Tag Archives: green aviation

778 China Aviation Market

We take a look at the China aviation market, including the aviation boom in China, the aircraft that will support that market, and the impact on the global aviation industry. In the news, the V-22 Osprey is grounded worldwide, a judge wants more concessions from JetBlue as they seek to acquire Spirit, how airport expansion plans can come under fire on environmental grounds, and producing Sustainable Aviation Fuel through CO₂ direct air capture technology.

Guest

Vance Hilderman photo.

Vance Hilderman is the CEO of AFuzion, a safety certification consultancy for the aviation industry. Vance is the founder, CEO, and CTO of multiple safety-critical companies. He’s a world-renowned safety-critical expert, speaker, trainer, and author.

Vance describes the growth potential of the China aviation market, the challenges and opportunities for Western companies, and the implications of technology transfer and intellectual property concerns. He highlights the importance of the Chinese market for the aviation industry and the need for strategic approaches to navigate the complexities of doing business in China.

Takeaways:

  • China is a rapidly growing aviation market with a large middle class and increasing domestic and international travel demand.
  • Western companies, including Boeing and Airbus, are eager to tap into the Chinese market, but they face challenges related to technology transfer and intellectual property concerns.
  • The Chinese government plays a significant role in the aviation industry, and partnerships and joint ventures are often required to do business in China.
  • The China aviation market offers both opportunities and risks, and companies need to carefully navigate the political and economic landscape to succeed.

Vance is a top authority in the aviation industry and has been featured in the Associated Press, Aviation Pros, and Aviation Today. He is the author of The Aviation Development Ecosystem and Avionics Certification – Complete Guide to DO-178, DO-178C, DO-254. Vance holds BSEE, MSEE (Hughes Fellow), and MBA degrees.

References:

Aviation News

Osprey Crash Triggers Worldwide Grounding

A USAF CV-22B Osprey tiltrotor crashed offshore near Yakushima, Japan, on November 29, 2023, during a training mission, killing eight service members who were aboard. The U.S. Air Force’s Special Operations Command ordered an “operational standdown” of the CV-22 fleet, and all other V-22 operators have done the same. More than 400 Osprey’s are currently in service with U.S. forces and Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force, which operates 14 of the aircraft. 

USAF Special Operations Command says, “Preliminary investigation information indicates a potential materiel failure caused the mishap, but the underlying cause of the failure is unknown at this time. The standdown will provide time and space for a thorough investigation to determine causal factors and recommendations to ensure the Air Force CV-22 fleet returns to flight operations.”

V-22 Osprey inflight with rotors in vertical flight position.
A CV-22 Osprey practices hoist operations near Albuquerque, New Mexico Feb. 22, 2021. Image: Airman 1st Class Ireland Summers Air Force.

Judge Seeks Further Concessions as JetBlue-Spirit Trial Concludes 

Judge seeks more sacrifices as JetBlue-Spirit trial ends

The US District judge concluded that fares would likely increase if the proposed $3.8B acquisition of Spirit by JetBlue goes through, and commented that JetBlue will most likely need to divest additional assets.  The airline already said it would divest gates and slots at Boston, New York Newark, and Fort Lauderdale International.

Portland jetport plan to cut trees, add surface parking draws opposition

The Portland International Jetport wants to build an additional parking lot. Meanwhile, the new Mayor has prioritized fighting climate change and expanding Portland’s tree canopy. The Jetport says demand for long-term parking exceeds capacity so travelers park at an offsite city lot and use a shuttle to the airport. They say onsite parking has the smallest carbon footprint. The opposition says clearing trees and destroying wetlands is short-sighted and environmentally harmful. They say the jetport should expand the shuttle service to include other existing parking lots.

UK’s first air capture plant is turned on to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and turn it into jet fuel

Mission Zero Technologies was founded in 2020 to develop direct air capture (DAC) technology that recovers atmospheric CO₂, which can then be used or stored. Their machine will run on solar power, recover 50 tonnes of CO₂ per year, and then turn it into Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

Australia Desk

Mentioned

Early Winter Snow Stops Flights at Munich Airport

Video: Cessna Citation X from ARFF World

Video: EP 31: Smithy’s Southern Cross Replica Flies Again!

Hosts this Episode

739 Decarbonizing Aviation

Decarbonizing aviation with a Program Director from the International Council on Clean Transportation. Also, a venture capital fund to grow the availability of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), the PT6 is 60 years old, GA aircraft shipment numbers for 2022, an AD for Continental engines, another close call at the airport, a plea to refrain from putting your pets through the TSA x-ray machine, and we wait to see if the DOJ will object to the Jetblue/Spirit merger.

