Don Hudson

Donating Member
  • Content Count

    5,621
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    146

Posts posted by Don Hudson

  1. dagger, I haven't had a detailed look at the aircraft or read all threads covering the A220 so perhaps the question is covered in earlier posts about the C-series and the A220 post-Airbus' takeover. The question regards the additional value of CCQ & reduced training footprints for those carriers that have other Airbus types. Does CCQ apply to the A220 for those crews trained on the A320/A321, (either active or had been 320-trained at one time), or does the aircraft require a new type-rating/training etc.?

     

  2. Apparently VA declared a profit only twice in ten years, accumulating AUS$5b in debt. No wonder the Aussie gov't wouldn't touch it, & the banks are ahead of the shareholders in the cents-on-the-dollar calculation.

    This is before and beyond the current terrible forces unleashed by this virus, so the notions laissez-faire vs. bail-outs are less academic and instead are particularly stark against the world's political economies, reeling.

  3. https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/virgin-australia-set-for-voluntary-administration-20200420-p54lcd.html

    Virgin Australia set for voluntary administration

    By Patrick Hatch, Sarah Danckert, David Crowe and Kylar Loussikian

    Updated April 20, 2020 — 8.09pmfirst published at 4.46pm

    Virgin Australia is preparing to go into voluntary administration, unable to survive under the weight of enormous debts and starved of cash by the coronavirus travel shutdown.

    The Morrison government's refusal of financial support sealed Virgin's fate and the government now plans to wait out the process to see if taxpayers' money is needed to keep it flying.

    The pandemic has thrown Virgin Australia into financial strife. Credit:Darren England - AAP

    Virgin did not return calls on Monday afternoon. One board member declined to comment when contacted.

    Virgin employs around 10,000 people directly and supports another 6000 jobs indirectly, who will face an uncertain future when the airline officially appoints administrators, expected to happen on Tuesday morning.

    Related Article

    Analysis

    Aviation

    Why the government isn't racing to stop Virgin's voluntary administration

    The collapse will also send shockwaves through Australia’s travel and tourism sectors which were already reeling from the devastating twin hits of the summer bushfires and the pandemic.

    The airline grounded almost its entire fleet and stood down most staff weeks ago and only restarted a minimum network of 64 government-subsidised domestic flights last week.

    Virgin's board of directors were meeting on Monday and one well-placed source said the announcement of it going into administration was "imminent".

    The airline is saddled with around $5 billion in debt and was running out of money as the coronavirus pandemic forced it to almost completely shut down its business.

    The company being reborn through a deed of company arrangement struck in administration is "the airline's only chance", said a source familiar with Virgin's struggles.

    In administration, an independent party will assess Virgin’s position and negotiate with shareholders and creditors about the best outcome for the business.

    3:47

    Coronavirus: Virgin to go into voluntary administration

    Virgin Australia is preparing to go into voluntary administration, leaving uncertain the future of 10,000 workers.

    That could include finding new owners to take over the airline and keep it operating or, if that is not possible, selling its remaining assets to pay off as many creditors as possible.

    Creditors - including banks, aircraft lessors, customers with credits from cancelled bookings or frequent flyer points and staff owed entitlements - may only receive cents in the dollar for what they are owed.

    Related Article

    Coronavirus pandemic

    Capitalism under fire as weak firms bailed out in a world without risk

    The already financially struggling Virgin was paralysed by the coronavirus crisis. It asked the federal government for a $1.4 billion loan to see it through the crisis but was rebuffed, while its major airline shareholders - also rocked by the pandemic - would not put more cash into the company.

    Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways, the Chinese conglomerates HNA and Nanshan, and Richard Branson's Virgin Group own 90 per cent of company, with the remainder owned by investors on the ASX.

    Simon Lutton, executive director of the Australian Federation of Air Pilots, which represents most of Virgin’s 1500 pilots, called on the government to support Virgin and its employees through the administration process to ensure the country had two airlines.

    “Australia needs a competitive and strong airline industry, we can’t have one that is dominated by one player,” Mr Lutton said.

    "One way or another it needs to make sure we have a sound and viable competitor [to Qantas].”

    The administration process will see some of Virgin's debts wiped and aircraft leases renegotiated, making it a more attractive aquisition for a new owner.

    One potential private equity buyer could be BGH, which has been named as a party that could be interested in salvaging Virgin.

    Australia's number two airline had already appointed Deloitte to looking at potential restructuring options and the accounting firm is expected to run the administration process.

