The North America Air Transport Reporter with Cirium talks about airline recovery, Boeing, Airbus, and electric aviation. In the news, duct tape on a plane, the preliminary NTSB report on Launchpad Marzari’s crash, options for an upgraded F35 engine, an A330 that tried to take off from a taxiway, and the X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) jet. Also, a women in aviation quiz and how to refuel two B737s with one B747.
Tom Risen is the North America Air Transport Reporter for Cirium, a global aviation data company. He’s based in Washington, DC, and focuses his insights, analyses, and content on airlines and aerospace manufacturers. Of course, the topic of the moment is the airline recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition to reporting on airline business, Tom’s expertise includes the development of supersonic passenger jets and electric aircraft.
We look at the airline recovery, including bookings, variant infection concerns, and vaccination rates for the general public and at the airlines. Also the impact of international travel restrictions, and leisure versus business travel recovery. Tom talks about the airframers and the different trajectories for narrow-body and wide-body jets. He also shares some of his insights into the emerging electric aircraft, eVTOL, and Urban Air Mobility market.
Tom is the co-author of a forthcoming book about government oversight. He was formerly technology and business reporter at U.S. News & World Report, and a staff reporter for Aerospace America. Tom has also written stories for The Atlantic, The New York Times, and Slate.
Recent examples of passengers subdued with the sticky tape include an unruly woman on an American Airlines flight and a man on a Frontier Airlines flight who allegedly groped and punched flight attendants. More recently, an American Airlines cabin crew member had duct tape during an incident with a young passenger, although restraint cuffs were used instead. In a statement, the FAA said, “The flight crew is responsible for cabin safety and has latitude on how to handle individual situations.”
The planned F-35 Block 4 upgrades include new weapons, computing technologies, and software. But a Pratt & Whitney F135 engine modernization proposal could be applied to all three variants of the F-35. Pratt described an enhanced engine would provide an 11 percent improvement in range, a 10 percent improvement in thrust, and a 50 percent increase in thermal management – important for stealth.
The NASA video shows the construction of the X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) jet. Lockheed Martin plans nine months of flight tests in 2022, with aircraft delivery to NASA in 2023. The video shows work being done on the aircraft at Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works factory in Palmdale, California between May 2019 and June 2021.
Our Main(e) Man Micah brings us two stories in this episode. “And Now Verlla” tells us about the loss of a long-time airplane geek. Then Micah tells a lighthearted story that could be called “The Covert Chocolate War” or “The Fight for the American Palate” or “Launchpad’s Last Chocolates.”
We learn about the Bambi Buckets carried by helicopters in aerial firefighting operations. In the news, the wreckage of the cargo jet that made a water landing is located, Richard Branson flies into space, the F-35A wins a Swiss competition and Germany buys the P-8A Poseidon, but China isn’t having a lot of success exporting their fighters, thoughts on supersonic transports, unruly passengers and defense training for flight attendants.
Sergio Fukamati is the aerial firefighting director at SEI Industries Ltd., maker of Bambi Buckets. SEI Industries is an industrial fabric products manufacturer established in 1978 and best known for its Bambi Bucket Systems used in aerial firefighting operations worldwide. These lightweight, strong, and flexible firefighting buckets were first introduced in 1982 and since then have become a very successful firefighting tool. The Bambi Bucket is now used in over 115 countries by more than 1,000 helicopter operators.
Sergio has over 25 years of international business management experience. He is a professional engineer and a registered project management professional. Sergio has led the Aerial Firefighting Division at SEI Industries Ltd, in Delta, BC, Canada since 2017.
Transair Flight 810 has been found on the seafloor at depths between 360 and 420 feet, about two miles off the shore. Parts of the Boeing 737-200 cargo plane were located using a Side Scan Sonar and Remotely Operated Vehicle. The wreckage is too deep for divers to recover the flight data and cockpit voice recorders and plans are being developed to recover the aircraft.
Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson becomes the first billionaire to travel to space aboard a spacecraft he helped fund. Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity space plane landed safely at Spaceport America. Branson announced a partnership with charity fundraising site Omaze where people can donate to the nonprofit Humanity for Space. The winner gets two seats on a Virgin Galactic commercial flight. See Win Two Seats on One of the FIRST Virgin Galactic Flights to Space.
