Flight delays and cancellations, long lines at the airport, higher fares, and travel woes with travel guru Johnny Jet. Also, Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta tips, Spurwink Farm International Fly-In, PlaneTags Festival, and an ultra-efficient business plane.
Johnny Jet is a well-known travel and technology expert who provides tips, guides, articles, and a newsletter to help the traveler with ticket booking, points and rewards, and credit cards. He offers information about travel apps, products, and available online resources.
We talk with Johnny about the current air travel situation, including canceled and delayed flights, airfare and rental car prices, and long lines at the airport. He offers some strategies to reduce the pain and anxiety that is air travel today.
Johnny logs around 150,000 air miles each year. He and his website JohnnyJet.com have been featured thousands of times in major publications, including USA Today, Time, Fortune, and The New York Times. He’s appeared on ABC, CBS, CNBC, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, NBC, and PBS.
You can also find Johnny every Saturday on Leo Laporte’s The Tech Guy Show where he talks about travel and technology. JohnnyJet.com has been named “one of the top best money-saving websites for travel” by Budget Travel Magazine, and the L.A. Times calls it “one of the top 10 essential travel resources on the internet.”
August 12th and 13th, 2022 at MotoArt Studios in Torrance, California. This is your chance to join fellow Tagnatics and the MotoArt PlaneTags crew for the weekend’s festivities. In Episode 644 Aviation Art Designs we spoke with Dave Hall, the owner of MotoArt and PlaneTags.
Brian Shul is scheduled to be a guest speaker at the PlaneTags festival. He’s an Air Force fighter pilot who flew the A-7D and the A-10, and taught at the Air Force’s TopGun school in the F-5B. He went on to become an SR-71 spy plane pilot. Brian was our guest in Episode 375 – Sled Driver Brian Shul.
Former President Donald Trump decided to replace the traditional Air Force One paint scheme with a different design that includes dark blue paint on the underbelly and engines. Reports say the dark color may cause cooling problems for some components. An Air Force spokesperson said the “…darker colors, among other factors, on the underside of the VC-25B aircraft might contribute to temperatures exceeding the current qualification limits of a small number of components.”
The Biden administration announced the new Air Force One planes will not change to the darker paint scheme. An administration official said, “The Trump paint scheme is not being considered because it could drive additional engineering, time, and cost.” Under the $3.9 billion fixed-price contract to modify two 747-8s, Boeing would have had to pay for any design changes.
The Government Accountability Office says that Boeing is having difficulty finding enough skilled mechanics to work on the aircraft who can also pass strict security requirements. Supply chain delays and Boeing’s dispute with former subcontractor GDC Technics are contributing to the project headwind.
Israeli media reports indicate that the country has developed modifications to its F-35I fighters that give them enough range to reach Iranian targets without refueling. This could possibly come from external drop tanks or conformal fuel tanks. The Israelis have also developed a smart bomb that can be carried by their F-35s.
After the federal payroll support program ran out in September 2020, most airlines furloughed workers to downsize their operations, But Delta targeted their highest-paid employees with buyouts, not furloughs. That left Delta with a relatively younger and lower-cost workforce. With the travel rebound and insufficient employees, airlines are scrambling to hire. That’s driving their workforce costs up. But Delta is able to hire younger staffers that cost less. Delta CEO Ed Bastian calls this a “juniority benefit.”
A memo published to pilots by Piedmont Airlines VP, Flight Operations Stephen Keefer, and MEC Chairman Captain Ryan Miller stated that a tentative agreement (TA) had been reached for a labor contract extension through July 2029. The TA provides for wage increases for pilots, increased wage premium for Line Check Pilots, and commitment to improvements in flow-through to American.
After a spate of recent crashes, the U.S. Navy said it would pause all flight operations to conduct safety reviews and training. Units that were not deployed paused on June 13. Deployed units were to pause “at the earliest possible opportunity.” In the past few weeks:
A Navy pilot was killed when his F/A-18E Super Hornet crashed during a training mission.
An MV-22B Osprey crashed and killed five U.S. Marines during a training mission.
