We learn about identity management, seamless travel at the airport, and the work of the SITA Lab. In the news: rogue drones at airports, impacts on aviation of the government shutdown, Generation 2 of the Cirrus Vision Jet, and USAF acceptance of the first KC-46 aerial tanker.
Sherry Stein, SITA LAB identity management.
Sherry Stein leads the identity management program at SITA Lab, the strategic technology research arm of SITA. Sherry has over 20 years of experience in travel technology, and she has a passion for business transformation and technology innovation.
We explore the concepts of “seamless travel” and the “autonomous airport” through the advancements in airport technology that passengers can take advantage of today. That includes biometric identity management, passenger service robots, artificial intelligence, wearable devices, and single token travel through virtual or digital passports.
The Sita Lab is focused on strategic research to create a secure, frictionless travel experience through the applied use of emerging technologies and co-innovation with key industry stakeholders. The Lab seeks to “stimulate technological innovation in the air transport industry and bring emerging technologies into SITA’s portfolio.”
SITA is an air transport IT and communications specialist. SITA’s information and communication technology solutions are used by airlines, airports, ground handlers, governments, air cargo, air navigation service providers and other organizations.
The recent spate of rogue drone incursions has been a wake-up call for airports. A few drone flights into the airspace can have a hugely disruptive impact on airport operations. Counter drone technology is available, but airports aren’t able to immediately make them operational.
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) filed suit against the US government claiming its members are being unlawfully deprived of wages because of the partial government shutdown. The lawsuit also alleges violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Cirrus Aircraft has received FAA certification for the Generation 2 (G2) version of its Vision Jet. New features include a higher maximum operating altitude, autothrottle, lithium-ion main-ship batteries, upgraded avionics, new cabin appointments, and additional paint schemes.
The U.S. Air Force has accepted and took ownership of its first Boeing KC-46A air-to-air refueling tanker, but did not take delivery. The Air Force is still not happy with the “remote vision system” for operating the tanker’s refueling boom.
Guest George Kalbfleisch is the Deputy Director of DC-8 Flight Operations for the Samaritan’s Purse emergency relief organization. In the news, we discuss the Twin Mustang Prototype unexpected flight, the Chinese soft landing on the back side of the moon, commercial flights that get diverted due to rocket launches, the worsening controller shortage, and paying tips to Frontier cabin crew.
Samaritans Purse DC-8.
George Kalbfleisch is Deputy Director of DC-8 Flight Operations for Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief organization. Samaritan’s Purse delivers critical emergency relief supplies to people in need around the world. Examples include the Saipan typhoon victims, Bangladesh refugees, Iraq during the battle for Mosul, the Caribbean following Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and Ecuador following a magnitude 7.8 earthquake.
George tells us about the configuration of the CFM56-powered DC-8-72, it’s range and payload capabilities, and the types of emergency relief missions it undertakes. We learn about the teams that fly and maintain the airplane, and how flight planning takes place, sometimes into devastated areas without electricity. George also treats us to a few of his most exciting and most unusual flights.
Prior to Samaritan’s Purse, George flew DC-8s with an international freight company for twenty years as captain, line check airman, sim instructor, check airman, and the aircrew program designee to issue type ratings for the airplane.
George earned his Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management at Oklahoma State University and received his pilot’s license in 1980. He is a certified airline transport pilot with type ratings in the A320, B-777, DC-8, and SA-227. George is an active General Aviation pilot who enjoys flying tail wheel and aerobatics in his spare time.
DC-8 cutaway illustration, showing the cargo and passenger compartments. Courtesy Samaritan’s Purse.
Ray Fowler was conducting high-speed taxi tests of the XP-82 Twin Mustang Prototype. The plan was to lift the wheels for just a second, deploy the flaps, and roll out. Except it accelerated so fast that the plane couldn’t get back down in the remaining runway. So up he went. See XP-82 Twin Mustang Restoration Project for more.
