requirements and restrictions in areas of the National Airspace System (NAS) where they may want to operate their unmanned aircraft system (UAS).”

FAA fails to ensure pilots’ manual flying skills: government report

The U.S. Transportation Department Office of the Inspector General released a report saying the FAA is not ensuring that airline pilots maintain the skills they need to take control from automated systems during an unexpected event.

FAA Wants GA Hand Flying Skills Checked

The FAA has issued a new advisory circular for flight instructors that promotes hand flying skills during flight reviews and proficiency checks. The AC says, “The FAA reminds CFIs conducting flight reviews and IPCs to ensure that a pilot under evaluation is proficient with the automated system and knows what to do if it fails.”

That time when we strapped an extra engine onto a jumbo

Qantas ferried a Rolls Royce engine from Sydney to Johannesburg so it could be used on another B747. See the video: Qantas’ Five-Engined Boeing 747-400 Ferry Flight Takes Off From Perth. Some years ago, Aviation Week covered Pratt & Whitney’s 747SP flying testbed with a “fifth engine” GTF.

PW B747SP flying testbed

P&W B747SP flying testbed with the PW1200G. Source: Pratt & Whitney.

The Airplane of the Week

David tells us about the ugliest airplane ever, the Northrop Tacit Blue.

Northrop Tacit Blue

Northrop Tacit Blue, courtesy National Museum of the US Air Force

Across the Pond

Pieter talks to FlightChic Marisa Garcia about the A350, Finnair, RyanAir and the sad new unfolding of an accident in Sweden.

ATP Finnair

Mentioned

Aviation centennials in 2016:

The 3 Plane Crashes You’ve Never Heard Of: Aviation’s Sacrificial Lambs by Phil Derner Jr. in NYCAviation.

Jack Dunn Stories – Stories from a long time aviator, captured in video.

Tracey Curtis-Taylor finishes UK to Australia biplane flight – Tracey Curtis-Taylor flew her 1942 Boeing Stearman Spirit of Artemis from Farnborough to Sydney, retracing pioneer Amy Johnson’s 1930 flight.

NASA Research Could Save Commercial Airlines Billions in New Era of Aviation

Credit

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

 

AirplaneGeeks 377 Flight Simulation on the PC

Airbus A319 Czech Airlines OK-MEK

An enthusiast talks about PC flight simulation, Dubai Air Show 2015 debrief, flight training with the Cirrus Aircraft SR22 at Emirates, antitrust lawsuit blocks United’s plan to purchase slots, and bag fees increase at low cost carriers.

Guest

Guest Nicolas Jackson talks about PC-based flight simulators. We learn that you can create the flight simulation experience you want – from flying a GA airplane in the pattern around your local airfield, to a transcontinental commercial flight.

We talk about alternatives to Microsoft Flight Simulator X (FSX), such as Lockheed Martin’s Prepar3D® simulation software and X-Plane from Laminar Research. Nicolas recommends the Steam edition of FSX distributed by Dovetail Games for new simmers. He also tells us about VATSIM.net, an international online flying network, and broadcasting on Twitch.tv, a live streaming video platform and community for gamers.

Nicolas Jackson

Nicolas Jackson

Nicolas Jackson fell in love with aviation at the age of 10 when he got his first ride in a GA aircraft. Five minutes at the stick and he was hooked. Soon after that first flight, he bought Sierra Pro Pilot 99. He later switched to Microsoft Flight Simulator starting with FS98 and running all the way to FSX. He started flying on the international online flying network VATSIM with complex airliner add-ons in 2006, and hasn’t looked back since. Nicolas currently flies a variety of FSX aircraft and co-hosts the Unicom Podcast as part of The IFlySimX Team.   

 

Resources for flight simulation:

News

Boeing, Mostly Booked Until 2020, Comes Up Empty at Dubai Air Show

The Airbus A350 and A320 family, as well as the Boeing 787 and 737, are sold out to 2020 and beyond. Airlines and leasing companies have no incentive to purchase more airplanes.

OPINION: Dubai air show sees lack of commercial sales from Middle East

Bombardier unveils launch customer for CS300 airliner

airBaltic becomes the launch customer for the CSeries CS300 airliner when it takes delivery in the latter part of 2016. The Latvian flag carrier has orders for 13 firm and 7 options for the 160 passenger CS300.