Switzerland has chosen the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter in a $6.5 billion competition against Eurofighter, Dassault, and Boeing. The Swiss Federal Council said the F-35 offered the highest performance for the lowest price, although it noted that the F-35 did not achieve the best performance in the area of offsets.
This maritime surveillance aircraft sale is under the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process. The P-8A is used for anti-submarine warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and search-and-rescue operations.
China hopes to become a major exporter of fighter jets but hasn’t found much success. Most countries don’t want to partner with Beijing. Between 2000 and 2020, the United States exported $99.6 billion in military aircraft, Russia exported $61.5 billion, France exported $14.7 billion, while China exported only $7.2 billion worth of military aircraft.
The US Department of Transportation plans to propose that airlines would refund baggage fees if they fail to deliver a passenger’s bag within 12 hours of touchdown for US flights, or within 25 hours after an international flight. Also, airlines would have to refund the fees charged for other services if the service was not provided.
Voluntary classes for airline flight crews were paused in 2020 due to the pandemic. Now the Transportation Security Administration says they will resume in July. The FAA says airlines have reported more than 3,000 incidents involving unruly passengers since January 1, 2021.
Boeing agrees to pay a $2.5 Billion settlement for criminal charges relating to the 737 MAX MCAS system, the FAA issued final rules for supersonic aircraft testing, Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary says the government mismanaged travel restrictions, flight attendant unions are concerned about disruptive air travelers and the FAA responds with a stern warning, initial reports from the Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182 crash, and on a lighter note, the TSA celebrates agency canines in a 2021 calendar.
The Boeing Company has entered into an agreement with the Department of Justice to resolve a criminal charge related to a conspiracy to defraud the Federal Aviation Administration’s Aircraft Evaluation Group (FAA AEG) in connection with the FAA AEG’s evaluation of Boeing’s 737 MAX airplane.
Boeing entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) in connection with criminal information that charges the company with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Under the terms of the DPA, Boeing will pay a total criminal monetary amount of over $2.5 billion:
A criminal monetary penalty of $243.6 million,
compensation payments to Boeing’s 737 MAX airline customers of $1.77 billion,
and the establishment of a $500 million crash-victim beneficiaries fund to compensate the heirs, relatives, and legal beneficiaries of the 346 passengers who died in the Boeing 737 MAX crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.
The tragic crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 exposed fraudulent and deceptive conduct by employees of one of the world’s leading commercial airplane manufacturers.
Boeing’s employees chose the path of profit over candor by concealing material information from the FAA concerning the operation of its 737 Max airplane and engaging in an effort to cover up their deception. This resolution holds Boeing accountable for its employees’ criminal misconduct, addresses the financial impact to Boeing’s airline customers, and hopefully provides some measure of compensation to the crash-victims’ families and beneficiaries.
Acting Assistant Attorney General David P. Burns of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
Aviation consultant Scott Hamilton (our guest in episode 398) says the penalty is a “slap on the wrist.” He notes that Airbus paid nearly twice that for a bribery case and there were no fatalities involved there. Hamilton wants to see leadership changes at Boeing.
Charles Herrmann, a lawyer representing more than 50 families of 737 crash victims says the fine is appropriate. Boeing has already suffered financially and doesn’t need to be put out of business. “He blames Boeing’s problems on a change in culture that began when they moved headquarters to Chicago.”
Individuals who believe they may be an heir, relative, or legal beneficiary of one of the Lion Air Flight 610 or Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 passengers in this case should contact the Fraud Section’s Victim Witness Unit by email at: Victimassistance.firstname.lastname@example.org or call (888) 549-3945.
On January 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a final rule (PDF) to facilitate the safe development of civil supersonic aircraft. The government says the rule is intended to streamline the application procedure for special flight authorizations to operate in excess of Mach 1 over land in the United States by
Amending the administrative requirements for a special flight authorization,
clarifying the information that is needed for submission,
and specifying the program office within the FAA that processes the applications.
Outside the special flight authorizations under this final rule, the FAA continues generally to prohibit civil supersonic flight over land in the United States. In place since 1973.
This item came to our attention through an issue of Starburst Weekly, the newsletter of Starburst, a global aerospace accelerator.
