727 Air Mobility Solutions

A Michigan technology activation manager explains grants made to companies developing air mobility solutions at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. We also look at the NTSB preliminary report on the fatal Wings Over Dallas airshow collision, retiring the F-22 Raptor, a Boeing 777X engine issue, the Delta pilot’s “me too” contract clause, and an F-16 destroyed by a pilot.

Gerald R. Ford International Airport
Gerald R. Ford International Airport

Guest

Charlie Tyson

Charlie Tyson is the Technology Activation Manager at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), in the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification. The MEDC is a public-private partnership between the state and local communities that seeks to accelerate economic development opportunities in the mobility space. Charlie talks to us about grants for air mobility solutions and an air mobility corridor.

Air Mobility Solutions

Recently, the Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) in West Michigan announced the second round of grant funding to test air mobility solutions at the airport. The grants are made possible through the Ford Launchpad for Innovative Technologies and Entrepreneurship (FLITE) program, which provides grants and testing opportunities to companies focused on bringing emerging air travel solutions to market.

Cutting Edge Mobility Technologies Coming to Gerald R. Ford International Airport through State-Industry Collaboration

First-round FLITE recipients (see press release here): 

  • Aurrigo: Leveraging their Auto-Sim® software platform, created a “digital twin” of airport operations to optimize targeted metrics and increase operational efficiency.
  • WHILL: Deployed their autonomous mobility device to increase traveler independence and reduce wait times for wheelchair requests.
  • Sunflower Labs: Deployed their remote autonomous drone-in-a-box security system used to conduct inspections and security monitoring tasks.

Second-round FLITE recipients:

  • Aircraft Data Fusion: Utilizing web-based cloud solutions to provide real-time passenger forecasting.
  • Dataspeed: Revolutionizing aviation operations with the Kinetic360 Autonomous Service Vehicle.
  • EVA: Retooling EVA’s drone infrastructure to provide airport services to revolutionize baggage delivery.
  • Renu Robotics: Revolutionizing aviation facilities’ vegetation management with autonomous lawn mowers.
  • Spotter: Developing innovative sensor technology to help travelers identify open parking spots.

Michigan-Ontario Air Mobility Corridor

The aerial mobility corridor study will test the feasibility of commercial drones and other aerial systems, including cross-border between Michigan and Ontario. The study is exploring whether small drones can be flown beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) and be used in operations like just-in-time delivery, medical transport, or other small-scale deployments of UAS. The information gathered from this feasibility study will be used to further decision-making in preparing for the future of advanced air mobility in North America.

A newly formed partnership with Airspace Link, a Detroit-based drone technology start-up, and their partners (including Thales) will develop a feasibility analysis as a first step to establishing the infrastructure required to support a range of commercial and public advanced air mobility use cases.

The Airspace Link team will provide an analysis of existing airspace, air traffic infrastructure, and ground infrastructure required to ensure the operational safety of commercial drone skyways.

Another key partner will be the Michigan Central mobility innovation district in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit. Their collaboration with key stakeholders from the state and city will help advance this research and innovation to a broader idea of autonomy that goes beyond vehicles on the road, but also the water or sky.

Aviation News

No Altitude Advice Before Dallas Air Show Crash NTSB Says

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a preliminary report [PDF, Accident Number: CEN23MA034] on the November 12, 2022 midair collision between a B-17G and a P-63F during the Wings Over Dallas airshow. According to the NTSB report, the fighter planes were told to fly ahead of the bombers, but there were no altitude deconfliction briefings. The NTSB is looking into the sequence of maneuvers that led to the crash and if air shows normally have altitude deconfliction plans.

Why Would America Want to Retire the F-22?

Reasons include the relatively small number of aircraft and the high cost of operation, outdated avionics, and the new fighter being developed in the Next Generation Air Dominance Program.

