Tag Archives: 737MAX

617 Boeing 737 MAX NPRM

We look at the Boeing 737 MAX NPRM for return to service, Phillips 66 investment in sustainable aviation fuel, JetBlue carbon neutrality on domestic flights, this year’s Collier Trophy winner, American Airlines plans to eliminate some smaller destinations, and the F-16 fighter jet sale to Taiwan.

Boeing 737 MAX NPRM

Boeing 737 MAX AD NPRM Now Available for Early Public Review

Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) for a Boeing 737 MAX airworthiness directive (AD) (PDF)

The FAA proposes to supersede Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2018-23-51, which applies to all The Boeing Company Model 737-8 and 737-9 (737 MAX) airplanes. Since AD 2018-23-51 was issued, the agency has determined that final corrective action is necessary to address the unsafe condition. This proposed AD would require installing new flight control computer (FCC) software, revising the existing Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) to incorporate new and revised flightcrew procedures, installing new MAX display system (MDS) software, changing the horizontal stabilizer trim wire routing installations, completing an angle of attack sensor system test, and performing an operational readiness flight. 

2019-NM-035-AD The Boeing Company Model 737-8 and 737-9 (737 MAX) airplanes

Comments are due Sep 21, 2020 11:59 PM ET.

Preliminary Summary of the FAA’s Review of the Boeing 737 MAX (PDF)

This report will provide a detailed technical account of the lessons learned since the two fatal accidents involving the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, as well as the actions by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ensure the airplane’s safe return to service. As the State of Design agent, the FAA is providing this report to all States of Registry and to the general public to assist in their understanding of how the agency identified and is addressing the safety issues affecting the 737 MAX.

Aviation News

Phillips 66 To Convert Plant For Sustainable Fuel Production

The company announced its San Francisco Refinery in Rodeo, California will be reconfigured to produce 680 million gallons annually of sustainable diesel, gasoline, and jet fuels using cooking oil, fats, greases, and soybean oils. If approved, the production of sustainable fuels could start in early 2024.

JetBlue is the First U.S. Airline to Commit to and Achieve Carbon Neutrality for All Domestic Flying

JetBlue previously announced a commitment to go carbon neutral on all domestic flights. The airline says it has achieved that goal and carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) from jet fuel for all domestic JetBlue-operated flights are now offset. The airline is also investing in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and flights from San Francisco International Airport are fueled with SAF.  JetBlue had already offset more than 2.6 billion pounds of CO2 emissions in partnership with CarbonFund.org Foundation.

X-37B Team Wins Collier Trophy

The United States Department of the Air Force-Boeing X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle team has won the 2019 Robert J. Collier Trophy. The National Aeronautic Association selection committee said the team was chosen for “… developing and employing the world’s only reusable, autonomous spaceplane, which logged more than 2,865 days in orbit across five missions, changing access to space and serving as the nation’s workhorse in space experimentation and technology.”

X-37B Landing

X-37B Landing.

American Airlines prepares to drop some service to smaller cities as expiration of federal aid nears

Under the terms of a $25 billion federal aid package, airlines must maintain minimum levels of service through September 30, 2020. American Airlines says they’ll discontinue flights to some as yet unidentified small and medium-sized cities. The airline may not wait until October 1, 2020, to drop the destinations from the fall schedules. There is congressional support for an additional federal payment that would sustain the flights, but the necessary legislation hasn’t come together yet.

U.S. Formalizes F-16 Jet Sale to Taiwan With China Tensions High

Taiwan signed an agreement to purchase 66 F-16 jets, to be completed by 2026. The planned sale was announced last August and at that time a spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry said “U.S. arms sales to Taiwan severely violate the one-China principle.”

Cutter Aviation

Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari visits FBO Cutter Aviation in Colorado Springs.

Mentioned

Tuskegee Airman General Charles McGee

On Wednesday, September 2, 2020, General McGee will be interviewed live as part of the Old Guys and Their Airplanes “Debrief” series.

General McGee served in WWII, The Korean War, and the Vietnam War, accumulating an astounding 409 combat missions.  His civilian service is marked by extensive honors including the nation’s highest civilian award, The Congressional Gold Medal.   Today, at age 100, he remains an active role model to youth, promoting his mantra of personal success, “Perceive, Prepare, Perform and Persevere.”

The live interview is free to the public with special emphasis on encouraging teachers and group leaders to tune-in. To this point, the 2 September interview with General McGee will be conducted during the ‘school time’ – 9 am Pacific, 10 am Mountain, 11 am Central and Noon Eastern.

Also…

Amphibious Assault Ship USS Essex Carries Load Of Gorgeous World War II Warbirds To Hawaii

615 Supersonic Commercial Aircraft

Boom Supersonic and Virgin Galactic supersonic commercial aircraft eye Rolls-Royce engine technology, China’s AG600 large seaplane, United’s ERJ-145 regional jets to CommutAir, pilot re-examinations, Boeing’s quarterly loss and good 737 MAX news, airline passengers and booze, the growing stockpile of airline nuts, and Allegiant Air’s clever “work from Vegas” packages.

Aviation News

Boom, Rolls-Royce Partner On Supersonic Overture

Boom Supersonic and Rolls-Royce announced they are exploring a Rolls-Royce propulsion system on Boom’s Overture supersonic commercial aircraft. The companies will investigate if an existing engine architecture can be adapted for supersonic flight. The smaller Boom XB-1 supersonic demonstrator is expected to roll out on Oct. 7, 2020.

