Tag Archives: supersonic

782 NASA X-59 Test Pilots

Two X-59 test pilots discuss the NASA X-59 mission, the design and technology of the X-59 aircraft, the role of test pilots, and the challenges of flying supersonic.

The X-59 in flight. Graphic courtesy NASA.
X-59 in flight. NASA image.

Guests

Photo of X-59 test pilot Nils Larson.
David Nils Larson

David “Nils” Larson is a research test pilot at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. He is NASA’s lead pilot for the X-59 aircraft, and is assigned to Armstrong’s F/A-18, F-15, T-34 research and mission support aircraft, and DC-8 airborne science aircraft. Nils also serves as senior advisor for NASA aeronautical flight research. In this role, he is a strategic advisor to program directors for agency mission directorates concerning aeronautics flight research planning, execution, aircraft airworthiness, and risk management for future flight research projects.

Before joining NASA in 2007, Nils was on active duty with the U.S. Air Force. He has accumulated more than 7,000 hours of military and civilian flight experience in more than 100 fixed- and rotary-winged aircraft.

Photo of X-59 test pilot James "Clue" Less.
James “Clue” Less

James “Clue” Less is a research pilot and aerospace engineer at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. He is a project pilot for the X-59 aircraft.

Clue has worked at Armstrong since 2010 conducting flight research and airborne science missions as a pilot for the F-15, F-18, T-34, and King Air, as well as the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a  modified 747SP jetliner, and various remotely piloted aircraft, including the MQ-9 Ikhana and aircraft from the center’s subscale research laboratory.

Before joining NASA, Clue served as an officer and pilot in the U.S. Air Force for nearly 21 years. Upon graduating from Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training, he flew F-111 aircraft at Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico and the F-117 Stealth Fighter at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.

Quesst

Commercial supersonic flight over land is prohibited because the noise of the sonic boom is objectionable. But NASA and Lockheed Martin believe they can turn the boom into a thud by designing the X-59 in a way that manages the shock waves. The NASA Quesst mission has two goals:

  1. To design and build NASA’s X-59 research aircraft which includes technology that will reduce the loudness of the sonic boom.
  2. Fly the X-59 over U.S. cities, collect data from the communities about the sound, and share the public reaction to the quieter sonic “thumps” with the FAA and international regulators. 

The regulators can then consider writing new sound-based rules to lift the ban on supersonic flight over land.

On January 12, 2024, NASA held a public unveiling ceremony for the X-59 supersonic research aircraft.

Video: Rollout of the X-59 Quesst Supersonic Plane (Official NASA Broadcast)

Graphic of expected X-59 sonic noise compared to other sound sources. Courtesy NASA.

Hosts this Episode

Rob Mark and our Main(e) Man Micah.

666 Airline Recovery

The North America Air Transport Reporter with Cirium talks about airline recovery, Boeing, Airbus, and electric aviation. In the news, duct tape on a plane, the preliminary NTSB report on Launchpad Marzari’s crash, options for an upgraded F35 engine, an A330 that tried to take off from a taxiway, and the X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) jet. Also, a women in aviation quiz and how to refuel two B737s with one B747.

Guest

Tom Risen is the North America Air Transport Reporter for Cirium, a global aviation data company. He’s based in Washington, DC, and focuses his insights, analyses, and content on airlines and aerospace manufacturers. Of course, the topic of the moment is the airline recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition to reporting on airline business, Tom’s expertise includes the development of supersonic passenger jets and electric aircraft.

We look at the airline recovery, including bookings, variant infection concerns, and vaccination rates for the general public and at the airlines. Also the impact of international travel restrictions, and leisure versus business travel recovery. Tom talks about the airframers and the different trajectories for narrow-body and wide-body jets. He also shares some of his insights into the emerging electric aircraft, eVTOL, and Urban Air Mobility market.

Tom is the co-author of a forthcoming book about government oversight. He was formerly technology and business reporter at U.S. News & World Report, and a staff reporter for Aerospace America. Tom has also written stories for The Atlantic, The New York Times, and Slate.

Aviation News

When passengers are out of control, flight attendants reach for a last resort: Duct tape

Recent examples of passengers subdued with the sticky tape include an unruly woman on an American Airlines flight and a man on a Frontier Airlines flight who allegedly groped and punched flight attendants. More recently, an American Airlines cabin crew member had duct tape during an incident with a young passenger, although restraint cuffs were used instead. In a statement, the  FAA said, “The flight crew is responsible for cabin safety and has latitude on how to handle individual situations.”

Launchpad, What Were You Thinking?

The NTSB preliminary report raises some questions about the fatal crash of Launchpad Marzari’s Focke-Wulf FWP-149D.

The Pentagon is exploring its options for a more efficient and powerful F-35 engine

The planned F-35 Block 4 upgrades include new weapons, computing technologies, and software. But a Pratt & Whitney F135 engine modernization proposal could be applied to all three variants of the F-35. Pratt described an enhanced engine would provide an 11 percent improvement in range, a 10 percent improvement in thrust, and a 50 percent increase in thermal management – important for stealth.

A330 Almost Took Off On a Taxiway at Newark

The crew was cleared for takeoff but they overshot their runway. As they proceeded down the taxiway at 90 knots, a controller noticed, and the takeoff was aborted.

