Tag Archives: 737MAX

704 The Supersonic B-1 BONE

The fascinating development and operational history of the B-1 BONE bomber, certifying the last models of the 737 Max, the Air Force Next Generation Air Dominance fighter (NGAD), Germany selects its heavy-lift helicopter, piloting an A330 while sleeping, prison time for an unruly passenger, and staff shortages impact service at European airports

Guest

Kenneth P. Katz recently published his book titled The Supersonic BONE: A Development and Operational History of the B-1 Bomber. Highly researched with rich technical data and photographs, the book describes the fascinating history of the B-1 BONE, which turned out to be a very different aircraft from what it was originally intended to be.

Ken explains how changing military technology and strategy, political imperatives, and the evolving nature of external threats all impacted U.S. bomber strategy. The B-1A was transformed into the B-1B with 100 copies built and is still in service.

Where to buy The Supersonic BONE:

Ken is a long-time airplane geek. He was educated in aerospace engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan. Ken has over three decades of experience as a US Air Force officer, flight test engineer, and project manager, and is currently employed as a staff project engineer for a major aerospace contractor. 

Ken has a commercial pilot certificate with instrument rating, and flight experience as an observer and crewmember in over 20 types of military aircraft. He’s a senior member of the Society of Flight Test Engineers.

Aviation News

Inside the Convoluted Politics of Certifying the Last 737 Max Models

If the last two 737 Max derivatives (the Max 10 and Max 7) aren’t certified by the end of 2022, Boeing will have a significant problem with the cockpits on those airplanes. Section 116 of the Aircraft Certification, Safety, and Accountability Act [PDF] signed in December 2020 prohibits the certification of any transport category aircraft that lacks “a flight crew alerting system that, at a minimum, displays and differentiates among warnings, cautions, and advisories, and includes functions to assist the flight crew in prioritizing corrective actions and responding to systems failures…” and “…any system safety assessment with respect to the Boeing 737-7, 737-8, 737-9, and 737-10 airplanes… is conducted in accordance with [this requirement].

The Air Force’s secret next-gen fighter has reached development phase

The Air Force Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) fighter is shaping up as more than just one airplane. It’s a family of systems that include new weapons, sensors, and drones that operate with the new fighter. The highly classified 6th generation fighter is now confirmed to be in the development phase.

German Heavy-Lift Helicopter Program Selects Chinook

Germany is expected to purchase up to 60 Boeing CH-47F Chinook helicopters in a deal valued at about €4 billion ($4.3 billion). These will replace the current Sikorsky CH-53G helicopter fleet. Delivery reportedly takes place between 2023 and 2029 although the agreement has not yet been finalized.

Both Pilots Flew the Airbus A330 Asleep

This past May, pilots on an ITA Airways A330-200 failed to maintain ATC communication for about 10 minutes as they allegedly slept at cruise altitude. The plane was operated by autopilot at the time. The first officer was at “controlled rest.” Italian media reports that the captain was dismissed, but he says he was not sleeping and there was a radio communication failure.

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

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

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

British airports claim they have 40,000 job vacancies. Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said that “defence personnel with experience providing security” should be called in for “three to four months” to with the travel disruption that has resulted. Author, media personality, and aviation expert Julian Bray thinks military personnel may be required for six months.

See also:

Mentioned

Innovations in Flight – Outdoor Aviation Display at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum June 18, 2022, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.

Into Flight Once More –  Brings the history of June 6, 1944, to the present through the lens of one squadron and their epic recreation journey across the North Atlantic to Normandy for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day.

In 1994, Lt. Carey Lohrenz, U.S. Navy, retired, became one of the first women to fly the F-14 Tomcat… This is a story that has had generational impact and continues to inspire women in the armed forces and beyond: Video: Flying an F-14 ‘I Can’t Believe It Was Legal’

Accurate Ranging Perception for Assisted and Automated Driving

This report by Sam Abuelsamid provides an overview of the assistive and automated driving technology landscape including the steps these systems take and how distance and trajectory are measured by various sensor types.

Hosts this Episode

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

692 ADSBexchange

Our guest is the president and founder of ADSBexchange, a flight data aggregation co-op. In the news, some lawmakers want civil action against Boeing over the 737 MAX, Nexflix releases a 737 MAX documentary, United Aviate Academy will use Cirrus aircraft for training, a GA electric/gas hybrid takes flight, technology export from Icon Aircraft is probed, the FAA Administrator announces he’ll leave the post early, and an autonomous Blackhawk helicopter.

Guest

ADSBexchange president and founder Dan Streufert.
Dan Streufert

Dan Streufert founded ADSBexchange in 2016 as a “hobby project.” Since then, it has grown to encompass 7500+ volunteer-run ADS-B receivers throughout the world, ingesting 500,000 – 900,000 ADS-B messages per second. Although ADSBexchange has grown from its initial small beginning, it remains focused on the aviation enthusiast. The service has none of the “paywalls” associated with some other flight tracking services and does not filter its traffic display.

Dan explains that ADSB signals are broadcast unencrypted over the air and anyone can receive them. ADSBexchange was mainly developed for hobbyists and others who want to know what’s flying, but commercial customers and some NGOs benefit from the information as well.

Some interests don’t want ADSB transmissions to be used to track their flights. They may be legitimate commercial companies that want to mask their activity for competitive reasons, governments, those engaged in criminal operations, or even military flights. Dan describes two FAA programs that seek to mitigate at least some of the privacy concerns:

With Limiting Aircraft Data Displayed (LADD), aircraft owners or designated representatives may request limiting aircraft data displayed (formally referred to as blocking) or unblocking of flight tracking data. Flight tracking services that draw the data from FAA agree to block the information.

More recently, the FAA initiated the Privacy ICAO Aircraft (PIA) program to improve the privacy of eligible aircraft by enabling aircraft owners to request an alternate, temporary ICAO aircraft address, which will not be assigned to the owner in the Civil Aviation Registry (CAR).

