The author of New York Times Bestseller Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History helps us look at the true story of pioneering women aviators. Also, Air Canada’s near disaster last year, the FAA approves an ultralight VTOL, FAA reauthorization, an F-35B crash, and an American Airlines podcast. Plus, more from Dorkfest 2018, and a visit with the Collings Foundation.
Keith is a former reporter for the Boston Globe and a frequent contributor to National Public Radio. His work has appeared on shows such as All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and This American Life. He has also written for the New York Times Magazine, Politico, and Slate. Follow Keith on Twitter at @keithob.
Appareo Systems is the maker of Stratus transponders for ADS-B systems. United Airlines announces its goal to cut greenhouse emissions by 50%, Airbus is investing in synthetic spider silk for composite aerostructures, the fatal crash of a Cessna 335, flight attendants on bad behavior by emotional support animals. Also, a conversation about passing the Cirrus SF50 checkride.
Kelly Keller flying in Alaska.
Kelly Keller is the Central US Territory Manager for Appareo Systems, maker of the Stratus line of transponders for ADS-B systems.
Stratus ADS-B In.
Kelly tells us about ADS-B In and ADS-B Out and explains what each does. From the Appareo website: “ADS-B is the technology being implemented by the FAA to provide surveillance and improved situational awareness to both pilots and air traffic controllers. The FAA mandate states that all aircraft operating in current Mode-C airspace must be ADS-B Out equipped by 2020. For the pilot, the two primary benefits come in the form of ADS-B In weather and traffic information.”
We explore the “hockey puck” and the “ghosting” effects and come to understand the implications if your airplane is ADS-B In equipped but not ADS-B Out equipped. Kelly also discusses the demand for installation and certification services and the increasing labor rates.
Kelly is a third generation pilot. Her grandfather was a WWII B-17 bomber pilot who flew two tours in the European theater, and her father was a Vietnam veteran, an airline pilot, an A&P/IA, and an avid advocate for general aviation. Kelly has been a private pilot since 2010, with ASEL and ASES class ratings. She’s currently finishing up her instrument rating.
Kelly’s family in front of the Staggerwing at Oshkosh.
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz says, “…United Airlines became the first U.S. airline to make a public commitment to reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions – 50 percent by the year 2050.” This will be accomplished through engine and airframe technology developments, and the use of biofuels. United made an aviation fuel purchase agreement with Fulcrum BioEnergy, and the airline celebrated their commitment with the longest transatlantic biofuel flight to date, from San Francisco to Zurich. See also: Major air carriers plan to use more biofuels.
Airbus partnered with AMSilk to develop a prototype composite material composed of Biosteel fiber and resin. AMSilk is a German company that produces Biosteel in the lab which is designed to mimic spider silk in terms of flexibility and strength. Biosteel is created through a “closed-loop, bacterial fermentation process.” They hope to debut the composite in 2019.
A Cessna 335 recently crashed on approach to Florida’s Palm Beach County Park/Lantana Airport. The twin-engine airplane hit the ground a mile from the airport, killing the pilot and his wife. The man did not hold a valid pilot certificate. In fact, his certificate had been revoked in 1997 “for making fraudulent or intentionally false statements on his application for a medical certificate.” See also, Crash Pilot Had Certificate Revoked.
The aviation program at the University of Maine at Augusta, the stolen and crashed Horizon Air turboprop plane, the proposed British jet fighter, the effect of elevated carbon monoxide levels in the flight deck, the percentage of women pilots, a lawsuit over lavatory access, the fatal Ju 52 crash, and a pancake breakfast and fly-in.
Greg Jolda, aviation program coordinator at the University of Maine at Augusta.
Greg was a United States Air Force pilot and retired as Lieutenant Colonel and Command Pilot with over 3000 hours in four operational aircraft, including over 1000 hours as an instructor pilot. He served as Fighter Pilot, T-33; Instructor Pilot, T-37; Group Chief, Systems Avionics Group, Wright Aeronautical Labs, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; Aircraft Commander C-130 and Air Operations Officer, Yokota Air Base, Tokyo, Japan; Instructor Pilot and Flight Commander, T-38, Chief, Wing Academics, Reese Air Force Base, Lubbock, Texas; Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.
