724 National Air and Space Museum

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum opened the completed portion of the renovation at the National Mall in Washington, DC.

National Air and Space Museum exhibit.

The Museum calls itself “the world’s largest and most significant collection of aviation and space artifacts, encompassing all aspects of human flight, as well as related works of art and archival materials.” It’s typically the most visited museum in the United States.

The museum occupies two locations: The original location is in Washington, DC and the newer Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is the annex, located outside DC next to Washington Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, Virginia. That facility was made possible by a $65 million donation by Steven F. Udvar-Házy, a co-founder of the aircraft leasing firm International Lease Finance Corporation, or ILFC.

In this episode, we look at the DC facility. It was established in 1946 as the National Air Museum and the main building opened on the National Mall in 1976. In 2018 the Museum started a $250 million seven-year renovation project. When the renovation is completed, all of the museum’s 23 galleries and presentation spaces will be updated or completely redone.

On Oct. 14, 2022, the downtown museum reopened with eight new and renovated galleries in the west wing. Our Hillel Glazer was present representing the Airplane Geeks podcast at the press preview day, and he recorded some interviews.

Christopher Browne, NASM director.
Christopher Browne

Hillel recorded the opening video and the remarks from Christopher Browne, the John and Adrienne Mars Director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. Browne joined the museum as deputy director in 2017 and served as acting director from 2021 to 2022 when he was named director.

Next, Hillel speaks with Dr. Jermery Kinner, the Associate Director of Research and Curatorial Affairs at the National Air and Space Museum. He leads the Museum’s three research and curatorial departments (Aeronautics, the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies or CEPS, and Space History). Kinner also provides counsel and advice on curatorial and museum affairs to the Director and the Senior Leadership Team.

Finally, we’ll hear from Beth Wilson. She’s been an educator at the Museum since 2004.

Video: Space For Everyone | The Reimagined National Air and Space Museum Open October 14

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight and Hillel Glazer.

723 Boeing MoM

Boeing won’t pursue a new middle-of-the-market airplane, propellers for aviation sustainability, high-wall super suites, passenger detention, large PAX and weight and balance, a KC-46 Class A mishap.

Aviation News

Boeing: “We won’t contemplate a new airplane”

Concerning a Boeing MoM, president and CEO David Calhoun, said, “We won’t contemplate a new airplane; we won’t even put it on the drawing board until we know we’re capable of doing that. So this is strategy for us. Capabilities. And then there’ll be a moment in time where we’ll pull the rabbit out of the hat and introduce a new airplane sometime in the middle of next decade.”

Opinion: Could Propellers Help Solve The Sustainability Conundrum?

The global civil aviation industry has pledged to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 but new technologies will require billions of dollars in investment. Hydrogen, electric and hybrid propulsion, and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) have promise, but feasibility and cost-effectiveness concerns remain. But propfans and ducted propellers “might finally be ready for use.”

The Latest in Luxurious First-Class Airplane Suites: Building Up

First-class suites with doors first appeared on the Airbus A380 then spread to other widebodies offering luxury and some degree of privacy. How do the latest class of high-wall super suites from Emirates and Lufthansa deal with the cabin view requirements?

Flight Attendant Physically Detained Passenger Because They Thought He Had Taken a Photograph of Them

The crew didn’t like being photographed and detained a passenger when they believed he’d taken a picture of them.

United Airlines Is Blocking Seats Under New Weight Requirements Per Passenger

The FAA has increased the “standard” weight of men and women which impacts airplane weight and balance. United’s B757s are affected to the degree that at least six seats per flight will be blocked.

AMC Investigating Class A Mishap That Damaged KC-46 Boom, Fuselage

The Air Mobility Command is investigating a potential Class A mishap involving a KC-46 Pegasus tanker that left the plane’s boom and fuselage damaged.

Mentioned

Albuquerque Intl. Balloon Fiesta releases 2022 attendance totals

Pawn Stars at the American Helicopter Museum – Scheduled to air on the History Channel on November 16, 2022.

