Tag Archives: United Airlines

495 Heritage Flights

The president of Planes of Fame tells us about the museum, restoring warbirds and historic aircraft, and flying heritage flights. Also, we look at the world’s largest jet engine, restraints on open-door helicopter flights, United Airlines and dogs, facial scanning at airports, the Boeing 737 Max 7 first flight, hacking the aviation industry, and GPS vulnerabilities.

P-51 Mustang, always a crowd-pleaser for heritage flights

Planes of Fame Air Museum P-51 Mustang


Steve Hinton is president of Planes of Fame Air Museum, which opened in 1957 and now has a collection of over 150 aircraft, more than 50 of which are flyable. The mission of the museum is to preserve aviation history, inspire interest in aviation, educate the public, and honor aviation pioneers and veterans. The Museum spans the history of manned flight from the Chanute Hang Glider of 1896 to the Space Age of Apollo, with locations in Chino, California and Valle-Grand Canyon, Arizona.

Planes of Fame Airshow 2018We talk with Steve about the Museum and the annual Planes of Fame Airshow, in 2018 to be held May 5-6 at Chino Airport in California with about 45 flying warbirds.

Steve explains how the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation pairs modern aircraft with fighter aircraft from the WWII, Korea, and Vietnam eras for dramatic heritage flights around the world. This year he flew a P-51 Mustang leading two A-10s and an F-16 in the heritage flight over the Super Bowl LII opening ceremony.

Steve 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 and was honored in 2016 with the Crystal Eagle Award from the Aero Club of Northern California.

Steve also owns Fighter Rebuilders, a military aircraft restoration company. He was our guest on Episode 386 in January 2016.

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

Aviation News

GE starts flight trials for world’s largest jet engine

On March 13, from Victorville, California, GE’s new GE9X engine flew more than four hours mounted to the company’s 747 testbed aircraft. The 100,000-pound thrust-class engine has a 134-inch fan and is intended for the Boeing 777X, scheduled for EIS in 2020.

Video: GE9X engine soars

Chopper flights with open doors, tight restraints grounded

Open-door helicopter flights are popular with tourists and photographers, but recently one of these flights went down in a river, killing all 5 passengers on board. It appears that they were unable to escape from the harnesses that held them in the chopper. The family of one victim has filed a lawsuit and the FAA issued a temporary nationwide ban on open-door flights unless they are equipped with restraint systems that open with one action.

United Airlines Chartered a Private Jet to Send Irgo the Dog Home

Bad press seems to dog United Airlines frequently these days. But they went above and beyond after mistakenly shipping a German Shepherd Dog to Japan. They returned the pooch via a privately chartered jet.

Facial Scanning Now Arriving At U.S. Airports

Customs and Border Protection is testing biometric scanning at some U.S. international airports at boarding points. Cameras at the gate send passenger photographs to CBP where they are checked against photos on file and to make sure that person is booked on the manifest. Some critics point to possible bias and privacy protection issues.

Boeing Says New 737 MAX 7 Aircraft Completes Successful First Flight

The smallest member of the family, the Boeing 737 MAX 7, flew on March 17, 2018, for 3 hours and 5 minutes. The flight test program now begins with certification and delivery expected in 2019. The airplane has a maximum capacity of 172 passengers and a range of 3,850 nautical miles.

Russian Hackers Attacked U.S. Aviation as Part of Breaches

Bloomberg reports that hackers were attempted to penetrate the U.S. civilian aviation industry early in 2017. Details aren’t provided, but Jeff Troy, executive director of the Aviation Information Sharing and Analysis Center (A-ISAC), said the attack had limited impact. Also that the industry has taken steps to prevent a repeat of the intrusion. US-CERT has issued a detailed report.

Keeping NextGen on the air

A task group co-chaired by AOPA looked at GPS interference when certain military activities are conducted. GPS signals are fragile, says AOPA and the FAA needs to ensure that alternate navigation aids and capabilities are available. The March 2018 report contains 25 recommendations:  Operational Impacts of Intentional GPS Interference: A Report of the Tactical Operations Committee in Response to Tasking from the Federal Aviation Administration [PDF].

Airline Story of the Week

Pratt & Whitney showcases the role of women in powering flight

Although not specifically about commercial aircraft, it is a great story about the contribution woman have made to Pratt & Whitney.


