566 Aviation Conversations

We talk with an FAA NextGen portfolio manager, the CEO and digital marketing director of a flight simulation company, the crew of an NOAA WP-3D Orion hurricane hunter, a retired Vice Admiral and pilot who is the oldest living graduate of the US Naval Academy, and the owners of an aviation-themed hotel in Texas. In the news, we look at a hydrogen fuel cell-powered airplane, a $5B repair bill for China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station, new wings for the A-10 Warthog, alcohol and commercial pilots, and landing an A321 in a cornfield. Also, Part 1 of Launchpad Marzari’s adventure buying an airplane.

Guests

We present a number of aviation conversations recorded with interesting people at several events:

Jamal Wilson manages two of the FAA NextGen portfolios: performance-based navigation and separation management. Jamal attended EAA Airventure Oshkosh 2019 for ADS-B outreach with the GA community.

Laura LeBan is co-founder and CEO of InfiniteFlight. Jason Rosewell is the digital marketing director. The company produces a photo-realistic flight simulator that runs on a tablet. The software is so comprehensive and realistic that one of the biggest names in electronic flight bags uses InfiniteFlight to conduct product validation testing.

Pilot LCDR Rob Mitchell, engineer Nick Underwood, and technician Todd Richards hunt hurricanes on the NOAA WP-3D Orion.

Retired Vice Admiral Ralph Weymouth is 102 years old and currently the oldest living graduate of the US Naval Academy in Annapolis. He’s flown Curtiss SBC Helldivers, Douglas SBD Dauntless’s, and Grumman F9F Panthers. His career as a naval aviator was long enough that he transitioned from biplanes to jet fighters. Admiral Weymouth is the recipient of the Navy Cross for actions against the Japanese Navy in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, and he was also awarded the Legion of Merit, twice, and the Distinguished Flying Cross, four times.

Retired Vice Admiral Ralph Weymouth

Retired Vice Admiral Ralph Weymouth.

Jay and Mary Honeck, operate Amelia’s Landing, an aviation-themed hotel in Port Aransas, Texas. The two have been attending AirVenture for 37 consecutive years and they host a large awning/pavilion they call “The Chalet” at the North 40 camping area.

Aviation News

Navy’s China Lake Earthquake Damage Dramatically Climbs to Estimated $5 Billion

The repair bill for the damage to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake is estimated at $5 billion. The Mojave Desert facility in California suffered from the two earthquakes on July 4 and July 5, 2019.

This plane can fly 500 miles, powered entirely by hydrogen

Startup ZeroAvia has designed a hydrogen-fueled electric power plant that can be used in aircraft. They have been testing the technology in a Piper and plan to conduct a full test flight with hydrogen on-board in a few weeks. ZeroAvia says they will supply the powertrain for use in planes with as many as 20 seats on flights up to 500 miles long.

See This Strange Looking ‘New’ A-10 Warthog? It Is Special for 1 Big Reason

The Ogden Air Logistics Complex at Hill Air Force Base has finished installing new wings on A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. This under the A-10 Enhanced Wing Assembly replacement program. The new wings are expected to last for up to 10,000 equivalent flight hours without a depot inspection.

A-10 at the 2019 Geneseo, NY air show. Photo by Max Flight.

A-10 at the 2019 Geneseo, NY air show. Photo by Max Flight.

United Airlines Cracks Down On Drinking Pilots

United Airlines has new alcohol consumption rules for pilots. Under the previous policy, pilots had to stop drinking eight hours before they were due to report for duty. Now United Airlines pilots have to stop drinking at least 12 hours before they’re due to report for duty. The FAA mandates that pilots in the US can have a maximum blood alcohol level of 0.04. in the UK the maximum is 0.02.

Recording reveals the Russian Sully told air traffic control to buzz off after his emergency landing

A Ural Airlines Airbus A321 experienced dual engine failures after ingesting seagulls just after takeoff from Zhukovsky International Airport in Moscow. The plane came down in a cornfield with no serious injuries.

Airlines Are No Longer Allowed to Ban Service Dogs Based on Breed

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) now forbids airlines from discriminating against service dogs of particular breeds. That includes pit bulls. “The Department’s Enforcement Office views a limitation based exclusively on breed of the service animal to not be allowed under its service animal regulation. The Enforcement Office intends to use available resources to ensure that dogs as a species are accepted for transport.” The new rule applies specifically to service animals. Emotional support animals aren’t covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Report

Launchpad Marzari gives us Part 1 of his series about buying an airplane.

Credit

Interviews conducted by Robert Fairbairn and Hillel Glazer at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019, and by Max Flight and Main(e) Man Micah at the Owls Head Transportation Museum.

565 Airshare COO Harry Mitchel

Airshare chief operating officer Harry Mitchel talks about fractional jet ownership and aircraft management. Also, ADS-B equipage on the business jet fleet, C-130 groundings due to cracks, an airplane hacking security alert from the DHS, airport noise, and a Southwest Airlines program to create career paths for pilots.

Airshare

Guest

Airshare Chief Operating Officer Harry Mitchel.

Airshare chief operating officer Harry Mitchel.

Harry Mitchel is chief operating officer of Airshare, a large provider of fractional and aircraft management services. Airshare operates Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 aircraft in the fractional space, and also provides managed aircraft services where they maintain, crew, and schedule the owner’s aircraft.

As COO, Harry oversees all aircraft operations for the company, including flight operations, maintenance, scheduling, and managed aircraft. He has more than 35 years of experience in commercial and corporate aviation, including serving as vice president of operations for Colgan Air in Memphis, Tennessee.

