Tag Archives: TSA

641 AOPA Events for 2021

The AOPA events planned for 2021, Bombardier ending Learjet production, United Airlines investment in eVTOL, VFR charts move to a 56-day production cycle, F-35A engine issues impact the demo team schedule, and a TSA agent saves the day for some confused passengers.

Guest

Chris Eads, AOPA Senior Director, Outreach and Events

Chris Eads is Senior Director, Outreach and Events for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). He’s a private pilot and an AOPA member since 2001. He began working for AOPA in 2013. Chris flies VFR all over the country both for fun and as a part of his role leading AOPA events and regional fly-ins.

We focus on AOPA’s thinking and plans for events late in 2021 and even into 2022. The organization has released plans for two 2021 Aviator Showcase events. Each showcase will be a single-day event designed to provide new product and aircraft information to pilots, aircraft owners, and prospective buyers.

Aviator Showcase at Manassas, Virginia
Aug. 27, 2021, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
At Manassas Regional Airport (KHEF), hosted by Chantilly Air Jet Center.

Aviator Showcase at Fort Worth, Texas
Oct. 1, 2021, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
At Fort Worth Alliance Airport (KAFW), hosted by Alliance Aviation Services.

These events will be one-day gatherings in an exhibit hall, with an aircraft sales display and technology-related seminars. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet with industry leaders in avionics and cockpit technology, flight planning, weather resources, aircraft manufacturing, and more.

To be sure AOPA is in alignment with current CDC guidelines at the time of the event, registration will open approximately 12 weeks prior to each event. Attendance will be limited according to CDC restrictions, and advance registration is required.

In addition to the two Showcases, AOPA is considering “pilot gathering air tours” for when the pandemic clears sufficiently. These would be similar to a barnstormer’s tour and include social functions, unlike the Aviator Showcase events.

Aviation News

Learjet, once the go-to private plane for celebrities, is ending production

Learjet, owned by Bombardier, will stop production later this year. Bombardier said it will concentrate on the Challenger and Global aircraft, which are more profitable. The company was started in 1962 by Bill Lear, with the first entry-into-service in 1963. The company was purchased by Bombardier in 1990.

Archer Aviation gets a $1 billion order from United Airlines, on the same day it announces a deal to go public

Archer Aviation Inc. announced that United placed an order valued at $1 billion for all-electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL). United has an option to buy an additional $500 million worth of aircraft. Archer also announced its merger with Atlas Crest Investment Corp. which takes the company public and allows the public to invest in the urban air mobility (UAM) market. United Airlines plans to have a role in the UAM market with “last mile” transportation between airports and urban destinations using low-emission eVTOL aircraft.

VFR charts to go on 56-day publication cycle in 2021

The 56-Day Visual Charts notice [PDF] was published January 15, 2021 and takes effect February 25, 2021. In shortening the update cycle for VFR charts to match the dates on IFR charts, the FAA will now be updating all charts every 56 days.

F-35 Demo Team Forced To Cut Airshow Appearances Due To Fleet-Wide Engine Issues

Turbine blades in the Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100 engine powering the F-35 are experiencing shorter than expected life. Some F-35As have been running close to design limits which is causing premature cracks in the turbine blade coatings. While not a flight safety issue, it is causing unscheduled engine removals. The depot system is apparently already backlogged, so this extra workload is adding to that problem. This impacts the available engine supply so the Air Force F-35 demonstration team is scaling back the number of air show appearances by about a third.

Wrong Portland: TSA officer helps family fly to correct coast

A family of three Spanish-speaking passengers landed in the wrong Portland airport – Oregon, not Maine. They were about 2,500 miles from where they wanted to be. A TSA agent escorted the family to a ticket agent, and learned the family only had $200. The agent personally provided the additional money that allowed them to book a flight to their correct destination.

Mentioned

Check Out These Stunning Images Of The Super Bowl’s Bomber Trio Flyover

Here’s why Army helicopters have Native American names

FAA Files Reveal a Surprising Threat to Airline Safety: the U.S. Military’s GPS Tests

Gerbino Flight Systems: Innovations in Flight

Gerbino rotorcraft by listener Harold.

636 Boeing Criminal Fine

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.

Aviation News

Boeing Charged with 737 Max Fraud Conspiracy and Agrees to Pay over $2.5 Billion

Boeing Reaches $2.5 Billion Settlement With U.S. Over 737 Max

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 analysts react to Boeing criminal fine

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.”

See Jon Ostrower’s The Air Current piece Boeing’s MCAS on the 737 Max may not have been needed at all for many insights.

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.fraud@usdoj.gov or call (888) 549-3945.

FAA issues rules for supersonic jet flight testing in the US

Press Release – FAA Announces Final Rule to Facilitate the Reintroduction of Civil Supersonic Flight

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.

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary says airline’s flights have collapsed from 2,000 a day to 10 but claims summer holidays WILL go ahead

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.”

Flight attendant union wants pro-Trump rioters barred from flights

FAA chief issues stern warning to travelers after politically-motivated flight disruptions

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.

The Sriwijaya Air Crash: A Brief Rundown of What We Know

Sriwijaya Air Flight SJ182: Hope for survivors fades as plane wreckage found off Indonesian coast

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.

