629 Boeing 737 MAX Return to Service Airworthiness Directive

We talk with an Air Traffic Controller at London Heathrow who also acts as deputy manager of the ATC team for the RIAT airshow. In the news, FAA airworthiness directive permits the Boeing 737 MAX to return to service, Delta and tariffs on Airbus aircraft, Gatwick slot usage and planned labor action at Heathrow, speed dating in the air, Norwegian Air Shuttle troubles, autonomous airplane tugs, and a F/A-18C Hornet goes into the National Air & Space Museum.

Guest

Adam Spink has been an air traffic controller at the Heathrow Airport tower for 22 years. He’s also an instructor, examiner, and supervisor. Adam’s main job is in the Procedures and Development office working on new procedures and equipment.

Adam explains aircraft wake turbulence and the Time Based Separation (TBS) used at Heathrow to increase the aircraft landing rate, including the implications for air traffic controllers when planes are separated by time instead of by distance. See: New separation standard permanently adopted over the North Atlantic.

We also learn how the environmental aspects of aviation fit into key performance measures and controller metrics that include reduced emissions.

In addition to his job as a NATS controller at Heathrow, Adam acts as deputy manager of the ATC team for the Royal International Air Tattoo airshow (RIAT) held at RAF Fairford in the UK. He’s a member of the UK Air Transport Confidential Human Factors Incident Reporting Programme (the equivalent of NASA ASRS), and a member of various international working groups on low visibility ops, satellite-based navigation, and radar systems. Adam speaks about human factors at various medical school/medical university courses.

Find Adam on Twitter and Instagram.

Aviation News

U.S. lifts Boeing 737 MAX flight ban after crash probes, tough hurdles remain

On November 20, 2020, the FAA issued AD 2020-24-02, Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes [PDF] superseding Airworthiness Directive 2018-23-51, which applied to all Boeing Company Model 737-8 and 737-9 (737 MAX) airplanes. AD 2018-23-51 required revising certificate limitations and operating procedures of the Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) to provide the flight crew with runaway horizontal stabilizer trim procedures to follow under certain conditions. 

The new AD requires installing new flight control computer (FCC) software, revising the existing Airplane Flight Manual to incorporate new and revised flight crew procedures, installing new MAX display system (MDS) software, changing the horizontal stabilizer trim wire routing installations, completing an angle of attack (AOA) sensor system test, and performing an operational readiness flight.

Southwest deploys team to bring 737 MAX jets out of desert

Southwest Airlines has 34 Boeing 737 MAX jets in storage in Victorville, California. The airline sent a team of mechanics to start the process of bringing its jets out of storage. 737 MAX flights at Southwest should resume the second quarter of 2021. There will be no re-booking charge for passengers who are uncomfortable flying on the MAX.

European regulator to lift Boeing 737 MAX grounding in January

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) executive director said the 737 MAX is safe to fly.  “We wanted to carry out a totally independent analysis of the safety of this aircraft, so we performed our own checks and flight tests. All these studies tell us that the 737 MAX can return to service. We have started to put in place all the measures. It is likely that in our case we will adopt the decisions, allowing it to return to service, sometime in January.”

Delta Skirts Trump Tariffs by Sending Airbus Jets on World Tour

As part of the Boeing/Airbus subsidy battle, tariffs were placed on European-built Airbus aircraft in October 2019. Delta has taken delivery of seven planes since then, but instead of flying them to the United States, the airline based them overseas, avoiding the tariff because they weren’t imports. In a statement to Bloomberg News, Delta said “We have made the decision not to import any new aircraft from Europe while these tariffs are in effect. Instead, we have opted to use the new aircraft exclusively for international service, which does not require importation.”

Suspension of airport “80/20” slot usage rule to last till end of March 2021 – Gatwick not happy

Until March 2020, European regulations required that an airline use 80% of its landing slots or they were lost. But because of the huge drop in travel demand, the rule was suspended for six months, then extended for another 6 months, to 27th March 2021. Gatwick airport wants the old slot rules reinstated before summer 2021.

Heathrow Staff To Strike For 4 Days In December

London’s Heathrow Airport wants to cut costs by reducing wages. The large Unite trade union says the airport plans to fire some 4,000 workers, then rehire them at lower wages. 85% of the union membership voted in favor of strikes in protest.

Airline offers speed-dating on dead-end ‘flight to nowhere’

Taiwanese carrier EVA Air and travel experience company are offering flights called “Fly! Love Is In the Air!” Twenty men and twenty women will depart from Taipei, fly around the island for three hours, return to the airport, and pairs will then enjoy a two-hour date. Seating on the plane is by random draw, but mingling is allowed. Food is prepared by a Michelin-starred chef.

Norwegian Air Is the Latest Trans-Atlantic Carrier to File for Bankruptcy in 2020 Due to Covid-19

Norwegian Air Shuttle has filed for protection from creditors in Ireland.

Autonomous Electric Tow Tugs Could Cut Handling Costs

Californian start-up Moonware says the aviation industry is stagnant. They want to do something about that. Moonware says they are “building an AI-powered fleet management network and subsequently deploying autonomous & electric vehicles to fundamentally reshape airport operations.” The company is developing a family of autonomous electrically powered tow tugs for aircraft ground handling.

National Air and Space Museum Welcomes Blue Angels’ F/A-18C Hornet

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum has brought a Blue Angels’ F/A-18C Hornet BuNo 163439 into the collection. This is the first “Blue Angels” aircraft and the first F-18 the museum has acquired. 

Mentioned

Save Whiteman airport, a change.org petition.

