777 Aviation Accident Litigation

Aviation accident litigation with a partner from a law firm that specializes in that topic. In the news, some distressing recent air traffic controller behavior, the FAA acts on Safety Team recommendations, three United Airlines employees are accused of accepting bribes, a cargo drone airline achieves first flight, the Collings Foundation ends their air tours, and Alaska Airlines looks to acquire Hawaiian Airlines.

Guest

Erin Applebaum, Partner at Kreindler & Kreindler LLP, aviation accident litigation.

Erin Applebaum is a Partner at Kreindler & Kreindler LLP. Within Kreindler’s aviation practice, she focuses on representing individuals who are injured or killed in general aviation accidents and commercial airline disasters. 

Erin currently serves on the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee for the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 Boeing 737 MAX litigation against Boeing and other defendants. She is also part of the team challenging the Deferred Prosecution Agreement between Boeing and the Department of Justice.

Erin maintains a robust practice of representing passengers who have been seriously injured during commercial flights. She specializes in litigating claims governed by the Montreal Convention and teaches a popular aviation accident CLE course for other attorneys – “Montreal Convention for Plaintiffs’ Lawyers: Representing Passenger Personal Injury Claims Arising on International Flights.” For the highly respected, industry-wide publication, “Annals of Air and Space Law,” published by McGill University, Erin contributed her insight on a recent landmark decision regarding British Airways and the application of the Montreal Convention to injuries caused by unexpected conditions present during passenger disembarkation from international flights.

Erin is a member of several legal professional groups. She was recently appointed Co-Chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Aeronautics Committee, serves as a Vice Chair on the American Bar Association’s Aviation and Space Law Committee, and is an active member of the American Association for Justice and the International Aviation Women’s Association.

Aviation News

Drunk and Asleep on the Job: Air Traffic Controllers Pushed to the Brink

Some distressing recent ATC incidents have been reported: a drunk controller, one who smoked marijuana during breaks, and an employee who threatened and “aggressively pushed” another who was directing airplanes. There are more reports of sleeping on the job and working under the influence. A New York Times investigation found that air traffic controllers are fatigued, distracted, and demoralized and are increasingly prone to making mistakes.

FAA Takes Action to Address Safety Review Team Recommendations

With the release of the National Airspace System Safety Review Team report, the FAA is taking immediate action to enhance air traffic controller training and safety reporting:

  • The FAA will work with Air Traffic-Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) Program colleges and universities to ensure that graduates from these programs have the necessary skills to begin on-the-job training at a facility. These graduates still must pass the Air Traffic Skills Assessment (ATSA) exam and meet medical and security requirements. Previously, these graduates were required to attend the FAA Air Traffic Controller Academy before being assigned to a facility.
  • FAA announced a year-round hiring track for experienced controllers from the military and private industry.
  • FAA will keep filling every seat at the FAA Academy and increase classroom capacity beyond current limits.
  • FAA will expand the use of advanced training across the country. The agency has new facilities in Chicago and San Diego and will be adding them in Nashua and Phoenix in the spring. 
  • Finish deploying tower simulator systems in 95 facilities by December 2025. The FAA will deploy the first system in Austin by January 2024. 
  • To strengthen the safety culture, the FAA will provide reports from the Air Traffic Safety Oversight Service to the FAA Administrator and Aviation Safety Associate Administrator.

Three United Airlines Employees Accepted Bribes to Award ‘Lucrative’ Multi-Million-Dollar Renovation Contracts at Newark Airport

Following a Federal probe, three United Airlines employees pleaded guilty to accepting bribes and kickbacks that included renovating their homes and receiving Rolex watches. This was in exchange for awarding contracts to a company that offered higher prices than at least two other competitors. United has terminated all three employees: a corporate real estate director, an airline senior manager, and a contractor.

Qatar Airways Partners With The World’s 1st Cargo Drone Airline

Qatar Airways Cargo and cargo drone airline Dronamics have partnered, initially to link the Dronamics droneports in Greece with Qatar’s worldwide network. The Black Swan remotely piloted aircraft has a 26-foot fuselage with a 52-foot wingspan, 770 lb cargo capacity, a 1,550-mile range, and a top speed of 125 mph. Dronamics was established in 2014 and calls itself “the world’s first cargo drone airline.”

Video: Dronamics Cargo Drone First Flight

Collings Foundation Grounds Air Tour for WWII Aircraft

The Collings Foundation American Heritage Museum newsletter says, “In the wake of the 2019 B-17 Flying Fortress accident… We are moving forward on our long-term plans to bring the aircraft from a nationwide flying exhibition to permanent display here in Massachusetts.” The Wings of Freedom tour brought access to World War II aircraft like the Boeing B-17G, B-25, B-24, and P-51D. Rides on those aircraft were offered as part of a monetary contribution to the Foundation.

The American Heritage Museum is a 501(c)(3) organization located in Hudson, Massachusetts. It displays 50 aircraft and over 90 vehicles from the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard vehicles, as well as some from other nations. The museum also has some large artifacts like a rebuilt Hanoi Hilton POW cell and a part of the Berlin Wall.

Alaska Airlines in Deal to Buy Hawaiian Airlines for $1.9 Billion

Under the all-cash transaction, Alaska would buy Hawaiian for $18 per share, valued at $1.9 Billion (which includes $0.9 Billion of Hawaiian Airlines net debt), and operate the airline as an independent brand. Alaska said it plans to expand Hawaiian’s Honolulu hub to enable “greater international connectivity for West Coast travelers throughout the Asia-Pacific region.”

The transaction agreement has been approved by both boards and is conditioned on regulatory approvals, approval by Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. shareholders (which is expected to be sought in the first quarter of 2024), and other customary closing conditions. It is expected to close in 12-18 months. The combined organization will be based in Seattle under the leadership of Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci.

Press Release: Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines to merge

Additional information about the transaction is available at a new joint website at localcareglobalreach.com and investor materials can also be found at investor.alaskaair.com and news.alaskaair.com.

Australia Desk

The GippsAero GA-8 Airvan, which in more recent years became known as the Airvan 8, has been a success story of Australia’s aviation industry over its many years of production. Originally known as Gippsland Aeronautics, the company was founded in 1977 by Peter Furlong at the Latrobe Valley Regional Airport in eastern Victoria.  He was joined by George Morgan in 1984 and together they developed the GA200 Fatman crop sprayer and the GA8 utility aircraft.  The company was purchased by Mahindra Aerospace in 2009, with production continuing until 2020.  

