Tag Archives: V-22 Osprey

789 Scaled Composites

We talk with both the President of Scaled Composites and the VP of Flight Operations. In the news, the FAA tells Boeing to make a plan, Boeing looks at re-acquiring SpiritAerosystems, Skyryse takes deposits for a fly-by-wire helicopter, the V-22 Osprey could be returning to flight, airlines scale back pilot hiring, and the JetBlue – Spirit merger is off.

Guests

Peter Siebold and Greg Norris of Scaled Composites standing on the apron.
Peter Siebold and Greg Morris

Greg Morris is the president of Scaled Composites, and Pete Siebold is the VP of Flight Operations. Scaled Composites is the aerospace company founded by Burt Rutan to develop experimental aircraft. Currently owned by Northrop Grumman and located at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, Scaled focuses on designing and developing concept aircraft that are often unconventional.

Greg and Pete describe the Scaled “secret sauce” and the company culture that keeps employees engaged and operating at their creative best. We hear about the experience of a first flight in a Scaled aircraft and the preparations made before test flights. Also how Scaled helps customers define their requirements and then designs the aircraft technology to meet those requirements. Interestingly, the design for a technology demonstrator can be quite different than the design for manufacturability. The two explain the personal and professional qualities that position an individual for an aviation career such as you might find at a company like Scaled Composites.

Greg Morris

Greg joined Scaled Composites in 2023 from Gauntlet Aerospace where he was President and Chief Test Pilot. He operated a flight school for 7 years and had 10 years of experience in flight test operations, including teaching in the Qualitative Evaluation Program for the United States Air Force Test Pilot School and target and chase support for the 412th Test Wing. Greg is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and serves on the SETP Membership Committee. He is a nationally designated FAA Experimental Examiner and he’s conducted check-rides for a variety of aircraft, both Scaled Composites and others. 

Greg received a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California and a Masters of Science in Flight Test Engineering from the National Test Pilot School.

Peter Siebold

Pete joined Scaled Composites in 1996 as a Design Engineer on the VisionAire Vantage. He worked extensively as a Flight Test Engineer on multiple programs before becoming a Test Pilot for the company. During his time at Scaled, Pete has held multiple leadership positions within engineering and flight operations, including Director of Flight Operations. Pete has flown 4 first flights at Scaled and 11 different Scaled aircraft. He was heavily involved in the development of Scaled’s simulator and avionics capabilities.

Pete obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He became a certified flight instructor while attending the university, a rating he retains to this day. He is an Associate Fellow in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and holds an Airline Transport Pilot Rating with seven Experimental Aircraft Authorizations and two Type Ratings. In 2004, Pete was part of the test team that won the Iven C. Kincheloe award for SpaceShipOne. He was bestowed the honor again in 2009 for his work as Project Pilot for WhiteKnightTwo.

Video: Model 401 Sierra First Flight

Video: Proteus: 25 years of Flight

Find Scaled Composites on Twitter/X, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Aviation News

FAA to Boeing: Develop a plan to fix your quality issues within 90 days

At a meeting in FAA headquarters, FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker told Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun that Boeing has 90 days to provide an action plan that addresses its “systemic quality-control issues.” After the meeting, Whitaker said, “Boeing must commit to real and profound improvements. “Making foundational change will require a sustained effort from Boeing’s leadership, and we are going to hold them accountable every step of the way, with mutually understood milestones and expectations.”

The plan must take into account the findings of the expert review panel report and the results of an FAA production-line audit. It will include the steps necessary to mature Boeing’s Safety Management System and integrate this with the company’s Quality Management System, to “ensure the same level of rigor and oversight is applied to the company’s suppliers.”

Justice Department Looking Into Boeing Blowout

The DOJ is examining whether the door panel incident falls under the government’s 2021 deferred-prosecution agreement with Boeing after the two fatal 737 Max crashes. If prosecutors determine that Boeing’s handling of the incident violated the 2021 agreement, they could rescind it and bring criminal charges against the company.

Engineering union and Boeing face off in fraught pilot contract dispute

The labor contract is with 23 flight technical and safety pilots in the flight operations group. These pilots don’t routinely fly production aircraft. The flight technical pilots develop pilot training programs and pilot manuals and liaise with airlines on their flight operations. The safety pilots help develop flight deck systems for new aircraft and support the certification process. The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace union (SPEEA) says its members have “first-hand experience of the kinds of safety-culture problems an expert panel reported on…”

Boeing in Talks to Buy Troubled Supplier Spirit AeroSystems

Spirit AeroSystems has had preliminary discussions with Boeing and has hired bankers to explore strategic options. Spirit is also looking at selling its Ireland unit that makes parts for Airbus. Both companies have confirmed they are having merger discussions. The talks might not result in a deal. In a statement, Boeing said, “We believe that the reintegration of Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems’ manufacturing operations would further strengthen aviation safety, improve quality, and serve the interests of our customers, employees, and shareholders.”

Skyryse Taking Deposits for Fly-by-wire Turbine Single

Skyryse One is a Robinson R66 helicopter that has been retrofitted with the proprietary SkyOS operating system. This features a single-stick control and two touchscreens. It’s an IFR-capable, aircraft-agnostic, triple-redundant fly-by-wire system. Skyryse is taking refundable, non-transferrable $2,500 deposits.