NASA Timelapse Shows X-59 Supersonic Jet Being Built Over Two Years

The NASA video shows the construction of the X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) jet. Lockheed Martin plans nine months of flight tests in 2022, with aircraft delivery to NASA in 2023. The video shows work being done on the aircraft at Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works factory in Palmdale, California between May 2019 and June 2021.

Prerecorded

Our Main(e) Man Micah brings us two stories in this episode. “And Now Verlla” tells us about the loss of a long-time airplane geek. Then Micah tells a lighthearted story that could be called “The Covert Chocolate War” or “The Fight for the American Palate” or “Launchpad’s Last Chocolates.”

Mentioned

The Business Aviation Quiz: Women In Aviation – This quiz from AviationWeek lets you guess these women who made their place in aviation history.

Sky River™ Helicopters at the American Helicopter Museum & Education Center.

Photo by David Vanderhoof

QANTAS uses 747 to deliver extra fuel to Auckland

661 Bambi Buckets for Aerial Firefighting

We learn about the Bambi Buckets carried by helicopters in aerial firefighting operations. In the news, the wreckage of the cargo jet that made a water landing is located, Richard Branson flies into space, the F-35A wins a Swiss competition and Germany buys the P-8A Poseidon, but China isn’t having a lot of success exporting their fighters, thoughts on supersonic transports, unruly passengers and defense training for flight attendants.

Bambi Buckets produced by SEI Industries Ltd.
The Bambi Bucket, courtesy SEI Industries Ltd.

Guest

Sergio Fukamati is the aerial firefighting director at SEI Industries Ltd., maker of Bambi Buckets. SEI Industries is an industrial fabric products manufacturer established in 1978 and best known for its Bambi Bucket Systems used in aerial firefighting operations worldwide. These lightweight, strong, and flexible firefighting buckets were first introduced in 1982 and since then have become a very successful firefighting tool. The Bambi Bucket is now used in over 115 countries by more than 1,000 helicopter operators.

Sergio has over 25 years of international business management experience. He is a professional engineer and a registered project management professional. Sergio has led the Aerial Firefighting Division at SEI Industries Ltd, in Delta, BC, Canada since 2017.

SEI Industries – Pushing the Bambi Bucket Further

Video: Wildfires and Bambi Buckets

Video: CAL FIRE MV-22 Osprey Bambi Bucket Demonstration

Aviation News

Wreckage located of Boeing cargo jet that made emergency landing off Hawaii

Transair Flight 810 has been found on the seafloor at depths between 360 and 420 feet, about two miles off the shore. Parts of the Boeing 737-200 cargo plane were located using a Side Scan Sonar and Remotely Operated Vehicle. The wreckage is too deep for divers to recover the flight data and cockpit voice recorders and plans are being developed to recover the aircraft.

Richard Branson goes to space

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson becomes the first billionaire to travel to space aboard a spacecraft he helped fund. Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity space plane landed safely at Spaceport America. Branson announced a partnership with charity fundraising site Omaze where people can donate to the nonprofit Humanity for Space. The winner gets two seats on a Virgin Galactic commercial flight. See Win Two Seats on One of the FIRST Virgin Galactic Flights to Space.

Lockheed’s F-35 Topples Competition in Swiss Fighter Contest

Switzerland has chosen the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter in a $6.5 billion competition against Eurofighter, Dassault, and Boeing. The Swiss Federal Council said the F-35 offered the highest performance for the lowest price, although it noted that the F-35 did not achieve the best performance in the area of offsets.

Germany signs on for Five Boeing P-8A Poseidon Aircraft

This maritime surveillance aircraft sale is under the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process. The P-8A is used for anti-submarine warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and search-and-rescue operations.

The World Doesn’t Want Beijing’s Fighter Jets

China hopes to become a major exporter of fighter jets but hasn’t found much success. Most countries don’t want to partner with Beijing. Between 2000 and 2020, the United States exported $99.6 billion in military aircraft, Russia exported $61.5 billion, France exported $14.7 billion, while China exported only $7.2 billion worth of military aircraft.

Does Supersonic Flight Have A Future?

This audio report from NPR’s Hear & Now takes a look at supersonic aircraft being developed.

US to require airlines to refund fees on baggage if delayed

The US Department of Transportation plans to propose that airlines would refund baggage fees if they fail to deliver a passenger’s bag within 12 hours of touchdown for US flights, or within 25 hours after an international flight. Also, airlines would have to refund the fees charged for other services if the service was not provided.

TikTok video shows woman on American Airlines plane duct-taped to her seat after she tried to open the door mid-flight

Reportedly, the passenger attacked flight attendants and attempted to open the plane’s front door.

TSA will resume defense training for airline employees

Voluntary classes for airline flight crews were paused in 2020 due to the pandemic. Now the Transportation Security Administration says they will resume in July. The FAA says airlines have reported more than 3,000 incidents involving unruly passengers since January 1, 2021.

Mentioned

Episode 82 – Rainbows and Unicorns

توظيف الذكاء الاصطناعي برسم مستقبل النقل الجوي بأميركا [or David in the press.]

636 Boeing Criminal Fine

Boeing agrees to pay a $2.5 Billion settlement for criminal charges relating to the 737 MAX MCAS system, the FAA issued final rules for supersonic aircraft testing, Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary says the government mismanaged travel restrictions, flight attendant unions are concerned about disruptive air travelers and the FAA responds with a stern warning, initial reports from the Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182 crash, and on a lighter note, the TSA celebrates agency canines in a 2021 calendar.

