Tag Archives: TSA

419 Regional Airlines Raise Pilot Pay

Pay for regional pilots, prospects for the A380, Auto-GCAS saving F-16 pilot’s lives, travel security, large airports and GA airplanes, a rebate for ADS-B, and flying the Eclipse 550.


American Airlines raises pay for regional pilots

American Airlines Group subsidiary Envoy Air announced they are raising their starting pay for new hires 47% to $37.90 per hour. AA subsidiary PSA Airlines is increasing starting pay 56% to $38.50 per hour. This is in addition to opportunities for bonuses. First-year pilots can make about $58,000.

Singapore Airlines Won’t Extend Lease on First Airbus A380 Jet

Singapore Airlines operates 19 A380 jets. The first five of them were obtained on a 10-year lease deal. Now Singapore has announced they will not be renewing the lease for the first A380, which expires in October, 2017. The WSJ notes that it “isn’t a fateful blow for the program” but “it is another symbolic hit for the double-deck aircraft.”

Auto-GCAS Saves Unconscious F-16 Pilot—Declassified USAF Footage

An international F-16 student pilot experienced G-induced loss of consciousness, and his aircraft went into a steep supersonic dive with full afterburner. The Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto-GCAS) kicked in and executed a recovery maneuver, saving the pilot. This was the fourth confirmed “save” of an aircraft by the system.

This Muslim Woman Says The TSA Stopped Her At Least 10 Different Times In One Round Trip

25 year-old Zainab Merchant from Gainesville, Florida was traveling with her husband and 6-month-old baby to a wedding in Vancouver, Canada. Over the course of the trip, she and her family experienced many security checks, rechecks, missed flights, they were held overnight, the at times the family was separated.

Pilot Sues SF Airport Over General Aviation

For the last three years, Robert Reinheimer’s Cessna 182 has been the only piston airplane tied down or home-based at San Francisco International Airport. Reinheimer claims the airport is trying to force him out.

ADS-B Rebate Reservation System to go Live

The FAA is offering a rebate reservation system for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) systems. Aircraft owners will be able to apply online for a $500 rebate toward the cost of installing ADS-B Out equipment in their aircraft. A total of 20,000 rebates will be available through the program.


Rob tells us about his flight in the Eclipse 550, and compares it to the original model. He also attended the EAA chapter 932 meeting at Galt Airport, in Greenwood, Illinois, and the AOPA regional Fly-In at Battle Creek, Michigan.

Max West posted his first Facebook Live video from the traffic pattern.

Max East visited the South Dakota Air & Space Museum at Ellsworth AFB, home to B1-B Lancers.

Design a Boeing Dreamliner! Hainan Airlines is hosting a Design Your Own Livery contest in which you can design a paint scheme on a 787 airplane through a custom built web based tool. Whoever wins the contest could get their design painted on a real Boeing 787 Dreamliner airplane, and also get a free business class trip to China.

Listener at Large Launchpad Marzari sent a recording examining the question, “if you fly a drone, are you a pilot or an operator?” To go along with that, he sent a link to Brain Surgeon – That Mitchell & Webb Look , Series 3 – BBC Two.

John Mollison, producer of Old Guys and Their Airplanes sent a nice little animation he made with his new Apple Pencil. It’s a study for an upcoming quick-short featuring an RAF pilot.

Spitfire from 41 Squadron nails a Doodlebug

Navy: Pilot Error Primary Cause of Fatal Blue Angels Crash

A member of the Blue Angels flight demonstration team killed during practice in Tennessee lost control of his fighter jet because it was traveling too fast and then failed to recover because it was too low for the maneuver he was performing, a Navy investigation shows.

China to spend $1 trillion on 6,810 new aircraft

Chinese airlines will spend more than $1 trillion on new aircraft over the next two decades as they seek to meet booming demand for air travel, according to a new forecast by Boeing. Randy Tinseth, a marketing executive at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said that he expects passenger traffic in China to grow by 6.4% a year over the next 20 years.

Gigantic RC Crash SAAB Gripen XXXL 1:2 Scale Model Turbine Jet Fatal End Total Destroyed

Computer Engineering Student Donates Five Million Air Miles to Student Organizations

Ryan Pickren, a senior computer engineering major in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at the Georgia Institute of Technology, is donating five million United Airlines miles to Georgia Tech student organizations that participate in charity work.


