Brett Snyder is the President & Chief Airline Dork of the Cranky empire, which has grown to include the award-winning consumer air travel blog Cranky Flier, Cranky Concierge offering domestic and international travel planning, Cranky Network Weekly, Cranky Network Awards, and the popular Cranky Dorkfest. There is even a Cranky Talk Podcast. Micah and Brian chatted with Cranky about air travel.
Max Flight, our Main(e) Man Micah, and Brian Coleman.
We discover mission aviation from JAARS. In the news, airlines add staff in anticipation of the coming summer travel boom, Congress looks at increased educational funding for flight training programs, compensating passengers for preventable delays, and DOT’s Airline Customer Service Dashboard.
Mission aviation is the use of aircraft to transport people, supplies, and medical care to remote areas that would otherwise be inaccessible. It is often used by missionaries to reach people who live in isolated communities and do not have access to other forms of transportation.
JAARS is a community of missionaries, volunteers, and a few employees who provide Scripture to people around the world in a language and form that they can clearly understand. They support Bible translation and language development partners globally and work with prayer and financial partners in the United States to help make a range of on-the-field solutions possible.
Brendan Palmer is a mechanical engineer who designs modifications and fabricates parts for special needs at JAARS. His wife Allie Palmer is an aircraft mechanic, working primarily in avionics. As a hobby, the couple is constructing a KR-2S home-built aircraft.
Based in Waxhaw, North Carolina, JAARS maintains training aircraft and performs heavy overhauls for overseas aircraft. Pilots receive preliminary training for conditions like short field landings and severe strip upslopes, then receive additional training overseas in the actual environment where they will be flying.
Aircraft are either received as a donation or purchased by JAARS and include Pilatus PC-6 Porter, Cessna 206, Helio Courier, Kodiak, and Robinson R66 aircraft. Current areas of operation include Indonesia, Cameroon, Papua New Guinea, and locations in South America.
JAARS hosts events, tours, and vision flights. See their website for more information and how to support the organization. Find JAARS on Facebook and Instagram.
A robust air travel season is predicted for Summer 2023 and airlines have been hiring workers in response. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the air transportation industry had around 534,400 employees in March, which is up 9.5% from 2022. It’s the largest pool of employees since April 2003. United Airlines hired more than 7,000 workers so far in 2023 and plans to hire 8,000 more this year.
Two bipartisan bills offer options for increased educational funding for flight training programs.
The Flight Education Access Act (H.R. 2874) would make federal student loans available to university and Part 141 flight schools, raise loan limits for flight students, and create a public/private partnership grant program to increase scholarship and outreach programs.
The Aviation Workforce Development Act (H.R. 1818) would extend 529 college savings plans to training at FAA-certified commercial pilot and aircraft maintenance technician schools.
The rulemaking process has started which would require airlines to compensate passengers in the case of preventable delays and cancelations. Meals would be covered along with hotel rooms and rebooking fees.
The Dashboard shows airline policies for family seating, controllable delays, and controllable cancelations.
Australia News Desk
Qantas has dominated this week’s airline news, as long-time, and often controversial CEO Alan Joyce announced his intention to step down in November, handing the reins to the company’s current Chief Financial Officer, Vanessa Hudson.
Hudson has been working at the airline in various roles over her 28-year career, and her appointment comes as no surprise, despite claims of a worldwide search for Joyce’s replacement, taking in around 40 potential candidates.
Alan Joyce began his airline career in 1988 at Aer Lingus, coming to Australia in 1996 for roles at Ansett before joining Qantas in 2000. He became the CEO of low-cost offshoot Jetstar in 2003 before being appointed Qantas CEO in 2008.
Meanwhile, Qantas is once again taking unions to court, this time over the question of A380 Second Officer vacancies, and whether they’re able to bypass the long-standing convention of pilot seniority to fill current gaps. Their proposal includes recruiting aircrew from outside the company. The Australian and International Pilots Association wants the seniority system retained, and the decision of the court may well have broader implications for Australian workers, should they be unsuccessful.