From 2,000 flights per day to “ten or twenty” starting January 21, 2021 is an enormous drop. Covid reductions are catastrophic to the travel industry but O’Leary anticipates that with vaccine availability, by the summer air travel should rebound. He opined that the failure of the Government to end travel restrictions was “beyond him” and it is “one of the great contradictions of the Government’s mismanagement of the Covid travel restrictions.”
The president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, Sara Nelson, (our guest in episode 545) said “The mob mentality behavior that took place on several flights to the D.C. area yesterday was unacceptable and threatened the safety and security of every single person onboard.”
On an American Airlines flight to Dulles International Airport, passengers shouted and cursed at each other. The flight attendant had to turn up the cabin lights and ordered passengers to return to their seats. On a Delta Air Lines flight carrying Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, some passengers started chanting “traitor.” Alaska Airlines banned 14 passengers on a Washington D.C.-Seattle flight.
in a statement, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said.“The FAA will pursue strong enforcement action against anyone who endangers the safety of a flight, with penalties ranging from monetary fines to jail time.” Passengers can face fines of up to $35,000.
The message here is clear: Do what the crew tells you to do and don’t argue. It doesn’t matter what the issue is, or if you are right and somebody else is wrong. Do what the crew says or you face serious consequences.
Indonesian LCC Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182 with 62 people on board (50 PAX, 12 crew) crashed into the water off the Indonesian coast about five minutes into its flight. Four minutes after departing Jakarta, the Boeing 737-500 lost over 10,000 feet of altitude in less than a minute. Bad weather was reported in the area. Some wreckage and human remains have been found. A navy ship detected the emergency signals from the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder.
The Transportation Security Administration has more than 400 canine teams at airports around the country. Now you can see photos and learn fun facts about thirteen of the dogs with the 2021 TSA Canine Calendar [PDF]. For each dog, you’ll find the dog’s name, breed, airport, handler, favorite treat and favorite toys.
David Neeleman’s new airline, Breeze Aviation; Boeing’s board of directors, the 737 MAX, the NMA, and the FSA; United’s flight school purchase; NASA’s experimental X-59 jet and the prospects for supersonic transport; and a Southwest Airlines Teddy bear. Plus, the Igor Sikorsky Weekend Fly-In, other upcoming aviation events, the EAA mobile unit, carbon monoxide detectors and pulse oximetry, and a physics lesson.
Richard Aboulafia is Vice President, Analysis at Teal Group. He manages consulting projects for clients in the commercial and military aircraft field, and has advised numerous aerospace companies. He also writes and edits Teal’s World Military and Civil Aircraft Briefing, a forecasting tool covering over 135 aircraft programs and markets. Richard also writes publicly about the aviation field, with numerous articles in Aviation Week, Aerospace America, and other publications. Frequently cited as an aviation industry authority by trade and news publications, he has appeared on numerous television news programs and has spoken at a wide variety of conferences.
The new airline being started by David Neeleman will be known as Breeze Aviation, headquartered in Utah. Neeleman’s previous startups include Morris Air, WestJet, JetBlue, and Azul. Breeze will nonstop fly between currently underserved airports. Breeze ordered 60 new Airbus 220-300 aircraft, with deliveries beginning in April 2021. The company leased 30 Embraer 195 aircraft from Azul, which will be delivered starting May 2020.
Some think the Boeing board took a long time to fire Muilenberg. Is that an indicator of the board’s ability to deal with the crisis Boeing faces? New CEO Dave Calhoun says the board repeatedly considered confidence, but then in December decided it was lost. Richard Aboulafia was quoted: “The board you see today was largely created by McNerney, and he packed it with people with zero engineering experience.”
United Airlines needs to hire more than 10,000 pilots during the next decade. The airline is buying the Westwind School of Aeronautics in Phoenix, a flight-training academy, with plans to bring student pilots into the academy with zero flight experience to become fully-rated commercial pilots.
The X-59 QueSST is designed to test “quiet” supersonic transport over land. The aircraft was approved for final assembly in 2019. NASA commissioned Lockheed Martin to build the plane and they expect to have it completed by the end of 2020. First flight is expected in 2021.
After a young boy lost his favorite Teddy bear on a Southwest flight during the Thanksgiving holiday, his mother took to social media to try and locate the Teddy. The airline assigned an employee to find the bear but after an investigation, the Teddy couldn’t be located. So the corporate office decided to send the boy a new Teddy bear along with a storyline on how it was coming to live with the boy.