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


410 Ask Patrick Smith, He’s a Pilot

An airline pilot and world traveler talks about the theater of air travel, airport security, cockpit automation, and the aesthetics of airliners. In the news, we discuss Farnborough 2016, Airbus, Boeing, and the F-35B. Also, the FAA authorization extension, third class medical reform, and the Boeing B-29 Superfortress known as “Doc.”


Patrick Smith

Patrick Smith

Patrick Smith is an active airline pilot, air travel blogger and author.  He is curator of the Ask the Pilot website, and author of the NY Times bestselling book Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel.”

Patrick has appeared on hundreds of radio and television outlets, including PBS, Discovery Channel, CNN, the BBC, and National Public Radio.  His work is regularly cited in print publications worldwide and he was voted one of the “25 Best Bloggers of 2013” by TIME magazine.

Patrick took his first flying lesson at age fourteen. His first job with an airline came in 1990, when he was hired as a copilot on 15-passenger turboprops earning $850 a month. He has since flown cargo andCockpit Confidential cover passenger jets on both domestic and intercontinental routes.  He has flown the 767, 757, 737, MD-80 and DC-8, plus five different turboprops, including the Dash-8 and ATR.  

Patrick’s self-published punk rock fanzines and poetry journals of the 1980s and 1990s are considered among the more peculiar works of literature ever produced by an airline pilot. He also travels extensively in his spare time, and has visited more than eighty countries.

News from Farnborough 2016

Airbus to cut A380 production rate in 2018

Boeing modifies one MAX model and is seriously studying two more new airplanes

Boeing Strikes Out at the Farnborough Airshow

Five ‘wow’ moments at the world’s ‘greatest’ airshow

First F-35 Flight At Farnborough Airshow by AIRBOYD

Other News

Medical Reform Becomes Law

EAA Reaches Its Goal! Third-Class Medical Reform Now Law!

It wasn’t easy, but B-29 Doc takes to Wichita skies

Airplane of the Week

Part II of the Mirage III: The Exports. David discusses the Mirage IIIE and its export successes. Listen to Part I  on Episode 402.


Mirage III E from the Royal Australian Air Force. TSGT Curt Eddings.


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

405 The Airport Master Planning Process

We continue our discussion of airport topics and look at the airport master planning process. We also talk a lot about the TSA and airport security, as well as psychological testing for airline pilots, a military export control conviction, and a personal experience in a full motion flight simulator.



Jenny Watts, Airport Planner, Armstrong Consultants, Inc.

Jenny Watts is an Airport Planner with Armstrong Consultants, Inc., a professional consulting engineering firm specializing exclusively in airports. She describes the master plans that airports create, how they are used, and who uses them. Jenny also tells us about the Dark Sky initiative and how airports are making adjustments to reduce their contribution to light pollution. She published the white paper titled, Share the Sky – Good Neighbor Tips for Airports Near Dark Sky Communities and Beyond. [PDF]

Jenny has more than eight years of experience with aviation planning, corporate aviation operations, airport administration, and aviation education. Jenny has worked at large commercial service and general aviation airports in the Phoenix-Metro area, and directly contributed to operations, community relations, planning, and business development.

Jenny spent two years at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide as an advisor and adjunct faculty member. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Management Technology Arizona State University, and her Master of Aeronautical Science degree with an emphasis in Aviation Management from Embry-Riddle. She has been affiliated with the Arizona Airports Association for over fifteen years, and Jenny is also a freelance contributing writer for the Arizona Aviation Journal.


California Resident Convicted of Conspiring to Illegally Export Fighter Jet Engines and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to China

Wenxia “Wency” Man of San Diego, has been convicted by a federal jury in the Southern District of Florida of “conspiring to export and cause the export of fighter jet engines, an unmanned aerial vehicle… and related technical data to the People’s Republic of China, in violation of the Arms Export Control Act.

Man conspired to illegally acquire and export to China defense articles including:

  • Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100 engines used in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
  • Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 turbofan engines used in the F-22 Raptor fighter jet
  • General Electric F110-GE-132 engines for the F-16 fighter jet
  • the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Predator B Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
  • technical data for each of these defense articles.

Man faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.  Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 19, 2016.

