Tag Archives: Pratt & Whitney

793 Hypersonic Flight

Stratolaunch’s Talon A2 hypersonic vehicle, China’s C929 widebody passenger jet, Air Force One pilfering, Gulfstream G700 certification, Spirit Airlines’ credit boost, pilot disclosure of therapy sessions, United Airlines excess pilot capacity, and Frontier Airlines’ April Fool’s Day prank.

Aviation News

Stratolaunch Unveils Talon-A 2, Its Fully Recoverable And Reusable Hypersonic Vehicle

Stratolaunch Talon-A hypersonic test vehicle.
Talon-A hypersonic demonstrator, courtesy Stratolaunch.

Stratolaunch was formed in 2011 by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and Scaled Composites founder Burt Rutan to create an air-launched space transportation system. Scaled Composites built the Stratolaunch six-engine twin-fuselage carrier aircraft (“Roc”). A payload launch vehicle carried under the plane was to be released at high altitude and then flown into space. Paul Allen passed away in 2018 and the company was acquired in 2019 by Cerberus Capital Management.

Stratolaunch is working to advance hypersonic technology with the Talon-A, “an autonomous, reusable testbed.” The TA-1 flew on March 9, 2024, after it was released from the Stratolaunch, not quite reaching hypersonic speed. Now Stratolaunch has shown photos of the TA-2, designed to land at Vandenberg Space Force Base and be reused.

"Roc" in flight, courtesy Stratolaunch.
“Roc,” courtesy Stratolaunch

China’s home-grown C929 widebody passenger jet enters ‘crucial’ development stage amid Beijing’s aviation push

China’s commercial passenger aircraft strategy follows a path from the ARJ21 regional jet, to the C919 narrowbody, to the C929 widebody. The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) marketing director said of the C929 that it’s in “a crucial stage in the development process” and that “the overall technical scheme of the aircraft has been determined.” Originally, COMAC was partnered with the Russian United Aircraft Corporation to build what was called the CR929. But Russia seems to have dropped out of the program.

The real D.C. crime wave

The press corps flying on Air Force One is leaving with more than they came with. Anything with the Air Force One insignia on it is being carried out. The plane can accommodate up to 76 passengers along with a crew of 26.

Gulfstream G700 Earns FAA Certification

The G700 is the largest business jet Gulfstream has made, and the fastest one it has ever certified. Compared to the G650, the G700 is 10 feet (3.0 m) longer with a top speed increased to Mach 0.935. It’s powered by improved Rolls-Royce Pearl 700 engines. Aerotime reports that Gulfstream expects to deliver some 50 G700s and a total of 160 jets across all types in 2024.

Spirit Airlines gets credit from International Aero Engines that will boost liquidity between $150 million and $200 million

Unscheduled engine removals and inspections for certain Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan engines are required in light of the contaminated powder metal problem. With its A320neo aircraft, Spirit Airlines is the largest operator of that engine in the U.S. Taking aircraft out of service has a financial impact. A deal has been struck where Spirit will get compensation via a monthly credit through the end of 2024. The airline says this will boost liquidity by between $150 million and $200 million.

Panel says FAA should end mandate pilots disclose talk therapy sessions

The FAA appointed an expert panel of aviation associations, pilot and air traffic controller organizations, academia, and medical professionals. They recommended that the FAA discontinue the requirement for airline pilots and air traffic controllers to disclose talk therapy sessions, saying “The FAA should develop a non-punitive pathway for reporting previously undisclosed mental health conditions, treatments, or medications.” The FAA is reviewing the recommendations.

United Airlines is asking pilots to take time off in May because of a shortage of new Boeing planes

United Airlines is experiencing new plane delivery delays and is asking pilots to volunteer to take time off in May. Fewer deliveries mean fewer flight hours which leads to overstaffing. In a note to pilots, United said it expects to make similar requests during the summer and possibly into the autumn. The Air Line Pilots Association said United is offering short-term leaves and unpaid time off, but they are not mandatory.

Frontier Airlines to Add Wide-Body Aircraft to its Fleet Starting in June; Route from New York-JFK to Bora Bora Will Kick Off the Ultra-Low Cost Carrier’s New Long-Haul Service Offering

The airline will add the aircraft to its fleet beginning in June 2024. The new planes will feature lie-flat seating, a chef-curated inflight menu, and free Wi-Fi for all passengers. Two weekly flights will depart from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York (JFK) to Mote Mute Airport in Bora Bora, French Polynesia (BOB) beginning June 1, 2024. On April 1, Frontier offered a one-day-only fare sale with flights to Bora Bora for $1.

Wait, what?? OK…

“April Fool’s! We aren’t really going to add wide-body aircraft to our fleet, or lie-flat seating, or a chef-curated menu, or free Wi-Fi, or fly to Bora Bora. However, we are offering a one-day-only fare sale featuring flights for as low as $38, inclusive of taxes, fees and charges, on all international destinations Frontier serves, to places like Cancun, Montego Bay, Punta Cana, Los Cabos, Puerta Vallarta, St. Maarten, St. Croix, and more!”

Video: Frontier Airlines Auditions: Part 1

Mentioned

See Where Top Aviation Universities Rank – Flying Magazine August 2022

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Max Trescott, David Vanderhoof, and our Main(e) Man Micah.

792 Boom Supersonic XB-1 Demonstrator

The milestone reached by Boom Supersonic with their XB-1 demonstrator and the recent leadership changes at Boeing, including the resignation of CEO Dave Calhoun. Also, the FBI contacted the passengers of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282, quality issues with Boeing MAX jets, FAA oversight of United Airlines, engine issues with Pratt & Whitney, and the farewell tour of the A-10 demonstration team.