Airplane Geeks Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari speaks with Ken VeArd from Pilot Partner about getting paper out of the cockpit. Ken was kind enough to offer a discount code for Airplane Geeks listeners. The interview begins at about 1:28 into the episode.


The Sticks, Stories, Scotch blog by listener Aaron.

Fingertrouble showed us a photo of this Short SC.7 Skyvan operated by Pink-Skyvan in Europe for skydiving activities:

Short SC.7 Skyvan


Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.


494 Flight Training Management

The owner and president of Flight Training Technologies talks about a flight training management application for use by flight instructors, students, and Part 61 flight schools. Also, recent developments in the search for Amelia Earhart, progress toward electric general aviation aircraft, how Air New Zealand is managing their customers in the face of an equipment change, the United Airlines bonus program fiasco, and some comments on the Airbus A350 vs. the Boeing 787.


Amy Labus-Olson, owner and president of flight training management system provider Flight Training Technologies, LLC.

Amy Labus-Olson, owner and president of Flight Training Technologies, LLC.

Amy Labus-Olson is the owner and president of Flight Training Technologies, LLC. which provides an online flight training management application for use by flight instructors, students, and Part 61 flight schools.

As a CFII (Certificated Flight Instructor – Instrument), Amy saw a need in the small business flight training industry for a paperless management system for maintaining students’ flight training records. As a college educator, she used digital solutions to effectively manage her students and wanted that same level of professionalism in management in the flight training environment. She created the Skynotes web app which provides users with a calendar/scheduler, flight and ground curriculum with lesson set up tool, a flight training logbook with IACRA tracking, CFI records logbook, FAR requirement and FAA endorsements checklist, a resource library, and free online ground school through Pilot Training System.

The goal of Skynotes is to keep students and instructors informed and engaged in their flight training program from start to certification, no matter how many instructors the student has throughout their training.

Amy holds a commercial certificate with multi-engine and instrument ratings along with a CFII and remote pilot certificate. Amy has taught for a variety of Part 61 and 141 flight schools and also as an independent CFI.

Learn more about Skynotes at the Flight Training Technologies website, on Facebook, LinkedIn, and on Twitter. Also, see the post in Airscape about Skynotes.

Aviation News

Bones discovered on a Pacific island belong to Amelia Earhart, a new forensic analysis claims

Human bones were found on the Pacific island of Nikumaroro in 1940 and there was speculation they belonged to Amelia Earhart. A 1941 forensic analysis concluded the bones were of a man, but speculation continued because the methods then were crude by today’s standards. Now, University of Tennessee professor Richard L. Jantz has employed a computer program used by forensic anthropologists called Fordisc to revisit the measurements originally taken of the bones. He concluded the measurements match what is known about Earhart’s physical dimensions.

Is Amelia Earhart Found?

This article by Robert Goyer presents is skeptical of the new “evidence.”

2040: A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 621 Kansas Avenue in Atchison, Kansas, as the “Amelia Earhart Post Office Building”

This bill passed in the Senate on March 7, 2018, and goes to the House next for consideration.

Progress made toward electric GA

In the U.S., where LSAs were viewed as the likely entry point for electric, there is a problem. The regulatory language uses the word “reciprocating,” which excludes turbine engines, rocket-power, and electric motors. Nevertheless, Greg Bowles, GAMA’s Vice President for Global Innovation & Policy, expects to see certified electric aircraft in regular use within three to five years. Bowles is also chairman of ASTM Committee F44 on General Aviation Aircraft, which is defining performance standards that work with the 2016 regulation reform that took Part 23 from a prescriptive model to a performance-based model.


Flight Safety Foundation Calls for Sweeping Changes to Pilot Training

Air NZ engine fix another month away

Leaked Memo: Oscar Munoz Tells United Employees Quarterly Bonuses WILL Change


Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

493 The Flying Tigers and the Forgotten War

The Flying Tigers, the search for MH370 four years after its disappearance, a newly designated national aviation museum, flight training in the F-104 Starfighter, slow acceptance of ADS-B, and the selection of the new FAA administrator.

Flying Tiger Curtiss P-40C Courtesy San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive.

Curtiss P-40C Flying Tiger. Courtesy San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive.


Charlene Fontaine is the founder and executive director of the Flying Tigers 69th DRS Association, Inc. She is an advocate and speaker for veterans, youth, and trauma victims. Charlene speaks at air shows, conferences, schools, and reunions to inspire youth to learn history and to honor our elders and all those who serve our country.