TSA’s 2021 dog calendar stars airport pups. Here’s how to get a free copy

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.

Pipistrel G4
Pipistrel G4

Mentioned

Wendover Airfield

Wild Nevada – Episode 411: Wendover to Elko, a PBS video that aired in 2018.

The Pentagon Has 6 Months to Disclose What It Knows About UFOs

619 Spending Too Much Time at Home

Some Boeing 787s are grounded due to structural problems, Rolls-Royce financials don’t look good, a positive TSA story, another virtual flight option, US DOE funding for electric aircraft technologies, Pipistrel to set electric aircraft world records, Elon Musk says 3-4 years for effective electric aircraft batteries, Spirit avoids layoffs, and $200 ticket change fees are dropped.

Some co-hosts know how to make a podcast producer laugh…

Aviation News

Boeing yanks eight 787s from service over structural issue

Boeing discovered “two distinct manufacturing issues” that impact the structural integrity of eight recently manufactured 787 Dreamliners. The deficiencies are associated with the joining of composite aft body fuselage barrels. Planes delivered to United, Air Canada, and Singapore were pulled from service.

Rolls-Royce Is Fast Becoming a British Calamity

Rolls-Royce just announced a 5.4 billion-pound ($7.1 billion) loss for the first six months of 2020. The company’s balance sheet shows liabilities exceeding assets by 8 billion pounds.

TSA Employee Rescues Bride’s Wedding Dress Left at Airport Security: She ‘Saved’ the Wedding

One day before her wedding, a bride and her family passed through Newark Liberty International Airport, but the mother accidentally left a roller bag with the bride’s gown (and hers) at the checkpoint. TSA administrative assistant Loletta Nathan-Gordon jumped into action and saved the wedding.

‘Airplane Mode’ will let you relive the monotony of economy class this fall

The Airplane Mode simulator from AMC Games will let you fly in real-time from New York City to Reykjavik or from New York City to Halifax, Canada. Not from the cockpit, but in the cabin. In coach. Expect delays, rude passengers, and screaming babies. You do get a window seat.

US Department of Energy: $33 Million for Carbon-Neutral Hybrid Electric Aviation

The U.S. Department of Energy announced $33 million in funding for 17 electric aviation projects. This is under the ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy) ASCEND (Aviation-class Synergistically Cooled Electric-motors with iNtegrated Drives) and REEACH (Range Extenders for Electric Aviation with Low Carbon and High Efficiency) programs.

Pipistrel Ready To Set 7 Electric Aircraft World Records

Pipistrel plans to fly its Velis Electro more than 700 kilometers from the Swiss Alps to the North Sea, and break 7 world records along the way: lowest energy consumption, highest average speed, highest flight altitude ever reached with an electric aircraft, fastest climbing performance, fastest average speed, smallest number of intermediate stops, and longest electrically flown route. Follow the flight on the website and Facebook.

Tesla’s Elon Musk says that batteries enabling electric aircraft are coming in ‘3 to 4 years’

Last year, when commenting on the need for increased battery energy density, Musk said that was 5 years off.  Tesla’s batteries were then achieving around 260 Wh/kg. He said around 400 Wh/kg was needed for aviation. Elon’s current prediction is now 3 to 5 years.

Spirit Airlines Strikes Deal to Avoid Pilot Furloughs

Spirit Airlines has used voluntary leave initiatives to minimize the number of pilot layoffs, limiting them to 117 pilot furloughs. Now the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) announced that almost half of Spirit’s pilots had agreed to work fewer hours each month, which let the airline cancel all 117 of its planned pilot furloughs. 

United says it will drop widely scorned ticket-change fees

United Airlines says it is dropping its $200 ticket change fee. January, it will let customers fly standby for free on other flights the same day as their booked flight. “When we hear from customers about where we can improve, getting rid of fees is often the top request,” United CEO Scott Kirby said in a video posted Sunday. See also: United Ditches Domestic Change Fees… Let the Games Begin.

Mentioned

Sci-Fi Short Film “The OceanMaker”

Inventing the Joint Strike Fighter, a Zoom meeting Saturday, October 10, 2020, with Dr. Paul Bevilaqua, Chief Engineer of the Skunk Works, Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Arsenal of Democracy – On Friday, September 25, 2020, approximately 70 World War II aircraft will fly over the Washington Mall.

599 One Less Than 600

An aviation and space reporter helps us understand the current state of the aviation industry and where it might lead. We also bring you an inside look at how an article for an aviation magazine is produced.

Guest

Tom Risen is a Space and Aviation Reporter based in Washington, DC. He’s been covering the latest news and writing analysis about how airlines and aerospace manufacturers are adapting to the quarantine measures to slow the spread of Coronavirus.

Tom is co-authoring a book about government oversight, he is the web editor and reporter for Future Flight News, and Tom was formerly technology and business reporter at U.S. News & World Report, and a staff reporter for Aerospace America.

Aviation News

Boeing to restart limited local work on jets

Boeing says they’ll recall about 2,500 employees out of the 30,000 employees impacted by the shutdown. The recalled workers will support defense programs like the Navy’s P-8 and the Air Force KC-46 tanker, and also maintenance operations for 737 MAX jets stored at Moses Lake. Employees will be provided with personal protective equipment and enforce social distancing measures.