See the Boom press release: Engine Studies Advance Program Development and Focus on Sustainability and the outstanding XB-1 progress animation.

Virgin Galactic Unveils Mach 3 Aircraft Design for High Speed Travel, and Signs Memorandum of Understanding with Rolls-Royce

Virgin Galactic Holdings wants to create a supersonic commercial aircraft and just unveiled its initial design of a Mach 3 airplane. The company’s manufacturer of advanced air and space vehicles, The Spaceship Company (“TSC”), announced the first stage design scope and also the signing of a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Rolls-Royce to collaborate in designing and developing engine propulsion technology for high-speed commercial aircraft.

Virgin is targeting a Mach 3 certified delta-wing aircraft, with a capacity for 9 to 19 people at an altitude above 60,000 feet, that is able to incorporate custom cabin layouts, and use sustainable aviation fuel.

The FAA’s Center for Emerging Concepts and Innovation will work with Virgin Galactic to outline a certification framework.

United to drop contract with ExpressJet, dealing fatal blow

United Airlines plans to move its 50-seat United Express Embraer ERJ-145 planes operated by ExpressJet to regional carrier CommutAir, which would become United’s sole ERJ-145 operator. Operations are being consolidated as United looks to be a smaller airline as a result of the pandemic. United says, “This transition will take a number of months.”

The World’s Largest Seaplane Pulls Off Its First Waterborne Flight

The AG600 “Kunlong” is China’s first seaplane and the world’s largest seaplane. The AG600 just had its first takeoff from the ocean, followed by a 31-minute flight. The plane, which did fly from a reservoir in 2018, can carry 50 passengers up to 2,700 miles. It has a 128-foot wingspan and a length of 121 feet. Maximum takeoff weight of 53.5 tons. Power comes from four WJ-6 turboprops.

Video: China’s AG600 amphibious aircraft completes first sea surface flight

Pilots Who Flew With Discredited Examiner Face Reexamination

The FAA has notified some pilots that they may have to be re-examined because of problems with the work of a specific examiner.

Boeing’s revenue plunges 25 percent as long-term effects of pandemic take hold

Shipments are down and so is Boeing’s second-quarter profit.

FAA gives preliminary approval on design fixes for 737 Max

Welcome news for Boeing. A few details need attention and the FAA will proceed with a 45-day public comment period.

Most airlines aren’t serving booze during the pandemic. Passengers are (illegally) bringing their own

Some people just need a drink when flying, but it’s against regulations for a passenger to bring their own.

There’s A Huge Surplus Of American Airlines Nuts

Fewer people are flying and the stockpile of airline nuts is growing. Order yours now for an at-home experience.

Viva Las remote office? Allegiant Air to pitch ‘work from Vegas’ travel packages to boost bookings

Allegiant Air has a brilliant idea to provide you with a “work at home” experience in Las Vegas.

Mentioned

For a limited time, PilotPartner.net is offering a discount code for Airplane Geeks listeners. The code “airplanegeeks18” will get you an 18-month membership for the price of 12 months. Ken was our guest in Episode 432.

There is always a ham in the crowd…

613 A-10 Thunderbolt II

A former A-10 pilot who flew combat missions during Operation Desert Storm tells us about the A-10 from a first-hand perspective. Also, Boeing 737 MAX cancellations, airline layoffs and furloughs, Emirates plan for the A380, an American Airlines and JetBlue partnership, a bizarre Icelandair plan, aviation museums are re-opening, the B-52 Chrome Dome mission, a drive-in airshow, and thoughts on Urban Air Mobility.

Guest

Buck Wyndham is an Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University graduate who joined the Air Force to fly his dream airplane, the A-10 Thunderbolt II. He became one of the very first pilots to take the Warthog into battle and flew many missions during Operation Desert Storm. He went on to fly the T-38 Talon as an instructor for over seven years. 

Buck describes A-10 design and its mission as a ground support aircraft built around a 30mm rotary cannon. “The gun” is 21 feet long, weighs 4,000 pounds loaded, and can fire 70 rounds per second. Buck describes the physical sensations when firing the gun, and he tells us about the difference between air-to-air combat with fast jets and air-to-ground combat with an attack aircraft. He also explains A-10 maneuverability.

Hogs in the SandBuck’s new book, Hogs in the Sand: A Gulf War A-10 Pilot’s Combat Journal, is available in either hardcover or paperback. It’s a gritty, inside look at aerial warfare during Operation Desert Storm, but it is more personal and emotional than books of the same genre. It’s not the typical combat account. It includes that but also much more.

Currently, Buck is an A320 captain for a major US airline, and he is the Chief Pilot for Code 1 Aviation in Rockford, Illinois. Buck has written articles for Warbirds, Classic Jet Journal, and Warbird Digest. He enjoys flying vintage aircraft, building his RV-8, and working on his next book, a novel entitled Red Air.

The Hogs in the Sand website has information about the book, and also some good A-10 videos. Find more on the A-10 at the Hogs in the Sand Facebook page.

Aviation News

Boeing 737 MAX cancellations top 350 planes in first half of 2020

Sixty orders for the 737 MAX were canceled in June by airlines and leasing companies. Deliveries in the first two quarters of 2020 were down by 71% compared to the previous year.

Southwest Airlines Has Another Ominous Warning for Airlines

Southwest Airlines has never had an involuntary layoff or furlough. That might change this year. Southwest’s initial plans for 2020 suggested the airline expected a recovery by year-end and  Southwest originally planned to operate in November and December about as many flights as last year. However, in a letter to employees, Southwest acknowledged that this is becoming unlikely and they may see involuntary layoffs and furloughs.

