Tag Archives: United Airlines

680 F-14 Tomcat

A former F-14 Naval Aviator communicates the military aviation experience through his novels, videos, and writing. In the news, the Rolls-Royce all-electric airplane appears to have set three world records, an F-35B crash, flight attendant bonuses for the holiday travel season, flying under the influence, and an open rotor engine demonstrator program. Plus, an Across the Pond segment.

Guest

Ward Carroll, F-14 Tomcat Naval Aviator

Ward Carroll is a former F-14 Naval Aviator who spent 20 years as an F-14 Radar Intercept Officer. He is the author of the bestselling Punk trilogy about life in an F-14 squadron. Punk’s Fight, Punk’s War, and the new Punk’s Wing are widely considered to be realistic portrayals of naval aviators in the context of a techno-thriller.

In his novels, Ward creates characters that are recognizable as representatives of real people doing real jobs. As an example, through his female character, Ward confronts the issues surrounding the integration of women into the Tomcat community.

Ward’s YouTube channel has grown to be very popular and gets much of his focus these days. He talks, as he says, about “airplanes, music, and writing . . . but mostly airplanes.”

In our aviation news segment, Ward shares the perspectives of a Naval Aviator as we discuss the recent F-35B crash after takeoff from a British aircraft carrier.

Outside the Navy, Ward has extensive experience as a military journalist. He was editor of Military.com and Approach magazine, and writes for the US Naval Institute. Besides his passion for aviation, Ward is a lover of music and plays in the band MiLES FRoM CLEVeR.

Find Ward at his YouTube channel. The Punk’s books are available on Amazon.com and on the U.S. Naval Institute website.

Video: The Real Truth About F-14 Tomcats and the Achille Lauro Hijacking

Mentioned: C.W. Lemoine’s YouTube Channel

Aviation News

Rolls-Royce says its all-electric aircraft ‘is world’s fastest’

In test runs, the Rolls-Royce “Spirit of Innovation” electric airplane has flown 387.4 mph (623 km/h). The company believes they have set three all-electric world records and await verification from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI): top speed over 3 km of 345.4 mph, top speed over 15 km of 330 mph, and time to climb to 3,000 meters of 202 seconds.

Video: Rolls-Royce | Spirit of Innovation – the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft

The ‘Spirit of Innovation’ is part of the ACCEL (Accelerating the Electrification of Flight) project and is based on the Nemesis NXT airframe.

F-35 From The Carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth Has Crashed Into The Sea

The pilot safely ejected from the F-35B (the STOVL version) in the eastern Mediterranean shortly after takeoff from the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. See: Probe after British F-35 fighter crashes in Mediterranean.

Other F-35 crashes:

JetBlue dangles $1,000 attendance bonuses for flight attendants ahead of holiday rush

According to a company memo, JetBlue Airways flight attendants could earn a $1,000 attendance bonus if they don’t call out through early January. Meanwhile, if they meet attendance goals, Southwest Airlines will provide flight attendants and some other operations employees 120,000 points in the airline’s frequent flyer program. American Airlines flight attendants can earn pay bonuses for peak holiday trips as well as for meeting attendance goals through early next year. $1,000 bonuses are available to other staff and regional airline subsidiaries.

A 63-year-old United Airlines pilot was arrested after being found four times over the legal limit. After drinking whiskey at a Glasgow pub during a 2019 layover, the man became fall-over drunk. A concerned member of the public tipped off the airline with a Tweet. The pilot was sentenced to 10 months in jail.

RISE Tech Plan Could Feed CFM Leap-1 Upgrades Through 2020s

GE Aviation and Safran launched the Revolutionary Innovations for Sustainable Engines (RISE)  initiative in 2021. This open-fan demonstrator program anticipates a mid-2030s application. It could also feed technologies to the LEAP-1 turbofan engine. The open rotor design features a second stage of fixed variable pitch stators, a fan-drive gear system, a compact high-pressure core for increased thermodynamic efficiency, waste exhaust heat used to preheat combustion air, and ceramic matrix composites in the hot section.

Across the Pond

Aviation from the European perspective with Pieter Johnson.

Two Vickers Varsity T Mk 1 aircraft – Copyright BAE Systems and Ron Smith

Trusted Traveler Programs

Our Main(e) Man Micah recently wrote a piece for Johnny Jet explaining the five Trusted Traveler Programs available in the USA through Homeland Security, and an announcement about NEXUS appointments:

Hosts this episode: Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, Rob Mark, and our Main(e) Man Micah.

676 Boeing 787

A Boeing 787 Captain explains getting type-certified and his career journey. In the news, an MD-87 is destroyed but all aboard survive, Piedmont Airlines flight attendants authorize a strike, flight statistics comparing 2019 with 2020 and 2121, buying an airline flight from a vending machine, a protest by Alitalia flight attendants, and a proposed hypersonic passenger plane. Also, plane spotting at LAX and the new parking structure.