Greg earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University in Boston and an MS in Electrical Engineering, from the Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton.
He is also a Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot (CSIP).
A Horizon Air Bombardier Q400 turboprop was stolen by an airline employee at Seattle’s SeaTac International airport and made an unauthorized takeoff. Horizon is a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group. During a 75-minute flight, the plane made some aerobatic maneuvers, was chased by two Air National Guard F-15Cs, and crashed on Ketron Island in Puget Sound.
A full-scale model of the UK’s new Tempest fighter jet was displayed at Farnborough this year. It’s being called a 6th generation fighter with two engines and twin vertical stabilizers, not unlike the F-22. The UK’s Ministry of Defense plans on spending $2.6 billion to develop the plane through 2025. Then a decision will be made to proceed with a 2035 rollout.
The 1986 Air Carrier Access Act prohibits discrimination based on disability in air travel. New twin-aisle planes are required to have a wheelchair accessible lavatory. Single-aisle planes have no such requirement. The Paralyzed Veterans of America organization has filed a lawsuit against the United States Department of Transportation.
“…on behalf of Paralyzed Veterans of America, Democracy Forward challenged the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for its unjustified and unlawful delay in issuing rules intended to make airplane restrooms accessible for travelers with disabilities.”
Ju 52 Crash in Switzerland
Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari presents his findings on the fatal crash.
Our guest documents aircraft crash sites and helps next of kin find closure. In the news, we look at Boeing’s Aviall unit helping Antonov, a statement by aviation groups concerning GA fees charged by FBO’s, Delta’s test of a new dining experience for some international coach travelers, and an update on fan blade inspections following the fatal uncontained engine failure on Southwest. We also reminisce a bit about our past experiences with model rockets.
Pat Macha, founder of the Project Remembrance Team.
Pat Macha began documenting aircraft crash sites in the mountains and deserts of California in 1963. Twenty-five years ago Pat founded the all-volunteer Project Remembrance Team that is dedicated to facilitating the requests of next of kin who wish to learn more about the loss of loved ones in aircraft accidents. The Project Remembrance Team has assisted more than one-hundred-fifty next of kin to fulfill their wishes for accident reports, maps, photographs and crash site visitations. More than two dozen memorial markers have been placed at or near aircraft crash sites. All with the permission of the property owners.
All missions are completed with respect and admiration for those who have come forth to honor the memory of those whom they have lost. Losses suffered by first responders and members of armed forces receive an appropriate extra measure of attention.
The Project Remembrance Team includes retired military service members, pilots, rangers, educators, firefighters, law enforcement officers, professional scuba divers, and business people. Pat has authored six books on crash sites in California, and he is a well-received speaker on aviation accident history and aircraft archaeology.
At the Farnborough International Airshow, Boeing and Antonov signed a deal where Boeing’s Aviall unit would supply components to Antonov. This will allow Antonov to resume production. Antonov chief Oleksandr Donets said Aviall will support Antonov to build AN-1X8 planes and will have exclusive rights to help service the planes.
AOPA reported in Coalition Calls for Action on Airport Access that “16 general aviation groups issued a joint statement calling on the FAA to take action against ‘egregious, hidden fees and denial of affordable access to airport ramps.’” Among the groups signing the statement was Women in Aviation International, but now WAI has rescinded their support. WAI President Dr. Peggy Chabrian said, “As a pilot myself, I am sympathetic to the financial challenges inherent in flying, but we also recognize that FBOs provide services crucial to our flying as well as extending comforts which enhance general aviation operations.”
Delta Air Lines is testing an “enhanced meal and beverage service” for international economy class passengers on flights between Portland, Oregon, and Tokyo. The dinner service includes cocktails and sparkling water, appetizers, choice of three-course dinner, and Haagen-Dazs ice cream for dessert. The meal is served in courses, on white dishes.