But there’s good news!  George Morgan has now re-acquired the company and he has a vision to get the GA8 back into production in coming years.  This could see the eventual restoration of a large number of local manufacturing jobs, along with maintenance and other work along the way.

GippsAero GA-8 Airvan in flight.
Image credit: Steve Hitchen, Australian Flying Magazine

Co-Founder buys Mahindra out of GippsAero – Australian Flying

New LCC Bonza Air has raised the ire of many, canceling all of their new Gold Coast to Darwin flights for the entire month of December.  The move has left hundreds of passengers stranded and unable to get a satisfactory response from Bonza’s app-based contact system.  The route was announced in September and had been scheduled to commence this week.

Does the move signal troubled times ahead for the fledgling new Australian carrier?  Time will tell, but they will need to improve their customer contact methods, and quickly.

Bonza cancels Darwin-Gold Coast flights for all of December, leaving customers fuming – ABC News

Virgin Australia have announced plans to increase their current order book for Boeing 737 Max-8s to 14, with 3 already delivered, and a planned fleet of 39.  Up until this point, the 737 Max models haven’t been seen in large numbers in this part of the world, and with Qantas looking to progressively replace their 737 fleet with A320s, Virgin will eventually become the nation’s largest operator of the type.

Virgin Australia increases 737 MAX-8 aircraft order

Virgin is also aiming to rekindle its former partnership arrangement with Air New Zealand, following a break of five years.  The codeshare agreement would be most beneficial to VA passengers wanting to cross the Tasman, after the airline cut back services to all New Zealand destinations except Queenstown, as they contracted operations to focus on Australia during financial restructuring in recent years.

Virgin Australia plans to revive Air New Zealand partnership – Point Hacks

Mentioned

Video: How Many WW2 Fighters Survive in 2023?

The Owners Behind the Most Expensive Private Jets in the World

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, and our Main(e) Man Micah. Contribution by Grant McHerron and Steve Visscher.

776 Moving to Multi-engine Aircraft

We talk with a pilot who is moving to a multi-engine aircraft, and his young daughter who wants to be a military pilot. In the news, Southwest Airlines is experimenting with an airport lounge idea, an airport just won a Best Restroom award, a hydrogen-powered engine is being developed for general aviation applications, the financial challenges of a municipal airport, and good news for general aviation deliveries.

Diamond DA62 twin engine aircraft in the hangar.
Diamond DA62

Interviews

Michael Rogers sold his Cirrus and bought a Diamond DA62 twin-engine because he needed something bigger for his family. Taking delivery in Canada, he met up with the delivery pilot and flew the DA62 cross country. We hear about transitioning to multi-engine aircraft.

Michael’s daughter Eva Rogers was 10 years old when we first spoke with her. Now at 14, she still aspires to become a military pilot, although maybe with a different service.

Aviation News

Southwest Airlines trying massive customer perk

Southwest does not operate its own airport lounges, but they have been testing lounge access with Priority Pass for select top-tier customers. The airline says, “Beginning Nov. 22, [2023] we’ll be surprising and delighting a select group of customers with a complimentary Priority Pass membership for a year, which will allow them and two guests per visit access to the Priority Pass lounge network.”

Are BWI Airport’s new bathrooms the best in the nation?

Now Boarding: Winner of Cintas 2023 America’s Best Restroom® Contest – BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport

Cintas Corporation has named the Baltimore/Washington International (BWI) Thurgood Marshall Airport the winner of the 2023 America’s Best Restroom® contest. Each year, Cintas selects one public restroom to receive the award. As part of a $55 million facelift, BWI built new restrooms in Concourse B and is modernizing restrooms throughout Concourses B, C, and D.

The newly constructed restrooms at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport maximize occupant capacity while enhancing the overall passenger experience. The entrance welcomes travelers with an aesthetic mural and seating area while they wait for their companions. The new restrooms feature bright, spacious, fully enclosed stalls for privacy, touchless fixtures and individual lactation, adult changing and family assist rooms. Each restroom features a state-of-the-art smart restroom system that integrates with color-changing, LED stall occupancy lights and digital signage at the restroom entrances showing current availability. The smart restroom system also provides real-time inventory tracking and usage counts for custodial services.

Cintas Corporation

BWI joins Tampa International Airport, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, and Fort Smith Regional Airport in Arkansas in America’s Best Restroom Hall of Fame. Nominations for 2024 are open.

DeltaHawk launches hydrogen engine development program

DeltaHawk Engines has completed advanced simulation analysis of a hydrogen fuel engine for general aviation aircraft. This is a variant of the 180-hp DHK180 2-stroke piston engine that was certified by the FAA in May 2023. That clean sheet engine has an inverted-V engine block, a turbocharger and a supercharger, mechanical fuel injection, and liquid cooling.

Lewiston-Auburn airport puts biggest hangar up for sale or lease

The Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport is trying to get on a solid financial footing. Elite Airways ceased operations in 2022 abandoning three leased Bombardier CRJ-700 airplanes at the airport. The same for tools, trailers, machinery, and other property. An auction was held which netted the airport about $140,000. The 27,000-square-foot Hangar #5 was originally built in 2008 for the Lufthansa Lockheed Starliner project, which was canceled in 2018. Hangar #5 is now available.

GA aircraft deliveries continue to climb

The 2023 Third Quarter General Aviation Aircraft Shipment Report [PDF] was just released by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). YTD, all segments of general aviation aircraft deliveries and billings increased. Piston airplane shipments increased almost 12% in 3Q23 over 3Q22. Turboprops increased almost 15% and business jets increased 2%.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Max Trescott, David Vanderhoof, and Micah, with contributions by Brian Coleman.

775 Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

The Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey talks about the $30 Billion capital plan to rebuild airport facilities and the transportation infrastructure. In the news, an unruly passenger is fined almost $40,000 for costs related to the resulting flight delay, FAA certification for remote airport tower operations, public charter flights and regulatory loopholes, American Airlines flight attendants might strike, and the FAA is allowing graduates of college and university air traffic control programs to skip training and go right to ATC facilities.

Guest

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Executive Director Rick Cotton.

Rick Cotton is Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a post he’s held since August 2017. The Port Authority has jurisdiction over the transportation infrastructure in the region, including air, land, rail, and sea. That includes five airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, Stewart International Airport, and Teterboro Airport.