Flight delays and cancellations, long lines at the airport, higher fares, and travel woes with travel guru Johnny Jet. Also, Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta tips, Spurwink Farm International Fly-In, PlaneTags Festival, and an ultra-efficient business plane.
Johnny Jet is a well-known travel and technology expert who provides tips, guides, articles, and a newsletter to help the traveler with ticket booking, points and rewards, and credit cards. He offers information about travel apps, products, and available online resources.
We talk with Johnny about the current air travel situation, including canceled and delayed flights, airfare and rental car prices, and long lines at the airport. He offers some strategies to reduce the pain and anxiety that is air travel today.
Johnny logs around 150,000 air miles each year. He and his website JohnnyJet.com have been featured thousands of times in major publications, including USA Today, Time, Fortune, and The New York Times. He’s appeared on ABC, CBS, CNBC, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, NBC, and PBS.
You can also find Johnny every Saturday on Leo Laporte’s The Tech Guy Show where he talks about travel and technology. JohnnyJet.com has been named “one of the top best money-saving websites for travel” by Budget Travel Magazine, and the L.A. Times calls it “one of the top 10 essential travel resources on the internet.”
August 12th and 13th, 2022 at MotoArt Studios in Torrance, California. This is your chance to join fellow Tagnatics and the MotoArt PlaneTags crew for the weekend’s festivities. In Episode 644 Aviation Art Designs we spoke with Dave Hall, the owner of MotoArt and PlaneTags.
Brian Shul is scheduled to be a guest speaker at the PlaneTags festival. He’s an Air Force fighter pilot who flew the A-7D and the A-10, and taught at the Air Force’s TopGun school in the F-5B. He went on to become an SR-71 spy plane pilot. Brian was our guest in Episode 375 – Sled Driver Brian Shul.
Airline travel this summer faces challenges with crew shortages and fatigue. Also, the mask mandate, 100th Bombardier Global 7500 Biz Jet delivered, boarding the airplane without a jet bridge, a rare airline amenity, giving up the seat you paid for, some turbofan failures after storage, when passengers are told their flight would be ditching, and therapy animals at airports.
The Allied Pilots Association (APA) filed a suit to “prevent the airline from eliminating the longstanding practice of using experienced Check Airmen during a critical stage of the pilot training program.” The volunteer program encourages pilots to take simulator training sessions on their days off.
Having failed to plan properly for the recovery in air travel demand, American Airlines management now finds itself having to deal with the consequences of being the only major airline to have furloughed pilots during the pandemic and its decision to forgo training opportunities at that time… Management continues to fall behind and is scrambling to increase the volume of the pilot training funnel. Consequently, they are now soliciting all pilots to volunteer to replace our specially trained Check Airmen as ‘seat fillers’ during a critical training evaluation stage under terms and conditions that remain largely unknown to APA.
The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA), says “Fatigue, both acute and cumulative, has become Southwest Airlines’ number-one safety threat.” Southwest plans to hire 8,000 new employees this year, forty percent of those flight crew.
A federal judge says the mask mandate exceeds the authority of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and also that the CDC failed to justify its decision and did not follow proper rulemaking procedures.
Bombardier celebrated its 100th Global 7500 delivery with its largest customer, VistaJet, which has taken 10 of the aircraft manufacturer’s flagship business jets so far. The delivery ceremony took place at Bombardier’s Montreal Laurent Beaudoin Completion Centre, where the company outfits the aircraft after they’re flown from its Toronto assembly plant. This is where customers oversee the interior finishing of their Global 7500, familiarize themselves with them, and take delivery. VistaJet is a Part 295 air charter broker.
Starting in 2024, Frontier Airlines plans to use airstairs and switchback ramps to board and deplane its fleet of Airbus aircraft through the front and rear aircraft doors. Frontier’s CEO, Barry Biffle: “A dedicated ground boarding facility will benefit customers by cutting in half the time for boarding and deplaning through the use of both the front and rear aircraft doors. That, in turn, will reduce our time on the ground between flights by nearly half and nearly double our number of aircraft operations per gate.”
The Federal Aviation Administration issued an airworthiness directive (AD) warning of CF34 failures for engines taken out of storage. “Engines installed on airplanes parked outdoors for 250 or more days are at risk of excessive corrosion build-up,” it says. The AD cites several in-flight CF34 troubles.
