Tag Archives: Southwest

629 Boeing 737 MAX Return to Service Airworthiness Directive

We talk with an Air Traffic Controller at London Heathrow who also acts as deputy manager of the ATC team for the RIAT airshow. In the news, FAA airworthiness directive permits the Boeing 737 MAX to return to service, Delta and tariffs on Airbus aircraft, Gatwick slot usage and planned labor action at Heathrow, speed dating in the air, Norwegian Air Shuttle troubles, autonomous airplane tugs, and a F/A-18C Hornet goes into the National Air & Space Museum.

Guest

Adam Spink has been an air traffic controller at the Heathrow Airport tower for 22 years. He’s also an instructor, examiner, and supervisor. Adam’s main job is in the Procedures and Development office working on new procedures and equipment.

Adam explains aircraft wake turbulence and the Time Based Separation (TBS) used at Heathrow to increase the aircraft landing rate, including the implications for air traffic controllers when planes are separated by time instead of by distance. See: New separation standard permanently adopted over the North Atlantic.

We also learn how the environmental aspects of aviation fit into key performance measures and controller metrics that include reduced emissions.

In addition to his job as a NATS controller at Heathrow, Adam acts as deputy manager of the ATC team for the Royal International Air Tattoo airshow (RIAT) held at RAF Fairford in the UK. He’s a member of the UK Air Transport Confidential Human Factors Incident Reporting Programme (the equivalent of NASA ASRS), and a member of various international working groups on low visibility ops, satellite-based navigation, and radar systems. Adam speaks about human factors at various medical school/medical university courses.

Find Adam on Twitter and Instagram.

Aviation News

U.S. lifts Boeing 737 MAX flight ban after crash probes, tough hurdles remain

On November 20, 2020, the FAA issued AD 2020-24-02, Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes [PDF] superseding Airworthiness Directive 2018-23-51, which applied to all Boeing Company Model 737-8 and 737-9 (737 MAX) airplanes. AD 2018-23-51 required revising certificate limitations and operating procedures of the Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) to provide the flight crew with runaway horizontal stabilizer trim procedures to follow under certain conditions. 

The new AD requires installing new flight control computer (FCC) software, revising the existing Airplane Flight Manual to incorporate new and revised flight crew procedures, installing new MAX display system (MDS) software, changing the horizontal stabilizer trim wire routing installations, completing an angle of attack (AOA) sensor system test, and performing an operational readiness flight.

Southwest deploys team to bring 737 MAX jets out of desert

Southwest Airlines has 34 Boeing 737 MAX jets in storage in Victorville, California. The airline sent a team of mechanics to start the process of bringing its jets out of storage. 737 MAX flights at Southwest should resume the second quarter of 2021. There will be no re-booking charge for passengers who are uncomfortable flying on the MAX.

European regulator to lift Boeing 737 MAX grounding in January

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) executive director said the 737 MAX is safe to fly.  “We wanted to carry out a totally independent analysis of the safety of this aircraft, so we performed our own checks and flight tests. All these studies tell us that the 737 MAX can return to service. We have started to put in place all the measures. It is likely that in our case we will adopt the decisions, allowing it to return to service, sometime in January.”

Delta Skirts Trump Tariffs by Sending Airbus Jets on World Tour

As part of the Boeing/Airbus subsidy battle, tariffs were placed on European-built Airbus aircraft in October 2019. Delta has taken delivery of seven planes since then, but instead of flying them to the United States, the airline based them overseas, avoiding the tariff because they weren’t imports. In a statement to Bloomberg News, Delta said “We have made the decision not to import any new aircraft from Europe while these tariffs are in effect. Instead, we have opted to use the new aircraft exclusively for international service, which does not require importation.”

Suspension of airport “80/20” slot usage rule to last till end of March 2021 – Gatwick not happy

Until March 2020, European regulations required that an airline use 80% of its landing slots or they were lost. But because of the huge drop in travel demand, the rule was suspended for six months, then extended for another 6 months, to 27th March 2021. Gatwick airport wants the old slot rules reinstated before summer 2021.

Heathrow Staff To Strike For 4 Days In December

London’s Heathrow Airport wants to cut costs by reducing wages. The large Unite trade union says the airport plans to fire some 4,000 workers, then rehire them at lower wages. 85% of the union membership voted in favor of strikes in protest.

Airline offers speed-dating on dead-end ‘flight to nowhere’

Taiwanese carrier EVA Air and travel experience company are offering flights called “Fly! Love Is In the Air!” Twenty men and twenty women will depart from Taipei, fly around the island for three hours, return to the airport, and pairs will then enjoy a two-hour date. Seating on the plane is by random draw, but mingling is allowed. Food is prepared by a Michelin-starred chef.

Norwegian Air Is the Latest Trans-Atlantic Carrier to File for Bankruptcy in 2020 Due to Covid-19

Norwegian Air Shuttle has filed for protection from creditors in Ireland.

