Tag Archives: Southwest

735 Aircraft Automation

The co-founder and CEO of Reliable Robotics explains how aircraft automation sets the path to bringing certified autonomous vehicles to commercial aviation. In the news, the first graduating class from United Aviate Academy, the NTSB and BEA comment on the Ethiopian Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau’s final report on the 737 Max crash, pilots working to make their airport safer, the government wants to know if the Southwest meltdown was caused by unrealistic scheduling, and ADS-B Exchange purchase by Jetnet.

Guest

Robert Rose headshot.

Robert Rose is the co-founder and CEO of Reliable Robotics, a company that seeks to bring certified autonomous vehicles to commercial aviation. Their vision is to leverage aircraft automation to transform the way we move goods and people around the planet with safer, more convenient, and more affordable air transportation. The company is headquartered in Mountain View, California, and has a distributed global workforce.

Robert explains how incremental safety enhancements can lead to the long-term goal of remotely piloted aircraft. Reliable Robotics is developing a higher precision navigation system, followed by the capability for auto-land without airport infrastructure. From there, an auto-takeoff capability that includes takeoff rejection, and auto-taxi. Altogether, these significantly impact the safety of GA aircraft

Admitting that fully autonomous aircraft are not a near-term possibility, Robert says that aircraft automation takes us down the path to autonomous operation.

He sees certification in three phases:

  1. Certification of a continuous engagement autopilot for the Cessna Caravan.
  2. Certifying the management of contingencies outside the system’s control.
  3. Certifying detect and avoid and the communication system with the pilot in a control center.

Robert’s engineering experience spans aerospace, self-driving cars, robotics, gaming, and consumer products. Prior to co-founding Reliable Robotics, he was the Director of Flight Software at SpaceX where he led the development of the onboard flight software for the Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon spacecraft, resulting in the first commercial mission to the International Space Station. At Tesla, Robert was the Senior Director of Autopilot, Robert brought to market the first consumer automobile with fully unassisted self-driving capability. At X (Google’s skunkworks division), Robert led a team bringing advanced machine perception and manipulation technologies to large vehicles. 

Earlier in his career, he developed three Game of the Year award-winning titles as a Game Engine Programmer at Sony PlayStation. Robert holds a B.S. in Computer Science, a B.S. in Computer Engineering, and an M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Oregon State University.

Aviation News

United Airlines celebrates historic first graduating class of Flight Academy Pilots

United Aviate Academy graduated the first 51 student pilots out of what United hopes will be 5,000 by 2030. United is the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school. Nearly 80% of this inaugural graduating class is made up of women or people of color. The airline hopes that at least half of the graduates will be women or people of color. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says only 5.6% of pilots are women and 6% are people of color.

What’s next for the graduates?

  • Some will work as Certified Flight Instructors at the academy and build their hours toward 1,500 required flying hours
  • Others will build hours at participating flight schools or universities, including Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Purdue University and Hampton University.
  • Graduates are encouraged to eventually fly for a United Express carrier, take on leadership roles at an Aviate participating Part 135 operator, or become a Fleet Technical Instructor at United to complete their training.
  • Aviate participants can expect to become a United pilot within about six years of graduating from United Aviate Academy.

NTSB Finds More Problems in Ethiopian 737 Max Final Report

The Ethiopian Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (EAIB) final report focuses on system failures, not the actions (or inactions) of the pilots. The NTSB and BEA believe the failure of the pilots to execute proper procedures was a contributing factor. Comments made by NTSB and BEA to that effect were not included in the EAIB final report. NTSB and BEA have gone on record to express their belief that the final report is deficient in this respect.

Boeing pleads not guilty to fraud in criminal case over deadly 737 Max crashes

Boeing pleaded not guilty to felony fraud in the recent arraignment in federal court. The families asked Judge O’Connor to impose certain conditions on Boeing as a condition of release, including appointing an independent monitor to oversee Boeing’s compliance with the terms of the previous deferred prosecution agreement, and that the company’s compliance efforts “be made public to the fullest extent possible.” Boeing and the Justice Department opposed the request and the judge did not rule on those at the time.

Aspen Pilots Want to Improve Airport Safety Record

The Aspen Airport (KASE) has been regarded as a dangerous airport. The Aspen Times called it “the most dangerous [airport] in the United States.” A number of jet and piston accidents have occurred there, some fatal. In December 2022, the formation of the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport FlightOps Safety Task Force was announced. The task force includes a dozen volunteer pilots

Transportation Department looking into whether ‘unrealistic scheduling’ played role in Southwest holiday meltdown

A Department of Transportation (DOT) spokesperson said, “DOT is in the initial phase of a rigorous and comprehensive investigation into Southwest Airlines’ holiday debacle that stranded millions … [and] probing whether Southwest executives engaged in unrealistic scheduling of flights which under federal law is considered an unfair and deceptive practice.”

Southwest Airlines says travel disruptions could cost $800 million

“In a …filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, [Southwest Airlines] estimated pretax losses from the disruption of $725 million to $825 million for the quarter. Of that, it expects to lose $400 million to $425 million in revenue directly from the flight cancellations.”

The Flight Tracker That Powered @ElonJet Just Took a Left Turn

ADS-B Exchange was purchased by Jetnet, which Silversmith Capital Partners own. Some people are expressing outrage and worry that ADS-B Exchange will lose its openness. Founder and president of ADS-B Exchange Dan Streufert was our guest in Episode 692.

