Tag Archives: A4A

799 Doomsday Planes

Korean Air 747s will become the new doomsday planes, the new ATC rest rules have been delayed by the FAA, Breeze flight attendants voted to join the union, a United jumpseat pilot has upset some Southwest pilots, the GA flyover in DC was a success, Boeing employees were found to have falsified 787 Dreamliner inspection records, Airbus hasn’t leveraged an advantage in light of Boeing’s woes, and airlines sue the DOT over a new rule requiring the disclosure of fees.

Aviation News

Former Korean Air 747s Slated To Become USAF Doomsday Planes

Korean Air has confirmed the sale of five of its 747-8s to Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), which is building the new Survivable Airborne Operations Center (SAOC) aircraft, also referred to as “doomsday planes.” The USAF states: 

The E-4B “Nightwatch” serves as the National Airborne Operations Center and is a component of the National Military Command System for the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

In case of national emergency or destruction of ground command and control centers, the aircraft provides a highly survivable command, control, and communications center to direct U.S. forces, execute emergency war orders, and coordinate actions by civil authorities.

SNC acquired five Boeing 747-8s from Korean Air. The current E-4B aircraft are based on the 747-200. SNC specializes in aircraft modification and integration as well as space technologies.

FAA Delaying the Start of ATC Rest Rules

The new FAA ATC rest requirements require controllers to have at least 10 hours off between shifts and 12 hours off before a midnight shift. The rule was to have taken effect by mid-July. However, the FAA has delayed those requirements while it talks to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) union. FAA Air Traffic Organization Chief Operating Officer Timothy Arel hopes to reach a joint rest period agreement for the 2025 schedule “or sooner where feasible.”

Flight attendants at this Utah airline just voted ‘overwhelmingly’ to unionize

More than 76% of the roughly 600 Breeze Airways flight attendants voted to join the Association of Flight Attendants. AFA international president Sara Nelson said “We are inspired by their solidarity and thrilled to welcome them to our AFA family. Our labor movement is growing. Everywhere.” See: Breeze Flight Attendants Vote Overwhelmingly to Join the Flight Attendant Union.

“Breeze Flight Attendants organized for a union and a contract due to ongoing issues with constantly-changing work rules, substandard pay for time on the job, inadequate hotel accommodations, insufficient work hours, and inconsistent and disrespectful treatment from management.”

American Airlines is Issuing ‘Poverty Verification Letters’ For New-Hire Flight Attendants Because Their Wages Are So Low

Nearly One in Ten Alaska Airlines Flight Attendants Have Experienced Homelessness in the Past Year and Over a Third Have Been Forced to Use a Food Bank

Poverty verification letters are being sent to some new-hire flight attendants based in expensive areas.

Airline Feud Escalates: United Pilots Barred From Southwest Airlines Jump Seats After Controversial Incident

This stems from an incident where a “relatively new” United pilot reported some “inadequacies” to the FAA after jumpseating on a Southwest flight.

AOPA’s General Aviation Flyover in DC

Video: LIVE DC Flyover – AOPA’s National Celebration of General Aviation

FAA is investigating Boeing for apparent missed inspections on 787 Dreamliner

Boeing voluntarily disclosed to the FAA that some B787 Dreamliner inspections may not have been performed, but were signed off as completed. The inspections are intended to verify adequate bonding and grounding at the wing-fuselage joint.

In a statement to NPR, the FAA said it’s also investigating “whether Boeing completed the inspections and whether company employees may have falsified aircraft records.” The agency also said Boeing is re-inspecting “all 787 airplanes still within the production system and must also create a plan to address the in-service fleet.”

Boeing told NPR it “promptly notified the FAA and this is not an immediate safety of flight issue”.

Commercial jet maker Airbus is staying humble even as Boeing flounders. There’s a reason for that

Airbus has over 8,600 orders in backlog and can’t build planes fast enough. There is not much ability of Airbus to take orders from Boeing. (Boeing’s commercial backlog is more than 5,660 planes.)