The Feb 6, 2018 launch of the SpaceX Heavy Falcon closed the airspace over a 1,300-mile section the Atlantic for over three hours. Commercial flights had to fly significantly diverted routes, costing time and fuel. What happens when commercial space flight launches become frequent? ALPA says these closures “have led to extensive and expensive delays to commercial air traffic that are unsustainable.”
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association is not happy with the partial government shutdown because of its effect on members. But another consequence is the negative effect on training for new controllers. The FAA training academy in Oklahoma City is shut down, and classroom and simulator training at air traffic control facilities has stopped.
PointsGuy.com writer JT Genter was on a Frontier Airlines flight. After ordering his beverage and providing his credit card, the flight attendant handed him a tablet which offered him the ability to select a tip.
Airplane Geeks Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari speaks with Jim Dimatteo, the race director for Red Bull Air Race. [12:26]
The decorated former TOPGUN Commander Jim DiMatteo, now Race Director of the Red Bull Air Race. Courtesy of Red Bull Air Race Media Service.
Red Bull race control. Photo by Launchpad Marzari.
Main(e) man and Contributor-at-Large Micah tells his story called New Years Dad. The new year comes at least once annually, sometimes with thoughts of airplanes, and sometimes those thoughts come in combination with other things. Micah gives us some thoughts that occurred to him over two New Years. [32:28]
Micah and his Dad, leaving London and headed to Paris.
Launchpad Marzari talks with Capt Skip “Loose” Lussier (USN retired) who flew President George W. Bush in an S-3 to the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln for a televised address on May 1, 2003. [47:41]
Pacific Ocean (May 1, 2003) — President George W. Bush successfully traps aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) in a S-3B Viking assigned to the Blue Wolves of Sea Control Squadron Three Five (VS-35) designated “NAVY 1”. President Bush is the first sitting President to trap aboard an aircraft carrier at sea. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Airman Gabriel Piper.
de Havilland Mosquito at the Warbirds Open Day at Ardmore, on the 18th of November 2018.
Mossie in the Avspecs hangar during the WONZ Christmas party visit, 8th of December, 2018.
Dr. Ellen Stofan. Copyright Smithsonian Institution.
David Vanderhoof attended the celebration for the 15th anniversary of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center and recorded the interview with Dr. Ellen Stofan, the new John and Adrienne Mars Director at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. She was interviewed by Pete Muntean, a Certificated Flight Instructor and a television news reporter for WUSA9 in Washington, DC. [1:27:56]
Guest Isaac Alexander gives us a taste of aviation action in the Pacific Northwest. In the news: updates on the Boeing/Embraer deal, more WOW Air woes, Virgin Galactic test flight, MRJ engine final assembly in Japan, the Northrop Grumman Firebird MALE, an airline turnback to deliver a heart, and a pet fish. Plus David’s holiday story, Voyager spacecraft, and first flight comments.
Isaac Alexander, Jet City Star, in the Hughes H-4 Hercules (the Spruce Goose) at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville Oregon.
Aviation geek Isaac Alexander is a freelance aviation writer who blogs, tweets, and posts as Jet City Star from the Pacific Northwest. In the past, Isaac was on the committee for the weekend-long Aviation Geek Fest held annually in the Greater Seattle area.
Isaac tells us about the aviation scene in the Pacific Northwest, including some of the aerospace companies based there, the senior roles held by women in area organizations, new scheduled service, must-visit museums and other attractions, recent aviation events, and some events coming up in 2019.
Follow Isaac on Twitter at @jetcitystar and see these sites to learn more:
Last week we reported that four congressmen with Brazil’s left-wing Workers Party won an injunction in Brazilian federal court preventing the Embraer/Boeing deal from going forward. Now a Brazilian federal appeals court has overturned the injunction.
