Tag Archives: FAA

687 Airline Customer Service

An airline customer service story and a conversation with Brett Snyder, the Cranky Flier. In the news, the EPA is preparing a leaded aviation fuel proposal, a next-generation lav, restraints for infant safety inflight, Ryanair’s Learjets, the West Coast ground stop, lasers on aircraft, a TFR bust that involved an F-15C.

Brian Coleman and our Main(e) Man Micah discuss Brian’s airline customer service experience. He purchased a Premium Plus ticket, but the flight he took didn’t offer that class and the airline didn’t want to refund him the difference in the ticket price.

Separately, Brian had the opportunity to speak with Brett Snyder, the Cranky Flier, and get us caught up with all things Cranky.

Aviation News

EPA to Evaluate Whether Lead Emissions from Piston-Engine Aircraft Endanger Human Health and Welfare

EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan says, “EPA has been investigating the air quality impact of lead emissions from piston-engine aircraft near airports for years, and now we’re going to apply that information to determine whether this pollution endangers human health and welfare.” The EPA plans to issue a proposal for public review and comment in 2022. After evaluating comments on the proposal, the Agency plans to issue a final finding in 2023.

More information can be found at Petitions and EPA Response Memorandums related to Lead Emissions from Aircraft.

Boeing selects Collins Aerospace as next-generation lavatory supplier for the 737

There is a “next-generation” of lavatories for the 737 family of aircraft, and it’s coming from Raytheon Technologies’ Collins Aerospace. The new lavatory is customizable and modular. A touchless faucet comes standard, with other touchless amenities optional. A “centralized computing system to optimize the passenger experience, improve airline operability and help pave the way for future technology integration.” The lav is expected to be available on new 737 airplanes beginning in 2025.

Avelo looks to boost infant safety with Baby B’air

Unrestrained babies in flight is a serious safety issue and hazard and the NTSB has called for action for years. Avelo is now petitioning the Federal Aviation Administration for permission to use the Baby B’Air Flight Vest to restrain infants inflight.

The Story Of Ryanair’s 3 Learjets

Ryanair has a huge 737 fleet, about 450 in service along with 39 A320 aircraft operated by Lauda Europe. But they also lease three Learjet 45s to transport maintenance crew and parts.

What Caused The FAA To Issue A Brief Ground Stop On Monday?

The FAA issued a ground stop for all U.S. West Coast Flights that lasted 15 minutes. This was at the same time that North Korea was testing a long-range ballistic missile.

FAA statement on West Coast ground stop for some airports

FedEx Express Seeking Permission to Install Missile Downing Lasers to Some of its Aircraft

The FAA has received a proposal from FedEx Express to install a missile defense system on some of its aircraft.  When detected, heat-seeking missiles would be intercepted by infrared lasers to throw them off course.

Passengers Behaving Badly

2021 was the worst year on record for unruly airplane passengers in the US, FAA data confirms

Miami-Bound Passenger Storms Cockpit in Honduras, Causing Flight Delay

Three Long Island Women Indicted for Assaulting a Delta Airlines Security Officer at JFK Airport

Mentioned

Same model, different scales at the American Helicopter Museum:

David’s photos from a TFR bust and an F-15C orbiting the airfield.

Aviation News Talk 216: Learjet Crash update, PIREPS made simple with Virga App + GA News.

James GoPro Aviation YouTube Channel.

Wizz Air urges EU to keep ‘use it or lose it’ airport slot rule

Airlines square off with the EU and one another over ‘ghost flight’ controversy

US expected to be short 12,000 pilots by next year

Delta Drops Degree Requirement For Pilots

NASA may need more astronauts for space station, moon missions, report says

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott

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.

678 Aviation Espionage

An aviation espionage conviction, a crew assault by the pilot, a 5G rollout delay, tests to protect airports from drones, more unleaded fuel approvals, a faked inflight emergency, aviation benefits from the infrastructure package, and a Southwest Airlines trip report.

Aviation News

Jury convicts Chinese national in aviation espionage case

The Chinese national was convicted of trying to steal trade secrets from a number of U.S. aviation and aerospace companies, including GE Aviation. Yanjun Xu was a deputy division director at the Chinese Ministry of State Security and he sought aircraft engine composite fan technology. He recruited aviation company experts and paid them stipends for travel to China, supposedly to deliver university presentations.

A Southwest pilot and flight attendant fought over masks. One was cited for alleged assault.