V-22 Osprey Fleet To Return To Flight After 3-Month Worldwide Grounding

The V-22 Osprey fleet received approval from U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin for a safe and measured return to operations. The Naval Air Systems Command could lift the grounding and allow the services to resume V-22 flight operations. The cause of the crash has been identified, but the reason for the failure has not. The investigation continues.

Southwest Airlines Scales Back Pilot Hiring In 2024

A Southwest memo says, “Based on expected capacity growth beyond 2024, we’ve made the difficult decision to suspend Initial First Officer Training classes through the remainder of 2024 and defer job offers, beginning with our April classes.” The airline said pilots with conditional job offers would be placed in a “deferred candidate pool.” Once hiring resumes, those pilots would be called up.

JetBlue, Spirit end $3.8 billion merger agreement after losing antitrust suit

Citing regulatory hurdles, the two airlines ended their merger agreement. Attorney General Merrick Garland said, “Today’s decision by JetBlue is yet another victory for the Justice Department’s work on behalf of American consumers.”

Mentioned

Making Like Maverick in an L-39 by Rob Mark in JetWhine.

Bob Heil

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver

Tesla Model S and Model 3 vulnerable to GNSS spoofing attacks

Wheel Bearings podcast.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, Max Trescott, and our Main(e) Man Micah.

787 California Science Center Space Shuttle Endeavour

The vertical stacking of the space shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center, the delay in Boeing’s T-7A Red Hawk program, communication interruptions for El Al, infrastructure grants for US airports, Delta Air Lines trading cards, and the possibility of rescinding Boeing’s immunity deal.

The Final Move of the Space Shuttle Endeavour

Back on July 20, 2023, the California Science Center commenced Go for Stack, the process of moving and lifting each of the space shuttle components into place for Endeavour’s upcoming 20-story vertical display. This feat has never been done outside of a NASA facility.

The Space Shuttle Endeavour being stacked at the California Science Center.

Press release: Space Shuttle Endeavour Is Now Fully Stacked and Mated, Completing World’s Only Ready-to-Launch Space Shuttle Display.

Brian Coleman attended the recent Endeavour stacking event and spoke with the museum’s President and CEO and the Curator for Aerospace Science:

Jeffrey N Rudolph, President and CEO of the California Science Center in Los Angeles, California, and the President of the California Science Center Foundation. He provided the leadership for the planning, design, fundraising, and implementation of the California Science Center Master Plan which transformed the California Museum of Science and Industry into the new California Science Center and created an award-winning Exposition Park Master Plan to guide the redevelopment of Exposition Park in central Los Angeles. Jeff serves as a Fellow of the California Council on Science and Technology and the Executive Committee for the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board and the Los Angeles Tourism Marketing District. He is the past chair of the Board of the Association of Science & Technology Centers and past chair of the Board of the American Alliance of Museums. Jeff received an M.B.A. from Yale University and a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley.

Kenneth Phillips, PhD, Curator for Aerospace Science at the California Science Center. Ken develops the California Science Center Foundation’s programs and exhibits on aeronautics and space exploration. As curator, he is responsible for creating the vision that shapes these programs and leading the team in the process that includes concept and storyboard development; multiple phases of design; prototype development and testing; artifact acquisition; audiovisual production; exhibit fabrication and research on visitor learning.

Major projects include Phase III of the Science Center’s 25-year Master Plan featuring the space shuttle Endeavour and the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center; the SKETCH Foundation Air and Space Gallery in Science Court; the Roy A. Anderson A-12 Blackbird Exhibit and Garden; and collaboration on the development of the Creative World gallery. 

Ken received his B.S. degree in Physics from the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, an M.S. in General Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, and a Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University in Environmental Engineering.

Dr. Ken Phillips and Brian Coleman observing the Space Shuttle Endeavour being stacked at the California Science Center.
Dr. Ken Phillips and Brian Coleman.

Aviation News

Will Biden Rescind Trump’s Boeing Immunity Deal?

After the two 737 Max crashes, the previous administration negotiated a deferred prosecution agreement whereby Boeing was granted certain immunity from prosecution, including fraud charges, and protection for Boeing’s senior executives. Many have criticized the deal.

The agreement required Boeing to “protect and detect violations of the U.S. fraud laws throughout its operations, including… those of its contractors and subcontractors.” Also, the Justice Department had “sole discretion” to decide if the “Company has breached the Agreement and whether to pursue prosecution of the Company and its subsidiaries.”

A lawsuit filed after the Alaska Airlines door plug blow-out alleges that Spirit AeroSystems had engaged in a “fraudulent scheme” to falsify records and hide “excessive” numbers of manufacturing defects. The theory presented in the article is that if the fraud allegations are substantiated, the Justice Department could rescind the deferred prosecution agreement.

Boeing pushes back T-7 plans due to faulty parts

Low rate initial production (LRIP) of the T-7A Red Hawk training jet has been pushed out to mid-2024. Boeing said part quality problems are to blame, along with supply chain issues. The T-7 will replace T-38 jet trainers. The Air Force plans to buy 351 T-7s by 2034.

Israeli flight from Thailand faced attack by ‘hostile elements’ – report

For the second time in a week, someone attempted to take over the communication network of an El Al plane and divert it from its destination. The crew noticed that the instructions it was receiving were improper and ignored them.

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Nearly $1 Billion in Grants from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to Improve 114 Airports Across the U.S.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocates $5 billion ($1 billion annually from 2022 to 2026) to provide competitive grants for airport terminal development projects. In FY24, the FAA is awarding $970 million to 114 airports in 44 states and three territories.

