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11 September 2023

 Enhancing Post-9/11 Safety:  Armed Pilots

In 2002, Gun Owners of America worked closely with US Senators and Representatives to pass into law the Arming Pilots Against Terrorism Act.

After the law was passed, initial estimates said that upwards of 30,000 pilots were expected to apply to carry their firearms in the air.  In 2008, it was reported that one in 10 pilots carry a firearm in the cockpit.

Pilot carry remains an instrumental part of airline security.  It provides pilots with a means of stopping terrorism and defending their aircraft should it come under attack.

2023 June 30

graphic not found Virgin Galactic Launches First Spaceflight with Paying Customers

On Thursday morning, a crew of pilots and Italian researchers and engineers left the grounds of Spaceport America aboard a spaceship, hardly disturbing the sand as it took off from a runway in the middle of the Jornada del Muerto desert.

The spacecraft VSS Unity's passengers were the company's first paying customers, headed 50 miles up to the edge of the atmosphere on a research mission.  The launch kicked off Virgin Galactic's Galactic 01 mission, its sixth-ever spaceflight and just its third with humans on board.

Italian Air Force Col. Walter Villadei is commanding the flight's research mission, Virtute 1, which consists of more than a dozen experiments designed to make use of the journey's zero-gravity environment.  Villadei was a backup pilot for SpaceX and Axiom Space's May Ax-2 mission to the International Space Station and will use Galactic 01 to train for a future mission to the ISS.  Lt. Col. Angelo Landolfi, also with the Italian Air Force, and Pantaleone Carlucci, an engineer with Italy's National Research Council, round out the paying crew members.

Commander Mike Masucci, who has already been to space three times, and Pilot Nicola Pecile are flying the Unity spacecraft.  VMS Eve, the "mothership" that carries Unity to its launch altitude, is piloted by Kelly Latimer and Jameel Janjua.

So far, Virgin Galactic has sold more than 800 flight tickets.

2023 April 15

graphic not found SpaceX cleared by FAA to test launch massive 394-foot Starship

The Federal Aviation Administration awarded SpaceX a launch license on Friday, clearing the way for the first test flight of its 394-foot Starship from southern Texas.  The launch of the world's largest and most powerful rocket - the first with Starship's two sections together - could come as soon as early Monday, according to the company.

The test flight, from a remote site near Boca Chica Beach, will last for a period of an hour and a half.  SpaceX will attempt to send the spacecraft on the massive booster around the world, with the "Super Heavy" first stage discarded in the Gulf of Mexico and the spacecraft into the Pacific.  No landings will be attempted for is inaugural trip. Starship is designed to be fully reusable but nothing will be saved from the test flight.

Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, aims to use Starships to send people to the moon and Mars.

NASA has already signed up for a Starship to put astronauts on the moon as early as 2025.  It will be the first moon landing by astronauts in more than 50 years.

2023 April 7

ATC Staffing Shortages Prompt FAA Summit, NY-Area Service Cuts

An operational summit hosted by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Air Traffic Organization (ATO) sought ideas to improve New York-area operations in summer 2023, in anticipation of high demand on top of significant capacity constraints.

Staffing levels at New York Terminal Radar Approach Control (N90) continue to be below targets, FAA noted.  NATCA has pointed to low hiring goals from FAA, recently adjusted, as part of the problem behind what it calls an almost 30-year low in the number of fully certified controllers across the National Airspace System (NAS).  Nodding to funding instability as one of FAA's most serious challenges in maintaining capacity, the agency has also not kept up with ATC attrition, NATCA said in March 23 testimony.

"By the end of Fiscal Year 2022, there were 1,200 fewer Certified Professional Controllers [CPCs] employed by the FAA than a decade earlier and 6% of those who remain are eligible to retire."

Summer operations at New York-area airports are projected to experience a 45% year-over-year increase in overall delays.  During the year-ago May-September period, delay to operations from Newark (EWR) and New York's JFK and LaGuardia (LGA) airports totaled 41,498.  The three facilities had 252,099 scheduled departures during that five-month period.  FAA noted its 2023 summer projection is consistent with a 50% year-over-year increase in the number of ground delay programs observed in January and February 2023.

"Unfortunately, last week the FAA announced what we have known for a long time, which is there is a significant shortage of air traffic controllers in the New York center ... with staffing levels of 54%."

2023 April 1

graphic not found F-16 Fighting Falcon voted 'Coolest Thing Made in SC'

The F-16 Fighting Falcon, which is made by Lockheed Martin at its Greenville facility, has earned the title of Coolest Thing Made in South Carolina.