After an altercation at a San Jose hotel bar, the pilot was cited for alleged assault and battery, apparently over a mask dispute. The crew was staying the night at the hotel. Sgt. Christian Camarillo from the San Jose Police Department said, “The event involved a disagreement over mask-wearing or masks.” More details were not provided, but the pilot was placed on leave.

Verizon And AT&T Agree To Delay 5G Rollout Over FAA Concerns On Airplane Interference

In the last episode, we talked about the FAA’s belief there is some possibility of radar altimeter interference when the new 5G spectrum comes online. The FAA issued a warning to pilots and airlines while the FCC doesn’t share the same concern. However, responding to a request from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Verizon and AT&T will push out the new 5G spectrum one month, to January 5, 2022.

EXCLUSIVE: FAA begins first-ever drone tests to protect airports

The FAA has been quietly testing technology that detects and tracks malicious drones at airports. Last week, six drone detection tests were conducted at three locations at the Atlantic City International Airport in New Jersey. The tests will expand to four additional commercial airports. The FAA UAS Sightings Report shows that these sightings are up sharply, about 100 per month.

FAA Approves 600 Engines For GAMI Unleaded Fuel

General Aviation Modifications, Inc. (GAMI) G100UL high octane unleaded avgas is now approved by the FAA for an additional 611 piston aircraft engines. That’s about 70 percent of the existing engines in service.

Airport Closed After Passengers Mount Audacious Bid to Get into Spain By Faking Illness and Causing Emergency Diversion

A flight operated by Air Arabia departed Casablanca, Morrocco for Istanbul. Into the flight, a passenger faked a diabetic coma, resulting in a diversion to Palma de Mallorca. With the arrival of an ambulance at the aircraft, some passengers jumped out and ran across the tarmac. The airport went on lockdown and inbound flights were diverted. Five passengers were arrested but several escaped.

Infrastructure Bill Draws Praise for Aviation Support

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed the House and provides $25 billion in new funding for airports and air traffic control equipment. Non-primary and general aviation will see $500 million each year over a five-year period.

Trip Report

Brian Coleman speaks to our Main(e) Man Micah about a recent trip on Southwest Airlines.

Good Beer Blimp gondola
Good Beer Blimp

Mentioned

Max Trescott’s Pilots without Pants video


Purchase the Pilots without Pants calendar.

Bonanza Society boosts ruddervator replacement design prize

677 Green Aviation

Green aviation topics such as sustainable aviation fuels and hydrogen power. Also, airline flight cancellations due to weather and staff shortages, flight automation for non-pilots, the F-15EX engine competition, FAA and FCC disagreement on 5G interference for pilots, a possible national no-fly list for unruly passengers, and interviews from the 2021 Pacific Air Show.

Green aviation: Airbus zero-emission concept aircraft.
Airbus zero-emission concept aircraft. © AIRBUS 2020

Aviation News

Textron Aviation – More Environmentally Friendly Fuels Approved for Cessna Piston-Powered Aircraft

A number of Cessna piston-powered aircraft are now approved for 91-octane unleaded (91UL), 94UL, or 100VLL (very low lead) fuel. Textron Aviation announced this for the Cessna 172 Skyhawk and 182 Skylane. The 206 Turbo Stationair HD aircraft is now approved for 100VLL. These fuels are cleaner burning compared to others with higher lead levels.

How close are hydrogen planes, really?

The short answer: maybe 3 or 4 decades. There are issues with carrying the fuel onboard a large commercial aircraft, creating the infrastructure, and price. SAF, or sustainable aviation fuels, is a much shorter-term step.

Biodiesel is booming. It may help the climate, but there’s a big environmental risk

Biodiesel is in high demand and Government incentives are helping ramp up production significantly. A third of all soybean oil produced in the U.S. already goes to make biodiesel. This is putting pressure on feedstocks, like soybean oil, which costs around a dollar per pound now. Last year it was $0.35.

American Airlines cancels 1,400 flights due to staff shortages, bad weather

Weekend staff shortages and bad weather were blamed for the cancellations. American reported that 376 flights were canceled on Friday, October 29, 551 flights were canceled on Saturday, and 480 more on Sunday. FlightAware said American has delayed more than 1,000 flights since Friday. About 1,800 flight attendants are scheduled to return from leave. The airline recently hired over 600 more and plans to start them by the end of December.

I’m Not a Pilot, but I Just Flew a Helicopter Over California

California start-up Skyryse developed FlightOS, a system that allows non-pilots to fly aircraft. Skyryse is backed by $250 million in funding and the system uses sensors such as cameras and radar.