Rick describes the history and function of the Port Authority, and the $30B plan to create world-class facilities that include rebuilding the airports. We discuss transportation between the airport and the city, the focus on the curb-to-gate passenger experience, and even the pricing of airport food.

Before joining the Port Authority, Rick served as New York State’s Special Counsellor to the Governor for Interagency Initiatives. He focused on the State’s major downstate infrastructure projects such as LaGuardia and JFK Airports, the Moynihan Train Hall and Penn-Farley Complex, the new Tappan Zee Bridge, the expansion of the Javits Center, and the MTA’s Second Avenue Subway project.

Rick spent 25 years at NBC Universal, where he held several positions, including 20 years as EVP and General Counsel and four years in London as President and Managing Director of CNBC Europe. He also served as Executive Secretary to the Department at the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare under Secretary Joseph A. Califano, Jr. and Special Assistant for Renewable Energy to Deputy Secretary of Energy John Sawhill at the U.S. Department of Energy. Rick received an A.B. from Harvard College and a J.D. from Yale Law School, and served as a law clerk to Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Video: About the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey

Aviation News

An expensive flight: American Airlines passenger fined almost $40,000 for being disruptive

After pleading guilty to interfering with a flight crew member, the federal district court in Arizona ordered the passenger to pay American Airlines $38,952 in restitution for delay-related costs due to her actions. The woman was also sentenced to time served in prison (3.6 months) and three years of supervised release, during which time she cannot fly commercially without prior authorization. This stems from a Feb. 13, 2022 flight where the passenger used profanity and threatened flight crew members flying from Phoenix to Hawaii. The plane was diverted and returned to Phoenix.

See also: Woman Ordered to Pay Over $38,000 in Restitution for Interference with Flight Crew on Hawaii-Bound Flight from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona.

Another Remote Control Tower Option Bites the Dust

Searidge Technologies will end its five-year effort with Colorado’s Department of Transportation to implement a remote technology (RT) digital tower at Northern Colorado Regional Airport in Loveland. Bob Poole writes that new FAA certification requirements have also forced Saab to discontinue its participation as the RT technology provider for the remote tower for Leesburg Airport in Virginia.

In March 2023, the FAA announced that to have a remote technology system certified for a U.S. airport, it must first be installed at the Atlantic City, NJ, airport. That is where the FAA Tech Center is located. In addition, the Tech Center staff must be allowed to reverse engineer the system over three years so the FAA can determine if the system meets FAA certification requirements.

Searidge Technologies is a provider of services for remotely managing air traffic control. The company says they have “technology at over 40 sites in 25 countries [and they] are a global leader and preferred partner for Digital Towers and Advanced Airport solutions.” Searidge is owned by NATS (UK). Other RT service providers include Saab, Frequentis, and Kongsburg.

Big U.S. airlines fight over safety of ‘travel hack’ charter flights

“Public charter flights” have limited schedules (perhaps once or twice weekly) and set departure and arrival times. Booking is by individual seat and these flights are typically available during the tourist season. Flights are operated by tour operators or airlines that sell seats directly to passengers. Some charter operators offer these flights from private terminals and market themselves as providing flights without the hassle of the large terminals. (Avoid long security and boarding lines.) Dallas-based JSX is an example.

American Airlines and Southwest Airlines want to see the safety and security of these operations examined. They consider public charters a “loophole.” Meanwhile, United Airlines and JetBlue don’t want to see any changes. But they each own a stake in JSX.

See also: What Is a Charter Flight: Cost And All The Basics, What is Public Charter, and Plane Talk: Public Charter Flights – US Department of Transportation.

American Airlines Flight Attendants Expected to Formally Announce Christmas Strike On Monday

The American flight attendants are negotiating a new contract with the airline. The airline proposed a 19% pay rise over the four-year contract. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) wants a 50% pay rise.

FAA Now Says AT-CTI Grads Can Skip Oke City Training Academy

The FAA is allowing graduates of college and university air traffic control programs to skip training at its own ATC academy in Oklahoma City and go directly to on-the-job training at ATC facilities.

Mentioned

Pentagon unveils new form for reporting UFO sightings

The form is available through the Defense Department’s All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO). That website provides official declassified information on UAPs, including pictures and videos, for the public to view.  At this time, the form is not meant for the public but methods are being explored to change that. See DOD press release: The Department of Defense Launches the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office Website.

Hosts this Episode

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

774 Why Flying is Miserable

We talk with the author of Why Flying is Miserable: And How to Fix It. In the news, the NTSB comments on the increase in near-miss aviation incidents, the FAA will appoint an ARC to examine pilot mental health, an NTSB preliminary report on the Hawker/Cessna collision, cargo pilots are offered $250,000 to go regional, and United adjusts their frequent flyer program.

Guest

Ganesh Sitaraman, author of Why Flying is Miserable: And How to Fix It.
Ganesh Sitaraman

Ganesh Sitaraman is a policy expert, Vanderbilt law professor, and the author of the book titled Why Flying is Miserable: And How to Fix It. The book was written to stimulate conversation about the state of air travel in the U.S. and what might be done to make it serve more Americans, more efficiently, with fewer federal bailouts and headaches.

Why Flying is Miserable takes the reader through the history of the U.S. airline industry and how deregulation has brought us to where we are today. In the early years of flight through the 1930’s, policies were defined by the needs of airmail. Then in the 1930s to the 1970s, airlines were regulated largely under a public utility model, ultimately through the Civil Aeronautics Board. This regulated oligopoly was changed to a free market model with deregulation in 1978. The resulting unregulated oligopoly resulted in cutthroat competition in the 1980s which led to consolidation without regulation.

Ganesh describes why flying is miserable for the flying public and miserable for the industry itself. With no changes, another bailout situation will present itself sooner or later, he argues.

Why Flying is Miserable: And How to Fix It book cover

Ganesh offers some reform principles that consider the dynamics of the industry and the goals of a national airline policy: no more flyover country, no bailouts or bankruptcies, and fair and transparent prices. He offers some creative and thought-provoking approaches to achieve those principles.

Ganesh is director of the Vanderbilt Policy Accelerator for Political Economy and Regulation. He’s the author of numerous books, previously a senior advisor to Elizabeth Warren for her presidential campaign, and is a member of the Administrative Conference of the United States and the FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee

Follow Ganesh on X (Twitter) at @GaneshSitaraman. Why Flying is Miserable: And How to Fix It is available wherever books are sold, as an Audible Audiobook, and on Kindle.

