Tag Archives: USAF

510 U.S. Airmail 100th Anniversary

The Head Curator of the History Department at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum tells us about the early history of airmail service in the U.S., which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

In the news, Goodyear has a new airship, Facebook cancelled its Aquila project, Boeing has reportedly asked engine makers to bid for the 797, Boeing unveiled a hypersonic airliner concept, a stealth tanker model was spotted, the TSA wants to look at your snacks, a third Heathrow runway gets closer to reality, NASA demonstrates a quieter airplane, and the Air Force reduces pilot training time. Also, finding airmail airway beacons, a conversation with Air Evac Lifeteam at the Circuit of the Americas, and student pilot Nicki talks about her new flight instructor.

Curtiss Jenny carrying airmail to Philadelphia from Washington, DC. Courtesy National Postal Museum.

Curtiss Jenny carrying airmail to Philadelphia from Washington, DC. Courtesy National Postal Museum.

Guest

Nancy Pope is the Head Curator of the History Department at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum. 2018 is the 100th anniversary of airmail service in the U.S. and Nancy tells us about the early history of airmail, including the pilots, the aircraft, and the initial difficulties getting the service operating properly. She talks about some of the airplanes and artifacts at the museum as well as the Postmen of the Skies: Celebrating 100 Years of Airmail Service exhibition that is open through May 27, 2019.

USPS airmail commemorative stamp

USPS airmail commemorative stamp

Earlier this year, the first of two commemorative stamps was released. See: U.S. Postal Service Commemorates Air Mail with Stamp. You can purchase the blue airmail stamp at the post office, or at the USPS online store. The second (red) stamp will be released Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, at 11 a.m. at College Park Aviation Museum (1985 Corporal Frank Scott Drive, College Park, MD 20740). “Red Letter” day at the museum will be an exciting event to attend if you are in the area. See Red Letter Day: U.S. Postal Service Continues 100th Anniversary Commemoration. Followers of the U.S. Postal Service’s Facebook page can view the ceremony live at facebook.com/USPS.

Nancy has worked with the items that are now in that collection since 1984. She curated the opening exhibits for the Museum in 1993 and more than a dozen at the museum since then. She has written about many elements of postal history, including the Pony Express, Rural Free Delivery, Parcel Post Service, the Postal Service during 9/11, as well as the later anthrax attacks and airmail.

Nancy’s most recent exhibits are “Systems at Work,” which examines mail processing from Colonial America to the present, and “Postmen of the Skies,” a celebration of 100 years of airmail service in America.

The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum is located at 2 Massachusetts Ave., N.E. in Washington, DC. Admission is always free.

Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum.

Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum.

Pegboard for tracking the location of airmail pilots and planes:

Max Miller’s log book. Courtesy National Postal Museum.

Courtesy National Postal Museum.

The logbook was recovered from Max Miller’s fatal crash on September 1, 1920. The Junkers-Larsen JL6 caught fire in midair. Max Miller and his mechanic Gustav Reirson died in the fire and subsequent crash. Miller was Praeger and Lipsner’s favorite pilot and his death hit both men hard. Though slightly damaged by the fire, the handwritten entries remain clear. Airmail pilots used logs to record details about their flights and, on occasion, landing field conditions. Miller wrote his name on the front of this book, adding the name of his service, the “U.S. Aerial Mail,” and a notation of his home address in Woodland Hills Park in Cleveland, Ohio.

Max Miller’s logbook. Courtesy National Postal Museum.

Eddie Gardner’s face mask is a nice leather piece that Nancy unofficially refers to as the “Hannibal Lecter mask.”

Airmail pilot Eddie Gardner's facemask.

Eddie Gardner’s facemask. Courtesy National Postal Museum.

The Post Office’s airmail flag. You will recognize the globe/wings that became the ubiquitous symbol of airmail.

Postal Service airmail flag.

Postal Service airmail flag. Courtesy National Postal Museum.

Our Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari located some of the airways beacon sites in Texas that guided early airmail pilots. He sent in a report about what he found. See Map of Airway Beacons and Arrows Across America to find these sites near you.

Launchpad Marzari and friend.

Aviation News

Goodyear’s new Wingfoot Three takes to the skies

Goodyear’s newest semi-rigid airship is the Wingfoot Three. Built by Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH, the blimp still has to undergo flight tests before formal handover to Goodyear.

Goodyear’s U.S. fleet consists of three semi-rigid airships: the Wingfoot One (N1A), based in Pompano Beach, Florida; Wingfoot Two (N2A), based in Carson, California; and Wingfoot Three (N3A), based in Suffield, Ohio. Compared to Goodyear’s old model, the GZ-20, the Zeppelin NT model is longer, a little narrower, faster, and seats more passengers.

Video: Goodyear’s Wingfoot Three flies for first time

Facebook’s quest for fleet of solar-powered Internet drones grounded forever

Facebook has canceled the Aquila project – a solar-powered “atmospheric satellite” that would beam Internet connectivity to areas that had none.