Airbus cuts production by a third as airlines struggle

In response to airlines suspending orders, Airbus cut its production. The company said it delivered 122 planes in the first quarter, with 60 remaining undelivered. 55 were delivered in February, 36 in March.

The ancient computers in the Boeing 737 Max are holding up a fix

Boeing 737 MAX jets have two independent flight controlled computers: the Collins Aerospace FCC-730 series computers, first built in 1996. These use single-core, 16-bit processors. They have limited compute power, but they are reliable.

Treasury Department says larger airlines need to compensate taxpayers for coronavirus aid as talks drag on

More than 230 applications from air carriers for payroll grants have been received by the Treasury Department. United, Delta, JetBlue, Spirit and others have applied for the aid. The Treasury Department said that it would not require applicants seeking $100 million or less to provide compensation. Officials have said the compensation could include stock warrants and or other financial instruments.

This will lead to airline bankruptcies’ — flight attendant union furious with Treasury bailout offers

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants union and our guest in Episode 545 said, “This will lead to airline bankruptcies. The Treasury Department is destabilizing the industry, not helping save it.” The Treasury Department decided to make 30% of each cash grant offer a low-interest loan payable to the federal government. Nelson says Congress earmarked the money to immediately pay airline workers. If it’s turned into a loan, the airlines may choose not to take it.

Nearly 13,500 American Airlines pilots and flight attendants agree to voluntary leave or early retirement

The voluntary leave or retirement would occur in April or May, 2020. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants said about 7,960 members signed up for voluntary leave or early retirement out of 25,300 total. About 7,200 flight attendants signed up for three-, six- or 12-month leaves and about 760 will take early retirement.

TSA screens fewer than 100K travelers for 2 days in a row, hits ‘record low’ as coronavirus outbreak continues

This is about 96 percent lower than the same time last year. Then TSA screened more than 2 million passengers each day.

FedEx Puts Parked Jets Back in Service to Meet Asia Cargo Surge

FedEx plans to add 150 flights over the next month to ferry masks, protective suits and other health-care supplies to the U.S. from Asia.

Air Canada Removes Seating From 777s To Increase Cargo Capacity

Air Canada is pulling the 422 seats out of three of their 777-300ER aircraft so they can use the planes for cargo.

Alaska Airlines’ Creative New “Tag” Flights

Government aid under the CARES Act requires US airlines to avoid involuntarily furloughs or employee layoffs, and continuing service to all existing markets. Alaska Airlines is creating tag flights. For example, instead of flying from Seattle to Dallas and from Seattle to Houston, Alaska will fly from Seattle to Dallas to Houston.

The Impact of Coronavirus on Airport Planning and Design

HOK says they don’t foresee the need to make significant physical changes to terminals in response to COVID-19 because passenger terminals have been designed to be open and flexible. Thermal scanners and handheld thermometers for traveler screening are easily accommodated. But airports might look at “more comprehensive passenger wellness screening solutions.” We may also see “additional medical clinics within airports for use by passengers as well as airport and airline employees.”

This Man Owns The World’s Most Advanced Private Air Force After Buying 46 F/A-18 Hornets

The remaining Royal Australian Air Force legacy Hornets are coming back to the US to become civilian aggressors. The surplus RAAF F/A-18 Hornets are to be used in a contractor adversary air support role.

Positive Airline Stories

United Airlines Partners with Governor Newsom to Fly Medical Volunteers to California to Fight COVID-19

United Airlines has partnered with California Governor Newsom to provide free, round-trip flights for medical volunteers traveling to California to help in the frontline fight against the COVID-19 crisis. If you are interested in volunteering or learning more about the program, visit California Health Corps.

Alaska Airlines to host a job fair for Ravn employees, outlines plans in response to RavnAir’s suspension of service

RavnAir Group was a regional airline serving small Alaskan communities. They’ve ceased all operations but Alaska Airlines says they will maintain service to its destinations, start some summer seasonal service sooner, work to develop service to communities in the Aleutian Islands, and Cold Bay.

American Airlines Raises $2 Million for American Red Cross COVID‑19 Relief Efforts

The carrier and its customers raised more than $1 million for the American Red Cross in the first 24 hours of the campaign.

Interview

Flying MagazineA few months ago, Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari tagged along with Rob Mark, senior editor at Flying Magazine, as Rob was writing an article about the Texas Aircraft Colt LSA for the magazine. We get a “behind the scenes” look at what is involved in producing an article for an aviation magazine. That piece became the cover story for the May 2020 issue.

Mentioned

Planes of Fame Airshow T-shirts

RenegadeAV8R Radio Show

Stay at home air show

Short Final: Hostile Target

Rafale Ride Leads To Inadvertent Ejection By Overstressed Passenger

543 Aviation Career Opportunities

Carl Valeri talks about aviation career opportunities, including the current employment outlook, some industry trends, and the wide availability of scholarships. We look at the Boeing acquisition of ForeFlight, the crash of an Ethiopian 737 MAX 8, FOD on new KC-46 tankers, a pilot who left his handgun on the plane, and a passenger with an RPG. We also talk about this year’s SUN ‘n FUN week-long fly-in and air show.

