Tag Archives: American Airlines

703 FAA IASA Program

The FAA IASA program (International Aviation Safety Assessment), Bombardier’s business jet strategy, possibly another AN-225, the American/Sabre antitrust verdict, ALPA and pilot retirement age, a lawsuit alleges Southwest concealed safety defects, the Facebook free ticket scam, and a NEXUS interview report.

Aviation News

A year later and Mexico hasn’t yet recovered its top-tier aviation safety rating

In May 2021, the FAA announced that the Government of Mexico did not meet ICAO safety standards and downgraded Mexico’s rating to Category 2 from Category 1. (Federal Aviation Administration Announces Results of Mexico’s Safety Assessment.) Under that rating, Mexican air carrier level of service to the U.S would be frozen: they could continue existing service to the United States, but any new service and routes were prohibited. Also, codesharing with a U.S. airline would only be permitted one-way and no U.S. carrier codes on Mexican-operated flights.

The FAA International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) Program was established in 1992 and employs a 4-person IASA assessment team that looks at eight critical elements of a safety oversight system. The assessment is performed with IASA Assessment Checklists available on FAA’s website. The assessment results are either Category 1 (the country complies with ICAO standards) or Category 2 (they do not comply with ICAO standards.)

Video: Federal Aviation Administration’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) Program

When the IASA program first began, over 66% of assessed countries with operators seeking U.S. service did not meet ICAO standards. Now, 90% of countries with an IASA rating are Category 1. See IASA Program Results.

Bombardier Sees Blended-wing Future for Business Jets

At EBACE 2022, Bombardier showed a model of their blended-wing Eco Jet concept. The company describes its three pillars to reduce business aviation carbon emissions: aerodynamic improvements, sustainable aviation fuel, and new propulsion systems (hydrogen, hybrid-electric, and all-electric).

Ukrainian president Zelensky wants to rebuild An-225 Mriya to honor hero pilots

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky referenced the An-225 in an online meeting with Ukrainian students. He said there had been plans to build a second An-225 but that project was too expensive. “But in this case,” he says, “it’s not a matter of money, it’s a matter of ambition.”

American Airlines gets favorable antitrust verdict, and $1 in damages

In its long-running antitrust lawsuit, American Airlines Group claimed Sabre Corp charged excessive fees and suppressed competition. After five days of deliberation, the federal jury ruled in favor of American and awarded the carrier $1 in damages. The case goes back to 2011 in a suit brought by US Airways before it merged with American.

ALPA Rejects Boost In Retirement Age

The Air Line Pilots Association says it will oppose any attempt to raise the retirement age for pilots. The union believes such a change would disrupt the seniority-based flight bidding process. The older pilots wouldn’t be able to bid on international flights if other countries stayed with the age 65 retirement mandate. In a statement, ALPA said: 

“When age 65+ airline pilots return to domestic-only flying, they will then displace more junior pilots and both cohorts may require training on different aircraft, adding to the training costs of air carriers. Furthermore, most regional airline pilots leave the regional industry long before age 65 for more lucrative jobs at mainline or low-cost carriers or other opportunities. Therefore, the pool of domestic-service pilots will not increase appreciably without additional training costs or disruptions.”

Southwest Airlines proposed a ploy to deceive FAA on Boeing 737 MAX, legal filing alleges

Reportedly, a Southwest manager asked Boeing officials if engineers could install a new flight-control safety alert required for the MAX on one of Southwest’s older 737s, and then once the MAX was certified, deactivate it. Plaintiffs allege that this move would let Boeing tell the FAA that the alert was not new on the MAX. Thus, no additional pilot training would be required, which Southwest wanted to avoid. The class-action lawsuit was brought on behalf of Southwest passengers who purchased tickets between the time of the first crash and the second.

Southwest Airlines warns of free ticket Facebook scam

A “Southwest Air Fans” Facebook post declared that replying “Done” to the post would earn you two free tickets. Southwest had nothing to do with this supposed “promotion.”

Portland Jetport (KPWM) Runway Rehab Update

Report

Our Main(e) Man Micah tells us about his Trusted Traveler Program interview.

Trusted Traveler Programs

Johnny Jet, Simplifying Travel

Which Trusted Traveler Program Is Right For You?

Mentioned

America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race

Commercial spacecraft gets approval to land at Huntsville airport

Dream Chaser, courtesy NASA.

Thunder Over Dover Air Show 2022

KC-46 by David Vanderhoof.
David in the KC-46.

Hosts this Episode

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

700 Flight Attendant

A former TWA flight attendant describes the freedom of air travel in a new memoir. In the news, Delta says it will pay flight attendants during the boarding process, a resurrected Jet Airways says it won’t hire male flight attendants, American Airlines fires some reserve flight attendants, a custom 747-8 with 42 hours goes to the boneyard, add fuel shortages to the list of summer air travel challenges, and the F-15EX program faces some headwind.

L-1011. Jon Proctor (GFDL 1.2 <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html> or GFDL 1.2 <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html>), via Wikimedia Commons
Lockheed L-1011-1 Tristar at St Louis Lambert-St Louis Int’l – KSTL, USA – Missouri, 2 April 1985. (Courtesy Jon Proctor)

Guest

Ann Hood, former TWA flight attendant.
Ann Hood

From the time she graduated college in 1978 until 1986, Ann Hood was a TWA flight attendant. In her new book Fly Girl: A Memoir she reveals how she went from being a small-town girl with big-time dreams to flying 35,000 feet up in the air.