    Already Virgin had stood down around 8000 employees to try to slow its cash burn during the health crisis and announced around 1000 redundancies, including all pilots at its low-cost arm Tigerair and all New Zealand-based crew.

    Related Article

    Qantas and Virgin Australia to fly government-backed domestic network

    The airline had meanwhile tried to broker a deal with the Queensland and NSW state governments about financial support, with a minor bidding war breaking out between the two states on Monday over where the Brisbane-based group should be headquartered.

    The Morrison government is planning to allow the voluntary administrators to restructure the company and come to arrangements with shareholders and lenders before any decision on whether to put taxpayer funds at risk.

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison met cabinet colleagues in Canberra on Monday afternoon as Virgin prepared to enter voluntary administration, but government sources played down any chance of an imminent rescue package.

    Labor infrastructure spokeswoman Catherine King called on the government to put money into the company with a line of credit.

    Related Article

    Opinion

    Aviation

    Virgin's racing against time and the government needs to act

    “What we do know is if the government doesn't act, if this company goes into voluntary administration, there are 16,000 workers who will be seeking JobSeeker assistance," she said.

    “Frankly, we know the government has the capacity today to save this airline.”

    But the government does not have an imminent rescue proposal and does not want to inject cash or offer a debt guarantee when the company is yet to restructure its existing equity and debt.

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has made it clear the government wants a two-airline industry in Australia but that any assistance is for the industry as a whole, rather than favouring one company over another.

    “I understand and know that there are all sorts of commercial discussions going on right now,” Mr Morrison said last Friday.

    “And the worst thing I could do as a Prime Minister or as a government is get in the way of that.”

    Virgin has been struggling financially as it revenented itself over the past decade from the budget airline Virgin Blue to a full-service carrier competing directly with Qantas for lucrative corporate passengers.

    The airline was loss making for each of the past seven years, haemorrhaging a combined total of $1.9 billion. Virgin’s chief executive Paul Scurrah was appointed from outside the company just over a year ago and was cutting unprofitable routes and slashing business costs to try to stop it from bleeding cash.

    But the company was still in too weak a position to last through the coronavirus pandemic, which has ravaged the airline industry globally and prompted mass government bailouts.

     

  4. New MAX Autopilot Requirement Addresses Emergency-Checklist Conflict 

    AW&ST

    Sean Broderick April 14, 2020

    The latest version of the Boeing 737 MAX master minimum equipment list (MMEL) corrects a conflict between the original MMEL’s allowances and pilot troubleshooting steps that allowed flights with no functioning autopilot, even as a checklist calls for autopilot engagement to correct flight-control issue. 

    Changes proposed in a draft version, posted in December 2019 for public comment, targeted issues related to updated flight control computer (FCC) software in the wake of two fatal MAX accidents and software changes mandated by regulators. Among them: having both control wheel-mounted electric horizontal stabilizer trim switches as well as the Speed Trim Fail light operable for dispatch. 

    The most notable addition to the new MMEL is that MAXs will now require at least one working autopilot. The change, which was not included in draft versions, has nothing to do with the MAX accidents and subsequent FCC changes. Rather, one of the MAX’s non-normal checklists requires pilots to engage the autopilot to troubleshoot the issue. 

    The scenario is linked to the MAX’s fly-by-wire spoiler system, one of the changes Boeing made to the 737 Next Generation design. When the MAX’s elevator-jam landing assist system is active and spoilers are extended, pilots are told to use the “ASSIST ON” non-normal checklist. One of the steps: engage one autopilot system to retract the spoilers, and then use autopilot “as needed.” 

    The original MAX MMEL, approved in 2018, allowed dispatch without either autopilot functioning so long as the planned route times were not too long, routes and approaches avoid airspace that require an autopilot, and the pilots, which face higher workloads when hand-flying, did not object. All other 737s, which are covered under a different MMEL, have similar conditions.  

    But the MAX’s new spoiler system and associated checklist created a conflict—use of an autopilot even though one was not always required to be functioning—that went unnoticed until operators began reviewing the proposed MMEL revision. MAX operator FlyDubai pointed out the change, according to a summary of the comments the FAA received on the draft. 

    “As a result of considerations related to this comment and recommendation, MMEL dispatch option 22-10-01B”—the no-autopilot provision—“has been removed,” the FAA said. 

    Requiring a functioning autopilot meant mandating several related functions that were previously not required for dispatch. They include having a working autopilot engage command switch, indicator light, aural disengage warning system, disengage light, and control wheel disengage switch. 