Passengers aboard an Aer Lingus flight from Zurich to Dublin listened to an automated emergency announcement stating, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is an emergency. Please prepare for a ditched landing.” Flight attendants didn’t react and a passenger went into the galley to get more information. After that, an announcement from the flight crew confirmed there was no emergency.
Alex the Great, a 28-pound Flemish Giant rabbit, has joined the San Francisco International Airport Wag Brigade to help calm nervous travelers. The brigade is composed of mostly dogs but includes LiLou, the “World’s 1st Airport Therapy Pig.”
San Jose International Airport (SJC) in California was the first airport to bring in therapy dogs shortly after 9/11. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) was the second airport to introduce therapy dogs.
Our guest is the CEO of aircraft management company PC Aviators, an air race champion, author, speaker, and former aerodynamics professor. In the news, flight cancellations strand thousands of air travelers, Boeing 737 MAX flights are set to resume in Ethiopia and Indonesia, more 5G drama, and adaptive cycle engines for military applications.
Pete Zaccagnino is the CEO of PC Aviators, an aircraft management company. He’s also a four-time Air Racing Gold Champion in the Jet/Sport Class, an author, a speaker, a former aerodynamics professor, and an Embry-Riddle graduate. He has flown over 23,000 hours in more than 270 aircraft types and he’s flight-tested over 685 aircraft.
Pete explains how PC Aviators views the aircraft management business as a personal relationship with the customers. That means getting to know the clients and providing services and experiences they value. Sometimes that includes tours all over the world.
PC Aviators manages the acquisition process, helping the customer determine what type of aircraft best suits their mission, deciding between a new plane and one from the used market, and looking at tax considerations. They locate the plane and provide a number of services, including inspection, contract negotiation, where to close, and even color. Aircraft management services continue after the purchase to address staffing, pilots, and maintenance reporting.
Pete comments on industry shifts toward private aircraft transportation and the prices and availability of aircraft. He argues that the perception of aviation has changed in a way that is helping the industry segment grow.
With his extensive success at the Reno Air Races through High Performance Aircraft Racing, we can’t help but ask Pete about the classes of aircraft, the makeup of the team, and the interaction with the public at the event. The 2022 Air Races, officially the STIHL National Championship Air Races, will be held September 14-18 in Reno, Nevada.
We also touch on the books Pete has written in TheRelevant Series. The first book in the series is Relevant: A Military Thriller Inspired by True Events and the recently released second book is The New Cold War: Defending Democracy From Russia’s Secret Tech Weapon.
Founded in 2008, Park City Aviators is an aircraft management company based in Park City, Utah with locations across the United States. The company is committed to creating a new standard in affordable and professional private jet management.
Pete earned his undergraduate degree in Aeronautical Engineering. He has restored five airplanes and built three others (including a Lancair Super Legacy). Pete has flown over 23,000 hours in more than 270 aircraft types and flight-tested over 685 aircraft.
A former professor of Aerodynamics, Meteorology, and History, Pete has given over 100 training seminars on a variety of topics and has been a guest speaker at aviation peer groups and universities worldwide, including EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.
Pete’s fifteen years of racing at Reno have included four championships, including the 2019 Jet Gold Champion, 2015 Jet Gold Champion, 2013 Jet Gold Champion at 509 mph and the fastest qualifying lap at 529 mph, and 2007 Gold Champion in the Sport Class.
Thousands of flights have been canceled during a very busy travel season. On January 1, 2022, FlightAware data showed more than 4,731 flights canceled globally. Thousands more cancellations followed on January 2. Looking at FlightAware data, CNN says airlines canceled more than 14,000 flights in the last 10 days. Bad weather and employees testing positive for Covid are credited with causing the disruptions.
Ethiopian Airlines Group says it will resume flying its four Boeing 737 MAX jets starting February 1, 2022. The airline’s Chief Executive Officer said: “We have taken enough time to monitor the design modification work. [With] more than 20 months of [a] rigorous recertification process… we have ensured that our pilots, engineers, aircraft technicians, cabin crew are confident on the safety of the fleet.” Indonesia’s transport ministry said the ban would be lifted effective immediately.