Dobbins Reservists Tie the Knot Aboard a C-130

628 Cranky Flier

Brett Snyder, the Cranky Flier, returns as our guest. In the news, United changes its MileagePlus frequent flyer requirements, Costco is selling private jet program memberships, Korean Air and Asiana merge, the outlook for business aviation, Covid testing at the airport, and an “immunity passport” proposal.

Guest

Brett Snyder, Cranky Flier.

Brett Snyder is the president of Cranky Flier LLC. He’s passionate about airlines and has been since he was a child. Brett’s main activity is centered around the Cranky Flier blog and the Cranky Concierge air travel assistance service. He also produces the Cranky Talk podcast and the Cranky Daily which offers the day’s top five airline stories. The Cranky Network Weekly is the newest member of the Cranky family with expert analysis of strategic US airline network changes.

Aviation News

United Airlines lowering requirements for ‘premier’ frequent flyer program

For 2021, United Airlines reduces the requirements for MileagePlus premier status, and offers bonus points in some cases.

Korean Air to take over rival Asiana in $2.2bn buyout

Korean Air owner Hanjin Group announced it will acquire Asiana Airlines. This would make Korean Air one of the world’s largest airlines. Hanjin said the deal will “stabilize the Korean aviation industry, which is suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Costco selling $17.5K private jet membership that lasts 1 year

Multinational Costco is a retailer that operates membership-only warehouse clubs. They are offering a $17,499.99 one-year membership to a private jet charter company Wheels Up.

Virus Outbreak-Business Travel story

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, business travel represented 21% of the $8.9 trillion spent on global travel and tourism in 2019. Business travel revenue is down 85% at Delta Air Lines, but CEO Ed Bastian thinks a “new normal” for business travel might be 10% to 20% lower than in the past, and he believes it will come back faster than many people think.

United Airlines Becomes First Airline to Integrate State of Maine Testing on arrival into Travel Experience

Maine currently has some tough requirements for those who travel to that state. According to the government Covid-19 travel page, “It is mandated that all out-of-state travelers coming into Maine, as well as Maine residents returning to Maine, complete a 14-day quarantine upon arrival,” although this can be modified after passing a virus test. 

Lufthansa Predicts Immunity Passports In The Future

Future air travel restrictions could change with the availability of vaccines. Governments are already discussing the concept of an “immunity passport” for people who are vaccinated or otherwise immune. Meanwhile, airlines have been putting testing solutions in place for their customers.

Listener Poll

Airplane Geeks Listener Poll 628: Do you intend to fly to a vacation destination in 2021? Do you expect to fly for business in 2021?

Mentioned

Video: Worst Place To be a Pilot Season 1 Episode 1 HD from the UK mini-series Worst Place To Be A Pilot.

627 Airline Pay Cuts

Airline pay cuts, prospective student pilots told to wait, proposed 737 MAX training requirements, the boat that Boeing sold, and a Brit is set to pilot Air Force One. Also, a holiday flying festival, the Kitty Hawk Flyers, an A-10 pilot receives the Distinguished Flying Cross, an upcoming electric air speed record attempt, and New Zealand’s first electric airplane.

Aviation News

Dutch Airline Pilots Association VNV signs commitment clause

KLM pilots agreed to accept pay cuts that allow the government to make the next installment of a 3.4 billion-euro ($3.96 billion) bailout package that includes a 1 billion-euro loan and guarantees for 2.4 billion euros in bank loans. The Dutch Airline Pilots Association VNV and seven other trade unions agreed to sign a “commitment clause.” 

Nearly all Cathay Pacific pilots, vast majority of cabin crew sign new salary-slashing contracts

98.5% of Cathay Pacific pilots (or 2,613 pilots) and 91.6% of the airline’s cabin crew staff (or 7,346 cabin crew) have accepted what’s characterized as a take-it-or-leave-it deal. Those who refused to accept the new contract would receive an exit package on their way out. The new contracts cut flight attendants pay by 20 to 40 percent, and aircrew pay by 40 to 60 percent.

Air New Zealand’s Staff Ask The Airline To Save Jobs

Over 1,000 staff signed a petition asking the airline to keep jobs in New Zealand. The Kia Kaha Aotearoa petition, meaning Be Strong New Zealand in Maori, asks Air New Zealand to save jobs and stop outsourcing work.

The airlines insist flying is safe. But nearly 100 U.S. air marshals have been infected with COVID-19.

The Transportation Security Administration says 98 federal air marshals have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. 14 of those cases are active. It’s not known if those Marshals contracted the virus on the job.

Pilots union warns students against starting pilot training courses for the foreseeable future

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) has issued a warning to everyone who is thinking about starting a pilot training course – think again. BALPA wants to help students avoid paying upwards of £100,000 for training only to find there are no jobs available. BALPA urges “potential pilots to get experience in another profession first which will postpone any training until the industry is in a more robust shape, provide additional skills and experience and also give them another avenue to fall back on.”

Pilots Want More Frequent 737 MAX Special Training

The public comment period on the FAA proposal for 737 MAX training ended November 2, 2020, and we are hearing about some concerns from the pilot unions. Unions feel the 8-step runaway stabilizer non-normal checklist (NNC) has too many steps and would be difficult to remember. The frequency of recurrent training is also being questioned.

RAF pilot is set to become first non-American to fly US President on Air Force One

According to the Daily Mail, a non-American has never piloted Air Force One. A wing commander with the RAF is set to become the first foreigner to do so. 

