Concerning a Boeing MoM, president and CEO David Calhoun, said, “We won’t contemplate a new airplane; we won’t even put it on the drawing board until we know we’re capable of doing that. So this is strategy for us. Capabilities. And then there’ll be a moment in time where we’ll pull the rabbit out of the hat and introduce a new airplane sometime in the middle of next decade.”
The global civil aviation industry has pledged to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 but new technologies will require billions of dollars in investment. Hydrogen, electric and hybrid propulsion, and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) have promise, but feasibility and cost-effectiveness concerns remain. But propfans and ducted propellers “might finally be ready for use.”
First-class suites with doors first appeared on the Airbus A380 then spread to other widebodies offering luxury and some degree of privacy. How do the latest class of high-wall super suites from Emirates and Lufthansa deal with the cabin view requirements?
Eastern Airlines Flight 401 50th Anniversary Memorial Monument – Dedication December 29, 2022, at 1:00 pm. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. For donations:
By check payable to National Air Disaster Foundation. Note on your check that it is for Eastern 401. 100% of your tax-deductible donation goes toward the memorial. Send your check to: National Air Disaster Foundation, 2020 Pennsylvania Ave NW, #315, Washington, DC 20006.
This episode is dedicated to the Boeing 707. Our guest is the facilities manager for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute which displays a Boeing VC-137C used as Air Force One for seven U.S. presidents. In the news, Lufthansa looks to reactivate some A380s, sometimes it’s a good idea to toss something into the cockpit, and how old planes are repurposed.
John’s responsibilities include the operations and maintenance of Foundation property and displayed artifacts, such as the Air Force One Pavilion and SAM 27000, the Boeing VC-137C aircraft used by the president of the United States.
In October 2005, John was asked to help the Foundation on a “temporary” basis. The completed Air Force One Pavilion was being transitioned from the general contractor to the Reagan Foundation. That “temporary” job turned into a 16+ year career with the Foundation.
He also oversees construction projects, contracted services such as maintenance, and various trades, as well as special event logistics. John has a small staff of foundation employees and outside contractors that make up his “on-site” facilities team. It is an ever-changing job that presents some unique challenges, especially the care of the aircraft and other displays.
SAM 27000 was the second of two Boeing VC-137C United States Air Force presidential aircraft. It is a specially-built Model 707-353B that served seven United States presidents over 29 years.
John explains the acquisition process and ownership of the aircraft, along with the transportation challenges to get it to the facility. He tells us about how the aircraft was prepared and the display constructed. We learn about the maintenance challenge in the face of large numbers of visitors who go through the aircraft. John describes the interior of the plane, including the presidential suite and other cabins. He also tells us about the other aircraft and exhibits at the site.
The airline anticipates increased travel demand in 2023 and is assessing the number of A380s they plan to reactivate. Delayed deliveries of other aircraft contributed to the decision to bring the A380 back into service. In 2021, Lufthansa announced a phase-out of some long-haul aircraft, including the A380. Six of the airplanes have been sold. Up to eight may be reactivated. Lufthansa plans to add more Airbus A350-900s and Boeing 787 and 777 airplanes to replace older aircraft.
Recycling old airplanes takes several forms: Some parts and components are sold into the used parts market. Others A few items become end up as aviation collectibles, artwork, and even functional furniture. What’s left over can be sold as scrap. This article gives some creative ways that old aircraft have been repurposed.
The Bye Aerospace founder, CEO, and chairman on electric airplanes. Also, AeroShark aircraft skin technology, the Collier Trophy finalists, a hydrogen fuel-powered aircraft engine, more lasers pointed at aircraft, F-35C crash video leakers charged, and the closing of airspace.
George E. Bye is the Founder, CEO, and Chairman of Bye Aerospace, founded in 2007. He has two decades of experience as an aerospace entrepreneur, engineer, and executive.
George describes recent developments in the electric airplane industry, including new interest and investments by a number of companies of all sizes – startups to major aerospace companies. What was seen just a few years ago as “too futuristic” is now considered overdue. We look at the regulatory landscape and how that has changed, and the significant advances in battery energy density.
