We speak with a retired USAF General about the challenges involved in providing Ukraine with F-16s.
Brigadier General John “Dragon” Teichert (Ret) is recently retired from the U.S. Air Force. He was the Assistant Deputy Undersecretary of the Air Force, International Affairs, and was responsible for worldwide international engagement on behalf of the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Space Force. He led the services’ $240 billion security cooperation portfolio.
Prior to that, John was the Senior Defense Official and Defense Attaché to Iraq. He has been an F-15E combat pilot, an F-22 test pilot, the commander of Joint Base Andrews, and the commander of Edwards Air Force Base. John has more than 2,000 hours in 38 different aircraft types.
The President of the United States has agreed to allow F-16 fighter jets to be provided to Ukraine. John explains what the F-16 could mean for Ukraine and how it could be used strategically and tactically. We then consider the complexities involved in making it happen: sourcing the F-16s, training pilots and support crew, facilities requirements, and logistics and maintenance support. Also how this ties the West to Ukraine long term.
John has written and spoken extensively on leadership, innovation, technology, national security, security cooperation, cross-cultural relationships, risk management, resilience, and international affairs. He holds engineering degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University, and is the founder and president of Capital Leadership LLC.
A ruling in the Northeast Alliance antitrust suit, American Airlines flight attendants troubled by the “ConnectMe” app, new service and routes from Breeze Airways, Republic Airways to fine pilots who leave early, Cessna Citation Ascend unveiled, and a YouTuber charged in the crash of his plane.
In a May 19, 2023 ruling, the judge in the Northeast Alliance antitrust suit determined that the Alliance “substantially diminishes competition in the domestic market for air travel.” The Department of Justice alleged that by codesharing and collaborating to run complementary route networks through New York and Boston, the Northeast Alliance would “eliminate significant competition between American and JetBlue that has led to lower fares and higher quality service for consumers traveling to and from those airports.” Unless the ruling is appealed, the Alliance must end within 30 days.
In the first months of 2020, executives at American Airlines and JetBlue negotiated and signed a first-of-its-kind alliance, in which the two carriers essentially agreed to operate as one airline for most of their flights in and out of New York City and Boston.
This case turns on what “competition” means. To the defendants, competition is enhanced if they join forces to unseat a powerful rival. The Sherman Act, however, has a different focus. Federal antitrust law is not concerned with making individual competitors larger or more powerful. It aims to preserve the free functioning of markets and foster participation by a diverse array of competitors. Those principles are generally undermined, rather than promoted, by agreements among horizontal competitors to dispense with competition and cooperate instead. That is precisely what happened here.
In May 2022, American Airlines announced they were partnering with Microsoft “to use technology to create better, more connected experiences for customers and American Airlines team members… American will use Microsoft Azure as its preferred cloud platform for its airline applications and key workloads.”
Now the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) representing American Airlines flight attendants takes issue with the Airline’s “ConnectMe” app. The mandatory internal messaging app works within Microsoft Teams and allows flight attendants to communicate with gate agents, pilots, and engineers during pre-boarding and boarding.
The union says they didn’t have any input into the use of ConnectMe, interruptions through the app are a distraction, and there is a “constant barrage of texts [which] prioritizes another department’s objectives over safety which should be first and foremost.”
The fifth-generation Citation 560XL arrives in 2025 at a price of $16.7 million. Changes include a new and larger flight deck and cabin windows, Pratt & Whitney Canada PW545D engines, and interior improvements. The APU now is approved for unattended operation and the cockpit incorporates the latest version of the Garmin G5000 integrated flight deck, as well as Garmin’s 3D exocentric view airport diagrams on PFDs, including runway and taxiway signs, obstacle symbols, and building images.
It’s a felony charge for the YouTuber who deliberately abandoned his plane in 2021 and recorded the event while he parachuted out, in an effort to get views.
AeroXplorer (previously TheExplorerBlog) is an aviation photography and news source that provides industry news and an airframe photography database with more than 30,000 photos. They have a map showing many airports. Click on one and see spotting photos from that airport.
Brian Shul, our guest from Episode 375 (2015) died on May 20, 2023. He was an Air Force fighter pilot, flew A-7D, flew A-10, taught at the Air Force’s TopGun school in the F-5B, and became an SR-71 spy plane pilot.