Boeing reportedly tells engine makers to make bids for a new 797 plane

Boeing wants to build a new mid-sized airliner to be flying by 2025 – a middle-of-the-market jet. Call it a Boeing 797, or a New Middle Market Airplane, or the NMA. Reports say the engine manufacturers were asked to respond to a Boeing RFP by June 27, 2018. Boeing wants 25 percent less fuel burn per pound of thrust than the engines used on Boeing’s 757 planes. The big three engine manufacturers are named: CFM International, (the General Electric – Safran joint venture), Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce. See also, This is Boeing’s NMA by Jon Ostrower.

Boeing unveils hypersonic 4,000mph airliner capable of New York to London in Two Hours

Boeing unveils rendering of hypersonic jet that would fly from US to Japan in 3 hours

Under this concept, the aircraft would fly at Mach 5, three times faster than Concorde, and cruise at 95,000 feet. It would be smaller than a 737, with both commercial and military applications.

New Stealth Tanker Model Is Touted By Air Force Research Lab At Aviation Conference

At the recent AIAA conference, Aviation Week’s Guy Norris noticed a model of an “Advanced Aerial Refueling” aircraft in the Air Force Research Lab’s area. The Air Force may be looking for a more survivable aerial tanker.

It started with your shoes, then your water. Now the TSA wants your snacks.

Passengers are being asked at security checkpoints by the TSA to remove their snacks and other food items from their carry-ons and place them in plastic bins for separate screening. This is a TSA recommendation to screening supervisors, not a strict policy. Some food looks similar to explosives which results in a secondary inspection. The intent here is to prevent that additional inspection.

Heathrow gets go-ahead to become world’s biggest airport

They’ve been talking about a third runway at Heathrow for years. It’s a contentious issue but now a parliamentary vote has passed that would allow construction of a third runway. Under the proposal, passenger capacity at Heathrow could jump from nearly 80 million passengers per year to 110 million by 2030.

NASA: Tests Show ‘Significant’ Aircraft Noise Reduction

NASA flight tests in a Gulfstream III research aircraft flying at 350 feet demonstrated a “significant reduction” in the noise generated by aircraft operating near airports. The jet had porous landing-gear fairings, an Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge wing flap, and chevrons near the leading edge of the landing-gear cavity with a net to modify the airflow.

Air Force cuts pilot training by 5 weeks

This represents about a 10% reduction in training time.

Interview

Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari talks with John P. Jones and John Linardose from the Air Evac Lifeteam which provides air ambulance service at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) outside Austin, Texas.

Courtesy Air Evac Lifeteam.

Listener Recording

Listener Nicki continues her pilot training series with installment 13 about her new flight instructor.

Mentioned

Vote for your favorite American air show!

David was again asked to provide a list of the 20 best airshows for USA Today.

Hiller Aviation Museum Open Cockpit Day

The Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, California will be holding an Open Cockpit Day on July 11, 2018. While this fabulous museum is relatively unknown to the general public, it has a fabulous collection of more than fifty aircraft and numerous interesting artifacts and displays.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

490 The Airbus A350

We talk with an Airbus A350 captain who has a long history flying commercial aircraft. In the news, we consider one-person flight crews, U.S. airlines looking to scale back consumer protection regulations, ADS-B vulnerabilities for military aircraft, and largest ever Piper order for training planes, plans for the Air Force bomber fleet, and Southwest runs out of glycol. We also have a conversation about ATIS with the Chief of the Air Traffic Control Division at Robert Gray Army Airfield.

Malaysia Airlines Airbus A350.

Malaysia Airlines A350. Photo by H Gousse, courtesy Airbus.

Guest

Airbus A350 Captain Bill Palmer.

Airbus A350 Captain Bill Palmer.

Bill Palmer is an A350 captain and an instructor pilot/check airman. He has been heavily involved in Airbus training since the early 1990’s, and Bill is the author of Understanding Air France 447 and other publications on Airbus flight control laws. Bill also holds a commercial glider rating and flies his Rolladen-Schneider LS-3 for fun in southern California.

Bill describes the transition to the A350 as like going from DOS to Windows. The aircraft shares some commonality with A380, and Bill describes fly-by-wire and the flight control laws. We also hear about other features of the A350, such as the paperless cockpit implementation and the availability airport runway, taxiway, and gate information to pilot. The plane will calculate landing distance and brake to the correct speed for the selected taxiway. Bill also describes the A350 runway overrun protection and the auto-flight system’s automatic TCAS and wind shear recovery.

Bill started flying at the age of 15, soloed on his 16th birthday and completed his private certificate at 17. He attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and holds a BS in Aeronautical Science. He earned his flight instructor certificate in 1978 and has been instructing almost non-stop since then while holding airplane, instrument, multi-engine, and ground instructor certificates. Besides light aircraft he has also taught on the 727, 757, A320, DC-10, and A330, and written manuals for the DC-10, A330, and B-787 fleets. He has also produced numerous training publications and videos for the various fleets as well.

Visit Bill’s webpage Understanding Air France 447 and his Trend Vector blog. His books Understanding Air France 447Airbus A330 Normal Law: Putting fly-by-wire into perspective, and Airbus Flight Control Laws: The Reconfiguration Laws are available on Amazon.com and at other retailers.