In Fly Girl, Ann gives the reader a look at the freedom and love of life that aviation offered. She tells us how the job empowered her, despite its roots in sexist standards where stewardesses were part of blatant innuendo in airline marketing.

In our conversation, Ann describes how air travel was different in the 1970s and 80s when passengers dressed up for the flight and wrote letters onboard for the cabin crew to mail. Of course, the food served was something altogether different, even in coach. 

Book cover: Fly Girl, a Memoir.

Ann observes how life unfolds on the airplane, meaning that the passengers all have different life stories, emotional states, and reasons for traveling. Flight attendants learn how to understand that and be compassionate and respectful of the passengers. She also comments on the qualities of a really good flight attendant and talks about long layovers and the L-1011.

As a bestselling author, Ann has written 14 novels, a collection of short stories, some nonfiction, a book series for middle readers, and much more. Find her and where to buy Fly Girl at her website AnnHood.us.

Aviation News

Delta, facing a union drive, says it will start paying flight attendants during boarding

Delta is the only major U.S. airline whose flight attendants aren’t unionized. Delta has more than 20,000 flight attendants. The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) wants to change that and a union campaign is underway. Now Delta says that starting June 2, 2022, they will pay their flight attendants while the plane is boarding, upending the block-to-block standard. However, the pay will be half the hourly rate.

This Airline Won’t Hire Male Cabin Crew Because it Wants to Save Money On Hotel Rooms

India’s Jet Airways went out of business in 2019, but investors are trying to bring it back to life. They want to do everything they can to keep costs down, so they plan to have flight attendants share hotel rooms. That’s fine, as long as the roommates are of the same gender. Otherwise, the airline would have to pay for two rooms. Their solution is to start with a flight attendant staff of just one gender, only allowing males into the company once a certain operational scale is reached.

American Airlines Sacks 50 Flight Attendants in Six Months For Going AWOL On Reserve Duty

When called, flight attendants on “reserve duty” have to be at work within two hours. If they are commuters (not living in the city of their assigned airport) they are expected to stay within two hours of travel to that airport. It seems some flight attendants were staying at their home location, betting they wouldn’t get called. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) is warning its members that American is investigating no-show reserve flight attendants to see if they were AWOL. In an internal memo, the union told members, “During this investigation, they will pull all your travel benefits history, including past, current AA listings, travel, and other airlines. They will use other evidence to substantiate their claim that a Flight Attendant was not in a position to report within the contractual timeline.”

Royal Junk: Brand-New, Custom $300 Million Boeing 747-8 Arrives at Scrapyard

In 2012, a new Boeing 747-8 was delivered for the personal use of Saudi Arabian Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Before the full VIP refit was accomplished, the Sultan passed away and the jet was abandoned for a full decade. N458BJ only clocked 42 hours of flight time. Recently, the 747 was flown to Pinal Airpark in Arizona.

Video from BSL Planespotter 4K: Last flight of this white jumbo before its retirement B747-8JA | N458BJ | take off at Basel Airport

Could fuel shortages be the airlines’ next pandemic problem?

A number of factors have conspired to limit Jet-A availability at some airports, including weather and the process by which pipeline operators allocate pipe capacity to different fuel types.

Fuel Shortage Forces United Airlines to Cancel Johannesburg Flights

“We’re sorry to let you know that your flight has been canceled because of an airport-wide fuel shortage at Johannesburg Airport. We are closely monitoring the situation and we will resume operations as soon as possible.”

How Do Pipelines Work?

The F-15EX Program Is In Trouble

Officials in the U.S. Air Force are examining options for canceling the service’s new F-15EX Eagle II fighter program. Originally 144 aircraft were planned, but now the U.S Air Force is considering capping the program at 80 aircraft, making more funding available for the F-35A.

Mentioned

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, October 1-9, 2022.

The Journey is the Reward

Brian’s notes to airline crews:

Brian's note card to airline crew.
Brian's note card to airline crew.

The Tesla is not trained to see airplanes.
What the eyes see (on the left) and what the Tesla sees (on the right). Courtesy Patrick Wiggins.

Archer and United Airlines Form Joint eVTOL Advisory Committee to Support Archer’s Future Airline Operations

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Brian Coleman, and our Main(e) Man Micah.

697 JetBlue and Spirit Airlines

JetBlue and Frontier eye Spirit Airlines, an Air France B777 and a DHL 757 make emergency landings, the Collier Trophy winner is announced and Airplane Geeks listeners predicted the outcome, airlines are replacing some regional flights with buses, and Boston shuts down a flight crew crash pad.

Aviation News

JetBlue Twists Itself in Knots Trying to Create a Rationale for Buying Spirit

JetBlue is offering Spirit Airlines $33 per share in cash, roughly $3.6 billion. Can Spirit refuse? Is Frontier likely to get into a bidding war? Why is JetBlue interested in Spirit?

French investigators open probe of ‘serious incident’ on Air France flight

The BEA says an Air France Boeing 777 on approach to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport was involved in a “serious incident.” The BEA reported on social media “instability of flight controls on final, go-around, hard controls, flight path oscillations.”

Video: Pilots of Air France #AF11 reported their B777 didn’t react to commands on final approach to CDG

Costa Rica airport reopens after DHL plane skids off runway in emergency landing

A DHL Boeing 757-200 cargo aircraft made an emergency landing shortly after takeoff, exited the runway, and broke in two. The crew was reportedly unharmed. A hydraulic system failure was apparently a factor in the pilot’s request to make an emergency landing.

