Tag Archives: F-35

685 Aircraft Management

Our guest is the CEO of aircraft management company PC Aviators, an air race champion, author, speaker, and former aerodynamics professor. In the news, flight cancellations strand thousands of air travelers, Boeing 737 MAX flights are set to resume in Ethiopia and Indonesia, more 5G drama, and adaptive cycle engines for military applications.

Guest

Aircraft management company PC Aviators CEO Pete Zaccagnino.

Pete Zaccagnino is the CEO of PC Aviators, an aircraft management company. He’s also a four-time Air Racing Gold Champion in the Jet/Sport Class, an author, a speaker, a former aerodynamics professor, and an Embry-Riddle graduate. He has flown over 23,000 hours in more than 270 aircraft types and he’s flight-tested over 685 aircraft.

Pete explains how PC Aviators views the aircraft management business as a personal relationship with the customers. That means getting to know the clients and providing services and experiences they value. Sometimes that includes tours all over the world.

PC Aviators manages the acquisition process, helping the customer determine what type of aircraft best suits their mission, deciding between a new plane and one from the used market, and looking at tax considerations. They locate the plane and provide a number of services, including inspection, contract negotiation, where to close, and even color. Aircraft management services continue after the purchase to address staffing, pilots, and maintenance reporting.

Pete comments on industry shifts toward private aircraft transportation and the prices and availability of aircraft. He argues that the perception of aviation has changed in a way that is helping the industry segment grow.

With his extensive success at the Reno Air Races through High Performance Aircraft Racing, we can’t help but ask Pete about the classes of aircraft, the makeup of the team, and the interaction with the public at the event. The 2022 Air Races, officially the STIHL National Championship Air Races, will be held September 14-18 in Reno, Nevada.

Relevant book cover

We also touch on the books Pete has written in The Relevant Series. The first book in the series is Relevant: A Military Thriller Inspired by True Events and the recently released second book is The New Cold War: Defending Democracy From Russia’s Secret Tech Weapon.

Founded in 2008, Park City Aviators is an aircraft management company based in Park City, Utah with locations across the United States. The company is committed to creating a new standard in affordable and professional private jet management.

Pete earned his undergraduate degree in Aeronautical Engineering. He has restored five airplanes and built three others (including a Lancair Super Legacy). Pete has flown over 23,000 hours in more than 270 aircraft types and flight-tested over 685 aircraft.

A former professor of Aerodynamics, Meteorology, and History, Pete has given over 100 training seminars on a variety of topics and has been a guest speaker at aviation peer groups and universities worldwide, including EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.

Pete’s fifteen years of racing at Reno have included four championships, including the 2019 Jet Gold Champion, 2015 Jet Gold Champion, 2013 Jet Gold Champion at 509 mph and the fastest qualifying lap at 529 mph, and 2007 Gold Champion in the Sport Class.

Aviation News

Holiday flight cancellations soar with Covid-19 disruptions and bad weather

Thousands of flights have been canceled during a very busy travel season. On January 1, 2022, FlightAware data showed more than 4,731 flights canceled globally. Thousands more cancellations followed on January 2. Looking at FlightAware data, CNN says airlines canceled more than 14,000 flights in the last 10 days. Bad weather and employees testing positive for Covid are credited with causing the disruptions.

Ethiopia to Resume Boeing 737 Max Flights Three Years after Deadly Crash

Boeing 737 Max: Indonesia lifts ban after 2018 Lion Air crash

Ethiopian Airlines Group says it will resume flying its four Boeing 737 MAX jets starting February 1, 2022. The airline’s Chief Executive Officer said: “We have taken enough time to monitor the design modification work. [With] more than 20 months of [a] rigorous recertification process… we have ensured that our pilots, engineers, aircraft technicians, cabin crew are confident on the safety of the fleet.” Indonesia’s transport ministry said the ban would be lifted effective immediately.

AT&T, Verizon CEOs reject U.S. request for 5G deployment delay

AT&T and Verizon responded negatively to the request by the Transportation Secretary and the FAA administrator to delay the January 5, 2022 5G deployment. The companies characterized the government proposal as “an irresponsible abdication of the operating control required to deploy world-class and globally competitive communications networks.”

F-35s Could Get New Engines As Soon As 2027

The U.S. Airforce is pursuing several “Future Initiatives,” including lifting wing bodies, medium scale propulsion for UAVs, the Megawatt Tactical Aircraft (MWTA) program, and even air wake surfing. This article looks specifically at the Adaptive Engine Transition Program (AETP). While jet engines have two airstreams (one through the core and a bypass airstream around the core), AETP engines are adaptive with three streams. That third stream can be dynamically modulated between the engine’s core and the bypass stream. This results in increased thrust in a combat environment and increased fuel efficiency during cruise. AETP prototypes are being developed by General Electric (XA100) and Pratt & Whitney (XA101).

