We discuss the erosion of manual piloting skills, pickle fork cracks in the B737NG, the EC review of Boeing’s interest in Embraer, a helicopter crash “close to home,” an “MCAS-like” system on the KC-46 tanker, tracking stealth fighters with passive radar, Delta’s proposed stake in LATAM, and Delta’s rules change for emotional support animals.
Some Boeing 737NGs are exhibiting pickle fork cracks. These are structures that connect the wing to the fuselage and transmit the load to the fuselage as the wings flex. The pickle forks are reportedly meant to last a lifetime so the cracking is of some concern.
More than $2.8 million was contributed by more than 5,000 individual donors to the 2019 AOPA You Can Fly Challenge. The 2019 challenge exceeded expectations and the Ray Foundation voted to increase its matching grant to $2.5 million. In total, more than $5.3 million in new funding was provided for You Can Fly.
Flightglobal reports that the FAA has concerns about pilots who cannot handle the aircraft when the automation fails. Some pilots have inadequate manual flying skills. The FAA believes ICAO standards and guidance need to evolve as automation continues to expand. Daily bulletins are available from ICAO’s 40th Assembly in Montreal September 24 through October 4, 2019.
German radar-maker Hensoldt claims to have tracked two F-35s for 150 kilometers following the 2018 Berlin Air Show in Germany in 2018. The TwInvis system passive radar system uses existing electromagnetic energy from radio and TV broadcast transmitters and evaluates their echoes when reflected by an object.
LATAM Airlines, formerly LAN Airlines S.A. and Lan Chile, is a OneWorld Alliance member. Delta Air Lines is planning to take a 20% stake in the airline for $1.9 billion says they’ll spend $350 million to expand the partnership. LATAM will be exiting the OneWorld alliance. No word if they will join SkyTeam led by Delta.
Delta lifted its ban on emotional support animals on flights longer than eight hours. This puts them back in compliance with the Department of Transportation. However, Delta continues to ban pit bulls, even though breed bans are not allowed.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
A conversation about the Civil Air Patrol, noncommissioned officers in aviation, and the V-22 Osprey. Also, the last Doolittle Raider passes, the race to recover a Japanese F-35A, Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and light attack aircraft, the Stratolaunch first flight, the AOA sensor on Ethiopian 302, an airliner hits a sign, a positive airline story of the week, reduced seat recline, and an order for 60 all-electric airplanes.
Armando Carrion just retired after a 21-year career in the Air Force, most recently as enlisted aircrew on the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey. He specialized in flying light tactical fixed wing, and special missions. Armando has volunteered with the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) for 25 years and commanded two different squadrons.
In our conversation about the Civil Air Patrol, we learn that CAP program cadets come from all walks of life since they are not organized around a particular school or community. Established in 1941, CAP has over 60,000 members, including pilots, aircrew, and emergency responders. Besides service to the community, CAP offers pilots the opportunity to fly different aircraft types and build hours.
Armando also explains the importance of enlisted aircrew to the Air Force and the variety of positions that are available. Recently, the demand has grown for enlisted pilots to operate remotely piloted aircraft.
We also get some insights into the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor, and what lies ahead for Armando in civilian aviation.
Armando has crewed 26 different aircraft ranging from heavy cargo and airlift airframes to small general aviation aircraft employed in unique roles. He has volunteered for over 25 years serving as a search and rescue, disaster relief, and counter-drug mission pilot. Armando currently holds an FAA Commercial Certificate with Instrument and multiple ratings and endorsements. He’s a Reno Air Race team member and co-hosts the Plane Talking UK podcast.
The last of the Doolittle Raiders, Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” Cole, has died at age 103. The Doolittle Raiders flew a daring attack on Japan during World War II, less than five months after Pearl Harbor. Cole was Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot, who passed in 1993. The Raiders launched their assault April 18, 1942, flying B-25 bombers from the USS Hornet.
Special Operations Command (SOCOM) Army Gen. Richard Clarke said at a hearing of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities hearing, “Light attack aircraft is a need for our SOCOM, and I think it’s a need for our nation.”
Stratolaunch Systems Corporation successfully completed the first flight of the Stratolaunch, the world’s largest all-composite aircraft. The Stratolaunch flew for 2.5 hours, achieved a maximum speed of 189 miles per hour, and reached altitudes up to 17,000 feet.
Stratolaunch first flight. Photo courtesy Stratolaunch Systems Corporation.
