Rank #1: 545 Boeing 737 MAX, Someone’s Got Some ‘Splaining to Do
Rank #2: 556 A New Microsoft Flight Simulator
Rank #3: 543 Aviation Career Opportunities
Rank #4: 549 Civil Air Patrol
Rank #5: 539 Boeing 747 First Flight
Rank #6: 560 Aircraft Valuation with VREF
Rank #7: 542 Airline Seats
Rank #8: 564 One Hundred Years of GE Aviation
The former media relations manager at GE Aviation tells us about the 100-year history of a company that contributed so much to aviation. In the news, we look at the path forward for electric planes, hidden city ticketing, Boeing’s plans to employ a second flight computer on the 737 MAX, an employment cutback at ICON Aircraft, and a successful English Channel crossing on a flyboard.
Rick Kennedy retired after a 30-year career managing media relations at GE Aviation and he authored the book GE Aviation: 100 Years of Reimagining Flight. This insightful and well-researched book takes the reader through the fascinating history of GE Aviation and it’s contributions to flight. Rick describes the people, the technology, the engines, and the aircraft as well as the decisions made along the way that affected the industry. Profits from the sale of the book go to charity.
In our conversation with Rick, we touch on some of the GE aviation history and major milestones such as the high bypass turbofan and the airflow efficiency made possible through the use of ceramic matrix composite (CMC) turbine parts. Also, MRO strategies of the engine OEMs, military jet engines using GE’s variable cycle approach, electric aviation, the creation of CFMI, and the response to Pratt & Whitney’s geared turbofan engine.
Rick explains how the Boeing 737 MAX issues will affect all future aircraft. He points out that while all the technological advances we are witnessing today are exciting, our culture will expect the new technology to be as safe and reliable as what we experience now. That’s a very difficult challenge for the industry.
- GE at 100: Taking Power to the Skies
- 100 Years of Reimagining Flight, with Rick Kennedy
- Space Age Ceramics Are Aviation’s New Cup Of Tea
We’re seeing many companies developing (and even delivering) electric and hybrid-electric airplanes. But what are the hurdles and what is the path to widespread acceptance and use? It isn’t just all about new technology.
Hidden city ticketing is the technique of purchasing an airline ticket that makes a stop, getting off the plane, and the flight then continues on to the final destination. A traveler can save money when the long flight is priced lower than the shorter flight. Airlines are not too fond of the practice.
The Seattle Times is reporting that Boeing plans to use a second redundant flight computer to address the issue found by the FAA in simulations that could result in the plane’s nose pitching down. Just one computer was used in the past because Boeing was able to prove statistically that its system was reliable. In the new configuration, both computers would be used and pilots would receive a warning if the computers disagreed on altitude, airspeed, and the angle of attack. See Newly stringent FAA tests spur a fundamental software redesign of Boeing’s 737 MAX flight controls.
Icon has delivered about 100 two-seat A5 sport airplanes so far, but it is having difficulty converting some 1,800 deposits to sales. After a number of price increases, the retail price is up to $389,000. Icon president Thomas Wieners said, “We now have a very good understanding of costs. And while the Icon A5 is a truly exceptional plane, the necessary higher price lowers demand considerably and requires us to adjust the organization size as a result.”
Zapata flew his flyboard across the English Channel, covering 22 miles in 22 minutes, reaching speeds of up to 170km/h (106mph) during the flight. He refueled by switching to another backpack during the crossing, this time from a larger boat and platform.
The Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund, Inc. is proud to announce the opening of the 2020 scholarship season. Deserving female aviators can apply for over $180,000 of helicopter flight training and educational scholarships. These scholarships advance the helicopter industry by strengthening the talent pool and increasing diversity. Applications are due September 1, 2019.
Old meets new, by Patrick Wiggins.