Aviation News

Boom Announces Successful Flight of XB-1 Demonstrator Aircraft

The XB-1 supersonic jet demonstrator flew from the Mojave Air and Space Port. Boom Supersonic calls it the world’s first independently developed supersonic jet. The XB-1 incorporates carbon fiber composites, advanced avionics, digitally-optimized aerodynamics, and an advanced supersonic propulsion system. Boom said the “XB-1 met all of its test objectives, including safely and successfully achieving an altitude of 7,120 feet and speeds up to 238 knots (273 mph). While XB-1 was in the air, the team performed an initial assessment of the aircraft’s handling qualities, including airspeed checks with the T-38 chase aircraft, and assessing the aircraft’s stability in the landing attitude (at a high angle of attack).”

Boom’s supersonic airliner Overture “…will carry 64-80 passengers at Mach 1.7, about twice the speed of today’s subsonic airliners. Overture is designed to run on up to 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).”

Video: Full Video: XB-1 Takes Flight

Boeing C.E.O. to Step Down in Major Reshuffle at Embattled Plane Maker

Boeing announced leadership changes:

  • CEO Dave Calhoun leaves at the end of 2024
  • Stan Deal, the head of Boeing commercial planes left immediately
  • Stephanie Pope, Boeing’s COO, replaces Stan Deal.
  • Board Chairman Larry Kellner will not stand for re-election.
  • Steve Mollenkopf was elected by the board to be the new chairman. He’s an electrical engineer by training and the former chief executive of Qualcomm.
  • The Board will choose the next Boeing chief executive.

Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 passengers receive FBI letter identifying them as the victims of a possible crime

Attorney Mark Lindquist represents passengers who were on Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 when the door plug blew out. He shared a letter from the FBI’s Seattle division under the Justice Department that he says was received by the passengers he represents. The letter says “I’m contacting you because we have identified you as a possible victim of a crime.”

Boeing Charged with 737 Max Fraud Conspiracy and Agrees to Pay over $2.5 Billion

The DOJ press release from 2021 describes the conditions of the Boeing deferred prosecution agreement. In part:

“The Boeing Company (Boeing) 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.”

“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.”

FAA wants inspections of Boeing Max planes for wiring flaws that could lead to ‘loss of control’

A recent FAA proposed airworthiness directive would require the inspection of about 207 737 Max airplane wings for wiring damage within three years. The Agency says an “unsafe condition” could result in a “loss of control” of certain Boeing 737 Max jets due to the “nonconforming” installation of spoiler control wires.

FAA to increase oversight of United Airlines after recent issues

Oversight of United Airlines by the FAA is increasing after recent incidents. The airlines vice president of corporate safety, Sasha Johnson said in a memo to employees that the “number of safety-related events in recent weeks have rightfully caused us to pause and evaluate whether there is anything we can and should do differently.”

The FAA will review some work processes, manuals, and facilities. Johnson said, “We welcome their engagement and are very open to hear from them about what they find and their perspective on things we may need to change to make us even safer.”

FAA responds to PW1100G ‘misaligned’ vane issue that caused a 2022 failure

Photo of a "blisk" by Olivier Cleynen - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30317852
A “blisk.” Image by Olivier Cleynen.

In 2022, the low-pressure compressor first-stage integrally bladed rotor (or “blisk”) in an Airbus A320neo engine failed, resulting in an engine shutdown. In a proposed rule, the FAA wants to require that airlines replace the rotor. Pratt & Whitney says “The [proposal] relates to a known issue that affected a limited number of engines and is unrelated to powder metal. The improved hardware has been deploying to the fleet over the past two years through previously released service bulletins.”

According to the FAA, a “misaligned” inlet guide vane ahead of the low-pressure compressor resulted in “aerodynamic excitement,” which caused the rotor to fail.

Improvements made by Pratt & Whitney include redesigns of the arm assembly and the first-stage integrally bladed rotor.

Why You’ve Never Been in a Plane Crash

Subtitle: The United States leads the world in airline safety. That’s because of the way we assign blame when accidents do happen.

Understanding the Boeing Mess

Mentioned

A-10 Demo Team Announces Its Final Year As The Warthog’s End Draws Near

A-10 Demo Team

Great Electric Airplane Race Preview

The Air Show podcast.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Max Trescott, Rob Mark, David Vanderhoof, and our Main(e) Man Micah.

779 Aircraft Leases

Aircraft leases, engine leasing pools, and related aerospace investments. In the news, Southwest flight attendants will have to vote again on the proposed labor contract, the YouTuber who crashed his plane in a video stunt is flying again, the FAA issues an NPRM for the 737NG nacelle retrofit program, another NPRM is out for PW1100G engine inspections, DOT fines Southwest Airlines $150 million, and a new museum is created for WWII crashes flying over “the hump.”

Guest

Nathan Dickstein is Managing Director and Head of Aerospace Leasing at investment firm AE Industrial Partners, LP. The company was founded in 1998 as AeroEquity and later rebranded as AE Industrial Partners (AEI).

Nathan Dickstein, managing director and head of aerospace leasing at AE Industrial Partners, LP (AEI) on aircraft leases.

Nathan focuses on the origination and management of aircraft leases, engine leasing pools, and related aerospace investments. He has over 12 years of industry experience investing in aircraft and engine leasing at investment funds, banks, and leasing companies.