Harry was also general manager of Funair Corporation, director of aviation for Magic Carpet Aviation (the aviation department of the NBA’s Orlando Magic), director of Pinnacle Airlines’ Corporate Education Center, and vice president of Aviation Compliance Services.

Holding a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Harry has more than 7,000 hours of experience as an ATP pilot in global operations.

Aviation News

U.S. Business Aircraft Fleet Equipped With ADS-B Rises To 77%

FAA regulation requires that starting Jan. 1 2020, aircraft must have ADS-B Out while flying in most controlled airspace. FlightAware reports that as of June 2019, 77% of the turbine-powered U.S. business aircraft are equipped with ADS-B

AMC Commander directs temporary removal of 123 C-130s from service

After atypical cracks were discovered during scheduled depot maintenance, the Air Mobility Command has grounded 123 of the 450 C-130 Hercules aircraft. Aircraft inspections have been ordered.

US issues hacking security alert for small planes

Associated Press reports that the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a security alert for small planes which warned that “modern flight systems are vulnerable to hacking if someone manages to gain physical access to the aircraft.” According to AP, cybersecurity firm Rapid7 looked at small aircraft and “found that an attacker could potentially disrupt electronic messages transmitted across a small plane’s network, for example by attaching a small device to its wiring, that would affect aircraft systems.”

Letter: Misleading readers about aviation security

But NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen writes that the AP story, “missed or mischaracterized some key points about small-airplane security.” He says the DHS notice applies to all aircraft, it’s not a GA notice. Also the story “misrepresented the nature of the potential security breach involved.”

See ICS-ALERT-19-211-01, CAN Bus Network Implementation in Avionics and CANaerospace from Stock Flight Systems.

Maine Voices: Issues with jetport noise are both exaggerated and avoidable

Some residents of Portland Maine have been complaining about the noise from the Portland International Jetport. United States Senator Susan Collins has even gotten herself involved. Our Main(e) man Micah stepped up and penned a letter that was published by the Portland Press Herald. In it he makes a number of points about airport noise, including the approach taken in the Salt Lake City area as related by listener Patrick.

Southwest Airlines Launches New Pilot Pathways Program

Southwest Airlines launched the Destination 225° career program to build career pathways for qualified pilots to become first officers. Program participants receive a  Southwest mentor, attend training activities and events at Southwest, and ultimately have an opportunity to apply for a position as a Southwest First Officer.

Mentioned

Video: Sea Harrier SKI JUMP Explained

Royal Air Force Red Arrows North America Tour

Blue Angels

Blue Angels photo by Stuart Galt.

564 One Hundred Years of GE Aviation

The former media relations manager at GE Aviation tells us about the 100-year history of a company that contributed so much to aviation. In the news, we look at the path forward for electric planes, hidden city ticketing, Boeing’s plans to employ a second flight computer on the 737 MAX, an employment cutback at ICON Aircraft, and a successful English Channel crossing on a flyboard.

Guest

Rick Kennedy

Rick Kennedy

Rick Kennedy retired after a 30-year career managing media relations at GE Aviation and he authored the book GE Aviation: 100 Years of Reimagining Flight. This insightful and well-researched book takes the reader through the fascinating history of GE Aviation and it’s contributions to flight. Rick describes the people, the technology, the engines, and the aircraft as well as the decisions made along the way that affected the industry. Profits from the sale of the book go to charity.

In our conversation with Rick, we touch on some of the GE aviation history and major milestones such as the high bypass turbofan and the airflow efficiency made possible through the use of ceramic matrix composite (CMC) turbine parts. Also, MRO strategies of the engine OEMs, military jet engines using GE’s variable cycle approach, electric aviation, the creation of CFMI, and the response to Pratt & Whitney’s geared turbofan engine.

Rick explains how the Boeing 737 MAX issues will affect all future aircraft. He points out that while all the technological advances we are witnessing today are exciting, our culture will expect the new technology to be as safe and reliable as what we experience now. That’s a very difficult challenge for the industry.

Video: 100 Years of Reimagining Flight

See also:

Aviation News

What’s the path forward for electric planes?

We’re seeing many companies developing (and even delivering) electric and hybrid-electric airplanes. But what are the hurdles and what is the path to widespread acceptance and use? It isn’t just all about new technology.

United Airlines Staff Told To Report Hidden City Ticketing

Hidden city ticketing is the technique of purchasing an airline ticket that makes a stop, getting off the plane, and the flight then continues on to the final destination. A traveler can save money when the long flight is priced lower than the shorter flight. Airlines are not too fond of the practice.

Boeing’s latest 737 Max fix would employ second flight computer

The Seattle Times is reporting that Boeing plans to use a second redundant flight computer to address the issue found by the FAA in simulations that could result in the plane’s nose pitching down. Just one computer was used in the past because Boeing was able to prove statistically that its system was reliable. In the new configuration, both computers would be used and pilots would receive a warning if the computers disagreed on altitude, airspeed, and the angle of attack. See Newly stringent FAA tests spur a fundamental software redesign of Boeing’s 737 MAX flight controls.

ICON Slashes Workforce

Icon has delivered about 100 two-seat A5 sport airplanes so far, but it is having difficulty converting some 1,800 deposits to sales. After a number of price increases, the retail price is up to $389,000. Icon president Thomas Wieners said, “We now have a very good understanding of costs. And while the Icon A5 is a truly exceptional plane, the necessary higher price lowers demand considerably and requires us to adjust the organization size as a result.”

Franky Zapata: Flyboarding Frenchman crosses English Channel

Zapata flew his flyboard across the English Channel, covering 22 miles in 22 minutes, reaching speeds of up to 170km/h (106mph) during the flight. He refueled by switching to another backpack during the crossing, this time from a larger boat and platform.

