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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Happy 4th! The Future of U.S. Aviation


#blogformation #avgeek #aviation #blog #4thofJuly #Independenceday


american, bald eagle, fourth of july, birthday

 Happy Birthday America


It's Blogging in Formation Week!

Posts all week from your favorite Aviation Bloggers!


This week's theme:

The Future of U.S. Aviation

airplane, airline, aviation, avgeek


Hotlinks to Blogging in Formation sites:
Saturday, June 29: Dan Pimentel (Airplanista)
Sunday, June 30: Andrew Hartley (Smart Flight Training)
Monday, July 1: Brent Owens (IFlyBlog)
Tuesday, July 2: Karlene Petitt (Flight to Success)
Wednesday, July 3: Eric Auxier (Adventures of Cap'n Aux)
Thursday, July 4: Ron Rapp (House of Rapp)

— — — — — —

And now...

THE FUTURE OF U.S. AVIATION

(According to Cap’n Aux)*



space shuttle, future airplane, airline, aviation, avgeek


“Ladies and gentlemen, from the flight deck, this is Cap’n Swayne speaking.  We are expecting a little turbulence during our reentry sequence, so please float safely back to your seats and strap in.  Our 3-hour suborbital flight from Tokyo this evening puts us into JFK at 6am local time—the same day we left.  No, we didn’t exceed the speed of light, we simply crossed the International Dateline.  On behalf of First Officer Karim, Celestial Navigator Dan, Head Flight Attendant Miss TWA, and our Relief & Return Crews Dillon, Justin, Alex, Chad, Junior and Hamza, we’d like to welcome you to Tokyo.  And thank you for flying Pan American Starways.”
Too far-fetched?  Well, perhaps for ol’ Cap’n Aux, who retires in less than 15 years.  But for some of our intrepid blog readers, who are only now starting flight training, many still in their teens . . .

I sincerely believe the sky is NOT the limit!

But more on that in the near future...


future airplane, airline, aviation, avgeek


For now, we are all concerned with the IMMEDIATE future of aviation in the U.S.  And, more specifically, the immediate ECONOMIC future.

And what happens in the U.S., stays in the U.S. . . .

Well, actually, it doesn’t.  It usually has a worldwide impact.


future airplane, airline, aviation, avgeek
I included this pic cuz...they're flying their bitchin' futuristic ride to a ski resort!


BACK TO THE FUTURE—
IT AIN'T WHAT IT USED TO BE
The airline industry is an enormously volatile business, always the first to lose in an economic downturn and the last to recover.

Since Tony Jannus conducted the United States' first scheduled commercial airline flight on January 1, 1914 for the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line, the airline industry as a whole has lost more money than it has made. 


world's first airine pilot, future airplane, airline, aviation, avgeek
Tony Jannus, the world's first airline pilot, January 1, 1914
Moreover, for the past 30 years, the airline industry has been on an insane roller coaster ride—mostly downhill.  Airline profits and pilot pay have skydived from its peak during the "Golden Age of Air Travel" in the mid-20th century.

As Richard Branson famously said, if you want to become a millionaire, start as a billionaire and buy an airline!  And, as Cap’n Aux famously says, if you want stability, ditch the airline career and take up acting!

OK, warnings, disclaimers and caveats aside, if you’re STILL determined to pursue that Great Four Stripe in the Sky, read  on . . .

flying man, future airplane, airline, aviation, avgeek
The grueling commute to work!


THE NEAR FUTURE:  5 -10 YEARS 

Consolidation in the industry has left the traveling public “The Big 3”: American Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta, along with a smattering of wily “smaller” airlines—Southwest, chief among them.

And the “Looming Pilot Shortage,” a standard, cynical pilot joke for the past 30 years, may finally—FINALLY!—be looming.  

The GOOD NEWS:  First and foremost, due to the extreme volatility and stagnation industry-wide since the early 90’s, tens of thousands of experienced airline pilots are now poised to retire in the next 10 years, creating a vacuum that will inevitably suck tens of thousands of minor-league pilots up into the majors, and ultimately into the left seat.

The BAD NEWS:  Some of the “Looming Pilot Shortage” has been self-inflicted.  Bowing to political pressure, the FAA has slapped band-aid fixes on fundamental issues—chief among them, minimum pilot experience requirements.   On paper, this seems safer.  More importantly, it sounds good to the public.  But this arbitrary cosmetic fix will prove to be woefully short-sighted.  Higher requirements for even the most rudimentary flying job—along with a pilot paycheck that's plummeted 60% or more in the past 3 decades—will create a vacuum that is, at least initially, monumentally hard to fix.