American Airlines warns 25,000 employees about potential job cuts as coronavirus continues to sap demand

25,000 front-line employees, about 29% of American’s U.S. mainline workforce, were warned that they could be furloughed this autumn. As with other airlines, employees were advised to take early retirement packages or extended leaves. American’s revenue in June was down more than 80% versus a year ago.

Delta just gave United a stark lesson in pandemic business leadership

United Airlines has said that blocking middle seats is just PR. However, Delta Air Lines and Southwest “decided their customers would prefer those middle seats empty,” according to ZDNet. Delta is not raising ticket prices and CEO Ed Bastian says those empty middle seats are the “No. 1 reason” travelers are booking with Delta.

The president of Emirates says passengers will never again be as comfortable as they have been aboard the enormous discontinued Airbus A380

Only 251 A380s will have been delivered by Airbus when production stops in 2021. Emirates has about half of them and the airline’s president Tim Clark says they’ll bring them back into service: “Hopefully, we’ll see them flying for at least another 10 years. Unfortunately, it’s not being produced. So there’s nothing we can do about it. We’ll keep it going as long as we can.”

In a twist, American partners with JetBlue in bid for New York and Boston

American Airlines and JetBlue Airways have again formed an alliance where each can sell seats on the other’s flights. With this agreement, American stands to gain in JetBlue strongholds Boston and New York. JetBlue could benefit from American strength in the Midwest and Southeast. The deal is subject to regulatory approval.

Icelandair says it’s letting go of all its flight attendants — and shifting their duties to the pilots

Icelandair and its cabin crew have had a labor dispute and last Friday the airline said starting July 20 cabin crew employment would be terminated. The airline’s pilots would temporarily assume flight attendants’ roles. In May 2019, 419,000 passengers flew on Icelandair. In May 2020, just 3,100 flew the airline. But then on Sunday… Icelandair and flight attendants have struck a deal. Icelandair and the Icelandic Cabin Crew Association (FFI) reached an agreement and the announced firing of the flight attendants was rescinded.

Mentioned

Aviation News Talk YouTube channel

TABfabric Etsy shop for hand-made face masks. Proceeds go to the Pasadena Woman’s Shelter.

B-52 Stratofortress – US strategic bomber / Documentary US Air Force / WHD

Airshow London (Ontario) announced its 2020 air show will take place on September 12 and 13 as a drive-in format featuring a traditional three-hour air display. The airport grounds can accommodate close to 2500 cars with this socially responsible model. Guests will arrive with a pre-purchased ticket (1 ticket per vehicle) and be directed to park in their own 20 X 25-foot space to enjoy the show either inside or outside their vehicle. Guests can bring their own refreshments, listen to the show on their car radios, and utilize portable washrooms.

611 Aviation News

Boeing 737 MAX certification flight tests, Airbus job eliminations, updated airline COVID-19 health safety protocol requirements, Aeromexico bankruptcy, NBAA convention cancellation, concept of operations for Urban Air Mobility, possible Ryanair 737 MAX buy, Austrian Airlines to operate rail service, 2018 uncontained engine failure report, geared turbofan engine replacements, and yellow warning cards at Alaska Airlines.

Aviation News

What’s Trending in Aerospace – July 5, 2020

Boeing and FAA complete certification flight testing for the 737 MAX. A review of the data gathered from flight testing will be performed and a new Airworthiness Directive for 737 MAX operators will be published allowing a return to service. Also, Airbus plans to eliminate up to 15,000 jobs by the Summer of 2021. EASA has updated airline COVID-19 health safety protocol requirements including mandated aircraft cleaning and disinfecting. Aeromexico has filed for bankruptcy. NBAA canceled the Oct. 6-8, 2020 Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Orlando, Florida. FAA has released Concept of Operations V1.0 for Urban Air Mobility.

Distressed Is Best As Ryanair Plans New 737 MAX Order With Boeing Amid Coronavirus Downturn

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary believes it’s a buyer’s market for the 737 MAX. “We’re in active negotiations now with Boeing for a MAX 10 order,” he said. Any deal is expected to close after the 737 MAX returns to service. Ryanair says they operate “a fleet of over 450 Boeing 737-800 series aircraft, with orders of up to 210 new Boeing 737 aircraft. This includes 135 new Boeing 737 MAX 200s, and options for 75 more MAX 200s, which will enable Ryanair to grow its fleet to 585 by 2024… The average age of the Ryanair fleet is approximately 6.5 years, and is set to get younger with the latest aircraft order.”

Struggling Austrian Airlines swaps planes for trains

Under the recent €600 million ($680m) government aid package for Australian Airlines, the airline must reduce domestic emissions by 50% by 2050. It must also end flights where there is a direct train connection to the airport that takes “considerably less than three hours.” To help meet these requirements, Austrian will discontinue its flight between Vienna and Salzburg and instead operate rail service.

Pratt & Whitney Training Cited in 2018 United Jet Engine Failure

In 2018, a United Airlines 777-200 with PW4077 engines flying from San Francisco to Honolulu experienced an uncontained engine failure when a fan blade broke loose. The National Transportation Safety Board’s final report points to a training issue and says two previous blade inspections revealed weakened material in the titanium blade. But the inspector interpreted the indications as to the way the blade was painted. The NTSB said P&W didn’t create specific training for inspectors or certify how they performed the work.