NASA’s Pioneering Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Awarded Collier Trophy

The National Aeronautic Association announced that NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Team has been named the recipient of the 2021 Robert J. Collier Trophy for “… the first powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet, thereby opening the skies of Mars and other worlds for future scientific discovery and exploration.”

American Airlines Restarts Philadelphia Regional Routes With Landline Buses

The Landline Company is providing bus service for American Airlines passengers between airports. Landline provides a similar service for Sun Country Airlines in Minneapolis-St. Paul and United Airlines in Denver.

Inside The Illegal Flight Attendant ‘Crash Pad’ With 20 Bunk Beds That Was Shut Down by Boston Building Inspectors

“Crash Pads” are a popular arrangement for airline crew, but Boston’s Inspectional Services Department raided what they said was an illegal flight attendant crash pad. It was a garage with bunk beds for as many as 20 flight attendants.

Hosts this Episode

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

688 A Pilot Wife

The producer of the Pilot Wife Podcast explains navigating life in an aviation family, and the CEO of Northern Pacific Airways talks about the new airline. In the news, an Emirates 777 close call, FAA clears low-visibility landings at 5G airports, FlyersRights sues FAA over seat standards, American Airlines and The Points Guy sue each other, American reduces service, lost money at the airport, a mystery coating on stealth fighters, and a listener report on the aircraft assisting Tonga after the eruption.

Guest

Jackie Ulmer produces the Pilot Wife Podcast which helps aviation families navigate life. She’s been married to an airline pilot for over three decades, so she has more than a little experience living with a commercial pilot.

Pilot Wife Podcast explores the challenges faced by the spouse of a pilot, including understanding airline employee scheduling, living with the realities of a 27/7 business, and how to manage holidays and important life events that often have to come second. Add to that managing the children and overcoming loneliness.

In 2021, others in her online network encouraged Jackie to mentor pilot wives. As a life coach and a business coach, she had the requisite skills, and as the long-time spouse of a pilot she had the life experience. The idea of a podcast came to her and she dove into it, going live in December 2021.

The Pilot Wife Podcast features a variety of guests that offer valuable perspectives for spouses of pilots. In our conversation with Jackie, we learn about some of the issues and how to manage them. She provides the free Pilot Wife Checklist – 7 Keys to To a Fabulous Pilot Wife Life as a useful resource.

On the Pilot Wife Podcast website, you’ll find the Checklist, Jackie’s blog, and of course the podcast episodes. In addition, she co-runs the Aviation Fitness Facebook group which looks at fitness from a mind-body-spirit perspective. The group is for anyone in aviation, including spouses and partners. Her business site Peak Performance Habits is where you’ll find all of that plus coaching and recipes.

Aviation News

Emirates 777 close call in Dubai returns spotlight to automation over-reliance

Last December, an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER came within 175 feet of the ground in a neighborhood near Dubai International Airport. Emirates says only that the incident is under investigation. Some evidence suggests that an incorrect setting was made in the airplane’s autopilot during the pre-flight.

Majority of US fleets cleared for ‘low-visibility landings’ at airports with 5G: FAA

Last week, the FAA said that almost two-thirds of U.S. commercial fleets have been cleared “to perform low-visibility landings at airports” where 5G wireless service has been deployed. Among the aircraft models that have been cleared by the FAA are Airbus A300, A310, A319, A320, A330, A340, A350, and A380 models and Boeing 717, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, and MD-10/-11 models.

FAA Warns 787s Especially Susceptible To 5G

Missing from the above list is the Boeing 787. The FAA issued an AD for the Boeing 787 saying that 5G interference with its radar altimeter could affect other systems. These “could prevent engine and braking systems from transitioning to landing mode, which could prevent an aircraft from stopping on the runway” under certain circumstances. 

FlyersRights sues FA for failure to establish minimum seat standards mandated by Congress more than three years ago

The FAA had a statutory deadline more than two years ago to issue minimum airline seat size standards. So far, the FAA hasn’t even started the rulemaking process. So FlyersRights.org has filed a court petition that seeks to order the FAA to issue the standards. FlyersRights claims to be the largest airline passenger non-profit organization with over 60,000 members.

AA and The Points Guy are suing Each Other

American Airlines has been taking action against websites that use AAdvantage member data, such as tracking frequent flier program balances. One way these sites get the member data is through a process called “screen scraping” where members provide their login credentials to the site, which then logs in as the customer and reads the data off the screen. American says this method violates their terms of service and additionally that The Points Guy has been using airline trademarks and copyrighted material.

American Flight Attendants Want Service Reductions

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), representing American Airlines’ flight attendants, wants a temporary reduction of onboard service levels and customer touchpoints. This is intended to “maintain the highest level of flight attendant and passenger safety.” As of January 26, 2022, American will be making a number of service reductions.

Man Loses €33,600 at Dubai International Airport But Is Reunited With His Money On His Return Flight

A passenger traveling from Germany to Thailand via Dubai International Airport found at his destination that he’d lost a small bag containing €33,600 (approx US$38,000) in bank notes. Fearing the worst, the man thought his money was gone for good. But he was to learn that the bag and its contents were found and ultimately reunited with him.

