Tag Archives: A350

781 Astronaut

A veteran NASA astronaut, scientist, and author discusses his journey to becoming an astronaut and his experiences in space. In the news, FAA orders Boeing 737 Max 9 planes grounded, a JAL A350 collides with a Dash-8, seating layout and air rage, American Airlines launches Smart Gating, and JSX plans to buy more than 300 hybrid-electric aircraft.

Guest

Astronaut Tom Jones standing in front of the Atlantis Space Shuttle

Thomas D. Jones is a veteran NASA astronaut, scientist, author, pilot, and speaker. He flew on four space shuttle missions to Earth orbit in more than eleven years with NASA. In 2001, Tom led three spacewalks to install the American Destiny laboratory, the centerpiece of the International Space Station. He has spent fifty-three days working and living in space. Tom has written seven space, aviation, and history books. 

Tom’s latest title is Space Shuttle Stories: Firsthand Astronaut Accounts from All 135 Missions from Smithsonian Books. This book is a comprehensive oral history of the thirty years of the Space Shuttle. Tom collected stories from astronauts across all 135 shuttle missions.

Book cover: Space Shuttle Stories

A Distinguished Graduate of the Air Force Academy, Tom piloted B-52D strategic bombers, earned a doctorate in planetary sciences from the University of Arizona, studied asteroids and robotic exploration missions for NASA, and engineered intelligence-gathering systems for the CIA.

Tom’s awards include the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, four NASA Space Flight Medals, the NASA Exceptional Service Award, the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, the NASA Exceptional Public Service Award, Phi Beta Kappa, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and Distinguished Eagle Scout. Asteroid 1082 Tom Jones is named in his honor. In 2018, Tom was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.

Tom served on the NASA Advisory Council and the Association of Space Explorers and the Astronauts Memorial Foundation boards. He consults on the future direction of human space exploration, uses of asteroid and space resources, and planetary defense. A frequent public speaker, he is often seen on-air delivering expert commentary on science and space flight.

For more, see Tom’s website, follow him on Twitter/X at @AstroTomJones, and he’s also on Facebook.

Aviation News

FAA orders grounding of certain Boeing 737 Max 9 planes after Alaska Airlines incident

FAA orders temporary grounding of Boeing 737 Max 9s

A new Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 lost a plugged rear-aft door as it climbed out from Portland, Oregon. The plane depressurized and immediately returned to the airport. No injuries were reported. The FAA ordered maintenance and safety inspections.

Haneda accident outcome the sum of decades of integrated air safety lessons

What if the Haneda Accident Had Occurred in the US?

A landing Japan Airlines A350-900 collided with a Japan Coast Guard (JCG) Dash 8-300 resulting in the deaths of five members of the JCG and the total loss of the A350. All 368 passengers and 12 crew members of JAL plane evacuated safely.

Class ‘Inequity’ Fuels Air Rage

The Physical and Situational Inequality on Airplanes Predicts Air Rage study by Princeton University found that the chance of an air rage incident increased four times when the aircraft had a first-class section. The chance doubles again when boarding economy-class passengers pass through the first-class section.

Smart Gating: How American Airlines Is Using Machine Learning To Reduce Taxi Times By 20%

The American Airlines Smart Gating system is designed to streamline operations, reduce taxiing times, save jet fuel, reduce carbon emissions, and improve operational efficiency. The system uses real-time flight information and assigns aircraft to the closest gate. This can reduce taxiing time by up to 20%. Smart Gating has been deployed across American Airlines’ major hubs.

Video: American Airlines Smart Gating

JSX Plans To Add 300+ Hybrid-electric Aircraft to Fleet

Public charter operator JSX intends to purchase up to 332 hybrid-electric aircraft: 82 Electra nine-passenger eSTOL aircraft (32/50 firm/options), up to 150 Aura Aero 19-seat Era model (50/100), and up to 100 Heart Aerospace 30-seat ES-30 (50/50).

Mentioned

Ramrod to Munster by Stephen C. Ananian [PDF]

Aircraft Accident Investigation (AAI) course, University of Southern California.

The course is designed for individuals who have limited investigation experience. All aspects of the investigation process are addressed, starting with preparation for the investigation through writing the final report. It covers National Transportation Safety Board and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) procedures. Investigative techniques are examined with an emphasis on fixed-wing investigation. Data collection, wreckage reconstruction, and cause analysis are discussed in the classroom and applied in the lab.

Can you spot Max Trescott?

The Journey is the Reward podcast, Episode 60: A Conversation with Capt Jeff of the Airline Pilot Guy.

Hosts this Episode

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

701 Aviation Weather

How aviation weather intelligence affects airlines and airports, the FAA wants radio altimeters replaced, Easyjet has a solution to fly with less crew, Spirit Airlines says no to JetBlue, an electric airplane first, jail time for some unruly passengers, and Virgin Atlantic flight training requirements.

Guest

Scott Gilmore, Tomorrow.io aviation weather information

Scott Gilmore is the Global Vice President and GM of Aviation at Tomorrow.io, a company that provides an aviation weather and climate security platform. Scott has over 40 years in the aviation industry, including 27 as a pilot. He drives Tomorrow.io’s aviation go-to-market offerings, including sales activity, revenue management, and the product roadmap.