Mentioned

Two Hurt in Weekend ICON A5 Accident

Whirly-Girls Open 2020 Scholarship Season

The Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund, Inc. is proud to announce the opening of the 2020 scholarship season.  Deserving female aviators can apply for over $180,000 of helicopter flight training and educational scholarships.  These scholarships advance the helicopter industry by strengthening the talent pool and increasing diversity. Applications are due September 1, 2019.

B-17 and F-18

Old meets new, by Patrick Wiggins.

563 Circumnavigating the Globe in a Pilatus

Our guests tell us about circumnavigating the globe three times in a Pilatus PC-12: eastbound, westbound, and polar. In the news, Allegiant is testing a new service offering more seat pitch, the fuel dump from a Norwegian flight ruins a runway, more 737 MAX fallout, an English Channel attempt on a hoverboard, the Senate confirms a controversial nominee to be the new FAA administrator, Congress considers the PLANE Act with positive implications for GA, and China is growing the number of carrier pilots.

The Pilatus at Sangster International Airport, Jamaica.

The Pilatus at Sangster International Airport, Jamaica.

Guests

Josh and Jack with the Pilatus PC-12.

Joshua Marvil and Jack Long are recipients of the eastbound and polar circumnavigation diplomas awarded by the International Aeronautic Federation (FAI) and the National Aeronautic Association (NAA). Their westbound circumnavigation was completed in January 2019 and the diploma is forthcoming. All flights were on a Pilatus PC-12 and Jack and Josh have landed in more than 40 different countries and all seven continents.

On the 2015 eastbound trip, Josh and Jack were joined by pilots Jerry Seckler and Giuseppe Caltabiano at various points along the way. For the 2016-2017 polar circumnavigation, Giuseppe was along most of the way and Jerry joined the flight in Punta Arenas, Chile to fly the Antarctic segment. For the 2018-2019 westbound trip, the only pilots were Josh and Jack. Their wives Becky and Carolyn were along for almost all of these trips in their entirety except for some of the polar legs.

Josh is a Director (and former Chair) for LightHawk and a Trustee of the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Josh and his wife Becky have flown the Cirrus SR22 all around the U.S. and the Bahamas.

Jack is an entrepreneur by profession and a pilot by passion. He started two software businesses and one transportation business. In 2003, he became part of the founding faculty of the Acton School of Business where he teaches entrepreneurship. Jack soloed in a Piper Cherokee 140 in 1977 and moved-up the aviation food chain to a Mooney 201, a Cirrus SR-22, and now the Pilatus PC-12.

Circumnavigating the Globe Westbound.

Circumnavigating the Globe Westbound.

See Josh’s blog Marvils Around the World. Jack has a blog for each circumnavigation: Round the World Flight 2015, Polar Round the World Flight 2016-2017, and Round the World 3.0.

For a register of pilots who have flown around the world in light aircraft, see Earthrounders.com.

Video: Saint Helena Landing in N575PC

Aviation News

Allegiant goes Extra with increased legroom option

Allegiant Extra seating will get you priority boarding, an extra 6 inches of seat pitch, designated bin space, and a complimentary drink on the plane. Allegiant does this without changing the overall seat count: an additional row is added in the rear section and there is less Legroom+ option. Allegiant is testing Extra on flights to and from Los Angeles. At the end of the 2019-2020 winter season, the company will make a decision as to the future of the program.

WOW Air’s American Buyer Reveals (Bizarre?) Plans

It came out recently that some former WOW Air executives were planning to launch a new airline similar to WOW but not called WOW. Right after that, American investors purchased WOW Air’s assets. American businesswoman Michele Ballarin, one of the owners of USAerospace, is currently creating a new Icelandic company that looks to provide freight transport between Iceland and the US, with passenger operations to come.

Massive Norwegian Air fuel spill at Orlando airport gives rise to fear of runway damage

A Norwegian Air flight from Orlando to London operating with an Airbus from Hi-Fly of Portugal experienced hydraulic trouble and was forced to return to Orlando. For some reason, a large quantity of fuel was dumped on Orlando’s airport runway and taxiway and it appears that the asphalt will need to be replaced.

Southwest Airlines to Leave Newark Airport as Toll of Boeing’s 737 Max Grounding Grows

In its second-quarter earnings report, Southwest said it had lost an estimated $175 million in profit. The Airline said it would shut down its operations at Newark Liberty International Airport and consolidate its operations in the New York area at LaGuardia Airport.

For more on the Boeing 737 MAX, see:

Attempt to fly hoverboard across English Channel ends in failure

Franky Zapata made an attempt to cross the English Channel on a jet-powered hoverboard. While attempting to land on a refueling platform pitching in the waves in the middle of the Channel, Zapata fell into the water, just missing the platform. The Zapata Flyboard Air is powered by five small turbo engines, each producing up to 250 horsepower each.

The Senate has confirmed a controversial new FAA administrator, a former air force pilot and Delta executive

Former Delta Air Lines pilot and executive Steve Dickson has been confirmed by the Senate to lead the FAA. The opposition voiced claims that while at Delta, Dickson mistreated a pilot who raised safety concerns. See also Politics and Aviation in the Flight to Success blog.

PLANE Act takes flight in Congress

The bipartisan legislation Promoting the Launch of Aviation’s Next Era (PLANE) Act of 2019, S.2198, was introduced on July 23, 2019. The PLANE Act would benefit general aviation by empowering pilots, investing in airports, and ensuring opportunities for a sustainable, well-trained workforce. Boeing’s new Pilot and Technician Outlook predicts a need for more than 800,000 new pilots and 750,000 new aviation technicians in the next 20 years.