Video: GE’s XA100 Adaptive Cycle Engine

New Year Wishes

Brian Coleman talks about giving and sharing.

Mentioned

Aviation News Talk #214 San Diego Learjet Crash – Interview with Rob Mark

Maine Instrument Flight sold to Idaho-based company

Late passenger runs onto airfield at Phoenix airport, attempts to stop plane

Video: I Crashed My Plane

Hosts this Episode

Hosts: Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, and Rob Mark. Contributor: Brian Coleman.

683 Boeing 737 MAX

We speak with the author of Flying Blind: The 737 MAX Tragedy and the Fall of Boeing. In the news, 5G concerns from aviation organizations, a new Boeing 787 production chief is named, a bill in Congress to limit airline fees, Air Force aircraft retirements, Finland selects the F-35, and no more astronaut wings for space tourists.

Guest

Peter Robison is an investigative journalist for Bloomberg and Bloomberg Businessweek, and the author of Flying Blind: The 737 MAX Tragedy and the Fall of Boeing

Peter Robison

We look back on the events surrounding the two 737 MAX crashes, including how Boeing responded to the first crash and then the second, and the broad cultural issues at Boeing that affected the quality of the work. Peter describes past Boeing leadership strategies and some of the changes the company has made in areas such as sourcing, location, and the engineering workforce. We also consider the relationship between the FAA and Boeing and how that contributed to the issues with the 737 MAX.

Flying Blind book cover.

In the end, it comes down to the question: “Would we fly on a Boeing 737 MAX?” Listen for our answers.

Peter is a recipient of the Gerald Loeb Award, the Malcolm Forbes Award, and four “Best in Business” awards from the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing. A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, with an honors degree in history from Stanford University, he lives in Seattle, Washington, with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @petermrobison.

Aviation News

5G now means some flights won’t be able to land when pilots can’t see the runway

Verizon and AT&T plan to rollout C-band “5G” cellular ratio coverage. The FAA has concerns this might affect radio altimeters. The FCC and the carriers see no issues, but the carriers moved their December implementation date to January and more recently said they’d reduce the power output for six months at certain towers near airports. The Aerospace Industries Association (and a large group of alphabet aviation organizations) sent a letter to the FCC suggesting that AT&T and Verizon’s proposed power limits don’t go far enough for safety.

Now the FAA has said, “Landings during periods of low visibility could be limited due to concerns that the 5G signal could interfere with the accuracy of an airplane’s radio altimeter, without other mitigations in place.” See also, Aviation Coalition Says Industry Should Expect Significant Delays When 5G is Rolled Out and FreeFlight’s Terrain Series radar altimeters with RF circuitry to mitigate spurious 5G interference.

Boeing Names New Jet-Production Chief as 787’s Woes Slow Rebound

Elizabeth Lund has been named the vice-president and general manager of airplane programs for commercial jetliners. With an engineering background and a 30-year career at Boeing, Ms. Lund brings experience with the 767, 747, and 777 programs.

Markey Aims To Ban ‘Ridiculous’ Airline Fees With Bill

With Holiday Travel Season in Full Swing, Senators Markey and Blumenthal, Reps. Cohen and García Reintroduce Legislation to Stop Sky-High Airline Fees

Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), and Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04) reintroduced the Forbidding Airlines from Imposing Ridiculous (FAIR) Fees Act. If enacted, the legislation would prohibit airlines from charging fees (including bag, seating, cancellation, and change fees) that are not reasonable and proportional to the costs of the services actually provided.

Airlines should not be able to bilk passengers just because they need to check a couple of bags, or charge an extra fee so parents can sit with their kids. It should not cost more to cancel or change an airline reservation than the original cost of the ticket, period. ..we must finally end this price gouging and return fairness to the skies.

Senator Edward J. Markey

The bill would also direct the Department of Transportation to review any other fees imposed by airlines, as well as ensure that children can sit together with their family members on flights at no additional charge.

Congress approves retirement of 160+ Air Force planes – with one notable exception

The US Air Force is asking Congress to retire 42 A-10 Warthogs, but Congress is refusing. The fiscal 2022 National Defense Authorization Act would keep the A-10 but retire seven F-16C/Ds, 48 F-15C/D Eagles, four E-8 JSTARS ground surveillance aircraft, 20 RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 30 drones, 18 KC-135s and 14 KC-10s, and three C-130Hs. This would free up resources to modernize the fleet.

Finland Selects the F-35 Lightning II as Its Next Fighter

Finland Chooses F-35 As Its Next Fighter

Finland will reportedly purchase 64 F-35A fighters, as well as a weapons package, sustainment, and training. The deal is valued at €8.4 billion ($9.5 billion). Flightglobal reports “€4 billion for the aircraft, €755 million for weapons, and €3 billion for equipment, spares, and training over the 2025-2030 period. A further €777 million is allocated for infrastructure improvements.” competing for the win were the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault Aviation Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, and the Saab Gripen E.