FAA rules out requiring psychological testing for airline pilots

Administrator Michael Huerta says the FAA will not require psychological testing for airline pilots because he says they only indicate the pilot’s mental health at a point in time. The tests don’t indicate what a pilot may do later.

Airport security:

Explosion at Shanghai Airport Injures at Least Five People

A man tossed a homemade explosive device at the check-in counters at Shanghai Pudong International Airport, then cut his throat with a knife.

Man shot by police at Dallas airport faces assault charges, remains hospitalized

A man outside the Dallas Love Field terminal allegedly “hit his ex-girlfriend and battered her car with a traffic cone and large landscaping rocks.” A police officer arrived with gun drawn and the man approached with rocks in his hands saying, “You’re going to have to shoot.”

Dubai airport shut Saturday for over an hour; 22 flights diverted: executive

Dubai International Airport was closed due to “unauthorized drone activity.” In the UAE, drones are prohibited within 5 km of airports, helipads, landing areas, or manned aircraft.

Warsaw Airport Suspends Landings Briefly Due to Drones

Warsaw’s international airport was shut down for 30 minutes due to two unauthorized drones flying in the area. Poland forbids drones flights within a 20-kilometer (12-mile) radius from airports.


One-third of the world cannot see the Milky Way — why that matters

Plane Talking UK Podcast

What to Eat at 30 North American Airports, Summer 2016

Know Before You Fly – An education campaign founded by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to educate prospective users about the safe and responsible operation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

DHS Comparison Chart – This chart outlines the Trusted Traveler programs offered by the Department of Homeland Security.

Patrick Smith’s Ask The Pilot post TSA’s Summer Meltdown


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


403 Bits & Pieces XVI

This is a Bits & Pieces episode, where we ask the co-hosts and other contributors to provide pre-recorded segments, then we stitch them together and it’s Bits & Pieces.

NASA Interviews

Dr. Richard Wahls and David Vanderhoof

Dr. Richard Wahls and David Vanderhoof

David Vanderhoof spent a day at NASA Langley Research Center (LRC) which is adjacent to Joint Base Langley Eustis, and he recorded several interviews. NASA LRC is leading the charge the revitalize focus on the first “A” in NASA: Aeronautics.

The first interview is with Dr. Richard Wahls, the Advanced Air Vehicles Program Strategic Technical Advisor. David and Dr. Wahls talk about the new X- Plane Program and how it is focusing on environmental issues to make commerical, GA, and military aviation “greener.”

Peter Coen

Peter Coen

The second interview is with Peter Coen, the Commercial Supersonic Technology Project Manager. They talk about “shaping the boom” by changing the shape of the aircraft. While not eliminating the boom, it does reduce its impact on the ground.

David also recorded two other interviews at NASA Langley. He spoke with Dr. Allen about the Autonomy Incubator, and that interview can be found at The UAV Digest.com #145. David also talked with Frank Jones about sense and avoid technology and sUAS package delivery. Find that conversation at The UAV Digest.com #149 which will be released a few days after this episode. You can follow NASA Langley on Twitter at @NASA_Langley. Thanks to Kathy Barnstoff and Bill Baley for arranging the interviews.

Airport Security Lines

Brian Coleman talks about long TSA lines.

On the Mark

Rob Mark has another On the Mark segment titled Don’t Let Congress Cut the NTSB’s TV Time.

Listener Recording

Gary tells us his story of buying his own Piper PA-38 Tomahawk.

Our Maine(e) Man Micah

By popular request, Micah brings us a timely update to his piece, News Reporting and the Sport of Speculation or The Surge in Sensational Surrealism. Plus a little bonus piece from Micah called Lighter Than Nomenclature.


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

AirplaneGeeks 401 Aviation Accidents as Emergent Properties of Complex Systems

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


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

Captain Shem Malmquist, FRAeS

Captain Shem Malmquist, FRAeS

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Resources:

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

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

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

Airline Safety and Accident Investigation Community on Facebook.