Major airlines sue Biden administration over fee disclosure rule

The airlines don’t like the new DOT rule requiring upfront disclosure of airline fees. Filing a lawsuit against the DOT are Airlines for America, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, and Alaska Airlines. A4A said the new rules would confuse consumers and that its “attempt to regulate private business operations in a thriving marketplace is beyond its authority.”

Mentioned

Leo J. Kohn Digitization Project and Fundraising – Press Release [PDF]. The digitization and preservation project page where donations are accepted is https://www.wahf.org/kohn/.

Boeing YB-29J, "Pacsuan Dreamboat" on the tarmac.
Leo J. Kohn Photography Collection, #957 – Boeing YB-29J, “Pacsuan Dreamboat”, 44-84061. New York, NY. Photo by Larkins.

Exciting #SpotLAX24 Updates

ANA Star Wars livery
SpotLAX is a must-attend event!

Got $200K & Want To Fly Electric? This Ultralight eVTOL Ships In July & Doesn’t Require A Pilot License

Pivotal Helix eVTOL

Pivotal Helix eVTOL rendering.
Pivotal Helix eVTOL

Hosts this Episode

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

766 Air Travelers with Disabilities

The Chief Strategy Officer of a global airline holding company talks about the challenges faced by air travelers with disabilities and how to address them. In the news, the DOT is considering increased passenger compensation for delays, a private company offers luxury terminal services, the outlook for the air traffic controller shortage looks bleak, the NTSB finds that posting to social media was the probable cause of a fatal plane crash, and a small Hawaiian airline plans to add electric ground effect “seagliders” to its fleet.

Guest

Michael Swiatek is the Chief Strategy Officer of ABRA Group, a global airline holding company that owns Avianca, the largest airline in Colombia, and GOL Airlines, which is the largest airline in Brazil.

Mike Swiatek

Mike is on a mission to improve the experience for air travelers with disabilities: making it more affordable, easier, and with better service. Being legally blind, Mike has had unique life experiences that have impacted his outlook and career journey.

Mike describes the four primary disability categories: visual, hearing, mobility, and neurodiversity. He explains how disability pain points were identified by examining the Avianca customer journey map. Such points can be addressed in five possible ways: awareness, training, process change, digital technology, and hardware.

As a blind person, Mike developed several “superpowers” that have benefitted his life, both professionally and otherwise. We learn about those and consider related topics, like how to best interact with people with disabilities.

Mike was formerly the Chief Strategy and Planning Officer at Avianca, where he transformed the airline’s positioning through alliances, network expansion, and inclusivity initiatives. He’s held senior roles at a number of other airlines, including IndiGo Airlines and Qatar Airways.

Aviation News

United CEO says higher compensation for delays would make flying less safe

United Airlines holding company CEO Scott Kirby said that a plan being considered by the Transportation Department could cost the industry “a god-awful amount of money.” The DOT is considering increasing payments to passengers for disruptions under airlines’ control, such as for hotels, transportation, meals, and re-booking. Kirby said, “We should never risk changing the safety culture in aviation. I do not want a pilot, I do not want a mechanic, thinking about the extra cost of delay when they’re thinking about a decision.”

For $4,850, You Can Now Bypass TSA Lines at Atlanta’s Airport

Private Suite, or PS as it is now known, operates from private terminals at Los Angeles International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, away from the public terminals at those airports. PS calls its service “a back door to your commercial aircraft, private TSA and Customs clearance, luxury spaces, and white-glove service before and after your flight.” Customers can get private suites with plush furniture, snacks, and beverages. PS offers fast, private TSA screening and chauffeured travel directly to the aircraft door.

Secretary Buttigieg Warns of a Lengthy Air Traffic Control Staffing Shortage

Airline executives raise alarm that air traffic controller shortage will continue disrupting flights for years

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says the air traffic controller shortage “…is going to be a journey, especially when you factor in attrition, to get to levels we want to see. I think it’ll be a while before we’re at levels we’d like to see.” Across the U.S., air traffic controller levels are at about 81 percent of the need. That’s about 3,000 controllers short. In the New York market, staffing is only 54 percent of what is needed. Industry executives are looking at this as a 5-year problem.