Both an “Airplane Geek” and a “Tech Geek” at heart, Dan is a commercially-rated, multi-engine pilot with instrument rating and currently flys a 1967 Piper Comanche 260B out of Falcon Field in Mesa, Arizona. Prior to devoting his full-time attention to ADSBexchange, Dan spent 12 years leading the IT department at Viant Medical, a $1 billion global medical manufacturing firm.

Aviation News

Lawmakers Demand Fresh Investigation into FAA Decision Not to Penalize Boeing for MAX Failures

The U.S. House Transportation chair and the aviation subcommittee chair want civil action taken against Boeing, and even individual employees for the 737 MAX crashes. Rep. DeFazio, D-Ore., and Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett sent a letter to DOT Inspector General Eric Soskin saying, “We respectfully request that you review FAA’s refusal to exercise proper oversight over Boeing’s apparent misconduct.”

Downfall: The Case Against Boeing

Netflix premiered the documentary film that details the 18-month investigation by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio into the causes of the Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashes, which resulted in the deaths of 346 people.

Cirrus Aircraft Equips United Aviate Academy with a Fleet of TRAC SR20 for Ab-Initio Pilot Training

Cirrus Aircraft announced that the United Aviate Academy (UAA) has purchased a fleet of twenty-five TRAC SR20 aircraft for its program. The Academy is part of United’s pilot career development program offering pilots the most direct path to a United flight deck. They have option and purchase rights to fifty more TRAC SR20 aircraft.

First general aviation aircraft with hybrid power plant has been successfully flown

Rolls-Royce, Tecnam, and BRP-Rotax announced the December 2021 flight of the first general aviation aircraft powered by a parallel hybrid propulsion system. The modified Tecnam P2010 H3PS was powered by a 104 kW Rotax 915 IS internal combustion engine and a 30 kW Rolls-Royce electric power system for a total power output of 134 kW in a parallel hybrid configuration. H3PS stands for “High Power High Scalability Aircraft Hybrid Powertrain.”

Video: Tecnam P2010 H3PS Hybrid first flight

Chinese Stake in Icon Probed by Gov’t Panel

The Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI and a U.S. government panel are looking into accusations of illegal technology transfer to China. Shanghai Pudong Science & Technology Investment Co. holds a nearly 47% stake in Icon Aircraft and is Icon’s largest shareholder. Some Icon shareholders raised a red flag to the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment alleging that Shanghai Pudong sent its technology to China with the potential for military applications.

U.S. FAA administrator says he was not pressured to step down

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson announced he is leaving the FAA effective March 31, 2022. Dickson is a pilot and former Delta Air Lines executive appointed by President Donald Trump in 2019. He cited family reasons for his decision.

A Black Hawk helicopter flew for the first time without pilots

With the flick of a switch, the DARPA S-70 Blackhawk helicopter goes from piloted to unpiloted. In this first flight, the S-70 autonomously completed a pre-flight checklist, started its engines, spun up its rotors, and took off with no crew on board. The ALIAS system (Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System) on-board sensors provided real-time obstacle data as the helicopter navigated through a simulated cityscape.

Video: First Uninhabited Black Hawk Flight

Israeli News Desk

Piper AZTEC PA23-250F

Eyal Shay describes the emergency landing of a Piper AZTEC PA23-250F registration 4X-CCM. The airplane took off from Haifa airport (LLHA) with an instructor and student pilot. When they came back to the pattern, the right main gear failed to open. After some unsuccessful attempts to solve the problem, or to retract the landing gear, the plane was rerouted to Ben-Gurion airport (LLBG). The pilot made a perfect landing, managing to cutoff the right engine and bring the two-blade propeller to horizontal position when at short final. The plane successfully kept near the center line and just veered from the runway direction at his final stop. The pilot and passenger were unharmed.

Eyal and Hillel meet in Israel.
Eyal and Hillel

Mentioned

The Journey is the Reward

The Great Aero Recovery, a webinar with Richard Aboulafia from the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Registration.

The brains that launched GPS

Savvy Maintenance – Cold starts are a culprit in engine damage

Utah’s Gail Halvorsen, the ‘Berlin Candy Bomber,’ dies at 101

Gail Halvorsen, the Utah farm boy who became a hero in post-World War II Europe for fastening candy to handkerchiefs and dropping them from his U.S. Air Force cargo plane to the children of West Berlin, earning him the nickname the “Berlin Candy Bomber,” has died. He was 101.

Bagley Cartoon: Candy Bomber

American Helicopter Museum

Airplane Geeks listeners can enjoy a one-year individual membership at a 50% discount. For $25.00 (normally $50.00) you get:

  • Unlimited admission to the Museum for one year, including the March 4 event, “The Helicopter and the Presidency.”
  • Two One-Day Guest Passes.
  • Admission to FamilyFest and SantaFest.
  • Invitations to Member Receptions.
  • 10% discount on gift shop purchases.

The offer is good through May 31, 2022, at this link.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, and Rob Mark.  With contributions from Brian Coleman and Eyal Shay.

691 Runway Rehabilitation

Managing a runway rehabilitation project and minimizing the effects on operators, the airport, and the public. In the news, airports are hamstrung in dealing with drone threats, handling emergency landings, some Boeing 737 Max charges are dropped, and North Atlantic tracks below FL330.

Guest

Paul H. Bradbury, P.E. is the airport director for the Portland International Jetport (PWM) in Portland, Maine. 

Paul Bradbury

The Jetport is planning a runway rehabilitation project that will see 34,000 tons of asphalt removed and replaced over 27.5 acres of pavement. A runway lighting upgrade will require 19.7 miles of wire and over 5,000 flights will be affected as the primary runway is closed for two months. The airport has been working with operators and the public to minimize the impact.