Guest

Arnie Quast is a new Boeing 787 Captain for United Airlines based at Chicago-O’Hare International Airport.  He has been a pilot at United for 31 years, and has flown as a crewmember in just about every aircraft type United has in their fleet.

Boeing 787 captain Arnie Quast.

Arnie describes the process of becoming a Boeing 787 captain after flying Airbus equipment, including the vacancy bid openings and how seniority determines where a pilot fits on the bid. We look into the United training process in some detail, including computer-based training (CBT) modules, the training center, transitioning to the aircraft, and the role of the line check airman (LCA). Arnie tells us about systems training, classroom ground school, using the simulator, the systems knowledge validation (SKV) test followed by procedures training and procedures validation, as well as maneuvers training in the full flight sim, maneuvers validation, practice flights through line-oriented flight training (LOFT), and the type-rating check-ride supervised by a standards captain.

Arnie touches on flight security issues, engaging with passengers, and United’s Aviate pilot career development program that offers aspiring and established pilots pathways to a United flight deck.

Arnie began learning to fly when he was 15 years old at a central New Jersey airport and earned his private pilot license at age 17.  After high school, he attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University where he earned the rest of his pilot ratings as well as a bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Science. During his senior year at Embry-Riddle, Arnie worked for United Airlines as a Flight Operations Intern. That internship helped him get hired as a United pilot at age 23 and launched his career as an airline pilot.

Aviation News

NTSB: Plane that ran off runway in Brookshire had not flown in 10 months

An MD-87 attempted to take off from Houston Executive Airport but ran off the end of the runway, struck a fence and power poles, and burned. The eighteen passengers and three crew members were able to exit the aircraft after a flight mechanic opened the main cabin door and activated the evacuation slide. Video shows a puff of smoke at the tail of the aircraft and tire marks were found on the runway. 

Hundreds of American Airlines Regional Flight Attendants Vote to Strike, but Walkout Still Distant

Piedmont Airlines flight attendants at PHL unanimously vote to authorize a strike

Flight attendants at American Airlines’ Piedmont Airlines regional carrier voted unanimously to strike. The Association of Flight Attendants-Communications Workers of America claims that flight attendants just starting have a base pay of $16,500 a year and 10-year veterans make only $28,000 a year. According to the union, the airline offered a small pay increase that was more than offset by higher health insurance premiums.

Flight tracking statistics

The Flightradar24 global flight tracking service tracks over 180,000 flights from more than 1,200 airlines, flying to or from some 4,000 airports around the world – in real-time. Their aggregate flight tracking statistics compare 2019 (pre-pandemic), 2020, and 2021 to date.

This Japanese Airline is Selling Flights to Surprise Destinations Out of Vending Machines

The LCC Peach Aviation marketing campaign has been a big hit. Last August, Peach launched a vending machine in Osaka that sells capsules with the name of a surprise destination and Peach points that can be used towards the cost of the flight. Peach has sold more than 3,000 capsules so far.

Watch: Ex-Alitalia Flight Attendants Strip Off Uniforms in Flash Mob Protest

Alitalia is gone and was replaced by Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA). Alitalia had huge debts which were written off in a deal between the Italian government and the European Commission. But an agreement with the unions wasn’t reached for ITA. Only 30% of the Alitalia workers were brought into ITA and the union says their wages dropped by 30%.

Why a Mach 5 passenger plane is a crazy idea that might just work

Atlanta-based startup Hermeus is thinking about hypersonic Mach 5 air travel. The company is testing an engine for small, unmanned hypersonic aircraft for the US Air Force. Hermeus believes the engine design could be scaled to a size that could power a passenger plane. Engine tests of a “Turbine-Based Combined Cycle (TBCC) engine started in February 2020 based on the existing GE J85-21 turbojet engine used on the F-5.

LAX, Mayor Garcetti Announce Opening Of $294 Million Economy Parking Structure

Plane spotters at LAX.

Brian Coleman attended the event and speaks with:

Mentioned

Honoring the legacy of the WASP, November 11, 2021, at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, in Dayton, Ohio.

96-year-old World War II Veteran granted dream flight in 1920s airplane

Veteran’s Last Patrol

Twin Cities Man Accused Of Operating Private Airport In Field Behind His Home

This Is The Most Incredible Tour Of A B-52 Stratofortress We Have Ever Seen

Erik Johnston’s Youtube channel

673 Planes of Fame

Our guest is Steve Hinton, the president of the Planes of Fame Air Museum. In the news, Delta Airlines signs a contract for sustainable aviation fuel, United Airlines decides to resume cargo-only flights, Qatar Airways profits were cut by Covid, and British Airways pilots may have the opportunity to fly for Qatar.

Guest

Steve Hinton is president of the Planes of Fame Air Museum and the owner of Fighter Rebuilders. Steve tells us about the living history collection of aircraft that is the museum, as well as the events held to create participation. Planes of Fame restores many warbirds to flightworthy condition and these are flown at demonstrations, airshows, and even in movies. A Bearcat and a Corsair were used in the production of the upcoming action war drama film Devotion.