Ethiopian Crash Data Analysis Points To Vane Detachment
Some evidence is suggesting the angle of attack indicator may have broken off the plane during or shortly after takeoff. By Guy Norris in Aviation Daily, behind the paywall.
Airline seats from Layer Design that you control with an app, Boeing-Embraer deals, business jet deliveries, re-engining the B-52 fleet, regional jets and scope clauses, lithium-ion battery ban on commercial flights, another MH360 theory, F117 rumors, and flying with a fake license. Also, an airplane of the week, and two must-see videos.
London-based Layer Design has developed the prototype “Move” airline seats for Airbus. These are intended to improve the experience of Economy Class short- to mid-haul flying. Sensors in the seat and measure seat tension, temperature, pressure, and movement. The Move app can be used to maintain optimal ergonomic comfort.
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) says Cirrus delivered 63 SF50 Vision Jets, 22 in the fourth quarter. Bombardier delivered 60 Challenger 350 jets, the Cessna Citation Latitude had 57 deliveries, the Embraer Phenom 300E light jet saw 53 deliveries, while HondaJet and the Cessna Citation CJ3+ tied at 37 deliveries. Overall, business jet deliveries increased to 703 last year, up from 677 in 2017.
In 2017, U.S. Air Force announced plans to replace the ancient Pratt & Whitney TF33 engines that currently power its B-52 bombers. Rolls-Royce wants to bid on the 650 re-engine contract with its F130 engine. The Air Force hasn’t yet issued an RFP
This is a story about scope clauses, under configuring an airplane and sending a message to the labor union, according to writer Samuel Engel. United plans to seat 50 in the CRJ550, a new variant of the Bombardier CRJ-700 series aircraft that normally seats 70-76. The plan is 10 first-class seats, 20 economy-plus seats, and 20 economy-class seats.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, in coordination with the FAA, issued an Interim Final Rule that prohibits the transport of lithium ion cells or batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft. In addition, lithium ion cells and batteries must be shipped at not more than a 30 percent state of charge aboard cargo-only aircraft. For further information, see the Interim Final Rule as submitted to the Federal Register. You may submit comments to the Rule under Docket Number PHMSA‑2016‑0014 at Regulations.gov.
March 8 marks the 5th anniversary of the loss of MH370. In his book The Hunt for MH370, Journalist Ean Higgins explores a theory that portrays the flight crew as valiantly trying to deal with a cockpit fire.
The author of New York Times Bestseller Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History helps us look at the true story of pioneering women aviators. Also, Air Canada’s near disaster last year, the FAA approves an ultralight VTOL, FAA reauthorization, an F-35B crash, and an American Airlines podcast. Plus, more from Dorkfest 2018, and a visit with the Collings Foundation.
Keith is a former reporter for the Boston Globe and a frequent contributor to National Public Radio. His work has appeared on shows such as All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and This American Life. He has also written for the New York Times Magazine, Politico, and Slate. Follow Keith on Twitter at @keithob.
We look at UPS Airlines, including the fleet, the pilots, the technology, and the processes employed. Also, the Perlan 2 altitude record flight, GA accident rates, an F-35C incident, and pizza for 159 American Airlines passengers. We celebrate the 97th birthday of a WASP, look at the Immortal Red Baron air show act and a new Old Guys and Their Airplanes video. We also have a promo code for tickets to the 2018 Audi Stuart Air Show.
UPS Airlines 747-8F. Courtesy UPS.
Jim Mayer is public relations manager for UPS Airlines. He’s based at the airline’s headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky.
Jim Mayer, UPS Airlines Public Relations Manager.
We talk about the UPS Airlines fleet makeup: the “brown tails” (including the new 747-8F freighters) and the small feeder aircraft vendors. Jim explains the daily cycle at the Worldport® global air hub in Louisville, Kentucky. This is the world’s largest automated package sorting hub, where they experience airplane landings every 70 seconds over about a three hour period each night.
Jim tells us about cockpit technology projects, the hot spare aircraft that stand ready, and the UPS Flight Path program with Ameriflight to help keep new pilots in the pipeline.
UPS is the official logistics provider for Expo 2020 Dubai and we talk about the daily nonstop flight from the Worldport hub to Dubai, UAE. Made possible with the Boeing 747-8F freighter, this route improves time-in-transit from North and South America to Middle East destinations by one business day.
Of course, over the years UPS Airlines has encountered some unique shipments, and Jim tells us about a few of them, as well as recent humanitarian flights to Puerto Rico.