The FAA has an excellent data visualization tool for the airports receiving funding. Hover over an airport to see the amount of the funding and details about how the money will be used. You can filter by better PAX experience, expanded capacity, sustainability, safety, accessibility, serving smaller communities, and tower upgrades.

What the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Means for U.S. Aviation

Portland Jetport to receive more than $10 million from FAA for improvements

Maine airports getting federal funding for critical terminal upgrades

Army CH-47s Fill In For Grounded Marine MV-22s In White House Airlift Role

The fleet of V-22 tilt-rotors was grounded after the fatal crash of a U.S. Air Force CV-22 off the coast of Japan in November 2023. The U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps all fly versions of the V-22. Other aircraft are being pressed into service to fill the role of the tilt-rotors. CH-47F Chinooks are accompanying Marine 1, which is unusual in the U.S., but not uncommon overseas. Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) uses a dozen MV-22Bs for presidential airlift support missions. 

Delta has been keeping a secret for the past 20 years—and pilots really want you to ask about it

Unbeknownst to many passengers, Delta Air Lines has had a trading card program since 2003. The cards are exclusive to pilots and feature images of the aircraft they fly. New artwork is voted on by the pilots and introduced every five years. This recently broke on social media and now everyone is after the cards. In 2023, Delta handed out over 1.5 million cards.

Mentioned

Micah had a chance to meet up with listener Stephen Ivey who flies the Embraer Phenom for one of the big charter operations. He was doing a pickup at PWM and had some time to kill. Micah toured the Phenom, which is a smaller jet than he thought, but still very comfortable. This older one flies with a G1000.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, and our Main(e) Man Micah.

778 China Aviation Market

We take a look at the China aviation market, including the aviation boom in China, the aircraft that will support that market, and the impact on the global aviation industry. In the news, the V-22 Osprey is grounded worldwide, a judge wants more concessions from JetBlue as they seek to acquire Spirit, how airport expansion plans can come under fire on environmental grounds, and producing Sustainable Aviation Fuel through CO₂ direct air capture technology.

Guest

Vance Hilderman photo.

Vance Hilderman is the CEO of AFuzion, a safety certification consultancy for the aviation industry. Vance is the founder, CEO, and CTO of multiple safety-critical companies. He’s a world-renowned safety-critical expert, speaker, trainer, and author.

Vance describes the growth potential of the China aviation market, the challenges and opportunities for Western companies, and the implications of technology transfer and intellectual property concerns. He highlights the importance of the Chinese market for the aviation industry and the need for strategic approaches to navigate the complexities of doing business in China.

Takeaways:

  • China is a rapidly growing aviation market with a large middle class and increasing domestic and international travel demand.
  • Western companies, including Boeing and Airbus, are eager to tap into the Chinese market, but they face challenges related to technology transfer and intellectual property concerns.
  • The Chinese government plays a significant role in the aviation industry, and partnerships and joint ventures are often required to do business in China.
  • The China aviation market offers both opportunities and risks, and companies need to carefully navigate the political and economic landscape to succeed.

Vance is a top authority in the aviation industry and has been featured in the Associated Press, Aviation Pros, and Aviation Today. He is the author of The Aviation Development Ecosystem and Avionics Certification – Complete Guide to DO-178, DO-178C, DO-254. Vance holds BSEE, MSEE (Hughes Fellow), and MBA degrees.

References:

Aviation News

Osprey Crash Triggers Worldwide Grounding

A USAF CV-22B Osprey tiltrotor crashed offshore near Yakushima, Japan, on November 29, 2023, during a training mission, killing eight service members who were aboard. The U.S. Air Force’s Special Operations Command ordered an “operational standdown” of the CV-22 fleet, and all other V-22 operators have done the same. More than 400 Osprey’s are currently in service with U.S. forces and Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force, which operates 14 of the aircraft. 

USAF Special Operations Command says, “Preliminary investigation information indicates a potential materiel failure caused the mishap, but the underlying cause of the failure is unknown at this time. The standdown will provide time and space for a thorough investigation to determine causal factors and recommendations to ensure the Air Force CV-22 fleet returns to flight operations.”

V-22 Osprey inflight with rotors in vertical flight position.
A CV-22 Osprey practices hoist operations near Albuquerque, New Mexico Feb. 22, 2021. Image: Airman 1st Class Ireland Summers Air Force.

Judge Seeks Further Concessions as JetBlue-Spirit Trial Concludes 

Judge seeks more sacrifices as JetBlue-Spirit trial ends

The US District judge concluded that fares would likely increase if the proposed $3.8B acquisition of Spirit by JetBlue goes through, and commented that JetBlue will most likely need to divest additional assets.  The airline already said it would divest gates and slots at Boston, New York Newark, and Fort Lauderdale International.

Portland jetport plan to cut trees, add surface parking draws opposition

The Portland International Jetport wants to build an additional parking lot. Meanwhile, the new Mayor has prioritized fighting climate change and expanding Portland’s tree canopy. The Jetport says demand for long-term parking exceeds capacity so travelers park at an offsite city lot and use a shuttle to the airport. They say onsite parking has the smallest carbon footprint. The opposition says clearing trees and destroying wetlands is short-sighted and environmentally harmful. They say the jetport should expand the shuttle service to include other existing parking lots.