Guest

Carl Valeri, aviation careers expert

Carl Valeri

Carl Valeri is a flight instructor and airline pilot. He hosts the Aviation Careers Podcast and the Stuck Mic AvCast and you’ll find him on SUN ‘n FUN Radio. Carl also coaches the Polk State Flight Team.

Carl tells us about the current state of aviation employment opportunities, including the shortage of pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, managers, ground support personnel, office support, and many others. He also explains the current lack of instrument flying skills, building hours to meet the airline transport pilot requirement, airline pilot starting pay and first-year bonuses, as well as the trend of conditional hiring, the E-3 visa program, and the inclusion of rotor pilot hours in total time.

In addition to the podcasts, Carl provides career counseling as well as an extensive directory of scholarships that are available for people who want to get into an aviation career, or who want to advance their ratings.

As is the case every year, Carl will be managing SUN ‘n FUN Radio at the SUN ‘n FUN International Fly-In and Expo April 2-7, 2019 in Lakeland, Florida.

Mystery Aircraft

Carl sent us a photo asking David to identify the aircraft. Can you?

Of course, David knew right away what this is. Answer below.

Aviation News

Boeing Acquires ForeFlight

Flight planning company ForeFlight joins Jeppesen in Boeing’s Digital Solutions and Analytics group, part of Boeing Global Services. ForeFlight products are used by individual pilots, professional flight crews, flight departments, and others. Boeing VP Ken Sain said, “This acquisition… expands Boeing’s rapidly growing, unparalleled digital services portfolio which will enable us to compete and win in the $2.8 trillion, 10-year services market.”

See also the Boeing press release, the new joint website, and from AOPA Live Boeing acquires ForeFlight – Interview with CEO Tyson Weihs.

Ethiopia, China, other countries ground Boeing aircraft after devastating crash

An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 bound for Nairobi, Kenya crashed six minutes after takeoff from the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. All 157 people on board Flight ET-302 were killed. Many countries initially responded by grounding the 737 MAX fleet.

Reports: Air Force won’t accept more KC-46 tankers until they’re cleaned of debris

In response to Foreign Object Debris (FOD) found by the U.S. Air Force in Boeing’s delivered KC-46 tankers, the aircraft are no longer being accepted by the government.

Pilot left gun behind in the cockpit of a Delta plane

The handgun was found by an airline ground worker. Delta has not identified the pilot and won’t say what action it will take against the pilot.

TSA agents find rocket-propelled grenade launcher in luggage

The unassembled parts of the launcher and a replica grenade were found in a checked bag at Lehigh Valley International Airport in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The owner told officials he thought he could bring the non-functioning launcher in his checked bag. The items were confiscated.

Mentioned

Women Take Flight, at the New England Air Museum, Saturday, March 9, 2019.

SUN ‘n FUN, April 2 – 7, 2019, Lakeland, Florida.

Aviation News Talk Podcast #101: Emergency Landing: Controller Talks Down Student Pilot After Oil Covers Windshield

F-35 Demo Team, including 2019 schedule.

New York International Air Show, August 24-25, 2019 at New York Stewart Int’l Airport.

Bjorn Moerman Photography. Excellent aviation images.

Mystery Aircraft

David knew immediately this is the Bell P-63 King Cobra. He also sent along photos of a few museum examples:

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

535 SITA Lab and a Seamless Travel Experience

We learn about identity management, seamless travel at the airport, and the work of the SITA Lab. In the news: rogue drones at airports, impacts on aviation of the government shutdown, Generation 2 of the Cirrus Vision Jet, and USAF acceptance of the first KC-46 aerial tanker.

Guest

Sherry Stein, SITA LAB identity management.

Sherry Stein, SITA LAB identity management.

Sherry Stein leads the identity management program at SITA Lab, the strategic technology research arm of SITA. Sherry has over 20 years of experience in travel technology, and she has a passion for business transformation and technology innovation.

We explore the concepts of “seamless travel” and the “autonomous airport” through the advancements in airport technology that passengers can take advantage of today. That includes biometric identity management, passenger service robots, artificial intelligence, wearable devices, and single token travel through virtual or digital passports.

The Sita Lab is focused on strategic research to create a secure, frictionless travel experience through the applied use of emerging technologies and co-innovation with key industry stakeholders.  The Lab seeks to “stimulate technological innovation in the air transport industry and bring emerging technologies into SITA’s portfolio.”

SITA is an air transport IT and communications specialist. SITA’s information and communication technology solutions are used by airlines, airports, ground handlers, governments, air cargo, air navigation service providers and other organizations.

Follow SITA on Twitter at @SITAOnline, on Facebook, and YouTube.

Aviation News

Why airports can’t stop drones from causing chaos

The recent spate of rogue drone incursions has been a wake-up call for airports. A few drone flights into the airspace can have a hugely disruptive impact on airport operations. Counter drone technology is available, but airports aren’t able to immediately make them operational.

Shutdown effects are being felt at airports

Some TSA agents are calling in sick and airports are responding to the reduced security manpower.