Australia News Desk

Auckland floods: International flights resume at Auckland Airport, 600% increase in calls to Air NZ

This week we take a look across the Tasman Sea as New Zealand’s capital, Auckland, was hit with historic levels of flooding, leading to the temporary closure of their International Airport, leaving passengers from all corners of the globe stranded for many hours in the terminal, and saw a number of inbound flights diverted.

Steve’s a little tired after being recertified as an instructor…not for airplanes…but for trains.  We discuss the similarities in approaches to training between rail and aviation, including one of Steve’s more interesting sim sessions.

Train simulation

Saber announces first projects to fly in Australian Astronaut Program

Meanwhile, Grant’s literally over the moon following Saber Astronautics’ plans to send Australian tech to the International Space Station in coming years, including beer in a specially made zero-G bottle.  

Sydney Airport chaos as control tower incident triggers evacuations and grounds flights

Flights were temporarily halted in and out of Sydney Airport this weekend when the control tower had to be evacuated following the smell of gaseous fumes in the ventilation system.

And finally, we pay tribute to local aviation photographer Matt Savage, of Mach One Aeromedia, who passed away recently after a long battle with illness.  Matt was a man who shared our passion for aviation and was a big supporter of our work.  Though he left us way too soon, his skill with the lens will live on as a lasting legacy for all of us to enjoy. 

Plane in flight photograph by Matt Savage.
Image by Matt Savage – 2022

Mentioned

AutoGyro USA

Calidus Gyroplane on the tarmac.
2014 Calidus Gyroplane

New aviation museum planned at the Santa Maria Airport ready to take off

Donate here: https://www.pofsantamaria.org/

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, Max Trescott, and David Vanderhoof. With contributions by Grant McHerron and Steve Vischer.

734 Grand Dames of Aviation

We speak with the Founder and Chairman of the Board of Grand Dames of Aviation. In the news, Boeing and NASA team up to develop a Transonic Truss-Braced Wing airliner, a US judge orders Boeing to appear for an arraignment on a 737 Max fraud charge, SWAPA authorizes a strike vote, and a procedure change and the JFK runway incursion. We also have an Australia News Desk report and interviews from the 2023 Seattle Aerospace BBQ.

Guest

Grand Dames of Aviation founder Carol Dean in the cockpit.
Carol Dean, founder of Grand Dames of Aviation

Carol Dean is the Founder and Chairman of the Board of the non-profit Grand Dames of Aviation. Formed in 2017, the Grand Dames of Aviation is an exclusive group of accomplished women in professional aviation. What started as a private Facebook group has grown into a large organization that celebrates, educates, and inspires women to believe, achieve, and lead in aviation.

Carol explains the requirements to become a Grand Dame of Aviation and mentions some of the notable members. We learn about scholarships, mentoring, and leadership networking. Cultivating the talent, innovation, and leadership of women is critical for the future of aviation and aerospace.

Carol is currently a B757 pilot for a major carrier and has over 30 years of experience in aviation. As a test pilot and pilot instructor on the Design-Build Team, she helped certify the Gulfstream V in 1997 and was the first woman to fly the aircraft. Carol is an FAA-Designated GV Pilot Examiner and a JAA-certified GV Type Check Airman. She flew Gulfstreams Part 91 and 135 for various Fortune 500 companies for 20 years before going to the airline in 2016.

Grand Dames of Aviation Watch

Grand Dames of Aviation Watch – The “Grand Dame” is offered by Abingdon Company. This timepiece was designed to honor trailblazing women in aviation. Fierce. Accomplished. Confident. Skilled. All proceeds go to the Grand Dames of Aviation scholarship fund. For a limited time, Grand Dames receive a special 15% discount.

Grand Dames of Aviation private Facebook group.

Sisters of the Skies  

AVIATE with Shaesta

Carol Dean standing in front of jet.

Aviation News

New aircraft design from NASA and Boeing could benefit passengers in the 2030s

The Sustainable Flight Demonstrator Project brings NASA and Boeing together to create a plane with a Transonic Truss-Braced Wing (or TTBW) configuration. This features long thin high wings supported by diagonal struts to the fuselage belly. Boeing is to produce and test a full-scale single-aisle demonstrator aircraft with the first test flight planned for 2028.

Artist’s concept of Boeing Transonic Truss-Braced Wing aircraft.
Artist’s concept. Courtesy Boeing

US Judge Orders Boeing Arraigned on 737Max Fraud Charge

In January 2021 the U.S. Department of Justice granted Boeing immunity under a $2.5 billion deferred prosecution agreement. A Texas federal judge has now ruled that Boeing must appear in court on Jan. 26, 2023, to be arraigned on federal criminal charges over the 346 deaths in two Boeing MAX 737 crashes in 2018 and 2019. The judge believes the victim’s families were not part of the process under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act.

SWAPA President Casey Murray Calls for Strike Authorization Vote

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association has authorized a strike vote beginning May 1, 2023. “This historic action on the part of the pilot union comes in the wake of Southwest’s largest meltdown and the utter lack of meaningful progress on a contract negotiation, with scheduling work rules and information technology asks in particular, that has been ongoing for more than three years.”

First Officer On American JFK Runway Incursion Flight Had Added Task At Departure, Source Says

New cockpit procedures Introduced on January 2 were being executed for the first time by the first officer. These procedures required the first officer to make a takeoff announcement for the passengers and flight attendants. The announcement must be made with precise timing, and other tasks are to be interrupted. An unnamed source said, “She has all this data to analyze and input, plus she has a new task on top of all that. She was overwhelmed.”