Charlene Fontain, Flying Tigers 69th DRS Association.

Charlene Fontaine

Started in 2005, the nonprofit Flying Tigers 69th DRS Association carries forward the legacy and history of the Depot Repair Squadron as well as all Flying Tigers. We talk about the history of the Flying Tigers, including the clandestine formation of the American Volunteer Group (the “AVG”) – the 100 pilots and almost 300 ground crew who went off to war under a one-year contract. Charlene tells us about the formation of the 14th Air Force after the contract, and we learn about the iconic shark’s teeth and where we find them on other aircraft.

Charlene loves all things that fly, starting with kites and the gyroscope that was given to her at age four by her father. She flew in a plane at 15, and her college years were spent with open cockpit planes, helicopters, and hot air balloons. Charlene developed a deep desire to learn about her father’s adventures designing airplanes, repairing them, and being a crew chief during WWII.  

Flying Tigers DRSHaving consulted internationally for over 30 years, Charlene’s clients include a wide variety of corporate industries ranging from the military to medical, manufacturing, law enforcement, and non-profits. Working with CEO’s and senior management, Charlene developed projects, teams, and programs that align the organization with their customers’ needs and range from customer service, change management, conflict resolution, creativity, productivity, sales and total quality management.

Charlene has authored a number of books, and speaks at schools, military bases, civic organizations, and air shows sharing the history and stories of the Flying Tigers and CBI Veterans as well as representing them in China. She has film industry experience and “The Forgotten War: China, Burma, India” is currently in production. The Forgotten War: CBI Promo.

Visit the Flying Tigers 69th DRS Association website and find them on Facebook.


Malaysia says new search for flight MH370 to end mid-June

March 8, 2018, is the 4-year anniversary of the disappearance of MH370, carrying 239 people from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in 2014. The search by Australia, China, and Malaysia ended in January 2017 at a cost of around US$160 million. In January 2018, Malaysia agreed to pay the U.S. firm Ocean Infinity up to US$70 million if it found the plane within 90 search days. The Seabed Constructor vessel started searching on Jan 23.

Triple WWII ace accepts national designation for Colorado Springs aviation museum

The Museum of World War II Aviation in Colorado Springs has been designated by Congress as a national aviation museum. Accepting the designation on behalf of the museum was 96 year old retired Air Force Col. Clarence “Bud” Anderson. Bud flew a P-51 Mustang in World War II, and his plane, “Old Crow,” was flown in as a surprise from the National Warbird Hall of Fame in OshKosh.

Other national aviation museums:

F-104 Flight Training Launches At Florida’s Kennedy Space Center

A new civilian training program for licensed pilots is offered by Starfighters Aerospace with a fleet of Mach 2+ Lockheed F-104 Starfighters at NASA’s Kennedy Shuttle Landing Facility. The training ranges from three to ten days, depending on the pilot, and is authorized by a Letter of Deviation Authority (LODA) issued to Starfighters by the FAA.

FAA Blames Airlines for Lack of Wider ADS-B Use

FAA associate administrator for Aviation Safety Ali Bahrami testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure’s subcommittee on aviation. He told the subcommittee that the ADS-B system is fully operational, but its use is limited because the airlines don’t have the onboard equipment required.

Also testifying were representatives from the NTSB, NASA, ALPA, and the DOT’s Office of Inspector General. They talked about drone regulations, pilot shortages, and privatizing ATC. Bill Shuster (R-Pennsylvania), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, announced after the hearing that the provision to privatize ATC would be dropped from the reauthorization legislation, HR 2997.

In Pushing HIs Pilot for FAA Administrator, Trump Shows His Disregard for Safety

Writing in Forbes, past guest Christine Negroni writes that President Trump does his [private pilot Capt. John Dunkin] no service by putting him forward as a candidate to lead the Federal Aviation Administration. Find the process for appointing the FAA Administrator in Title 49 U.S. Code § 106 – Federal Aviation Administration.

Airline Story of the Week

United Airlines pilot hand-delivers woman’s lost engagement ring


Airplane Geeks Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari has a little fun with the phonetic alphabet.

Listener Ron took a ride in a gyroplane for his birthday and created a short adventure report for us.