Aviation News

Boeing Charged with 737 Max Fraud Conspiracy and Agrees to Pay over $2.5 Billion

Boeing Reaches $2.5 Billion Settlement With U.S. Over 737 Max

The Boeing Company has entered into an agreement with the Department of Justice to resolve a criminal charge related to a conspiracy to defraud the Federal Aviation Administration’s Aircraft Evaluation Group (FAA AEG) in connection with the FAA AEG’s evaluation of Boeing’s 737 MAX airplane.

Boeing entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) in connection with criminal information that charges the company with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Under the terms of the DPA, Boeing will pay a total criminal monetary amount of over $2.5 billion:

  • A criminal monetary penalty of $243.6 million, 
  • compensation payments to Boeing’s 737 MAX airline customers of $1.77 billion, 
  • and the establishment of a $500 million crash-victim beneficiaries fund to compensate the heirs, relatives, and legal beneficiaries of the 346 passengers who died in the Boeing 737 MAX crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.

The tragic crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 exposed fraudulent and deceptive conduct by employees of one of the world’s leading commercial airplane manufacturers. 

Boeing’s employees chose the path of profit over candor by concealing material information from the FAA concerning the operation of its 737 Max airplane and engaging in an effort to cover up their deception. This resolution holds Boeing accountable for its employees’ criminal misconduct, addresses the financial impact to Boeing’s airline customers, and hopefully provides some measure of compensation to the crash-victims’ families and beneficiaries.

Acting Assistant Attorney General David P. Burns of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

Aviation analysts react to Boeing criminal fine

Aviation consultant Scott Hamilton (our guest in episode 398) says the penalty is a “slap on the wrist.” He notes that Airbus paid nearly twice that for a bribery case and there were no fatalities involved there. Hamilton wants to see leadership changes at Boeing.

Charles Herrmann, a lawyer representing more than 50 families of 737 crash victims says the fine is appropriate. Boeing has already suffered financially and doesn’t need to be put out of business. “He blames Boeing’s problems on a change in culture that began when they moved headquarters to Chicago.”

See Jon Ostrower’s The Air Current piece Boeing’s MCAS on the 737 Max may not have been needed at all for many insights.

Individuals who believe they may be an heir, relative, or legal beneficiary of one of the Lion Air Flight 610 or Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 passengers in this case should contact the Fraud Section’s Victim Witness Unit by email at: Victimassistance.fraud@usdoj.gov or call (888) 549-3945.

FAA issues rules for supersonic jet flight testing in the US

Press Release – FAA Announces Final Rule to Facilitate the Reintroduction of Civil Supersonic Flight

On January 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a final rule (PDF) to facilitate the safe development of civil supersonic aircraft. The government says the rule is intended to streamline the application procedure for special flight authorizations to operate in excess of Mach 1 over land in the United States by 

  • Amending the administrative requirements for a special flight authorization,
  • clarifying the information that is needed for submission,
  • and specifying the program office within the FAA that processes the applications.

Outside the special flight authorizations under this final rule, the FAA continues generally to prohibit civil supersonic flight over land in the United States. In place since 1973.

This item came to our attention through an issue of Starburst Weekly, the newsletter of Starburst, a global aerospace accelerator.

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary says airline’s flights have collapsed from 2,000 a day to 10 but claims summer holidays WILL go ahead

From 2,000 flights per day to “ten or twenty” starting January 21, 2021 is an enormous drop. Covid reductions are catastrophic to the travel industry but O’Leary anticipates that with vaccine availability, by the summer air travel should rebound. He opined that the failure of the Government to end travel restrictions was “beyond him” and it is “one of the great contradictions of the Government’s mismanagement of the Covid travel restrictions.”

Flight attendant union wants pro-Trump rioters barred from flights

FAA chief issues stern warning to travelers after politically-motivated flight disruptions

The president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, Sara Nelson, (our guest in episode 545) said “The mob mentality behavior that took place on several flights to the D.C. area yesterday was unacceptable and threatened the safety and security of every single person onboard.”

On an American Airlines flight to Dulles International Airport, passengers shouted and cursed at each other. The flight attendant had to turn up the cabin lights and ordered passengers to return to their seats. On a Delta Air Lines flight carrying Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, some passengers started chanting “traitor.” Alaska Airlines banned 14 passengers on a Washington D.C.-Seattle flight.

in a statement, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said.“The FAA will pursue strong enforcement action against anyone who endangers the safety of a flight, with penalties ranging from monetary fines to jail time.” Passengers can face fines of up to $35,000.

The message here is clear: Do what the crew tells you to do and don’t argue. It doesn’t matter what the issue is, or if you are right and somebody else is wrong. Do what the crew says or you face serious consequences.

The Sriwijaya Air Crash: A Brief Rundown of What We Know

Sriwijaya Air Flight SJ182: Hope for survivors fades as plane wreckage found off Indonesian coast

Indonesian LCC Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182 with 62 people on board (50 PAX, 12 crew) crashed into the water off the Indonesian coast about five minutes into its flight. Four minutes after departing Jakarta, the Boeing 737-500 lost over 10,000 feet of altitude in less than a minute. Bad weather was reported in the area. Some wreckage and human remains have been found. A navy ship detected the emergency signals from the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder.