Aviation News

NTSB chair says US near-miss aviation incidents ‘clear warning sign’

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chair Jennifer Homendy told a U.S. Senate aviation committee that the increase in near-miss aviation incidents is a “clear warning sign that the U.S. aviation system is sharply strained.” Homendy stated the need for “more technology for runway and cockpit alerting… We cannot wait until a fatal accident forces action.”

American Airlines dangles a $250,000 bonus to lure pilots from FedEx and UPS to fill job shortage that has led to canceled and delayed flights

American Airlines regional carrier PSA Airlines is reportedly offering cargo pilots a $175,000 bonus in the first paycheck, with an additional $75,000 after one year. As the airline cancels flights due to staffing shortages, FedEx and UPS are experiencing reduced demand and flight cuttings. So those carriers are encouraging their pilots to consider the American offer.

Hawker Crew Ignored Instructions from ATC in Houston Bizjet Collision

As previously reported, the left wing of a Hawker 850 (N269AA) hit the vertical stabilizer of a Cessna Mustang (N510HM) landing on a crossing runway at Houston Hobby Airport (KHOU). According to the NTSB preliminary report:

HOU has intersecting runways, and the local controller had instructed the crew of N269AA [Hawker] to line up and wait (LUAW) on runway 22. The crew of N269AA said in a post-accident interview that they believed they heard that they were cleared for takeoff when they took off. The collision between the two airplanes occurred at the intersection of the two runways.

N269AA was in the takeoff roll on runway 22 when the flight data/clearance delivery controller alerted the local controller about N269AA’s movement, and at 1519:47 the local controller stated “november nine alpha alpha, stop, hold your position.” There was no response from the crew of N269AA, and at 1519:53 the local controller again stated, “alpha, alpha, hold your position, stop,” to which there was still no response.

The flight crew from N269AA stated in their post-accident interview they had a rudder bias alert, and a pitch trim alert which they had to resolve as they were in the takeoff roll.

NTSB

HOU tower is equipped with an Airport Surface Detection Equipment – Model X (ASDE-X) system that the FAA describes as “a surveillance system using radar, multilateration and satellite technology that allows air traffic controllers to track surface movement of aircraft and vehicles. It was developed to help reduce critical Category A and B runway incursions.”

ASDE X collects data from 

  • Surface surveillance radar located on top of the air traffic control tower and/or on a remote tower
  • Multilateration sensors located around the airport
  • Airport Surveillance Radars such as the Mode S
  • Automatic Dependent Surveillance — Broadcast (ADS-B) sensors
  • Terminal automation system to obtain flight plan data.

By fusing the data from these sources, ASDE-X can determine the position and identification of aircraft and vehicles in the airport movement area, as well as aircraft flying on final approach to the airport. Thirty-five major airports have received ASDE-X.

FAA Naming Panel to Address Pilot Mental Health Issues

The FAA says it is appointing a Pilot Mental Health Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC). The committee will provide recommendations on breaking down the barriers that prevent pilots from reporting mental health issues to the FAA. FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker said, “Mental health care has made great strides in recent years, and we want to make sure the FAA is considering those advances when we evaluate the health of pilots.”

The FAA said it would also work to address uncompleted recommendations from a July inspector general’s office report on pilot mental health, which found the FAA’s “ability to mitigate safety risks is limited by pilots’ reluctance to disclose mental health conditions.”

Source: FAA to Appoint Rulemaking Committee to Examine Pilot Mental Health.

In addition, the FAA will work with the ARC to address open recommendations from the July 2023 DOT Office of Inspector General report on Pilot Mental Health Challenges, which found that the agency has “comprehensive procedures to evaluate pilots’ psychological health.”

FAA fact sheet on pilot mental health oversight, Pilot Mental Fitness.

United Airlines tweaks frequent flyer program to reward credit card spending 

UA says they won’t change overall requirements for elite frequent flyer status in 2024. Instead, the airline will give customers 25 qualifying points for every $500 they spend on co-branded credit cards. United will also lift caps on credit card spending that can qualify for elite status. Presently, customers earn 500 points for every $12,000 spent.

Australia Desk

The Indo-Pacific International Maritime Exposition (IndoPac 2023) was held between November 7th and 9th in Sydney, and Grant was in attendance, gathering content for Australian Defence Magazine.  We take a brief look at the expo, particularly in terms of a focus on maritime aviation and defence.

Indo Pacific International Maritime Exposition

Local company Rosebank Engineering has secured a contract for RAAF F-35 component maintenance, activating their wheel & brake repair depot, east of Melbourne.

Rosebank Engineering activates F-35 repair depot

The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) this week celebrated 30 years of operations at RAAF Base Pearce in Western Australia, conducting lead-in and advanced training for their military pilots.  The Australian Defence Force enjoys a close working relationship with the Singaporeans not only at Pearce but in several other aspects of training including CH-47 Chinook training at the Army Aviation Regiment’s base at Oakey in Queensland.

The RSAF Commemorates 30 Years of Training in Pearce, Australia

And speaking of maritime topics, what exactly was Steve eating for lunch that has Grant so concerned?  Tune in to find out!  Anchors away….

Mentioned

Frank Borman (left) and Rob Mark (right) at the airport.
Frank Borman and Rob Mark.

Video: Stackhat (Australian ad – 1988)

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, and Brian Coleman. Contribution by Grant McHerron and Steve Visscher.

773 North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco

We look at the North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco with a former combat aircraft pilot. In the news, Van’s Aircraft is experiencing financial issues, the U.S. Government is getting involved in the Schiphol airport move to reduce flights, and a Federal Flight Deck Officer allegedly threatens to shoot another pilot.

Guest

Tim Plaehn in the F-16 cockpit 1985.
Tim Plaehn in 1985

Tim Plaehn is a former combat aircraft pilot who attended the Air Force Academy, graduating in 1979. Tim attended Undergraduate Pilot Training at Williams AFB and his first assignment ran from 1980 to 1984, flying the North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco. He spent one year at Osan AB in South Korea, and two years as an OV-10 instructor at Patrick AFB. Tim received his F-16 training at Luke AFB in 1985 and served as a frontline F-16 pilot at Nellis AFB through 1987 when he separated from the Air Force.

Tim describes the very interesting OV-10 aircraft, and its design, armament, and acrobatic qualities. We hear some stories about his experiences training pilots to fly the OV-10 including several student-induced spins.

