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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
“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.
The Bye Aerospace founder, CEO, and chairman on electric airplanes. Also, AeroShark aircraft skin technology, the Collier Trophy finalists, a hydrogen fuel-powered aircraft engine, more lasers pointed at aircraft, F-35C crash video leakers charged, and the closing of airspace.
George E. Bye is the Founder, CEO, and Chairman of Bye Aerospace, founded in 2007. He has two decades of experience as an aerospace entrepreneur, engineer, and executive.
George describes recent developments in the electric airplane industry, including new interest and investments by a number of companies of all sizes – startups to major aerospace companies. What was seen just a few years ago as “too futuristic” is now considered overdue. We look at the regulatory landscape and how that has changed, and the significant advances in battery energy density.
George explains the advantages of electric aircraft and specifically how the Bye Aerospace electric eFlyer 2 is designed for pilot training. The eFlyer is attractive from an operating cost perspective, efficiency, and aesthetically. George provides the status of the program and tells us the company is now building the first production conforming eFlyer 2, serial number one. Two more examples are planned for 2023.
Along the way, we discuss the charging infrastructure for electric aircraft, the safety aspect of very quiet airplane engines, electric airplane student pilot training, and what that means for subsequent transitioning to other propulsion types.
George has developed several aircraft designs, including the all-electric eFlyer 2, eFlyer 4, and eFlyer 800 aircraft. The eFlyer 2 is now in the FAA certification process. Previously he designed the 14-foot wing-span solar-electric hybrid UAV, “Silent Falcon,” now in production in a former Bye Aerospace subsidiary. He also conceived the new, piloted solar-electric SOLESA design which has completed initial flight test.
As a well-known conceptual design engineer, he has consulted for major OEMs on their advanced development programs. George was a part of the conceptual design leadership team on the Boeing T-X program, now known as the T-7A “Red Hawk” USAF advanced jet trainer. He provides expert reviews for Lockheed Martin.
George holds a B.S. in Engineering from the University of Washington and is an ATP-rated pilot with over 4,000 flying hours. He was a USAF instructor pilot in the supersonic T-38 for Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training, C-141B Instructor Aircraft Commander, and is a Desert Storm veteran.
Lufthansa Technik and BASF co-developed an aircraft skin technology they call AeroSHARK which contains 50-micrometer “riblets” that imitate the flow characteristics of sharkskin. It’s meant to reduce drag and thus improve fuel consumption and lower emissions. Swiss International Air Lines plans to begin equipping its twelve Boeing 777-300ERs with AeroShark beginning in mid-2022. The fuel savings are said to be more than one percent. AeroSHARK was launched on the Boeing 777Fs of Lufthansa Cargo.
The Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon program seeks to develop and demonstrate the technologies that enable effective and affordable air-launched hypersonic cruise missiles.
The Gremlins are groups of UASs flown from existing aircraft out of range of adversary defenses. After mission completion, the Gremlins are retrieved by a C-130 transport aircraft to be taken home and turned around within 24 hours for the next mission.
Ingenuity is a technology demonstration to test powered flight on Mars. The helicopter rode to Mars attached to the belly of the Perseverance rover.
The Mission Extension Vehicle is a satellite life extension vehicle. It docks to a client geostationary satellite whose fuel is nearly depleted and uses its own thrusters and fuel supply to extend the satellite’s lifetime.
The Collier Trophy Selection Committee plans to meet on March 31, 2022, and announce the winner shortly thereafter.
Airbus and CFM International plan to use an A380 for a hydrogen-powered flight demonstration program. The engine will be mounted on the rear fuselage. Four hydrogen tanks will be fitted in the rear cabin. Airbus says that flight of the aircraft will occur “around the middle of this decade.” Airbus A380-800 serial number MSN001 will be used for the demonstration. CFM is modifying an existing engine type in the U.S., a GE Passport engine.
On February 7, 2022, eleven airliners were struck by lasers in a one-hour period near the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). No injuries were reported, but the industry is very concerned about the rising trend. Addressing this problem is difficult.