NATCA sues US government over shutdown

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) filed suit against the US government claiming its members are being unlawfully deprived of wages because of the partial government shutdown. The lawsuit also alleges violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Cirrus Vision Jet G2 Certified

Cirrus Aircraft has received FAA certification for the Generation 2 (G2) version of its Vision Jet. New features include a higher maximum operating altitude, autothrottle, lithium-ion main-ship batteries, upgraded avionics, new cabin appointments, and additional paint schemes.

The Air Force finally takes ownership of its first Boeing tanker — with serious misgivings

The U.S. Air Force has accepted and took ownership of its first Boeing KC-46A air-to-air refueling tanker, but did not take delivery. The Air Force is still not happy with the “remote vision system” for operating the tanker’s refueling boom.

Mentioned

Eat at the Airport – Map of airports with eating establishments.

2019 You Can Fly Challenge opens: Ray Foundation offers $2 million in matching funds. For more information or to make a donation toward the Ray Foundation matching challenge, visit the AOPA Foundation website.

XP-82 Restoration Project

Accidental take-off of Victor Bob Prothero explains what happened

Extraordinary helicopter rescue in the French Alps

Elon Musk: A version of Tesla Roadster will fly thanks to SpaceX technology

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne.

510 U.S. Airmail 100th Anniversary

The Head Curator of the History Department at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum tells us about the early history of airmail service in the U.S., which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

In the news, Goodyear has a new airship, Facebook cancelled its Aquila project, Boeing has reportedly asked engine makers to bid for the 797, Boeing unveiled a hypersonic airliner concept, a stealth tanker model was spotted, the TSA wants to look at your snacks, a third Heathrow runway gets closer to reality, NASA demonstrates a quieter airplane, and the Air Force reduces pilot training time. Also, finding airmail airway beacons, a conversation with Air Evac Lifeteam at the Circuit of the Americas, and student pilot Nicki talks about her new flight instructor.

Curtiss Jenny carrying airmail to Philadelphia from Washington, DC. Courtesy National Postal Museum.

Curtiss Jenny carrying airmail to Philadelphia from Washington, DC. Courtesy National Postal Museum.

Guest

Nancy Pope is the Head Curator of the History Department at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum. 2018 is the 100th anniversary of airmail service in the U.S. and Nancy tells us about the early history of airmail, including the pilots, the aircraft, and the initial difficulties getting the service operating properly. She talks about some of the airplanes and artifacts at the museum as well as the Postmen of the Skies: Celebrating 100 Years of Airmail Service exhibition that is open through May 27, 2019.

USPS airmail commemorative stamp

USPS airmail commemorative stamp

Earlier this year, the first of two commemorative stamps was released. See: U.S. Postal Service Commemorates Air Mail with Stamp. You can purchase the blue airmail stamp at the post office, or at the USPS online store. The second (red) stamp will be released Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, at 11 a.m. at College Park Aviation Museum (1985 Corporal Frank Scott Drive, College Park, MD 20740). “Red Letter” day at the museum will be an exciting event to attend if you are in the area. See Red Letter Day: U.S. Postal Service Continues 100th Anniversary Commemoration. Followers of the U.S. Postal Service’s Facebook page can view the ceremony live at facebook.com/USPS.

Nancy has worked with the items that are now in that collection since 1984. She curated the opening exhibits for the Museum in 1993 and more than a dozen at the museum since then. She has written about many elements of postal history, including the Pony Express, Rural Free Delivery, Parcel Post Service, the Postal Service during 9/11, as well as the later anthrax attacks and airmail.

Nancy’s most recent exhibits are “Systems at Work,” which examines mail processing from Colonial America to the present, and “Postmen of the Skies,” a celebration of 100 years of airmail service in America.

The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum is located at 2 Massachusetts Ave., N.E. in Washington, DC. Admission is always free.

Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum.

Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum.

Pegboard for tracking the location of airmail pilots and planes:

Max Miller’s log book. Courtesy National Postal Museum.

Courtesy National Postal Museum.

The logbook was recovered from Max Miller’s fatal crash on September 1, 1920. The Junkers-Larsen JL6 caught fire in midair. Max Miller and his mechanic Gustav Reirson died in the fire and subsequent crash. Miller was Praeger and Lipsner’s favorite pilot and his death hit both men hard. Though slightly damaged by the fire, the handwritten entries remain clear. Airmail pilots used logs to record details about their flights and, on occasion, landing field conditions. Miller wrote his name on the front of this book, adding the name of his service, the “U.S. Aerial Mail,” and a notation of his home address in Woodland Hills Park in Cleveland, Ohio.

Max Miller’s logbook. Courtesy National Postal Museum.

Eddie Gardner’s face mask is a nice leather piece that Nancy unofficially refers to as the “Hannibal Lecter mask.”

Airmail pilot Eddie Gardner's facemask.

Eddie Gardner’s facemask. Courtesy National Postal Museum.

The Post Office’s airmail flag. You will recognize the globe/wings that became the ubiquitous symbol of airmail.

Postal Service airmail flag.

Postal Service airmail flag. Courtesy National Postal Museum.

Our Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari located some of the airways beacon sites in Texas that guided early airmail pilots. He sent in a report about what he found. See Map of Airway Beacons and Arrows Across America to find these sites near you.

Launchpad Marzari and friend.

Aviation News

Goodyear’s new Wingfoot Three takes to the skies

Goodyear’s newest semi-rigid airship is the Wingfoot Three. Built by Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH, the blimp still has to undergo flight tests before formal handover to Goodyear.