Boeing Just Sold The Superyacht You Didn’t Even Know They Owned

Reportedly, Boeing has sold the 151-foot motor yacht Daedalus for $13 million. The yacht can accommodate 10 guests in cabins and has been used for entertaining and hosting corporate customers.

A private jet company is offering $28,000 ‘weddings in the sky’ as charter firms try to offset the loss of business travel

If you want to get married during the pandemic, Air Charter Service is offering a “Wedding in the Sky” experience. These take place in a private jet during a 2-hour flight to nowhere. Vows must have been exchanged in an official setting before boarding the flight. 

Listener Poll

This episode’s listener poll: Besides the Airplane Geeks podcast, what other podcasts do you listen to in order to feed your aviation habit?

Mentioned

Sun ‘n Fun Holiday Flying Festival and Car Show, December 4-5, 2020 on the SUN ‘n FUN Expo Campus in Lakeland Florida.

Kitty Hawk ends Flyer program, shifts focus to once-secret autonomous aircraft. (The American Helicopter Museum has acquired two Flyer aircraft.)

Kitty Hawk Flyer

Kitty Hawk Flyer at the American Helicopter Museum.

A-10 pilot awarded Distinguished Flying Cross for dramatic landing with missing canopy and no landing gear

Maj. Brett DeVries, an A-10 pilot with the Michigan Air National Guard, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for “extraordinary achievement” during a 2017 training flight in which his landing gear failed and his canopy tore off.

The Electro-Flight ACCEL project with Rolls-Royce and Yasa Motors to set a new electric air speed record. See Rolls-Royce set to break world record for fastest electric aircraft and Bremont Launches ionBIRD Timepiece as the Company Becomes Official Timing Partner for Rolls-Royce’s Groundbreaking World Record Attempt, which includes footage of the testbed.

Video: NZ’s first electric plane takes off in Christchurch

Seth Jaworski’s great photographs of aircraft parked at Alice Springs.

626 Aviation Safety Culture

The Director of Flight Operations for Quantum Spatial talks about International Standards for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) certification and building a safety culture. Also, Boeing 737 MAX order deferrals, best practices for small flight department maintenance, masks and Covid-19, fighter jets in the Middle East, the next-generation U.S. fighter, and high tech plane floats.

Guest

Josey Billington

Josey Billington, Director of Flight Operations for Quantum Spatial

Josey Billington is the Director of Flight Operations for Quantum Spatial, an NV5 company. Quantum Spatial became the first full-service geospatial company to achieve International Standards for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) certification. This designation was developed by the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) and verifies that the company’s flight operations division has adopted the best practices necessary to reach the highest levels of safety, security, and professionalism in its airborne data acquisition activities.

Josey explains the motivations behind the IS-BAO certification and how it is an ongoing piece of an organization’s safety culture. He also shares some thoughts on flying as a survey pilot.

Josey is a former U.S. Marine and airline pilot and holds an airline transport pilot (ATP) certificate, as well as a certified flight instructor (CFI, CFI, MEI) certificates from the FAA. In December of 2019, Josey obtained the coveted Certified Aviation Manager (CAM) certificate from the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).

Aviation News

Boeing’s 737 Max Gets Double Dose of Bad News

Not unexpectedly, airlines are deferring 737 MAX orders as the demand has dropped off a cliff. American has deferred delivery of 18 MAX jets from 2021 and 2022 to 2023 and 2024. Southwest is talking to Boeing about deferrals.

New Resource Outlines Best Practices for Small Flight Department Maintenance

The NBAA (National Business Aviation Association) has a new resource available for its members called, “Best Practices for Small Flight Department Maintenance.” The members-only resource is titled Best Practices for Small Flight Department Maintenance and it offers practical guidance on maximizing personnel resources while ensuring airworthiness.

In continuing Covid-19 news:

After UAE Deal, Israel Asks U.S. for F-22 Stealth Jets to Preserve Military Edge

The story of who wants what fighter jet in the Middle East.

Clues Reveal Who’s Likely Building the Air Force’s Secret New Fighter Jet

The next generation of U.S. fighter jet may be flying already.

Maine company goes high tech to make sleek plane floats

Maine-based Clamar Floats uses molded composites to create custom floats.

Listener Poll

Results from listener poll 623: “What is your favorite aircraft and why?”

