Mike Busch, founder and CEO of Savvy Aviation, talks about aircraft maintenance. Also, calling up the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, United Airlines says no duct tape, and unhappy Southwest Airlines pilots.
Mike Busch is the founder and CEO of Savvy Aviation, which provides aircraft maintenance services for the owner-flown General Aviation industry. The company offers professional maintenance management and consulting, a nationwide 24/7 breakdown assistance service, engine monitor data analysis, and predictive analytics.
Mike is a well-known aviation writer, teacher, aviation type club tech rep, aircraft owner advocate, and entrepreneur. He assists aircraft owners with their maintenance problems through his lectures, articles, and books. Mike is a National Aviation Maintenance Technician of the Year and previously appeared as our guest in Episode 446.
The Pentagon activated the Civil Reserve Air Fleet allowing commercial airlines to assist with the Afghanistan evacuation. Eighteen aircraft will be provided by American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines, Omni Air, Hawaiian Airlines, and United Airlines. This is the third activation in the history of the program and the Department of Defense stressed that the commercial aircraft will not fly into Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. Instead, they will be used to move passengers from temporary safe havens and interim staging bases.
United Airlines has informed flight attendants they should not use duct tape to subdue poorly behaved passengers. In a recent memo, the airline asks flight attendants to de-escalate the situation where possible, use designated items onboard, consult United’s safety manual for guidance, and file an incident report.
The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association says working conditions this summer have been unfair and has authorized members to hold picketing demonstrations. Complaints include forced additional days of flying, lack of hotel accommodation and transportation, and reshuffled flight schedules.
We examine aircraft line maintenance with a successful family-owned business. Also, two engine failures on commercial flights, testing single pilot aircraft with an eye toward future autonomous planes, a possible all new design for an F-16 replacement, and a mid-air wedding.
FEAM Maintenance/Engineering provides aircraft line maintenance engineering services for commercial aircraft operators through a wide network of line stations. They hold approvals for all current and next-generation aircraft, including B787 and A350 aircraft.
Fred Murphy is the founder and president of FEAM, the company that started in 1992 as Fred & Everett’s Aircraft Maintenance. Fred had a vision and he saw a niche for a 3rd party maintenance provider that could deliver high-quality maintenance at a reasonable cost. Now 29 years later FEAM has grown from zero to nearly $100 million in revenue projected for 2020.
Prior to joining FEAM, Fred held various positions in maintenance/engineering departments at American Airlines, US Airways, FedEx and Trans World Airlines. Fred served in the US Air Force as a noncommissioned officer and holds an Associate Degree for Aircraft Maintenance Management. Fred also holds a Federal Aviation Administration airframe and powerplant license; Federal Communications Commission restricted radio operators license and a Federal Aviation Administration private pilot/ instrument rating.
Cam Murphy is the managing director of FEAM and is the second generation in his family business. Cam grew up in the business and his experiences include positions in almost every department, from janitorial services, stockroom clerk, to shadowing technicians on the flight line, and various management positions.
Cam joined the leadership ranks in 2010 with the vision of scaling the business. He and the team succeeded at that and what was once just two guys and a truck now employs about 1,100 technicians at 30 international airports. FEAM has maintenance certifications in the US as well as international certifications that include Korea, Singapore, Europe, Australia, Japan, and Bermuda.
Cam has an MBA in Aerospace and Defense, with a green belt certification for Lean Maintenance Repair and Overhaul from the University of Tennessee’s College of Business and Administration In 2017 Cam was awarded the Forbes 30 under 30 award, which recognizes 600 of the brightest young entrepreneurs, innovators and game changers in the US in 20 different industries.
United Flight 328, a Boeing 777-200, experienced an engine failure shortly after taking off from Denver International Airport. Debris fell along the aircraft’s flight path. The plane returned to Denver. There were no injuries. United Airlines announced they will be grounding 24 Boeing 777 aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000 series engines, Japan’s Transport Ministry instructed Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways to ground the Boeing 777s in their fleet. The FAA issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive that would require immediate or stepped-up inspections of Boeing 777 airplanes equipped with these engines. Boeing recommends suspending operations of the 69 in-service and 59 in-storage 777s powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines until the FAA identifies the appropriate inspection protocol.