NASA OV-10 in flight.
NASA OV-10

After major maintenance was performed on an Air Force aircraft, a follow-up flight called a functional check flight (FCF) would be required. A squadron would have two pilots qualified to fly FCFs. Tim was fortunate to be an FCF pilot for both the OV-10 and the F-16.

Since his Air Force career, Tim has spent most of his working life in the investment world. For the past 10 years, he’s been the researcher and writer of newsletters focusing on the stock market. He also writes about his experiences at landflyordie.substack.com.

Video: Brilliant OV-10 Bronco Display – Abingdon 2023

Museums with the North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco on display:

The Bronco Is Back! A Fleet Of OV-10s Will Help Train Air Force Forward Air Controllers

The OV-10 Squadron is an organization that received seven OV-10D Broncos at Chino Airport in Southern California (KCNO).

Blue Air Training Acquires Seven OV-10 Broncos

Aviation News

Van’s Aircraft reports cash crunch, prompts concern

In a video posted on YouTube, Dick VanGrunsven, founder and CEO of kit plane maker Van’s Aircraft, said, “Van’s is facing serious cash flow issues that must be addressed for ongoing operation.” Van also stated, “We are confident we can work through the situation, but some changes are required. Candidly, since early September, Van’s has only been able to continue operating through loans of operating capital made by my wife and me.”

Video: Van’s Aircraft Business Announcement from Dick VanGrunsven

Van was our guest in Airplane Geeks Episode 376.

United States Retaliates Against Netherlands Flight Cap

In previous episodes, we talked about Amsterdam Schiphol reducing the number of flights in 2024 by about 10%, and how newcomer JetBlue asked the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) to take some action to protect its interests. The DOT now says the Netherlands is violating the United States and European Union Air Transport Agreement. As a consequence,

The Department orders KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, NV; Martinair Holland NV; and TUI Airlines Nederland, BV to file with the Department, within seven days of the service date of this order, any and all of their existing schedules for air transportation services, including codeshare, common branding, and extra sections, between any point or points in the United States and any point or points not in the United States.

US DOT

The claimed violation falls under the balanced approach philosophy. According to the IATA factsheet The Balanced Approach to aircraft noise management:

The Balanced Approach requires that all available options be evaluated to identify the most cost-effective measure or combination of measures to mitigate a specific noise problem.

Each new generation of aircraft is quieter than the previous one and the noise footprint surrounding airports has reduced, but increased flight operations have counteracted some of these benefits. These factors are driving some local authorities to impose noise operating restrictions at airports, either in terms of annual movement reductions, aircraft type bans, or night operations bans.

Most of these restrictions are being implemented without ICAO’s Balanced Approach, which requires that the noise concerns of local residents be balanced with protecting the huge social and economic benefits of the airport’s connectivity for the whole country. 

IATA and its member airlines fully support the implementation of the Balanced Approach when it comes to noise management.

IATA

The Balanced Approach principle was adopted in 2001. It is included in Annex 16, Volume I of the ICAO Chicago Convention. It is enshrined in the EU regulation 598/2014, and it is also stipulated in the USA-EU Air Transport Agreement.

Pilot accused of threatening to shoot captain who tried to divert flight for a medical emergency, officials say

A commercial first officer has been indicted by a Utah grand jury for an August 2022 incident when he allegedly threatened to shoot the captain if the flight was diverted for a passenger medical event. The pilot had been charged with interference with a flight crew. The first officer “told the Captain they would be shot multiple times” after a disagreement regarding a possible flight diversion for a passenger medical event, the Office of Inspector General said.

The pilot was authorized to carry a gun on board the plane under to the Transportation Security Administration’s Federal Flight Deck Officer program. Such officers are “deputized as a federal law enforcement officer and issued a TSA-approved firearm and federal flight deck officer credentials,” according to the TSA.

Mentioned

Marshall Blythe stunning airplane models on Flickr.

Shocker: Math proves boarding planes is actually really efficient

Hosts this Episode

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

772 Managing Small Airports

A doctoral dissertation examines success factors for small airports, two bizjets collide at Houston Hobby, an off-duty pilot tries to shut down the engines in-flight, a review of NBAA-BACE, a new FAA administrator gets Congressional approval, and Spirit Airlines halts pilot and FA training.

Guest

Dr. Mike Jones researched the factors that affect the economic impact of small airports. In his doctoral dissertation at the University of Florida, he examined the cost to small airports of ill-fitting organizational designs, and what airports can do to improve the situation.

Dr. Mike Jones headshot
Dr. Mike Jones

“Jonesy” describes single-function and multi-function airport organizations and how that correlates with airport economic impact. He found that small airports organized under a local government tend to underperform. In his research, Jonesy quantified the economic impact that small airports should generate.

We learn that the most important aeronautical predictor of an airport’s success is the length of the longest runway. The most important non-aeronautical variable is the intensity of economic activity within 15 miles of the airport. Also, a single-function organizational design with a high degree of operational control contributes greatly to airport performance.

For a summary presentation of Mike’s work, see: Measuring the Degree in Which Politicians Degrade the Performance of Small Airports. [PDF]

Jonesy is a feature writer for Cessna Pilots Magazine. He writes about flying adventures, the history of aviation and aviation pioneers, and the technology of aviation. He can often be seen at air shows and fly-in events, collecting interviews for his next feature.

Jonesy served as a U.S. Air Force Lieutenant and was an air traffic controller in Southeast Asia at the end of the Vietnam War. He was chairman of the Pinehurst (NC) Airport Authority for eight years. An active pilot with more than 4,000 hours in the left seat, he’s the proud owner of a Cessna T210 Centurion. He volunteers with Angelflight and has flown more than 800 Young Eagles flights.

CommAvia promotional poster showing an unfriendly airport fence with Keep Out signage.
CommAvia poster from the past.

Aviation News

Bizjets Collide after Unauthorized Takeoff Attempt at Houston Hobby

A Hawker 850XP departing without ATC clearance clipped a Citation Mustang that was landing at William P. Hobby Airport (KHOU) in Houston. The Mustang tail section was damaged. Despite a damaged left wing, the Hawker returned to the airport after getting airborne. No injuries were reported.

How safe are cockpits? Aviation experts weigh in after Horizon Air flight scare

An off-duty Alaska Airlines pilot riding in the jump seat on a Horizon Air Embraer 175 flight attempted to shut down the plane’s engines mid-flight. He was arrested and charged with attempted murder and reckless endangerment. The man didn’t raise suspicions with the plane’s pilots, his neighbors, or those at the flying club where he instructed. His most recent medical exam was in September. However, the pilot told police that he had been depressed for about six months and was having a “nervous breakdown.” Could this result in a ban on jump-seat riders? 