Both companies have come to an agreement: “The approved terms define the joint venture comprising the commercial aircraft and services operations of Embraer, in which Boeing will hold an 80 percent ownership stake and Embraer will hold the remaining 20 percent. The transaction remains subject to approval by the Government of Brazil, after which Embraer and Boeing intend to execute definitive transaction documents. The closing of the transaction will then be subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.”
The dispute settlement panel at the World Trade Organization is examining subsidies received by Bombardier from the Governments of Canada and Quebec. The Brazilian Government (and Embraer) say the 19 subsidies violate Canada’s WTO obligations. More details about Brazil’s First Written Submission are available in the DS522 — FACT SHEET [PDF].
Each holiday season for the past several years, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has received reports from pilots who said they were distracted or temporarily blinded by residential laser-light displays.
Budget carrier WOW Air is taking measures to keep the company in business. They announced a cut back in the number of airplanes from 20 to 11, they plan to sell four Airbus A321s, and reportedly the airline laid off 111 employees.
The Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) is exclusively powered by the Pratt & Whitney PW1200G engine. In Komaki, Japan, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Aero Engines (MHIAEL) has completed their first final assembly of the engine for the MRJ flight test program. Pratt & Whitney’s Mirabel Aerospace Center in Canada will also assemble and test the engine.
Northrop Grumman is developing a Medium Altitude, Long Endurance (MALE) unmanned aircraft called the Firebird. It’s being developed for aerial surveillance missions and its history goes back to Northrop Grumman subsidiary Scaled Composites that built an optionally manned demonstrator which first flew in 2010.
Lockheed Martin and Airbus take another run at aerial tankers for the US Air Force, air marshals behaving badly, a Brazilian court blocks the Boeing-Embraer deal, airport biometric identity checks, a pilot and a pickup app, AOPA’s STEM program, an Antonov An-124 stationed at Houston, the Boeing 777X BBJ, and Voyager 2 in interstellar space.
Also, a aviation events Max plans to attend in 2019, his Eat at the Airport project, who flew controlled powered flight first, and more on ion drives and aircraft noise.
In 2008, Airbus and Northrop Grumman won the contract to build tankers for the U.S. Air Force. But the award for A330-based tankers was overturned and in 2011 Boeing won the contract for 179 tankers based on the 767 aircraft, the KC-46. Since then, Boeing has been beset with difficulties and has failed to be on time or within budget. Now, Airbus and Lockheed Martin have signed a memorandum of agreement on aerial refueling and are willing to “provide aerial-refueling services to address any identified capacity shortfall and to meet requirements for the next generation of tankers capable of operating in the challenging environments of future battlespace.” See the press release: Lockheed Martin And Airbus Sign Memorandum Of Agreement On Aerial Refueling.
On August 20, 2018, there was some confusion aboard a Republic Airlines flight operating as United Airlines flight 3531 from Newark to Minneapolis. Two armed air marshals were aboard the flight, and the flight and cabin crews were unaware of the marshal’s presence, one of whom identified himself by flashing his gun. The pilot reported a possible hijacking attempt and when the plane landed police arrested the two marshals.
The TSA’s Office of Inspection has documented more than 200 cases of air marshals allegedly misusing firearms or misbehaving with guns between 2005 and 2017, according to records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Embraer likes the proposed tie-up with Boeing. Four congressmen with Brazil’s left-wing Workers Party not so much. They sought an injunction which a Brazilian federal court granted. The decision forbids Embraer’s board of directors from signing the deal to create a joint venture on commercial aviation that Boeing would control.
Delta Air Lines and Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport now have the first U.S. curb-to-gate biometric terminal using facial recognition. The camera-based system compares scans of travelers’ faces to a database of verified ID photos curated by US Customs and Border Protection.
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) created a four-year STEM aviation curriculum. Classes are offered to ninth grade students and involve a mix of theory and hands-on projects. Eighty U.S. public, private, and charter schools are participating.