A Michigan technology activation manager explains grants made to companies developing air mobility solutions at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. We also look at the NTSB preliminary report on the fatal Wings Over Dallas airshow collision, retiring the F-22 Raptor, a Boeing 777X engine issue, the Delta pilot’s “me too” contract clause, and an F-16 destroyed by a pilot.
Charlie Tyson is the Technology Activation Manager at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), in the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification. The MEDC is a public-private partnership between the state and local communities that seeks to accelerate economic development opportunities in the mobility space. Charlie talks to us about grants for air mobility solutions and an air mobility corridor.
Spotter: Developing innovative sensor technology to help travelers identify open parking spots.
Michigan-Ontario Air Mobility Corridor
The aerial mobility corridor study will test the feasibility of commercial drones and other aerial systems, including cross-border between Michigan and Ontario. The study is exploring whether small drones can be flown beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) and be used in operations like just-in-time delivery, medical transport, or other small-scale deployments of UAS. The information gathered from this feasibility study will be used to further decision-making in preparing for the future of advanced air mobility in North America.
A newly formed partnership with Airspace Link, a Detroit-based drone technology start-up, and their partners (including Thales) will develop a feasibility analysis as a first step to establishing the infrastructure required to support a range of commercial and public advanced air mobility use cases.
The Airspace Link team will provide an analysis of existing airspace, air traffic infrastructure, and ground infrastructure required to ensure the operational safety of commercial drone skyways.
Another key partner will be the Michigan Central mobility innovation district in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit. Their collaboration with key stakeholders from the state and city will help advance this research and innovation to a broader idea of autonomy that goes beyond vehicles on the road, but also the water or sky.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a preliminary report [PDF, Accident Number: CEN23MA034] on the November 12, 2022 midair collision between a B-17G and a P-63F during the Wings Over Dallas airshow. According to the NTSB report, the fighter planes were told to fly ahead of the bombers, but there were no altitude deconfliction briefings. The NTSB is looking into the sequence of maneuvers that led to the crash and if air shows normally have altitude deconfliction plans.
The unspecified issue was discovered during a borescope inspection of a high-time GE9X flight test engine. Apparently, there was a temperature alert. GE Aerospace says, “We are reviewing a technical issue that occurred during GE9X post-certification engineering testing, and we are closely coordinating with Boeing on our findings to support their return to flight testing.”
The tentative labor agreement with Delta pilots includes a “me too” clause. This benchmarks the Delta pilot’s contract against American Airlines and United Airlines and guarantees at least one percent higher wages than American and United pay their pilots. If the Delta contract is approved, the pilots would get an immediate 18 percent pay rise, as well as a one-time payment equal to 22 percent of their earnings between 2020 and 2022. Then Delta pilots would receive a 5 percent pay rise after the first year of the contract, followed by 4 percent pay raises in the two years thereafter. Delta Allied Pilots Union (ALPA) members must still vote in favor of the proposed contract.
In March 2022, an Oklahoma Air National Guard F-16C crashed while on a two-jet homeland defense “aerospace control alert” training mission. A GA plane was used as a practice aircraft however neither the GA plane nor air traffic control was notified about the attempted interception. One of the F-16 pilots experienced a “shudder” after selecting the wrong switch and ejected. According to the investigation, “Flight simulations confirmed … the [aircraft] was still in a flyable state prior to ejection. A noticeable shudder and movement of the aircraft [was] indicative of the flight controls responding properly. … The aircraft was not out of control and could have been recovered.”
We examine aircraft line maintenance with a successful family-owned business. Also, two engine failures on commercial flights, testing single pilot aircraft with an eye toward future autonomous planes, a possible all new design for an F-16 replacement, and a mid-air wedding.
FEAM Maintenance/Engineering provides aircraft line maintenance engineering services for commercial aircraft operators through a wide network of line stations. They hold approvals for all current and next-generation aircraft, including B787 and A350 aircraft.
Fred Murphy is the founder and president of FEAM, the company that started in 1992 as Fred & Everett’s Aircraft Maintenance. Fred had a vision and he saw a niche for a 3rd party maintenance provider that could deliver high-quality maintenance at a reasonable cost. Now 29 years later FEAM has grown from zero to nearly $100 million in revenue projected for 2020.
Prior to joining FEAM, Fred held various positions in maintenance/engineering departments at American Airlines, US Airways, FedEx and Trans World Airlines. Fred served in the US Air Force as a noncommissioned officer and holds an Associate Degree for Aircraft Maintenance Management. Fred also holds a Federal Aviation Administration airframe and powerplant license; Federal Communications Commission restricted radio operators license and a Federal Aviation Administration private pilot/ instrument rating.
