The GAO issues aircraft cybersecurity recommendations, the Southwest pilot’s union balks at a pay cut, some think commercial aviation hasn’t seen the worst of it yet, Congress looks to establish the National Center for the Advancement of Aviation, Singapore Airlines has a new use for idled A380 aircraft, the Boom Supersonic XB-1 demonstrator rolls out, and an all-electric airplane racing league is announced.
On Oct 9, 2020, the Government Accountability Office issued a report, FAA Should Fully Implement Key Practices to Strengthen Its Oversight of Avionics Risks. The GAO says, “Airplane manufacturers have cybersecurity controls in place and there haven’t been reports of successful cyberattacks on commercial airplane IT systems to date. But evolving cyber threats and increasing connectivity between airplanes and other systems could put future flight safety at risk if the FAA doesn’t prioritize oversight… We recommended that the FAA strengthen cybersecurity oversight for airplanes.”
Listen to the GAO podcast episode Watchdog Report, Protecting Air Travel from Cyberthreats.
Southwest Airlines has never had a furlough and the company is trying to avoid that for 2021. Management proposed a 10% pay cut for pilots, but the pilot’s union is balking. The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association is concerned that the across-the-board reduction and force majeure clauses could allow the airline to furlough pilots anyway.
Bloomberg says that “the worst period for the aviation industry is probably ahead of it, rather than behind.” Carriers have been using their bank balances, government bailout money, and some cost-cutting measures. But the cash is dwindling.
Forty-three commercial airlines have folded so far this year. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects the industry to burn $77 billion in cash in the second half of 2020.
Two bipartisan bills have been introduced in the U.S. Congress that would create a National Center for the Advancement of Aviation (NCAA). One in the House and one in the Senate. The NCAA “would create an independent center to facilitate collaboration among commercial, general, and military aviation sectors to address the mounting workforce challenges facing the industry.” More than 130 organizations [PDF] representing all segments of aviation support the legislation, including AOPA.
Singapore Airlines converted two Airbus A380 planes parked at Changi Airport into restaurants. Reservations for October 24th and 25th sold out in 30 minutes.
Boom Supersonic is working toward the 55-seat supersonic airliner called the Overture. A step in that development is the XB-1 supersonic demonstrator aircraft, frequently called the “Baby Boom.”
Video: XB-1 Supersonic Rollout, hosted by Boom Founder and CEO Blake Scholl.
An all-electric aircraft racing league is being formed and they plan to start racing in 2022. Air Race E says pilots will fly in fields of eight electric-powered aircraft, wingtip-to-wingtip, at 280 mph 10 meters above the ground, over a 1.5-kilometer oval circuit. Twelve teams have formed from nine countries: the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Norway, Ukraine, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
Redbird Migration 2020, a free virtual flight training conference Wed, Oct 21, 2020, 09:00 AM – Thu, Oct 22, 2020, 05:00 PM, America/Chicago Time.
The Learjet Diaries by Greg Madonna.
Kilborn by Wayne Hughes.