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


Southwest Pilots Sue City of Chicago Over Billboard Advertising

SWAPA billboard

SWAPA billboard

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

The Best and Worst Frequent-Flier Rewards Programs for 2016

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

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

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

Proposed Part 61 changes would benefit GA

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

Defense Bill Includes Medical Reform Language

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

FAA Approves Two-Place R44

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

The Aircraft of the Week

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

On the Mark

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


Breastfeeding pilots file discrimination charges

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

Breastfeeding pilots’ claims against airline seen as advance

Pilots And ACLU Sue Airline Over Breast Milk Pumping At Work


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


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

AirplaneGeeks 344 It’s All About Rob

D8 double-bubble

An Air Canada crash, Allegiant pilots try to strike, aviation safety in Asia, an advanced jet engine design, the classified Long-Range Strike Bomber, and TSA profiling. And it’s not really all about Rob…


Air Canada flight involved in runway crash hit antenna array: TSB

An Air Canada A320 touched down 1,100 feet short of the runway at the Halifax Airport, hitting an antenna array which damaged the landing gear, and skidded on its belly.

Air Canada gives $5Gs to passengers from crash-landed Halifax flight

Air Canada provided the money “to cover immediate and interim expenses.” It does not cover any money that could be awarded in potential lawsuits.

Pilot Strike at Allegiant Halted by Court Order

Some 500 Allegiant Air pilots planned to strike the airline, but a federal judge granted the airline’s request and issued a restraining order against the labor action. The strike would have grounded Allegiant Air over the Easter and Passover holiday weekend.

Asia’s aviation industry confronts safety challenges after decade of turbocharged growth

Does fast regional growth outpace the regulatory infrastructure?

A Reversed, Tilted Future For Pratt’s Geared Turbofan?

Pratt & Whitney concept engine

Credit: Pratt & Whitney

We see new aircraft about to enter service offering huge reductions in fuel consumption, but that’s not stopping people from thinking farther into the future with unique design concepts.

The $80 billion Pentagon program that could slice up an aerospace business

Northrop Grumman and Boeing are competing for the Pentagon’s classified Long-Range Strike Bomber. It’ll probably be called the B-3 and its valued at as much as $80 billion.

TSA ‘Behavior Detection” Program Targeting Undocumented Immigrants, Not Terrorists

The Intercept says the SPOT program (Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques) catches illegal immigrants, not terrorists.

The Australia News Desk

Industry calls for rethink of new CASA charges

CASA are increasing their rates yet many of us think they should first improve their processes.

Air Mobility commander new deputy RAAF chief

Warren McDonald next RAAF deputy chief

We have a new RAAF DCAF (Deputy Commander Air Force).

Prince Harry touches down in Darwin

HRH Harry is ‘ere!

Steve and Grant will be doing airshow commentary at the Barossa Airshow near Adelaide on Sunday.

Listener Recording

In light of the coverage of the Germanwings crash, Micah gives us News Reporting & the Sport of Speculation or The Surge in Sensational Surrealism.

EVA Air Report

Hello Kitty swag from EVA

Brian provides his experience with the EVA Air PR department. His report was published in AirwaysNews as Inflight Review: EVA Air LAX-TPE-HKG-LAX in First Class, and you can also read his full version, Trip Report LAX – TPE – HKG – LAX [PDF].


Velocity SE

Velocity SE

Calculate air temperature based on altitude.

A video technical presentation by Mike Ciminera, an engineer from Northrop Grumman involved in designing the F-14.

This on demand film tells the amazing true story of Jewish American pilots who, in 1948, smuggled planes out of the U.S. and flew for Israel during its war for independence.

Listener Photo of the Week

Gliding with Glen

Glen Towler took this photo while gliding for the first time in 30 years. Glen is an Oshkosh veteran and hopes to get his certificate one day.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

AirplaneGeeks 333 The Airport Experience, From Roadway to Runway

Washington Dulles International Airport

Managing airport customer service, new TSA security measures, guns on a plane, FAA NPRM rules, the NTSB 10 most wanted, new airline routes, and the inaugural Airplane Geeks Inflight Movie of the Month.


Dennis Hazell is Manager, Customer Service at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. Dennis supports the terminal and airfield operations, while focusing on the overall customer service experience at Washington Dulles International Airport.

Prior to joining the Airports Authority in June 2007, Dennis spent twenty-three years with American Airlines.  He began his career as a flight attendant, and accepted management positions in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Tulsa, Albany, Richmond, and Washington Dulles, where he spent the last ten years as the General Manager.