Cam Murphy is the managing director of FEAM and is the second generation in his family business. Cam grew up in the business and his experiences include positions in almost every department, from janitorial services, stockroom clerk, to shadowing technicians on the flight line, and various management positions.
Cam joined the leadership ranks in 2010 with the vision of scaling the business. He and the team succeeded at that and what was once just two guys and a truck now employs about 1,100 technicians at 30 international airports. FEAM has maintenance certifications in the US as well as international certifications that include Korea, Singapore, Europe, Australia, Japan, and Bermuda.
Cam has an MBA in Aerospace and Defense, with a green belt certification for Lean Maintenance Repair and Overhaul from the University of Tennessee’s College of Business and Administration In 2017 Cam was awarded the Forbes 30 under 30 award, which recognizes 600 of the brightest young entrepreneurs, innovators and game changers in the US in 20 different industries.
United Flight 328, a Boeing 777-200, experienced an engine failure shortly after taking off from Denver International Airport. Debris fell along the aircraft’s flight path. The plane returned to Denver. There were no injuries. United Airlines announced they will be grounding 24 Boeing 777 aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000 series engines, Japan’s Transport Ministry instructed Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways to ground the Boeing 777s in their fleet. The FAA issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive that would require immediate or stepped-up inspections of Boeing 777 airplanes equipped with these engines. Boeing recommends suspending operations of the 69 in-service and 59 in-storage 777s powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines until the FAA identifies the appropriate inspection protocol.
A Boeing 747-400 freighter taking off from Maastricht lost parts from one of its four engines. Two people were slightly injured, one went to the hospital. It appears to be a Longtail Aviation 747-400 converted freighter. The aircraft was originally delivered in 1991 to Singapore Airlines.
An old ATR 42-300 turboprop owned by FedEx (N912FX) is undergoing trial flights around the Waterbury-Oxford airport in Connecticut. Autonomous and single-pilot technology for helicopters and fixed wing aircraft is being tested.
Some in the USAF are thinking about an F-16 replacement that could be an all-new fighter. If it goes forward, this would be a new “four-and-a-half-gen or fifth-gen-minus” fighter. The study would hopefully inform the Air Force’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget request.
The first mid-air wedding hosted by Virgin Australia took place on a flight from Melbourne to Sydney. The first kiss didn’t occur until after the 737 arrived at Sydney since the couple wore masks due to Covid protocols. “After five years of dating we wanted to elope, and thanks to Virgin Australia, we’ve done just that.” Passengers received a buttermilk biscuit wedding favour in the shape of a heart.
The AeroEducate youth aviation initiative from the EAA, pandemic effects on airline pilot employment and proficiency, FedEx plan to temporarily relocate Hong Kong-based crew, a 5G program and its effects on satellite-based navigation, Norwegian Air Shuttle plans a different strategy, conformal fuel tanks on F-18 Super Hornets, the first contractor-owned F-16 aggressors.
Ron introduces us to AeroEducate, the new youth aviation initiative from the EAA for young people from 5 to 18 years old. The AeroEducate initiative encourages youngsters to explore aviation and possible careers in aviation. It’s an interactive, educational, and engaging experience that will officially begin later this year. Designed for both individual and classroom settings, AeroEducate was developed with support from groups such as United Airlines’ Aviate program and North Carolina State University’s school of education.
We also talk with Ron about Airventure Oshkosh and the EAA Aviation Museum, including some of the impressive exhibits and artifacts.
Prior to joining the EAA staff, Ron spent time with both the Milwaukee and Appleton Police Departments as a Patrol Officer and then as a Senior Sergeant. Since 2016 he has spent time as an Associate Professor at Marian University. Prior to that he was a technical college instructor at institutions like Fox Valley Technical College, North Central Technical College and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.
Ron earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Mount Senario College. He also holds a Master of Science Degree in Organizational Leadership and Quality from Marian University and an Educational Doctorate in Leadership, for the Advancement of Learning and Service from Cardinal Stritch University.