Bombardier said it has 603 orders and commitments for the CS300 and CS100, 243 of which are firm orders. Also, Bombardier said it was nearing completion of the CS100 flight test program and was “on track” for certification of the airplane by Transport Canada this year. CSeries flight test vehicles took more than 1,000 flights during testing.

DUBAI: SuperJet confirms March delivery and winglets for CityJet

CityJet plans to take delivery of the 98-seat Sukhoi Superjet 100 in March 2016. The Irish regional airline is negotiating for 15 Superjets with 10 options.

DUBAI: Embraer details plan for E2 test fleet

Embraer plans to build six test aircraft as part of the E2 E-Jet re-engining program: four of the E190-E2 variant and two of the E195-E2. Both E195-E2s and three of the E190-E2s would be ready by end of 2016, with the fourth following in 2017. The Pratt & Whitney PW1900G will power the planes, and Dutch lessor AerCap will be the launch customer for the 97-seat E190-E2.

DUBAI: USAF secretary to redouble efforts on sluggish FMS process

US Air Force secretary Deborah Lee James says industry and regional partners voiced complaints that the approval process for US foreign military sales is slow.

Military spend outshines orders at Dubai Airshow

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Air Force bought two Saab Global 6000 long-range surveillance aircraft, and will upgrade two existing Saab 340 jets. Lebanon will purchase six Embraer Super Tucano aircraft for basic missions and training. Boeing says five customers are interested in its Maritime Surveillance Aircraft, a long-range spying plane. Lockheed Martin was awarded a $262.8 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to service Saudi Arabia’s F-15 sniper targeting system.

Emirates Airline Selects Cirrus Aircraft SR22 for Flight Training Academy Fleet

Emirates Flight Training Academy is going to use a fleet of twenty-two Cirrus SR22 aircraft for its flight training program.

U.S. Tries to Block United’s Acquiring More Slots at Newark

United Continental Holdings Inc. wants to buy 24 slots at Newark Liberty International Airport, from Delta Air Lines Inc. The U.S. Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit to block the sale.

Justice Department antitrust chief Bill Baer says, “Allowing United to acquire even more slots at Newark would fortify United’s monopoly position and weaken the ability of other airlines to compete. That would leave the 35 million air passengers who fly in and out of Newark every year holding the bag.”

Frontier, Spirit Airlines raise bag fees for holidays

Last year, ultra low cost carrier Spirit Airlines began increased bag fees for the holidays, and they are doing the same this year. Frontier Airlines is also increasing their bag fees, but not just for the holidays. Frontier says they’ll charge a higher fee during the college spring break season, and during the summer travel season, from June 9 through Aug. 16.

Senator blasts airlines for holiday bag-fee boost; Frontier chief strikes back

Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, the ranking Democrat on the Senate’s transportation committee sent letters to major airline CEOs asking them not to raise bag fees. Nelson wrote, “These increased surcharges fly in the face of declining fuel costs and appear focused on increasing profitability on the backs of American families,”

Airplane of the Week

Dassault Rafale

Dassault Rafale

This week David looks at the tip of the spear for the Armee de L’Air, the Dassault Rafale.

Across the Pond

Vueling

Pieter welcomes back Diego López-Salazar from Aeropodcast to talk about his recent visit to Airbus and their Innovation Day presentations. They talk about some of the non-flying innovations Airbus is creating that may well find uses in other industries, such as Airbus Glasses, waste compactors, and paper cable ties. Pieter and Diego also get a short discussion in on the latest British Airways news, that IAG owned Vueling boss Alex Cruz is to become Chairman and Chief Executive of British Airways.

Follow the Spanish-language Aeropodcast on Twitter and Facebook.

Mentioned

Terrafugia founder Carl Dietrich appears in the movie Back in Time,” a documentary tribute to the Back to the Future movie series. The film is available on Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes, with tour dates running through November 24th. (The Terrafugia segment starts at 1:13:30 if you want to skip straight to it.)

Connie’s 60th Birthday Start Up

25 Things You Didn’t Know About Air Force One

New Routes Mean More Noise for Some Homes Near Airports

Credit

Post photo Airbus A319 Czech Airlines OK-MEK courtesy aerosoft.

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

AirplaneGeeks 341 Youthful and Enthusiastic Airline Geeks

Solar Impulse 2 over Abi Dhabi

A young aviator makes his mark online, the Internet of Things creeps into aviation, Spirit Airlines plans to expand, a secret airport security check, and the Solar Impulse 2 starts an around the world journey.