Igor I. Sikorsky Weekend Fly-In at The Bradford Camps on Munsungun Lake in northern Maine. Meals and private lodging in waterfront cabins are included. July 10-12, 2020.
The Experimental Aircraft Association will deliver the excitement of flight throughout the United States in 2020 as EAA’s “Spirit of Aviation” mobile unit, sponsored by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), visits numerous events in 2020. The traveling experiential exhibit introduces EAA to enthusiasts through aviation activities for people of all ages.
Lee Human, AeroTEC president and CEO.
Lee Human is president and CEO of AeroTEC, an independent provider of initial engineering, design, prototype manufacturing, testing, and airworthiness certification. The company uses in-house instrumentation, software, tools, and processes throughout the projects.
We discuss aircraft certification: what it is and how it takes place within the overall design and development process of a new aircraft or aircraft modification. Lee explains organizational delegation and why there is a partnership between the FAA and the manufacturer. We talk about the independence of the decisions DERs make and the establishment by the FAA of the roles in the compliance review community.
Since aircraft certification is a current topic as it relates to the Boeing 737 MAX, we take the opportunity to consider if larger quality system issues are the root of recent aircraft problems. Lee discusses the certification criteria used for the 737 MAX and the possible impact of a long legacy design history.
Lee explains why OEMs come to AeroTEC for services, and he tells us about some of the new initiatives, such as electric aircraft projects with magniX (see episode 524 where we talked with CEO Roei Ganzarski) and Eviation. He also touches on the Supersonic Flight Alliance which seeks to provide a space for responsible supersonic development in Washington State.
Lee has been personally involved in the testing, engineering, and certification of over 50 major aerospace projects, including Aviation Partners’ Blended Winglets on the B737, B757, and B767 as well as Gulfstream, Hawker, and Falcon aircraft. Lee also worked on the Lockheed Martin Cooperative Avionics Test Bed (CATB) 737-300 with F35 (JSF) systems, the Hawker Beechcraft King Air 250, and the Mitsubishi MRJ type certificate.
Prior to starting AeroTEC in 2003, Lee was flight test manager at Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) and before that he was a lead engineer at Aircraft Engineering Specialists (AES).
Lee is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Engineering and has earned credentials as an FAA DER, as well a private multi-engine instrument pilot’s license.
Boeing said 737 MAX deliveries should resume in early December 2019. Airlines could start flying the plane in January. Recently, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines pulled the 737 MAX from their schedules until early March. A Boeing spokesman said, “We know they need more time to get their fleets ready and pilots trained, but the plane and training [approvals] will both be done by January, permitting commercial service.” The Federal Aviation Administration reiterated that its officials “have set no timeframe for when the work will be completed.”
A new Privacy ICAO Address (PIA) will be available on January 1, 2020, on 1090 MHz ADSB-Out in U.S. domestic airspace. This will happen in two phases: First, business and general aviation operators will be able to apply for the program directly through the FAA. Later, the FAA will transition the service to a “third-party service provider.” The FAA commented, “The NBAA and members of the GA community have cited the lack of privacy as a barrier to ADS-B Out equipage. In order to mitigate these concerns, the FAA has initiated the Privacy ICAO Address program with the objective of improving the privacy of aircraft operators in today’s ADS-B environment by limiting the extent to which the aircraft can be quickly and easily identified by non-U.S. government entities, while ensuring there is no adverse effect on ATC services.”
New low-cost carrier PLAY will operate the A320 family, flying both passenger and freight. As did WOW, the airline plans to fly east and west from Iceland. When the fleet grows to six by spring serving Europe, PLAY will then look at North American routes in the Summer. See also Play Plans to Expand Fast.
An expecting couple planned to have an Air Tractor 602 aerial application aircraft spray pink dyed water to announce they would be having a girl. That part worked, but what happened next was unplanned.
Reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari speaks with Nick Widenkoff at Wings Over Dallas about the first Air Force One, an Aero Commander. To learn more about this aircraft, visit Ike’s Bird and the Commemorative Air Force.