TSA’s 2021 dog calendar stars airport pups. Here’s how to get a free copy

The Transportation Security Administration has more than 400 canine teams at airports around the country. Now you can see photos and learn fun facts about thirteen of the dogs with the 2021 TSA Canine Calendar [PDF]. For each dog, you’ll find the dog’s name, breed, airport, handler, favorite treat and favorite toys.

Pipistrel G4
Pipistrel G4

Mentioned

Wendover Airfield

Wild Nevada – Episode 411: Wendover to Elko, a PBS video that aired in 2018.

The Pentagon Has 6 Months to Disclose What It Knows About UFOs

590 Richard Aboulafia

David Neeleman’s new airline, Breeze Aviation; Boeing’s board of directors, the 737 MAX, the NMA, and the FSA; United’s flight school purchase; NASA’s experimental X-59 jet and the prospects for supersonic transport; and a Southwest Airlines Teddy bear. Plus, the Igor Sikorsky Weekend Fly-In, other upcoming aviation events, the EAA mobile unit, carbon monoxide detectors and pulse oximetry, and a physics lesson.

Guest

Richard Aboulafia

Richard Aboulafia

Richard Aboulafia is Vice President, Analysis at Teal Group. He manages consulting projects for clients in the commercial and military aircraft field, and has advised numerous aerospace companies. He also writes and edits Teal’s World Military and Civil Aircraft Briefing, a forecasting tool covering over 135 aircraft programs and markets. Richard also writes publicly about the aviation field, with numerous articles in Aviation Week, Aerospace America, and other publications. Frequently cited as an aviation industry authority by trade and news publications, he has appeared on numerous television news programs and has spoken at a wide variety of conferences.

Aviation News

JetBlue founder unveils new, Utah-based ‘world’s nicest airline’

The new airline being started by David Neeleman will be known as Breeze Aviation, headquartered in Utah. Neeleman’s previous startups include Morris Air, WestJet, JetBlue, and Azul. Breeze will nonstop fly between currently underserved airports. Breeze ordered 60 new Airbus 220-300 aircraft, with deliveries beginning in April 2021. The company leased 30 Embraer 195 aircraft from Azul, which will be delivered starting May 2020.

Experts question whether Boeing’s board of directors is capable of righting the company

Some think the Boeing board took a long time to fire Muilenberg. Is that an indicator of the board’s ability to deal with the crisis Boeing faces? New CEO Dave Calhoun says the board repeatedly considered confidence, but then in December decided it was lost. Richard Aboulafia was quoted: “The board you see today was largely created by McNerney, and he packed it with people with zero engineering experience.”

United Airlines buys flight-training academy to speed up hiring of 10,000 pilots

United Airlines needs to hire more than 10,000 pilots during the next decade. The airline is buying the Westwind School of Aeronautics in Phoenix, a flight-training academy, with plans to bring student pilots into the academy with zero flight experience to become fully-rated commercial pilots.

NASA’s experimental X-59 supersonic jet could be built by the end of 2020

The X-59 QueSST is designed to test “quiet” supersonic transport over land. The aircraft was approved for final assembly in 2019. NASA commissioned Lockheed Martin to build the plane and they expect to have it completed by the end of 2020. First flight is expected in 2021.

Video: Quiet Supersonic X-Plane

Unbearably cute: A boy lost his teddy bear on a Southwest flight – so the airline sent him a new one

 After a young boy lost his favorite Teddy bear on a Southwest flight during the Thanksgiving holiday, his mother took to social media to try and locate the Teddy. The airline assigned an employee to find the bear but after an investigation, the Teddy couldn’t be located. So the corporate office decided to send the boy a new Teddy bear along with a storyline on how it was coming to live with the boy.

Mentioned

Igor I. Sikorsky Weekend Fly-In at The Bradford Camps on Munsungun Lake in northern Maine.  Meals and private lodging in waterfront cabins are included. July 10-12,  2020.

College Park Aviation Museum

That Last Decade, by Courtney Miller.

The Air Current Expands with new analysis, new director

The Experimental Aircraft Association will deliver the excitement of flight throughout the United States in 2020 as EAA’s “Spirit of Aviation” mobile unit, sponsored by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), visits numerous events in 2020. The traveling experiential exhibit introduces EAA to enthusiasts through aviation activities for people of all ages.

AOPA’s 2020 Fly-ins (now in AvGeekFests.com)

#StormCiara at London Heathrow – 20+ Go-Arounds and Crosswind Landings!!

 

578 Aircraft Certification

The president and CEO of AeroTEC explains the process for engineering, testing, and aircraft certification. In the news, Boeing expects deliveries of the 737 MAX to resume in December 2019, the FAA has a new ADS-B privacy policy, WOW rises from the ashes as Icelandic LCC Play, and a gender reveal stunt ends in a crash. Also, the Commemorative Air Force’s first Air Force One, the Evolution Turbine, comments on Garmin’s Autoland, and the Sukhoi Superjet 100.

Guest

Lee Human, president and CEO of AeroTEC, provider of aircraft certification services

Lee Human, AeroTEC president and CEO.

Lee Human is president and CEO of AeroTEC, an independent provider of initial engineering, design, prototype manufacturing, testing, and airworthiness certification. The company uses in-house instrumentation, software, tools, and processes throughout the projects.

We discuss aircraft certification: what it is and how it takes place within the overall design and development process of a new aircraft or aircraft modification. Lee explains organizational delegation and why there is a partnership between the FAA and the manufacturer. We talk about the independence of the decisions DERs make and the establishment by the FAA of the roles in the compliance review community.

