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783 Favorite Aviation Movies

Our listeners’ favorite aviation movies. In the news, the Alaska Airlines B737 MAX 9 cabin door plug incident and cockpit doors, a British Airways pilot was kidnapped and robbed, Spirit Airlines initiated a sale/leaseback transaction to pay their debt, Netjets instituted a mandatory age 70 retirement for pilots, and Cirrus Aircraft announced a new generation of the SR-22

Listener’s Favorite Aviation Movies

We asked our listeners to tell us their favorite aviation movie, not including Top Gun. (We excluded Top Gun because it would likely overpower the results.) Listeners responded in great numbers. In no particular order, these are our listener’s favorite aviation movies:

The winner of our favorite aviation film random drawing: The Great Waldo Pepper. Theatrical release poster by Gary Meyer.
Theatrical release poster by Gary Meyer

The Great Waldo Pepper (1975) (Paul F.) After WW1, an ex-pilot takes up barn-storming and chance-meets a former German ace fighter pilot with whom he co-stars in Hollywood war movies depicting aerial dogfights. Paul: My grandfather learned to fly in a Jenny and that movie just resonated with me.  I recently found it on Netflix and enjoyed it all over again! Winner of the random drawing.

The Arrow (TV miniseries 1997) (Kevin H.) Starring Dan Aykroyd as Crawford Gordon, an experienced wartime production leader after World War II and president of Avro Canada during its attempt to produce the Avro Arrow supersonic jet interceptor aircraft. The film also stars Michael Ironside and Sara Botsford. Kevin: Ok guys…. so I’m not entirely sure if a TV miniseries would qualify, but if you played the four episodes back to back it would be a 180-minute movie. It was only Canada’s greatest aviation achievement, so of course it has a special place in the hearts of all Canadian avgeeks.

No Highway in the Sky (1951) (James H.) Starring Jimmy Stewart and Jack Hawkins in a supporting role (yes it was made in England), Based on a Neville Shute Novel, Great use of visuals, based on models, As the major plot point identified the issue of metal fatigue long before the Comet disasters, And while a black and white film is a well-told yarn.

Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines or How I Flew from London to Paris in 25 Hours 11 Minutes (1965) (Holger L. and Thierry B.) Hoping to push Britain to the forefront of aviation, a London publisher organizes an international air race across the English Channel, but must contend with two entrants vying for his daughter, as well as national rivalries and cheating. Holger: It’s funny but it’s also about aviation history.

Airplane vs. Volcano (2014) (Hendrik N.) Not really my favourite aviation movie, but just to enter a really weirdly bad aviation movie. It is incredible how bad a movie can be. But it is so bad that it starts to be funny again.

Devotion (2022) (Greg H. and Dag G.) A biographical war film based on the 2015 book Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice by Adam Makos, which retells the comradeship between naval officers during the Korean War. Dag G: I saw the preview live-streaming theater in the woods on my laptop during AirVenture, and went to see it in the theater with one of my best friends. It has the most beautiful airplane shots and the most moving story.

Airport (1970) (Rick B.) The original featuring Dean Martin, Burt Lancaster, Jean Seberg, Jacqueline Bisset, and George Kennedy as the mechanic everyone aspired to be; Joe Patroni of TWA.

Air America (1990) (John R. and Tom B.) An action comedy film directed by Roger Spottiswoode and starring Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jr. as Air America pilots flying missions in Laos during the Vietnam War.

The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress (1944) (Michael R.) Watching The Memphis Belle as a kid was a contributing factor to my interest in WWII, and especially in the B-17.

Memphis Belle (1990) (Mark C. and Andrew C.) In 1943, the crew of a B-17 based in the UK prepares for its 25th and final bombing mission over Germany before returning home to the USA. I enjoyed the  Memphis Belle movie, about a flying fortress, when it came out in the early 1990s.I think it is time I see it again.

Midway (1976) (Ted P.) My grandfather took me to see it when I was school-age and it ignited my love of airplanes and naval history.  He flew B-24s in WW2 but did not deploy as his father passed when his squadron was sent to Europe. He ended up training flight crews and family lore was he buzzed the family farm in South NJ and the chickens didn’t lay eggs for a week.

American Made (2017) (Pawel M.) The story of Barry Seal, an American pilot who became a drug-runner for the CIA in the 1980s in a clandestine operation that would be exposed as the Iran-Contra Affair.

Fail Safe (1964) (JD) A technical malfunction sends American planes to Moscow to deliver a nuclear attack. Can all-out war be averted?

Strategic Air Command (1955) (Jeffrey L.) It holds a special place since my 20-year Air Force career started at Carswell AFB, Texas when it still was a SAC base, and that’s where many of the B-36 scenes were shot.  The hangar where Frank Lovejoy (yes, related) introduces the B-47 to Jimmy Stewart belonged to the squadron I was in from 1986-1992.  The factory across the runway was where Consolidated was building the B-36s, and later F-16s, and now F-35s.  Lots of history there.

Midway (1976) (Mike S.) I can watch that every week!

The Great Waldo Pepper (1975) (Paul F. and Roland H.) Stars Robert Redford, Bo Svenson, and Bo Brundin. Paul: My grandfather learned to fly in a Jenny and that movie just resonated with me.  I recently found it on Netflix and enjoyed it all over again! Roland: I have seen this many, many times as a kid on a VHS tape recorded from TV. Years ago I tried to find it on DVD and it wasn’t that easy. I did find it eventually. I think I just feel the urge to watch it again 🙂

High Road to China (1983) (Adam H.) Grew up in an aviation family and was always fascinated by WW1 aircraft. When this movie came out in the 80’s starring Tom Selleck and Bess Armstrong I was hooked. An heiress hires a washed-out ace and his mechanic to find her father so he won’t be declared dead by the courts. They fly two Belgian Stampe biplanes filling in for Curtis Jennys from England to China and have plenty of adventures along the way.

The Big Lift (1950) (Gerard O.) Experiences of two Air Force sergeants during the 1948 Berlin Airlift. Starring Paul Douglas and Montgomery Clift.

Miracle Landing (1990) (Sarah J.) A made-for-television drama film based on an in-flight accident aboard Aloha Airlines Flight 243 in April 1988. I watched it as a 9-year-old with my mum and wasn’t allowed to tell anyone that she let me watch it. Oh, the thrill of having a secret! Also, the movie isn’t actually bad for 1990.

Hot Shots! (1991) (Kyle T.) A parody of Top Gun (1986) in which a talented but unstable fighter pilot must overcome the ghosts of his father and save a mission sabotaged by greedy weapons manufacturers.

633 Squadron (1964) (Bill A.) A RAF squadron is assigned to knock out a German rocket fuel factory in Norway. The factory supplies fuel for the Nazi effort to launch rockets on England during D-Day. I definitely love the Mosquito and the scenes of them flying what I think is the Mach Loop in Scotland.

Always (1989) (Andrew F.) The spirit of a recently deceased expert pilot mentors a newer pilot while watching him fall in love with the girlfriend that he left behind. It has a great cast, a great storyline, and really cool flying. Fun fact about this movie: The featured B-26 (and others) was owned by Hawkins and Powers Aviation in Graybull, WY. The owner would fly that airplane over to Sheridan, WY where I was based with Great Lakes Aviation. What I thought was really cool was that there were two different liveries painted on each side of the airplane. That way they could use it in the background of different shots representing more than one airplane.

Dunkirk (2017) (Matt R.) Not an aviation movie, but the aviation scenes haunt me. They made me think about how challenging and potentially frightening it would be to fly in a noisy cockpit with limited visibility, little communication, and no source of information except your eyes through goggles to warn you of an enemy whose goal is to destroy you, all with the ticking clock of fuel consumption constantly on your mind.

The Final Countdown (1980) (RT) A modern aircraft carrier is thrown back in time to 1941 near Hawaii, just hours before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It has multiple military aircraft (airplanes and helicopters), a dogfighting scene of F-14s and Japanese Zeros (What other movie would have that?), an aircraft carrier, and time travel.

The Rocketeer (1991) (Andy B.) A young pilot stumbles onto a prototype jetpack that allows him to become a high-flying masked hero. I fell in love it: pure fiction yes, but full of waning days of the golden age of aviation context- with just the right dash of historical anachronism to “…really tie the room together!”