F-35 And F-117 Spotted Flying With Mysterious Mirror-Like Skin

The U.S. Air Force has been testing some kind of coating on stealthy aircraft. It looks metallic, but depending on the viewing angle it looks either shiny or matte. Seen before on the F-22 and the Scaled Composites Model 401, it’s been spotted now on the F-35C and the F-117 Nighthawk.

Aviation after the Tonga disaster

A report from listener Errol Cavit looks at the impact on commercial aviation and the aircraft involved in relief operations in Tonga.

Northern Pacific Airways

Brian Coleman talked with Northern Pacific Airways CEO Rob McKinney at the hangar event where the airline revealed its livery on its first Boeing 757-200. The new long-haul airline plans to serve cities in the states of New York, Florida, California, Texas, and Nevada, with direct flights to cities in Japan and Korea through Anchorage over the Northern route. Operations are planned to start in 2022.

Northern Pacific Airways B757.

Northern Pacific Airways

Update March 6, 2022: Our guest in Episode 694 (published March 9, 2022) is Edmond Huot. His team designed the Northern Pacific livery and you might want to give that fascinating interview a listen. Also, a video of the livery reveal is now available:

Video: Northern Pacific Airways Reveal

Mentioned

Somatogravic Illusion

Innovations in Flight Outdoor Aviation Display is scheduled for Saturday, June 18, 2022, at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Free tickets are required, parking is $15, and registration will launch soon.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, David Vanderhoof, and Max Trescott. With contributions from Brian Coleman and Errol Cavit.

680 F-14 Tomcat

A former F-14 Naval Aviator communicates the military aviation experience through his novels, videos, and writing. In the news, the Rolls-Royce all-electric airplane appears to have set three world records, an F-35B crash, flight attendant bonuses for the holiday travel season, flying under the influence, and an open rotor engine demonstrator program. Plus, an Across the Pond segment.

Guest

Ward Carroll, F-14 Tomcat Naval Aviator

Ward Carroll is a former F-14 Naval Aviator who spent 20 years as an F-14 Radar Intercept Officer. He is the author of the bestselling Punk trilogy about life in an F-14 squadron. Punk’s Fight, Punk’s War, and the new Punk’s Wing are widely considered to be realistic portrayals of naval aviators in the context of a techno-thriller.

In his novels, Ward creates characters that are recognizable as representatives of real people doing real jobs. As an example, through his female character, Ward confronts the issues surrounding the integration of women into the Tomcat community.

Ward’s YouTube channel has grown to be very popular and gets much of his focus these days. He talks, as he says, about “airplanes, music, and writing . . . but mostly airplanes.”

In our aviation news segment, Ward shares the perspectives of a Naval Aviator as we discuss the recent F-35B crash after takeoff from a British aircraft carrier.

Outside the Navy, Ward has extensive experience as a military journalist. He was editor of Military.com and Approach magazine, and writes for the US Naval Institute. Besides his passion for aviation, Ward is a lover of music and plays in the band MiLES FRoM CLEVeR.

Find Ward at his YouTube channel. The Punk’s books are available on Amazon.com and on the U.S. Naval Institute website.

Video: The Real Truth About F-14 Tomcats and the Achille Lauro Hijacking

Mentioned: C.W. Lemoine’s YouTube Channel

Aviation News

Rolls-Royce says its all-electric aircraft ‘is world’s fastest’

In test runs, the Rolls-Royce “Spirit of Innovation” electric airplane has flown 387.4 mph (623 km/h). The company believes they have set three all-electric world records and await verification from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI): top speed over 3 km of 345.4 mph, top speed over 15 km of 330 mph, and time to climb to 3,000 meters of 202 seconds.

Video: Rolls-Royce | Spirit of Innovation – the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft

The ‘Spirit of Innovation’ is part of the ACCEL (Accelerating the Electrification of Flight) project and is based on the Nemesis NXT airframe.

F-35 From The Carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth Has Crashed Into The Sea

The pilot safely ejected from the F-35B (the STOVL version) in the eastern Mediterranean shortly after takeoff from the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. See: Probe after British F-35 fighter crashes in Mediterranean.

Other F-35 crashes:

JetBlue dangles $1,000 attendance bonuses for flight attendants ahead of holiday rush

According to a company memo, JetBlue Airways flight attendants could earn a $1,000 attendance bonus if they don’t call out through early January. Meanwhile, if they meet attendance goals, Southwest Airlines will provide flight attendants and some other operations employees 120,000 points in the airline’s frequent flyer program. American Airlines flight attendants can earn pay bonuses for peak holiday trips as well as for meeting attendance goals through early next year. $1,000 bonuses are available to other staff and regional airline subsidiaries.

A 63-year-old United Airlines pilot was arrested after being found four times over the legal limit. After drinking whiskey at a Glasgow pub during a 2019 layover, the man became fall-over drunk. A concerned member of the public tipped off the airline with a Tweet. The pilot was sentenced to 10 months in jail.

RISE Tech Plan Could Feed CFM Leap-1 Upgrades Through 2020s

GE Aviation and Safran launched the Revolutionary Innovations for Sustainable Engines (RISE)  initiative in 2021. This open-fan demonstrator program anticipates a mid-2030s application. It could also feed technologies to the LEAP-1 turbofan engine. The open rotor design features a second stage of fixed variable pitch stators, a fan-drive gear system, a compact high-pressure core for increased thermodynamic efficiency, waste exhaust heat used to preheat combustion air, and ceramic matrix composites in the hot section.