Australia News Desk

The guys recap a little of their history with the show, for the benefit of newer listeners, digging into the archives to find their first report as a team from episode 52 in 2009.

On the news front, Bonza Airline announces its inaugural flight

‘Overdelivering on expectations’: excitement builds for a Bonza first flight

The Defence Department announces a confirmed order for 40 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for the Australian Army, with deliveries to commence at the end of this year

Black Hawk helicopters for Defence

And QANTAS has sure had better weeks, with multiple in-flight mechanical issues making the news and causing a media frenzy!   Oh dear….

Fixation on Qantas won’t end, even if string of incidents were unconnected

Qantas calls for calm after engine failure and three flight turnbacks

Seattle Aerospace BBQ 2023

Brian Coleman attended the 2023 Seattle Aerospace BBQ and recorded four interviews:

Isaac Alexander from Hype Aviation and the organizer of the Seattle Aerospace BBQ.

Robin Koenig, the founder of Hype Aviation, the news aggregator and media intelligence service for aerospace industry professionals and enthusiasts.

Nick Benson of JetTip.net, the smart flight alert service for aviation enthusiasts. Flight alerts are sent by app notification or email, and filterable arrival/departure boards make aircraft spotting a breeze. JetTip tracks flights of interesting and unusual aircraft at major US and Canadian airports.

Dave Honan, a photographer and plane and train spotter living in the Seattle area. See his Instagram.

Attendees eating at the 2023 Seattle Aerospace BBQ.
2023 Seattle Aerospace BBQ. Photo by Isaac Alexander.

Mentioned

ZeroAvia successfully completes first flight of world’s largest hydrogen-electric plane

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Rob Mark, Max Trescott, and David Vanderhoof. With contributions by Grant McHerron, Steve Vischer, and Brian Coleman.

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.

711 Women Student Pilots

A woman earns her pilot’s license at age 68 and now helps women of all ages successfully become pilots. We also have an interview with the CEO of Cirrus Aircraft. In the news, a hard landing injures a flight attendant, a mother/daughter flying first, JetBlue’s high turnover rate, flight cancellations and delays, a proposed rule for passenger refunds, and the FAA asks for public comments on seat size.

Maria Harrison-Dooley in the Diamond DA42
Maria Harrison-Dooley in the Diamond DA42

Guest

Maria Harrison-Dooley is the founder of You Fly Gal, an organization that provides scholarships and support for women student pilots. For decades Maria had dreamt of getting her Private Pilots License and at the age of 68, she accomplished that dream. Her motto is: “Flying is my passion, inspiration is my mission.”

Maria shows us that age doesn’t have to be a barrier when it comes to becoming a pilot. Noting the very high fallout rate for student pilots, she illustrates the critical role that community plays, especially for women student pilots. The Ninety-Nines: International Organization of Women Pilots is an example of an organization that fills that need.

Sponsorship for You Fly Gal scholarships comes from several sources, including King Schools and Pilot Workshops, but individual donations are also welcome.

Aviation News

Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant Ends Up With ‘Broken Back’ After Hard Landing

A Southwest Airlines flight attendant suffered a compression fracture to her T3 vertebra after a firm landing. She was reported to have been in her jumpseat. The pilots of Southwest flight WN2029 were making a visual approach at Santa Ana’s John Wayne Orange County Airport (SNA). The NTSB closed the investigation without making any specific recommendations.

Mother, daughter lead historic Southwest Airlines flight to St. Louis

Mother Holly Petitt and daughter Keely Petitt flew the flight from Denver (their hometown) to St. Louis on July 23, 2022. Holly served as the captain and Keely served as the first officer. The airline’s Campus Reach Internship Program helped Keely learn more about aviation and the airline.

JetBlue Boss Says Airline is Over-Hiring Staff Because Existing Employees Are Quitting En Masse

JetBlue is hiring, as are most other airlines, but employee retention is a big problem and the turnover is very high. So the airline is forced to over-hire. JetBlue estimates that by the end of the year, half of its workforce will have been with the airline for less than two years.

Airlines cancel more than 1,500 US flights Friday

Bad weather caused more flight delays and cancellations. FlightAware reported more than 7,700 delays in the United States on one day last week. The day before that, the TSA screened 2.3 million passengers.

DOT rule would require airlines to issue refunds for domestic flights delayed by 3 hours

Under current rules, passengers are entitled to refunds if an airline has “made a significant schedule change and/or significantly delays a flight and the consumer chooses not to travel.” However, there is no definition of “significant.” If enacted, the proposed rule would define the terms of a “significant” change and cancellation:

  • Changes that affect the departure and/or arrival times by three hours or more for a domestic flight or six hours or more for an international flight
  • Changes to the departure or arrival airport
  • Changes that increase the number of connections in the itinerary; and
  • Changes to the type of aircraft flown if it causes a significant downgrade in the air travel experience or amenities a­­vailable onboard the flight.

See Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Airline Ticket Refunds and Consumer Protections.

How small should airplane seats be? The FAA wants to hear from you

In the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act, Congress directed the FAA to issue rules for minimum dimensions for passenger seats necessary for passenger safety. Since then, the FAA conducted simulated emergency evacuations and is now asking for public comment. This is safety-related, not comfort-related.