  • mine, because it’s mine, Others maybe bigger, faster, more economical, practical, sexyer but this one is mine.
  • Hawker tempest 
  • CH-53 Sea Stallion because of its heavy lift capabilities. 
  • 747-8i, specifically with Lufthansa’s livery. it just looks right…
  • E-2 Hawkeye! All the brains of an E-6 but operates off of a carrier. Plus it’s got one of the most interesting tail configurations of any aircraft. Normally I’d say the CV-22, but we all know that’s really a confused helo. 
  • Boeing 747 – because it’s the queen of the skies. So beautiful. Only ever flew once, NRT-SEA back in 2013.
  • X-Wing – Took down Death Star
  • Turbine powered Grumman Albatross with VIP interior (it’s like a luxury yacht that can fly around the world using paved runways or approved waterways. Heaven! 🙂 ) 
  • DHC-2 Beaver. It’s without a doubt one of the most versatile aircraft ever made. Floats, amphib, wheels, skis. It’s got it all.
  • F-15E. – It’s the best. 
  • sr-71 Blackbird. Why? Just look at it. It has to be one of the coolest looking aircraft ever.
  • Cirrus SR22, because it is so much fun to fly on long distances as well as short trips for breakfast.
  • Any aircraft I get to fly.
  • “Boeing 747-400
  • As a teenager I did my first longhaul flight from FRA to BKK on a Thai Airways 744. I was with a group of students and teachers going for a high school exchange to Melbourne, Australia. Obviously I was super excited and I still vividly remember the moment that the 744 taxied to our gate while I was standing right at the window. It was very impressive and I’ve always loved the Jumbo’s quirky design with the big “head”. Over all those years my favorite aircraft never changed to any other model and I doubt that will ever change.
  • B-17 Flying Fortress, the plane that made Boeing what it once was but it is no longer.
  • DC-3
  • PBY
  • ATR72, flew like an old farm truck, but always would get you there. Great memories, short landings, Caribbean flying. It was the best.
  • The one I’m either flying or riding in at that moment, but my fantasy plane is, of course, the F4U Corsair
  • Boeing 757. Such a well balanced machine. Strikes the perfect balance between performance and looks. And a ton of fun to fly on.
  • F-4 sleek fast and cool n two engines . 
  • Hey airplane geeks my favorite airplane is the A10 warthog because I would like to fly it. I am only 14 and hope to get my glider  license . Keep up the good work
  • TBM-900 for its versatility.
  • Which ever one I’m looking at.
  • Curtiss P-40 Warhawk or Douglas A-4 Skyhawk
  • B1 Lancer “Bone”; it has everything.  Looks, speed, and phenomenal capability.  Take a listen to the Fighter Pilot Podcast episode on it and you’ll be sold. (066 B-1 Lancer)
  • Boeing 707 – it was my first flight in an airplane and started my lifelong passion for aviation
  • The DH Mosquito. The first multi role aircraft ever, no other aircraft did more roles than the Mosquito until the Tornado jet entered service. Also what is cooler than 2 Merlin engines?
  • SIAI Marchetti SF-260. Designed by the legendary Italian designer, Stelio Frati, the SF-260 is quite simply one of the sexiest lightplanes ever designed. Painted red, it looks like it is doing 200 mph just sitting on the ramp.
  • Cessna 177RG.   Love the extra room, better view and extra speed over the rest of the small Cessna’s…   V-Tail a close second
  • SR71. Amazing in every way
  • F-14 – it was huge, fast, agile, powerful, launched off a carrier, sexy, and carried some of the greatest hi-vis paint schemes of all time. 
  • My 11 year old “designed” an aircraft when he was 9, and has been coming up with different Lego constructs, concept drawings, and other models of it over the last 2 years.  Clearly has to be at the top of my list for obvious reasons!
  • Cirrus Vision SF50 because Max Trescott told me to say so or else…
  • Fighter: ME-262, Non-fighter: Connie
  • C130, worked on it
  • 748
  • P51 Mustang. It represents everything I like. History, speed, awesome looks. It’s on the bucket list to fly someday!
  • DC3 or de havilland vampire
  • DC3 – because as a child, there was one at the local McDonalds. I never got to have my birthday in it, but I was hooked!
  • Dehavilland Vampire. Because who doesn’t love the twin boom??
  • Supermarine Spitfire. Its contribution to WW2,  its beautiful look with those elliptical wings, and that oh so sweet sound of that Merlin engine.
  • L-188 Electra because it’s beautiful 

This episode’s listener poll: What is the longest flight you have ever been on?

Made My Day

Our Main(e) Man Micah tells the story about how an Airplane Geeks listener made his day.

Mentioned

How the Aurora Borealis Nearly Started World War III

Video: The U-2 Spy Plane That Got Lost in an Aurora and Almost Started WW3

Meet Jessica Traynor: Air Canada’s youngest female captain

Video: Cessna 441 Conquest II Takeoff

 

625 Aerospace Internships

We talk with a co-founder of the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship which matches interns with aerospace companies. He’s also a former USAF combat pilot and an astronaut who flew on two Space Shuttle missions. In the news, EASA and the Boeing 737 MAX, the NTSB finds that alcohol caused a fatal accident, the U.S. Army plans to review its aviation fleet, expansion opportunities for budget airlines, and a dog evades capture at an airport for 12 hours.

Guest

Alvin DrewAlvin Drew Jr. is the Department of Defense Liaison at NASA Headquarters and a cofounder of the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship. That organization is designed for Black and African-American students who are looking for their first aerospace internship. Alvin is also a former USAF combat pilot and an astronaut with over 600 hours in space.

The mission of the Fellowship is to provide a pathway into successful aerospace careers and future aerospace industry leadership to people whose race and ethnicity has made them the subject of systemic bias. Participating companies identify internship opportunities and the Fellowship matches those with student candidates. Aerospace internship applications are being accepted this year through November 15, 2020.

In addition to hearing Alvin explain the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship, we are treated to some perspectives that can only come from an astronaut who has flown the Space Shuttle twice and visited the International Space Station.

Alvin graduated from the United States Air Force Academy, served as a combat rescue helicopter pilot, then transitioned into USAF special operations, where he flew 60 combat missions. Alvin went on to become a test pilot, and served in the U.S. Air Force’s Air Combat Command staff, retiring in 2010 as a Colonel. Alvin has more than 3,500 hours of flying experience and has piloted 30 different types of aircraft.  

Selected as a mission specialist by NASA, Alvin was initially assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office Station Operations Branch. He served as Director of Operations at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia and logged more than 612 hours in space on STS-118 in 2007 and STS-133 in 2011. Alvin is the 200th person to walk in space. 

Alvin holds two bachelor’s degrees from the United States Air Force Academy as well as master’s degrees from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and the United States Air Force Air University. He is an active member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, and the American Helicopter Society.