Across the Pond

Aviation from the European perspective with Pieter Johnson.

Two Vickers Varsity T Mk 1 aircraft – Copyright BAE Systems and Ron Smith

Trusted Traveler Programs

Our Main(e) Man Micah recently wrote a piece for Johnny Jet explaining the five Trusted Traveler Programs available in the USA through Homeland Security, and an announcement about NEXUS appointments:

Hosts this episode: Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, Rob Mark, and our Main(e) Man Micah.

679 Teaching the Next Generation of Pilots

Erika Armstrong joins us to talk about teaching the next generation of pilots. In the news, GE plans to split into three companies, preliminary details on the MD-87 crash, Boeing liability for 737 MAX crashes, and a Northeast Alliance update. Also, the Australia Desk and the MotoArt/Plane Tag festival.

Guest

Erika Armstrong, teaching the next generation of pilots

Erika Armstrong has had an extensive career as a Red Cross, charter, corporate, cargo, hazmat, and air ambulance pilot and captain. She flew 28 different aircraft before going to the airlines and eventually becoming captain on a B727-200.

We look at teaching the next generation of pilots and the effects of Covid on student pilot instruction. Erika has been focused on teaching student pilots to spend more time looking at themselves and understanding their startle reflexes in order to better react in an emergency. Erika also comments on student pilot diversity and the high washout rate.

Erika believes this is a good time to become a pilot and explains how business aviation has opened up due to the pandemic. We also hear how business aviation is different from commercial aviation, especially from a pilot’s perspective.

Concerning unruly passengers, Erika makes a good point that airlines and airports should look at how they can help passengers de-stress.

Erika is an aviation professor at Metropolitan State University in Denver, the Vice President of Business Development and Director of Instructional Design at Advanced Aircrew Academy, and the author of A Chick in the Cockpit.  Erika uses the power of social media to educate and share the joys of aviation to inspire the next generation of pilots. Find her on LinkedIn, Facebook, her website, and @armstrongerika1 on Twitter.

Aviation News

General Electric Announces Split Into Three Public Companies

GE’s health care business is to be spun off in early 2023, then in 2024 the renewable energy, power equipment, and digital businesses will be spun off. What will remain is GE Aviation, the engine-manufacturing operation. See: GE Plans to Form Three Public Companies Focused on Growth Sectors of Aviation, Healthcare, and Energy.

Runway Excursion, McDonnell Douglas MD-87

The NTSB provided details of the fatal October 19, 2021 crash of Boeing MD-87, N987AK, operated by 987 Investments LLC. The plane overran the departure end of runway 36 at Houston Executive Airport (TME), Brookshire, Texas after a rejected takeoff. The left and right elevator geared tab input rod links were found to be damaged. This is similar to the damage found during an investigation of a Boeing MD-83​ which crashed after a rejected takeoff on March 8, 2017. See: Rejected takeoff and runway excursion at Willow Run Airport, Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Boeing Accepts Sole Responsibility for 737 MAX Crashes, Wins Agreement that Avoids Punitive Damages

The joint court motion was filed by Boeing lawyers with lawyers for the families of the 157 victims of the 737 MAX crash in Ethiopia. The company accepted sole liability for the accident. Boeing explicitly agreed that the pilots were not at fault.

The defendant, Boeing, has admitted that it produced an airplane that had an unsafe condition that was a proximate cause of Plaintiff’s compensatory damages caused by the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accident.

American Airlines Ends 60 Years of Shuttle History With New York-Boston Exit

American Airlines acquired the legacy assets of the Eastern Air Shuttle when it merged with US Airways in 2013. American plans to end the Boston to New York LaGuardia service by summer 2022. Instead, Northeast Alliance partner JetBlue Airways will operate the Boston – LaGuardia route for both carriers. Boston to New York JFK and Washington Reagan National service will continue under American branding.

Australia News Desk

Steve and Grant provide news and views from Down Under:

Australia’s International Border Reopens

Virgin Australia re-opens new-look Melbourne Lounge and launches new menu

First QANTAS A380 to land back in Australia today

A question of timing – the future of the RAAF’s air combat force

RAAF’s mysterious surveillance missions from Singapore

Video: ADM Podcast – 100 Years of RAAF

MotoArt/Plane Tags Festival

Brian attended the first annual MotoArt / Plane Tag festival at the company shop in California. He spoke with:

  • Dave, a serious Plane Tag collector
  • Kevin White, the MotoArt Production Manager
  • Dave Hall, the MotoArt CEO

Mentioned

An Anniversary of a Disaster, & a Celebration All in One – November 12, 2021marked the 20th anniversary of the crash of American Airlines flight 587 in New York City.

677 Green Aviation

Green aviation topics such as sustainable aviation fuels and hydrogen power. Also, airline flight cancellations due to weather and staff shortages, flight automation for non-pilots, the F-15EX engine competition, FAA and FCC disagreement on 5G interference for pilots, a possible national no-fly list for unruly passengers, and interviews from the 2021 Pacific Air Show.

Green aviation: Airbus zero-emission concept aircraft.
Airbus zero-emission concept aircraft. © AIRBUS 2020

Aviation News

Textron Aviation – More Environmentally Friendly Fuels Approved for Cessna Piston-Powered Aircraft

A number of Cessna piston-powered aircraft are now approved for 91-octane unleaded (91UL), 94UL, or 100VLL (very low lead) fuel. Textron Aviation announced this for the Cessna 172 Skyhawk and 182 Skylane. The 206 Turbo Stationair HD aircraft is now approved for 100VLL. These fuels are cleaner burning compared to others with higher lead levels.

