Episode 85 – Sitting with RunwayGirl

747-8 First Flight Everett WA

Guest Mary Kirby (aka, RunwayGirl) from Flight Global joins in a discussion of the week’s aviation news, the airline seat debacle, and inflight entertainment and connectivity. Mary is a recognized authority on these topics and brings insight you won’t find elsewhere.

David Vanderhoof has another This Week in Aviation, and Steve Visscher and Grant McHerron from the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast have their Australia Desk report.

Follow the @AirplaneGeeks on Twitter, send us email at thegeeks@airplanegeeks.com, or leave a message on our listener line: (361) GEEKS01.

This episode’s opening and closing music is provided by Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. Visit his site at http://www.brotherloverocks.com/.

9 thoughts on “Episode 85 – Sitting with RunwayGirl

  1. Grant (Falcon124) McHerron

    Hey gang – I’m part way into the show and enjoying it. A couple of notes:

    1) For Kevin Smith: Love your movies, but grow the frak up, fat boy! Not very impressed at all with this behaviour.

    I’ve got a blog post coming together on the subject ‘cos I think that overweight people (myself included) need to think long & hard about their situation. Either do something about it and lose a few kilos or pay the extra that your fat bits need to be accommodated in cars, aircraft, elevators, etc 🙂

    2) Backscatter machines – oh my! 🙂

    Apparently the UK are saying if you object to going through the machine, you don’t get on the plane. No option!

    Hmmm – I can feel another blog post coming on 🙂 🙂 🙂

    OK – back to the car to drive some more errands and listen to more of the show 🙂



  2. maxflight Post author

    [Stephen got some shots of JetBlue’s 10th Anniversary A320. See his blog…]

    N569JB visited Long Beach tonight and I took the attached photos with my cell phone which explains the poor quality. I hope to get her during the daytime soon.


    My LGB Blog – http://klgb.blogspot.com

  3. maxflight Post author

    [Kim sent in another great email…]

    Just had a chance to listen to last week’s discussion regarding the demise of the much hated Large Aircraft Security Program. I believe it was Rob who opined that maybe the proposed program had simply grown too big for the TSA to handle, and perhaps that and the resulting uproar led to their bail out. Much as I long for such common sense to be displayed in those hallowed halls …. I don’t think so.

    I attended the ATL roadshow for public comment. A larger hotel ballroom had to be arranged as hundreds of pilots crowded in to have their say. When I had to leave after 4 hours (and after putting in my 2 cents), they were not yet half way through the speakers’ list. My point here is that at no time did the panel of 8 or so public servants seemed the least non-plussed by the reaction they were getting. When one legitimate objection after another was raised, they simply stared impassively …. occasionally interjecting that they were here to listen, NOT to provide answers, no matter how pertinent the question. The most telling thing to come from the stage was in the introductions of the group. Introduced as the individuals who came up with this plan, it was startling to note that only one had any aviation background …. and that was as a military air traffic controller in his previous career.

    I believe the well deserved demise of the LASP began when US Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi (Chair of Homeland Security) wrote a letter expressing his grave doubts regarding the effects of this program on general aviation in his state. A large number of his cohorts signed on. Now, we are all painfully aware that Homeland Security is not exactly subject to Congressional oversight …. but they do know where the money comes from. Next, when the new Secretary of Homeland Defense was confirmed and made her first address to department employees en mass, Secy. Napolitano made a clear reference to the LASP in telling her gathered staff that, “we clearly have some work to do on this aircraft security thing”. I don’t think she wanted to be the one who signed off a rule that would not let a pro golfer in his chartered Lear take his clubs along for the ride.

    No, Rob …. I believe it was plain old fashioned political pressure that brought down the LASP …. though it would be wonderful to think someone up there in DC simply thought better of it …. or, even better yet …. listened to the citizens’ views on the subject.

    Great show, guys.


  4. Max Flight

    [More from Kim…]

    In the news regarding the fight over JAL, someone mentioned that “Delta is OK in Asia with their KAL in their alliance”. I believe there may be more problems with that partnership than may be apparent. It is my understanding that when DL first initiated this relationship in the 90’s, the first group of flight ops folks who went over for a look-see came back horrified. The problems included the “the captain is God” culture; language issues; flight time / duty time regs that were draconian by US standards; jail threats by mgmt toward the protesting pilots’ union (and actual jailing in at least one case); and the virtual refusal on the part of native F/Os to include ex-pat captains as part of the crew. As I recall, the final theory on KAL007 was that the captain mis-programmed the FMS, and the 2 F/Os were unwilling to point out his error. Apparently, this had not improved in the interim.

    DL sent a senior pilot, an ex-Flight Ops manager, to serve in a similar position for KAL. We heard many stories, such as his speaking to a room full of captains on CRM and safety issues, only to find out later that none of his nodding, smiling audience understood conversational English. Eventually, DL pulled operational approval of KAL as a partner, and launched an effort aimed at remediating the most serious problems. Of course, the hubris implied by such an effort goes without saying. Eventually, KAL was officially pronounced as up to speed, and reinstated in SkyTeam.

    Have 10 or so years made a difference? A close friend (early retired from DL) recently accepted a position as a 777 captain for KAL. After completing arduous training, he spent only a month on the line before resigning with no other job prospect. Without going into details and violating his confidence, this says volumes to me regarding any progress KAL may have made in addressing the safety challenges recognized years ago by DL.

    Good show,


  5. Ben Greenwald

    Just listened to your podcast and wanted to add some info on the Kevin Smith situation. What bothered Kevin was that according to Southwest’s own policy, he is not a person of size. He was able to lower both armrests and buckle the seatbelt without the use of a seatbelt extender.

    Kevin’s point was that if the airline is going to not follow their own standards than anyone who is overweight should be concerned that they might arbitrarily be asked to either purchase an extra seat or in today’s world of high load factors, be asked off the airplane if a 2nd seat is not available.

    I wonder how many times this type of event happens each and every day and it is only because Kevin Smith has so many twitter followers that this gets any attention. I’m surprised that you on the podcast were so supportive of the airline, without seeing the passenger’s point of view.

  6. maxflight Post author

    Ben: Thanks so much for your feedback. You’ve made some good points. I won’t speak for the others, but I will admit to a little bias on the Kevin Smith story that colors my position. No, it’s not a “fat person” bias. What I didn’t like was Smith’s use of profanity in his Tweets.

    Now, I’m no prude and I swear a lot myself, but there is a time and a place for it. Call me old fashioned, but I have trouble listening to the arguments of a person who drops the F word in “print” like Smith does. Give me facts and a logical argument and I listen. Inflate the emotional level with profanity and the person looses credibility in my mind. It’s just the way I am.

    So I can’t even say I’ve heard both sides of this issue. It feels more like I’ve just heard half of one side.

    Thanks for being a listener, Ben!


  7. John Bugée

    Hi Guys –

    Big fan of the show. I’m not sure if this story is for the “small world” or “weird coincidence” file. I’m among the unfortunate ranks of the “business traveler”, so last week I’m making a commute from DCA to STL with a layover in ORD. I’m strolling between terminals listening to the podcast and just as David goes into his historical account of Butch O’Hare, I round the corner and find myself face to face with the new and elaborate “Butch and his F4F” display. I wandered around the display as I listened to David’s segment and it was like getting a guided tour. I almost missed my connection but it was worth it.

    Anyway, I’m an Air Force vet (C-5s) and married into an airline family, so naturally I find the show interesting and entertaining. Keep up the great work! John Bugée, St. Louis MO

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