Since aircraft certification is a current topic as it relates to the Boeing 737 MAX, we take the opportunity to consider if larger quality system issues are the root of recent aircraft problems. Lee discusses the certification criteria used for the 737 MAX and the possible impact of a long legacy design history.

Lee explains why OEMs come to AeroTEC for services, and he tells us about some of the new initiatives, such as electric aircraft projects with magniX (see episode 524 where we talked with CEO Roei Ganzarski) and Eviation. He also touches on the Supersonic Flight Alliance which seeks to provide a space for responsible supersonic development in Washington State.

Lee has been personally involved in the testing, engineering, and certification of over 50 major aerospace projects, including Aviation Partners’ Blended Winglets on the B737, B757, and B767 as well as Gulfstream, Hawker, and Falcon aircraft. Lee also worked on the Lockheed Martin Cooperative Avionics Test Bed (CATB) 737-300 with F35 (JSF) systems, the Hawker Beechcraft King Air 250, and the Mitsubishi MRJ type certificate.

Prior to starting AeroTEC in 2003, Lee was flight test manager at Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) and before that he was a lead engineer at Aircraft Engineering Specialists (AES).

Lee is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Engineering and has earned credentials as an FAA DER, as well a private multi-engine instrument pilot’s license.

Aviation News

Boeing expects to resume 737 Max deliveries in December and commercial service green light in January

Boeing said 737 MAX deliveries should resume in early December 2019. Airlines could start flying the plane in January. Recently, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines pulled the 737 MAX from their schedules until early March. A Boeing spokesman said, “We know they need more time to get their fleets ready and pilots trained, but the plane and training [approvals] will both be done by January, permitting commercial service.” The Federal Aviation Administration reiterated that its officials “have set no timeframe for when the work will be completed.”

What FAA’s New ADS-B Privacy Policy Means for Business Aviation Operators

A new Privacy ICAO Address (PIA) will be available on January 1, 2020, on 1090 MHz ADSB-Out in U.S. domestic airspace. This will happen in two phases: First, business and general aviation operators will be able to apply for the program directly through the FAA. Later, the FAA will transition the service to a “third-party service provider.” The FAA commented, “The NBAA and members of the GA community have cited the lack of privacy as a barrier to ADS-B Out equipage. In order to mitigate these concerns, the FAA has initiated the Privacy ICAO Address program with the objective of improving the privacy of aircraft operators in today’s ADS-B environment by limiting the extent to which the aircraft can be quickly and easily identified by non-U.S. government entities, while ensuring there is no adverse effect on ATC services.”

New Airline PLAY Paints WOW Red

New low-cost carrier PLAY will operate the A320 family, flying both passenger and freight. As did WOW, the airline plans to fly east and west from Iceland. When the fleet grows to six by spring serving Europe, PLAY will then look at North American routes in the Summer. See also Play Plans to Expand Fast.

Gender Reveal Stunt Injures Pilot, Damages Plane

An expecting couple planned to have an Air Tractor 602 aerial application aircraft spray pink dyed water to announce they would be having a girl. That part worked, but what happened next was unplanned.

Report

Reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari speaks with Nick Widenkoff at Wings Over Dallas about the first Air Force One, an Aero Commander. To learn more about this aircraft, visit Ike’s Bird and the Commemorative Air Force.

Mentioned

Troubled Russian Plane Makes Emergency Landing After Engine Failure

Delta Airlines Safety Card Safety Video (2019)

Evolution Turbine

Austin Meyer’s Evolution Turbine

Austin Meyer's Evolution Turboprop

Austin Meyer’s Evolution Turboprop.

Xavion

Avionics: When all else fails an app that helps you glide to safety

560 Aircraft Valuation with VREF

We talk with the president of VREF about aircraft valuation. In the news, we look at a replacement for the Fat Albert C-130, an electric airplane being developed by Solar Impulse 2 pilot André Borschberg, EASA concerns with the 737 MAX, additive manufacturing in aerospace, and a supersonic flight challenge that is not about the boom. We also have interviews with a Boeing T-X experimental test pilot and a Major General with the Japanese Ministry of Defense on the C-2 transport aircraft.

Guest

Jason Zilberbrand, president of VREF.

Jason Zilberbrand, president of VREF.

Jason Zilberbrand is president & CTO of VREF Aircraft Value Reference and Appraisal Services. He is an aircraft appraiser, expert witness, broker, inventorying dealer, acquisition agent, aircraft owner and operator, contract negotiator, consultant, teacher, conference speaker, and an author.

VREF delivers aircraft and engine data through online subscription services and published quarterly digests. The company provides valuations, appraisals, and litigation consulting services to a worldwide client base of aviation professionals including, law firms, banks, financial institutions, leasing companies, manufacturers, aircraft owners, aircraft operators, and suppliers. VREF is the official Valuation Guide and Appraisal company for AOPA.

Jason says that VREF tracks about 6800 models and 440 makes. He explains how aircraft valuation is determined, who wants to see the appraisal and why. He touches on how experimental and low volume aircraft are handled, including warbirds. We take a look at the current “seller’s market” and also consider the implications of large numbers of turbine aircraft that are not ADS-B compliant.