Guest

Daniel Morley is a college student studying Human Factors in Aviation at Nova Southeastern University, and he’s training to become a commercial pilot. Daniel is also the Social Media Manager at Airline Geeks. He helps manage social media, pushes articles, interacts with readers, and occasionally writes articles.

Follow Daniel at @MorleyThePilot on Twitter and visit his Facebook page.

News

The Internet of Things, coming soon to an airline near you

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept where physical things in our lives have sensors and computational power, but they are also interconnected and share information. This article looks at some of the ways that IoT might impact the airline industry.

Growing Spirit Airlines to hire 1,500 workers in 2015

Spirit Airlines calls itself an Ultra Low Cost Carrier, and they plan to bring on new aircraft and flights in 2015. To do that they need more people – 1,500 more people in 2015, 500 of them flight attendants.

TSA Secretly Interrogates International Travelers, Miami Activist Says

Jonathan Corbett was questioned at Heathrow by an American Airlines security contractor, who asked why he was traveling and for how long. Corbett was told that if he didn’t answer the questions, he couldn’t board his flight home. In later communication with the airline, he learned that this is program is directed by the DHS/TSA, but the details are SSI, Sensitive Security Information.

Corbett’s blog is TSA Out of Our Pants! and details and documentation are in the post Corbett Sues TSA Over International Security Interview Program.

Solar-power plane airborne on historic round-the-world trip

The Solar Impulse 2 aims to be the first aircraft to fly around the world on solar power. It launched from Abu Dhabi on March 9, 2015 and is planned to take over 5 months to accomplish the planned 25 flight days.

The Australia News Desk

Grant’s back from the Canberra Balloon Spectacular in time for the Melbourne Grand Prix, but it seems Red Bull aren’t happy with how that’s going. Hey, maybe they’ll put money into more aviation events? At least the Qantas 747 handling display was pretty awesome.

Meanwhile, Qantas were the subject of the latest Facebook scam: Thousands fooled by fake Qantas first-class giveaway on Facebook, More than 100,000 people fooled by free Qantas flight scam, Not like! Thousands duped by fake Qantas Facebook offer.

Australia and New Zealand are sending relief flights to Vanuatu after the island was hit hard by Tropical Cyclone Pam.

Listener Recording

Educator Joël Vojenis from Lapalisse (LFHX) France tells us about taking his students on a parabolic flight.

Mentioned

747-400 at HARS

  • Titan-II.com – Dedicated to the men and women of the United States Air Force that served within the Titan II system.

Credit

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

AirplaneGeeks 296 – Go Attend an Air Show

International Council of Air Shows

We talk with John Cudahy, President of the International Council of Air Shows.

The air show industry suffered last year under sequestration with the loss of the military demonstration teams. This year, however, many of the military performers are back, to the benefit of the military and the public. So now the focus is on contingency planning for any possible repeat of the loss of military performers.

We discuss the impact of rising fuel prices on the air show industry, how air show spectator satisfaction is measured, and the annual ICAS convention.

ICAS works to maintain safety at air shows, serves as an information resource on air show issues, provides for the training and continuing education needs of the members and air show professionals generally, and promotes the air show industry to the media, Corporate North America, and the general public.

The week’s aviation news:

Cirrus SR20

Cirrus SR20

In this week’s Australia Desk:

This week the guys are having some fun flying all over the countryside but still managed to bring in a quick report.

Steve and ATC Ben host the segment from the cockpit of a Cirrus SR20, VH-SJA, at 9000 feet and 162 knots on their way up to the annual NatFly event in Temora, New South Wales.  They chat briefly about the flight and the news this week that Avalon Airport in Victoria are trying to pitch themselves as “GA friendly” by offering “discounted” user fees.  And yes, they still charge a fortune to use that airport, along with Essendon, which they also operate.

Grant in his balloon

Grant in his balloon

Grant also drops in with a quick report from on board his hot air balloon at 1,500 feet, which he was flying at Leeton in New South Wales, not too far away from Temora.  Sounds like he was having way too much fun!

Find more from Grant and Steve at the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast, and follow the show on Twitter at @pcdu. Steve’s at @stevevisscher and Grant at @falcon124.

Rob Mark’s Aviation Minute: This week Rob talks about his TSA pre-check experience.

Mentioned:

Listen to the NBAA Flight Plan podcast from the National Business Aviation Association.

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