UK’s first air capture plant is turned on to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and turn it into jet fuel

Mission Zero Technologies was founded in 2020 to develop direct air capture (DAC) technology that recovers atmospheric CO₂, which can then be used or stored. Their machine will run on solar power, recover 50 tonnes of CO₂ per year, and then turn it into Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

Australia Desk

Mentioned

Early Winter Snow Stops Flights at Munich Airport

Video: Cessna Citation X from ARFF World

Video: EP 31: Smithy’s Southern Cross Replica Flies Again!

Hosts this Episode

763 Rigid Airships

The author of His Majesty’s Airship tells us about the era of the rigid airship and the fatal crash of the British airship R101. In the news, pilot medical condition reporting, the Boom Supersonic XB-1 demonstrator, two fatal military aircraft crashes, and the need for more air traffic controllers

Side view of rigid airship R101 moored to the mast.
R101 at the mast.

Guest

Sam C. Gwynne has authored a new book titled His Majesty’s Airship: The Life and Tragic Death of the World’s Largest Flying Machine

In 1930, Britain’s airship R101 was destined to transform air travel, link the far-flung outposts of the British Empire, and advance the career of ambitious Britain’s Secretary of State for Air, Lord Christopher Birdwood Thomson. The R101 would travel people in grand luxury with two floors of heated sleeping berths, bathrooms, cooking and dining facilities, and a smoking room.

Unfortunately, there were numerous complications, and their maiden voyage from England to British India’s Karachi and back took a fatal turn. While the May 1937 crash of the Hindenburg is infamous in U.S. lore, the fatal voyage of R101 is less well known, despite being one of the world’s great tales of aviation.

In our conversation, Sam places the R101 in the context of the rigid airships in the early 1900s. That includes issues of nationalism, competition with airplanes, and the British Imperial Airship Scheme of the 1920s that launched with the R100 and R101 sister airships. Sam says, “The history of airships is a history of a bad idea” and we explore the flawed technology that led to so many rigid airship disasters. As for the R101, Sam argues that the airship was an experimental prototype, which is dangerous by definition, but it was not treated that way.

Sam is the author of Hymns of the Republic and the New York Times bestsellers Rebel Yell and Empire of the Summer Moon, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He spent most of his career as a journalist, including stints with Time as bureau chief, national correspondent, and senior editor, and with Texas Monthly as executive editor.

Airship R101 during assembly showing the metal framework and hydrogen gas bags.
R101 during assembly.

Aviation News

5,000 pilots suspected of hiding major health issues. Most are still flying

About 4,800 pilots are being investigated for falsifying medical records. They are military veterans who are receiving disability benefits for conditions that could make them unfit to fly. These include mental health disorders and other serious conditions. Veterans Affairs investigators discovered reporting inconsistencies when they cross-checked federal databases.

FAA Clears Boom Supersonic For XB-1 Flight Tests

The Boom Supersonic XB-1 technology demonstrator received an FAA experimental airworthiness certificate. With that, Boom can begin flight testing at Mojave Air and Space Port in California. The XB-1 is 71 feet long and is powered by three small afterburning General Electric J85-15 engines. High-speed taxi tests have been conducted, with a run up to 60 kt. achieved on Aug. 23, 2023 

Video: XB-1 Taxi Testing: August 23, 2023

F/A-18 Hornet Pilot Pronounced Dead In Crash At MCAS Miramar

Marine major identified as pilot who died in California F/A-18 crash

A two-seat F/A-18D Hornet crashed just before midnight at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, in the northern part of San Diego, California. The single pilot (Marine Maj. Andrew Mettler) aboard the F/A-18D was killed in the crash at MCAS Miramar. The Hornet belonged to Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224, based at MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina,

3 US Marines killed in aircraft crash in Australia during training exercise

Twenty-three Marines were on board the MV-22B Osprey aircraft. Three died and others were seriously wounded. The Marines were flying in support of Exercise Predators Run.

FAA hires 1,500 air traffic controllers but staffing challenges remain

The FAA reached its goal of hiring 1,500 air traffic controllers this year and wants funding for 1,800 in 2024. About 2,600 controllers are currently in training. There were more than 12,000 applicants this year.

Mentioned

9th Annual Girls in Aviation Day, September 23, 2023.

American Helicopter Museum & Education Center

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Max Trescott, David Vanderhoof, and our Main(e) Man Micah.

743 Chinese Commercial Aviation

China reportedly flies an engine destined for the COMAC C919, the Airbus final assembly line in China delivers its first A321, a “Really Cool” airline is planned for Thailand, United and Archer plan eVTOL air taxi service in Chicago, still no permanent FAA Administrator, orders for the Osprey V-22 come to an end. Also, an Australia Desk report and interviews from the Point Mugu Air Show.

COMAC C919 on takeoff.
C919, courtesy COMAC.

Aviation News

As congress debates TikTok, China flies its own commercial jet engine

Jon Ostrower reports in The Air Current that there is footage on social media of what appears to be a test aircraft flying with the Aero Engine Corporation of China CJ-1000A engine. This is significant because that engine is planned to eventually replace the CFMI LEAP-1C engine currently used on the Chinese Comac C919, a single-aisle jet in the A320/B737 class.