An ensign and four chief petty officers have been charged with violations of Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, failure to obey a lawful order. The Navy is not releasing the names of the charged sailors.
In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, countries around the world are closing their airspace to Russian aircraft.
Israeli News Desk
Eyal describes a fatal accident where an LSA Sierra P2002 with two persons on board crashed in the mountains near Jerusalem. Weather conditions likely played a role with the LSA that was certified for VFR only.
Also, Elbit Systems will introduce a new version of the Skylark 3 short-range UAV at the Singapore Airshow 2022. The drone is equipped with a hybrid propulsion system that includes an electric engine and a combustion engine. The Skylark family of drones has been ordered by 27 countries.
We learn about aeronautical charts produced by the FAA’s Aeronautical Information Services team. In the news, the NTSB will decommission the TWA Flight 800 reconstruction, Collier Trophy finalists announced as are Flying Magazine Editors’ Choice Awards and FAA General Aviation Awards, Boeing fined by the FAA, United orders the Boeing 737 MAX, Delta plans to reactivate pilots, Icelandair flies to Antarctica and back.
Katie Murphy is a Supervisory Aeronautical Information Specialist in the FAA’s Aeronautical Information Services Visual Charting Team. Katie has worked with both VFR and IFR charts for over 17 years and is a self-proclaimed “map geek.”
Aeronautical Information Services (AIS) is the authority for the development of aeronautical charts and services. They are also the authoritative government source for collecting, storing, maintaining, and disseminating aeronautical data for the U.S. and its territories.
The lease is expiring on the National Transportation Safety Board training facility and the NTSB plans to dispose of the TWA Flight 800 reconstruction. With advances such as 3-D scanning, the need for large-scale reconstruction in teaching investigative techniques is less relevant.
The Collier Trophy Selection Committee will meet virtually in June and the winner will be announced publicly following the selection. The formal presentation of the Collier Trophy will take place when health and safety protocols allow.
In 2015, Boeing paid a $12 million fine and pledged to implement and improve several certification processes to further enhance the airworthiness and continued compliance of all Boeing Commercial Aircraft products. The settlement agreement resolved multiple pending and potential enforcement cases.
Now, the FAA has assessed $5.4 million in deferred civil penalties against The Boeing Company for failing to meet its performance obligations under the 2015 settlement agreement. Boeing also agreed to pay $1.21 million to settle two pending FAA enforcement cases.
FAA says, “Boeing missed some of its improvement targets, and …some company managers did not sufficiently prioritize compliance with FAA regulations.”
The 20 year old Boeing 767-300 is currently flying between Iceland and Antarctica via South Africa. The 767 has a crew of 20 people, including six pilots, 13 flight attendants, and one mechanic. The roundtrip journey covers over 20,000 miles.
This episode, we have an interview with the president of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen. In the news, more woes for Boeing with FOD discovered in undelivered 737 MAX airplanes and the DOJ is reported to be investigating the company. Also, the Coronavirus continues to disrupt commercial aviation, a solar electric UAV planned to stay aloft for a year, a new tail-rotor design from Bell that should be quieter and safer, and this year’s Collier Trophy nominees are announced.
David Vanderhoof and Mel Payne, president, Greater Philadelphia Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen.
The Department of Justice wants to know if Boeing knowingly lied to the FAA while seeking certification of the 737 MAX. Boeing’s former 737 MAX chief pilot Mark Forkner was subpoenaed last year to answer questions from federal prosecutors in front of a grand jury. He invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
More than 200,000 flights, mostly in China, have been canceled as a result of the Coronavirus. Delta, United, and American have halted service to mainland China and Hong Kong. With the resulting decrease in demand, jet fuel prices have fallen 17% in 2020. For an excellent explanation of the virus, see: You’re Likely to Get the Coronavirus.
BAE Systems and Prismatic designed the unmanned solar-powered PHASA-35 airplane, and have tested it at the Royal Australian Air Force’s Woomera in South Australia. A High Altitude, Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (HALE UAV), this “pseudo-satellite” could provide persistent service for defense, security, resource management, and communications. Another high-altitude solar-electric airplane under development is the manned SolarStratos.
