Richard Aboulafia gives us his insights on the Boeing “middle-of-the-market” airplane, pilotless airliners, a comeback for Midwest Express, ATC privatization, United Technologies Corporation interest in Rockwell Collins, seat pitch, Russian and Chinese airliner programs, the Mitsubishi MRJ, and the HondaJet.
Richard Aboulafia is Vice President of Analysis at Teal Group. He manages both commercial and military consulting projects, and he analyzes broader defense and aerospace trends. Richard’s insights appear on television and radio programs, and in almost every major publication through his columns, his articles, or because he is being quoted. Richard writes and edits Teal Group’s World Military and Civil Aircraft Briefing forecasting tool that covers over 135 aircraft programs and markets.
The Midwest brand disappeared in 2010 when Republic Airways Holdings, the parent company of Midwest Airlines merged that airline with Frontier Airlines. Now, a group of business and airline professionals have plans to bring the brand back. The Midwest Express website asks, “Remember when flying was hassle-free? It can be again!”
Previously, we pointed out Alliance for Aviation Across America videos featuring “Sully” Sullenberger arguing against ATC privatization. Karen Walker, the Editor-in-Chief at Air Transport World, thinks Sully is using his status to mislead people.
Dan Pimentel tells us about the #Oshbash social media meetup coming up at Airventure Oshkosh 2017. We also look into freelance writing for aviation publications and the Airplanista Aviation Blog. In the news, we talk about support for supersonic civil air travel in the FAA reauthorization bills before Congress, ATC privatization, United Airlines in the press again, and Turkey’s first female professional acrobatics pilot.
We also explore freelance writing for aviation publications, look at the process, and learn some tips for success. Along the way, we discuss ATC privatization, rivets and clecos, preserving EAA history, the importance of collegiate aviation programs, and how airshow performers physically and mentally prepare for the task.
Since 1973, there has been a ban on supersonic travel in the U.S. over land. However, both FAA reauthorization bills in Congress direct the FAA to revisit that restriction and determine if changes need to be made. An amendment to the House bill directs the FAA to “consider the needs of the aerospace industry and other stakeholders when creating policies, regulations, and standards that enable the safe commercial deployment of civil supersonic aircraft technology and the safe and efficient operation of civil supersonic aircraft.”
A middle school teacher traveling from Hawaii to a teacher’s conference in Boston purchased a ticket for herself, and one for her two-year-old 25-pound son. Waiting onboard the Houston to Boston leg, she was told another passenger had a valid boarding pass for the son’s seat. Rather than make a scene, the boy flew on her lap for the 3 ½ hour flight. According to a United spokesman, the boy’s boarding pass scan had been unsuccessful and he wasn’t logged in to the system. His seat was released to a standby passenger.
26-year-old Semin Öztürk is Turkey’s first female professional aerobatics pilot. She flew to great acclaim at a recent air show organized by the International Sportive Aviation Center and featuring 25 acrobatic pilots from Turkey. She began flying when she was 12 years old and her father was also an aerobatics pilot.
Jack Pelton, Chairman of the Board of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), tells us about what’s been called the World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration. In the news, we talk about a call for more ramp checks at airports, Airbus plans to offer real-time transmission of flight data, the Chinese ARJ regional jet makes its first commercial flight, and the U.S. State Department schedules talks about Gulf carriers and government subsidies.
Marquee Bearhawk homebuilt. Photo courtesy EAA.
Jack Pelton is Chairman of the Board of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). He tells us about some of the things you can expect at AirVenture 2016 at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, July 25-31, 2016. We talk about the 100 Years of Boeing, the JetBlue “BluesMobile” Airbus, Memories of WWI, Aircraft of Desert Storm, the Snowbirds, the evening airshows, and many other exciting events planned for the week-long event.
Jack also explains the new Founder’s Innovation Prize, presented by Airbus Group and leveraging the creativity of the EAA community toward solving challenges facing the general aviation community. The top finishers will receive a cash grant toward developing their product and prominent exposure at AirVenture.
We learn about the OSHALERT service for event attendees and how to sign up for those text alerts. Jack also gives us an update on some EAA advocacy activities, such as medical reform and FAA reauthorization.
Jack is the retired chairman, president, and chief executive officer for Cessna Aircraft Company. Jack was Sr. Vice President of Engineering for Dornier Aircraft in Munich, and he started his career at Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach CA. Also, he was a member of the board and past chairman of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and served on the board of directors of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).
According to Charles Schumer, the U.S. Senator from New York, since 2006 the number of annual ramp inspections at major NY airports fell from over 2,800 to only 748. Schumer wants the FAA to increase the number of ramp inspections at airports across New York and the country, including the small airports that have been involved in the recent small plane crashes on Long Island.