Bat*21 (1988) (Mike S.) During the Vietnam War, Colonel Hambleton’s aircraft is shot down over enemy territory and a frantic rescue operation ensues. Starring Gene Hackman, Danny Glover, and Jerry Reed.

Behind Enemy Lines (2001) (Peter T.) A disillusioned pilot shot down over war-torn Bosnia goes on the run from the local military and an assassin, as his commanding officer risks all to save him. There is a good plot and is not necessarily aviation-intensive but the aviation scenes are, in my opinion, well done! I actually bought the DVD from Blockbuster. Starring Gene Hackman, Owen Wilson, and Gabriel Macht.

Iron Eagle (1986) (Quinn M. and Shannon V.) A young pilot plans a rescue mission when his father, an Air Force Colonel, is shot down over enemy territory and captured. The one that makes me smile at so many levels is “Iron Eagle” but not the sequels. One of my favorite features is the credits have a statement to the effect the the USAF had nothing to do with it but thanks so much to the Israeli Air Force for their help in filming… Explaining the camo that USAF planes have never used and the Kfir bad guy planes. I am very amused by the “totally not Libya”  bad guy country that had features of Iran and some of the other Israeli neighbors. Shannon:  Louis Gossett Jr. and the music of Queen, are you kidding me? It doesn’t get any better than that.

The War Lover (1962) (Ed L.) In 1943, while stationed in Britain, arrogant Captain Buzz Rickson is in command of a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber, but his recklessness is endangering everyone around him. A great, realistic, black-and-white, B-17 movie. It’s also a great book by John Hersey. Starring Steve McQueen, Robert Wagner, and Shirley Anne Field.

The Blue Max (1966) (Kerry K.) A young pilot in the German air force of 1918, disliked as lower-class and unchivalrous, tries ambitiously to earn the medal offered for 20 kills. Probably a favorite because it was seen at an early age and the details of the movie always stuck with me.  Few movies about WWI and biplanes, especially with the same production value.

Cloud Dancer (1980) (Luke H.) A fictionalized account of a competition acrobatic pilot. They used real aircraft, the actors were also in the seat of the two-seat Pitts.

Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress (1944) (Paul A.) A documentary on the 25th bombing mission of the Memphis Belle, a B-17 in the US 8th Air Force. I saw this as a kid and rewatched it recently. The scene that has stuck with me and that I remember as a kid, is the solemn, tense moments depicted when the ground crews wait for the planes returning from the mission. The viewer is on the edge of their seat as we watch real footage of the landing aircraft, the stragglers limping home and arriving one by one…we feel as if we’re on the airfield praying for the safe touchdown of the damaged aircraft.

Flight of the Intruder (1991) (Todd P.) During the air war over Vietnam, a U.S. Navy A-6 Intruder bomber pilot schemes with a hardened veteran to make an unauthorized air strike on Hanoi. “Fighter pukes make movies. Bomber pilots make… history!”

Airplane! (1980) (Markku H., Steve S., Steve L., and Adam W.) After the crew becomes sick with food poisoning, a neurotic ex-fighter pilot must land a commercial airplane full of passengers safely. Harkku: Funny movie, I saw it when I was a little boy. Perhaps not politically correct nowadays with the Air Israel kipa and beard on the plane. Steve S: The best and funniest aviation movie ever. And stop calling me Shirley. Steve L: So many classic one-liners. And don’t call me Shirley! Adam: I saw it many times as a kid and then had the fun of sharing it with my own child.  Even seeing it at a different stage in my life, I laughed at some of the same things while also laughing at some different gags, all having to do with aviation.  No doubt, I’ll watch it again sometime in the near future.

The Spirit of St Louis (1957) (Greg P.) Charles ‘Slim’ Lindbergh struggles to finance and design an airplane that will make his New York to Paris flight the first solo transatlantic crossing. Starring James Stewart, Murray Hamilton, and Patricia Smith.

Twelve O’Clock High (1949) (Rich M. and d12776) A hard-as-nails general takes over a B-17 bomber unit suffering from low morale and whips them into fighting shape. Yes, it is about flying  B-17s in WWII. But it is also one of the best movies about leadership. I was an instructor at the Air Force’s Squadron Officer School in the late 70’s and we built an entire lesson plan on leadership and how Brig Gen Savage changes his leadership style depending on the situation. We taught situational leadership and this movie was a great example. Fantastic movie! Starring Gregory Peck, Hugh Marlowe, and Gary Merrill.

The Final Countdown (1980) (Martin-Guy C.) A modern aircraft carrier is thrown back in time to 1941 near Hawaii, just hours before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. I love the sequence F-14A v Zero. Sad that VF-84 no longer flies. Another good scene is the A-7E barricade.

American Made (2017) (Chris B. and Job S) The story of Barry Seal, an American pilot who became a drug runner for the CIA in the 1980s in a clandestine operation that would be exposed as the Iran-Contra Affair. Job: Definitely the best aviation movie ever… hands down!

Black Box (2021) (Belinda D.) A young and talented black box analyst is on a mission to solve the reason behind the deadly crash of a brand-new aircraft. A French language aviation thriller. I think it’s a really clever film, particularly in light of recent certification difficulties with Boeing- really really enjoyed it! Original title: Boîte noire.

Things to Come (1936) (Craig L.) The story of a century: a decades-long Second World War leaves plague and anarchy, then a rational state rebuilds civilization and attempts space travel. Starring Raymond Massey. Based on H.G. Wells’ “The Shape of Things to Come.” Check out the Wikipedia synopsis!

Up in The Air (2009) (Brian G.) Ryan Bingham enjoys living out of a suitcase for his job, traveling around the country firing people, but finds that lifestyle threatened by the presence of a potential love interest, and a new hire presenting a new business model. Starring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick.

Wings (1927) (Andy D.) Two young men, one rich, one middle class, who are in love with the same woman, become fighter pilots in World War I. The silent film, specifically when accompanied live by Clark Wilson at the console of a Mighty Wurlitzer theater pipe organ.

As Green As It Gets [Original title: Grüner wird’s nicht, sagte der Gärtner und flog davon] (2018) (Peter W.) The German 2018 movie where the protagonist gardener takes off in his beautiful Platzer Kiebitz biplane and travels through the countryside. The cinematography especially of the airplane scenes is fantastic!

The Aviator (2004) (Martin K.) A biopic depicting the early years of legendary director and aviator Howard Hughes’ career from the late 1920s to the mid-1940s. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, and Kate Beckinsale.

Flight (2012) (Max) An airline pilot saves almost all his passengers on his malfunctioning airliner which eventually crashed, but an investigation into the accident reveals something troubling. Starring Denzel Washington, Nadine Velazquez, and Don Cheadle.

Air Force One (1997) (Andre M.) It is a great movie, it has Han Solo in it, airplanes, and it is one I watched over and over when I managed to get my laptop to play those new fandangled DVD movies back when they first came out.

Soul Plane (2004) (E.R.) Things get raucously funny aboard the maiden flight of a black-owned airline, thanks to some last-minute passenger additions. Diversity and culture.

The Terminal (2004) (Dee) An Eastern European tourist unexpectedly finds himself stranded in JFK airport and must take up temporary residence there. It’s a demonstration of someone staying positive despite being presented with so many obstacles and loosely based on an actual event.

Godzilla Minus One (2023) (Bill H.) The movie starts with an airplane scene and there isn’t much more aviation until the last part of the movie. But it’s worth the wait. The story takes place in Japan in the immediate aftermath of WWII. A plan is devised to ambush Godzilla, but he must be lured to the right place. This job falls to our hero flying a specially prepared plane, the J7W Shinden. The Shinden was designed to intercept B-29s and inspired some hope among the Japanese at a time when the war had become hopeless. In the new Godzilla movie, the airplane is recast as a warrior in a non-military struggle, a role that suits it perfectly. Yes, it’s a low-budget monster movie, and all of the flying scenes are done with CGI. But it’s well worth it to see this spectacular airplane at center stage facing a worthy challenge.