FAA: No more commercial astronaut wings

The FAA will no longer award commercial astronaut wings because so many people are now riding into space. Space tourists who fly 50 miles up on an FAA-sanctioned launch will be put on an FAA commercial spaceflight list. NASA astronauts will continue to receive wings.

Recently Spotted Elf

David Vanderhoof, elf.

Hosts this Episode

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

680 F-14 Tomcat

A former F-14 Naval Aviator communicates the military aviation experience through his novels, videos, and writing. In the news, the Rolls-Royce all-electric airplane appears to have set three world records, an F-35B crash, flight attendant bonuses for the holiday travel season, flying under the influence, and an open rotor engine demonstrator program. Plus, an Across the Pond segment.

Guest

Ward Carroll, F-14 Tomcat Naval Aviator

Ward Carroll is a former F-14 Naval Aviator who spent 20 years as an F-14 Radar Intercept Officer. He is the author of the bestselling Punk trilogy about life in an F-14 squadron. Punk’s Fight, Punk’s War, and the new Punk’s Wing are widely considered to be realistic portrayals of naval aviators in the context of a techno-thriller.

In his novels, Ward creates characters that are recognizable as representatives of real people doing real jobs. As an example, through his female character, Ward confronts the issues surrounding the integration of women into the Tomcat community.

Ward’s YouTube channel has grown to be very popular and gets much of his focus these days. He talks, as he says, about “airplanes, music, and writing . . . but mostly airplanes.”

In our aviation news segment, Ward shares the perspectives of a Naval Aviator as we discuss the recent F-35B crash after takeoff from a British aircraft carrier.

Outside the Navy, Ward has extensive experience as a military journalist. He was editor of Military.com and Approach magazine, and writes for the US Naval Institute. Besides his passion for aviation, Ward is a lover of music and plays in the band MiLES FRoM CLEVeR.

Find Ward at his YouTube channel. The Punk’s books are available on Amazon.com and on the U.S. Naval Institute website.

Video: The Real Truth About F-14 Tomcats and the Achille Lauro Hijacking

Mentioned: C.W. Lemoine’s YouTube Channel

Aviation News

Rolls-Royce says its all-electric aircraft ‘is world’s fastest’

In test runs, the Rolls-Royce “Spirit of Innovation” electric airplane has flown 387.4 mph (623 km/h). The company believes they have set three all-electric world records and await verification from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI): top speed over 3 km of 345.4 mph, top speed over 15 km of 330 mph, and time to climb to 3,000 meters of 202 seconds.

Video: Rolls-Royce | Spirit of Innovation – the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft

The ‘Spirit of Innovation’ is part of the ACCEL (Accelerating the Electrification of Flight) project and is based on the Nemesis NXT airframe.

F-35 From The Carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth Has Crashed Into The Sea

The pilot safely ejected from the F-35B (the STOVL version) in the eastern Mediterranean shortly after takeoff from the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. See: Probe after British F-35 fighter crashes in Mediterranean.

Other F-35 crashes:

JetBlue dangles $1,000 attendance bonuses for flight attendants ahead of holiday rush

According to a company memo, JetBlue Airways flight attendants could earn a $1,000 attendance bonus if they don’t call out through early January. Meanwhile, if they meet attendance goals, Southwest Airlines will provide flight attendants and some other operations employees 120,000 points in the airline’s frequent flyer program. American Airlines flight attendants can earn pay bonuses for peak holiday trips as well as for meeting attendance goals through early next year. $1,000 bonuses are available to other staff and regional airline subsidiaries.

A 63-year-old United Airlines pilot was arrested after being found four times over the legal limit. After drinking whiskey at a Glasgow pub during a 2019 layover, the man became fall-over drunk. A concerned member of the public tipped off the airline with a Tweet. The pilot was sentenced to 10 months in jail.

RISE Tech Plan Could Feed CFM Leap-1 Upgrades Through 2020s

GE Aviation and Safran launched the Revolutionary Innovations for Sustainable Engines (RISE)  initiative in 2021. This open-fan demonstrator program anticipates a mid-2030s application. It could also feed technologies to the LEAP-1 turbofan engine. The open rotor design features a second stage of fixed variable pitch stators, a fan-drive gear system, a compact high-pressure core for increased thermodynamic efficiency, waste exhaust heat used to preheat combustion air, and ceramic matrix composites in the hot section.

Across the Pond

Aviation from the European perspective with Pieter Johnson.

Two Vickers Varsity T Mk 1 aircraft – Copyright BAE Systems and Ron Smith

Trusted Traveler Programs

Our Main(e) Man Micah recently wrote a piece for Johnny Jet explaining the five Trusted Traveler Programs available in the USA through Homeland Security, and an announcement about NEXUS appointments:

Hosts this episode: Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, Rob Mark, and our Main(e) Man Micah.