Airbus plans to offer the SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) service to allow transmission of flight data in real time. Offered on future A320 and A330 jets starting 2018, the Inmarsat technology is much faster than current transmission speeds.
The Chinese COMAC ARJ21-700 regional jet made its first commercial flight. Chengdu Airlines flew the jet with 70 passengers from Chengdu to Shanghai in a two hour flight. The ARJ21 program launched in March 2002, with first delivery initially scheduled for 2007. The ARJ21 has the same cabin cross-section, nose, and tail as the MD-80, and uses General Electric CF-34 turbofans and Rockwell Collins avionics.
The U.S. State Department is getting involved in the claims of Gulf carrier unfair advantage as they seek to expand in the United States. They have invited Alaska, JetBlue, Hawaiian Holdings, and others to meet and potentially discuss the matter. Next month, the State Department meets with the UAE and Qatar for “informal, technical discussions.”
The Partnership for Open and Fair Skies says forensic investigators have found a financial statement in Singapore for Qatar Airways that shows than the government of Qatar provided the airline with close to $7 billion in 2014.
The Partnership is the lobbying group composed of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, ALPA, the Allied Pilots Association, the Airline Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, the Communications Workers of America and the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association.
Livermore Reads Together Survey, which includes Quest for Flight: John J. Montgomery and the Dawn of Aviation in the West by Craig S. Harwood (guest in Episode 349) and Gary B. Foge. The survey is open through July 18, 2016.
The F-35B goes operational, sparks in the cabin on United Airlines flight, AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 facts and figures, the spat between (and among) US and Middle East airlines, and airline fees in the spotlight.
After a five-day Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI) in July, the U.S. Marine Corps’ F-35B Lightning II aircraft reached initial operational capability. The Yuma, Arizona-based Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 (VMFA-121) is now operational with the F-35B variant.
This year’s event saw an attendance of approximately 550,000, more than 10,000 aircraft, 2,668 show planes, 976 vintage airplanes, 350 warbirds, 130 ultralights and light-sport aircraft, 101 seaplanes, 30 rotorcraft, and 50 aerobatic aircraft. There were over 800 commercial exhibitors, 1,048 forums and workshops attended by more than 75,000 people.
Delta, United, and American have gone on the offensive alleging that the Qatar and United Arab Emirates state-owned airlines are subsidized in violation of the Open Skies agreements. Now, JetBlue Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, FedEx, and Atlas Air Worldwide have formed a coalition with a different viewpoint.
Hawaiian CEO Mark Dunkerley says, “The Big 3 do not speak for all, or even most, U.S. airlines. Our coalition believes that the United States should honor its Open Skies commitments, which opens markets for U.S. carriers, promotes competition on international and domestic routes, and facilitates U.S. exports.”
To learn more about the issues involved here, see:
U.S. Senator Bill Nelson from Florida wondered why the cost to fly is going up when the cost of fuel has gone down and airline profits are up, so he commissioned a study. Nelson learned that in 2014, airlines collected $38B in fees. The report found a lack of relationship between the price a fee and the cost to provide the service, and that fees are not proportional to ticket price.
An infographic that shows the US airline industry contributes nearly $1.5 trillion in economic activity in the US alone and generates over 11 million jobs. Airfare has been steadily increasing in price since 1995, however, when you account for inflation, the actual value of the tickets has decreased.
Alliance Aviation Services sending its fleet of Fokkers up to Slovakia for heavy maintenance ‘cos it’s cheaper to fly all the way from Australia to Europe than maintain a heavy maintenance facility in Australia.
We interview Solar Impulse 2 pilot André Borschberg, and Rob gives us an AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 debrief. We also talk with Rick Beach, the Safety Chair of the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association.
Guest André Borschberg
The Solar Impulse 2 is attempting to become the first solar powered aircraft to fly around the world. This is a privately financed effort led by Swiss engineer and businessman André Borschberg and Swiss psychiatrist Bertrand Piccard. They are also the pilots for the Solar Impulse, but since the plane has only one seat, they’ve been alternating legs on this around the world trip. In this episode we talk with André Borschberg, who flew the most recent leg from Japan to Hawaii over a period of five days, setting a new world record for solo flight.
The Solar Impulse 1 first flew in 2009, and was designed to fly for up to 36 hours. In July 2010, it became the first solar plane to fly for more than 24 hours, including nearly 9 hours of night flight. In 2013, it flew a multi-stop flight across the entire United States.