Boeing 777X Test Flights Suspended Over Engine Issue

The unspecified issue was discovered during a borescope inspection of a high-time GE9X flight test engine. Apparently, there was a temperature alert. GE Aerospace says, “We are reviewing a technical issue that occurred during GE9X post-certification engineering testing, and we are closely coordinating with Boeing on our findings to support their return to flight testing.” 

The Fascinating ‘Me Too’ Clause That Will Guarantee Delta Air Pilots The Best Pay in the Industry

The tentative labor agreement with Delta pilots includes a “me too” clause. This benchmarks the Delta pilot’s contract against American Airlines and United Airlines and guarantees at least one percent higher wages than American and United pay their pilots. If the Delta contract is approved, the pilots would get an immediate 18 percent pay rise, as well as a one-time payment equal to 22 percent of their earnings between 2020 and 2022. Then Delta pilots would receive a 5 percent pay rise after the first year of the contract, followed by 4 percent pay raises in the two years thereafter. Delta Allied Pilots Union (ALPA) members must still vote in favor of the proposed contract.

Fighter pilot who tailed a civilian plane blamed for destroying F-16

In March 2022, an Oklahoma Air National Guard F-16C crashed while on a two-jet homeland defense “aerospace control alert” training mission. A GA plane was used as a practice aircraft however neither the GA plane nor air traffic control was notified about the attempted interception. One of the F-16 pilots experienced a “shudder” after selecting the wrong switch and ejected. According to the investigation, “Flight simulations confirmed … the [aircraft] was still in a flyable state prior to ejection. A noticeable shudder and movement of the aircraft [was] indicative of the flight controls responding properly. … The aircraft was not out of control and could have been recovered.”

Mentioned

Flying in 2022, by Patrick Smith in Ask the Pilot.

Covenant Aviation Security

U.S. again delays deadline for Real IDs, until May 2025

ChatGPT

Hosts this Episode

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

726 One-Pilot Cockpits

Thoughts on one-pilot cockpits, Frontier drops its customer service line, pigeons on an aircraft carrier, get ready for Real ID, an A-10 pilot gets a flying award, the A-1H Skyraider joins the Museum of the US Air Force, a Mooney crashes into a transmission tower, and America’s best airports.

Aviation News

One-pilot cockpits? Here’s what QF32 hero and ‘Sully’ Sullenberger think

On November 4, 2010, Flight QF32 from Singapore to Sydney experienced a massive engine failure on the A380. Captain Richard Champion de Crespigny describes the explosion, the subsequent systems damage, the resulting cockpit chaos, and how the crew worked together to save all aboard. Sully said, “Those who propose single-pilot airline operations are wrong, dead wrong.”

By Australian Transport Safety Bureau - In-flight uncontained engine failure Airbus A380-842, VH-OQA, Cover Page, CC BY-SA 3.0 au, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=81280480
In-flight uncontained engine failure Airbus A380-842, VH-OQA.
Courtesy Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

Frontier Airlines drops its customer service line

Customers can no longer call Frontier airlines on the phone and speak with a live agent. Instead, customer service options are a chatbot Frontier’s website, 24/7 live chat, and social media channels including WhatsApp. The airline said, “[this] enables us to ensure our customers get the information they need as expeditiously and efficiently as possible.” Also, most customers prefer communicating through online channels.

Why the US Navy’s First Aircraft Carrier Also Carried a Pigeoneer

By U.S. Navy photo 80-G-460108 - commons, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=91295306
USS Langley underway, 1927. U.S. Navy photo.

The USS Langley, America’s first aircraft carrier and the US Navy’s first turbo-electric-powered ship, was launched on August 14, 1912. A pigeon house was built on the stern for food storage, nesting, training, and trapping areas. Carrier pigeons were used extensively in the past for military communications.

States begin final push for compliance as Real ID deadline nears

Real ID is an enhanced verification process for State-issued IDs, such as driver’s licenses. The Real ID Act was passed by the U.S. Congress after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and requires that driver’s licenses or state-issued IDs must meet the federal Real ID requirements to be accepted for boarding commercial flights. This takes effect on May 3, 2023.