Video: 2023 NBAA-BACE: World’s Biggest Business Aviation Show

The 2023 NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) was held in Las Vegas. Highlights include:

  • The debut of the Airbus ACJ Two Twenty
  • The Boeing 737-700 BBJ
  • The Embraer Phenom 100EX made its global debut
  • Updates on Pilatus PC-24 
  • The HondaJet Echelon
  • A Volocopter 2X eVTOL live demonstration
  • WIsk Aero showed their 6th Gen aircraft
  • VoltAero introduced their Cassio 330 hybrid turboprop concept aircraft.

Also, Kevin Larosa, an air-to-air stunt pilot and aerial co-ordinator showcased his CineJet and explained how air-to-air filming was done in the Top Gun Maverick movie.

Former deputy confirmed as FAA administrator

On Oct. 24, 2023, the U.S. Senate unanimously voted to approve Michael Whitaker as the new FAA Administrator for a 5-year term. The FAA had gone for 19 months without the position being filled. Whitaker served as deputy FAA administrator from 2013-2016, where he led the FAA’s air traffic modernization program. He was also in charge of the agency’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Office.

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2023 (S. 1939) was introduced into Congress on June 13, 2023, and is currently in the legislative process. See GovTrack, which is now on Mastodon as @GovTrack@mastodon.social.

Spirit Airlines halts new pilot, flight attendant training after difficult quarter, Pratt engine issue

The airline says it will suspend training for new pilots and flight attendants in November “until further notice.” Demand is soft and dozens of Airbus A320neo aircraft will need to be grounded for inspections due to an engine manufacturing problem. Spirit Airlines posted a third-quarter net loss of $157.6 million. It expects negative margins for the fourth quarter as well.

Australia Desk

With the situation in Israel and Gaza showing no signs of easing, the Royal Australian Air Force has been getting involved in repatriation flights for Australian citizens wishing to return home.

RAAF flights assist with Israel departures

Qantas hasn’t had the best of years, especially when it comes to reputational damage, and the latest Roy Morgan Trusted Brands Awards bear this out following a year-long survey.  Virgin Australia has now replaced its larger rival as the most trusted airline brand in the land.

It’s Official: Woolworths is Australia’s Most Trusted Brand

Meanwhile, Qantas has found another way to annoy customers (and they likely won’t be the only airline doing it), announcing fare increases of 3.5% for their mainline network, and 3% for Jetstar flights, thanks mainly to the rising cost of fuel.

‘Taking the p**s’: Passengers rage as Qantas flight prices set to soar

A local Member of Parliament had a lucky escape when a skydive aircraft he was on board lost power soon after takeoff and returned to Earth with a thud.  Everyone walked away, with only two people requiring first aid…which was lucky because this MP just happened to be a former professional firefighter.

Victorian MP who survived plane crash says pilot showed ‘amazing skill’

And is Australia planning to start its very own Space Force??   Well…probably not, but a recent agreement signed by the US and Australia will unlock the potential for both countries to move ahead with a space launch from Down Under in the near to medium future.

SIAA welcomes deal to unlock US space launch from Australian shores

Mentioned

Eric Paterson, Ph.D., Executive Director, Virginia Tech National Security Institute, Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor provided additional information about the truss braced wing concept. This concept was developed and explored at Virginia Tech more than 25 years ago. There was a substantial team working on this, including, Dr. Bernard Grossman, Dr. Joseph Schetz, Dr. William Mason, Dr. Rakesh Kapania, Dr. Raphael Haftka, Dr. Frank Gern, Philippe-Andre Tetrault, Joel Grasmeyer, Erwin Sulaeman, Jay Gundlach, and Andy Ko.

A strut-braced wing model in a NASA wind tunnel.
2013 wind tunnel test at NASA Langley.

Boeing Air Taxi Company Flies in Los Angeles

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Rob Mark, and our Main(e) Man Micah. Contribution by Grant McHerron and Steve Visscher.

771 Bits & Pieces Number 30

Interviews from Cranky Dorkfest 2023, Micah on lighter-than-air vehicles, and a chance encounter at Costco.

Cranky Dorkfest 2023

Brian Coleman spoke with some notable attendees at the Cranky Dorkfest held September 9, 2023. As Brett Snyder describes it, “a bunch of us get together and watch airplanes at LAX and eat burgers. The beauty is in the simplicity of it all.” 

Hundreds of people show up for this event, including quite a few people you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. The Dorkfest usually teams up with NYC Aviation to line the Dorkfest up with the SpotLAX event. It’s definitely one of the annual must-attend aviation events.

This year, Brian spoke with:

  • Ben Granucci and Heather Abbott from NYC Aviation.
  • Nick Benson from JetTip.net, the smart flight alert service for aviation enthusiasts.
  • Courtney Miller, the Airplane Geeks Podcast co-founder, now with The Air Current.
  • Jon Ostrower, The Air Current and Yawman.
  • Kevin from Airline Videos Live.
  • Jason Rabinowitz, head of The Airline Tariff Publishing Company’s (ATPCO) Routehappy Rich content creation, focused on the airline amenities and UPA (Universal Product Attributes) product.
  • And finally Brett Snyder, Cranky himself.

Lighter than Nomenclature

We have a replay of our Main(e) Man Micah’s piece way back in Episode 403 titled Lighter than Nomenclature.  We thought it was appropriate since we’ve talked about airships and dirigibles and balloons in some recent episodes.

Luke Forister and Micah at Costco

This new piece came about when Micah met someone he didn’t know at Costco. Who would expect to have an interesting aviation conversation with a stranger at Costco? Since Micah doesn’t leave home without his mic and recorder, he captures it for us to enjoy.

Mentioned

Your Pizza Shop, 1200 8’th Ave SW, Largo, Florida.

Hosts this Episode

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

770 Boarding the Airplane

The airline boarding process, Leap-1A engine compressor stalls, the $19 billion Kennedy Airport transformation project, SpaceX Starlink Internet connectivity on planes, an update on the oldest skydiver, another Australia Desk report, and great listener mail.

Photo of man boarding United Air Lines Boeing 247 airplane.
Boarding a United Air Lines Boeing 247.