We explore various aspects of aircraft leasing and its impact on the aviation industry. Nathan discusses the challenges faced by airlines due to airworthiness directives and the need for early engine visits. Our conversation also delves into different types of leasing companies and the expertise of AEI in aircraft leasing. Nathan highlights the benefits of aircraft leases and the flexibility they offer. We also consider the growth and resilience of the aircraft leasing industry.

Before joining AE Industrial in 2020, Nathan worked in Marathon Asset Management’s Structured Credit team where he was responsible for the origination and management of aircraft and aviation-related investments. Before Marathon, Nathan was employed by Alterna Capital Partners, responsible for sourcing, executing, and realizing aircraft investments. 

Nathan’s previous industry work experience includes Deucalion Aviation Funds, the equity investment arm of DVB Bank where he was responsible for transaction analysis and deal structuring, and AWAS Aviation Capital, a top 10 aircraft lessor, where he was part of the Risk Management team.

Aviation News

Southwest Airlines Flight Attendants Forced to Rerun Contract Vote After Crew Discovered Ballot System Was Vulnerable to Fraud

Transport Workers Union Local 556 (TWU Local 556) represents Southwest Airlines flight attendants and contract negotiations have been going on for years. Recently, with 95% of eligible union members voting, the proposed contract was soundly rejected. However, some members questioned the integrity of the voting process. After an investigation, the union says the membership will have to vote again.

Trevor Jacob Goes Flying On Temporary Certificate

Two years ago, Trevor Jacob intentionally crashed his Taylorcraft for a YouTube stunt. His pilot certificate was revoked in April 2022, and he was recently sentenced to six months in prison for hiding evidence. However, Jacob was eligible to apply for a certificate after one year and he says he’s passed the written exam and completed his checkride. With that, the FAA says he has now been issued a temporary pilot certificate.

(a) A temporary pilot, flight instructor, or ground instructor certificate or rating is issued for up to 120 days, at which time a permanent certificate will be issued to a person whom the Administrator finds qualified under this part.

(b) A temporary pilot, flight instructor, or ground instructor certificate or rating expires: (1) On the expiration date shown on the certificate; (2) Upon receipt of the permanent certificate; or (3) Upon receipt of a notice that the certificate or rating sought is denied or revoked.

Code of Federal Regulations § 61.17 Temporary Certificate.

FAA Starts 737NG Nacelle Retrofit Mandate Process

Following two incidents, the NTSB recommended a redesign of the 737NG nacelle. The FAA issued three notices of proposed rulemaking (NPRMs) that would mandate that operators would have until July 31, 2028, to upgrade their aircraft with new inlet spacers and fasteners, a fan cowl support beam, a stiffer exhaust nozzle, and upgraded inlet aft bulkhead fasteners. Boeing would issue maintenance instructions by Dec. 31, 2029. The changes are intended to keep fan cowls closed, intact, and attached to the airplane in the event of a fan-blade-out event.

FAA Outlines Next Phase Of PW1100G Inspections

In another NPRM, the draft rule based on two service bulletins developed by Pratt would mandate inspections of the PW1100G. The next batch of engines needing off-wing inspection of high-pressure turbine (HPT) stage 1 and stage 2 disks were identified and high-pressure compressor (HPC) stage 7 and 8 integrated blade rotors (IBRs) are to be added to Pratt’s “fleet management plan.”

DOT Penalizes Southwest Airlines $140 Million for 2022 Holiday Meltdown

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced a $140 million civil penalty against Southwest Airlines for violating consumer protection laws over the 2022 Christmas holiday and into the New Year after the operational failures canceled 16,900 flights and stranded over two million passengers. Most of the penalty will go towards compensating future Southwest passengers. In its investigation, DOT found the company violated consumer protection laws by failing to provide adequate customer service assistance, failing to provide prompt flight status notifications, and failing to provide refunds promptly and properly.

600 U.S. planes crashed in the Himalayas during WWII. A new museum shows the artifacts

An estimated 1,500 pilots and passengers were killed flying “the hump” due to incorrect maps, weather conditions, flying at high altitudes with unpressurized aircraft, and other causes.

Mentioned

American Heritage Museum

Video: Collings Foundation Hangar (Stow, MA)

Air Force Safety Center: Aviation Statistics

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, and David Vanderhoof.

765 Air Travel

We look at the state of air travel, and the outlook for the future. In the news, a ceremony commemorates the 22nd anniversary of 9/11, airlines leaving regional airports, skiplagging, the FAA Administrator nomination, and an engine fire on an Air China flight.

Guest

Robert Silk, Travel Weekly Senior Editor for Aviation.

Robert Silk is the Travel Weekly Senior Editor for Aviation. Robby provides coverage and analysis of route networks, service offerings, and distribution, as well as airline industry trends and political and policy debates. He writes the Wheels Up opinion column about commercial aviation.

We look at the state of air travel, both from the airline perspective and from the customer perspective. Robby talks about the lasting impacts of the pandemic, the leisure/business travel balance, and how that has affected airline strategies. He touches on how fees have changed and how the shoulder day (or season) pricing doesn’t always offer the price advantage it has in the past. Robby also provides his thoughts on the dis-entanglement of the Northeast Alliance after the Justice Department suit found it anti-competitive, as well as market trends and predictions for where the market is headed.

Travel Weekly and TravelWeekly.com are influential B2B news resources for the travel industry, providing late-breaking news, analysis, and research for travel professionals. They cover all the business sectors, including airline, car rental, cruise, destination, hotel, and tour operator as well as technology, economic, and governmental issues.