George explains the advantages of electric aircraft and specifically how the Bye Aerospace electric eFlyer 2 is designed for pilot training. The eFlyer is attractive from an operating cost perspective, efficiency, and aesthetically. George provides the status of the program and tells us the company is now building the first production conforming eFlyer 2, serial number one. Two more examples are planned for 2023.
Along the way, we discuss the charging infrastructure for electric aircraft, the safety aspect of very quiet airplane engines, electric airplane student pilot training, and what that means for subsequent transitioning to other propulsion types.
George has developed several aircraft designs, including the all-electric eFlyer 2, eFlyer 4, and eFlyer 800 aircraft. The eFlyer 2 is now in the FAA certification process. Previously he designed the 14-foot wing-span solar-electric hybrid UAV, “Silent Falcon,” now in production in a former Bye Aerospace subsidiary. He also conceived the new, piloted solar-electric SOLESA design which has completed initial flight test.
As a well-known conceptual design engineer, he has consulted for major OEMs on their advanced development programs. George was a part of the conceptual design leadership team on the Boeing T-X program, now known as the T-7A “Red Hawk” USAF advanced jet trainer. He provides expert reviews for Lockheed Martin.
George holds a B.S. in Engineering from the University of Washington and is an ATP-rated pilot with over 4,000 flying hours. He was a USAF instructor pilot in the supersonic T-38 for Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training, C-141B Instructor Aircraft Commander, and is a Desert Storm veteran.
Lufthansa Technik and BASF co-developed an aircraft skin technology they call AeroSHARK which contains 50-micrometer “riblets” that imitate the flow characteristics of sharkskin. It’s meant to reduce drag and thus improve fuel consumption and lower emissions. Swiss International Air Lines plans to begin equipping its twelve Boeing 777-300ERs with AeroShark beginning in mid-2022. The fuel savings are said to be more than one percent. AeroSHARK was launched on the Boeing 777Fs of Lufthansa Cargo.
The Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon program seeks to develop and demonstrate the technologies that enable effective and affordable air-launched hypersonic cruise missiles.
The Gremlins are groups of UASs flown from existing aircraft out of range of adversary defenses. After mission completion, the Gremlins are retrieved by a C-130 transport aircraft to be taken home and turned around within 24 hours for the next mission.
Ingenuity is a technology demonstration to test powered flight on Mars. The helicopter rode to Mars attached to the belly of the Perseverance rover.
The Mission Extension Vehicle is a satellite life extension vehicle. It docks to a client geostationary satellite whose fuel is nearly depleted and uses its own thrusters and fuel supply to extend the satellite’s lifetime.
The Collier Trophy Selection Committee plans to meet on March 31, 2022, and announce the winner shortly thereafter.
Airbus and CFM International plan to use an A380 for a hydrogen-powered flight demonstration program. The engine will be mounted on the rear fuselage. Four hydrogen tanks will be fitted in the rear cabin. Airbus says that flight of the aircraft will occur “around the middle of this decade.” Airbus A380-800 serial number MSN001 will be used for the demonstration. CFM is modifying an existing engine type in the U.S., a GE Passport engine.
On February 7, 2022, eleven airliners were struck by lasers in a one-hour period near the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). No injuries were reported, but the industry is very concerned about the rising trend. Addressing this problem is difficult.
An ensign and four chief petty officers have been charged with violations of Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, failure to obey a lawful order. The Navy is not releasing the names of the charged sailors.
In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, countries around the world are closing their airspace to Russian aircraft.
Israeli News Desk
Eyal describes a fatal accident where an LSA Sierra P2002 with two persons on board crashed in the mountains near Jerusalem. Weather conditions likely played a role with the LSA that was certified for VFR only.
Also, Elbit Systems will introduce a new version of the Skylark 3 short-range UAV at the Singapore Airshow 2022. The drone is equipped with a hybrid propulsion system that includes an electric engine and a combustion engine. The Skylark family of drones has been ordered by 27 countries.
A Honeywell senior director talks about advanced air mobility. Also, NOTAMs may be on the way for 5G cellular, PLAY airline comes to the U.S., airline executives speak before the U.S. Senate, local incentives draw Lufthansa to St. Louis, and Dynon suffers from component shortages. We also have an Australia Desk with military rotorcraft news.