Goodyear’s U.S. fleet consists of three semi-rigid airships: the Wingfoot One (N1A), based in Pompano Beach, Florida; Wingfoot Two (N2A), based in Carson, California; and Wingfoot Three (N3A), based in Suffield, Ohio. Compared to Goodyear’s old model, the GZ-20, the Zeppelin NT model is longer, a little narrower, faster, and seats more passengers.

Video: Goodyear’s Wingfoot Three flies for first time

Facebook’s quest for fleet of solar-powered Internet drones grounded forever

Facebook has canceled the Aquila project – a solar-powered “atmospheric satellite” that would beam Internet connectivity to areas that had none.

Boeing reportedly tells engine makers to make bids for a new 797 plane

Boeing wants to build a new mid-sized airliner to be flying by 2025 – a middle-of-the-market jet. Call it a Boeing 797, or a New Middle Market Airplane, or the NMA. Reports say the engine manufacturers were asked to respond to a Boeing RFP by June 27, 2018. Boeing wants 25 percent less fuel burn per pound of thrust than the engines used on Boeing’s 757 planes. The big three engine manufacturers are named: CFM International, (the General Electric – Safran joint venture), Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce. See also, This is Boeing’s NMA by Jon Ostrower.

Boeing unveils hypersonic 4,000mph airliner capable of New York to London in Two Hours

Boeing unveils rendering of hypersonic jet that would fly from US to Japan in 3 hours

Under this concept, the aircraft would fly at Mach 5, three times faster than Concorde, and cruise at 95,000 feet. It would be smaller than a 737, with both commercial and military applications.

New Stealth Tanker Model Is Touted By Air Force Research Lab At Aviation Conference

At the recent AIAA conference, Aviation Week’s Guy Norris noticed a model of an “Advanced Aerial Refueling” aircraft in the Air Force Research Lab’s area. The Air Force may be looking for a more survivable aerial tanker.

It started with your shoes, then your water. Now the TSA wants your snacks.

Passengers are being asked at security checkpoints by the TSA to remove their snacks and other food items from their carry-ons and place them in plastic bins for separate screening. This is a TSA recommendation to screening supervisors, not a strict policy. Some food looks similar to explosives which results in a secondary inspection. The intent here is to prevent that additional inspection.

Heathrow gets go-ahead to become world’s biggest airport

They’ve been talking about a third runway at Heathrow for years. It’s a contentious issue but now a parliamentary vote has passed that would allow construction of a third runway. Under the proposal, passenger capacity at Heathrow could jump from nearly 80 million passengers per year to 110 million by 2030.

NASA: Tests Show ‘Significant’ Aircraft Noise Reduction

NASA flight tests in a Gulfstream III research aircraft flying at 350 feet demonstrated a “significant reduction” in the noise generated by aircraft operating near airports. The jet had porous landing-gear fairings, an Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge wing flap, and chevrons near the leading edge of the landing-gear cavity with a net to modify the airflow.

Air Force cuts pilot training by 5 weeks

This represents about a 10% reduction in training time.

Interview

Airplane Geeks reporter-at-large Launchpad Marzari talks with John P. Jones and John Linardose from the Air Evac Lifeteam which provides air ambulance service at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) outside Austin, Texas.

Courtesy Air Evac Lifeteam.

Listener Recording

Listener Nicki continues her pilot training series with installment 13 about her new flight instructor.

Mentioned

Vote for your favorite American air show!

David was again asked to provide a list of the 20 best airshows for USA Today.

Hiller Aviation Museum Open Cockpit Day

The Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, California will be holding an Open Cockpit Day on July 11, 2018. While this fabulous museum is relatively unknown to the general public, it has a fabulous collection of more than fifty aircraft and numerous interesting artifacts and displays.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

498 Sun ‘n Fun Radio

Dave Shallbetter talks about the Sun ‘n Fun International Fly-in and Expo and Sun ‘n Fun Radio. Also, we note that Cirrus Aircraft will be receiving the 2017 Robert J. Collier Trophy for their Vision Jet, the recent noncombat-related air crashes that have resulted in the loss of US service members, and a proposal to use cargo hold space for a new passenger class. We have a positive story about the TSA, a new director of the National Air and Space Museum, some great listener feedback on the helicopter crash into the river in New York, as well as on the need to change the United Airlines company culture.

Guest

Dave Shallbetter,  Chairman of Sun ‘n Fun Radio.

Dave Shallbetter, Chairman of Sun ‘n Fun Radio.

Dave Shallbetter is Chairman of Sun ‘n Fun Radio and a long time volunteer at the annual Sun ‘n Fun International Fly-in and Expo.  This year’s event is April 10 to 15, 2018.

Sun ’n Fun’s mission is to preserve and enhance the future of flight through world-class events, inspiring and educating people of all ages. Sun ‘n Fun Radio broadcasts locally on 1510 AM and audio streams worldwide from LiveATC.net.

Sun ‘n Fun was created in 1974 by a small group of aviation enthusiasts and has grown into the second largest event of its kind in the world. The six-day event is held on 2,200 acres at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland, Florida and offers jet teams, aerospace-related exhibits; educational forums, aircraft static displays, professional gatherings of aviation and economic development groups; daily and evening airshows, youth activities, a veterans plaza, and women in aviation arena. Many performers mingle on the grounds with vendors and students.