Eastern Airlines Flight 401 50th Anniversary Memorial Monument – Dedication December 29, 2022, at 1:00 pm. Contact flt401memorial@gmail.com for more information. For donations:

By check payable to National Air Disaster Foundation. Note on your check that it is for Eastern 401. 100% of your tax-deductible donation goes toward the memorial. Send your check to: National Air Disaster Foundation, 2020 Pennsylvania Ave NW, #315, Washington, DC 20006.

By credit card visit www.PlaneSafe.org and click Donation.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, and Max Trescott.

722 Flight Tracking with Flighty

Flight tracking app Flighty.

Ryan Jones, founder and CEO of Flighty, describes the flight tracking app that pulls together a number of tools for flyers into one application. It features fast push notifications, flight delay predictions, and pilot-grade data.

Ryan is giving away lifetime subscriptions to two Airplane Geeks listeners. At the end of the interview, Ryan describes that if you install the app and leave a comment, you’ll be entered in the drawing. We really appreciate that Flighty is doing this for you.

Follow @rjonesy and @FlightyApp on Twitter.

Mentioned

As a follow-up to our conversation in episode 721 about Rotax engines in Iranian drones, listener Mark Newton posted in our Slack team the link to an article from The Drive. It’s titled Same Type Of Rotax Engines Used In Iranian Drones Targeted In Bizarre Theft Wave, published October 25, 2022. Many of these engines have been stolen and that might be how Iran obtained them. 

Hosts this Episode

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

721 Hype Aviation News Aggregator

Isaac Alexander is the Chief Content Officer for Hype Aviation, a news aggregator and media intelligence service for aerospace industry professionals and enthusiasts. 

Hype Aviation logo

Hype Aviation was founded, designed, and developed by Robin Koenig in 2017 with the goal of making it easy to stay up to date on aviation news without having to follow hundreds of separate sources. The service organizes content into aviation, defense, and space categories. An extensive events database in those categories and a daily newsletter are also provided.

Isaac became the first dedicated human editor for Hype Aviation. His experience in the aerospace industry today augments the automated curation system to provide a more human touch to the content while maintaining high-quality standards and unbiased assessment of the automated system.

Mentioned

The Journey is the Reward now on Twitter at @TJITReward

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

720 SkySquad

We have two interviews recorded by Hillel Glazer, our Innovations and Entrepreneurship Correspondent, and our Main(e) Man Micah.

SkySquad founder and CEO Julie Melnick
Julie Melnick

The first is with Julie Melnick the founder and CEO of SkySquad. SkySquad provides an extra set of helping hands at the airport for people who need assistance. It’s a very creative business idea.

Lift book covers.
Lift by John & Martha King

Then we hear from John and Martha King. When it comes to pilot training programs, King Schools is legendary. Now the couple has written a new book about their life lessons: LIFT: How to Start, Run and Grow Your Own Successful Business.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Hillel Glazer, and our Main(e) Man Micah.

719 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2022

Max Flight reports from the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta held October 1-9, 2022. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Balloon Fiesta.

Balloon Fiesta mass ascension.
Balloon Fiesta mass ascension.

Interviews with:

Katie, the Crew Chief for Team Coddiwomple, talks about crew chief responsibilities, getting started in ballooning, and buying a balloon. Coddiwomple Ballooning offers a unique specially-fitted wheelchair-accessible balloon.

Jim Lynch from Destin, Florida pilots the “Whirlaway” balloon and describes how balloons are FAA-certified aircraft and a pilot’s license is required to fly them. We talk about the propane burners, why the fuel is preheated, and when a pilot knows to abort the launch attempt due to the wind.

Linda C gives her impressions of the drone show provided by Verge Aero. See also, Simon Cowell presses Golden Buzzer for Verge Aero on America’s Got Talent: Extreme

Glen Moyer is the editor of Ballooning: Journal of the Balloon Federation of America (BFA) and also one of the two show announcers at the Balloon Fiesta. The BFA is an aviation safety and education organization for lighter-than-air aviation. Members include pilots, crew, and enthusiasts.