Autonomous Electric Tow Tugs Could Cut Handling Costs

Californian start-up Moonware says the aviation industry is stagnant. They want to do something about that. Moonware says they are “building an AI-powered fleet management network and subsequently deploying autonomous & electric vehicles to fundamentally reshape airport operations.” The company is developing a family of autonomous electrically powered tow tugs for aircraft ground handling.

National Air and Space Museum Welcomes Blue Angels’ F/A-18C Hornet

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum has brought a Blue Angels’ F/A-18C Hornet BuNo 163439 into the collection. This is the first “Blue Angels” aircraft and the first F-18 the museum has acquired. 

Mentioned

Save Whiteman airport, a change.org petition.

Dobbins Reservists Tie the Knot Aboard a C-130

624 Aircraft Cybersecurity

The GAO issues aircraft cybersecurity recommendations, the Southwest pilot’s union balks at a pay cut, some think commercial aviation hasn’t seen the worst of it yet, Congress looks to establish the National Center for the Advancement of Aviation, Singapore Airlines has a new use for idled A380 aircraft, the Boom Supersonic XB-1 demonstrator rolls out, and an all-electric airplane racing league is announced.

Aviation News

Computers Aboard Airliners Vulnerable to Hacking, Watchdog Says

On Oct 9, 2020, the Government Accountability Office issued a report, FAA Should Fully Implement Key Practices to Strengthen Its Oversight of Avionics Risks. The GAO says, “Airplane manufacturers have cybersecurity controls in place and there haven’t been reports of successful cyberattacks on commercial airplane IT systems to date. But evolving cyber threats and increasing connectivity between airplanes and other systems could put future flight safety at risk if the FAA doesn’t prioritize oversight… We recommended that the FAA strengthen cybersecurity oversight for airplanes.”

Listen to the GAO podcast episode Watchdog Report, Protecting Air Travel from Cyberthreats.

Southwest pilots’ union pushes back on 10% pay cut proposal

Southwest Airlines has never had a furlough and the company is trying to avoid that for 2021. Management proposed a 10% pay cut for pilots, but the pilot’s union is balking. The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association is concerned that the across-the-board reduction and force majeure clauses could allow the airline to furlough pilots anyway.

Winter is coming for the world’s airlines

Bloomberg says that “the worst period for the aviation industry is probably ahead of it, rather than behind.” Carriers have been using their bank balances, government bailout money, and some cost-cutting measures. But the cash is dwindling.

‘The worst is not behind any airline’: Qatar Airways CEO warns more collapses coming for industry

Forty-three commercial airlines have folded so far this year. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects the industry to burn $77 billion in cash in the second half of 2020. 

Momentum grows for creation of National Center for the Advancement of Aviation

Two bipartisan bills have been introduced in the U.S. Congress that would create a National Center for the Advancement of Aviation (NCAA). One in the House and one in the Senate. The NCAA “would create an independent center to facilitate collaboration among commercial, general, and military aviation sectors to address the mounting workforce challenges facing the industry.” More than 130 organizations [PDF] representing all segments of aviation support the legislation, including AOPA.

See: H.R.8532 – To establish the National Center for the Advancement of Aviation

Grounded airline planes turned into pop-up restaurants sell out in 30 minutes

Singapore Airlines converted two Airbus A380 planes parked at Changi Airport into restaurants. Reservations for October 24th and 25th sold out in 30 minutes.

Boom Rolls Out Its XB-1 “Baby Boom” Supersonic Demonstrator Jet

Boom Supersonic is working toward the 55-seat supersonic airliner called the Overture. A step in that development is the XB-1 supersonic demonstrator aircraft, frequently called the “Baby Boom.”

Video: XB-1 Supersonic Rollout, hosted by Boom Founder and CEO Blake Scholl.

All-electric aircraft racing league announced

An all-electric aircraft racing league is being formed and they plan to start racing in 2022. Air Race E says pilots will fly in fields of eight electric-powered aircraft, wingtip-to-wingtip, at 280 mph 10 meters above the ground, over a 1.5-kilometer oval circuit. Twelve teams have formed from nine countries: the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Norway, Ukraine, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

Mentioned

New England Air Museum, restoring the Burnelli CBY-3.

Redbird Migration 2020, a free virtual flight training conference Wed, Oct 21, 2020, 09:00 AM – Thu, Oct 22, 2020, 05:00 PM, America/Chicago Time.

AvGeekFests.com

The Learjet Diaries by Greg Madonna.

Kilborn by Wayne Hughes.

Phil’s Airline Fleet News

NBAA honors pilots who landed Citation after dual flameouts

614 Choosing a Flight School

An aviation climate control proposal from the EPA, an update on airline furloughs, questions about fighter pilot’s flying experience, Airbus’ autonomous A350, Delta Airline’s fleet simplification, and the Garmin outage that lasted for days. Also, an Australia News Desk from the boys down under, a special discount code for our listeners, and advice on choosing a flight school.