VREF is launching a new-from-the-ground-up application that will provide scrap value. VREF is also switching to a tiered service model. Tier 1 will continue the traditional service while Tier 2 will add fair market value and inventory. Orderly liquidation and future residual values come with Tier 3.

Jason is watching the growth of electric aircraft, and the company is even bringing in a couple of drone appraisers. VREF is also adding cybersecurity capability to provide flight department assessments.

Jason spent 25 years in General Aviation working directly with aircraft owners and operators. He owned and operating his own aircraft as well. Jason knows the international aviation marketplace well and is considered an expert in aircraft valuations and aircraft transactions.

Founded in 1994, VREF is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa with offices in Chicago, Rockford, Los Angeles, Boise, Daytona Beach Florida, Austria, Switzerland, Australia, and Shanghai China.

Aviation News

Blue Angels to Receive Upgraded ‘Fat Albert’ from the UK

Blue Angels retire beloved Fat Albert after more than 30,000 flight hours

The Blue Angels C-130T support aircraft known as Fat Albert is scheduled to be replaced in 2020 with a C-130J purchased from the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence for $29.7million. A new C-130J would cost $50 million more.

An Aviation Pioneer Goes All In on Electric Planes

André Borschberg (our guest in Episode 361) and Bertrand Piccard flew around the world in the Solar Impulse 2. Now Borschberg has started a new company called H55 to build practical electric airplanes, starting with a two-seater that achieves a 90 minute flight time. The Bristell Energic flight trainer is a modified version of a BRM Aero airplane.

Boeing 737 Max’s Autopilot Has Problem, European Regulators Find

Reportedly, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has raised five issues with the 737 MAX:

Previously disclosed issues:

  • difficulty turning the manual trim wheel
  • AOA sensor unreliability
  • inadequate training procedures
  • a microprocessor software issue raised by the FAA

And now:

  • the autopilot failing to disengage in certain emergencies

These haven’t been made public and the sources are anonymous. It is not known if they are hard requirements for return to service, or discussion points.

The FAA, EASA, Canada, and Brazil have a tentative agreement that the return to service should be closely coordinated. Public trust.

Long before the Max disasters, Boeing had a history of failing to fix safety problems

The Washington Post reports that the FAA had been frustrated by the number of safety issues at Boeing and the company’s repeated failure to rectify the situation as agreed. That led to a 2015 settlement agreement that bundled all the problems with one $12 million fine and one corrective action plan for systemic issues. But the degree to which Boeing has lived up to the agreement is being questioned.

NASA Invests in 3D Printing for Aviation

Carnegie Mellon University’s Next Manufacturing Center and Manufacturing Futures Initiative (MFI) has been selected by NASA to lead a research team to examine new ways to build and power aircraft of the future. Metals additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing “has had a significant impact on aviation manufacturing for jet engine components, airframe structural elements, and other applications.” 

The project will explore new methods for using additive manufacturing to reduce costs and increase the speed of mass-producing aircraft without sacrificing quality, reliability, and safety. Process qualification is a challenge and a focus area.

Partners include Argonne National Laboratory, ANSYS, Lockheed Martin, Trumpf, Eaton, General Electric, Pratt & Whitney, Northrop Grumman, Metal Powder Works, Siemens, Materials Solutions and The Barnes Group.

Video: SLM®500 Metal Additive Manufacturing System

 

Supersonic flight meets another challenge besides noise reduction

Developers of supersonic airplanes have to deal with the sonic boom problem, but there is another issue looming: increased carbon footprint. Fuel burned per passenger is high with the speedy new designs. Boom Supersonic has addressed this by stating the company’s commitment to green aviation and an alternative fuel partnership with Prometheus Fuels.

Paris Air Show Interviews

Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari brings us his final two interviews from the Paris Air Show.

Matthew (Phat) Giese, Chief Pilot F15/F22 Programs and T-X Experimental Test Pilot talks about the Boeing T-X that will replace the T-38.

Boeing T-X

Boeing T-X, courtesy Boeing.

Masahito Goto, Ph.D., Major General, Deputy Director General, Japanese Ministry of Defense talks about the C-2 Transport Aircraft.

C-2

C-2, courtesy ATLA.

Shout Outs

David Hamilton, last living WWII Pathfinder pilot drops paratroopers out of C-47 on his 97th birthday.

97 year old (on July 20, 2019) Lt Col David Hamilton, enlisted on December 8, 1941.  Dave then trained as a C-47 pilot and then later as a Pathfinder pilot. Pathfinder aircrews were specially trained WWII aircrews who flew C-47s that had cutting edge navigational equipment. Prior to the major airborne operations in the European Theater of Operation, these aircrews were tasked with dropping in specially trained pathfinder paratroopers to set up radar equipment on the drop zones to which the other C-47s would navigate when carrying in the main force of the airborne troops.  Dave did this function during Operation Overlord at Normandy on D-Day, Operation Dragoon in Southern France, and Operation Market Garden in Holland. Dave also led in the aircraft for the supply drop to the 101st Airborne when they were surrounded at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. (Dave led in 27 planes and led out 9 on that mission.) Sadly, Dave is the last living Pathfinder pilot who flew all those missions.

Lt Col David Hamilton and Christine Negroni.

Lt Col David Hamilton and past guest Christine Negroni with the D-Day Squadron at Waterbury-Oxford Airport. Photo by Max Flight.