Prior to joining Travel Weekly in 2015, Robby spent a decade covering tourism, business, the environment, development, and general news for the Florida Keys’ daily newspaper, the Key West Citizen, as well as for an affiliated weekly, the Florida Keys Free Press. He also edited the Travel Weekly Florida eNewsletter in 2015 and 2016.  

Aviation News

22nd Anniversary Commemoration

To commemorate the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 Attacks on New York, Washington, and in Pennsylvania, a ceremony was held on the Memorial Plaza. It focused on an in-person reading of the names by family members.

More small airports are being cut off from the air travel network. This is why

Airlines are leaving regional airports. A recent study by Ailevon Pacific found that American, Delta, and United together have left 74 regional airports since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Reasons include the pilot shortage and the current economics of the 50-seat jet. We consider the Essential Air Service (EAS) program.

Skiplagging isn’t likely to stop anytime soon, even if airlines fight it

Skiplagging is the practice of booking a ticket with the intention of getting off at the connecting airport rather than completing the flight to the destination.  It’s attractive because sometimes the ticket price for the longer flight is lower than the ticket for the shorter flight to the connecting destination. Also known as hidden-city ticketing, American Airlines has filed a lawsuit against the site Skiplagged.com.

Biden will nominate a former Obama official to run the Federal Aviation Administration

Michael G. Whitaker is a former deputy administrator at the FAA (2013-2016). Currently, he is the CEO of Hyundai affiliate Supernal working to develop an air taxi aircraft. Whitaker worked at TWA and United Airlines, where he became a senior vice president and oversaw international and regulatory affairs, before moving to the travel company InterGlobe. He holds a private pilot license. Since March 2022, the FAA has been run by acting administrators. See also White House Nominates Michael Whitaker as FAA Administrator from AOPA.

Air China A320neo GTF engine catches fire as plane evacuated in Singapore

An Air China Airbus A320neo made an emergency landing at Singapore’s Changi Airport after a failure in the left engine. Smoke was reported in the cabin and the passengers were evacuated. The jet was assembled at the Airbus facility in Tianjin, China, and delivered by Airbus in December 2018. According to ch-aviation, the aircraft had accumulated 9,244 hours and 3,967 flight cycles as of June 2023. The Air China fleet includes are Airbus A320neos.

Mentioned

How the FAA Let Remote Tower Technology Slip Right Through Its Fingers

Zeppelin NT

Proceed Aspect, My unexpected journey – Steve Visscher’s blog.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, Max Trescott, David Vanderhoof.

732 Cabin Air Management

We talk about cabin air management technology with the president of Pexco Aerospace. In the news, an AD for A220 engines, a terrible ground crew accident, the Southwest meltdown, an airport without jet fuel, and happy pets. Also, our safety card and T-Mobile Un‑carrier On giveaway winners and an Australia News Desk report.

Guest

Jon Page photo.

Jon Page is the President of Pexco Aerospace, a company that produces aircraft interior systems, including trim and finish components. Pexco has developed AirShield, a cabin air management technology that augments existing HEPA filters to reduce shared air by 76 percent and doubles the rate particles are expelled from the cabin and replaced by purified air.

Jon explains how the AirShield product mounts over the gasper air vents in an airliner and creates “air curtains” or compartments for each person. Besides reducing shared air, the AirShields return more air to the HEPA filters and increase the effectiveness of the air purification system. Jon tells us about the design challenges and the STC certification process.

Photo of airplane cabin showing AirShield "air curtains" and 3 passengers.
AirShield “air curtains.”

Before joining Pexco in July 2021, Jon was the President of Shield Restraint Systems. Prior to that, he was Vice President of Sales and General Manager at L.O.F., Inc., which sells automotive aftermarket accessories and hardware. Jon also had multiple roles as Director or Manager of Sales for companies including the IMMI Child Restraints team. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Purdue University and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin Consortium.

Closeup of AirShield cabin air management system installed over gaspers.
AirShield installed over gaspers.

Aviation News

FAA addresses dual-engine shutdown of A220 P&W engines

An airBaltic Airbus A220-300, registered as YL-AAQ, experienced a dual-engine shutdown while landing at Copenhagen Airport (CPH) in July 2021. The FAA investigation found that “the sequence of the auto-throttle increasing throttle to maintain Mach number, immediately followed by pilot command to decrease throttle to idle, caused a transient disagreement between actual and commanded thrust.” This triggered the thrust control malfunction (TCM) detection logic which shut down both engines as soon as wheel sensors detected that the aircraft had physically landed on the runway. The FAA issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD) that requires a FADEC software update.

American Airlines Ground Worker Reportedly Killed in Horrific Accident After Being Sucked Into Jet Engine

A ground handling agent was killed after being sucked into the jet engine of an Embraer E175LR at Montgomery Regional Airport in Alabama. The victim was an employee of Piedmont Airlines, a subsidiary of American Airlines. FAA and NTSB are investigating.

Southwest Airlines’ holiday chaos could cost the company as much as $825 million

In a regulatory filing, the airline says that holiday disruptions could cost as much as $825 million. More than 16,700 flights were canceled due to weather, staff shortages, and an outdated crew scheduling computer system. Thousands were stranded and luggage piled up at airports. SWAPA (the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association) published a letter that places the blame on the airline’s lack of leadership.

San Diego Airport Has Run Dry of Jet Fuel, Resulting in Lengthy Diversions For Some United and British Airways Flights

A leaking fuel pipe that serves San Diego County has led to the unavailability of jet fuel at San Diego International Airport. Some flights are being canceled, others are being diverted for refueling stops, and airlines are tankering extra fuel.