The Solar Impulse 2 carries over 17,000 solar cells which can generate 66 kW of power during peak sunlight. It’s 73 feet long, has a wingspan of 236 feet, and weighs just 5,100 pounds.
The aircraft carries 1400 pounds of Lithium-ion batteries that drive four 17.4 horsepower electric motors, each swinging a 13-foot long propeller. Maximum speed is 77 knots, though typically the plane flies at 33 knots at night to save power when the aircraft is running off just battery power.
During the daytime, when maximum power is available, the batteries are charged to 100% of capacity and the aircraft climbs to about 29,000 feet. At night, the aircraft is allowed to slowly drift down to about 6,000 feet, to minimize the drain on the batteries. Even so, the batteries typically discharge to about 15% to 20% of total capacity before the sun comes up and the cycle is repeated.
The real limit to how far the Solar Impulse can fly is the pilot. On multi-day flights, the pilots take 20 minute naps that only about 2 ½ hours during a 24-hour period. Yoga and other exercises are used to maintain alertness.
Rick is Aviation Safety Chair of the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association. He wanted to understand how pilot behavior needed to change to fully take advantage of the innovative safety features on the Cirrus and other aircraft. Rick wanted to know why pilots were crashing and he found that it was because of the way pilots were making risk assessments.
Rick has a life-long interest in aviation, but didn’t start pilot training until 2001 when he bought a Cirrus SR22 based on its safety and technology features, as well as the strong pilots and owners community. Rick now has over 3500 hours in the Cirrus.
Cirrus, of course, has an airframe parachute system and Rick began studying Cirrus accidents to uncover reasons why pilots did not use the system. He even coined the phrase “Pull Early, Pull Often!” to encourage pilots to use the system before the situation turned dire.
Rick chaired the Cirrus Pilot Proficiency Program, encouraged Cirrus Aircraft to focus on telling the story of successful parachute saves, and has participated in three NTSB investigations contributing operational knowledge of Cirrus pilot procedures and especially training.
Now Rick is working on a concept for the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) University to expand their safety activities, funded in part by a charitable COPA Safety and Education Foundation.
Drones got a lot of attention with Jack Pelton underscoring their importance. Embry-Riddle was there to talk about their drone degree and a drone cage was set up for demonstrations. Ghost Drone and other Chinese manufacturers exhibited their products.
The boys are back in the studio and Grant’s trying VERY hard not to explode over the news that Qantas is doing very well thanks to Alan Joyce. It’s not that they haven’t turned the corner and improved their stock price, it’s more that they’ve done it despite Joyce’s previous management disasters.
Lou Lenart is one of the men featured in “Above and Beyond,” Nancy Spielberg’s documentary film about Jewish pilots from the U.S. who established Israel’s air defenses. Lenart died from congestive heart failure at age 94. In AirplaneGeeks 348 we talked with Harold Livingston, who also appears in the Spielberg documentary.
Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at brotherloverocks.com.
We talk with Jack about EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015, taking place July 20-26, 2015. Besides the forums and educational sessions, #OSH15 visitors can expect to see daily air shows, a 45-year anniversary salute to the Apollo 13 mission, and events celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Curtis Pitts, the 75th anniversary of the Aircoupe, and major anniversaries of the beginning of World War II and the Battle of Britian. A B-52 landing at AirVenture is planned, two F-35s will be on display, and two F-22s will conduct a demonstration flight.
Supermarine Spitfire P9347 sold for £3,106,500 ($4,784,010) at auction. American philanthropist and art collector Thomas Kaplan sold the Spitfire to benefit the RAF Benevolent Fund and several other charitable organizations. Kaplan also gifted a second Spitfire N3200 to the Imperial War Museum Duxford.
The US Patent and Trademark Office has approved Boeing patent application 9,068,562, Laser-powered propulsion system. In one embodiment, an airplane engine uses lasers fired at radioactive material like deuterium or tritium to create a nuclear fusion reaction. The hydrogen or helium exhaust byproducts exit the rear of the engine and provide thrust. Coolant heated from the reaction drives a turbine and generator to produce electricity that powers the lasers.
The Motley Fool used the Boeing Orders & Deliveries Tool to examine June orders and found 161 planes ordered by customers. These were 131 single-aisle 737 commercial airliners, 24 Boeing 777s, five 787 Dreamliners, and one 747. Airbus reported 135 orders in the month.
Year to date, Boeing new plane orders are 221 single-aisle 737s, fifty 787s, forty-nine 777s, four 747s, and one 767. The total net after cancellations is 281 Boeing orders received through the first half of 2015. Airbus says they have booked 324 A320-family airplanes, 57 A330s, and one A350, for a total of 382 planes total.