Aviation News

US Says it Will Adopt Global Climate Standards for Aviation

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new aircraft emissions regulations that some are criticizing and others are applauding. The proposal adopts 2017 emissions standards from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Boeing and the Airlines for America trade group welcomed the proposal. Environmental groups and the EPA itself said the proposed regulations would have no meaningful effect.

Southwest Airlines Will Not Furlough Workers On Oct. 1

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly announced that the airline will not furlough or lay off any workers on Oct. 1, 2020. Kelly said, “We have no intention of seeking furloughs, layoffs, pay rate cuts or benefits cuts through at least the end of the year… I can’t guarantee it will never happen, especially during these dark pandemic times. I can promise you it will be the last thing we do to keep Southwest financially healthy and viable.”

American Airlines’ Grim Warning To Flight Attendants

American Airlines says it has over 20,000 more employees than it will need later this year. The airline has been trying to entice employees to accept voluntary leaves of absence or early retirement, but the acceptance numbers are lower than American wants to see.

Fighter Pilots Warn Of Newly Trained Pilots’ Lack Of Actual Flying Experience

We’ve recently seen a number of military aviation accidents. A team of senior U.S. Air Force officers has been speaking to pilots and aircrew to see if there are common factors. They find that experienced pilots worry about possible cuts in flying hours and increased use of simulators.

Airbus Completes Autonomous Airliner Experiment

Since 2018, Airbus has flown an A350-1000 autonomously 500 times. The airplane is fitted with image recognition technology that uses external cameras. The software processes the images and controls the flight.

Delta Air Lines: Fleet Simplification Will Be A Game Changer

Delta had announced a fleet simplification strategy last December. At the beginning of 2020, Delta operated 20 different aircraft models in multiple configurations, with two more scheduled to join the fleet in 2020 (the Airbus A220-300 and A321neo). Delta has now accelerated its simplification strategy.

FAA warns of Boeing 737 double-engine power loss (EAD)

The FAA issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive (EAD) for Boeing 737 Classic and NextGeneration aircraft in storage. The bleed air fifth stage check valve on CFM56 engines stored for seven or more days could exhibit corrosion that could lead to an engine shutdown. Perhaps even a double-engine shutdown. This follows four single-engine 737 shutdowns during flight.

Garmin Aviation App And Services Down in Ransomware Attack

On Jul. 23, 2020, Garmin experienced a major outage attributed in the press to a ransomware attack. The FlyGarmin app for pilots using Garmin GPS based instruments and navigation equipment was affected, as was the Garmin Pilot app and Garmin aviation and navigation watches.

Mentioned

QANTAS Boeing 747 VH-OEJ “Wunala” Final Walkaround at LAX

For a limited time, PilotPartner.net is offering a discount code for Airplane Geeks listeners. The code “airplanegeeks18” will get you an 18-month membership for the price of 12 months. Ken from PilotPartner was our guest in Episode 432.

Delta CEO: Navigating the Coronavirus Crisis – Boss Files with Poppy Harlow

As the coronavirus pandemic ravages the airline industry, Delta CEO Ed Bastian says he is leading the company through a defining moment. He opens up about how Delta is navigating the crisis, mandating masks on all flights, and blocking middle seats. He also pledges as CEO to stand against racism and is committed to promoting more African-American executives throughout the company.

613 A-10 Thunderbolt II

A former A-10 pilot who flew combat missions during Operation Desert Storm tells us about the A-10 from a first-hand perspective. Also, Boeing 737 MAX cancellations, airline layoffs and furloughs, Emirates plan for the A380, an American Airlines and JetBlue partnership, a bizarre Icelandair plan, aviation museums are re-opening, the B-52 Chrome Dome mission, a drive-in airshow, and thoughts on Urban Air Mobility.

Guest

Buck Wyndham is an Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University graduate who joined the Air Force to fly his dream airplane, the A-10 Thunderbolt II. He became one of the very first pilots to take the Warthog into battle and flew many missions during Operation Desert Storm. He went on to fly the T-38 Talon as an instructor for over seven years. 

Buck describes A-10 design and its mission as a ground support aircraft built around a 30mm rotary cannon. “The gun” is 21 feet long, weighs 4,000 pounds loaded, and can fire 70 rounds per second. Buck describes the physical sensations when firing the gun, and he tells us about the difference between air-to-air combat with fast jets and air-to-ground combat with an attack aircraft. He also explains A-10 maneuverability.

Hogs in the SandBuck’s new book, Hogs in the Sand: A Gulf War A-10 Pilot’s Combat Journal, is available in either hardcover or paperback. It’s a gritty, inside look at aerial warfare during Operation Desert Storm, but it is more personal and emotional than books of the same genre. It’s not the typical combat account. It includes that but also much more.

