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We speak with Jon Ostrower, Editor-in-chief of The Air Current. He’s currently working with a team developing a new flight sim controller. In the news, how a Chinese balloon impacts Boeing, a United 777 departing Maui experiences a steep dive, American Airlines pilots refuse to be interviewed on tape, and more on unidentified objects that have been shot down.
Jon Ostrower is Editor-in-chief of The Air Current, a high-quality subscription news source for current aviation topics. His journalism career includes positions at CNN, WSJ, and Flightglobal. Jon has joined a start-up team developing an entirely new type of flight sim controller, the Yawman Arrow.
Jon, Thomas Nield, and Dwight S. Nield studied aircraft cockpits of all types in detail and came away with an appreciation for the challenge of rethinking the ergonomics of virtual flying for a handheld. They wanted a flight sim controller that you could take anywhere with the tactile feedback of everything from throttle to trim. The team integrated a mechanically-linked trigger system for intuitive yaw control.
Recently, Jon took a production candidate unit on a flight test, running a Laminar Research X-Plane at 38,000 feet on a MacBook Air, and practicing cross-wind landings. Yawman has been working with Infinite Flight and the Arrow will be fully compatible with flying on Android tablets, too.
The Arrow flight sim controller is ideal for simming on the road but also great at home. Jon successfully wirelessly mirrored a MacBook Air with the Arrow to a TV and went full couch mode.
The Yawman Arrow is arriving in Spring 2023. Sign up to receive updates and get notified when pre-orders are launched at: https://yawmanflight.com. The Arrow is designed, manufactured, and packaged in the USA.
China’s surveillance balloon deflates Boeing’s hopes for 737 delivery resumption
After the shootdown, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken canceled his trip to China. David Calhoun, Boeing’s CEO, hoped the visit would lead to resumed deliveries of 737 Max 8’s into China. Now that seems unlikely.
United dive after Maui departure adds to list of industry close calls
A United Boeing 777-200 departing Maui in stormy weather climbed as expected to 2,200 feet, then experienced a steep dive to below 775 feet. The plane recovered and continued its flight to San Francisco. At SFO, an internal safety report was filed, and the aircraft was inspected before the next flight. United coordinated with FAA and ALPA on an investigation and the pilots received additional training.
American Airlines Pilots Refuse Recorded Interview With Safety Board
On January 13, 2023, an American Airlines 777 at JFK taxied across the same runway that a Delta plane was using for departure. At about 115 mph, air traffic controllers instructed the Delta flight to abort their takeoff. The American 777 had not been cleared to cross the runway. Three times the American flight crew refused to be interviewed if the session was to be recorded.
In a statement, the Allied Pilots Association (APA) said, “We join in the goal of creating an accurate record of all interviews conducted in the course of an investigation. However, we firmly believe the introduction of electronic recording devices into witness interviews is more likely to hinder the investigation process than it is to improve it.”
The NTSB has issued subpoenas for their testimony. The flight crews have seven days to respond.
U.S. downs object over Lake Huron after airspace shutdown
The U.S. military had downed another high-altitude object, this time by a U.S. Air Force F-16. The object was flying at about 20,000 feet over Lake Huron in Michigan.
Video: Intercept audio: Listen to the jet that shot down the Chinese Spy Balloon
Composite clip including interception audio from the shoot-down of the suspected Chinese spy balloon off the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Also includes a video of the shoot-down and a time-lapse of ADS-B flight tracking data from the region.
Hosts this Episode
Max Flight, Rob Mark, David Vanderhoof, and Brian Coleman.
New to the podcast and an avgeek by nature and by profession myself. Thanks for the interesting discussions. WRT the United 777 incident, my questions center on the 2.7g number. First, how was this data point obtained? I suppose the flight radar data could somewhat corroborate. Was the flight crew aware how many g’s they had pulled? Is that data preserved in the FDR or other onboard system? More generally, was FDR or CVR data from that time overridden by the end of the flight? Depending on weight and flap setting, that could have been a significant over-g event. It astounds me the flight would continue across the Pacific.
WRT M61 vs AIM-9 employment on the Chinese spy balloon, there are limfacs other than altitude for the platform & gun system. For specific excess power (energy management) the Raptor operator will want to be on the higher side of its Mach envelope at very high altitudes, possibly beyond gun system operating limits. Also, high closure rates hinder a steady firing solution.
In this case, while not a bloom like an adversary’s jet exhaust, there was still evidently more than enough thermal *contrast*. High altitude airships’ internal gases do warm up significantly through a solar cycle.
WRT the last 3 shoot downs of much smaller objects, it would be interesting to know whether any were legally operating under 14 CFR 101.3.
BTW, the banter between Eagle, Viper, and Raptor drivers is fun but the deterrence factor is huge when it’s known (or even perceived) The Air Dominance Fighter is in-theater.