One Six Right (2005) (Adam F.) There was just something about hearing so many stories of other pilots who loved flying at a time when I was so new to it myself. There are at least three spots guaranteed to bring on tears every single time I’ve viewed it. One section that’s especially powerful is the retired airline pilot explaining that as he was starting out in DC-3s, if he had been told by the end of his career he would fly near 40,000 feet at 600mph he would have considered that prediction as completely crazy – but with only 34 years between the DC-3 and 747, that’s how aviation grew in his career. On a cinematic level, the transitions between various segments can be a little rough – in a single movie covering everything from the history of a specific airport, emotional remembrance of the first solo, future warnings in the wake of Meigs, air traffic controllers, broader community complaints of noise, etc. But admittedly this roughness didn’t really occur to me until I had seen it more than a few times.

Pan Am (2011-2012) (Sarah M.) ABC TV series. Period drama about the pilots and flight attendants who once made Pan Am the most glamorous way to fly. Not really a movie, but…

The Geek’s Favorite Aviation Movies

The Flight of the Phoenix (1965) (Max Flight) After an oil company plane crashes in the Sahara, the survivors are buoyed with hope by one of the passengers, an airplane designer who plans for them to build a flyable plane from the wreckage.

Sully (2016) (Rob Mark) When pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger landed his damaged plane on the Hudson River to save the flight’s passengers and crew, some consider him a hero while others think he was reckless.

Flying Tigers (1942) (Brian Coleman) Capt. Jim Gordon’s command of the famed American volunteer fighter group in China is complicated by the recruitment of an old friend who is a reckless hotshot.

The Final Countdown (1980) (Steve Visscher) A modern aircraft carrier is thrown back in time to 1941 near Hawaii, just hours before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

One Six Right (2005) (Grant McHerron) An exhilarating documentary film that celebrates the unsung hero of aviation – the local airport – by tracing the life, history, and struggles of an airport icon: Southern California’s Van Nuys Airport.

Strategic Air Command (1955) (David Vanderhoof) An ex-pilot and current baseballer is recalled into the U.S. Air Force and assumes an increasingly important role in Cold War deterrence. Starring James Stewart, June Allyson, and Frank Lovejoy.

Sky King (TV series 1951-1962) (Max Trescott) King usually captured criminals and spies and found lost hikers, though he did so with the use of his airplane, the Songbird. Starring Kirby Grant, Gloria Winters, and Ewing Mitchell.

Micah’s Favorite Aviation Movies

Our Main(e) Man Micah struggled to pick just one favorite aviation movie. In his story, he mentions these films:

  1. Top Gun
  2. The Aviator
  3. Iron Eagle
  4. Air Force One
  5. Snakes on a Plane
  6. Pearl Harbor
  7. Flight
  8. Jet Pilot
  9. Flying Leathernecks
  10. Flying Tigers
  11. Islands in the Sky
  12. Fate is the Hunter
  13. The Wings of Eagles
  14. The High and The Mighty
  15. Task Force
  16. Fighter Squadron
  17. Dive Bomber 
  18. Wings
  19. Hell’s Angels
  20. Keep ‘Em Flying
  21. Captains of the Clouds
  22. Air Force
  23. God Is My Co-Pilot
  24. Zero Hour!
  25. Airplane
  26. Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines
  27. The Flight of the Phoenix
  28. Airport 
  29. Tora! Tora! Tora!
  30. The Great Waldo Pepper
  31. Midway (1976)
  32. Midway (2019)
  33. The Final Countdown
  34. Always
  35. A Guy Named Joe
  36. Twelve O’Clock High
  37. Command Decision
  38. The Dawn Patrol (1930)
  39. The Dawn Patrol (1938)

Move Favorite Aviation Movies

These movies were submitted by listeners after the episode posted:

The Right Stuff (1983) (Obiwankenobi8999, Joe) The U.S. space program’s development from the breaking of the sound barrier to the selection of the Mercury 7 astronauts, from a group of test pilots with a seat-of-the-pants approach.

A Gathering of Eagles (1963) (Tom L.) During the Cold War, Air Force Colonel Jim Caldwell shapes up his Strategic Air Command B-52 wing to pass a nuclear war readiness test.

Whisky Romeo Zulu (2004) (JP) The film tells the story prior to the accident LAPA Boeing 737 on 31 August 1999 after hitting an embankment in central Buenos Aires, killing 67 people.

Only Angels Have Wings (1939) (Peter D.) At a remote South American trading port, the manager of an air-freight company is forced to risk his pilots’ lives in order to win an important contract as a traveling American showgirl stops in town.

Aviation News

FAA investigating if Boeing failed to ensure certain aircraft were safe for operation after door blew on Alaska Airlines plane

The FAA is investigating Boeing to determine if the company ensured that “products conformed to its approved design and were in a condition for safe operation in compliance with FAA regulations.” After the B737 MAX 9 grounding, Alaska and United found loose hardware on some planes. According to the FAA, these “circumstances indicate that Boeing may have failed to ensure its completed products conformed to its approved design and were in a condition for safe operation in accordance with quality system inspection and test procedures.”

Alaska flight incident reveals another feature Boeing didn’t inform pilots about

Immediately following the cabin decompression on the Alaska Airlines B737 MAX 9, the cockpit door swung open, to the surprise of the pilots. That’s the design behavior. NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said that Boeing would make this clear in the MAX 9 manual.

British Airways Pilot Kidnapped, Brutally Assaulted and Robbed in Terrifying Ordeal During Layover in Johannesburg

The First Officer was on a 2-day layover, staying in a gated and guarded community. While returning to the community after shopping, a woman asked him for assistance but then he was forced into a vehicle. Taken to a house for four hours, his bank accounts were emptied.

Spirit Sells 25 Aircraft to Reduce Debt 

The airline entered into a sale-leaseback deal. The transaction allowed the airline to repay $465 million in debt payments for the aircraft. The sale also generated $419 million in net cash proceeds. The specific aircraft involved were not specified. Spirit operates an A320-family fleet of over 200 aircraft.

NetJets Implements Mandatory Age-70 Pilot Retirement

NetJets instituted an age-70 limit for its fractional-share (Part 91K) pilots effective January 10, 2024. Fewer than 100 pilots are affected, and they have been removed from NetJet’s schedule.

Notice of the change was issued by NetJets on January 10, 2023. This came after Congress’s omnibus spending bill that was adopted in December 2022. That bill allowed certain Part 91K and 135 operators to implement an age-70 ceiling. Such operators had to have logged at least 75,000 annual jet operations in 2019 or any subsequent year.

The NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP) filed a grievance which NetJets denied. An arbitrator found no violation and also denied the grievance. Eight NetJets pilots filed a lawsuit seeking “a preliminary injunction to keep the age cap from taking effect Jan. 10, 2024.” The U.S. District Court Northern District of Texas Dallas Division rejected their arguments and denied the motion for a preliminary injunction.

See: Congress passes rule raising voluntary pilot age restriction

Cirrus Unveils Generation Seven of the SR-22

The G7 features Cirrus Perspective Touch+™ by Garmin®, advanced safety systems, improved visibility, increased legroom, and enhanced convenience features. The G7 integrates a  touchscreen-controlled flight deck with a comfortable and stylish cabin. This redesigned flight deck reduces pilot workload while offering enhanced situational awareness for both pilot and passenger.

Video: SR Series G7 Features

Mentioned

Video: Van Halen – Dreams 1986 (Blue Angels)

Hosts this Episode

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

702 Aviation Smorgasbord

The pilot shortage, flying Icelandic Air, air mobility initiative, Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Boeing E-7 Wedgetail, funding travel, airborne nuclear command and control aircraft, Aviation and Aerospace Media Awards, and aviation careers. Also, eVTOL certification, BA pilots, the 1,500-hour rule, an all-electric seaglider, and locked out of the cockpit.

Glen Towler

Glen Towler, 2017.
Glen Towler, 2017.

The aviation community recently lost an avid enthusiast. Micah delivers a touching eulogy while Hillel explains how Glen deeply loved EAA and AirVenture and would save up money all year to make the journey from New Zealand to Oshkosh every summer.

Glen was well known at “Camp Bacon” and throughout the aviation community through his avid participation in many online aviation forums and podcasts to which he frequently submitted short recordings.