Currently, Buck is an A320 captain for a major US airline, and he is the Chief Pilot for Code 1 Aviation in Rockford, Illinois. Buck has written articles for Warbirds, Classic Jet Journal, and Warbird Digest. He enjoys flying vintage aircraft, building his RV-8, and working on his next book, a novel entitled Red Air.

The Hogs in the Sand website has information about the book, and also some good A-10 videos. Find more on the A-10 at the Hogs in the Sand Facebook page.

Aviation News

Boeing 737 MAX cancellations top 350 planes in first half of 2020

Sixty orders for the 737 MAX were canceled in June by airlines and leasing companies. Deliveries in the first two quarters of 2020 were down by 71% compared to the previous year.

Southwest Airlines Has Another Ominous Warning for Airlines

Southwest Airlines has never had an involuntary layoff or furlough. That might change this year. Southwest’s initial plans for 2020 suggested the airline expected a recovery by year-end and  Southwest originally planned to operate in November and December about as many flights as last year. However, in a letter to employees, Southwest acknowledged that this is becoming unlikely and they may see involuntary layoffs and furloughs.

American Airlines warns 25,000 employees about potential job cuts as coronavirus continues to sap demand

25,000 front-line employees, about 29% of American’s U.S. mainline workforce, were warned that they could be furloughed this autumn. As with other airlines, employees were advised to take early retirement packages or extended leaves. American’s revenue in June was down more than 80% versus a year ago.

Delta just gave United a stark lesson in pandemic business leadership

United Airlines has said that blocking middle seats is just PR. However, Delta Air Lines and Southwest “decided their customers would prefer those middle seats empty,” according to ZDNet. Delta is not raising ticket prices and CEO Ed Bastian says those empty middle seats are the “No. 1 reason” travelers are booking with Delta.

The president of Emirates says passengers will never again be as comfortable as they have been aboard the enormous discontinued Airbus A380

Only 251 A380s will have been delivered by Airbus when production stops in 2021. Emirates has about half of them and the airline’s president Tim Clark says they’ll bring them back into service: “Hopefully, we’ll see them flying for at least another 10 years. Unfortunately, it’s not being produced. So there’s nothing we can do about it. We’ll keep it going as long as we can.”

In a twist, American partners with JetBlue in bid for New York and Boston

American Airlines and JetBlue Airways have again formed an alliance where each can sell seats on the other’s flights. With this agreement, American stands to gain in JetBlue strongholds Boston and New York. JetBlue could benefit from American strength in the Midwest and Southeast. The deal is subject to regulatory approval.

Icelandair says it’s letting go of all its flight attendants — and shifting their duties to the pilots

Icelandair and its cabin crew have had a labor dispute and last Friday the airline said starting July 20 cabin crew employment would be terminated. The airline’s pilots would temporarily assume flight attendants’ roles. In May 2019, 419,000 passengers flew on Icelandair. In May 2020, just 3,100 flew the airline. But then on Sunday… Icelandair and flight attendants have struck a deal. Icelandair and the Icelandic Cabin Crew Association (FFI) reached an agreement and the announced firing of the flight attendants was rescinded.

Mentioned

Aviation News Talk YouTube channel

TABfabric Etsy shop for hand-made face masks. Proceeds go to the Pasadena Woman’s Shelter.

B-52 Stratofortress – US strategic bomber / Documentary US Air Force / WHD

Airshow London (Ontario) announced its 2020 air show will take place on September 12 and 13 as a drive-in format featuring a traditional three-hour air display. The airport grounds can accommodate close to 2500 cars with this socially responsible model. Guests will arrive with a pre-purchased ticket (1 ticket per vehicle) and be directed to park in their own 20 X 25-foot space to enjoy the show either inside or outside their vehicle. Guests can bring their own refreshments, listen to the show on their car radios, and utilize portable washrooms.

609 Airline Cash Flow

United leverages its MileagePlus program to improve its balance sheet, one study says the Amazon Air fleet will grow to 200 aircraft, a British aircraft carrier takes a step towards operational capability next year, and Southwest Airlines wants you to provide a “customer health declaration” at check-in. Also, the Finland fighter competition, flight sim hardware from Thrustmaster, and how old is too old to get your pilot’s license?

Aviation News

Surprising Statistics About United MileagePlus

United is mortgaging its frequent flyer program to raise $5 billion

Cash flow remains a major concern for airlines. United announced financing of $5 billion secured through the airlines’ loyalty program. It’s part of their plan to have $17 billion in liquidity by the end of September. CNN says that’s 3 times the cash they normally have on hand. United estimates the value of its Mileage Plus program as a standalone business at $20 billion.

Amazon Air Fleet to Grow from 39 to 200 by 2028

A report from Joseph Schwieterman and Jacob Walls of the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development predicts that the Amazon Air fleet will grow to 200 aircraft by 2028. The report, Insights into Amazon Air: 2020’s Transportation Juggernaut [PDF] was published on May 22, 2020.