General Electric Bests Pratt & Whitney In $1.6B F-15EX Engine Competition

The first lot of eight F-15EX fighters were powered by the competing GE F110-129 engine. The Air Force announced that the engine will continue to power the F-15EX. The firm-fixed-price deal could be for up to 329 engines. Deliveries will start in October 2023 and run through June 2031

FAA worries new 5G wireless service could interfere with aviation safety

In FAA Plans Warnings to Pilots, Airlines Over New 5G Rollout, the Wall Street Journal says the FAA is preparing a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin and an airworthiness directive saying that cell towers transmitting 5G signals could affect certain automated features that help fly and land airplanes. Like radar altimeters. On the other hand, both the FCC and the telecom industry say there is no evidence the 5G signals will interfere with aviation.

Buttigieg Says No-Fly List For Violent Passengers ‘On The Table’

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said that a no-fly list should be considered for violent airplane passengers.

There is absolutely no excuse for this kind of treatment of flight crews in the air or any of the essential workers—from bus drivers to air crews who get people to where they need to be.

Pete Buttigieg

Related: What Would it Take to Set Up a National ‘No-Fly’ List of Unruly Passengers?

The FAA gathered top U.S. airline executives for a meeting to discuss the problem of unruly passengers. The airlines were given a month to develop concrete “additional steps” that reduce such incidents. A national “no-fly” list used by all airlines was suggested by Delta, but others prefer that the issue is handled by law enforcement.

Pacific Air Show

Brian Coleman attended the Pacific Air Show and spoke with a number of people, including Air Force Reserve Master Sgt Uscanga Harris, Ed, Gary with the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, Jay, and Stephanie.

Mentioned

Brick Mosaic Designer – Turn images into unique LEGO® compatible brick mosaic art.

672 Leonardo AW609 Tiltrotor

The Head of Tiltrotor Marketing at Leonardo describes the world’s first commercial tiltrotor. In the news, a United stationary tail strike, Congress steps in on the controversial FAA flight training policy, DOJ files an antitrust suit over the American Airlines-JetBlue alliance, an industry-wide no-fly list is proposed, and Rolls-Royce wins the contract to re-engine the B-52 fleet.

AW609 Tiltrotor
Leonardo AW609 Tiltrotor, courtesy Leonardo.

Guest

William M. (Bill) Sunick

William M. (Bill) Sunick is Head of Tiltrotor Marketing at Leonardo. Their AW609 is the first commercial tiltrotor to enter the market and the world’s first pressurized cabin tiltrotor. The AW609 is well-positioned to serve a number of markets, including VIP, corporate, search and rescue, emergency medical services, and offshore energy exploration, as well as government roles.

Bill describes how the AW609 tiltrotor was designed to commercial standards, and how it offers the speed, range, and altitude of a fixed-wing turboprop airplane with the vertical take-off and landing versatility of a helicopter. We learn that the lower vibratory environment and pressurized cabin of this tiltrotor offer advantages for medical flights. Bill explains the FAA certification requirements for this aircraft, which falls into the new Powered Lift category.

Bill is responsible for the development of marketing and business strategies that create new opportunities, shape emerging markets, and influence customer thinking and actions. Prior to joining Leonardo Helicopters, Bill held numerous leadership positions at The Boeing Company within Strategy, Marketing, Sales, Market Development, and Engineering. He was also a member of the Presidential Helicopter team while at Sikorsky Aircraft in 1992.

Bill’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Drexel University and a master of business administration degree in Marketing from Saint Joseph’s University.

Aviation News

United 737 Tips on its Tail During Offloading

A United Airlines Boeing 737-900ER experienced a “stationary tail strike” on the ground at Lewiston (LWS Idaho) after a flight from LAX. United explained:

United flight 2509 flying from Los Angeles, California to Lewiston, Idaho landed without incident. Due to a shift in weight and balance during the offloading process, the tail of the aircraft tipped backward.  No injuries were reported among our customers, crew or ground personnel.  The return flight was on a different aircraft as originally planned.

See Boeing Tail Strike Avoidance for takeoff and landing risk factors.

House Passes Amendment to Reverse FAA on Flight Training Policy

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that clarifies that a flight instructor providing student instruction, flight instruction, or flight training shall not be deemed to be operating an aircraft carrying persons or property for compensation or hire. If passed, this would reverse the FAA’s recent flight training policy for certain types of aircraft.