China’s recruiting a lot more flattop fighter pilots — another sign China has big plans for its aircraft carriers

The annual program to recruit pilots for the People’s Liberation Army resulted in 20% more recruits than last year. Enrollment in the carrier-based fighter pilot program increased 41%. China currently has one operational aircraft carrier, with a second carrier expected to enter service soon, and a third is under construction.

Mentioned

Episode 23: DEF Contamination | AIN’s Tales from the Flight Deck Podcast

Mistaking diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) additive for fuel system icing inhibitor PRIST on the flight line is a growing problem on ramps all over the world. This can be disastrous since DEF causes jet-A to crystallize and clog aircraft fuel filters and lines. In fact, DEF contamination of jet-A has already forced several business aircraft crews to perform engine-out landings in the U.S. and elsewhere.

AOPA Foundation You Can Fly Challenge

Contribute to the Challenge by August 31, 2019, and your donation’s impact will be doubled by the Ray Foundation’s dollar-for-dollar matching grant of up to $2 million.

Women in Aviation President Chabrian Announces Retirement

Women in Aviation President Dr. Peggy Chabrian announced at the WAI Connect Breakfast at Oshkosh that she would retire in April 2020. The transition period will allow for an executive search to determine her replacement.

Airventure Oshkosh 2019

Launchpad and Josiah

Launchpad and Josiah.

The Australians visit Andy & Ed's.

The Australians visit Andy & Ed’s.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

562 Portland International Jetport

The director of the Portland International Jetport joins us to talk about airport development, airport noise, attracting airlines, and other topics. In the news, the A321neo has an excessive pitch problem, unique airline seats with more middle seat space, an unruly passenger gets banned for life, and an electric airplane company begins taking customer letters of intent. We have interviews from the Spurwink Farm Pancake Breakfast and Fly-In: the director of the Owls Head Transportation Museum, a young cadet from the Civil Air Patrol, and a retired professional pilot.

Guest

Paul Bradbury, director of the Portland International Jetport.

Paul Bradbury, director of the Portland International Jetport.

Paul H. Bradbury, P.E. is the airport director for the Portland International Jetport (PWM) in Portland, Maine. Paul has held several positions at the Jetport since 1992 and he was appointed the airport director in 2008. In this position, he is responsible for the overall management, operations, and planning for the Jetport.

PWM reached record passenger volumes for the past two years as it has focused on service and its value proposition to customers.

Under Paul’s leadership, the Jetport completed the largest capital improvement program in its history. That included a new parking garage, a 137,000 square foot terminal expansion, an aircraft deicing fluid capture facility, and the rehabilitation of the north/south runway.

These projects have placed PWM at the forefront of sustainable design. The terminal expansion was only the second terminal project in the country to receive the US Green Building Council’s LEED Gold certification. The aircraft deicing fluid capture facility recently received the ACI-NA 2018 Environmental Achievement Award for Mitigation.

Paul is a licensed professional engineer with a B.S. in Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 

South Portland residents upset with Jetport noise

AAAE Announces Three Recipients of Airport Innovation Awards

Aviation News

The Airbus A321neo Has An Excessive Pitch Problem

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued Airworthiness Directive 2019-0171 [PDF] for Airbus A321neo airplanes. Certain Elevator Aileron Computer (ELAC) part numbers installed on some airplanes can cause an “excessive pitch attitude… in certain conditions and during specific manoeuvres… This condition, if not corrected, could result in reduced control of the aeroplane.”

New airplane seat could solve one of the most annoying things about flying

Molon Labe Seating has some unique ideas for rows of three economy seats in a staggered layout. As seen in a short company video from 2017, the middle seat is wider, lower, and farther back. NBC News reported on the Side-Slip Seat that year in the video, The Middle Plane Seat May Be The Best Soon With Revolutionary Design.

Woman fined $106,000 and banned from airline for life after trying to open plane doors

Leisure airline Jet2.com says they have has issued a lifetime ban to a 25-year-old woman and billed her more than £85,000 after her disruptive behavior caused a flight to be diverted. The RAF scrambled two Typhoon fighters to escort the aircraft. According to Jet2.com, she “displayed a catalogue of aggressive, abusive and dangerous behaviour on the aircraft, which included attempting to open the aircraft doors during the flight.” See also Couple who restrained Jet2 passenger demand payout from airline.

Ampaire To Open Order Book for Hybrid-electric Airplane

Ampaire CEO Kevin Noertker says “The Ampaire Electric EEL is the first step in bringing lower emissions, lower operating costs, and quieter operations to general aviation through electrification.” The company was to begin taking letters of intent for its Electric EEL hybrid airplane at EAA AirVenture.

Spurwink Farm Pancake Breakfast and Fly-In

Our Main(e) Man and contributor-at-large Micah attended this year’s Spurwink Farm event and recorded three interviews:

Cadet First Lt Emily Earle from the Civil Air Patrol.

Tom O’Connell, a retired professional pilot.

Kevin Bedford, executive director of the Owls Head Transportation Museum, who arrived in a 1941 PT-17 Stearman Bi-Plane. The Wings & Wheels Spectacular will be taking place on August 3-4, 2019.

 

Micah and Kevin with the Stearman.

Micah and Kevin with the Stearman.

Stearman Landing with Micah.

Action shot! Stearman landing with Micah.

Mentioned

The Cooper Vortex podcast.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

 

561 Vintage Aviation

A longtime AvGeek plans to present photographs and tell the stories of vintage aviation. Also, an electric airplane company goes under, the FAA publishes new ADS-B pre-flight policy, the massive GE9X engine gets Guinness Book of World Records recognition, commercial aviation is in the crosshairs of environmentalists, the latest on “DB” Cooper, and a hotel room with a full flight simulator.