Aviation News

Boeing raises prospect of only one pilot in the cockpit of planes

At the Singapore Airshow, Boeing research and technology vice-president Charles Toups said, “We are studying [one pilot operations], and where you will first see that is probably in cargo transport, so the passenger question is off the table.” Also at the Singapore Air Show, ST Aerospace showed the concept for an unmanned freighter piloted by an artificially intelligent computer. ST Aero was optimistic about an unmanned freighter within the next five years.

Airlines seeking to snuff traveler rights?

In the Wall Street Journal, Scott McCartney reports that last October the U.S. Department of Transportation asked airlines to suggest changes or cuts to regulations. Airlines for America filed 222 pages of comments. United Airlines added 50 pages.

Vulnerable To Cyber Attacks, ADS-B May Expose F-22s To Web Based Tracking GAO Warns

A 45-page Government Accountability Office report titled Urgent Need for DOD and FAA to Address Risks and Improve Planning for Technology That Tracks Military Aircraft [PDF] says that neither the Department of Defense nor the FAA has taken significant steps to mitigate security risks associated with openly transmitting flight data from military aircraft.

Piper Receives Largest Trainer Order in Company History

Chinese Fanmei Aviation Technologies has ordered 152 training aircraft from Piper Aircraft. Fanmei is Piper’s dealer in China, and a subsidiary of Sichuan Fan-Mei Education Group Co., which provides aviation education in China. This is reported to be the largest single order for training airplanes in Piper’s history. The seven-year purchase agreement is valued at $74 million and includes 100 Archer TX single-engine trainers, 50 twin-engine Seminoles, one Seneca twin, and one Piper M350.

Air Force outlines future of bomber force

In its Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request, the Air Force outlined plans for its bomber fleet, which include a plan to update the B-52 Stratofortress fleet, continue modifications to the B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit fleets, while continuing to acquire B-21 Raiders.

‘How does one airline run out of de-icer?’: Some gripes at Midway after Southwest’s cancellations

Southwest Airlines had to cancel more than 250 flights from Midway Airport after running out of de-icing fluid. One of the glycol tank pumps wasn’t working properly and some of the de-icing fluid could not be accessed.

Interview

Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari talks about ATIS (automatic terminal information service) with Mark N. Vick, Chief, Air Traffic Control Division, Directorate of Aviation Operations at Robert Gray Army Airfield, Fort Hood Texas, a military joint-use airport that operates alongside Killeen–Fort Hood Regional Airport.

Mentioned

Rolls-Royce UltraFan® – The Ultimate Jet Engine and Lego Ultrafan in the flesh! @RollsRoyce, a video on Twitter by Andrew Smyth‏.

Nine Aviation and Space Achievements Compete for the 2017 Collier Trophy [PDF] and GA Companies Among Those Vying for Collier Trophy.

Heavens Above

The 101-year-old woman who flew Spitfires in WW2

MH370: Malaysian military sidelines crash investigators as power play emerges on search team and MH370 conspiracy theory involves Seabed Constructor and chest from shipwreck.

Credit

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

475 Aviation News of the Week

In the aviation news this week: An executive order allowing up to 1,000 air force pilots to be recalled, a proposed ban on laptops in checked luggage, aircraft working the California wildfires, Qantas wants an extra long range airplane, a Goodyear blimp, the CLEEN II program, and a Delta Airlines story.

Aviation News

Air Force could recall as many as 1,000 retired pilots to address serious shortage

The US military suffers a pilot shortage and needs about 1,500 more pilots. They’ve tried bonus and other incentive programs, but the gap remains. President Trump recently signed an executive order that allows the Air Force to recall as many as 1,000 retired pilots to active duty.

Nuclear Bombers Poised to Return to 24-Hour Alert After Trump Recalls Retired Pilots

There is talk that the U.S. Air Force is preparing to put nuclear-armed B-52 bombers back on 24-hour alert.

Laptops could be banned from checked bags on planes due to fire risk

The Dangerous Goods Panel of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is recommending that laptops be banned from checked luggage.

Military and Contract Air Assets (Including U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper Drones) Key in Fighting Largest Ever California Wildfires

Wildfires continued to cause major problems in California and airborne firefighting operations playing a key role. This might be the greatest combined military and contract air fire suppression operation in history.

Drone forces brief suspension of air operations battling Bear Fire in Santa Cruz Mountains

Once again drones flying near wildfires have forced firefighting operations to be halted.

Boeing and Airbus accept Qantas’s ultra-long-haul challenge

Qantas wants to fly non-stop from Sydney to London and New York. They’ve challenged Boeing and Airbus are to modify their aircraft to make 20-hour flights possible.

Goodyear Blimp Wingfoot Two Goes West: Tiremaker’s newest airship to fly over 10 states on journey to California home

The Goodyear Blimp Wingfoot Two is on a three-week, 2,600-mile cross-country trip from Akron, Ohio to California.