The F-16, one of the world's most iconic fighter jets, received the most votes in the final round of voting of the 2nd annual SC Manufacturing Madness contest, presented by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina.

"South Carolina is one of the most patriotic states in the nation and is proud to be the 'Global Home of the F-16'," said Sara Hazzard, President and CEO of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance in a release.  "The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a prime example of the world-class products we make in South Carolina.  This year's Manufacturing Madness contest featured hundreds of innovative and diverse products made every day by our talented workforce.  Congratulations to Lockheed Martin and their 1,400 associates who proudly make the Coolest Thing Made in SC."

The competition's other three finalists include Side-by-Side Vehicles made by American Honda Motor Co., Inc., South Carolina Manufacturing in Timmonsville, the Electrolux/Frigidaire Single-Door Refrigerator and Freezer made by Electrolux Home Products Inc. in Anderson, and the 7HA.03 Gas Turbine made by GE Gas Power, part of GE Vernova in Greenville.

The products advanced to the final round after an initial field of 246 products were nominated.

2023 February 2

graphic not found First Greenville-built F-16 takes flight

The first successful flight of an F-16 Block 70 fighter jet built in Greenville is in the books.  The plane took off at 9:17 a.m. Eastern time Tuesday, Jan. 24.  Test pilots Dwayne "Pro" Opella and Monessa "Siren" Balzhiser were at the controls.  Balzhiser is the first woman to serve as a test pilot for the company.  Total flight time was approximately 50 minutes and included airworthiness checks such as engine, flight control and fuel system checks, as well as basic aircraft handling.

This F-16 Block 70 is the first of 16 jets to be delivered to Bahrain.  Six countries have selected Block 70/72 aircraft, including Slovakia.  In addition to the current official backlog of 128 jets to date to be built in Greenville, Jordan in 2022 signed a letter of offer and acceptance for eight jets, and last week signed an additional one for four more.  Bulgaria has signed an LOA for an additional eight jets for its fleet.  Once these orders are finalized, the Greenville backlog will increase to 148.

Lockheed Martin moved F-16 production to Greenville in 2019 and has approximately 700 workers at the Upstate site with an average annual economic impact of $100 million to the area.

2023 January 2

graphic not found America's new B-21 Raider has 4 big secrets China wants to steal

First, can the B-21 fly without pilots?  Original acquisition documents called for the B-21 bomber to be "capable of manned and unmanned operations."  Military drones take the man or woman out to save weight and increase endurance flight time.

Second, how do the hidden engines work?  Notice you cannot even see the B-21's engines.  Experts think the B-21 flies with two highly advanced engines, but the glimpse of Raider on Dec. 2 revealed nothing.  The technology to embed engines and muffle their heat flow is one of the most-prized secrets of the B-21 Raider.

Third, the Chinese, Russians and others are wondering about what type of missions the B-21 can carry out.  Upholding the nuclear deterrence triad by training for nuclear weapons delivery will be one vital task.  However, the B-21 with its advanced networking is also primed for a range of conventional missions.

Here's the fourth item:  the B-21 is not the only secret airplane out there.  The Air Force flew a prototype of a new stealth fighter in 2020.  No official pictures have been revealed, but concept art from the Air Force Research Lab showed an almost alien-looking design for the fighter emphasizing both stealth and high speed.  Just as the P-51 Mustang pursuit planes paired with B-17s and B-24s in World War II, the Air Force will have both unmanned wingman drones and a new fighter to go to war with the B-21.

2022 November 29

graphic not found The first F-16 to be built in Greenville, South Carolina

The jet, one of a batch of 16 the company is building for Bahrain, is also the first new-production F-16 in the Block 70/72 configuration and is expected to make its first flight early next year.

In 2017, Lockheed Martin announced it was moving production of the F-16 from its main production facility in Fort Worth, Texas, to Greenville, South Carolina.  This came amid a growing focus on the F-35, which is produced at Fort Worth, and what appeared to be dwindling demand for the Viper.  At the time, this appeared to be a smart move on many levels and one that could help save the F-16 production line from being shuttered altogether.  Since then, interest in the advanced Block 70/72 variants of the F-16 has surged and translated into significant orders for those jets.

graphic not found The Greenville line already has a backlog of 128 F-16s, including the 16 for Bahrain.  Additional Vipers are under construction for Slovakia and Bulgaria, and others are on order for Taiwan and another unspecified country.  The company already predicts the backlog to grow to at least 136 with an expected contract for eight new jets for Jordan.  Bulgaria has also approved plans to purchase a second tranche of the fighters.