Rank #9: 563 Circumnavigating the Globe in a Pilatus
Our guests tell us about circumnavigating the globe three times in a Pilatus PC-12: eastbound, westbound, and polar. In the news, Allegiant is testing a new service offering more seat pitch, the fuel dump from a Norwegian flight ruins a runway, more 737 MAX fallout, an English Channel attempt on a hoverboard, the Senate confirms a controversial nominee to be the new FAA administrator, Congress considers the PLANE Act with positive implications for GA, and China is growing the number of carrier pilots.
The Pilatus at Sangster International Airport, Jamaica.
Josh and Jack with the Pilatus PC-12.
Joshua Marvil and Jack Long are recipients of the eastbound and polar circumnavigation diplomas awarded by the International Aeronautic Federation (FAI) and the National Aeronautic Association (NAA). Their westbound circumnavigation was completed in January 2019 and the diploma is forthcoming. All flights were on a Pilatus PC-12 and Jack and Josh have landed in more than 40 different countries and all seven continents.
On the 2015 eastbound trip, Josh and Jack were joined by pilots Jerry Seckler and Giuseppe Caltabiano at various points along the way. For the 2016-2017 polar circumnavigation, Giuseppe was along most of the way and Jerry joined the flight in Punta Arenas, Chile to fly the Antarctic segment. For the 2018-2019 westbound trip, the only pilots were Josh and Jack. Their wives Becky and Carolyn were along for almost all of these trips in their entirety except for some of the polar legs.
Jack is an entrepreneur by profession and a pilot by passion. He started two software businesses and one transportation business. In 2003, he became part of the founding faculty of the Acton School of Business where he teaches entrepreneurship. Jack soloed in a Piper Cherokee 140 in 1977 and moved-up the aviation food chain to a Mooney 201, a Cirrus SR-22, and now the Pilatus PC-12.
Circumnavigating the Globe Westbound.
For a register of pilots who have flown around the world in light aircraft, see Earthrounders.com.
Allegiant Extra seating will get you priority boarding, an extra 6 inches of seat pitch, designated bin space, and a complimentary drink on the plane. Allegiant does this without changing the overall seat count: an additional row is added in the rear section and there is less Legroom+ option. Allegiant is testing Extra on flights to and from Los Angeles. At the end of the 2019-2020 winter season, the company will make a decision as to the future of the program.
It came out recently that some former WOW Air executives were planning to launch a new airline similar to WOW but not called WOW. Right after that, American investors purchased WOW Air’s assets. American businesswoman Michele Ballarin, one of the owners of USAerospace, is currently creating a new Icelandic company that looks to provide freight transport between Iceland and the US, with passenger operations to come.
A Norwegian Air flight from Orlando to London operating with an Airbus from Hi-Fly of Portugal experienced hydraulic trouble and was forced to return to Orlando. For some reason, a large quantity of fuel was dumped on Orlando’s airport runway and taxiway and it appears that the asphalt will need to be replaced.
In its second-quarter earnings report, Southwest said it had lost an estimated $175 million in profit. The Airline said it would shut down its operations at Newark Liberty International Airport and consolidate its operations in the New York area at LaGuardia Airport.
For more on the Boeing 737 MAX, see:
- American’s 757-200s, Southwest’s 737-700s Among Jets Sticking Around Longer Because of the MAX
- The Roots of Boeing’s 737 Max Crisis: A Regulator Relaxes Its Oversight
Franky Zapata made an attempt to cross the English Channel on a jet-powered hoverboard. While attempting to land on a refueling platform pitching in the waves in the middle of the Channel, Zapata fell into the water, just missing the platform. The Zapata Flyboard Air is powered by five small turbo engines, each producing up to 250 horsepower each.
The Senate has confirmed a controversial new FAA administrator, a former air force pilot and Delta executive
Former Delta Air Lines pilot and executive Steve Dickson has been confirmed by the Senate to lead the FAA. The opposition voiced claims that while at Delta, Dickson mistreated a pilot who raised safety concerns. See also Politics and Aviation in the Flight to Success blog.