Learn more about the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship at their website, and follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Aviation News

Boeing Max Judged Safe to Fly by Europe’s Aviation Regulator

EASA is reviewing the documents for a draft 737 MAX airworthiness directive that it expects to issue in November. The organization is satisfied with the September test flights. After the draft is issued, there will be a 4-week public comment period. EASA wants a synthetic sensor added in addition to the two mechanical AOA indicators. Boeing says that will take 20 to 24 months, but EASA says, “Our analysis is showing that this is safe, and the level of safety reached is high enough for us. What we discussed with Boeing is the fact that with the third sensor, we could reach even higher safety levels.”

NTSB Points to Alcohol-Impaired Pilot as the Cause of Alaska Accident

In a 2019 accident near Girdwood, Alaska, a Piper PA22-150 impacted a 5,512-foot ridge about 15 feet below the peak. The ATP-rated pilot and three passengers died. The NTSB reported that both the pilot and the student pilot had elevated levels of alcohol in their bloodstream.

Army to conduct thorough review of aviation fleet in FY23

The U.S. Army is trying to balance funding for the current fleet vs. investments in future technology, including the Future Armed Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) and the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA).

Budget airlines muscle into big airports as coronavirus creates new opportunities

In the past, some airlines would have liked to expand into new airports but their ability to do so was prevented by the lack of airport capacity. Now, with incumbent airlines cutting back on some routes, the door has opened for others to move in. At the Boyd Group International Aviation Forecast Summit this month, most estimates for when air travel will return to 2019 levels put that recovery in 2025 or 2026.

Dog Disrupts Airport For 12 Hours

Arriving at Pearson International Airport in Toronto from Spain, Crystal, a Spanish podenco, escaped from her crate. The podenco is related to the greyhound and is a fast runner. It took airport personnel 12-hours to chase Crystal down.

Eat at the Airport

Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari speaks with Gate 12 Bar and Grill owner Cody Whitten for a live Eat at the Airport review from Easterwood Airport (KCLL) in College Station, Texas. Find more airport eating establishments at EatAtTheAirport.com.

Mentioned

Request for Feedback on the Standardization Community’s Interest in Developing Space Cyber Standards – The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is seeking information on efforts by members of the standardization community to develop space cybersecurity standards, or any plans to develop such standards.

Six Minutes to Freedom: An Evening with Kurt Muse – At the American Helicopter Museum, November 14, 2020. Hear the amazing story online or in-person of Kurt Muse, who was rescued from a Panamanian prison by American Special Operations Forces after being interrogated and confined by military dictator General Manuel Noriega. Muse will tell the story of his fight for freedom in Panama as the leader of a group of patriots broadcasting on The Voice of Liberty, an underground radio station; his harrowing interrogation and imprisonment; and his dramatic rescue by the elite Delta forces in Operation Acid Gambit. He will offer his presentation in front of the Museum’s Hughes MH-6J helicopter, which was recreated from parts of the helicopter that rescued him.

Powering a Sustainable Future, an Aerospace Industry Business After Hours Webinar at the New England Air Museum with Dr. Michael Winter, Senior Fellow, Advanced Technology, Pratt & Whitney.

Airplane Geeks Listener poll #625

Video: Space Shuttle Launch Audio – play LOUD (no music) HD 1080p

624 Aircraft Cybersecurity

The GAO issues aircraft cybersecurity recommendations, the Southwest pilot’s union balks at a pay cut, some think commercial aviation hasn’t seen the worst of it yet, Congress looks to establish the National Center for the Advancement of Aviation, Singapore Airlines has a new use for idled A380 aircraft, the Boom Supersonic XB-1 demonstrator rolls out, and an all-electric airplane racing league is announced.

Aviation News

Computers Aboard Airliners Vulnerable to Hacking, Watchdog Says

On Oct 9, 2020, the Government Accountability Office issued a report, FAA Should Fully Implement Key Practices to Strengthen Its Oversight of Avionics Risks. The GAO says, “Airplane manufacturers have cybersecurity controls in place and there haven’t been reports of successful cyberattacks on commercial airplane IT systems to date. But evolving cyber threats and increasing connectivity between airplanes and other systems could put future flight safety at risk if the FAA doesn’t prioritize oversight… We recommended that the FAA strengthen cybersecurity oversight for airplanes.”

Listen to the GAO podcast episode Watchdog Report, Protecting Air Travel from Cyberthreats.

Southwest pilots’ union pushes back on 10% pay cut proposal

Southwest Airlines has never had a furlough and the company is trying to avoid that for 2021. Management proposed a 10% pay cut for pilots, but the pilot’s union is balking. The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association is concerned that the across-the-board reduction and force majeure clauses could allow the airline to furlough pilots anyway.

Winter is coming for the world’s airlines

Bloomberg says that “the worst period for the aviation industry is probably ahead of it, rather than behind.” Carriers have been using their bank balances, government bailout money, and some cost-cutting measures. But the cash is dwindling.

‘The worst is not behind any airline’: Qatar Airways CEO warns more collapses coming for industry

Forty-three commercial airlines have folded so far this year. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects the industry to burn $77 billion in cash in the second half of 2020. 

Momentum grows for creation of National Center for the Advancement of Aviation

Two bipartisan bills have been introduced in the U.S. Congress that would create a National Center for the Advancement of Aviation (NCAA). One in the House and one in the Senate. The NCAA “would create an independent center to facilitate collaboration among commercial, general, and military aviation sectors to address the mounting workforce challenges facing the industry.” More than 130 organizations [PDF] representing all segments of aviation support the legislation, including AOPA.