Funds are being collected to buy Glen a brick at the Brown Arch where each year Glen arranged a group photo of all his online friends. Donations will also be used to have Glen’s name and obit inscribed on the EAA Museum Memorial Wall. Any excess funds will be given to EAA. Please donate whatever you feel in your heart to remember Glen in his favorite place: Remembering Glen at OSH.

Glen Towler in the simulator at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019
Glen Towler in the simulator at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019.
Group photo: Glen, center kneeling, 2019.
Glen, center kneeling, 2019.

Aviation Topics from Listeners

Opinions Differ On Pilot Shortage

The Air Line Pilots Association created a webpage: More Than Enough Pilots to Meet U.S. Airline Demand – Debunking the Pilot Shortage Myth where they say, 

“Over the past eight years, the United States has produced more than enough certificated pilots to meet airline hiring demands and compensate for retirements, even as new and more rigorous pilot training standards were enacted to enhance safety. In fact, there are currently about 1.5 certificated pilots relative to demand, according to Federal Aviation Administration and Bureau of Labor Statistics data. So, although we don’t have a pilot shortage, we do have a shortage of airline executives willing to stand by their business decisions to cut air service and be upfront about their intentions to skirt safety rules and hire inexperienced workers for less pay.”

Keflavík Airport

Questions about the Icelandic Air connections at KEF.

Electric Air Transport Of The Future: Air Mobility Initiative

The Air Mobility Initiative (AMI) is being created with a series of research projects looking at making electric air mobility within and between cities a reality. Projects are centered around three main areas: electric aircraft, air traffic management services, and vertiports.

Tesla software update

From Patrick Wiggens: What the Tesla now sees and what the human eye sees. (Look closely!)

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Tips for visitors include volunteering to crew, getting up pre-dawn, and taking the tram up Sandia Peak.

Lawmakers press Air Force on speeding up purchase of Boeing E-7 Wedgetail

The Air Force wants to get Boeing’s E-7 Wedgetail operational, but the prototype might not fly until fiscal 2027.

Boeing E-7 Wedgetail By 대한민국 국군 Republic of Korea Armed Forces - 공중조기경보통제기, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36991666
Boeing E-7 Wedgetail, courtesy Republic of Korea Armed Forces.

The Journey is the Reward

How Brian funds his dream of achieving lifetime 1K status with United Airlines.

USAF’s Next Airborne Nuclear Command-And-Control Aircraft, Needs Four Engines

The U.S. Air Force wants its next airborne nuclear command and control aircraft to have four engines, and will likely choose used aircraft.

U.S. Air Force E-4B, courtesy Wikipedia.
U.S. Air Force E-4B, courtesy Wikipedia.

Aviation Xtended

The Aerospace Media Awards were created to honor journalists and publishers who have made a significant contribution to aerospace journalism and publishing. Pieter Johnson’s Aviation Xtended podcast is a finalist in the Best Digital Submission category.

High-flyers: five careers in aviation that don’t require a pilot’s license

Five careers in aviation that don’t require a pilot’s license, from Artemis Aerospace.

Aircraft maintenance mechanic, courtesy Artemis Aerospace
Aircraft maintenance mechanic, courtesy Artemis Aerospace.

Aviation News

FAA changes course on eVTOL certification

The companies (and investors) of winged eVTOL aircraft assumed they would be certified under the FAA’s small airplane certification rules. Now, and unexpectedly, the FAA says it plans to type-certify the eVTOLS as powered-lift aircraft under its “special class” process in 14 CFR 21.17(b), not 14 CFR Part 23.

British Airways hit by pilot rise up over pay cuts

British Airways pilots are unhappy with the airline’s plan to cut their pay. Under a 2020 deal, pilots accepted pay cuts in exchange for reducing redundancy from 1,255 pilots to 270.

Republic Seeks 1500-Hour Rule Exemption

Republic Airways wants the FAA to drop the current 1500-hour mandate for right seat pilots to 750 hours, under the supervision of a trained and experienced captain.

“The Republic R-ATP Program is designed to make airline pilot career opportunities more accessible for qualified individuals from underrepresented groups who meet the selection criteria but may not have the financial means or academic support to pursue an aviation career path.” the airline said to the FAA.

Airline Pilot Retirement Age Could Be Raised To 67

Allegedly, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina is working on a bill that would reduce the commercial airline pilot retirement age raised to 67 from 65.

Southwest Airlines admits to an insulting problem that’ll drive everyone crazy

Southwest Airlines needs 10,000 more employees, including 1,200 more pilots. The Wall Street Journal reported that between 15% and 20% of the new hires never turn up. It’s called ghosting and it’s occurring broadly.

Hawaiian Airlines is building an all-electric seaglider that holds 100 passengers

Regent announced that Hawaiian Airlines has agreed to strategically invest in the company to support the initial design of its next-generation 100-person capacity all-electric seaglider known as the Monarch. With this investment, Hawaiian Airlines becomes Regent’s first U.S.-based design partner for the Monarch, which is slated for entry into commercial service by 2028.

Regent seaglider

Hilarious: Delta Air Lines Pilot Crawls Through Window Of Boeing 737

Watch what happens when the pilots are locked out of the cockpit.

Mentioned

Women in Aviation International (WAI) honors the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) in May by visiting their graves and leaving an appropriate decoration in the form of flowers or other remembrances. The database of WASP gravesites includes Google maps showing their locations. #HonorTheWASP

Sky River Helicopters – Providing helicopter tours, charters, and flight school.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, with contribution by our Main(e) Man Micah.

682 Organ Transplant Flights

In this episode, we speak with the Founder and CEO of ParaFlight and OrganFlights about life-saving organ transplant flights. There’s a lot more to this than you might think, and it’s a conversation you’ll want to hear.

In the news, sustainable aviation fuel for British Airways, Captain Sully heads to ICAO, gender-neutral NOTAMs that also apply to drones, the Beech Denali first flight, commercial aviation and spreading viruses, and in-flight relief devices. In the Australia Desk, we hear about the history of the F/A-18 A and B Hornets in RAAF service.

Guest

Sim Shain is the Founder and CEO of ParaFlight EMS and OrganFlights.com, a lifesaving organ transplant aviation company with an on-call network of jets, helicopters, and emergency transport vehicles. These provide efficient transportation of organs and transplant teams nationwide.

Sim Shain, Founder and CEO of ParaFlight and OrganFlights providing organ transplant flights.
Sim Shain

The transplant process is regulated by the Federal government in the United States, and Sim explains the large number of participants and steps involved in getting an organ from donor to recipient. We learn about the role of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the transplant centers, and organ procurement organizations.

Sim provides a lot of detail about the complexities of matching organ transportation requests to available aircraft considering such factors as the type of organ, flight length, operating room schedule, size of the team, use of a transmetics pump, power and WiFi requirements, and even pilot duty time constraints.

We learn about how Part 135 operators can use the Organ Flights app to register, add aircraft, and receive flight requests via smartphone and the PC.

Over a twenty-eight-year career, Sim has worked in the pre-hospital emergency medical space leading corporate, medical, and charity flights and missions, specializing in organ transplants. He began his career working as a 911 medic and flight medic, and he continues to fly patients and organs around the world. He volunteers for local first aid squads and is a nationally certified paramedic, medical escort, and flight medic.

To learn more, visit OrganFlights.com and explore these other resources:

Aviation News

Airline signs historic deal to use recycled cooking oil to fuel its planes

British Airways signed a multi-year contract with Phillips 66 Limited to use sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) beginning next year. Phillips becomes the first company to produce SAF at a commercial scale in the U.K. The SAF will be produced at the Phillips 66 Humber Refinery in North Lincolnshire from sustainable waste feedstock. BA and Phillips 66 say SAF can reduce lifecycle carbon emissions by over 80 percent compared to traditional jet fuel.

Sully Named To ICAO

Capt. Chesley (Sully) Sullenberger has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be the U.S.  ambassador to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). ICAO was established in 1944 by the Convention on International Civil Aviation, also known as the Chicago Convention. Originally composed of 54 nations, now the Organization is funded and directed by 193 national governments.

Name change signifies a bigger mission for NOTAMs

The meaning of the acronym NOTAM has changed from “Notice to Airmen” to the gender-neutral “Notice to Air Missions.” The new acronym now easily applies to un-crewed flights of free balloons and drones.

