Continued coverage of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2021 with the National Air Transportation Association, teTra Aviation, Pod-A-Palooza, and EAA Radio.
National Air Transportation Association
Airplane Geeks Innovation and Entrepreneurship Correspondent Hillel Glazer speaks with Ryan Waguespack, Sr. VP of the National Air Transportation Association on the role of the association, the market, challenges, and opportunities. NATA represents airports, FBOs, and other aviation businesses and services with an emphasis on local, rural, and general aviation interests and benefits in aviation.
Hillel also talks with teTra Aviation CEO Tasuku Nakai and Engineer Koya Kuwamura to discuss their vision for eVTOL and UAM as well as their current product which they brought to Oshkosh. teTra is the winner of the “Pratt and Whitney Disruptor Prize” in the GoFly Prize competition awarded in Feb 2020. This is a great example of how competition can bring new participants with out-of-the-box ideas to create new markets.
A group of aviation podcasters assembled for what has been the annual gathering called Pod-A-Palooza. That event at Oshkosh has been organized by different people over the years, most recently by Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari. With his tragic passing, many podcasters and others wanted to get together and say something about our friend Brad. Thanks to Pipistrel Aircraft for letting us use their booth space.
Boeing agrees to pay a $2.5 Billion settlement for criminal charges relating to the 737 MAX MCAS system, the FAA issued final rules for supersonic aircraft testing, Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary says the government mismanaged travel restrictions, flight attendant unions are concerned about disruptive air travelers and the FAA responds with a stern warning, initial reports from the Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182 crash, and on a lighter note, the TSA celebrates agency canines in a 2021 calendar.
The Boeing Company has entered into an agreement with the Department of Justice to resolve a criminal charge related to a conspiracy to defraud the Federal Aviation Administration’s Aircraft Evaluation Group (FAA AEG) in connection with the FAA AEG’s evaluation of Boeing’s 737 MAX airplane.
Boeing entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) in connection with criminal information that charges the company with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Under the terms of the DPA, Boeing will pay a total criminal monetary amount of over $2.5 billion:
A criminal monetary penalty of $243.6 million,
compensation payments to Boeing’s 737 MAX airline customers of $1.77 billion,
and the establishment of a $500 million crash-victim beneficiaries fund to compensate the heirs, relatives, and legal beneficiaries of the 346 passengers who died in the Boeing 737 MAX crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.
The tragic crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 exposed fraudulent and deceptive conduct by employees of one of the world’s leading commercial airplane manufacturers.
Boeing’s employees chose the path of profit over candor by concealing material information from the FAA concerning the operation of its 737 Max airplane and engaging in an effort to cover up their deception. This resolution holds Boeing accountable for its employees’ criminal misconduct, addresses the financial impact to Boeing’s airline customers, and hopefully provides some measure of compensation to the crash-victims’ families and beneficiaries.
Acting Assistant Attorney General David P. Burns of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
Aviation consultant Scott Hamilton (our guest in episode 398) says the penalty is a “slap on the wrist.” He notes that Airbus paid nearly twice that for a bribery case and there were no fatalities involved there. Hamilton wants to see leadership changes at Boeing.
Charles Herrmann, a lawyer representing more than 50 families of 737 crash victims says the fine is appropriate. Boeing has already suffered financially and doesn’t need to be put out of business. “He blames Boeing’s problems on a change in culture that began when they moved headquarters to Chicago.”
Individuals who believe they may be an heir, relative, or legal beneficiary of one of the Lion Air Flight 610 or Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 passengers in this case should contact the Fraud Section’s Victim Witness Unit by email at: Victimassistance.firstname.lastname@example.org or call (888) 549-3945.
On January 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a final rule (PDF) to facilitate the safe development of civil supersonic aircraft. The government says the rule is intended to streamline the application procedure for special flight authorizations to operate in excess of Mach 1 over land in the United States by
Amending the administrative requirements for a special flight authorization,
clarifying the information that is needed for submission,
and specifying the program office within the FAA that processes the applications.
Outside the special flight authorizations under this final rule, the FAA continues generally to prohibit civil supersonic flight over land in the United States. In place since 1973.
This item came to our attention through an issue of Starburst Weekly, the newsletter of Starburst, a global aerospace accelerator.
From 2,000 flights per day to “ten or twenty” starting January 21, 2021 is an enormous drop. Covid reductions are catastrophic to the travel industry but O’Leary anticipates that with vaccine availability, by the summer air travel should rebound. He opined that the failure of the Government to end travel restrictions was “beyond him” and it is “one of the great contradictions of the Government’s mismanagement of the Covid travel restrictions.”