How close are hydrogen planes, really?

The short answer: maybe 3 or 4 decades. There are issues with carrying the fuel onboard a large commercial aircraft, creating the infrastructure, and price. SAF, or sustainable aviation fuels, is a much shorter-term step.

Biodiesel is booming. It may help the climate, but there’s a big environmental risk

Biodiesel is in high demand and Government incentives are helping ramp up production significantly. A third of all soybean oil produced in the U.S. already goes to make biodiesel. This is putting pressure on feedstocks, like soybean oil, which costs around a dollar per pound now. Last year it was $0.35.

American Airlines cancels 1,400 flights due to staff shortages, bad weather

Weekend staff shortages and bad weather were blamed for the cancellations. American reported that 376 flights were canceled on Friday, October 29, 551 flights were canceled on Saturday, and 480 more on Sunday. FlightAware said American has delayed more than 1,000 flights since Friday. About 1,800 flight attendants are scheduled to return from leave. The airline recently hired over 600 more and plans to start them by the end of December.

I’m Not a Pilot, but I Just Flew a Helicopter Over California

California start-up Skyryse developed FlightOS, a system that allows non-pilots to fly aircraft. Skyryse is backed by $250 million in funding and the system uses sensors such as cameras and radar.

General Electric Bests Pratt & Whitney In $1.6B F-15EX Engine Competition

The first lot of eight F-15EX fighters were powered by the competing GE F110-129 engine. The Air Force announced that the engine will continue to power the F-15EX. The firm-fixed-price deal could be for up to 329 engines. Deliveries will start in October 2023 and run through June 2031

FAA worries new 5G wireless service could interfere with aviation safety

In FAA Plans Warnings to Pilots, Airlines Over New 5G Rollout, the Wall Street Journal says the FAA is preparing a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin and an airworthiness directive saying that cell towers transmitting 5G signals could affect certain automated features that help fly and land airplanes. Like radar altimeters. On the other hand, both the FCC and the telecom industry say there is no evidence the 5G signals will interfere with aviation.

Buttigieg Says No-Fly List For Violent Passengers ‘On The Table’

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said that a no-fly list should be considered for violent airplane passengers.

There is absolutely no excuse for this kind of treatment of flight crews in the air or any of the essential workers—from bus drivers to air crews who get people to where they need to be.

Pete Buttigieg

Related: What Would it Take to Set Up a National ‘No-Fly’ List of Unruly Passengers?

The FAA gathered top U.S. airline executives for a meeting to discuss the problem of unruly passengers. The airlines were given a month to develop concrete “additional steps” that reduce such incidents. A national “no-fly” list used by all airlines was suggested by Delta, but others prefer that the issue is handled by law enforcement.

Pacific Air Show

Brian Coleman attended the Pacific Air Show and spoke with a number of people, including Air Force Reserve Master Sgt Uscanga Harris, Ed, Gary with the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, Jay, and Stephanie.

Mentioned

Brick Mosaic Designer – Turn images into unique LEGO® compatible brick mosaic art.

675 NBAA-BACE

Highlights from NBAA-BACE, including the HondaJet 2600 Concept Light Jet, Cirrus Vision Jet, and Diamond all-electric trainer. Also, a KC-46 tanker update, airline ticket refunds, FA smuggling, a passenger who was not a terrorist, an Australia News Desk report, and a story from our Main(e) Man Micah.

NBAA-BACE

Highlights from the 2021 edition of the NBAA-BACE from the National Business Aviation Association.

NBAA-BACE news.

Aviation supply chain faces mounting strain as demand picks up

Global shipping, supply chain, and labor issues are affecting aviation with component delays and increasing raw material prices. Skilled worker shortages are also occurring.

HondaJet Launches New 2600 Concept Light Jet at NBAA BACE

Honda displayed a mockup of the HondaJet 2600 Concept that will feature a transcontinental range of 2,625 nm. Honda Aircraft president and CEO Michimasa Fujino:

“New conditions in the business aviation industry have signaled the need for rapid cross-country travel and the ability to carry more passengers and payload and dire necessity of cutting carbon emissions. In response we developed the HondaJet 2600 Concept, which delivers a transcontinental range of 2,625 nautical miles, with seating for up to 11 occupants.”

Honda Aircraft president and CEO Michimasa Fujino

Cirrus Brings Latest Jet to NBAA-BACE

The Cirrus Aircraft SF50 G2+ Vision Jet is the successor of the G2. The G2+ adds new features including increased engine performance, Gogo Wi-Fi, and new color configurations. The Williams International FJ33-5A engine modifications produce a 20 percent improvement in takeoff performance in hot-and-high conditions.

Diamond Announces Plans to Create All-Electric Trainer

The Diamond Aircraft eDA40 will be targeted to flight school training fleets. First flight is planned for the second quarter of 2022 with certification following in 2023. The EDA40 is expected to have about a 90-minute flight time and a recharge turnaround time of about 20 minutes, said Heikenwälder.

Aviation News

AMC Green Lights KC-46 to Refuel F-15s, F-16s; 62 Percent of Receivers Now Cleared

The Air Mobility Command has cleared KC-46A tankers for air-to-air refueling using the boom. This is the third “interim capability release”

Battles are being waged over airline refunds. Passengers aren’t always winning.