Jim joined UPS in 2003 following a career as an Emmy-award-winning broadcast reporter. As PR manager at UPS Airlines, Jim manages media relations and external communications for one of the world’s largest airlines. He has traveled extensively around the world, helping to tell the UPS story, including coverage of major facility expansions in China and Europe; and unique charter moves such as whale sharks and humanitarian aid flights.
Jim is a Chicago-area native and has a B.A. in Telecommunications from Indiana University in Bloomington.
The Airbus Perlan Mission II pressurized glider has been out riding atmospheric pressure waves, and it’s reached more than 76,000 feet. That’s believed to be the record for subsonic human flight in a winged aircraft. This meant the flight crossed the Armstrong Line, the altitude above which a human’s blood will boil without some kind of protection.
The AOPA Air Safety Institute’s Joseph T. Nall Report [PDF] says that the general aviation overall and fatal accident rates are at a 10-year low. Fatal crashes decreased to 0.84 per 100,000 hours. Accidents with pilot-related causes make up 74 percent of non-commercial, fixed-wing accidents. Accidents related to mechanical and maintenance issues made up about 16 percent of the overall total.
American Airlines Flight 2354 from Los Angeles to Dallas/Fort-Worth experienced extreme thunderstorms and was diverted to Wichita Falls, Texas. The next flight to DFW was the following day. Captain Jeff Raines responded by ordering 40 pizzas from the local Papa John’s store, and even hand carried the pizzas from the delivery car to the waiting passengers.
November 2-4, 2018 in Stuart, Florida you can experience the Treasure Coast’s largest annual event with breathtaking performances including by the United States Marine Corp Harrier, the Air Combat Command F-16 Viper Demonstration Team, the Phillips 66 Aerostars, and others. Of course, there will be many static displays like The Movie Memphis Belle, the C-17 Globemaster III, and the OV1 Mohawk.
At the Stuart Air Show, you can also take advantage of rides offered with special guests, including a Cobra Attack Helicopter and a T-6 Texan. Plan your Audi Stuart Air Show experience now at stuartairshow.com.
Also, starting September 17th, Airplane Geeks has teamed up with the Stuart Air Show for a week of aviation trivia. Each day September 17 – 23rd at 6 pm on their Facebook page, they will be posting an aviation-related trivia question. The person with the most correct answers (and who answers the fastest) will win 4 tickets to their VIP event on November 2nd! That is a $600 value! Learn more about the Stuart Air Show at stuartairshow.com and on Facebook.
We are thrilled to be able to bring our listeners a special ticket offer to the Stuart Air Show. Use promo code “geekspodcast” at checkout to enjoy a special $10 ticket offer through October 31, 2018.
Immortal Red Baron
At the Blue Bonnet Air Show at the Burnet, Texas Municipal Airport, Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari interviewed Stefan Trischuk of the “Immortal Red Baron” air show. This was a different act as it was a staged dogfight with another airshow performer.
Immortal Red Baron
Also at the Blue Bonnet show, Launchpad met Mrs. Jane Doyle, celebrating her 97th birthday. Jane is one of the last WASP.
Artist John Mollison has released another “Old Guys and Their Airplanes” video featuring 2nd Lt. James Kunkle who flew P-38s with the 9th Air Force over Europe during WWII. Jim was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his combat action on Sept. 16, 1944. In this video, Jim describes a terrific dogfight that he experienced in 1944 where he took on 20 or so German fighter planes. OGTA #12 – Split Second – The Jim Kunkle Story.
Listener Hendrik sent in a picture from his wedding to his lovely wife Marielle. If you remember a few weeks back, on their way to Hawaii for their honeymoon, they got a tour of Los Angeles from Brian during their LAX layover. Featured in the picture is a Beluga, Marielle’s favorite plane, carrying some precious cargo: their wedding rings.
We speak with an SR-71 crew member, instructor pilot, Wing Commander, airline pilot, and author. In the news, we look at the Airbus Helicopters H160, an F-35 report from the Government Accountability Office, the grounding of the B-1B fleet, and new airports for Thailand. Also, North American fliers are happier, five must-see TV programs about airplanes, the Texas Aircraft Expo, and listener feedback.
Col. Richard H. Graham in the SR-71 cockpit.
As a 15 year veteran within the SR-71 community, Col. Richard H. Graham is uniquely qualified to tell the Blackbird story. Col. Graham entered the SR-71 strategic reconnaissance program in 1974 and after several years as a crew member, he became an instructor pilot in the SR-71. In 1978 he was selected as the Chief, Standardization/Evaluation Division. In 1980 Col. Graham became the SR-71 Squadron Commander of the 1st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron. Following four years in the Pentagon, Col. Graham was selected to be the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing Commander at Beale AFB in June 1987. He has written five books about the SR-71.