See: H.R.8532 – To establish the National Center for the Advancement of Aviation

Grounded airline planes turned into pop-up restaurants sell out in 30 minutes

Singapore Airlines converted two Airbus A380 planes parked at Changi Airport into restaurants. Reservations for October 24th and 25th sold out in 30 minutes.

Boom Rolls Out Its XB-1 “Baby Boom” Supersonic Demonstrator Jet

Boom Supersonic is working toward the 55-seat supersonic airliner called the Overture. A step in that development is the XB-1 supersonic demonstrator aircraft, frequently called the “Baby Boom.”

Video: XB-1 Supersonic Rollout, hosted by Boom Founder and CEO Blake Scholl.

All-electric aircraft racing league announced

An all-electric aircraft racing league is being formed and they plan to start racing in 2022. Air Race E says pilots will fly in fields of eight electric-powered aircraft, wingtip-to-wingtip, at 280 mph 10 meters above the ground, over a 1.5-kilometer oval circuit. Twelve teams have formed from nine countries: the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Norway, Ukraine, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

Mentioned

New England Air Museum, restoring the Burnelli CBY-3.

Redbird Migration 2020, a free virtual flight training conference Wed, Oct 21, 2020, 09:00 AM – Thu, Oct 22, 2020, 05:00 PM, America/Chicago Time.

AvGeekFests.com

The Learjet Diaries by Greg Madonna.

Kilborn by Wayne Hughes.

Phil’s Airline Fleet News

NBAA honors pilots who landed Citation after dual flameouts

623 Boeing 787 Dreamliner Move

Boeing decides to move 787 Dreamliner production to South Carolina, the FAA Administrator flies the 737 MAX, Germany halts its heavy-lift helicopter procurement, airlines offer Covid-19 testing to passengers, furloughs after the CARES Act expired, go-arounds and accidents, a fast electric airplane from Rolls-Royce, advanced preflight after maintenance, and Flightradar24 DDoS attack.

Aviation News

Report: Boeing to move all 787 Dreamliner production to S.C.; WA governor responds

Boeing made their decision, and all assembly of the 787 Dreamliner will be consolidated in South Carolina. Production of the 787 will end in Washington state. Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal said the move to consolidate the work in North Charleston, S.C., will be done by “mid-2021, according to our best estimate.”

‘I Like What I See’: FAA Chief Flies 737 Max, But Not Ready To Recertify Plane

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson (a former Delta Air Lines pilot) flew the 737 MAX. At a news conference, Dickson said, “I completed a number of test profiles today to examine the functionality of the aircraft and I liked what I saw, so it responded well. I did two landings and also some air work maneuvers over about a two-hour period… and I felt prepared. I think most importantly, I felt that the training prepared me to be very comfortable.”

Germany Axes Plan To Buy Either Sikorsky CH-53K Or Boeing CH-47 Helicopters

In what was called “a surprise development,” Germany decided not to replace the German Luftwaffe’s aging CH-53G series helicopters with either the CH-53K King Stallion or the CH-47F Chinook. The reason: both heavy-lift helicopters are too expensive.

Here are the U.S. airlines offering COVID-19 testing to travelers

JetBlue has partnered with Vault Health to provide at-home saliva tests to customers “wanting peace of mind and those who must secure a negative COVID-19 test result before entering certain states and countries or in order to avoid certain mandatory quarantines.” United Airlines will offer testing for customers traveling from San Francisco International Airport to Hawaii beginning Oct. American Airlines will offer pre-flight testing to travelers at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport going to Hawaii starting on Oct. 15.

Black Thursday Has Arrived: It’s Bad, But Not As Bad As Feared

The CARES Act has expired and while thousands were furloughed, others have negotiated new agreements with airlines or are in the process of negotiating new deals.

Failure to Go Around Leads to Runway Excursion

The August 15, 2019 crash of Dale Earnhardt Jr’s Cessna Citation Latitude at Elizabethton, Tennessee (0A9) followed “an unstable VFR approach, a poorly executed landing, and a botched go-around attempt.”

Rolls-Royce Thinks It’s Developing The Fastest Electric Airplane In The World

The concept includes a 500hp motor, and “a battery with enough energy to supply 250 homes.”  Rolls-Royce is ground testing the technology on a full-scale replica of the plane’s core. Project partners include YASA, a British electric powertrain company, and electric aviation startup Electroflight. Rolls-Royce said, “The first flight is planned for later this year and we are aiming to beat the current all-electric flight world record early next year.”

Advanced Preflight After Maintenance

General Aviation fatalities have occurred after in-flight emergencies that have been the direct result of maintenance personnel who have serviced or installed systems incorrectly. The General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) say that a significant number of those fatalities could have been avoided if pilots conducted more thorough preflight inspections of aircraft that have just been returned to service.

Resources:

Update on Flightradar24’s extended downtime

Flightradar24 experienced a sustained Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack that resulted in extensive downtime. “We are continuing to do everything possible to mitigate the effects of the attack and to harden our systems to reduce the likelihood of future attacks making our services unavailable.”

Mentioned

Listener Poll 623

Whirly-Girls New Instrument Rating Scholarship for Female Aviators for 2021

Aviation Careers Podcast and the Aerospace Scholarships guide.

SUN ‘n FUN Holiday Flying Festival and Car Show

Last ever Airbus A380 superjumbo assembled in France

Airbus A380 Struggles But a Business Case Exists for Neo

Airbus debuts hydrogen net-zero concept aircraft for 2035 launch

Video: How Delta Fixes $32 Million Jet Engines | Big Business

Video: Coulson Aviation CH47

Video: Awesome Chinook helicopter firefighting system in action

Jet World Record Project – A video report from KTVN, the CBS affiliate in Reno, Nevada on the TS-11 project to rebuild the airplane. See also Renegade Jets.