Justice Department Sues to Block Unprecedented Domestic Alliance Between American Airlines and JetBlue

DOJ filed an anti-trust suit challenging the American Airlines-JetBlue alliance

American and JetBlue strike back against DOJ complaint over Northeast alliance

The DOJ claims the American Airlines-JetBlue Northeast Alliance eliminates competition in New York and Boston and harms air travelers nationwide:

The U.S. Department of Justice, together with Attorneys General in six states and the District of Columbia, sued today [September 21, 2021] in the District of Massachusetts to block an unprecedented series of agreements between American Airlines and JetBlue through which the two airlines will consolidate their operations in Boston and New York City. The civil antitrust complaint alleges that this extensive combination, which they call the “Northeast Alliance,” will not only eliminate important competition in these cities, but will also harm air travelers across the country by significantly diminishing JetBlue’s incentive to compete with American elsewhere, further consolidating an already highly concentrated industry.

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said, “They’re wrong and we’ll prove it. It’s entirely pro-competitive.” Parker argued that the alliance allows the two airlines to compete against Delta and United, which are largely entrenched in the Northeast market, while American and JetBlue would otherwise not be able to mount enough of an offense on their own.

Airlines Weigh Unruly No-Fly List

Delta is suggesting a national “no-fly” list (different from the government’s No-Fly List, which is terror-based). Delta’s own blacklist includes more than 1,600 people. A Delta VP said their list doesn’t work if the person can just hop on another carrier.

Vietnam’s Bamboo Airways to sign $2 bln deal with GE for engines on Boeing jets

In this deal, Bamboo Airways will purchase nearly $2 billion worth of General Electric GEnx engines to power Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. The Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 and General Electric GEnx-1B compete on the 787. Bamboo will operate its Dreamliner fleet on non-stop routes between Vietnam and the United States.

Rolls Royce Will Provide Long-Awaited New Jet Engines For The B-52 Bomber Fleet

The U.S. Air Force selected Rolls-Royce’s North American division to re-engine the fleet of B-52H bombers with F130 engines. The Drive reports: “Rolls-Royce’s new contract from the Air Force is valued at $500,870,458 over the next six years but could grow to over $2.6 billion if all of its options are exercised.” Work will be performed at the Rolls-Royce facility in Indianapolis and is expected to be completed by September 2038.

Mentioned

Tuskegee Airmen Exhibit at the American Helicopter Museum.

Honeywell and Wood introduce groundbreaking technologies to support efforts toward carbon-neutral sustainable aviation fuel

Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge

668 Avelo Airlines

An Avelo Airlines trip report and a conversation with the CEO of Crew Dog Electronics. Also, bonuses for Piedmont pilots, the FAA Zero Tolerance for Unruly and Dangerous Behavior Toolkit, late-night TV hosts roast Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines cuts flights, and new startup Avelo Airlines makes route changes.

Avelo Airlines Trip Report

Contributing Editor Brian Coleman and our Main(e) Man Micah discuss Brian’s second flight on Avelo Airlines.

Aviation News

New startup airline Avelo is scrapping 2 markets — before flights even start

Avelo Airlines pulled Monterey, California (MRY) and St. George, Utah (SGU) from its route map. Those destinations were scheduled to start in late September and early October 2021. The airline said they’d “…take another look at our plans for these two markets next spring.” Avelo is also delaying the launch of flights to Provo, Utah (PVU). Service was planned to commence on Sept. 17, but Avelo confirmed that it’s now been pushed to Nov. 15.

Flight Attendants Left Scathing After Pilots at American Airlines Regional Carrier Get Bumper Pay Raise

Piedmont, the American Airlines wholly-owned subsidiary that operates under the American Eagle brand, has reached a deal with the ALPA pilots union. Captains would receive a $30,000 “retention bonus” in November while current First Officers would get $30,000 when they were promoted to the Captain. Pilots who move on from Piedmont to American’s mainline business would get $70,000. Additionally, pilots who meet working hours targets over the next two years would be eligible for an additional $50,000.

‘He is restrained now’: Chilling airplane audio serves as FAA warning about unruly passengers

The FAA Zero Tolerance for Unruly and Dangerous Behavior Toolkit includes:

The FAA announced they have assessed $531,545 in civil penalties against unruly passengers since the start of the year.

Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers roast Delta’s CEO for refusing to call the virus by name: ‘He said from now on our airline’s pronounced Del-TAY’

The late-night TV hosts roasted Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian for refusing to use the term “Delta variant.

Southwest Airlines cuts flights to fix operational challenges

Southwest Airlines responded to complaints from Southwest Airlines pilots about flight delays and cancellations by reducing the number of flights. In a statement, CEO Gary Kelly said “We’re confident these adjustments will create a more reliable travel experience.”