AIN’s The Human Factor: Tales From the Flight Deck podcast

We Can Do It! Women in Aviation and Space


Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

489 Airport Planner

We talk with an airport planner who also co-founded an organization for innovation in aviation. In the news, we discuss a very old paper travel voucher and how the airline reacted when it surfaced, a study of bacteria and fungus in the terminal and on aircraft, expensive refrigerators for Air Force One, and a donation by nine airlines to the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum. We also look at BA and their latest change to the passenger experience in short-haul flights, the Qantas challenge to Airbus and Boeing, and a conversation with the Chief of the Air Traffic Control Division at Robert Gray Army Airfield about ATIS.


Chris Groh, airport planner, co-founder of Runway.VC

Chris Groh

Chris Groh is an airport planner who works with airports of all sizes across the country, but his specialty is general aviation airports and even more specifically, smaller general aviation airports. As an airport planner, Chris acts as an extension of the airport’s staff, and he helps them think about the future while they focus on the day-to-day operations.

Chris says that GA airports are always fun because the staff is usually smaller, but so are the budgets so projects have to be carefully prioritized and typically require more creative solutions.

Chris co-founded an organization for innovation in aviation called Runway.VC. It attempts to broaden and freely distribute the conversations about aviation technology to a wide audience. It also seeks to facilitate networking and real-time interaction between professionals who are interested in the future of aviation but may not have access to conferences and other channels of discussions about innovation in aviation.  Besides online activities, Runway.VC has plans for local meetups across the country. Chris also hosts his own podcast about the future of aviation.

Visit the Runway.VC and Kutchins & Groh websites, listen to the Runway.VC podcast, and follow @runwayvc and @chrisgroh on Twitter.

Aviation News

A United Airlines Passenger Found a ‘Forever’ Travel Voucher From 1998. Here’s How United Responded

John Walker booked a United Airlines flight from Nashville to Sacramento 20 years ago, but wasn’t able to go. Recently, he discovered the $378 printed ticket voucher, dated December 31, 1998. He read the fine print, which said the ticket could, “forever be applied toward the purchase of another domestic non-refundable ticket, for the customer named on the ticket.”

Germs in airplane cabins are bad, but it’s even worse at the airport terminal

In their “Germs at the Airport” report, Insurancequotes.com says they “conducted 18 tests across six surfaces from three major U.S. airports and airline flights. We sent our swabs to the lab and found the average number of viable bacteria and fungal cells per square inch, or colony-forming units (CFU), to see how clean traveling really is.”

Air Force One’s new refrigerators will cost taxpayers $24 million

The U.S. Air Force has awarded Boeing a contract for $23,657,671 to replace two of the 1990 vintage chiller units on Air Force One. The Air Force says additional cold food storage is needed “to support onboard personnel for an extended period of time, without having to restock while abroad.”

Nine airlines donate $28 million to Air and Space Museum for makeover

Nine commercial airlines have joined to donate $28 million to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum to support the renovation of the “America by Air” exhibition.

Across the Pond

With all the talk about ultra long-haul flights and Brian’s “short trip across to the UK,” Pieter looks at BA and their latest change to the passenger experience in short haul flights. Pieter then reflects on the Qantas challenge to Airbus and Boeing on the “Kangaroo Route.”

Brabazon Named Lecture 2017 – Turnaround, Technology and the Future of Travel Alan JoyceRoyal Aeronautical Society Lecture – Audio Download:

Airlines probed over ‘confusing’ seating policy

Qantas Boeing 787-9.

Qantas Boeing 787-9. Qantas photo.


PaxEx Podcast #54: Catering giant serves up wisdom on compliance with Mark Naylor, Head of Compliance for Gate Gourmet in Oceania. Gate Gourmet is the world’s largest provider of airline catering and onboard products and services.

Snowies and their admirers causing problems at Portland Jetport

Silencing a sonic boom would help a Concorde replacement


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

476 Synergy Aircraft

The founder and CEO of Synergy Aircraft describes the unique personal airplane he is developing. In the news, we look at airliner nose strikes, new security measures at airports worldwide, the credibility of United Airlines top management, the A330neo maiden flight, and the passing of aviation journalist Ben Sandilands.

Synergy Aircraft


John McGinnis is founder and CEO of Synergy Aircraft LLC, a seed-stage company developing a quiet, roomy, fuel-efficient aircraft using advanced aeronautical and manufacturing technologies.

John describes the process he employed in designing and developing the Synergy. Where some projects start with a favored design that then gets developed, John looked first at best practice principles that led to the design. These principles include biplane theory, laminar flow, and active drag reduction. They had been explored historically, and John assembled them in one design using advanced analytical tools.