Scott explains the sources and uses of aviation weather data, and how weather intelligence results in fewer turnbacks, more payload, and better fuel load. He also tells us about the impact on airport ground staffing and de-icing planning.

Tomorrow.io is deploying its own constellation of LEO weather satellites equipped with radar and microwave sounders. This will provide global coverage with a significantly improved refresh rate. Scott describes the goal of being able to machine generate a custom “TAF” (Terminal Aerodrome Forecast) for any selected location.

It’s with noting that the non-profit TomorrowNow.org is committed to helping vulnerable populations adapt to the climate changes that are happening now.

Prior to Tomorrow.io, Scott served as the Head of Flight Deck Solutions with The Weather Company, an IBM Business; Senior Manager of Strategic Partnerships at the International Air Transport Association (IATA); and Director Of Business Development Airline Industry Solutions, and Head Of Application Development Aircraft Mission Kit / Electronic Flight Bag at Unisys. Scott was a Senior Strategic Airlift Manager C-5, C-17, and Tanker Operations with the United States Air Force. He’s an FAA Rated Flight Engineer with over 21,000 hours in the flight deck, an Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic, and a member of the American Association of Airport Executives.

Aviation News

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

The FAA wants to establish “an achievable timeframe to retrofit/replace radar altimeters in the U.S. fleet” due to possible interference from C-Band 5G wireless service. So they are meeting with telecom and airline industry officials where they can hear “options and commit to actions necessary to meet these objectives.”

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

Staff shortages are affecting commercial flight schedules globally and EasyJet has a solution to reduce its cabin crew from four to three legally: Take out the back row of seats in its A319 fleet. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulates the number of cabin crew based on seats, not passengers on board.

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

Nine Nigerian airlines issued a statement saying that the cost of imported jet fuel had increased nearly fourfold as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and that they are threatening to stop domestic flights. Airline operating costs have increased from about 40% to nearly 95%

Frustrated Alaska Airlines Pilots to Vote on Strike

Alaska Airlines pilots have been without a contract for some three years. Pilots started voting on May 9 on whether to strike. Balloting will end on May 25. The Air Line Pilots Association is seeking higher pay and better scheduling for its pilots.

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

The Spirit Airlines board rejected the $3.6 billion takeover bid by JetBlue Airways. They say Spirit will continue to pursue a merger with Frontier Airlines.

The Board determined that the JetBlue proposal involves an unacceptable level of closing risk that would be assumed by Spirit stockholders. We believe that our pending merger with Frontier will start an exciting new chapter for Spirit.

Mac Gardner, Spirit Airlines board chairman.

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

In a U.S. first, a student pilot has earned a private pilot certificate with an electric aircraft. Shane Fisher flew his check ride in a two-seat Pipistrel Velis Electro, the world’s first and still only electric-powered airplane to receive a type certificate. Certificated by EASA in 2020, it operates in the U.S. as a light sport experimental aircraft. Fisher’s cross-country was accomplished in a Pipistrel Virus SW, which has a similar airframe but is powered by a Rotax 912 engine. 

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

A disruptive and violent passenger who opened the aircraft door on a United Express flight just before landing could have received 20-years imprisonment and a $200,000 fine. But instead, he was sentenced to one year behind bars for interfering with a flight crew. Kameron C. Stone, 30, of Fairfax, Virginia was also ordered to pay a $7,500 fine and undergo three years of supervised release. He can also look forward to a fine from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Man Who Assaulted Flight Attendants Gets 60 Days in Jail

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

A person opened the emergency exit door of United flight 2874 at O’Hare International Airport as the plane was moving on the runway. The passenger then walked out onto the wing and slid down onto the airfield. 

Our ground crew stopped the individual outside of the aircraft, and the person is now with law enforcement.

United Airlines statement.

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

This was a Virgin Atlantic internal training protocol compliance violation, not a regulatory violation. The first officer had not completed his final assessment, and the captain was not yet qualified as a check airman. The plane returned and the first officer was replaced.

Australia News Desk

This week’s segment covers the big announcement by QANTAS of the purchase of 12 A350-1000s, along with a ton of other variants which will gradually replace, and effectively phase out, Boeing aircraft over the next five years.  We also take a look at QANTAS purchasing regional operator Alliance Airlines, the upcoming RAAF Amberley Air Tattoo, the Pacific Air Show scheduled for Queensland in 2023, and the World Championship Air Race round for Australia which was recently announced.  We also may have had a little fun at Rob’s expense….

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

Introducing the Airbus A350-1000

Pacific Airshow comes to Gold Coast in 2023

Pacific Airshow

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

QANTAS to acquire Alliance Aviation to Better Support Resources Segment

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

Ipswich Amberley Air Tattoo

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott

681 Startup Airline Airbahn

New startup airline Airbahn, Boeing’s fighter bid is rejected by Canada, more on 5G and aviation signal interference, people try to bring the darndest things on airlines, what happens when you drop an iPhone from an airplane, an Australian water landing, A350 peeling paint, Airbus suggests a possible single-pilot freighter.

Aviation News

Airbahn: New SoCal-Based US Airline Startup

The CEO of Airblue (Pakistan’s second-largest airline) founded Airbahn in February 2018. The airline received a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for Interstate Air Transportation in October 2020 from the DOT. Airbahn has now taken delivery of its first Airbus A320 in the United States, an ex-Airblue plane now with registration code N786PB. Airbahn is currently hiring staff in California.