The Block 70/72 configuration is based on an advanced upgrade package Lockheed Martin developed for older F-16 Vipers.  Vipers that receive those upgrades, the first examples of which entered service in Taiwan in last year, are re-designated F-16Vs.

Like upgraded V variants, new production Block 70/72 F-16s notably feature Northrop Grumman's AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR), an active electronically scanned array type that is also being refitted to many older U.S. Air Force Vipers, as you can read more about here.  The advanced new-production Vipers have a revised glass cockpit with new digital multi-function displays, updated mission computers, an advanced electronic warfare suite for self-defense, new data links, provisions for the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS), and more. graphic not found

The difference between the Block 70 and 72 sub-variants is the engine, with the former jets featuring the General Electric F110, while the latter are powered by the Pratt & Whitney F100.

Other options are available in combination with the Block 70/72 configuration.

Lockheed Martin expects Block 70/72 F-16 production to significantly ramp up next year at Greenville, and its existing backlog will keep the plant busy into the mid-to-late 2020s.

2022 November 19

'Many years in the making' - Lockheed Martin's first female F-35 test pilot will soon be flying over the Carolinas

In June of 2021, Monessa "Siren" Balzhiser became the first female test pilot for Lockheed Martin, flying both the F-35 and F-16 aircraft.  "In the Air Force, my previous background, I was only in the F-16.  I've had 16 years in it, so it's familiar."

"I'm still amazed at what our company has been able to build with the capability of the F-35 and what it can do, not only for the United States but a lot of the other partners around the world.  To get into either one of the jets, it's exciting."

The Fort Worth-based pilot said she has the opportunity to fly in other airports around the world, including Greece and hopefully, soon, Greenville, South Carolina.  "The F-16 was here in Fort Worth, Texas, and it was moved over to Greenville, South Carolina to revive the F-16 for a lot of our foreign military partners that have purchased the newest block that we have coming out.  So hopefully, you'll see that jet or that aircraft fly.  It's been many years in the making, since we've moved the production line."

As far as being a role model to other kids, she said, "The art of possibility is there, especially when they see it when they see a person or female minority in a flight suit.  It's not out of the realm of something that someone can do.  I think that's the most important thing I can do as a Lockheed Martin ambassador and a female pilot."

As to how Balzhiser got her call sign, "Siren," she explained was due to doing something admittedly "stupid."  "You don't get to name yourself.  Your fellow fighter pilots in your squadron or your unit determine that name for you.  And that generally happens when you're young in the group.  It actually has something to do with me setting off fire sirens.  As a young lieutenant in the Air Force, I emptied out a building of about 1500 people into a blizzard at Hill Air Force Base back in 2007.  So luckily for me, I was able to keep mine cause I love it.  It's grown on me."

2022 April 8

Phone call results in $19 million investment and 43 new jobs for Georgetown, SC, airport

A veteran-owned small business is set to invest $19 million and create 43 jobs in the Georgetown Airport over the next five years.

The jobs include mechanics, piloting and loading.  Sherpa Air's addition to the county airport will double the airport's fuel sales, double the airport's overall annual economic impact and provide an apprenticeship program for Horry-Georgetown Technical College students.

Sherpa Air's parent company, Sherpa 6, is an engineering company that works to enhance soldiers' performance on the battlefield.  Earlier this year, Sherpa 6 added its aviation division, Sherpa Air, to be a support contractor for commercial and government entities.

This announcement comes in tandem with airport's plan to create a development area at the airport to create an aviation-centered business hub and increase airport use.  This project will be centered at a previously unused part of the airport's old runway, and will include the construction of two new private 30,000 square foot hangars and the acquisition of new aircrafts to support business.

"It all started with a phone call from them asking for something we did not have," Taylor said.  "But instead of leaving it at that, we spent eight months and a lot of effort working with them, planning for infrastructure improvements and creating what they need to be successful here in Georgetown County.  That effort has paid off and we believe it will continue to pay off for all involved for some time.  This is an incredible opportunity for Sherpa Air, the county, and our airport."

2022 February 11

Incidents involving lasers illegally aimed at aircraft increased by 41 percent in 2021 over 2020

Pilots reported a total of 9,723 laser incidents in 2021, and 244 laser-related injuries since 2010 when the FAA began recording laser strikes.