The resulting  “Double Boxtail™” wing-becomes-tail configuration is aerodynamically efficient, fast and quiet, and features a spacious cabin. Synergy has been testing scale models and John reports good results.

John is the founder of MC Squared Design USA (a service bureau providing 3-D design, CNC machining, 3-D printing, and composite fabrication) and MV Aero, a provider of state-of-the-art Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation. John is a Senior Member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and an EAA contributor.

The Synergy Aircraft prototype.

The Synergy Aircraft prototype.

Synergy Aircraft CFD analysis of conventional airplane.

Synergy Aircraft CFD analysis of conventional airplane.

Synergy Aircraft CFD analysis of the double boxtail design.

Synergy Aircraft CFD analysis of the double boxtail design.


Mystery surrounds plane’s squashed nose

A Delta Airlines flight experienced some kind of event that significantly damaged the aircraft’s nose. In UPDATE: Delta addresses Thunder plane damage en route to Chicago, the airline said, “Delta flight 8935, operating from Minneapolis to Chicago-Midway as a charter flight for the Oklahoma City Thunder, likely encountered a bird while on descent into Chicago. The aircraft, a Boeing 757-200, landed safely without incident; customers have since deplaned and maintenance teams are evaluating.”

For some past nose strike events, see:

We talked with Marcy Heacker from the Smithsonian Institution, Feather Identification Lab in episodes 253 and 202.

If You Want to Fly to America, Get Ready to Be Interrogated

What You Need To Know About New Airport Security Rules

In March 2017 DHS banned personal electronic devices larger than phones on direct flights to the U.S. from 10 airports. That restriction is now loosened, but additional DHS security measures are in place that affects 235,000 passengers on 2,000 flights daily to the U.S. on 180 airlines from 280 airports in 105 countries.

Column: Can United Airlines brain trust survive another tough journey?

Some financial analysts question the ability of United’s top management to pilot the company through the challenges ahead.

Airbus jet designed to win back sales from Boeing takes maiden flight

The Airbus A330neo made its successful maiden flight with a new engine and improved aerodynamics. The 1,400-hour flying test program will proceed with 3 prototypes and the first production aircraft.

Aviation journalist Ben Sandilands dies after battle with cancer

Ben Sandilands covered aviation for decades and was the editor of the Plane Talking blog on Crikey. His last post was Malaysia will focus renewed MH370 search where Australia refused to look. RIP Ben.

Airline Story of the Week

Our Main(e) man Micah provides an editorial piece he calls “Rave On.”


Airline Weekly Lounge podcast.

#PaxEx Podcast 51: Safety first as allergic passengers endure challenges.

San Gabriel Valley Airport Air Fair and Open House.

Mitchell PBJ

Mitchell PBJ

Air Show: Paris 1989

Ultra High Bypass Jet Engine Propfan Technology | Aviation Videos | AeroSpaceNews.com


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

473 Equator Aircraft P2 Xcursion

The CEO of Equator Aircraft talks about the P2 Xcursion high-performance hybrid amphibious aircraft. In the news, debris from the Air France engine failure is found in Greenland, American Airlines is apparently destined to be profitable forever, and Boeing plans to acquire Aurora Flight Sciences.

Equator Aircraft P2 Xcursion

The P2 Xcursion. Photo courtesy Equator Aircraft.


Tomas Brødreskift is the CEO Equator Aircraft, which is developing the P2 Xcursion, a high-performance hybrid amphibious aircraft.

Tomas decided to develop a float wing amphibious aircraft at design school. After that, he knew he had to find a way to continue, and so without money or any grasp of the complexity involved, Tomas started building and designing the aircraft, learning as he progressed.

Equator Aircraft logoMost of the design was based on things he saw in other planes, and he added a few of his own ideas. As for building the aircraft, Thomas was lucky to have his father join in, along with many other volunteers, and it has ended up being a volunteer / open source project. The project has now accumulated over 30,000 work hours and 7 years from the first concept.

Tomas became interested in aviation at a very early age, growing up in the 80’s watching VHS tapes of Burt Rutan. Tomas’ father built and flew a Long EZ and at the age of 7 Tomas started to build his own aircraft. He started flying gliders and took his PPL in 2002. Tomas interned at Airbus in Germany for a short while where he realized big companies were not the right fit for him. Luckily he met an awesome retired aircraft designer, G. Poeschel, and got totally inspired by his mind and his aircraft.