Aviation News

Check your group: United Airlines to reintroduce window, middle aisle boarding this month – saves 2 minutes!

United economy passengers might benefit from a boarding process where passengers with window seats get on first, then the middle seat passengers, and finally the aisle seats. The airline thinks this will shorten boarding by two minutes.

According to the airline, beginning October 26, 2023, boarding will take place in this order:

  • Preboarding: Customers with disabilities and unaccompanied minors, active duty military, Global Services members, families with children under two, and Premier 1K members
  • Group 1: United Polaris business, United first, United business, Premier Platinum, Premier Gold and Star Alliance Gold
  • Group 2: Premier Silver, Star Alliance Silver, Chase, and certain other credit card holders and paid Premier Access
  • Group 3: Window seats, exit row seats and non-revenue passengers
  • Group 4: Middle seats
  • Group 5: Aisle seats
  • Group 6: Basic economy on domestic flights and those between the U.S. and the Caribbean or Central America excluding Panama City and San Salvador

Leap-1A compressor-stall problem prompts FAA to propose inspections

After reports of three high-pressure compressor stalls resulting in aborted take-offs, and two stalls resulting in turnbacks, the FAA released a proposed rule that would require increased inspections of CFM International Leap-1A turbofans. The stalls were “induced by high levels of non-synchronous vibration” and involved wear on the engines’ number three bearing spring finger housings.

The Wikipedia Compressor Stall page provides more information on this topic.

Why Tugboats Are Key to the $19 Billion Overhaul of Kennedy Airport

Kennedy Airport is undergoing a $19 billion transformation project. Under the public/private redevelopment program, John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) will get two giant new terminals, expansion and modernization of existing terminals, streamlined roadways, and local retail and dining. See A New JFK for the latest information.

Hawaiian now planning Starlink service entry in early 2024

In addition to personal services, SpaceX’s Starlink offers commercial connectivity options: fixed, mobile, maritime, and aviation.  According to the Starlink website, the aviation package is available for Gulfstream and Bombardier jets. In April 2022, Hawaiian Airlines announced that the airline would fit Starlink to its A321neos, A330s, and future Boeing 787-9s. Now the airline says that this has been pushed back to early 2024.

104-year-old skydiver dies days after jump that could put her in the record books

Dorothy Hoffner was found dead by staff at the senior living community. She apparently died in her sleep.

Australia Desk

The Australia Desk returns after a few months away, and much has happened, both in aviation circles and a little closer to home.

Steve Visscher at the hospital.
Steve Visscher

Steve returns to the microphone following his recent journey with open heart surgery, the result of a heart attack in early September.  The aviation podcast community was so generous in their support during this time, and we take a moment to speak to that and express our appreciation.

For those who may be interested, Steve chronicled his experience in a blog, which can be found at http://proceedaspect.com 

In aviation news this week, Qantas has been transporting Australian citizens out of Israel on behalf of the federal government, due to the escalating conflict there.  At the time of recording, one 787 flight had been completed, while a second was aborted due to security concerns.  That flight was rescheduled. The 787s take passengers to London and then on to Australia using A380s.

Statement on Second QANTAS Assistance Flight

Former Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon is now the country’s Prime Minister following this weekend’s elections, following a shift into politics in recent times.  The news comes as the nation’s flag carrier experiences financial stresses due largely to the escalating price of fuel, exacerbated by ongoing wranglings with Pratt & Whitney over engine issues, and a post-covid travel credit hangover. 

Air New Zealand Growth Boosted By Long Haul Demand

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority is on a recruitment drive, offering multiple aircrew roles on their Dash 8 and Challenger 604 fleet.  Find out more here:

Recruitment Seminars

An Australian man is at the centre of a recent incident which resulted in a Scoot 787 flight from Singapore to Perth being turned around and given an RSAF F-15 escort back to Changi.

Australian man charged with making bomb threat on Scoot flight

The team at Paul Bennet Airshows have had a grand time at the recent Australian Aerobatic Championships, held at Narromine in New South Wales.  Paul took out the Freestyle Championship, while many other team members swept the awards categories as well.

Hunter locals soar to victory at aerobatic championships

Paul Bennet Airshows
Image courtesy Paul Bennet Airshows.

Mentioned

Your Pizza Shop, 1200 8’th Ave SW, Largo, Florida. Join Brian and Micah for a meetup on Sunday, November 12, starting at 4 p.m.

Successful A330 MRTT flight test campaign for F-15 fighters automatic refueling

Listener Michael’s RC Aircraft

This is just a small sampling of the foam, balsa, and fiberglass electric-powered radio-controlled aircraft that Michael has built. When he’s not working on models, Michael is a helicopter pilot and flight test engineer.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Brian Coleman, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, and Rob Mark. Contribution by Grant McHerron and Steve Visscher.

769 Transonic Truss-braced Wing

A transonic truss-braced wing aircraft gets an X-Plane designation, some categories of air travel capacity have returned to pre-pandemic levels, detecting germs on airliners, and the Collings Foundation reaches a settlement.

Aviation News

Next Generation Experimental Aircraft Becomes NASA’s Newest X-Plane

The transonic truss-braced wing experimental aircraft has received the designator X-66A. This will be developed under the NASA Sustainable Flight Demonstrator (SFD) project and produced under a partnership between NASA and the Boeing Company. Recently, Boeing flew an MD-90 airplane from Victorville, California, to its facility in Palmdale, California, where the X-66A conversion will take place. The plane’s wings will be replaced with longer and thinner wings stabilized by diagonal struts.

Transonic Truss-braced Wing concept
Transonic Truss-braced Wing. NASA concept.

See the Wikipedia List of X-planes to learn more about past X-planes.

Air travel is back to pre-pandemic levels with new turbulence ahead

Based on data from aviation analytics firm Cirium, capacity (measured by scheduled available seat kilometers) has returned to pre-pandemic levels. However, IATA says industry profits will be more than 40% below 2019 levels. Airline analyst Helane Becker at TD Cowen says, “Industry revenues are back to 2019 levels but costs are over 2019 levels by about 18 or 19%.”

Just how germy are airplanes? We put one to the test.

Using a microbial detection test from Charm Sciences, the author swabbed 10 high-touch points on a recent flight. Nine tests failed. The worst spots were the lavatory sink handle and a tray table. The test that came back with zero contaminants might surprise you. Or maybe not.