NTSB Says Snapchat Post Resulted in Fatal Crash

“Distracted piloting” during a low-level pipeline patrol flight was the probable cause of the Cessna 182 striking a radio tower guy wire, killing the pilot.

Electric Seagliders Could Come To Hawaii As Soon As 2026

Mokulele Airlines may add electric REGENT seagliders to its fleet, which fly port-to-port about 60 feet over the water. The airline currently serves residents of Molokai and Lanai. Mokulele’s parent company is Southern Airways, which was acquired by Surf Air Mobility in July 2023. Surf Air is a Los Angeles-based electric air travel company and traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

Video: REGENT Seaglider Achieves First Flight

Mentioned

The Journey Is The Reward podcast, Episode 41 Stuttering… A Live Show!

Portland pilot who helped guard Maine’s coast honored 80 years after World War II

One Mile in Five: Debunking The Myth and Snopes: Interstate Highways as Airstrips.

Washington State Airport Restaurants [PDF]

Outstanding Aviators

Bradford Camps, Munsungan Lake

Hosts this Episode

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

445 Iridium Communications and Space 2.0

The CEO of Iridium Communications tells us about the satellites being placed into orbit and the services they’ll provide to aviation. In the news, airlines react to the laptop ban, a proposed TSA fee increase draws criticism, FAA forecasts slow growth for general aviation, and an engine manufacturer looks to expand. Also, interviews from the Heart of Texas Airshow.

Successful First Launch of Ten Iridium NEXT Satellites

Successful First Launch of Ten Iridium NEXT Satellites

Guest

Matthew Desch, CEO Iridium.

Matthew Desch. Iridium photo.

Matt Desch is the CEO of Iridium Communications, a satellite communications company that offers global voice and data coverage through its constellation of low-Earth orbiting (LEO) cross-linked satellites.

Matt explains the company’s next-generation constellation, Iridium NEXT, with deployment expected for completion in 2018. We talk about how the satellites are placed into orbit with SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets, and what will happen to the old constellation being replaced.

Matt describes the capabilities of Iridium NEXT and the implications for aviation. That includes the Aireon service, a hosted payload that will listen for ADS-B signals and relay them in real time to air navigation service providers.

A long time telecom/technology executive, Matt started his career at Bell Laboratories, and was an early pioneer in the cellular phone business. He was involved with a number of high tech companies over the years prior to becoming CEO at Iridium.

Follow Matt on Twitter as @iridiumboss and visit the Iridium website for more information, and to order Iridium NEXT memorabilia. Iridium is on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Flickr.

Video: Successful First Launch of Ten Iridium NEXT Satellites

Aviation News

The Jordanian Airline Making Money Off the Laptop Ban and Fly Lemonade: Turning Electronics Ban Into a Sweet Brand Opportunity

Affected airlines have been quick to react to the PED ban. Royal Jordanian has continued it’s marketing campaign that pokes fun at the U.S. presidential election and recent government policies. Emirates started a service where you hand over your banned devices at the gate, which they package and place in the cargo hold. You get to work right up to boarding time. Etihad has a Make Flying Great Again video that illustrates the features of their IFE system. They also tout their seats that fully recline for sleeping, and their flying nanny to help keep children entertained.

U.S. Airlines Push Back Against Proposed TSA Fee Hike

The Trump administration proposes to increase the TSA fee that passengers pay. But the U.S. airline trade group Airlines for America says that each year, about $1.3 billion of the fees collected do not go to fund aviation security. Instead, they are allocated to overall deficit reduction.

FAA forecast: Slow general aviation growth, drone explosion

In its 20-year forecast, the FAA estimated slow growth for general aviation. The agency sees a decline of 17,500 fixed-wing piston aircraft, offsetting a small annual increase in turbine aircraft and other segments, with a net annual growth rate of 0.1 percent.

The number of small commercial drones in the domestic UAS fleet is expected to grow from 42,000 at the end of last year to 442,000 by the end of 2021. FAA projects commercial U.S. passenger growth of 1.9 percent a year over the next two decades.

