Aerial firefighting with a Boeing 747-400, airline policies for overbooking and bumping passengers, Mar-a-Lago air restrictions for presidential visits, and F-16 fighter service life.
The Global SuperTanker in Chile for aerial firefighting operations. Courtesy Global SuperTanker Services, LLC, (c) Bill Gabbert.
Capt. Tom Parsons, Assistant Chief Supervisor/Pilot and Scott Olson, VP Maintenance for Global SuperTanker Services, LLC. The company was formed in 2015 and acquired a B747-400 to use for aerial firefighting and other operations.
We talk about the kinds of missions the Global SuperTanker can fly, and Tom and Scott explain the aircraft modifications, the loading and delivery system, and the recent activity in Chile fighting wildfires. We also learn about the coordination required for all the air and ground participants in this kind of operation.
The passenger who was violently removed from the United Express flight operated by Republic Airways intends to take legal action. The man’s lawyer claimed his client lost two teeth and his nose was broken. We discuss the resulting media storm, airline practice of overbooking flights, and the procedure for bumping passengers.
We talk about commercial aviation with the editor-in-chief and founder of Airline Reporter. Also, the violent removal of a passenger from a flight, the new Boeing venture-capital group, the 50th anniversary of the Boeing 737 first flight, more seats for the A380, and a lawsuit to stop the Planes of Fame Air Show. Plus, reports from Sun ‘n Fun 2017, memorable flights, and a new aviation podcast.
David Parker Brown is editor-in-chief and founder of Airline Reporter. With a team of over 30 writers located in 18 different cities, AirlineReporter.com is a goto resource for aviation, travel, and airline industry content. This is quality material by passionate AvGeeks. As for David, he has written, consulted, and presented on many airline and travel topics since 2008. He caught the aviation bug at an early age, and has been blogging since 1999.
United Express flight 3411 operated by Republic Airways and departing O’Hare International Airport was overbooked. But four Republic crew members needed to get onboard so they could deadhead to work. One passenger refused to give up his seat and was violently removed by an aviation security officer.
Boeing has recently formed a division called HorizonX as a small venture-capital group to invest in companies with interesting technologies. HorizonX is led by Steve Nordlund, formerly the head of drone company InSitu, which was acquired by Boeing in 2008. As examples of technology areas that HorizonX might invest in, Nordlund pointed to autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and additive manufacturing. Initial investments were with Upskill, an augmented reality company, and Zunum Aero that is developing small hybrid-electric aircraft.
Airbus is offering customers some A380 configuration changes that result in additional seats. These include removing an upper-deck stowage area, moving the main staircase, 11-abreast on the main deck, 9-abreast in premium-economy, a rear spiral staircase, and moving the pilot rest area.
A group of Chino Airport tenants are suing the Planes of Fame Air Museum (another tenant) to halt this year’s Planes of Fame Air Show May 6-7. Chino Airport is a county-owned airport in San Bernardino County, California. The plaintiffs allege the air show negatively impacts their business. The tenants bringing suit want the County of San Bernardino to appoint a coalition of tenants to oversee future air shows at the Chino Airport. Find a petition at: Don’t Let them Stop Your Air Show!
We talk with Stephen Pope, the Editor-in-Chief of Flying magazine. In the news, we look at a United Airlines computer problem, tracking passengers moving through the airport, the search for MH 370 concludes, ADS-B capable satellites, the latest Mitsubishi MRJ delay, B-2 bombers fly a 30-hour mission, testing tiltrotors, a possible lead in the 1971 hijacking by D.B. Cooper, and a tribute to Gene Cernan.
Stephen Pope, Editor in Chief, Flying magazine
Stephen Pope is Editor-in-Chief of Flying magazine. We talk about Light Sport Aircraft, third class medical reform, and flying with the Garmin G1000 NXi. Steve also explains how Flying is changing its look, content, website, and e-news product to compete with digital aviation news outlets. We also get some good suggestions for those who might consider aviation journalism as a career choice, either full-time or freelance.
Steve is an award-winning aviation journalist and commercial pilot with multi-engine, instrument, and seaplane ratings. He has been writing for aviation magazines for more than 20 years on a wide range of flying topics.
Steve learned to fly at age 15 in a Piper Cub at Trinca Airport, a small grass strip in northern New Jersey. He worked as a line boy at the 60th Street Heliport in New York City and for First Aviation at Teterboro Airport. After soloing at 16, earning his private pilot’s license at 17, and gaining his instrument rating a year later, Steve enrolled at the University of Maryland as a journalism major, where he received his degree and completed an editorial internship with AOPA Pilot magazine.