Steve also works with the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation which celebrates U.S. airpower history and is a living memorial to those who have served in the U.S. Air Force. Heritage Flight demonstrations are flown around the world which pair modern aircraft with fighter aircraft from the past. Steve explains how the selected civilian pilots practice with the military pilots and he describes the challenges of flying old prop warbirds with modern jets.

After our conversation with Steve, Brian Finnegan joined us and he describes the history of Planes of Fame which was founded by Ed Maloney. Brian is the Director, Education Programs and Development at Planes Of Fame Air Museum.

Learn more at the Planes of Fame Air Museum website, follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Aviation News

Delta purchases more than $1 billion Worth of Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Delta Airlines signed an agreement with Aemetis for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The 10-year contract is worth more than $1 billion for 250 million gallons of blended fuel. The fuel will be produced at the company’s Riverbank, California renewable jet/diesel plant from waste forest and orchard wood. Aemetis expects the fuel to be available in 2024.

United is Restarting Cargo-Only Flights Because the Delta Variant is Having Such a Big Impact On Bookings

United Airlines had just responded to a surge in passenger bookings by phasing out special freighter services. Now the airline will resume cargo-only flights using empty passenger planes. Passenger planes can be used for freight by simply using the cargo hold or carrying the freight in the passenger cabin. Some airlines just strapped items to seats and others removed the seats to make even more room.

British Airways Boeing 777 Pilots Will Go On Secondment to Qatar Airways Over The Winter

According to an internal BA memo, up to 40 Boeing 777 Captains and First Officers have an opportunity to fly planes with Qatar for around six months during the London winter lull. Pilots would temporarily relocate to Doha and would retain their contracts and seniority. They would continue being paid by British Airways.

Qatar Airways says losses reach $4.1 billion amid pandemic

Those losses in revenue are a result of reduced demand for long-haul travel over the last fiscal year. However, Qatar reported an increase in earnings to $1.6 billion (before taxes and other costs) over the prior year. While the airline saved on jet fuel, it also reduced salaries by 15% and cut 13,400 employees from its workforce. Qatar had been the subject of a political embargo that kept them from flying in the airspace of Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Massive oil spill off Orange County coast shuts down beachfronts, air show

How a burst oil pipeline brought a halt to an air show.

Mentioned

New Tuskegee Airmen Exhibit at the American Helicopter Museum.

672 Leonardo AW609 Tiltrotor

The Head of Tiltrotor Marketing at Leonardo describes the world’s first commercial tiltrotor. In the news, a United stationary tail strike, Congress steps in on the controversial FAA flight training policy, DOJ files an antitrust suit over the American Airlines-JetBlue alliance, an industry-wide no-fly list is proposed, and Rolls-Royce wins the contract to re-engine the B-52 fleet.

AW609 Tiltrotor
Leonardo AW609 Tiltrotor, courtesy Leonardo.

Guest

William M. (Bill) Sunick

William M. (Bill) Sunick is Head of Tiltrotor Marketing at Leonardo. Their AW609 is the first commercial tiltrotor to enter the market and the world’s first pressurized cabin tiltrotor. The AW609 is well-positioned to serve a number of markets, including VIP, corporate, search and rescue, emergency medical services, and offshore energy exploration, as well as government roles.

Bill describes how the AW609 tiltrotor was designed to commercial standards, and how it offers the speed, range, and altitude of a fixed-wing turboprop airplane with the vertical take-off and landing versatility of a helicopter. We learn that the lower vibratory environment and pressurized cabin of this tiltrotor offer advantages for medical flights. Bill explains the FAA certification requirements for this aircraft, which falls into the new Powered Lift category.

Bill is responsible for the development of marketing and business strategies that create new opportunities, shape emerging markets, and influence customer thinking and actions. Prior to joining Leonardo Helicopters, Bill held numerous leadership positions at The Boeing Company within Strategy, Marketing, Sales, Market Development, and Engineering. He was also a member of the Presidential Helicopter team while at Sikorsky Aircraft in 1992.

Bill’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Drexel University and a master of business administration degree in Marketing from Saint Joseph’s University.

Aviation News

United 737 Tips on its Tail During Offloading

A United Airlines Boeing 737-900ER experienced a “stationary tail strike” on the ground at Lewiston (LWS Idaho) after a flight from LAX. United explained:

United flight 2509 flying from Los Angeles, California to Lewiston, Idaho landed without incident. Due to a shift in weight and balance during the offloading process, the tail of the aircraft tipped backward.  No injuries were reported among our customers, crew or ground personnel.  The return flight was on a different aircraft as originally planned.

See Boeing Tail Strike Avoidance for takeoff and landing risk factors.