Martt Clupper and his restored 1959 Super Cub.

Martt Clupper and the restored 1959 Super Cub.

Guest

Martt Clupper is planning to create the Vintage Aviation print magazine to show the photographs and tell the stories of early aviation. Martt has a Kickstarter Campaign to create the premier issue of the magazine that will showcase historical photographs and provide in-depth storytelling of vintage aviation, focusing on the period from the early 1900s until 1960. He is also producing episodes of Vintage Aviation Podcast.

Vintage Aviation on Facebook

Vintage Aviation: Flight-History Print Magazine Kickstarter Campaign

Vintage Aviation Podcast

Vintage Aviation Magazine

News

Bothell-based electric-airplane startup Zunum runs out of cash

Zunum Aero benefited from Boeing and JetBlue investments as it sought to develop hybrid electric airplanes. But Zunum has run out of cash and the company has laid off employees and reportedly vacated its facilities. Zunum Aero founder Matt Knapp was our guest in Episode 453 The Zunum Aero Electric Airplane.

FAA Publishes New 2020 ADS-B Pre-Flight Policy

Published in the Federal Register, Statement of Policy on Performance Requirements for Operators of Aircraft That are Equipped With Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS–B) Out [PDF]:

Under the circumstances identified in this policy, the FAA is providing assurance to operators that it will not consider degradation in Global Positioning System performance due to conditions outside the operator’s control that results in an operation falling below ADS–B rule requirements to constitute non-compliance provided the operator has exercised appropriate due diligence prior to conducting an operation.

GE9X Sets World Record as Most Powerful Jet Engine

The GE9X has been officially declared by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most powerful jet engine at 134,300 pounds of thrust. The engine, which will power the Boeing 777X, produced this thrust during an engineering test in November 2017. GE announced the record this month as part of their 100-year celebration.

Video: The sound of innovation – GE9X Engine

Europe’s ‘flight shame’ movement doesn’t stand a chance in the U.S.

Environmentalism continues to grow and commercial air travel is a target. France has announced an “eco-tax” and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is urging travelers to consider flying less, especially over short distances. In Europe, rail is a viable alternative, but not so much in the US.

DB Cooper Dead?

The mystery identity of “DB” Cooper has stymied law enforcement since he parachuted out the back of a Northwest Orient 727 in 1971 with $200,000 in cash. Some speculated that Robert Rackstraw was “DB” Cooper. Cold case expert Thomas Colbert wrote that the evidence pointed to Rackstraw. Now Rackstraw family members say the man has just died of natural causes at age 75.

‘New’ name for Ryanair 737 Max is not actually new

After spotting the 737-8200 designation on the side of a Ryanair 737-8 MAX, some wondered if Boeing was rebranding the MAX. If fact, the 737-8200 designation has existed for years.

Japanese hotel installs Boeing 737 flight simulator in ‘Superior Cockpit Room’

The Haneda Excel Hotel Tokyu has a new “Superior Cockpit Room” that includes a Boeing 747-800 flight simulator.

Haneda Excel Hotel Tokyo.

Courtesy Haneda Excel Hotel Tokyo.

Mentioned

Pod-A-Palooza 2019

National Warplane Museum and Geneseo Airshow

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

560 Aircraft Valuation with VREF

We talk with the president of VREF about aircraft valuation. In the news, we look at a replacement for the Fat Albert C-130, an electric airplane being developed by Solar Impulse 2 pilot André Borschberg, EASA concerns with the 737 MAX, additive manufacturing in aerospace, and a supersonic flight challenge that is not about the boom. We also have interviews with a Boeing T-X experimental test pilot and a Major General with the Japanese Ministry of Defense on the C-2 transport aircraft.

Guest

Jason Zilberbrand, president of VREF.

Jason Zilberbrand, president of VREF.

Jason Zilberbrand is president & CTO of VREF Aircraft Value Reference and Appraisal Services. He is an aircraft appraiser, expert witness, broker, inventorying dealer, acquisition agent, aircraft owner and operator, contract negotiator, consultant, teacher, conference speaker, and an author.

VREF delivers aircraft and engine data through online subscription services and published quarterly digests. The company provides valuations, appraisals, and litigation consulting services to a worldwide client base of aviation professionals including, law firms, banks, financial institutions, leasing companies, manufacturers, aircraft owners, aircraft operators, and suppliers. VREF is the official Valuation Guide and Appraisal company for AOPA.

Jason says that VREF tracks about 6800 models and 440 makes. He explains how aircraft valuation is determined, who wants to see the appraisal and why. He touches on how experimental and low volume aircraft are handled, including warbirds. We take a look at the current “seller’s market” and also consider the implications of large numbers of turbine aircraft that are not ADS-B compliant.

VREF is launching a new-from-the-ground-up application that will provide scrap value. VREF is also switching to a tiered service model. Tier 1 will continue the traditional service while Tier 2 will add fair market value and inventory. Orderly liquidation and future residual values come with Tier 3.

Jason is watching the growth of electric aircraft, and the company is even bringing in a couple of drone appraisers. VREF is also adding cybersecurity capability to provide flight department assessments.

Jason spent 25 years in General Aviation working directly with aircraft owners and operators. He owned and operating his own aircraft as well. Jason knows the international aviation marketplace well and is considered an expert in aircraft valuations and aircraft transactions.

Founded in 1994, VREF is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa with offices in Chicago, Rockford, Los Angeles, Boise, Daytona Beach Florida, Austria, Switzerland, Australia, and Shanghai China.

