Tag Archives: Snowbirds

604 Aircraft Storage

The chief commercial officer of one of the largest aircraft maintenance, storage, and reclamation operations explains aircraft storage in light of the large number of airplanes taken out of service. In the news, members of the new Women in Aviation Advisory Board are announced, the fatal Canadian Snowbird crash, the Cessna SkyCourier first flight, airline passenger policies for wearing masks, and Airbus looks to a downsized future.

Guest

Scott Butler

Scott Butler, chief commercial officer, Ascent Aviation Services.

Scott Butler is chief commercial officer of Ascent Aviation Services, one of the largest aircraft storage, maintenance, and reclamation operations in the world. Ascent provides fully integrated aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), line maintenance, storage, reclamation, paint, and interior services to owners, operators, and lessors of wide-body, narrow-body, and regional aircraft.

Ascent Aviation Services currently operates two maintenance facilities in southern Arizona that cover more than 1,250 acres and house 5 hangars.  Now managing over 400 aircraft, the company is a Class IV 14 CFR Part 145 certified Repair Station and maintains approvals and certifications from regulatory authorities globally, including FAA, EASA, BDA/AMO, TCCA, NCAA, and 2-REG.

Aircraft parking and storage are regulator-approved maintenance programs. Scott explains the categories of aircraft storage and describes aircraft preparation and maintenance while in storage:

  • Active parking for aircraft that could be activated within days and put into revenue service quickly. Maintenance includes running the engines, inspections, periodic ops checks, etc.
  • Short-term parking, usually for 1-3 months. Maintenance includes short-term engine and controls preservation, disconnecting batteries, and covering tubes and sensors. Activation might take a few days or a week.
  • Long-term storage, perhaps for up to a year, with an option for storage exceeding one year. Maintenance includes full engine preservation (“pickling”), fluid draining, use of preservation oil, corrosion protection coverings, sealing the landing gear, and animal protection.

We also talk about the reasons for parking or storing aircraft, and the types of aircraft now being stored. Ascent also performs dismantling operations and they are even using drones for dent mapping. Scott comments on the outlook for freighter and specialty conversions, and changes to how cargo is being moved.

Scott is an aviation professional with more than 10 years in the aerospace industry. Prior to joining Ascent Aviation Services as CCO, he was the Director of Sales for Zodiac Aerospace, owned by Safran since February 2018 and offering aerosystems, cabin interiors, and seats.

Scott has held leadership positions in program management, engineering and operations management at TE Connectivity and Rockwell Collins. He holds a degree in Aviation Human Factors and Aerospace Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Aviation News

US aviation industry leaders appointed to Women in Aviation Advisory Board

The Women in Aviation Advisory Board (WIAAB) was established in October 2019 under the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. The FAA states, “The objective of the Women in Aviation Advisory Board (PDF) is to develop and provide independent recommendations and strategies to the… FAA to explore opportunities for encouraging and supporting female students and aviators to pursue a career in aviation, with the objective of promoting organizations and programs that are providing education, training, mentorship, outreach, and recruitment of women for positions in the aviation industry.”

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao announced the appointment of 30 board members. Former U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson will serve as chair of the board. She’s currently President of The University of Texas at El Paso. See Women in Aviation Advisory Board Membership (PDF).

CAF member who died in Snowbird plane crash identified

One of the Canadian Snowbirds planes crashed in Kamloops, BC. The team was on a tour of the country under Operation Inspiration, similar to the U.S. tour of the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds. The Royal Canadian Air Force CT-114 Tutor with Captain Richard MacDougall and Captain Jennifer Casey on board had just lifted off when something went wrong. Captain Casey was killed and Captain MacDougall sustained serious but not life-threatening injuries. The plane crashed into a house in a residential neighborhood.

Cessna SkyCourier Successfully Completes First Flight

In March 2020, the Cessna SkyCourier successfully completed initial ground tests. Now the first flight of the prototype Cessna 408 SkyCourier twin-turboprop has been accomplished lasting 2-hours and 15-minutes. A common platform will support various configurations, including a 6,000-pound payload freighter, a 19-seat passenger version, and a mixed passenger/freight combination. FedEx is the launch customer for the SkyCourier, with 50 firm and 50 option orders. It will have a maximum cruise speed of 200 ktas and 900-nm range.