HMS Queen Elizabeth ready to conduct carrier strike operations

After a six week test, the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth takes the next step toward operational capability in 2021 when it could deploy with two frigates, two destroyers, a nuclear submarine, as well as support vessels. The ship will also carry 24 F-35B jets, including US Marine Corps aircraft, in addition to a number of helicopters. The recent training demonstrated that carrier jets could be ready to take off on short notice and provide combat air patrols.

See also, Why Britain needs aircraft carriers and The Aircraft Carrier We Need.

Southwest now requires a ‘customer health declaration’ from passengers before flying

Southwest Airlines announced they’d require a “customer health declaration” from customers at online check-in. Customers must acknowledge an awareness of Southwest’s face covering policy and confirm they do not have symptoms of COVID-19. Also that they have not been diagnosed with or exposed, to COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to travel, and they do not have a fever when they travel. The declaration will appear during the online check-in process via the Southwest app, Southwest.com, SWABIZ.com, and the carrier’s mobile website. This is consistent with the recently published Southwest Promise.

Airlines ban alcohol on planes in response to Covid-19

A number of airlines are suspending all or part of their alcoholic drinks service in response to Covid-19.

Finding Finland’s next fighter jet: HX challenge

Under its HX fighter program, the Finnish Air Force plans to replace its F/A-18 C/D Hornet aircraft. Competing for the buy are Eurofighter, Boeing, Dassault, Lockheed Martin, and Saab.

Mentioned

EAA membership

Brian.

Thrustmaster revealed their new range of flight sim hardware, officially licensed by Airbus and designed for integration in civil aviation games including X-Plane 11 and Microsoft Flight Simulator. The range includes a modular sidestick, a dual thrust lever throttle with add-on modules, the Officer bundle pack (sidestick + throttle), and an all-new metal desk clamp.

RenegadeAV8R S2 EP24 – USAF Thunderbird #8 FLACK Promo

6-Year-Old Genius Kid Becomes Etihad Airways Pilot for a Day

Learn to Fly, Live your Dream and Get a Pilots’ License! –  eBook by Max Trescott. [PDF]

SkyVector Areonautical Charts

AirNav Airport Information

Wallingford Sign

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.”

603 The RenegadeAV8R

David Costa, the RenegadeAV8R, on being a jet airshow demo pilot, hosting the RenegadeAV8R Radio Show and engaging young engineers in a project to set new jet records. Also, ALPA wants COVID rules and not just guidelines, airline cash flow with sale/leaseback transactions, a tragic runway accident, the unending Heathrow airport controversy, Frontier rethinks their middle seat strategy, and Qatar Airlines wants training expenses reimbursed by a terminated pilot.

Guest

RenegadeAV8RDavid “Taz” Costa is a jet airshow demonstration pilot flying the TS-11 Iskra, an advanced military jet trainer. He also hosts the RenegadeAV8R Radio Show and is CEO of Renegade Jets. David is also an airline transport pilot with over 15,000 hours of flight time in over 100 different makes and models of aircraft.

The RenegadeAV8R Radio Show promotes aviation to a wide audience using interviews and stories from guests that demonstrate excellence, overcoming obstacles, and achieving big goals. Both aviation enthusiasts and others admire and appreciate the radio show, which is also released as a podcast.

We talk with David about airshows and the value they provide. He describes what being an airshow performer means to him, and how he interfaces with people while he’s on the ground. David loves talking to the crowd, answering their questions, and serving the fans. We discuss the future of airshows and the need for the “new normal” to be like the “old normal.”

Dave Costa

Dave Costa

The original Iskra achieved four world records at the time, but those have been eclipsed. David explains his plan to upgrade the Iskra and launch a world record attempt using the skills of engineering students. This brings the latest engineering knowledge to the project and offers the students a unique opportunity to apply their skills to real-world aircraft.

Be sure to catch the RenegadeAV8R Radio Show podcast.

The RenegadeAV8R TS-11 Iskra

The RenegadeAV8R TS-11 Iskra

Aviation News

ALPA Wants FAA To Enact COVID Rules

Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) President Capt. Joe DePete wants the FAA to mandate compliance with CDC recommendations, not just suggest guidelines. “There are carriers that are doing a good job and there are carriers that are doing not such a great job,” DePete said. “So there is this varying patchwork of compliance or lack thereof and that’s no way to handle a pandemic.” 

Southwest Airlines Sells 20 Boeing 737s For $815 million

Southwest Airlines has entered into a sale/leaseback agreement with BOC Aviation for 10 Boeing 737-800s and 10 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. This generates $815 million in cash for the airline. BOC Aviation is a global aircraft leasing company, originally founded as Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise (SALE) in 1993.

Person killed by Southwest plane on Austin airport runway

A Southwest flight landing at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas struck and killed a man on the runway. The unidentified man was not a badged airport employee.

Heathrow Third Runway May NEVER be Built

London Heathrow’s John Holland-Kaye says it could be 10 to 15 years before the airport needs a third runway. The Heathrow £14billion expansion plan could be scrapped given the poor economic situation. At the least, it’s not a priority now. Also, Heathrow expansion: What is the third runway plan?