AT&T and Verizon responded negatively to the request by the Transportation Secretary and the FAA administrator to delay the January 5, 2022 5G deployment. The companies characterized the government proposal as “an irresponsible abdication of the operating control required to deploy world-class and globally competitive communications networks.”
The U.S. Airforce is pursuing several “Future Initiatives,” including lifting wing bodies, medium scale propulsion for UAVs, the Megawatt Tactical Aircraft (MWTA) program, and even air wake surfing. This article looks specifically at the Adaptive Engine Transition Program (AETP). While jet engines have two airstreams (one through the core and a bypass airstream around the core), AETP engines are adaptive with three streams. That third stream can be dynamically modulated between the engine’s core and the bypass stream. This results in increased thrust in a combat environment and increased fuel efficiency during cruise. AETP prototypes are being developed by General Electric (XA100) and Pratt & Whitney (XA101).
This Episode: A great new resource for business travelers, an FAA hangar policy change, the airliner manufacturing ramp-up, an MH370 update, the Griffon Lionheart, and some space news.
Chris McGinnis has had a long career in travel journalism, appearing on television and writing online. He recently created the Travel Skills blog, part of Boarding Area network, with news, information, tips, advice, and trip reports. Chris also co-hosts the #travelskills chat on Twitter with travel guru Johnny Jet every Friday morning at 9:00am Pacific Time (noon Eastern). There you’ll find topics discussed for an hour by people who are passionate about travel.
GE’s upgrade to their 300,000-square-foot Auburn, Alabama manufacturing plant is intended to let them mass produce fuel nozzles for the Leap-X engine. More broadly, we talk about the huge manufacturing ramp up required to satisfy the production requirements for new aircraft such as the A320neo family, 737 MAX, Comac C919, and Irkut MC-21.
Australia has selected Dutch company Fugro Survey to undertake the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The operation is expected to begin in September and last as long as a year. We also see that the Malaysian government plans to take full control of the company through a stock, buyback and restructure the airline’s operations.
David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week
David is off this week, but Jamie Dodson from NickGrantAdventures.com steps in to tell us about the Griffon Lionheart, an American single-engined, six-seat biplane designed and produced in kit form for home building by Griffon Aerospace of Harvest, Alabama.
Across the Pond
Pieter is back reporting on the European Space Agency news that the Rosetta mission is now close to Comet 67P, ATV5 is close to docking with the ISS, the possibility that the UK will get its own Spaceport. Listen to Ep.27 – From rocket history to spaceplanes for more space content.
Harriet and Micah
Micah tells the story, “Favorite Flights I Never Flew.”
Recorded at the Farnborough International Airshow, Pieter and Tim talk to Jean Vincent Reymondon, Social Media Manager with the Media Relations Department of the Airbus Group. You’ll also hear interviews with several key suppliers.
Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at www.brotherloverocks.com.
Kelli Jones is this week’s guest. She’s an aviation consultant, cabin safety expert, mediator, traveler, philanthropist, and a blogger at Traveling Smart. Previously, Kelli worked for a major US airline where she was a cabin equipment engineer and accident investigator, and she now works as a consultant for the FAA, the NTSB, airlines, and other aviation organizations through White Consulting & Mediation. Find Kelli on Twitter at @TravelingSmart.
Brett Snyder, The Cranky Flier himself, joins as this Episode’s guest to talk about his new venture, Cranky Concierge. This service provides a real, live airplane dork (his term!) who is available to support you when traveling by air. You can ask yourself why the airlines don’t provide this kind of service for their customers, but you can probably answer your own question!
Guest Jeffrey Ward, the Savvy Navigator, has been in the travel industry for over 20 years, about half of that with American Airlines. He now provides travelers with experiential journeys to places like South Africa, Argentina, and Costa Rica.
We have the week’s aviation news and our report from the Airplane Geeks Australia Desk. David Vanderhoof joins us for his This Week in Aviation history lesson, Dan Webb interviews Gary Kelly, the CEO of Southwest Airlines, and we have some listener mail.