666 Airline Recovery

The North America Air Transport Reporter with Cirium talks about airline recovery, Boeing, Airbus, and electric aviation. In the news, duct tape on a plane, the preliminary NTSB report on Launchpad Marzari’s crash, options for an upgraded F35 engine, an A330 that tried to take off from a taxiway, and the X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) jet. Also, a women in aviation quiz and how to refuel two B737s with one B747.

Guest

Tom Risen is the North America Air Transport Reporter for Cirium, a global aviation data company. He’s based in Washington, DC, and focuses his insights, analyses, and content on airlines and aerospace manufacturers. Of course, the topic of the moment is the airline recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition to reporting on airline business, Tom’s expertise includes the development of supersonic passenger jets and electric aircraft.

We look at the airline recovery, including bookings, variant infection concerns, and vaccination rates for the general public and at the airlines. Also the impact of international travel restrictions, and leisure versus business travel recovery. Tom talks about the airframers and the different trajectories for narrow-body and wide-body jets. He also shares some of his insights into the emerging electric aircraft, eVTOL, and Urban Air Mobility market.

Tom is the co-author of a forthcoming book about government oversight. He was formerly technology and business reporter at U.S. News & World Report, and a staff reporter for Aerospace America. Tom has also written stories for The Atlantic, The New York Times, and Slate.

Aviation News

When passengers are out of control, flight attendants reach for a last resort: Duct tape

Recent examples of passengers subdued with the sticky tape include an unruly woman on an American Airlines flight and a man on a Frontier Airlines flight who allegedly groped and punched flight attendants. More recently, an American Airlines cabin crew member had duct tape during an incident with a young passenger, although restraint cuffs were used instead. In a statement, the  FAA said, “The flight crew is responsible for cabin safety and has latitude on how to handle individual situations.”

Launchpad, What Were You Thinking?

The NTSB preliminary report raises some questions about the fatal crash of Launchpad Marzari’s Focke-Wulf FWP-149D.

The Pentagon is exploring its options for a more efficient and powerful F-35 engine

The planned F-35 Block 4 upgrades include new weapons, computing technologies, and software. But a Pratt & Whitney F135 engine modernization proposal could be applied to all three variants of the F-35. Pratt described an enhanced engine would provide an 11 percent improvement in range, a 10 percent improvement in thrust, and a 50 percent increase in thermal management – important for stealth.

A330 Almost Took Off On a Taxiway at Newark

The crew was cleared for takeoff but they overshot their runway. As they proceeded down the taxiway at 90 knots, a controller noticed, and the takeoff was aborted.

NASA Timelapse Shows X-59 Supersonic Jet Being Built Over Two Years

The NASA video shows the construction of the X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) jet. Lockheed Martin plans nine months of flight tests in 2022, with aircraft delivery to NASA in 2023. The video shows work being done on the aircraft at Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works factory in Palmdale, California between May 2019 and June 2021.

Prerecorded

Our Main(e) Man Micah brings us two stories in this episode. “And Now Verlla” tells us about the loss of a long-time airplane geek. Then Micah tells a lighthearted story that could be called “The Covert Chocolate War” or “The Fight for the American Palate” or “Launchpad’s Last Chocolates.”

Mentioned

The Business Aviation Quiz: Women In Aviation – This quiz from AviationWeek lets you guess these women who made their place in aviation history.

Sky River™ Helicopters at the American Helicopter Museum & Education Center.

Photo by David Vanderhoof

QANTAS uses 747 to deliver extra fuel to Auckland

661 Bambi Buckets for Aerial Firefighting

We learn about the Bambi Buckets carried by helicopters in aerial firefighting operations. In the news, the wreckage of the cargo jet that made a water landing is located, Richard Branson flies into space, the F-35A wins a Swiss competition and Germany buys the P-8A Poseidon, but China isn’t having a lot of success exporting their fighters, thoughts on supersonic transports, unruly passengers and defense training for flight attendants.

Bambi Buckets produced by SEI Industries Ltd.
The Bambi Bucket, courtesy SEI Industries Ltd.

Guest

Sergio Fukamati is the aerial firefighting director at SEI Industries Ltd., maker of Bambi Buckets. SEI Industries is an industrial fabric products manufacturer established in 1978 and best known for its Bambi Bucket Systems used in aerial firefighting operations worldwide. These lightweight, strong, and flexible firefighting buckets were first introduced in 1982 and since then have become a very successful firefighting tool. The Bambi Bucket is now used in over 115 countries by more than 1,000 helicopter operators.

Sergio has over 25 years of international business management experience. He is a professional engineer and a registered project management professional. Sergio has led the Aerial Firefighting Division at SEI Industries Ltd, in Delta, BC, Canada since 2017.

