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   Vol. 15  No. 20
Wednesday March 9, 2016

Of B727s & MD88s

     The picture of a heavy bag containing the 2016-17 Indian Budget being handled by Parliament staff, which bannered our March 2, 2016, FlyingTypers issue, was indeed a telling one.
      Like any journalist keen on a good story, my editor commented, “Undoubtedly, somewhere in that bag are the air cargo hopes held by the aviation dreamers and doers of India.”
      The bag was heavy, indeed, but contained little for aviation or the air cargo community in the country.
      Hopes there were a-plenty, judging by the way the air cargo sector has performed both nationally and internationally.
      After all, as a veteran freight forwarder pointed out, surely the Indian leaders were aware of the low volumes air cargo has been witnessing.

Slow Budget Action Single Window 

      So, what prevented Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley from providing incentives to boost the sector?
      Others like Conrad Clifford, Regional Vice President for Asia Pacific region, International Air Transport Association (IATA), virtually dismissed the budget, saying it had “minimal” focus on aviation.
      Perhaps, the saving grace for the air cargo community was the announcement to implement the Indian Custom Single Window Project (ICSWP) at major ports and airports starting from April 1, 2016, the beginning of the next financial year.
      Commenting on the budget, Civil Aviation Minister P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju said that the move would reduce the dwell time of export and import air cargo by bringing all regulatory agencies responsible for giving clearances to a common platform.
      That would also enable the integration of processes of import cargo stakeholders to enable easy adoption of EDI. He also said that the opportunity for deferred payment of Customs duties would facilitate importers and exporters with proven track records for faster processing of cargo.
      This, he announced, would reduce the dwell time of cargo.
      The Civil Aviation Minister seemed to be unaware that the ICSWP had been announced in the 2014-15 budget and was being tested at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (Nhava Sheva) and two Inland Container Depots near Delhi on a pilot basis. In fact, in the beginning of February this year, more than a fortnight before Minister Raju’s comment, the move was extended to imports at the Air Cargo Complex in Mumbai and Delhi Air Cargo and to all other locations where the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and the Department of Plant Protection, Quarantine and Storage (DPPQ&S) were operational, according to a circular issued by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC).

What Future Airports?

      Other than the reduction in dwell time, the air cargo community would probably benefit—of course, when it does happen—from the revival of unserved and under-served airports in the country.
      Budget 2016 allows the Ministry of Civil Aviation to partner state governments to develop some of these airports and airstrips in the country.
      The Action Plan for revival of these airports includes the identification of airports and airstrips under the control of state governments for development,in consultation with airlines, and along with the revival of 10 non-operational airports owned by the Airports Authority of India. How long the revival process would take is anybody’s guess, but domestic air cargo stakeholders are optimistic.
      Minister Raju has gone on record to say that Budget 2016-17 has paved the way for developing India as a Maintenance, Repair, and Overhauling (MRO) hub of Asia.
      That move, in a way, could help the air cargo industry.
      The budget, he said, had made provisions for incentivizing domestic value addition to help the campaign “Make in India.”
      Under this scenario, the tools and tool-kits used by the MRO sector have been exempted from Customs and Excise duty.
      The MRO business of Indian carriers is around $744 million, 90 percent of which is currently spent outside India—in Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, UAE, etc.
      With the technology and skill base at home, the government is keen to develop India as an MRO hub in Asia, attracting business from foreign airlines while retaining the domestic business.
Soaring India ATF Dampens Outlook

      What has come as a big dampener is the excessive increase in the already expensive excise duty levied on aviation turbine fuel (ATF).  For the record, carriers made profits with the lower cost of ATF, with airfares in 2015 15-20 percent lower than those in 2014.
      This year, however, the hike in the excise duty will not only make air travel expensive, it will also affect air cargo.
      “Increase in excise duty on ATF will make the raw material costlier by four-five percent.
      “At a time when ATF in India is 60-70 percent costlier than global ATF prices, it goes against the government’s stated objective to make flying affordable for the masses,” predicts Amber Dubey, Partner and Head of Aerospace and Defense at global consultancy KPMG.
Tirthankar Ghosh

Of B727s & MD88s

     FlyingTypers continues its groundbreaking series covering the courageous and pioneering women of air cargo and aviation with a look back at pioneering aviatrix Bessie Coleman.
     In America, February celebrates Black History Month and March celebrates Women’s History Month, which beggars the question of where to place someone as historically significant as Bessie Coleman.