Following the April fatal uncontained engine failure of a CFM International engine on a Southwest flight, GE spokesman Rick Kennedy said about 150,000 blades have been inspected. A small number of fan blades with cracks have been found and Southwest CEO Mike Van de Ven said “maybe four or five” cracked fan blades have been found at other carriers.
Brian attended the launching of some model rockets as part of the after-school program sponsored by the Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum based in Compton, CA. In addition to successfully launching some rockets built by students Sarah and Jonathan, Brian let them launch two of his 3D printed rockets. One rocket failed to deploy the parachute, as the 3D printed plastic melted from the engine heat. The other rocket properly deployed the parachute but experienced an internal structural failure that resulted in the rocket coming to earth in two pieces. Both launches were considered a success as all parts were recovered and the students will learn from the failure analysis and design better rockets in the future.
Our guest is the president and founder of Women in Aviation International. In the news, we discuss the departure of the FAA Administrator, the Air Force tanker program, fighter jet intelligence gathering in Syria, woes at New York’s JFK International Airport, and remembering astronaut John Young.
Women in Aviation Conference March 2016 reaching $10 million in scholarship awards in 20 years.
Dr. Peggy Chabrian is president and founder of Women in Aviation International, which represents more than 13,000 women and men from all segments of the aviation industry including general, corporate, commercial, and military aviation.
Dr. Peggy Chabrian, Women in Aviation International.
Peggy tells us about current WAI objectives to promote women in aviation and the progress that has been made. We look at the current legislative action, such as the Promoting Women in the Aviation Workforce Act of 2017 in the House (H.R. 4673) and Senate (S.2244) and note the Women in Aerospace Education Act (H.R. 4254).
Peggy talks about the active Women in Aviation International chapters, the scholarships available, and the annual conferences. The 29th Annual International WAI Conference will be held March 22-24, 2018 in Reno, Nevada, and will include an award ceremony for inductees into the WAI Pioneer Hall of Fame.
We note that Women in Aviation International is not for women only and that the membership includes men and women of all ages.
Peggy is a long-time aviation enthusiast and professional aviation educator, a 2,200-hour commercial/instrument multi-engine pilot and flight instructor flying for over 30 years. Most recently she added helicopter and seaplane ratings to her flight qualifications.
Peggy held several top positions in aviation education including Academic Dean and Associate
Rob and David present WAI with a donation on behalf of the Airplane Geeks listeners in 2011.
Vice President of Parks College; Dean of Academic Support for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Prescott, Arizona campus; Director of the Center of Excellence for the Aviation/Space Education at ERAU’s Daytona Beach, Florida campus; and, Chair of the aviation department at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia.
Peggy was the second woman to ever hold the position of dean of an engineering school in the United States.
She serves on several boards and is the past president and board member of the University Aviation Association. Peggy also served on the board of the Experimental Aircraft Association for 16 years. She is the publisher of Aviation for Women magazine, an international speaker, and an author.
Michael Huerta’s term as FAA Administrator has ended. The White House has offered no nominee to replace Huerta, who previously said he had no intention of staying on. The current FAA deputy administrator, Daniel Elwell, will become the acting head. Elwell was appointed as FAA’s deputy administrator in June. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and a former Air Force and airline pilot.
The Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker is designed to replace the old KC-135, but several issues have dogged the program. The tanker’s boom can scrape the aircraft being serviced, and there may be difficulties with the camera system used by the boom operator. An issue with the KC-46’s high-frequency radio still concern’s the Air Force.
A broken water pipe feeding the sprinkler system at JFK International Airport Terminal 4 flooded a baggage claim area. Power was cut and part of the terminal had to be evacuated, stranding travelers without their luggage.
The terminal flooding was preceded by a snowstorm that was worse than expected. The airport was closed and airlines scheduled flights based on the projected time to reopen. But that time was pushed out, causing diversions and turnbacks of many international flights. When flights to JFK resumed, airport capacity was exceeded.