SEI Industries – Pushing the Bambi Bucket Further

Video: Wildfires and Bambi Buckets

Video: CAL FIRE MV-22 Osprey Bambi Bucket Demonstration

Aviation News

Wreckage located of Boeing cargo jet that made emergency landing off Hawaii

Transair Flight 810 has been found on the seafloor at depths between 360 and 420 feet, about two miles off the shore. Parts of the Boeing 737-200 cargo plane were located using a Side Scan Sonar and Remotely Operated Vehicle. The wreckage is too deep for divers to recover the flight data and cockpit voice recorders and plans are being developed to recover the aircraft.

Richard Branson goes to space

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson becomes the first billionaire to travel to space aboard a spacecraft he helped fund. Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity space plane landed safely at Spaceport America. Branson announced a partnership with charity fundraising site Omaze where people can donate to the nonprofit Humanity for Space. The winner gets two seats on a Virgin Galactic commercial flight. See Win Two Seats on One of the FIRST Virgin Galactic Flights to Space.

Lockheed’s F-35 Topples Competition in Swiss Fighter Contest

Switzerland has chosen the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter in a $6.5 billion competition against Eurofighter, Dassault, and Boeing. The Swiss Federal Council said the F-35 offered the highest performance for the lowest price, although it noted that the F-35 did not achieve the best performance in the area of offsets.

Germany signs on for Five Boeing P-8A Poseidon Aircraft

This maritime surveillance aircraft sale is under the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process. The P-8A is used for anti-submarine warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and search-and-rescue operations.

The World Doesn’t Want Beijing’s Fighter Jets

China hopes to become a major exporter of fighter jets but hasn’t found much success. Most countries don’t want to partner with Beijing. Between 2000 and 2020, the United States exported $99.6 billion in military aircraft, Russia exported $61.5 billion, France exported $14.7 billion, while China exported only $7.2 billion worth of military aircraft.

Does Supersonic Flight Have A Future?

This audio report from NPR’s Hear & Now takes a look at supersonic aircraft being developed.

US to require airlines to refund fees on baggage if delayed

The US Department of Transportation plans to propose that airlines would refund baggage fees if they fail to deliver a passenger’s bag within 12 hours of touchdown for US flights, or within 25 hours after an international flight. Also, airlines would have to refund the fees charged for other services if the service was not provided.

TikTok video shows woman on American Airlines plane duct-taped to her seat after she tried to open the door mid-flight

Reportedly, the passenger attacked flight attendants and attempted to open the plane’s front door.

TSA will resume defense training for airline employees

Voluntary classes for airline flight crews were paused in 2020 due to the pandemic. Now the Transportation Security Administration says they will resume in July. The FAA says airlines have reported more than 3,000 incidents involving unruly passengers since January 1, 2021.

Mentioned

Episode 82 – Rainbows and Unicorns

توظيف الذكاء الاصطناعي برسم مستقبل النقل الجوي بأميركا [or David in the press.]

646 Pilot Shop

Our guest is Sporty’s Pilot Shop vice president John Zimmerman. In the news, startup airlines are launching during the pandemic, data on General Aviation shipments, and F-35 software upgrade issues. Also, the recent Blue Bonnet airshow, how to notify the FAA of construction activity, and a hush kit for the Gulfstream.

Guest

John Zimmerman, VP Sporty’s Pilot Shop

John Zimmerman is a pilot and a vice president at Sporty’s Pilot Shop. Before becoming an employee, John learned to fly at a Cincinnati airport and regularly attended Sporty’s famous hot dog cookouts. Today as a vice president, he’s responsible for new product development and marketing. John regularly flies a Citabria, a Pilatus PC-12, and a Robinson R44 helicopter. He is an ATP and also holds ratings for multi-engine, seaplanes, gliders, and helicopters. John is also editor-in-chief of Air Facts and a contributing editor at Flying Magazine.

John tells us the Sporty’s story that started 60 years ago. It’s a company where the employees are pilots who use the products they sell. We look at the challenges of the last twelve months and consider the strength of the demand for flight training. John explains how Sporty’s Pilot Shop has responded to training technology that has changed over the years – from videotapes to streaming media.

We also learn about Sporty’s iPad Pilot News, the monthly email newsletter where you can find tips and tricks for using your favorite apps, stay up to date on the latest iPad news, read detailed reviews of new apps, and learn about new iPad accessories and specials.

Aviation News

How to launch an airline during a global pandemic

At least three airlines are planning to start operations in 2021: Norwegian low-cost startup Flyr, UK startup Flypop, and Breeze Airways in the US. Flyr will focus on the Norwegian family and leisure market with the Boeing 737-800. Flypop will offer low-cost long-haul flights with the Airbus A330. Breeze Airways from airline entrepreneur David Neeleman will target the US leisure travel market with the Airbus A220-300 and some Embraer E190 and E195 aircraft.

Does Reduced Airline Capacity Give General Aviation And Business Jets More Opportunity?

