Episode 25

COVID-19 requires airports and airlines to rethink procedures. Air travel involves crowds and shared spaces. Cleaning and other processes from curb to curb need to be adapted to ensure the safety of the flying public.

 

Lisa Kay, COO Environmental Health Services Group, NV5, leads a team that works with organizations to ensure cleaning procedures are done properly based on CDC, EPA and other guidance. She talks with Greg and John about current and emerging options that can help make airports and airplanes safe.

 

From air filtration, to approved cleaning products, to anti-viral coatings to emerging technologies, the discussion covers the issues faced. Even the right solutions need to be applied properly by trained staff equipped with the right PPE.

 

John and Greg raise important considerations and use their experiences as passengers to look for the best solutions.  

Episode 24

Most aircraft are not getting used as often due to coronavirus-related restrictions. The Flight Safety Detectives explore the safety issues created by parking and storing airplanes of all sizes.
 
Airplanes are machines that like to be used. Counter-intuitively, there is actually greater potential for things to break with lack of use.
 
Greg and John bring two experts into the conversation: Jason Lukasik, president of JL2 Aviation Consultants, and Ken MacTiernan, PAMA board member and a 32-year aviation maintenance technician for American Airlines.
 
These veterans of daily use and maintenance as well as safety investigations highlight how to prepare aircraft for short term parking as well as longer term storage or “pickling.” The biggest enemy is moisture and corrosion.
 
Listen and learn what needs to be done to ensure airplanes can be operated safety after storage. For large airliners doing it right means 60-100 man hours of effort!
 
Once again, Greg and John talk about the issues impacting commercial, business and general aviation that are otherwise overlooked.

Episode 23

As the world looks to get back on track, front and center is the need to maintain protections to prevent the spread of coronavirus. This is a challenge for the aviation industry that does not yet have a clear answer.

Greg, John and guest Dr. Joe Kravitz explore some options. They outline what is known about preventing the spread of viruses and the very real challenges of ensuring safety of crew members and passengers in air cabins.

Dr. Kravitz discusses the science behind the protocols he uses to assure safety and hygiene in his dental practice. The conversation highlights the challenge of disinfecting aircraft, the downsides of solutions that are being discussed, and what’s needed to truly provide a measure of safety.

COVID-19 will change air travel. This is one in a series of episodes where Greg and John explore the many implications.

Episode 22

Greg and John take a deep dive into the accident investigation process related to engines with guest Jason Lukasik, president of JL2 Aviation Consultants in Eagle River, Alaska.

Jason shares his experiences in two roles. He was the air safety representative for an engine manufacturer. He also served with the FAA. He shares first-hand accounts of how engines are assessed and analyzed from the first moments of an investigation.

Listen as Greg, John and Jason tear down engines, looking for the important details that contribute to an accident. They also talk about the safety insights and enforcement actions that can result.

April 20, 2020

Who’s Investigating?

Episode 21

NTSB and FAA investigators are not deemed “essential” for the purposes of coronavirus guidance. That’s a huge concern for John and Greg as well as special guest Jason Lukasik, president of JL2 Aviation Consultants in Eagle River, Alaska.

Investigations of new accidents are all but on hold. Only basic information is being collected as personnel work from home. This even though investigators have biohazard training, proper protective equipment and the knowledge to conduct onsite investigations in a safe manner.

Perishable information is being lost as accidents are cleared and witnesses go without being interviewed. The NTSB and FAA say they plan to take up the backlog when operations get back to normal, but the work is sure to be much harder – and less insightful – as time passes.

There’s another wrinkle for the long term – the aviation industry role in providing expertise to crash investigations is dwindling. In the early 2000s, most manufacturers staffed up to have dedicated experts that contributed to crash investigations. This helped everyone identify root cases and safety issues more quickly.

Even before the heavy economic impacts of COVID-19, strapped manufacturers have not been back-filling investigator positions. That situation is certain to get worse as they deal with the losses from weeks and months of being all but shut down.

John, Greg and Jason share cases from their personal experiences to illustrate the risks and impacts these changes can have on air safety. They discuss the certain and urgent need to shift to new ways of handling air crashes and safety issues.