A-10C pilot earns top flying award for combat successes in Afghanistan

Maj. Kyle Adkison accepted the Distinguished Flying Cross at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, for his combat achievements in Afghanistan. The Major is a test pilot with the 59th Test and Evaluation Squadron. In 2019, Adkison and his wingman, Capt. Erin Fullam, drove away enemy forces, protected the positions of friendly forces, and kept members of the U.S.-led military coalition alive, the Air Force said in a release.

A-1H Skyraider now on display at AF museum

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force now has an A-1H Skyraider on display in the museum’s Southeast Asia War Gallery. This radial engine aircraft preceded the A-10 in an attack role and was in service from 1946 to the early 1970s in the U.S. and elsewhere to the 1980s.

Douglas A-1E Skyraider. Courtesy National Museum of the United States Air Force.
Douglas A-1E Skyraider.
Courtesy National Museum of the United States Air Force.

Pilot, passenger rescued from plane after crash into power lines that caused widespread outages in Montgomery County [Maryland]

Small Plane Crashes Into Transmission Tower in Maryland

The single-engine Mooney M20J crashed into a transmission tower. It took almost seven hours to extricate the pilot and passenger. Both individuals were injured and ambulances transported them to area trauma centers.

How SFO ended up ranked as America’s best airport

The Wall Street Journal says that San Francisco International is the best among the 20 busiest airports based on passenger numbers. Sacramento International is No.1 among 30 midsize facilities. In its ranking, the WSJ considered 19 factors, including airline on-time performance, average ticket prices, security line wait time, and airport concession costs. Also, the results of J.D. Power’s annual survey of passenger satisfaction and more. 

Mentioned

21st Century Aerospace Writers Facebook group.

Mastodon – Decentralized social media.

Explained: What is Post.news, the emerging easy-to-use Twitter alternative. Link to sign up.

Western Museum of Flight

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Rob Mark, and Max Trescott.

725 Airshow Crash

An airshow crash involving two warbirds, Flight MH17 convictions, A350 carryon weight, GA airplane shipments, A-10s and B-1Bs as attack aircraft, an airport closure impacts seaplanes, G700 on a world tour, and a sustainable jet fuel plant.

Aviation News

B-17 involved in airshow crash.

Dallas air show crash: Two World War Two planes collide in mid-air

A P-63 Kingcobra fighter and a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress collided at a commemorative air show near Dallas. The P-63 pilot and all five occupants aboard the B-17 died.

Video: Early Analysis: Wings Over Dallas Midair Collision WWII Airshow November 12, 2022

3 convicted in 2014 downing of Malaysian jet over Ukraine

Malaysian Flight MH17 from Amsterdam was headed to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down over Ukraine with a Russian surface-to-air missile. All 283 passengers and 15 crew aboard the 777-200ER perished. The investigation by the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) determined that the plane had been downed by a missile launched from pro-Russian separatist-controlled territory in Ukraine. Specifically, the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of the Russian Federation. A Dutch court has now convicted two Russians and a pro-Moscow Ukrainian.

Spanish Court Orders Flag Carrier Iberia to Limit Hand Luggage On Airbus A350 Because Overhead Lockers Are So Big

Airbus has been offering larger overhead luggage bins as new equipment and as a retrofit. The so-called “XL Bins” on the A350 are truly huge. Airbus says the compartments on the A350 can accommodate five full-size carry-on suitcases. The cantilevered bins are designed to hold a maximum of 30-45 kg (66-99 pounds) and fold up into the ceiling.

Iberia flight attendants thought that lifting that weight for as many as 112 bins on the A350-900 was too much to ask, and filed a lawsuit. They asked for the XL Bins to be replaced with smaller bins, or ban Iberia from expecting them to close the XL Bins. The judge dismissed those demands and ordered the airline to start weighing passenger carry-on luggage and make sure that Iberia’s own weight allowance was being adhered to.