The FAA can fine perpetrators of laser attacks on aircraft up to $11,000 per violation and as much as $30,800 in total for multiple incidents. Violators are also subject to criminal penalties—potentially involving jail time—from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

In 2021 the FAA issued fines for laser strikes totaling $120,000.

FAA data on laser strikes can be found here.

Report laser strikes to the FAA here.

2022 February 6

This Flying Car Is Now Officially Approved to Take to the Skies

It's a chimeric hybrid between car and plane.  Literally — the front looks like a slim coupe, while the back has retractable tails and looks like the rear end of a small two-person plane.

The AirCar is capable of flying 600 miles, with a cruising speed of 186 mph and a maximum altitude of 18,000 feet.

Klein Vision hopes to have an upgraded model approved for flight and ready for commercial production in about a year.

2021 December 31

Private aviation boomed during the pandemic and the industry is reshaping itself with new business jets to keep up with growing demand

Private jets boomed during the start of the pandemic as customers sought travel perceived as safer.

Experts say the convenience of private jets and the reduction of airline connectivity also contributed to the surge.

Several aircraft manufacturers have introduced new private jet models and concepts this year in response to demand.

Business aviation take-off and landings in the US are up 40% year-over-year.

2021 December 24

Is Santa's Sleigh Airworthy?

Get the inside scoop on the one-of-a-kind experimental aircraft and behind-the-scenes ops.

Santa gave us a virtual tour of the North Pole hangar, starting with Mission Control, where a team of elf meteorologists, engineers, reindeer technicians, payload specialists, and mechanics prepared the famous sled for the big night.

How NORAD Tracks Santa's Sleigh

NORAD (the North American Air Defense Command) command keeps tabs on St. Nick's Christmas Eve movements by using a webbed network of satellites, heat-seeking sensors and, of course, fighter jets.

NORAD's flight-tracking data is used to rendezvous with Santa's sleigh off the coast of Newfoundland in order to welcome him to North America

"As Santa proceeds west through North American airspace, the Canadian NORAD CF-18s conduct handoffs with their American F-15 and F-16 counterparts until reaching Alaska where F-22s conclude Santa's North American escort over the Pacific Ocean."

2021 September 28

House Passes Amendment Reversing FAA Instruction Policy

Bipartisan legislation will now make its way to the Senate.  An amendment to reverse the FAA's reinterpretation of flight instruction as an activity for compensation or hire is on its way to the Senate after being passed by the House late last week.  The amendment, put forth by Reps, Kai Kahele, D-Hawaii, and Sam Graves, R-Mo., was added to the National Defense Authorization Act.

The amendment reverses the FAA's reinterpretation of flight training policy that came as a result of an emergency cease-and-desist order levied at a warbird operator in Florida in 2020.

In April of 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals dismissed a petition for review of the FAA's emergency cease-and-desist order against Warbird Adventures, a Florida-based company.  The FAA ordered that it cease operating its limited category aircraft in violation of §91.315, which states that no persons may operate a limited category aircraft carrying persons or property for compensation or hire.  In July, the FAA issued a training directive requiring operators of certain categories of aircraft to obtain a letter of deviation authority (LODA) in order to conduct flight training.

The directive reversed 60 years of policy that had flight instruction outside of commercial activities.

Pilots and instructors who wish to voice their opinion on the amendment should contact their Senator.

B-52 Engine Replacement Contract Announced

Rolls-Royce's new engines are expected to extend use of the bomber for at least three decades.

Rolls-Royce Corp. has been awarded a $500 million, six-year contract to provide commercial replacement engines for the B-52H Stratofortress.

The new engines are expected to extend the lifespan of the fleet of long-range heavy bombers that are currently powered by 1960s-era engines for another three decades.

The upgrades are expected to boost fuel efficiency and extend their range, while also reducing their emissions and maintenance costs.

The engines will be built at its Indianapolis plant, where the company says 150 new high-tech, high-skilled jobs will be created.

The first two modified B-52s are expected to undergo ground and flight testing upon delivery by the end of 2025.  The first lot of operational aircraft outfitted with the new engines will be delivered by the end of 2028, and the entire B-52H fleet is expected to be modified by 2035.

2021 September 22

Microphone Detects Turbulence Hundreds of Miles Away

Much like how infrared light consists of frequencies that aren't visible to the naked eye, there's an audio analogue called infrasound.  Infrasound consists of pitches too low to be heard by the human ear, between 0.001 and 20 hertz.