Airbus Final Assembly Line in China delivers its first A321neo

Airbus has four A320 family final assembly lines: Hamburg, Germany; Toulouse, France; Mobile, Alabama; and Tianjin, China. The FAL in Tianjin was the first Airbus commercial aircraft assembly line outside Europe. Now Airbus has delivered the first A321neo aircraft assembled in Tianjin to China’s Juneyao Air. The aircraft is powered by Pratt & Whitney GTF engines.

“Really Cool Airlines,” A New Thai Airline Startup (Not A Joke?!)

The former CEO of Thai LCC Nok Air has been running a travel agency named “Really Really Cool.” Now Patee Sarasin wants to start a new airline named “Really Cool Airlines” with the tagline “We fly the future.” Their plan is to acquire four Airbus A350s by the end of 2023.

Promotional video: Really Cool Airlines – We Fly the Future

Graphic of Really Cool Airlines jet with countdown timer until "Ready for boarding."
Screen grab from Really Cool Airlines website.

United Airlines And Archer Announce First Commercial Electric Air Taxi Route In Chicago

United Airlines and Archer Aviation plan to launch the first air taxi route in Chicago, between O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and Vertiport Chicago. Archer’s eVTOL aircraft will be used as part of their urban air mobility (UAM) network buildout. The company is focused on airport to city center routes. Archer plans to deploy 6000 aircraft By 2030.

CNET Video: United Airlines First Air Taxi Revealed: Archer Midnight eVTOL

Biden’s pick to lead FAA withdraws name from consideration after GOP criticism

The FAA has been led by an acting Administrator since March 2022. The White House had nominated Phillip Washington, the CEO of Denver International Airport, but Republicans and some other key senators opposed Washington. They say he is not qualified because of limited aviation experience. The agency is being led by an acting administrator, Billy Nolen, a pilot who has held safety jobs at three airlines.

Military Quietly Stops Buying Ospreys as Aircraft Faces an Uncertain Future

The Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force fly the V-22 Osprey, but none plan to purchase more. Deliveries are scheduled through 2025.

An autonomous suitcase decides it doesn’t want to fly

@TansuYegen tweeted: “An autonomous suitcase decides it doesn’t want to fly. Imagine that you are already on the plane and you see your luggage flee down the runway.”

For See:

Point Mugu Air Show

The Point Mugu Air Show was held March 18, 19, 2023, at Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC), Point Mugu. This years event celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Navy at Point Mugu, and featured dual-premiere demonstration teams: the Blue Angels, and the Thunderbirds.

Brian Coleman attended the air show and recorded interviews with

Australia News Desk

After a busy couple of weeks, the guys are back in the studio as Grant recovers from another weekend of air show commentary duties, this time at Benalla, 130 miles north of Melbourne.  We discuss the role these regional air shows play in terms of promoting the importance and fun of aviation in the community.

Army helicopter ditches in Jervis Bay during special forces training

The Army’s fleet of MRH-90 Taipan helicopters has been temporarily grounded following an incident this week. The crew of a Taipan conducting a special forces training exercise off Jervis Bay, 200km south of Sydney, had to ditch their aircraft after it appeared to lose power. Only minor injuries were sustained by some onboard, and the aircraft was successfully recovered.  An investigation is now underway.

Northrop Grumman Australia modernizes Brisbane facility

Northrop Grumman Australia’s newly-modernised Brisbane Maintenance and Modification Centre (BMMC) has been officially opened; a major facility for the sustainment of the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) aviation capability. Northrop Grumman invested $20 million in the BMMC project.

The facility conducts continuous through-life support to RAAF fleets including its six KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft and 10 C-27J Spartan transport aircraft, and will provide jobs for around 100 people.

Highly Authentic Harvard Flies in New Zealand

And across the Ditch in New Zealand, Bevan Dewes’ immaculately restored, former Royal New Zealand Air Force Harvard Mk.IIa (NZ1044) landed at its new home in Masterton, New Zealand on March 19th, 2023 following a three-year rebuild effort with Twenty24 Ltd, at Wanaka. Registered as ZK-OTU, the aircraft made its first post-restoration flight from Wanaka on March 10th.

Be sure to check out the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast!

Flying with Children and Infants

Flying with Children from the FAA.

After the child is over 44 pounds he or she no longer needs a safety seat on an aircraft and can safely use a regular seatbelt. The AmSafe Child Aviation Restraint System (CARES) device is FAA-certified for children up to 40 inches tall and weighing between 22 and 44 pounds.

Traveling with children from United Airlines.

Car seats made after 1985 are FAA-approved and will have a certification sticker attached to them. These car seats can be used on your flight, but there are exceptions. Children in car seats should sit in a window seat with the car seat secured to the seat itself. Your child should be in their seat during takeoff, landing, and turbulence.

Traveling with children and infants from American Airlines.

Most safety seats that are approved for use in motor vehicles are acceptable for use in aircraft. The seat must have a solid back and seat, restraint straps installed to securely hold the child, and a label indicating approval for use on an aircraft.

Infant Air Travel from Delta.

When you travel with a child under 2 years old, you may choose to travel with the child on your lap (infant-in-arms) or travel with your child in an FAA-approved child safety seat. To use a FAA-approved safety seat, you must purchase a ticket for your child so they have a reserved seat.

Mentioned

Pilots around the state fly in for second annual Ski Plane Fly-In in Easton

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, David Vanderhoof, and our Main(e) Man Micah with contributions by Grant McHerron, and Steve Visscher.