The president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, Sara Nelson, (our guest in episode 545) said “The mob mentality behavior that took place on several flights to the D.C. area yesterday was unacceptable and threatened the safety and security of every single person onboard.”
On an American Airlines flight to Dulles International Airport, passengers shouted and cursed at each other. The flight attendant had to turn up the cabin lights and ordered passengers to return to their seats. On a Delta Air Lines flight carrying Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, some passengers started chanting “traitor.” Alaska Airlines banned 14 passengers on a Washington D.C.-Seattle flight.
in a statement, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said.“The FAA will pursue strong enforcement action against anyone who endangers the safety of a flight, with penalties ranging from monetary fines to jail time.” Passengers can face fines of up to $35,000.
The message here is clear: Do what the crew tells you to do and don’t argue. It doesn’t matter what the issue is, or if you are right and somebody else is wrong. Do what the crew says or you face serious consequences.
Indonesian LCC Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182 with 62 people on board (50 PAX, 12 crew) crashed into the water off the Indonesian coast about five minutes into its flight. Four minutes after departing Jakarta, the Boeing 737-500 lost over 10,000 feet of altitude in less than a minute. Bad weather was reported in the area. Some wreckage and human remains have been found. A navy ship detected the emergency signals from the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder.
The Transportation Security Administration has more than 400 canine teams at airports around the country. Now you can see photos and learn fun facts about thirteen of the dogs with the 2021 TSA Canine Calendar [PDF]. For each dog, you’ll find the dog’s name, breed, airport, handler, favorite treat and favorite toys.
Guest Jason Miller produces flight training videos, a critically acclaimed podcast (The Finer Points), and now the Ground School flight training app. In the news, legend Chuck Yeager dies at 97, flight training restrictions due to Covid-19 and airline plans to transport vaccines, insurance rates for pilots, Designated Pilot Examiners, and a hydrogen fuel cell-powered research aircraft.
Jason Miller is an award-winning CFI with more than 20 years of experience. He is the founder of the original flight training podcast, The Finer Points, and is the host of the fastest growing flight training channel on YouTube. He’s passionate about developing products that make a difference for real pilots in the real world and can be found online at learnthefinerpoints.com.
On December 7, 2020, Charles E. Yeager died of natural causes, at age 97. Besides breaking the sound barrier on October 14, 1947 in the Bell X-1, Yeager tested the YF-100 prototype of the F-100A, evaluated a Russian MiG 15 that had fallen into American hands, and on December 12, 1953, took the Bell X-1A to Mach 2.44 where he encountered “inertia coupling” at 76,000 feet. His skills were evident as he regained control at 25,000 feet.
Flight School Association of North America (FSANA)
FSANA says they are getting some reports of flight training restrictions and limitations that would limit in-person flight training. For example, Michigan has terminated all in-person collegiate instruction for at least a 3-week period. FSANA is also hearing concerns about crossing state boundaries for flight training and being subject to “return quarantines” due to state restrictions.
Many AOPA members are complaining that their premiums are spiking, coverages are being limited, and restrictions to just get covered are sometimes harsh—often with little to no explanation. “Not a day goes by that I don’t get a call about insurance rates,” says AOPA President Mark Baker. ow, AOPA’s strategic insurance partner AssuredPartners Aerospace, has teamed with an aviation insurer that will explore options for pilots up to age 79. This insurer will also offer potential coverage options for younger and newer pilots.
Flight School Association of North America (FSANA)
Although airman certification in the United States is conducted by the FAA, most of the actual certification of pilots is done by Designated Pilot Examiners (DPEs). They are certified as instructors, administer practical tests for airmen, and charge for their services. DPE’s serve at the pleasure of the FAA, meaning the FAA can revoke the privilege at any time, with or without need for cause. Recently, there have been two terminations of DPEs that have been reported in the press. FSANA is interested in the review process and termination, and/or appeal of such a termination process. Perhaps some additional transparency is needed.
US Airlines have been planning the distribution of Covid vaccine for months in anticipation of a huge demand for transport capacity. Airlines even are preparing to run vaccine-only flights. United says a single 777 can carry up to one million doses. Some vaccines need extreme cooling with dry ice – carbon dioxide – which is regulated by the FAA. United conducted some tests and asked the FAA to raise the limit so it could fly the Pfizer vaccine from Brussels to Chicago. The agency agreed, allowing the airline to carry up to 15,000 pounds of dry ice aboard a Boeing 777-224, compared with the previous limit of 3,000 pounds. See FAA Advisory Circular Re: Transporting Dry Ice [PDF].