Puppy abandoned at SFO adopted by airline captain and family

A puppy was abandoned by his owner at San Francisco International Airport after the dog lacked the paperwork to remain in the United States. United Airlines partnered with SF SPCA to find a new home for the pup.

Frontier Airlines will Give You Free Flights For Adopting These Cats

The Animal Foundation named three kittens up for adoption: Frontier, Delta, and Spirit. Frontier offered up to four flight vouchers to anyone who adopted the Frontier kitten, and two vouchers each for the other kittens.

Giveaway Drawing

The winners of the two giveaways from Episode 728 were announced. The Interaction Group owner Trisha Ferguson kindly provides airline safety cards, while T-Mobile Senior Manager of Communications Steve Carlson donated the Un‑carrier On hard-sided suitcase.

Australia News Desk

Steve Visscher and Grant McHerron bring us an installment of The Australia Desk with aviation news from Down Under.

Mentioned

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

Pilot Proficiency Center
Pilot Proficiency Center

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, Max Trescott, and David Vanderhoof. Contribution by Steve Visscher and Grant McHerron.

677 Green Aviation

Green aviation topics such as sustainable aviation fuels and hydrogen power. Also, airline flight cancellations due to weather and staff shortages, flight automation for non-pilots, the F-15EX engine competition, FAA and FCC disagreement on 5G interference for pilots, a possible national no-fly list for unruly passengers, and interviews from the 2021 Pacific Air Show.

Green aviation: Airbus zero-emission concept aircraft.
Airbus zero-emission concept aircraft. © AIRBUS 2020

Aviation News

Textron Aviation – More Environmentally Friendly Fuels Approved for Cessna Piston-Powered Aircraft

A number of Cessna piston-powered aircraft are now approved for 91-octane unleaded (91UL), 94UL, or 100VLL (very low lead) fuel. Textron Aviation announced this for the Cessna 172 Skyhawk and 182 Skylane. The 206 Turbo Stationair HD aircraft is now approved for 100VLL. These fuels are cleaner burning compared to others with higher lead levels.

How close are hydrogen planes, really?

The short answer: maybe 3 or 4 decades. There are issues with carrying the fuel onboard a large commercial aircraft, creating the infrastructure, and price. SAF, or sustainable aviation fuels, is a much shorter-term step.

Biodiesel is booming. It may help the climate, but there’s a big environmental risk

Biodiesel is in high demand and Government incentives are helping ramp up production significantly. A third of all soybean oil produced in the U.S. already goes to make biodiesel. This is putting pressure on feedstocks, like soybean oil, which costs around a dollar per pound now. Last year it was $0.35.

American Airlines cancels 1,400 flights due to staff shortages, bad weather

Weekend staff shortages and bad weather were blamed for the cancellations. American reported that 376 flights were canceled on Friday, October 29, 551 flights were canceled on Saturday, and 480 more on Sunday. FlightAware said American has delayed more than 1,000 flights since Friday. About 1,800 flight attendants are scheduled to return from leave. The airline recently hired over 600 more and plans to start them by the end of December.

I’m Not a Pilot, but I Just Flew a Helicopter Over California

California start-up Skyryse developed FlightOS, a system that allows non-pilots to fly aircraft. Skyryse is backed by $250 million in funding and the system uses sensors such as cameras and radar.

General Electric Bests Pratt & Whitney In $1.6B F-15EX Engine Competition

The first lot of eight F-15EX fighters were powered by the competing GE F110-129 engine. The Air Force announced that the engine will continue to power the F-15EX. The firm-fixed-price deal could be for up to 329 engines. Deliveries will start in October 2023 and run through June 2031

FAA worries new 5G wireless service could interfere with aviation safety

In FAA Plans Warnings to Pilots, Airlines Over New 5G Rollout, the Wall Street Journal says the FAA is preparing a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin and an airworthiness directive saying that cell towers transmitting 5G signals could affect certain automated features that help fly and land airplanes. Like radar altimeters. On the other hand, both the FCC and the telecom industry say there is no evidence the 5G signals will interfere with aviation.

Buttigieg Says No-Fly List For Violent Passengers ‘On The Table’

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said that a no-fly list should be considered for violent airplane passengers.

There is absolutely no excuse for this kind of treatment of flight crews in the air or any of the essential workers—from bus drivers to air crews who get people to where they need to be.

Pete Buttigieg

Related: What Would it Take to Set Up a National ‘No-Fly’ List of Unruly Passengers?

The FAA gathered top U.S. airline executives for a meeting to discuss the problem of unruly passengers. The airlines were given a month to develop concrete “additional steps” that reduce such incidents. A national “no-fly” list used by all airlines was suggested by Delta, but others prefer that the issue is handled by law enforcement.

Pacific Air Show

Brian Coleman attended the Pacific Air Show and spoke with a number of people, including Air Force Reserve Master Sgt Uscanga Harris, Ed, Gary with the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, Jay, and Stephanie.

Mentioned

Brick Mosaic Designer – Turn images into unique LEGO® compatible brick mosaic art.

644 Aviation Art Designs

MotoArt turns unused aircraft parts into high-end furniture and aviation art designs. In the news, Pratt & Whitney’s new hypersonic engine project, the AFRL autonomous Skyborg aircraft and the Boeing Loyal Wingman, Boeing criticizes the A321XLR, Qantas offers mystery flights, and the Southwest Airlines grant program.

Guest

Dave Hall is the co-founder and owner of MotoArt which sells high-end aviation-inspired furniture and aviation art designs constructed from genuine aircraft parts.