Guest

Photo of Dan Rutherford, a program director working to decarbonize aviation.

Dan Rutherford is a Program Director at the International Council on Clean Transportation. The ICCT works to improve the environmental performance and energy efficiency of road, marine, and air transportation.

Dan directs ICCT’s aviation and marine programs. In that capacity, he helps national and international regulators develop policies to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases from planes and ships.

We discuss the function and leadership of the ICCT and look at solutions for decarbonizing aviation through technology and policy. Dan describes pathways to net zero by 2050, which include emission cuts from sustainable fuels, increased aviation fuel efficiency, carbon pricing, and a few modal shifts.

We consider how much it will cost to decarbonize aviation as well as regional differences in approach, such as surcharges and subsidies. Dan describes a way to integrate the different approaches across the global air travel industry.

Logo for The International Council on Clean Transportation.

Dan offers his thoughts on hydrogen as a fuel, and on the types of SAF: waste oils, other waste like agricultural or municipal solid waste, synthetic fuel like E-kerosene produced with renewable energy and captured carbon, and crop-based biofuels (from soybeans, palm oil, etc.)

Dan is an internationally recognized expert on measures to promote international transport’s fuel efficiency, control short-lived climate pollutants, and phase out the use of fossil fuels. Dan has helped design environmental policies at the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization and International Maritime Organization for over a decade. Dan holds a B.A. in Chemistry from the University of Minnesota at Morris and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering and Science from Stanford University.

See also:

Aviation News

United Airlines, five other companies launch effort to develop sustainable aviation fuel

A venture capital fund was created called the United Airlines Ventures Sustainable Flight Fund. Its objective is to invest in startup firms and technology that grows the availability of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Initial investors providing more than $100 million are United Airlines, Air Canada, Boeing, GE  Aerospace, JPMorgan Chase, and Honeywell. United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said “This fund is unique. It’s not about offsets or things that are just greenwashing. Instead, we’re creating a system that drives investment to build a new industry around sustainable aviation fuel, essentially from scratch.” 

The Sustainable Flight Fund is not open to retail investors but United Airlines is offering 500 United MileagePlus frequent flyer miles to the first 10,000 customers who donate $1, $3.50, or $7 to the fund. Also, the United website and app will show customers booking flights the estimated carbon footprint of a particular flight.

United, Tallgrass, and Green Plains Form Joint Venture to Develop New Sustainable Aviation Fuel Technology Using Ethanol

In January, United Airlines, Tallgrass, and Green Plains Inc. announced a new joint venture – Blue Blade Energy – to develop and then commercialize a novel Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) technology that uses ethanol as its feedstock. If the technology is successful, Blue Blade is expected to proceed with the construction of a pilot facility in 2024, followed by a full-scale facility that could begin commercial operations by 2028. The offtake agreement could provide for enough SAF to fly more than 50,000 flights annually between United’s hub airports in Chicago and Denver.

PT6 Reaches 60 Years, Pratts Fly a Billion Hours

Pratt & Whitney Canada has accumulated one billion flight hours with the PT6 turboprop and turboshaft family. More than 64,000 PT6s have been produced since 1963 for more than 155 different aviation applications. Design work started in 1958, first run was February 1960, first flight was May 1961 on a Beech 18, and the engine entered service in 1964 on the Beech Queen Air.

GAMA: General Aviation Aircraft Shipments, Billings Improve in 2022

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) reports that business and GA fixed-wing shipments were up 6.5% in 2022 compared to 2021, billings were up 5.8%, and rotorcraft shipments and billings were up 7.5 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively.

Source: GAMA Releases 2022 Aircraft Shipment and Billing Report

Airworthiness Directives; Continental Aerospace Technologies, Inc. Reciprocating Engines

“The FAA received a report of a quality escape involving improper installation and inspection of counterweight retaining rings in the engine crankshaft counterweight groove during manufacture. The FAA has also received reports of two ground engine seizures and one in-flight loss of engine oil pressure due to improper installation of the counterweight retaining rings during manufacture.”

“This AD requires inspection of the crankshaft assembly for proper installation of the counterweight retaining rings in the counterweight groove, and corrective actions if improper installation is found. The FAA is issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.”