The HY4 research aircraft was shown by a consortium of European companies and organizations. Details are scarce, but the twin-boom HY4 looks like it is based on the Pipistrel Aircraft Taurus G4. The Taurus utilizes two electric gliders joined by a center section wing with an electric motor. The HY4 hydrogen drive uses a fuel cell powering a 160-HP electric motor. With a top speed of 108 knots, range is claimed to be up to 900 miles. Test flights began last month and more than 30 takeoffs and flights of up to two hours have been completed. See the HY4 website.
Some Boeing 787s are grounded due to structural problems, Rolls-Royce financials don’t look good, a positive TSA story, another virtual flight option, US DOE funding for electric aircraft technologies, Pipistrel to set electric aircraft world records, Elon Musk says 3-4 years for effective electric aircraft batteries, Spirit avoids layoffs, and $200 ticket change fees are dropped.
Some co-hosts know how to make a podcast producer laugh…
Boeing discovered “two distinct manufacturing issues” that impact the structural integrity of eight recently manufactured 787 Dreamliners. The deficiencies are associated with the joining of composite aft body fuselage barrels. Planes delivered to United, Air Canada, and Singapore were pulled from service.
One day before her wedding, a bride and her family passed through Newark Liberty International Airport, but the mother accidentally left a roller bag with the bride’s gown (and hers) at the checkpoint. TSA administrative assistant Loletta Nathan-Gordon jumped into action and saved the wedding.
The Airplane Mode simulator from AMC Games will let you fly in real-time from New York City to Reykjavik or from New York City to Halifax, Canada. Not from the cockpit, but in the cabin. In coach. Expect delays, rude passengers, and screaming babies. You do get a window seat.
The U.S. Department of Energy announced $33 million in funding for 17 electric aviation projects. This is under the ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy) ASCEND (Aviation-class Synergistically Cooled Electric-motors with iNtegrated Drives) and REEACH (Range Extenders for Electric Aviation with Low Carbon and High Efficiency) programs.
Pipistrel plans to fly its Velis Electro more than 700 kilometers from the Swiss Alps to the North Sea, and break 7 world records along the way: lowest energy consumption, highest average speed, highest flight altitude ever reached with an electric aircraft, fastest climbing performance, fastest average speed, smallest number of intermediate stops, and longest electrically flown route. Follow the flight on the website and Facebook.
Last year, when commenting on the need for increased battery energy density, Musk said that was 5 years off. Tesla’s batteries were then achieving around 260 Wh/kg. He said around 400 Wh/kg was needed for aviation. Elon’s current prediction is now 3 to 5 years.
Spirit Airlines has used voluntary leave initiatives to minimize the number of pilot layoffs, limiting them to 117 pilot furloughs. Now the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) announced that almost half of Spirit’s pilots had agreed to work fewer hours each month, which let the airline cancel all 117 of its planned pilot furloughs.
United Airlines says it is dropping its $200 ticket change fee. January, it will let customers fly standby for free on other flights the same day as their booked flight. “When we hear from customers about where we can improve, getting rid of fees is often the top request,” United CEO Scott Kirby said in a video posted Sunday. See also: United Ditches Domestic Change Fees… Let the Games Begin.
David Costa, the RenegadeAV8R, on being a jet airshow demo pilot, hosting the RenegadeAV8R Radio Show and engaging young engineers in a project to set new jet records. Also, ALPA wants COVID rules and not just guidelines, airline cash flow with sale/leaseback transactions, a tragic runway accident, the unending Heathrow airport controversy, Frontier rethinks their middle seat strategy, and Qatar Airlines wants training expenses reimbursed by a terminated pilot.
David “Taz” Costa is a jet airshow demonstration pilot flying the TS-11 Iskra, an advanced military jet trainer. He also hosts the RenegadeAV8R Radio Show and is CEO of Renegade Jets. David is also an airline transport pilot with over 15,000 hours of flight time in over 100 different makes and models of aircraft.
The RenegadeAV8R Radio Show promotes aviation to a wide audience using interviews and stories from guests that demonstrate excellence, overcoming obstacles, and achieving big goals. Both aviation enthusiasts and others admire and appreciate the radio show, which is also released as a podcast.