A Navy helicopter went down during a training flight and one person sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
The fascinating development and operational history of the B-1 BONE bomber, certifying the last models of the 737 Max, the Air Force Next Generation Air Dominance fighter (NGAD), Germany selects its heavy-lift helicopter, piloting an A330 while sleeping, prison time for an unruly passenger, and staff shortages impact service at European airports
Kenneth P. Katz recently published his book titled The Supersonic BONE: A Development and Operational History of the B-1 Bomber. Highly researched with rich technical data and photographs, the book describes the fascinating history of the B-1 BONE, which turned out to be a very different aircraft from what it was originally intended to be.
Ken explains how changing military technology and strategy, political imperatives, and the evolving nature of external threats all impacted U.S. bomber strategy. The B-1A was transformed into the B-1B with 100 copies built and is still in service.
Ken is a long-time airplane geek. He was educated in aerospace engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan. Ken has over three decades of experience as a US Air Force officer, flight test engineer, and project manager, and is currently employed as a staff project engineer for a major aerospace contractor.
Ken has a commercial pilot certificate with instrument rating, and flight experience as an observer and crewmember in over 20 types of military aircraft. He’s a senior member of the Society of Flight Test Engineers.
If the last two 737 Max derivatives (the Max 10 and Max 7) aren’t certified by the end of 2022, Boeing will have a significant problem with the cockpits on those airplanes. Section 116 of the Aircraft Certification, Safety, and Accountability Act [PDF] signed in December 2020 prohibits the certification of any transport category aircraft that lacks “a flight crew alerting system that, at a minimum, displays and differentiates among warnings, cautions, and advisories, and includes functions to assist the flight crew in prioritizing corrective actions and responding to systems failures…” and “…any system safety assessment with respect to the Boeing 737-7, 737-8, 737-9, and 737-10 airplanes… is conducted in accordance with [this requirement].
The Air Force Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) fighter is shaping up as more than just one airplane. It’s a family of systems that include new weapons, sensors, and drones that operate with the new fighter. The highly classified 6th generation fighter is now confirmed to be in the development phase.
Germany is expected to purchase up to 60 Boeing CH-47F Chinook helicopters in a deal valued at about €4 billion ($4.3 billion). These will replace the current Sikorsky CH-53G helicopter fleet. Delivery reportedly takes place between 2023 and 2029 although the agreement has not yet been finalized.
This past May, pilots on an ITA Airways A330-200 failed to maintain ATC communication for about 10 minutes as they allegedly slept at cruise altitude. The plane was operated by autopilot at the time. The first officer was at “controlled rest.” Italian media reports that the captain was dismissed, but he says he was not sleeping and there was a radio communication failure.
British airports claim they have 40,000 job vacancies. Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said that “defence personnel with experience providing security” should be called in for “three to four months” to with the travel disruption that has resulted. Author, media personality, and aviation expert Julian Bray thinks military personnel may be required for six months.
Innovations in Flight – Outdoor Aviation Display at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum June 18, 2022, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.
Into Flight Once More – Brings the history of June 6, 1944, to the present through the lens of one squadron and their epic recreation journey across the North Atlantic to Normandy for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day.
In 1994, Lt. Carey Lohrenz, U.S. Navy, retired, became one of the first women to fly the F-14 Tomcat… This is a story that has had generational impact and continues to inspire women in the armed forces and beyond: Video: Flying an F-14 ‘I Can’t Believe It Was Legal’
This report by Sam Abuelsamid provides an overview of the assistive and automated driving technology landscape including the steps these systems take and how distance and trajectory are measured by various sensor types.
Hosts this Episode
Max Flight, Rob Mark, David Vanderhoof, and Max Trescott.
The FAA IASA program (International Aviation Safety Assessment), Bombardier’s business jet strategy, possibly another AN-225, the American/Sabre antitrust verdict, ALPA and pilot retirement age, a lawsuit alleges Southwest concealed safety defects, the Facebook free ticket scam, and a NEXUS interview report.
In May 2021, the FAA announced that the Government of Mexico did not meet ICAO safety standards and downgraded Mexico’s rating to Category 2 from Category 1. (Federal Aviation Administration Announces Results of Mexico’s Safety Assessment.) Under that rating, Mexican air carrier level of service to the U.S would be frozen: they could continue existing service to the United States, but any new service and routes were prohibited. Also, codesharing with a U.S. airline would only be permitted one-way and no U.S. carrier codes on Mexican-operated flights.