Regional Jet Aborts Landing To Avoid Departing Flight At Burbank

A Skywest Airlines E175 (operating as United Express 5326) was cleared to take off at Hollywood Burbank Airport in California. Meanwhile, a Mesa Airlines CRJ-900 (American 5826) was on short final for the same runway.

According to the Aviation Safety Network report, “The air traffic controller cleared UA5326 to take off from runway 33 while the approaching CRJ-900 was around on short final to the same runway. The CRJ-900 discontinued the approach and initiate[d] a climb out. At the same time the ERJ-175 continued with its departure, which prompted a TCAS alert on the CRJ-900. The controller then instructed the CRJ-900 to turn… left. AA5826 circled and landed safely. UA5326 continued to the destiation.”

TSA wants you to stop putting pets through the X-ray machine

TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said, “We are seeing more people traveling with their pets and too many people are leaving them in the carrier case and sending them through the machine. No living creature, human or animal, needs to be exposed to X-rays they don’t need.”

JetBlue, Spirit insist merger won’t lead to higher airline fares, as DOJ circles

The Justice Department’s antitrust division hasn’t yet made a decision to block the merger of JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines or let it proceed. The airlines maintain the merger would lead to lower prices.

Mentioned

Video: How to fold a winning distance paper airplane: U.S. champion shares his secrets.

https://youtu.be/E68rUBhuDTA

Video: PCDU…..There’s Been an Awakening….

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, David Vanderhoof, and Max Trescott.

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.

655 Bits & Pieces XXVIII

Avelo Airlines flight report, Redbird Flight Simulation, Nicki’s flying adventures, the covert Ravens program, the Commemorative Air Force, USAF Aerial Targets Squadron, the Flying Musicians Association, and a commentary about sustainable jet fuel.

Avelo Airlines

Brian Coleman recently flew on the new ultra-low-cost carrier Avelo Airlines and he describes his experience with Micah.

Redbird Flight Simulations

Reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari visited Redbird Flight Simulations in Austin, Texas and spoke with Josh Harnagle, Vice President, Marketing.

Pilot Nicki

Max Flight caught up with Airplane Geeks contributor Nicki at the Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo. She’s continuing to work towards her CFI and training other pilots, especially the disabled.

The Ravens

Also at the Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo, Max talked with Sandy Sanderson about Project 404, the Ravens, a covert operation in Southeast Asia, and the Air America Association.

Commemorative Air Force

Launchpad Marzari spoke with Hank Coats, the CEO and president of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) and Nancy McGee, Vice President of Education about their new headquarters and the Henry B. Tippie National Aviation Education Center.

United States Air Force 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron 

Major Danny Gill with the United States Air Force 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron on the modified Dash-8 used to support live-fire weapons deployment.

Flying Musicians Association

Dennis Klotz and Trent McMillan represented the Flying Musicians Association at Sun ‘n Fun. Founded in 2009, this 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is for pilots who are also musicians. They welcome all proficiency levels and musical genres.

Commentary on sustainable aviation fuel

In this opinion piece, Main(e) Man Micah tells us his views about sustainable fuel for aviation.

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?

651 Ingenuity Flies on Mars

Ingenuity becomes the first aircraft to make a powered, controlled flight on another planet. Also, green aviation initiatives from IAG, Southwest Airlines, and Universal Hydrogen; the F-15EX gets a new name; a museum reopens and a major GA event is canceled; a recap of the 2021 Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo; and a Lego story.

Aviation News

Ingenuity Becomes the First aircraft to Fly on Another Planet

The NASA solar-powered Ingenuity Mars helicopter has become “the first aircraft in history to make a powered, controlled flight on another planet.” The first flight flew 3 meters above the Martian surface for 39 seconds. The second flight was 5 meters for 51.9 seconds. The third flight was also to 5 meters then Ingenuity flew downrange 50 meters reaching a top speed of 2 meters per second.

Ingenuity Mars helicopter gets official international call-sign

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has established official designations for Ingenuity and Wright Brothers Field where it operates from on Mars. The Ingenuity first flight has been given the IGY three-letter designator and the call sign INGENUITY. Wright Brothers Field is designated JZRO for Jezero Crater.

IAG to power 10 percent of its flights with sustainable aviation fuel by 2030

International Airlines Group (IAG) intends to purchase one million tons of sustainable jet fuel every year. This would lower annual emissions by two million tons by 2030. That’s the equivalent of taking one million European cars off the road each year. IAG encompasses British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Iberia Express, LEVEL, and Vueling. IAG plans to work with its suppliers so they can achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 for the products and services they provide to IAG. The company is investing US$400 million over the next 20 years and partnering with sustainable aviation fuel developers LanzaJet and Velocys.