Astronaut John Young, who walked on the Moon during Apollo 16 and commanded the first space shuttle mission, passed away at the age of 87. He is the only person to go into space as part of the Gemini, Apollo, and space shuttle programs and was the first to fly into space six times – or seven times when counting his liftoff from the Moon during Apollo 16.
The Airplane of the Week
David brings us Part 1 of the EC-121 Warning Star.
FlightAware founder and CEO Daniel Baker talks about flight tracking technology. In the news, we look at the Dubai Airshow, aviation cybersecurity, the proposed Women in Aerospace Education Act, the GE Additive 3D metal printer, and a report from the Senate Republican Policy Committee on ATC privatization.
Daniel Baker is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of FlightAware, the flight tracking data company that provides over 10,000 aircraft operators and service companies as well as over 12,000,000 passengers with global flight tracking solutions.
Flightaware founder and CEO Daniel Baker.
Daniel was one of the principal developers of the FlightAware technology, and he now works directly with partners and customers in both industry (e.g., airline, cargo, business aviation) and government (e.g., air traffic management).
FlightAware uses data from air traffic control systems in over 55 countries, from FlightAware’s network of ADS-B ground stations in over 150 countries, from Aireon space-based global ADS-B, and from the major providers such as ARINC, SITA, Satcom Direct, Garmin, Honeywell GDC, and UVdatalink.
Daniel explains how FlightAware’s proprietary machine learning and rules engine called Hyperfeed takes data from multiple sources and fuses it together to create the best possible flight tracking information. About 10,000 messages per second are analyzed with over a thousand rules. Hyperfeed employs predictive analysis that looks at patterns in the flight tracking data.
Some 13-14,000 ADS-B ground stations send data over the Internet to FlightAware. Complete FlightFeeder stations can be purchased, or you can build your own PiAware flight tracking station.
We talk about satellite-based ADS-B through Aireon low-earth orbit satellites equipped with ADS-B receivers. These will provide flight tracking data for areas not covered by other means. Daniel also describes FlightAware TV, a custom, real-time FlightAware HDTV map for the office, hangar, or FBO.
Daniel knows tech and has been in the Internet services business for over two decades. He is a regular speaker at aviation and technology conferences and serves as a member of the Board of Directors at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Air and Space Museum. He also holds an FAA Commercial Pilot certificate.
FlyDubai ordered 175 Boeing 737 Max planes with options for another 50. Boeing said it was the biggest order ever from the Middle East for single-aisle passenger planes. Altogether, the 225 firm and option aircraft have a total value of $27 billion at list prices, and include more than 50 Max 10s, with the rest Max 8s and 9s.
Airbus sold 430 A320neo family jetliners to Indigo Partners. The planes will go to four Indigo companies: Frontier Airlines, Volaris, Wizz Air Holdings Plc, and JetSmart. That deal was valued at roughly $50 billion at list prices.
Boeing also booked an order for forty 787 planes, worth $15 billion at list prices, with Dubai’s Emirates airline on Sunday. In a deal valued at $1.9 billion, Azerbaijan Airlines ordered five Boeing 787-8 aircraft and committed to two freighters. In addition, Azerbaijan Airlines became the launch customer for Boeing’s 787 Landing Gear Exchange Program.
Bombardier signed a letter of intent with EgyptAir for 12 firm CSeries CS300 aircraft with options for 12.
The Washington think-tank Atlantic Council released the report Aviation Cybersecurity: Finding Lift, Minimizing Drag which describes an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) assessment on cybersecurity threats to ADS-B is “dismissive.” The study indicates that the aviation industry will likely experience cybersecurity challenges similar to other industries that have embraced the “digital revolution.” Previously, aviation systems were relatively secure due to the bespoke nature of their design, isolation from other systems, and little in the way of communication protocols. But air traffic management is no longer isolated, and ground services and supply chains are becoming fully integrated into an interconnected digital world.
H.R. 4254: Women in Aerospace Education Act has been introduced in Congress “to amend the National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 2002 to strengthen the aerospace workforce pipeline by the promotion of Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program and National Aeronautics and Space Administration internship and fellowship opportunities to women.”