After graduating, Stephen joined the editorial staff of Aviation International News, a business aviation trade magazine. During his 15 years with AIN he moved up the ranks to become Senior Editor directing avionics and technology coverage, Editor-in-Chief of Convention Publications and, in his last role with the company, Editor-in-Chief of Business Jet Traveler magazine. He joined the staff of Flying in 2010.
Steve has won seven Aerospace Journalist of the Year awards, including being named overall Aerospace Journalist of the Year in 2007. He has also won three NBAA Gold Wing Journalism Awards and has written for Barron’s, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications.
Houston airports are now monitoring Bluetooth signals from travelers’ phones. This lets the airport track checkpoint wait times in real-time. In a news release, Houston airport spokesperson Bill Begley said, “The tracking is anonymous and uses a variety of filters to ensure both anonymity and accuracy, and then uses that data to provide an average time for travelers passing through the checkpoints.”
In an MH370 Joint Communique, the Australian Government announced that the search for MH370 has been suspended. “The decision to suspend the underwater search has not been taken lightly nor without sadness,” the joint statement read. “We remain hopeful that new information will come to light and that at some point in the future the aircraft will be located.”
The recent successful SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch put the first 10 Iridium Next satellites into low-Earth orbit. Each satellite carries an ADS-B receiver to be part of Aireon’s global ADS-B-based aircraft-tracking system, operational by the second quarter of 2018.
In its January 23 press release, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries announced “that MHI and Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation will adjust the first delivery of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) from mid-2018 to mid-2020. The change is due to revisions of certain systems and electrical configurations on the aircraft to meet the latest requirements for certification.” See MRJ’s Latest Development Status and the Advancing the MRJ project PDF.
A Seattle Times aerospace reporter tells us about the Boeing 777X, the 787 Dreamliner, the Boeing manufacturing processes, and more. In the news, inflight WiFi phone calls, air traffic controllers behaving badly, an audit of privatized flight service, United Airlines helps young dance competitors, and a seaplane with an impressive paint job. We also have a listener report about the Canadian Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue Program.
Dominic Gates is the aerospace reporter for the Seattle Times. We discuss a variety of topics, including the recent Boeing 777 production rate cut due to softening demand and the production requirements for 777X flight test aircraft. We talk about the business decline of the 747 and the Air Force One replacement. Also, the requirement to restart 787 Dreamliner flight control modules and 787-10 final assembly in South Carolina. We look at globalization issues and Boeing’s strategy to rely on an extensive supply chain. Dominic also tells us about some of his memorable stories and scoops, as well as those that impacted labor.
Originally from Northern Ireland, Dominic taught high school calculus in Ireland and in Africa. He met his future wife and in 1992 moved to Seattle, where he switched careers to journalism. Dominic originally established himself as a journalist by freelancing, but eventually joined the Seattle Times as aerospace reporter in January 2003, his first newspaper job.
The Boeing beat is the highest-profile business beat at the Times and as the aerospace reporter, Dominic has broken many high-impact stories. His tenure at the Times coincides exactly with the story of the 787 Dreamliner. In 2003, just a month into the job, he broke the story in March that Boeing would hold a competition among the states for the final assembly location of its 7E7 airplane. On December 5 of that year, he revealed that Boeing’s 7E7 team was recommending Everett for final assembly. Ten days later, Boeing’s board made it official. Ever since, he has closely tracked the many twists and turns of the 787 story.
Dominic attends the European Air Shows each year and makes regular reporting trips to airplane leasing conferences, to Boeing plants around the U.S., including Charleston, and to Boeing suppliers, such as Spirit in Wichita. He has toured and written about the Airbus final assembly plants in Toulouse, the Airbus wing factory in Wales, and the Bombardier CSeries wing plant in Belfast.
The Chicago Tribune reports that The U.S Department of Transportation announced it could see allowing WiFi phone calls if airlines tell customers about the policy when they buy their tickets. This is so customers who don’t want to sit next to others making calls could make other travel arrangements.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx said, “Consumers deserve to have clear and accurate information about whether an airline permits voice calls before they purchase a ticket and board the aircraft. Today’s proposal will ensure that air travelers are not unwillingly exposed to voice calls, as many of them are troubled over the idea of passengers talking on cell phones in flight.”
Members of the public can comment on the NPRM at www.regulations.gov, docket number DOT-OST-2014-0002. 60 days. Look for DOT-OST-2014-0002-1795.