See: Request for Comments in Minimum Seat Dimensions Necessary for Safety of Air Passengers (Emergency Evacuation)

Australia News Desk

We pay tribute to Glen Towler, Dave Higdon, and Grant’s father, Jim McHerron, all of whom passed away since our last segment.

Australia is about to see a new low-cost carrier take to the skies, in the form of Bonza Airline, flying a small fleet of Boeing 737 Max-8 aircraft. The first of those arrived in-country last week, and Steve is cringing at their proposed market strategy. Corny, you may ask? Well, it may be if you speak Australian slang.

Bonza airline’s first plane touches down: Boeing 737 MAX arrives in Australia

Bonza 737 Max-8 VH-UJT. Photo by Cam Hines.
Bonza 737 Max-8 VH-UJT. Photo by Cam Hines.

In defence news, the RAAF has elected to keep Australia’s fleet of F-35A fighters flying, despite safety concerns over ejection seat components in a small number of US and Israeli jets which has seen those nations temporarily suspend operations.  The Department of Defence has issued a statement saying an ongoing risk assessment regime has been put in place with regard to the issue, and developments are being monitored closely.

RAAF to continue flying its F-35s despite ejector seat fault

Beyond the Press Release

Our Aviation Entrepreneurship and Innovation Correspondent Hillel Glazer interviewed business executives at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022. His objective was to look beyond what anyone can read in company press releases.

In this episode, Hillel talks to Zean Nielsen, the CEO of Cirrus Aircraft.

Mentioned

Museum needs space for more cars, airplanes, and students

The Owls Head Transportation Museum has launched a $9.7 million capital campaign to expand museum space and educational programs.

EAA Airventure Oshkosh 2022 photos by listener Steve:

Cirrus Vision jet.
Cirrus Vision jet.
Focke Wulf FWP-149D.
Focke Wulf FWP-149D.

Video: President Theodore Roosevelt flying in a Wright Brothers plane in 1910

Theodore Roosevelt – First Presidential Flight, 1910

Theodore Roosevelt's first flight.

Hosts this Episode

Your hosts: Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, and Rob Mark. Contributions by Hillel Glazer, Steve Vischer, and Grant McHerron.

704 The Supersonic B-1 BONE

The fascinating development and operational history of the B-1 BONE bomber, certifying the last models of the 737 Max, the Air Force Next Generation Air Dominance fighter (NGAD), Germany selects its heavy-lift helicopter, piloting an A330 while sleeping, prison time for an unruly passenger, and staff shortages impact service at European airports

Guest

Kenneth P. Katz recently published his book titled The Supersonic BONE: A Development and Operational History of the B-1 Bomber. Highly researched with rich technical data and photographs, the book describes the fascinating history of the B-1 BONE, which turned out to be a very different aircraft from what it was originally intended to be.

Ken explains how changing military technology and strategy, political imperatives, and the evolving nature of external threats all impacted U.S. bomber strategy. The B-1A was transformed into the B-1B with 100 copies built and is still in service.

Where to buy The Supersonic BONE:

Ken is a long-time airplane geek. He was educated in aerospace engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan. Ken has over three decades of experience as a US Air Force officer, flight test engineer, and project manager, and is currently employed as a staff project engineer for a major aerospace contractor. 

Ken has a commercial pilot certificate with instrument rating, and flight experience as an observer and crewmember in over 20 types of military aircraft. He’s a senior member of the Society of Flight Test Engineers.

Aviation News

Inside the Convoluted Politics of Certifying the Last 737 Max Models

If the last two 737 Max derivatives (the Max 10 and Max 7) aren’t certified by the end of 2022, Boeing will have a significant problem with the cockpits on those airplanes. Section 116 of the Aircraft Certification, Safety, and Accountability Act [PDF] signed in December 2020 prohibits the certification of any transport category aircraft that lacks “a flight crew alerting system that, at a minimum, displays and differentiates among warnings, cautions, and advisories, and includes functions to assist the flight crew in prioritizing corrective actions and responding to systems failures…” and “…any system safety assessment with respect to the Boeing 737-7, 737-8, 737-9, and 737-10 airplanes… is conducted in accordance with [this requirement].

The Air Force’s secret next-gen fighter has reached development phase

The Air Force Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) fighter is shaping up as more than just one airplane. It’s a family of systems that include new weapons, sensors, and drones that operate with the new fighter. The highly classified 6th generation fighter is now confirmed to be in the development phase.

German Heavy-Lift Helicopter Program Selects Chinook

Germany is expected to purchase up to 60 Boeing CH-47F Chinook helicopters in a deal valued at about €4 billion ($4.3 billion). These will replace the current Sikorsky CH-53G helicopter fleet. Delivery reportedly takes place between 2023 and 2029 although the agreement has not yet been finalized.

Both Pilots Flew the Airbus A330 Asleep

This past May, pilots on an ITA Airways A330-200 failed to maintain ATC communication for about 10 minutes as they allegedly slept at cruise altitude. The plane was operated by autopilot at the time. The first officer was at “controlled rest.” Italian media reports that the captain was dismissed, but he says he was not sleeping and there was a radio communication failure.

Woman Who Knocked Out Southwest Airlines Teeth Ends Up With 15 Month Prison Sentence

The woman who assaulted a Southwest Airlines flight attendant in May 2021 has been sentenced to 15 months in prison and to pay $25,981.57 in restitution and a $7,500 fine.