Continental Motors to Expand Dramatically

Continental Motors plans to break ground this year on a new $70 million manufacturing center and corporate headquarters in Mobile, Alabama. CEO Rhett Ross says, “We see that different power systems are going to be necessary. You’ll see much more electrified aircraft. This increases our flexibility for new designs.”

Airshow Interviews

Airplane Geeks Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari brings us interviews from the Heart of Texas Airshow, held March 18-19, 2017 Waco, Texas / TSTC Airport.

  • “Laser Dave” McConkey is a flight engineer for the B-17G operated by the Gulf Coast Wing unit of the Commemorative Air Force.
  • Nick “Bearshark” Green from the F-18 demonstration team.
  • Greg Howell, flying a Mig17 built in 1960 in Poland.
  • Air Refueling Specialist MSG Jerry Cummings from the KC-135 Air Refueling Wing.
  • Captain Phillip Fernandez flying the V-22 Osprey

Mentioned

Daher TBM 900 turboprop.

PaxEx Podcast #44 with aircraft interiors and travel expert John Walton on the laptop ban, Zodiac Aerospace seat quality problems on Cathay Pacific A350-900s, and the upcoming Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg April 4-6, 2017.

Fly Like a Girl – Documentary Film – “Fly Like a Girl explores the courageous history of women in aviation. This feature-length documentary reveals the contributions women have made to aviation and brings to light the many women who are doing extraordinary work in aviation and STEM today.  Fly Like a Girl also examines why many young girls don’t see themselves in aviation / STEM related fields and how society can begin to change this perception. Fly Like a Girl will inspire girls and women who no longer want to be passengers.”

Crawl through a B-29 Superfortress IN FLIGHT! + Real-Time procedures / ATC – Oshkosh AirVenture!

Credit

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

 

AirplaneGeeks 310 – Max, Max, and David

Pilatus PC-12

Boeing’s ab initio pilot program, the airline industry sues the TSA over security fees, the Pilatus PC-12, an interview with AOPA President Mark Baker, and listener feedback.

The News

Boeing Announces Ab Initio Pilot Program … except it doesn’t work in the U.S.

Boeing announced a new airline pilot training program where graduates will be qualified to go directly into the right seat of airliners. But not in the U.S. which now requires more flight hours.

The first part of the program (from Boeing subsidiary Jeppeson) includes 12-18 months of flight training, giving an Airline Transport Pilot license. The second part of the program includes two months of training at a Boeing facility with a full-motion jet simulator, giving a Boeing type rating.

Airline Industry Takes Gloves Off, Sues TSA Over Security Fee Hike

The Transportation Security Administration increased the security fee that airline passengers pay. Previously, the fee was $2.50 per flight (“enplanement”) with a $10 maximum. As of July 21, 2014, there is a flat fee of $5.60 per one-way trip, with no limit on the number of enplanements. Except, a layover of more than 4 hours is another “trip” and subject to another $5.60.

U.S. airline trade group Airlines for America (A4A) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), filed a petition over the fee increase in federal court.

Regional Airline Buzz Job

Making a low pass flyover of your home during a commercial flight is not looked upon favorably.

David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week

The Pilatus PC-12.

Mark Baker Interview

Rob Mark talked to AOPA President Mark Baker at Oshkosh about his personal history, how he started in flying, and how he came to AOPA. Baker talks about injecting some fun into AOPA and the regional fly-ins, where participation has exceeded expectations. They also talk about the Rusty Pilots program to encourage lapsed pilots and the fantastic results achieved so far, and ideas for bringing in new pilots, including Reimagined Airplanes.

The Australia News Desk

Steve and Grant are in Sydney to shoot video for Airbus as the A350 XWB makes its first visit to Australia so where else should they record the OzDesk than beside the bizjet ramp?

TigerAir may be growing a little too quickly once again as they have had a couple of recent safety related incidents.

Growth is good for Brumby Aircraft, an Australian light sport manufacturer who have just signed a manufacturing deal with China’s Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC).

Mentioned

Credit

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