Paul explains the difference between runway maintenance, rehabilitation, and reconstruction. We learn about the pavement management plan that includes an assessment of runway condition. Also, the difference between concrete and asphalt runways, and how the paving contractor was selected. 90% of this project was funded through the Airport Improvement Program.

Beyond the runway rehabilitation project, Paul brings us up to date on the Jetport’s de-icing fluid recovery process that allows them to resell the fluid to other airports. The Jetport is the only airport in the U.S. doing this.

Other topics in our conversation with Paul include Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), drone incursions at airports, unruly passengers, and flight diversions.

Portland jetport’s primary runway to close for nearly 2 months this spring

Runway 11-29 Rehabilitation Project website

Paul was appointed the airport director in 2008 and is responsible for the overall management, operations, and planning for the Portland International Jetport. He’s a licensed professional engineer with a B.S. in Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Paul is an avid runner, triathlete, and snowmobiler.

Aviation News

Airports around the world have been plagued by drone incursions, but the actions they can take are very limited. The non-profit, FAA-funded National Safe Skies Alliance issued a report in September 2021 titled “Airport Response to Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Threats.” [PDF] Both passive and active counter-drone technology exists, but in the U.S., only four federal agencies can use them: the Departments of Defense, Energy, Homeland Security, and Justice.

Is This The Worst Airline Passenger of 2022, So Far?

Frontier Airlines flight 1335 from New York to Orlando had to make an emergency landing in North Carolina. A passenger was convinced the woman in the seat behind him was stabbing him with needles and stealing his DNA. When the man started harassing others, six passengers restrained him and tied him down to his seat. Local police were waiting at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Two Charges Against Former Boeing 737 Max Chief Technical Pilot Dismissed

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas Fort Worth Division dismissed two counts against former Boeing Chief Technical Pilot Mark Forkner. In the counts, Forkner was alleged to have “knowingly and with the intent to defraud, made and used a materially false writing, entry, certification, document, record, data plate, label, and electronic communication concerning an aircraft part.” The judge wrote, “Because MCAS is not an aircraft ‘part’ as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 3l(a)(7), the indictment fails to allege an offense that Defendant violated § 38(a)(1)(C).” Forkner still has counts on wire fraud. The trial is scheduled for March 2022.

Why Are North Atlantic Tracks Below FL330 Being Scrapped?

The North Atlantic Organised Track System (NAT-OTS), popularly called the North Atlantic Tracks, are flight path tracks flown by airlines between North America and Europe. The tracks are created daily and take into account the prevailing jet streams. Starting March 1, 2022, operators can fly outside North Atlantic Tracks if they stay below 33,000 feet. Airlines will have more flexibility to fly more efficient routes and produce fewer emissions. This is made possible by the Aireon satellite-based ADS-B system.

American Helicopter Museum

Airplane Geeks listeners can enjoy a one-year individual membership at a 50% discount. For $25.00 (normally $50.00) you get:

  • Unlimited admission to the Museum for one year, including the March 4 event, “The Helicopter and the Presidency.”
  • Two One-Day Guest Passes.
  • Admission to FamilyFest and SantaFest.
  • Invitations to Member Receptions.
  • 10% discount on gift shop purchases.

The offer is good through May 31, 2022, at this link.

Mentioned

HermesTM 900 StarLiner [PDF]

Hosts this Episode

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

689 Aircraft Type Club

An aircraft type club executive director talks about training and air safety. In the news, a Boeing 737 MAX lands in Antarctica for the first time, mixed GA accident messages, business aviation continues to grow, a B-52 takes a 1,400-mile journey over the road, an F-35C crashes, and Qatar Airways goes after some employees.

Guest

Tom Turner, Executive Director of the aircraft type club American Bonanza Society’s Air Safety Foundation.
Tom Turner

Thomas P. Turner is Executive Director of the Air Safety Foundation, part of the aircraft type club American Bonanza Society (ABS). He also publishes the popular FLYING LESSONS Weekly blog and writes, lectures, and instructs from his home in Wichita, Kansas, the “Air Capital of the World.”

The ABS Air Safety Foundation is the education and technical support arm of the Beech Bonanza type club. It offers its 10,000 members the opportunity to communicate and share information. Tom describes the training products and services offered to pilots, mechanics, and flight instructors. That includes the service clinic program, online training courses, and the monthly webinar open to non-members. In general, aircraft type club members have been shown to have a better safety record.

Logo of the aircraft type club American Bonanza Society.

Tom has logged over 4900 hours, including over 2900 as an instructor. He holds ATP and Flight Instructor certificates with CFII and MEI ratings and a Master’s Degree in Aviation Safety. He was inducted into the Flight Instructor Hall of Fame in 2015, he is also the 2021 Jack Eggspuhler Award recipient from the National Association of Flight Instructors, the 2010 National FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year, and the 2008 FAA Central Region Flight Instructor of the Year.

A three-time Master CFI, Tom has been Lead Instructor for Beech Bonanza pilot training at the Beech factory, turbo normalizer production test pilot, aviation insurance broker and underwriter, corporate flight department manager and safety officer, university aviation course developer, and a Captain in the United States Air Force.

For more type clubs, see the AOPA Aircraft Type Club Listing [PDF].

Aviation News

First Boeing 737 MAX jet lands in Antarctica

Czech carrier Smartwings flew a Boeing 737 MAX 8 into Troll Airfield (AT27) on January 26, 2022. The flight departed from Oslo, Norway, stopped over in Chad, proceeded to Cape Town, South Africa, and continued to Antarctica. The 737 stayed in Antarctica for just two hours before making the return flight. The Airfield opened in 2005 and is owned and operated by the Norwegian Polar Institute. It includes a 3,300 meter (10,830 foot) runway on glacial blue ice.

Wikipedia page: List of airports in Antarctica.