Andrew Barker is the Senior Director, Sales Marketing, Urban Air Mobility and Unmanned Aerial Systems at Honeywell Aerospace. He describes the “advanced air mobility” concept that encompasses a scope larger than the “urban” notion normally associated with UAM. In fact, Andrew thinks of it as Aviation 2.0 and likens it to a new experimental aircraft world, but this time with more funding.
Honeywell acts as a vehicle-agnostic supplier of avionics and propulsion components. Some of these, like fly-by-wire, are being brought down to the UAM market. Andrew talks about Honeywell detect-and-avoid technology and sensor fusion. We also consider the progression of steps being taken by the industry – starting with the pilot in the aircraft, then progressing to SVO (simple vehicle operation) lessening the onboard task, to pilot on the ground, and ultimately (perhaps) autonomous air transport.
Andrew also touches on some of the industry challenges, like regulatory standards and public acceptance. And of course safety, the overarching imperative.
Andrew spent his youth at the airport with his father and received his PPL at age 17. That same year he flew a Cessna 150 to EAA Airventure in Oshkosh, WI. You’ll find Andrew at Osh most years.
In 2000 he became the first employee of TruTrak Flight Systems, a company that designed and produced autopilots for the experimental aircraft market. After earning his degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Arkansas in 2004, Andrew was named general manager and he joined the board of directors for TruTrak.
Andrew and his wife eventually became the sole owners of TruTrak. The company received FAA approval for the installation of an autopilot for the Cessna 172 in 2017, adding several more models in the following years.
In 2019, Honeywell acquired TruTrak and Andrew joined the Honeywell team as Sr. Director of Sales for BendixKing. In July of 2021, Andrew joined the UAM / UAS team and is now running sales and marketing.
The 5G cellular issue with possible interference to radar altimeters continues in the news. On the heels of two FAA ADs, we now see the possibility of an FAA NOTAM (Notice to Air Missions) with more specific details.
Icelandic low-cost carrier PLAY is now booking tickets from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) with service starting April 20, 2022, and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) with service from May 11, 2022. PLAY operates a fleet of Airbus A320neo family aircraft with a hub at Keflavík International Airport. Ex-WOW executives are among the leadership team at PLAY.
It’s the first passenger airline service from St. Louis to the European continent in nearly 20 years, scheduled to start in June 2022. An incentive package was offered to Lufthansa that included up to $5 million in incentive payments over two years. To qualify, the airline must average three nonstop flights per week from St. Louis Lambert International Airport to Frankfurt. Landing fees are also waived for 18 months. The package was put together by local businesses, the St. Louis County government, and the airport.
Dynon Avionics says they will be “unable to manufacture or ship experimental SkyView HDX, SkyView Classic, and SkyView SE displays” due to supply chain issues with components. Demand is up, supplies are down, and lead times are longer.
Australia News Desk
This week’s Australia Desk takes a look at the withdrawal from service of the Army’s S-70-A9 Blackhawk fleet, and the announcement by the government that the MRH-90 Taipan fleet will also be replaced in favour of up to 40 new-build UH-60M Blackhawks.
In airline news, Qantas has announced its intention to replace its 737-800 fleet over the next ten years with Airbus A321’s…but will they actually do it??
Geospatial data supporting airports, investment strategy for airport recovery, lower airport operations volume, halted international flights, a health bill for domestic air travel, aviation events, a criminal conviction for unsafe drone operation, a B-21 update, and the outlook for New Zealand.
Bob Vander Meer is vice president of business development for NV5 Geospatial (Powered by Quantum Spatial). He has over 20 years of business development and management experience in the geospatial industry, and serves within NV5 Geospatial’s public market sector, leading the business development activities with state, municipal, and county government agencies.
Bob has provided executive support to over 700 airport projects under FAA Advisory Circular 150/5300-16A, -17C, -18B guidelines. He has managed all internal project activities, including overseeing that the airport ground surveys and collection of aerial imagery are performed in accordance with the appropriate FAA specifications.
We dive into how geospatial data for airports are collected, analyzed, and used for applications like obstruction analysis, airport mapping, and even pavement management and crack assessment, as well as interior mapping. Bob explains the sensors used and the aircraft that carry them.
