The CEO of Iridium Communications tells us about the satellites being placed into orbit and the services they’ll provide to aviation. In the news, airlines react to the laptop ban, a proposed TSA fee increase draws criticism, FAA forecasts slow growth for general aviation, and an engine manufacturer looks to expand. Also, interviews from the Heart of Texas Airshow.
Matt Desch is the CEO of Iridium Communications, a satellite communications company that offers global voice and data coverage through its constellation of low-Earth orbiting (LEO) cross-linked satellites.
Matt explains the company’s next-generation constellation, Iridium NEXT, with deployment expected for completion in 2018. We talk about how the satellites are placed into orbit with SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets, and what will happen to the old constellation being replaced.
Matt describes the capabilities of Iridium NEXT and the implications for aviation. That includes the Aireon service, a hosted payload that will listen for ADS-B signals and relay them in real time to air navigation service providers.
A long time telecom/technology executive, Matt started his career at Bell Laboratories, and was an early pioneer in the cellular phone business. He was involved with a number of high tech companies over the years prior to becoming CEO at Iridium.
The Jordanian Airline Making Money Off the Laptop Ban and Fly Lemonade: Turning Electronics Ban Into a Sweet Brand Opportunity
Affected airlines have been quick to react to the PED ban. Royal Jordanian has continued it’s marketing campaign that pokes fun at the U.S. presidential election and recent government policies. Emirates started a service where you hand over your banned devices at the gate, which they package and place in the cargo hold. You get to work right up to boarding time. Etihad has a Make Flying Great Again video that illustrates the features of their IFE system. They also tout their seats that fully recline for sleeping, and their flying nanny to help keep children entertained.
The Trump administration proposes to increase the TSA fee that passengers pay. But the U.S. airline trade group Airlines for America says that each year, about $1.3 billion of the fees collected do not go to fund aviation security. Instead, they are allocated to overall deficit reduction.
In its 20-year forecast, the FAA estimated slow growth for general aviation. The agency sees a decline of 17,500 fixed-wing piston aircraft, offsetting a small annual increase in turbine aircraft and other segments, with a net annual growth rate of 0.1 percent.
The number of small commercial drones in the domestic UAS fleet is expected to grow from 42,000 at the end of last year to 442,000 by the end of 2021. FAA projects commercial U.S. passenger growth of 1.9 percent a year over the next two decades.
Continental Motors plans to break ground this year on a new $70 million manufacturing center and corporate headquarters in Mobile, Alabama. CEO Rhett Ross says, “We see that different power systems are going to be necessary. You’ll see much more electrified aircraft. This increases our flexibility for new designs.”
Airplane Geeks Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari brings us interviews from the Heart of Texas Airshow, held March 18-19, 2017 Waco, Texas / TSTC Airport.
- “Laser Dave” McConkey is a flight engineer for the B-17G operated by the Gulf Coast Wing unit of the Commemorative Air Force.
- Nick “Bearshark” Green from the F-18 demonstration team.
- Greg Howell, flying a Mig17 built in 1960 in Poland.
- Air Refueling Specialist MSG Jerry Cummings from the KC-135 Air Refueling Wing.
- Captain Phillip Fernandez flying the V-22 Osprey
Daher TBM 900 turboprop.
PaxEx Podcast #44 with aircraft interiors and travel expert John Walton on the laptop ban, Zodiac Aerospace seat quality problems on Cathay Pacific A350-900s, and the upcoming Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg April 4-6, 2017.
Fly Like a Girl – Documentary Film – “Fly Like a Girl explores the courageous history of women in aviation. This feature-length documentary reveals the contributions women have made to aviation and brings to light the many women who are doing extraordinary work in aviation and STEM today. Fly Like a Girl also examines why many young girls don’t see themselves in aviation / STEM related fields and how society can begin to change this perception. Fly Like a Girl will inspire girls and women who no longer want to be passengers.”