The sudden turbulence sometimes experienced when flying is called clear-air turbulence, so named because there are no visible clouds or atmospheric features to warn of the disruption.  Turbulent invisible air can seemingly come out of nowhere and wreak havoc on aircraft.

Clear-air turbulence has a definite infrasound signature.  If air traffic controllers or pilots could listen in on these whirling vortices before airplanes encounter them, an alternate route could be plotted.

When the test microphones were placed in an equidistant triangular pattern, they were able to pick up and locate atmospheric turbulence more than 300 miles away.

A balloon-launched glider have taken microphones to heights of more than 100,000 feet, from which they slowly makes their way back down to Earth.  Initial testing saw the microphone perform well, even with rushing wind whipping past the UAV.

It is hoped that the data provided by the infrasonic microphone will become ubiquitous in detecting and forecasting turbulence, air traffic control decision-making, and aviation route planning.

2021 September 5

US Military Video Shows Hypersonic Aircraft Test Flight

The U.S. military released new details today (Aug. 25) about the recent test flight of a super-fast prototype aircraft, the unmanned Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2), billed as the fastest aircraft ever built, along with a video showing the vehicle streaking through the sky at more than 20 times the speed of sound (about 13,000 mph) in controlled flight.

2021 July 17

ATC-Pilot Forum at Greenville Downtown Airport (GMU) — July 17 @ 9:30 am - 11:30 am

All pilots are invited to a Pilot - ATC forum to be held at 9:30am on Saturday, July 17th, in the Greenville Jet hangar on the East Ramp at GMU.  For those arriving by car, the address is 100 Aviation Lane, Greenville, South Carolina.  If flying in, use taxiway Foxtrot due to maintenance.

Controllers from GSP Tower and Approach, GMU Tower, and GYH Tower have all agreed to be present.  We will begin with introductions and let them briefly explain their roles and their interactions in such a complicated airspace.  A general question-and-answer period will follow.

The success of the air traffic system and its ongoing availability and use by General Aviation relies on maintaining a good pilot-ATC rapport, particularly as new GA pilots and new Controllers become part of the system.  For the air traffic system to be a success, both pilots and ATC have to build and maintain the rapport on which that success depends.

This meeting's purpose is to improve each others' understanding of their interests with regard to flights and how pilots and ATC can best work together to everyone's benefit.  The goal is for both sides to come out of this meeting with a greater preference to be in communication with each other vs. preferring to avoid communication.

FAASTeam is working to set up Wings credit for those attending.

See this announcement on these websites:  South Carolina Breakfast Club, South Carolina Aviation Association, SocialFlight, and AOPA.

The meeting was a great success.  More than 70 pilots showed up to talk with ATC from GSP, GMU, and GYH.

16 April 2021

New Supersonic Airliner Will Fly From NYC to London in Less Than an Hour

Aerion said the AS3 will make its first flight before the end of the decade, with the ability to fly up to 50 passengers for 7,000 miles, reaching speeds of Mach 4-plus.

The company has created a "boomless" technology that will do away with sonic booms.

Aerion has already been working on the design of the smaller AS2 supersonic business jet for years and says production will begin in 2023.  The company is building a new 100-acre headquarters and production facility in Melbourne, Fla., where it says it will produce 300 AS2 jets.  It also recently announced that NetJets, the world's largest fractional provider, has pre-ordered 20 AS2s.

14 March 2021

Air travel highest since March 15, 2020

The Transportation Security Administration processed its largest number of travelers since March 15, 2020, on Friday, as more Americans get vaccinated.

TSA processed 1.357 million people -- more than the 1.257 million people nearly a year ago -- around the time states started ordering COVID-19 lockdowns.

The agency was processing more than 2 million travelers every day in March 2019.

2020 December 22

Boeing Extends 737 Max Sales Streak as Alaska Boosts Order

Alaska Air Group Inc. boosted an order agreement to 68 jets and announced plans to return to a mainline fleet with a single aircraft type.  The airline will stop flying 20 of its Airbus SE A320-family planes immediately, prompting a one-time charge of as much as $250 million this quarter to return the aircraft.  Alaska will end the year with 31 Airbus jets, which it got from buying Virgin America four years ago.

"There is a huge advantage to a simple, single fleet structure," Alaska Chief Executive Officer Brad Tilden said.  Before the Virgin America deal, Alaska had a long history as an all-Boeing operator.

2020 December 10

Chuck Yeager Leaves a Legacy of Speed

Chuck Yeager died of natural causes on December 7, 2020, at age 97.