Mark Stokes, the Business Unit Manager – SmartSuite at Brock Solutions, notes that “Many in the aviation industry went from full speed ahead, managing the absolute peak of volumes, to a near dead stop.” As business returns, “airlines and airports are likely going to not bring back as many people as they had before.” But the pre-pandemic situation with “unmanageable volumes of traffic” tells us “what’s going to happen to our systems and our passenger flows and our facilities when those volumes come back. Now, we have some time to prepare and to adjust the course so we can avoid those problems we were inevitably facing in 2019.”
The Dutch government announced they will require all travelers, including crew, to get both a PCR test and an antigen test before flying to that country. In response, KLM stopped operating all its intercontinental flights and some of its European services on January 22, 2021. A KLM spokesperson said, “We cannot run the risk of our staff being stranded somewhere. This is why we are stopping all intercontinental flights from Friday & all flights to European destinations where crew members have to spend the night.”
But what about cargo and repatriation flights, and the impact on vaccine shipments? Well, now aircrew will be exempt from the rules if, either they do not leave the aircraft position upon reaching their destination, or if a PCR test is done within 12 hours before the flight, then the rapid test is not required. Crew may also operate within a “72-hour bubble,” allowing them to isolate in a hotel.
President Biden signed an executive order that calls for interagency cooperation to develop recommendations for national public health measures for domestic travel. A press release from Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) announced the reintroduction of the Ensuring Health Safety in the Skies Act of 2020, which passed the Senate unanimously last year.
The Act [PDF] “would require the Departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Transportation to establish a joint task force on air travel during and after the COVID-19 public health emergency. The task force would consist of representatives from various federal agencies, and would develop policy recommendations to address issues related to airport and air carrier operations during and after the coronavirus pandemic.”
This task force would be advised by a joint federal advisory committee to include aviation industry, security, and public health experts. It would clearly establish the risks that must be addressed, the stakeholders that should be involved, and the process for developing national standards for safe air travel.
Lufthansa announced starting February 1st, 2021, they will stop accepting cloth masks and all passengers will have to wear a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask, (also known as KN95/N95 masks). Masks with valves will not be allowed. Lufthansa Group member Austrian Airlines says that surgical masks will not be allowed. Only FFP2 masks.
A 22 year old man crashed the drone he was operating into a Los Angeles Police Department helicopter in September, 2020. He faces a statutory maximum sentence of one year in federal prison. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 12, 2021. The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and the LAPD, with the assistance of the FAA.
National Aviation Hall of Fame’s Spirit of Flight Award
Brett Snyder, the Cranky Flier, returns as our guest. In the news, United changes its MileagePlus frequent flyer requirements, Costco is selling private jet program memberships, Korean Air and Asiana merge, the outlook for business aviation, Covid testing at the airport, and an “immunity passport” proposal.
Brett Snyder is the president of Cranky Flier LLC. He’s passionate about airlines and has been since he was a child. Brett’s main activity is centered around the Cranky Flier blog and the Cranky Concierge air travel assistance service. He also produces the Cranky Talk podcast and the Cranky Daily which offers the day’s top five airline stories. The Cranky Network Weekly is the newest member of the Cranky family with expert analysis of strategic US airline network changes.
Korean Air owner Hanjin Group announced it will acquire Asiana Airlines. This would make Korean Air one of the world’s largest airlines. Hanjin said the deal will “stabilize the Korean aviation industry, which is suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, business travel represented 21% of the $8.9 trillion spent on global travel and tourism in 2019. Business travel revenue is down 85% at Delta Air Lines, but CEO Ed Bastian thinks a “new normal” for business travel might be 10% to 20% lower than in the past, and he believes it will come back faster than many people think.
Maine currently has some tough requirements for those who travel to that state. According to the government Covid-19 travel page, “It is mandated that all out-of-state travelers coming into Maine, as well as Maine residents returning to Maine, complete a 14-day quarantine upon arrival,” although this can be modified after passing a virus test.
Future air travel restrictions could change with the availability of vaccines. Governments are already discussing the concept of an “immunity passport” for people who are vaccinated or otherwise immune. Meanwhile, airlines have been putting testing solutions in place for their customers.