Airbahn logo

Based on their filing, Airblue will operate flights in the Western United States with service to mid-tier markets. Initially based at Long Beach Airport (LGB) or Orange County Airport (SNA), all planes and crews will return to base every day. Airbahn A320s will have 174 seats each, in a one-class configuration.

Boeing told its bid to sell fighter jets to Canada did not meet Ottawa’s requirements

According to sources, Boeing’s bid to replace Canada’s fleet of CF-18s with Super Hornets has been rejected. Bids were to meet requirements for missions at home and abroad, as well as for substantial Canadian economic benefit. Bids from Lockheed Martin (F-35) and Saab (Gripen) were accepted.

5G aviation fears: Mobile carriers propose to reduce power, especially near airports

First, we saw carriers delay 5G implementations one month to January. Now the mobile carriers are proposing a step further for six months: temporarily reducing base station power everywhere and limiting power near airports and heliports. This would give the FAA more time for further studies. The FAA hasn’t yet responded to the proposal.

4 things TSA really doesn’t want you to bring on an airplane

That would be guns and ammo, full-size hygiene products, alcohol, and fertilizer.

iPhone survives landing after pilot takes Airplane mode way too seriously

A pilot in Orlando dropped his iPhone onto the runway on takeoff, but the “Find My iPhone” app lead searchers right to it on the runway. Surprisingly, the phone was undamaged.

Video: Funny Exchange about an iPhone FOD on the runway!

Costly Airbus paint flaw goes wider than the Gulf

Airlines are discovering that A350 paint is blistering and peeling off, exposing the composite material underneath. On the orders of the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority, Qatar has grounded twenty of its 53 A350s. Airbus says it’s not a safety issue, but airlines want to know what’s happening.

Mentioned

US airman shot down over Romania in WWII is accounted for

Airbus CEO suggests A350 Freighter is a good candidate to implement single pilot operations

Two men escape serious injury after light plane crashes into ocean off Perth

Hosts this episode: Max Flight, Max Trescott, and Rob Mark.

658 Helping Youngsters in Aviation

We talk with Ellie Carter, Britain’s youngest solo glider pilot, and youngest single-engined PPL holder. Ellie has a passion for helping youngsters in aviation. In the news, the possibility of just one pilot on the flight deck for long haul flights, Airbus eyes an A350 freighter derivative, airlines struggle to meet the growing travel demand, a unique checked baggage item, a delay and possible price increase for the new Air Force One planes, the U.S. Air Force wants to know who would bid on a contract for the KC-Y bridge tanker, and an open rotor engine.

Across the Pond

Pieter Johnson welcomes Ellie Carter to Across The Pond. At age 14, Ellie became Britain’s youngest solo glider pilot and later went on to become Britain’s Youngest single-engined PPL holder, having soloed at 16. She is currently qualifying for her aerobatic and IFR ratings.

A STEM ambassador and Chair of the Light Aircraft Association’s Youth and Education Support Strut, Ellie has a passion for helping youngsters into aviation and has just completed her A-Level exams specializing in maths.

Ellie has been awarded the British Women’s Pilots Association, Hilda Hewitt Trophy, for her actions and her example, being an inspiration to her peer group. Most recently Ellie was awarded the Light Aircraft Association’s President’s Breitling Certificate for her work in promoting younger people in aviation.

Find Ellie on social media: Twitter, Instagram, and at the Youth Education branch of the Light Aircraft Association. Pieter can be found on Twitter and Aviation Xtended.

Aviation News

Cathay working with Airbus on single-pilot system for long-haul

Long-haul flights typically have three or four pilots, with two pilots on the flight deck. Airbus and Cathay Pacific are working on a system to allow only one pilot on the flight deck at cruising altitude on long-haul flights. 

Airbus Set to Move Ahead With A350 Freighter Within Weeks

Airbus is interested in competing in a market dominated by Boeing, and will reportedly be seeking board approval to proceed with an A350-based freighter. The modified A350-900 might be slightly longer than the passenger version and take four to five years from the launch date to enter service.

American Airlines asking Dallas-based employees to volunteer to work without pay as travel skyrockets

Travel demand is going up in the U.S. and American Airlines wants to be ready. A company memo is asking non-union employees to volunteer their help at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. The corporate scheduling, planning, and communications workers are being asked to work unpaid 6-hour shifts helping travelers in international terminals and other tasks.

TSA checkpoint travel numbers

The TSA reports 20221 traveler throughput by day compared to throughput for 2020 and 2021.

College student gets $20 to check pool noodle on Southwest flight

It started as a bet. The airline’s response is notable.

Delivery of new Air Force One planes could be delayed until 2025

Boeing has notified the US Air Force that the two 747-8 Air Force One aircraft could cost more than the $3.9 billion previously agreed to, and the planes could be delivered a year late, in 2025.

Air Force Begins Search For New Refueling Tanker as Lawmakers Push Airbus

The U.S. Air Force posted a Contracting Opportunity for new tankers. The “Sources Sought” request is “to determine if there exists an adequate number of qualified interested contractors capable of providing solutions to meet the requirement. The Government may use the responses to this Sources Sought for information and planning purposes.” The Air Force is looking for companies that can deliver approximately 140-160 Commercial Derivative Tanker Aircraft—at a rate of 12 to 15 per year—to supplement the Air Force Tanker Aircraft fleet at the end of KC-46A production, and bridge the gap to the next Tanker recapitalization phase.