The aviation pioneer broke the sound barrier on October 14, 1947, and logged many supersonic flight milestones in his history-making career.

To pilots, his bravery and skill made the Mach 1 flight in the Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis only one of his many contributions to aviation.

2020 December 2

Ryanair close to new Boeing 737 MAX jetliner order

Budget giant Ryanair is set to place a hefty order for up to 75 additional Boeing 737 MAX jets, throwing a commercial lifeline to the embattled U.S. planemaker after regulators lifted a 20-month safety ban.

Europe's largest low-cost carrier has been negotiating for months with Boeing over whether to exercise an option for 75 jets, lifting its total MAX order as high as 210 aircraft, as part of a compensation deal for delays caused by the grounding.

An order from one of Boeing's largest customers is a pivotal moment in efforts by the company to rehabilitate the MAX, once its fastest-selling model.  Each MAX is worth about $125 million at list prices, making a deal for up to 75 jets worth as much as $9 billion.  Ryanair is expected to win discounts closer to two thirds in return for a headline-grabbing relaunch of the MAX that helps fill gaps left by cancellations.

2020 November 18

Boeing Max Cleared to Fly as FAA Lifts Long U.S. Grounding

Boeing Co.'s 737 Max can safely return to the skies with an extensive package of fixes, U.S. regulators ruled, after a scarring 20-month hiatus prompted by a pair of fatal crashes.

The actions, announced Wednesday by the Federal Aviation Administration, mark the end to the longest grounding of a jetliner in U.S. history and set the stage for airlines and other regulators around the world to resume passenger service with the plane.

A criminal probe by the U.S. Justice Department continues.  Frayed relations with the FAA threaten to result in fines or other penalties and the Securities and Exchange Commission also has an open investigation.  Meanwhile, the Covid-19 pandemic has crushed the airline industry, prompting airlines to cancel orders.

2020 November 11

South Carolina Aviation Association Autumn Newsletter

10 November 2020

737 Max Could Be Cleared For Flight Next Week.

27 October 2020

Socialism vs. the Business Jet

"A guy looked at my airplane the other day and said I wonder how many people I could have fed for the price of that airplane..."

I replied, "I am not sure, it fed a lot of families at the Dassault factory where it was built.  I'm sure it fed a bunch of families that rolled the aluminum at the Alcoa factory.  It surely fed a lot of people at the Honeywell factory where the experts built the turbines.  It fed a whole company for a few weeks when I had them build me a new interior.  It feeds the families of the linemen that fuel it.

"That's the difference between capitalism and a welfare mentality. When you buy something, you put money in people's pockets, and give them dignity for their skills.

"When you give someone something for nothing, you rob them of their dignity and self-worth.

"Capitalism is freely giving your money in exchange for something of value.

"Socialism is taking your money against your will and shoving something down your throat that you never asked for."

It goes further.  The owner did not go on to mention that the jet is a tool which enables him to stay competitive in his own business.  Timely interaction with his customers is crucial to being competitive and obtaining the sales contracts which will mean payments and ongoing operations to his company.  That in turn means that, because of that business jet, all his employees stay employed.  In any business, the cost of tools like an airplane must continually be justified, by generating more revenue and income than is consumed by their cost - they must create profit.

With socialism, you have to endlessly continue to give people the food and other things they need to survive.  They live in grinding poverty, and the money you take from others to feed them grinds those others down into poverty, resulting in general economic decline, until everything is gone and life is reduced to savagery.

Of course, Socialists do not believe in profit.  That is why socialism always and inevitably fails.  Profit is necessary to human survival.

Without a business jet, profitability would be more difficult to achieve and maintain. : Business jets are signs of prosperity.

18 October 2020

American Airlines plans to return Boeing 737 Max to service at year-end

American Airlines Group plans to return Boeing 737 Max jets to service for passenger flights by the end of this year depending on certifictaion of the aircraft from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  The airline said it will operate a daily 737 Max flight between Miami and New York from Dec. 29 to Jan. 4, with flights available for booking from Oct. 24.

"We remain in contact with the FAA and Boeing on the certification process and we'll continue to update our plans based on when the aircraft is certified," the company said in a statement.

9 October 2020

The Animated Reenactment of the Last Two Minutes of Colgan Flight 3407 Bombardier DHC-8-400, N200WQ, at Clarence Center, New York, February 12, 2009

1 October 2020

'I like what I saw,' U.S. FAA chief on Boeing 737 MAX test flight

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Chief Steve Dickson conducted a nearly two-hour evaluation flight at the controls of a Boeing 737 MAX on Wednesday, a milestone for the jet to win approval to resume flying after two fatal crashes.