MotoArt aviation art designs.
Dave Hall

Dave is also the founder/owner of PlaneTags – collectible, three-inch oval-shaped luggage tags made from authentic aircraft skin. Each PlaneTag is laser etched with the aircraft’s schematic and serial / tail number and is attached to a baseball-type trading card containing the history of the aircraft.  PlaneTags allows collectors the opportunity to hold a piece of aviation history in their hands while simultaneously providing them with an educational experience for each aircraft offered. Nearly 100 different types of PlaneTags have been created to date and several years’ worth of aircraft are in the queue for future releases. PlaneTags fans can expect new releases each month.

Dave began his career working at his father’s fuel storage tank business and later moved on to marketing and selling high-end architectural signage for amusement parks and sports arenas. In 2001, he and former colleague Donovan Fell began creating sculptures out of vintage World War II propellers. The popularity of these sculptures prompted the two to form a partnership and together created MotoArt LLC, which introduced high-end aviation-inspired furniture and art designs constructed from genuine aircraft parts. Since its inception, MotoArt has created over 100 limited edition custom designs for both private and Fortune 500 clients.

Dave has graciously donated four PlaneTags to Airplane Geeks which we’ll be giving away to listeners in a random drawing. In addition, Dave is offering Airplane Geeks listeners a PlaneTags discount. Details in the podcast.

PlaneTags from MotoArt, aviation art designs.
PlaneTags giveaway.

Finally, the Pima Air & Space Museum is running a sweepstakes (open until April 9, 2021) where your donation enters you in a contest to win a $25,000 MotoArt gift certificate.

Aviation News

Pratt & Whitney Makes Hypersonic Revival As Pentagon Pushes Reuse

Pratt & Whitney has a secret development program to develop a low-cost, reusable hypersonic propulsion system. This is a capability high in priority for the U.S. Department of Defense. The program is called Metacomet and comes from Pratt & Whitney’s GatorWorks prototyping division in Florida. David Stagney, senior director of GatorWorks said, “The faster you go, the larger the propulsion system is relative to the vehicle and how much payload and fuel you can actually fit in. So, we have spent a lot of time going back to the fundamentals and thinking about how to solve that problem differently. We know the Air Force wants to go really fast. They also want to have some very low-cost solutions, and to be able to have a large quantity of vehicles.”

Boeing to base U.S. Air Force prototype on Australian pilotless combat jet

Boeing designed and manufactured the unmanned “Loyal Wingman” aircraft in Australia, which just completed its first flight. The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Skyborg autonomous aircraft program has contracted with Boeing, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, and Kratos Defense & Security Solutions to develop the prototypes. Boeing says they are basing their bid on the Loyal Wingman. The technology will be tested during Orange Flag exercises this summer.

Boeing labels new Airbus jet a ‘potential hazard’ just days after being fined millions for safety oversights

The A321XLR gets additional range with a fuel tank that is moulded into the fuselage. Boeing has informed the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) that this design “presents many potential hazards.” EASA had already noted the design, saying “An integral fuselage fuel tank exposed to an external fire, if not adequately protected, may not provide enough time for the passengers to safely evacuate the aircraft.”

First there were flights to nowhere. Now there are ‘mystery flights.’

Qantas is launching three flights to unspecified Australian destinations. Passengers will have  “low-level scenic flybys of key landmarks” and land about two hours after departure. That will be followed by a day’s worth of activities on the ground. In order to know what to wear and pack, Qantas will give passengers clues about the destination.

Southwest Airlines donates 7,500 free flights for those in need of medical care

The airline’s Medical Transportation Grant Program is providing roundtrip flights for those in need of urgent medical care. Southwest awarded the tickets to over 75 nonprofit hospitals and medical transportation organizations. The airline valued the transportation at $3 million. To date, more than $38.6 million in free transportation has been provided since the program began in 2007.

Mike Collins

Rob Mark talks about the passing of Mike Collins, AOPA Technical Editor and Director of Business Operations. See Saying Goodbye: AOPA Loses Technical Editor Mike Collins.

Mentioned

Aerojet Rocketdyne

Air Care Alliance

AvGeekFests.com

Innovations in Flight Family Day and Outdoor Aviation Display

47th annual Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo April 13-18, 2021. See SnF Covid policy.

Podcasting on a Plane, Episode 091, Remote View Flight Check with Rob Mark.

Airplane Geeks Listener Poll #643: Who would you like to see win the 2020 Collier Trophy?

Cat attacks pilots in cockpit, plane forced to make emergency landing

Trade group again names Portland’s jetport best in North America. Airports Council International recognizes the world’s best airports in customer experience with their annual Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards. The Portland International Jetport was named the best airport in North America for customer experience in its passenger class.

Airplane Flyover

641 AOPA Events for 2021

The AOPA events planned for 2021, Bombardier ending Learjet production, United Airlines investment in eVTOL, VFR charts move to a 56-day production cycle, F-35A engine issues impact the demo team schedule, and a TSA agent saves the day for some confused passengers.

Guest

Chris Eads, AOPA Senior Director, Outreach and Events

Chris Eads is Senior Director, Outreach and Events for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). He’s a private pilot and an AOPA member since 2001. He began working for AOPA in 2013. Chris flies VFR all over the country both for fun and as a part of his role leading AOPA events and regional fly-ins.

We focus on AOPA’s thinking and plans for events late in 2021 and even into 2022. The organization has released plans for two 2021 Aviator Showcase events. Each showcase will be a single-day event designed to provide new product and aircraft information to pilots, aircraft owners, and prospective buyers.

Aviator Showcase at Manassas, Virginia
Aug. 27, 2021, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
At Manassas Regional Airport (KHEF), hosted by Chantilly Air Jet Center.