The UGLY NEWS: The pilots’ age-old Catch 22 paradox—you can’t GET the flight time without HAVING the flight time, has just been compounded by these ill-guided new regulations.  As a result, those with money to burn have an even greater advantage, essentially buying their way into the cockpit.

And . . .

The POSSIBLY GOOD NEWS: Ultimately, I see only one solution.  U.S. airlines will be forced to start their own pilot training programs, a la Lufthansa, et al—and perhaps even with government subsidy.  But that will depend on public sentiment.

Recruited out of college, the best of the best future pilots will have their careers mapped out for them.  This removes much of the insane volatility, possibly ups the average quality of recruits, and perhaps will even level the playing field a smidgen.  Moreover, it may finally put some upward pressure on the pilot's free-falling paycheck.

Something's gotta give, but it won't give for awhile . . . .

future airplane, airline, aviation, avgeek, 2001, A Space Odyssey

AUTOMATION

Or, “Nothing can go wrong”

“Ladies and gentlemen, you are flying in a fully automated Airbus A9000.  There are no human pilots on board, only computers.  Sit back, relax and enjoy the flight.  Nothing can go wrong . . . click!  Go wrong . . . click! . . . Go wrong.”

Future cockpits will be manned with one pilot, and one dog.  The pilot’s job is to feed the dog, and the dog’s job is to bite the pilot if he tries to touch anything.

Like the "Looming Pilot Shortage" wisecrack, the above two jokes have circulated among pilots for the past two to three decades—albeit with a bit of nervous trepidation.

—BUT—

While drones have been used to spectacular success on the battlefield, and are poised to aid Big Brother in watching over you—curtains drawn or not—they are still by and large operated remotely by human “pilots.”

Airplane!, the movie, future airplane, airline, aviation, avgeek

As I said in my blog post, “Busted Aviation Myths:  Otto is My Copilot,” the onboard Autopilot is nothing more than a 3D Cruise Control.  It processes, but it doesn’t think.



While I’m a huge fan of high tech, I believe we still have decades—and more likely centuries—to go before computer processing approaches anywhere near human capacity for judgement.



For the foreseeable future, NextGen (Next Generation Air Transportation System) sems to be the most realistic probability.  Satellite-based rather than ground-based, it promises to revolutionize the industry plagued today by traffic delays and inefficient routes.


2101:  A SPACE ODYSSEY



As a kid, I watched the spectacle that was Stanley Kubrick’s movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey, from the novel by Arthur C. Clarke.  I was awestruck.  I was especially enchanted by the space shuttle Orion—flown by Pan Am—which launched from earth and docked with a space station in low orbit, to the tune of J Strauss’ The Blue Danube.

space shuttle, orion, dock,future airplane, airline, aviation, avgeek

I daresay I dreamed from that day on to pilot that very craft by the end of my career.


future airplane, airline, aviation, avgeek, flight deck

Sadly, 2001 has come and gone, and the Space Shuttles have all been parked, mothballed in museums like so many WWII warbirds.


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While Kubrick & Clarke's prediction nailed the space shuttle dead on, it appears that the rest of their utopian vision of space travel was off by about a century.  

2001: a space odyssey, future airplane, airline, aviation, avgeek

Nevertheless, I maintain complete faith that Cap’n Swayne, First Officer Karim and the rest of our intrepid future aviators will, within their lifetime, experience something very similar.

Why?


future airplane, airline, aviation, avgeek

Because, despite crippling government red tape and politics, devastating wars, and the rest of societies ills, the Indomitable American Spirit thrives, evolves, innovates, and inexorably moves forward—and outward.


future airplane, airline, aviation, avgeek, airbus, boeing


Perhaps, just perhaps, the Jet Jocks of today will give way to the ion engine Space Jocks of tomorrow.


future airplane, airline, aviation, avgeek

These Pan American Starways Cap'ns will no doubt write blogs on the Central Subspace Cortex—broadcast in hologram—that are followed by millions of AvGeeks, from the Mars outposts to the asteroid mining colonies.


pan american, now boarding

And I hope that, one day, they dedicate a holoblog post . . .

cap'n aux, pilot, airline, avgeek, aviation

. . . to that crusty ol' Jet Jock dinosaur, Cap'n Aux.