On July 10, the electric Airbus E-Fan crossed the English Channel in a 36-minute flight. The E-Fan is a light twin-engine aircraft powered by lithium-ion batteries and electric motors. The night before the E-Fan crossing, an electrically powered Cri-Cri piloted by Hugues Duval made it’s own Channel crossing to become the first.
Originally, Pipistrel intended be first across the Channel in its Alpha Electro two-seat trainer. However, at the last minute electric motor maker Siemens banned Pipistrel from using the motor.
Twenty-six year-old Daniel Boria, attached 110 helium-filled balloons to a “$20 lawn chair” with the idea of skydiving from the chair into the middle of the Calgary Stampede. When he started drifting into the clouds, he bailed out, and ended up in jail. CBC News interviews the lawn chair pilot in Calgary balloon man calls adventure ‘sureal’.
EAA Airventure Oshkosh 2014 preview, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, and the Farnborough International Airshow.
Guest Jack Pelton is Chairman of the Board of the Experimental Aircraft Association (the EAA). He’s the retired chairman, president, and chief executive officer for Cessna Aircraft Company. Jack was Sr. Vice President of Engineering for Dornier Aircraft in Munich, and he started his career at Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach CA. Also, he was a member of the board and past chairman of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and served on the board of directors of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).
We talk about AirVenture Oshkosh 2014 – what’s new and what to expect, including the USAF Thunderbirds, static displays, air-features, the 100th anniversary of WW I aviation, forums and workshops. KidVenture, and the One Week Wonder build of a Zenith 705.
Jack gives us an update on the EAA focus topics: the 3rd class medical, 100LL fuel, ADS-B implementation costs, and views on the shrinking pilot population.
Steve and Grant are joined by their friend Owen Zupp who has recently finished re-enacting the first airmail flight in Australia to help celebrate its centenary. He’s also recently launched a new website called The Pilot’s Blog, seen great traffic from his new book, and been in France with the new A350.
Rob talks about safety and General Aviation airplanes.
Across the Pond
Pieter brings us a report from the Farnborough International Airshow as he walks along the flightline taking in the aircraft on display. He also has the chance to talk to Managing Editor of The Aviation Historian to preview their latest edition, which has a Farnborough link.
David and Max talk about the FAA/EAA agreement for Airventure, a unique Delta perk, and nano particle technology applied to jet engines.
The Australia Desk covers increased air traffic activity due to the search for MH370, and a Tiger Moth AD. In the Across the Pond segment, we learn about aviation in Scandinavia.
As always, the listener mail adds great topics, including more on the Flarm system, learning to fly first in a glider, a call for the fanciest/prettiest airport compass rose, cockpit voice recorder run time, the future of the A-10, nose-wheel cameras as IFE, and aviation book recommendations.
TheAircraft of the Week: the PZL104 Wilga by Jamie Dodson. (Photo above.)
In this week’s Australia Desk:
Grant is away this week so Steve is joined by PCDU’s Western Australia correspondent Ben Jones from Perth, WA, which has seen an increase in air traffic recently as aircraft from several nations stage from RAAF Base Pearce in the search for missing flight MH370. The RAAF AP-3C Orions are being joined by an RNZAF P3-K2 Orion, Chinese Il76s, and various civilian aircraft in the search, some 2,500 off the Western Australian coast.
Australian vintage Tiger Moth aircraft are now subject to an airworthiness directive from CASA concerning lateral tie rods, following recent crash where a wing was found to have failed during an aerobatic maneuver.
This week Pieter introduces a new guest contributor Marisa Garcia from Denmark to talk about aviation in Scandinavia. Working in the aerospace sector for over 20 years, Marisa now focuses her business on leading edge aviation journalism. In this inaugural segment, they discuss Marisa’s background in aircraft interior design and her website Flight Chic, along with the major Danish airlines, airports and their relative health in today’s marketplace.
Guests Martt Clupper from the AirPigz blog and Martin Rottler, a faculty lecturer at The Ohio State University’s Center for Aviation Studies join Rob to tell us about the just completed EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh. We talk about the planes, the people, the airshows, and some of the innovations. We hear about the essence of what AirVenture is all about.
We return to look at the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) this week with Oussama Salah our expert from the region. We discuss how the gulf carriers continue to grow and how air cargo fits into the plan. This is the first of a two part segment which will conclude next episode. See Oussama’s Take and circle Oussama on Google+
In this Special Edition of the Airplane Geeks Podcast, David takes us back to EAA AirVenture 2012 with interviews recorded July 25-28, 2012. Over 500,000 people attended the event over the course of seven days. This year was the year of the Piper Cub, celebrating 75 years of Cubs.