Aviation News

Blue Angels to Receive Upgraded ‘Fat Albert’ from the UK

Blue Angels retire beloved Fat Albert after more than 30,000 flight hours

The Blue Angels C-130T support aircraft known as Fat Albert is scheduled to be replaced in 2020 with a C-130J purchased from the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence for $29.7million. A new C-130J would cost $50 million more.

An Aviation Pioneer Goes All In on Electric Planes

André Borschberg (our guest in Episode 361) and Bertrand Piccard flew around the world in the Solar Impulse 2. Now Borschberg has started a new company called H55 to build practical electric airplanes, starting with a two-seater that achieves a 90 minute flight time. The Bristell Energic flight trainer is a modified version of a BRM Aero airplane.

Boeing 737 Max’s Autopilot Has Problem, European Regulators Find

Reportedly, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has raised five issues with the 737 MAX:

Previously disclosed issues:

  • difficulty turning the manual trim wheel
  • AOA sensor unreliability
  • inadequate training procedures
  • a microprocessor software issue raised by the FAA

And now:

  • the autopilot failing to disengage in certain emergencies

These haven’t been made public and the sources are anonymous. It is not known if they are hard requirements for return to service, or discussion points.

The FAA, EASA, Canada, and Brazil have a tentative agreement that the return to service should be closely coordinated. Public trust.

Long before the Max disasters, Boeing had a history of failing to fix safety problems

The Washington Post reports that the FAA had been frustrated by the number of safety issues at Boeing and the company’s repeated failure to rectify the situation as agreed. That led to a 2015 settlement agreement that bundled all the problems with one $12 million fine and one corrective action plan for systemic issues. But the degree to which Boeing has lived up to the agreement is being questioned.

NASA Invests in 3D Printing for Aviation

Carnegie Mellon University’s Next Manufacturing Center and Manufacturing Futures Initiative (MFI) has been selected by NASA to lead a research team to examine new ways to build and power aircraft of the future. Metals additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing “has had a significant impact on aviation manufacturing for jet engine components, airframe structural elements, and other applications.” 

The project will explore new methods for using additive manufacturing to reduce costs and increase the speed of mass-producing aircraft without sacrificing quality, reliability, and safety. Process qualification is a challenge and a focus area.

Partners include Argonne National Laboratory, ANSYS, Lockheed Martin, Trumpf, Eaton, General Electric, Pratt & Whitney, Northrop Grumman, Metal Powder Works, Siemens, Materials Solutions and The Barnes Group.

Video: SLM®500 Metal Additive Manufacturing System

 

Supersonic flight meets another challenge besides noise reduction

Developers of supersonic airplanes have to deal with the sonic boom problem, but there is another issue looming: increased carbon footprint. Fuel burned per passenger is high with the speedy new designs. Boom Supersonic has addressed this by stating the company’s commitment to green aviation and an alternative fuel partnership with Prometheus Fuels.

Paris Air Show Interviews

Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari brings us his final two interviews from the Paris Air Show.

Matthew (Phat) Giese, Chief Pilot F15/F22 Programs and T-X Experimental Test Pilot talks about the Boeing T-X that will replace the T-38.

Boeing T-X

Boeing T-X, courtesy Boeing.

Masahito Goto, Ph.D., Major General, Deputy Director General, Japanese Ministry of Defense talks about the C-2 Transport Aircraft.

C-2

C-2, courtesy ATLA.

Shout Outs

David Hamilton, last living WWII Pathfinder pilot drops paratroopers out of C-47 on his 97th birthday.

97 year old (on July 20, 2019) Lt Col David Hamilton, enlisted on December 8, 1941.  Dave then trained as a C-47 pilot and then later as a Pathfinder pilot. Pathfinder aircrews were specially trained WWII aircrews who flew C-47s that had cutting edge navigational equipment. Prior to the major airborne operations in the European Theater of Operation, these aircrews were tasked with dropping in specially trained pathfinder paratroopers to set up radar equipment on the drop zones to which the other C-47s would navigate when carrying in the main force of the airborne troops.  Dave did this function during Operation Overlord at Normandy on D-Day, Operation Dragoon in Southern France, and Operation Market Garden in Holland. Dave also led in the aircraft for the supply drop to the 101st Airborne when they were surrounded at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. (Dave led in 27 planes and led out 9 on that mission.) Sadly, Dave is the last living Pathfinder pilot who flew all those missions.

Lt Col David Hamilton and Christine Negroni.

Lt Col David Hamilton and past guest Christine Negroni with the D-Day Squadron at Waterbury-Oxford Airport. Photo by Max Flight.

Dave just returned from England and France where he flew across the English Channel in a WWII veteran aircraft (C-53) as part of the D-Day Squadron formation of American C-47s and C-53s which flew across the channel on 5 June.  Dave was actually at the controls of the C-53 for part of that flight 75 years after he made his original D-Day flight. (Yes, the pathfinders did take off on 5 June 1944) When Dave was in England, he was honored in North Witham by folks who live near where the RAF base from which he flew the D-Day mission was located and was a guest at the ceremonies at the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach on June 6.  Dave was pretty much treated like a rock star everywhere he went in England and France!!

Dave and the 75th anniversary of D-Day are going to be honored again at this year’s 5 October Wings Out West Airshow in Dave’s home town of Prescott, Arizona where another  WWII D-Day veteran, the C-53 “D-Day Doll”, will be doing a drop of WWII type paratroopers to honor Dave and the 75th anniversary of D-Day.   Also, Dave is going to be inducted into the San Diego Air and Space Museum Hall of Fame in November and he has been invited by the CAF to be in one of the WWII aircraft that will overfly the Mall in Washington D.C. during the 75th celebration of VE day in May 2020.