Frontier Airlines will drop open-seat fee that drew attacks

Frontier Airlines had a plan to charge passengers at least a $39 “More Room” fee to sit next to an empty middle seat. Amid accusations that Frontier was attempting to profit from coronavirus fear, the airline has dropped the plan.

Qatar Airlines Demands Training Repayment From Fired Pilot

Qatar Airlines fired a pilot trainee and now demands a payment of $162,000 for training expenses. Qatar created a cadet scholarship program for locals, which this woman joined in 2013 and graduated in 2017.

What to do at home

Open access to online training materials at Pipistrel Online.

Gleim Aviation is offering free online courses.

Sporty’s online flight instructor refresher course offered for free.

This Chicken Wings trailer is a parody of the “Top Gun 2 Maverick” trailer.

Mentioned

Black Files Declassified, from the Discovery Channel.

Across the Pacific, the long-awaited PBS documentary on Pan American Airways.

Jamie Dodson, co-author of Hunting the Wind: Pan American World Airways’ Epic Flying Boat Era, 1929–1946.

Listener Michael flew his SR-22T over KVCV, Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, California:

KVCV, Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, CA

KVCV, Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, CA

Michael and the Cirrus SR22T

Michael and the Cirrus SR22T

602 The Life of a Pilot

Chris Manno talks about his 42 years as a professional pilot, first with the U.S. Air Force and then with a major U.S. airline. Chris has written An Airline Pilot’s Life which captures his military and commercial career. In the news, we look at industry first-quarter losses, production cuts, furloughs, and layoffs. Also, airline and airport safety measures, Federal bailout money, a hybrid-electric aircraft, and the Treaty on Open Skies.

Guest

Pilot Chris Manno

Chris Manno

Chris Mano writes the Jethead blog and has recently published a start-to-finish true-life story of his 42 years as a professional pilot, which includes seven years with the USAF and over 34 years with American Airlines. It’s titled An Airline Pilot’s Lifeand the paperback release is May 2020. The first part is currently Amazon Kindle’s #1 new release in commercial aviation. The book tells the stories of Chris’ USAF pilot training and squadron flying for 6 years, and then his airline career through DC-10 engineer to MD-80 FO to DC-10 FO to MD-80 captain, F-100 captain, MD-80 Check Airman, and B-737-800 captain.

The book describes a life-long dedication to aviation, a path that Chris knew he wanted to take even as a youngster. Through this first-hand view, the reader learns what it is like to be an air force pilot or an airline pilot.

An Airline Pilots LifeChris tells us about the difference between military and airline flying, the role of labor unions, and flight and cabin crew relationships. We learn why he likes the 737-800 so much, and what he didn’t like about the MD-80. Chris also provides his thoughts, from a pilot’s perspective, on the loss of confidence in the 737 Max, the process, and the regulator.

Find Chris at the JetHead blog and look for An Airline Pilot’s Lifeon Amazon.com.

Quarterly earnings reports, production cuts, layoffs…

Southwest Airlines Reports First Quarter Loss

Boeing plans to cut airplane production, 10% of its workforce in aircraft market ‘frozen’ by coronavirus crisis

The Non-Bailout: How the Fed Saved Boeing Without Paying a Dime

Warren Buffett & Berkshire Hathaway has completely sold out of its airline stakes.

Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita to lay off 1,450 employees

United Launches Plan To Cut At Least A Third Of Its Pilots

Boeing’s Biggest 737 MAX Customer Slashes Aircraft Delivery Schedule

Airline safety measures…

JetBlue To Require Passenger Face Masks

United Airlines adds safety procedures, ticket changes

Airport safety measures and federal grants…

Paine Field Airport to test passengers for fever before boarding

How did a small coastal airport in Owls Head get an $18 million federal bailout?

Tiny airports rake in big cash after botched stimulus formula

Other aviation news…

Airbus and Rolls-Royce cancel E-Fan X hybrid-electric RJ100 experiment

Air Force Is Down To One Tired Old Jet To Fly Open Skies Surveillance Flights

Mentioned

Airport Ambience, A whole day in 4K

598 Airplanes, Toilet Paper, and Corn Dogs

Brian Coleman joins us to talk about 737 MAX order cancellations, airlines flying cargo, flight cancellations and ghost flights, and furloughs. Also, the Stratolaunch might have a new life as a carrier for hypersonic test aircraft, some positive airline stories, fun aviation things to do at home including training being offered without cost, some interviews, stories, and an electric fold-up scooter that you can take on your plane.

Aviation News

This Big Boeing 737 MAX Order Cancellation Could Be Start Of A Wave

Leasing company Avolon has canceled orders for 75 737 MAXs and four A330neos. They deferred delivery for 16 737 MAX planes and 9 other narrowbody aircraft to 2024 or later. Others may cancel as well and take advantage of material adverse change clauses that activate if Boeing cannot deliver within one year of the agreed date. This type of clause could allow customers to cancel and avoid penalties.

