Continued coverage of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2021 with the National Air Transportation Association, teTra Aviation, Pod-A-Palooza, and EAA Radio.
National Air Transportation Association
Airplane Geeks Innovation and Entrepreneurship Correspondent Hillel Glazer speaks with Ryan Waguespack, Sr. VP of the National Air Transportation Association on the role of the association, the market, challenges, and opportunities. NATA represents airports, FBOs, and other aviation businesses and services with an emphasis on local, rural, and general aviation interests and benefits in aviation.
Hillel also talks with teTra Aviation CEO Tasuku Nakai and Engineer Koya Kuwamura to discuss their vision for eVTOL and UAM as well as their current product which they brought to Oshkosh. teTra is the winner of the “Pratt and Whitney Disruptor Prize” in the GoFly Prize competition awarded in Feb 2020. This is a great example of how competition can bring new participants with out-of-the-box ideas to create new markets.
A group of aviation podcasters assembled for what has been the annual gathering called Pod-A-Palooza. That event at Oshkosh has been organized by different people over the years, most recently by Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari. With his tragic passing, many podcasters and others wanted to get together and say something about our friend Brad. Thanks to Pipistrel Aircraft for letting us use their booth space.
Amazing true stories of Australian woman pilots, predicting the air travel recovery, airline response to shifting demand, flying across the Atlantic on the jetstream, roles for USAF tankers, preventing cabin crew from disappearing, and an Alaska Airlines sweepstakes for lovers.
Kathy’s book tells the stories of ten Australian women pilots, and we look at three in particular. Gaby Kennard flew around the world in a Saratoga, mostly following Amelia Earhart’s route. In a ferrying operation, Lyn Gray had to ditch a Seminole 500 miles off Hawaii, requiring a U.S. Coastguard operation. Patricia Toole flew cargo and passenger flights in rugged and dangerous New Guinea. Meeting Patricia just before her death motivated Kathy to tell the inspiring stories of these women pilots.
The optimism that the Covid vaccine would quickly turn everything around for the travel industry may have been premature. We see the slow pace of vaccinations, which may not prevent you from transmitting the virus to others, mutations popping up, closed borders, and no consensus on so-called “vaccine passports.” The International Air Transport Association that in a worst-case scenario, passenger traffic may only improve by 13 percent this year.
More than 1,300 flights used to occur daily over the North Atlantic. Radar cannot cover the entire distance, so to maintain safe separation, the organized track structure (OTS) was created. Safe, but not the most efficient. However, Reading University researchers found that over the course of a typical winter, a 2.7% saving on carbon emission per passenger could be obtained if aircraft flew routes that took advantage of the wind.
The behind-schedule Boeing KC-46 tankers are still in testing because of the improvements needed for its refueling system. In addition, two problems exist with the plane’s auxiliary power unit. The Air Mobility Command is “exploring limited operational capability for the KC-46.”
This offer expired, but Alaska Airlines held a contest where 100 couples won roundtrip tickets. The “Booking for Love Sweepstakes” requested stories from couples who had “a long-distance love that began during the lock down or was separated by stay-at-home orders.”
AirVenture Oshkosh 2021 Update
Planning for the 2021 event continues, but with Covid-19 protocols in place. Get the latest information at the EAA page for Oshkosh 2021 Covid updates.
AOPA has been working with the FAA and other agencies since October to gather information about how future presidential TFRs might impact general aviation operations, part of a yearslong effort spanning many administrations to mitigate the economic damage and inconvenience that these restrictions can cause.
We discuss airline safety in light of the newly revised EU Air Safety List and claims by Horizon Air of a lax pilot safety culture. Also, free admission at EAA Airventure Oshkosh for youth 18 and under, layoffs coming to Textron, space-based ADS-B, and a load stability system for helicopters.
The EU Air Safety List details the countries and specific airlines that do not meet the airline safety standards of ICAO (the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization). Entities on the list are banned from operating in the European Union or have operational restrictions within the EU. Banned from EU skies are 115 airlines, 109 of them in 15 states due to a lack of safety oversight by the aviation authorities in those states. For more on airline safety see:
Horizon Air’s vice president of flight operations stated that the airline suffers under a lax safety culture among the airline’s pilots, writing in an email, “If we sit back and do nothing, we will have an accident. Nothing good can come of the trajectory we are currently on.”
Young people ages 18 and under will be admitted free to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh as a way to introduce more youth to the possibilities in the world of flight. The 68th annual Experimental Aircraft Association fly-in convention will be July 20-26, 2020 at Wittman Regional Airport. The Boeing Company is financially supporting this effort for the next two years to encourage more aviation-minded families and their children to attend the annual event that brings more than 10,000 aircraft from around the world to Oshkosh.