Dickson, a former military and commercial pilot, and other FAA and Boeing pilots landed shortly before 11 a.m. local time (1800 GMT) at King County International Airport - also known as Boeing Field - in the Seattle area.  But he is not ready to give the jet a clean bill of health, with FAA reviews still ongoing.

If Dickson's flight and broader reviews go well, the FAA is seen as likely to lift its U.S. grounding order in November, putting the MAX on a path to resume commercial service potentially before year-end.

30 September 2020

Boeing to move all 787 Dreamliner production to South Carolina

Earlier this year, Boeing said it would slash production of passenger jets and cut its workforce by about 10%.  As the pandemic worsened in the U.S. and air-travel demand remained deeply depressed, Boeing said it was weighing cuts beyond the 19,000 already earmarked.  Boeing has assembled the 787 Dreamliner in Everett, Wash., since the first of the popular widebodies rolled off the line there over a decade ago.  It announced plans in 2009 for a second line in North Charleston, S.C., a right-to-work state where attempts to unionize the workforce haven't succeeded.

Consolidating Dreamliner production in South Carolina would mark another step in the shift of the U.S. aerospace industry to southern states from the West Coast.  Companies have already shed thousands of jobs in California while states including the Carolinas, Florida and Alabama have attracted aerospace businesses with less-clogged infrastructure and cheaper, nonunionized labor.

Boeing employs more than 7,000 workers in North Charleston, where it also has an engine-research facility.  That compares with almost 70,000 staff in Washington, including around 30,000 at the sprawling Everett plant.  The Everett plant, where Boeing also produces 767s and 747s, produced around 15 widebody jets a month at its peak, which would drop to around six and fall further with the 747 program due to end in 2022 and output of the new 777X reduced as Boeing delayed first deliveries until 2022.

After boosting Dreamliner production last year to 14 a month—split evenly between Everett and South Carolina—Boeing has reduced output to 10 and plans to make six a month next year.

With the narrow-body 737 MAX grounded for over a year since two fatal crashes, building and selling more 787s has been crucial to Boeing's financial recovery.  The company has orders for 526 of the planes and has delivered almost 1,000.  The twin-engine plane overcame years of delays and cost overruns to become a bestseller and is expected to overtake Boeing's 777 and the Airbus A330 as the most popular wide body jet by 2023, according to analysts at Jefferies.  Airlines are retiring older 777s and A330s in favor of the smaller 787 and Airbus A350.

2020 September 7

Aviation A Smaller Contributor To Climate Change Than Previously Thought

Nitrogen oxides emitted in aircraft exhaust increase the production of ozone, a major greenhouse gas, but they also destroy methane, a big contributor to atmospheric warming.  Also contrails heat and cool the planet at the same time by trapping atmospheric heat while reflecting sunlight.  The net result is that contrails are only about half as bad as previously thought.

Density Altitude for the Pilot

2020 August 29

Lockheed Martin - Celebrating 35 Years in Greenville, South Carolina

2020 August 19

Private flights see rise in demand amid coronavirus pandemic

For those that can afford it, private charter flights provide several benefits for the weary traveler

Due to the current COVID-19 health crisis, the air travel industry has seen a significant decline in interest for commercial flights amid public uneasiness concerning safety and well-being, as well as travel mandates that recommend against, or outright prohibit, visiting certain destinations.

Private charter flights have actually seen an increase in business during the pandemic. The Robb Report reports that some charter companies have actually seen a rise in bookings of 25% this year.  Many of these new customers are reportedly first-time private fliers.

"With check-in, security and access to bathrooms and food, there are about 700 touchpoints that travelers can be exposed to when traveling commercially," said Ian Moore, the chief commercial officer at VistaJet.  "Meanwhile, private aviation offers a seamless and effective private terminal process with only 20 touchpoints."

Commercial air travel has been significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.  On average, flights to each state in the U.S. saw a 50% decline in departures between July 2019 and July 2020.

2020 August 13

Air Force helicopter hit by gunfire while flying over Virginia, forced to make emergency landing

A crew member injured in the incident was treated and released from a hospital

The squadron is known for its role in providing transportation for federal government and foreign dignitaries, as well as conducting evacuations and rescues.  In 1957, the unit became the first helicopter squadron to fly an American president when it picked up President Dwight D. Eisenhower on the White House lawn, according to Air Force Magazine.