Volga-Dnepr Group will base one of its 12 Antonov AN-124-100 planes at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport. The company will provide crews, technical support teams, as well as special loading equipment.
Russian AN-124 Condor aircraft lands at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base, New Orleans from the Netherlands to deliver a diesel powered water pump in support of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Dawn C. Morrison (RELEASED)
Boeing Business Jets announced it is launching the BBJ 777X, which can fly more than half-way around the world without stopping, farther than any other business jet. Customers have a choice between two models: the BBJ 777-8 and BBJ 777-9. The BBJ 777-8 offers the longest range of 11,645 nautical miles and a 3,256 sq. ft. cabin. The BBJ 777-9 has a 3,689 sq. ft. cabin and an 11,000 nautical mile range.
The Voyager 2 spacecraft has now left the heliosphere – the protective bubble of particles and magnetic fields created by the Sun – and crossed into interstellar space. This follows Voyager 1, which left the heliosphere 2012. In July 2015, NASA uploaded the audio contents of the golden records to SoundCloud.
Airlines use the cloud to provide responsive customer service. Also, Indigo Partners invests in Wow Air, micro-hotel rooms at the airport, Qantas retires some B747 aircraft, passengers chip in for aircraft repairs, Airbus A320 engine cowling door problems, and Piaggio Aerospace declares itself insolvent. Also, we have a history segment on the Grumman TBF Avenger.
Greg Land, IBM Global Industry Leader.
Greg Land is an IBM Global Industry Leader with responsibility for the Aviation, Hospitality, and Travel Related Services industry segment. That includes airlines, airports, hospitality, car rental, cruise lines, gaming and casino, GDS, and OTA/TMC/Tour Operators. Greg’s responsibilities include driving IBM’s strategy and point-of-view for the industry segment; accountability for total revenues and business development; work across all lines of business to support new contract signings for industry solutions, IBM’s growth initiatives, long-term services agreements and successful delivery of solutions and services across the segment.
Greg describes the digital transformation of the airline industry and how the cloud facilitates responsive customer service through electronic interaction with customers and employees. We talk about the reasons why airlines host their data externally, and how they achieve scale and stability of customer-facing systems.
Service providers across the travel supply chain are now interacting more than ever before and IBM is embracing open source APIs for multi-cloud applications. Greg talks about cybersecurity considerations, the implications of GDPR for the industry, and how the future increase in the number and types of connected devices creates vast volumes of airline data.
Prior to joining IBM, Greg held leadership roles with American Airlines, Sabre, Wyndham Hotel Group, and Radius Global Travel Management. All that spanning a 23-year travel industry career. Greg has participated and held leadership positions with a number of travel industry associations, and he served as the Chairman for the U.S. Travel Association’s International Pow Wow, participated on the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Allied Council; and has been a member of Hospitality Financial & Technical Professionals (HFTP), Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI), Meeting Planners International (MPI), American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), The Sales Executive Council and The Travel Institute.
Greg currently represents IBM on the Open Travel Alliance Board, and the World Travel & Tourism Council. He also serves on the Thought Leadership Committee for Global Hotel Network, and is a member of the IBM Industry Academy.
Despite previous reports that Icelandair was bidding for Iceland’s Wow, the airline has backed off. Instead, U.S. private-equity firm Indigo Partners is investing in Wow, which is facing significant financial difficulty. Indigo owns Frontier Airlines and they have holdings in Mexico’s Volaris, Wizz Air, and Chile’s JetSmart. In 2017, Indigo agreed to buy 430 Airbus aircraft valued at $50 billion.
Ever wanted someplace to sleep for a few hours at the airport that was more comfortable than the seats in the boarding area? You’ll have that option soon on Concourse A of Dulles International Airport at the Sleepbox Nap Lounge. Sixteen small, stand-alone sound-proofed rooms (with no bathrooms or showers) can be rented via the Sleepbox website or app. The 8-foot-tall rooms come in 30 square foot and 45 square foot sizes.