      One of 13 children, Bessie Coleman was born in 1892 in Atlanta, Texas, to George and Susan Coleman, both African American sharecroppers. The family was poor and could afford very little, and once the children were of age they were expected to contribute to the household income.
      But Bessie had high-flying hopes. She attended Langston University’s predecessor, the Oklahoma Colored Agricultural and Normal University, but couldn’t finish due to a lack of funds. At 23 years old, she moved to Chicago to live with her brothers and work as a manicurist. Her fascination with aviation was sparked in Chicago, where her brothers enticed her with stories of French women flying planes in World War I.
      Of course, when Bessie tried to enroll herself in flight programs stateside, she was turned down. A woman aviator was difficult enough to stomach, but a black woman aviator? One can only imagine the mockery and derision she faced in 1920.
      As a manicurist, Bessie had contacts with many of the black elite of Chicago. She quickly befriended Robert S. Abbot, publisher and owner of the Chicago Defender and one of the first African American millionaires, who encouraged her to go to France to learn to fly. He, along with others, helped fund her exodus, and she quickly learned French in preparation.
      On November 20, 1920, Bessie Coleman left for France from New York City. She enrolled at Ecole d’Aviation des Freres in Le Crotoy, France, the only African American in her class. She learned how to fly in a rickety Nieuport Type 82 biplane and within seven months received her pilot’s license from the Federation Aeronautique Internationale. She briefly returned to New York City in September 1921 and was celebrated in the black press—the Air Service News called her “a full-fledged aviatrix, the first of her race.”
      Bessie realized she wanted to make her living as a pilot, but in order to do so needed additional training as a “barnstormer,” or stunt pilot—commercial aviation was still a decade away from becoming a reality. She returned to Europe, studying acrobatic aviation in France and then the Netherlands, where she studied under pioneering aircraft manufacturer Anthony H.G. Fokker, otherwise known as “The Flying Dutchman.” She moved on to Germany, where she received additional training from one of the chief pilots of the Fokker Corporation.
      Her first air show took place on September 3, 1922, at the famous Curtiss Airfield in Garden City, Long Island. The event was sponsored by her old friend Robert S. Abbot and honored the all-black 369th American Expeditionary Force of World War I. She was billed as “the world’s greatest woman flyer.”
      Over the next five years “Queen Bess,” as she was called, performed aerial stunts across the United States. She always encouraged the African Americans attending her shows to learn how to fly, and refused to perform in venues that denied admission to African Americans. When she was offered a role in the feature-length film Shadow and Sunshine, she accepted in the hopes it would help her fund her dream of an African American aviation school. However, when she learned her very first scene in the film would depict her in bedraggled clothes, she refused the role. Doris Rich, author of Queen Bess: Daredevil Aviator, wrote “she was never an opportunist about race. She had no intention of perpetuating the derogatory image most whites had of most blacks.”

“The air is the only place free from prejudices.”