House Passes Amendment to Reverse FAA on Flight Training Policy

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that clarifies that a flight instructor providing student instruction, flight instruction, or flight training shall not be deemed to be operating an aircraft carrying persons or property for compensation or hire. If passed, this would reverse the FAA’s recent flight training policy for certain types of aircraft.

Justice Department Sues to Block Unprecedented Domestic Alliance Between American Airlines and JetBlue

DOJ filed an anti-trust suit challenging the American Airlines-JetBlue alliance

American and JetBlue strike back against DOJ complaint over Northeast alliance

The DOJ claims the American Airlines-JetBlue Northeast Alliance eliminates competition in New York and Boston and harms air travelers nationwide:

The U.S. Department of Justice, together with Attorneys General in six states and the District of Columbia, sued today [September 21, 2021] in the District of Massachusetts to block an unprecedented series of agreements between American Airlines and JetBlue through which the two airlines will consolidate their operations in Boston and New York City. The civil antitrust complaint alleges that this extensive combination, which they call the “Northeast Alliance,” will not only eliminate important competition in these cities, but will also harm air travelers across the country by significantly diminishing JetBlue’s incentive to compete with American elsewhere, further consolidating an already highly concentrated industry.

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said, “They’re wrong and we’ll prove it. It’s entirely pro-competitive.” Parker argued that the alliance allows the two airlines to compete against Delta and United, which are largely entrenched in the Northeast market, while American and JetBlue would otherwise not be able to mount enough of an offense on their own.

Airlines Weigh Unruly No-Fly List

Delta is suggesting a national “no-fly” list (different from the government’s No-Fly List, which is terror-based). Delta’s own blacklist includes more than 1,600 people. A Delta VP said their list doesn’t work if the person can just hop on another carrier.

Vietnam’s Bamboo Airways to sign $2 bln deal with GE for engines on Boeing jets

In this deal, Bamboo Airways will purchase nearly $2 billion worth of General Electric GEnx engines to power Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. The Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 and General Electric GEnx-1B compete on the 787. Bamboo will operate its Dreamliner fleet on non-stop routes between Vietnam and the United States.

Rolls Royce Will Provide Long-Awaited New Jet Engines For The B-52 Bomber Fleet

The U.S. Air Force selected Rolls-Royce’s North American division to re-engine the fleet of B-52H bombers with F130 engines. The Drive reports: “Rolls-Royce’s new contract from the Air Force is valued at $500,870,458 over the next six years but could grow to over $2.6 billion if all of its options are exercised.” Work will be performed at the Rolls-Royce facility in Indianapolis and is expected to be completed by September 2038.

Mentioned

Tuskegee Airmen Exhibit at the American Helicopter Museum.

Honeywell and Wood introduce groundbreaking technologies to support efforts toward carbon-neutral sustainable aviation fuel

Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge

669 Daedalean Flight Control Software

Daedalean AI-based flight control software for pilot assist and eventual autonomous flight, a Boeing 737MAX flight report, and a travel report on a trip to Germany.

Guest

Dr. Luuk van Dijk

Dr. Luuk van Dijk is CEO and co-founder of Daedalean, a Zürich-based startup developing flight control software for autonomous flight. The eventual goal is to create an AI pilot that measurably outperforms human pilots. Currently, Daedalean is working with regulators, leading aerospace manufacturers, and major eVTOL companies to test and certify the first machine learning-based sensor systems for guidance, navigation, and flight control.

Daedalean has created a pilot assist system that uses optical cameras for visual positioning without GPS, visual traffic detection without transponders or radar, and visual landing guidance without ILS. The Avidyne PilotEye system using Daedalean technology was introduced on the first day of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2021.

Avidyne Uses Daedalean AI Software in New PilotEye Vision System

“Daedalean’s neural network functions by taking high-resolution video input extracted in real-time by high-resolution cameras and sends it through a Convolutional Neural Network, which determines whether the images captured by the cameras are part of cooperative or uncooperative traffic. The system can also be used to identify safe landing areas if the pilot encounters an emergency situation.”

Aviation Today

The Daedalean product roadmap outlines the progression From Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems to Single Pilot Operations to Full Autonomy.

Luuk holds a PhD in Physics (UvA, RuG) and previously held Senior Software Engineering positions at Google Zürich and SpaceX, where he worked on infrastructure, flight software, and machine learning projects, among others.

Daedalean flight control software
Daedalean flight control software

Brian’s Travel Experience

We have two travel experience reports for this episode. First. Brian Coleman talks with Micah about his recent 737MAX flight. Then we hear about Brian’s trip to Germany on United, where everything did not go according to Brian’s perfectly planned itinerary.

667 Savvy Aviation

Mike Busch, founder and CEO of Savvy Aviation, talks about aircraft maintenance. Also, calling up the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, United Airlines says no duct tape, and unhappy Southwest Airlines pilots.

Mike Busch is surrounded by fans after speaking at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2021.

Guest

Mike Busch is the founder and CEO of Savvy Aviation, which provides aircraft maintenance services for the owner-flown General Aviation industry. The company offers professional maintenance management and consulting, a nationwide 24/7 breakdown assistance service, engine monitor data analysis, and predictive analytics.

