707 Boeing 707

This episode is dedicated to the Boeing 707. Our guest is the facilities manager for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute which displays a Boeing VC-137C used as Air Force One for seven U.S. presidents. In the news, Lufthansa looks to reactivate some A380s, sometimes it’s a good idea to toss something into the cockpit, and how old planes are repurposed.

Boeing 707 in flight, courtesy Boeing.
Boeing 707, courtesy Boeing.

Guest

John Lehne is the facilities manager for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute, located at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

John’s responsibilities include the operations and maintenance of Foundation property and displayed artifacts, such as the Air Force One Pavilion and SAM 27000, the Boeing VC-137C aircraft used by the president of the United States.

In October 2005, John was asked to help the Foundation on a “temporary” basis. The completed Air Force One Pavilion was being transitioned from the general contractor to the Reagan Foundation. That “temporary” job turned into a 16+ year career with the Foundation.  

He also oversees construction projects, contracted services such as maintenance, and various trades, as well as special event logistics.  John has a small staff of foundation employees and outside contractors that make up his “on-site” facilities team.  It is an ever-changing job that presents some unique challenges, especially the care of the aircraft and other displays. 

Boeing 707

Our Main(e) Man Micah reflects on the history of the Boeing 707.

Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute

SAM 27000 was the second of two Boeing VC-137C United States Air Force presidential aircraft. It is a specially-built Model 707-353B that served seven United States presidents over 29 years.

SAM 27000 at Reagan Library in Simi Valley, by Rlwagner. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
SAM 27000 at Reagan Library

John explains the acquisition process and ownership of the aircraft, along with the transportation challenges to get it to the facility. He tells us about how the aircraft was prepared and the display constructed. We learn about the maintenance challenge in the face of large numbers of visitors who go through the aircraft. John describes the interior of the plane, including the presidential suite and other cabins. He also tells us about the other aircraft and exhibits at the site.

Video: Boeing VC-137C Air Force One – “SAM 27000 in Action” – 1982-88

Aviation News

Lufthansa to Reactivate Airbus A380

The airline anticipates increased travel demand in 2023 and is assessing the number of A380s they plan to reactivate. Delayed deliveries of other aircraft contributed to the decision to bring the A380 back into service. In 2021, Lufthansa announced a phase-out of some long-haul aircraft, including the A380. Six of the airplanes have been sold. Up to eight may be reactivated. Lufthansa plans to add more Airbus A350-900s and Boeing 787 and 777 airplanes to replace older aircraft.

Woman Forgets Purse While Boarding Flight. Ground Crew Does The Unthinkable

In a viral video, an airport worker throws a passenger’s forgotten purse from the edge of the passenger bridge to a pilot’s waiting hands in the cockpit window. It’s a perfectly executed toss.

10 Examples of How Old Planes were Transformed into New Businesses

Recycling old airplanes takes several forms: Some parts and components are sold into the used parts market. Others A few items become end up as aviation collectibles, artwork, and even functional furniture. What’s left over can be sold as scrap. This article gives some creative ways that old aircraft have been repurposed.

Mentioned

From the American Helicopter Museum & Education Center:

The Journey is the Reward

Palms to Pines Air Race – August 11 – 13, 2022.

NASA To Aviation Industry: We Can Develop Flight Tech To Cut Carbon Emissions

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Rob Mark, our Main(e) Man Micah, and Brian Coleman.

706 Airport Flight Delays

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.

Guest

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.

Travel guru Johnny Jet
Johnny Jet

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.”

Current travel news topics:

Mentioned

The Journey is the Reward

25th Annual Spurwink Farm International Fly-In

Sunday, July 10, 2022 pancake breakfast 8:00 – 11:00. Spurwink Farm, Cape Elizabeth, Maine, off Route 77.

Second Annual PlaneTags Festival

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.

Second Annual PlaneTags Festival
Second Annual PlaneTags Festival

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.

Want to own an airport? There’s one for sale in southern Maine

World’s most efficient passenger plane gets hydrogen powertrain

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, our Main(e) Man Micah, and Brian Coleman.

705 Air Force One

Air Force One paint scheme and production problems, F-35s as Aggressors, Israeli extended range F-35s, Delta’s “juniority benefit,” Piedmont wage increases, and a U.S. Navy safety stand-down.

Air Force One
Air Force One

Aviation News

Hot mess: There’s a problem with Trump’s Air Force One paint job

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.” 

Two days later…

Biden scraps Trump’s Air Force One paint scheme over cost

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.

Boeing Can’t Find Enough Workers to Build the New Air Force One

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.