Minute Suites also rents small rooms for sleeping or working at airports in Dallas, Philadelphia, Charlotte and Atlanta.
The last Qantas 747 to depart Los Angeles International Airport for Brisbane marks the end of an era. Qantas will exclusively fly the Boeing 787-9 aircraft to Los Angeles from Brisbane, fly the 787-9 and A380 on flights to Melbourne, and fly its A380 from Sydney.
A LOT Polish Airlines flight in Beijing needed a new pump to fly to Warsaw. Apparently, without sufficient cash on hand, the crew asked passengers to contribute funds to pay for the repair so the flight could continue.
On November 30, 2017, the number two engine cowling on Frontier Flight 9260 from Las Vegas to Tampa let go. The CFM56 engine on the A320 continued to operate and the plane returned to McCarran International Airport with no injuries.
The upcoming Normandy Jump commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day, new standards for obtaining an Airline Transport Pilot certificate or an airplane type rating, a solid-state propulsion system from MIT, and a carbon offsetting and reduction scheme for international aviation.
CJ Machado is a writer, a photojournalist with Homeland Magazine, and an illustrator. She is founder/CEO producer of Love Amazingly Productions and devotes all her projects to humanitarian causes and veteran advocacy. One of those projects is Normandy Jump 2019.
CJ getting her pin after jump school from 93-year-old Vincent Speranza, WWII “Battle of the Bulge” and “Screaming Eagle” 101st Airborne veteran.
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the invasion of Normandy, an estimated 25 countries and dozens of vintage aircraft, mainly C-47’s, will participate including the Commemorative Air Force’s D-Day Doll and lead aircraft of “Operation Overlord,” That’s all Brother. Hundreds of paratroopers and civilian parachutists, as well as members of the 82nd Airborne, will fly across the English Channel and jump in the historic drop zones of Normandy as they did 75 years ago. Everyone will be dressed in WWII style allied uniforms and will jump with military round parachutes.
The Normandy Jump 2019 documentary will include interviews and rare footage of the WWII veterans that fought on D-Day and the team will follow and film D-Day Doll on her mission back to Normandy with much-anticipated stops at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Ohio and the Waterbury-Oxford Airport in Connecticut, where American aircraft will convene before they cross the Atlantic.
For more information and to support the documentation of Normandy Jump 2019, please visit NormandyJump2019.com and consider pre-ordering a Normandy Jump 2019 DVD.
CJ Machado on the cover of Homeland Magazine.
See CJ’s Homeland Magazine article, Airborne all the Way about D-Day Doll and the WWII Airborne Demonstration Team at the Planes Of Fame Air Show in Chino, California.
Inland Empire Wingis a wing of the Commemorative Air Force which has as it’s mission education such that generations of Americans will value and support the contributions of military aviation to assure the nation’s freedom. In 2019, the D-Day Doll will journey back to Normandy, as the world celebrates a day of infamy, the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. Five men will climb into an old warbird and fly her back to the mission field once more.
The FAA is proposing new standards for obtaining an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate in the airplane category or for obtaining an airplane type rating. Submit your comments at Airline Transport Pilot and Type Rating for Airplane Airman Certification Standards by December 21, 2018. The proposed change includes preparation for the FAA ATP knowledge test and practical test and to receive an ATP certificate or airplane type rating.
MIT has demonstrated a solid-state propulsion system that can sustain powered flight, by designing and flying an electroaerodynamically propelled heavier-than-air aeroplane. See Flight of an aeroplane with solid-state propulsion published November 21, 2018 in Nature.
We look at the Boeing Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System or MCAS for the 737 MAX, the Lockheed Martin X-59 Quiet Supersonic Technology aircraft, an Aurora Flight Sciences high-altitude pseudo-satellite, Japan Airlines pilots and drinking, and the TSA’s Automated Security Lanes. Also, Launchpad Marzari reports on the Red Bull Air Race World Championship Finale in Fort Worth, Texas.