Wild-Looking ‘Open Rotor’ Engine Could Cut Airliner Emissions by a Massive 20 Percent

A CFM design looks to address the noise issues of past oper rotor (or unducted fan) turbine engines.

Mentioned

American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic order e-air taxis from UK startup

Vertical Aerospace is an electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL) startup based in the UK. The company announced pre-orders for up to 1,000 of its electric VA-X4 vertical takeoff aircraft. American Airlines ordered between 250 and 350 aircraft, Virgin Atlantic ordered between 50 and 150, and aircraft leasing group Avolon ordered 310.

The VA-X4 seats 4 PAX and a pilot, with commercial flights expected in 2024. The aircraft can cruise at 202 mph, has a usable range of up to 120 miles, and is claimed to be 100x quieter than a helicopter thanks to the VA-X4’s distributed propulsion system.

Vertical plans to go public this year on the New York Stock Exchange via a SPAC merger (special purpose acquisition) in a deal valuing it at $2.2 billion. SPAC investors include American Airlines, Avolon, Honeywell, Rolls-Royce, and Microsoft’s venture capital fund M12.

Huntsman spider drops on top of pilot

490 The Airbus A350

We talk with an Airbus A350 captain who has a long history flying commercial aircraft. In the news, we consider one-person flight crews, U.S. airlines looking to scale back consumer protection regulations, ADS-B vulnerabilities for military aircraft, and largest ever Piper order for training planes, plans for the Air Force bomber fleet, and Southwest runs out of glycol. We also have a conversation about ATIS with the Chief of the Air Traffic Control Division at Robert Gray Army Airfield.

Malaysia Airlines Airbus A350.

Malaysia Airlines A350. Photo by H Gousse, courtesy Airbus.

Guest

Airbus A350 Captain Bill Palmer.

Airbus A350 Captain Bill Palmer.

Bill Palmer is an A350 captain and an instructor pilot/check airman. He has been heavily involved in Airbus training since the early 1990’s, and Bill is the author of Understanding Air France 447 and other publications on Airbus flight control laws. Bill also holds a commercial glider rating and flies his Rolladen-Schneider LS-3 for fun in southern California.

Bill describes the transition to the A350 as like going from DOS to Windows. The aircraft shares some commonality with A380, and Bill describes fly-by-wire and the flight control laws. We also hear about other features of the A350, such as the paperless cockpit implementation and the availability airport runway, taxiway, and gate information to pilot. The plane will calculate landing distance and brake to the correct speed for the selected taxiway. Bill also describes the A350 runway overrun protection and the auto-flight system’s automatic TCAS and wind shear recovery.

Bill started flying at the age of 15, soloed on his 16th birthday and completed his private certificate at 17. He attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and holds a BS in Aeronautical Science. He earned his flight instructor certificate in 1978 and has been instructing almost non-stop since then while holding airplane, instrument, multi-engine, and ground instructor certificates. Besides light aircraft he has also taught on the 727, 757, A320, DC-10, and A330, and written manuals for the DC-10, A330, and B-787 fleets. He has also produced numerous training publications and videos for the various fleets as well.

Visit Bill’s webpage Understanding Air France 447 and his Trend Vector blog. His books Understanding Air France 447Airbus A330 Normal Law: Putting fly-by-wire into perspective, and Airbus Flight Control Laws: The Reconfiguration Laws are available on Amazon.com and at other retailers.

Aviation News

Boeing raises prospect of only one pilot in the cockpit of planes

At the Singapore Airshow, Boeing research and technology vice-president Charles Toups said, “We are studying [one pilot operations], and where you will first see that is probably in cargo transport, so the passenger question is off the table.” Also at the Singapore Air Show, ST Aerospace showed the concept for an unmanned freighter piloted by an artificially intelligent computer. ST Aero was optimistic about an unmanned freighter within the next five years.

Airlines seeking to snuff traveler rights?

In the Wall Street Journal, Scott McCartney reports that last October the U.S. Department of Transportation asked airlines to suggest changes or cuts to regulations. Airlines for America filed 222 pages of comments. United Airlines added 50 pages.

Vulnerable To Cyber Attacks, ADS-B May Expose F-22s To Web Based Tracking GAO Warns

A 45-page Government Accountability Office report titled Urgent Need for DOD and FAA to Address Risks and Improve Planning for Technology That Tracks Military Aircraft [PDF] says that neither the Department of Defense nor the FAA has taken significant steps to mitigate security risks associated with openly transmitting flight data from military aircraft.

Piper Receives Largest Trainer Order in Company History

Chinese Fanmei Aviation Technologies has ordered 152 training aircraft from Piper Aircraft. Fanmei is Piper’s dealer in China, and a subsidiary of Sichuan Fan-Mei Education Group Co., which provides aviation education in China. This is reported to be the largest single order for training airplanes in Piper’s history. The seven-year purchase agreement is valued at $74 million and includes 100 Archer TX single-engine trainers, 50 twin-engine Seminoles, one Seneca twin, and one Piper M350.