Report from EAA Airventure Oshkosh

Aviation Entrepreneurship and Innovation Correspondent Hillel Glazer speaks with Sean Chuplis, the CEO of Crew Dog Electronics.

Mentioned

FlightAware

659 Jet Fighter Cockpit

We talk with a company that provides educational jet fighter cockpit experiences. In the news, Amazon Air adds turboprops to the fleet, Boeing 777X certification, a new 4K Ultra HD flight data recorder, Virgin Galactic approval for commercial passenger space flights, and exiting the aircraft after the door closes.

Launchpad Marzari in the cockpit.

Guest

Dewy Larson is the owner of DreamBIG Entertainment LLC, a company that gives you the opportunity to sit in the cockpit of a fighter jet. DreamBIG Entertainment travels exclusively within the United States, attending air shows, festivals, fairs, and other events. They share the history and the rare opportunity to experience fully restored A-7D Corsair II and F-18 Hornet cockpits.

The A-7 and F-18 Hornet cockpits tour the United States as a Mobile Interactive Aviation Museum. The DreamBIG experience runs from February to November and can be brought anywhere. For the latest schedule, visit the DreamBIG Entertainment LLC Facebook page.

Aviation News

Amazon Air set to add ATR turboprops to freighter fleet

Sources have told The Air Current that Amazon Air plans to add about 10 leased ATR 72-500 freighters to its fleet of Boeing aircraft. The company has a strategy to reach smaller communities with a one-day delivery service.

Citing a serious flight test incident and lack of design maturity, FAA slows Boeing 777X certification

Boeing is trying to certify the 777X but the FAA has informed the company that it has concerns and Boeing may have to increase the number of test flights planned. That pushes certification more than two years, probably too late 2023. FAA concerns include an “uncommanded pitch event” in a Dec. 8, 2020 test flight, a critical avionics system that does not meet requirements, and late hardware and software changes in the flight controls.

Appareo Announces 4K Ultra HD Flight Data Recorder with Cellular Data Offload

Appareo announced a new 4K ultra-high-definition AIRS-400 Airborne Image Recording System (AIRS), equipped for cellular data offload. The unit captures pilot intercom system audio, ambient audio, and detailed flight data. Using internal inertial measurement units, AIRS-400 captures WAAS GPS (altitude, latitude, longitude, ground speed, vertical speed), attitude data (pitch, roll, yaw), rates of rotation, and acceleration data (G forces) 

Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari spoke with Chris Garberg, the president of Appareo Aviation.

FAA Approves Virgin Galactic For Commercial Passenger Spaceflights

With the upgraded space transportation operator license, Virgin Galactic could begin carrying paying passengers to space. It has been reported that Virgin Galactic currently has over 600 reservations for its planned commercial passenger space flights, with ticket prices running between $200,000 and $250,000. 

Man Injured After Jumping Out Of Airplane Taxiing At LAX

A United Express flight operated by SkyWest Airlines was leaving the gate but a passenger apparently felt compelled to exit the plane. He tried to get into the cockpit, then opened the emergency door, which deployed the slide, and out he went. Man injured after jumping out of airplane at LAX.

Mentioned

First a passenger drought. Now a water drought. Can California airports cope?

Drought Reveals 1960s Plane Crash In California Lake

Archer Adds Talent to their Team with over Twenty New Engineers from Aerion Corporation

654 Tri-Wing Jet

A tri-wing jet concept, a court ruling and flight instruction, aviation fuel supply vulnerability, more baggage falling out of airplanes, Flying Tiger Line Flight 739, and an Across the Pond segment.

Aviation News

This Bonkers Tri-Wing Jumbo Jet Concept Reduces Fuel Consumption by 70%

The SE200 concept airliner from SE Aeronautics is a tri-wing design with two rear-mounted engines and a double tail fin. The widebody jet would seat 264+ passengers and burn 70 percent less fuel than a plane of similar size. The SE200 is a 100% molded composite aircraft, with a claimed 80% reduction in CO2 emissions per seat kilometer. Flying at Mach .9, the jet would have a range of 10,560 miles at 500+ PMPG. 

American Airlines is adding refueling stops to some flights as fuel pipeline hack chokes supplies

Colonial Pipeline’s insufficient security allowed a ransomware attack to shut down the company’s 5,500 mile fuel pipeline from the Texas Gulf Coast to New Jersey. This led to widespread gasoline shortages across the U.S. East Coast, and impacted the supplies of jet fuel.