Textron Aviation announced upcoming layoffs under a restructuring plan and didn’t provide details on the size of the workforce reduction. But a Securities and Exchange Commission filing indicates that about 875 positions will be eliminated. The plan will “improve overall operating efficiency through headcount reductions, facility consolidations, and other actions.”
Aireon provides a global air traffic surveillance system using Iridium’s satellite network for space-based ADS-B. Reducing the separation requirements for flights crossing the Atlantic gives pilots more freedom to adjust routes and altitude for efficiency.
When he was just 15 and training as a volunteer search-and-rescuer in Oregon, Caleb Carr’s instructor collapsed of an apparent heart attack. Due to high winds, the rescue helicopter could not put the swaying rescue basket through the dense tree cover and the instructor died on the mountain. Carr and Derek Sikora went on to found Vita Inclinata (Latin for “life by motion”) to provide autonomous helicopter load stability systems.
Airlines Confidential Podcast, hosted by Ben Baldanza (the former CEO of Spirit Airlines) and Seth Kaplan (transportation analyst for NPR’s Here & Now, former publisher of Airline Weekly.)
We talk with Sonia Greteman about the history of Wichita and the new book Wichita: Where Aviation Took Wing. Also, conversations from Dorkfest LAX including with United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz. In the news, the FAA and European regulators differ over the 737 Max, general aviation responds to the devastation caused by hurricane Dorian, and the last Red Bull Air Race. Launchpad Marzari’s reveals the airplane he’s purchasing, Micah reflects on a summer of aviation, and two Australians begin podcasting again.
Sonia Greteman, president and creative director of Greteman Group.
Sonia Greteman is the president and creative director of Greteman Group, an aviation-specialty marketing agency based in Wichita, Kansas.
Sonia tells us some of the rich aviation history captured in the new book Wichita: Where Aviation Took Wing, which celebrates the history of Wichita, the “Air Capital of the World.”
Greteman Group clients include aircraft manufacturers, flight support companies, aftermarket service providers, fractional ownership organizations, insurance companies, regional airlines, and those with an interest in airport analytics and in-flight Wi-Fi.
The firm is a founding member of the Wichita Aero Club and a longstanding member of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA). Greteman Group is a woman-owned business enterprise (WBE) and in 2019 celebrated their 30th anniversary since its founding in 1989.
Reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari gives us Red Bull Air Race competition results for this last race of the season and the last race of the series.
Innovations in Flight – 2019 or The Summer Scenes of an Airplane Geek
Our Main(e) Man Micah reflects on the many aviation events he’s participated in this year.
Cranky Dorkfest LAX 2019, Part 1
Brian Colemen spoke with some of the participants at this year’s Dorkfest, including United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz, Airplane Geeks co-founder Courtney Miller, and aviation uber-geek Isaac Alexander. More interviews are to come. See also: Cranky Dorkfest LAX 2019 Was One for the Record Books.
Brian Coleman speaks with Oscar Munoz. Photo by Isaac Alexander.
Lufthansa A380. Photo by Isaac Alexander.
We’ll have more interviews from the event in next week’s episode.
Buying a Plane, Part 3
We learn more details about the airplane that reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari is purchasing, and the complicated process involved.
Plane Crazy Down Under refugees Steve Vischer and Grant McHerron are again teamed up and the boys have started a new podcast called Airwaves by Aviation Trader. Coming soon to iTunes and major podcast apps. If you can’t wait, copy and paste their RSS feed into your podcast app to subscribe now.
Video: Airventure Trip 2019. Listener Mike Smith captured the 2019 trip from Boston to Oshkosh in his home-built Sonex. Mike stopped at the U.S. Air Force Museum in Dayton along the way in his 1,900 nautical mile trip with 20 hours of flight time.
We look at the new DOT Safety Oversight and Certification Advisory Committee, the planned British Airways pilot strike, a compressor stall on a Delta Air Lines Boeing B757, a snake in the airport, and the Chinese stealth bomber. We speak with the chairman of the North 40 flight line operations for AirVenture, and we review the New York International Air Show. Launchpad Marzari brings us Part 2 of his adventure buying an airplane, we announce the winner of the GE Aviation: 100 Years of Reimagining Flight book giveaway, and we hear from some listeners about their dream plane rides.
Carol Garceau is the chairman of the North 40 flight line operations for AirVenture. We learn about how they safely and efficiently get planes in and out of a massive area with camping, parking, and transiting of people, displays, and show operations. To volunteer for North 40 (or South 40) flight line operations for the next AirVenture, start by visiting the EAA website.