We talk about the models of the 50 Blackbirds that were built and their safety. Nineteen were lost, all but one in the first 6 years. Col. Graham tells us about the SR-71 ejection seat and the aerial refueling procedure that uses liquid nitrogen to prevent fuel tank explosions. We also compare the SR-71 with the U-2, and learn about measuring fuel drips, “unstarts,” and the pilot selection and training processes.
Col. Graham’s books are available on Amazon.com, but also on eBay where he offers autographed copies. Look for eBay seller ID SR-71 pilot 1974-1981.
Prior to entering the SR-71 program, Col Graham flew 210 combat missions in Vietnam in the F-4C/D Phantom as well as the Wild Weasel mission. He was a command pilot with more than 4,600 military flying hours. His military decorations include three Legion of Merit awards, four Distinguished Flying Cross medals, and 19 Air Medals.
After serving 25 years in the Air Force, Col. Graham flew for American Airlines for 13 years, accumulating over 8,000 flying hours. He was initially hired at American Airlines as a Flight Engineer, flying the B-727 and DC-10. After 2 years he moved to the right seat of the MD-80 and his last 3 years Rich few as a captain on the MD-80.
With over 16,000 hours total flying time, you can find Rich flying and teaching at McKinney (Texas) Airport (TKI) for the Texins Flying Club.
The Airbus Helicopters H160 medium duty helicopter is the first of the H generation. Airbus says “the entire design was based on one overriding goal: to create added value for customers in terms of performance, economic competitiveness, safety, and comfort.” The H160 features an advanced “automatic recovery mode” designed to help pilots in difficult situations.
The annual Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the F-35 (published June 5, 2018) has identified 966 open deficiencies. About 20% of them are expected to remain open when the Pentagon is scheduled to begin full-rate production. The GAO is advising the Pentagon hold off until these are addressed.
The entire fleet of B-1B bombers is grounded as a result of an issue with the aircraft’s ejection seats. This follows from the safety investigation after an emergency landing of a B-1B at Midland International Air & Space Port in Midland, Texas on May 1, 2018.
Interviews and observations from the Great British Fly-In at the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum celebrating the 100th anniversary of Great Britain’s Royal Air Force. Also, a review of Li-ion thermal runaway containment products for use on airplanes, Sun ‘n Fun, a deal to resolve the subsidy dispute between some U.S. and Gulf airlines, the F-35 reaches a developmental test flight milestone, Allegiant Air is criticized in a CBS investigation, a standoff missile makes its operational debut, and 787 Dreamliners with the Trent 1000 Package C engines get a reduced ETOPS rating.
The Great British Fly-In Celebrates the Royal Air Force Anniversary. Photo by David Vanderhoof.
Reportedly, discussions are progressing that would resolve the subsidy dispute between some U.S. airlines and those in the Middle East. Emirates and Etihad Airways would make their accounting books available and would assert that they have no current plans to add additional flights to the United States.
The F-35 Joint Program Office says the program “has accomplished the final developmental test flight of the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase of the program.” The program operated for more than 11, conducting more than 9,200 sorties, accumulating over 17,000 flight hours, and executing more than 65,000 test points to verify the design, durability, software, sensors, weapons capability and performance for all three F-35 variants.
During its 60 Minutes television program, CBS presented their findings after a 7-month investigation of Allegiant Air. They call the airline the “most dangerous” airline in the U.S. and found “serious mechanical incidents, including mid-air engine failures, smoke and fumes in the cabin, rapid descents, flight control malfunctions, hydraulic leaks and aborted take-offs.” Allegiant issued a statement calling the report “grossly misleading.”
The United States and its French and British allies launched strikes against Syrian government facilities supporting chemical weapons. Striking the Barzah Research Center in Damascus were 57 Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missiles (TLAM) and 19 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) missiles.
The Great British Fly-In Celebrates the Royal Air Force Anniversary
David attended The Great British Fly-In at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, April 15, 2018. The event was conducted in partnership with Great Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) as part of the 100th-anniversary celebration of the RAF, the oldest air force in the world. The event featured many former RAF and other military aircraft, flown in for one day only.
Dr. Peter Jakab, chief curator of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. [50:50]
Photo by David Vanderhoof.