Cap'n Aux's retirement toy!

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!!

future of aviation, avgeek, airline

To finish off, a little musical treat by Donald Fagen of Steely Dan:
"I.G.Y. (What a Beautiful World)"
a delightfully nostalgic, "retro" look back to the future, envisioned in the 50's . . . 




THIS POST IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF MY FATHER,
whose birthday would have been today (7/3)
auxier, smith, river trip, sierras, sierra nevada, wilderness, fishing, fish, frank lake
Dad at his favorite fishin' hole on  Frank Lake (named after my grandpa), somewhere in the California Sierras.  His ashes were spread on this spot.
A WWII vet, my father served aboard the U.S. Destroyer S.S. Preston
as a RADAR technician in the South Pacific.
I like to think I inherited his creativity, sense of humor, and passion for adventure . . .
which (I hope) helped write this piece!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD!

— — — — — —

IN MEMORIUM

AND A SPECIAL DEDICATION TO OUR 19 FIREFIGHTING HEROES,
LOST SUNDAY, 6/30/13, IN THE WILDFIRES OF ARIZONA...
firefighters, in memorium, firefighter ribbon

GRANITE MOUNTAIN HOTSHOTS—AND ALL FIREFIGHTERS . . .
WE SALUTE YOU!!!
— — — — — — —
DID YOU LIKE THIS POST? Me too!
If so, I invite you to COMMENTSHARETWEETLIKE, EMAIL &/or +1 below!

It's right after "Cap'n Aux links and just before the next post.
It looks like this: 
— — — — — — —


Hotlinks to Blogging in Formation sites:
Saturday, June 29: Dan Pimentel 
     (http://www.av8rdan.com/2013/06/the-future-of-us-aviation-again.html)
Sunday, June 30: Andrew Hartley
     (Smart Flight Training—http://smartflighttraining.com/future-of-aviation)
Monday, July 1: Brent Owens
     (Flight to Successhttp://karlenepetitt.blogspot.com/2013/07/aviation-in-usa.html)
Wednesday, July 3: Eric Auxier
     (Adventures of Cap'n Aux)
Thursday, July 4: Ron Rapp


— — — — — —

*This should really read, “According to Cap’n Aux’s amateurish, ill-informed, extremely sheltered and myopic view.”

ARTICLE-EMBEDDED LINKS

RELATED POSTS

"FUTURE OF AVIATION" LINKS

Pilot Pay and the Looming Pilot Shortage:
NextGen:
TECH: 
2001 ODYSSEY FUN! 

Tony Jannus, World's First Airline Pilot
— — — — — — —
LINED UP & WAITING
Posting Wednesday, July 10 @ 11 am


Aviation Cartoons by Cap'n Aux!
— — — — — —
HOLDING SHORT
TAKEOFF HD
Cap'n Aux Rating: Excellent!
Cap'n Aux's Favorite Aviation Apps!
— — — — — —
TAXIING FOR TAKEOFF
 The Best Cap'n Aux Pix, 2013—So Far!

1st of a 3-part series!

———————


100% OF ALL PROCEEDS FROM CODE NAME: DODGER, AND 50% FROM THE LAST BUSH PILOTS ARE DONATED TO CHARITY

17 comments:

  1. Eric,
    Great post! I loved how you took us on a such a wild ride. One that is very likely to be true. I loved reading this!
    Brent

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, strap in Brent we're expecting turbulence, LOL! Glad you enjoyed the ride! Loved your Formation Blog this week, too!

      Delete
  2. I love this... and the flight crew... spectacular. I would fly with all of them! The good news is... the A330 will never be unmanned. Okay...unless there are all women. But that's another point. Pilots can land with a 45 knot crosswind, which exceeds the limits of the autopilot. Therefore we are needed! From past to future... where will we go? You know, out of all the photos, I love the images of the fantasy cockpit to the reality of the glass. Amazing but true. Great post! Happy Birthday Eric's Dad! He is giving you the best gift with the life he lives, and you are looking down with a smile now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good points, Karlene! I think we have a long way from being unmanned, but there will be challenges. We already lost the FE position on most aircraft...

      Ya, love that 2001 space shuttle cockpit! I was watching the vid I posted, and did you notice they are "flying" with little multi-finger joysticks? Very cool and a foreshadowing of our sidesticks!