The bipartisan legislation Promoting the Launch of Aviation’s Next Era (PLANE) Act of 2019, S.2198, was introduced on July 23, 2019. The PLANE Act would benefit general aviation by empowering pilots, investing in airports, and ensuring opportunities for a sustainable, well-trained workforce. Boeing’s new Pilot and Technician Outlook predicts a need for more than 800,000 new pilots and 750,000 new aviation technicians in the next 20 years.
China’s recruiting a lot more flattop fighter pilots — another sign China has big plans for its aircraft carriers
The annual program to recruit pilots for the People’s Liberation Army resulted in 20% more recruits than last year. Enrollment in the carrier-based fighter pilot program increased 41%. China currently has one operational aircraft carrier, with a second carrier expected to enter service soon, and a third is under construction.
Mistaking diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) additive for fuel system icing inhibitor PRIST on the flight line is a growing problem on ramps all over the world. This can be disastrous since DEF causes jet-A to crystallize and clog aircraft fuel filters and lines. In fact, DEF contamination of jet-A has already forced several business aircraft crews to perform engine-out landings in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Contribute to the Challenge by August 31, 2019, and your donation’s impact will be doubled by the Ray Foundation’s dollar-for-dollar matching grant of up to $2 million.
Women in Aviation President Dr. Peggy Chabrian announced at the WAI Connect Breakfast at Oshkosh that she would retire in April 2020. The transition period will allow for an executive search to determine her replacement.
Airventure Oshkosh 2019
Launchpad and Josiah.
The Australians visit Andy & Ed’s.
Outtro by Bruno Misonne.
Rank #10: 562 Portland International Jetport
The director of the Portland International Jetport joins us to talk about airport development, airport noise, attracting airlines, and other topics. In the news, the A321neo has an excessive pitch problem, unique airline seats with more middle seat space, an unruly passenger gets banned for life, and an electric airplane company begins taking customer letters of intent. We have interviews from the Spurwink Farm Pancake Breakfast and Fly-In: the director of the Owls Head Transportation Museum, a young cadet from the Civil Air Patrol, and a retired professional pilot.
Paul Bradbury, director of the Portland International Jetport.
Paul H. Bradbury, P.E. is the airport director for the Portland International Jetport (PWM) in Portland, Maine. Paul has held several positions at the Jetport since 1992 and he was appointed the airport director in 2008. In this position, he is responsible for the overall management, operations, and planning for the Jetport.
PWM reached record passenger volumes for the past two years as it has focused on service and its value proposition to customers.
Under Paul’s leadership, the Jetport completed the largest capital improvement program in its history. That included a new parking garage, a 137,000 square foot terminal expansion, an aircraft deicing fluid capture facility, and the rehabilitation of the north/south runway.
These projects have placed PWM at the forefront of sustainable design. The terminal expansion was only the second terminal project in the country to receive the US Green Building Council’s LEED Gold certification. The aircraft deicing fluid capture facility recently received the ACI-NA 2018 Environmental Achievement Award for Mitigation.
Paul is a licensed professional engineer with a B.S. in Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued Airworthiness Directive 2019-0171 [PDF] for Airbus A321neo airplanes. Certain Elevator Aileron Computer (ELAC) part numbers installed on some airplanes can cause an “excessive pitch attitude… in certain conditions and during specific manoeuvres… This condition, if not corrected, could result in reduced control of the aeroplane.”
Molon Labe Seating has some unique ideas for rows of three economy seats in a staggered layout. As seen in a short company video from 2017, the middle seat is wider, lower, and farther back. NBC News reported on the Side-Slip Seat that year in the video, The Middle Plane Seat May Be The Best Soon With Revolutionary Design.
Leisure airline Jet2.com says they have has issued a lifetime ban to a 25-year-old woman and billed her more than £85,000 after her disruptive behavior caused a flight to be diverted. The RAF scrambled two Typhoon fighters to escort the aircraft. According to Jet2.com, she “displayed a catalogue of aggressive, abusive and dangerous behaviour on the aircraft, which included attempting to open the aircraft doors during the flight.” See also Couple who restrained Jet2 passenger demand payout from airline.