The Boise Idaho Police Department says that after two helicopter pilots were unable to contact controllers, officers entered the Boise Airport air traffic control tower. One controller was sleeping and the other controller had left the tower and smelled of marijuana.
United Airlines came to the assistance of a group of American dancers trying to reach a major tap dance competition in Germany. The group was stranded in Boston over the Thanksgiving holiday due to the Lufthansa pilot strike, and United arranged for flights to transport the dancers to Germany in time for the competition. See Results – IDO World Tap Dance Championships 2016 for the ultimate outcome.
We talk with an Airbus captain and former military pilot. In the news, a charter flight runs out of fuel and crashes, first delivery of the Bombardier CS300, an airline pilot suffers a heart attack, managing massive amounts of aviation data, charging for overhead bins, an autopilot system for general aviation, and a big pay raise for Delta pilots. Also, flying the Diamond DA42NG, and remembering December 7, 1941 and the 75th anniversary of that day.
airBaltic CS300. Photo courtesy Bombardier.
Captain Nick Anderson
Captain Nick Anderson always wanted to be an airline pilot. He joined the Air Cadets at age 13, went solo in a glider at 17, gained a flying scholarship at age 18 and earned a Private Pilot’s Licence. Capt. Nick joined the RAF at age 21 and trained on the Chipmunk, Jet Provost, Folland Gnat, and Hawker Hunter. He then streamed to fighters and posted to No 43 (F) Sqn, The Fighting Cocks, flying the F4 Phantom FG1.
During a 19 year career, Capt. Nick moved from the Phantom to the Hawk T1 trainer as an A1 fast jet Qualified Flying Instructor, then back to the Phantom to become a Qualified Weapons Instructor. He then moved to Australia on an exchange tour flying the F/A 18 for the No 77 Sqn RAAF, and finally back to the UK to fly the Panavia F3 Tornado Air Defence Variant.
After obtaining his Air Transport Pilot’s Licence and leaving the military, Capt. Nick joined an airline, flying the Airbus A340-300, Airbus A340-600, and the Airbus A330-300 on long haul flights.
LaMia charter flight 2933 from Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia to Medellín in Colombia crashed November 28, 2016, killing 71 of the 68 passengers and 9 crew. Apparently, the Avro RJ-85 did not have sufficient fuel for the route flown.
The captain of a KLM flight about to leave Glasgow for Amsterdam suffered a heart attack as the plane taxied to the runway. The crew and a passenger resuscitated the pilot. He was listed in stable condition at the hospital.
The Configuration Data Exchange connects aviation companies and provides a “data pipeline” for operations, maintenance, and configuration data. The two-way asset data flow can support airlines, MROs, lessors, OEMs, and parts brokers. In #PaxEx Podcast #41, industry consultant Michael Denis explains why operators need to know how to process the data and make it meaningful.
The STC Group is leading a project to certify the Trio Pro Pilot autopilot system in Cessna 172 and 182 aircraft. This is a “two-axis system with full navigation capabilities, envelope protection, return-to-level and 180 degree turn features for unintended IMC encounters.”
Eighty two percent of the pilots voting have ratified a new four-year contract, retroactive to the beginning of 2016. Delta’s 13,000 pilots get an immediate 18% pay raise, and a cumulative 30% percent by Jan. 1, 2019.
The grand prize winner of the first annual EAA Founder’s Innovation Prize explains his concept for reducing the number of accidents induced by loss of control. Also, an Airbus autonomous flying vehicle concept, Part 107 regulations for small commercial UAS, a laser pointer goes to prison, a federal lawsuit against United Airlines, pay raises for airline employees, and 787 Dreamliner engine woes.
Ihab Awad is the grand prize winner of the first annual EAA Founder’s Innovation Prize for his Airball concept designed to reduce accidents induced by loss of control. Ihab explains how the loss of correct relative wind can result in stalls and spins, and how the Airball graphical representation (a blue ball) allows the pilot to quickly understand and manage the flight state of the airplane. Airball does this using air data from a number of sensors.
Ihab is a programmer working at Google in Silicon Valley. He holds Master’s degrees in mechanical engineering and computer and information sciences from the University of Minnesota. Ihab is a Sport Pilot with 150 hours, and looks forward to building his own experimental aircraft.
In Airbus Group: Future of urban mobility, My Kind of Flyover, the company says, “By 2030, 60% of the world’s population will live in cities… Airbus Group is harnessing its experience to make the dream of all commuters and travellers come true one day: to fly over traffic jams at the push of a button.” Vahana is the Airbus concept for an autonomous flying vehicle for passengers and cargo. It’s under development at the A3 “innovation outpost” in Silicon Valley.