Southwest Airlines Continues Its Support of Sustainable Aviation Fuel Research to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Southwest Airlines is supporting the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The NREL plans to utilize a biorefining process to develop low-carbon, low-cost, high-performance sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) created from wet waste, such as food. Southwest wants to be carbon neutral by 2050 and sees SAF as having an important role.

Universal Hydrogen raises $20.5m to accelerate hydrogen aviation

Universal Hydrogen secured $20.5m in new funding and is targeting 2025 for the first commercial regional aircraft flights. Investors include Fortescue Future Industries, Coatue, Global Founders Capital, Plug Power, Airbus Ventures, JetBlue Technology Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures, Sojitz Corporation, and Future Shape. Universal Hydrogen intends to build and test full-scale hardware for hydrogen commercial aircraft.

The F-15EX Has a New Name

At a rollout and naming ceremony at Eglin Air Force Base, the F-15EX was named the Eagle II.  The F-15C/D fleet is to be replaced by at least 144 F-15EXs. The older fleet has an average age of 37 years. Structural strain is becoming an issue.

Udvar-Hazy Center To Open May 5. Six Other Smithsonian Museums Plus The Zoo To Also Open In May!

The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center will reopen on Wednesday, May 5 – the 60th anniversary of the first U.S. human spaceflight by Alan Shepard. Timed entry passes will be required for all visitors and face coverings will be required for all visitors ages two and older. Some artifacts will not be on view and other restrictions apply.

Corona crisis forces Messe Friedrichshafen to cancel AERO 2021

Aero Friedrichshafen canceled for the second year in a row.

Mentioned

Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo

Lego Boeing 747 Cockpit

Bye eFlyer 800 will fly you and 7 of your closest friends 500NM at 320 knots, or more with solar

Air Force unveils new mission statement

The Air Force released its new mission statement: ‘To fly, fight, and win…airpower anytime, anywhere.” This change emphasizes the primary competitive advantage and capabilities airpower provides to the nation and joint operations.

Video: “Weird Al” Yankovic – Mission Statement

620 The Master Minimum Equipment List (MMEL)

A 737 crew couldn’t properly hand fly the airplane after autopilot failures, and we discuss the Master Minimum Equipment List. Also, airline furloughs loom, unwanted Austrian Eurofighter Typhoons, Air Force efforts to produce more pilots, an engine shutdown due to rain, commercial flights to nowhere, too much PPE isn’t allowed on American Airlines, and an airport throws out an operator.

Aviation News

Experienced crew struggled with instrument flight after 737 lost autopilots

The Lithuanian carrier Klasjet 737-500 departed Madrid Barajas for Kaunas on April 5, 2019, with the captain’s autopilot inoperative. That’s permitted under the minimum equipment list regulations because the officer’s autopilot was working. However, the FO’s autopilot failed 2 minutes after take-off. The pilots had difficulty flying the plane, with large altitude and pitch variations, several go-arounds, flight below the required minimum, and failure to follow ATC instructions.

For an example of an MMEL, see Master Minimum Equipment List (MMEL) for the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet. [PDF]

United Eyes Extensive Furloughs

United Airlines plans to furlough 16,370 employees as early as October 2020: 6,920 flight attendants, 2,850 pilots, 2,260 airport operations personnel, 2,010 mechanics, and 1,400 in management. American and Delta have also announced plans to reduce their workforces beginning Oct. 1.

Austria Wants To Offload Its Unwanted Eurofighter Typhoons On Indonesia

The Austrian defense minister said she plans to hold talks that aim to sell the country’s Eurofighter Typhoons to Indonesia. Indonesia is interested in buying the 15 Typhoons, the only fighter jets the Austrian Air Force has. We discuss why Austria wants to get rid of the fighters and wonder why anybody would want them.

USAF Looks to Address Pilot Shortage with New Programs

Earlier this year, the Air Force told Congress that the service had a shortage of about 2,100 pilots, 10% of the pilots it needs to execute the National Defense Strategy. Air Force initiatives to address the shortage include the use of simulation, reality (VR), and artificial intelligence (AI) programs. A new $38 million Virtual Test and Training Center (VTTC) at Nellis Air Force Base (AFB), NV will be used for joint-aerial combat training.