Air Force outlines future of bomber force

In its Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request, the Air Force outlined plans for its bomber fleet, which include a plan to update the B-52 Stratofortress fleet, continue modifications to the B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit fleets, while continuing to acquire B-21 Raiders.

‘How does one airline run out of de-icer?’: Some gripes at Midway after Southwest’s cancellations

Southwest Airlines had to cancel more than 250 flights from Midway Airport after running out of de-icing fluid. One of the glycol tank pumps wasn’t working properly and some of the de-icing fluid could not be accessed.

Updated 6/10/2019: Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) has updated its informational guide webpage. See Chicago Midway International Airport (Guide).

Interview

Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari talks about ATIS (automatic terminal information service) with Mark N. Vick, Chief, Air Traffic Control Division, Directorate of Aviation Operations at Robert Gray Army Airfield, Fort Hood Texas, a military joint-use airport that operates alongside Killeen–Fort Hood Regional Airport.

Mentioned

Rolls-Royce UltraFan® – The Ultimate Jet Engine and Lego Ultrafan in the flesh! @RollsRoyce, a video on Twitter by Andrew Smyth‏.

Nine Aviation and Space Achievements Compete for the 2017 Collier Trophy [PDF] and GA Companies Among Those Vying for Collier Trophy.

Heavens Above

The 101-year-old woman who flew Spitfires in WW2

MH370: Malaysian military sidelines crash investigators as power play emerges on search team and MH370 conspiracy theory involves Seabed Constructor and chest from shipwreck.

Credit

Intro music courtesy Brother Love from his Album Of The Year CD. Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

441 Airlines, Destinations, and Strapping Yourself to the Perimeter Fence

This episode, we talk to aviation and travel-industry expert Chris Kjelgaard about new Lufthansa and Iberia A350-900s, low fares from Norwegian, airlines charging fees for services, and a worrisome EASA safety report. Also, Astronics’ missed aerospace sales guidance, and the most scenic airport landings.

Guest

Chris Kjelgaard, airlines and travel industry expert

Chris Kjelgaard

Chris Kjelgaard reports on airlines and the travel-industry with more than three decades of experience. He is the founder and editor of the air and destination travel news website AirlinesAndDestinations.com. Chris also serves as editor of various print and online magazine titles, and he has written for dozens of aviation trade and consumer magazines and websites. Chris has been interviewed many times by television, radio, print, and online media on aviation and travel topics. He is a contributing editor to Runway Girl Network.

Aviation News

Inside Lufthansa’s Brand New A350-900

A Look Inside Lufthansa’s First Airbus A350-900

Iberia CCO explains carrier’s long-haul IFEC decisions

Lufthansa unveiled its new A350-900 in Munich at the beginning of February at the Lufthansa Technik hangar. This was the first of ten aircraft that are to fly from Munich to Delhi and Boston. Iberia is set to take delivery of 16 A350-900s starting in the second quarter of 2018.

Norwegian Air to offer U.S.-Europe fares starting at $65 one way

Norwegian Air Shuttle was offering $65 one way flights to Europe from some smaller US airports in New York state, and also Providence, Rhode Island, and Hartford, Connecticut. Norwegian Air spokesman Anders Lindström said, “I pay for what I want, you pay for what you want. We don’t pay for what everybody else on the plane wants.” Only a limited number of one-way tickets were offered at $65, and a return flight costs more.

More airlines are charging for everything from carry-ons to soft drinks

Airlines continue to unbundle offerings, and charge fees to add them back in. A new report by research firm Hopper sheds some light on airline ticket pricing.

EASA safety report highlights worrying increase in serious incidents

2016 was the safest year ever measured by large commercial aircraft fatal accidents, but the 2017 Preliminary Safety Review published by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) shows an increase in the number of serious incidents involving aircraft operated by carriers from the 32 EASA member states.

John King Vows Battle with the FAA to Reinstate His Medical Certificate

When it comes to aviation education and training, John King (and his wife Martha) are about as well known as anybody. But on the basis of a seizure episode in early 2014, King was denied his third-class medical certificate in November 2015. Since then he has appealed the denial, but without success. He plans to take it to an an administrative law judge at the NTSB.

First-degree murder charge filed in possible hate crime shooting at Olathe’s Austins bar

This unfortunate event has a number of connections to aviation.

Mentioned

PZL Mielec Prepares M28 – A PZL Mielec M28 twin turboprop aircraft is undertaking a two-month, 13-city tour across seven Caribbean and Latin America countries to demonstrate the M28’s all-weather operational capabilities to potential new customers, including airlines, government agencies and military operators.

Turn your friends into podcast listeners

California Black Aviation Association – A non-profit organization of aviation professionals of various ethnic backgrounds with the passion for flying and promoting aviation awareness and education through community outreach.

California Redtails – Honoring the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, also known as the “Redtails,” by educating, inspiring and promoting general aviation.

Embry-Riddle’s Lift, Off the Page: A Panel Discussion on Aviation Cybersecurity

Listener Submissions

Launchpad Marzari brings us another language editorial.

Xavier provides some personal thoughts on aviation from the perspective of a black pilot.

Gerry gives us his story of a memorable flight when he rode in the flight deck of a Boeing 747-400.