Expert says ministers must declare EMERGENCY and draft in army for at least six months to solve holiday hell

British airports claim they have 40,000 job vacancies. Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said that “defence personnel with experience providing security” should be called in for “three to four months” to with the travel disruption that has resulted. Author, media personality, and aviation expert Julian Bray thinks military personnel may be required for six months.

See also:

Mentioned

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.

Into Flight Once More –  Brings the history of June 6, 1944, to the present through the lens of one squadron and their epic recreation journey across the North Atlantic to Normandy for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day.

In 1994, Lt. Carey Lohrenz, U.S. Navy, retired, became one of the first women to fly the F-14 Tomcat… This is a story that has had generational impact and continues to inspire women in the armed forces and beyond: Video: Flying an F-14 ‘I Can’t Believe It Was Legal’

Accurate Ranging Perception for Assisted and Automated Driving

This report by Sam Abuelsamid provides an overview of the assistive and automated driving technology landscape including the steps these systems take and how distance and trajectory are measured by various sensor types.

Hosts this Episode

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

703 FAA IASA Program

The FAA IASA program (International Aviation Safety Assessment), Bombardier’s business jet strategy, possibly another AN-225, the American/Sabre antitrust verdict, ALPA and pilot retirement age, a lawsuit alleges Southwest concealed safety defects, the Facebook free ticket scam, and a NEXUS interview report.

Aviation News

A year later and Mexico hasn’t yet recovered its top-tier aviation safety rating

In May 2021, the FAA announced that the Government of Mexico did not meet ICAO safety standards and downgraded Mexico’s rating to Category 2 from Category 1. (Federal Aviation Administration Announces Results of Mexico’s Safety Assessment.) Under that rating, Mexican air carrier level of service to the U.S would be frozen: they could continue existing service to the United States, but any new service and routes were prohibited. Also, codesharing with a U.S. airline would only be permitted one-way and no U.S. carrier codes on Mexican-operated flights.

The FAA International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) Program was established in 1992 and employs a 4-person IASA assessment team that looks at eight critical elements of a safety oversight system. The assessment is performed with IASA Assessment Checklists available on FAA’s website. The assessment results are either Category 1 (the country complies with ICAO standards) or Category 2 (they do not comply with ICAO standards.)

Video: Federal Aviation Administration’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) Program

When the IASA program first began, over 66% of assessed countries with operators seeking U.S. service did not meet ICAO standards. Now, 90% of countries with an IASA rating are Category 1. See IASA Program Results.

Bombardier Sees Blended-wing Future for Business Jets

At EBACE 2022, Bombardier showed a model of their blended-wing Eco Jet concept. The company describes its three pillars to reduce business aviation carbon emissions: aerodynamic improvements, sustainable aviation fuel, and new propulsion systems (hydrogen, hybrid-electric, and all-electric).

Ukrainian president Zelensky wants to rebuild An-225 Mriya to honor hero pilots

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky referenced the An-225 in an online meeting with Ukrainian students. He said there had been plans to build a second An-225 but that project was too expensive. “But in this case,” he says, “it’s not a matter of money, it’s a matter of ambition.”

American Airlines gets favorable antitrust verdict, and $1 in damages

In its long-running antitrust lawsuit, American Airlines Group claimed Sabre Corp charged excessive fees and suppressed competition. After five days of deliberation, the federal jury ruled in favor of American and awarded the carrier $1 in damages. The case goes back to 2011 in a suit brought by US Airways before it merged with American.

ALPA Rejects Boost In Retirement Age

The Air Line Pilots Association says it will oppose any attempt to raise the retirement age for pilots. The union believes such a change would disrupt the seniority-based flight bidding process. The older pilots wouldn’t be able to bid on international flights if other countries stayed with the age 65 retirement mandate. In a statement, ALPA said: 

“When age 65+ airline pilots return to domestic-only flying, they will then displace more junior pilots and both cohorts may require training on different aircraft, adding to the training costs of air carriers. Furthermore, most regional airline pilots leave the regional industry long before age 65 for more lucrative jobs at mainline or low-cost carriers or other opportunities. Therefore, the pool of domestic-service pilots will not increase appreciably without additional training costs or disruptions.”

Southwest Airlines proposed a ploy to deceive FAA on Boeing 737 MAX, legal filing alleges

Reportedly, a Southwest manager asked Boeing officials if engineers could install a new flight-control safety alert required for the MAX on one of Southwest’s older 737s, and then once the MAX was certified, deactivate it. Plaintiffs allege that this move would let Boeing tell the FAA that the alert was not new on the MAX. Thus, no additional pilot training would be required, which Southwest wanted to avoid. The class-action lawsuit was brought on behalf of Southwest passengers who purchased tickets between the time of the first crash and the second.

Southwest Airlines warns of free ticket Facebook scam

A “Southwest Air Fans” Facebook post declared that replying “Done” to the post would earn you two free tickets. Southwest had nothing to do with this supposed “promotion.”

Portland Jetport (KPWM) Runway Rehab Update

Report

Our Main(e) Man Micah tells us about his Trusted Traveler Program interview.

Trusted Traveler Programs

Johnny Jet, Simplifying Travel

Which Trusted Traveler Program Is Right For You?

Mentioned

America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race

Commercial spacecraft gets approval to land at Huntsville airport

Dream Chaser, courtesy NASA.

Thunder Over Dover Air Show 2022

KC-46 by David Vanderhoof.
David in the KC-46.