He has also been involved in several community activities including Big Brothers/Big Sisters, The United Way, and working with The George Washington University-Virginia Campus in focusing attention on STEM education.  He also serves as a Board Director for the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Follow Washington Dulles International Airport on Twitter and Instagram.


TSA Considering New Security Measures for Airport Workers

The Department of Homeland Security announced some additional security measures: enhanced screening for airline employees, some random security checks, and more patrols in secure areas by the TSA and law enforcement. The Aviation Security Advisory Committee has been asked to look into airport security.

TSA: Inspector had .22-caliber revolver in carry-on bag

An FAA Aviation Safety Inspector was passing through a security checkpoint at New York’s LaGuardia airport, after arriving from Atlanta, and a loaded firearm was discovered in his carry-on bag. He was arrested, saying it was his wife’s gun and he forgot he had it.

Instrument Sim Rule Rescinded

The FAA issued a final rule Dec. 3 that allowed up to 20 hours on an approved simulator for instrument training. Before that it was up to 10 hours. Now the FAA is withdrawing the rule.

New rules are established through the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) process. The FAA normally issues an NPRM, followed by a public comment period before the final rule is released. Here, the FAA issued the rule first, with the comment period after. But in that case, if anyone objects to the rule, it is rescinded. Two people objected.

NTSB 2015 Most Wanted List

The annual TSA Most Wanted List represents the Board’s 10 advocacy priorities. Some are directed at aviation, and some at other modes of transportation.

New Routes can lead to lower fares

Route expansions may not seem like exciting news, but they’re a bigger deal than you probably think. Why? Because they often spark competition between airlines and drive down fares on multiple carriers.

The Aviation Movie of the Month

This week, David starts the inaugural Airplane Geeks Inflight Movie of the Month: Always, the modern retelling of A Guy Named Joe. So what did David think? 4 out of 5 props.

4 props

The Australia News Desk

B767-338 VH-OGM

B767-338 VH-OGM departs Sydney for the final time on January 7th. Image by Damien Aiello.

Grant’s tired after completing his CASA panel interview process for aircraft maintenance management and Steve’s hungover after a few too many red wines with the “Infrequent Flyer” himself at the Members’ Reserve in the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Oh my!!!

Despite this, the boys still manage to report on:

  • More Qantas 767s flying to the Alice Springs boneyard (where a UT-Air Antonov 74-200 may wind up if it’s not careful!)

Aviation Museum Review

Brian Coleman visited the Aviation Hall of Fame and Museum of New Jersey in Teterboro, New Jersey and brings us his report.

Airplane Geeks on Ice

Juan Fernandez

Report 4 by Juan Fernandez from McMurdo Bay in Antarctica. See more at AirplaneGeeks.com/ice.

Listener Recording

Micah tells the story of “Undergraduate Air.”


  • The Igor Sikorsky Weekend Seminar at the Bradford Camps in the North Maine Woods with Igor Sikorsky III.


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



AirplaneGeeks 331 The Good, The Bad, and The TSA

TSA Pre Check

How the TSA treats a man marked as a terrorist, an inside job smuggling guns on an airline, airport security concerns, a former Korean Air executive arrested, United and Orbitz sue over the “hidden city” ticketing strategy, and an AirAsia QZ8501 update.


After being convicted of releasing animals from fur farms in 2005, Peter Young was labeled a “terrorist” by the TSA. Since then, flying has been quite interesting for Peter. 

You see, Peter was placed on the TSA’s Selectee List. This is not the same as the No Fly List. If you are on the Selectee List, you can fly on an airline, but you are subjected to “enhanced screening.”

Peter has since experienced all manner of “special treatment” from the TSA. He’s been refused entry onto planes, been tailed through airports, and told his Starbucks coffee might be a bomb.

In October 2014, Young launched The Jetsetting Terrorist blog, to document his often hilarious but never boring experiences with the TSA as he travels around the U.S. marked as a “terrorist.” Follow Peter on Twitter as @flyingterrorist.


4 large objects found in AirAsia wreckage and victims search

Sonar has picked up large objects, the flight was not certified to fly on that day, why ATC didn’t authorize an increase in altitude, and why pilots don’t turn back.