    The agency added that the autopilot restrictions could be revised if Boeing modifies the elevator-jam assist procedures and updates the checklist. The FAA said a subsequent update to the MAX MMEL is in the works and will be released after the model returns to service. 
     

    Sean Broderick

    Senior Air Transport & Safety Editor Sean Broderick covers aviation safety, MRO, and the airline business from Aviation Week Network's Washington, D.C. office. 

    BOEING 737 MAX

  5. Hi Specs, there certainly is - Glen Pearce, a captain in VR, (recently retired), arranged to have this aircraft barged over to Victoria from YVR where it had been stored for years, (not too far from the Flying Beaver). I believe the aircraft is now restored - Glen is a huge supporter (and collector) of old aircraft.

    • Like 1
    • Thanks 1
  6. Fido...we had hail & snow here in White Rock last week...not enough to roll an Easter snowman but a reminder that it was still March! 😉 I remember snow in April/May in Toronto!

    Kasey - good one! Actually, we're done with caring for these beautiful kids, (aren't they all?!!) in 3 days, as they're all "babies" - 1, 3 & 5 yrs. It's very hard, joyful work.

    Our daughter, an Emerg Nurse at a hospital nearby sent us a What'sApp note the other day saying she was exhausted from looking after her mom & dads' grandkids...

    Hi Vs, everyone's remaining healthy & well, thanks! We have been under strict instructions from our daughter to keep distances, wash hands and stay inside except for the daily walk and a once-per-week grocery-shop. The BC data is encouraging but for understandable reasons, also "dangerous".

    The two of us have been up to the hospital where our daughter works, for the 7pm salute / shout-out and the pot-banging in support of healthcare workers. They come out and wave momentarily then return. On a day-off, she and her firefighter husband brought the three babies along, "keeping the distance" as they watched the police & fire-engines drive by with lights & sirens, in salute. The three-year-old said we all needed to stay away for a just a little while and then she nodded her head in reassurance that soon we could play again. Moments...

    I am in agreement the notion that some measure of a social and economic "re-calibration" on a grand scale is an assurred result of this greatest-of-all social perturbations since the Great War. I am very keen to engage that important conversation at some point when the preservation of health and life which is demanding a singular focus, commitment and cooperation of all gradually gives us the time to do so! Great to see you here.

    J.O., I thought it was "KFL" too...shoulda paid closer attention 😉

  7. "much of the technology from the L-1011 made its way to the Bus in one form or another."

    Agree, boestar - just some really good thinking had gone into the aircraft. I wonder what the "cross-pollination" was between the Lockheed design and Airbus's eventual decisions - I have a friend I can ask. It's not as though the L1011 was entirely problem free but I flew it for about three years, mostly YVR > LHR > BOM > SIN and back without abnormality or diversion. It was CATIII to zero vis, (that was informally called CAT "IIIc" I think -  we used "IIIb" which required a bit of vis...). It had MDLC - manoeuvre direct lift control which momentarily brought the speedbrakes out in gusts over a certain 'g' to off-load the outboard wing section, if I recall. I think both the 320 & the 330/340 had such a system).

    The Lockheed system also worked when landing flap was selected - the s.brakes would "pop-up" around 9deg or so which permitted to keep the attitude steady while increasing or decreasing lift/drag on the ILS; below slope, the brakes would retract a bit and the "balance of power" would reduce the descent rate...high on the slope and their angle would increase and thus increase the descent rate - same attitude, same power, IIRC. (The B767 autothrust during approach, on the other hand, was a mess...chasing everything that moved until the touchdown relieved it of all responsibilities).

    Another idea was the use of the fuselage to take some of the workload of the wings by making the bottom of the fuselage flat..."lifting body" style. So the floor of aircraft always had a 2.5  to 3 deg "uphill climb" for the FA's. I know there are lots of idea behind this feature, and some questions too - this was what I had heard...

    I hear it was an expensive aircraft to operate...in terms of maintenance, and fuel flow.

    Is everybody healthy? Giving/taking 6ft, staying in except for once a week to the grocery store? Working on the stamp collection?...going through one's s. and making a pile to take to the Sally Anne or the dump?...

    It's hard, isn't it, particularly with grandbabies close by but there it is, for the foreseeable future.

    • Like 1
  8. Hi Vs - remember the approach-plate-holder some very clever 320 pilot had made? It was fitted with a 5x7in rubber "tab" which was nicely riveted onto the holder, and was placed in between the two folded top & bottom of the table when it was stowed. There were other clever modifications to the blue AC chart binders that fit between the spring clip and the window-opening handle.