Mike is a well-known aviation writer, teacher, aviation type club tech rep, aircraft owner advocate, and entrepreneur. He assists aircraft owners with their maintenance problems through his lectures, articles, and books. Mike is a National Aviation Maintenance Technician of the Year and previously appeared as our guest in Episode 446.

Aviation News

Pentagon orders civilian airlines to assist in Afghanistan evacuation

The Pentagon activated the Civil Reserve Air Fleet allowing commercial airlines to assist with the Afghanistan evacuation. Eighteen aircraft will be provided by American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines, Omni Air, Hawaiian Airlines, and United Airlines. This is the third activation in the history of the program and the Department of Defense stressed that the commercial aircraft will not fly into Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. Instead, they will be used to move passengers from temporary safe havens and interim staging bases.

United Airlines Tells Crews Not To Duct-Tape Passengers

United Airlines has informed flight attendants they should not use duct tape to subdue poorly behaved passengers. In a recent memo, the airline asks flight attendants to de-escalate the situation where possible, use designated items onboard, consult United’s safety manual for guidance, and file an incident report.

Southwest Airlines pilots ready to picket over ‘frustration’ and ‘chaos’ of summer flying increase

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association says working conditions this summer have been unfair and has authorized members to hold picketing demonstrations. Complaints include forced additional days of flying, lack of hotel accommodation and transportation, and reshuffled flight schedules.

Mentioned

Pierre Sprey, Pentagon analyst who battled brass to produce A-10 warplane, dies at 83

659 Jet Fighter Cockpit

We talk with a company that provides educational jet fighter cockpit experiences. In the news, Amazon Air adds turboprops to the fleet, Boeing 777X certification, a new 4K Ultra HD flight data recorder, Virgin Galactic approval for commercial passenger space flights, and exiting the aircraft after the door closes.

Launchpad Marzari in the cockpit.

Guest

Dewy Larson is the owner of DreamBIG Entertainment LLC, a company that gives you the opportunity to sit in the cockpit of a fighter jet. DreamBIG Entertainment travels exclusively within the United States, attending air shows, festivals, fairs, and other events. They share the history and the rare opportunity to experience fully restored A-7D Corsair II and F-18 Hornet cockpits.

The A-7 and F-18 Hornet cockpits tour the United States as a Mobile Interactive Aviation Museum. The DreamBIG experience runs from February to November and can be brought anywhere. For the latest schedule, visit the DreamBIG Entertainment LLC Facebook page.

Aviation News

Amazon Air set to add ATR turboprops to freighter fleet

Sources have told The Air Current that Amazon Air plans to add about 10 leased ATR 72-500 freighters to its fleet of Boeing aircraft. The company has a strategy to reach smaller communities with a one-day delivery service.

Citing a serious flight test incident and lack of design maturity, FAA slows Boeing 777X certification

Boeing is trying to certify the 777X but the FAA has informed the company that it has concerns and Boeing may have to increase the number of test flights planned. That pushes certification more than two years, probably too late 2023. FAA concerns include an “uncommanded pitch event” in a Dec. 8, 2020 test flight, a critical avionics system that does not meet requirements, and late hardware and software changes in the flight controls.

Appareo Announces 4K Ultra HD Flight Data Recorder with Cellular Data Offload

Appareo announced a new 4K ultra-high-definition AIRS-400 Airborne Image Recording System (AIRS), equipped for cellular data offload. The unit captures pilot intercom system audio, ambient audio, and detailed flight data. Using internal inertial measurement units, AIRS-400 captures WAAS GPS (altitude, latitude, longitude, ground speed, vertical speed), attitude data (pitch, roll, yaw), rates of rotation, and acceleration data (G forces) 

Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari spoke with Chris Garberg, the president of Appareo Aviation.

FAA Approves Virgin Galactic For Commercial Passenger Spaceflights

With the upgraded space transportation operator license, Virgin Galactic could begin carrying paying passengers to space. It has been reported that Virgin Galactic currently has over 600 reservations for its planned commercial passenger space flights, with ticket prices running between $200,000 and $250,000. 

Man Injured After Jumping Out Of Airplane Taxiing At LAX

A United Express flight operated by SkyWest Airlines was leaving the gate but a passenger apparently felt compelled to exit the plane. He tried to get into the cockpit, then opened the emergency door, which deployed the slide, and out he went. Man injured after jumping out of airplane at LAX.

Mentioned

First a passenger drought. Now a water drought. Can California airports cope?

Drought Reveals 1960s Plane Crash In California Lake

Archer Adds Talent to their Team with over Twenty New Engineers from Aerion Corporation

656 World Championship Air Race

World Championship Air Race is coming in 2022 and we speak with the series race director. In the news, Aerion’s supersonic intentions falter while Boom Supersonic flourishes, the 2020 Robert J. Collier Trophy winner is announced, the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A turns 60, and an American Airlines diversion due to lack of water.