Beech Denali Makes First Flight

The first flight of the Beechcraft Denali turboprop lasted 2 hours and 50 minutes, reaching an altitude of 15,600 feet and a top speed of 180 knots. The clean-sheet design uses the new 1,300-shp GE Aviation Catalyst engine.

How 2 Flights to Europe May Have Spurred Spread of New Variant

If air travel represents an opportunity for virus transmission, what does it mean for airlines and airports?

Air Force To Issue Pilots New In-Flight Relief Devices

A new in-flight bladder relief device is available for U.S. Air Force pilots. The Omni Gen. 3 Skydrate for men is hands-free and automatically collects urine at 2.25 LPM, “keeping the user dry and on-mission.” The Air Force hopes these devices will reduce the number of pilots who intentionally dehydrate before missions.

Australia News Desk

Steve and Grant are joined by aviation author and historian Stewart Wilson to discuss the history of the F/A-18 A & B Hornets in RAAF service, following the type’s withdrawal from service this week.

RAAF F/A-18A Hornet A21-8 (msn 306/AF-08 – delivered 28 Aug 1986) in 75SQN markings, departs RWY16 at Shellharbour Airport (NSW) for its final public display at the Wings Over Illawarra Airshow – 28 Nov 2021. Image by Jai Balmer.
Group Captain Jason Easthope – aka “Easty” – shuts down A21-8 after the final public display of the RAAF F/A-18A Hornet at WIngs Over Illawarra, 28 Nov 2021. Image by Jai Balmer.

Mentioned

A Flock Of U.S. Military Business Jets Has Descended On Southern California

What Happens When You Drop a Cell Phone From 13,200 Feet?

JetTip Alerts for AvGeeks – This app analyzes air traffic for unusual flights.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, and Rob Mark.

673 Planes of Fame

Our guest is Steve Hinton, the president of the Planes of Fame Air Museum. In the news, Delta Airlines signs a contract for sustainable aviation fuel, United Airlines decides to resume cargo-only flights, Qatar Airways profits were cut by Covid, and British Airways pilots may have the opportunity to fly for Qatar.

Guest

Steve Hinton is president of the Planes of Fame Air Museum and the owner of Fighter Rebuilders. Steve tells us about the living history collection of aircraft that is the museum, as well as the events held to create participation. Planes of Fame restores many warbirds to flightworthy condition and these are flown at demonstrations, airshows, and even in movies. A Bearcat and a Corsair were used in the production of the upcoming action war drama film Devotion.

Steve also works with the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation which celebrates U.S. airpower history and is a living memorial to those who have served in the U.S. Air Force. Heritage Flight demonstrations are flown around the world which pair modern aircraft with fighter aircraft from the past. Steve explains how the selected civilian pilots practice with the military pilots and he describes the challenges of flying old prop warbirds with modern jets.

After our conversation with Steve, Brian Finnegan joined us and he describes the history of Planes of Fame which was founded by Ed Maloney. Brian is the Director, Education Programs and Development at Planes Of Fame Air Museum.

Learn more at the Planes of Fame Air Museum website, follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Aviation News

Delta purchases more than $1 billion Worth of Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Delta Airlines signed an agreement with Aemetis for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The 10-year contract is worth more than $1 billion for 250 million gallons of blended fuel. The fuel will be produced at the company’s Riverbank, California renewable jet/diesel plant from waste forest and orchard wood. Aemetis expects the fuel to be available in 2024.

United is Restarting Cargo-Only Flights Because the Delta Variant is Having Such a Big Impact On Bookings

United Airlines had just responded to a surge in passenger bookings by phasing out special freighter services. Now the airline will resume cargo-only flights using empty passenger planes. Passenger planes can be used for freight by simply using the cargo hold or carrying the freight in the passenger cabin. Some airlines just strapped items to seats and others removed the seats to make even more room.

British Airways Boeing 777 Pilots Will Go On Secondment to Qatar Airways Over The Winter

According to an internal BA memo, up to 40 Boeing 777 Captains and First Officers have an opportunity to fly planes with Qatar for around six months during the London winter lull. Pilots would temporarily relocate to Doha and would retain their contracts and seniority. They would continue being paid by British Airways.

Qatar Airways says losses reach $4.1 billion amid pandemic

Those losses in revenue are a result of reduced demand for long-haul travel over the last fiscal year. However, Qatar reported an increase in earnings to $1.6 billion (before taxes and other costs) over the prior year. While the airline saved on jet fuel, it also reduced salaries by 15% and cut 13,400 employees from its workforce. Qatar had been the subject of a political embargo that kept them from flying in the airspace of Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Massive oil spill off Orange County coast shuts down beachfronts, air show

How a burst oil pipeline brought a halt to an air show.

Mentioned

New Tuskegee Airmen Exhibit at the American Helicopter Museum.

595 Airport Watch

We look at Airport Watch, a group of airplane enthusiasts that have built a valuable relationship with their airport, law enforcement, and the community. In the news, we again look at the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that is continuing to impact aviation. Also, a Southwest B737 experiences a fuselage rupture, and a man shoots at a police helicopter.

Guest

Peter Wagner, Airport Watch

Peter Wagner, Airport Watch.

Peter Wagner is board president of Airport Watch, a crime prevention initiative that includes people who have an interest in various aspects of aviation and who spend time in the vicinity of the O’Hare Airport to observe the various airport operations. These airplane spotters provide safety and security value to the airport, law enforcement, businesses and the local community.

Peter is a professional photographer who has enjoyed aviation since he was young. He started plane spotting in 2001 at O’Hare Airport and now enjoys traveling to airports and air shows around the country photographing planes. While Peter’s personal favorites are the 747 and C-17, he enjoys all types of aviation.

Airport Watch holds monthly meetings, training sessions, and field tours at O’hare Airport. They liaison with the FBI, Chicago Police Department, Chicago Department of Aviation, and the TSA. Their connection to the Secret Service is through the FBI. Members come from all walks of life and include airport employees, the media, firefighters, pilots, other professionals, and the general public.

C-17 by Peter Wagner, Airport Watch

C-17 by Peter Wagner.

Peter explains how the organization came into existence and how it was structured using the Canadian model. The highly-detailed Airport Watch bylaws offer a comprehensive roadmap for others who might like to form a similar organization.

B747 by Peter Wagner.

B747 by Peter Wagner.

We also discuss airplane spotting, including what spotters look for, spotting locations, and camera gear. Anyone in the United States can join Airport Watch. Find them on Instagram. Peter also has an Instagram where you can find his professional and personal photography.

Airport Watch

Airport Watch

Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

American Airlines will suspend all but 3 long-haul routes, park most wide-body jets

American was flying 150 widebody aircraft at the end of December. Now about 135 of them will go into temporary storage from March 16 through at least May 6, 2020. This includes Airbus A330 and Boeing 767, 777 and 787 models. The airline is cutting international capacity by 75%

Delta Air Lines announced they’d cut global capacity by 40% and park up to 300 jets, including both narrow-bodies and wide-bodies.

Finnair cuts capacity by 90% as travel demand falls because of COVID-19

Finnair will cut capacity by 90%, starting from 1 April and keep critical air connections for Finland, limited connections to Europe, and one remaining intercontinental route to Japan. The airline cites the “severe impact on demand for air travel” resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

United Airlines in talks with U.S. officials about financial support

United CEO Oscar Munoz sent an email to employees saying, he “has spent the last two days in Washington, D.C., meeting with senior officials in the Trump Administration and senior members of the U.S. House and Senate in both parties to understand what government policies they may be considering and explain to them the impact that the coronavirus has had on our business.”

Support Aviation—Airline Sector Pleads With Governments For Immediate Financial Support To Prevent Widespread Job Losses

British Airways CEO Alex Cruz sent a video message to employees titled “The Survival of British Airways,” saying “It is a crisis of global proportions like no other we have known.”

Sun ‘n Fun Postpones Event Due To Coronavirus Threat

The new show dates for Sun ‘n Fun are May 5-10, 2020.