Arrest warrant for ex-Korean Air exec in nut rage

Heather Cho, the former VP of Korean Air’s in-flight service and the daughter of the Korean Air Chairman, has been arrested. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation investigation determined that Cho’s behavior violated the Aviation Safety and Security Act, which bans any behavior that disturbs airplane operation.

Gun Smuggling on Plane Reveals Security Oversight

In December, a former Delta employee was arrested in New York after allegedly carrying 16 firearms and ammunition in a backpack on a Delta Air Lines flight from Atlanta. This was after a month long investigation.

A Delta baggage handler with access to secure airport areas brought the firearms into the terminal and transferred them to the man, who had already gone through the regular airport security checks.

A Gift to the Jihadis: The Unseen Airport Security Threat

Airport security focuses on passengers, but baggage handlers and other airline employees with access to restricted areas could be bigger threats.

Millennials Worry Most That Airport Security Is Becoming Too Lax

More than 740,000 travelers are now enrolled in the TSA’s “Precheck” program, A survey by Harris Interactive shows that younger people are more worried about lax security than older travelers.

22-year-old raises $33,000 in fight with United Airlines

Aktarer Zaman, founder of the airfare advice site Skiplagged.com, is being sued by United and Orbitz for providing “unfair competition” and promoting “strictly prohibited” travel. Zaman’s website helps air travelers find “hidden city” tickets. Zaman is raising funds to pay for his legal fees at GoFundMe.

David Vanderhoof’s Airplane of the Week

Short Belfast

The Shorts Belfast, a four-engine turboprop freighter produced by Short Brothers.

Aviation Movie of the Month

Always, a 1989 film directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, and John Goodman. The film introduced Brad Johnson and featured a cameo by Audrey Hepburn.

The Australia News Desk

The boys are back for 2015 and wondering what happened to last week? Something about holidays and memos, it would appear!

In this Desk, Steve and Grant cover the WA Police Air Wing being grounded due to pilots quitting, the last flights of Qantas 767s (well, sort of) and regional airline SkyTrans closing the doors but in the most controlled and well managed method we’ve ever seen!

Airplane Geeks on Ice

Juan Fernandez provides his second report from Antarctica, this time on the Pegasus crash. Visit AirplaneGeeks.com/ice for more information and some great photos.


Marin's Bushcaddy


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


AirplaneGeeks 328 ExpressJet Airlines Flight Operations

Brad Sheehan, Vice President – Flight Operations at ExpressJet Airlines

A regional airline’s flight operations center, NTSB report on 787 battery fire, a cracked Dreamliner window, outgoing TSA security chief John Pistole, why cheap fuel might not be a good thing, and airports that court avgeeks.


Brad Sheehan is Vice President of Flight Operations at ExpressJet Airlines. He’s responsible for the daily operations of more than 4,000 pilots and all Flight Operations functions.

We talk about the responsibilities of Flight Operations, managing “irregular operations” such as weather events, and accommodating passengers when there are disruptions. Brad describes the operations center job functions: mostly dispatchers, but also a team of managers, maintenance controllers, and schedulers.

The gap in the U.S. created by pilots retiring in next 10 – 15 years means majors will draw on the regionals for pilots. While many see the regionals as a stepping stone to the majors, a regional career could be attractive and Brad describes how that applied to him.

Brad has a degree in Aviation Management from Auburn University, and began his career at Atlantic Southeast Airlines in 1997 as a pilot based in Atlanta. In his 17 years with ExpressJet, he’s served as a line check airman, instructor pilot, project manager, and chief pilot. He served as the director of Corporate Safety, Security and Compliance from 2010 to 2013 where he was instrumental in launching numerous safety programs including their Safety Management System (SMS).

Headquartered in Atlanta, ExpressJet is the world’s largest regional airline with 9,000 aviation professionals, an average of 2,000 daily flights, and an all-jet fleet. ExpressJet operates as American Eagle, Delta Connection, and United Express to serve more than 190 airports in the U.S., Bahamas, Canada and Mexico.

If you’re looking for a career in aviation, ExpressJet is hiring pilots, mechanics, flight attendants, crew schedulers, and more. If you want to begin your career as a pilot but don’t have your ATP CTP yet, ExpressJet offers a free, in-house CTP course for new hire pilots.

Find ExpressJet on their Facebook page, and learn more about employment opportunities on their ExpressJet Airlines Pilot Recruiting Facebook page. Follow @ExpressJetPilot on Twitter and expressjetpilots on Instagram.