Pilot recruitment firm GOOSE and FlightGlobal conducted a survey [PDF] to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting pilots. Almost half of all pilots are either looking for work or furloughed. Of those who are looking, GOOSE says, 80% said that they’d accept a cut in pay for a new job. Pilot Survey 2021 had input from 2,598 pilots from all over the world. Survey topics include pilot retention, pilot job security, employee engagement, pilot referral, stress, mental health and well-being, and the future of aviation.
A number of errors and mishaps are being blamed by pilots on the pandemic and recorded in the NASA ASRS (Aviation Safety Reporting System). AOPA’s Richard G. McSpadden Jr., senior vice president at the Air Safety Institute said, “The key to flying safely is frequency. You are not as sharp if you haven’t flown for a while.”
Hong Kong, the world’s busiest air cargo hub, plans to require a 14-day quarantine for aircrews. FedEx Express is concerned and the company says they will temporarily relocate Hong Kong-based pilots and their families to San Francisco. Other passenger and cargo airlines might be forced to reconsider their flights to and from Hong Kong.
Some aviation groups sent a request to the FCC asking it to reconsider its approval for Ligado Networks’ terrestrial 5G program. The groups are concerned about possible GPS interference. However, the FCC denied the “request to stay its unanimous decision,” allowing the Ligado Networks’ terrestrial 5G program to continue. Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari describes the issue.
Norwegian Air Shuttle’s Board of Directors announced the airline will exit the low-cost long-haul market and focus on short haul routes within Norway and to “key European destinations.” Under the plan, 2,160 pilots and crew working at subsidiaries in the UK, U.S., Italy, Spain, and France will lose their jobs. Approximately half of that number are at Norwegian’s London Gatwick base.
In testing, the Navy identified unspecified “technical, structural, and sustainment” problems in a “carrier environment.” The Drive speculates that since “there is a specific link between [conformal fuel tanks (or CFT)] and the operation of CFT-equipped jets from its aircraft carriers, [that] could suggest the problems have to do, at least in part, with how the upgraded aircraft handle the stresses of catapult launches and arrested recoveries.”
The article continues, “Another possibility might be that the tanks have been found to block access to key sections of the aircraft when they are installed, requiring their removal to perform certain routine maintenance and other tasks, adding costly time and effort to those processes.”
Private contractor Top Aces provides red air adversary support and will now be the first to acquire fourth-generation fighters, starting with four ex-Israeli Air Force F-16s. These jets have combat experience from the 1980s. Three of them shot down Syrian MiGs during the conflict in Lebanon, and one of them participated in the bombing raid on Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor. The four F16s were transported from Ben Gurion Airport to Phoenix, Arizona on a Ukrainian-registered An-124 cargo aircraft.
The tug is the homebuilt, not the Focke Wulf. Launchpad Marzari explains how he and a friend combined some decidedly non-aviation items into a functional tug.
A retired U.S. Air Force colonel tells the “leave no one behind” story of a pilot who ejected over the Gulf of Tonkin. In the news, Boeing could consolidate 787 assembly lines, ski jump launch trials for the F/A-18 Super Hornet, a live air-to-air missile is found at Lakeland Airport, a man is arrested after driving under a taxiing airplane, a virtual airline that can help with your air travel withdrawal, and AI bests a human F-16 pilot in simulated dogfights.
Eileen Bjorkman is an author who tells veteran’s stories, a speaker, and a retired U.S. Air Force colonel with 700+ hours of flying time as a flight test engineer in 25 different types of military aircraft, primarily the F-4, F-16, C-130, and C-141. As a civilian pilot, she holds an Airline Transport Pilot rating and is a Certificated Flight Instructor with more than 2,000 hours of flying time. She owns an aerobatic airplane, a Decathlon.
Eileen has just published her book Unforgotten in the Gulf of Tonkin: A Story of the U.S. Military’s Commitment to Leave No One Behind, available on Amazonand from University of Nebraska Press/Potomac Books where for a limited time you can use code 6AF20 to get a 40% discount on the book. Outside North America, call Combined Academic Publishers in the UK at +44(0)1423 526350 and use discount code CS40UNP.
The book tells the story of U.S. Navy pilot Willie Sharp who ejected from his F-8 fighter after being hit on November 18, 1965, over a target in North Vietnam. With a cloud layer beneath him, he did not know if he was over land or over the Gulf of Tonkin. As he ejected, both navy and air force aircraft were already heading toward him to help.