Fact Sheet – Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions, and Noise II (CLEEN II Program)

The Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions, and Noise (CLEEN) Program is the environmental effort that is part of the FAA’s Next Generation (NextGen) program. The Idea is to accelerate the development of new aircraft, new engine technologies, and advance the use of sustainable alternative jet fuels.

Airline Story of the Week

What Losing My First-Class Seat Taught Me About Delta Air Lines

Trip Report

Brian’s “big trip” reports conclude with his description of the flights home.

Mentioned

Limited leg space on commercial planes makes it harder to brace in flight emergencies: expert

Jan Davies is chair of the International Board for Research into Aircraft Crash Events (IBRACE) — a group of experts studying effective impact bracing positions. She told the SafeSkies aviation safety conference that limited leg space could have an impact on passenger safety in emergencies.

Happy Design Studio

Happy Design Studio collaborated with paint specialist Air Livery on a custom livery design for a BBJ customer. Press release [PDF]. Photo Gallery.

BBJ livery by Happy Design Studio and Air Livery. Photo courtesy Sebastien Ognier.

BBJ livery by Happy Design Studio and Air Livery. Photo courtesy Sebastien Ognier.

Pete’s discovered a Better Way to Fly with Air New Zealand

Pete the Kiwi finds out how to fly across the world and back. He’s voiced by actor Sam Neill (Jurassic Park, Hunt For The Wilderpeople), who makes a cameo appearance too. Pete the Kiwi is part of Air New Zealand’s “A Better Way To Fly” campaign.

NASA – Gulfstream III (G-III) Research Testbed Aircraft

California contrails over California by listener Sean.

Contrails over California by listener Sean.

NASA 502 flight path by listener Sean.

NASA 502 flight path by listener Sean.

Credit

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

470 Data Science and Predictive Analytics for Aviation

How aviation is being transformed by data science and predictive analytics. Also, safety implications of airline seat space, why the U.S. Air Force isn’t talking about a fatal plane crash, a recommendation to roll back the 1500 hour rule, and toes impact the passenger experience.

Guest

Andrew Kemmetmueller, VP Aviation at Uptake, a predictive analytics company.

Andrew Kemmetmueller, VP Aviation at Uptake, a predictive analytics company.

Andrew Kemmetmueller is Vice President, Aviation at Uptake, a predictive analytics company that forecasts problems before they happen so industrial companies can prevent costly equipment breakdowns, improve productivity, and ensure safety and security.

Andrew talks about the impact of big data, machine learning, and the Internet of Things on aviation. We look at data science and how predictive analytics can improve flying for everyone involved, from the pilot to the passenger, the mechanic to the air traffic controller.

We discuss how the ability to record large volumes of sensor data in aircraft is facilitated by cost-effective connectivity. Benefits accrue to OEMs, airlines, and customers through the passenger experience. Predictive maintenance keeps airline operations running smoothly, reduces delays, and improves operating efficiency.

Andrew was previously Managing Director and Principal at AvIntel Consulting; he was Vice President, Connected Aircraft Services, at Gogo, the CEO of Allegiant Systems Inc.; and Service Director at ARINC.

Find Uptake on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Aviation News

Coach-class seats are so tight that FAA dummies keep shattering seatback video screens with their heads during crash simulations

When we talk about shrinking seat space on airlines, we usually think about passenger comfort. But the conversation is shifting to safety. In Flying Coach Is So Cramped It Could Be a Death Trap, the Daily Beast says, “No coach class seat meets the Department of Transportation’s own standard for the space required to make a flight attendant’s seat safe in an emergency.” Also, “Neither Boeing nor the Federal Aviation Administration will disclose the evacuation test data for the newest (and most densely seated) versions of the most widely used jet, the Boeing 737.”

The activist group Flyers Rights has taken the FAA to court and a U.S. Court of Appeals said there was “a plausible life-and-death safety concern.” The court ordered the FAA to respond to a Flyers Rights petition asking for new rules to deal with seat space safety issues.

Mysterious Air Force Crash Reportedly Involved a Foreign Plane

The U.S. Air Force is refusing to identify the type of aircraft involved in a September 5 fatal crash at the Nevada Test and Training Range. The speculation is that a foreign aircraft was being flown.

Citing costs, panel advises rolling back post-3407 air safety measure

Colgan Air Flight 3407, operating as a Continental Connection codeshare flight, crashed into a house in Clarence Center, New York in 2009, killing 50 people. The NTSB report faulted the pilots for responding improperly to the stall warnings. This led to a regulatory change requiring commercial pilots to have 1,500 hours of flight experience. In a recent report, the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee said the 1,500 hour rule “imposes costs that exceed benefits.”

What. In. Gods. Name. #toegirl

This is not the #PaxEx you hope to have!

Mentioned

AvGeekOfficial

Cirrus Embark

Lift and Wings – Sixty Symbols

Trump’s Dire Air-Traffic Claim Contradicted by Government Report

Credit

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

457 Innovations in Flight 2017

We cover the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum’s 2017 Innovations in Flight Family Day and Outdoor Aviation Display with a series of interviews.

Max and David at the 2017 Innovations in Flight Family Day and Outdoor Aviation Display.