Dave just returned from England and France where he flew across the English Channel in a WWII veteran aircraft (C-53) as part of the D-Day Squadron formation of American C-47s and C-53s which flew across the channel on 5 June.  Dave was actually at the controls of the C-53 for part of that flight 75 years after he made his original D-Day flight. (Yes, the pathfinders did take off on 5 June 1944) When Dave was in England, he was honored in North Witham by folks who live near where the RAF base from which he flew the D-Day mission was located and was a guest at the ceremonies at the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach on June 6.  Dave was pretty much treated like a rock star everywhere he went in England and France!!

Dave and the 75th anniversary of D-Day are going to be honored again at this year’s 5 October Wings Out West Airshow in Dave’s home town of Prescott, Arizona where another  WWII D-Day veteran, the C-53 “D-Day Doll”, will be doing a drop of WWII type paratroopers to honor Dave and the 75th anniversary of D-Day.   Also, Dave is going to be inducted into the San Diego Air and Space Museum Hall of Fame in November and he has been invited by the CAF to be in one of the WWII aircraft that will overfly the Mall in Washington D.C. during the 75th celebration of VE day in May 2020.

D-Day Doll

D-Day Doll. Photo by Max Flight.

Dave is also going to be in the cockpit of a C-47 near Frederick Oklahoma dropping the Airborne Demonstration Team’s (ADT) WWII  style paratroopers on July 20, 2019, which happens to be Dave’s 97th birthday. The Frederick Oklahoma airfield is the home of Frederick Army Air Field (FAAF)  which still has a wonderful WWII era wooden hanger in which sit a couple of C-47s, various WWII vehicles. FAAF is the home of the ADT’s WWII style jump school, complete with all the paraphernalia such a jump school would need, such as parachute packing tables, training hangers, mess hall, classroom, barracks, etc.  When one walks into the FAAF hanger one steps back in time 75 years. ADT runs WWII style jump schools several times a year. July 20th will also be ADT’s “Open Hangar Day” for the graduation ceremony for the jumpers who have completed the 5 jumps required to graduate from their July Jump School.

Come on out to FAAF for a great story about the last living Pathfinder dropping paratroopers on his 97th birthday.

The last RED Bull Air race is this weekend 13-14 July, 2019

You can watch it on Red Bull TV, and we will be pulling for friends-of-the-podcast Micheal Goulian, Kirby Chambliss, and Patrich Davidson in the challenger class.

Mentioned

Opposing Bases Air Traffic Talk #80, Bay Area Flying With Max Trescott.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

502 Electric and Solar Aircraft from Bye Aerospace

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

Bye Aerospace Sun Flyer Electric Aircraft

The Sun Flyer electric aircraft prototype. Courtesy Bye Aerospace.

Guest

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aviation News

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

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

Third flight in three weeks diverted because of damaged window

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

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

Several companies are working on supersonic aircraft:

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

Listener Recordings

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

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

Interview

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

Mini-Jet Airshows

Mini-Jet Airshows

Mentioned

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

Mercury 13 documentary on Netflix.

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

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

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

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

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

463 Boom Supersonic

The founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic explains commercial supersonic air travel. In the news, we look at a push out of FAA reauthorization, a court ruling on airline seat size, a NASA supersonic demonstrator, a couple of aircraft carriers, and United Airlines.

Boom Supersonic

Boom Supersonic

Guest

Blake Scholl is founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic, the Denver startup seeking to build a commercially viable supersonic passenger aircraft.

We talk about the restrictions that have prevented supersonic flights over the United States, and how modern manufacturing methods allow supersonic airplanes to be built with much lower operating costs than was the case with the Concorde.

Blake describes how Boom aims to build a small supersonic airliner that is accessible and affordable, and not “a flying gas can with a billionaire in the front of it.” We look at the tradeoff between loudness and efficiency, as well as propulsion and airframe issues, and the objectives of the “Baby Boom” demonstrator. First flight of that ⅓ scale aircraft is targeted for late 2018.

Boom looks to have the full size 55-seat supersonic airplane in air at the end 2020, with first delivery to launch customer Virgin in late 2023. Blake tells us that Boom has 76 pre-orders across 5 airlines.

Prior to establishing Boom Supersonic, Blake held leadership roles at Amazon.com, and he was co-founder and CEO at Kima Labs, which was acquired by Groupon. Blake is an avid pilot and holds a BS in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University.

Isaac Alexander at Boom Supersonic HQ June 2017, looking through the aircraft in virtual reality.

Isaac Alexander at Boom Supersonic HQ June 2017, looking through the aircraft in virtual reality.

Boom Supersonic engine model.

Boom Supersonic engine model.

Aviation News

House pushes back must-pass aviation bill to September

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) says House action on the FAA reauthorization bill will be pushed back to September.

Citizens for Ontime Flights radio ad takes BizAv to task for paying nothing:

Court Rules the FAA Must Reconsider Regulating Airline Seat Size

The Flyers Rights passenger group asked FAA to write rules governing seat space. The FAA rejected the request, saying it was a comfort issue, not a safety issue. Now a three-judge federal appeals court in Washington has sided with Flyers Rights and it goes back to the FAA for a better response.

NASA Has a Way to Cut Your Flight Time in Half

A small-scale model of the NASA/Lockheed supersonic jet was tested in the wind tunnel in June. NASA will take bids in August to construct a 94 ft. demonstration model, and expects to spend $390 million to build and test the demo plane.