U.S. Air Force Trains Robotic Dogs to Scout Battlefields

The Department of the Air Force, the U.S. Northern Command, and the U.S. Space Command just performed a field test of the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS). The ABMS is a digital battle network system that collects, processes, and shares data among U.S. and allied forces. In addition to shooting down a cruise missile with a hypervelocity weapon, the Air Force tested the Vision 60 quadrupedal robots developed by Ghost Robotics.

Airbus A220 Operators Told To Protect Avionics Against Rainfall

Rain entered an A220 through the main cabin door and overflowed the drains. Then during taxi the water dripped into the avionics bay below and tripped a circuit breaker, causing an engine shutdown. A220 operators have 12 months to modify the drain tubing.

Starlux Airlines Plans Six More Flights To Nowhere

Last month, Taiwanese carrier Starlux Airlines flew a “flight to nowhere” so passengers could “pretend to go abroad.” The flight flew over the Pratas Islands in the northern part of the South China Sea. This was such a success that Starlux plans more of these flights in their Airbus A321neos.

American Airlines Bans Wearing Too Much Personal Protection Equipment On Board

American Airlines sent a memo to its customer care agents about “Prohibited Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).” Several “recreational” PPE items are banned from flights: personal face/body tents, personal face/body pods, personal air purifiers/refreshers, and Ozone generators. Under the Weather sells a variety of these body pods.

JetSuiteX banned at Orange Co Airport, Asks Customers for Help

According to JetSuiteX, John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California told the company that they were “no longer welcome” at Orange County Airport. No reason was given. JetSuiteX provides “hop-on service” from FBO’s with 19 Embraer ERJ-135 and -145 jet aircraft configured for 30 passengers. Customers received communications from JetSuiteX asking them to write to the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

Mentioned

Prototype of the ‘Flying-V’ plane built by KLM that burns 20% less fuel than traditional aircraft takes to the skies for the first time and TUDelft Flying-V.

“The Flying-V is a design for a highly energy-efficient long-distance aeroplane. The aircraft’s design integrates the passenger cabin, the cargo hold and the fuel tanks in the wings, creating a spectacular v-shape. Its improved aerodynamic shape and reduced weight will mean it uses 20% less fuel than the Airbus A350, today’s most advanced aircraft.”

When does flying become CO2-neutral?

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) has some concepts for “an aircraft that flies as climate-friendly as it is economical and is ready for operation by 2040… This aircraft should be able to carry at least 70 passengers for a distance of up to 2,000 kilometers.”

Calling all pilots! Corps to give up to $210,000 for Marine pilots to re-up

The Marine Corps will give out an aviation bonus of up to $210,000 for select pilots willing to extend their service commitment by up to six years, according to a new administrative message.

Major General Charles Bolden Honored with 2020 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy [PDF]

The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) announced that Major General Charles Bolden USMC (Ret.) has been selected as the recipient of the 2020 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy for “…his impassioned commitment to public service in aviation and aerospace as an aviator, astronaut, and leader and his dedication to excellence for the advancement of all humanity.”

Charlie appeared as our guest in Episode 316 – NASA’s Aeronautics Research, September 2014. His blog from his days at NASA is still online.

617 Boeing 737 MAX NPRM

We look at the Boeing 737 MAX NPRM for return to service, Phillips 66 investment in sustainable aviation fuel, JetBlue carbon neutrality on domestic flights, this year’s Collier Trophy winner, American Airlines plans to eliminate some smaller destinations, and the F-16 fighter jet sale to Taiwan.

Boeing 737 MAX NPRM

Boeing 737 MAX AD NPRM Now Available for Early Public Review

Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) for a Boeing 737 MAX airworthiness directive (AD) (PDF)

The FAA proposes to supersede Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2018-23-51, which applies to all The Boeing Company Model 737-8 and 737-9 (737 MAX) airplanes. Since AD 2018-23-51 was issued, the agency has determined that final corrective action is necessary to address the unsafe condition. This proposed AD would require installing new flight control computer (FCC) software, revising the existing Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) to incorporate new and revised flightcrew procedures, installing new MAX display system (MDS) software, changing the horizontal stabilizer trim wire routing installations, completing an angle of attack sensor system test, and performing an operational readiness flight. 

2019-NM-035-AD The Boeing Company Model 737-8 and 737-9 (737 MAX) airplanes

Comments are due Sep 21, 2020 11:59 PM ET.