U.S. Air Force wants to use A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft along with B-1B Lancer supersonic bombers to destroy enemy air defense systems

ADM-160 MALD (Miniature Air Launched Decoy) drones will be used as decoys with electronic warfare systems instead of warheads. Mounted on the A-10, the decoys should improve the survivability of the attack aircraft. U.S. Air Force exercises on Guam have been using the B-1B Lancer paired with the A-10.

Twitchell Airport property in Turner under contract to be sold

Twitchell Airport is the last privately owned and commercially operated airport in Maine. It’s been operating for 76 years. The land owners are selling the 145 acres that the airport and seaplane facilities share, reportedly to build a self-storage facility. Twitchell is the only seaplane base providing fuel between its location and Rhode Island, about 200 miles.

Gulfstream Unveils Newest Business Jet Model G700 In Nigeria

Gulfstream Aerospace is taking two G700 aircraft on a world tour that includes major events and private showings in 20 cities. These are fully outfitted G700 production test aircraft.

Elon Musk has reportedly added a new $78 million jet to his growing fleet of private planes.

This will replace his Gulfstream G650ER. Musk currently owns four jets, including three Gulfstream and one Dassault.

Company hopes to produce sustainable jet fuel at Loring Air Force Base

The former Loring Air Force Base was a large cold-war era base in far northeastern Maine. It was used by the U.S. Air Force’s Strategic Air Command. In 1994, the base was closed and then redeveloped into an industrial and aviation park called the Loring Commerce Centre. The airfield became Loring International Airport. Now DG Fuels LLC (DGF) plans to lease 1,240 acres from the Loring Development Authority and produce Sustainable Aviation Fuel. (SAF). Press release: DG Fuels Signs Key Maine Land Agreement.

Mentioned

Plane Talking UK Podcast

Grand Dames of Aviation

Charity auctions off AN-225 “Mriya” debris pieces to raise funds for Ukrainian Soldiers

Video: ONBOARD Emirates New A380 FIRST CLASS *It ONLY Cost $___*

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Rob Mark, and Micah.

724 National Air and Space Museum

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum opened the completed portion of the renovation at the National Mall in Washington, DC.

National Air and Space Museum exhibit.

The Museum calls itself “the world’s largest and most significant collection of aviation and space artifacts, encompassing all aspects of human flight, as well as related works of art and archival materials.” It’s typically the most visited museum in the United States.

The museum occupies two locations: The original location is in Washington, DC and the newer Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is the annex, located outside DC next to Washington Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, Virginia. That facility was made possible by a $65 million donation by Steven F. Udvar-Házy, a co-founder of the aircraft leasing firm International Lease Finance Corporation, or ILFC.

In this episode, we look at the DC facility. It was established in 1946 as the National Air Museum and the main building opened on the National Mall in 1976. In 2018 the Museum started a $250 million seven-year renovation project. When the renovation is completed, all of the museum’s 23 galleries and presentation spaces will be updated or completely redone.

On Oct. 14, 2022, the downtown museum reopened with eight new and renovated galleries in the west wing. Our Hillel Glazer was present representing the Airplane Geeks podcast at the press preview day, and he recorded some interviews.

Christopher Browne, NASM director.
Christopher Browne

Hillel recorded the opening video and the remarks from Christopher Browne, the John and Adrienne Mars Director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. Browne joined the museum as deputy director in 2017 and served as acting director from 2021 to 2022 when he was named director.

Next, Hillel speaks with Dr. Jermery Kinner, the Associate Director of Research and Curatorial Affairs at the National Air and Space Museum. He leads the Museum’s three research and curatorial departments (Aeronautics, the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies or CEPS, and Space History). Kinner also provides counsel and advice on curatorial and museum affairs to the Director and the Senior Leadership Team.

Finally, we’ll hear from Beth Wilson. She’s been an educator at the Museum since 2004.

Video: Space For Everyone | The Reimagined National Air and Space Museum Open October 14

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight and Hillel Glazer.

723 Boeing MoM

Boeing won’t pursue a new middle-of-the-market airplane, propellers for aviation sustainability, high-wall super suites, passenger detention, large PAX and weight and balance, a KC-46 Class A mishap.