Pratt & Whitney  to replace  old,  faulty engines before deadline

A320neo airplanes powered by older geared turbofan engines have been problematic for Indian airlines IndiGo and GoAir. Pratt is replacing those engines against an August 31, 2020 deadline, and says it will complete the job before that date.

Alaska Airlines threatens unmasked fliers with yellow cards

In July 2020 Alaska Airlines flight attendants will use yellow warning cards with passengers who fail to comply with the airline’s in-flight face mask policy. Under the new system, any passenger who “repeatedly refuses” to keep a mask on will be handed a yellow card by a flight attendant. “With that warning … the guest’s travel with us will be reviewed and could be suspended for a period,” Alaska said.

Mentioned

Van Sant Airport

Photo by David Vanderhoof

Photo by David Vanderhoof

Takeoff and landing competition a boost for pilots and a small airfield in Dover-Foxcroft

Chapter 141 EAA Facebook page

Career Spotlight: A Noble Calling. Teach for a living. Article about Max Trescott in Flight Training Magazine.

NASA’s Lunar Loo Challenge

Shuttleworth

Wings Over Wairarapa Air Festival 2021

601 Business Aviation

The CEO of Imperium Jets explains the current demand for business jets, particularly from new charter customers. Also, Airbus lays off 3200, Boeing pulls out of the $4.2B Embraer deal and pushes back the projected date for 737 MAX return to service, some post-COVID-19 airliner seat designs, American Airlines checked bag fees, and a 42-foot limousine built from a Learjet.

Guest

Lidor Revah is CEO and co-founder of Imperium Jets, a company that matches business aviation operators with brokers and travel agents. Imperium developed all-in-one private aircraft booking software that brings business jet brokers and operators together. Brokers get access to flights, and business aircraft operators get access to brokers. 

The business aircraft sector is active in these troubled times and Lidor explains that with COVID-19, more people are looking to business aviation for their transportation needs. These are often people who hadn’t utilized this service in the past.

Reasons for turning to business jets include the unavailability of commercial flights, the perceived safety of bizjets, evacuation flights, travel to funerals, humanitarian flights, and cargo shipments.

Many new customers are going to charter brokers and travel agents for the first time. Often they are surprised at the shorter airport wait times and the service level found on business aircraft flights. Lidor talks about the prospects for business aviation retaining some of the new customers after the pandemic.

Lidor founded two travel-focused companies, has been featured in Fox Business, Quartz, and LeehamNews among other publications, and is an ex-special forces soldier.

Aviation News

Airbus to furlough 3,200 staff at Broughton factory in Wales

The company’s 135,000 employees were told to brace for potentially deeper job cuts due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the aerospace sector. Britain’s job retention scheme allows employers to furlough staff and claim cash grants up to 80% of wages, capped at 2,500 pounds per worker.

Boeing pulls out of $4.2 billion deal for Embraer’s commercial jet unit

Brazil’s Embraer says Boeing ‘wrongfully terminated’ deal for $4 billion tie-up

Boeing backed out of the planned $4.2 billion deal to buy an 80% stake in Embraer’s commercial aircraft division. The Brazilian company is not amused and says “Embraer believes strongly that Boeing has wrongfully terminated the (agreement).” Boeing says Embraer failed to meet conditions for closing the transaction.

Boeing pushes back target date for fixing 737 Max as coronavirus hinders progress

Sources tell CNBC that Boeing’s latest expectations for returning the 737 MAX to service indicate late summer 2020. Two software updates and a recertification flight remain to be accomplished.

How airplane seats could look in the post-coronavirus era

Italian manufacturer Aviointeriors has shown two airline seat concepts that look to provide some protection for passengers. Glassafe has transparent upper body hoods while the Janus concept features rearward-facing middle seats. (See #PaxEx Podcast 72, The future of air travel in a post-pandemic world for more on this.)

American Thinks Now is the Perfect Time to Raise Checked Baggage Fees

Fares between Europe, Israel, Morocco and the United States, the Caribbean, Canada, Mexico, Latin America, and South America will be subject to a $75 per bag fee.

Someone turned a Learjet into a street legal 42 foot limo, and it’s for sale.

The street-legal Learjet limo is 42 feet long and 8 feet wide. Power comes from an 8.1 liter Chevy V8 and the 17,000 watt sound system simulates jet sound as the vehicle drives down the road. The “Learmousine” is scheduled for auction at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The winning bidder will also receive a custom-built 44-foot trailer and a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD to pull it.

Bad Aviation Movie Contest

The “winner” is Airplane vs. Volcano, first submitted by Brian Burke, who calls it “the worst aviation film ever to exist.” His YouTube channel is called Just Plane Silly, A Comical View of Aviation, where you’ll find a review of the movie:

Mentioned

#PaxEx Podcast: The future of air travel in a post-pandemic world

Co-hosts Max Flight and Mary Kirby break down how COVID-19 is rapidly changing virtually every touchpoint of the passenger experience, and consider whether air travel will be forever altered at the airport and in-flight.

Replay: Aerospace Industry Business After Hours Webinar hosted by the New England Air Museum with guest presenter Richard Aboulafia.

13 Minutes to the Moon: The Apollo 13 Story

Australian family recreates cancelled 15-hour Europe flight in home loungeroom

 

599 One Less Than 600

An aviation and space reporter helps us understand the current state of the aviation industry and where it might lead. We also bring you an inside look at how an article for an aviation magazine is produced.

Guest

Tom Risen is a Space and Aviation Reporter based in Washington, DC. He’s been covering the latest news and writing analysis about how airlines and aerospace manufacturers are adapting to the quarantine measures to slow the spread of Coronavirus.