Photo caption: Once wreckage is removed from an accident site, investigations become more challenging. Photo: NTSB.

Episode 20

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Parked airplanes, photos courtesy of Ishrion Aviation

The corona virus pandemic will impact all aspects of aviation. Will the industry bounce back? Will it look the same?

The flying public will have increased safety concerns and expectations. Airlines will have to deal with impacts on planes, crews and procedures. John and Greg explore these implications and much more.

Some predictions:

  • Fleets will be reshaped, with planned retirements of 767s and other older planes accelerated
  • The anticipated pilot shortage will not be as acute, with fewer planes flying
  • Business travel will decrease with remote work and telecommuting becoming more common
  • New procedures will be needed for cleaning airplanes that prevents spread of the virus

The traveling public will need to be reassured that flying is safe. Social distancing and greater understanding of how viruses spread will change the way everyone looks at flying for work or pleasure. Airlines, airports, government and more will need to restore the confidence of the traveling public.

Episode 19

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John Goglia, center, with Tamarack’s Jacob Klinginsmith (left) and Nick Guida

Guests Nick Guida and Jacob Klinginsmith from Tamarack Aerospace Group talk about the company’s patented active winglets. Installed now on 100 Citation Jets, the winglets have proven to offer better climb, more range, and less fuel burn.

Active Winglets add up to 33 percent fuel savings on general aviation aircraft and at least double or triple fuel savings percentage on commercial or most military airframes. 

Greg and John discuss the genesis of the idea, the impact for pilots, the effect on aircraft performance, and the environmental benefits of the active winglet technology. They look at the potential for military, commercial and general aviation.

They also explore a 2018 accident involving a Citation Jet equipped with active winglets. Despite initial negative press, the Tamarack technology was cleared for flight. Guida and Klinginsmith share lessons learned and ongoing efforts to work with the FAA to get out accurate information.

 

About Tamarack

Tamarack designs and develops innovative technology for business, commercial, and military aircraft, specializing in its revolutionary Active Winglets. Tamarack winglets create performance and fuel efficiencies that make aircraft more cost effective for operators and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. More information is at the Tamarack website.

Episode 18

Loretta Alkalay, a retired regional counsel for the FAA Eastern Region, is known as the “drone queen” for her passion as a drone user. She is this episode’s special guest as John and Greg explore all things drone.

Drones are an exciting way to get kids, and especially girls, involved in aviation at a time when the industry needs to build a pipeline of new talent. However, their use for commercial purposes, privacy concerns, and other issues have led to confusion and a rush for regulation.

John, Greg, and Loretta talk about current regulations as well as the FAA’s proposed rule on remote ID for drones.

They also bust some myths:

  • Drones can legally fly above 400 feet
  • It is not illegal for drones to fly within 5 miles of an airport

Learn more about the current state of drones in the US in this lively episode. Also check out the referenced resources, Women Who Drone and Women and Drones.

Episode 17

The Department of Transportation’s Inspector General’s office recently issued a scathing report about failures in Southwest Airlines’ safety practices and culture. The report also criticizes the Federal Aviation Administration’s inspectors and leaders assigned to monitor Southwest for lax and ineffective safety oversight of the airline.
 
John and Greg discuss the issues found at Southwest, and broaden the discussion to US air safety practices in general. Air safety has been so good for so long -- are we getting dangerously complacent?
 
John and Greg discuss recent and historical incidents and lay out the need for a reinvigorated commitment to safety procedures.
 
The episode wraps with a new “What Would You Do” challenge that stems from the recent helicopter crash in California. If you were the pilot of a helicopter with a high-profile customer on board and deteriorating conditions, what would you do? Share your answer with John and Greg at flightsafetydetectives@gmail.com.

Episode 16

 
The fatal Jan. 26, 2020, Sikorsky Helicopter Crash near Calabasas, California is the latest high-profile NTSB investigation. John and Greg use the unfortunate tragedy to look at the facts known so far and also to explain the NTSB investigative process.
 
They give listeners behind the scenes insight into what happens from the first moments after an accident. John and Greg share examples from the many investigations they have been part of to review what is known and what remains to be learned in this case.
 
The NTSB has already shared an update and some video footage from the investigation.
 

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