Tag Archives: FAA

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?

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?

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645 Woman Aviator

The inspiring story of a legendary woman aviator and member of the “Mercury 13” who was also the first female FAA inspector and the first female investigator for the NTSB. Also, the AerCap/GECAS merger of aircraft leasing companies, the Dassault Falcon 6X first flight, FAA 2021 GA award winners, Buzz Lightyear’s mission with Southwest Airlines, and the serial stowaway.

Guest

Loretta Hall

Loretta Hall captured the memoir of the extraordinary woman aviator, Wally Funk, in Higher, Faster, Longer: My Life in Aviation and My Quest for Spaceflight.

Wally Funk was the first woman civilian flight instructor at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, the 58th woman in the U.S. to earn an Airline Transport Rating (in 1968), the FAA’s first woman operations inspector and Systems Worthiness Analysis Program specialist, and the first woman NTSB accident investigator. She was also one of the “Mercury 13,” hoping to become an astronaut.

Wally Funk

Loretta is a freelance writer and nonfiction book author. She’s a long-time space travel enthusiast and is currently a certified Space Ambassador for the National Space Society. Loretta has written eight books, including five on the history and future of space travel, one of which is The Complete Space Buff’s Bucket List: 100 Space Things to Do Before You Die.

Loretta has been interested in space travel since her teenage years when she followed the early NASA programs: the selection of the Mercury Seven astronauts, the suborbital and orbital missions of Mercury and Gemini, and the Apollo steps toward a moon landing. She has written eight books, including five on the history and future of space travel. Loretta loves finding ways to participate in space activities without being an astronaut. Her newest book was a cooperative effort to produce the memoir of Wally Funk, an icon in the fields of aviation and spaceflight.

Loretta Hall and Wally Funk

Aviation News

This $30 Billion Deal Could Reshape the Aviation Industry

AerCap Holdings announced that it would acquire the GECAS (GE Capital Aviation Services) unit of General Electric in a $30 billion deal. This would consolidate the number one and number two commercial aviation financing and leasing companies, measured by the number of aircraft. The resulting business would be the largest customer for Airbus, Boeing, and the engine manufacturers.

Dassault’s Falcon 6X Makes First Flight

Dassault Aviation’s Falcon 6X long-range, ultra-widebody business jet’s first flight was made from the company’s facility at Mérignac, France, near Bordeaux, on March 10, 2021.  The 2.5-hour flight reached FL400 and a speed of 0.8 Mach and was dedicated to Olivier Dassault, who died in a helicopter accident on March 7, 2021.

2021 GA Award Winners Announced by FAA, Committee

The awards for National Flight Instructor, Aviation Technician, and FAASTeam Rep of the Year will be presented at EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in July. The 2021 awards go to:

  • Ronald Jay Timmermans of Orlando, Florida, Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year
  • Michael Colin Dunkley of Coshocton, Ohio, Aviation Technician of the Year 
  • Adam Timothy Magee of Swisher, Iowa, FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year.

‘To infinity & beyond!’ Southwest Airlines reunites Buzz Lightyear with young passenger who left toy behind

After a young boy left his beloved Buzz Lightyear on a flight, a Southwest employee found it, located the family, and arranged for Buzz to return home.

Women’s History Month: A Look at Impactful Women in Aviation

Women Entrepreneurs in Aviation

These articles highlight just some of the amazing women who have had successful careers in aviation. They include

Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space; Joan Higginbotham, who helped build the international space station and operated robotic arm; LeAnn Ridgeway, a Rockwell Collins executive leader (now Collins Aerospace); Susan Mashibe, Tanzania’s first female FAA-certified pilot and mechanic and owner of a private jet handling and hangar services company; Rachel King, the founder and owner of the Precision Approach aircraft washing service; and Steffany Kisling, founder of cabin attendant staffing company SkyAngles and SKYacademy, an online training platform for pilots, cabin attendants and aspiring crew.

Mentioned

#PaxEx Podcast 74: Ready to fly, but has COVID reset expectations?

Max Flight’s Aviation Podcast Directory

Airline Pilot Guy podcast

ABC7 Salutes: Filmmakers complete mission to make documentary honoring WWII heroes

Journey to Royal: A WWII Rescue Mission is a hybrid documentary and action film with painstakingly accurate recreations filmed using real planes (at the Palm Springs Air Museum and the March Field Air Museum) and recreated models. It is now available on streaming and cable platforms and on DVD.

The story takes place during the Second World War, the 4th Emergency Rescue Squadron was stationed on the Mariana Islands of the South Pacific. Its crews policed flight paths searching for B-29 bombers in jeopardy and downed airmen in need of rescue in the open ocean of this war-torn theatre.