Tom is co-authoring a book about government oversight, he is the web editor and reporter for Future Flight News, and Tom was formerly technology and business reporter at U.S. News & World Report, and a staff reporter for Aerospace America.

Aviation News

Boeing to restart limited local work on jets

Boeing says they’ll recall about 2,500 employees out of the 30,000 employees impacted by the shutdown. The recalled workers will support defense programs like the Navy’s P-8 and the Air Force KC-46 tanker, and also maintenance operations for 737 MAX jets stored at Moses Lake. Employees will be provided with personal protective equipment and enforce social distancing measures.

Airbus cuts production by a third as airlines struggle

In response to airlines suspending orders, Airbus cut its production. The company said it delivered 122 planes in the first quarter, with 60 remaining undelivered. 55 were delivered in February, 36 in March.

The ancient computers in the Boeing 737 Max are holding up a fix

Boeing 737 MAX jets have two independent flight controlled computers: the Collins Aerospace FCC-730 series computers, first built in 1996. These use single-core, 16-bit processors. They have limited compute power, but they are reliable.

Treasury Department says larger airlines need to compensate taxpayers for coronavirus aid as talks drag on

More than 230 applications from air carriers for payroll grants have been received by the Treasury Department. United, Delta, JetBlue, Spirit and others have applied for the aid. The Treasury Department said that it would not require applicants seeking $100 million or less to provide compensation. Officials have said the compensation could include stock warrants and or other financial instruments.

This will lead to airline bankruptcies’ — flight attendant union furious with Treasury bailout offers

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants union and our guest in Episode 545 said, “This will lead to airline bankruptcies. The Treasury Department is destabilizing the industry, not helping save it.” The Treasury Department decided to make 30% of each cash grant offer a low-interest loan payable to the federal government. Nelson says Congress earmarked the money to immediately pay airline workers. If it’s turned into a loan, the airlines may choose not to take it.

Nearly 13,500 American Airlines pilots and flight attendants agree to voluntary leave or early retirement

The voluntary leave or retirement would occur in April or May, 2020. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants said about 7,960 members signed up for voluntary leave or early retirement out of 25,300 total. About 7,200 flight attendants signed up for three-, six- or 12-month leaves and about 760 will take early retirement.

TSA screens fewer than 100K travelers for 2 days in a row, hits ‘record low’ as coronavirus outbreak continues

This is about 96 percent lower than the same time last year. Then TSA screened more than 2 million passengers each day.

FedEx Puts Parked Jets Back in Service to Meet Asia Cargo Surge

FedEx plans to add 150 flights over the next month to ferry masks, protective suits and other health-care supplies to the U.S. from Asia.

Air Canada Removes Seating From 777s To Increase Cargo Capacity

Air Canada is pulling the 422 seats out of three of their 777-300ER aircraft so they can use the planes for cargo.

Alaska Airlines’ Creative New “Tag” Flights

Government aid under the CARES Act requires US airlines to avoid involuntarily furloughs or employee layoffs, and continuing service to all existing markets. Alaska Airlines is creating tag flights. For example, instead of flying from Seattle to Dallas and from Seattle to Houston, Alaska will fly from Seattle to Dallas to Houston.

The Impact of Coronavirus on Airport Planning and Design

HOK says they don’t foresee the need to make significant physical changes to terminals in response to COVID-19 because passenger terminals have been designed to be open and flexible. Thermal scanners and handheld thermometers for traveler screening are easily accommodated. But airports might look at “more comprehensive passenger wellness screening solutions.” We may also see “additional medical clinics within airports for use by passengers as well as airport and airline employees.”

This Man Owns The World’s Most Advanced Private Air Force After Buying 46 F/A-18 Hornets

The remaining Royal Australian Air Force legacy Hornets are coming back to the US to become civilian aggressors. The surplus RAAF F/A-18 Hornets are to be used in a contractor adversary air support role.

Positive Airline Stories

United Airlines Partners with Governor Newsom to Fly Medical Volunteers to California to Fight COVID-19

United Airlines has partnered with California Governor Newsom to provide free, round-trip flights for medical volunteers traveling to California to help in the frontline fight against the COVID-19 crisis. If you are interested in volunteering or learning more about the program, visit California Health Corps.

Alaska Airlines to host a job fair for Ravn employees, outlines plans in response to RavnAir’s suspension of service

RavnAir Group was a regional airline serving small Alaskan communities. They’ve ceased all operations but Alaska Airlines says they will maintain service to its destinations, start some summer seasonal service sooner, work to develop service to communities in the Aleutian Islands, and Cold Bay.

American Airlines Raises $2 Million for American Red Cross COVID‑19 Relief Efforts

The carrier and its customers raised more than $1 million for the American Red Cross in the first 24 hours of the campaign.

Interview

Flying MagazineA few months ago, Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari tagged along with Rob Mark, senior editor at Flying Magazine, as Rob was writing an article about the Texas Aircraft Colt LSA for the magazine. We get a “behind the scenes” look at what is involved in producing an article for an aviation magazine. That piece became the cover story for the May 2020 issue.

Mentioned

Planes of Fame Airshow T-shirts

RenegadeAV8R Radio Show

Stay at home air show

Short Final: Hostile Target

Rafale Ride Leads To Inadvertent Ejection By Overstressed Passenger

598 Airplanes, Toilet Paper, and Corn Dogs

Brian Coleman joins us to talk about 737 MAX order cancellations, airlines flying cargo, flight cancellations and ghost flights, and furloughs. Also, the Stratolaunch might have a new life as a carrier for hypersonic test aircraft, some positive airline stories, fun aviation things to do at home including training being offered without cost, some interviews, stories, and an electric fold-up scooter that you can take on your plane.