The GE Additive business unit of GE has a 3D metal printer capable of making aircraft parts as large as one meter in diameter. A metal powder is fused with a 1-kilowatt laser in thin layers to “print” the part. Since the machine is scalable, it should be capable of even larger parts.
Air traffic control currently relies on outdated ground radar systems that cause delays throughout the aviation system.
The FAA is transitioning to NextGen technology, which has several components designed to allow safer and more efficient airspace management, including a switch to GPS.
Deployment of many NextGen components has been delayed and is expected to cost $2.6 billion more than planned.
The report says that “an ATC spinoff would very likely trigger constitutional challenges. A Congressional Research Service report [PDF] questioned whether courts might determine that a non-governmental ATC corporation would be unconstitutional under the non-delegation doctrine, Due Process Clause, or Appointments Clause. Although memoranda commissioned by proponents of a spinoff discount these concerns, the move to corporatize the ATC functions would almost definitely be challenged in court.”
More than 800 family, friends, and active duty and retired service members gathered in Concord, Mass., Nov. 16, 2017, to pay their final respects to retired Capt. Thomas J. Hudner Jr., who earned the Medal of Honor during the Korean War.Hudner passed away Nov. 13, at his home in Concord. He was 93.
Airline pilot Kathy Dulson tells us about the National Gay Pilots Association, and we discuss the recent flurry of airline public relations disasters. Also, an all-female UPS crew, the Blue Angels touch in the air, some airlines are dropping the “two persons in the cockpit” rule, and runway safety problems at Santa Monica.
Kathy Dulson is a Boeing 757/767 pilot for a major legacy airline based in Los Angeles. She has been involved in aviation for 29 years with four different airlines, starting in customer service and airline operations before pursuing her dream of flight. Kathy has been an airline pilot since 2002 flying the Saab 340, Canadair Regional Jet, Airbus 320, and now Boeing 757/767.
Our conversation includes a discussion of the advocacy the NGPA provides on behalf of LGBT members of the airline community. We look at the sponsorship provided by airlines and the scholarships offered, as well as the local chapters with flight schools and universities, membership in NGPA, and the role of allies.
The writer attributes incidents like the violent removal of a United passenger to a procedure-based industry that prevents a culture where frontline employees are empowered to make situational decisions.
That airline customer relations issues are prevalent in the news is evidenced by this list of stories that came up on the first page of a Google News search for the word “airline.”
Thunder Over Louisville is an annual airshow and fireworks display that kicks off the Kentucky Derby Festival. UPS was an event sponsor and a UPS 757 was part of the airshow. What makes this unique is that this was the first UPS crew flying in Thunder Over Louisville comprised of all women – flight and ground crew.
After the 2015 Germanwings crash where the pilot flew the plane into the ground, a “two person in the cockpit” rule was widely discussed. A rule change was advocated by the European Aviation Safety Agency, but last year EASA changed the requirement and allowed individual airlines make their own determination. The German aviation association BDL has announced that effective June 1, 2017, airlines will return to their original cockpit safety procedures.
A program that helps get women into the pilot’s seat, American Airlines and FedEx aircraft fires, tech to help your bags from getting lost, another flying car (possibly), the Cirrus VisionJet receives FAA Certification, and we lose a legendary pilot.
Mary Latimer and her husband, Lawrence, have been in aviation since they met in 1970. They have been involved in the aerial application industry, ferry, maintenance, rebuild, flight training, freight, and corporate aviation.
Mary created the nonprofit Girls in Flight Training (GIFT) Academy that gets women into the cockpit. The goal of this female-friendly flight school is to identify and address the various issues that may be causing women to abandon flight training, and to assist them in overcoming those obstacles. GIFT Week is a once-a-year “Women Only” event that gives women in any phase of their flight training the opportunity to come together to further motivate their aviation training.
A flight instructor since 1974, Mary is a designated pilot examiner (for private, commercial, and instrument). She was named Flight Instructor of the year for the Lubbock, Texas Region in 2013. Mary is also a retired air traffic controller with twenty-four years of service and flies the Cessna Conquest II twin. She’s an A&P mechanic with Inspection Authorization and an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner.