The UH-1N Huey helicopter, assigned to the 1st Helicopter Squadron at Joint Base Andrews, was flying about 1,000 feet off the ground about 10 miles northwest of Manassas Regional Airport.  The helicopter was practicing an instrument landing when it was struck.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into the incident.

2020 July 30

SC Aviation Week is August 15-22

Aviation Week exists to promote airports and SC's aviation industry by highlighting the impacts our airports and related businesses have on our state's economy.  The week is a partnership between the SC Aeronautics Commission and SC Aviation Association.  Gov. Henry McMaster has proclaimed August 15-22, 2020, South Carolina Aviation Week.

See the Aviation Week Schedule of Events.

2020 July 29

Palmetto Aviation Summer 2020 newsletter of the South Carolina Aviation Association

2020 July 19

Lockheed Martin wins $15B Air Force contract for Super Hercules

The U.S. Air Force on Friday announced it had awarded Lockheed Martin a $15 billion contract for its C-130J Super Hercules aircraft.

The C-130J can carry tons of supplies more than 3,000 miles, according to the company, and can operate with only two pilots and a loadmaster for most missions.

Work on the contract will be performed in Marietta, Georgia - and is scheduled for completion in July 2030.

2020 June 13

NTSB report:  Pilots killed in Greenville plane crash chose to fly despite brake problems

A co-pilot's willful decision to fly a plane with a faulty brake system led to the crash that killed him and another pilot at the Greenville Downtown Airport nearly two years ago,

"Before the accident flight, the airplane had been in long-term storage for several years and was in the process of undergoing maintenance to bring the airplane back to a serviceable condition, which in part required the completion of several inspections, an overhaul of the landing gear, and the resolution of over 100 other unresolved discrepancies."

2020 June 12

Citation 550 Crew Experiences Double Engine Failure

Failure traced to fueling problem.

The pilot-in-command declared an emergency and the crew performed a successful no-engine straight-in approach through a broken cloud deck to Runway 19 and landed safely.  Neither of the two airline transport pilots, the two medical crew, or the three passengers onboard were injured.

2020 June 8

Flight Paths Forward:  The Future Of Business And General Aviation

Plummeting activity due to COVID-19 hit fixed-base operators (FBO) and airports.  Fuel sales collapsed.  "The market just fell off a cliff.  FBOs dropped to pumping 2% of what they were doing.  In the last two weeks, we've seen more activity by the Part 135 operators and the FBOs."

COVID-19 has triggered another downturn, but the industry believes the market will recover and may actually benefit in the aftermath of the pandemic.

2020 April 29

COVID-19 Restrictions by State

from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)

2020 April 16

At least 20 planes destroyed at Walterboro airport after possible tornado

2020 April 8

Palmetto Aviation Spring 2020 newsletter of the South Carolina Aviation Association

2020 April 6

America's Air Traffic Control System Is Suffering Crippling Shutdowns Due To COVID-19

2020 March 25

See wingtip-vortices with low-pass and smoke!

2020 March 18

Caution - XM weather and ADS/B weather data is at least several minutes old when you see it!

2020 January 11

A380 Program Moves Into Operational Support, Aftermarket Phase

2019 May 27

On autopilot: 'Pilots are losing their basic flying skills,' some fear after Boeing 737 Max crashes
        "We've been talking about this in the industry for years. Pilots are losing their basic flying skills, and there's an overreliance on automation,"

Those pilots clearly need to fly into an SCBC breakfast once in a while. Flying skills is what the Breakfast Club is all about - that, and fellowship, and seeing all the airplanes, and having an enjoyable and delicious breakfast, and getting to fly, and just plain having fun.

2018 June 23

In Memoriam - Gerald Ballard, President, South Carolina Breakfast Club, 1979-2017

Gerald Ballard was the President of the South Carolina Breakfast Club from 1979 until his final flight off into the sunset, on December 5th, 2017 - almost half of the entire time that SCBC has been in existence. He was 78 years old. The memorial service was held on December 11th, 2017. A memorial fly-in is scheduled for June 23rd, 2018, at Twin Lakes Airpark, at his hangar.

Gerald dedicated a large part of his time to making sure the Breakfast Club was always a great thing to be involved with, and each fly-in a good reason to go flying. His stories always held our interest, and they were the kind of stories that, while you hoped they were not really true, knowing Gerald, they probably were.

Don't miss the Gerald Ballard Retrospective webpage.

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