      Thanks so much for the note to Dad...I'm sure he got it! ;-)

      Delete
  3. Hi Eric,

    Your post is very funny and yet realistic. But we are already obtaining positive results! The American aviation industry is recovering at almost flat rates. At least it's recovering! :)

    Thank you so much for mentioning my name! Haha! Very creative what you did!


    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You bet, Alex! Yes, I suppose we should focus on the positive that we are "recovering" for now...thanks for your input!

      Delete
  4. A great read Eric!

    I ask one question - how long before the "Big 3" compete themselves into oblivion with routes, prices, service, etc. and those little upstarts like a couple of the LCC's (one in Canyon Blue and the other with that color in their name) start to woo the public with lower prices, better service, etc.? Is that a possibility of the future? So many more questions come to mind about the industry, the future of it, etc. - the mind boggles with all the possibilities!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm, good Q. Well the AA/USair merger has one last Antitrust hurdle to jump, but I expect it will. I don't think they'll compete themselves into oblivion, but I am hoping they are forced to up the quality of the airline experience to retain customers. As you point out, post-Deregulation, the competition has gotten mighty cutthroat! But, I think the demand for air travel will only increase.

      Thanks for the comment, Mark. I expected you would like the "ride!" ;-)

      Delete
  5. Oh Cap'n Swayne..LOL............ it sure is a pleasure........being a part of your 'crew'.........!!!........So I'm "Lead b!tch"........that is poifect........Miss TWA is honored really.....!!
    Yes Happy Fourth to everyone......even those who don't live here in the US........we all have the need and desire to be free....and no matter who....or where.......everyday is "Independence" day..
    as far as our trip I just love that I'll get another crack at the same day...........Its always good to have options......!!
    I just can't ever imagine a crew less flights.....as long as there's .......'souls on board'.........who is going to want to fly....and there not be a human(just like them).......doing the flying.....shit happens.....who is going to be there.....to take care.......of any situation.........!!...
    and yes Cappy "Happy Birthday to your Father and my thanks as well of his service to our Country..!!!!

    I remember I had put a small post up on my blog about Tony Jannus and the first revenue flight.......He was really a trail blazer.........and look at us now.......!!!!
    So do me a favor and if you see Capt'n Jock........give him my best.........I gotta go........I have a flight to catch..............Miss TWA ...Head F/A..............say............BA BYE BA BYE................

    ....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, you're the Lead B*tch, LOL! I envisioned you in your little pillbox hat as I was writing, LOL!

      You make a good point, that it will take a LONG time before the public allows their "souls" to be put in the hands of HAL, lol!

      Thanks for the Birthday and well-wishes to Dad--I'm sure he heard!

      I'd like to see your Tony Jannus post...can you post a link here??

      From Your Cap'n Jock.....BA-BYE!!

      Delete
  6. HAPPY 4TH OF JULY TO ALL YOUR 'PEEPS' CAPPY..........AND TO YOU.....ANED BUNNY!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Happy 4th everyone! Not a UK holiday but I understand it's important to you guys and rightly so....

    I do enjoy your posts like these Eric, it must take some effort sourcing all the pics to balance the text - If I had a pound for every person that has said "I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that" I'd be a rich man!!

    I could comment on each great video and pic but I'll spare you the details, needless to say in years to come I'll still be sitting in the back waiting for my time in the limelight when both pilots eat or both robots download the fish!!!

    All the best! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I'm sorry, Dave. I can't do that." LOL!

      For some reason your last comment reminds me of, "So long, and thanks for all the Fish." Another famous line from a great sci fi story, lol!

      Yes, the 4th is a fun reason to get together, bbq, and light fireworks! Thanks for chiming in!

      Delete
  8. Happy (belated) 4th Cap'n Aux!

    Haha l like that title "Cap'n Swayne"... maybe someday, I'll cross my fingers!

    Very interesting post to read, thanks for writing it up,
    -Swayne Martin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Swayne! I was hoping you'd stop by and catch your story, lol! Here's to science fiction becoming truth!

      Martin blogs at:
      martinsaviation.blogspot.com

      Cheers!

      Eric

      Delete
  9. Discover how to get free flights with Travel Hacking.

    ReplyDelete

Sorry, folks, due to more spamming, Word Verification is back on. If you have trouble posting, please email your comments to me and I will post it for you!

capnaux@gmail.com