D-Day Doll

D-Day Doll. Photo by Max Flight.

Dave is also going to be in the cockpit of a C-47 near Frederick Oklahoma dropping the Airborne Demonstration Team’s (ADT) WWII  style paratroopers on July 20, 2019, which happens to be Dave’s 97th birthday. The Frederick Oklahoma airfield is the home of Frederick Army Air Field (FAAF)  which still has a wonderful WWII era wooden hanger in which sit a couple of C-47s, various WWII vehicles. FAAF is the home of the ADT’s WWII style jump school, complete with all the paraphernalia such a jump school would need, such as parachute packing tables, training hangers, mess hall, classroom, barracks, etc.  When one walks into the FAAF hanger one steps back in time 75 years. ADT runs WWII style jump schools several times a year. July 20th will also be ADT’s “Open Hangar Day” for the graduation ceremony for the jumpers who have completed the 5 jumps required to graduate from their July Jump School.

Come on out to FAAF for a great story about the last living Pathfinder dropping paratroopers on his 97th birthday.

The last RED Bull Air race is this weekend 13-14 July, 2019

You can watch it on Red Bull TV, and we will be pulling for friends-of-the-podcast Micheal Goulian, Kirby Chambliss, and Patrich Davidson in the challenger class.

Mentioned

Opposing Bases Air Traffic Talk #80, Bay Area Flying With Max Trescott.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

559 Boom Supersonic Overture Facility

The president of Hoar Program Management tells us about plans for the Boom Supersonic Overture facility. In the news, we discuss Bombardier’s actions to exit commercial aviation, a government probe into production practices of the 787 Dreamliner, and UTC’s project for a hybrid-electric regional plane. We also talk with a 14-year-old who flew a glider from California to Maine solo, and an interview with PPG from the Paris Air Show.

Boom Supersonic Overture

Boom Supersonic Overture. Courtesy Boom Supersonic.

Guest

Mike Lanier, President of Hoar Program Management (HPM).

Mike Lanier is president of Hoar Program Management (HPM), a company that provides program management services for construction projects. HPM was chosen by Boom Supersonic to manage the process of site selection, planning, design, and construction of Boom Supersonic’s first U.S. manufacturing facility for its Overture Mach-2.2 supersonic commercial airliner.

Mike explains the primary criteria used to select the initial target list of sites: the amount of developable land, minimum runway length, and proximity to a supersonic test corridor. The next phase will involve a deeper dive into the candidate sites and creating a shortlist. The final site selection should occur by early 2020 and will consider a number of factors, including a cultural fit between Boom Supersonic and the local community.

The facility design process will take perhaps a year, followed by 2 to 3 years of construction. All this to support first flight in the mid-2020s. HPM performed the same service for Airbus in developing their Mobile, Alabama A320 facility.

As for Boom Supersonic, they are currently assembling the XB-1, a Mach-2.2 supersonic demonstrator aircraft. Data from XB-1 test flights will help refine the design of Overture which will hold 55-75 pax in a 170’ fuselage with a 60’ wingspan. Japan Airlines and Virgin Group have thirty of the all business class tri-jet on pre-order. Boom Supersonic founder and CEO Blake Scholl was our guest in Episode 463, published in August 2017.

Mike has led HPM since its inception in 1997, and his team of more than 150 professionals is engaged in the management of capital building projects located throughout the US and in Europe. Over its 22-year history, Mike and his team have grown the company from a division of a southern US-based construction company into its own nationally-ranked program management firm which handles almost a billion dollars of construction value for clients on an annual basis. A native of Louisiana, Mike began his career in construction in Atlanta after receiving his civil engineering degree from Tulane University.

Aviation News

UTC’s Hybrid-Electric Regional Plane Promises 30 Percent Fuel Savings

United Technologies Corp. (UTC) is developing a hybrid-electric flight demonstrator based on a Bombardier Dash 8 regional turboprop. “Project 804” replaces one of the engines with a two-megawatt hybrid-electric engine. The hybrid-electric powerplant is produced through a collaboration between its Collins Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney subsidiaries. First flight should take place “in about three years.”

Calio to succeed Leduc as Pratt & Whitney president

P&W president Bob Leduc is retiring and Chris Calio will be replacing him. Leduc started his long career in engineering. Calio has a legal background. Both men held senior leadership positions at various UTC aerospace units.

DOJ probe expands beyond Boeing 737 MAX, includes 787 Dreamliner

According to “sources” Boeing has been subpoenaed for records relating to 787 Dreamliner in production in South Carolina. This after reports of poor quality work at that facility. The DOJ is also conducting a criminal investigation into the certification and design of the 737 MAX.

Bombardier quits commercial aviation after failing to break the Boeing-Airbus stranglehold

Bombardier has sold its regional jet business to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for $550 million in cash. Bombardier will now focus on trains and private planes. Bombardier will assemble the remaining backlog of regional jets for Mitsubishi, then cease production. That should be in the second half of 2020.

Riley Speidel, Glider Pilot

Riley Speidel comes from a flying family. Her father, grandfather, grandmother and aunt are all pilots. With flying in her blood, Riley soloed a glider just after her fourteenth birthday and shortly after that, she flew a glider solo from Marina, California to Sanford, Maine. Our Main(e) Man Micah caught up with her at the Southern Maine Aviation FBO.

Riley Speidel and Micah

Riley and Micah.

David Palermo, PPG Transparencies

David Palermo is the PPG Global Director, Military and Defense Transparencies. Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari spoke with David at the Paris Air Show about windshields and canopies.