Southwest Airlines pitches freight-only flights to forwarders

In order to utilize their aircraft and generate revenue, Southwest is offering its planes for rent to logistics companies and other shippers for dedicated cargo charters.

Airlines get creative with cargo

Atlas Air is taking at least one 747 freighter out of storage and China Eastern has taken most economy cabin seats out of two A330s. Cathay Pacific, United Airlines, Qatar Airways, and American Airlines are using passenger aircraft for scheduled cargo service.

Forwarders accuse $13/kg freighter airlines of ‘profiteering’ from Covid crisis

Freight forwarders are saying the rates for medical supplies are shooting up. While general cargo is being shipped for $7-$8 per kg, medical supplies command $13 per kg. One forwarder said: “General freight is being offloaded, but there is a huge surcharge for medical goods. It’s absolutely disgusting and immoral. And all require a pre-payment. It is taking about 10 days to move masks, and some have been sub-standard.”

United suspends nearly all operations from the New York area

United Airlines is going from 139 daily flights serving 62 destinations from its Newark hub to 15 daily flights serving nine destinations. At LaGuardia, UA is going from 18 daily flights to four destinations to two daily flights serving one destination.

Wow: Southwest Airlines Flew 56 Ghost Flights Last Week

The Dallas Business Journal reports that Southwest Airlines flew 56 ghost flights in one week with no passengers. Three reasons were given:

  • Air travel is deemed critical infrastructure to move around key personnel and cargo.
  • Government aid offered to airlines implies the continuation of service.
  • The logistical challenges of restarting an airline.

GE Aviation to furlough 50% of its engine manufacturing staff as coronavirus weighs

A GE spokesperson said, “Due to the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on the commercial aviation industry, GE Aviation is implementing a temporary reduction in commercial engine assembly and some component manufacturing operations for up to four weeks.”

The world’s largest aircraft will now test hypersonics for the military

The Stratolaunch twin-fuselage, 6 engine airplane only flew once, in April 2019. It was the idea of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen to launch orbital rockets, initially from SpaceX, then Orbital ATK, and finally the company’s own rockets. Stratolaunch ceased operations after Allen’s death, but the company has been re-hiring employees and announced a new business plan: building and operating hypersonic testbeds. Specifically, the Talon-A reusable vehicle capable of reaching Mach 6.

Positive Airline Stories

United Airlines Partners with New York City to Fly Medical Volunteers to Help in COVID-19 Fight

United Airlines is providing free round-trip flights for medical volunteers who want to help fight against the COVID-19 crisis. “Those interested in volunteering or learning more about the program can visit the New York City Health’s website here.”

Former airline workers sign up to help hospitals during coronavirus pandemic

Thirty laid-off Scandinavian Airlines employees started training to learn basic skills to assist in nursing homes and hospitals.

Woman gets VIP treatment from American Airlines flight attendants because she is the ONLY passenger on the plane

The cabin crew was exceptionally kind to the woman who was traveling to get to her mother in hospice.

What to do at Home

Paper Airplanes

Listener Abhishek enjoys making paper planes as an evening hobby. Find some inspiration at these sites:

Training

King Schools is offering the Using LAANC to Fly Drones in Controlled Airspace course for free. Additional drone test prep courses include the Drone Pilot License Test Prep which prepares you for your FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate exam, and the Drone Pilot License Recurrent Test Prep Course helps you prepare for the exam to renew your certificate.

The Drone Trainer is offering drone courses for free in April 2020. There is a real estate drone course, as well as a drone mapping course, that are regularly $199 each.

Reading

Listener Mike suggests a book where fiction meets today’s reality: The Dog Stars.

Others

Listener Glen sent audio feedback about what he is doing while on lockdown in New Zealand.

Launchpad Marzari kicks off a competition to find the worst aviation movie.

Interviews

Our Main(e) Man Micah visited Portland International Jetport and spoke with:

  • Leah Marie and Luna, the Goldendoodle airport ambassador at PWM
  • Zack Briggs, PWM customer experience manager
  • Paul Bradbury, PWM executive director

Mentioned

Italy Unfiltered is located in Siena, a beautiful part of the Tuscany region of Italy.  They normally offer private tours to small family winemakers focusing on Chianti and Brunello.  They also offer food and olive oil tours throughout the year. However, with the region’s current situation there are no tourists traveling to Italy and no one to buy their wines.  To help out there local producers, they are offering special cellar door prices to make room for this year’s harvest.

United Mileage Plus

Southwest Rapid Rewards

ICAS Airshow Calendar

Xiaomi’s $425 backpack-sized folding electric ‘bike’ is now available worldwide

595 Airport Watch

We look at Airport Watch, a group of airplane enthusiasts that have built a valuable relationship with their airport, law enforcement, and the community. In the news, we again look at the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that is continuing to impact aviation. Also, a Southwest B737 experiences a fuselage rupture, and a man shoots at a police helicopter.