We talk with the president of VREF about aircraft valuation. In the news, we look at a replacement for the Fat Albert C-130, an electric airplane being developed by Solar Impulse 2 pilot André Borschberg, EASA concerns with the 737 MAX, additive manufacturing in aerospace, and a supersonic flight challenge that is not about the boom. We also have interviews with a Boeing T-X experimental test pilot and a Major General with the Japanese Ministry of Defense on the C-2 transport aircraft.
Jason Zilberbrand, president of VREF.
Jason Zilberbrand is president & CTO of VREF Aircraft Value Reference and Appraisal Services. He is an aircraft appraiser, expert witness, broker, inventorying dealer, acquisition agent, aircraft owner and operator, contract negotiator, consultant, teacher, conference speaker, and an author.
VREF delivers aircraft and engine data through online subscription services and published quarterly digests. The company provides valuations, appraisals, and litigation consulting services to a worldwide client base of aviation professionals including, law firms, banks, financial institutions, leasing companies, manufacturers, aircraft owners, aircraft operators, and suppliers. VREF is the official Valuation Guide and Appraisal company for AOPA.
Jason says that VREF tracks about 6800 models and 440 makes. He explains how aircraft valuation is determined, who wants to see the appraisal and why. He touches on how experimental and low volume aircraft are handled, including warbirds. We take a look at the current “seller’s market” and also consider the implications of large numbers of turbine aircraft that are not ADS-B compliant.
VREF is launching a new-from-the-ground-up application that will provide scrap value. VREF is also switching to a tiered service model. Tier 1 will continue the traditional service while Tier 2 will add fair market value and inventory. Orderly liquidation and future residual values come with Tier 3.
Jason is watching the growth of electric aircraft, and the company is even bringing in a couple of drone appraisers. VREF is also adding cybersecurity capability to provide flight department assessments.
Jason spent 25 years in General Aviation working directly with aircraft owners and operators. He owned and operating his own aircraft as well. Jason knows the international aviation marketplace well and is considered an expert in aircraft valuations and aircraft transactions.
Founded in 1994, VREF is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa with offices in Chicago, Rockford, Los Angeles, Boise, Daytona Beach Florida, Austria, Switzerland, Australia, and Shanghai China.
The Blue Angels C-130T support aircraft known as Fat Albert is scheduled to be replaced in 2020 with a C-130J purchased from the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence for $29.7million. A new C-130J would cost $50 million more.
André Borschberg (our guest in Episode 361) and Bertrand Piccard flew around the world in the Solar Impulse 2. Now Borschberg has started a new company called H55 to build practical electric airplanes, starting with a two-seater that achieves a 90 minute flight time. The Bristell Energic flight trainer is a modified version of a BRM Aero airplane.
The Washington Post reports that the FAA had been frustrated by the number of safety issues at Boeing and the company’s repeated failure to rectify the situation as agreed. That led to a 2015 settlement agreement that bundled all the problems with one $12 million fine and one corrective action plan for systemic issues. But the degree to which Boeing has lived up to the agreement is being questioned.
Carnegie Mellon University’s Next Manufacturing Center and Manufacturing Futures Initiative (MFI) has been selected by NASA to lead a research team to examine new ways to build and power aircraft of the future. Metals additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing “has had a significant impact on aviation manufacturing for jet engine components, airframe structural elements, and other applications.”
The project will explore new methods for using additive manufacturing to reduce costs and increase the speed of mass-producing aircraft without sacrificing quality, reliability, and safety. Process qualification is a challenge and a focus area.
Partners include Argonne National Laboratory, ANSYS, Lockheed Martin, Trumpf, Eaton, General Electric, Pratt & Whitney, Northrop Grumman, Metal Powder Works, Siemens, Materials Solutions and The Barnes Group.
Developers of supersonic airplanes have to deal with the sonic boom problem, but there is another issue looming: increased carbon footprint. Fuel burned per passenger is high with the speedy new designs. Boom Supersonic has addressed this by stating the company’s commitment to green aviation and an alternative fuel partnership with Prometheus Fuels.
Paris Air Show Interviews
Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari brings us his final two interviews from the Paris Air Show.
Matthew (Phat) Giese, Chief Pilot F15/F22 Programs and T-X Experimental Test Pilot talks about the Boeing T-X that will replace the T-38.
Boeing T-X, courtesy Boeing.