Thermal Runaway Containment Products
Listener Nick undertook a study of products that are designed to contain the Li-on batteries in personal electronic devices when they experience thermal runaway on aircraft. Nick looked at the available products from:
Join us in celebrating the rich military and aviation history in San Antonio, Texas. This year’s theme is, Your History, Our Legacy: commemorating the U.S. Air Force’s 70th anniversary, Air Education Training Command’s 75th anniversary, Kelly Field’s 100th anniversary and San Antonio’s 300th anniversary.
The gates will open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.
During the rehearsal day Nov. 3, Gold Star families and Wounded Warrior families will have air show access. DoD cardholders are also invited to the rehearsal Nov. 3.
Jeanette Remak and Joe Ventolo Jr. from Phoenix Aviation Research tell the story behind the Lockheed A-12 Blackbird at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in Manhattan. In the news, we look at FAA reauthorization bills and the battle shaping up in Congress, this year’s Paris Air Show, the Catalina Flying Boats’ DC-3 aircraft, the youngest pilot in Australia, and an Israeli court ruling on reseating women in the airplane.
Janet Remak and Joe Ventolo Jr. with the A-12 on the Intrepid.
Jeannette Remak is the owner of Phoenix Aviation Research. She’s a military aviation historian, a writer, author, artist, and photographic engineer. Her books include XB-70 Valkyrie: The Ride to Valhalla and A-12 Blackbird: Declassified.
In the mid-1990s, Jeannette worked as the volunteer Aircraft Historian for the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in Manhattan. She performed research for maintenance and restoration, and worked on the aircraft under her control at the museum, including many U.S. Naval and U.S. Air Force aircraft on loan. Jeannette restored sheet metal, she controlled airframe titanium corrosion, and she appropriated parts and specialized equipment for work on A-12 aircraft.
Working with the US Navy’s Curator office, Jeannette is responsible for the rescue of the Sikorsky RH-53D that is the lone survivor of the failed United States hostage rescue mission in Iran. The CH-53D is now restored and on display at the JFK/ US Navy Seal Training School in North Carolina.
Jeannette has a degree in Commercial Photographic Engineering and obtained her Master’s Degree in Aviation Science in 2000. Jeannette also has a degree in Commercial Photography from the NY Institute of Photography.
Joseph A. Ventolo, Jr. is the former curator of the National Museum of the US Air Force. His career started in November 1959 when Joe joined the 269th Combat Communications Squadron of the Ohio Air National Guard. In 1965, he received a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant as a communications officer. He left the Ohio Air National Guard in 1966 and transferred to the Air Force Reserve where he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant and remained in the Air Force Reserve until 1970.
In 1962, Joe joined the staff of the U.S. Air Force Motion Picture Film Archives at Wright-Patterson AFB as a Motion Picture Archivist. In 1979, he transferred to the U.S. Air Force Museum’s Research Division as the Museum’s Historian. Two years later he became a Curator of Aeronautics. Joe has co-authored articles that appeared in such periodicals as Air Enthusiast, WW I Aero, and Friends Bulletin. In 1993 he was appointed Curator of the U.S. Air Force Museum and named Curator of the United States Air Force. He remained in that position until his retirement in 1995.
Joe is currently a co-owner/consultant with Phoenix Aviation Research. He has co-authored articles in the Atlantic Flyer, and written three aviation books, all with Jeannette Remak.
Their first book, XB-70 Valkyrie: The Ride to Valhalla was published in December 1998. Their second book, A-12 Blackbird: Declassified, was published in December 2000. And a third book, The Archangel and the OXCART: The Lockheed A-12 Blackbirds and the Dawn of Mach III Reconnaissance was published in 2008.
Boeing said it has 240 orders and commitments. Some orders are conversions from earlier orders for other MAX models. The MAX 10 is a stretch of the MAX 9 that seats up to 230 passengers and is designed to compete with the Airbus A321neo.
Airbus launched a new open aviation data platform called Skywise to support digital transformation of the industry. The Skywise aviation data platform was developed in collaboration with Palantir Technologies. See the video: Airbus launches new open aviation data platform, Skywise.
Test pilot Billie Flynn told Aviation Week, “After 10 years since first flight, with our first opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities and the maneuverability of the F-35, we are going to crush years of misinformation about what this aircraft is capable of doing,”
Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa. introduced a proposed FAA reauthorization bill in the House. The Bill prohibits passengers from being removed from a flight after they’ve boarded, privatizes ATC, and requires airlines to post resources for stranded passengers online when the airline is disrupted by a computer outage. It also calls for the faster development of a traffic management system for small drones, faster approval process for commercial drone operators, and a new certification system for small-drone commercial operators.