First F-35 Aggressor Dedicated To Replicating Chinese Threats Unveiled

The U.S. Air Force 65th Aggressor Squadron (AGRS) has been reactivated at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada using the F-35A Lightning II. The AGRS mission is “to know, teach and replicate fifth-generation air adversaries,” particularly the airpower capabilities emerging from China. See: 65th Aggressor Squadron reactivates at Nellis AFB with aggressor force of F-35s.

Israel Has Extended The Range Of Its F-35s

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.

Delta’s ‘juniority benefit’ is saving the airline loads of cash after many of its higher-paid workers took buyouts in 2020, bucking the recent trend of companies paying more

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.”

Significant wage bump for Piedmont PIlots [From Reddit.com]

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 series of crashes, U.S. Navy to pause flight operations for safety reviews

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.

Mentioned

The Journey is the Reward

Portland jetport’s main runway reopens, ending disruptions

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.

3 Good Reasons Why The F-35 Was Not Featured In Top Gun: Maverick

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, and our Main(e) Man Micah.

704 The Supersonic B-1 BONE

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

Guest

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.

Where to buy The Supersonic BONE:

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.

Aviation News

Inside the Convoluted Politics of Certifying the Last 737 Max Models

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’s secret next-gen fighter has reached development phase

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.

German Heavy-Lift Helicopter Program Selects Chinook

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.

Both Pilots Flew the Airbus A330 Asleep

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.

Woman Who Knocked Out Southwest Airlines Teeth Ends Up With 15 Month Prison Sentence

The woman who assaulted a Southwest Airlines flight attendant in May 2021 has been sentenced to 15 months in prison and to pay $25,981.57 in restitution and a $7,500 fine.

Expert says ministers must declare EMERGENCY and draft in army for at least six months to solve holiday hell

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.

See also:

Mentioned

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’

Accurate Ranging Perception for Assisted and Automated Driving

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.

703 FAA IASA Program

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.

Aviation News

A year later and Mexico hasn’t yet recovered its top-tier aviation safety rating

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.)

Video: Federal Aviation Administration’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) Program

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.

Bombardier Sees Blended-wing Future for Business Jets

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 Zelensky wants to rebuild An-225 Mriya to honor hero pilots

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.”

American Airlines gets favorable antitrust verdict, and $1 in damages

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.

ALPA Rejects Boost In Retirement Age

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.”

Southwest Airlines proposed a ploy to deceive FAA on Boeing 737 MAX, legal filing alleges

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.

Southwest Airlines warns of free ticket Facebook scam

A “Southwest Air Fans” Facebook post declared that replying “Done” to the post would earn you two free tickets. Southwest had nothing to do with this supposed “promotion.”

Portland Jetport (KPWM) Runway Rehab Update

Report

Our Main(e) Man Micah tells us about his Trusted Traveler Program interview.

Trusted Traveler Programs

Johnny Jet, Simplifying Travel

Which Trusted Traveler Program Is Right For You?

Mentioned

America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race

Commercial spacecraft gets approval to land at Huntsville airport

Dream Chaser, courtesy NASA.

Thunder Over Dover Air Show 2022

KC-46 by David Vanderhoof.
David in the KC-46.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, and our Main(e) Man Micah.

702 Aviation Smorgasbord

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.

Glen Towler

Glen Towler, 2017.
Glen Towler, 2017.

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.

Glen Towler in the simulator at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019
Glen Towler in the simulator at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019.
Group photo: Glen, center kneeling, 2019.
Glen, center kneeling, 2019.

Aviation Topics from Listeners

Opinions Differ On Pilot Shortage

The Air Line Pilots Association created a webpage: More Than Enough Pilots to Meet U.S. Airline Demand – Debunking the Pilot Shortage Myth where they say, 

“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.”

Keflavík Airport

Questions about the Icelandic Air connections at KEF.

Electric Air Transport Of The Future: Air Mobility Initiative

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!)

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Tips for visitors include volunteering to crew, getting up pre-dawn, and taking the tram up Sandia Peak.

Lawmakers press Air Force on speeding up purchase of Boeing E-7 Wedgetail

The Air Force wants to get Boeing’s E-7 Wedgetail operational, but the prototype might not fly until fiscal 2027.

Boeing E-7 Wedgetail By 대한민국 국군 Republic of Korea Armed Forces - 공중조기경보통제기, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36991666
Boeing E-7 Wedgetail, courtesy Republic of Korea Armed Forces.

The Journey is the Reward

How Brian funds his dream of achieving lifetime 1K status with United Airlines.