Temperature in 787 battery cells spikes in cold conditions: NTSB

The NTSB issued its final report on the January 7, 2013 incident where ground workers discovered smoke and flames coming from an auxiliary power unit lithium-ion battery in a Japan Airlines 787 that was parked at the gate at Boston Logan International Airport.

Previously, the NTSB said that one of the battery’s cells experienced an internal short circuit which caused thermal runaway in the cell. That then spread to the other cells and caused a full battery thermal runaway.

NTSB Press release: NTSB Recommends Process Improvements for Certifying Lithium-ion Batteries as it Concludes its Investigation of the 787 Boston Battery Fire Incident

“As a result of its findings, the NTSB is recommending that the FAA improve the guidance and training provided to industry and FAA certification engineers on safety assessments and methods of compliance for designs involving new technology.”

Man Punches And Cracks A Magical 787 Dreamliner Window

A man aboard a Thomson Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner punching one of the plane’s windows, causing it to crack and frightening the other passengers. He was arrested on arrival, pleaded guilty, and is awaiting sentencing in January.

Considering the Year in Airport Security, With the T.S.A. Chief

The New York Times’ Business Day section did an extensive interview with John Pistole, the outgoing administrator of the Transportation Security Administration. Among the topics discussed: the growth of TSA’s PreCheck program and possibly switching the program to private contractors.

Airlines: Another Reason to Worry About Cheap Fuel

Investors are looking too much at fuel costs and not enough at controllable expenses. But the airline industry outlook has been driven by capacity discipline, consolidation, and unbundling. Capacity discipline driven by high fuel prices. Also, airlines will not all benefit equally from lower fuel prices do to different hedging practices.

Airport Programs Help Cultivate Avgeek Population

Washington Dulles and Miami International airports are courting avgeeks with special programs and social media. The Discover Dulles program is a way for those who love aviation to connect and experience things that are typically off limits to the general public.

Under the Miami Watch security program, airplane spotters are the eyes on the perimeter of the airport, like a neighborhood crime watch. Spotters get good access to the airfield and the airport gets another layer of security.

David Vanderhoof’s History Segment

David proposes some changes to the weekly history segment, and asks the community for input.

Across the Pond

Pieter Johnson

Pieter reminisces over the past four years and the inspirational sources we all have for aviation. He also announces that he’s taking some time off from the Across the Pond segment. Learn about Anthony Kenneth Johnson (1925 – 2011) – Telegraphist Air Gunner (Royal Navy) at the Wartime Heritage Association.


The Romance of Aviation

Listener Shreenand send us this list illustrating that aviation may be different these days, but it still has a romance all its own:

That the romance is when you get to see day, dusk, and night, all at the same time, from your office window.

The romance is when you depart on a overcast, gloomy, dark day, break out on top and realise the sun really does exist.

The romance is when you fly during a meteor shower and see so many shooting stars, you run out of wishes.

The romance is when you check in at 37,000 feet, and whisper, “Honey I’m home.”

The romance is when you get to see a thunderstorm in HD. Only this time it’s close enough for you to touch.

The romance is when you fly from Moscow to Houston – fifty years ago you would’ve had to do it in a spy plane and fly high enough to be out of range of communist missiles. Or when you fly across the Atlantic without batting an eyelid, eighty years ago, they were handing out rewards for this sort of thing.

The romance is when you fly across countries and realise there are no real borders that divide us. Except, when you fly over the Line of Control between India and Pakistan. And you see it lit up like a major street for as far as the eye can see.

The romance is when you fly over Europe on a clear day. Within minutes you’ve seen the Alps, the Eiffel tower and the Big Ben.

The romance is when people tell you it’s a small world, and having seen the length of the Pacific, you beg to disagree.

The romance is when you ride along the tops of stratus and you can tell you are really shifting. Even magic carpets don’t ride this well.

The romance is when you speak to the same air traffic controller for the umpteenth time. You’ve never met him and probably never will, but you recognise him from his voice.

The romance is when you are number 10 for take-off on a gusty day. You get a ring-side view of your kind, doing their magic, earning a living.

The romance is when you are cleared for a visual approach, and from that point on, it’s no computers and no automatics. Just good old stick and rudder.