Mentioned

Letchworth State Park. Photo by Max Flight.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

558 EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019 Preview

What to expect at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019. In the news, we discuss a woman trapped in an airliner, crosswind testing in Iceland, the Boeing 737 MAX grounding, and the Paris Air Show.

Guest

Dick Knapinski, EAA director of communications, and Karen Kryzaniak, EAA’s vice president of risk management and human resources, accept the inaugural Community Partnership Award from the City of Oshkosh in recognition of 50 consecutive years of EAA fly-in conventions in the city.

Dick Knapinski, EAA director of communications, and Karen Kryzaniak, EAA’s vice president of risk management and human resources, accept the inaugural Community Partnership Award from the City of Oshkosh in recognition of 50 consecutive years of EAA fly-in conventions in the city. Photo courtesy EAA.

Dick Knapinski is the director of communications for the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). In this preview of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, Dick explains that the July 22-28, 2019 event represents the 50th consecutive year in Oshkosh, and describes how EAA AirVenture has changed over time as well as what to expect in 2019.

This year is also the 50th anniversary of the landing on the moon and Apollo 11 command module pilot Michael Collins will be a featured guest. Burt Rutan and many of his aircraft designs will also be at Osh, along with air force demo teams and other performers.

The drone cage returns with demonstrations and hands-on opportunities. Urban air mobility (UAM) is getting increased attention from prominent aviation companies and startups and AirVenture will offer opportunities to discuss and explore that topic.

Dick explains that people come to Oshkosh (and come back year after year) for their own personal reasons, but the week-long event offers it all. He also has some tips for first-timers, both those flying in and those arriving by other means of transportation.

Aviation News

A Travel Nightmare: Waking Up Cold And Alone In A Darkened Plane

What do you do if you wake up after a flight to find yourself in a dark airplane parked away from the terminal? And how did this come to happen?

Did Collapse Of WOW Air Lead To Reinstatement Of Iceland Cross Wind Tests?

Crosswind testing at Keflavik International Airport was banned following the 2013 Sukhoi SSJ100 crash. Boeing and Airbus have wanted to resume certification testing in Iceland and may once again have the opportunity.

Boeing may see layoffs if another production rate cut happens, aviation consultant says

Scott Hamilton from Leeham Company believes Boeing executives have finally gotten serious about the 737 MAX and the company will bounce back. But could lower production rates lead to layoffs?

Here’s who bought what at this year’s Paris Air Show

Airbus Vows to Challenge the Secret Boeing 737 Deal that Stunned the Paris Air Show

At the Paris Air Show, Airbus launched the A321XLR and Boeing announced a large 737 MAX order.

Mentioned

Eat at the Airport

#PaxEx Podcast 67: Deciphering the messaging from Airbus and Boeing in Paris

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

557 Innovations in Flight 2019

Airplane Geeks again attended the annual Innovations in Flight Family Day and Outdoor Aviation Display. The event is held at the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. The event is sponsored by United Airlines.

Micah, Max, and Robert at Innovations in Flight.

Micah, Max, and Robert at Innovations in Flight.

Innovations in Flight adds special indoor exhibitors and an outdoor fly-in to the regular museum exhibits. This podcast has had the honor of being included as an exhibitor for many years. The aircraft outside include military, commercial, and private aircraft, several of which were flown in by Airplane Geeks listeners.

This year, Airplane Geeks was represented by Max Flight, our Main(e) Man Micah, and Robert Fairbairn. During the course of the day, we recorded a number of interviews for this episode:

Betty Chen from the Vertical Flight Society, a non-profit technical society for the advancement of vertical flight. The organization was formerly known as the American Helicopter Society. [6:33]

Past guests Jonathan Baron and his son Thomas talk about the Shark airplane and give us an update on the Remora heads up display for GA showing airspeed and AOA to reduce loss-of-control accidents. [20:14]

We meet Oscar Gagliardi Kindlimann who flew Republic P-47 Thunderbolts and other aircraft in the Peruvian air force in the 1950’s. [30:16]

Oscar Gagliardi’s Peruvian Air Force pilot wings.

Also exhibiting at the museum was the Bishop O’Connell High School engineering club. We talk with students Kayvon and Alex about creating and launching “thin-sat” satellites into extremely low earth orbit. [38:27]

The Smithsonian’s Family Day Coordinator Nick Murray talks about the Innovations in Flight event, which draws the second largest crowd of visitors to the museum each year. (You’ll have to listen to find out what event draws more!) [50:14]

Victoria Neuville from the Stuck Mic AvCast came to the event representing the Ninety-Nines, an international organization of women pilots. She flew into Dulles in an AutoGyro. [1:00:35]

We hear from Capt. “Bear” Williams, USAF 27th Fighter Squadron, Langley AFB about flying the F-22 into the event. [1:02:46]

Regional jet pilot Frank Noe also flew in on a gyroplane (or autogyro or gyrocopter). [1:06:39]

AutoGyro

Courtesy AutoGyro

Since we last saw him, First Officer Craig has become Captain Craig, flying the Embraer 175. [1:10:08]

Lt. Col. Katrina Davis is the Admissions Liaison Officer for the US Air Force Academy. The Academy provides opportunities for students in many areas and she explains the Academy Admissions process. [1:23:05]

Air & Space Magazine Art Director Ted Lopez tells us about the magazine’s new look and explains what makes a good photograph to accompany an article. [1:36:12]

Past guest Princess Aliyah Pandolfi from the Kashmir World Foundation gives us an update on the foundation’s activities, including drone workshops now taught internationally and the Teachers Take Flight program. [1:43:38]

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.