Preliminary Summary of the FAA’s Review of the Boeing 737 MAX (PDF)

This report will provide a detailed technical account of the lessons learned since the two fatal accidents involving the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, as well as the actions by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ensure the airplane’s safe return to service. As the State of Design agent, the FAA is providing this report to all States of Registry and to the general public to assist in their understanding of how the agency identified and is addressing the safety issues affecting the 737 MAX.

Aviation News

Phillips 66 To Convert Plant For Sustainable Fuel Production

The company announced its San Francisco Refinery in Rodeo, California will be reconfigured to produce 680 million gallons annually of sustainable diesel, gasoline, and jet fuels using cooking oil, fats, greases, and soybean oils. If approved, the production of sustainable fuels could start in early 2024.

JetBlue is the First U.S. Airline to Commit to and Achieve Carbon Neutrality for All Domestic Flying

JetBlue previously announced a commitment to go carbon neutral on all domestic flights. The airline says it has achieved that goal and carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) from jet fuel for all domestic JetBlue-operated flights are now offset. The airline is also investing in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and flights from San Francisco International Airport are fueled with SAF.  JetBlue had already offset more than 2.6 billion pounds of CO2 emissions in partnership with CarbonFund.org Foundation.

X-37B Team Wins Collier Trophy

The United States Department of the Air Force-Boeing X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle team has won the 2019 Robert J. Collier Trophy. The National Aeronautic Association selection committee said the team was chosen for “… developing and employing the world’s only reusable, autonomous spaceplane, which logged more than 2,865 days in orbit across five missions, changing access to space and serving as the nation’s workhorse in space experimentation and technology.”

X-37B Landing

X-37B Landing.

American Airlines prepares to drop some service to smaller cities as expiration of federal aid nears

Under the terms of a $25 billion federal aid package, airlines must maintain minimum levels of service through September 30, 2020. American Airlines says they’ll discontinue flights to some as yet unidentified small and medium-sized cities. The airline may not wait until October 1, 2020, to drop the destinations from the fall schedules. There is congressional support for an additional federal payment that would sustain the flights, but the necessary legislation hasn’t come together yet.

U.S. Formalizes F-16 Jet Sale to Taiwan With China Tensions High

Taiwan signed an agreement to purchase 66 F-16 jets, to be completed by 2026. The planned sale was announced last August and at that time a spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry said “U.S. arms sales to Taiwan severely violate the one-China principle.”

Cutter Aviation

Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari visits FBO Cutter Aviation in Colorado Springs.

Mentioned

Tuskegee Airman General Charles McGee

On Wednesday, September 2, 2020, General McGee will be interviewed live as part of the Old Guys and Their Airplanes “Debrief” series.

General McGee served in WWII, The Korean War, and the Vietnam War, accumulating an astounding 409 combat missions.  His civilian service is marked by extensive honors including the nation’s highest civilian award, The Congressional Gold Medal.   Today, at age 100, he remains an active role model to youth, promoting his mantra of personal success, “Perceive, Prepare, Perform and Persevere.”

The live interview is free to the public with special emphasis on encouraging teachers and group leaders to tune-in. To this point, the 2 September interview with General McGee will be conducted during the ‘school time’ – 9 am Pacific, 10 am Mountain, 11 am Central and Noon Eastern.

Also…

Amphibious Assault Ship USS Essex Carries Load Of Gorgeous World War II Warbirds To Hawaii

614 Choosing a Flight School

An aviation climate control proposal from the EPA, an update on airline furloughs, questions about fighter pilot’s flying experience, Airbus’ autonomous A350, Delta Airline’s fleet simplification, and the Garmin outage that lasted for days. Also, an Australia News Desk from the boys down under, a special discount code for our listeners, and advice on choosing a flight school.

Aviation News

US Says it Will Adopt Global Climate Standards for Aviation

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new aircraft emissions regulations that some are criticizing and others are applauding. The proposal adopts 2017 emissions standards from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Boeing and the Airlines for America trade group welcomed the proposal. Environmental groups and the EPA itself said the proposed regulations would have no meaningful effect.

Southwest Airlines Will Not Furlough Workers On Oct. 1

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly announced that the airline will not furlough or lay off any workers on Oct. 1, 2020. Kelly said, “We have no intention of seeking furloughs, layoffs, pay rate cuts or benefits cuts through at least the end of the year… I can’t guarantee it will never happen, especially during these dark pandemic times. I can promise you it will be the last thing we do to keep Southwest financially healthy and viable.”