The Department of Transportation recently reported that in the 18 months starting in January 2020, it received 124,918 consumer complaints related to air travel. Over 84 percent of them concerned ticket refunds. The Department of Transportation has launched investigations into 20 airlines but 18 of them are still pending.

American Airlines Flight Attendant Busted Allegedly Smuggling Gold Bars, Rolex Watches and Cash On Flight to Miami

The 57-year-old head purser was arrested in Argentina on suspicion of trying to smuggle the loot on a flight from Buenos Aires to Miami. Her luggage contained 2,204 grams of gold, Rolex watches, other jewelry, thousands of Pesos, and US$ 11,413.33. The flight attendant is accused of smuggling and money laundering.

Man who was pinned to ground as a terrorist at LaGuardia was held after fellow flyer mistook his vintage camera for a bomb

American Airlines Flight 4817, from Indianapolis to LaGuardia, made an emergency landing and emergency slide evacuation after a woman accused another passenger of having a bomb. The “terrorist” was simply watching vintage camera videos and handling his own old camera.

Australia News Desk

Steve and Grant bring news from Down Under:

More details around Defence’s proposed MH-60R buy

RAN MH-60R Seahawk helicopter ditches in the Philippine Sea

QANTAS Brings Forward International Flights to 1 November

Virgin Australia to return to international flights

Stereotypes on the Q400 – Reprise

A story from our Main(e) Man Micah.

672 Leonardo AW609 Tiltrotor

The Head of Tiltrotor Marketing at Leonardo describes the world’s first commercial tiltrotor. In the news, a United stationary tail strike, Congress steps in on the controversial FAA flight training policy, DOJ files an antitrust suit over the American Airlines-JetBlue alliance, an industry-wide no-fly list is proposed, and Rolls-Royce wins the contract to re-engine the B-52 fleet.

AW609 Tiltrotor
Leonardo AW609 Tiltrotor, courtesy Leonardo.

Guest

William M. (Bill) Sunick

William M. (Bill) Sunick is Head of Tiltrotor Marketing at Leonardo. Their AW609 is the first commercial tiltrotor to enter the market and the world’s first pressurized cabin tiltrotor. The AW609 is well-positioned to serve a number of markets, including VIP, corporate, search and rescue, emergency medical services, and offshore energy exploration, as well as government roles.

Bill describes how the AW609 tiltrotor was designed to commercial standards, and how it offers the speed, range, and altitude of a fixed-wing turboprop airplane with the vertical take-off and landing versatility of a helicopter. We learn that the lower vibratory environment and pressurized cabin of this tiltrotor offer advantages for medical flights. Bill explains the FAA certification requirements for this aircraft, which falls into the new Powered Lift category.

Bill is responsible for the development of marketing and business strategies that create new opportunities, shape emerging markets, and influence customer thinking and actions. Prior to joining Leonardo Helicopters, Bill held numerous leadership positions at The Boeing Company within Strategy, Marketing, Sales, Market Development, and Engineering. He was also a member of the Presidential Helicopter team while at Sikorsky Aircraft in 1992.

Bill’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Drexel University and a master of business administration degree in Marketing from Saint Joseph’s University.

Aviation News

United 737 Tips on its Tail During Offloading

A United Airlines Boeing 737-900ER experienced a “stationary tail strike” on the ground at Lewiston (LWS Idaho) after a flight from LAX. United explained:

United flight 2509 flying from Los Angeles, California to Lewiston, Idaho landed without incident. Due to a shift in weight and balance during the offloading process, the tail of the aircraft tipped backward.  No injuries were reported among our customers, crew or ground personnel.  The return flight was on a different aircraft as originally planned.

See Boeing Tail Strike Avoidance for takeoff and landing risk factors.

House Passes Amendment to Reverse FAA on Flight Training Policy

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that clarifies that a flight instructor providing student instruction, flight instruction, or flight training shall not be deemed to be operating an aircraft carrying persons or property for compensation or hire. If passed, this would reverse the FAA’s recent flight training policy for certain types of aircraft.

Justice Department Sues to Block Unprecedented Domestic Alliance Between American Airlines and JetBlue

DOJ filed an anti-trust suit challenging the American Airlines-JetBlue alliance

American and JetBlue strike back against DOJ complaint over Northeast alliance

The DOJ claims the American Airlines-JetBlue Northeast Alliance eliminates competition in New York and Boston and harms air travelers nationwide:

The U.S. Department of Justice, together with Attorneys General in six states and the District of Columbia, sued today [September 21, 2021] in the District of Massachusetts to block an unprecedented series of agreements between American Airlines and JetBlue through which the two airlines will consolidate their operations in Boston and New York City. The civil antitrust complaint alleges that this extensive combination, which they call the “Northeast Alliance,” will not only eliminate important competition in these cities, but will also harm air travelers across the country by significantly diminishing JetBlue’s incentive to compete with American elsewhere, further consolidating an already highly concentrated industry.

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said, “They’re wrong and we’ll prove it. It’s entirely pro-competitive.” Parker argued that the alliance allows the two airlines to compete against Delta and United, which are largely entrenched in the Northeast market, while American and JetBlue would otherwise not be able to mount enough of an offense on their own.

Airlines Weigh Unruly No-Fly List

Delta is suggesting a national “no-fly” list (different from the government’s No-Fly List, which is terror-based). Delta’s own blacklist includes more than 1,600 people. A Delta VP said their list doesn’t work if the person can just hop on another carrier.