Masahito Goto, Ph.D., Major General, Deputy Director General, Japanese Ministry of Defense talks about the C-2 Transport Aircraft.
C-2, courtesy ATLA.
David Hamilton, last living WWII Pathfinder pilot drops paratroopers out of C-47 on his 97th birthday.
97 year old (on July 20, 2019) Lt Col David Hamilton, enlisted on December 8, 1941. Dave then trained as a C-47 pilot and then later as a Pathfinder pilot. Pathfinder aircrews were specially trained WWII aircrews who flew C-47s that had cutting edge navigational equipment. Prior to the major airborne operations in the European Theater of Operation, these aircrews were tasked with dropping in specially trained pathfinder paratroopers to set up radar equipment on the drop zones to which the other C-47s would navigate when carrying in the main force of the airborne troops. Dave did this function during Operation Overlord at Normandy on D-Day, Operation Dragoon in Southern France, and Operation Market Garden in Holland. Dave also led in the aircraft for the supply drop to the 101st Airborne when they were surrounded at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. (Dave led in 27 planes and led out 9 on that mission.) Sadly, Dave is the last living Pathfinder pilot who flew all those missions.
Lt Col David Hamilton and past guest Christine Negroni with the D-Day Squadron at Waterbury-Oxford Airport. Photo by Max Flight.
Dave just returned from England and France where he flew across the English Channel in a WWII veteran aircraft (C-53) as part of the D-Day Squadron formation of American C-47s and C-53s which flew across the channel on 5 June. Dave was actually at the controls of the C-53 for part of that flight 75 years after he made his original D-Day flight. (Yes, the pathfinders did take off on 5 June 1944) When Dave was in England, he was honored in North Witham by folks who live near where the RAF base from which he flew the D-Day mission was located and was a guest at the ceremonies at the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach on June 6. Dave was pretty much treated like a rock star everywhere he went in England and France!!
Dave and the 75th anniversary of D-Day are going to be honored again at this year’s 5 October Wings Out West Airshow in Dave’s home town of Prescott, Arizona where another WWII D-Day veteran, the C-53 “D-Day Doll”, will be doing a drop of WWII type paratroopers to honor Dave and the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Also, Dave is going to be inducted into the San Diego Air and Space Museum Hall of Fame in November and he has been invited by the CAF to be in one of the WWII aircraft that will overfly the Mall in Washington D.C. during the 75th celebration of VE day in May 2020.
D-Day Doll. Photo by Max Flight.
Dave is also going to be in the cockpit of a C-47 near Frederick Oklahoma dropping the Airborne Demonstration Team’s (ADT) WWII style paratroopers on July 20, 2019, which happens to be Dave’s 97th birthday. The Frederick Oklahoma airfield is the home of Frederick Army Air Field (FAAF) which still has a wonderful WWII era wooden hanger in which sit a couple of C-47s, various WWII vehicles. FAAF is the home of the ADT’s WWII style jump school, complete with all the paraphernalia such a jump school would need, such as parachute packing tables, training hangers, mess hall, classroom, barracks, etc. When one walks into the FAAF hanger one steps back in time 75 years. ADT runs WWII style jump schools several times a year. July 20th will also be ADT’s “Open Hangar Day” for the graduation ceremony for the jumpers who have completed the 5 jumps required to graduate from their July Jump School.
Come on out to FAAF for a great story about the last living Pathfinder dropping paratroopers on his 97th birthday.
Bye Aerospace founder George Bye tells us about his electric and solar aircraft projects, including the electric Sun Flyer training aircraft, the StratoAirNet, the Silent Falcon UAV, the TriFan 600, the Mars SOLESA, and the Starlight UAV. In the news, we look at the WC-130H crash in Georgia, breaking airplane windows, and companies developing supersonic transports. Also, an installment from student pilot Nicki, the history of Soviet airliners from Will, Tom Larkin’s mini-jet, the Mercury 13 documentary, the centennial of U.S. airmail service, and lip syncing while flying.
The Sun Flyer electric aircraft prototype. Courtesy Bye Aerospace.
George Bye is the founder and CEO of Bye Aerospace, which focuses on electric and solar aircraft projects, such as:
Sun Flyer electric training aircraft.