U.S. airlines tell crews not to force passengers to wear masks

Southwest memo says it will not deny boarding if customers don’t wear masks

American Airlines’ policy says customers “may be denied boarding” for not wearing a mask. United’s policy allows boarding in most cases, but the policy states, “there could be an isolated situation where a customer may be denied boarding as a last resort.” JetBlue says, “Customers who refuse to comply with our policy will be denied boarding.” Southwest policy says wearing a mask is a “requirement,” but a memo obtained by CNN states, “We will not deny boarding solely based on a Customer’s refusal to wear a face covering.” and… “You are expected to inform Customers of our face covering requirement but are not expected to be the enforcers — ask the Customer to comply with wearing a face covering if they are able.”

American told its pilots, “Once on board and off the gate, the face covering policy becomes more lenient. The flight attendant’s role is informational, not enforcement, with respect to the face covering policy… Bottom line to the pilots: a passenger on board your aircraft who is being compliant with the exception of wearing a face covering is NOT considered disruptive enough to trigger a Threat Level 1 response.”

Airbus to be ‘resized,’ could cut output again – sources

Airbus executives were told to “face reality” and that Airbus may not survive without change. “Radical,” “proactive,” and urgent steps are needed, particularly if the pandemic produces a second wave.

Boeing CEO: It could take 3 to 5 years for airline industry to return from ‘apocalyptic’ state

In an edited interview, Boeing CEO David Calhoun was asked on NBC television “do you think there might be a major US carrier that may have to go out of business? He responded, “I don’t want to get too predictive on that but yes, most likely. Something will happen when September comes around.”

Delta to retire Boeing 777s as pandemic dims outlook for international travel

Delta Air Lines said it will retire its fleet of Boeing 777s. Also that this fall it may have 7,000 too many pilots. Long-haul international travel is not expected to recover quickly. Delta’s daily cash burn is down to $50 million a day. CEO Ed Bastian said “Our principal financial goal for 2020 is to reduce our cash burn to zero by the end of the year, which will mean, for the next two to three years, a smaller network, fleet, and operation in response to substantially reduced customer demand.”

526 Delta Air Lines Celebrates

Delta Airlines celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Delta/Northwest merger, opening their new engine repair shop, and their first A220-100. An American Airlines a baggage handler gets an unexpected free ride, then another one home. We look at the latest on the fatal Lion Air crash, Boeing 737 MAX data servers, and two Iceland airlines that plan to join forces. Also, young pilot Solomon’s interview with an aviation Youtuber in Australia, and Launchpad Marzari talks with Snowbird #1.

Aviation News

‘Just getting started:’ Merger and A220 event celebrates Delta’s past, present and future

Some two thousand Delta Air Lines employees celebrated the ten-year anniversary of the Delta/Northwest merger, the grand opening of a new 127,000-square-foot state-of-the-art engine repair shop at Atlanta, and the arrival of their first Airbus A220-100.

Doctor accuses Delta of in-flight ‘racism’: ‘#BlackWomenDoctors do exist’

Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford noticed a passenger in distress next to her on a Delta flight operated by Republic Airline. Stanford says that while attending to the passenger, the cabin attendants questioned her medical credentials. A nearly identical situation occurred in 2016: A black doctor barred from helping on a flight gets an apology — and triggers a policy change.

Napping American Airlines baggage handler trapped in cargo hold on flight to Chicago

Apparently, one way to fly from Kansas City to Chicago is to get drunk and fall asleep on the job in the cargo hold.

Lion Air crash updates

Amid desperate search for crashed Lion Air jet’s black box, some answers may be back in the United States

Lion Air crash should remind us not to rush to judgment

Lion Air crash: Investigators recover 69 hours of flight data from black box

Lion Air jet’s airspeed indicator malfunctioned on 4 flights

The Boeing Aero publication from the 4th quarter of 2014 describes the Advanced Onboard Network System in the 738 MAX aircraft.