The Balloon Fiesta features a large grass launch field, surrounded by many RV camping areas. There are sponsor and exhibitor booths, and a huge number of food vendors.

The hallmark event is the mass ascensions where hundreds of balloons launch at sunrise. During balloon launches, spectators get right on the launch field in and amongst the balloons.  When a balloon is ready and the pilot gets the thumbs up from an official, the crown cheers enthusiastically while people in the basket wave frantically to the spectators. 

Balloons over the South RV Lot
Balloons over the South RV Lot
Flying pig balloon
Who said pigs don’t fly?
Balloon from below
Radio Controlled balloon
Radio Controlled balloon

Mentioned

Outdoor REgear – a large Albuquerque consignment shop where you can purchase used bicycles.

Host this Episode

Max Flight

718 Aircraft Towing

Advances in aircraft towing systems, personal flying vehicles, and a story about becoming an airplane geek.

Aircraft Towing Systems

Vince Howie,  CEO of Aircraft Towing Systems World Wide, LLC.
Vince Howie

Micah and Max interview Vince Howie, the CEO of Aircraft Towing Systems World Wide, LLC (or ATS). We learn how this company is working to lessen the considerable cost and environmental impact of aircraft movement on the ground.

ATS aircraft towing system.
ATS aircraft towing system.

Films With My Father

Our Main(e) Man Micah brings us a story he calls Films With My Father which explains why Micah is an airplane geek.

AIR EV

Hillel Glazer, our Aviation Entrepreneurship and Innovation Correspondent has another “Beyond the Press Release” interview from EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022. This time he speaks with Rani Plaut, the CEO of AIR EV. The company seeks to create personal, intuitive flying vehicles at a production rate usually achieved with automobiles. They recently demonstrated flight and control at their facility in Israel. 

Video: AIR ONE eVTOL Full Scale Test Flight

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, our Main(e) Man Micah, and Hillel Glazer.

717 Jetblue/Spirit Merger

We talk with a mergers expert about the proposed Jetblue/Spirit merger.

Jetblue/Spirit merger

Amira elAdawi, founder of AMIRA & CO.
Amira elAdawi

Amira elAdawi is an expert merger consultant who has worked with Fortune 100 companies, government entities, and international organizations on mergers and acquisitions. Amira has been featured in Digital Journal, CEO World, Startup Nation, and others.

We talk about the details of the Jetblue/Spirit merger, or perhaps acquisition is a better term. Amira helps us understand the value of the deal expected by Jetblue and Spirit, and how it might affect others. She also helps us appreciate the difficulties that can be encountered, especially in integrating the cultures of the two companies. Amira describes possible impacts on ticket prices when a low-cost provider is removed, and we wonder how Frontier or others might fill any “gap” created.

Amira was formerly a senior principal at Booz & Co, and an external advisor to Bain & Co. In 2013 she founded AMIRA & CO, a boutique global management consulting firm, working exclusively on M&A integrations and enterprise optimization.

In addition to management, Amira is passionate about teaching. She regularly coaches an immersive business boot camp on strategy and financial management and founded a microfinance NGO for single mothers in Egypt.

Amira is fluent in English and Arabic and holds a double-major BA in economics and international relations (magna cum laude), an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a Master’s certificate in hospitality management from Cornell.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight and our Main(e) Man Micah.

716 Air Navigation Services

We speak with four women working for air navigation services provider Air Navigation Solutions Ltd (ANSL). We also talk with the president of Hartzel Propeller.

Air Navigation Solutions Ltd. (ANSL)

Sophie Mills, Sharon Utting, Emma Hawksworth, and Vicky Bhogal-Hunt work for Air Navigation Solutions Ltd. ANSL is the air navigation services provider for Edinburgh and Gatwick airports. They also provide simulation training for Cambridge City Airport. We discuss their experiences as women in the aviation industry.

Air Navigation Services: Sophie Mills, Sharon Utting, Emma Hawksworth, Vicky Bhogal-Hunt.
From left to right – Sophie Mills, Sharon Utting, Emma Hawksworth, Vicky Bhogal-Hunt.