Aviator Showcase at Fort Worth, Texas
Oct. 1, 2021, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
At Fort Worth Alliance Airport (KAFW), hosted by Alliance Aviation Services.

These events will be one-day gatherings in an exhibit hall, with an aircraft sales display and technology-related seminars. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet with industry leaders in avionics and cockpit technology, flight planning, weather resources, aircraft manufacturing, and more.

To be sure AOPA is in alignment with current CDC guidelines at the time of the event, registration will open approximately 12 weeks prior to each event. Attendance will be limited according to CDC restrictions, and advance registration is required.

In addition to the two Showcases, AOPA is considering “pilot gathering air tours” for when the pandemic clears sufficiently. These would be similar to a barnstormer’s tour and include social functions, unlike the Aviator Showcase events.

Aviation News

Learjet, once the go-to private plane for celebrities, is ending production

Learjet, owned by Bombardier, will stop production later this year. Bombardier said it will concentrate on the Challenger and Global aircraft, which are more profitable. The company was started in 1962 by Bill Lear, with the first entry-into-service in 1963. The company was purchased by Bombardier in 1990.

Archer Aviation gets a $1 billion order from United Airlines, on the same day it announces a deal to go public

Archer Aviation Inc. announced that United placed an order valued at $1 billion for all-electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL). United has an option to buy an additional $500 million worth of aircraft. Archer also announced its merger with Atlas Crest Investment Corp. which takes the company public and allows the public to invest in the urban air mobility (UAM) market. United Airlines plans to have a role in the UAM market with “last mile” transportation between airports and urban destinations using low-emission eVTOL aircraft.

VFR charts to go on 56-day publication cycle in 2021

The 56-Day Visual Charts notice [PDF] was published January 15, 2021 and takes effect February 25, 2021. In shortening the update cycle for VFR charts to match the dates on IFR charts, the FAA will now be updating all charts every 56 days.

F-35 Demo Team Forced To Cut Airshow Appearances Due To Fleet-Wide Engine Issues

Turbine blades in the Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100 engine powering the F-35 are experiencing shorter than expected life. Some F-35As have been running close to design limits which is causing premature cracks in the turbine blade coatings. While not a flight safety issue, it is causing unscheduled engine removals. The depot system is apparently already backlogged, so this extra workload is adding to that problem. This impacts the available engine supply so the Air Force F-35 demonstration team is scaling back the number of air show appearances by about a third.

Wrong Portland: TSA officer helps family fly to correct coast

A family of three Spanish-speaking passengers landed in the wrong Portland airport – Oregon, not Maine. They were about 2,500 miles from where they wanted to be. A TSA agent escorted the family to a ticket agent, and learned the family only had $200. The agent personally provided the additional money that allowed them to book a flight to their correct destination.

Mentioned

Check Out These Stunning Images Of The Super Bowl’s Bomber Trio Flyover

Here’s why Army helicopters have Native American names

FAA Files Reveal a Surprising Threat to Airline Safety: the U.S. Military’s GPS Tests

Gerbino Flight Systems: Innovations in Flight

Gerbino rotorcraft by listener Harold.

611 Aviation News

Boeing 737 MAX certification flight tests, Airbus job eliminations, updated airline COVID-19 health safety protocol requirements, Aeromexico bankruptcy, NBAA convention cancellation, concept of operations for Urban Air Mobility, possible Ryanair 737 MAX buy, Austrian Airlines to operate rail service, 2018 uncontained engine failure report, geared turbofan engine replacements, and yellow warning cards at Alaska Airlines.

Aviation News

What’s Trending in Aerospace – July 5, 2020

Boeing and FAA complete certification flight testing for the 737 MAX. A review of the data gathered from flight testing will be performed and a new Airworthiness Directive for 737 MAX operators will be published allowing a return to service. Also, Airbus plans to eliminate up to 15,000 jobs by the Summer of 2021. EASA has updated airline COVID-19 health safety protocol requirements including mandated aircraft cleaning and disinfecting. Aeromexico has filed for bankruptcy. NBAA canceled the Oct. 6-8, 2020 Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Orlando, Florida. FAA has released Concept of Operations V1.0 for Urban Air Mobility.

Distressed Is Best As Ryanair Plans New 737 MAX Order With Boeing Amid Coronavirus Downturn

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary believes it’s a buyer’s market for the 737 MAX. “We’re in active negotiations now with Boeing for a MAX 10 order,” he said. Any deal is expected to close after the 737 MAX returns to service. Ryanair says they operate “a fleet of over 450 Boeing 737-800 series aircraft, with orders of up to 210 new Boeing 737 aircraft. This includes 135 new Boeing 737 MAX 200s, and options for 75 more MAX 200s, which will enable Ryanair to grow its fleet to 585 by 2024… The average age of the Ryanair fleet is approximately 6.5 years, and is set to get younger with the latest aircraft order.”

Struggling Austrian Airlines swaps planes for trains

Under the recent €600 million ($680m) government aid package for Australian Airlines, the airline must reduce domestic emissions by 50% by 2050. It must also end flights where there is a direct train connection to the airport that takes “considerably less than three hours.” To help meet these requirements, Austrian will discontinue its flight between Vienna and Salzburg and instead operate rail service.

Pratt & Whitney Training Cited in 2018 United Jet Engine Failure

In 2018, a United Airlines 777-200 with PW4077 engines flying from San Francisco to Honolulu experienced an uncontained engine failure when a fan blade broke loose. The National Transportation Safety Board’s final report points to a training issue and says two previous blade inspections revealed weakened material in the titanium blade. But the inspector interpreted the indications as to the way the blade was painted. The NTSB said P&W didn’t create specific training for inspectors or certify how they performed the work.