Credit

Intro music courtesy Brother Love from his Album Of The Year CD. Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

 

AirplaneGeeks 373 Airplane Repossession

Airplane Repo

Airplane repossessions, European investigations of possible anticompetitive practices in commercial aviation, United Continental Holdings new CEO in the hospital, the launch customer for the ultra-long-range Airbus A350, the final US Airways flight, and airline growth into Latin America and the Caribbean.

Guest

Ken Cage is owner and president of International Recovery & Remarketing Group (IRG).  IRG specializes in services such as investigation, recovery, and remarketing of specialty assets, including aircraft and yachts. Their repossession agents are licensed, bonded, and insured by the State of Florida. Ken joined IRG in 2005, and has been involved in thousands of repossessions and investigations in all 50 states, as well as several foreign countries.

Ken describes the process that initiates an aircraft repossession, how the owner is located, the preparation work required, actually taking the airplane, and how it is sold to recover the note-holder’s investment.

We ask Ken where he finds the pilots to fly the planes away, what their role is, and how they contribute to a safe repo. Ken also describes how the Airplane Repo TV series came about, and how closely it matches the reality of Ken’s professional experiences.

Ken is a licensed repossession agent, private investigator, and yacht broker with over 20 years experience in the banking and collections industry. Ken has experience in skip tracing and investigation in the finance sector.

Ken has been a member of many organizations related to the investigation field including American Society of Industrial Security, the International Society of Healthcare Safety and Security, the National Association of Chiefs of Police, Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA), National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA), and International Association of Marine Investigators (IAMI).

Follow Ken on Twitter at @KenCageRepo and on Facebook at Ken Cage Airplane Repo. See also the Discovery Channel webpage for the TV series Airplane Repo, and the Airplane Repo Fan Club on Facebook.

As an extra surprise, our Main(e) Man Micah joins us this episode as a guest co-host!

News

Europe Mulls Aircraft-Parts Competition Investigation Amid Airline Complaints

IATA and the European Commission are looking into possible anticompetitive practices in the marketplace for aircraft, engines, spare parts, and maintenance services. IATA says they are looking into the problem. The EC hasn’t launched a formal investigation, but is “closely monitoring competitive conditions as regards maintenance of engines and components of large commercial aircraft.” [Article WSJ paywall]

United CEO suffers heart attack, shares drop even lower

United Continental Holdings Inc’s new CEO Oscar Munoz has suffered a heart attack, just weeks after he took the job.

Singapore Air To Re-Start Non-Stop Singapore-US Flights With New A350 Variant

A350-900ULR

A350-900ULR Courtesy Airbus

Singapore Airlines has signed an agreement to be the launch customer for the new A350-900ULR, an ultra-long-range variant of the Airbus A350. This will let them resume non-stop flights between Singapore and the United States.

Singapore Airlines has 63 firm/20 option A350-900s on order. They will convert 7 firm and 4 options to the -900ULR, which will have a range of up to 8,700nm. The Airline also has 20 purchase options, four of which will be converted into firm A350-900 orders. This results in 67 firm A350s and 16 options.

Singapore Airlines operated non-stop flights between Singapore and both Los Angeles and New York with A340-500s until 2013, when the airplanes were retired.

Final US Airways Flight Completes Journey, Lands in Philly

An Airbus A321 became the last US Airways branded flight when it landed in Philadelphia. From now on they’re all American Airlines flights. The plane was designated as Flight 1939, named for the airline’s founding year.

U.S. airlines betting big on Latin America, Caribbean flights

Southwest, JetBlue, and Spirit are adding destinations to Latin America and the Caribbean. A strong U.S. dollar makes overseas travel attractive for Americans, and a growing Latin American middle class has more disposable income and looks to travel to the U.S.

The Airplane of the Week

David's desk

David’s desk

David continues his Journey to the Force awakened by discussing the Seinar Fleet Systems TIE Fighter and it’s derivations. It has almost as many variants as a C-130. Almost but not quite.

Across the Pond

RootshootPieter talks to Gary Wilson from Routeshoot, a smartphone and tablet app being utilised for aviation. It is designed to record video and tag GPS coordinates together so that the user can see where and when they were at a location, along with a video record. Pilots are using it for IFR purposes and commercial organisations such as utilities are using it to track their products and equipment filmed and coordinated using helicopters and UAS. Follow them at @RouteShoot.

Mentioned

Spicewood Airport 88R video.

The Deadly Cargo Inside MH370: How Exploding Batteries Explain the Mystery

Credit

Post photo: Ken Cage is the guy on the left. The big guy on the right is bounty hunter, MMA fighter, and champion power lifter Danny Thompson.

Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at brotherloverocks.com.

AirplaneGeeks 345 Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Tour

Future of Flight Gallery panorama Joe Kunzler

The Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Tour in Seattle, FAA systems security, airport perimeter breaches, a new airline quality study, and Airbus looks to provide A350 aftermarket services.

Guest

Sandy Ward is a 30+ year veteran of the travel, tourism and hospitality industry and is the Director of Sales and Marketing at the Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour in Washington State.

We talk with Sandy about the variety of exhibits and educational opportunities offered to visitors of all ages, including what to expect on the Boeing Tour. We also discuss the Aviation Geekfest as well as the great aviation attractions that can be found in the area.

The Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour is operated and managed by the Future of Flight Foundation, an independent, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, in partnership with The Boeing Company and Snohomish County.