StratoAirNet family of solar-electric UAVs for medium and high altitude missions.
Silent Falcon UAV using stored electric power and thin film solar photovoltaics.
Mars SOLESA, a solar electric survey aircraft for Mars.
Starlight lighter than air solar electric UAV under a U.S. Navy contract.
George is an ATP rated pilot with over 4,000 flying hours. He was a USAF instructor pilot in the Northrop T-38 Talon at Sheppard AFB (ENJJPT), a C-141B Aircraft Commander, and he is a Desert Storm veteran.
The Puerto Rico Air National Guard unit lost nine airmen in the crash of a WC-130H Hercules cargo plane in Georgia, just after takeoff. The plane was on its final flight, to an air base in Arizona. A short video from the private memorial ceremony honoring the fallen crew was released.
A JetBlue flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Tampa, Florida, was diverted to Fort Lauderdale after damage to the plane’s windscreen. A Southwest Airlines flight from Chicago to Newark, New Jersey, made an unplanned landing after a window cracked. A Southwest B737 experienced an uncontained engine failure which threw debris into a passenger window.
The founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic explains commercial supersonic air travel. In the news, we look at a push out of FAA reauthorization, a court ruling on airline seat size, a NASA supersonic demonstrator, a couple of aircraft carriers, and United Airlines.
Blake Scholl is founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic, the Denver startup seeking to build a commercially viable supersonic passenger aircraft.
We talk about the restrictions that have prevented supersonic flights over the United States, and how modern manufacturing methods allow supersonic airplanes to be built with much lower operating costs than was the case with the Concorde.
Blake describes how Boom aims to build a small supersonic airliner that is accessible and affordable, and not “a flying gas can with a billionaire in the front of it.” We look at the tradeoff between loudness and efficiency, as well as propulsion and airframe issues, and the objectives of the “Baby Boom” demonstrator. First flight of that ⅓ scale aircraft is targeted for late 2018.
Boom looks to have the full size 55-seat supersonic airplane in air at the end 2020, with first delivery to launch customer Virgin in late 2023. Blake tells us that Boom has 76 pre-orders across 5 airlines.
Prior to establishing Boom Supersonic, Blake held leadership roles at Amazon.com, and he was co-founder and CEO at Kima Labs, which was acquired by Groupon. Blake is an avid pilot and holds a BS in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University.
Isaac Alexander at Boom Supersonic HQ June 2017, looking through the aircraft in virtual reality.
The Flyers Rights passenger group asked FAA to write rules governing seat space. The FAA rejected the request, saying it was a comfort issue, not a safety issue. Now a three-judge federal appeals court in Washington has sided with Flyers Rights and it goes back to the FAA for a better response.
A small-scale model of the NASA/Lockheed supersonic jet was tested in the wind tunnel in June. NASA will take bids in August to construct a 94 ft. demonstration model, and expects to spend $390 million to build and test the demo plane.
The USS Gerald R. Ford launched and recovered its first fixed-wing flight, an F/A-18F Superhornet from the Air Test and Evaluation Squad based at Patuxent River, Maryland. The carrier employs new technology, including the advanced arresting gear system (AAG) and an electromagnetic launch system, (EMALS).
The USS George HW Bush is participating with the Royal Navy in the Saxon Warrior exercise. Lt Cdr Michael Tremel of the Strike Fighter Squadron VFA-87 Golden Warriors shot down a Syrian Su-22 Fitter, the first US air-to-air kill since a USAF F-16 shot down a Serbian MiG-29 in 1999, during the Kosovo campaign.
Dan Pimentel tells us about the #Oshbash social media meetup coming up at Airventure Oshkosh 2017. We also look into freelance writing for aviation publications and the Airplanista Aviation Blog. In the news, we talk about support for supersonic civil air travel in the FAA reauthorization bills before Congress, ATC privatization, United Airlines in the press again, and Turkey’s first female professional acrobatics pilot.
We also explore freelance writing for aviation publications, look at the process, and learn some tips for success. Along the way, we discuss ATC privatization, rivets and clecos, preserving EAA history, the importance of collegiate aviation programs, and how airshow performers physically and mentally prepare for the task.