608 Aviation Oxygen Systems

The president and CEO of Aerox Aviation Oxygen Systems explains the role of onboard aviation oxygen and gives us an update on the New England Air Museum and Patient Airlift Services. In the news, current industry troubles are having impacts on flight safety, a Twin Otter and an MV-22 Osprey meet on the tarmac, a lawsuit is filed over the October 2019 fatal crash of a Collings Foundation B-17G bomber, and a Senate bill might change Air Force plans to retire some legacy aircraft.

Guest

Scott E. Ashton is president and CEO of Aerox Aviation Oxygen Systems, which designs and manufactures aviation oxygen systems and accessories. Scott is an aerospace industry executive with more than 25 years of experience working for such leading companies as Sikorsky, General Electric, and Goodrich.

Scott describes the types of aviation oxygen systems and their importance to pilots for safety and comfort. We look at the associated accessories, such as cannula, masks, and the regulators that need to be assembled without the presence of any oil or petroleum products. Scott talks about steel vs. Kevlar oxygen bottles, pressure test requirements, lifespan, and refilling.

Scott currently serves as the president and board member of the New England Air Museum, based in Hartford, Connecticut. He tells us about the gradual re-opening process, starting with outside exhibits and open hangar doors, leading up to the opening of the indoor exhibits. A new women in aviation exhibit is being constructed, and a Redbird flight simulator is coming to augment the STEM program.

Scott is also on the Board of Patient Airlift Services, a charitable organization that arranges private air transportation at no cost for individuals requiring medical diagnosis, treatment or follow-up, and for humanitarian purposes. That operation was temporarily shut down during the pandemic.

Scott began his career at General Electric as an engineer and served in both engineering and business development capacities in both GE Aircraft Engines and Corporate Aircraft Finance.

He joined forces with Don Burr, the founder of Peoples Express, and Bob Crandall, then recently retired Chairman of American Airlines, to help launch Pogo, the world’s first large scale attempt at solving the urban air mobility challenge.  

In 2011 Scott became the president of Sikorsky’s helicopter fractional ownership and MRO business, Associated Aircraft Group (AAG). In 2018 he shifted his career to entrepreneurship and joined a small family-owned repair station as president (Corporate Services Supply & Manufacturing) specializing in the repair and overhaul of corporate aircraft and helicopter engine and airframe accessories. In 2020, Scott purchased Aerox Aviation Oxygen Systems and became president and CEO.

Scott is an ATP and has ratings in airplanes, seaplanes, gliders, helicopters, and is a Certificated Flight Instructor, with more than 2,600 hours of flight time.

Aviation News

FAA warns of tail strikes, off-course flying by near-empty jets

In May 2020, the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST) issued more than 50 warnings to carriers about things that need to be watched carefully. The pandemic-inspired industry turmoil has opened opportunities for safety lapses.

CAST was founded in 1997 to develop an integrated, data-driven strategy to reduce the commercial aviation fatality risk in the United States and promote new Government and industry safety initiatives throughout the world.

The organization includes members from the FAA, NASA, Transport Canada, the unions (ALPA, NATCA, APA), and industry (airframers, A4A, ACI-NA, GE Aviation), as well as observers (EASA, IATA, ICAO, NTSB) and others. CAST aims to reduce the U.S. commercial fatality risk by 50 percent from 2010 to 2025.

Twin Otter v Osprey… Both Lose

On May 30, 2020, a DHC-6 Twin Otter and a USMC MV-22 Osprey collided on the ramp at Brown Field Municipal Airport, a California airfield close to the US-Mexico border. The Osprey had been on a training mission and parked at Brown. The Twin Otter started up and taxied under power into the MV-22. The Twin Otter’s right engine was left hanging from its mount. Both propellers were bent, and there was damage to the nose, right windscreen, and right windscreen frame. The Osprey’s left propeller was damaged, as was the left engine compartment, wing, and landing gear. The right engine propeller blade impacted the ground.

Lawsuit filed over fatal crash of WWII-era airplane

The Collings Foundation B-17G bomber crashed at Bradley International Airport in October 2019, killing seven people. A lawsuit has been filed by survivors and the families of those killed against the owners and operators. The 200-page lawsuit includes allegations such as:

  • An engine inspection would have shown that some parts were worn beyond repair.
  • The passengers were not given proper safety instructions (two were seated on the floor of the aircraft)
  • “Neither the Pilot in Command, nor any of the other crew members, informed the passengers of the flight’s peril, advised them what to do or instructed them to brace for a crash. The passengers were left to presume what was happening.”
  • The flight’s departure was delayed by 48 minutes as the “crew struggled to start the engines”
  • Unbeknownst to the passengers, the two engines on the right hand of the plane experienced roughness the day prior to the crash.
  • “The crash and subsequent collision were violent” and “It ejected many of the passengers from where they were sitting and turned unsecured cargo into dangerous projectiles.”
  • A couple on board were able to pull themselves out of the wreckage through a shattered window in the rear of the cockpit. They fell onto the deicing tank below the plane and sustained “serious and permanent injuries.”

Senate defense bill limits Air Force’s aircraft retirement plans

In the Air Force’s fiscal 2021 budget request, the service proposed retiring a number of its B-1 bombers, A-10 Warthog attack planes, RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drones, KC-135 and KC-10 tankers, and C-130H planes. However, the Senate Armed Services Committee’s proposed FY21 National Defense Authorization Act limits the cuts proposed by the Air Force.  The SASC’s defense bill “establishes a minimum number of aircraft for each major mission area … and prohibits the divestment of aircraft until the minima are reached to ensure that Air Force can meet [National Defense Strategy] and combatant command requirements,” SASC said in a summary of the bill.