Global business aviation is reported to be “back to 85% of pre-COVID-19 levels” while the U.S. business aviation market is down just 7% and charter flights are up 4%. Former first class passengers are turning to business jets and some travelers are looking at charter memberships and jet cards.

General Aviation Airplane Shipments Fall Off 10 Percent for 2020

In 2020, the overall GA industry saw 9.7 percent fewer shipments. Billings fell 14.8 percent. GAMA’s executive committee chairman, Nicolas Chabbert, said, “I must say that these figures are not representing the level of demand, which stays very high and are moderated by our ability to deliver as a global industry.” Supply chain constraints are limiting shipments, as well as company efforts to fight the pandemic and keep employees safe.

Block 4 Software Issues Could Cause F-35 Capability Delays, Costly Retrofits

The Government Accountability Office issued a 67-page report to Congress, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, DOD Needs to Update Modernization Schedule and Improve Data on Software Development (PDF). The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter is DOD’s most expensive weapon system program. Congress directed the GAO to review the F-35 program which is 3 years into a development effort to modernize the F-35 aircraft’s capabilities. GAO is making three recommendations to DOD: that DOD update its modernization schedule to reflect achievable time frames, identify and implement tools to enable automated data collection on software development performance, and set software quality performance targets. DOD agreed with GAO’s recommendations.

Mentioned

Valerie Insinna, Defense News’ air warfare reporter. On Twitter: @ValerieInsinna.

The Marshalling Detachment of the Commemorative Air Force

Adventure Flying podcast, Flying Over the Swiss Alps in a PA-28 with Launchpad Marzari. 

Obstruction Evaluation / Airport Airspace Analysis (OE/AAA) The FAA website where a project proponent can determine if they need to notify the FAA about a contemplated construction.

What is the Waffle House Index?

Support

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641 AOPA Events for 2021

The AOPA events planned for 2021, Bombardier ending Learjet production, United Airlines investment in eVTOL, VFR charts move to a 56-day production cycle, F-35A engine issues impact the demo team schedule, and a TSA agent saves the day for some confused passengers.

Guest

Chris Eads, AOPA Senior Director, Outreach and Events

Chris Eads is Senior Director, Outreach and Events for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). He’s a private pilot and an AOPA member since 2001. He began working for AOPA in 2013. Chris flies VFR all over the country both for fun and as a part of his role leading AOPA events and regional fly-ins.

We focus on AOPA’s thinking and plans for events late in 2021 and even into 2022. The organization has released plans for two 2021 Aviator Showcase events. Each showcase will be a single-day event designed to provide new product and aircraft information to pilots, aircraft owners, and prospective buyers.

Aviator Showcase at Manassas, Virginia
Aug. 27, 2021, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
At Manassas Regional Airport (KHEF), hosted by Chantilly Air Jet Center.

Aviator Showcase at Fort Worth, Texas
Oct. 1, 2021, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
At Fort Worth Alliance Airport (KAFW), hosted by Alliance Aviation Services.

These events will be one-day gatherings in an exhibit hall, with an aircraft sales display and technology-related seminars. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet with industry leaders in avionics and cockpit technology, flight planning, weather resources, aircraft manufacturing, and more.

To be sure AOPA is in alignment with current CDC guidelines at the time of the event, registration will open approximately 12 weeks prior to each event. Attendance will be limited according to CDC restrictions, and advance registration is required.

In addition to the two Showcases, AOPA is considering “pilot gathering air tours” for when the pandemic clears sufficiently. These would be similar to a barnstormer’s tour and include social functions, unlike the Aviator Showcase events.

Aviation News

Learjet, once the go-to private plane for celebrities, is ending production

Learjet, owned by Bombardier, will stop production later this year. Bombardier said it will concentrate on the Challenger and Global aircraft, which are more profitable. The company was started in 1962 by Bill Lear, with the first entry-into-service in 1963. The company was purchased by Bombardier in 1990.

Archer Aviation gets a $1 billion order from United Airlines, on the same day it announces a deal to go public

Archer Aviation Inc. announced that United placed an order valued at $1 billion for all-electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL). United has an option to buy an additional $500 million worth of aircraft. Archer also announced its merger with Atlas Crest Investment Corp. which takes the company public and allows the public to invest in the urban air mobility (UAM) market. United Airlines plans to have a role in the UAM market with “last mile” transportation between airports and urban destinations using low-emission eVTOL aircraft.

VFR charts to go on 56-day publication cycle in 2021

The 56-Day Visual Charts notice [PDF] was published January 15, 2021 and takes effect February 25, 2021. In shortening the update cycle for VFR charts to match the dates on IFR charts, the FAA will now be updating all charts every 56 days.

F-35 Demo Team Forced To Cut Airshow Appearances Due To Fleet-Wide Engine Issues

Turbine blades in the Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100 engine powering the F-35 are experiencing shorter than expected life. Some F-35As have been running close to design limits which is causing premature cracks in the turbine blade coatings. While not a flight safety issue, it is causing unscheduled engine removals. The depot system is apparently already backlogged, so this extra workload is adding to that problem. This impacts the available engine supply so the Air Force F-35 demonstration team is scaling back the number of air show appearances by about a third.