Helicopters with a single main rotor need an additional tail rotor to counteract the torque of the main rotor. But the tail rotor contributes a lot of noise and represents a safety hazard on the ground. Bell has come up with a different approach: four smaller shrouded electric fans in the tail.
The United States Air Force-Boeing X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle Team
Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management Team
The Collier Trophy Selection Committee will meet on April 2, 2020, in Arlington, Virginia, and the recipient will be announced publicly the following day. The formal presentation of the Collier Trophy will take place on June 11, 2020, at a location to be determined.
A look at the Champaign Aviation Museum including their restoration work, the volunteers working on the aircraft, and the role of aviation museums. Also, 737 safety cards, the Scaled Composites Model 401, flight attendant trip brokering, Wow Air, and the 2018 Collier Trophy winner. First-hand impressions of the 2019 SUN ‘n FUN Fly-in and Expo as well.
B-17 restoration at the Champaign Aviation Museum.
The mission of the museum is “Touching lives by restoring history.” Their guiding principles include honoring our veterans and their families, educating the public about the experiences of past generations that flew in combat, and educating the public about aircraft construction and maintenance techniques. They focus on education and resources of the WWII era, and the museum seeks to restore and maintain aircraft in flying condition for public appreciation.
In fact, the Champaign Aviation Museum strives to build a reputation as a center of excellence for the restoration and maintenance of WWII era aircraft. The museum is located next to Grimes Field Airport (I74) in Urbana, Ohio, just west of Columbus.
In our conversation with Aimée, we look at the history of the museum’s B-17G project, the many volunteers engaged in the restoration, salvaging parts from five different B-17s, fabricating other parts, and adding to the workshop space.
The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) has announced the recipient of the 2018 Robert J. Collier Trophy. The Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS) team “successfully complet[ed] a rapid design, integration, and flight test of critical, lifesaving technology for the worldwide F-35 fleet.” Auto GCAS was developed by Lockheed Martin, the U.S. Air Force, the F-35 Joint Program Office, NASA, and the Defense Safety Oversight Council.
David’s list of U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps non-transport variants of the C-130:
ABCCC Combat King Combat King II COMBAT SENT Combat Shadow Combat Solo Combat Spear Combat Talon I Combat Talon II Commando II Commando Solo Compass Call Credible Sport Dragon Spear GHOSTRIDER GUNSHIP ii HARVEST HAWK HC-130H CROWN Fulton PAVE PRONTO PAVE SPECTRE SKIBIRD SPECTRE SPOOKY STINGER II SURPRISE PACKAGE FAT ALBERT
We mark the 50th anniversary of the first flight of the Boeing 747 with a member of that flight test team, now a docent at The Museum of Flight in Seattle. Also, the NTSB Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements, the last commercial flight of the Boeing 727, Airbnb may be doing something with air travel, SFO’s new outdoor observation deck, two Virgin Galactic pilots earn astronaut wings, and the Collier Trophy nominees list is released.
Boeing 747 ceremony, courtesy The Museum of Flight.
Sean Mobley, Docent Services Specialist with The Museum of Flight joins us. Sean also hosts the Museum’s Flight Deck Podcast. In addition, Docent Thomas Gray brings us recollections of the Boeing 747 flight test program and the first flight, fifty years ago.
From 1968 to 1985, Thomas was a member of the Boeing 747 first flight test team. That airplane, the “City of Everett,” resides at The Museum of Flight. Thomas was also the lead instrumentation engineer when RA001 was later used as the flying test bed for the 757/767 engines.
Thomas graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering in 1961. He served in the New Mexico Air National Guard as a Radio Technician for one year where he provided maintenance service on F-100 fighter aircraft radio equipment. After that, he joined the Washington Air National Guard until 1967 as a Radio Technician, providing maintenance service on the mobile teletype and cryptographic equipment.