Air Force Suspends Public Outreach Programs Through May 15

Official U.S. Air Force Statement: “The Air Force is committed to upholding the complete trust and confidence of Americans and our community engagement is the key to those connections. However, due to the uncertainty regarding COVID-19 and to protect our Airmen, their families and the communities that support us, the Department of the Air Force is suspending all outreach activities and support to community events through May 15.  This includes, but is not limited to, on-base and civilian sponsored air shows, band performances and community engagements and meetings (speaking engagements, community meetings on installations, base tours, Pentagon visits, etc.).

NBAA, EBAA Shelve EBACE for 2020

NBAA and the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) announced they have canceled the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition 2020 (EBACE2020).

DOD Officials Explain New Coronavirus Domestic Travel Restrictions

Defense officials issued a memorandum [PDF] halting domestic travel for service members, Defense Department employees and family members. That includes permanent changes of station and temporary duty travel. The ban is in effect from March 16 to May 11, 2020.

American Airlines pilot tests positive for coronavirus, carrier says

Fourth TSA officer at SJ airport infected with coronavirus

San Francisco-based Alaska Airlines employee tests positive for COVID-19

Coronavirus live updates: COVID-19 death toll at 6,500 worldwide; markets plummet again

Travelers returning to the United States are faced with long lines for health checks.

In other aviation news…

Southwest Airlines : FAA Probes Problem With Southwest Jet — Update

A Southwest flight en route from Las Vegas to Boise, Idaho experienced some loss of pressure. They descended to a safe altitude and landed safely in Boise.A 12-inch rupture was found in the skin of the B737.

Man Arrested For Allegedly Shooting At San Diego Police Helicopter

The helicopter was responding to a call about a possible burglar. As it circled overhead, the man allegedly fired one round at the aircraft. He was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

577 Garmin Autoland System

We take a look at the new Garmin Autoland system and re-discover the Interceptor 400 pressurized turboprop. Also, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg and the congressional hearings, a fatal accident at a radio control soaring competition, flying lessons funded by British Airways, and the Labour Party wants to ban private jets that use fossil fuel. We celebrate Veteran’s Day by honoring two WWII vets and discuss some great topics raised in listener feedback.

Aviation News

Garmin® revolutionizes the aviation industry with the first Autoland system for general aviation aircraft

In the event of an emergency such as pilot incapacitation, the Garmin Autoland system can be activated for an autonomous landing of the aircraft. The system determines the most optimal airport and runway, taking into account factors such as weather, terrain, obstacles and aircraft performance statistics. Garmin Autoland can also activate automatically if it feels the pilot is unresponsive. Cirrus and Piper Aircraft announced they’ll implement the system.

Video: Garmin Autonomí: Autoland Activation

Turboprop Aircraft, Design and Tooling Discovered in Kansas Barn

The Interceptor 400 pressurized turboprop was not a commercial success – perhaps it was ahead of its time. Recently the plane was discovered “carefully stored in obscurity on a farm in Wichita, Kansas.” The Interceptor 400 is for sale, along with the airplane’s FAA type certificate, drawings, jigs and tooling.

In five-hour grilling over 737 MAX crashes, House panel reveals Boeing memos, calls on CEO Muilenburg to resign

‘I would walk before I would get on a 737 MAX’: Boeing CEO Muilenburg faces hostility but gets through first day of hearings

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg appeared before the US Congress, admitting that “we made mistakes, we got some things wrong.” At the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing, several asked for Muilenburg to step down. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. accused Boeing of “a pattern of deliberate concealment” and said, “Boeing came to my office shortly after the accidents and said they were the result of pilot errors. Those pilots never had a chance.”

David Cortina: United States remote control glider pilot freed on bail after accident that killed a woman in Pingtung County, Taiwan

At the F3F Radio Control Soaring (Slope) World Cup in Taiwan, the remote control glider operated by an American pilot struck a woman and killed her. At the time, she was holding her 2-year-old son, who sustained a cut on his neck.

British Airways to fund flying lessons in 2020

In partnership with The Air League Trust, British Airways plans to fund flying lessons for 200 UK students in 2020. The airline funded lessons for students in a 2019 trial at Booker Aviation Flying School. Next year, the program will expand to other flying schools.

Labour explores plans to ban private jets from UK airports from 2025

If the Labour party wins the election, they might ban private jets from UK airports starting as soon as 2025. After a report found that sector produced the equivalent carbon emissions of 450,000 cars each year, Andy McDonald, the shadow transport secretary, said “The multi-millionaires & billionaires who travel by private jet are doing profound damage to the climate, and it’s the rest of us who’ll suffer the consequences. A phase-out date for the use of fossil fuel private jets is a sensible proposal.”

Veteran’s Day

Micah presents “Solon’s Gone,” a story about a veteran who flew B-24 Liberators in the Pacific during World War II.

Solon Graham - with crew

Solon Graham, top left standing – with crew.

Max and Micah interview Richard Hammond, age 96, who was a B-17 Tail Gunner in the Second World War. 

Pig Chaser and crew

Pig Chaser and crew. Standing, l-r: Robert A. Pherson, right waist gunner; Floyd Crow, top turret gunner and flight engineer; Howell T. MacFarland, left waist gunner; Richard Hammond, tail gunner; Merle Crawfoot, radio operator; John Zdunek, Ball Turret gunner. Kneeling, front row (left to right): Don Wise, Bombardier; Arnold Watrous, Pilot; Clarence Bose, co-Pilot; Paul Moore, Navigator.

Mentioned

Jaunt Air Mobility Air Taxi

How I Built This with Guy Raz – JetBlue Airways: David Neeleman

FlightsFrom.com

567 Dream Planes

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.

Guest

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.

Aviation News

U.S. transport chief names aviation safety advisory panel

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao Announces Appointees to Safety Oversight and Certification Advisory Committee

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.

This airline’s pilots are planning to strike for the first time ever in September

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 strike: Passengers angry at airline ‘silence’

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.

Delta Air Lines Boeing B757 Diverts To Portland Following Compressor Stall

Delta Airlines flight DL-122, a Boeing 757-200 flying from Boston to Edinburgh, experienced a compressor stall climbing through about FL270. The plane diverted to the Portland (Maine) Jetport.

Newark Airport traveler abandons snake at TSA checkpoint

A 15-inch ring-necked snake was found on the floor at a Newark Airport security checkpoint. A youngster spotted the harmless snake in Terminal C and a TSA officer trapped it with a checkpoint bin.

China’s Very Own B-2 Stealth Bomber? Meet the H-20 Stealth Bomber.

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.

Air Show Report

The New York International Air Show at New York Stewart Int’l Airport featured the F-35 Lightning II Demonstration Team, the Royal Air Force Red Arrows, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, the GEICO Skytypers, the West Point Parachute Team, and others. The RAF A400M was on static display. See Max Flight’s event photo album for a collection of images.

Red Arrows at the New York International Air Show. Photo by Max Flight

F-35 demo team

F-35 demo team at the New York International Air Show. Photo by Max Flight.

Book Giveaway

We announce the winner of the drawing for a copy of GE Aviation: 100 Years of Reimagining Flight.

Report

Launchpad Marzari brings us Part 2 of his series about buying an airplane.

Listener Dream Plane Rides

We asked listeners to tell us the aircraft they have never flown on, but would most like to:

  • Ted picks the F4U Corsair or PBY Catalina.
  • Glen chose the DeHaviland Mosquito and the Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer.
  • Martin would love to fly the Hawk flown by the RAF Red Arrows.

Meetups

Dr. Steph & Micah

Dr. Steph and Micah.

Micah and Fred Samson.

Micah and Fred Samson.

Mentioned

The Most Notorious Weapon Ever Produced? – There are no simple answers for fixing the F-35 program, as tempting as it is to look for a single root cause for its problems.

479 Flight Tracking with FlightAware

FlightAware founder and CEO Daniel Baker talks about flight tracking technology. In the news, we look at the Dubai Airshow, aviation cybersecurity, the proposed Women in Aerospace Education Act, the GE Additive 3D metal printer, and a report from the Senate Republican Policy Committee on ATC privatization.

Guest

Daniel Baker is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of FlightAware, the flight tracking data company that provides over 10,000 aircraft operators and service companies as well as over 12,000,000 passengers with global flight tracking solutions.