Shortly after touching down, the left main landing gear on a FedEx DC-10 collapsed at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport. The two pilots escaped safely from the resulting fire. Fire crews arrived quickly, found a trail of fire down the runway.
According to Delta, the average cost to get a lost bag to the passenger is $70. Delta invested $50 million on an RFID-based tracking system which is more reliable than traditional barcodes. Delta’s mobile app even lets passengers locate their RFID-equipped bags on a map.
The Monterey Herald newspaper in California published photos of a possible flying car being developed by Zee Aero. Reportedly, Zee is financed by Google founder Larry Page. The aircraft has “an array of small propellers mounted on booms in front of and behind the wing, and a pusher prop mounted beneath the tail.” The Zee website states, “We’re designing, building, and testing better ways to get from A to B.”
We explore aviation accidents as emergent properties of complex systems, and discuss: the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association complaints about pilot wages, a survey on frequent flier rewards programs, an NPRM that would change FAR Part 61, third class medical reform in yet more legislation, and a two seat Robinson R44. David has an onfire history segment and Rob talks TSA.
Captain Shem Malmquist has a broad aviation experience ranging from teaching aerobatics and instructing in a wide variety of both general aviation and transport aircraft, to academic research and safety investigation.
Captain Shem Malmquist, FRAeS
We talk with Shem about improvements that have made air travel safer, and the gaps we now face for identifying problems that might arise in the future. Shem explains how aviation accidents currently present themselves as interactions of complex components. Resilience engineering is an example of a different approach to how we look at complex accidents. We discuss flight simulators, mitigating lithium battery risk, and autonomous vehicles, including both manned and unmanned aircraft.
Shem worked as an instructor and evaluator on several transport aircraft and has served as flight crew on the Embraer EMB-110, Shorts 360, B-727, DC-8, B-747 and MD-11. He continues to work a full flight schedule, mostly international long haul flights.
Shem has been part of the Air Line Pilot Association’s (ALPA) National Charting and Instrument Procedures Committee (CHIPS), and he was selected by his airline to be the chairman of both the airline’s Safety Committee and the Aircraft Design and Operations Committee.
As Flight Duty Officer, he led several initiatives, including a volcanic ash avoidance plan, air security procedures, and a number of regulatory compliance issues. Shem completed NTSB’s accident investigation training and acted as Party Coordinator for an MD-11 accident in Newark, New jersey, and he was on the “go-team” for an MD-11 accident in Narita Japan.
Last year, Shem was a keynote speaker at FAA’s InfoShare and has presented at several International Society of Air Safety Investigators (ISASI) events. He has also authored numerous articles on various issues involving flight safety and operations covering a broad range of topics from technical to human factors. Shem earned a Masters (MSc) degree in Human Factors in Aeronautics through the Florida Institute of Technology, and a Bachelors of Science (BSc) from Embry-Riddle University. He is an elected Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, a full member of the International Society of Air Safety Investigators (ISASI), and a member of AIAA, IEEE, and SAE where he also serves on three committees: Flight Deck Handling Quality Standards for Transport Aircraft, Aerospace Behavior Engineering Technology, and Lithium Battery Packaging Performance.
David Woods, Professor, Integrated Systems Engineering, The Ohio State University. Complexity in Human, Natural and Engineered Systems.
The Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA) wanted to make a point about pilot wages on a billboard at Chicago Midway International Airport. City Hall told them they could not post their message, so the union filed suit against the city of Chicago, claiming an unconstitutional restriction on their First Amendment rights and asking for a temporary restraining order to allow the pilots to display the ad. As a result, a Judge orders Chicago to allow Southwest pilots billboard at Midway.
The Switchfly Reward Seat Availability Survey conducted by consulting firm IdeaWorks found that for the third year in a row, free seats open for booking increased. “Overall, I think the consumer is being better served than the year before,” says Jay Sorensen, president of IdeaWorks.