Flying Lessons Weekly for January 27, 2022 [PDF]

Mixed Messages on GA Accident Data: GA accidents and the accident rate have generally trended down, but AOPA Air Safety Institute’s numbers are up in 2019, while the NTSB says accidents are down in 2020, then AOPA said 2021 was the safest year in aviation ever, and then AOPA and the NBAA said an appreciable uptick in general aviation accidents.

Business Aviation Growth At a ‘Record High,’ Report Says

WingX reports that in January, U.S. bizjet traffic was up 26 percent over the previous January, and up 19 percent over January 2019. Most of the growth is from owned and managed aircraft.  seeing the most growth. Internationally, business traffic is up 25 percent compared to January 2021, and 16 percent more than reported in January 2020. WINGX Advance GmbH is a Hamburg-based company, founded in 2012, that provides aviation business and broader aviation market intelligence.

Road trip! Vietnam-era B-52 makes 1,400-mile highway journey for final mission

“Damage Inc. II” is a B-52H Stratofortress built in 1961 and retired to a boneyard in Arizona in 2008. Moved 1,407 miles in 19 days, the aircraft will serve as a mock-up at a Boeing facility near Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma.

Courtesy Tinker AFB @Team_Tinker

F-35 Crash Off Carl Vinson Is the Ship’s 5th Major Mishap in 2 Months

In what’s been called “a landing mishap,” an F-35C Lightning II “impacted the flight deck [of the USS Carl Vinson] during landing” and went into the South China Sea. The pilot safely ejected but seven sailors were injured. This was the first time the F-35C stealth fighter had been deployed aboard a carrier.

The Leaked F-35C Crash Photos Are Genuine, Confirmed the US Navy

The U.S. Navy is working to recover the jet. China’s Foreign Ministry said that China was aware but had no interest in the stealth fighter and added, “We advise [the US] to contribute more to regional peace and stability, rather than flexing force at every turn in [the South China Sea]”.

Video: Video Shows The Last Moments Of The Navy’s F-35C Before It Crashed Into The Sea

Human error, tech glitches and tape caused May 2020 F-22 crash

The Air Force Times previously reported that “the F-22 grew increasingly wobbly upon takeoff, then refused to turn left and barrel-rolled into the ground after the pilot safely ejected.” According to an Air Force investigation, the Florida crash was the result of an improper wash procedure, deficient pre-flight inspection, failure to notify the pilot of a new emergency procedure.

Qatar Airways Subpoenaed Google to Unmask Employees Who Anonymously Criticized Airline Online

Qatar Airways is said to have subpoenaed Google to find the identities of employees who have been critical of the airline. The two anonymous accounts in the Professional Pilots Rumour Network (PPRuNE) had revealed confidential information about the airline – specifically its recruitment and re-joining activities.

Mentioned

EAA Virtual Ultralight Days

State of Flight Training Survey

Thunderbirds Air Show Schedule

Air Force Heritage Flight flyover scheduled to support Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles

Air Force Facebook page

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, David Vanderhoof.

686 The Aviation Queen

Benét Wilson, the Aviation Queen, joins us after a long absence. In the news, Boeing executives field questions about the 737 MAX, ghost flights in the EU, an Airbus class-action lawsuit, Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopters heading to Israel, bad behavior by both passengers and crew, a 5G deal is worked out, a pilot who refused to fly is awarded $2 million, and a plane crashes but then is hit by a train.

Guest (More like a returning co-host)

The Aviation Queen, Benét J. Wilson.
The Aviation Queen

Benét J. Wilson, known as the Aviation Queen, is a senior editor at The Points Guy (TPG), which publishes hands-on advice to help readers maximize their travel experiences. This lifestyle media brand sees 10 million unique visitors a month and has a social media audience of over 3 million across Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter. A staff of more than 100, including editors, writers and reporters, and a large pool of regular contributors, parses, analyzes, and reports on the world of points and miles.

Benét has been an Airplane Geeks co-host in the past and we’re happy to have this chance to get caught up. She brings a valuable perspective to the conversation.

The Points Guy logo.

At TPG, Benét does recruiting, handles internal training, and mentors interns and young writers. She does media appearances for TPG and brings her insights to the site with aviation and travel features. Benét is a veteran aviation journalist who has covered airports, security, and the airline passenger experience.

Aviation News

Hoping for recovery, Boeing bosses look to the future, deflect questions on the MAX crashes

Dominic Gates reports on interviews with Boeing’s Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal and Chief Engineer Greg Hyslop. Dominic summarized the strategy described by the executives: “hunker down, fix the litany of current problems and rely on a revamp of the company’s engineering culture to restore Boeing’s stained reputation.” He writes, “Both executives deflected or flatly refused to answer questions about the engineering design mistakes that led to the two fatal 737 MAX crashes that have so damaged Boeing’s image.”

The article mentions “Flying Blind: The 737 MAX Tragedy and the Fall of Boeing” by Peter Robison, our guest from Episode 683, but also notes that two major feature documentaries are set to air in 2022.

Airlines push the E.U. to ease airport rules as Omicron rages.

Airlines have to use 80% of their airport takeoff and landing slots or they lose them. Of course, losing slots is something an airline wants to never let happen unless that’s part of some strategic plan. So when demand falls off a cliff, airlines are forced to fly nearly empty planes. Or even empty planes. We’ve seen thousands of these “ghost flights” that are a huge waste of fuel and needlessly pump carbon into the atmosphere.

The rules were waived in early 2020, but the European Commission has been reinstating them. Starting December 15, 2022, the winter travel season threshold has been set to 50 percent. The FAA waived the U.S. slot rules early on in the pandemic and has recently extended them through March 2022.

Airbus faces $339 million class action suit in the Netherlands, lawyers say

Lawyers for the Foundation for Investor Loss Compensation filed the class-action suit on behalf of “a hundred” institutional investors. They claim the investors suffered at least 300 million euros ($339 million) in damages when Airbus withheld information about corruption at the company, resulting in overpriced shares of Airbus SE. After a three-year investigation into bribery and corruption over sales practices, Airbus agreed in 2020 to a nearly $4 billion fine in a deal with French, British, and U.S. authorities. In that settlement, Airbus admitted it had paid huge bribes on an “endemic” basis to win contracts in 20 countries.