622 Hypersonic Flight

We explore hypersonic flight and the research being conducted at the University of Texas at San Antonio. In the news, federal aid for the airlines suffering under the pandemic, treating aircraft interiors with anti-microbial spray, a secret Air Force fighter jet is revealed, and more on JSX and Orange County Airport.

Guest

Hypersonic researcher Dr. Chris Combs

Hypersonic researcher Dr. Chris Combs

Christopher S. Combs, Ph.D. is the Dee Howard Endowed Assistant Professor in Aerodynamics at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Department of Mechanical Engineering. He currently leads a group of graduate and undergraduate students studying problems related to hypersonic aerothermodynamics. Chris is also leading the construction of a Mach 7 wind tunnel facility at UTSA. His primary area of research interest is in the development and application of non-intrusive laser-based measurement techniques for compressible flows. 

Chris explains why Mach 5 is used as the definition of hypersonic flight, the heating effect at that speed on materials, and the unique chemistry of the air. He tells us about the Mach 7 wind tunnel (a Ludwieg tube) that UTSA is building to study the aerodynamic effects of fast-moving objects. Those include destructive shock waves and boundary layer flows.

We look at the rate of data sample collection in the tunnel and the type of sensors used, which include non-intrusive diagnostic techniques rather than intrusive probes. Interestingly, laser light can be used to probe the chemistry of a molecule and measure temperature and pressure.

Chris also considers likely future hypersonic applications in space and with the military. Commercial applications remain interesting, but far in the future.

Mach 7 Ludwieg tube

Mach 7 Ludwieg tube.

Prior to starting at UTSA, Chris worked as a Research Assistant Professor at The University of Tennessee Space Institute. He holds a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Evansville and a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin.

Chris has extensive experience in investigations of hypersonic flow physics, with over 50 technical publications in this field and over $10M in research funding from various organizations including NASA, USAF, US Navy, and DARPA. 

Chris active with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and the American Physical Society (APS) and is a member of the AIAA Aerodynamic Measurement Technology Technical Committee, the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Aerospace Committee, and the Dee Howard Foundation Education Advisory Council.

UTSA Hypersonics home page

@DrChrisCombs on Twitter

Aviation News

Airline CEOs meet with White House in last-minute plea for more coronavirus aid

Under the CARES Act, $25 billion in federal aid was available to the airlines. That Act expires September 30, 2020, and most airline CEO’s want another round. So do the unions.

Delta says it won’t furlough most workers thanks to buyouts and shorter schedules

Shorter work schedules, voluntary leaves of absence, and buyouts and early retirement packages helped Delta avoid most furloughs.

United Airlines pilot union voting to save thousands of jobs

United Airlines pilots union leaders approved the Pandemic Recovery Tentative Agreement in early September, and the full union membership ratified the TA.

United Airlines using giant robots to coat planes with germ-killing spray

The MicroSonic NovaRover machine sprays the anti-microbial chemical Zoono Microbe Shield that “forms a long-lasting bond with surfaces and inhibits the growth of microbes.” United will use the 100-pound robot at 10 U.S. airports. United said the NovaRover “is designed to apply a super fine mist… that coats all surfaces in a 12-foot radius with a single spray.”

UA Press Release: United Adds Antimicrobial Spray to Already Extensive Cabin-Cleaning Measures

Video: United – Using Antimicrobials To Keep Aircraft Surfaces Clean

Air Force reveals it secretly built and flew new fighter jet

The full-scale flight demonstrator was built under the Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) classified program. Air Force acquisition head Will Roper said the jet could move into production “pretty fast” and “We are ready to go and build the next-generation aircraft in a way that has never happened before.” Roper would not give any details of the aircraft. The NGAD was designed and tested digitally before it was actually built.

Why JSX is Being Kicked Out of Orange County Airport

Previously, JetSuiteX (or JSX) announced it was told that it was no longer welcome at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California. Cranky Flier uncovers what’s really behind the story.

621 Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF)

We talk with Oshkosh Corporation about Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting, or ARFF. Oshkosh Corporation builds tough specialty trucks and access equipment, and Oshkosh Airport Products designs and produces ARFF and snow removal vehicles.

Striker ARFF

The Striker ARFF from Oshkosh Corporation.

Guests

Jason Shively is the Director of Engineering at Oshkosh Corporation and Jack Bermingham is a Senior Product Manager. We talk about ARFF vehicles, specifically the Striker line that Oshkosh produces.

These ARFF trucks aren’t your garden variety municipal file trucks. These are 2, 3, and even 4-axle trucks with 700-800 HP coming from an 18-liter diesel engine. Oshkosh doesn’t buy a chassis from somebody and build a body on top of it. These are purpose-built vehicles.

We talk about how fire fighting at the airport is different than at other locations, and that typically firefighters first create a safe exit path for the passengers, then address the aircraft fire. Jason and Jack explain how ARFF trucks must self-contain all the fire suppression materials and have to quickly respond to accidents that may be in difficult, off-tarmac locations.

ARFF trucks utilize a high reach extendable turret (HRET) but the Oshkosh Snozzle® extendable boom can extend up to 65 feet in the air, put water directly into the aircraft engine,  and even puncture the aircraft to deliver fire suppression agent to the interior.

Training is important for ARFF firefighters who may encounter traumatized passengers or passengers who are more concerned about their carryon luggage or creating viral videos of an accident.

