The vertical stacking of the space shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center, the delay in Boeing’s T-7A Red Hawk program, communication interruptions for El Al, infrastructure grants for US airports, Delta Air Lines trading cards, and the possibility of rescinding Boeing’s immunity deal.
The Final Move of the Space Shuttle Endeavour
Back on July 20, 2023, the California Science Center commenced Go for Stack, the process of moving and lifting each of the space shuttle components into place for Endeavour’s upcoming 20-story vertical display. This feat has never been done outside of a NASA facility.
Brian Coleman attended the recent Endeavour stacking event and spoke with the museum’s President and CEO and the Curator for Aerospace Science:
Jeffrey N Rudolph, President and CEO of the California Science Center in Los Angeles, California, and the President of the California Science Center Foundation. He provided the leadership for the planning, design, fundraising, and implementation of the California Science Center Master Plan which transformed the California Museum of Science and Industry into the new California Science Center and created an award-winning Exposition Park Master Plan to guide the redevelopment of Exposition Park in central Los Angeles. Jeff serves as a Fellow of the California Council on Science and Technology and the Executive Committee for the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board and the Los Angeles Tourism Marketing District. He is the past chair of the Board of the Association of Science & Technology Centers and past chair of the Board of the American Alliance of Museums. Jeff received an M.B.A. from Yale University and a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley.
Kenneth Phillips, PhD, Curator for Aerospace Science at the California Science Center. Ken develops the California Science Center Foundation’s programs and exhibits on aeronautics and space exploration. As curator, he is responsible for creating the vision that shapes these programs and leading the team in the process that includes concept and storyboard development; multiple phases of design; prototype development and testing; artifact acquisition; audiovisual production; exhibit fabrication and research on visitor learning.
Major projects include Phase III of the Science Center’s 25-year Master Plan featuring the space shuttle Endeavour and the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center; the SKETCH Foundation Air and Space Gallery in Science Court; the Roy A. Anderson A-12 Blackbird Exhibit and Garden; and collaboration on the development of the Creative World gallery.
Ken received his B.S. degree in Physics from the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, an M.S. in General Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, and a Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University in Environmental Engineering.
After the two 737 Max crashes, the previous administration negotiated a deferred prosecution agreement whereby Boeing was granted certain immunity from prosecution, including fraud charges, and protection for Boeing’s senior executives. Many have criticized the deal.
The agreement required Boeing to “protect and detect violations of the U.S. fraud laws throughout its operations, including… those of its contractors and subcontractors.” Also, the Justice Department had “sole discretion” to decide if the “Company has breached the Agreement and whether to pursue prosecution of the Company and its subsidiaries.”
A lawsuit filed after the Alaska Airlines door plug blow-out alleges that Spirit AeroSystems had engaged in a “fraudulent scheme” to falsify records and hide “excessive” numbers of manufacturing defects. The theory presented in the article is that if the fraud allegations are substantiated, the Justice Department could rescind the deferred prosecution agreement.
Low rate initial production (LRIP) of the T-7A Red Hawk training jet has been pushed out to mid-2024. Boeing said part quality problems are to blame, along with supply chain issues. The T-7 will replace T-38 jet trainers. The Air Force plans to buy 351 T-7s by 2034.
For the second time in a week, someone attempted to take over the communication network of an El Al plane and divert it from its destination. The crew noticed that the instructions it was receiving were improper and ignored them.
Biden-Harris Administration Announces Nearly $1 Billion in Grants from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to Improve 114 Airports Across the U.S.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocates $5 billion ($1 billion annually from 2022 to 2026) to provide competitive grants for airport terminal development projects. In FY24, the FAA is awarding $970 million to 114 airports in 44 states and three territories.
The FAA has an excellent data visualization tool for the airports receiving funding. Hover over an airport to see the amount of the funding and details about how the money will be used. You can filter by better PAX experience, expanded capacity, sustainability, safety, accessibility, serving smaller communities, and tower upgrades.
The fleet of V-22 tilt-rotors was grounded after the fatal crash of a U.S. Air Force CV-22 off the coast of Japan in November 2023. The U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps all fly versions of the V-22. Other aircraft are being pressed into service to fill the role of the tilt-rotors. CH-47F Chinooks are accompanying Marine 1, which is unusual in the U.S., but not uncommon overseas. Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) uses a dozen MV-22Bs for presidential airlift support missions.
Unbeknownst to many passengers, Delta Air Lines has had a trading card program since 2003. The cards are exclusive to pilots and feature images of the aircraft they fly. New artwork is voted on by the pilots and introduced every five years. This recently broke on social media and now everyone is after the cards. In 2023, Delta handed out over 1.5 million cards.
Micah had a chance to meet up with listener Stephen Ivey who flies the Embraer Phenom for one of the big charter operations. He was doing a pickup at PWM and had some time to kill. Micah toured the Phenom, which is a smaller jet than he thought, but still very comfortable. This older one flies with a G1000.
Hosts this Episode
Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, and our Main(e) Man Micah.