Mentioned in the conversation:

Hartzel Propeller

JJ Frigge is president of Hartzell Propeller. He’s responsible for all operating elements of the business including the development and execution of Hartzell Propeller’s strategy. 

JJ Frigge, president of Hartzell Propeller.
JJ Frigge

JJ began at Hartzell in 2011 as the company’s controller. In 2013 he took responsibility for the day-to-day business team as well as managing the company’s marketing and brand-building efforts. Prior to Hartzell Propeller, JJ spent 10 years as a finance manager at Proctor & Gamble. He is on the Communications Committee of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.

A 2001 Cum Laude graduate of the University of Notre Dame, JJ serves his community as a member of the board of directors and past president of the United Way of Miami County. He is also a past president of the Miami County Humane Society.

Mentioned

Facts about Airbus

Top 10 Interesting Facts about Airbus

The Whirly-Girls scholarship program

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight and Hillel Glazer.

715 Airline Seats

A human factors and ergonomics expert explains the importance of airline seat comfort and safety. We also talk with the founder and CEO of LiveATC.net and present our traditional Labor Day message.

Airline Seats

Photo of Dr. Mica Endsley
Dr. Mica Endsley

Dr. Mica Endsley is the Government Relations Chair for the Human Factors & Ergonomics Society (HFES). She’s also president of SA Technologies, a situational awareness research, design, and training firm. She was formerly the Chief Scientist of the United States Air Force.

Mica joins us to talk about airline seats from comfort and safety perspectives, taking into account the scientific human factors data that is relevant to this subject. The FAA is currently addressing seat size at the direction of Congress so this is a timely topic.

Airline seating has a massive impact not only on the physical comfort but also on the psychology and overall well-being of travelers. So much so that the HFES wrote Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Policy Statement on Airline Seating [PDF] which outlines and endorses a number of changes to airline seating. HFES makes six recommendations in its report:

  1. The FAA should update its standards to account for widespread physical changes of the average passenger. This should reflect requiring seat widths and seat belts that accommodate 95 percent of the general population.
  1. The FAA should mandate a minimum seat pitch to accommodate the seated height of 95 percent of the general population (38.5”). Alternatively, 3 or 4-point restraints should be provided, as is done in some aircraft for premium cabins.
  1. The FAA guidelines should specify the inclusion of footrests and adjustable lumbar supports to reduce neck and back strains and injuries.
  1. FAA policy on emergency evacuations should include consideration for variation in waist size in addition to age and gender.
  1. When updating seat dimension standards, the FAA should take into consideration possible adverse health effects of airline seats and review whether larger seating spaces should be mandated for long-duration flights.
  1. The FAA, internally as well as through the National Academies and the National Institutes of Health, should determine whether the body of research regarding airline seat dimensions is sufficient to draw a full range of recommendations. If there is not sufficient research available, the FAA should request additional research on this topic.

Comments in response to FAA Request for Comments in Minimum Seat Dimensions Necessary for Safety of Air Passengers (Emergency Evacuation) [PDF]

Mica’s educational background is in Industrial Engineering with a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas Tech University and a Master of Science degree from Purdue University.  She earned her Ph.D. in industrial and systems engineering from the University of Southern California. Mica is recognized internationally in the field of human factors, situational awareness, and related areas. It’s very much an honor to have her speak with us today.

Labor Day

Rob Mark presents his annual Labor Day message.

LiveATC.net

Hillel Glazer, our Aviation Entrepreneurship and Innovation Correspondent, brings us another “Beyond the Press Release” interview from EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022. This time he speaks with Dave Pascoe, the founder of LiveATC.net.

LiveATC.net logo

The site is a popular resource for those who enjoy listening to and talking about Air Traffic Control. LiveATC.net is a listener and advertiser-supported site: volunteers with scanners can join the network and contribute data. LiveATC.Net was the first site to provide both live and recorded ATC audio transmissions with instant archive retrieval.

Hosts this Episode

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