To learn more, visit the Sun ‘n Fun website and follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Also, visit the Sun ‘n Fun Radio website and follow them on Twitter, on Facebook, and listen 24/7 365 on LiveATC.net/snf.

Aviation News

Cirrus Aircraft Vision Jet to be Awarded the 2017 Collier Trophy

The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) has announced that Cirrus Aircraft will be receiving the 2017 Robert J. Collier Trophy for “… designing, certifying, and entering-into-service the Vision Jet – the world’s first single-engine general aviation personal jet aircraft with a whole airframe parachute system.”

After 5 Deaths In 2 Days, US Military Aviation Is In A Full-Blown Crisis

2 soldiers killed in helicopter crash identified: US Army

With 16 service members killed in air crashes, top lawmaker says ‘readiness of the military is at a crisis point’

A number of US service members have been killed recently in noncombat-related air crashes. Are there common threads?

Qantas reveals plans for new ‘cargo class’ where passengers can stretch their legs and exercise during super long-haul flights – and says the airline will fly direct to London from Sydney by 2022

Cargo class: Qantas CEO reveals ‘out there’ options for super long haul flights

In a leaked audio recording, CEO, Alan Joyce said that under “Project Sunrise,” Qantas would like to offer direct flights from Sydney and Melbourne to London. But he also described using the cargo hold space for berths like you’d see on a train or spaces for walking around.

Trip Report

Max Trescott makes a  cross-country flight in a Cirrus.

Positive Aviation Story

Mom praises TSA at Indianapolis airport in viral post: ‘She treated him like a person with feelings’

Mentioned

PaxEx Podcast #56 with Mary Kirby and guest Marisa Garcia, founder of the aviation news site Flight Chic.

Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX)

Cirrus Owners & Pilots Association

Ellen Stofan, Former NASA Chief Scientist, to Head National Air and Space Museum

Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Celebrates Royal Air Force Anniversary With “The Great British Fly-In”

TSA Passenger Support – TSA Cares

FlyNYON knew of safety concerns before fatal doors-off flight

Shark US – Shark Tip 2 – Low Cost ANR

Word of the day: snarge.

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

491 Igor Sikorsky III

Igor Sikorsky III joins us and talks about the history of his grandfather, aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky. Our airplane of the week is the Sikorsky VS-300. We also look at Boeing’s belief that the industry has put its cyclic business nature in the past, new fees proposed for air travelers, and the International Trade Commission report denying Boeing’s claim against Bombardier.

Igor Sikorsky's plane in front of the Bradford Camps lodge.

Igor Sikorsky’s plane in front of the Bradford Camps lodge.

Guest

Igor Sikorsky III gassing up at Munsungan Lake.

Igor Sikorsky III gassing up at Munsungan Lake.

Igor Sikorsky III is the grandson of aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky and he conducts the annual “Sikorsky Weekend” at The Bradford Camps in the North Maine woods. It’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the history of Igor’s grandfather with family memorabilia, stories, and videos.

Igor gives us a few slices of the Sikorsky history, including how his grandfather was inspired at age 12 by a dream he had of flying over an ocean. We talk about the early days in Russia when the family entrusted their savings to him and then his time in Paris. That was the hub of early aviation where designers and other dreamers congregated to try and build flying machines. We learn about Sikorsky’s emigration from Russia to the U.S. where other Russian immigrants worked with him, sometimes without pay, to develop early aircraft.

Igor is a pilot himself and owns a Skyhawk on floats, which he uses regularly to ferry visitors to his camp and to fishing spots in Maine. We talk about the unique aspects of flying in the North Maine woods, and how having an airplane is critical to the life Igor and his wife Karen lead.

Igor tells us how he thinks his grandfather would have felt about the 2015 sale of Sikorsky Aircraft by United Technologies Corporation. We also learn about the Russian Imperial Stout that Two Roads Brewing Company produces each year to honor Sikorsky and Stratford, Connecticut.

Learn more about the annual Sikorsky Weekend at The Bradford Camps website, and be sure to visit the Igor I. Sikorsky Historical Archives.

Igor Sikorsky III plane at Munsungan Lake, Maine.

Does it get any better than this?

News

Boeing CEO: Aerospace now viewed as an industry with ‘long-term sustained growth’

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg says the industry has gone “from being a high-cycle business in the past” to now becoming “a long-term sustained growth business.”

New Aviation Fees Could Cost Travelers $3 Billion

The proposed 2019 Federal budget released on February 12, 2018, increases Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) fees, which could potentially cost consumers up to an additional $3 billion. Industry trade group Airlines for America (A4A) urged Congress to reject all TSA and CBP fee increases and instead return the billions of dollars now collected by the TSA and CBP and used for non-aviation related purposes.

U.S. ITC details why it rejected CSeries duties, says Boeing not hurt

The International Trade Commission published their 194-page ruling that rejected Boeing’s claim against Bombardier, saying “Boeing lost no sales or revenues.”

The Airplane of the Week

David tells us the history of the Vought Sikorsky VS-300 (Sikorsky S-42), the first practical helicopter in the United States and the model for most helicopters that were to come.