Thomas was hired by Boeing as the Systems Test Engineer on the Dyna-Soar program. From there he moved over to the Flight Test organization as an Instrumentation Engineer for 24 years. Thomas worked on the 737, 747, 757, 767, the Boeing Hydrofoil Test Craft, and John F. Kennedy’s Air Force One 26000. He also served as the test engineer on the Space Shuttle Carrier aircraft during Space Shuttle Landing tests at Edwards AFB, California. Thomas then worked as a Commercial Sales Support Engineer for three years and worked seven years as a Customer Service Engineer until retiring in 1995.
Courtesy The Museum of Flight.
Boeing 747 First Flight
The first flight took place on February 9, 1969 and we learn that the three initial flights were around Paine Field with a pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer, and F-86 escort. It wasn’t until the fourth flight that the full crew was aboard and the plane was allowed to fly over populated areas.
Thomas helps us understand the mood at Boeing leading up to the B747 first flight, as well as his role as part of the first flight test team. He explains the 747 test Instrumentation, the telemetry system, and the ballast system that moved water between barrels to change the airplane’s center of gravity.
The first flight Boeing 747 is on display at The Museum of Flight in the test configuration. An excellent 3D tour of the plane is available from the Museum. See Aviation Pavilion Virtual Tour for that aircraft tour and others in the collection.
Boeing 747 test aircraft virtual tour. Courtesy The Museum of Flight.
The National Transportation Safety Board (the NTSB) has issued its 2019-2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements. The NTSB would like the FAA to close the gap in safety requirements between commercial airlines and those operating under Part 135. The NTSB argues that all flights should be safe, no matter the purpose of the flight or the type of aircraft. Most Part 135 organizations don’t have a safety management system (SMS), flight data monitoring (FDM), or a controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) avoidance training program.
Home-sharing service Airbnb has hired long-time aviation industry veteran Fred Reid to be the company’s global head of transportation. His task is “building partnerships and services that make travel seamless while delivering the kind of people-to-people hospitality Airbnb is known for around the world.” CEO Brian Chesky says, “I’m not interested in building our own airline or creating just another place on the Internet where you can buy a plane ticket, but there is a tremendous opportunity to improve the transportation experience for everyone.”
A $55 million upgrade at San Francisco International Airport’s International Terminal includes a new, 3,000 square foot roofless observation deck on the Terminal G side. Since the outdoor lounge is behind security, only passengers using Terminal 3 (United) and the International G-side will have access to it. The deck offers a 180+ degree view of the ramp and runways on the north side of the airport.
San Francisco International Airport’s observation deck. Credit: Chris McGinnis | Tim Jue
The two Virgin Galactic test pilots who flew the SpaceShipTwo “VSS Unity” into space on December 13, 2018, were recognized in a ceremony at the Department of Transportation in Washington, DC. Mark “Forger” Stucky and Frederick “CJ” Sturckow were awarded Commercial Astronaut Wings by the FAA on February 7.
The Collier Trophy Selection Committee will meet on April 4, 2019, in Arlington, Virginia, and the recipient will be announced publicly the following day. The formal presentation of the Collier Trophy will take place on June 13, 2019, at a location to be determined.
We talk with an Airbus A350 captain who has a long history flying commercial aircraft. In the news, we consider one-person flight crews, U.S. airlines looking to scale back consumer protection regulations, ADS-B vulnerabilities for military aircraft, and largest ever Piper order for training planes, plans for the Air Force bomber fleet, and Southwest runs out of glycol. We also have a conversation about ATIS with the Chief of the Air Traffic Control Division at Robert Gray Army Airfield.
Malaysia Airlines A350. Photo by H Gousse, courtesy Airbus.
Airbus A350 Captain Bill Palmer.
Bill Palmer is an A350 captain and an instructor pilot/check airman. He has been heavily involved in Airbus training since the early 1990’s, and Bill is the author of Understanding Air France 447 and other publications on Airbus flight control laws. Bill also holds a commercial glider rating and flies his Rolladen-Schneider LS-3 for fun in southern California.