We talk with David about airshows and the value they provide. He describes what being an airshow performer means to him, and how he interfaces with people while he’s on the ground. David loves talking to the crowd, answering their questions, and serving the fans. We discuss the future of airshows and the need for the “new normal” to be like the “old normal.”
The original Iskra achieved four world records at the time, but those have been eclipsed. David explains his plan to upgrade the Iskra and launch a world record attempt using the skills of engineering students. This brings the latest engineering knowledge to the project and offers the students a unique opportunity to apply their skills to real-world aircraft.
Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) President Capt. Joe DePete wants the FAA to mandate compliance with CDC recommendations, not just suggest guidelines. “There are carriers that are doing a good job and there are carriers that are doing not such a great job,” DePete said. “So there is this varying patchwork of compliance or lack thereof and that’s no way to handle a pandemic.”
Southwest Airlines has entered into a sale/leaseback agreement with BOC Aviation for 10 Boeing 737-800s and 10 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. This generates $815 million in cash for the airline. BOC Aviation is a global aircraft leasing company, originally founded as Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise (SALE) in 1993.
London Heathrow’s John Holland-Kaye says it could be 10 to 15 years before the airport needs a third runway. The Heathrow £14billion expansion plan could be scrapped given the poor economic situation. At the least, it’s not a priority now. Also, Heathrow expansion: What is the third runway plan?
Frontier Airlines had a plan to charge passengers at least a $39 “More Room” fee to sit next to an empty middle seat. Amid accusations that Frontier was attempting to profit from coronavirus fear, the airline has dropped the plan.
Qatar Airlines fired a pilot trainee and now demands a payment of $162,000 for training expenses. Qatar created a cadet scholarship program for locals, which this woman joined in 2013 and graduated in 2017.
A recent OAG survey looks at future travel tech innovation and disruption. Also, the uncontained engine failure on the Southwest Airlines Boeing 737, integrating the Bombardier CSeries into the Airbus organization, the FAA reauthorization bill, and the effect of rising fuel prices on airfares.
Mike Benjamin, OAG Chief Technology Officer
Mike Benjamin is Chief Technology Officer at OAG, a global provider of digital flight information for airlines, airports, government agencies, aircraft manufacturers, consultancies, and travel-related companies. OAG is in the business of data aggregation and distribution, with flight information used for real-time and analytical tools.
Mike tells us about the Travel Tech Innovation: Market Report where OAG surveyed more than 2,000 U.S. travelers to gain insight into which future advancements will resonate. We look at traveler interest in artificial intelligence applications, supersonic travel, booking process innovations, the use of autonomous vehicles, and biometrics at the airport to speed travelers along.
Mike has over 30 years of experience in aviation, travel, technology, and business development. After completing his education at MIT, he held several leadership positions during the first years in his career, and then took over leadership of FlightView, a US-based day-of-travel information and technology provider. Mike joined OAG via the FlightView acquisition in January 2015.
In his current role as Chief Technology Officer at OAG, Mike works with airlines, airports, and travel providers to utilize data-driven solutions to plan more profitable routes, improve customer satisfaction, and operate more efficiently.
The Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Uncontained Engine Failure
The U.S. House of Representatives approved five-year H.R.4 – FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 by a 393-to-13 vote. The bill includes no ATC privatization. Also, airlines would not be able to involuntarily bump an already-boarded revenue passenger, large and medium-sized airports would be required to provide private rooms in every terminal for nursing mothers. Minimum dimensions for seat pitch, width, and length would be determined by the FAA within one year. A feasibility study of in-cabin wheelchair restraint systems would be conducted.
This week’s Australia Desk Report is all QF with Steve and Grant talking about the Qantas CEO receiving death threats, Qantas confirming a large Airbus order, and the damaged Qantas A380 returning to the skies.Find the boys down under at the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast, and follow the show on Twitter at @pcdu. Steve’s at @stevevisscher and Grant at @falcon124.
Recording the start of Desk 168 – Steve attempting to get Grant to stop talking about balloons.
This week on Across the Pond, Pieter talks to Neil Bradon, a Student Pilot, who is doing his initial flying training in Ireland. Neil has taken some time to get the first major stage in his flying training under his belt but we are going to track his progress with regular updates. Neil can be found on Twitter at @pilot_ngb and at www.getmyppl.blogspot.com. You can find Pieter on Twitter at @Nascothornet.
On this week’s Grill the Geeks segment, we seem to have come up with correct answers all around.