The bill “increases funding for critical capabilities that will help the United States maintain air superiority in contested environments, including Systems of Systems Technology Integration Tool Chain for Heterogeneous Electronic Systems (STITCHES) and advanced air-to-air weapons.”

Mentioned

13 Minutes to the Moon, Season 2: The Apollo 13 story

Who is that masked man?…

Masked Max Trescott

Masked Max Trescott

549 Civil Air Patrol

A conversation about the Civil Air Patrol, noncommissioned officers in aviation, and the V-22 Osprey. Also, the last Doolittle Raider passes, the race to recover a Japanese F-35A, Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and light attack aircraft, the Stratolaunch first flight, the AOA sensor on Ethiopian 302, an airliner hits a sign, a positive airline story of the week, reduced seat recline, and an order for 60 all-electric airplanes.

Guest

Armando Carrion

Armando Carrion

Armando Carrion just retired after a 21-year career in the Air Force, most recently as enlisted aircrew on the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey. He specialized in flying light tactical fixed wing, and special missions. Armando has volunteered with the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) for 25 years and commanded two different squadrons.

In our conversation about the Civil Air Patrol, we learn that CAP program cadets come from all walks of life since they are not organized around a particular school or community. Established in 1941, CAP has over 60,000 members, including pilots, aircrew, and emergency responders. Besides service to the community, CAP offers pilots the opportunity to fly different aircraft types and build hours.

Armando also explains the importance of enlisted aircrew to the Air Force and the variety of positions that are available. Recently, the demand has grown for enlisted pilots to operate remotely piloted aircraft.

We also get some insights into the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor, and what lies ahead for Armando in civilian aviation.

Armando has crewed 26 different aircraft ranging from heavy cargo and airlift airframes to small general aviation aircraft employed in unique roles. He has volunteered for over 25 years serving as a search and rescue, disaster relief, and counter-drug mission pilot. Armando currently holds an FAA Commercial Certificate with Instrument and multiple ratings and endorsements. He’s a Reno Air Race team member and co-hosts the Plane Talking UK podcast.

Resources

The V-22 Osprey at Sun 'n Fun 2019. Photo by Max Flight.

The V-22 Osprey at Sun ‘n Fun 2019. Photo by Max Flight.

The V-22 Osprey image David wanted us to use. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force.

The V-22 Osprey image David wanted us to use. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force.

Must see video: V22 Osprey folding up

Aviation News

Richard Cole, last WWII Doolittle Raider, dies in Texas

The last of the Doolittle Raiders, Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” Cole, has died at age 103. The Doolittle Raiders flew a daring attack on Japan during World War II, less than five months after Pearl Harbor. Cole was Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot, who passed in 1993. The Raiders launched their assault April 18, 1942, flying B-25 bombers from the USS Hornet.

Race to find Japan’s F-35 stealth jet that crashed into sea before China or Russia can steal top secret tech

Here’s Everything We Know About The Ongoing Search For Japan’s Crashed F-35

A Japanese F-35A fighter was lost about eighty miles east of the coast of Japan. The aircraft was the first F-35 assembled in Japan by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

SOCOM Commander: Special Ops Needs Light Attack Aircraft

Special Operations Command (SOCOM) Army Gen. Richard Clarke said at a hearing of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities hearing, “Light attack aircraft is a need for our SOCOM, and I think it’s a need for our nation.”

Stratolaunch, the world’s largest airplane and built to launch rockets, takes first flight

Stratolaunch Systems Corporation successfully completed the first flight of the Stratolaunch, the world’s largest all-composite aircraft. The Stratolaunch flew for 2.5 hours, achieved a maximum speed of 189 miles per hour, and reached altitudes up to 17,000 feet.

Stratolaunch first flight. Photo courtesy Stratolaunch Systems Corporation.

Stratolaunch first flight. Photo courtesy Stratolaunch Systems Corporation.

Ethiopian Crash Data Analysis Points To Vane Detachment

Some evidence is suggesting the angle of attack indicator may have broken off the plane during or shortly after takeoff. By Guy Norris in Aviation Daily, behind the paywall.

American Airlines flight loses chunk of wing after hitting sign

American Airlines flight 300 from JFK bound for Los Angeles returned to the airport after apparently hitting a sign on takeoff.

Cessna 172 Runs Out of Fuel, Crashes in Valley Stream Long Island, NY

The Cessna came down in a residential neighborhood and got entangled in the power lines. There were no injuries.

Positive Airline Story of the Week

Baby blows kisses, bonds with flight attendant on Southwest flight

Mentioned

8 Lessons Pilots can Learn from the Boeing 737 MAX Crashes and the MCAS

Innovations in Flight Family Day and Outdoor Aviation Display – Saturday, June 15, 2019, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

Delta enters the seat recline wars

Video: SpaceX nails triple booster landing – BBC News

Norway aviation firm orders 60 all-electric airplanes, drops operation costs 80%

Video: RAF Hunter Pilot Goes Rogue over London 1968

Video: The Physics of How a Plane Flies

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

 

 

 

AirplaneGeeks 287 – Mary Kirby and the Runway Girl Network

Runway Girl Network

Mary Kirby’s new Runway Girl Network is an online framework “where air transport intelligence meets the passenger experience.”