Vietnam’s Bamboo Airways to sign $2 bln deal with GE for engines on Boeing jets

In this deal, Bamboo Airways will purchase nearly $2 billion worth of General Electric GEnx engines to power Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. The Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 and General Electric GEnx-1B compete on the 787. Bamboo will operate its Dreamliner fleet on non-stop routes between Vietnam and the United States.

Rolls Royce Will Provide Long-Awaited New Jet Engines For The B-52 Bomber Fleet

The U.S. Air Force selected Rolls-Royce’s North American division to re-engine the fleet of B-52H bombers with F130 engines. The Drive reports: “Rolls-Royce’s new contract from the Air Force is valued at $500,870,458 over the next six years but could grow to over $2.6 billion if all of its options are exercised.” Work will be performed at the Rolls-Royce facility in Indianapolis and is expected to be completed by September 2038.

Mentioned

Tuskegee Airmen Exhibit at the American Helicopter Museum.

Honeywell and Wood introduce groundbreaking technologies to support efforts toward carbon-neutral sustainable aviation fuel

Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge

665 Spirit Airlines Meltdown

Spirit Airlines cancels over 2000 flights, American Airlines offers free TikTok access, a cargo flight returns to Narita with a fire indication, a GA gallery is coming to the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum, and aviation jet fuel shortages impact aerial firefighting operations. Also, an Across the Pond segment with Pieter Johnson and managing editor of Aerospace magazine, Tim Robinson.

Aviation News

Spirit Airlines’ meltdown: Carrier cancels thousands of flights

Spirit Airlines canceled more than 2000 flights around the country, resulting in long lines of passengers trying to find flights. At Fort Lauderdale International Airport in Florida, the wait to re-book was as long as 2½ hours on August 7 and grew longer.

‘We couldn’t get in front of it.’ Spirit Airlines CEO explains what caused the carrier’s meltdown

Spirit Airlines says all this was caused by weather, technology outages, travel volume, and staffing shortages. Delays caused crews to time out. On one day alone, Spirit canceled 450 flights, 56% of its operation. Spirit does not have interline agreements which compounds the problem.

American Airlines Takes TikTok to New Heights with Free Inflight Access for Customers

American Airlines provides some free inflight WiFi offerings, and they’ve just added TikTok, the popular social networking service owned by Chinese company ByteDance. On Viasat-equipped narrowbody aircraft, American will let you connect free for 30 minutes.

Rubio Calls on American Airlines to Suspend “Innovative Partnership” With TikTok

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter to American Airlines Chairman and CEO Doug Parker after the airline announced an “innovative partnership” with TikTok.

“As you know, in 2019, the U.S. Government launched a national security review of TikTok due to data privacy and data security concerns — a review which remains active to this day.” 

“By partnering with TikTok, American Airlines is now lending its brand credibility to a company that endangers national security and the data security of tens of millions of Americans, many of them minors. I urge you to suspend American Airlines’ ‘innovative partnership’ with TikTok while the U.S. Government completes its investigation into the national security risks posed by the Chinese-owned app.”

Fire in cargo compartment | National Cargo Boeing 747-400 | Tokyo Narita, ATC

A National Cargo Boeing 747-400 (B744), registration N756CA, performing flight NCR891 / N8891 from Tokyo Narita International Airport (Japan) to Seoul Incheon International Airport (South Korea) during climb out of Narita Airport, about at 27000 feet, reported a fire indication in a cargo compartment and requested return back to Narita.

A New Gallery Celebrates the Variety That Is General Aviation

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum has a new general aviation gallery scheduled to open in 2022. The Thomas W. Haas We All Fly gallery will tell the story of GA, how it impacts everyday life and how it has influenced society. This will be through interactive exhibits and audiovisual displays and is scheduled to open in 2022. The Thomas W. Haas Foundation made a $10M donation for the gallery.

Aviation fuel shortage could affect aerial firefighting

Air travel dropped as a result of the pandemic, and the supply of Jet A aviation fuel scaled back. Now air travel is rebounding but fuel logistics has not. Shortages include the fuel supply for firefighting. One contributing factor is that a wildfire could explode in no time at all and when that happens the demand for fuel in that area can soar.

American Airlines warns about jet fuel shortages around the U.S., asks pilots to conserve

Last month, American Airlines said it might have to add stops to some flights because of fuel delivery delays. They also asked pilots to save fuel when they could. Airlines have experienced delays due to a lack of truck drivers, trucks, and fuel supply.

Across the Pond

In this week on Across The Pond, Pieter talks to fellow Xtended presenter and Managing Editor of Aerospace magazine, Tim Robinson. They discuss Tim’s recent award of the International Aerospace Media award 2021 for his article on Airbus developing hydrogen-powered aircraft as well as his news item on the current worrying trend of air rage and its impact on aircraft safety.

ZEROe concept aircraft formation flight, courtesy Airbus.

Best Commercial Aviation submission – Airbus spearheads hydrogen moonshot

Back to air rage and cabin baggage issues?

Mentioned

Brad “Launchpad” Marzari EAA Memorial – A campaign to honor Launchpad with bricks at the EAA Brown Arch at Oshkosh and donate to the EAA Aviation Foundation.

The Pacific Airshow is adding a two-night Afterburner Music Festival at Huntington City Beach on October 1 and 2, 2021.

The Unchained Eagle

The Unchained Eagle live Q&A.