Guest

World Championship Air Race

Willie Cruickshank is Race Series Director for the World Championship Air Race (WCAR). Sanctioned by the FAI, the WCAR will consist of two series that run in parallel: GP1 contested by top-ranking teams, and GT contested by developing pilots. Willie explains how the series differs from similar races in the past, the teams and venues, and the aircraft that will compete. He also comments on how new propulsion technologies might be introduced. Racing is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2022.

Willie was an RAF fighter pilot for 26 years, retiring as a Group Captain. He went on to spend nine years as a display pilot with the UK-based Wildcat Aerobatics team before joining the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. As Head of Aviation and Sport for that Championship, he was responsible for all aspects of flying operations including flight safety, racecourse design, pilot training, and briefing. Now as a board director of WCAR, Willie oversees all operational aspects of the series.

Follow @TheAirRace on Twitter, visit the website at wcairrace.com, and subscribe to the World Championship Air Race YouTube Channel. Also, listen to the World Championship Air Race Podcast.

World Championship Air Race appoints CSM to support global partnership strategy

World Championship Air Race (WCAR) has agreed a three-year partnership with 2Excel Aviation

Aviation News

The dream of supersonic passenger flight hits turbulence

Aerion announced on May 21, 2021 that “in the current financial environment, it has proven hugely challenging to close on the scheduled and necessary large new capital requirements to finalize the transition of the AS2 into production.” The AS2 was to be a business jet carrying 8-12 passengers at 1,000 mph.

United Airlines will buy 15 ultrafast airplanes from start-up Boom Supersonic

United ordered 15 of the 88-PAX Overture, and has options for 35 additional planes. Boom CEO Blake Scholl Scholl said in a statement, “The world’s first purchase agreement for net-zero carbon supersonic aircraft marks a significant step toward our mission to create a more accessible world.” He told The Air Current that the estimated total investment required is $8B. Boom is planning test flights in 2026 and passenger service of the Mach 1.7 plane in 2029.

Garmin Autoland to Receive the 2020 Robert J. Collier Trophy [PDF]

The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) announced that Garmin Autoland has been named as the recipient of the 2020 Robert J. Collier Trophy for “… designing, developing, and fielding Garmin Autoland – the world’s first certified autonomous system that activates during an emergency to safely control and land an aircraft without human intervention.” The Collier Trophy is awarded annually for “… the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year.”

60th anniversary of the P&WC PT6A engine’s first flight

The Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) PT6A is a turboprop engine used in many aircraft. It was produced in variants from 500 to 1,940 shp. First flight was May 30, 1961, from Toronto’s Downsview Airport in a twin-engine RCAF Beech 18 Expeditor 3T that had the PT6 attached to the nose. The engine entered service in 1964.

American Airlines Flight to London Diverts After Water Supply Drys Up

When flight attendants realised there was no running water aboard an American Airlines flight to London Heathrow, the Boeing 777-300 returned to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport an hour and a half after departure.

Mentioned

Spurwink Farm Pancake Breakfast and Fly-In, at Spurwink Farm in Cape Elizabeth, Maine on July 11, 2021.

International Vintage Sailplane Meet – July 10-17, 2021 at the National Soaring Museum.

EAA Chapter 141, Limington Harmon Airport, Maine. And while you’re there, stop by the Runway Restaurant located right at the entrance, 13 Airport Road, Limington, Maine.

Great Electric Airplane Race

647 Glass Cockpit

We explore the glass cockpit and the new book on the Garmin G3000 and G5000. In the news, the shape of the airline recovery, JetBlue scores London slots, Boeing gets a very large 737 MAX order, a special National Aviation Hall of Fame volunteer, an update on the Cessna SkyCourier, possible relief for Wichita aviation jobs, and a fun mod for Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Glass Cockpit

Glass Cockpit Handbook by Max Trescott.

Max Trescott’s G3000 and G5000 Glass Cockpit Handbook is a newly published resource for pilots flying with these Garmin flight decks for light turbine jets. The Garmin G3000 and G5000 are currently used in twenty-three aircraft models, with plans for adding more. Max describes glass cockpit hardware and software, and how the presentation of information differs from traditional cockpit gauges. We talk about reliability and lower maintenance considerations compared to steam gauges, weight advantages including paper document elimination, and the glass cockpit learning curve.

The G3000 and G5000 have nearly identical user interfaces, but the G3000 is designed for smaller and lighter Part 23 aircraft, while the G5000 is targeted to the Part 25 regulations which apply to larger aircraft, including the transport aircraft used by the airlines.

Besides being a host on this podcast, Max Trescott produces the Aviation News Talk podcast which focuses on General Aviation news, general tips for pilots, and technical details on glass cockpits and flying GPS approaches. The show features listener questions and occasional interviews. He’s the 2008 National CFI of the Year, and a Cirrus Platinum CSIP.