Airline fires 2 pilots after emergency door flew off U.P.-bound airplane just before takeoff

Boutique Airlines fires 2 pilots, pulls out of Gogebic-Iron Co. Airport

The emergency exit door separated from a Boutique Airlines flight just before takeoff from Gogebic-Iron County Airport in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. One passenger said his carry-on bag was sucked out. Apparently, the pilots failed to complete a pre-flight checklist.

Honored at last: Remembering the heroes of Flying Tiger Line Flight 739

Soldiers who went missing on secret US military mission in 1962 to be honored with Maine memorial

On March 16, 1962, 93 soldiers, 11 crew, and 3 South Vietnamese soldiers boarded Flying Tiger Line Flight 739 for a secret mission to Saigon. They never arrived and the subsequent search and rescue operation found nothing. The families of those lost never knew what happened.

The Warbird Adventures case

Warbird Adventures, which operates a World War II P-40 fighter training aircraft certificated in the limited category, asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review an FAA emergency cease-and-desist order. The company was providing flight instruction without an exemption to FAR 91.315. In a two-page ruling Warbird Adventures, Inc., et. al. v. FAA., the court refused to review the emergency cease-and-desist order.

Across the Pond

Pieter Johnson (XTP Media) and Gareth Stringer (Editor of Global Aviation Resource) provide a special Across the Pond segment to mark the tenth anniversary of the first ATP segment on Airplane Geeks. 

For more great aviation content, listen to the Xtended podcast, including Episode 116 – Restoration Force & the Cockpiteers with Gavin Hoffen on his new book Restoration Force about cockpit restoration projects.

Fridge Magnet Give-a-way

Send an aviation-themed postcard to:

Airplane Geeks Give-A-Way
2935 Mystic Mountain Lane
Belton, Texas. 76513

While supplies last.

Mentioned

Teams compete in “Aircraft Pull” event to help Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine and Photos: Pull an airplane — raise some money

Elite Airways in Auburn, Maine hosted an “Aircraft Pulling” event to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine.  Teams competed to pull a 31,000-pound CRJ200 15 feet. The team that pulled the aircraft 15-feet the fastest won a trophy. Elite Airways also gave out two round-trip tickets to the team that raised the most money.

Germany’s Greens plan to cut jet fuel subsidies -Bild am Sonntag

Explore the Wright Flyer

Air Force Chief Hints at Retiring the F-22 Raptor in Fighter Downsize and The F-22 will go away, eventually. But not before the Air Force gets comfortable with its successor

Air Force awards A-10 pilot for skillfully belly-landing her plane without landing gear after ‘catastrophic’ failure

Deke Slayton Airfest, La Crosse Regional Airport, Wisconsin, June 12-13.

653 Archer Aviation eVTOL

Dr. Geoffrey Bower, the Chief Engineer at Archer Aviation, discusses eVTOL aircraft for the urban air mobility industry. In the news, bad behavior can get your frequent flyer account deleted, more 737 MAX woes, the Airbus A380 is fading for many airlines, LCC Avelo Airlines starts operation, the Aviation Safety Reporting System is extended to drone operators, and a story of missing luggage.

Guest

Archer Aviation chief engineer.
Dr. Geoffrey Bower

Dr. Geoffrey Bower is the Chief Engineer at Archer Aviation, a California-based startup in the emerging Urban Air Mobility (UAM) industry. The company is developing an all-electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft with a mission to advance the benefits of sustainable air mobility.

Geoff describes why UAM is receiving so much attention and why so many companies are involved. We look at the different eVTOL missions and design approaches, and the factors that affect efficiency and the cost of the aircraft. Geoff helps us understand crewed vs. autonomous eVTOL aircraft, and what is limiting the number of passengers they will carry. Pilot type ratings and the GAMA Simplified Vehicle Operations concept are also covered.

Infrastructure requirements are key to UAM success, as are regulator support and managing public acceptance, particularly with respect to noise footprint and affordability. Geoff talks about Archer Aviation eVTOL development and testing, and their timeline for first flight of a demonstrator aircraft.

Archer Aviation eVTOL.
Archer Aviation eVTOL

Geoff has nearly 10 years of industry experience working on eVTOL aircraft. He started his career working on flight control system development and aerodynamic modeling at Zee.Aero. From 2016 through 2019 he was Chief Engineer for Project Vahana at A3, the Silicon Valley innovation center of Airbus. He led the engineering team that designed, built, and completed a successful flight test campaign of the Vahana Alpha demonstrator. 

Geoff received a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University. 

