We talk with the founder and CEO of FlightBridge, which provides booking and reservation technology for services related to General Aviation trips. In the news, we look at pilotless airliners, the purchase of roadable airplane maker Terrafugia, the preliminary report from the NTSB on the recent Icon A5 crash, general aviation safety trends, the outlook for the A380, and Fort Worth delivers last F-16 fighter.
Dudley King is the founder and CEO of FlightBridge Inc. He’s a “repeat entrepreneur” with a historical focus on technology services and consulting.
FlightBridge is a booking and reservation tool for services related to General Aviation trips. As Dudley says “There’s more to a trip than flying a plane and passengers from point A to point B. Rental Cars or limos, catering, crew accommodation, and FBO services are just some of the logistics that must be coordinated and run smoothly for a successful trip.”
FlightBridge supports these efforts with an online booking and operations management tool that is completely tailored to private aviation. FlightBridge was developed with input and feedback from flight department staff, crew members, FBOs, and service providers.
Before founding FlightBridge, Dudley spent over 20 years in custom software development for customers that included several fortune 500 companies and leaders in the aviation industry.
Airbus Chief Technology Officer Paul Eremenko says the company wants to develop autonomous aircraft and technologies that will allow a single pilot to operate commercial jetliners: “We’re pursuing single-pilot operation as a potential option and a lot of the technologies needed to make that happen has also put us on the path towards unpiloted operation.”
Chinese firm Zhejiang Geely Holding Group has acquired Terrafugia. Founder Carl Dietrich moves to chief technology officer and the Transition market entry is planned for 2019, followed by a 4-seater VTOL craft in 2023. See the press release: Zhejiang Geely Holding Group completes acquisition of Terrafugia, Inc.
The NTSB released a preliminary report on the fatal Icon A5 crash of November 7, 2017. The report details data received from the Icon’s onboard “digital data module that recorded basic GPS, engine, and flight parameters. The airplane was also equipped with a Rockwell Collins engine control unit that recorded engine parameters.” The data seems to confirm eyewitness accounts that the pilot was flying as low as 11 feet above the water.
The NTSB reports that in 2016, the general aviation accident rate dropped below 1 fatal accident per 100,000 flight hours. It’s the first time the rate has been that low in 50 years. Most aviation fatalities (almost 94%) occurred in general aviation accidents. Other forms of transport, like cars, trains, and boats, all showed increases. See the NTSB press release: Highway Deaths Lead National Increase in Transportation Fatalities.
Leading up to the Dubai Air Show, the speculation was that Emirates would order between 36 and 38 A380s, but that didn’t happen. Analyst Richard Aboulafia noted that at least 30 aircraft are needed “for annual recurring breakeven.” Sir Tim Clark said Emirates won’t order any more until Airbus assures the airline that it will keep production open for 10 to 15 years.
F-16 production is moving out of Fort Worth. Lockheed needs the room at the plant for the ramp-up of the F-35.
Max and Mary Kirby talk with Ron Chapman, president of ASI Group, which provides low-cost in-flight connectivity solutions to the business aviation market, and is now working in the commercial airline space.
Karl-Heinz Zahorsky and Karl Karbach chronicle their journey around the world with a Piper Malibu. Web page in German and English: Logbook entries, photographs, route maps.
Airbus A380 and the Al Fursan Aerobatic Display Team performing a low flyover of the 2017 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi GP.
Boeing 747 jumbo jet: Pilot farewells the iconic plane. Mark Vanhoenacker is also the author of Skyfaring: A Journey with a Pilot.