The Sikorsky VS-300. Credit: unknown (Smithsonian Institution)

The Sikorsky VS-300. Credit: unknown (Smithsonian Institution)

Mentioned

New England Air Museum

Xtended Episode 79

The Fighter Pilot Podcast

Imperial notifies Transport Canada of potential aviation fuel quality issue

Accident: Spirit A20N near Fort Lauderdale on Jan 28th 2018, fumes on board, crew feeling increasingly incapacitated

Air Force Special OPS plane carrying US Commandos makes “surprise” landing in Libya

Leaping elk crashes low-flying research helicopter in Utah

North Korea Military Parade 2018: Best Moments – Parada Militar na Coreia do Norte 2018

Credit

Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.

 

482 Helicopter Association International

Our guest is the president of Helicopter Association International. In the news, we look at the role of helicopters as well as local airports in times of emergencies, medical reform around the globe, Boeing 787 Dreamliner woes, and how Aurora Flight Sciences can make any rotary-wing aircraft fly autonomously. We also have the return of the history segment.

Guest

Matthew Zuccaro, president of Helicopter Association International.

Matthew Zuccaro, president of Helicopter Association International. HAI Photo.

Matt Zuccaro is president of Helicopter Association International. HAI provides support and services to its members and to the international helicopter community. They have their headquarters Alexandria, Virginia, and HAI members fly more than 5,000 helicopters some 2.3 million hours each year.

Matt has been in the helicopter industry for 50 years and president of HAI since 2005. He held several executive levels and operations management positions with commercial, corporate, air tour, scheduled airline, and public service helicopter operations in the northeastern United States. During his tenure with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, he served in operations management positions at Kennedy International Airport and the Port Authority’s public and private heliports.

Matt received his initial helicopter flight training as a U.S. Army aviator and served with the 7/17 Air Cavalry unit in Vietnam.  He was subsequently assigned as a flight instructor at the Army Flight School at Fort Rucker, Alabama.

Matt holds Airline Transport Pilot and Instrument Flight Instructor certificates for both airplanes and helicopters. He is a recipient of HAI’s 10,000-Hour Helicopter Pilot Safety award, as well as many other industry awards for his efforts and commitment to the helicopter industry.

Find Helicopter Association International at rotor.org and on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Also, follow Heli-Expo on Twitter and use the hashtag #HAI_EXPO18.

Aviation News

LA Fires Prove Importance of Santa Monica Airport

The City of Santa Monica plans to shorten the single runway at SMO to restrict airport usage to small airplanes. When the airport closes in 10 years, there won’t be anywhere to base firefighting helicopters and other vital equipment.

Medical Reform Going Global

Medical reform in the shape of BasicMed came to the U.S. in 2017, and now Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) announced “Basic Class 2” medical for piston aircraft with up to five non-paying passengers, during daytime visual flight rules. AOPA and AOPA Australia together urged CASA to undertake reforms similar to BasicMed.

LA Helicopter Crews Navigate Through Smoke to Save Homes From Skirball Fire

Devastating fires are again plaguing California and response teams include a variety of aircraft, including helicopters. The Weather Network published a dramatic video shot from a helicopter as it navigated through heavy smoke over a residential area.

Boeing Dreamliner’s Lithium-Ion Battery Fails On United Flight To Paris

A United Airlines Boeing 787 experienced a lithium-ion battery failure on approach to Charles de Gaulle Airport on November 13. United Flight 915 was at the end of a seven-hour flight from Washington’s Dulles Airport when pilots received a warning that the main battery was overheating.

Airlines are grounding 787s for urgent maintenance

Airlines are grounding Boeing 787s for urgent maintenance as one of the engines on Air New Zealand Boeing 787 flight NZ99 failed in-flight this week. The photos of failed engine show damage to turbine blades, suggesting a part broke off and traveled through the engine.

Aurora Makes Any Helicopter Autonomous

A system developed by Aurora Flight Sciences can be installed on any rotary-wing aircraft and enable it to fly autonomously. Dennis Baker, AACUS [Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility System] program officer said this “gives revolutionary capability to our fleet and force. It can be used as a pilot aid in degraded visual environments, or allow fully autonomous flights in contested environments, keeping our pilots out of harm’s way.”

The Airplane of the Week

Our aviation historian David Vanderhoof tells us about the Douglas X-3 Stiletto. Just because an aircraft looks fast doesn’t mean it is. The X-3 is a lesson that disappointment does not necessarily mean failure.

X-3 Stiletto by David Vanderhoof.

X-3 Stiletto by David Vanderhoof.

Commercial Aviation Story of the Week

TSA Pre-check travelers will only need ID at Austin airport

If you use TSA Pre-check, you’ll notice a change when you go through the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. The TSA started testing a new technology for pre-check travelers that only requires a photo ID. The Credential Authentication Technology is expected to verify the authenticity of a passenger photo ID and validate information from the ID against TSA’s Secure Flight vetting system.

Mentioned

City in the Sky on PBS

This Woman Has Been an American Airlines Flight Attendant for 60 Years

The Waldron’s Dilemma Educator’s Kit – the educator’s companion to the award-winning film, South Dakota Warrior.

Credit

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