Aviation News

Boeing: “We won’t contemplate a new airplane”

Concerning a Boeing MoM, president and CEO David Calhoun, said, “We won’t contemplate a new airplane; we won’t even put it on the drawing board until we know we’re capable of doing that. So this is strategy for us. Capabilities. And then there’ll be a moment in time where we’ll pull the rabbit out of the hat and introduce a new airplane sometime in the middle of next decade.”

Opinion: Could Propellers Help Solve The Sustainability Conundrum?

The global civil aviation industry has pledged to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 but new technologies will require billions of dollars in investment. Hydrogen, electric and hybrid propulsion, and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) have promise, but feasibility and cost-effectiveness concerns remain. But propfans and ducted propellers “might finally be ready for use.”

The Latest in Luxurious First-Class Airplane Suites: Building Up

First-class suites with doors first appeared on the Airbus A380 then spread to other widebodies offering luxury and some degree of privacy. How do the latest class of high-wall super suites from Emirates and Lufthansa deal with the cabin view requirements?

Flight Attendant Physically Detained Passenger Because They Thought He Had Taken a Photograph of Them

The crew didn’t like being photographed and detained a passenger when they believed he’d taken a picture of them.

United Airlines Is Blocking Seats Under New Weight Requirements Per Passenger

The FAA has increased the “standard” weight of men and women which impacts airplane weight and balance. United’s B757s are affected to the degree that at least six seats per flight will be blocked.

AMC Investigating Class A Mishap That Damaged KC-46 Boom, Fuselage

The Air Mobility Command is investigating a potential Class A mishap involving a KC-46 Pegasus tanker that left the plane’s boom and fuselage damaged.

Mentioned

Albuquerque Intl. Balloon Fiesta releases 2022 attendance totals

Pawn Stars at the American Helicopter Museum – Scheduled to air on the History Channel on November 16, 2022.

Eastern Airlines Flight 401 50th Anniversary Memorial Monument – Dedication December 29, 2022, at 1:00 pm. Contact flt401memorial@gmail.com for more information. For donations:

By check payable to National Air Disaster Foundation. Note on your check that it is for Eastern 401. 100% of your tax-deductible donation goes toward the memorial. Send your check to: National Air Disaster Foundation, 2020 Pennsylvania Ave NW, #315, Washington, DC 20006.

By credit card visit www.PlaneSafe.org and click Donation.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, and Max Trescott.

722 Flight Tracking with Flighty

Flight tracking app Flighty.

Ryan Jones, founder and CEO of Flighty, describes the flight tracking app that pulls together a number of tools for flyers into one application. It features fast push notifications, flight delay predictions, and pilot-grade data.

Ryan is giving away lifetime subscriptions to two Airplane Geeks listeners. At the end of the interview, Ryan describes that if you install the app and leave a comment, you’ll be entered in the drawing. We really appreciate that Flighty is doing this for you.

Follow @rjonesy and @FlightyApp on Twitter.

Mentioned

As a follow-up to our conversation in episode 721 about Rotax engines in Iranian drones, listener Mark Newton posted in our Slack team the link to an article from The Drive. It’s titled Same Type Of Rotax Engines Used In Iranian Drones Targeted In Bizarre Theft Wave, published October 25, 2022. Many of these engines have been stolen and that might be how Iran obtained them. 

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Brian Coleman, and our Main(e) Man Micah.

721 Hype Aviation News Aggregator

Isaac Alexander is the Chief Content Officer for Hype Aviation, a news aggregator and media intelligence service for aerospace industry professionals and enthusiasts. 

Hype Aviation logo

Hype Aviation was founded, designed, and developed by Robin Koenig in 2017 with the goal of making it easy to stay up to date on aviation news without having to follow hundreds of separate sources. The service organizes content into aviation, defense, and space categories. An extensive events database in those categories and a daily newsletter are also provided.