An air cargo pilot joins us to talk about Boeing freighters. Also, the American Airlines recovery plan that includes more growth than that of other mainline carriers, an Allied Pilots Association proposal where the government would buy middle seats to facilitate social distancing in flight, a Lufthansa bailout by the German government, an Italian ban on luggage in overhead bins, changing airline contracts of carriage, and the United States Air Force plan for some F-22 Raptors.
Miami Rick flew 777 freighters with LAN and was also a passenger pilot on the 767 and 757. Several years ago he moved on to fly air cargo on the 747, including the 747-8 and the Dreamlifter. Rick recently transitioned from the right seat of the 747 to the left seat of the 767 freighter. Rick is a regular host on the Airline Pilot Guy Show where he refers to his current airline as “Acme-Giant.”
Adjusted for blocked middle seats, American Airlines is restoring 55% of domestic seat capacity in July, compared to 30% for United and 21% for Delta. American CEO Doug Parker said, “The big hubs win. We are absolutely benefitted by the fact that two of the three biggest hubs on earth are ours, which are Dallas/Fort Worth and Charlotte.”
Henry Harteveldt of Atmosphere Research Group said, “It’s a vacuum cleaner strategy. They just want to suck up whatever traffic is out there. It’s very risky but there’s a reward.”
United doesn’t buy American’s strategy, telling employees, “Some of our competitors are flying a bigger July schedule than we are, by selling extremely low-priced tickets, and wasting money.”
The Allied Pilots Association (APA) proposed that the government buy seats so that no passenger has to “sit next to a stranger.” The APA white paper Safe Essential Air Transportation Seating (SEATS) [PDF] states, “Under SEATS, the government would purchase enough seats on each flight to eliminate the need for any passenger to sit next to a stranger. Thanks to uniform social distancing, passengers would be encouraged to fly more, airlines would be encouraged to operate more flights, and the government would ensure the preservation of critical transportation infrastructure and associated jobs.”
Also, “…SEATS would build on the success of the CARES Act by addressing both economic and health concerns, with the pace of the airline industry’s recovery determining its duration and level of support. The SEATS concept could be an effective strategy standing alone, and could also be integrated with any forthcoming infrastructure or additional stimulus bill similar to the CARES Act.”
Lufthansa shareholders voted overwhelmingly to take a $10 billion bailout from the German government. The deal gives the government a 20% stake in the airline. Current shareholders will see the value of their holdings diluted. Billionaire businessman Heinz Hermann Thiele, Lufthansa’s biggest single stock owner, had been against the deal, saying the value of his own holding would drop 15%. But he relented at the 11th hour.
All luggage is now banned from overhead bins on planes in Italy. Handbags and other items that fit under the seat in front are allowed. Everything else has to be checked. The Italian National Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) says “as far as hand luggage is concerned, passengers are allowed to bring on board only luggage small enough to be placed under the seat in front of the assigned seat. For health reasons, the use of overhead lockers is not allowed under any circumstance.”
Airlines have canceled many flights due to COVID-19, and the Department of Transportation has warned them they must offer refunds to passengers when requested. Rather than offer passengers cash refunds, airlines have preferred to give them electronic vouchers or credits to be applied to future travel. The result has been a number of consumer lawsuits.
It is reported that American Airlines and British Airways recently revised their contracts of carriage. American’s contract of carriage requires customers to waive their right to participate in a class-action lawsuit against the airline. British Airways requires Executive Club loyalty program members to defer to binding arbitration rather than engage in lawsuits. Frontier and Spirit Airlines already had clauses in their contracts of carriage that prohibit class-action lawsuits.
The Air Combat Command wants to cut pilot training time. Gen. Mike Holmes, head of Air Combat Command, signed off on a strategy known as “Rebuilding the Forge,” or “Reforge.” earlier this month. Under the plan, the Air Force looks to reduce the time it takes to train a skilled fighter pilot to about 22 months, half of what it normally takes. They are looking to take some of the Formal Training Unit F-22s (which are used for fundamental skills training) and put them in a combat-coded configuration. With that, more aircraft would be available for pilots to get operational experience earlier in their careers.
Dawn Flight – Only if you love gliders, or really have nothing better to do.