Max and David at the 2017 Innovations in Flight Family Day and Outdoor Aviation Display. Photo by Brad Jefferson.

We participated in the National Air & Space Museum’s 2017 Innovations in Flight Family Day and Outdoor Aviation Display. This annual event is held at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, adjacent to Dulles International Airport.

Innovations in Flight Interviews

We recorded a number of great conversations at the event. These follow, along with start times:

United States Air Force Lieutenant General Chris Nowland is Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations. 2017 is the 70th anniversary of the USAF and the theme is Powered by Innovation. We talk about the shortage of pilots, the need to get more young people interested in aviation, and remotely piloted aircraft. [2:45]

Caroline Sheen is the Photography and Art Editor for Air & Space Magazine. We talk about finding photographs to support the articles. These come from many sources, such as archives, photographers, or Caroline herself. She gives us some tips for aviation photography and what she looks for as a photo editor. Be sure to look on newsstands for the special issue: 50 Greatest Moments of the Space Age. [15:16]

Christopher Watson is the FAA Emergency Communications Program Manager, Command and Control Communications Systems, under the Office of National Security Programs and Incident Response. Their emergency response vehicle was on open display and Chris describes how it responds to natural disaster relief, accident sites, and special security events. We also talk about the FAA’s B4UFLY smartphone app, a valuable resource for drone operators. [25:25]

Harry Hartfield with Amazon Prime Air described the company’s vision for package delivery: packages of five pounds or less delivered in 30 minutes or less. Amazon Prime has developed different drone models for different environments, and also sophisticated sense and avoid technology. [32:22]

Student Kathryn attended the event as part of a San Diego middle school trip to the East Coast. [37:58]

Hillel Glazer and his son Jacob flew their 1972 Piper Cherokee 180 to the event and had the aircraft on display. We talk about the flight in, the people who came by to look at the plane, and we watch the B-2 flyover. [41:05]

Credit

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

455 Kitfox Aircraft

We talk with Kitfox Aircraft about kit-built airplanes. Also, a digital co-pilot for GA, the Stratolaunch airplane, Middle Eastern airlines shun Qatar, an aviation-themed playground, the U.S. Secretary of the Air Force wants mandatory budget caps removed, and President Trump wants the U.S. air traffic control system privatized. We also have a very informative listener recording about pulling through and hand propping radial engines.

Kitfox Aircraft S7 Super Sport

Kitfox Aircraft S7 Super Sport

Guests

Kitfox Aircraft is owned and operated by John and Debra McBean from the Homedale Municipal Airport (S66) in southwest Idaho. The McBean’s were builders before they owned the company and they often helped other builders with their projects. John McBean holds commercial and instructor ratings and we welcome him to the Airplane Geeks podcast.

Also joining us from Kitfox is Brandon Petersen who joined the team in 2012 as the wing builder. His role has evolved over time. You can find his fingerprints on the company social media posts, videos, wings, and fiberglass products that are shipped to builders around the world.

The original Kitfox Model I was introduced at Oshkosh AirVenture in 1984 by Denney Aerocraft. The modern Kitfox has stayed true to the concept of the original design – it’s a fun, comfortable, and affordable airplane that can be easily built without any special tools or training.

Kitfox Aircraft is introducing the Kitfox Speedster at EAA Airventure Oshkosh 2017. Based on the Series 7 platform, it offers a bigger fuselage, higher gross weight capability, a shortened wing, and a cleaned up and faired airframe. This allows the builder to get up and go fast without giving up a whole lot of the STOL characteristics of the airplane.

The plane going to Air Venture will display a new brightly colored paint scheme designed by Jason Noll of Dream Scheme Designs. It pays homage to the original Speedster with a modern twist. Kitfox has arranged with Kyle Franklin to perform with the Speedster in the air show. Kyle’s late father Jimmy flew the original Speedster.

Kitfox Aircraft Speedster with paint scheme designed by Jason Noll of Dream Scheme Designs,

Kitfox Aircraft Speedster with paint scheme designed by Jason Noll of Dream Scheme Designs,

Find Kitfox Aircraft on Facebook, and YouTube.

Aviation News

Could General Aviation Use a Digital Co-Pilot?

Researchers from Mitre Corp.’s Center for Advanced Aviation System Development have developed a “Digital Copilot.” The concept is that general aviation single-pilot flight operations would benefit from a tablet app that monitors and communicates safety-critical flight information to the pilot.

The Gigantic Stratolaunch Aircraft Emerges From Its Hangar in the California Desert

The Stratolaunch is a twin fuselage, 385-foot wingspan aircraft designed to carry a launch vehicle as part of an air launch to orbit system. What is not called Stratolaunch Systems Corporation was officially announced in December 2011 by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen and Scaled Composites founder Burt Rutan.

Mideast airlines halt Qatar flights as Gulf crisis escalates

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and Egypt have accused Qatar of supporting terrorism, and have broken off relations with that country. As a result, Etihad, Emirates, Fly Dubai, and Gulf Air are discontinuing flights in and out of the capital of Qatar, Doha. The Qatari government called this “unjustified and based on baseless allegations.”