Bill describes the transition to the A350 as like going from DOS to Windows. The aircraft shares some commonality with A380, and Bill describes fly-by-wire and the flight control laws. We also hear about other features of the A350, such as the paperless cockpit implementation and the availability airport runway, taxiway, and gate information to pilot. The plane will calculate landing distance and brake to the correct speed for the selected taxiway. Bill also describes the A350 runway overrun protection and the auto-flight system’s automatic TCAS and wind shear recovery.
Bill started flying at the age of 15, soloed on his 16th birthday and completed his private certificate at 17. He attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and holds a BS in Aeronautical Science. He earned his flight instructor certificate in 1978 and has been instructing almost non-stop since then while holding airplane, instrument, multi-engine, and ground instructor certificates. Besides light aircraft he has also taught on the 727, 757, A320, DC-10, and A330, and written manuals for the DC-10, A330, and B-787 fleets. He has also produced numerous training publications and videos for the various fleets as well.
At the Singapore Airshow, Boeing research and technology vice-president Charles Toups said, “We are studying [one pilot operations], and where you will first see that is probably in cargo transport, so the passenger question is off the table.” Also at the Singapore Air Show, ST Aerospace showed the concept for an unmanned freighter piloted by an artificially intelligent computer. ST Aero was optimistic about an unmanned freighter within the next five years.
In the Wall Street Journal, Scott McCartney reports that last October the U.S. Department of Transportation asked airlines to suggest changes or cuts to regulations. Airlines for America filed 222 pages of comments. United Airlines added 50 pages.
Chinese Fanmei Aviation Technologies has ordered 152 training aircraft from Piper Aircraft. Fanmei is Piper’s dealer in China, and a subsidiary of Sichuan Fan-Mei Education Group Co., which provides aviation education in China. This is reported to be the largest single order for training airplanes in Piper’s history. The seven-year purchase agreement is valued at $74 million and includes 100 Archer TX single-engine trainers, 50 twin-engine Seminoles, one Seneca twin, and one Piper M350.
In its Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request, the Air Force outlined plans for its bomber fleet, which include a plan to update the B-52 Stratofortress fleet, continue modifications to the B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit fleets, while continuing to acquire B-21 Raiders.
Southwest Airlines had to cancel more than 250 flights from Midway Airport after running out of de-icing fluid. One of the glycol tank pumps wasn’t working properly and some of the de-icing fluid could not be accessed.
Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari talks about ATIS (automatic terminal information service) with Mark N. Vick, Chief, Air Traffic Control Division, Directorate of Aviation Operations at Robert Gray Army Airfield, Fort Hood Texas, a military joint-use airport that operates alongside Killeen–Fort Hood Regional Airport.
This time we go without a guest to give more time for listener mail. We cover such topics as long, long takeoff rolls, pilots who seee UFOs, and airbags in A320 seat belts. We have more from a 14 year old listener on his aviation aspirations, cell phones on airplanes, and the Russian Irkut MC-21.
We also deliver our personal “Happy Mother’s Day” message to Hariett, an octogenarian aviator and one of our favorite listeners.
The week’s aviation news:
Rob’s report on the Collier Trophy Event at DCA for the Boeing 787.
Qantas pilots union lose an appeal in the Federal Court against the management decision to ground the airline last year, Federal budget cuts affect Defence procurement programs, including the F35A & P8 – they also bring forward the retirement of the C130H fleet to this year, instead of 2013 – The RAAF confirms a purchase order for 10 Aleania C27J Spartan aircraft in a move worth $A1.4billion, Federal Government announces a 17% hike in departure taxes, raising the cost of leaving Australia to $A55…..and GM for PM?? Could be a theme coming here….
Last year we were contacted by Bill Jones from Kansas City, Missouri to ask if we could help with a flight he planned to take in a small GA aircraft across the North Sea from Holland to the UK. Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out but we managed to get Bill connected to our friend a recent guest Jelle Hieminga who was featured on our VC Tenderness episode and then again on GA in Holland in Episode 169. On Across the Pond this week we hear how Bill got on.