The new small unmanned aircraft rule for non-hobbyists (also known as Part 107 to Title 14 CFR) became effective August 29, 2016. The person flying a drone must have a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating, or be directly supervised by someone with that certificate.
For more information about the new small UAS rules, see:
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in Chicago federal court claiming that United Airlines failed to provide a pilot with sick leave when he was called to active duty by the U.S. Air Force. The suit charges that the pilot, a reservist, was denied his employment rights and violated the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).
All Nippon Airways (ANA) is seeing sulfidation-corrosion cracking of turbine blades on some of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets. All 50 aircraft in the ANA 787 fleet are powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines.
Airplane of the Week
The OV-10 Bronco, Part 2: Foreign Variants and Civilian Applications. Sometimes history repeats itself. After being moved into the civilian world, the Bronco returned to combat twenty-plus years after it was retired, with only protest from the Marines.
We learn all about Active Noise Reduction headsets with the founder and CEO of Lightspeed Aviation. In the news: Bombardier job cuts and a CS300 order, the NASA aeronautics budget request, United 747 retirements, and the FAA reauthorization bill stalls. We also have the winner of the John Mollison print.
Allan Schrader, founder and CEO, Lightspeed Aviation.
Allan Schrader is founder and CEO of Lightspeed Aviation, a leading producer of active noise reduction headsets for aviation. Lightspeed introduced their first product in 1996 at EAA AirVenture and continues to develop and offer innovative products.
Allan tells us how he started Lightspeed and the sound cancellation technologies involved. We learn about the labs dedicated to delivering quieting, comfort, and fidelity; the headset trade-in program; and the different acoustic signatures of GA airplanes, helicopters, and airliners. Allan also talks about the introduction of the wireless headset, and integrating headsets with cockpit information to enhance the cockpit experience.
Allan has a civil engineering degree and an MBA, and started his career at Tektronix where he learned about product development and operations. Allan left Tektronix to launch a startup company producing wireless headsets, then after five years he and some of his Tektronix co-workers started Lightspeed Technologies to design and make Active Noise Reduction headsets.
Bombardier plans to cut about 7,000 jobs from its worldwide workforce of 71,000. Layoffs are expected in both Canada and Europe, split between the company’s plane and train operations. The better news is that Air Canada placed orders for 45 firm and 30 option CS300 airplanes.
The $19B FY 2017 NASA budget request asks for $790M to be used for aeronautics research impacting the safety, capacity, and efficiency of the air transportation system; a major new experimental flight initiative to demonstrate and validate new technologies that dramatically reduce fuel consumption, emissions, and noise, and open new markets for U.S. industry; and research and development for revolutionary low carbon emission aircraft, including associated transportation systems, as part of a multiagency effort to enable a 21st century clean transportation system.
Aviation journalist Brian Sumers reports that almost a year ago, United indicated that its 747 fleet would be around for a while, with maybe a 2020 decision point based on aircraft maintenance requirements. Now however, pilots were told that 747 retirements may occur at a faster rate. If United does move to retire the 747 quickly, they say they will accelerate deliveries of new widebodies.
The FAA reauthorization bill which would privatize ATC will not be introduced to the full House as scheduled. Facing widespread opposition to the bill, Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster will instead try and consolidate support. Expect the bill to be amended before it re-emerges from Committee.
John Mollison Print Giveaway
We announce the winner of the John Mollison signed print showing the B-25 flown by Dick Cole and Doolittle, Bud Anderson’s P51B, Alden Rigby’s P51D, and Maury Magneson’s P47. John was our guest on Episode 388 where he told us about his “Old Guys and Their Airplanes” video documentaries.
We also play a moving recording called “Grandpa’s Untold Story” that describes how the picture of one man’s B-17 came to be on the wall of his grandson.
Airplane of the Week
Listener Glenn Towler tells us the history of the English Electric Lightning.
John Mollison tells us how his artwork and his interviews capture the human side of aviation history. In the news, we talk about the FAA reauthorization bill, and consider if United Airlines is getting better. Also, spraying airplanes to fight the Zika virus, the A-10 gets a reprieve, and Icelandair steps up their game with a Stopover Buddy.
Artist and writer John Mollison has interviewed well over 100 highly decorated airman since 1999 including: Medal of Honor recipients Joe Foss and Leo Thorsness, Presidential candidate and Senator George McGovern, bestselling author Robert Mason, and Morris Jeppson, the Bomb-Electronics Officer aboard the Enola Gay, to name a few.