Aviation-themed playground coming to Stafford airport

Stafford Regional Airport in Virginia is building a playground around an aviation theme. Two nonprofits are making this happen: EAA Chapter 1099 and Rappahannock Aviation Outreach, a non-profit organization based in Stafford, Virginia focused on community outreach programs and initiatives that educate and inspire youth in aviation.

New Air Force head calls for end to defense budget caps

Dr. Heather Wilson was the first female military veteran elected to a full term in Congress. More recently, the US Senate confirmed her nomination as U.S. Secretary of the Air Force on May 8, 2017. Wilson has now asked Congress to remove the mandatory budget caps of the Budget Control Act.

Trump pushes Congress to privatize air traffic control

President Donald Trump urged Congress to privatize the U.S. air traffic control system.

Listener Recording

Keith Shaddox explains hand-turning and hand-propping radial engines.

Mentioned

Stick & Rudder Aviation – Founded to provide Kitfox tailwheel flight training.

Mid Atlantic Air Museum’s 27th World War II Weekend

Midway hero honored 75 years later

Thaba Tholo game in the Limpopo Province of South Africa.

Wings Over Avgeeks in Jennifer’s Tales From the Terminal blog.

F-22 thrust vectoring nozzles

NOW That’s What I Call Remote Working

GE9X: The world’s biggest fan of ice

Credit

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

 

426 FlyOtto

A new on-demand service that matches travelers with professional pilots and GA aircraft. Also, a turboprop with one third of the parts 3D printed, more on the American uncontained engine failure, recovery parachutes for larger aircraft, flexible airplane wings, Southwest pilots ratify a new contract, and enlisted pilots for remotely piloted aircraft.

Guest

Rod Rakic

Rod Rakic

Rod Rakic co-founded OpenAirplane in 2013 to make renting an airplane as easy as renting a car. The “universal pilot checkout” resets the clock on the flight review, offers a renter’s insurance discount, and gives pilots access to the same make and model of aircraft across the U.S.

Now the company has launched FlyOtto, a new service that matches travelers with professional pilots and certified general aviation aircraft. On-demand private charter avoids the hassles of major commercial airports and increases the utilization of the GA fleet. FlyOtto takes advantage of the over 5,000 public use airports in the U.S.

A pioneer in the development of innovative experiences, Rod has spent 20 years creating online products that enhance and manage brands. In 2007, he co-founded myTransponder, a pioneering social media tool for aviation. Rod has years of experience developing tools and community specific to the aviation industry.

Rod started flying when he was sixteen and holds an FAA commercial pilot certificate with an instrument rating.

Follow @OpenAirplane, @FlyOtto, and @rodrakic on Twitter. Find FlyOtto on Facebook.

News

GE Aviation fires up engine made from 35 percent printed parts

General Electric has tested the a-CT7 demonstrator engine which incorporates a very high percentage of “3D printed” parts. In the Advanced Turboprop (ATP) engine to come, 12 printed parts are planned to replace 855 conventionally manufactured parts. The ATP will power the all-new Cessna Denali single-engine turboprop aircraft.

GE Aviation’s Advanced Turboprop Engine

NTSB: Failed airline engine disk had fatigue cracking

In a preliminary report, investigators say the failed turbine disk that exploded on American Airlines Flight 383 showed evidence of an internal anomaly at the source of some fatigue cracking.

Will a Large-Aircraft Parachute Recovery System Catch On?

Aviation Safety Resources (ARS) is working on the TriChute Safe Landing system that could be used on larger aircraft, such as the 8,000-pound Cessna Caravan. When this system is activated, the fuel-laden wings separate from the fuselage, and all three portions of the aircraft descend under their own parachutes.

TriChute Demonstration

MIT and NASA’s flexible wing could be the future of aviation

Researchers from MIT, the University of California Santa Cruz, and NASA are working to develop flexible wing technology. This concept uses an “array of tiny, lightweight structural pieces” called “digital materials” that twist “when put under pressure from a pair of motors on the wingtip.”

Southwest Airlines Pilots Ratify New Agreement

Southwest Airlines says its pilots ratified a new collective bargaining agreement. The Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA) says 84 percent of the pilots who voted were in favor of the new contract. SWAPA announced the deal means a 15 percent pay raise, with a 3 percent annual increase through 2020. Also, pilots are no longer required to contribute to the pension plan.

First two enlisted pilots complete solo flights

The U.S. Air Force has an initiative to train enlisted Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) pilots for RQ-4 Global Hawk missions. The October 12 Enlisted Pilot Initial Class (EPIC) included four enlisted students along with twenty commissioned officers.

Airplane of the Week

David asks for your help to decide which aviation book to review next. Review Que: I need your help.

Mentioned

FAA Safety Briefing November/December 2016 (PDF), Why Can’t I Uber with my Airplane?