In addition to her books, Eileen has had articles published in Air & Space/Smithsonian, Aviation History, Portland, Equinox: Poetry and Prose, Sport Aviation, the Everett Daily Herald, and many technical journals. She has both MS and BS degrees in Aeronautical Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in Ohio, and a BS in Computer Science from the University of Washington in Seattle. She also has a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from The George Washington University in Washington, DC.
Visit Eileen’s web page at EileenBjorkman.com for more about her books, publications, and her blog.
Boeing has two 787 Dreamliner assembly lines – one in Everett, Washington, and one in South Carolina. Boeing is expected to decide soon if those lines will be consolidated at a single site. The speculation is that If the company eliminates one facility, it will be Everett, impacting some 30,000 employees.
Boeing is competing the F/A-18 Super Hornet for an Indian Navy contract. Since the Indian Navy only has aircraft carriers with ski jumps, Boeing has been demonstrating the aircraft off a ground-based ski jump at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland.
The live but unarmed air-to-air missile is a French S-530. It was found at Florida’s Lakeland Linder International Airport (LAL) in a shipment delivered to Draken International. That defense contractor operates a fleet of about 150 tactical ex-military fighter jets. Draken provides contract air services to locations in the U.S. and internationally.
A family of four in their sedan drove off a local road and crashed through gates at the north side of Portland International Airport. The 24-year-old driver was stopped and said he had no option because he was being chased by several trucks. But then the man returned to his car and drove off with one of his children, right underneath an aircraft that was taxiing to the runway, which stopped to let the vehicle pass. The man then stopped the vehicle near the gates and was detained and charged him with three felonies.
Under DARPA’s AlphaDogfight competition, an artificial intelligence program developed by Heron Systems was pitted against a seasoned Air Force F-16 pilot in a simulated dogfight. Heron’s AI achieved five straight wins.
Japanese company First Airlines offers an option for those who just need to take a first-class flight: virtual reality flight experiences. You get a two-hour experience, a first-class “lounge” with departure screens, a first-class Airbus seat, a four-course “in-flight” meal, TV screens for windows, and flight attendants carrying out safety protocols.
We look at the Boeing 737 MAX NPRM for return to service, Phillips 66 investment in sustainable aviation fuel, JetBlue carbon neutrality on domestic flights, this year’s Collier Trophy winner, American Airlines plans to eliminate some smaller destinations, and the F-16 fighter jet sale to Taiwan.
The FAA proposes to supersede Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2018-23-51, which applies to all The Boeing Company Model 737-8 and 737-9 (737 MAX) airplanes. Since AD 2018-23-51 was issued, the agency has determined that final corrective action is necessary to address the unsafe condition. This proposed AD would require installing new flight control computer (FCC) software, revising the existing Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) to incorporate new and revised flightcrew procedures, installing new MAX display system (MDS) software, changing the horizontal stabilizer trim wire routing installations, completing an angle of attack sensor system test, and performing an operational readiness flight.
This report will provide a detailed technical account of the lessons learned since the two fatal accidents involving the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, as well as the actions by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ensure the airplane’s safe return to service. As the State of Design agent, the FAA is providing this report to all States of Registry and to the general public to assist in their understanding of how the agency identified and is addressing the safety issues affecting the 737 MAX.
The company announced its San Francisco Refinery in Rodeo, California will be reconfigured to produce 680 million gallons annually of sustainable diesel, gasoline, and jet fuels using cooking oil, fats, greases, and soybean oils. If approved, the production of sustainable fuels could start in early 2024.
JetBlue previously announced a commitment to go carbon neutral on all domestic flights. The airline says it has achieved that goal and carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) from jet fuel for all domestic JetBlue-operated flights are now offset. The airline is also investing in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and flights from San Francisco International Airport are fueled with SAF. JetBlue had already offset more than 2.6 billion pounds of CO2 emissions in partnership with CarbonFund.org Foundation.
The United States Department of the Air Force-Boeing X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle team has won the 2019 Robert J. Collier Trophy. The National Aeronautic Association selection committee said the team was chosen for “… developing and employing the world’s only reusable, autonomous spaceplane, which logged more than 2,865 days in orbit across five missions, changing access to space and serving as the nation’s workhorse in space experimentation and technology.”
Under the terms of a $25 billion federal aid package, airlines must maintain minimum levels of service through September 30, 2020. American Airlines says they’ll discontinue flights to some as yet unidentified small and medium-sized cities. The airline may not wait until October 1, 2020, to drop the destinations from the fall schedules. There is congressional support for an additional federal payment that would sustain the flights, but the necessary legislation hasn’t come together yet.