Isaac became the first dedicated human editor for Hype Aviation. His experience in the aerospace industry today augments the automated curation system to provide a more human touch to the content while maintaining high-quality standards and unbiased assessment of the automated system.

Mentioned

The Journey is the Reward now on Twitter at @TJITReward

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

720 SkySquad

We have two interviews recorded by Hillel Glazer, our Innovations and Entrepreneurship Correspondent, and our Main(e) Man Micah.

SkySquad founder and CEO Julie Melnick
Julie Melnick

The first is with Julie Melnick the founder and CEO of SkySquad. SkySquad provides an extra set of helping hands at the airport for people who need assistance. It’s a very creative business idea.

Lift book covers.
Lift by John & Martha King

Then we hear from John and Martha King. When it comes to pilot training programs, King Schools is legendary. Now the couple has written a new book about their life lessons: LIFT: How to Start, Run and Grow Your Own Successful Business.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Hillel Glazer, and our Main(e) Man Micah.

719 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2022

Max Flight reports from the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta held October 1-9, 2022. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Balloon Fiesta.

Balloon Fiesta mass ascension.
Balloon Fiesta mass ascension.

Interviews with:

Katie, the Crew Chief for Team Coddiwomple, talks about crew chief responsibilities, getting started in ballooning, and buying a balloon. Coddiwomple Ballooning offers a unique specially-fitted wheelchair-accessible balloon.

Jim Lynch from Destin, Florida pilots the “Whirlaway” balloon and describes how balloons are FAA-certified aircraft and a pilot’s license is required to fly them. We talk about the propane burners, why the fuel is preheated, and when a pilot knows to abort the launch attempt due to the wind.

Linda C gives her impressions of the drone show provided by Verge Aero. See also, Simon Cowell presses Golden Buzzer for Verge Aero on America’s Got Talent: Extreme

Glen Moyer is the editor of Ballooning: Journal of the Balloon Federation of America (BFA) and also one of the two show announcers at the Balloon Fiesta. The BFA is an aviation safety and education organization for lighter-than-air aviation. Members include pilots, crew, and enthusiasts.

The Balloon Fiesta features a large grass launch field, surrounded by many RV camping areas. There are sponsor and exhibitor booths, and a huge number of food vendors.

The hallmark event is the mass ascensions where hundreds of balloons launch at sunrise. During balloon launches, spectators get right on the launch field in and amongst the balloons.  When a balloon is ready and the pilot gets the thumbs up from an official, the crown cheers enthusiastically while people in the basket wave frantically to the spectators. 

Balloons over the South RV Lot
Balloons over the South RV Lot
Flying pig balloon
Who said pigs don’t fly?
Balloon from below
Radio Controlled balloon
Radio Controlled balloon

Mentioned

Outdoor REgear – a large Albuquerque consignment shop where you can purchase used bicycles.

Host this Episode

Max Flight

718 Aircraft Towing

Advances in aircraft towing systems, personal flying vehicles, and a story about becoming an airplane geek.

Aircraft Towing Systems

Vince Howie,  CEO of Aircraft Towing Systems World Wide, LLC.
Vince Howie

Micah and Max interview Vince Howie, the CEO of Aircraft Towing Systems World Wide, LLC (or ATS). We learn how this company is working to lessen the considerable cost and environmental impact of aircraft movement on the ground.

ATS aircraft towing system.
ATS aircraft towing system.

Films With My Father

Our Main(e) Man Micah brings us a story he calls Films With My Father which explains why Micah is an airplane geek.

AIR EV

Hillel Glazer, our Aviation Entrepreneurship and Innovation Correspondent has another “Beyond the Press Release” interview from EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022. This time he speaks with Rani Plaut, the CEO of AIR EV. The company seeks to create personal, intuitive flying vehicles at a production rate usually achieved with automobiles. They recently demonstrated flight and control at their facility in Israel. 

Video: AIR ONE eVTOL Full Scale Test Flight

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, our Main(e) Man Micah, and Hillel Glazer.