Boeing Factory Doors in Sunrise Joe Kunzler

The Future of Flight Aviation Center is a must-see aviation destination and is located in Everett, Washington, just twenty minutes north of Seattle. The Boeing Tour is the only publicly available tour of a commercial jet assembly plant in North America.

News

FAA hit by cyberattack, finds no damage

A recent government audit warned the FAA that its air traffic control system is vulnerable to hacking. In February, an FAA administrative network was infected with a virus spread via email, but the FAA says no damage was done.

AP investigation details perimeter breaches at US airports

The Associated Press surveyed 31 airports and found 268 perimeter breaches since 2004. The surveyed airports handle three-quarters of U.S. commercial passenger traffic. San Francisco topped the list with 37, Philadelphia International had 25 and LAX with 24.

Wichita State, Embry-Riddle release results of airline quality study

The annual Airline Quality Rating report is a statistical study of major airline performance in the United States, conducted jointly by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Wichita State University. Three of the twelve U.S. airlines evaluated improved in 2014, one was unchanged, and eight airlines declined. These airlines posted the worst industry score since 2009.

Airbus Eyes Major Role In A350 Aftermarket Support; First Customer Imminent

Airbus wants to be a player in the aftermarket service sector of commercial aviation, and they are working on a 12-year deal with a European operator. The deal is believed to be an Airbus Flight Hour Services (FHS) agreement: operators pay a fee per flight hour for maintenance services. Airbus also offers a Total Support Package (TSP). Reportedly, Airbus are in talks with other potential service customers.

The Australia News Desk

PCDU team at Barossa 2015

PCDU team at Barossa 2015

Steve and Grant traveled to South Australia this week to provide commentary at the Barossa Airshow, located at Rowland Flat in the famous Barossa Valley wine region. They’re joined by their locally based reporter, Maikha Ly, who worked as ground crew for one of the many wonderful aircraft that were present for the airshow – in this case, an 87% scale replica WWI Nieuport bi-plane.

In the news, the Australian Government has announced the purchase of a further two C-17 Globemaster III aircraft for the RAAF which will increase the fleet size to eight. They will be based at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland in a deal said to be worth $A1billion, $A300million of which is earmarked for infrastructure upgrades at the already crowded facility.  Of the stock of so called “white tail” C-17s left in the Boeing inventory, there are rumours that the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) may be considering the purchase of up to two aircraft….unless Airbus can do them a deal on a couple of A400Ms instead, of course.

Listen at the end for a cameo appearance by Steve’s son, Chris, who was helping out as well

Mentioned

Other Seattle aviation attractions:

Air Canada A320 by Ryan Hothersall:

Air Canada A320 by Ryan Hothersall

Photos by Paul Filmer, straightening us out:

Caravelle by Paul Filmer

This is the Caravelle…

Caravelle by Paul Filmer

…and this is the Comet.

Listener Photo of the Week

A350 by Seth

A350 by Seth

Credit

Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at brotherloverocks.com.

AirplaneGeeks 329 Air Taxi

Linear Air

An air taxi operation, cabin branding at Delta, Phenom 100 crash initial findings, IATA recommendations for airline tracking, Airbus A380 orders, and A350 first delivery in the news.

Guest

William Herp is CEO and Co-Founder of Linear Air. Bill holds an Airline Transport Pilot certificate, is single-pilot type-rated in the Eclipse 500 Very Light Jet, and is Director of Operations of Linear Air’s Eclipse charter management company, as well as CEO of Linear Air’s air taxi digital marketplace.

We talk about the air taxi business, how it operates today, and where it is headed. Bill likes to operate at the “intersection of technology and aviation” and he applies that approach at Linear Air.

Bill explains the economics of air taxi and how it represents good value for many travelers. We consider pilot qualifications, applicable regulations, the pricing model, and how large numbers of today’s technically advanced small airplanes can play a role in the future of air taxi.

Linear Air has been creating the technical connections that let people find them through online booking services. They expect to expand their reach by bringing in additional operators, and also focus on creating more awareness among potential customers through promotional events in 2015.

Linear Air staff

Bill has a background in consumer marketing and has used this experience to guide Linear Air’s strategy in the air taxi marketplace. He co-founded e-Dialog, a 500 person online marketing company now owned by eBay, with clients including Dell, British Airways, Avis, and CheapTickets.  Bill is a member of the Entrepreneur’s Organization and serves on the board of directors of Junior Achievement of Eastern Massachusetts, the non-profit educating young people in financial literacy, entrepreneurship and workforce readiness.  Bill graduated from the University of Notre Dame and Harvard Business School.

News

Delta’s New Seating Arrangement Somehow Makes Coach Even Worse

Delta’s Big Branding Exercise Reflects Changes That Have Already Been Made, Not New Ones

Delta has a plan: segment the cabin into three economy sections and two premium cabins. These would be distinguished by price and service. Delta looks to bring branding into the cabin starting March 1, 2015.

NTSB Releases Preliminary Information on Phenom Crash

A Phenom 100 crashed in Maryland on December 8, killing 3 on board and 3 in a house struck by the aircraft. NTSB member Robert Sumwalt reported on the initial findings from the flight data recorder: both the landing gear and flaps were down, “automated stall warnings began about 20 seconds before the end of the flight” and continued to the end of the recording at impact.