View the trailer: Journey to Royal: A WWII Rescue Mission

World’s best airports for customer experience revealed

Support

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643 Aeronautical Charts

We learn about aeronautical charts produced by the FAA’s Aeronautical Information Services team. In the news, the NTSB will decommission the TWA Flight 800 reconstruction, Collier Trophy finalists announced as are Flying Magazine Editors’ Choice Awards and FAA General Aviation Awards, Boeing fined by the FAA, United orders the Boeing 737 MAX, Delta plans to reactivate pilots, Icelandair flies to Antarctica and back.

Aeronautical chart

Guest

Katie Murphy is a Supervisory Aeronautical Information Specialist in the FAA’s Aeronautical Information Services Visual Charting Team. Katie has worked with both VFR and IFR charts for over 17 years and is a self-proclaimed “map geek.”

Aeronautical Information Services (AIS) is the authority for the development of aeronautical charts and services. They are also the authoritative government source for collecting, storing, maintaining, and disseminating aeronautical data for the U.S. and its territories.

The Interagency Air Committee (IAC) Specifications are used in the preparation of United States Government Charts and thus define what appears in aeronautical charts.
Changes can be proposed through the Aeronautical Charting Meeting. Use the Aeronautical Information Portal to submit data forms, make inquiries, and sign up for notifications.

Aviation News

NTSB’s TWA Flight 800 Reconstruction to be Decommissioned

The lease is expiring on the National Transportation Safety Board training facility and the NTSB plans to dispose of the TWA Flight 800 reconstruction. With advances such as 3-D scanning, the need for large-scale reconstruction in teaching investigative techniques is less relevant.

Seven aviation and space achievements to compete for the 2020 Robert J. Collier Trophy [PDF]

The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) announced the seven finalists competing for the prestigious 2020 Robert J. Collier Trophy:

The Collier Trophy Selection Committee will meet virtually in June and the winner will be announced publicly following the selection. The formal presentation of the Collier Trophy will take place when health and safety protocols allow.

Flying Announces Editors’ Choice Awards for 2021

These awards recognize collaboration in aviation innovation and one of these teams will be chosen to receive the Flying Innovation Award:

  • Autoland: Garmin Aviation + Piper Aircraft + Cirrus Aircraft + Daher
  • ThrustSense Autothrottle: Innovative Solutions & Support + Pilatus + Textron Aviation
  • Crewed Dragon Capsule to the International Space Station: NASA + SpaceX

Boeing, hit with $6.6 million FAA fine, faces much bigger 787 repair bill – sources

In 2015, Boeing paid a $12 million fine and pledged to implement and improve several certification processes to further enhance the airworthiness and continued compliance of all Boeing Commercial Aircraft products. The settlement agreement resolved multiple pending and potential enforcement cases.  

Press Release – Boeing Agrees to Pay $12 Million and Enhance its Compliance Systems to Settle Enforcement Cases (December 22, 2015)

Under the agreement, Boeing could face up to $24 million in additional penalties over the following five years if it failed to implement its obligations.

Press Release – Boeing to Pay $6.6 Million in Penalties to FAA (February 25, 2021)

Now, the FAA has assessed $5.4 million in deferred civil penalties against The Boeing Company for failing to meet its performance obligations under the 2015 settlement agreement. Boeing also agreed to pay $1.21 million to settle two pending FAA enforcement cases. 

FAA says, “Boeing missed some of its improvement targets, and …some company managers did not sufficiently prioritize compliance with FAA regulations.”

See: Delegated Organizations

United orders another 25 Boeing 737 MAX jets to prepare for recovery

United Airlines ordered 25 new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft for delivery in 2023. The company also accelerated the delivery of other aircraft in anticipation of post-pandemic demand growth.

Delta To Reactivate All Pilots By October

Expecting a strong recovery, Delta informed pilots it plans to return them to flying status by October, 2021.

Icelandair 767 flying between Iceland & Antarctica

The 20 year old Boeing 767-300 is currently flying between Iceland and Antarctica via South Africa. The 767 has a crew of 20 people, including six pilots, 13 flight attendants, and one mechanic. The roundtrip journey covers over 20,000 miles.

Mentioned

Australian Frontline Machinery will hold the March 2021 Aviation Auction, auctioning demilitarised aircraft and spare parts direct from the Australian Defence Force. See Can civilians buy ex-military aircraft? for more information.

Virtual aviation events:

Aircraft Cabin Air International Conference 2021, March 15 – March 18, 2021.

Creating the Future of Vertical Flight: A Sikorsky Innovations Perspective, March 25, 2021.

Video: UNITED 328 Engine Failure! WHAT CHECKLISTS did the pilots use? Explained by CAPTAIN JOE

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.