    It was a fine design and fine aircraft. Only one design topped it in my view and that was the L1011-500.

    The most difficut aspect of flying the A320 was explaining & defending it against the "if it ain't Boeing,..." folks, 😉

     

    • Like 2
  9. 4 hours ago, vrefplus5 said:

    NOT tracks.

    Hi vrefplus5, perhaps did you mean "NAT Tracks"?

    Either way; I thought it is interesting that the FlightRadar24 screen encompasses only 69 aircraft on the NAT Tracks at 0500Z, (top left blue-outlined box), which would be about 2hrs out for the earliest arrivals and perhaps 5hrs out for those further west. Normally such an image would show five times or more aircraft on the Tracks at that time.

     

  10. From AW&ST

    https://aviationweek.com/defense-space/supply-chain/nearly-50-years-apart-lockheed-bailout-resonates-during-boeing-

    Nearly 50 Years Apart, Lockheed Bailout Resonates During Boeing Crisis

    SHARE

    690612-f-mg000-001.jpg?itok=0ZOnDKcpC-5A

    Credit: U.S. Air Force

    An unexpected problem plunges a promising new airliner program into crisis mode, potentially dragging the world’s largest aerospace company down along with it.

    Billions of losses, meanwhile, pile up on another new aircraft created for the U.S. Air Force’s mobility fleet, thanks to the company’s risky strategy to bid low on a fixed-price development contract. In desperation, the firm’s executives come begging to Congress for a controversial loan guarantee, as whisperers on Wall Street wonder whether the company can survive. 

     The company: Lockheed. 

     The year: 1971. 

    Over a century ago, Mark Twain observed that history doesn’t repeat, but it does rhyme. Many details divide the troubled stories of the L-1011, C-5A and Lockheed from over 49 years ago and today’s headlines about the 737 MAX, KC-46 and Boeing. With the request by Boeing for loan guarantees, the two sagas now uniquely converge. 

     Last week, Boeing sought Congressional support for $60 billion in loan guarantees as a bailout for itself and its suppliers. Likewise, in 1971, a cash-strapped Lockheed pleaded to Congress to approve $250 million ($1.6 billion today) in loan guarantees.

    The main difference dividing the stories, of course, is a global health scare. The COVID-19 pandemic spread by the novel coronavirus has collapsed demand for air travel, jolting a formerly healthy airline industry into a sudden economic crisis. As airlines park fleets, the economic crisis expands to formerly thriving production lines of new aircraft, threatening manufacturers of commercial aircraft, engines and other subsystems. 

    The COVID-19 crisis adds to mounting financial pressures on Boeing. The year-long grounding of the 737 MAX fleet to fix fatal design flaws added nearly $20 billion in unexpected costs. That comes on top of a four-year series of financial charges totaling nearly $4 billion related to errors and delays on the KC-46, a tanker aircraft designed and produced under fixed-price contracts awarded by the Air Force since 2011.

    Similar, self-inflicted errors 50 years ago had weakened Lockheed’s financial position, leading up to its bailout request. On Jan. 7, 1971, Aerospace DAILY described the company’s grim situation. Lockheed had underbid Boeing and Douglas in 1965 to claim a fixed-price, $1.9 billion contract from the Air Force to develop and produce the entire C-5A fleet. The terms of the contract shifted all of the financial risk to the contractor, and the C-5A proved significantly costlier than anticipated by Lockheed’s winning price. By early 1971, Lockheed faced a $1.8 billion cost overrun on the C-5A program, Aerospace DAILY reported. Adjusted for inflation, the equivalent amount today is $11.5 billion.

    Senior defense officials decided to intervene to spare Lockheed from insolvency and preserve the C-5A production line for the Air Force. Deputy Defense Secretary David Packard proposed to have the Pentagon cover Lockheed’s entire $1.8 billion cost overrun on the C-5A, with Lockheed required to repay only $200 million in installments. The agreement was finalized on Feb. 1, Aerospace DAILY reported the following day.

    Another financial crisis, however, was already brewing for Lockheed as the ink dried on the Pentagon agreement, and this time their top military customer would be powerless to help.

