The Airplane Geeks hosts interview each other to give you a closer look at the guys who create this podcast. Also, the Commemorative Air Force “12 Planes of Christmas,” the first Boeing KC-46 will miss its delivery goal, transmitting pre-departure air traffic control clearances to pilots’ mobile devices, a Van’s Aircraft milestone, the best U.S. airlines, the Boeing 717, and a Virgin Atlantic IFE solution for the visually impaired.
Each year the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) hosts the “12 Planes of Christmas” online giving campaign. Designed to support the aircraft of the CAF, this event highlights the efforts of the organization and its volunteer members who restore and preserve its fleet of over 170 World War II aircraft.
Boeing delivered the last two 717-200 jetliners in 2006, and it is currently operated primarily by Delta, Hawaiian, Qantas, and Spanish Volotea. Yet airlines are scouring the planet looking for available Boeing 717s.
We examine the role and training of the corporate aviation flight attendant as the third crewmember. In the news, we look ABX Air pilot concerns and more broadly at the air cargo capacity needed to support Amazon.com, private airplane flights to Cuba, an NBAA conference focusing on security, a world’s best airline list, and some safety tips for air travel.
Susan describes the similarities and differences between commercial and corporate flight attendants, and why in many cases those on business jets require specialized training. We talk about the need for legislation that drives training regulations, and we discuss business aviation security and the the flight attendant as the face to the passenger. Susan explains why she started her training program and the makeup of the students who attend.
Susan teaches her training course in Long Beach, California and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She also conducts in-house training classes for U.S. and global clients. Susan consults for the business aviation community, and also does contract flying upon request.
Susan is an advocate for corporate aviation flight attendants and she wants to raise the standards for the third crew member in business aviation. She has been published in many business aviation trade journals, and was appointed to an Advisory Board position on the Corporate Pilots Association Board of Directors. Susan was an active sitting member for ten years on the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Flight Attendant Committee in Washington, DC. She served as the NBAA Flight Attendant Committee Vice Chairperson and represented Contract Flight Attendants throughout the United States on this committee for five years. She now serves on the national committee in the capacity of an esteemed advisory consultant.
The Airline Professionals Association, Teamsters Local 1224 represent the pilots of ABX Air. As a result of their belief that a staffing shortage at the cargo carrier is harming the pilots, they called a strike, but a Federal District Court Judge granted ABX Air a temporary restraining order blocking the strike.
Private airline Wheels Up announced it is offering all its members flights to and from Havana from 18 U.S. airports. They had been flying to Cuba on a limited basis for about a year. The travelers must still meet the the requirements of the 12 approved categories.
The the NBAA will hold its inaugural Security Conference January 24-25, 2017. The Conference is intended to address security concerns for Part 91 and 135 operators. NBAA also is planning a pre-conference roundtable on the DCA Access Standard Security Program (DASSP).
Van’s Aircraft kitplanes, Boeing doesn’t plan to change the Dreamliner for Emirates, NASA is looking for astronauts, the first customer-built SubSonex jet flies, the Pilatus PC-12 business jet also has its first flight, and livestock pass gas.
Dick (“Van”) VanGrunsven is founder and CEO of kitplane maker Van’s Aircraft. Van has been flying since 1956 and has logged more than 15,000+ hours (the majority of it in airplanes of his own design) and holds CFI, multi-engine, and ATP ratings.
We talk with Van about the kitplane business in general and the Van’s Aircraft planes in particular. Van tells us what it is about the character of the planes that makes them so popular with kit builders and with the pilots who fly them. We also touch on personal jets, the decrease in numbers of amateur built planes, and how the availability of used experimental planes contributes to shrinking sales of new kits. Van also talks about getting good flight instruction in experimental aircraft.
Throughout high school and college Van flew a Cub and a Taylorcraft from the 670 foot grass strip on his parent’s farm. After finishing engineering school and a stint in the Air Force, he purchased a homebuilt 65 hp Stits Playboy, which he rebuilt with a 125 hp Lycoming engine, bubble canopy, Hoerner style wingtips, and an all new set of cantilever aluminum wings to replace the strut-braced wood and fabric originals. Renamed the RV-1, the Playboy flew like a new airplane.
Van flew the RV-1 from 1965 through 1968 but he felt something better was possible. He wanted an airplane that was able to fly in and out of any reasonable airstrip, with enough power and maneuverability to do good basic aerobatics, and cruise as fast as possible. He reluctantly sold the RV-1 and began design and construction of a completely original airplane.
The single-seat RV-3 flew for the first time in August 1971. Van quit his job at a forklift manufacturer and began supplying basic kits for the RV-3.
Over the next forty years, Van’s Aircraft became the acknowledged leader in the kit aircraft world. New aircraft, from the RV-4 through the Light Sport RV-12 and now the “widebody” RV-14, have been introduced and each has proven successful in the marketplace. For most of that time, Van was chief engineer, head designer, and CEO of the company.
Mark Newton is an Australian private pilot who started learning to fly in 1999, after a weather diversion as a passenger in a Grumman Traveller light aircraft wound-up as an unexpected overnight stay at a gliding field. Over the years Mark has flown 24 types of gliders, and he holds a glider instructor rating.