Aviation News

This Big Boeing 737 MAX Order Cancellation Could Be Start Of A Wave

Leasing company Avolon has canceled orders for 75 737 MAXs and four A330neos. They deferred delivery for 16 737 MAX planes and 9 other narrowbody aircraft to 2024 or later. Others may cancel as well and take advantage of material adverse change clauses that activate if Boeing cannot deliver within one year of the agreed date. This type of clause could allow customers to cancel and avoid penalties.

Southwest Airlines pitches freight-only flights to forwarders

In order to utilize their aircraft and generate revenue, Southwest is offering its planes for rent to logistics companies and other shippers for dedicated cargo charters.

Airlines get creative with cargo

Atlas Air is taking at least one 747 freighter out of storage and China Eastern has taken most economy cabin seats out of two A330s. Cathay Pacific, United Airlines, Qatar Airways, and American Airlines are using passenger aircraft for scheduled cargo service.

Forwarders accuse $13/kg freighter airlines of ‘profiteering’ from Covid crisis

Freight forwarders are saying the rates for medical supplies are shooting up. While general cargo is being shipped for $7-$8 per kg, medical supplies command $13 per kg. One forwarder said: “General freight is being offloaded, but there is a huge surcharge for medical goods. It’s absolutely disgusting and immoral. And all require a pre-payment. It is taking about 10 days to move masks, and some have been sub-standard.”

United suspends nearly all operations from the New York area

United Airlines is going from 139 daily flights serving 62 destinations from its Newark hub to 15 daily flights serving nine destinations. At LaGuardia, UA is going from 18 daily flights to four destinations to two daily flights serving one destination.

Wow: Southwest Airlines Flew 56 Ghost Flights Last Week

The Dallas Business Journal reports that Southwest Airlines flew 56 ghost flights in one week with no passengers. Three reasons were given:

  • Air travel is deemed critical infrastructure to move around key personnel and cargo.
  • Government aid offered to airlines implies the continuation of service.
  • The logistical challenges of restarting an airline.

GE Aviation to furlough 50% of its engine manufacturing staff as coronavirus weighs

A GE spokesperson said, “Due to the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on the commercial aviation industry, GE Aviation is implementing a temporary reduction in commercial engine assembly and some component manufacturing operations for up to four weeks.”

The world’s largest aircraft will now test hypersonics for the military

The Stratolaunch twin-fuselage, 6 engine airplane only flew once, in April 2019. It was the idea of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen to launch orbital rockets, initially from SpaceX, then Orbital ATK, and finally the company’s own rockets. Stratolaunch ceased operations after Allen’s death, but the company has been re-hiring employees and announced a new business plan: building and operating hypersonic testbeds. Specifically, the Talon-A reusable vehicle capable of reaching Mach 6.

Positive Airline Stories

United Airlines Partners with New York City to Fly Medical Volunteers to Help in COVID-19 Fight

United Airlines is providing free round-trip flights for medical volunteers who want to help fight against the COVID-19 crisis. “Those interested in volunteering or learning more about the program can visit the New York City Health’s website here.”

Former airline workers sign up to help hospitals during coronavirus pandemic

Thirty laid-off Scandinavian Airlines employees started training to learn basic skills to assist in nursing homes and hospitals.

Woman gets VIP treatment from American Airlines flight attendants because she is the ONLY passenger on the plane

The cabin crew was exceptionally kind to the woman who was traveling to get to her mother in hospice.

What to do at Home

Paper Airplanes

Listener Abhishek enjoys making paper planes as an evening hobby. Find some inspiration at these sites:

Training

King Schools is offering the Using LAANC to Fly Drones in Controlled Airspace course for free. Additional drone test prep courses include the Drone Pilot License Test Prep which prepares you for your FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate exam, and the Drone Pilot License Recurrent Test Prep Course helps you prepare for the exam to renew your certificate.

The Drone Trainer is offering drone courses for free in April 2020. There is a real estate drone course, as well as a drone mapping course, that are regularly $199 each.

Reading

Listener Mike suggests a book where fiction meets today’s reality: The Dog Stars.

Others

Listener Glen sent audio feedback about what he is doing while on lockdown in New Zealand.

Launchpad Marzari kicks off a competition to find the worst aviation movie.

Interviews

Our Main(e) Man Micah visited Portland International Jetport and spoke with:

  • Leah Marie and Luna, the Goldendoodle airport ambassador at PWM
  • Zack Briggs, PWM customer experience manager
  • Paul Bradbury, PWM executive director

Mentioned

Italy Unfiltered is located in Siena, a beautiful part of the Tuscany region of Italy.  They normally offer private tours to small family winemakers focusing on Chianti and Brunello.  They also offer food and olive oil tours throughout the year. However, with the region’s current situation there are no tourists traveling to Italy and no one to buy their wines.  To help out there local producers, they are offering special cellar door prices to make room for this year’s harvest.