    On Feb. 4, 1971, Lockheed CEO Dan Haughton arrived in London. He was joined on the trip by Clarence “Kelly” Johnson, the founder of Lockheed’s already legendary Skunk Works. They had come to the UK for a scheduled quarterly update by Rolls-Royce, the engine supplier for the Lockheed L-1011 TriStar. Such routine progress reports seldom required the attendance of Lockheed’s top executives, but Haughton knew Rolls-Royce was in trouble. Three months earlier, Rolls-Royce reported serious technical problems with the development of the RB.211-22 engine for the L-1011. The financial cost to resolve the problems pushed Rolls-Royce to the brink of insolvency, but the UK government had agreed in November on a financial bailout, with £42 million advanced directly to the engine manufacturer and £18 million provided from a syndicate of 24 banks, Aerospace DAILY reported. 

    In Feb. 1971, Lockheed’s UK-based liaison with Rolls-Royce was Alan Brown, who would later manage development of the F-117. In an oral history interview recorded in 2010 by the Huntington Library, Brown recalled the moment when he, Haughton and Johnson settled into a Rolls-Royce conference room in Derby. A Rolls-Royce engineer started delivering a routine update on the redesign of a turbine blade. Then, precisely as the clock struck 10 a.m., a man in a dark blue suit entered the conference room.

    “As of this moment Rolls-Royce is calling in the receivers,” the unidentified man announced to the room.

    “Our Lockheed people, Dan Haughton and Kelly [Johnson] and Willis Hawkins, turned around and looked at us with that, ‘Why the hell didn’t you know?’ expression on their faces. Because that was a part of our job—to know what was going on [at Rolls-Royce]—and we hadn’t a clue,” Brown recalled nearly 40 years later.

    The alarmed reaction by Lockheed’s senior executives was sensible. If the engine supplier for the L-1011 was bankrupt, the contract for the RB.211-22 engine would be nullified.

    Lockheed released a statement the following day: “We are now carefully studying the statement of the Rolls company which would repudiate the Rolls contract with Lockheed and the announcements of the withdrawal of government and outside financial support,” Aerospace DAILY reported on Feb. 5.

    The L-1011 had flown for the first time on Nov. 16, 1970, but it wasn’t scheduled to be introduced into service until later in 1971. Lockheed couldn’t afford to start over with a new engine supplier. The company already had $652 million tied up in development and production costs for the L-1011. Even receiving the C-5A bailout from the Pentagon, Lockheed’s liabilities still exceeded current assets by $38.5 million in mid-1971, according a 1972 report by the General Accounting Office (now called the Government Accountability Office, or GAO). Needing an emergency supply of cash, the company turned to the financial community. A consortium of U.S. banks considered Lockheed’s loan application, but decided it was too risky without a government backstop.

    That’s when Congress got involved. In 1971, Lockheed was already the Pentagon’s most significant supplier, with contractual commitments totaling $1.5 billion annually. In addition to the troubled C-5A, Lockheed also was supplying the armed services with C-130, P-3 and S-3A aircraft, plus the Poseidon, Polaris and Trident ballistic missiles. Tens of thousands of employees spread over congressional districts across the country also could lose their jobs.

    On Aug. 9, 1971, Congress passed the Emergency Loan Guarantee Act, which authorized a newly created Emergency Loan Guarantee Board to backstop up to $250 million in private loans to major businesses. Although the law allowed any large company to apply for loan guarantees, the legislators understood that the authority was created to support Lockheed, which, in fact, became the board’s only applicant. On Sept. 14, 1971, the Board agreed to guarantee up to $250 million in loans for Lockheed, according to the GAO report. As a result, the consortium of banks agreed to expand an existing credit line for Lockheed by that amount.

    In the end, the bailout proved to be a profitable investment for the government. In addition to preserving the company’s production lines and jobs, the loan guarantees generated $30 million in fees paid by Lockheed to the Treasury over the next six years. In 1977, Aviation Week reported the program had backstopped $245 million in loans to Lockheed, with a $60 million balance remaining.

    The Lockheed bailout of the 1970s proves a point learned later during the automotive company bailouts of the 2008 financial crisis and Great Recession: government bailouts, when properly designed, can be both lucrative for taxpayers and maintain critical manufacturing capability.

    Better yet, if you assume the innovations the companies achieved much later—Lockheed’s many leading-edge products today such as hypersonics, or Detroit’s push into electric cars—it is reasonable to draw a line back to the bailouts. The key, of course, is making sure the bailouts are properly applied—somehow, the bailout must be tied to the companies moving forward, not just paying off over-due bills. If Washington can again strike this balance with Boeing, another round of loan guarantees for the world’s largest aerospace company could be worth it.

    Trimble_Steve_sized_0.jpg?itok=e31Tv8Ow

    Steve Trimble

    Steve covers military aviation, missiles and space for the Aviation Week Network, based in Washington DC.