USAF’s Next Airborne Nuclear Command-And-Control Aircraft, Needs Four Engines

The U.S. Air Force wants its next airborne nuclear command and control aircraft to have four engines, and will likely choose used aircraft.

U.S. Air Force E-4B, courtesy Wikipedia.
U.S. Air Force E-4B, courtesy Wikipedia.

Aviation Xtended

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.

High-flyers: five careers in aviation that don’t require a pilot’s license

Five careers in aviation that don’t require a pilot’s license, from Artemis Aerospace.

Aircraft maintenance mechanic, courtesy Artemis Aerospace
Aircraft maintenance mechanic, courtesy Artemis Aerospace.

Aviation News

FAA changes course on eVTOL certification

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.

British Airways hit by pilot rise up over pay cuts

British Airways pilots are unhappy with the airline’s plan to cut their pay. Under a 2020 deal, pilots accepted pay cuts in exchange for reducing redundancy from 1,255 pilots to 270.

Republic Seeks 1500-Hour Rule Exemption

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.

Airline Pilot Retirement Age Could Be Raised To 67

Allegedly, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina is working on a bill that would reduce the commercial airline pilot retirement age raised to 67 from 65.

Southwest Airlines admits to an insulting problem that’ll drive everyone crazy

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.

Hawaiian Airlines is building an all-electric seaglider that holds 100 passengers

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.

Regent seaglider

Hilarious: Delta Air Lines Pilot Crawls Through Window Of Boeing 737

Watch what happens when the pilots are locked out of the cockpit.

Mentioned

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

Sky River Helicopters – Providing helicopter tours, charters, and flight school.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, with contribution by our Main(e) Man Micah.

701 Aviation Weather

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.

Guest

Scott Gilmore, Tomorrow.io aviation weather information

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.

Aviation News

FAA wants U.S. airlines to retrofit, replace radio altimeters

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.”

EasyJet to take out seats so it can fly with fewer crew

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.

Nigerian airlines are threatening to ground domestic flights amid soaring jet fuel prices

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%

Frustrated Alaska Airlines Pilots to Vote on Strike

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.

Spirit Airlines rejects JetBlue’s buyout bid, citing approval concerns

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.

Mac Gardner, Spirit Airlines board chairman.

U.S. Aviation First: Private Pilot Certificate Earned Using an Electric Airplane

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. 

Unruly Passenger Who Managed to Open Plane Door Inflight is Sentenced to Just One Year in Jail

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).

Man Who Assaulted Flight Attendants Gets 60 Days in Jail

Witnesses Describe the Scene When Man Exited Moving Plane at O’Hare, Slid Down Wing

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.

United Airlines statement.

Virgin Atlantic Flight Aborted After Pilot Found To Be ‘Untrained’

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….

What passengers can expect on Qantas’ longest commercial flight in the world

Introducing the Airbus A350-1000

Pacific Airshow comes to Gold Coast in 2023

Pacific Airshow

Qantas has reached an agreement to fully acquire Australian-based operator, Alliance Aviation Services

QANTAS to acquire Alliance Aviation to Better Support Resources Segment

Air race 2022: Lake Macquarie locks in $8 million drawcard for November

Ipswich Amberley Air Tattoo

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott

700 Flight Attendant

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.

L-1011. Jon Proctor (GFDL 1.2 <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html> or GFDL 1.2 <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html>), via Wikimedia Commons
Lockheed L-1011-1 Tristar at St Louis Lambert-St Louis Int’l – KSTL, USA – Missouri, 2 April 1985. (Courtesy Jon Proctor)

Guest

Ann Hood, former TWA flight attendant.
Ann Hood

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. 

Book cover: Fly Girl, a Memoir.

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.

Aviation News

Delta, facing a union drive, says it will start paying flight attendants during boarding

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.

This Airline Won’t Hire Male Cabin Crew Because it Wants to Save Money On Hotel Rooms

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.

American Airlines Sacks 50 Flight Attendants in Six Months For Going AWOL On Reserve Duty

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.”

Royal Junk: Brand-New, Custom $300 Million Boeing 747-8 Arrives at Scrapyard

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.

Video from BSL Planespotter 4K: Last flight of this white jumbo before its retirement B747-8JA | N458BJ | take off at Basel Airport

Could fuel shortages be the airlines’ next pandemic problem?

A number of factors have conspired to limit Jet-A availability at some airports, including weather and the process by which pipeline operators allocate pipe capacity to different fuel types.

Fuel Shortage Forces United Airlines to Cancel Johannesburg Flights

“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.”