Icelandair to buy budget rival WOW

Icelandair says the brands will continue to operate independently. Icelandair shareholders and regulators must approve the acquisition. Icelandair operates an all-Boeing fleet while WOW is an all-Airbus fleet.

Interviews

Sixteen-year-old pilot Solomon talks with aviation Youtuber Stefan Drury, an expat Brit living in Australia. He makes videos on YouTube for viewers to experience the world of aviation, get travel tips and ideas, learn about gear and gadgets, and follow his adventures in regularly posted vlogs. Stefan’s website is stef747.com.

Solomon

Solomon

Some examples of Stefan’s videos:

Pilot confidence self doubt – The Imposter Syndrome

Practising ELECTRICAL EMERGENCIES Cirrus SR22 G6

How Good is Qantas Inflight WIFI?

INSIDE an Air Traffic Control Tower

Also, Launchpad Marzari interviewed Canadian Forces Snowbird #1, Major Denis Bandet.

Blues and Snowbirds by David Vanderhoof, July 3, 1976.

Blues and Snowbirds by David Vanderhoof, July 3, 1976.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

404 Inside the Airport Office

A look airport operations from the back office, rebates for ADS-B installations, bigger A380’s, airlines fighting over Open Skies, the history of the missing man formation, and a Delta trip report.

Guest

Jennifer Adams

Jennifer Adams

Jennifer Adams works for the accounting department of a medium-sized airport in the midwest and she gives us a peek at some of the activities in the “back office.” Jen tells us about the sources of revenue for the airport, such as landing fees, rent, and long-term parking. She also gives us a look at some of the airport’s costs, which range from navaid maintenance and de-icing chemicals, to toilet paper and vet bills for the dogs. Jen also explains the many statistics that must be recorded, such as landings, aircraft weights, passengers enplaned and deplaned, cargo, and mail.

A passionate avgeek, when Jennifer isn’t buried in spreadsheets or calculating landing fees, she spends her break time plane spotting and talking about aviation with anyone who will listen.  In her blog “Tales from the Terminal,” she shares stories about her adventures in aviation, her love of the airport, and her not-so-secret desire to own a stairs truck.

News

FAA ADS-B Rebate: Limited Time, Limited Number

The FAA says they will offer rebates to aircraft owners who install ADS-B Out systems, but there are some limits to the program. The $500 rebate will only be available to the first 20,000 owners of single-engine piston aircraft who apply, and just for a one year period.

Airbus reveals plan for even more passengers on A380 aircraft

There is a new plan to increase the A380 seating to eleven in a row, up from the current ten. This would add 60 more seats to the super jumbo. Meantime, Emirates president Tim Cook has conceded that a re-engined “A380neo” looks unlikely.

The nastiest feud in the airline business has reached soap-opera-worthy levels

Qatar Airways, Emirates, Etihad, and Delta Air Lines do not see eye-to-eye when it comes to international agreements. Delta believes the Middle Eastern carriers benefit from subsidies that are a violation of U.S. Open Skies agreements. The conversation amped up with the Qatar Airways inaugural flight to Atlanta. Reportedly, Qatar had been told that a gate would not be available for their A380 and it was occupied by a Delta jet. Qatar flew in anyway, and the deplaning passengers had to be bussed to the terminal from a remote parking location.

The Aircraft of the Week

David talks about the recent Blue Angels and Thunderbirds accidents, and how they have been reported, but he also provides a somber history of the Missing Man formation, which was flown in honor of Blue Angel #6 Capt Jeff Kuss, USMC.

‘Potential dangers’ spark concerns for Blue Angel flyover

Snowbirds Nine Ship Missing Man

Gofundme to support Capt Kuss’ Family

Trip Report

Brian sent in a Delta trip report, and tells us why Basic Economy might not be right for the frequent flyer.

Delta: Compare Seat Options

Delta: The Basics on Basic Economy

Delta: Reservations and Ticketing FAQs

Mentioned

SpringBank Snowbirds

Helicopter Takeoff

https://youtu.be/QOPmHZgvm5M

Textron Aviation reveals superior SETP performance and cabin details

GE Aviation launches new turboprop engine

Credit

Intro music courtesy Brother Love from his Album Of The Year CD. Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.