The FAA International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) Program was established in 1992 and employs a 4-person IASA assessment team that looks at eight critical elements of a safety oversight system. The assessment is performed with IASA Assessment Checklists available on FAA’s website. The assessment results are either Category 1 (the country complies with ICAO standards) or Category 2 (they do not comply with ICAO standards.)
When the IASA program first began, over 66% of assessed countries with operators seeking U.S. service did not meet ICAO standards. Now, 90% of countries with an IASA rating are Category 1. See IASA Program Results.
At EBACE 2022, Bombardier showed a model of their blended-wing Eco Jet concept. The company describes its three pillars to reduce business aviation carbon emissions: aerodynamic improvements, sustainable aviation fuel, and new propulsion systems (hydrogen, hybrid-electric, and all-electric).
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky referenced the An-225 in an online meeting with Ukrainian students. He said there had been plans to build a second An-225 but that project was too expensive. “But in this case,” he says, “it’s not a matter of money, it’s a matter of ambition.”
In its long-running antitrust lawsuit, American Airlines Group claimed Sabre Corp charged excessive fees and suppressed competition. After five days of deliberation, the federal jury ruled in favor of American and awarded the carrier $1 in damages. The case goes back to 2011 in a suit brought by US Airways before it merged with American.
The Air Line Pilots Association says it will oppose any attempt to raise the retirement age for pilots. The union believes such a change would disrupt the seniority-based flight bidding process. The older pilots wouldn’t be able to bid on international flights if other countries stayed with the age 65 retirement mandate. In a statement, ALPA said:
“When age 65+ airline pilots return to domestic-only flying, they will then displace more junior pilots and both cohorts may require training on different aircraft, adding to the training costs of air carriers. Furthermore, most regional airline pilots leave the regional industry long before age 65 for more lucrative jobs at mainline or low-cost carriers or other opportunities. Therefore, the pool of domestic-service pilots will not increase appreciably without additional training costs or disruptions.”
Reportedly, a Southwest manager asked Boeing officials if engineers could install a new flight-control safety alert required for the MAX on one of Southwest’s older 737s, and then once the MAX was certified, deactivate it. Plaintiffs allege that this move would let Boeing tell the FAA that the alert was not new on the MAX. Thus, no additional pilot training would be required, which Southwest wanted to avoid. The class-action lawsuit was brought on behalf of Southwest passengers who purchased tickets between the time of the first crash and the second.
The pilot shortage, flying Icelandic Air, air mobility initiative, Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Boeing E-7 Wedgetail, funding travel, airborne nuclear command and control aircraft, Aviation and Aerospace Media Awards, and aviation careers. Also, eVTOL certification, BA pilots, the 1,500-hour rule, an all-electric seaglider, and locked out of the cockpit.
The aviation community recently lost an avid enthusiast. Micah delivers a touching eulogy while Hillel explains how Glen deeply loved EAA and AirVenture and would save up money all year to make the journey from New Zealand to Oshkosh every summer.
Glen was well known at “Camp Bacon” and throughout the aviation community through his avid participation in many online aviation forums and podcasts to which he frequently submitted short recordings.
Funds are being collected to buy Glen a brick at the Brown Arch where each year Glen arranged a group photo of all his online friends. Donations will also be used to have Glen’s name and obit inscribed on the EAA Museum Memorial Wall. Any excess funds will be given to EAA. Please donate whatever you feel in your heart to remember Glen in his favorite place: Remembering Glen at OSH.
“Over the past eight years, the United States has produced more than enough certificated pilots to meet airline hiring demands and compensate for retirements, even as new and more rigorous pilot training standards were enacted to enhance safety. In fact, there are currently about 1.5 certificated pilots relative to demand, according to Federal Aviation Administration and Bureau of Labor Statistics data. So, although we don’t have a pilot shortage, we do have a shortage of airline executives willing to stand by their business decisions to cut air service and be upfront about their intentions to skirt safety rules and hire inexperienced workers for less pay.”
The Air Mobility Initiative (AMI) is being created with a series of research projects looking at making electric air mobility within and between cities a reality. Projects are centered around three main areas: electric aircraft, air traffic management services, and vertiports.