How Do Pipelines Work?

The F-15EX Program Is In Trouble

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.

Mentioned

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, October 1-9, 2022.

The Journey is the Reward

Brian’s notes to airline crews:

Brian's note card to airline crew.
Brian's note card to airline crew.

The Tesla is not trained to see airplanes.
What the eyes see (on the left) and what the Tesla sees (on the right). Courtesy Patrick Wiggins.

Archer and United Airlines Form Joint eVTOL Advisory Committee to Support Archer’s Future Airline Operations

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Brian Coleman, and our Main(e) Man Micah.

699 Apple AirTag for Tracking Luggage

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.

Aviation News

This man is trolling his airline with PowerPoint presentations to find his missing bag

This is the story of a couple who used an Apple AirTag to find and track their lost checked bags.

These airlines are letting passengers banned for mask violations back on planes

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.

Bombardier Designates Wichita Its U.S. Headquarters

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.

Courtesy Bombardier Defense

Air Lease Claims $802.4 Million Write Off After 27 Leased Jets Stuck In Russia

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.”

Loss of Engine Power Due to Excessive Fuel Flow in Cirrus SR22T Aircraft

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 FAA revoked the pilot certificate of Trevor Jacob, a former Olympic snowboard competitor turned YouTuber, who posted a viral video of himself parachuting out of a 1940 Taylorcraft that he claimed had malfunctioned.

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.

FAA Investigating Failed Plane Swap

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.

FAA apologizes for no advance warning before parachute jump, Capitol evacuation

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.

Tecnam Unveils P-Mentor Certified Two-Seat Trainer

The Tecnam Aircraft P-Mentor is a new two-seat piston aircraft designed for student training. International deliveries are expected to begin in the next four months. 

P-Mentor, courtesy Tecnam Aircraft.

Facing rising costs, LifeFlight sets up in-house air operations

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.

Mentioned

New England Air Museum

The Journey is the Reward

AirVenture Oshkosh 2022 to Celebrate Young Eagles 30th Anniversary

Someone just crashed into a Vision Jet!!!

Tesla Model Y Operator Appears To “Summon” Car Straight Into a Parked Jet

The Wheel Bearings Podcast

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Max Trescott, Rob Mark, and our Main(e) Man Micah.

698 Airline Travel Challenges

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.

Aviation News

Airlines are slashing flights due to staffing shortage: ‘The summer will be chaos’

Crew shortages are affecting airlines around the world. Travel demand is up, but staff availability is down. The summer travel outlook looks chaotic.

Pilot union sues American Airlines to block pilot training program

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. 

In the press release, Allied Pilots Association Sues American Airlines Over Railway Labor Act Violations, APA President Capt. Eric Ferguson says, 

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.

APA President Capt. Eric Ferguson

Fatigue is starting to put safety at risk, pilots say

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.

Florida judge voids US mask mandate for planes, other travel

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 Delivers 100th Global 7500; Milestone Jet Goes to VistaJet – AIN

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.

Frontier Airlines wants to ditch jet bridges in Denver and board by stairs

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.”

This Airline Has Offered One Rare Amenity Since 1952 — and It’s Still the Coolest Thing in the Skies

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines offers unique Delftware porcelain amenities that have become collector’s items.

When do you give up an airline seat that you’ve paid for?

Sometimes you don’t want to swap seats with another passenger, but sometimes it’s the right thing to do.

FAA warns of in-flight turbofan failures following long-term storage

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.

Airline Passengers Accidentally Told Plane Was Going to Make an Emergency Landing in the Sea

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.

Easter Bunny Story: Scared of flying? SFO’s new giant rabbit is here to help

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.” 

37 U.S. Airports Have Therapy Dog Programs. Does Yours?

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.

The Journey is the Reward

Brian T. Coleman and Main(e) Man Micah discuss a letter they received from a United Airlines Captain.

Mentioned

The Air Current – Exclusive news and insight on the business and technology of flying.

The YB-52 prototype, the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, takes its first flight on April 15, 1952

A Look Back At All The B-52 Variants As The Iconic Bomber Hits 70

Airliners International 2022 Chicago – Buy, swap, sell airline memorabilia. June 23-25, 2022.

37 U.S. Airports Have Therapy Dog Programs. Does Yours?

Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood | Official Trailer | Netflix

Airlines Confidential Podcast – Hosted by Ben Baldanza, former CEO of Spirit Airlines, and Chris Chiames, a 30+ year airline/travel industry veteran.

Thunder Over Dover, May 21-22, 2022.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, and Rob Mark.