As for the future of ARFF, we can look forward to advances in vehicle autonomy, connectedness, and electric power for fewer emissions.

Mentioned

ARFF Working Group – The largest professional organization of aviation firefighters and industry experts worldwide.

 

620 The Master Minimum Equipment List (MMEL)

A 737 crew couldn’t properly hand fly the airplane after autopilot failures, and we discuss the Master Minimum Equipment List. Also, airline furloughs loom, unwanted Austrian Eurofighter Typhoons, Air Force efforts to produce more pilots, an engine shutdown due to rain, commercial flights to nowhere, too much PPE isn’t allowed on American Airlines, and an airport throws out an operator.

Aviation News

Experienced crew struggled with instrument flight after 737 lost autopilots

The Lithuanian carrier Klasjet 737-500 departed Madrid Barajas for Kaunas on April 5, 2019, with the captain’s autopilot inoperative. That’s permitted under the minimum equipment list regulations because the officer’s autopilot was working. However, the FO’s autopilot failed 2 minutes after take-off. The pilots had difficulty flying the plane, with large altitude and pitch variations, several go-arounds, flight below the required minimum, and failure to follow ATC instructions.

For an example of an MMEL, see Master Minimum Equipment List (MMEL) for the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet. [PDF]

United Eyes Extensive Furloughs

United Airlines plans to furlough 16,370 employees as early as October 2020: 6,920 flight attendants, 2,850 pilots, 2,260 airport operations personnel, 2,010 mechanics, and 1,400 in management. American and Delta have also announced plans to reduce their workforces beginning Oct. 1.

Austria Wants To Offload Its Unwanted Eurofighter Typhoons On Indonesia

The Austrian defense minister said she plans to hold talks that aim to sell the country’s Eurofighter Typhoons to Indonesia. Indonesia is interested in buying the 15 Typhoons, the only fighter jets the Austrian Air Force has. We discuss why Austria wants to get rid of the fighters and wonder why anybody would want them.

USAF Looks to Address Pilot Shortage with New Programs

Earlier this year, the Air Force told Congress that the service had a shortage of about 2,100 pilots, 10% of the pilots it needs to execute the National Defense Strategy. Air Force initiatives to address the shortage include the use of simulation, reality (VR), and artificial intelligence (AI) programs. A new $38 million Virtual Test and Training Center (VTTC) at Nellis Air Force Base (AFB), NV will be used for joint-aerial combat training.

U.S. Air Force Trains Robotic Dogs to Scout Battlefields

The Department of the Air Force, the U.S. Northern Command, and the U.S. Space Command just performed a field test of the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS). The ABMS is a digital battle network system that collects, processes, and shares data among U.S. and allied forces. In addition to shooting down a cruise missile with a hypervelocity weapon, the Air Force tested the Vision 60 quadrupedal robots developed by Ghost Robotics.

Airbus A220 Operators Told To Protect Avionics Against Rainfall

Rain entered an A220 through the main cabin door and overflowed the drains. Then during taxi the water dripped into the avionics bay below and tripped a circuit breaker, causing an engine shutdown. A220 operators have 12 months to modify the drain tubing.

Starlux Airlines Plans Six More Flights To Nowhere

Last month, Taiwanese carrier Starlux Airlines flew a “flight to nowhere” so passengers could “pretend to go abroad.” The flight flew over the Pratas Islands in the northern part of the South China Sea. This was such a success that Starlux plans more of these flights in their Airbus A321neos.

American Airlines Bans Wearing Too Much Personal Protection Equipment On Board

American Airlines sent a memo to its customer care agents about “Prohibited Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).” Several “recreational” PPE items are banned from flights: personal face/body tents, personal face/body pods, personal air purifiers/refreshers, and Ozone generators. Under the Weather sells a variety of these body pods.

JetSuiteX banned at Orange Co Airport, Asks Customers for Help

According to JetSuiteX, John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California told the company that they were “no longer welcome” at Orange County Airport. No reason was given. JetSuiteX provides “hop-on service” from FBO’s with 19 Embraer ERJ-135 and -145 jet aircraft configured for 30 passengers. Customers received communications from JetSuiteX asking them to write to the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

Mentioned

Prototype of the ‘Flying-V’ plane built by KLM that burns 20% less fuel than traditional aircraft takes to the skies for the first time and TUDelft Flying-V.

“The Flying-V is a design for a highly energy-efficient long-distance aeroplane. The aircraft’s design integrates the passenger cabin, the cargo hold and the fuel tanks in the wings, creating a spectacular v-shape. Its improved aerodynamic shape and reduced weight will mean it uses 20% less fuel than the Airbus A350, today’s most advanced aircraft.”

When does flying become CO2-neutral?

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) has some concepts for “an aircraft that flies as climate-friendly as it is economical and is ready for operation by 2040… This aircraft should be able to carry at least 70 passengers for a distance of up to 2,000 kilometers.”

Calling all pilots! Corps to give up to $210,000 for Marine pilots to re-up

The Marine Corps will give out an aviation bonus of up to $210,000 for select pilots willing to extend their service commitment by up to six years, according to a new administrative message.

Major General Charles Bolden Honored with 2020 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy [PDF]

The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) announced that Major General Charles Bolden USMC (Ret.) has been selected as the recipient of the 2020 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy for “…his impassioned commitment to public service in aviation and aerospace as an aviator, astronaut, and leader and his dedication to excellence for the advancement of all humanity.”

Charlie appeared as our guest in Episode 316 – NASA’s Aeronautics Research, September 2014. His blog from his days at NASA is still online.