Hosts this Episode

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

702 Aviation Smorgasbord

The pilot shortage, flying Icelandic Air, air mobility initiative, Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Boeing E-7 Wedgetail, funding travel, airborne nuclear command and control aircraft, Aviation and Aerospace Media Awards, and aviation careers. Also, eVTOL certification, BA pilots, the 1,500-hour rule, an all-electric seaglider, and locked out of the cockpit.

Glen Towler

Glen Towler, 2017.
Glen Towler, 2017.

The aviation community recently lost an avid enthusiast. Micah delivers a touching eulogy while Hillel explains how Glen deeply loved EAA and AirVenture and would save up money all year to make the journey from New Zealand to Oshkosh every summer.

Glen was well known at “Camp Bacon” and throughout the aviation community through his avid participation in many online aviation forums and podcasts to which he frequently submitted short recordings.

Funds are being collected to buy Glen a brick at the Brown Arch where each year Glen arranged a group photo of all his online friends. Donations will also be used to have Glen’s name and obit inscribed on the EAA Museum Memorial Wall. Any excess funds will be given to EAA. Please donate whatever you feel in your heart to remember Glen in his favorite place: Remembering Glen at OSH.

Glen Towler in the simulator at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019
Glen Towler in the simulator at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019.
Group photo: Glen, center kneeling, 2019.
Glen, center kneeling, 2019.

Aviation Topics from Listeners

Opinions Differ On Pilot Shortage

The Air Line Pilots Association created a webpage: More Than Enough Pilots to Meet U.S. Airline Demand – Debunking the Pilot Shortage Myth where they say, 

“Over the past eight years, the United States has produced more than enough certificated pilots to meet airline hiring demands and compensate for retirements, even as new and more rigorous pilot training standards were enacted to enhance safety. In fact, there are currently about 1.5 certificated pilots relative to demand, according to Federal Aviation Administration and Bureau of Labor Statistics data. So, although we don’t have a pilot shortage, we do have a shortage of airline executives willing to stand by their business decisions to cut air service and be upfront about their intentions to skirt safety rules and hire inexperienced workers for less pay.”

Keflavík Airport

Questions about the Icelandic Air connections at KEF.

Electric Air Transport Of The Future: Air Mobility Initiative

The Air Mobility Initiative (AMI) is being created with a series of research projects looking at making electric air mobility within and between cities a reality. Projects are centered around three main areas: electric aircraft, air traffic management services, and vertiports.

Tesla software update

From Patrick Wiggens: What the Tesla now sees and what the human eye sees. (Look closely!)

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Tips for visitors include volunteering to crew, getting up pre-dawn, and taking the tram up Sandia Peak.

Lawmakers press Air Force on speeding up purchase of Boeing E-7 Wedgetail

The Air Force wants to get Boeing’s E-7 Wedgetail operational, but the prototype might not fly until fiscal 2027.

Boeing E-7 Wedgetail By 대한민국 국군 Republic of Korea Armed Forces - 공중조기경보통제기, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36991666
Boeing E-7 Wedgetail, courtesy Republic of Korea Armed Forces.

The Journey is the Reward

How Brian funds his dream of achieving lifetime 1K status with United Airlines.

USAF’s Next Airborne Nuclear Command-And-Control Aircraft, Needs Four Engines

The U.S. Air Force wants its next airborne nuclear command and control aircraft to have four engines, and will likely choose used aircraft.

U.S. Air Force E-4B, courtesy Wikipedia.
U.S. Air Force E-4B, courtesy Wikipedia.

Aviation Xtended

The Aerospace Media Awards were created to honor journalists and publishers who have made a significant contribution to aerospace journalism and publishing. Pieter Johnson’s Aviation Xtended podcast is a finalist in the Best Digital Submission category.

High-flyers: five careers in aviation that don’t require a pilot’s license

Five careers in aviation that don’t require a pilot’s license, from Artemis Aerospace.

Aircraft maintenance mechanic, courtesy Artemis Aerospace
Aircraft maintenance mechanic, courtesy Artemis Aerospace.

Aviation News

FAA changes course on eVTOL certification

The companies (and investors) of winged eVTOL aircraft assumed they would be certified under the FAA’s small airplane certification rules. Now, and unexpectedly, the FAA says it plans to type-certify the eVTOLS as powered-lift aircraft under its “special class” process in 14 CFR 21.17(b), not 14 CFR Part 23.

British Airways hit by pilot rise up over pay cuts

British Airways pilots are unhappy with the airline’s plan to cut their pay. Under a 2020 deal, pilots accepted pay cuts in exchange for reducing redundancy from 1,255 pilots to 270.

Republic Seeks 1500-Hour Rule Exemption

Republic Airways wants the FAA to drop the current 1500-hour mandate for right seat pilots to 750 hours, under the supervision of a trained and experienced captain.

“The Republic R-ATP Program is designed to make airline pilot career opportunities more accessible for qualified individuals from underrepresented groups who meet the selection criteria but may not have the financial means or academic support to pursue an aviation career path.” the airline said to the FAA.

Airline Pilot Retirement Age Could Be Raised To 67

Allegedly, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina is working on a bill that would reduce the commercial airline pilot retirement age raised to 67 from 65.

Southwest Airlines admits to an insulting problem that’ll drive everyone crazy

Southwest Airlines needs 10,000 more employees, including 1,200 more pilots. The Wall Street Journal reported that between 15% and 20% of the new hires never turn up. It’s called ghosting and it’s occurring broadly.