Aviation News

American Airlines Reports V-Shaped Recovery

American Airlines direct bookings are up 150-400% over 2020, and close to 2019 levels. Domestic load factors were 80% recently and all planes will be flying in May, 2021. Do leisure travelers believe the pandemic is over?

United unveils 26 new point-to-point routes from Midwest, East Coast

Since business travel isn’t indicating anything like a V-recovery, airlines want to capture the leisure travel recovery. The new United routes include “flights from Cleveland (CLE), Cincinnati (CVG), Columbus (CMH), Indianapolis (IND), Milwaukee (MKE), St. Louis (STL), and Pittsburgh (PIT) to a variety of coastal destinations, from Portland, Maine (PWM), to Pensacola, Florida (PNS).” These are point-to-point, non-stop routes that avoid hubs with service by the Bombardier CRJ550. The routes begin May 27, and will operate through Labor Day Weekend. See: With business travel lagging, Portland lands direct flights to cities around the U.S.

JetBlue Secures London Heathrow Slots for its Transatlantic Debut

JetBlue plans to launch transatlantic service this year with Airbus A321LR aircraft. In it’s summer 2021 schedule report, Airport Coordination Limited included allocated 270 slots to JetBlue for flights to and from London Heathrow (LHR) airport. 180 slots are for flights to New York-JFK and 90 slots for service to Boston. The slots phase in over time and expire on Oct. 30, 2021.

National Aviation Hall of Fame Volunteer Alice Griffin Turns 100

The National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) in Dayton announced that volunteer Alice Griffin celebrated her 100th birthday on March 28, 2021. She was asked if she had any words of wisdom to share and replied, “Work hard, don’t take anything for granted, and give ten percent of your salary to charity.” The National Aviation Hall of Fame was founded in 1962 and is located adjacent to the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

The NAHF collaborated with the National Aeronautic Association for a series of aviation webinars in 2020, including:

Airports, Airlines and Airplanes: A Webinar  (May 28, 2020) with panelists Cirrus Aircraft co-founder and NAHF Enshrinee Dale Klapmeier, CVG Airport CEO and NAA Board Member Candace McGraw, Oliver Wyman Partner, and NAHF Trustee Geoff Murray, and United Airlines Executive and NAHF Chair Michael Quiello.

SPACE: Charting the next trajectory (Jun 25, 2020) Panelists included National Air and Space Musuem Director Ellen Stofan, NAHF Enshrinee and NAA Record holder Hoot Gibson, Blue Origin Director Business Development Brett Alexander, and former NASA Administrator and NAHF Enshrinee Charlie Bolden.

Aerobatics and Air Shows: Get your fix (Jul 24, 2020) Panelists included NAHF Enshrinee and Aerobatic Champion Patty Wagstaff, NAHF Candidate and Aerobatic pilot Julie Clark, IAC International judge and NAA Board Member Peggy Riedinger, and Aerobatic Pilot Vicki Benzig.

Sustainability and Innovation: Ensuring the future of aviation (Sep  10, 2020) Panelists included MagniX CEO and NAA Board Member Roei Ganzarski, Founder and CEO Bye Aerospace George Bye, President and CEO NBAA Ed Bolen, and President Environmental Affairs Airlines 4 America and NAA Board Member Nancy Young.

Cessna SkyCourier Begins Final Phase of Flight Testing

Textron Aviation is hoping to begin deliveries of the Cessna SkyCourier this year, however, the company first needs type-approval from the FAA. The certification flight test phase is underway. 

Production final assembly of the SkyCourier will start at the airframer’s east Wichita campus. Launch customer for the airplane is FedEx with 50 firm orders and 50 options.

New COVID relief bill could help bring back Wichita aviation jobs. Here’s how

The Aviation Manufacturing Jobs Protection Act was swept into the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the COVID-19 relief package signed into law. It is a $3 billion public-private partnership where the federal government contributes 50% of the compensation for eligible employee groups, as long as the company commits to continuing employment of those workers. The funding is available until Sept. 30, 2023, but an employee group cannot receive the federal money for more than six months.

Here’s the stuck Suez cargo ship in Microsoft Flight Simulator

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 allows you to add things as modifications. YouTube and TikTok poster donut_enforcement has added the Ever Given cargo ship that has been stuck in the Suez Canal and completely shut down ship movement. 

Mentioned

This Cockpit View Of A C-17’s Wild Ride Through Star Wars Canyon Is Bonkers

The C-17 is a big, but incredibly nimble beast, as proven in this video of one making hard maneuvers while rocketing low through the Jedi Transition.

Video: C-17 Star Wars Canyon

Groundbreaking H3X Motor Brings Electric Aircraft One Step Closer To Reality

The startup H3X says it has developed a compact electric motor that develops more than 3 times the power and weighs less than most commercially available motors. 

Promotional video: The H3X electric motor: the power density of electric aircraft motors!