United Mileage Plus

Southwest Rapid Rewards

ICAS Airshow Calendar

Xiaomi’s $425 backpack-sized folding electric ‘bike’ is now available worldwide

594 Coronavirus Impact on Airlines

The Coronavirus is heavily impacting the airlines, the entire travel industry, and global economies in general. Airlines are cutting back on flights, looking at hiring freezes and unpaid leave, flying empty planes to avoid losing valuable airport slots, and reassigning widebodies to fly narrowbody routes. We also look at hiring at Boeing, a congressional committee preliminary report on the 737 MAX, aviation event cancellations, the first A220 assembled at the Mobile, Alabama plant, the gigantic market forecast for air taxis, and a petition to drop gender-exclusive words from FAA and ICAO publications.

Coronavirus News

The Coronavirus (or COVID-19) continues to take its toll on airlines and the aviation industry in general. We discuss some of the effects of the virus and the actions being taken.

United trims schedules up to 20%, imposes hiring freeze amid coronavirus fears

Delta’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) website

Lufthansa Considers Grounding Entire Airbus A380 Fleet

Airlines are burning thousands of gallons of fuel flying empty ‘ghost’ planes so they can keep their flight slots during the coronavirus outbreak

IATA requests suspension of slot rules due to COVID-19

#PaxEx Podcast: Coronavirus and MAX grounding level one-two punch

Emirates Offers Leave to Staff as Virus Saps Demand for Travel

Southwest Airlines Has More Bad Coronavirus News for Travel Stocks

The (rare) travel upside to coronavirus? You might have a swankier plane on your spring flight

Trump seeks to stamp out airline bailout talk

Airlines, travel and cruise industries hurt by coronavirus could get tax relief from White House

In Other Aviation News…

Boeing Goes on Hiring Spree in High-Stakes Gamble on 737 Max

When Boeing halted 737 MAX production and redeployed workers, people wondered what all those mechanics would do. We now see that some were deployed to study and improve production processes. In addition, Boeing is looking ahead to the time when deliveries of the jet can resume, and they are staffing up to handle the task.

Boeing : Congressional Report Says MAX Crashes Stemmed From Boeing’s Design Failures and Lax FAA Oversight

After five public hearings over the last year into the design and certification of the 737 MAX, Democrats on the House Transportation Committee have released preliminary findings. The report notes Boeing’s engineering mistakes, a “culture of concealment,” and insufficient federal safety oversight.

Aero Friedrichshafen postponed over coronavirus concerns

AERO Friedrichshafen Postpones Due To Coronavirus Concerns; Sun ’n Fun Weighs In, Too

AERO Friedrichshafen is the big GA show for Europe but the event scheduled for April 1-4, 2020 has been postponed. The Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg is also postponed. As of now, Sun N’ Fun will take place as planned.

Airbus Receives No New Orders In February 2020

Airbus received 274 orders in January, but none in February, Boeing received no new orders in January. 

Airbus rolls out first A220 assembled in Mobile

The first A220 assembled at the Airbus Mobile, Alabama plant rolled off the line. The A220-300 jet is due to be delivered to Delta Air Lines by September. Jets for both Delta and JetBlue Airways will be assembled in Mobile.

The flying taxi market is ready for takeoff, changing the travel experience forever

Flying cars, electric air taxis, urban air mobility, call it what you like, but it’s not going away anytime soon. Companies investing in this idea include Airbus, Boeing, Bell, Toyota, Uber, and  Hyundai. A Morgan Stanley Research study published in January says “…autonomous urban aircraft may no longer be the stuff of comic books. Accelerating tech advances and investment could create a $1.5 trillion market by 2040.” Another study by Frost & Sullivan, sees a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of about 46% over the next 20 years with more than 430,000 units in operation by then.

Petition: Help Eliminate Gender-Exclusive Words that Keep Women out of Aviation

There are over 40,000 references to Airman or Airmen on the FAA’s website. ICAO’s website lists close to 2,000 airmen references. This petition asks the FAA and ICAO to remove gender-exclusive words from all their publications, on- and off-line. The petition is sponsored by the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide (iWOAW) – a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Montreal, Canada.

Mentioned

Flight Safety Detectives, Episode 14: Lion Air Accident Report Analysis.

593 Women in the Aviation Industry

We address the question, “is gender still holding women back in the aviation industry?” In the news, pilots might be required to take sim training before flying the 737 MAX, Coronavirus concerns hit air travel hard and impact profitability, regional carriers continue to struggle, a pilot is arrested and jailed in Turkey, and a good story about American Airlines.

Guest

Arpad Szakal

Arpad Szakal

Arpad Szakal is an aviation and aerospace lead at Cellence Plus, an executive search and assessment firm specializing in aviation and aerospace. Arpad is an aviation attorney who earned a Master of Laws in Air and Space Law (LL.M. Air & Space) from Leiden University. He’s also a hobby glider pilot.

Arpad researched and authored Is gender still holding women back in the aviation industry?, which was published in the February edition of the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Aerospace magazine as well as in the January Newsletter of the International Aviation Women’s Association (IAWA).

We discuss the current state of gender diversity in aviation and aerospace, at both the leadership and operational levels. Also, what the industry can learn from other sectors about gender diversity and inclusion, how men can be better allies to women in the industry, and tips and best practices for aspiring female (and male) leaders to advance their careers.

Arpad explains the importance of coaching and mentoring, and the role search firms play in increasing diversity. He offered some resources:

Reach Arpad on LinkedIn

Aviation News

FAA Tells Boeing More Training For 737 Max Pilots May Be Needed

Boeing originally said pilots would not need simulator training for the 737 MAX, but that position has changed. The December sim tests with pilots revealed that the updated flight control software was an improvement, but there were many mistakes apparently made. The FAA wants additional tests.