Hawaiian Airlines is building an all-electric seaglider that holds 100 passengers

Regent announced that Hawaiian Airlines has agreed to strategically invest in the company to support the initial design of its next-generation 100-person capacity all-electric seaglider known as the Monarch. With this investment, Hawaiian Airlines becomes Regent’s first U.S.-based design partner for the Monarch, which is slated for entry into commercial service by 2028.

Regent seaglider

Hilarious: Delta Air Lines Pilot Crawls Through Window Of Boeing 737

Watch what happens when the pilots are locked out of the cockpit.

Mentioned

Women in Aviation International (WAI) honors the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) in May by visiting their graves and leaving an appropriate decoration in the form of flowers or other remembrances. The database of WASP gravesites includes Google maps showing their locations. #HonorTheWASP

Sky River Helicopters – Providing helicopter tours, charters, and flight school.

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, with contribution by our Main(e) Man Micah.

680 F-14 Tomcat

A former F-14 Naval Aviator communicates the military aviation experience through his novels, videos, and writing. In the news, the Rolls-Royce all-electric airplane appears to have set three world records, an F-35B crash, flight attendant bonuses for the holiday travel season, flying under the influence, and an open rotor engine demonstrator program. Plus, an Across the Pond segment.

Guest

Ward Carroll, F-14 Tomcat Naval Aviator

Ward Carroll is a former F-14 Naval Aviator who spent 20 years as an F-14 Radar Intercept Officer. He is the author of the bestselling Punk trilogy about life in an F-14 squadron. Punk’s Fight, Punk’s War, and the new Punk’s Wing are widely considered to be realistic portrayals of naval aviators in the context of a techno-thriller.

In his novels, Ward creates characters that are recognizable as representatives of real people doing real jobs. As an example, through his female character, Ward confronts the issues surrounding the integration of women into the Tomcat community.

Ward’s YouTube channel has grown to be very popular and gets much of his focus these days. He talks, as he says, about “airplanes, music, and writing . . . but mostly airplanes.”

In our aviation news segment, Ward shares the perspectives of a Naval Aviator as we discuss the recent F-35B crash after takeoff from a British aircraft carrier.

Outside the Navy, Ward has extensive experience as a military journalist. He was editor of Military.com and Approach magazine, and writes for the US Naval Institute. Besides his passion for aviation, Ward is a lover of music and plays in the band MiLES FRoM CLEVeR.

Find Ward at his YouTube channel. The Punk’s books are available on Amazon.com and on the U.S. Naval Institute website.

Video: The Real Truth About F-14 Tomcats and the Achille Lauro Hijacking

Mentioned: C.W. Lemoine’s YouTube Channel

Aviation News

Rolls-Royce says its all-electric aircraft ‘is world’s fastest’

In test runs, the Rolls-Royce “Spirit of Innovation” electric airplane has flown 387.4 mph (623 km/h). The company believes they have set three all-electric world records and await verification from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI): top speed over 3 km of 345.4 mph, top speed over 15 km of 330 mph, and time to climb to 3,000 meters of 202 seconds.

Video: Rolls-Royce | Spirit of Innovation – the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft

The ‘Spirit of Innovation’ is part of the ACCEL (Accelerating the Electrification of Flight) project and is based on the Nemesis NXT airframe.

F-35 From The Carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth Has Crashed Into The Sea

The pilot safely ejected from the F-35B (the STOVL version) in the eastern Mediterranean shortly after takeoff from the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. See: Probe after British F-35 fighter crashes in Mediterranean.

Other F-35 crashes:

JetBlue dangles $1,000 attendance bonuses for flight attendants ahead of holiday rush

According to a company memo, JetBlue Airways flight attendants could earn a $1,000 attendance bonus if they don’t call out through early January. Meanwhile, if they meet attendance goals, Southwest Airlines will provide flight attendants and some other operations employees 120,000 points in the airline’s frequent flyer program. American Airlines flight attendants can earn pay bonuses for peak holiday trips as well as for meeting attendance goals through early next year. $1,000 bonuses are available to other staff and regional airline subsidiaries.

A 63-year-old United Airlines pilot was arrested after being found four times over the legal limit. After drinking whiskey at a Glasgow pub during a 2019 layover, the man became fall-over drunk. A concerned member of the public tipped off the airline with a Tweet. The pilot was sentenced to 10 months in jail.

RISE Tech Plan Could Feed CFM Leap-1 Upgrades Through 2020s

GE Aviation and Safran launched the Revolutionary Innovations for Sustainable Engines (RISE)  initiative in 2021. This open-fan demonstrator program anticipates a mid-2030s application. It could also feed technologies to the LEAP-1 turbofan engine. The open rotor design features a second stage of fixed variable pitch stators, a fan-drive gear system, a compact high-pressure core for increased thermodynamic efficiency, waste exhaust heat used to preheat combustion air, and ceramic matrix composites in the hot section.

Across the Pond

Aviation from the European perspective with Pieter Johnson.

Two Vickers Varsity T Mk 1 aircraft – Copyright BAE Systems and Ron Smith

Trusted Traveler Programs

Our Main(e) Man Micah recently wrote a piece for Johnny Jet explaining the five Trusted Traveler Programs available in the USA through Homeland Security, and an announcement about NEXUS appointments:

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

678 Aviation Espionage

An aviation espionage conviction, a crew assault by the pilot, a 5G rollout delay, tests to protect airports from drones, more unleaded fuel approvals, a faked inflight emergency, aviation benefits from the infrastructure package, and a Southwest Airlines trip report.