Switchfly CEO Daniel Farrar said, “This survey reflects the fact that airlines can’t afford to take their customers for granted. 21st century consumers are savvy and plugged-in. They know when their loyalty programs are offering them a real value and when they are not delivering; and they don’t have time for loyalty programs that aren’t delivering, especially in such a competitive space. Increasingly, consumers expect a personalized booking, travel and reward experience. Every time a customer interacts with the brand – online, offline or mobile – the user experience must be on-point. Airlines must make this happen and ensure that zero customers have a bad experience anywhere along the booking or redemption path.”
The FAA has published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would change FAR Part 61 which governs the certification of pilots, flight instructors, and ground instructors. AOPA is supportive of the proposed changes, which include “increased use of aviation training devices (ATDs) for maintaining instrument currency, the option to use new technically advanced aircraft instead of older complex or turbine aircraft for single-engine commercial pilot training, and giving credit for hours accumulated during sport pilot training toward earning a recreational or private pilot certificate.”
Third class medical reform from the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 keeps getting into legislation: As standalone legislation in the Senate, again as part of the Senate’s FAA reauthorization bill, and now by the Senate Armed Services Committee in the National Defense Authorization Act.
The FAA has certified Robinson’s two-place R44 Cadet The Cadet is essentially an R44 Raven, but with the rear seats removed for more cargo space. Maximum gross weight is reduced to 2200 pounds, engine power is derated to 210 hp takeoff and 185 hp continuous.
John Croft, Senior Editor at Aviation Week & Space Technology joins us for our 400th episode. We discuss Safety Management Systems (SMS), the IATA 2015 Safety Report, challenges for a safety culture that embraces self-reporting, and flight simulator changes that include models for high-altitude, high-angle of attack regimes.
In the news, we discuss airline profits and complaints (both up), an aircraft leasing company IPO, thoughts on a B-52 engine upgrade, a female aviation pioneer, sonic booms, and PSA Airlines’ pilot hiring strategy.
John Croft is Senior Editor Avionics & Safety, Aviation Week & Space Technology. He’s a part-owner of a 1978 Piper Archer II, a certified flight instructor, instrument instructor, multi-engine rated commercial pilot, and former NASA engineer. He specialized in avionics and control systems for Earth-orbiting satellites, including the Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer and Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer.
After leaving NASA in 2000, John earned a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Maryland and went on to work for several aerospace publications, including Flight International as Americas Editor before joining Aviation Week in 2012.
In 2015, fuel prices came down 35%, baggage fees amounted to $3.8 billion, and reservation change fees were $3 billion. At the same time, average fares were down 3.8%, yet U.S. passenger airlines enjoyed $25.6 billion in profits in 2015 vs. $7.5 billion in 2014. But formal complaints grew 30%.
Many airlines lease the airplanes they operate, from companies like ILFC, AerCap, GCAS, and BOC Aviation. Singapore-based BOC Aviation Ltd, is owned by the Bank of China, and they are looking at a possible IPO which could raise as much as $1.5 billion.
Boeing B-52 bombers are powered by Pratt & Whitney TF33 engines, 1950’s engine technology. They are loud, smoky, and burn a lot of fuel. There has been talk in the past of replacing each pair of TF33’s with a single new-technology engine, but such a re-engining would be very expensive. Instead, P&W military engines president Bennett Croswell is proposing a TF33 upgrade package that would lower the cost of maintenance.
Emily Hanrahan Warner became the first female airline pilot in the United States, and she’s now been inducted in the Irish American Hall of Fame. On April 10, 1973, Warner became the first woman hired by an American carrier and in 1976, she became America’s first female airline captain.
Under NASA’s Commercial Supersonic Technology (CST) project, Honeywell was awarded a contract in 2015 to overcome supersonic boom issues. Honeywell has developed a predictive display that tell pilots when a sonic boom is developing.
PSA AIrlines Inc. needs to hire 500 new pilots per year. To attract more pilots they will offer a $20,000 retention bonus to active first officers and a $250 monthly allowance for pilots to offset the cost of commuting hotel expenses.