Gliders in Australia don’t require pilot licenses, so Mark didn’t start training for his PPL until 2008. He bought a well-built RV-6 in 2011, and enjoys using it for traveling to distant parts of the country, aerobatics, the odd “$100 hamburger,” and installing “RV-grins” on new aviators as part of their first taste of flight, including several who have gone on to gain pilot licenses of their own.
Emirates has said they will decide in 2016 if they will order almost 100 planes, either the Boeing 787-10 or the Airbus for A350-900. Emirates needs long-range planes that can operate in hot climates. Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of marketing Randy Tinseth says, “The plan is not to change the aircraft, we really like what we have.”
NASA announced that by summer 2017 they will begin recruiting a new astronaut class of 8 to 14 people. This is an item that Yong-Lim Foo should pay attention to, our listener from Singapore. There are some basic requirements: You have to be between 62 and 75 inches tall and have a military, science, or technical background. You could end up on the International Space Station, traveling to the moon, or maybe even going to Mars. For more information, see http://www.nasa.gov/astronauts.
Redge Greenberg, of Durango, Colorado, received the first SubSonex kit (S/N JSX0003) in February and is now the first customer to build and fly the SubSonex Personal Jet. The SubSonex is sold as a Quick Build Kit only. Greenberg has 4,500-plus hours in numerous aircraft and says, “…I never got the chance to fly a jet. I first saw the prototype of the SubSonex at Oshkosh, and followed the development for over a year. When Sonex offered the jet as a kit, I was first in line. Like my RV8, the SubSonex is aerobatic, but the Sonex company also included a ballistic parachute for extra safety.”
Pilatus Aircraft is entering the business jet market with its six-passenger PC-24, which had its first flight in May. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2017, the second half of that year for U.S. deliveries. This will compete with the Cessna Citation business jets.
The Aviation Herald reported that a Singapore Airlines plane with 2,186 sheep onboard diverted to Bali after “exhaust gasses and manure produced by the sheep” caused the smoke detector to go off. The airline says there is no evidence the livestock were responsible.
Pieter visits the Science Museum in London to show what visitors can see from an aviation perspective in the center of London. He gives a quick review of the aviation, aerospace and space exhibits on display and talks about other potential aviation sites to visit in the capital and elsewhere in the UK. The Science Museum is free and has a couple of hours worth of aviation exhibits if you want to slowly browse. If you want to speed around you can do them in less than an hour. However, the reset of the Museum will attract some attention as well and worthy of a whole day if you can spare it. Pieter also suggests making contact with him, if you are visiting and he (and his network) will help point you in the direction of aviation sites to visit in both London as well as the rest of the UK.
Our guest this episode is John Zimmerman, a pilot and a Vice President at Sporty’s, the world’s largest pilot shop.
John talks to us about ADS-B, what it is, what you can do with it, options for implementing it, and how much it costs. We touch on the FAA strategy for getting aircraft operating in the U.S. airspace to ADS-B by 2020 – offering free weather as the carrot.
Also, ADS-B in-only portable receivers, like the Stratus for the iPad, which gives you “portable avionics” – something useful for club airplanes, for example. John offers an explanation for why the iPad, and especially the Mini, is so dominant among tablets for aviators.
We talk about Sporty’s Easy Approval solution for FAA approval to use your iPad with Foreflight Mobile as your Electronic Flight Bag. Also the factory assembled Vans RV-12 and the 2014 Sporty’s sweepstakes and Sporty’s Academy for flight training.
Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130H at Auckland in 2012 by John Thomson
In this week’s Australia Desk:
We’ve often talked about the high cost of using airports in Australia, particularly the major hubs, and it seems the high cost of operating out of Melbourne’s Essendon Airport have forced a major user, business jet operator MyJet, to look for better options. Their solution comes in the form of relocating, thanks in part to some financial support from the Victorian government, to the regional city of Bendigo, 200km north west of Melbourne. During the week, they announced the opening of their new $A1.5million facility at the city’s airport, the largest such investment there in 40 years. They will now operate their small fleet of executive charter aircraft from this new base, using Essendon only as a pickup/drop off point.
On the subject of investment, Qantas announced this week that they’ll be putting millions of extra dollars into their facilities in Perth, Western Australia, as part of their drive to remain competitive with Virgin Australia. The plans call for upgrades to terminals & lounges, news and improved catering options, additional flights each day and increasing the number of A330s operating on routes to and from Perth. The city is a major hub for people working in the mining & resources sector, and CEO Allan Joyce said this week that he sees no end in sight to the boom conditions that are creating the resulting demands on his airline.
Airbus has also been in the news this week with a push to get the New Zealand government to consider the A400M & the C295 as possible replacement for their C130H fleet. The RNZAF currently operates five C130H airframes, all of which have undergone life extension programmes in recent years, but Airbus executives are keen to see their military airlifters play a role in this region of the world. We wonder if they’ll try to convince the RAAF to consider the “Grizzly” as well.
This week on Across The Pond we talk to Airplane Geeks fan and voice over artist Jesús Calderón. Jesús is an Air Traffic Controller in the Barcelona Tower and explains his passion about flying and also gives the team some feedback about the programme.
Follow Jesús as @Hardenaw on Twitter and find him on Facebook. Lead post photo is Jesús Calderón’s office at night.