US, Israel finalize deal for 12 heavy-lift helos, two KC-46s

Under the agreement, Israel will purchase 12 Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopters. If the option for six more helicopters is exercised, the total deal could be worth $3.4 billion. The CH-53K is currently undergoing initial operational test and evaluation. Initial operational capability is scheduled for early 2023, with first deliveries expected in 2025.

A veteran flight attendant worked for United for 23 years using a false identity, federal court complaint says

The Brazilian flight attendant stole the identity of a boy who died in a car crash at age 4 in the 1970s.  The man used the boy’s name when he applied for a US passport in 1998. In December 2020, the State Department flagged the passport renewal application for “various fraud indicators.”

United Airlines Forces Out Flight Attendant For Her TikToks

The woman posted around 20 videos wearing her uniform, in violation of company policy. She’s now interviewing at other airlines. It’s important to know your employer’s social media rules.

Airlines Strand Passengers Who Partied on Flight Without Masks

A Canadian group chartered a plane to party in Mexico for the NewYear. Videos show the group flouting Covid-19 and safety rules. Sunwing Airlines flew the group to Cancún, and canceled the return flight to Canada after an internal investigation found that the passengers “exhibited unruly behavior and did not respect aviation or public health regulations.” Many passengers remained stranded in Mexico after at least three airlines said they would not fly them back.

Biden hails 5G wireless deal averting aviation safety crisis

AT&T and Verizon agreed to delay the rollout of C-Band 5G service two weeks – to January 19, 2022, absent any “unforeseen aviation safety issues.” The wireless carriers also agreed that the FAA would provide them “with a list of no more than 50 priority airports that they would propose to be subject to the C-Band exclusion zones.”

Fifty US airports to have buffers when telcos turn on new 5G services

The FAA says fifty U.S. airports will have 5G C-band buffer zones when AT&T and Verizon switch on new 5G services. They include Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Chicago O’ Hare, Newark, JFK, LAX, Philadelphia, and 43 other airports. Airports with 5G Buffer [PDF].  The airports were selected based on traffic volume, number of low-visibility days, geographic location, and input from the aviation community.

Boone County Jury Awards Nearly $2 million to Pilot Fired for Refusing to Fly in Unsafe Conditions

A pilot with almost 50 years of experience refused to fly a private plane to the Caribbean because he felt it was unsafe. He notified his employer that he’d wait and check the weather the following day, and let them know what the situation was. When he did so, the pilot was told that the company had hired a temporary pilot who made the flight. A few days later, he was informed he had been fired. The jury awarded the pilot $1,990,833 which included $1.3 million in punitive damages.

Plane crashes in Los Angeles County, then is hit by train

A Cessna 172 went down on the railroad tracks at an intersection shortly after taking off. Then, about 20 minutes later, a Metrolink train crashed into it. The pilot had been pulled out and was taken to a hospital. There were no other injuries.

Video: Train smashes into crashed plane seconds after pilot is rescued

Mentioned

The Journey is the Reward – Brian T. Coleman and Micah Engber plan to document Brian’s quest to achieve lifetime United 1K status.

Art For Bricks: Exclusive Brick Mosaic Art for everyone 

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, Brian Coleman, Benét Wilson.

685 Aircraft Management

Our guest is the CEO of aircraft management company PC Aviators, an air race champion, author, speaker, and former aerodynamics professor. In the news, flight cancellations strand thousands of air travelers, Boeing 737 MAX flights are set to resume in Ethiopia and Indonesia, more 5G drama, and adaptive cycle engines for military applications.

Guest

Aircraft management company PC Aviators CEO Pete Zaccagnino.

Pete Zaccagnino is the CEO of PC Aviators, an aircraft management company. He’s also a four-time Air Racing Gold Champion in the Jet/Sport Class, an author, a speaker, a former aerodynamics professor, and an Embry-Riddle graduate. He has flown over 23,000 hours in more than 270 aircraft types and he’s flight-tested over 685 aircraft.

Pete explains how PC Aviators views the aircraft management business as a personal relationship with the customers. That means getting to know the clients and providing services and experiences they value. Sometimes that includes tours all over the world.

PC Aviators manages the acquisition process, helping the customer determine what type of aircraft best suits their mission, deciding between a new plane and one from the used market, and looking at tax considerations. They locate the plane and provide a number of services, including inspection, contract negotiation, where to close, and even color. Aircraft management services continue after the purchase to address staffing, pilots, and maintenance reporting.

Pete comments on industry shifts toward private aircraft transportation and the prices and availability of aircraft. He argues that the perception of aviation has changed in a way that is helping the industry segment grow.

With his extensive success at the Reno Air Races through High Performance Aircraft Racing, we can’t help but ask Pete about the classes of aircraft, the makeup of the team, and the interaction with the public at the event. The 2022 Air Races, officially the STIHL National Championship Air Races, will be held September 14-18 in Reno, Nevada.

Relevant book cover

We also touch on the books Pete has written in The Relevant Series. The first book in the series is Relevant: A Military Thriller Inspired by True Events and the recently released second book is The New Cold War: Defending Democracy From Russia’s Secret Tech Weapon.

Founded in 2008, Park City Aviators is an aircraft management company based in Park City, Utah with locations across the United States. The company is committed to creating a new standard in affordable and professional private jet management.

Pete earned his undergraduate degree in Aeronautical Engineering. He has restored five airplanes and built three others (including a Lancair Super Legacy). Pete has flown over 23,000 hours in more than 270 aircraft types and flight-tested over 685 aircraft.

A former professor of Aerodynamics, Meteorology, and History, Pete has given over 100 training seminars on a variety of topics and has been a guest speaker at aviation peer groups and universities worldwide, including EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.