Aviation News

Jury convicts Chinese national in aviation espionage case

The Chinese national was convicted of trying to steal trade secrets from a number of U.S. aviation and aerospace companies, including GE Aviation. Yanjun Xu was a deputy division director at the Chinese Ministry of State Security and he sought aircraft engine composite fan technology. He recruited aviation company experts and paid them stipends for travel to China, supposedly to deliver university presentations.

A Southwest pilot and flight attendant fought over masks. One was cited for alleged assault.

After an altercation at a San Jose hotel bar, the pilot was cited for alleged assault and battery, apparently over a mask dispute. The crew was staying the night at the hotel. Sgt. Christian Camarillo from the San Jose Police Department said, “The event involved a disagreement over mask-wearing or masks.” More details were not provided, but the pilot was placed on leave.

Verizon And AT&T Agree To Delay 5G Rollout Over FAA Concerns On Airplane Interference

In the last episode, we talked about the FAA’s belief there is some possibility of radar altimeter interference when the new 5G spectrum comes online. The FAA issued a warning to pilots and airlines while the FCC doesn’t share the same concern. However, responding to a request from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Verizon and AT&T will push out the new 5G spectrum one month, to January 5, 2022.

EXCLUSIVE: FAA begins first-ever drone tests to protect airports

The FAA has been quietly testing technology that detects and tracks malicious drones at airports. Last week, six drone detection tests were conducted at three locations at the Atlantic City International Airport in New Jersey. The tests will expand to four additional commercial airports. The FAA UAS Sightings Report shows that these sightings are up sharply, about 100 per month.

FAA Approves 600 Engines For GAMI Unleaded Fuel

General Aviation Modifications, Inc. (GAMI) G100UL high octane unleaded avgas is now approved by the FAA for an additional 611 piston aircraft engines. That’s about 70 percent of the existing engines in service.

Airport Closed After Passengers Mount Audacious Bid to Get into Spain By Faking Illness and Causing Emergency Diversion

A flight operated by Air Arabia departed Casablanca, Morrocco for Istanbul. Into the flight, a passenger faked a diabetic coma, resulting in a diversion to Palma de Mallorca. With the arrival of an ambulance at the aircraft, some passengers jumped out and ran across the tarmac. The airport went on lockdown and inbound flights were diverted. Five passengers were arrested but several escaped.

Infrastructure Bill Draws Praise for Aviation Support

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed the House and provides $25 billion in new funding for airports and air traffic control equipment. Non-primary and general aviation will see $500 million each year over a five-year period.

Trip Report

Brian Coleman speaks to our Main(e) Man Micah about a recent trip on Southwest Airlines.

Good Beer Blimp gondola
Good Beer Blimp

Mentioned

Max Trescott’s Pilots without Pants video


Purchase the Pilots without Pants calendar.

Bonanza Society boosts ruddervator replacement design prize

668 Avelo Airlines

An Avelo Airlines trip report and a conversation with the CEO of Crew Dog Electronics. Also, bonuses for Piedmont pilots, the FAA Zero Tolerance for Unruly and Dangerous Behavior Toolkit, late-night TV hosts roast Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines cuts flights, and new startup Avelo Airlines makes route changes.

Avelo Airlines Trip Report

Contributing Editor Brian Coleman and our Main(e) Man Micah discuss Brian’s second flight on Avelo Airlines.

Aviation News

New startup airline Avelo is scrapping 2 markets — before flights even start

Avelo Airlines pulled Monterey, California (MRY) and St. George, Utah (SGU) from its route map. Those destinations were scheduled to start in late September and early October 2021. The airline said they’d “…take another look at our plans for these two markets next spring.” Avelo is also delaying the launch of flights to Provo, Utah (PVU). Service was planned to commence on Sept. 17, but Avelo confirmed that it’s now been pushed to Nov. 15.

Flight Attendants Left Scathing After Pilots at American Airlines Regional Carrier Get Bumper Pay Raise

Piedmont, the American Airlines wholly-owned subsidiary that operates under the American Eagle brand, has reached a deal with the ALPA pilots union. Captains would receive a $30,000 “retention bonus” in November while current First Officers would get $30,000 when they were promoted to the Captain. Pilots who move on from Piedmont to American’s mainline business would get $70,000. Additionally, pilots who meet working hours targets over the next two years would be eligible for an additional $50,000.

‘He is restrained now’: Chilling airplane audio serves as FAA warning about unruly passengers

The FAA Zero Tolerance for Unruly and Dangerous Behavior Toolkit includes:

The FAA announced they have assessed $531,545 in civil penalties against unruly passengers since the start of the year.

Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers roast Delta’s CEO for refusing to call the virus by name: ‘He said from now on our airline’s pronounced Del-TAY’

The late-night TV hosts roasted Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian for refusing to use the term “Delta variant.

Southwest Airlines cuts flights to fix operational challenges

Southwest Airlines responded to complaints from Southwest Airlines pilots about flight delays and cancellations by reducing the number of flights. In a statement, CEO Gary Kelly said “We’re confident these adjustments will create a more reliable travel experience.”

Report from EAA Airventure Oshkosh

Aviation Entrepreneurship and Innovation Correspondent Hillel Glazer speaks with Sean Chuplis, the CEO of Crew Dog Electronics.

Mentioned

FlightAware