We explore In Flight USA Magazine which is targeted to the general and business aviation community, as well as to aviation enthusiasts. In the news, aviation events are postponed or canceled due to COVID-19 while aviation museums and other operations are closed. Also, updates on the military Gray/Grey Wolf programs and T-X jet trainers, a new free online course for youngsters from WAI and Embry-Riddle, commercial pilots without a job are offered options by their airlines, and where are all those airliners going that were taken out of service?
Annamarie Buonocore, In Flight USA Magazine.
Annamarie Buonocore is associate publisher and a second-generation owner of In Flight USA Magazine. Based in Silicon Valley, the magazine primarily serves business and general aviation as well as student pilots and aviation enthusiasts. This is accomplished through print and digital advertising, strong editorial content, and creative aviation photography. Annamarie is involved in every aspect of the business from distribution to production and layout.
Annamarie explains the magazine’s target audience and how it includes not only pilots but also aviation enthusiasts and those looking for activities after arrival at the airport. In Flight USA Magazine is distributed at airshows, airport terminals, businesses, flight schools, as well as to private subscribers. Articles are written by magazine staff as well as other topic experts. A digital version is available on the In Flight USA Magazine website.
Annamarie is currently a student pilot at Hayward Flight at the Hayward Airport in Hayward, California. She enjoys attending airshows, taking pictures, and writing. She spends time with her two Maltese Poodles, Pericles and Sophocles, who sometimes appear in podcasts.
The Aircraft Electronics Association announced its decision to cancel its 63rd annual AEA International Convention and Trade Show that was scheduled for March 24-27, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. The event will not be rescheduled.
Air Marshal Association President John Casaretti said, “We hope Congress and the American public recognizes the determination and integrity of our Federal Air Marshals. Despite low job morale, ongoing pay issues, long shifts without rest, and lack of critical health services, our Federal Air Marshals have demonstrated that they are America’s most flexible, capable, and patriotic officers.”
Matt Hayes, President and CEO, announced that the Museum of Flight is closed to the public. “We do not have a reopening date yet, and these next few weeks – or possibly months – will be very challenging for us all, both financially and emotionally.” The collection can be viewed online, as well as virtual tours of aircraft cockpits and many educational resources.
The MH-139A Grey Wolf light utility helicopter is a planned replacement for the UH-1N Twin Huey helicopters that protect intercontinental ballistic missile silos. It’s a derivative of the Leonardo AW-139 helicopter that the Italian company is building in the United States with Boeing.
The new, self-paced Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is tailored to learners ages 8-17 and celebrates Girls in Aviation Day. It’s called Aviation is Your Future. Youth who complete the course can earn digital badges and a personalized electronic certificate. The course is offered several times throughout the year. Registration is now open.
The airlines have significantly scaled back flights so they don’t need as many pilots at the moment. American and the Allied Pilots Association (APA) have an agreement for pilots to take a voluntary leave of absence.
PSI, the FAA knowledge testing provider, is temporarily closing testing centers that it owns and operates in the United States and the United Kingdom. The closures come in response to the global coronavirus pandemic.
Aircraft of the Week
David tells us about the Sikorsky R-6A Hoverfly II.
Positive Airline Story of the Week
Our Main(e) Man Micah brings us a positive airline story of the week about United Airlines.
Stuck at home?
Our Reporter at Large Launchpad Marzari has some suggestions on what to watch to get you through being stuck at home.
The Textron Aviation Cessna 408 SkyCourier program advanced with the successful completion of initial ground engine tests. The tests of the prototype airplane verified the functionality of the fuel system and two Pratt & Whitney PT6A-65SC engines, as well as the interface with the avionics and electrical systems.
The Coronavirus is heavily impacting the airlines, the entire travel industry, and global economies in general. Airlines are cutting back on flights, looking at hiring freezes and unpaid leave, flying empty planes to avoid losing valuable airport slots, and reassigning widebodies to fly narrowbody routes. We also look at hiring at Boeing, a congressional committee preliminary report on the 737 MAX, aviation event cancellations, the first A220 assembled at the Mobile, Alabama plant, the gigantic market forecast for air taxis, and a petition to drop gender-exclusive words from FAA and ICAO publications.
The Coronavirus (or COVID-19) continues to take its toll on airlines and the aviation industry in general. We discuss some of the effects of the virus and the actions being taken.