Tesla software update
From Patrick Wiggens: What the Tesla now sees and what the human eye sees. (Look closely!)
The Aerospace Media Awards were created to honor journalists and publishers who have made a significant contribution to aerospace journalism and publishing. Pieter Johnson’s Aviation Xtended podcast is a finalist in the Best Digital Submission category.
The companies (and investors) of winged eVTOL aircraft assumed they would be certified under the FAA’s small airplane certification rules. Now, and unexpectedly, the FAA says it plans to type-certify the eVTOLS as powered-lift aircraft under its “special class” process in 14 CFR 21.17(b), not 14 CFR Part 23.
Republic Airways wants the FAA to drop the current 1500-hour mandate for right seat pilots to 750 hours, under the supervision of a trained and experienced captain.
“The Republic R-ATP Program is designed to make airline pilot career opportunities more accessible for qualified individuals from underrepresented groups who meet the selection criteria but may not have the financial means or academic support to pursue an aviation career path.” the airline said to the FAA.
Southwest Airlines needs 10,000 more employees, including 1,200 more pilots. The Wall Street Journal reported that between 15% and 20% of the new hires never turn up. It’s called ghosting and it’s occurring broadly.
Regent announced that Hawaiian Airlines has agreed to strategically invest in the company to support the initial design of its next-generation 100-person capacity all-electric seaglider known as the Monarch. With this investment, Hawaiian Airlines becomes Regent’s first U.S.-based design partner for the Monarch, which is slated for entry into commercial service by 2028.
Watch what happens when the pilots are locked out of the cockpit.
Women in Aviation International (WAI) honors the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) in May by visiting their graves and leaving an appropriate decoration in the form of flowers or other remembrances. The database of WASP gravesites includes Google maps showing their locations. #HonorTheWASP
How aviation weather intelligence affects airlines and airports, the FAA wants radio altimeters replaced, Easyjet has a solution to fly with less crew, Spirit Airlines says no to JetBlue, an electric airplane first, jail time for some unruly passengers, and Virgin Atlantic flight training requirements.
Scott Gilmore is the Global Vice President and GM of Aviation at Tomorrow.io, a company that provides an aviation weather and climate security platform. Scott has over 40 years in the aviation industry, including 27 as a pilot. He drives Tomorrow.io’s aviation go-to-market offerings, including sales activity, revenue management, and the product roadmap.
Scott explains the sources and uses of aviation weather data, and how weather intelligence results in fewer turnbacks, more payload, and better fuel load. He also tells us about the impact on airport ground staffing and de-icing planning.
Tomorrow.io is deploying its own constellation of LEO weather satellites equipped with radar and microwave sounders. This will provide global coverage with a significantly improved refresh rate. Scott describes the goal of being able to machine generate a custom “TAF” (Terminal Aerodrome Forecast) for any selected location.
It’s with noting that the non-profit TomorrowNow.org is committed to helping vulnerable populations adapt to the climate changes that are happening now.
Prior to Tomorrow.io, Scott served as the Head of Flight Deck Solutions with The Weather Company, an IBM Business; Senior Manager of Strategic Partnerships at the International Air Transport Association (IATA); and Director Of Business Development Airline Industry Solutions, and Head Of Application Development Aircraft Mission Kit / Electronic Flight Bag at Unisys. Scott was a Senior Strategic Airlift Manager C-5, C-17, and Tanker Operations with the United States Air Force. He’s an FAA Rated Flight Engineer with over 21,000 hours in the flight deck, an Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic, and a member of the American Association of Airport Executives.
The FAA wants to establish “an achievable timeframe to retrofit/replace radar altimeters in the U.S. fleet” due to possible interference from C-Band 5G wireless service. So they are meeting with telecom and airline industry officials where they can hear “options and commit to actions necessary to meet these objectives.”
Staff shortages are affecting commercial flight schedules globally and EasyJet has a solution to reduce its cabin crew from four to three legally: Take out the back row of seats in its A319 fleet. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulates the number of cabin crew based on seats, not passengers on board.