Man admits to shining laser light at SkyFOX

Breakdown at 30,000 Feet

Credit

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

 

409 Vet Air: Flying Veterans in Need of Medical Care

Providing veterans with air transportation to and from healthcare facilities, an around-the-world record attempt, Air Force to use enlisted airmen as RPA pilots, FAA encourages GA aircraft owners to voluntarily install safety equipment, a cable break during a carrier landing, and growing military aircraft in chemical vats. Plus, a report on the new Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum.

Guest

Karen and Jesus Pereira

Karen and Vet Air’s Jesus Pereira

Jesus Pereira founded Vet Air in 2015 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) charity that uses volunteer pilots and GA airplanes to provide veterans with air transportation to and from healthcare facilities, as well as flights for compassionate reasons.

Having joined the Massachusetts Army National Guard in February 1996, Jesus attended basic training at Fort Jackson South Carolina, and received his Advanced Individual Training at Fort Lee Virginia as a Petroleum Supply Specialist. He is currently serving with HHC 126th BSB with the grade of E-7, Sergeant First Class. He has one deployment to Kuwait in 2010 where he served with the Army Aviation Task Force.

Jesus with therapy dogs Gizmo and Bella

Jesus with therapy dogs Gizmo and Bella

Jesus is currently a Veteran Service Officer for the Town of Longmeadow in Massachusetts. His primary function is to provide Veterans with MGL Chapter 115 benefits and assistance with federal VA benefits. Jesus holds a private pilot certificate with complex, high performance, and tailwheel endorsements.

Learn more at VetAir.org, and on the VetAir Facebook page.

News

Teen pilot Lachlan Smart on track for world record

Eighteen year old Lachlan Smart wants to become the youngest person to fly solo around the world in a single-engine aircraft, and he plans to make 24 stops in his Cirrus SR22 doing it. Follow his journey at Wings Around the World.

Air Force plans 100 enlisted drone pilots by 2020

The Air Force expects to graduate the first class of enlisted airmen in 2017 for remotely piloted aircraft, specifically unarmed RQ-4 Global Hawks used for high-altitude reconnaissance missions. The graduates would become the first Air Force enlisted pilots since World War II.

FAA Policy Helps Modernize GA Airplanes and Helicopters

FAA Policy No: PS-AIR-21.8-1602 [PDF] “encourages general aviation aircraft owners to voluntarily install safety equipment on airplanes and helicopters that is not required by the agency’s regulations.”

Navy: Human error to blame for March cable break aboard USS Eisenhower flight deck

An arresting cable broke when an E2-C Hawkeye attempted to make a carrier landing, injuring eight sailors. The video shows the dramatic recovery by the pilot of the Hawkeye.

Cable snaps on USS Eisenhower during landing

BAE Systems wants to grow military aircraft in chemical vats

BAE Systems and the University of Glasgow are working on a manufacturing method that utilizes a “Chemputer” at the molecular level to assemble objects. Originally developed for pharmaceuticals, this might allow the construction of small UAVs or components for large manned aircraft.

Growing UAVs Through Chemistry

Resources:

Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall

Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall

Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall

David attended the opening of the new Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum. We hear opening remarks from Dr. Bob van der Linden, Chairman of the Aeronautics Department, and Dr. Margaret Weitekamp, a curator in the Space History Department.

We then hear David’s interview with Bob van der Linden, who describes some of the changes made, the visitor experience, and the special photo op with the Spirit of St. Louis and the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM).

NASM app logoNext, David talks with Vicki Portway and Sarah Banks from the social media team about how the museum is reaching out and transforming itself through the “experience loop.” We also hear about the new GO FLIGHT: National Air and Space Museum app for iOS and Android. The app lets you connect to the museum from wherever you are.

Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall

Mentioned

Routehappy job page.

Credit

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

406 Innovations in Flight 2016

The Airplane Geeks attended the Innovations in Flight Family Day and Outdoor Aviation Display on Saturday, June 18, 2016 at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.

Airplane Geeks Innovations in Flight 2016

The Airplane Geeks: Micah, Brian, Max, Benet, David

Interviews

Commander Brian McGlaughin, USCG

Commander Brian McGlaughin

Commander Brian McGlaughin

The United States Coast Guard is celebrating 100 years of aviation in 2016, and we hear about the mission of Coast Guard, flying in Alaska, the Sikorsky HH-52 Seaguard that was inducted into the National Air & Space Museum, the new C-130J, and of course, the 100th celebration activities.

Steve Lott, The Boeing Company

Steve Lott

Steve Lott

Steve is the Director of Communications for Boeing, based in Washington D.C. He talks about Boeing’s 100th year anniversary and explains that July 15, 2016 is Founders Day, when Bill Boeing had his first flight. Boeing employs a number of full time historians, and maintains a very large historical archive, including many photographs.

Steve tells us about the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall renovation at the NASM downtown on the Mall, and reminds us about the excellent The Age of Aerospace series. This documentary explores the last 100 years of aviation history and is presented by Boeing and Discovery Communications.

Captain Caitlin Diffley, USAF

Captain Caitlin Diffley

Captain Caitlin Diffley

Captain Diffley is the Regional Director for the United States Air Force Academy Admissions Office for the Northeast. She describes opportunities at the Academy and the many concentrations offered. Learn more about the application process at AcademyAdmissions.com.