In his words, John “Interviews old guys and draws their airplanes.” He uses the process of capturing an exact, historically accurate rendering of a particular combat aircraft to learn more about the human side of history.
John interviews the pilots and aircrew of particular aircraft to to learn: What makes people go to war? What makes people cope with stress? How do people define success? And most importantly, what can be passed on to future generations so they can avoid the mistakes of the past?
The AIRR Act proposes privatizing ATC via a federally chartered not-for-profit organization, third class medical reform, certification reform, and user fees for airlines and Part 135 charter operators.
In his press release, Shuster says, “The comprehensive reauthorization bill, which removes over 30,000 people from the federal government’s payroll, also streamlines the FAA’s aviation equipment and aircraft certification processes, provides additional consumer protections, addresses aviation safety issues, gives the FAA more tools for the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems, and provides for airport infrastructure improvements across the country.”
CEO Oscar Munoz was upbeat and enthusiastic in the earnings call, 79% of the United pilots ratified a two-year contract extension, United operations are improving, United is building its San Francisco hub as the primary U.S. gateway to Asia, Boston-based PAR Capital Management increased its stake in the carrier to 8.9 million shares or 2.4% of the airline.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the DOD is “…investing to maintain more of our 4th-generation fighter and attack jets than we previously planned — including the A-10, which has been devastating ISIL from the air. The budget defers the A-10’s final retirement until 2022, replacing it with F-35s on a squadron-by-squadron basis so we’ll always have enough aircraft for today’s conflicts.”
Icelandair and WOW Air are competing with low fares between the U.S. and Europe using Iceland as a waypoint. But now Icelandair is stepping up the game and testing an idea where passengers enjoy Iceland’s sights during a layover, before proceeding to their destination. Under this program, passengers can request an Icelandair Stopover Buddy to act as a kind of free tour guide.
Jeff Pino was president of Sikorsky aircraft from 2006 to 2012. Recently, he was the Vice Chairman of XTI Aircraft Company, developing the Trifan 600 VTOL for the commercial market. Pino and was killed February 5, 2016 in the crash of his P-51 Mustang in Arizona.
Guest Steve Hinton is a record holding air racer, president of Planes of Fame Air Museum, and owner of a military aircraft restoration company. In the news, United is replacing 50-seaters with larger aircraft, more bad behavior by airline crew members, military drone crashes, desert beetles and airplane frost, and airlines sucking away regional pilots. Also, the Boeing P-26 Peashooter, and the A-10. Again.
Northrop N9MB. Courtesy Planes of Fame Air Museum
Steve Hinton is an American aviator who held a world speed record from 1979 to 1989 and won six Unlimited-class air races, including two national championships. He won four consecutive Unlimited races in one year, and remains the only pilot ever to do so. He retired from racing in 1990.
Steve is now president of Planes of Fame Air Museum with locations in Chino, California and Valle-Grand Canyon, Arizona, and owner of Fighter Rebuilders, a military aircraft restoration company.
On August 14, 1979, Steve set the piston-driven aircraft 3-kilometer world speed record at 499.018 mph in the highly-modified RB51 Red Baron at Tonopah, Nevada. At age 27, he was the youngest person ever to capture the speed record.
On September 16, 1979 while racing the RB-51 in Reno, Steve’s plane suffered catastrophic engine failure. He finished the race in second place, but crashed short of the runway. Although the plane’s fuel erupted in a fireball, the cockpit was thrown away from the fire and Steve survived with a broken back, leg, and ankle.
Steve became the chief test pilot for the Tsunami Racer in 1987. Some of his notable wins in air racing include:
1978, Mojave, Red Baron
1978, Reno (Unlimited National Champion), Red Baron
1979, Miami, Red Baron
1979, Mojave, Red Baron
1985, Reno (Unlimited National Champion), Super Corsair
1990, Sherman, Texas, Tsunami
Steve is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and charter member of the Motion Picture Pilots Association. He has worked on more than 60 films. In 2002 he received a nomination from the World Stunt Awards for the Taurus Award, Best Aerial Work in Pearl Harbor.
United intends to retire many of its 50-seat regional fleet by 2019 and replace them with larger aircraft. This is just the first buy. FlightGlobal reports United has 256 50-seat regional jets and had “considered the 110-set Bombardier CS100 and both the 90-seat Embraer 190 and 120-seat E190-E2 aircraft.”