Ampaire CEO Kevin Noertker says “The Ampaire Electric EEL is the first step in bringing lower emissions, lower operating costs, and quieter operations to general aviation through electrification.” The company was to begin taking letters of intent for its Electric EEL hybrid airplane at EAA AirVenture.
Spurwink Farm Pancake Breakfast and Fly-In
Our Main(e) Man and contributor-at-large Micah attended this year’s Spurwink Farm event and recorded three interviews:
Cadet First Lt Emily Earle from the Civil Air Patrol.
Tom O’Connell, a retired professional pilot.
Micah and Kevin with the Stearman.
Action shot! Stearman landing with Micah.
The Cooper Vortex podcast.
Outtro by Bruno Misonne.
Rank #11: 531 Aerial Tankers, Again
Rank #12: 541 Airline Cabins
Rank #13: 538 AI and the Aviation Industry
Rank #14: 557 Innovations in Flight 2019
Rank #15: 534 Flying the DC-8 for Emergency Relief
Samaritans Purse DC-8.
George Kalbfleisch is Deputy Director of DC-8 Flight Operations for Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief organization. Samaritan’s Purse delivers critical emergency relief supplies to people in need around the world. Examples include the Saipan typhoon victims, Bangladesh refugees, Iraq during the battle for Mosul, the Caribbean following Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and Ecuador following a magnitude 7.8 earthquake.
George tells us about the configuration of the CFM56-powered DC-8-72, it's range and payload capabilities, and the types of emergency relief missions it undertakes. We learn about the teams that fly and maintain the airplane, and how flight planning takes place, sometimes into devastated areas without electricity. George also treats us to a few of his most exciting and most unusual flights.
Prior to Samaritan’s Purse, George flew DC-8s with an international freight company for twenty years as captain, line check airman, sim instructor, check airman, and the aircrew program designee to issue type ratings for the airplane.
George earned his Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management at Oklahoma State University and received his pilot’s license in 1980. He is a certified airline transport pilot with type ratings in the A320, B-777, DC-8, and SA-227. George is an active General Aviation pilot who enjoys flying tail wheel and aerobatics in his spare time.
DC-8 cutaway illustration, showing the cargo and passenger compartments. Courtesy Samaritan's Purse.
XP-82 Takes Accidental First Flight
Ray Fowler was conducting high-speed taxi tests of the XP-82 Twin Mustang Prototype. The plan was to lift the wheels for just a second, deploy the flaps, and roll out. Except it accelerated so fast that the plane couldn’t get back down in the remaining runway. So up he went. See XP-82 Twin Mustang Restoration Project for more.
China’s Chang’e-4 lands on moon’s far side
China’s Chang’e-4 spacecraft made the first successful soft landing on the far side of the moon. The spacecraft combines a lander and a rover and utilizes a relay satellite Queqiao for communication. From China National Space Administration: China's Chang'e-4 probe makes historic landing on moon's far side.
Gridlock in the sky
The Feb 6, 2018 launch of the SpaceX Heavy Falcon closed the airspace over a 1,300-mile section the Atlantic for over three hours. Commercial flights had to fly significantly diverted routes, costing time and fuel. What happens when commercial space flight launches become frequent? ALPA says these closures “have led to extensive and expensive delays to commercial air traffic that are unsustainable.”
Government Shutdown Worsens a Controller Shortage
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association is not happy with the partial government shutdown because of its effect on members. But another consequence is the negative effect on training for new controllers. The FAA training academy in Oklahoma City is shut down, and classroom and simulator training at air traffic control facilities has stopped.
That’s a First: I Was Asked for a Tip From a Flight Attendant
PointsGuy.com writer JT Genter was on a Frontier Airlines flight. After ordering his beverage and providing his credit card, the flight attendant handed him a tablet which offered him the ability to select a tip.
Herb Kelleher, Aviation Pioneer and Southwest Airlines Founder, Dies at 87
Kelleher co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of Southwest Airlines had died at the age of 87.