Pratt & Whitney  to replace  old,  faulty engines before deadline

A320neo airplanes powered by older geared turbofan engines have been problematic for Indian airlines IndiGo and GoAir. Pratt is replacing those engines against an August 31, 2020 deadline, and says it will complete the job before that date.

Alaska Airlines threatens unmasked fliers with yellow cards

In July 2020 Alaska Airlines flight attendants will use yellow warning cards with passengers who fail to comply with the airline’s in-flight face mask policy. Under the new system, any passenger who “repeatedly refuses” to keep a mask on will be handed a yellow card by a flight attendant. “With that warning … the guest’s travel with us will be reviewed and could be suspended for a period,” Alaska said.

Mentioned

Van Sant Airport

Photo by David Vanderhoof

Photo by David Vanderhoof

Takeoff and landing competition a boost for pilots and a small airfield in Dover-Foxcroft

Chapter 141 EAA Facebook page

Career Spotlight: A Noble Calling. Teach for a living. Article about Max Trescott in Flight Training Magazine.

NASA’s Lunar Loo Challenge

Shuttleworth

Wings Over Wairarapa Air Festival 2021

559 Boom Supersonic Overture Facility

The president of Hoar Program Management tells us about plans for the Boom Supersonic Overture facility. In the news, we discuss Bombardier’s actions to exit commercial aviation, a government probe into production practices of the 787 Dreamliner, and UTC’s project for a hybrid-electric regional plane. We also talk with a 14-year-old who flew a glider from California to Maine solo, and an interview with PPG from the Paris Air Show.

Boom Supersonic Overture

Boom Supersonic Overture. Courtesy Boom Supersonic.

Guest

Mike Lanier, President of Hoar Program Management (HPM).

Mike Lanier is president of Hoar Program Management (HPM), a company that provides program management services for construction projects. HPM was chosen by Boom Supersonic to manage the process of site selection, planning, design, and construction of Boom Supersonic’s first U.S. manufacturing facility for its Overture Mach-2.2 supersonic commercial airliner.

Mike explains the primary criteria used to select the initial target list of sites: the amount of developable land, minimum runway length, and proximity to a supersonic test corridor. The next phase will involve a deeper dive into the candidate sites and creating a shortlist. The final site selection should occur by early 2020 and will consider a number of factors, including a cultural fit between Boom Supersonic and the local community.

The facility design process will take perhaps a year, followed by 2 to 3 years of construction. All this to support first flight in the mid-2020s. HPM performed the same service for Airbus in developing their Mobile, Alabama A320 facility.

As for Boom Supersonic, they are currently assembling the XB-1, a Mach-2.2 supersonic demonstrator aircraft. Data from XB-1 test flights will help refine the design of Overture which will hold 55-75 pax in a 170’ fuselage with a 60’ wingspan. Japan Airlines and Virgin Group have thirty of the all business class tri-jet on pre-order. Boom Supersonic founder and CEO Blake Scholl was our guest in Episode 463, published in August 2017.

Mike has led HPM since its inception in 1997, and his team of more than 150 professionals is engaged in the management of capital building projects located throughout the US and in Europe. Over its 22-year history, Mike and his team have grown the company from a division of a southern US-based construction company into its own nationally-ranked program management firm which handles almost a billion dollars of construction value for clients on an annual basis. A native of Louisiana, Mike began his career in construction in Atlanta after receiving his civil engineering degree from Tulane University.

Aviation News

UTC’s Hybrid-Electric Regional Plane Promises 30 Percent Fuel Savings

United Technologies Corp. (UTC) is developing a hybrid-electric flight demonstrator based on a Bombardier Dash 8 regional turboprop. “Project 804” replaces one of the engines with a two-megawatt hybrid-electric engine. The hybrid-electric powerplant is produced through a collaboration between its Collins Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney subsidiaries. First flight should take place “in about three years.”

Calio to succeed Leduc as Pratt & Whitney president

P&W president Bob Leduc is retiring and Chris Calio will be replacing him. Leduc started his long career in engineering. Calio has a legal background. Both men held senior leadership positions at various UTC aerospace units.

DOJ probe expands beyond Boeing 737 MAX, includes 787 Dreamliner

According to “sources” Boeing has been subpoenaed for records relating to 787 Dreamliner in production in South Carolina. This after reports of poor quality work at that facility. The DOJ is also conducting a criminal investigation into the certification and design of the 737 MAX.

Bombardier quits commercial aviation after failing to break the Boeing-Airbus stranglehold

Bombardier has sold its regional jet business to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for $550 million in cash. Bombardier will now focus on trains and private planes. Bombardier will assemble the remaining backlog of regional jets for Mitsubishi, then cease production. That should be in the second half of 2020.

Riley Speidel, Glider Pilot

Riley Speidel comes from a flying family. Her father, grandfather, grandmother and aunt are all pilots. With flying in her blood, Riley soloed a glider just after her fourteenth birthday and shortly after that, she flew a glider solo from Marina, California to Sanford, Maine. Our Main(e) Man Micah caught up with her at the Southern Maine Aviation FBO.

Riley Speidel and Micah

Riley and Micah.

David Palermo, PPG Transparencies

David Palermo is the PPG Global Director, Military and Defense Transparencies. Reporter-at-Large Launchpad Marzari spoke with David at the Paris Air Show about windshields and canopies.

Mentioned

Letchworth State Park. Photo by Max Flight.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.