Debris recovered in Greenland from Air France plane forced to land in Labrador

Some engine pieces from the Air France plane have been recovered in Greenland and are being sent to investigators at France’s BEA.

Airlines Won’t Ever Lose Money Again? Boasts By American’s CEO Dismiss History

At the recent American Airlines annual meeting with Wall Street analysts at company headquarters, chairman and CEO Doug Parker said, “I don’t think we’re ever going to lose money again. We have an industry that’s going to be profitable in good and bad times.” It wasn’t clear if Parker was talking about American Airlines, the entire airline industry.

Boeing to Acquire Aurora Flight Sciences to Advance Autonomous Technology Capabilities

Boeing announced that it plans to acquire Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation, which develops and manufactures advanced aerospace platforms, specializing in autonomous systems technologies and robotic aircraft. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

United Airlines tweeted Yankees-Indians scores to a fan with bad in-flight Wi-Fi

United Airlines turned around a negative situation.

Airline Story of the Week

Operation Care-Lift: Spirit, Lufthansa Technik Team Up for Puerto Rico Relief Flights: A First Person Account Onboard

Flying badly needed supplied into Puerto Rico. See the Operation Puerto Rico Care-Lift GoFundMe page and United Airlines stepping up to help relief effort in Puerto Rico.

Trip Report

Francois and Brian at Thaba Tholo.

Francois and Brian at Thaba Tholo. Note the wildlife in the background.

Brian was hosted by listener Francois at his game farm, Thaba Tholo. They talk about what it’s like to operate an airstrip in the South African bush, and the special aircraft that have visited the strip.

Then, listener Eoin talks with Brian in Hamburg, Germany about being a flight attendant at “Harp Jet” and his promotions in the growing airline.


Red Stewart Airfield

Canada Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner near Hyderabad on Sep 19th 2017, ATC tries to divert aircraft despite several Mayday calls following two diversions


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

472 The Martin Aircraft Jetpack

The chief test pilot for Martin Aircraft Company tells us about the Martin Jetpack. Also, the major engine failure of Air France Flight 66, the Emirates A380 that descended below the glideslope on approach, dumping and subsidization claims against Bombardier, a Boeing 737 near miss, and the Airbus Laminar Flow Wing Demonstrator.


Prospero “Paco” Uybarreta is head of Aircrew & Testing, and the chief test pilot for Martin Aircraft Company Ltd. The Martin Jetpack is an optionally piloted hovering air vehicle currently being developed and tested in New Zealand.

Paco explains the recent interest in personal VTOL air vehicles and describes the use cases. He also tells us about how the Martin Jetpack is more of a small vehicle platform than a backpack-style jetpack. We look at how the regulatory agencies treat vehicles like this, safety considerations, and why the Jetpack operates in both manned and unmanned modes.

Paco has been an experimental test pilot for the U.S. Air Force, Bombardier Aerospace, and Scaled Composites. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School and has over 4,400 total pilot hours in 44 different aircraft types with 1,000 instructor pilot hours, 600 flight test hours, and 460 combat hours.

He holds FAA ATPL, Transport Canada ATPL, FAA CFII, and CAA CPL and Cat 1 Test Pilot certificates, with multiple type ratings in Boeing, Bombardier, Beechcraft, and Mitsubishi jet aircraft, and an AV-L39C Experimental Authorization. Paco was the 2015 recipient of the prestigious Iven C. Kincheloe Award for outstanding flight test accomplishments with Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.

Paco has been signed off by the New Zealand CAA as a Category 1 test pilot for the Martin Jetpack, which means he is able to conduct manned flight tests of the Martin Jetpack now that it has been awarded experimental aircraft status. He is also approved to train a team of pilots to act as test pilots for the new prototype aircraft. To that end, Paco has designed a test pilot course based on CAA requirements. This includes six hours of academic learning and ten hours of Jetpack simulator training in techniques and maneuvers along with actual flight training.

Learn more about the Martin Jetpack at the Martin Aircraft website, and follow the company on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

Aviation News

Air France A380 Makes Emergency Landing After Engine Blows Apart

Air France flight 66 flying from Paris to Los Angeles with 497 PAX experienced a major engine failure at 37,000 feet. The plane diverted to Goose Bay airport in Canada without incident. Photographs published by the passengers show the fan, fan case, and the forward portion of the nacelle missing from the Engine Alliance GP7200. See: Air France Press release: Information About Flight AF066 Paris Los Angeles on 30 September 2017 and Engine breaks up on Air France Airbus A380, forcing emergency landing in Canada.