Nine Nigerian airlines issued a statement saying that the cost of imported jet fuel had increased nearly fourfold as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and that they are threatening to stop domestic flights. Airline operating costs have increased from about 40% to nearly 95%
Alaska Airlines pilots have been without a contract for some three years. Pilots started voting on May 9 on whether to strike. Balloting will end on May 25. The Air Line Pilots Association is seeking higher pay and better scheduling for its pilots.
The Spirit Airlines board rejected the $3.6 billion takeover bid by JetBlue Airways. They say Spirit will continue to pursue a merger with Frontier Airlines.
The Board determined that the JetBlue proposal involves an unacceptable level of closing risk that would be assumed by Spirit stockholders. We believe that our pending merger with Frontier will start an exciting new chapter for Spirit.
In a U.S. first, a student pilot has earned a private pilot certificate with an electric aircraft. Shane Fisher flew his check ride in a two-seat Pipistrel Velis Electro, the world’s first and still only electric-powered airplane to receive a type certificate. Certificated by EASA in 2020, it operates in the U.S. as a light sport experimental aircraft. Fisher’s cross-country was accomplished in a Pipistrel Virus SW, which has a similar airframe but is powered by a Rotax 912 engine.
A disruptive and violent passenger who opened the aircraft door on a United Express flight just before landing could have received 20-years imprisonment and a $200,000 fine. But instead, he was sentenced to one year behind bars for interfering with a flight crew. Kameron C. Stone, 30, of Fairfax, Virginia was also ordered to pay a $7,500 fine and undergo three years of supervised release. He can also look forward to a fine from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
A person opened the emergency exit door of United flight 2874 at O’Hare International Airport as the plane was moving on the runway. The passenger then walked out onto the wing and slid down onto the airfield.
Our ground crew stopped the individual outside of the aircraft, and the person is now with law enforcement.
This was a Virgin Atlantic internal training protocol compliance violation, not a regulatory violation. The first officer had not completed his final assessment, and the captain was not yet qualified as a check airman. The plane returned and the first officer was replaced.
Australia News Desk
This week’s segment covers the big announcement by QANTAS of the purchase of 12 A350-1000s, along with a ton of other variants which will gradually replace, and effectively phase out, Boeing aircraft over the next five years. We also take a look at QANTAS purchasing regional operator Alliance Airlines, the upcoming RAAF Amberley Air Tattoo, the Pacific Air Show scheduled for Queensland in 2023, and the World Championship Air Race round for Australia which was recently announced. We also may have had a little fun at Rob’s expense….
A former TWA flight attendant describes the freedom of air travel in a new memoir. In the news, Delta says it will pay flight attendants during the boarding process, a resurrected Jet Airways says it won’t hire male flight attendants, American Airlines fires some reserve flight attendants, a custom 747-8 with 42 hours goes to the boneyard, add fuel shortages to the list of summer air travel challenges, and the F-15EX program faces some headwind.
From the time she graduated college in 1978 until 1986, Ann Hood was a TWA flight attendant. In her new book Fly Girl: A Memoir she reveals how she went from being a small-town girl with big-time dreams to flying 35,000 feet up in the air.
In Fly Girl, Ann gives the reader a look at the freedom and love of life that aviation offered. She tells us how the job empowered her, despite its roots in sexist standards where stewardesses were part of blatant innuendo in airline marketing.
In our conversation, Ann describes how air travel was different in the 1970s and 80s when passengers dressed up for the flight and wrote letters onboard for the cabin crew to mail. Of course, the food served was something altogether different, even in coach.
Ann observes how life unfolds on the airplane, meaning that the passengers all have different life stories, emotional states, and reasons for traveling. Flight attendants learn how to understand that and be compassionate and respectful of the passengers. She also comments on the qualities of a really good flight attendant and talks about long layovers and the L-1011.
As a bestselling author, Ann has written 14 novels, a collection of short stories, some nonfiction, a book series for middle readers, and much more. Find her and where to buy Fly Girl at her website AnnHood.us.
Delta is the only major U.S. airline whose flight attendants aren’t unionized. Delta has more than 20,000 flight attendants. The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) wants to change that and a union campaign is underway. Now Delta says that starting June 2, 2022, they will pay their flight attendants while the plane is boarding, upending the block-to-block standard. However, the pay will be half the hourly rate.