Pete’s fifteen years of racing at Reno have included four championships, including the 2019 Jet Gold Champion, 2015 Jet Gold Champion, 2013 Jet Gold Champion at 509 mph and the fastest qualifying lap at 529 mph, and 2007 Gold Champion in the Sport Class.

Aviation News

Holiday flight cancellations soar with Covid-19 disruptions and bad weather

Thousands of flights have been canceled during a very busy travel season. On January 1, 2022, FlightAware data showed more than 4,731 flights canceled globally. Thousands more cancellations followed on January 2. Looking at FlightAware data, CNN says airlines canceled more than 14,000 flights in the last 10 days. Bad weather and employees testing positive for Covid are credited with causing the disruptions.

Ethiopia to Resume Boeing 737 Max Flights Three Years after Deadly Crash

Boeing 737 Max: Indonesia lifts ban after 2018 Lion Air crash

Ethiopian Airlines Group says it will resume flying its four Boeing 737 MAX jets starting February 1, 2022. The airline’s Chief Executive Officer said: “We have taken enough time to monitor the design modification work. [With] more than 20 months of [a] rigorous recertification process… we have ensured that our pilots, engineers, aircraft technicians, cabin crew are confident on the safety of the fleet.” Indonesia’s transport ministry said the ban would be lifted effective immediately.

AT&T, Verizon CEOs reject U.S. request for 5G deployment delay

AT&T and Verizon responded negatively to the request by the Transportation Secretary and the FAA administrator to delay the January 5, 2022 5G deployment. The companies characterized the government proposal as “an irresponsible abdication of the operating control required to deploy world-class and globally competitive communications networks.”

F-35s Could Get New Engines As Soon As 2027

The U.S. Airforce is pursuing several “Future Initiatives,” including lifting wing bodies, medium scale propulsion for UAVs, the Megawatt Tactical Aircraft (MWTA) program, and even air wake surfing. This article looks specifically at the Adaptive Engine Transition Program (AETP). While jet engines have two airstreams (one through the core and a bypass airstream around the core), AETP engines are adaptive with three streams. That third stream can be dynamically modulated between the engine’s core and the bypass stream. This results in increased thrust in a combat environment and increased fuel efficiency during cruise. AETP prototypes are being developed by General Electric (XA100) and Pratt & Whitney (XA101).

Video: GE’s XA100 Adaptive Cycle Engine

New Year Wishes

Brian Coleman talks about giving and sharing.

Mentioned

Aviation News Talk #214 San Diego Learjet Crash – Interview with Rob Mark

Maine Instrument Flight sold to Idaho-based company

Late passenger runs onto airfield at Phoenix airport, attempts to stop plane

Video: I Crashed My Plane

Hosts this Episode

Hosts: Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, and Rob Mark. Contributor: Brian Coleman.

683 Boeing 737 MAX

We speak with the author of Flying Blind: The 737 MAX Tragedy and the Fall of Boeing. In the news, 5G concerns from aviation organizations, a new Boeing 787 production chief is named, a bill in Congress to limit airline fees, Air Force aircraft retirements, Finland selects the F-35, and no more astronaut wings for space tourists.

Guest

Peter Robison is an investigative journalist for Bloomberg and Bloomberg Businessweek, and the author of Flying Blind: The 737 MAX Tragedy and the Fall of Boeing

Peter Robison

We look back on the events surrounding the two 737 MAX crashes, including how Boeing responded to the first crash and then the second, and the broad cultural issues at Boeing that affected the quality of the work. Peter describes past Boeing leadership strategies and some of the changes the company has made in areas such as sourcing, location, and the engineering workforce. We also consider the relationship between the FAA and Boeing and how that contributed to the issues with the 737 MAX.

Flying Blind book cover.

In the end, it comes down to the question: “Would we fly on a Boeing 737 MAX?” Listen for our answers.

Peter is a recipient of the Gerald Loeb Award, the Malcolm Forbes Award, and four “Best in Business” awards from the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing. A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, with an honors degree in history from Stanford University, he lives in Seattle, Washington, with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @petermrobison.

Aviation News

5G now means some flights won’t be able to land when pilots can’t see the runway

Verizon and AT&T plan to rollout C-band “5G” cellular ratio coverage. The FAA has concerns this might affect radio altimeters. The FCC and the carriers see no issues, but the carriers moved their December implementation date to January and more recently said they’d reduce the power output for six months at certain towers near airports. The Aerospace Industries Association (and a large group of alphabet aviation organizations) sent a letter to the FCC suggesting that AT&T and Verizon’s proposed power limits don’t go far enough for safety.

Now the FAA has said, “Landings during periods of low visibility could be limited due to concerns that the 5G signal could interfere with the accuracy of an airplane’s radio altimeter, without other mitigations in place.” See also, Aviation Coalition Says Industry Should Expect Significant Delays When 5G is Rolled Out and FreeFlight’s Terrain Series radar altimeters with RF circuitry to mitigate spurious 5G interference.

Boeing Names New Jet-Production Chief as 787’s Woes Slow Rebound

Elizabeth Lund has been named the vice-president and general manager of airplane programs for commercial jetliners. With an engineering background and a 30-year career at Boeing, Ms. Lund brings experience with the 767, 747, and 777 programs.

Markey Aims To Ban ‘Ridiculous’ Airline Fees With Bill

With Holiday Travel Season in Full Swing, Senators Markey and Blumenthal, Reps. Cohen and García Reintroduce Legislation to Stop Sky-High Airline Fees

Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), and Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04) reintroduced the Forbidding Airlines from Imposing Ridiculous (FAIR) Fees Act. If enacted, the legislation would prohibit airlines from charging fees (including bag, seating, cancellation, and change fees) that are not reasonable and proportional to the costs of the services actually provided.