We talk with Mary about aircraft interiors, inflight connectivity driving operational benefits, airline seat size from a safety standpoint, and other topics that impact the passenger experience.

You’ll find content at the Runway Girl Network in four categories: passenger safety,  passenger comfort, passenger connectivity, and passenger services.

“Lean into Aviation” highlights women in the industry and their accomplishments. The “#PaxEx Forum” presents articles written by industry thought leaders. The weekly “#PaxEx Podcast” is a thirty minute program where experts join in on a conversation about current passenger experience topics.

The Network features a hybrid model with both advertising-supported free content, and subscription-based premium content. You can follow Mary on Twitter as @RunwayGirl.

The week’s aviation news:

The 247D and DC-3 at NASM

David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week: The Boeing Airplane that Created the DC-3: the B-247.

In this week’s Australia Desk:

Steve and Grant chat with Mike Yeo from The Base Leg blog about his trip to the Singapore Air Show. Topics include the A350, the 787, military display teams, China’s trade show presence but lack of airframes and general buzz from the show.

Find more from Grant and Steve at the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast, and follow the show on Twitter at @pcdu. Steve’s at @stevevisscher and Grant at @falcon124.

Rob Mark’s The Aviation Minute: The pilot shortage.

Monino by Paul Filmer

Monino by Paul Filmer

Mentioned:

  • Paul Filmer aviation photography. (Two photos above from Monino.)

Mitsubishi Mu-2

Mitsubishi Mu-2

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

AirplaneGeeks 283 – Aviation Accident Animation

Eyewitness Animations

Jack Suchocki (a former Eastern Airlines Captain) is President of Eyewitness Animations. They create professional forensic animations and courtroom graphics, including aviation accident reconstruction. These are used for investigations and litigation. An example is the Asiana 214 crash video they produced. The animations are accurate with respect to the events, scale, and time. Clients include U.S. Government agencies, industry manufacturers and organizations, television networks, and many others.

We talk about where the data comes from for these animations constructed on personal computers and how they are used in accident litigation.

Sky Whale

The week’s aviation news:

Douglas DC-9

David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week: the Douglas DC-9.

In this week’s Australia Desk:

  • Qantas copping a US$90k fine for not a form of tarmac stranding
  • Qantas pulls their 737s out of Hobart & sticks to 717s
  • Air India 787 lines up on Essendon GA airport instead of Melbourne airport
  • Things get even more kooky with the new Toowoomba airport, starting with its name. (Damien Rose used to live in Toowoomba and knows the area well.)

Find more from Grant and Steve at the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast, and follow the show on Twitter at @pcdu. Steve’s at @stevevisscher and Grant at @falcon124.

View through the glass from Barcelona Tower

View through the glass from Barcelona Tower

In this week’s Across the Pond segment:

Pieter talks to Jesús Calderon, Air Traffic Controller in the Barcelona Tower about recent changes to airfield procedures, why he is taking his ATPL exams in London and why Barcelona has been busier than Madrid this summer. We also get an insight into what an Air Traffic Controller thinks about when he takes a commercial flight as a passenger.

Find Jesús on Facebook, Pieter on Twitter as @Nascothornet, on Facebook at XTPMedia, and at the Aviation Xtended podcast.

Mentioned:

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

Episode 216 – Airport 24/7: Miami

Dornier Do 27

Guest Chris Sloan is Executive Producer of the television series Airport 24/7: Miami, premiering October 2 on the Travel Channel. Chris is also the founder of the Airchive.com website which contains a wealth of aviation memorabilia and items of historical significance, and lots of interesting things for aviation enthusiasts.

We talk with Chris about Airport 24/7: Miami, which provides a fascinating inside view of the daily activities at Miami International Airport. It’s not a documentary and it’s not contrived reality. It’s about the stories, adventures, and difficult situations that people who work in a major airport find themselves dealing with every day.

Follow Chris on Twitter as @airchive.

David’s Aircraft of the Week: Dornier Do 27 (pictured above).

The week’s aviation news:

In this week’s Australia Desk report:

A quick update on our activities at AusFly 2012 including our first attempts at air show commentary. In the news, Virgin Australia pilots reject the company’s enterprise bargaining proposal, Virgin refers the Qantas/Emirates deal to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, Qantas is closing it’s first class lounge in Singapore but is rumoured to be chasing Singapore Airlines for closer ties, a crocodile ascapes its cage on a Qantas flight from Brisbane to Melbourne…no, seriously!….and more Airbus tanker concerns as a refuelling boom falls from a test aircraft in flight.

Find more from Grant and Steve at the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast, and follow the show on Twitter at @pcdu Steve’s at @stevevisscher and Grant at @falcon124. Australia Desk archives can be found at www.australiadesk.net.

In this week’s Across the Pond segment:

This week’s Across The Pond segment welcomes back Tim Gresty for the first of several discussions on the airline sector. This week Pieter talks to Tim about the emerging trend of low cost carriers adding prices and making service additions, crossing the boundary from lower cost into full service. Is this going to be the end of low cost flights or is it just another way for the LC airlines to make more money? Tim will join us next time to talk about airline superhubs. Tim Gresty can be found at www.cognitio.co.uk.

Mentions:

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