The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 established a DOT Safety Oversight and Certification Advisory Committee (SOCAC) to provide advice to the Secretary of Transportation on issues related to FAA safety oversight and certification programs. That advice covers the aircraft and flight standards certification processes, oversight of safety management systems, risk-based oversight efforts, and utilization of delegation and designation authorities. U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has now announced the 22 members of the SOCAC.
British Airways and BALPA, the British Airline Pilots Association, have been unable to reach an agreement over pay. BALPA said 93 percent of its members voted in favor of a strike, scheduled for September 9, 10, and 27, 2019.
British Airways notified customers of flight cancellations in anticipation of the strike, but apparently, some customers with tickets on other days were also told their flights were canceled. Some customers say they have spent hours trying to get in touch with BA customer service without success.
China’s new strategic bomber is a flying wing design with power believed to come from four non-afterburning WS-10A Taihang turbofans. While not yet publicly shown, the Chinese media has reported it will be shown in 2019.
Our guests tell us about circumnavigating the globe three times in a Pilatus PC-12: eastbound, westbound, and polar. In the news, Allegiant is testing a new service offering more seat pitch, the fuel dump from a Norwegian flight ruins a runway, more 737 MAX fallout, an English Channel attempt on a hoverboard, the Senate confirms a controversial nominee to be the new FAA administrator, Congress considers the PLANE Act with positive implications for GA, and China is growing the number of carrier pilots.
The Pilatus at Sangster International Airport, Jamaica.
Josh and Jack with the Pilatus PC-12.
Joshua Marvil and Jack Long are recipients of the eastbound and polar circumnavigation diplomas awarded by the International Aeronautic Federation (FAI) and the National Aeronautic Association (NAA). Their westbound circumnavigation was completed in January 2019 and the diploma is forthcoming. All flights were on a Pilatus PC-12 and Jack and Josh have landed in more than 40 different countries and all seven continents.
On the 2015 eastbound trip, Josh and Jack were joined by pilots Jerry Seckler and Giuseppe Caltabiano at various points along the way. For the 2016-2017 polar circumnavigation, Giuseppe was along most of the way and Jerry joined the flight in Punta Arenas, Chile to fly the Antarctic segment. For the 2018-2019 westbound trip, the only pilots were Josh and Jack. Their wives Becky and Carolyn were along for almost all of these trips in their entirety except for some of the polar legs.
Jack is an entrepreneur by profession and a pilot by passion. He started two software businesses and one transportation business. In 2003, he became part of the founding faculty of the Acton School of Business where he teaches entrepreneurship. Jack soloed in a Piper Cherokee 140 in 1977 and moved-up the aviation food chain to a Mooney 201, a Cirrus SR-22, and now the Pilatus PC-12.
Allegiant Extra seating will get you priority boarding, an extra 6 inches of seat pitch, designated bin space, and a complimentary drink on the plane. Allegiant does this without changing the overall seat count: an additional row is added in the rear section and there is less Legroom+ option. Allegiant is testing Extra on flights to and from Los Angeles. At the end of the 2019-2020 winter season, the company will make a decision as to the future of the program.
It came out recently that some former WOW Air executives were planning to launch a new airline similar to WOW but not called WOW. Right after that, American investors purchased WOW Air’s assets. American businesswoman Michele Ballarin, one of the owners of USAerospace, is currently creating a new Icelandic company that looks to provide freight transport between Iceland and the US, with passenger operations to come.
A Norwegian Air flight from Orlando to London operating with an Airbus from Hi-Fly of Portugal experienced hydraulic trouble and was forced to return to Orlando. For some reason, a large quantity of fuel was dumped on Orlando’s airport runway and taxiway and it appears that the asphalt will need to be replaced.
In its second-quarter earnings report, Southwest said it had lost an estimated $175 million in profit. The Airline said it would shut down its operations at Newark Liberty International Airport and consolidate its operations in the New York area at LaGuardia Airport.
Franky Zapata made an attempt to cross the English Channel on a jet-powered hoverboard. While attempting to land on a refueling platform pitching in the waves in the middle of the Channel, Zapata fell into the water, just missing the platform. The Zapata Flyboard Air is powered by five small turbo engines, each producing up to 250 horsepower each.
Former Delta Air Lines pilot and executive Steve Dickson has been confirmed by the Senate to lead the FAA. The opposition voiced claims that while at Delta, Dickson mistreated a pilot who raised safety concerns. See also Politics and Aviation in the Flight to Success blog.