American Airlines’ Grim Warning To Flight Attendants

American Airlines says it has over 20,000 more employees than it will need later this year. The airline has been trying to entice employees to accept voluntary leaves of absence or early retirement, but the acceptance numbers are lower than American wants to see.

Fighter Pilots Warn Of Newly Trained Pilots’ Lack Of Actual Flying Experience

We’ve recently seen a number of military aviation accidents. A team of senior U.S. Air Force officers has been speaking to pilots and aircrew to see if there are common factors. They find that experienced pilots worry about possible cuts in flying hours and increased use of simulators.

Airbus Completes Autonomous Airliner Experiment

Since 2018, Airbus has flown an A350-1000 autonomously 500 times. The airplane is fitted with image recognition technology that uses external cameras. The software processes the images and controls the flight.

Delta Air Lines: Fleet Simplification Will Be A Game Changer

Delta had announced a fleet simplification strategy last December. At the beginning of 2020, Delta operated 20 different aircraft models in multiple configurations, with two more scheduled to join the fleet in 2020 (the Airbus A220-300 and A321neo). Delta has now accelerated its simplification strategy.

FAA warns of Boeing 737 double-engine power loss (EAD)

The FAA issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive (EAD) for Boeing 737 Classic and NextGeneration aircraft in storage. The bleed air fifth stage check valve on CFM56 engines stored for seven or more days could exhibit corrosion that could lead to an engine shutdown. Perhaps even a double-engine shutdown. This follows four single-engine 737 shutdowns during flight.

Garmin Aviation App And Services Down in Ransomware Attack

On Jul. 23, 2020, Garmin experienced a major outage attributed in the press to a ransomware attack. The FlyGarmin app for pilots using Garmin GPS based instruments and navigation equipment was affected, as was the Garmin Pilot app and Garmin aviation and navigation watches.

Mentioned

QANTAS Boeing 747 VH-OEJ “Wunala” Final Walkaround at LAX

For a limited time, PilotPartner.net is offering a discount code for Airplane Geeks listeners. The code “airplanegeeks18” will get you an 18-month membership for the price of 12 months. Ken from PilotPartner was our guest in Episode 432.

Delta CEO: Navigating the Coronavirus Crisis – Boss Files with Poppy Harlow

As the coronavirus pandemic ravages the airline industry, Delta CEO Ed Bastian says he is leading the company through a defining moment. He opens up about how Delta is navigating the crisis, mandating masks on all flights, and blocking middle seats. He also pledges as CEO to stand against racism and is committed to promoting more African-American executives throughout the company.

591 Aviation News

Airbus buys out Bombardier, the Gulfstream G700 makes its maiden flight, Airbus is testing a blended wing body aircraft, Boeing gets a 30 aircraft LOI for the passenger 747-8, Delta Airlines says they’ll spend $1B to become carbon neutral, a Canadian aviation museum seeks to appeal to people who aren’t #AvGeeks, the risks of turning off your ADS-B transponder, and the U.S. might block sale of the LEAP-1C engine to China.

Also, a great positive airline story of the week, an emergency AD for the Cirrus Vision Jet, the Girls Go Fly organization, a Harrier jump jet for sale, a really good sonic boom story, the oldest continuously operating military base in the world, and an addendum to last week’s baseball toss on a moving train scenario. Einstein would be proud. Perhaps.

Aviation News

Airbus Buys Bombardier Out Of Commercial Aviation For $591 Million

With this deal, Bombardier has fully exited the CSeries/A220 program. Bombardier receives $591 million, with $531 million paid at closing and $60 million to be paid in installments through 2021. Bombardier said with this deal the company avoids a roughly $700 million payment it would have had to make to fund production expansion. Airbus now holds 75% of Airbus Canada with the Government of Québec holding 25%, but Airbus can redeem the remaining government stake by 2026.

All-New Gulfstream G700 Makes First Flight

The Gulfstream G700 completed a successful two hour and 32-minute maiden flight, operating on a 30/70 blend of sustainable aviation fuel. Introduced in October 2019, the flagship G700 model has five flight-test aircraft. A structural test article has completed load testing. Powered by Rolls-Royce Pearl 700 engines, the G700 has an all-new winglet, it can fly at its high-speed cruise of Mach 0.90 for 6,400 nautical miles/11,853 kilometers or at its long-range cruise of Mach 0.85 for 7,500 nm/13,890 km.