Engine Alliance GP7200 engine.

Engine Alliance GP7200. Red oval shows the missing portion of the engine. Engine rendering courtesy Engine Alliance.

Engine Alliance (EA) is a 50-50 joint venture between GE and Pratt & Whitney. The Fan Module is built by Pratt & Whitney and the Low Pressure Compressor (LPC) is built by Safran Aero Boosters.

Serious Moscow A380 incident investigated

The Emirates General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is investigating an Emirates Airbus A380 that “descended below the glideslope on approach” to Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport. Emirates flight EK131 descended to 400 feet at 14.8 kilometers from the runway, aborted the approach, made a second unsuccessful attempt to land, then finally landed safely.

Bombardier C Series faces stiff penalty in initial trade ruling

The U.S. Commerce Department is sympathetic to Boeing’s complaint that Bombardier is “dumping” CSeries passenger jets at below manufacturing cost. That was not unexpected. But what wasn’t expected is the preliminary decision to recommend a 220% tariff on Bombardier. See: US government recommends 220% import tariff on CSeries.

WTO to Probe Canadian Jet Subsidies in New Blow to Bombardier

Brazil asked the World Trade Organization to investigate Canada’s alleged use of more than $3 billion in government subsidies. Brazil claims the loans, equity infusions, grants, and tax credits offered to Bombardier harmed Embraer.

Airliner Reportedly Narrowly Avoids Hitting Glider

A United Airlines Flight 246 flying from Vancouver to Chicago reportedly had to take evasive action to avoid colliding with a glider. The pilot had to execute a climb 400 feet and banked the Boeing 737 hard to the right.

Airbus’s ‘Blade’ Laminar Flow Wing Demonstrator Takes Flight

BLADE is an acronym for Breakthrough Laminar Aircraft Demonstrator in Europe, an EU-sponsored Clean Sky aeronautical research program. BLADE looks to achieve a 50 percent reduction in wing friction and up to 5 percent lower CO2 emissions. The Airbus A340 named Flight Lab made its first test flight in France with two transonic laminar outer wings and a flight-test-instrumentation station in the cabin. Airbus news release: European laminar flow research takes a new step with Airbus’ BLADE Flight Lab.

Airbus BLADE test aircraft.

Airbus BLADE test aircraft. Image courtesy Airbus.

Airline Story of the Week

Air India pilot becomes world’s youngest female commander of a Boeing 777

At age 30, Anny Divya became the youngest woman captain of a Boeing 777. See also: Air India’s all-female crew makes history with round-the-world flight.


Fog grounds planes at Huntington Beach air show practice

Listener Anurag created a Power BI dashboard from air crash data starting from 1908: Accidents and Fatalities Trends. He also posted the LinkedIn article Visualising a century of aircraft accidents with Power BI.

Listener Joe built a Vans RV-7A over a period of 4 ½ years and then this past summer flew it to all 48 contiguous states in the span of a two-week vacation. Nevada County couple builds plane and travels to each of the 48 contiguous states. See Joe’s 4-part series on his Rough and Ready Aerospace blog: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Elon Musk proposes city-to-city travel by rocket, right here on Earth

BFR | Earth to Earth


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


463 Boom Supersonic

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

Boom Supersonic

Boom Supersonic


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boom Supersonic engine model.

Boom Supersonic engine model.

Aviation News

House pushes back must-pass aviation bill to September

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

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

Court Rules the FAA Must Reconsider Regulating Airline Seat Size

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

NASA Has a Way to Cut Your Flight Time in Half

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

Aircraft carrier Ford successfully lands and launches its first flight

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

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

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

United Airlines Reports Second-Quarter 2017 Performance

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


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

Politico Morning Transportation

Aviation Geek Fest Seattle 2017 is Happening! – AirlineReporter

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

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

Three High School Students Awarded Founder’s Innovation Prize


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


460 Aviation Social Media and Freelance Writing

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


Dan Pimentel

Dan Pimentel

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

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

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

College Aviation Programs Are a Pilot Pipeline

Fitness Secrets of the Airshow Stars

Aircraft Spruce’s Jim Irwin to sponsor #Oshbash 2017

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

Aviation News

Congress Eyes Future of Supersonic Travel

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

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

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

Turkish female acrobatics pilot gives jaw-dropping performance at airshow

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

Semin Öztürk Aerobatics 2016


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

A bizarre misunderstanding of flight patterns at JFK

Privatizing Air Traffic Control: Constitutionally Speaking

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

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

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

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


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



449 Aviation Cybersecurity

An aviation cybersecurity expert explains the topic, the NTSB reports about the failure to share weather-related information with pilots, United Airlines ties executive compensation to customer satisfaction, Airbus and SITA introduce a new cybersecurity service, and oxygen generation troubles for a military jet trainer.