Flight tracking company Flightaware founder and CEO Daniel Baker.

Flightaware founder and CEO Daniel Baker.

Daniel was one of the principal developers of the FlightAware technology, and he now works directly with partners and customers in both industry (e.g., airline, cargo, business aviation) and government (e.g., air traffic management).

FlightAware uses data from air traffic control systems in over 55 countries, from FlightAware’s network of ADS-B ground stations in over 150 countries, from Aireon space-based global ADS-B, and from the major providers such as ARINC, SITA, Satcom Direct, Garmin, Honeywell GDC, and UVdatalink.

Daniel explains how FlightAware’s proprietary machine learning and rules engine called Hyperfeed takes data from multiple sources and fuses it together to create the best possible flight tracking information. About 10,000 messages per second are analyzed with over a thousand rules. Hyperfeed employs predictive analysis that looks at patterns in the flight tracking data.

Some 13-14,000 ADS-B ground stations send data over the Internet to FlightAware. Complete FlightFeeder stations can be purchased, or you can build your own PiAware flight tracking station.

We talk about satellite-based ADS-B through Aireon low-earth orbit satellites equipped with ADS-B receivers. These will provide flight tracking data for areas not covered by other means. Daniel also describes FlightAware TV, a custom, real-time FlightAware HDTV map for the office, hangar, or FBO.

Daniel knows tech and has been in the Internet services business for over two decades. He is a regular speaker at aviation and technology conferences and serves as a member of the Board of Directors at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Air and Space Museum. He also holds an FAA Commercial Pilot certificate.

Find the company at FlightAware.com, on Twitter and Facebook.

Aviation News

Dubai Air Show

Boeing vs Airbus: $77 billion in deals in under 2 hours
Airbus Seals $50 Billion Jet Deal to Outdo Boeing in Dubai
Boeing signs off on a $1.3 billion deal at Dubai Airshow
Day 1 At The Dubai Airshow: Boeing Steals The Show
Dubai Airshow: Building a new supersonic airliner
EgyptAir Orders Bombardier C Series Aircraft in Dubai

FlyDubai ordered 175 Boeing 737 Max planes with options for another 50. Boeing said it was the biggest order ever from the Middle East for single-aisle passenger planes. Altogether, the 225 firm and option aircraft have a total value of $27 billion at list prices, and include more than 50 Max 10s, with the rest Max 8s and 9s.

Airbus sold 430 A320neo family jetliners to Indigo Partners. The planes will go to four Indigo companies: Frontier Airlines, Volaris, Wizz Air Holdings Plc, and JetSmart. That deal was valued at roughly $50 billion at list prices.

Boeing also booked an order for forty 787 planes, worth $15 billion at list prices, with Dubai’s Emirates airline on Sunday. In a deal valued at $1.9 billion, Azerbaijan Airlines ordered five Boeing 787-8 aircraft and committed to two freighters. In addition, Azerbaijan Airlines became the launch customer for Boeing’s 787 Landing Gear Exchange Program.

Bombardier signed a letter of intent with EgyptAir for 12 firm CSeries CS300 aircraft with options for 12.

Cybersecurity Report Fears ‘Dismissive’ Approach

The Washington think-tank Atlantic Council released the report Aviation Cybersecurity: Finding Lift, Minimizing Drag which describes an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) assessment on cybersecurity threats to ADS-B is “dismissive.” The study indicates that the aviation industry will likely experience cybersecurity challenges similar to other industries that have embraced the “digital revolution.” Previously, aviation systems were relatively secure due to the bespoke nature of their design, isolation from other systems, and little in the way of communication protocols. But air traffic management is no longer isolated, and ground services and supply chains are becoming fully integrated into an interconnected digital world.

Connecticut’s Esty sponsors women in aerospace bill

H.R. 4254: Women in Aerospace Education Act has been introduced in Congress “to amend the National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 2002 to strengthen the aerospace workforce pipeline by the promotion of Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program and National Aeronautics and Space Administration internship and fellowship opportunities to women.”

GE’s huge 3D metal printer makes aircraft parts

The GE Additive business unit of GE has a 3D metal printer capable of making aircraft parts as large as one meter in diameter. A metal powder is fused with a 1-kilowatt laser in thin layers to “print” the part. Since the machine is scalable, it should be capable of even larger parts.

Senate Republican Policy Committee Confirms ATC Privatization is Still Alive

A report from the Senate Republican Policy Committee titled NextGen Delayed, Just Like Your Plane says:

  • Air traffic control currently relies on outdated ground radar systems that cause delays throughout the aviation system.
  • The FAA is transitioning to NextGen technology, which has several components designed to allow safer and more efficient airspace management, including a switch to GPS.
  • Deployment of many NextGen components has been delayed and is expected to cost $2.6 billion more than planned.

The report says that “an ATC spinoff would very likely trigger constitutional challenges. A Congressional Research Service report [PDF] questioned whether courts might determine that a non-governmental ATC corporation would be unconstitutional under the non-delegation doctrine, Due Process Clause, or Appointments Clause. Although memoranda commissioned by proponents of a spinoff discount these concerns, the move to corporatize the ATC functions would almost definitely be challenged in court.”

Airline Story of the Week

Man who suffered brain aneurysm leaving him unable to walk takes to the skies as he makes a recovery

British Airways helps a man recovering from a brain injury to rejoin the world of commercial flight.

Mentioned

Retired Korean War Medal of Honor recipient passes away

More than 800 family, friends, and active duty and retired service members gathered in Concord, Mass., Nov. 16, 2017, to pay their final respects to retired Capt. Thomas J. Hudner Jr., who earned the Medal of Honor during the Korean War.Hudner passed away Nov. 13, at his home in Concord. He was 93.

Video: Thomas Hudner, Medal of Honor, Korean War

Credit

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

AirplaneGeeks 381 Ballistic Recovery Parachutes

Ballistic Recovery Systems

A conversation about aircraft parachute systems with the founder of Ballistic Recovery Systems, HondaJet certification, the Cirrus Vision SF50, British Airways displeasure with Heathrow expansion plans, abandoned 747 freighters, and efficient but not accurate airport firefighters. Also, the Millennium Falcon, the Handley Page Herald turboprop, ATC job opportunities, and WATS tables.

Guest

Boris Popov

Boris Popov

Boris Popov is the founder of Ballistic Recovery Systems (BRS). In 1975, Boris survived a 400-foot fall in a collapsed hang glider and the incident led Boris to develop a whole-aircraft parachute system. Ballistic Recovery Systems was founded in 1980 and their first parachute for the ultralight aircraft market was introduced in 1982. In 1983 the system had its first save of an aircraft and crew and since then has saved hundreds of lives

In 1998 the company collaborated with Cirrus Aircraft to develop the first recovery parachute system used on a type-certified aircraft, the Cirrus SR20. Since then, there have been 56 Saves of Cirrus Aircraft with 114 survivors, resulting in a fatal accident rate that’s half that of typical GA aircraft. The company also offers parachutes for the Cessna 172, Cessna 182, and about a dozen light sport aircraft, including the new Icon A5 seaplane.

News

Honda Aircraft receives type certification for HondaJet

HondaJet earns type certificate

Achieving type-certification brings Honda Aircraft close to customer delivery of the HondaJet. The small, jet-powered airplane features an over-the-wing engine mount, natural laminar flow, a composite fuselage, and a Garmin® G3000 next-generation all-glass avionics system. Power comes from two GE Honda Aero Engines HF120 powerplants.

Cirrus Teases Vision SF50 Performance Numbers

Cirrus Aircraft has released flight profile details of the Vision SF50 single-engine light jet. With a maximum ramp weight of 6,040 pounds, and a fuel load of 296 gallons/1,983 pounds, takeoff ground roll is 2,036 feet. At FL280, maximum cruise at 300 ktas burns 69 gph/462 pph, for a range of 1,000 nm. Fuel burn drops to 47 gph/315 pph and speed to 242 ktas at best-economy cruise, with range up to 1,200 nm.

Heathrow expansion: British Airways threatens to move out of UK

International Airlines Group (IAG) CEO Willie Walsh isn’t happy with plans for Heathrow’s expansion. That plan includes a new runway, a new terminal, an underground train link, and a very expensive (£800m) car park. Walsh says all this would double the £40 fee they pay now for a return trip.