Airbus reveals futuristic blended wing aircraft design

Airbus has been flying a small-scale, remote-controlled blended wing body aircraft demonstrator. They showed the 2-meter long model at the Singapore Air Show. If the MAVERIC (Model Aircraft for Validation and Experimentation of Robust Innovative Controls) leads to a full-scale aircraft, it could cut fuel consumption up to 20%.

Video: MAVERIC, a “blended wing body” scale model technological demonstrator

Boeing gets LOI for 30 747-8 passenger jets a deal worth over $10 billion

Boeing received a Letter of Intent from Avatar Airlines for the purchase of 30 new 747-8 passenger version aircraft. Boeing has been selling the 747-8F freighter, but no new passenger orders were received in 2019. Avatar plans to operate low-fare scheduled service to large major city pairs throughout the U.S. and Hawaii, beginning with fourteen 747-400s using aircraft currently in storage. Then the airline plans to transition to the 747-8 with 539 economy seats on the lower deck and 42 business seats on the upper deck

Investor Video: Avatar Airlines A Radical Departure 11 13 19 VER

Delta Air Lines Commits $1 Billion To Curb Its Carbon Emissions

Delta Air Lines wants to be the world’s first carbon-neutral airline. To do that, they say that starting March 1, 2020, they’ll commit $1 billion over the next 10 years. Press release: Delta commits $1 billion to become first carbon neutral airline globally. “The airline will invest in driving innovation, advancing clean air travel technologies, accelerating the reduction of carbon emissions and waste, and establishing new projects to mitigate the balance of emissions.”

Delta Airlines’ Claim Of Becoming Carbon Neutral In March Is Disingenuous At Best

Michael Barnard, the Chief Strategist with TFIE Strategy Inc. (The Future is Electric), is not so impressed, noting that the Delta outlay is about 0.2% of their annual revenue. He also takes issue with Delta’s statement that they will continue to use jet fuel.

The aviation museum for people who don’t care about aviation

If you are not an #AvGeek, aviation museums can be boring. But the Canada National Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa aims “to spark interest in those who don’t think they care about planes — especially (but not exclusively) women, who often don’t feel like aviation museums are a place for them.” The museum wants visitors to hear stories about people who are like them. Curator Erin Gregory says, “One of my goals as a curator is to feminize the collection and to try to have the floor be much more representative of all the people who fly, including women. I’m working to revise and revamp the museum to make it as inclusive as possible.”

Turn Off Your ADS-B, Go To Jail?

The FAA posted a National Policy effective January 24, 2020 [PDF] that deals, in part, with ADS-B transponders:

Page 9-13 says, “Single Acts of Misconduct Generally Warranting Revocation. Some acts of misconduct are, by their very nature, so egregious or significant as to demonstrate that the certificate holder does not possess the care, judgment, or responsibility to hold a certificate. These acts include, but are not limited to, those listed in Figure 9-5.”

The referenced Figure 9-5 lists 30 Single Acts Generally Warranting Revocation. One is “Operating an aircraft without activated transponder or ADS-B Out transmission (except as provided in 14 C.F.R. § 91.225(f)) for purposes of evading detection.”

See also, Owners seek battery ADS-B in nonelectrical aircraft.

U.S. weighs blocking GE engine sales for China’s new airplane: sources

In order to export certain technologies to China (and some other countries), you need an export license from the U.S. Commerce Department. The Chinese Comac C919 uses LEAP-1C engines produced by CFM, International, a joint venture between General Electric and the French company Safran. There are reports that the U.S. Government is considering denying GE’s latest license request, thus blocking those exports.

FAA Emergency AD Grounds Cirrus Jet Fleet

A cabin ground fire destroyed a first-generation Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet on the ramp, and the FAA responded with an emergency airworthiness directive AD 2020-03-50 grounding the fleet. The problem is with audio amplifiers that drive the audio/microphone jacks in the passenger cabin. The AD requires removal of the 12 amplifiers before the next flight, typically an 8-hour task.

Positive Airline Story of the Week

A couple flew home with their adopted infant. Strangers threw an impromptu baby shower on the plane.

A couple flying home on Southwest with their 8-day old adopted daughter found lots of love from the flight attendants and the other passengers.

Mentioned

Save runway 6-24 at Chicago Executive Airport. A safety runway needed by small planes.

Girls Go Fly

Barbie releases pilot and engineer dolls to encourage young girls into STEM subjects

International Women’s Day, March 8, 2020.

Airshow Harrier For Sale

With a Loud KABOOM, an F-105 Upstaged Our Air Force Graduation