Taiwan signed an agreement to purchase 66 F-16 jets, to be completed by 2026. The planned sale was announced last August and at that time a spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry said “U.S. arms sales to Taiwan severely violate the one-China principle.”
On Wednesday, September 2, 2020, General McGee will be interviewed live as part of the Old Guys and Their Airplanes “Debrief” series.
General McGee served in WWII, The Korean War, and the Vietnam War, accumulating an astounding 409 combat missions. His civilian service is marked by extensive honors including the nation’s highest civilian award, The Congressional Gold Medal. Today, at age 100, he remains an active role model to youth, promoting his mantra of personal success, “Perceive, Prepare, Perform and Persevere.”
The live interview is free to the public with special emphasis on encouraging teachers and group leaders to tune-in. To this point, the 2 September interview with General McGee will be conducted during the ‘school time’ – 9 am Pacific, 10 am Mountain, 11 am Central and Noon Eastern.
From the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington: the CEO of the museum, the curator for space history, and the director of collections. In the news, maybe one pilot for the Boeing NMA, airline deals in Canada, Michael O’Leary sees more European airline failures, a cryogenic hydrogen fuel cell, an app for getting bumped, United promotes women artists, U.S. fighters get special paint jobs, and an Air Force aggressor squadron with F-35A’s.
The Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Max Flight.
This episode, we have interviews from the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington. We spoke with Matt Hayes, the CEO and president; Geoff Nunn, exhibit developer/adjunct curator for space history; and Amy Heidrick, Director of Collections.
Multinational investment bank and financial services company Jefferies asked airline and leasing company executives what they wanted in Boeing’s New Midsize Airplane (NMA). There seems to be interest in a single onboard pilot, with a second ground-based pilot serving multiple aircraft.
Toronto-based Onex has offered $31 a share for WestJet. The deal was approved by the Canadian airline’s board of directors. Onex owns Spirit Aerosystems, which manufactures fuselages and wings for Boeing in Wichita and Kansas City. Also, Air Canada is in talks to buy leisure-market carrier Air Transat for $520 million.
The University of Illinois Center for Cryogenic High-Efficiency Electrical Technologies for Aircraft (CHEETA) has a concept for a cryogenic hydrogen fuel cell system to power all-electric aircraft. The project is a consortium with Air Force Research Laboratory, Boeing Research and Technology, General Electric Global Research, Ohio State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Arkansas, the University of Dayton Research Institute, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
American, Delta, and United already let you volunteer for the bump list through their apps. But now American is the first to award compensation through their app. You can also pick a replacement flight.
United says 51% of today’s artists are women, but not even 13% of the art on display in museums is by woman artists. So United created the “Her Art Here” contest for women artists. Two Boeing 757 aircraft will be painted with the designs of the winning artists.
The F-16C of the 64th Aggressor Squadron based at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas rolled out the new paint scheme. The design came from a crowdsourced competition at the Facebook page of 57th Wing Commander Brigadier General Robert Novotny.
The 65th Aggressor Squadron is being reactivated and they wanted improved training for fifth-generation fighter tactics development and close-air support. So nine early non-combat capable F-35A aircraft are moving from Eglin AFB, Florida, to the squadron.
United Airlines is expanding the Raptor Relocation Network to SFO. United and Audubon International trap raptors that live near the airport (primarily barn owls), and resettle them at suitable golf course habitats.
Interviews from the 2019 Planes of Fame Air Show and also with Commemorative Air Force support crew. In the news, we look at the AOA Disagree alert on the 737 Max, military pilot training with virtual reality, Airbus A380s being parted out, and the pilot of the fatal Planes of Fame Northrop N9MB Flying Wing crash has been identified.
The 2019 Planes of Fame Air Show at Chino Airport was dedicated to the memory of David Vopat, the Planes of Fame Air Museum pilot who was tragically killed in the crash of a Northrop Flying Wing.
The show featured over 50 historic aircraft, including the P-47 Thunderbolt, P-38 Lightning and P-51 Mustangs. Performances included: USAF F-16 Viper Demo and Heritage Flight; WWII Airborne Demo Team Paratroopers; the world’s fastest piston engine aircraft P-51 Mustang Voodoo; Pacific, European, Korean and Vietnam Flight Displays; Gregory ‘Wired’ Colyer T-33 Aerobatics; Eric Tucker Piper Cub demo; and Rob Harrison the Tumbling Bear.