Aviation News

Threaten a Delta employee? Say goodbye to your SkyMiles account and elite status

The FAA is cracking down on unruly passengers, and so is Delta. After an update to the airline’s SkyMiles program terms and conditions, “documented abusive behavior” is now grounds for termination of the offender’s frequent flyer account. Even being banned from flying on Delta is possible. Delta says examples of abusive behavior include personal threats, profanity, obscene language, insults or slurs directed to a Delta employee or ambassador. It also covers any intentional destruction to Delta property.

Fresh FAA Concerns Set To Delay Grounded 737 MAX’s Return To Service

Last month, Boeing asked 16 customers to temporarily ground 737 MAX airplanes due to an electrical grounding problem on some specific tail numbers. Boeing said this manufacturing issue was unrelated to the MCAS problem and “could affect the operation of a backup power control unit.” The problem arises from a manufacturing process change. Now the FAA wants to see more analysis that shows this electrical problem does not affect other subsystems.

Corrosion caused by storage prompts FAA to order Leap-1B checks

The FAA issued an Airworthiness Directive to check a pressure transducer for possible corrosion in Boeing 737 MAX CFM LEAP-1B engines after long-term storage. “The checks must be completed before each flight during the first 15h of power being applied to engines following prolonged storage.”

FAA to require inspections of Leap-1A high-pressure turbine cases

The FAA says a “manufacturing quality escape” affecting high pressure turbine cases could cause uncontained engine failures. “Several x-rays of the bleed ports of the HPT case showed 148 parts with nonconforming indications, eight of which were significant enough to impact the life of the HPT case.” 

Malaysia Airlines is latest to say it will abandon the Airbus A380

The A380 was a great idea at the time, motivated by high passenger volume and low airport capacity. But those conditions have changed. Air France, Etihad, Lufthansa, Qatar, and Thai have grounded some or all of their A380s. Malaysia Airlines is about to join that list, with the carrier’s half-dozen A380s unlikely to fly passengers again.

Avelo Airlines Becomes the Nation’s Newest Passenger Carrier

Avelo Airlines is an ultra-LCC targeting smaller, under-served airports with 189-seat Boeing 737-800 aircraft. They charge $10 to check a bag, no change fees, and “everyday low fares starting at $19.”

America’s newest airline, known for its $19 flights, is spending $1.2 million to bring its cheap trips to the East Coast

Avelo Airlines is planning a a new base in New Haven, Connecticut at Tweed-New Haven Regional Airport. Routes have not yet been announced.

FAA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) now available for drones

The Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) is operated by NASA to collect confidential information from pilots and others about near misses. The data is used by the FAA to make aviation safer. Confidentiality is maintained to maximize the number of incidents reported. The Aviation Safety Reporting Program (ASRP) for UAS is now available for the UAS community.

Airplane Compartment Opens, Luggage Drops

Reports were received that an airplane departed Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport with an unsecured luggage compartment. It seems the compartment opened in flight and some luggage may have fallen out. The CRJ-700 returned to the airport without incident and passengers took another airplane to the flight destination, Chicago. One customer reported a missing bag. American Airlines says they are investigating.

Mentioned

Manned Electric Aircraft: Smart City and Regional 2021-2041

This April, 2021 report on the electric aircraft market pegs it at $30 billion where eVTOL accounts for 48%, eCTOL (electric conventional take off and land) under 20PAX at 32%, and eCTOL for 20-100PAX at 20%.

A Rationale Construct for Simplified Vehicle Operations (SVO); Whitepaper Version 1.0 (May2019) [PDF] from GAMA.

Notification when The Points Guy iOS app is available.

Eat at the Airport.com helps you support eating establishments at airports and airfields.

Aviation News Talk podcast, Episode 187 What Pilots Need to Know about Hearing Loss – Dr. Greg Van + GA News.

Mayo Clinic Clear Approach podcast – The podcast for aerospace medicine that matters, by Greg Vanichkachorn, M.D., M.P.H., and aerospace medicine specialist, family physician, occupational medicine specialist.

Thirty Thousand Feet aviation podcast directory.

652 Breeze Airways

Breeze Airways flight attendant strategy breaks new ground, and not everyone is comfortable. Also, an Air Force One contractor files for bankruptcy, Leap-1B engine orders for the 737 MAX drop, penalties for unruly air passengers under the FAA crackdown, a second Stratolaunch flight, Airbus freighters on the horizon, and Embraer delays the E175-E2 again.