Airlines should not be able to bilk passengers just because they need to check a couple of bags, or charge an extra fee so parents can sit with their kids. It should not cost more to cancel or change an airline reservation than the original cost of the ticket, period. ..we must finally end this price gouging and return fairness to the skies.

Senator Edward J. Markey

The bill would also direct the Department of Transportation to review any other fees imposed by airlines, as well as ensure that children can sit together with their family members on flights at no additional charge.

Congress approves retirement of 160+ Air Force planes – with one notable exception

The US Air Force is asking Congress to retire 42 A-10 Warthogs, but Congress is refusing. The fiscal 2022 National Defense Authorization Act would keep the A-10 but retire seven F-16C/Ds, 48 F-15C/D Eagles, four E-8 JSTARS ground surveillance aircraft, 20 RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 30 drones, 18 KC-135s and 14 KC-10s, and three C-130Hs. This would free up resources to modernize the fleet.

Finland Selects the F-35 Lightning II as Its Next Fighter

Finland Chooses F-35 As Its Next Fighter

Finland will reportedly purchase 64 F-35A fighters, as well as a weapons package, sustainment, and training. The deal is valued at €8.4 billion ($9.5 billion). Flightglobal reports “€4 billion for the aircraft, €755 million for weapons, and €3 billion for equipment, spares, and training over the 2025-2030 period. A further €777 million is allocated for infrastructure improvements.” competing for the win were the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault Aviation Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, and the Saab Gripen E.

FAA: No more commercial astronaut wings

The FAA will no longer award commercial astronaut wings because so many people are now riding into space. Space tourists who fly 50 miles up on an FAA-sanctioned launch will be put on an FAA commercial spaceflight list. NASA astronauts will continue to receive wings.

Recently Spotted Elf

David Vanderhoof, elf.

Hosts this Episode

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

679 Teaching the Next Generation of Pilots

Erika Armstrong joins us to talk about teaching the next generation of pilots. In the news, GE plans to split into three companies, preliminary details on the MD-87 crash, Boeing liability for 737 MAX crashes, and a Northeast Alliance update. Also, the Australia Desk and the MotoArt/Plane Tag festival.

Guest

Erika Armstrong, teaching the next generation of pilots

Erika Armstrong has had an extensive career as a Red Cross, charter, corporate, cargo, hazmat, and air ambulance pilot and captain. She flew 28 different aircraft before going to the airlines and eventually becoming captain on a B727-200.

We look at teaching the next generation of pilots and the effects of Covid on student pilot instruction. Erika has been focused on teaching student pilots to spend more time looking at themselves and understanding their startle reflexes in order to better react in an emergency. Erika also comments on student pilot diversity and the high washout rate.

Erika believes this is a good time to become a pilot and explains how business aviation has opened up due to the pandemic. We also hear how business aviation is different from commercial aviation, especially from a pilot’s perspective.

Concerning unruly passengers, Erika makes a good point that airlines and airports should look at how they can help passengers de-stress.

Erika is an aviation professor at Metropolitan State University in Denver, the Vice President of Business Development and Director of Instructional Design at Advanced Aircrew Academy, and the author of A Chick in the Cockpit.  Erika uses the power of social media to educate and share the joys of aviation to inspire the next generation of pilots. Find her on LinkedIn, Facebook, her website, and @armstrongerika1 on Twitter.

Aviation News

General Electric Announces Split Into Three Public Companies

GE’s health care business is to be spun off in early 2023, then in 2024 the renewable energy, power equipment, and digital businesses will be spun off. What will remain is GE Aviation, the engine-manufacturing operation. See: GE Plans to Form Three Public Companies Focused on Growth Sectors of Aviation, Healthcare, and Energy.

Runway Excursion, McDonnell Douglas MD-87

The NTSB provided details of the fatal October 19, 2021 crash of Boeing MD-87, N987AK, operated by 987 Investments LLC. The plane overran the departure end of runway 36 at Houston Executive Airport (TME), Brookshire, Texas after a rejected takeoff. The left and right elevator geared tab input rod links were found to be damaged. This is similar to the damage found during an investigation of a Boeing MD-83​ which crashed after a rejected takeoff on March 8, 2017. See: Rejected takeoff and runway excursion at Willow Run Airport, Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Boeing Accepts Sole Responsibility for 737 MAX Crashes, Wins Agreement that Avoids Punitive Damages

The joint court motion was filed by Boeing lawyers with lawyers for the families of the 157 victims of the 737 MAX crash in Ethiopia. The company accepted sole liability for the accident. Boeing explicitly agreed that the pilots were not at fault.

The defendant, Boeing, has admitted that it produced an airplane that had an unsafe condition that was a proximate cause of Plaintiff’s compensatory damages caused by the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accident.

American Airlines Ends 60 Years of Shuttle History With New York-Boston Exit

American Airlines acquired the legacy assets of the Eastern Air Shuttle when it merged with US Airways in 2013. American plans to end the Boston to New York LaGuardia service by summer 2022. Instead, Northeast Alliance partner JetBlue Airways will operate the Boston – LaGuardia route for both carriers. Boston to New York JFK and Washington Reagan National service will continue under American branding.

Australia News Desk

Steve and Grant provide news and views from Down Under:

Australia’s International Border Reopens

Virgin Australia re-opens new-look Melbourne Lounge and launches new menu

First QANTAS A380 to land back in Australia today

A question of timing – the future of the RAAF’s air combat force

RAAF’s mysterious surveillance missions from Singapore

Video: ADM Podcast – 100 Years of RAAF

MotoArt/Plane Tags Festival

Brian attended the first annual MotoArt / Plane Tag festival at the company shop in California. He spoke with:

  • Dave, a serious Plane Tag collector
  • Kevin White, the MotoArt Production Manager
  • Dave Hall, the MotoArt CEO

Mentioned

An Anniversary of a Disaster, & a Celebration All in One – November 12, 2021marked the 20th anniversary of the crash of American Airlines flight 587 in New York City.