Amazon tells employees to pause nonessential travel in U.S. due to coronavirus

Amazon sent a notice to employees asking them to defer nonessential employee travel in the United States. Amazon will reassess the directive at the end of April. In January, Amazon said it was restricting employee travel to China “until further notice.” Employees returning home from China were asked to self-quarantine for two weeks and work from home.

United Airlines offers pilots a month off as coronavirus prompts flight cuts

United Airlines and others have cut flights in the face of outright prohibitions and reduced demand. The airline is offering pilots a month off at reduced pay. United’s China trans-Pacific routes (excluding China) are down 75%

Bizjet Operators See COVID-19 Bump

Demand for short-notice, on-demand charter is rising.

United Airlines affiliate Trans States Airlines to cease flying

Regional airline Trans States Airlines is expected to stop flying by the end of 2020. The airline operates feeder flights for United Airlines under the United Express brand. And will transfer its 36 Embraer ERJ-145 aircraft to ExpressJet by February 2021. Reasons for the shutdown include the industry-wide pilot shortage making hiring difficult, and the desire of Mainline partner United to streamline its regional providers.

Pilot of Pegasus airplane that skidded off Istanbul airport runway arrested

Three people were killed and 179 injured in February when A Pegasus Airlines 737 skidded off the runway at Istanbul’s international airport. The pilot has been arrested and taken to prison, charged with “causing death and injury by negligence.” The cause of the accident is not yet established, although hydroplaning is suspected.

A priceless gift: How AA employees bought one traveler extra time with her dying father

American Airlines employees assisted a woman trying to get to her father before he passed.

Mentioned

Video: Ten Questions with James Lipton

GoFly Prize program rewards disruptive tech in personal aviation, but it’s no-go for $1M grand prize

Japan’s teTra Aviation

Comics Kingdom, a Mike Shelton spoof on airline seats.

eVTOL to be used as ambulances in the coronavirus crisis

eHang 216 eVTOL

eHang 216 eVTOL

592 FOD in the Fuel Tanks

This episode, we have an interview with the president of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen. In the news, more woes for Boeing with FOD discovered in undelivered 737 MAX airplanes and the DOJ is reported to be investigating the company. Also, the Coronavirus continues to disrupt commercial aviation, a solar electric UAV planned to stay aloft for a year, a new tail-rotor design from Bell that should be quieter and safer, and this year’s Collier Trophy nominees are announced.

Interview

Mel Payne, president, Greater Philadelphia Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen.

David Vanderhoof and Mel Payne, president, Greater Philadelphia Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen.

At the American Helicopter Museum, David talks with Mel Payne, president of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen.

Tuskegee in Philadelphia: Rising to the Challenge is the story of dozens of Philadelphia-area natives who served as fighter pilots, bombers, nurses, mechanics, and in many other support roles.

Aviation News

Boeing Finds Fuel-Tank Debris in Two-Thirds of 737 MAX Jets Inspected So Far — Update

Foreign Object Debris (FOD) has been a problem for Boeing. Two-thirds of the undelivered 737 MAX jets that have been inspected were found to contain tools, rags, and boot coverings in fuel tanks.

The DOJ is reportedly probing whether Boeing’s chief pilot misled regulators over the 737 Max

The Department of Justice wants to know if Boeing knowingly lied to the FAA while seeking certification of the 737 MAX. Boeing’s former 737 MAX chief pilot Mark Forkner was subpoenaed last year to answer questions from federal prosecutors in front of a grand jury. He invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Coronavirus flight cancellations top 200,000, sending jet fuel prices to more than 2-year lows

More than 200,000 flights, mostly in China, have been canceled as a result of the Coronavirus. Delta, United, and American have halted service to mainland China and Hong Kong. With the resulting decrease in demand, jet fuel prices have fallen 17% in 2020. For an excellent explanation of the virus, see: You’re Likely to Get the Coronavirus.

Solar airplane aims to stay afloat for a whole year

BAE Systems and Prismatic designed the unmanned solar-powered PHASA-35 airplane, and have tested it at the Royal Australian Air Force’s Woomera in South Australia. A High Altitude, Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (HALE UAV), this “pseudo-satellite” could provide persistent service for defense, security, resource management, and communications. Another high-altitude solar-electric airplane under development is the manned SolarStratos.

Bell’s New Design Could Make Helicopters Quieter—and Safer

Helicopters with a single main rotor need an additional tail rotor to counteract the torque of the main rotor. But the tail rotor contributes a lot of noise and represents a safety hazard on the ground. Bell has come up with a different approach: four smaller shrouded electric fans in the tail.

Video: Bell’s Electrically Distributed Anti-Torque EDAT

Trailblazing Projects to Compete for Collier Trophy

The National Aeronautic Association announced nine projects that will compete for the Robert J. Collier Trophy:

  • Airborne Collision Avoidance System Team
  • Bombardier Global 7500
  • Gulfstream G500 and G600
  • Hubble Space Telescope Team
  • magni500 Electric Propulsion System
  • Project Heaviside
  • Stratolaunch Carrier Aircraft
  • The United States Air Force-Boeing X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle Team
  • Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management Team

The Collier Trophy Selection Committee will meet on April 2, 2020, in Arlington, Virginia, and the recipient will be announced publicly the following day. The formal presentation of the Collier Trophy will take place on June 11, 2020, at a location to be determined.

Mentioned

Big Ass Fans

Crisis Communications Training For Airline Executives

Airport webcams:

Airbus’s New Concept Passenger Plane Is for the Birds

Waco Air Museum