Aircraft carrier Ford successfully lands and launches its first flight

The USS Gerald R. Ford launched and recovered its first fixed-wing flight, an F/A-18F Superhornet from the Air Test and Evaluation Squad based at Patuxent River, Maryland. The carrier employs new technology, including the advanced arresting gear system (AAG) and an electromagnetic launch system, (EMALS).

Up close with a US super carrier and the pilots fresh from combat operations

The USS George HW Bush is participating with the Royal Navy in the Saxon Warrior exercise. Lt Cdr Michael Tremel of the Strike Fighter Squadron VFA-87 Golden Warriors shot down a Syrian Su-22 Fitter, the first US air-to-air kill since a USAF F-16 shot down a Serbian MiG-29 in 1999, during the Kosovo campaign.

United Airlines Reports Second-Quarter 2017 Performance

UAL reported second-quarter revenue of $10.0 billion, net income of $818 million, diluted earnings per share of $2.66, pre-tax earnings of $1.3 billion, and pre-tax margin of 12.7 percent.

Mentioned

ABCI (Aviation Business Consultants Inc.) is looking for great aviation freelance writers who can create press releases, articles, and blog posts for aviation industry clients.

Politico Morning Transportation

Aviation Geek Fest Seattle 2017 is Happening! – AirlineReporter

Tesla Model S is being used as chase car to launch spy planes on Royal Air Force base

Video: U-2 Spy Plane Vertical Take Offs at RAF Fairford

Three High School Students Awarded Founder’s Innovation Prize

Credit

Intro music courtesy Brother Love from his Album Of The Year CD. Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps. All Boom Supersonic photos courtesy Isaac Alexander.

 

460 Aviation Social Media and Freelance Writing

Dan Pimentel tells us about the #Oshbash social media meetup coming up at Airventure Oshkosh 2017. We also look into freelance writing for aviation publications and the Airplanista Aviation Blog. In the news, we talk about support for supersonic civil air travel in the FAA reauthorization bills before Congress, ATC privatization, United Airlines in the press again, and Turkey’s first female professional acrobatics pilot.

Guest

Dan Pimentel

Dan Pimentel

Dan Pimentel is a long-time aviation journalist, photographer, and graphic designer. He is the founder/publisher/editor of the Airplanista Aviation Blog, and you can find his features, columns and news items in publications like Flying Magazine, AOPA Pilot, EAA Sport Aviation, Air & Space Smithsonian, HAI’s Rotor Magazine, Cessna Flyer, and Piper Flyer Magazine.

Dan tells us about the Airplanista #Oshbash Social Media Meetup and Networking Event at Airventure Oshkosh 2017. This year’s #Oshbash is sponsored by Aircraft Spruce & Specialty.

We also explore freelance writing for aviation publications, look at the process, and learn some tips for success. Along the way, we discuss ATC privatization, rivets and clecos, preserving EAA history, the importance of collegiate aviation programs, and how airshow performers physically and mentally prepare for the task.

College Aviation Programs Are a Pilot Pipeline

Fitness Secrets of the Airshow Stars

Aircraft Spruce’s Jim Irwin to sponsor #Oshbash 2017

We also touch on ATC positions available at FAA. See: The FAA Shines Light On Women of ATC

Aviation News

Congress Eyes Future of Supersonic Travel

Since 1973, there has been a ban on supersonic travel in the U.S. over land. However, both FAA reauthorization bills in Congress direct the FAA to revisit that restriction and determine if changes need to be made. An amendment to the House bill directs the FAA to “consider the needs of the aerospace industry and other stakeholders when creating policies, regulations, and standards that enable the safe commercial deployment of civil supersonic aircraft technology and the safe and efficient operation of civil supersonic aircraft.”

United gave toddler’s seat away and made his mom hold him for 3-hour flight

A middle school teacher traveling from Hawaii to a teacher’s conference in Boston purchased a ticket for herself, and one for her two-year-old 25-pound son. Waiting onboard the Houston to Boston leg, she was told another passenger had a valid boarding pass for the son’s seat. Rather than make a scene, the boy flew on her lap for the 3 ½ hour flight. According to a United spokesman, the boy’s boarding pass scan had been unsuccessful and he wasn’t logged in to the system. His seat was released to a standby passenger.

Turkish female acrobatics pilot gives jaw-dropping performance at airshow

26-year-old Semin Öztürk is Turkey’s first female professional aerobatics pilot. She flew to great acclaim at a recent air show organized by the International Sportive Aviation Center and featuring 25 acrobatic pilots from Turkey. She began flying when she was 12 years old and her father was also an aerobatics pilot.

Semin Öztürk Aerobatics 2016

Mentioned

Elderly flight passenger throws coins into engine for “luck,” delays take-off for hours

A bizarre misunderstanding of flight patterns at JFK

Privatizing Air Traffic Control: Constitutionally Speaking

The KC30A RAAF tanker and two F/A18s at Australian International Airshow, courtesy Philip from Melbourne, Australia.

The KC30A RAAF tanker and two F/A18s at Australian International Airshow, courtesy Philip from Melbourne, Australia.

Listen to Episode 54: The Boy Who Loved to Fly from The Way I Heard It podcast with Mike Rowe. (Thanks Jodi Bromer!)

Alan Joyce pie-thrower Tony Overheu fined, ‘banished from church’ after attack on Qantas boss

Credit

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