Aviation News

Breeze Will Pay Flight Attendants $1,200 Per Month, Wants To Ding Your Credit Card

Breeze Airways

New LCC Breeze Airways plans to begin operations sometime in 2021. Founder David Neeleman spoke with Forbes and Ben Schlappig has some observations in One Mile at a Time.

Breeze Airways requires flight attendants to be “enrolled in college and living in company housing. In other words, the airline is trying to exclude anyone who has a family, a college degree, or is looking to build a career,” says Ben. Flight attendants will “be paid a fixed $1,200 per month, receive $6,000 towards tuition for online coursework, and receive company housing.”

Air Force One Contractor Files For Bankruptcy

Boeing was previously awarded the $3.9 billion contract to convert two 747-8s to serve as Air Force One. These would replace the 747-200s used now. Boeing subcontracted the interiors to GDC Technics but in April 2021, Boeing filed a lawsuit against GDC Technics and canceled their contracts. Then GDC countersued Boeing, but now GDC is filing for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11. Boeing says GDC hasn’t met its obligations and is 12 months behind schedule. GDC countered that Boeing was mismanaging the program and owed the company more than $20 million in payments.

GE Aviation lost 1,900 Leap orders in 12 months

737 MAX issues haven’t affected only Boeing. They’ve affected the supplier network as well, and that includes the engine maker. The CFM Leap-1B engine exclusively powers the Boeing 737 MAX. It was developed by Safran Aircraft Engines and GE Aviation through their joint company, CFM International.

FAA Proposes Civil Penalties Against Three Passengers for Allegedly Interfering with Flight Attendants

Two passengers on a Jan. 4, 2021 jetBlue Airlines flight from Haiti to Boston, Mass. drank personal alcohol and acted in a disruptive manner. There was yelling and hand waving and the arms of two separate flight attendants were grabbed. Police escorted the passenger off the plane upon arrival. One passenger was fined $31,750 and the other $16,750. A third passenger was fined $14,500 after a Jan. 14, 2021 SkyWest Airlines flight from Yuma, Ariz., to Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.

Press Release – Federal Aviation Administration Adopts Stricter Unruly Passenger Policy

The FAA is strictly enforcing a zero-tolerance policy toward passengers who cause disturbances on flights, fail to obey flight crew instructions in violation of the FAA’s regulations, or engage in certain conduct described by federal law. FAA Administrator Steve Dickson signed an order directing a stricter legal enforcement policy against unruly airline passengers in the wake of recent, troubling incidents. “Flying is the safest mode of transportation and I signed this order to keep it that way,” Administrator Dickson said.

Flight Attendant Union Pits Itself Against New Airline From Founder of JetBlue, Alleges Possible Age Discrimination

The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) says the Breeze employment style is “akin to gig economy jobs such as drivers at Uber and Instacart. On the surface, you can also extrapolate that most of the people who will ‘qualify’ for this lifestyle are younger people, with an expiration date when they fail to continue to meet the “youthful” requirements.”

Stratolaunch Completes First Flight Since 2019

The Stratloaunch test flight from California’s Mojave Air and Space Port lasted a little over 3 hours. The twin-fuselage Stratolaunch carrier was sold to Cerberus Capital Management in October 2019 after company founder Paul Allen passed away. The Stratolaunch website calls it “The Future of Hypersonic Testing” and says, “Providing the most efficient path for transitioning hypersonic technologies from research to implementation. Our unique air-launch system offers a reusable hypersonic platform, tailored for customer instrumentation and experiments.”

Video advanced to some low passes then the landing: Flight of the world’s largest aircraft by wingspan | Stratolaunch

Airbus Signals Intention to Build a Widebody Freighter Aircraft

Boeing tends to dominate the cargo aircraft market, but Airbus has made it known they want to challenge that. The Airbus CEO said recently, “We do not like the idea to remain weak in that segment in the future. I think we have the right product to be able to be more aggressive in that market.” But what Airbus hasn’t said is what widebody model they have in mind – the A330, A350, or A380. Or when we’ll know.

Embraer Delays The E175-E2’s Launch By Another Year To 2024

Citing the “current market conditions for commercial aviation,” Embraer pushed EIS (entry into service) out to 2024 from 2023. The E175-E2 is part of the E-Jet E2 family of large regional jets.

Flying Commercial

Airplane Geeks Main(e) Man Micah talks with former Associate Producer Brian Coleman about Brian’s recent cross-country airline flight.

Mentioned

Aviation News Talk Podcast #186 – Aviation News of the Weird with Flying Magazine’s Rob Mark

Hydrogen Fuel Basics

President Biden says green hydrogen is key to a lower emissions future. So, what is it?