Collings Foundation Reaches Settlement With Nine-0-Nine Crash Victims

The Collings Foundation has settled the remaining legal claims involving eight of the 10 passengers who were aboard the Nine-0-Nine B-17 when it crashed at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut on Oct. 2, 2019. Terms of the settlement will not be made public. In its final report, the NTSB found pilot error, lax maintenance practices,  and a dysfunctional safety management system had contributed to the crash. We interviewed pilot Mac McCauley under the wing of that plane one week prior to the crash in AirplaneGeeks.com/573.

Mentioned

FAPA.aero (Future and Active Pilot Advisors) offers “objective and independent advice for aspiring pilots of all levels.”

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight and Rob Mark.

768 Xwing Autonomous Aircraft

Autonomous aircraft with the regulatory affairs lead at Xwing. In the news, Delta Airlines reconsiders loyalty program changes, GPS spoofing of commercial flights, the Schiphol airport capacity cap, a crash takes the life of an AOPA senior vice president, and a 104-year-old woman goes skydiving.

Guest

Anna Dietrich is the regulatory affairs lead at Xwing, a company that flies piloted commercial cargo operations under a Part 135 certificate with a fleet of Cessna Caravans. The company has developed an autonomous aircraft for cargo operations and has conducted the world’s first fully autonomous gate-to-gate demonstration of a commercial cargo aircraft.

Anna Dietrich, regulatory affairs lead at Xwing.

Anna leads the certification program for advanced aircraft control and detect and avoid systems for the company’s autonomous flight operations. She gives us an overview of the Xwing autonomous program and the Superpilot autonomous flight technology. A remote pilot monitors the flight and can modify the flight plan if necessary.

We hear how the regulator’s viewpoint on airworthiness is now a more performance-based approach to safety. Operational rules can be the same as with a crewed aircraft, but in this case, some are performed by a system, and some by a pilot on the ground. For now, airman certification is unchanged, but some requirements are different and these will need to change over time.

Anna brings up the roles of humans in autonomous aircraft operations: who has liability and responsibility, and what training is appropriate? Also, how AI is regulated, thoughts on the certification process, and even public acceptance. We take the opportunity to ask Anna about the Terrafugia roadable airplane project that she co-founded.

Anna is an industry-recognized leader in policy, certification, and government relations for advanced air mobility (AAM), eVTOL aircraft, and autonomous aviation. Her experiences include Mars rover testing, being the founding COO of Terrafugia, testifying on AAM for Congress, and speaking at TED Global. She has appeared on or been published in a wide range of outlets including CNN, Ms. Magazine, and Good Morning America. She runs AMD Consulting, serves as Director of Regulatory Affairs for Xwing, is the co-founder and Director of Industry and Strategy at the Community Air Mobility Initiative (CAMI), and is a Senior Policy Advisor for AUVSI. She was the founding chair of the GAMA EPIC EVTOL committee and continues to have key roles in industry, including standards development efforts such as ASTM AC377 Autonomy in Aviation. She received her BS and MS in aerospace engineering from MIT and is a private pilot. More at annamdietrich.com.

See also:

  • Aviation Xtended Episode 184 with Max Gariel, the Co-Founder, President, and Chief Technology Officer for Xwing. 
  • Airplane Geeks Episode 736 with Earl Lawrence, the Chief Compliance and Quality Officer at Xwing, and former Executive Director of Aircraft Certification at the FAA.

Video: Xwing – Gate to Gate demo – Feb 2021

Aviation News

Delta CEO Admits Airline May Have Gone ‘Too Far’ With Loyalty Changes

Last week we described how Delta Airlines planned to change its SkyMiles program. The airline said it would retire Medallion Qualifying Miles and Medallion Qualifying Segments to focus on Qualifying Dollars. Many Delta customers were not happy with the change, and CEO Ed Bastian responded by saying, “No question we probably went too far in doing that. I think we moved too fast, and we are looking at it now.”

‘We moved too fast’: Delta Airlines may reverse controversial change

After the initial Delta announcement, Alaska Airlines said Delta SkyMiles Medallion members could join their Mileage Plan program with no flight segment or spending requirement. JetBlue offered elite status in its Mosaic loyalty program to Delta flyers through Oct. 31, or until 30,000 people take advantage of the offer.

Increasing Fake GPS Signals Near Iran Prompt FAA Alert

The OpsGroup reports that the number of GPS spoofing incidents in Iraq is increasing along a flight path alongside the Iranian border. The FAA calls this a “safety of flight risk to civil aviation operations.” OpsGroup said about a dozen business jets and airliners received fake GPS signals, and many of them lost navigation capability.

OpsGroup is a membership organization for pilots, flight dispatchers, schedulers, and controllers involved in international flight operations. The 8,000-member-strong organization shares new information on changes and risks that members have reported. Members get a Daily Brief, live Ops Alerts, and other resources. OpsGroup founder Mark Zee describes the organization in What Is Opsgroup All About?

US’s JetBlue challenges Dutch, EU over Schiphol capacity cap

The Dutch government is planning to cut capacity at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport from 500,000 annual flights to 440,000 flights. This is an effort to reduce noise and carbon emissions, but it is not a popular move within the industry. Opposition comes from KLM, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and A4A representing ten US airlines. Other industry associations against the plan include BARIN (representing airlines in the Netherlands), Air Cargo Netherlands (ACN), Airlines for Europe (A4E), and the European Regions Airline Association (ERA).

JetBlue Airways has made a regulatory filing with the US Department of Transportation (DOT) against the Dutch government and the European Union, calling on the DOT to take action. The airline claims is it under an immediate threat of expulsion from Schiphol in 2024.

AOPA’s Vice President of Air Safety Institute, Richard McSpadden Dies in Plane Crash

Richard McSpadden Jr., senior vice president of the AOPA Air Safety Institute, was one of two people killed in an aircraft accident on October 1, 2023, in Lake Placid, New York. The Cessna 177 Cardinal experienced an emergency after takeoff. The airplane attempted to return to the airport but failed to make the runway. Also killed in the crash was former NFL player Russ Francis.

104-year-old Chicago woman becomes oldest tandem skydiver

The Guinness Book of World Records may certify Dorothy Hoffner as the oldest person in the world to tandem skydive. The woman turns 105 in December and wants to go for a ride in a hot air balloon.

Mentioned

From The American Helicopter Museum & Education Center:

Aviation Newstalk Podcast

Portland jetport briefly shut down Sunday after car crashes through gate, drives on runway

Hosts this Episode

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