Max Flight

During a brief lull in the interviews, David and Benet decide to “interview” Max and hear about his visit outside the Museum to see the aircraft and automobiles on display. Max also describes his experience at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania.

Steve Maloney

Steve Maloney

Steve Maloney

Steve is a contemporary artist from California who transformed a boneyard U.S. Army Huey helicopter into a mixed-media sculpture. The helicopter served as an air ambulance during the Vietnam War, and Take Me Home Huey is now touring the U.S. to honor Vietnam vets and facilitate conversation about their service.

Watch the trailer of the documentary film about the role Hueys played during conflicts as told by pilots, mechanics and helicopter crew members.

Bill Barry, NASA

NASA Chief Historian Bill Barry (seated, far left) and some airplane geeks

NASA Chief Historian Bill Barry (seated, far left) and some airplane geeks

NASA Chief Historian Bill Barry tells us about some of the other anniversaries in 2016, including the first Viking lander on Mars 40 years ago, the 10th anniversary of the first COTS (commercial off the shelf technology) contact for launch services delivering material to the Space Station, the 100th anniversary of Langley, and even the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. Bill talks about naming the Space Shuttle Enterprise rather than Constitution, the aeronautics programs at NASA, and public interest in NASA activities. Be sure to visit the NASA History webpage.

Photos

Take Me Home Huey

Take Me Home Huey

DSCF9051_600

Micah and Brian

Micah and Brian

Credit

Airplane Geeks would like to thank the National Air & Space Museum for inviting us back to the Innovations in Flight event. This is a must-attend, bring your family event held the Saturday before Father’s Day in June.

Photo credits: @ProfVanderhoof, @dronemama, @maxflight

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

AirplaneGeeks 322 Flying a KC-135 When the Ground is all Sparkly

KC-135R Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor. U.S. Air Force photo by Kevin Robertson.

Aerial refueling, airline profits boosted by lower fuel prices, the future of the U.S. Air Force, bad behavior at the airport, and the NBAA Convention.

Guest

Guest Matt Fritz is a KC-135 Instructor and Commander with over 2000 hours, including combat and combat support. He is also a certified acquisition professional, a certified Emotional Intelligence Trainer/Practitioner, and the Author of an instructional book entitled, “Leveraging Your LinkedIn Profile for Success.” Matt actively blogs with other military leaders at GeneralLeadership.com, as well as at his personal blog AdvancedVectors.com. He’s a civilian licensed commercial pilot with multi-engine and turbine ratings.

We talk about the role of the KC-135 tanker, an aircraft with a mix of old and new technology. Also, the future look of the Air Force, and the importance of open communication between military leaders and the public – connecting the warrior to the citizen.

Matt has some advice for young pilots who aspire to serve their country as a military aviator, and he tells us a story about a brand new boom operator flying over Afghanistan on a night mission.

News

Cheaper Fuel Leads to Record Profits at Airlines

Third Quarter airline results are in, with American Airlines, United Continental Holdings, and Southwest Airlines seeing record profits. A big part of the reason? Lower fuel prices.

America’s Enemies Beware: The U.S. Air Force Is Set to Soar (and Become Even Deadlier)

This article in The National Interest argues that between now and 2035, the U.S. Air Force will come to look very different than it has in the past.

Historically, they say, the Air Force has been defined by it’s platforms: fighters, bombers, airlifters, refuelers, surveillance and reconnaissance, and command and control.

The authors see a future where the Air Force will not focus on aircraft types, but on the Airmen, who will become “cyber-aided warriors with tremendous reach.”

Homophobic Man Taken Down at Airport After Inciting Brawl Over “Queers”

A man at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, who was described by some as drunk or on drugs, started a fight with another man wearing a pink shirt. When it got physical, passengers standing around jumped in, tackled the man, and held him down until police officers put him in handcuffs. All this was caught on video.

NBAA’s 2014 Convention Wraps Up as a Highly Successful Show

Rob gives us highlights from the NBAA Convention, which saw some 1,100 exhibitors, more than 100 aircraft, with over 26,000 people in attendance.

Aircraft of the Week

"SUEreabasteciendo1" by Martín Otero - Own work.

The MiG-28, the Exocet, and the Super Etendard.  David looks at one of the dumbest lines in Moviedom and TOPGUN.  “They are the MiG-28 and carry the Exocet anti-shipping missile.”  Flashback to when the movie was made and we explore why the Exocet was on everyone’s mind.

The Australia News Desk

Steve talks with Rod Rakic and brings us an update on Open Airplane, a service that assists pilots who want to rent an airplane. The network now has 72 locations in the U.S. with over 250 aircraft available, now including light twins, LSA, and tail draggers. 8000 pilots have signed up.

Across the Pond

Airline seats

Pieter talks to Marisa Garcia from www.flightchic.com about the latest trends in airline seating,  and her busy travel schedule. “If you want to cover aviation, you’ve got to fly…..”

Credit

U.S. Air Force KC-125 photo by Kevin Robertson.

“SUEreabasteciendo1” by Martín Otero – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.

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