Wrong Portland: TSA officer helps family fly to correct coast

A family of three Spanish-speaking passengers landed in the wrong Portland airport – Oregon, not Maine. They were about 2,500 miles from where they wanted to be. A TSA agent escorted the family to a ticket agent, and learned the family only had $200. The agent personally provided the additional money that allowed them to book a flight to their correct destination.

Mentioned

Check Out These Stunning Images Of The Super Bowl’s Bomber Trio Flyover

Here’s why Army helicopters have Native American names

FAA Files Reveal a Surprising Threat to Airline Safety: the U.S. Military’s GPS Tests

Gerbino Flight Systems: Innovations in Flight

Gerbino rotorcraft by listener Harold.

637 Travel Industry

Travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt talks about the impacts of COVID-19 and the 737 MAX on air travel. In the news, new CDC test requirements for air passengers entering the US, airlines benefiting from the relief package, booking the middle seat, growth of air cargo, F-35B qualifications for the Italian navy, Australia orders the Apache, and aviation event postponements.

Guest

Travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt.

Henry Harteveldt is a well-known travel industry analyst and founder and president of Atmosphere Research Group. He has an extensive background in marketing, planning, distribution, and strategy, and he was head of Forrester Research’s global travel research practice. Henry launched Atmosphere Research in 2011 which helps travel industry clients understand emerging trends and opportunities in areas such as brand strategy, distribution, product development and retailing, customer experience, loyalty marketing, and digital commerce and technologies. The firm’s worldwide clients include airlines, lodging firms, cruise lines, car rental agencies, travel agencies, GDSs, financial services firms, and technology companies.

Aviation News

CDC to require all air travelers to US to show negative coronavirus test

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expanding the requirement for a negative COVID-19 test to all air passengers entering the United States. Within 3 days before departure to the United States, air passengers are required to get a viral test and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19. Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers or documentation of recovery before they board. If a passenger does not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery or chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger. This order was signed by the CDC Director on January 12, 2021, and will become effective on January 26, 2021. Media Statement: CDC Expands Negative COVID-19 Test Requirement to All Air Passengers Entering the United States.

Airlines get relief funds, but travel rebound may take a while

The new Covid-19 relief package provides $15 Billion for airline salaries through the end of March. Southwest Airlines canceled planned furloughs, and United and American say they’ll bring back thousands of furloughed employees.

Delta Keeps Middle Seat Ban in Hopes of Spring Recovery

United Airlines never stopped booking middle seats but other airlines have started booking them. Delta says they’ll keep the middle seats open at least through March.

Air Cargo Construction Is Booming, Thanks to Amazon

Passenger traffic is down but air cargo is flourishing. At Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, Amazon Air is building a 798,000-square-foot sorting center, complete with a seven-level parking structure. It’s part of Amazon’s commitment to a $1.5 billion, three-million-square-foot air cargo hub at CVG.

FedEx handled an average of 6.2 million air packages a day in 2020, up 48 percent compared to 2016. The company just opened a $290 million, 51-acre project at the Ontario International Airport in Southern California. At Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, the second-largest air cargo airport in the United States after Memphis International Airport, the plan is for $500 million in new freight and package handling and sorting facilities.

Atlas Air Buys The Last 4 Boeing 747 Aircraft Due To Be Built

Atlas Air has agreed to purchase four 747-8 freighters. The aircraft will be delivered by 2022 and would be the last four 747-8s to roll off the production line.

DHL Express orders eight more B777 freighters

DHL Express ordered 14 B777Fs in 2018 and has taken delivery of the first 10. Now they’ve ordered 8 more with first deliveries are scheduled for 2022. John Pearson, CEO at DHL Express: “Although the current health crisis has pushed pause on several areas of life, global trade did not stand still.”

Italian Navy Aircraft Carrier Cavour To Start F-35B Qualification Next Month

The Italian Navy STOVL (Short Take Off and Vertical Landing) aircraft carrier is expected to arrive at Naval Station Norfolk in mid-February for F-35B aircraft qualifications with the U.S. Marine Corps. The Italian Navy ordered a total of 15 F-35B fighter jets. The Italian Air Force has the same amount on order (in addition to about 60 F-35A models).

Apache chosen as armed helicopter replacement

Steve Visscher reports that the Australian Defence Department has announced it will replace the Army’s fleet of Tiger ARH’s with AH-64E Apache Guardians. The new aircraft will come into service in 2025, replacing the Airbus/Eurocopter fleet, which have been in service only since 2003.

Florida ‘fly-in, drive-in’ canceled

The DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase in Florida that was originally planned for November 12 to 14, 2020 and postponed until January 2021 has been delayed again until November 2021.