IATA submits aircraft tracking recommendations to ICAO

Airlines Push Back at Plane-Tracking Proposals From IATA

The International Air Transport Association’s Aircraft Tracking Task Force submitted its report to ICAO.  The report will be considered in ICAO’s development of a Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System, or GADSS.

Airbus Faces Investment Conundrum as A380 Orders Vanish

Airbus hasn’t been finding new buyers for the A380. They now have a choice: invest a lot of additional money, or just let it go.

Qatar Airways Refusal Of First Airbus A350: Looks Bad But No Cause For Concern, Expert Says

Airbus A350 launch customer Qatar Airways has delayed delivery of the first aircraft due to “a couple of minor issues.”

Flight Attendant Says Korean Air Exec Made Him Kneel After Nut Mishap

The Daughter of Korean Air’s chairman ordered a flight attendant off the plane when she didn’t like the way the nuts were served. She had the plane return to the gate. The daughter is also an executive in charge of cabin service. Or at least she was at the time.

David Vanderhoof’s History Segment

David’s gives us his annual Holiday message.

The Australia News Desk

Qantas is in the news with reports of a shake-up in some senior positions. It’s time to re-visit the PelAir crash of 2009 as the ATSB is re-opening the case following a scathing review of the original report by the Transport Safety Board of Canada. Steve and Grant take a moment to thank Pieter for his efforts with Across the Pond and, sadly, announce the loss of our friend Charlie Willwerth from the FlightTime Radio Show in Florida.

Rob Mark’s Aviation Minute

On the issue of pilots taking photographs from the cockpit.

WWII Flying Tigers Photo Exhibit Review

Brian Coleman gives us his review

Mentioned

Credit

Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at brotherloverocks.com.

 

 

AirplaneGeeks 325 Conversation with an NTSB Board Member

NTSB animation of Asiana Flight 214

NTSB Board Member Robert Sumwalt, a penalty against Asiana Airlines, A350-900 type certification, the Fisher P-75 Eagle, Jabiru engines, UAV sense and avoid, Etihad growth into Europe, and aircraft at the G20 summit.

Guest

Robert Sumwalt, Board Member, National Transportation Safety Board.

We talk with Robert about the process for being nominated and confirmed as an NTSB Board member, and the roles played by Board members, including being the face to the public for accident investigations, and reviewing and approving investigation reports.

We also talk about the NTSB’s “Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements,” the Board’s function as a court of appeals, and how the Board reaches consensus.

Robert was sworn in as the 37th Member of the NTSB in 2006, and President George W. Bush designated him as Vice Chairman of the Board for a two-year term. Then in 2011, President Barack Obama reappointed Robert to an additional five year term.

Prior to joining the Board, Robert was a pilot for 32 years, including 24 years as an airline pilot with Piedmont Airlines and US Airways. After his airline career, he managed the flight department for a Fortune 500 company. Robert has over 14,000 flight hours and has type ratings in five aircraft.

Robert conducted aviation safety research as a consultant to NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System, and he has written extensively on aviation safety matters, having published over 90 articles and papers, as well as co-authoring a book on aircraft accidents.

He holds a Master of Aeronautical Science (with Distinction) from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, specializing in Aviation/Aerospace Safety Systems and Human Factors Aviation Systems.

Follow the NTSB on Twitter at @NTSB.

News

Asiana Airlines Suspends Service to San Francisco

As a penalty for last year’s crash landing at SFO, Asiana Airlines must cease flights from Incheon, South Korea, to San Francisco for 45 days. This comes from the South Korean government. Unless the airline appeals, the flight suspension must take place within six months.

Airbus A350-900 Receives FAA Type Certification

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) previously awarded type certification in September.

David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week

Fisher P-75 Eagle

David explores the Eagle that was a turkey – the Fisher P-75 Eagle. The P-75 was an aircraft so bad it never got into production. However, it spared GM and Fisher Auto Body from producing B-29s, and put them into position after the war of being able to quickly get back into the auto business.

The Australia News Desk

Steve and Grant bring you the Australia Sports Desk report … ooops, hang on, that’s the Australia Aviation News Desk report – sorry about that.

CASA are all but grounding aircraft with Jabiru engines due to 40 engine failures in the past year (representing about 0.03% of all Jabiru movements)

The world’s longest serving commercial 747 pilot has been flying with Qantas since 1969 and will be commanding his final flight as we record. His son will be on board as his copilot

Spotters Mag (www.spottersmag.com) have launched an Australia/New Zealand variant of their online magazine.

Lots of aircraft in Brisbane for the G20 summit, including Air Force One which landed at RAAF Base Amberley bringing President Obama to the event (he ferried from Amberley to Brisbane in the Marine One helicopter).

Rob Mark’s Aviation Minute

Rob asks the question, “how do we safely separate manned and unmanned aircraft?” Sense and avoid doesn’t yet exist for unmanned drones.

Across the Pond

Ethihad 777-300ER A6-ETC Copyright BRIYYZ

Ethihad 777-300ER A6-ETC Copyright BRIYYZ

Pieter revisits the Middle East with Oussama Salah talking exclusively about Etihad growth into Europe. Oussamas Take Blog.

Mentioned

UK’s NATS Releases A Cool ATC Video

UK’s NATS Releases A Cool ATC Video

G20 Brisbane: World leaders and their super planes

Credit

Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at brotherloverocks.com.