The FAA is focusing on the automated stabilizer trim system that Boeing added to the 737 MAX aircraft. It’s called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System or MCAS. Boeing may be required to design a fix for the system. Meanwhile, a Florida-based law firm has filed a lawsuit against Boeing claiming the system was an unsafe design and contributed to the Lion Air crash.
Earlier this year, NASA awarded Lockheed a contract worth nearly $250 million to develop a supersonic airplane that doesn’t create a loud sonic boom. The X-59 Quiet Supersonic Technology aircraft is designed for a 55,000-foot cruise at about 940 miles per hour. NASA will flight-test the experimental QueSST aircraft by the end of 2021.
The JAL co-pilot arrested at London’s Heathrow airport for being drunk took an in-house breathalyzer test but cheated. The breathalyzer used by JAL didn’t have a tube and it wasn’t noticed that the pilot was not blowing into the device.
Traditional airport security checkpoints in the U.S. process passengers serially. But now a different TSA checkpoint design is rolling out to additional airports. They are called “Automated Security Lanes” and passengers are processed in parallel.
Bombardier sells off major portions of its commercial aviation business, FAA issues an Emergency Airworthiness Directive for Boeing 737, an American Airlines executive flys United, an update on United’s Polaris business class, Japanese pilots and alcohol consumption, and some visitors allowed to the gate at Sea-Tac. Also, a talk with a Challenger Class Red Bull air race pilot and crosswind landings with the B-52.
FAA says this Boeing 737 MAX emergency AD “was prompted by analysis performed by the manufacturer showing that if an erroneously high single angle of attack (AOA) sensor input is received by the flight control system, there is a potential for repeated nose-down trim commands of the horizontal stabilizer. This condition, if not addressed, could cause the flight crew to have difficulty controlling the airplane, and lead to excessive nose-down attitude, significant altitude loss, and possible impact with terrain.”
The Japanese transport minister says they’ll create an expert panel to look at drinking rules for aviation staff. There have been a number of recent alcohol-related problems involving Japanese airline pilots.
Launchpad Marzari Interviewed Patrick Davidson, Red Bull Challenger 77. The Challenger Cup was conceived to help the next generation of pilots develop the skills needed for potential advancement to the Master Class.
Launchpad also spoke with LTC Roy “Street” Lohse, Instructor pilot, 307th Bomb Wing, Barksdale AFB about how the B-52 can land in a crab. or sideways in a crosswind.
Teachers from across the country came to AOPA’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) conference, hosted and sponsored by UPS in Louisville, Kentucky. The event featured two keynotes, two panel discussions, and 15 breakout sessions.
Delta Airlines celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Delta/Northwest merger, opening their new engine repair shop, and their first A220-100. An American Airlines a baggage handler gets an unexpected free ride, then another one home. We look at the latest on the fatal Lion Air crash, Boeing 737 MAX data servers, and two Iceland airlines that plan to join forces. Also, young pilot Solomon’s interview with an aviation Youtuber in Australia, and Launchpad Marzari talks with Snowbird #1.
Some two thousand Delta Air Lines employees celebrated the ten-year anniversary of the Delta/Northwest merger, the grand opening of a new 127,000-square-foot state-of-the-art engine repair shop at Atlanta, and the arrival of their first Airbus A220-100.
Icelandair says the brands will continue to operate independently. Icelandair shareholders and regulators must approve the acquisition. Icelandair operates an all-Boeing fleet while WOW is an all-Airbus fleet.
Sixteen-year-old pilot Solomon talks with aviation Youtuber Stefan Drury, an expat Brit living in Australia. He makes videos on YouTube for viewers to experience the world of aviation, get travel tips and ideas, learn about gear and gadgets, and follow his adventures in regularly posted vlogs. Stefan’s website is stef747.com.