The bipartisan legislation Promoting the Launch of Aviation’s Next Era (PLANE) Act of 2019, S.2198, was introduced on July 23, 2019. The PLANE Act would benefit general aviation by empowering pilots, investing in airports, and ensuring opportunities for a sustainable, well-trained workforce. Boeing’s new Pilot and Technician Outlook predicts a need for more than 800,000 new pilots and 750,000 new aviation technicians in the next 20 years.
The annual program to recruit pilots for the People’s Liberation Army resulted in 20% more recruits than last year. Enrollment in the carrier-based fighter pilot program increased 41%. China currently has one operational aircraft carrier, with a second carrier expected to enter service soon, and a third is under construction.
Mistaking diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) additive for fuel system icing inhibitor PRIST on the flight line is a growing problem on ramps all over the world. This can be disastrous since DEF causes jet-A to crystallize and clog aircraft fuel filters and lines. In fact, DEF contamination of jet-A has already forced several business aircraft crews to perform engine-out landings in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Women in Aviation President Dr. Peggy Chabrian announced at the WAI Connect Breakfast at Oshkosh that she would retire in April 2020. The transition period will allow for an executive search to determine her replacement.
What to expect at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019. In the news, we discuss a woman trapped in an airliner, crosswind testing in Iceland, the Boeing 737 MAX grounding, and the Paris Air Show.
Dick Knapinski, EAA director of communications, and Karen Kryzaniak, EAA’s vice president of risk management and human resources, accept the inaugural Community Partnership Award from the City of Oshkosh in recognition of 50 consecutive years of EAA fly-in conventions in the city. Photo courtesy EAA.
Dick Knapinski is the director of communications for the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). In this preview of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, Dick explains that the July 22-28, 2019 event represents the 50th consecutive year in Oshkosh, and describes how EAA AirVenture has changed over time as well as what to expect in 2019.
This year is also the 50th anniversary of the landing on the moon and Apollo 11 command module pilot Michael Collins will be a featured guest. Burt Rutan and many of his aircraft designs will also be at Osh, along with air force demo teams and other performers.
The drone cage returns with demonstrations and hands-on opportunities. Urban air mobility (UAM) is getting increased attention from prominent aviation companies and startups and AirVenture will offer opportunities to discuss and explore that topic.
Dick explains that people come to Oshkosh (and come back year after year) for their own personal reasons, but the week-long event offers it all. He also has some tips for first-timers, both those flying in and those arriving by other means of transportation.
Crosswind testing at Keflavik International Airport was banned following the 2013 Sukhoi SSJ100 crash. Boeing and Airbus have wanted to resume certification testing in Iceland and may once again have the opportunity.
Our guest documents aircraft crash sites and helps next of kin find closure. In the news, we look at Boeing’s Aviall unit helping Antonov, a statement by aviation groups concerning GA fees charged by FBO’s, Delta’s test of a new dining experience for some international coach travelers, and an update on fan blade inspections following the fatal uncontained engine failure on Southwest. We also reminisce a bit about our past experiences with model rockets.
Pat Macha, founder of the Project Remembrance Team.
Pat Macha began documenting aircraft crash sites in the mountains and deserts of California in 1963. Twenty-five years ago Pat founded the all-volunteer Project Remembrance Team that is dedicated to facilitating the requests of next of kin who wish to learn more about the loss of loved ones in aircraft accidents. The Project Remembrance Team has assisted more than one-hundred-fifty next of kin to fulfill their wishes for accident reports, maps, photographs and crash site visitations. More than two dozen memorial markers have been placed at or near aircraft crash sites. All with the permission of the property owners.
All missions are completed with respect and admiration for those who have come forth to honor the memory of those whom they have lost. Losses suffered by first responders and members of armed forces receive an appropriate extra measure of attention.
The Project Remembrance Team includes retired military service members, pilots, rangers, educators, firefighters, law enforcement officers, professional scuba divers, and business people. Pat has authored six books on crash sites in California, and he is a well-received speaker on aviation accident history and aircraft archaeology.
At the Farnborough International Airshow, Boeing and Antonov signed a deal where Boeing’s Aviall unit would supply components to Antonov. This will allow Antonov to resume production. Antonov chief Oleksandr Donets said Aviall will support Antonov to build AN-1X8 planes and will have exclusive rights to help service the planes.
AOPA reported in Coalition Calls for Action on Airport Access that “16 general aviation groups issued a joint statement calling on the FAA to take action against ‘egregious, hidden fees and denial of affordable access to airport ramps.’” Among the groups signing the statement was Women in Aviation International, but now WAI has rescinded their support. WAI President Dr. Peggy Chabrian said, “As a pilot myself, I am sympathetic to the financial challenges inherent in flying, but we also recognize that FBOs provide services crucial to our flying as well as extending comforts which enhance general aviation operations.”