The romance is when you pop out of low cloud, and ahead of you lies three kilometres of velvet smooth tarmac, lit up like a Christmas tree.

The romance is when after a fourteen hour transcontinental flight, you look back at your office, and smile!

The romance is that no matter how prosaic you make it out to be, aeroplanes are still mankind’s greatest achievement.

The romance is very much alive and kicking ladies and gentlemen! But a window seat and an open heart, would help you see it.

Aviation Books for the Holidays

Ace Abbott says the best holiday gifts money can buy are books. If you have friends, neighbors, relatives, or airport and pilot colleagues who may be remotely interested in aviation, the following list of aviation books will pleasantly entertain these people. In honor of the “Twelve Days of Christmas” here is Ace Abbott’s list of 12 great aviation books.

  • Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach; non-pilots as well as aviation folks have enjoyed this classic for nearly 40 years; available anywhere books are sold.
  • Falling to Earth by Al Worden: A memoir of an astronaut who went from a small farm in Michigan to become the first man ever to venture to the back side of the moon as the Apollo 15 command module pilot. Amazon: http://amzn.to/1FJxW61.
  • Fighter Pilot (Robin Olds) with Christina Olds and Ed Rasimus: A must read for every current or ex-military person, particularly any pilot from the Vietnam War era. The story of an iconic fighter pilot who was a heroic and courageous leader. Amazon: http://amzn.to/1vgIKaz
  • Rules of Engagement by Joe Weber: This book complements Fighter Pilot. It is Tom Clancy-like fiction, since it is laced with reality. The primary theme of a free-spirited Marine fighter pilot during the air war over Vietnam is complemented with a poignant love story; available at http://bit.ly/1CBtBFK.
  • The Rogue Aviator by Ace Abbott: A memoir of an adventuresome, maverick pilot who experienced a radical roller-coaster-like ride through a diversified aviation career; filled with entertaining and implausible aviation anecdotes; as well as an insider’s look at commercial aviation. Amazon: http://amzn.to/1tHUaid, or http://therogueaviator.com/.
  • Cruising Altitude: Tales of Crash Pads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet by Heather Poole:  As the title reveals, this book relates many radical anecdotes of craziness in the cabin, and provides insight into the multifaceted drama that can occur in the cabin of a passenger airplane. Amazon: http://amzn.to/1yep9sy.
  • Chuck Yeager– An Autobiography by Chuck Yeager; This story of the renowned test pilot will take you way beyond the speed of sound and into the world of swashbuckling fighter pilots and test pilots. Amazon: http://amzn.to/1vFuvfi.
  • Area 51 by Annie Jacobsen: This well researched book will provide revelations about the famed top-secret “black-area” in the Nevada desert. It will clear up some misconceptions about aliens while revealing insight into the depth of the level of energy and effort by the U.S. government into the development and use of spy planes, such as the SR 71 “Blackbird.” Amazon: http://amzn.to/1FJBDbQ.
  • The Darkest Mission by Rick Burton; This well-researched spy-vs-spy thriller was very well researched and contains troves of information derived from the real world of international espionage. The primary narrative revolves around a WW II B-17 crew that was shot down over enemy territory; an adrenalin-pumper from start to finish. Available at http://amzn.to/1pMIyi.
  • An Extraordinary Life-Gone To The Dogs by Lisa Weiss; A powerfully poignant non-fiction account of a Jewish B-24 pilot who was shot down over France and captured by the Germans. Protagonist Irwin Stovroff relates his experiences as a POW and provides unique insight into the nuanced relationships of POWs and their colleagues as well as their captors. Irwin’s yeoman humanitarian efforts toward American Veterans is the glorious outcome of his improbable survival. Amazon: http://amzn.to/1zdLuEZ.
  • Squawk 7700 by Peter Buffington; This auto biography relates the trials and tribulations of life as a commuter/regional air carrier pilot who reveals his very unpalatable training experience as a co-pilot for American Eagle Airlines. This book functions as an expose’ of the underpaid and overworked commuter pilots in the U.S. Amazon: http://amzn.to/1w0DzgV.
  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand; This WW II aviation bestseller is a story of survival, resilience, and redemption. It is available wherever books are sold. Amazon: http://amzn.to/1wjWRx.


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