Guest

Peter Wagner, Airport Watch

Peter Wagner, Airport Watch.

Peter Wagner is board president of Airport Watch, a crime prevention initiative that includes people who have an interest in various aspects of aviation and who spend time in the vicinity of the O’Hare Airport to observe the various airport operations. These airplane spotters provide safety and security value to the airport, law enforcement, businesses and the local community.

Peter is a professional photographer who has enjoyed aviation since he was young. He started plane spotting in 2001 at O’Hare Airport and now enjoys traveling to airports and air shows around the country photographing planes. While Peter’s personal favorites are the 747 and C-17, he enjoys all types of aviation.

Airport Watch holds monthly meetings, training sessions, and field tours at O’hare Airport. They liaison with the FBI, Chicago Police Department, Chicago Department of Aviation, and the TSA. Their connection to the Secret Service is through the FBI. Members come from all walks of life and include airport employees, the media, firefighters, pilots, other professionals, and the general public.

C-17 by Peter Wagner, Airport Watch

C-17 by Peter Wagner.

Peter explains how the organization came into existence and how it was structured using the Canadian model. The highly-detailed Airport Watch bylaws offer a comprehensive roadmap for others who might like to form a similar organization.

B747 by Peter Wagner.

B747 by Peter Wagner.

We also discuss airplane spotting, including what spotters look for, spotting locations, and camera gear. Anyone in the United States can join Airport Watch. Find them on Instagram. Peter also has an Instagram where you can find his professional and personal photography.

Airport Watch

Airport Watch

Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

American Airlines will suspend all but 3 long-haul routes, park most wide-body jets

American was flying 150 widebody aircraft at the end of December. Now about 135 of them will go into temporary storage from March 16 through at least May 6, 2020. This includes Airbus A330 and Boeing 767, 777 and 787 models. The airline is cutting international capacity by 75%

Delta Air Lines announced they’d cut global capacity by 40% and park up to 300 jets, including both narrow-bodies and wide-bodies.

Finnair cuts capacity by 90% as travel demand falls because of COVID-19

Finnair will cut capacity by 90%, starting from 1 April and keep critical air connections for Finland, limited connections to Europe, and one remaining intercontinental route to Japan. The airline cites the “severe impact on demand for air travel” resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

United Airlines in talks with U.S. officials about financial support

United CEO Oscar Munoz sent an email to employees saying, he “has spent the last two days in Washington, D.C., meeting with senior officials in the Trump Administration and senior members of the U.S. House and Senate in both parties to understand what government policies they may be considering and explain to them the impact that the coronavirus has had on our business.”

Support Aviation—Airline Sector Pleads With Governments For Immediate Financial Support To Prevent Widespread Job Losses

British Airways CEO Alex Cruz sent a video message to employees titled “The Survival of British Airways,” saying “It is a crisis of global proportions like no other we have known.”

Sun ‘n Fun Postpones Event Due To Coronavirus Threat

The new show dates for Sun ‘n Fun are May 5-10, 2020.

Air Force Suspends Public Outreach Programs Through May 15

Official U.S. Air Force Statement: “The Air Force is committed to upholding the complete trust and confidence of Americans and our community engagement is the key to those connections. However, due to the uncertainty regarding COVID-19 and to protect our Airmen, their families and the communities that support us, the Department of the Air Force is suspending all outreach activities and support to community events through May 15.  This includes, but is not limited to, on-base and civilian sponsored air shows, band performances and community engagements and meetings (speaking engagements, community meetings on installations, base tours, Pentagon visits, etc.).

NBAA, EBAA Shelve EBACE for 2020

NBAA and the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) announced they have canceled the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition 2020 (EBACE2020).

DOD Officials Explain New Coronavirus Domestic Travel Restrictions

Defense officials issued a memorandum [PDF] halting domestic travel for service members, Defense Department employees and family members. That includes permanent changes of station and temporary duty travel. The ban is in effect from March 16 to May 11, 2020.

American Airlines pilot tests positive for coronavirus, carrier says

Fourth TSA officer at SJ airport infected with coronavirus

San Francisco-based Alaska Airlines employee tests positive for COVID-19

Coronavirus live updates: COVID-19 death toll at 6,500 worldwide; markets plummet again

Travelers returning to the United States are faced with long lines for health checks.

In other aviation news…

Southwest Airlines : FAA Probes Problem With Southwest Jet — Update

A Southwest flight en route from Las Vegas to Boise, Idaho experienced some loss of pressure. They descended to a safe altitude and landed safely in Boise.A 12-inch rupture was found in the skin of the B737.

Man Arrested For Allegedly Shooting At San Diego Police Helicopter

The helicopter was responding to a call about a possible burglar. As it circled overhead, the man allegedly fired one round at the aircraft. He was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.