India’s Jet Airways went out of business in 2019, but investors are trying to bring it back to life. They want to do everything they can to keep costs down, so they plan to have flight attendants share hotel rooms. That’s fine, as long as the roommates are of the same gender. Otherwise, the airline would have to pay for two rooms. Their solution is to start with a flight attendant staff of just one gender, only allowing males into the company once a certain operational scale is reached.
When called, flight attendants on “reserve duty” have to be at work within two hours. If they are commuters (not living in the city of their assigned airport) they are expected to stay within two hours of travel to that airport. It seems some flight attendants were staying at their home location, betting they wouldn’t get called. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) is warning its members that American is investigating no-show reserve flight attendants to see if they were AWOL. In an internal memo, the union told members, “During this investigation, they will pull all your travel benefits history, including past, current AA listings, travel, and other airlines. They will use other evidence to substantiate their claim that a Flight Attendant was not in a position to report within the contractual timeline.”
In 2012, a new Boeing 747-8 was delivered for the personal use of Saudi Arabian Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Before the full VIP refit was accomplished, the Sultan passed away and the jet was abandoned for a full decade. N458BJ only clocked 42 hours of flight time. Recently, the 747 was flown to Pinal Airpark in Arizona.
“We’re sorry to let you know that your flight has been canceled because of an airport-wide fuel shortage at Johannesburg Airport. We are closely monitoring the situation and we will resume operations as soon as possible.”
Officials in the U.S. Air Force are examining options for canceling the service’s new F-15EX Eagle II fighter program. Originally 144 aircraft were planned, but now the U.S Air Force is considering capping the program at 80 aircraft, making more funding available for the F-35A.
Using the Apple AirTag to track your checked baggage (and maybe a podcast host?), airlines drop flyers from no-fly lists, Bombardier headquarters in Wichita, aircraft leased to Russia, Cirrus fuel flow issues, a plane-swap stunt, the Tecnam 2-seat trainer, and air ambulance costs.
After a federal judge ruled that the CDC exceeded its authority to mandate masks for travel, airlines began to drop their mask requirement. But some airlines are also dropping the no-fly status for some passengers who refused to comply with the previous mask mandate.
The company says Bombardier Defense will bring 200 jobs to the area and also announced details about a partnership with the U.S. Air Force to modify business jets in Kansas as part of a potential $465 million order. Bombardier Defense offers versions of the Challenger 650 and Global 6500 and 7500.
Air Lease Corporation is writing off aircraft leased to Russia and is pursuing insurance claims to cover their loss. After the economic sanctions, leases for the planes were terminated but the planes remain in Russia. According to a report by Fitch Ratings, “insurers and reinsurers could face claims as high as $10 billion in a worst-case scenario due to the grounding of planes in Russia.”
Following previous investigations of SR22T accidents, the NTSB is asking Cirrus Aircraft and the FAA to take action on some safety recommendations. In these accidents, engine power was lost when excessive fuel was introduced to the engine during takeoff climb.
The man who claimed the engine failed on his 1940 Taylorcraft then jumped out and filmed the subsequent crash has received a letter from the FAA. His act of operating the aircraft in a “careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another” has cost him his license.
Red Bull and Hulu organized a stunt where two pilots jumped out of their respective Cessna 182s with the intent of maneuvering to the other’s plane and regaining control. The FAA denied approval for this plane swap, which was carried out and streamed anyway. One of the planes ended up crashing.
The Army Golden Knights parachute team conducted a pre-game demonstration at the Nationals Park baseball stadium in Washington D.C., but the FAA failed to notify the U.S. Capitol Police. When the team plane approached, Capitol Police evacuated the Capitol and some nearby buildings.
A non-profit Maine-based emergency air ambulance service outsourced its aviation operations. That service ultimately ended up being owned by a large venture capital firm and costs increase dramatically. So LifeFlight brought its aviation operations back in-house.
Airline travel this summer faces challenges with crew shortages and fatigue. Also, the mask mandate, 100th Bombardier Global 7500 Biz Jet delivered, boarding the airplane without a jet bridge, a rare airline amenity, giving up the seat you paid for, some turbofan failures after storage, when passengers are told their flight would be ditching, and therapy animals at airports.