671 Pilot Mental Health

An airline captain focuses on pilot mental health and tells us what she is doing to bring that conversation into the light. In the news, another aerial refueling tanker competition, a Rolls-Royce electric airplane first flight, an X-Wing at the Smithsonian, a criminal charge stemming from the 737 MAX probe, the Cranky Dorkfest you missed, and emergency landings in Maine. Also, checked baggage issues and gifts for flight attendants.

Guest

Reyné O’Shaughnessy was a commercial airline pilot for over 34 years with a Fortune 50 company. She was a captain on the B767 and logged over 10,000 hours of total heavy jet flight time. In addition to the B767, her experience includes the A300/310, B727, and B747. Notably, thirty-four years ago she was one of the first women to be B747 qualified.

Now retired, Reyné founded Piloting 2 Wellbeing (or P2W) with a mission to create awareness about pilot mental health and mental wellness in the aviation industry. P2W serves individuals, schools, and corporations that want to implement supportive and practical training, experience compassionate forums, and be part of creating a better aviation world.

Reyné explains why the aviation community is so averse to talking about pilot mental health. We look at the need to normalize the conversation about pilot mental health and teach airlines and pilots a more holistic approach to wellbeing, that being a factor in safety performance. Companies need to support their employees with mental health training but the regulator is not currently forcing this. Reyné argues that reaching student pilots with information early in their career will help normalize mental health. The top flight schools are focused on technical training, but they need to incorporate wellness training into their programs.

Reyné’s new book, This is Your Captain Speaking: What You Should Know About Your Pilot’s Mental Health is available on Amazon.com. It looks at stress, anxiety, and depression in the aviation community.

Pilot mental health book This is Your Captain Speaking

Aviation News

Lockheed reveals new LMXT refueling tanker, firing the opening salvo in US Air Force competition

The U.S. Air Force has a bridge tanker competition coming up, also known as the KC-Y, and they released a sources-sought notification in June. The Boeing KC-46 is the incumbent, but they don’t have a lock on it. Lockheed Martin has just announced they will offer their LMXT aerial refueling tanker, based on the Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT).

Rolls-Royce’s all-electric ‘Spirit of Innovation’ takes to the skies for the first time

We previously reported Rolls-Royce’s intentions to build an all-electric airplane and use it in a world-record attempt reaching speeds of 300+ MPH (480+ KMH). They’ve built the plane, which they call the “Spirit of Innovation,” and succeeded in flying it for the first time. Power comes from a 400kW (500+hp) electric powertrain. Rolls-Royce says it has “the most power-dense battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft.”

Spirit of Innovation, courtesy Rolls-Royce.

Why There’s an X-Wing Flyer at the Smithsonian

The National Air and Space Museum has a Star Wars X-wing on loan from Lucasfilm. Dr. Margaret Weiteka, Curator and Department Chair of the Space History Department, explains why they have it and how it is being prepared for display.

Video: Why There’s an X-Wing Flyer at the Smithsonian

What You Missed at Yesterday’s Cranky Dorkfest

Cranky Flier reports on the event.

Former Boeing Pilot Expected to Face Prosecution in 737 MAX Probe

The Wall Street Journal reports that Federal prosecutors plan to criminally charge Boeing’s chief technical pilot during the 737 MAX development. Mark Forkner was Boeing’s lead contact with the FAA concerning pilot training for the jet. In a criminal settlement with prosecutors earlier this year, Boeing admitted that two unnamed employees conspired to defraud the FAA about 737 MAX training issues in order to benefit themselves and the company.

Bangor airport to close for 2 days in early October for runway repairs

Bangor International Airport will shut down for runway repairs. Concrete runways can degrade as a result of an alkali-silica reaction, which is sometimes called concrete cancer. Since BGR is the last US airport for emergency landings eastbound over the Atlantic, and the first westbound, any emergencies will have to land elsewhere.

Prerecorded

In Defense of the Flight Attendant by Joe A. Kunzler.

Brian Coleman’s gifts to cabin crew.

Why Brian doesn’t check bags.

669 Daedalean Flight Control Software

Daedalean AI-based flight control software for pilot assist and eventual autonomous flight, a Boeing 737MAX flight report, and a travel report on a trip to Germany.

Guest

Dr. Luuk van Dijk

Dr. Luuk van Dijk is CEO and co-founder of Daedalean, a Zürich-based startup developing flight control software for autonomous flight. The eventual goal is to create an AI pilot that measurably outperforms human pilots. Currently, Daedalean is working with regulators, leading aerospace manufacturers, and major eVTOL companies to test and certify the first machine learning-based sensor systems for guidance, navigation, and flight control.

Daedalean has created a pilot assist system that uses optical cameras for visual positioning without GPS, visual traffic detection without transponders or radar, and visual landing guidance without ILS. The Avidyne PilotEye system using Daedalean technology was introduced on the first day of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2021.

Avidyne Uses Daedalean AI Software in New PilotEye Vision System

“Daedalean’s neural network functions by taking high-resolution video input extracted in real-time by high-resolution cameras and sends it through a Convolutional Neural Network, which determines whether the images captured by the cameras are part of cooperative or uncooperative traffic. The system can also be used to identify safe landing areas if the pilot encounters an emergency situation.”

Aviation Today

The Daedalean product roadmap outlines the progression From Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems to Single Pilot Operations to Full Autonomy.

Luuk holds a PhD in Physics (UvA, RuG) and previously held Senior Software Engineering positions at Google Zürich and SpaceX, where he worked on infrastructure, flight software, and machine learning projects, among others.

Daedalean flight control software
Daedalean flight control software

Brian’s Travel Experience

We have two travel experience reports for this episode. First. Brian Coleman talks with Micah about his recent 737MAX flight. Then we hear about Brian’s trip to Germany on United, where everything did not go according to Brian’s perfectly planned itinerary.