Be an Astronaut: NASA Accepting Applications for Future Explorers

NASA is looking for astronauts and the astronaut candidate application website is now live and accepting submissions through Feb. 18, 2016.

Malaysia hunts owners of Boeing 747s abandoned at airport

In an effort to remove three abandoned Boeing 747 freighters from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Malaysia, airport officials posted a notice in several newspapers giving the owners 14 days to pay the parking fees and remove the planes. Otherwise, the airport would dispose of the planes. The freighters have now been claimed by Swift Air Cargo, a Malaysian company.

Fire fighters spray foam on wrong plane during engine emergency

An Air China Boeing 737 had an engine fire while taxiing at an airport in China. This was reported by pilots of another plane who observed the fire. The firefighters arrived and dutifully covered the plane in foam – the reporting plane, not the one with the fire.

The Airplane of the Week

Can you feel it? There has been an awakening, the Dark and the Light. David’s Journey to the Force Awakens ends this episode with the ship that has been in more movies than any other:  the YT-1300 Freighter called the Millennium Falcon. “She’s the fastest hunk of junk in the Galaxy” and has some really cool #AVGeek connections.

If you want to know more check out these links:

Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge Of The Sith Easter Egg – Millenium Falcon

5 Things You Might Not Know About the Millennium Falcon

From World War to Star Wars: The B-17 and The Ghost

Fate of the Jedi, “Millennium Falcon” SpecPlate and Crucible–class

From World War to Star Wars: The Millennium Falcon

Across the Pond

Handley Page Herald copyright DestinWorld Publishing

An early production model Handley Page Herald in BEA livery demonstrating a single engine fly past – Copyright DestinWorld Publishing

Matt Falcus returns to Across The Pond and discusses his latest book The Handley Page Herald about the two-engined turbo-prop aircraft that proved reliable and useful in service, but failed to capture the volume of orders expected. Airline service lead to a later life as a cargo and freight carrier until it finished service in 1999.

From the Timeline series, Matt is looking for new authors and contributors to grow the series of aircraft, airport and airlines books.

Aviation photographer Paul Filmer wrote in: “What a great British aircraft. In the late 80s early 90s I worked for Channel Express in Guernsey, Channel Islands and flew jumpseat in many flights from Guernsey to Bournemouth and return. We flew boxed cut flowers out and mail and express freight (FedEx, DHL etc) inbound. The cargo capacity was 5 tonnes and it was very popular with the loaders as the large cargo door was low to the ground. I loved my time flying on these pax aircraft turned freighters.”

Paul sent in a photograph of a Page Herald in service, and one of a hand carved model he had custom made recently:

Handley Page Herald by Paul Filmer

Handley Page Herald by Paul Filmer

Handley Page Herald model

Mentioned

Credit

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

 

AirplaneGeeks 379 WOW Air and the Dubai of the North

Skúli Mogensen, CEO, WOW air

Skúli Mogensen, CEO, WOW air

We talk with Skúli Mogensen, CEO of WOW air, the low cost carrier from Iceland. Also, Miami Rick from the Airline Pilot Guy show joins us and gives us his insights on flying the Boeing 777 Long Range Freighter. We talk about commercial pilot salaries, pilot training, the Convair F-106 Delta Dart, and flying the Falcon 7X at the Reno air races.

Guests

Skúli Mogensen

Skúli Mogensen is the CEO and majority owner of WOW air, an Icelandic low-cost airline. WOW air flies to Iceland from a number of European cities the whole year round, and they recently started flying to North America. The airline was founded in November 2011 and its inaugural flight was to Paris on May 31st 2012. WOW air is committed to providing the cheapest flights to and from Iceland, but doing so with a smile and providing a memorable service all the way.

Skúli is a serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in high-tech, specifically the mobile communications sector. He cofounded multiple companies including Arctic Ventures, a VC firm in Stockholm that invested in high tech companies in Scandinavia, and Islandssimi, which merged with Vodafone Iceland and is today the second largest Telco in Iceland. He also cofounded Montreal–based OZ Communications, which specialized in consumer mobile messaging technology used by Verizon, Sprint, T-mobile and other mobile operators. Oz was sold in 2008 to Nokia.

Skúli  is chairman of CAOZ, Ltd., a 3D computer animation and digital design company located in Reykjavík. He sits on the boards of a number of tech companies in North America and Europe including MP Bank, Carbon Recycling International, and Redline Communication. In 2011, he was named Iceland’s Businessman of the Year.

WOW air operates four Airbus A320 aircraft for short haul flights between Europe and Iceland. For flights to North America, WOW air operates the Airbus A321.

Miami Rick

Miami Rick flies a Boeing 777 Long Range Freighter for a multinational airline holding company based in Santiago, Chile. He flies mainly between the Americas and Europe.

Rick tells us about the differences between the passenger version and the freight version of the Boeing 777, and why it’s important to him that he understands the aircraft’s systems. We talk about training, flying passengers compared to flying cargo, and even the challenges of flying livestock.

Miami Rick has been a “freightdog” for about the last 5 years. Before his career moving boxes, he flew for the passenger division of his airline flying the Boeing 767-300ER. Rick provided passenger service for 6 years on routes between North and South America and Europe.

Rick’s perspective and contributions to the Airline Pilot Guy show are primarily those of a long-haul, heavy aircraft pilot. However, he is also a simulator instructor on the B757/767, and feel like a pilot really learns his craft when he is able to teach it and explain it simply and clearly because of the constant study and preparation that this involves.

Miami Rick started his flying career from a purely civilian background, learning to fly in general aviation aircraft in South and Central Florida, and flew countless types of light aircraft delivering them throughout the US. If that wasn’t enough, Rick also instructs new private, instrument and commercial pilots.

News

United Offers Pilots 13% Raise in Bid to Find Labor Peace

United Continental Holdings is reportedly offering pilots a 13% raise in 2016, followed by 3% and then 2% in the following two years. This comes from unidentified sources who are familiar with the negotiations, but not authorized to speak about them.

JetBlue Shakes Up Pilot Hiring by Training Them From Scratch

U.S. airlines hire pilots with flight experience. JetBlue Airways has a different idea and proposed to the FAA that the airline hire potential commercial pilots and provide them with ab initio training. JetBlue wants to start with a trial program called Gateway 7 for 100-seat Embraer SA E190 jet pilots. If that works, the airline will look at extending the program to larger aircraft.

JetBlue plans to start accepting applications in the first quarter 2016, and begin training in mid-2016. Pilots who complete the program would start as first officers in 2020.  Gateway 7 will consider applicants with no prior training as well as those with flight experience, and prospective pilots would pay for their own training.

British Airways named the ‘dirtiest’ transatlantic operator with the airline burning over 50% more fuel than the most efficient carrier

Environmental think tank International Council on Clean Transportation says British Airways is the worst airline for fuel consumption and carbon emissions on transatlantic routes. Norwegian Air Shuttle was found to be the most fuel-efficient. BA burned 51% more fuel per passenger than Norwegian.

The Airplane of the Week

F-106 Delta Dart

This week David settles a Twitter argument about how ugly interceptors are. He talks about the sexiest interceptor of all time, the F-106A. Visit the F-106 Delta Dart site for the full “Cornfield Bomber” Pilotless Landing story.

The Australia News Desk

Steve is relaxing in Fiji but still takes a moment to chat with Grant and record some content for the OzDesk.

Virgin Australia were the most punctual airline in October but Steve’s aborted take off in one of their aircraft heading to Fiji won’t be helping them achieve the same result in November’s results.

Meanwhile, following on from our story last month about Alliance Airlines getting their Fokkers serviced in Austria, it seems that Lufthansa subsidiary Austrian Airlines are taking a 12% stake in Alliance in return for giving them Austrian’s old Fokkers.

Falcon 7X at Reno

In conjunction with P1 Magazine, Rob brings us an interview with Dassault Falcon 7X demonstration pilots.

Mentioned

Jamestown Airshow by Ryan Hothersall

Jamestown Airshow by Ryan Hothersall

Jamestown Airshow Flickr Album

The An-2 Colt Experience

Credit

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