Air Force One paint scheme and production problems, F-35s as Aggressors, Israeli extended range F-35s, Delta’s “juniority benefit,” Piedmont wage increases, and a U.S. Navy safety stand-down.
Former President Donald Trump decided to replace the traditional Air Force One paint scheme with a different design that includes dark blue paint on the underbelly and engines. Reports say the dark color may cause cooling problems for some components. An Air Force spokesperson said the “…darker colors, among other factors, on the underside of the VC-25B aircraft might contribute to temperatures exceeding the current qualification limits of a small number of components.”
Two days later…
The Biden administration announced the new Air Force One planes will not change to the darker paint scheme. An administration official said, “The Trump paint scheme is not being considered because it could drive additional engineering, time, and cost.” Under the $3.9 billion fixed-price contract to modify two 747-8s, Boeing would have had to pay for any design changes.
The Government Accountability Office says that Boeing is having difficulty finding enough skilled mechanics to work on the aircraft who can also pass strict security requirements. Supply chain delays and Boeing’s dispute with former subcontractor GDC Technics are contributing to the project headwind.
The U.S. Air Force 65th Aggressor Squadron (AGRS) has been reactivated at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada using the F-35A Lightning II. The AGRS mission is “to know, teach and replicate fifth-generation air adversaries,” particularly the airpower capabilities emerging from China. See: 65th Aggressor Squadron reactivates at Nellis AFB with aggressor force of F-35s.
Israeli media reports indicate that the country has developed modifications to its F-35I fighters that give them enough range to reach Iranian targets without refueling. This could possibly come from external drop tanks or conformal fuel tanks. The Israelis have also developed a smart bomb that can be carried by their F-35s.
Delta’s ‘juniority benefit’ is saving the airline loads of cash after many of its higher-paid workers took buyouts in 2020, bucking the recent trend of companies paying more
After the federal payroll support program ran out in September 2020, most airlines furloughed workers to downsize their operations, But Delta targeted their highest-paid employees with buyouts, not furloughs. That left Delta with a relatively younger and lower-cost workforce. With the travel rebound and insufficient employees, airlines are scrambling to hire. That’s driving their workforce costs up. But Delta is able to hire younger staffers that cost less. Delta CEO Ed Bastian calls this a “juniority benefit.”
Significant wage bump for Piedmont PIlots [From Reddit.com]
A memo published to pilots by Piedmont Airlines VP, Flight Operations Stephen Keefer, and MEC Chairman Captain Ryan Miller stated that a tentative agreement (TA) had been reached for a labor contract extension through July 2029. The TA provides for wage increases for pilots, increased wage premium for Line Check Pilots, and commitment to improvements in flow-through to American.
After a spate of recent crashes, the U.S. Navy said it would pause all flight operations to conduct safety reviews and training. Units that were not deployed paused on June 13. Deployed units were to pause “at the earliest possible opportunity.” In the past few weeks:
- A Navy pilot was killed when his F/A-18E Super Hornet crashed during a training mission.
- An MV-22B Osprey crashed and killed five U.S. Marines during a training mission.
- A Navy helicopter went down during a training flight and one person sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
Innovations in Flight – Outdoor Aviation Display at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum June 18, 2022, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.
Hosts this Episode
Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, and our Main(e) Man Micah.