The Allied Pilots Association (APA) filed a suit to “prevent the airline from eliminating the longstanding practice of using experienced Check Airmen during a critical stage of the pilot training program.” The volunteer program encourages pilots to take simulator training sessions on their days off.
Having failed to plan properly for the recovery in air travel demand, American Airlines management now finds itself having to deal with the consequences of being the only major airline to have furloughed pilots during the pandemic and its decision to forgo training opportunities at that time… Management continues to fall behind and is scrambling to increase the volume of the pilot training funnel. Consequently, they are now soliciting all pilots to volunteer to replace our specially trained Check Airmen as ‘seat fillers’ during a critical training evaluation stage under terms and conditions that remain largely unknown to APA.
The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA), says “Fatigue, both acute and cumulative, has become Southwest Airlines’ number-one safety threat.” Southwest plans to hire 8,000 new employees this year, forty percent of those flight crew.
A federal judge says the mask mandate exceeds the authority of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and also that the CDC failed to justify its decision and did not follow proper rulemaking procedures.
Bombardier celebrated its 100th Global 7500 delivery with its largest customer, VistaJet, which has taken 10 of the aircraft manufacturer’s flagship business jets so far. The delivery ceremony took place at Bombardier’s Montreal Laurent Beaudoin Completion Centre, where the company outfits the aircraft after they’re flown from its Toronto assembly plant. This is where customers oversee the interior finishing of their Global 7500, familiarize themselves with them, and take delivery. VistaJet is a Part 295 air charter broker.
Starting in 2024, Frontier Airlines plans to use airstairs and switchback ramps to board and deplane its fleet of Airbus aircraft through the front and rear aircraft doors. Frontier’s CEO, Barry Biffle: “A dedicated ground boarding facility will benefit customers by cutting in half the time for boarding and deplaning through the use of both the front and rear aircraft doors. That, in turn, will reduce our time on the ground between flights by nearly half and nearly double our number of aircraft operations per gate.”
The Federal Aviation Administration issued an airworthiness directive (AD) warning of CF34 failures for engines taken out of storage. “Engines installed on airplanes parked outdoors for 250 or more days are at risk of excessive corrosion build-up,” it says. The AD cites several in-flight CF34 troubles.
Passengers aboard an Aer Lingus flight from Zurich to Dublin listened to an automated emergency announcement stating, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is an emergency. Please prepare for a ditched landing.” Flight attendants didn’t react and a passenger went into the galley to get more information. After that, an announcement from the flight crew confirmed there was no emergency.
Alex the Great, a 28-pound Flemish Giant rabbit, has joined the San Francisco International Airport Wag Brigade to help calm nervous travelers. The brigade is composed of mostly dogs but includes LiLou, the “World’s 1st Airport Therapy Pig.”
San Jose International Airport (SJC) in California was the first airport to bring in therapy dogs shortly after 9/11. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) was the second airport to introduce therapy dogs.
JetBlue and Frontier eye Spirit Airlines, an Air France B777 and a DHL 757 make emergency landings, the Collier Trophy winner is announced and Airplane Geeks listeners predicted the outcome, airlines are replacing some regional flights with buses, and Boston shuts down a flight crew crash pad.
The BEA says an Air France Boeing 777 on approach to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport was involved in a “serious incident.” The BEA reported on social media “instability of flight controls on final, go-around, hard controls, flight path oscillations.”
A DHL Boeing 757-200 cargo aircraft made an emergency landing shortly after takeoff, exited the runway, and broke in two. The crew was reportedly unharmed. A hydraulic system failure was apparently a factor in the pilot’s request to make an emergency landing.
The National Aeronautic Association announced that NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Team has been named the recipient of the 2021 Robert J. Collier Trophy for “… the first powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet, thereby opening the skies of Mars and other worlds for future scientific discovery and exploration.”
The Landline Company is providing bus service for American Airlines passengers between airports. Landline provides a similar service for Sun Country Airlines in Minneapolis-St. Paul and United Airlines in Denver.
“Crash Pads” are a popular arrangement for airline crew, but Boston’s Inspectional Services Department raided what they said was an illegal flight attendant crash pad. It was a garage with bunk beds for as many as 20 flight attendants.
Hosts this Episode
Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, and Rob Mark.