A Boeing 747-400 freighter taking off from Maastricht lost parts from one of its four engines. Two people were slightly injured, one went to the hospital. It appears to be a Longtail Aviation 747-400 converted freighter. The aircraft was originally delivered in 1991 to Singapore Airlines.
An old ATR 42-300 turboprop owned by FedEx (N912FX) is undergoing trial flights around the Waterbury-Oxford airport in Connecticut. Autonomous and single-pilot technology for helicopters and fixed wing aircraft is being tested.
Some in the USAF are thinking about an F-16 replacement that could be an all-new fighter. If it goes forward, this would be a new “four-and-a-half-gen or fifth-gen-minus” fighter. The study would hopefully inform the Air Force’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget request.
The first mid-air wedding hosted by Virgin Australia took place on a flight from Melbourne to Sydney. The first kiss didn’t occur until after the 737 arrived at Sydney since the couple wore masks due to Covid protocols. “After five years of dating we wanted to elope, and thanks to Virgin Australia, we’ve done just that.” Passengers received a buttermilk biscuit wedding favour in the shape of a heart.
Learn about what Reliability Centered Maintenance means for aviation from a well-known A&P/IA and the CEO of Savvy Aviation. In the news, first flights of the Boeing 787-10, the Airbus A319neo, the Antonov An-132D, and the Embraer E195-E2. Also, the Fairness for Pilots Act, important news for Continental engine owners, some talk about restarting the F-22 line, and an update from Airbus on an electric airplane.
Savvy Aviator CEO Mike Busch
Mike Busch is the CEO of Savvy Aviation and a co-founder of AVweb. Mike is one of the best-known A&P/IAs in general aviation and he writes the monthly “Savvy Maintenance” column in AOPA Pilot magazine. He also hosts free monthly EAA-sponsored maintenance webinars. Mike was honored as “National Aviation Maintenance Technician of the Year” for 2008, he’s been a pilot and aircraft owner for 50 years with 7,500+ hours logged, and is a CFIA/I/ME.
Mike explains the origins of Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) and how it grew to be used by commercial, business and military aviation, but hasn’t fully trickled down to small general aviation.
RCM is an optimal maintenance program that differs from the old, traditional maintenance approach that follows the assumption that components start out reliable and become less so over time. RCM is a data-driven engineering method that assesses each aircraft component for possible functional failures, failure modes, failure effects and consequences. It then creates a maintenance plan that can even allow a component to run to failure. The result is lower maintenance costs and increased reliability.
Indian aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is requiring a borescope test for Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engines at 1000 flight hours instead of the usual 1500. Meanwhile, IndiGo Airlines has set at a maximum altitude of 30,000 feet for its A320neos. All this is due to problems with the engine combustion chambers and an oil seal.
Airbus will not be producing the electric E-Fan two-seater training aircraft because the technology has advanced so much in the past three years. However, Airbus is considering an E-FAN X with another order of magnitude jump in electric power.
The Airplane of the Week
The favorite airplane of David’s father was the P-61 Black Widow.
Update: Our listener Utah Patrick wrote us with the following:
“Like Max, I was touched by the story related in the current episode about Thomas Hudner and Jesse Brown. So much so that I decided to dig a bit deeper into the story. Turns out Hudner received the Medal of Honor for his efforts to rescue his wingman. The part about leaving Brown’s body behind bothered me. I understand the reasoning but I wondered if it had ever been recovered.
“Turns out Brown’s body and his aircraft were napalmed to keep them out of enemy hands. However, figuring something was left behind, attempts have been made to retrieve remains including one attempt 63 years later by (and this really surprised me) Thomas Hudner himself.”
Max and Court spend some time with Kevin Michaels of the AeroStrategy Management Consulting group talking about the week’s event’s. Kevin lend’s his expertice on aircraft maintenance and a variety of other topics. We always have a good amount of news to discuss, and this week was no different:
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