When Boeing halted 737 MAX production and redeployed workers, people wondered what all those mechanics would do. We now see that some were deployed to study and improve production processes. In addition, Boeing is looking ahead to the time when deliveries of the jet can resume, and they are staffing up to handle the task.
After five public hearings over the last year into the design and certification of the 737 MAX, Democrats on the House Transportation Committee have released preliminary findings. The report notes Boeing’s engineering mistakes, a “culture of concealment,” and insufficient federal safety oversight.
AERO Friedrichshafen is the big GA show for Europe but the event scheduled for April 1-4, 2020 has been postponed. The Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg is also postponed. As of now, Sun N’ Fun will take place as planned.
The first A220 assembled at the Airbus Mobile, Alabama plant rolled off the line. The A220-300 jet is due to be delivered to Delta Air Lines by September. Jets for both Delta and JetBlue Airways will be assembled in Mobile.
Flying cars, electric air taxis, urban air mobility, call it what you like, but it’s not going away anytime soon. Companies investing in this idea include Airbus, Boeing, Bell, Toyota, Uber, and Hyundai. A Morgan Stanley Research study published in January says “…autonomous urban aircraft may no longer be the stuff of comic books. Accelerating tech advances and investment could create a $1.5 trillion market by 2040.” Another study by Frost & Sullivan, sees a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of about 46% over the next 20 years with more than 430,000 units in operation by then.
There are over 40,000 references to Airman or Airmen on the FAA’s website. ICAO’s website lists close to 2,000 airmen references. This petition asks the FAA and ICAO to remove gender-exclusive words from all their publications, on- and off-line. The petition is sponsored by the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide (iWOAW) – a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Montreal, Canada.
Observations from the 2019 NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE). In the news, strange ideas to make airlines greener, a fleet of commuter planes to avoid road traffic, Southwest B737 maintenance records, therapy animals in the airport, Hawaiian Airlines 90th anniversary, and the Boeing 777X business jet.
Rob Mark attended NBAA-BACE held Event October 22 – 24, 2019 at the Las Vegas Convention Center and at Henderson Executive Airport. Rob offers some impressions of the event and talks about some of the new aircraft like the Gulfstream G700 and the Pilatus PC-12 NGX. He’s also pretty excited about the Vū Systems passive millimeter-wave sensor.
Rob also attended the Bombardier Safety Standdown held November 12 to 14, 2019 at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel, in Fort Worth, Texas. The event attracted a wide variety of participants, some 550 strong, all of whom are deeply interested in aviation safety.
Several airline executives have recently offered some strange ideas: Hungarian LCC Wizz Air CEO Jozsef Varadi is calling for airlines to stop offering business class on flights less than five hours, calling it “an inefficient and archaic model.” Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr has declared that “flights for less than 10EUR shouldn’t exist.”
FLOAT Shuttle Inc. (Fly Over All Traffic) offers southern California commuter flights operated by Southern Airways Express, LLC. from GA airports. For a fixed monthly fee, commuters beat ground transportation with 15-30 minute flights from almost 40 airports.
From 2014, Southwest Airlines purchased 88 Boeing 737 planes from more than a dozen foreign airlines. Southwest had the planes inspected and they were found compliant per FAA delegated authority. However, the FAA found some records discrepancies in May 2018 and gave Southwest 2 two years to bring the maintenance documentation into compliance. As of October 29, 2019, only 39 of the planes had been inspected.
San Francisco International Airport is using a “Wag Brigade” to help passengers with travel anxieties. LiLou the therapy pig sports a pilot’s cap and painted toenails. She says hello by raising a hoof, poses for selfies, and manages to entertain departing passengers with her toy piano. The Wag Brigade program also includes a number of dogs.
The first Hawaiian Airlines flight took place on Nov. 11, 1929, from Honolulu to Hilo. To celebrate its 90th anniversary, Hawaiian Airlines recreated that flight, flying on the same day, route and time as they did 90 years ago.
The Boeing Business Jet isn’t just one jet – it’s a series of airliner variants for the private and corporate jet market that includes the 747-8 VIP, 737 MAX VIP, 787 VIP, and 777X VIP. The 777X VIP has a 3,256 sq. ft. cabin with a base price of $474 million. Expect to spend an additional $90–$175 million to outfit the plane.