National Warbird Operator Conference Move In 2022

The Conference originally scheduled for February 25028, 2021 has been postponed to February 24-27, 2022 at the same venue at the Omni Corpus Christi Hotel in Corpus Christi, Texas.

First Dream Chaser Mission Delayed

Sierra Nevada Corporation announced that the first Dream Chaser civilian space plane mission to the International Space Station (ISS) has been postponed to 2022. The uncrewed cargo mission to the ISS will be the first of at least six to be conducted under a Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contract with NASA.

Video: AOPA Live This Week – January 14, 2021

AOPA announced that the 5th annual Bob Hoover Trophy award ceremony will be virtual and live online on February 3, 2021, at 8:00 PM Eastern. The Hoover Trophy will be presented to legendary aircraft designer Burt Rutan. The inaugural Brigadier General Charles E. McGee Aviation Inspiration Award will be presented to Gen. McGee himself, and he’ll make the first presentation of this award to a deserving young military aviator and aviation leader, Kenyatta Ruffin.

California man lived inside O’Hare Airport security zone for 3 months — because he was afraid to fly during COVID, prosecutors say

Aditya Singh, 36, arrived at the airport on a flight from Los Angeles on October 19, 2020. Allegedly, he had been living inside the airport’s security zone ever since. The man was found to have an airport worker’s misplaced credentials. Assistant State’s Attorney Kathleen Hagerty said he survived “largely from other passengers giving him food.” Police took Singh into custody and he’s been charged with felony criminal trespass to a restricted area of an airport and misdemeanor theft.

634 The F-35 Demo Team

An interview with an F-35 pilot from the United States Air Force F-35 Lightning II Demonstration Team, and an audio recording of her aerobatic performance.

F-35 Lightning II Demonstration Team aircraft in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo © Max Flight.)
F-35 Lightning II Demonstration Team in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo © Max Flight.)

This episode focuses on the United States Air Force F-35 Lightning II Demonstration Team that flew both days at the Sun ‘n Fun Holiday Flying Festival and Car Show held December 4-5, 2020 in Lakeland, Florida. That event included Central Florida Classic STOL qualifying and finals, a nighttime balloon glow, a car show, and an air show with the F-35, F-16, P-51, and the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Black Daggers.

We recorded an interview with F-35 pilot Kristin “Beo” Wolfe that was posted on Facebook Live. This podcast episode includes the audio from that conversation but we’ve compensated for some audio quality issues in the video.

In addition to the interview with Beo, we have a recording of her F-35 aerobatic performance at the Flying Festival. If you like the sound of a jet fighter on afterburner, you’ll enjoy this recording.

We captured Beo’s F-35 flight as a high-resolution binaural recording. You can listen with earbuds or a good home speaker system, but for the best effect, you’ll need high-quality headphones. Good headphones will reproduce the spatial perspective of the F-35 flight and produce a visceral feeling almost like being there.

Max Flight and F-35 demo pilot Kristin “Beo” Wolfe.

We’d like to thank the F-35 Demo Team for giving us access to pilot Kristin “Beo” Wolfe after her first flying performance of the weekend. And thanks to Beo for her time after a long day.

Mentioned

Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo coming to Lakeland, Florida April 13-18, 2021.

572 Pickle Fork Cracks

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.

Aviation News

EAA Creating Hands-On Build-And-Fly R/C Model Building, Flying Program

EAA and the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) have unveiled a new “Young Eagles Build and Fly” program. This is designed to engage youth in hands-on building and flying of radio-control aircraft.

Unexpected cracking found on critical Boeing 737 Next Generation part

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.

You Can Fly Challenge tops its goal

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.

FAA urges ICAO to address erosion of ‘manual’ piloting skills

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.

Boeing, Embraer Deal Faces EU Scrutiny

The European Commission wants to look at Boeing’s plan to take a controlling interest of Embraer’s commercial business, despite previously approving Airbus’ purchase of the Bombardier CSeries.

Bowdoinham man severely injured in helicopter crash at Sanford airport

A Robinson R44 helicopter crashed at the Sanford, Maine airport. Pilot Jack White, 50, was transported to the hospital with “severe injuries.”

Boeing omitted safeguards on 737 MAX that were used on military jet

A system similar to MCAS is used on the KC-46 tankers, but for a different reason: to compensate for load changes. The tanker version, however, uses two AOA indicators instead of one on the 737 MAX.

USAF Reviewing Training After MAX 8 Crashes; KC-46 Uses Similar MCAS

The Air Force is watching to see if there are any implications for the KC-46.

Stealthy no more? A German radar vendor says it tracked the F-35 jet in 2018 — from a pony farm

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.

Delta is buying 20% of LATAM, Latin America’s largest airline

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 lifts ban on emotional support animals on long flights, but pit bulls are still barred

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.

Mentioned

Collings Foundation Wings of Freedom Tour