NASA Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Prepares for First Flight

Month of Ingenuity: Helicopter Flight Preview Webinar

In early April, 2021 the Mars Ingenuity helicopter will attempt the first-ever powered flight on Mars. Join this interactive webinar to hear team members describe how they will support the helicopter when it takes to the skies. Monday, April 5 at 10:30 a.m. PDT / 1:30 p.m. EDT

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643 Aeronautical Charts

We learn about aeronautical charts produced by the FAA’s Aeronautical Information Services team. In the news, the NTSB will decommission the TWA Flight 800 reconstruction, Collier Trophy finalists announced as are Flying Magazine Editors’ Choice Awards and FAA General Aviation Awards, Boeing fined by the FAA, United orders the Boeing 737 MAX, Delta plans to reactivate pilots, Icelandair flies to Antarctica and back.

Aeronautical chart

Guest

Katie Murphy is a Supervisory Aeronautical Information Specialist in the FAA’s Aeronautical Information Services Visual Charting Team. Katie has worked with both VFR and IFR charts for over 17 years and is a self-proclaimed “map geek.”

Aeronautical Information Services (AIS) is the authority for the development of aeronautical charts and services. They are also the authoritative government source for collecting, storing, maintaining, and disseminating aeronautical data for the U.S. and its territories.

The Interagency Air Committee (IAC) Specifications are used in the preparation of United States Government Charts and thus define what appears in aeronautical charts.
Changes can be proposed through the Aeronautical Charting Meeting. Use the Aeronautical Information Portal to submit data forms, make inquiries, and sign up for notifications.

Aviation News

NTSB’s TWA Flight 800 Reconstruction to be Decommissioned

The lease is expiring on the National Transportation Safety Board training facility and the NTSB plans to dispose of the TWA Flight 800 reconstruction. With advances such as 3-D scanning, the need for large-scale reconstruction in teaching investigative techniques is less relevant.

Seven aviation and space achievements to compete for the 2020 Robert J. Collier Trophy [PDF]

The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) announced the seven finalists competing for the prestigious 2020 Robert J. Collier Trophy:

The Collier Trophy Selection Committee will meet virtually in June and the winner will be announced publicly following the selection. The formal presentation of the Collier Trophy will take place when health and safety protocols allow.

Flying Announces Editors’ Choice Awards for 2021

These awards recognize collaboration in aviation innovation and one of these teams will be chosen to receive the Flying Innovation Award:

  • Autoland: Garmin Aviation + Piper Aircraft + Cirrus Aircraft + Daher
  • ThrustSense Autothrottle: Innovative Solutions & Support + Pilatus + Textron Aviation
  • Crewed Dragon Capsule to the International Space Station: NASA + SpaceX

Boeing, hit with $6.6 million FAA fine, faces much bigger 787 repair bill – sources

In 2015, Boeing paid a $12 million fine and pledged to implement and improve several certification processes to further enhance the airworthiness and continued compliance of all Boeing Commercial Aircraft products. The settlement agreement resolved multiple pending and potential enforcement cases.  

Press Release – Boeing Agrees to Pay $12 Million and Enhance its Compliance Systems to Settle Enforcement Cases (December 22, 2015)

Under the agreement, Boeing could face up to $24 million in additional penalties over the following five years if it failed to implement its obligations.

Press Release – Boeing to Pay $6.6 Million in Penalties to FAA (February 25, 2021)

Now, the FAA has assessed $5.4 million in deferred civil penalties against The Boeing Company for failing to meet its performance obligations under the 2015 settlement agreement. Boeing also agreed to pay $1.21 million to settle two pending FAA enforcement cases. 

FAA says, “Boeing missed some of its improvement targets, and …some company managers did not sufficiently prioritize compliance with FAA regulations.”

See: Delegated Organizations

United orders another 25 Boeing 737 MAX jets to prepare for recovery

United Airlines ordered 25 new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft for delivery in 2023. The company also accelerated the delivery of other aircraft in anticipation of post-pandemic demand growth.

Delta To Reactivate All Pilots By October

Expecting a strong recovery, Delta informed pilots it plans to return them to flying status by October, 2021.

Icelandair 767 flying between Iceland & Antarctica

The 20 year old Boeing 767-300 is currently flying between Iceland and Antarctica via South Africa. The 767 has a crew of 20 people, including six pilots, 13 flight attendants, and one mechanic. The roundtrip journey covers over 20,000 miles.

Mentioned

Australian Frontline Machinery will hold the March 2021 Aviation Auction, auctioning demilitarised aircraft and spare parts direct from the Australian Defence Force. See Can civilians buy ex-military aircraft? for more information.

Virtual aviation events:

Aircraft Cabin Air International Conference 2021, March 15 – March 18, 2021.

Creating the Future of Vertical Flight: A Sikorsky Innovations Perspective, March 25, 2021.

Video: UNITED 328 Engine Failure! WHAT CHECKLISTS did the pilots use? Explained by CAPTAIN JOE