The man faces Federal charges for allegedly flying two Alaska Airlines flights while under the influence of alcohol. Arntson was selected for drug and alcohol testing after he landed at John Wayne Airport.
A Washington Post investigation says that over 400 large U.S. military drones have crashed since 2001. In one incident, the pilot didn’t realize she had been flying the aircraft upside-down. In another, the pilot didn’t notice he had squeezed the wrong red button on his joystick, putting the plane into a spin.
Scientists at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute think they have learned something about controlling frost from a beetle that lives in the desert. The Namib Desert beetle can collect water in the air through bumps on its shell which then directs water droplets into the beetle’s mouth. The scientists believe they can scale this up to work on large objects, like airplanes.
Seaport Airlines based in Portland, Ore., has been forced to drop some routes because of a pilot shortage. Seaport executive vice president Tim Sieber said, “A lot of regional airlines are undergoing this challenge right now, one we think will last a long time.” He said once Seaport pilots accumulate 1,500 hours of flight time, they typically leave for more lucrative jet-flying jobs on bigger airlines, and their vacancies are not being filled fast enough by newly-licensed pilots. “We’ve downsized the airline to one where we can focus on providing a reliable level of service with our smaller fleet,” Sieber said.
The Airplane of the Week
David tells us the history of the Boeing P-26A Peashooter.
Boeing P-26A Peashooter at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, by David Vanderhoof
Christopher Sims talks about affordable air charter travel, and creating a secondary charter market.
Our “Main(e) Man” Micah brings us the last conversation on the A-10. Maybe.
A wide-ranging conversation about airlines with travel industry analyst and advisor Henry Harteveldt. Also, United bundles amenities, the Mitsubishi MRJ is delayed, Allegiant Air mis-cues, the viability of an Uber for the skies, the Westland Lysander, aviation maintenance technician training, the English Electric Lightning, a book review, and bird strikes.
Henry Harteveldt is a well-known analyst and advisor in the travel industry. He spent more than 15 years in marketing, planning, distribution, and strategy roles at companies such as TWA, Continental Airlines, the Trump Organization, the Fairmont Hotel Management Company and GetThere. He was head of Forrester Research’s global travel research practice, and launched Atmosphere Research in September 2011 serving the global travel industry.
We discuss airline strategies for bundling amenities and what an airline “loyalty” program really is these days. Henry touches on airline labor relations, he describes the things he looks for in 2016, what the airlines might do with their profits, and how they might respond to the next downturn.
Henry shares some good insight on the low cost model, how travel technology companies enhance what airlines can offer and how that changes the passenger experience. We discuss IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) standards, what that means for airline offerings and the total value presented to the consumer by the airline. (It’s more than just price.) Henry gives his opinion on the clash between US majors and Middle Eastern carriers, and why the US carriers have lost in Washington.
The Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) has been delayed again. Launch customer ANA Holdings had been planning first delivery in 2017 Q2. Mitsubishi has conducted flight tests and they are not saying specifically what is causing them to push out deliveries. Statements from the company suggest they were just too optimistic in their test schedule.
It seems Allegiant Air can’t stay out of the news. Flight 760 made an emergency landing after reporting an engine problem. A flight to Bangor, Maine was diverted after passengers reported an abnormal smell. Another flight to landed in North Dakota with a deicing equipment problem. A flight to Youngstown, Ohio was diverted to Jacksonville, Florida. That turned out to be a faulty indicator light.
Flight attendants reported smelling smoke just after takeoff and the captain returned to the airport. Emergency vehicles arrived, the captain called for an evacuation, but some unidentified voice over the radio instructed the captain to stay put. After some time and confusion, the captain evacuated the airplane.
An Allegiant Air MD-80 attempted to land at Fargo airport, but it was closed for an airshow rehearsal. They landed after using some of their emergency reserve fuel. The union questioned Allegiant’s safety. Now the FAA issued a “letter of correction,” which carries no enforcement action.
Chris Elliott asks, “Airbnb changed the hotel industry. Uber changed ground transportation. So why can’t the same change happen for air travel?” The US airline industry is now highly consolidated, and commercial flight sharing could introduce competition. For this to happen, the rules need to change. Is the entire concept viable?
The Airplane of the Week
The Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum’s Westland Lysander IIIa by David Vanderhoof
With the disappearance of Westland Helicopters to Finmeccanica, it was time to do a Westland aircraft. So David chose his favorite, the Lysander! It’s designer also designed the EE Lightning, so he can also say he started the Lightning segment.