Since 1973, there has been a ban on supersonic travel in the U.S. over land. However, both FAA reauthorization bills in Congress direct the FAA to revisit that restriction and determine if changes need to be made. An amendment to the House bill directs the FAA to “consider the needs of the aerospace industry and other stakeholders when creating policies, regulations, and standards that enable the safe commercial deployment of civil supersonic aircraft technology and the safe and efficient operation of civil supersonic aircraft.”
A middle school teacher traveling from Hawaii to a teacher’s conference in Boston purchased a ticket for herself, and one for her two-year-old 25-pound son. Waiting onboard the Houston to Boston leg, she was told another passenger had a valid boarding pass for the son’s seat. Rather than make a scene, the boy flew on her lap for the 3 ½ hour flight. According to a United spokesman, the boy’s boarding pass scan had been unsuccessful and he wasn’t logged in to the system. His seat was released to a standby passenger.
26-year-old Semin Öztürk is Turkey’s first female professional aerobatics pilot. She flew to great acclaim at a recent air show organized by the International Sportive Aviation Center and featuring 25 acrobatic pilots from Turkey. She began flying when she was 12 years old and her father was also an aerobatics pilot.
435 Airline Weekly’s Seth Kaplan on Commercial AviationThis episode, we talk about commercial aviation with Seth Kaplan, Managing Partner at Airline Weekly. In the news, we look at supersonic passenger jets, the third class medical reform rules, a 747 cargo jet crash, who is at fault for the Germanwings crash, the state of inflight WiFi, and Piper Archers that are headed for China.
Seth Kaplan, Managing Partner, Airline Weekly
Seth Kaplan is Managing Partner at Airline Weekly, a subscriber-supported publication that provides valuable information and analysis of the commercial aviation business. Airline Weekly is an independent company of journalists and airline industry professionals who are passionate about commercial passenger aviation.
Seth worked as a newspaper and television reporter, covering aviation, transportation, and other issues. He switched to the public sector and served in various executive roles with the Miami-Dade County government. Then in 2005 Seth combined his love of both aviation and journalism to become managing partner of Airline Weekly. Since then, he has become a globally recognized airline expert and is frequently asked by print and broadcast media to provide his perspectives. Seth speaks frequently at industry events, and has taught many airline economics courses to executives and staff at airlines around the world.
We look at the value and practicality of supersonic passenger jets. In November, 2016, Boom Technology showed a ⅓-scale prototype of their XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator called “Baby Boom.” According to their website, they have “A breakthrough aerodynamic design, state-of-the-art engine technology, and advanced composite materials [to] enable an ultra-fast airliner as efficient and affordable as business class in today’s subsonic wide-body airliners.” Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and others are also developing supersonic passenger jets.
FAA calls the new rule “BasicMed” and it becomes effective May 1, 2017. AOPA President and CEO Mark Baker says the rule is, “the best thing to happen to general aviation in decades.” AOPA plans to offer a free online medical course to let pilots comply with the BasicMed rules.
A Boeing 747 cargo jet flying from Hong Kong to Istanbul and trying to land in intermittent dense fog, crashed into a village near Kyrgyzstan’s main airport. Dozens of people on the ground were killed. (Addendum: Some of the news agencies claimed that the plane belonged to Turkish Airlines. Turkish Airlines informs us this is incorrect and the jet was actually from ACT Airlines.)
German prosecutors have determined that Andreas Lubitz is solely accountable for the Germanwings plane crash in March 2015. Lubitz concealed his illness from his employer and neither doctors, Lufthansa, Germanwings, or the German aviation authority could be held accountable.
According to a report by Routehappy, Internet availability on U.S. airlines was 83% in 2016, up from about 74% in 2015. Internet availability on foreign airlines was only 28%. However in many instances, connection speeds are too slow to support video streaming. Worldwide, only 7.2% of fliers would find Wi-Fi fast enough to stream videos or movies.
China Air Shuttle, the approved Piper Aircraft dealer for Archer airplanes in China, has ordered 50 Archers. They will distribute those aircraft to flight schools and general aviation companies in the region. Deliveries of 30 aircraft start in the second quarter of 2017, and continue with 20 more in the first half of 2018. The Archers will be manufactured and certificated at the Piper factory in Florida. After shipment to China, they will be assembled/reassembled by a China Air Shuttle affiliate company.
George tells his story about visiting a general aviation airport, and why you should too.