Brian Coleman recorded the following interviews, with start times indicated in brackets.
Longtime listener Matt Haines works the ramp at the show. [29:01]
We now have reports about the failure to detect erroneous AOA readings on 737 Max aircraft. The AOA safety alert was designed to indicate faulty data, but it is only activated if optional equipment is installed. This was not what Boeing originally intended.
In their press release, Boeing Statement on AOA Disagree Alert,Boeing says “Neither the angle of attack indicator nor the AOA Disagree alert are necessary for the safe operation of the airplane. They provide supplemental information only, and have never been considered safety features on commercial jet transport airplanes.” And, “The Boeing design requirements for the 737 MAX included the AOA Disagree alert as a standard, standalone feature…” But “In 2017… engineers at Boeing identified that the 737 MAX display system software did not correctly meet the AOA Disagree alert requirements. The software delivered to Boeing linked the AOA Disagree alert to the AOA indicator, which is an optional feature on the MAX and the NG. Accordingly, the software activated the AOA Disagree alert only if an airline opted for the AOA indicator.”
The U.S. Air Force employs virtual reality for training, but they are looking at expanding the use of the technology. The Air Education and Training Command (AETC) is developing a business case in the hope that the technology will train pilots faster and with a better result.
It’s only been 12 years since entry into service, but two ex-Singapore Airlines A380s are being dismantled for scrap. They were leased for 10 years and returned to the lessor, who couldn’t find any buyers for the aircraft.
Commemorative Air Force
Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari spoke with two CAF air show support crew:
We talk with the founder and CEO of FlightBridge, which provides booking and reservation technology for services related to General Aviation trips. In the news, we look at pilotless airliners, the purchase of roadable airplane maker Terrafugia, the preliminary report from the NTSB on the recent Icon A5 crash, general aviation safety trends, the outlook for the A380, and Fort Worth delivers last F-16 fighter.
FlightBridge founder and CEO Dudley King.
Dudley King is the founder and CEO of FlightBridge Inc. He’s a “repeat entrepreneur” with a historical focus on technology services and consulting.
FlightBridge is a booking and reservation tool for services related to General Aviation trips. As Dudley says “There’s more to a trip than flying a plane and passengers from point A to point B. Rental Cars or limos, catering, crew accommodation, and FBO services are just some of the logistics that must be coordinated and run smoothly for a successful trip.”
FlightBridge supports these efforts with an online booking and operations management tool that is completely tailored to private aviation. FlightBridge was developed with input and feedback from flight department staff, crew members, FBOs, and service providers.
Before founding FlightBridge, Dudley spent over 20 years in custom software development for customers that included several fortune 500 companies and leaders in the aviation industry.
Airbus Chief Technology Officer Paul Eremenko says the company wants to develop autonomous aircraft and technologies that will allow a single pilot to operate commercial jetliners: “We’re pursuing single-pilot operation as a potential option and a lot of the technologies needed to make that happen has also put us on the path towards unpiloted operation.”
The NTSB released a preliminary report on the fatal Icon A5 crash of November 7, 2017. The report details data received from the Icon’s onboard “digital data module that recorded basic GPS, engine, and flight parameters. The airplane was also equipped with a Rockwell Collins engine control unit that recorded engine parameters.” The data seems to confirm eyewitness accounts that the pilot was flying as low as 11 feet above the water.
The NTSB reports that in 2016, the general aviation accident rate dropped below 1 fatal accident per 100,000 flight hours. It’s the first time the rate has been that low in 50 years. Most aviation fatalities (almost 94%) occurred in general aviation accidents. Other forms of transport, like cars, trains, and boats, all showed increases. See the NTSB press release: Highway Deaths Lead National Increase in Transportation Fatalities.
Leading up to the Dubai Air Show, the speculation was that Emirates would order between 36 and 38 A380s, but that didn’t happen. Analyst Richard Aboulafia noted that at least 30 aircraft are needed “for annual recurring breakeven.” Sir Tim Clark said Emirates won’t order any more until Airbus assures the airline that it will keep production open for 10 to 15 years.
Max and Mary Kirby talk with Ron Chapman, president of ASI Group, which provides low-cost in-flight connectivity solutions to the business aviation market, and is now working in the commercial airline space.