Delta Air Lines is testing an “enhanced meal and beverage service” for international economy class passengers on flights between Portland, Oregon, and Tokyo. The dinner service includes cocktails and sparkling water, appetizers, choice of three-course dinner, and Haagen-Dazs ice cream for dessert. The meal is served in courses, on white dishes.
Following the April fatal uncontained engine failure of a CFM International engine on a Southwest flight, GE spokesman Rick Kennedy said about 150,000 blades have been inspected. A small number of fan blades with cracks have been found and Southwest CEO Mike Van de Ven said “maybe four or five” cracked fan blades have been found at other carriers.
Brian attended the launching of some model rockets as part of the after-school program sponsored by the Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum based in Compton, CA. In addition to successfully launching some rockets built by students Sarah and Jonathan, Brian let them launch two of his 3D printed rockets. One rocket failed to deploy the parachute, as the 3D printed plastic melted from the engine heat. The other rocket properly deployed the parachute but experienced an internal structural failure that resulted in the rocket coming to earth in two pieces. Both launches were considered a success as all parts were recovered and the students will learn from the failure analysis and design better rockets in the future.
The COO of an aerial firefighting company tells us about the aircraft, the pilots, and flying the missions. In the news: early Farnborough orders, the rebranded CSeries (now the Airbus A220), a Rolls Royce Hybrid VTOL concept, and an engine OEM says, “not so fast.” Also, Pieter Johnson’s aviation weekend (rather amazing), listener Nicki takes Brian on a flight, Hangar Hotel, and information about AirVenture Oshkosh 2018 gatherings of aviation podcasters and listeners.
Aerial firefighting with the BAE 146-200 jet. Courtesy Neptune Aviation Services.
Dan Snyder is the chief operating officer of Neptune Aviation Services, an aerial firefighting company and the primary provider of large airtanker services to the United States Forest Service for more than 25 years.
Dan tells us about Neptune Aviation’s transition from the Lockheed P-2V Neptune to the BAE 146-200 jet for aerial firefighting. In making its selection to replace the aging aircraft, the company considered factors such as jet spool-up time and how to slow the aircraft. Another significant issue was the culture change going from radial to turbofan.
We look at how the fire retardant tanking system was designed and the approvals required. Dan describes the life of an air tanker pilot and what Neptune looks for in a pilot. We touch on safety issues, Forest Service contract models, and aerial firefighting safety – now and in the past.
Dan has been involved in both flight and maintenance related aviation for over 24 years. At Neptune Aviation Services, he manages all of Neptune’s day-to-day operations, including aerial firefighting operations. Prior to his current position, Dan spent time in Alaska flying and maintaining aircraft. He served as Director of Maintenance for several repair stations and operators and flew for various corporate operators. Dan also has experience as a Part 142 ground and simulator instructor, a part 135 check airman, and an FAA examiner in several corporate jet types. Dan continues to fly and flight instruct from time to time. He holds FAA ATP, CFI, CFII, A&P, and IA certificates.
The Farnborough International Airshow kicked off this week, launching the annual “contest” for orders. The forecasts point to the most aviation growth in the Asia-Pacific region. Airbus placed orders for 186 planes compared to 175 for Boeing. The A320neo picked up 159 orders and options and the 737 MAX received 145. Additionally, Airbus had orders for 27 A350 aircraft while Boeing reported that United Airlines had previously put in an undisclosed order for four 787-9 planes.
The same day that Airbus unveiled the A220 name for the jet formerly known as the Bombardier CSeries, JetBlue announced it would buy 60 of the A220-300 jets. These are to replace JetBlue’s 60 Embraer E190 aircraft and are powered by Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan (GTF) PW1500G engines. These A220s will be assembled at Airbus’ Mobile, Alabama, facility.
At Farnborough, Rolls-Royce showed a hybrid VTOL concept that could carry four or five passengers at speeds up to 217 knots with a range of up to 435 nm. The design should be flying by the “early 2020s.” The concept vehicle uses a gas-turbine to generate the electricity that powers six electric propulsors. A battery provides energy storage.
CFM International has signaled Boeing and Airbus to be careful about increasing their production rates. With record backlogs of B737 and A320 family aircraft, the airframers are motivated to increase the rates but CFMI wants to catch up before committing to a higher production rate.
Across the Pond
Pieter Johnson tells us about his aviation experiences over a weekend – one memorable, one hopefully not to be repeated.