Aviation cybersecurity expert Dr. Remzi Seker.

Dr. Remzi Seker

Dr. Remzi Seker is Professor of Computer Science and Ph.D. Program Coordinator, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Master’s Program Coordinator, Cybersecurity Engineering at the Embry-Riddle College of Engineering. He’s also Director of the Cybersecurity and Assured Systems Engineering (CyBASE) Center, and Program Coordinator, MS Cybersecurity Engineering.

Remzi has expertise in cybersecurity and privacy in computer networks as well as integrated systems, embedded system security, cyber security in aviation and aerospace systems, cybersecurity in automobiles, and also digital forensics.

We look at protecting old systems, developing new secure systems, evaluating the exposure to threats, and isolating the flight control systems from the IFE and internet connectivity systems. Remzi explains the importance of aviation and cybersecurity professionals sharing common terminology, and the role of social engineering in aviation cybersecurity. Remzi also explains the aviation cybersecurity programs at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Remzi’s noteworthy achievements include serving as a member of the RTCA Special Committee (SC) 216 that developed two standards:

  • Airworthiness Cybersecurity issues in development and production of aircrafts (DO-326A)
  • Information Security Guidance for Continuing Airworthiness (DO-355 / ED 204 in Europe) for airline operators.

He served as a Department of Homeland Security Software Assurance (SwA) Forum Working Group Member, and a Subject Matter Expert for the Information Assurance Technology Analysis Center. Remzi also served on the reference computer science curriculum board formed by ACM and the IEEE Computer Society, was the lead person for Operating Systems Knowledge Area, and was a member of the subcommittee that designed the first Information Assurance (Cybersecurity) Knowledge Area.

Remzi was Associate Editor for the Computers and Electrical Engineering Journal, program Co-Chair for IEEE’s 16th International Symposium on High Assurance Systems Engineering, and General Co-Chair, of the First International Workshop on Service Assurance in System Wide Information Management (SASWIM 2017).

Remzi participated on the panel at Embry-Riddle’s Lift, Off the Page: A Panel Discussion on Aviation Cybersecurity.

Aviation News

NTSB Calls for Changes to Pirep Creation and Dissemination Education Efforts

The NTSB has found that failure by ATC to share weather-related information with pilots is a weakness in the system. The NTSB recently released a Special Investigation Report: Improving Pilot Weather Report Submission and Dissemination to Benefit Safety in the National Airspace System.

United Airlines to tie executive pay to customer satisfaction

A US Securities and Exchange Commission filing states, “United’s management and the board take recent events extremely seriously and are in the process of developing targeted compensation program design adjustments to ensure that employees’ incentive opportunities for 2017 are directly and meaningfully tied to progress in improving the customer experience.”

Airbus and SITA Join Forces to provide Advanced Cybersecurity Services for Air Transport Industry

Airbus CyberSecurity and SITA have launched Security Operations Center Services to “provide airlines, airports and other air transport industry stakeholders with information about unusual cyber activity that may impact their businesses.” The Center Service is the first of a new portfolio of cybersecurity products and services being developed by SITA to help airlines and airports identify, detect, and react to aviation cybersecurity threats.

Two new European initiatives aim to improve aviation cybersecurity

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has signed a memorandum of cooperation with the European Union’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-EU) to establish a European Centre for Cyber Security in Aviation (ECCSA).

Temporary Fix Identified for T-45C Trainer Oxygen System Failures; Students Still Can’t Land On Carriers Until Permanent Solution Found

New Problems Hit T-45; Navy Tightens Flight Limits

The T-45C Goshawk trainer has encountered failures with the On Board Oxygen Generator System (OBOGS), leading to an operational pause to determine the cause.

Listener Recordings

Trevor’s memorable flight, and Hillel’s good news about the 2017 Innovations in Flight event.


AvGeekFests.com calendar of aviation events.

Predicting When Commercial Airliners Will Be Torn Down


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