— Bessie Coleman

      Eventually, Queen Bess made enough money to purchase her own plane: a rather old Curtiss JN-4. It was only a few days after she received the plane that it stalled at 300 feet and nose-dived, crashing into the ground. With broken ribs, a broken leg, and several lacerations, Bessie was relegated to a hospital bed for 3 months.
      Bessie returned to her home state of Texas in June of 1925. She performed on June 19th, the anniversary of the day African Americans in Texas were granted their freedom. After her show the spectators were boarded onto five passenger planes for a complimentary night flight over Houston—the Houston Reporter remarked that it was “the first time [the] colored public of the South ha[d] been given the opportunity to fly.”
      While flying was one of Bessie Coleman’s dreams, her greatest wish was to open an aviation school for African Americans. She told the Houston-Post Dispatch that she wanted to “make Uncle Tom’s Cabin into a hangar by establishing a flying school.” She later opened a beauty shop in Florida to try and raise funds, and gathered enough money to purchase an old Army surplus plane from World War I to continue her stunt flying.
      On April 30, 1926, Bessie and her mechanic William D. Wills boarded her new plane to rehearse for a May Day air show the following day. The pièce de résistance of her act was to be a daring parachute jump from 2,500 feet. Wills was piloting the plane when it fell into a tailspin and flipped upside down. Bessie was not wearing her seat belt and tragically fell out of the plane to her death. Wills tried but could not regain control of the plane and also lost his life.
      It took almost half a century, but in 1977 the Bessie Coleman Aviators Club was formed by a group of African American pilots from Chicago. Every April 30th they fly over Lincoln Cemetery in Chicago to airdrop flowers on her grave.
      Today, African Americans can take great pride in women like Mae Carol Jemison, the first black woman astronaut, and Atlantic Southeast Airlines, which in 2012 flew with an all-woman African American crew. But we must not forget about the pioneering Queen Bess, whose lofty dreams and unwavering determination paved the way for everyone else who followed. As Lieutenant William J. Powell said, “Because of Bessie Coleman, we have overcome that which was worse than racial barriers. We have overcome the barriers within ourselves and dared to dream.”
Flossie Arend

Chuckles for March 9, 2016

Of B727s & MD88s

     On March 2 the first Boeing 727 (N7001U) ever built took off for its final flight, traveling from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, to Boeing Field in Seattle.
      The plane will go on permanent display at the Museum of Flight as part of Boeing's centennial celebration at the museum.
      The B727 was restored inside and out at the Museum of Flight Restoration Center at Paine Field.
      In service with United Airlines, the N7001U’s first flight was on February 9, 1963.
      During its career at United Airlines it carried about 3 million passengers.
      The B727 was a huge success.
      With 1,831 aircraft built, the B727 was the first commercial jetliner to sell more than 1,000 aircraft.
      The B727 is credited with keeping open smaller, inner-city airports like LaGuardia (New York), Midway (Chicago), and Templhof (Berlin) because it made money on short haul flights and had the ability to get in and out of limited ground and air space facilities.

DC9 Born In 1965
Geoffrey Arend and Ron Davies      A little known highlight in all of this is something my friend and colleague, the late REG Davies, (pictured here) told me.
      Ron served for 40 years as Curator of Air Transport at NASM in Washington, but prior to that he worked at Douglas Aircraft for Donald Douglas in Santa Monica and Long Beach, California.
      “Douglas had a plan to build a short range twin- engine jet aircraft, but during the late 1950s [while] awaiting engine development was focused instead on a bigger, four-engine long range jet (DC8) to replace the DC7 for trans con and international range flight.
      “I recall engineers from Boeing who we thought were primarily focused on building long range aircraft, visiting our offices in Santa Monica and spending hours talking about our plans for the DC9.
      “The upshot is that the B727 tri-jet in 1963 beat the twin engine DC9 (1965) to market, although Douglas might have delivered the DC9 first.
      “Of course, the B727 with three engines set records and out of the gate first was a runaway success.”

Fast Forward to 2016
      In an interesting twist of fate, the B727 tri-jet has been out of service since 1983 because of fuel costs and environmental concerns, and the DC9—more economical, and with twin engines—has survived in various updated forms and is still in service today.
      The later twin jet series includes the MD-81, MD-82, MD-83, MD-87, and MD-88.
      The MD-88 model is still flown extensively by American Airlines and Delta Air Lines.
      The last version, the MD-95, was renamed Boeing 717 after the McDonnell Douglas-Boeing merger in 1997.
      In total, the series that began with the DC9 in 1965 and ended with the MD-95-B717 in 2006 lasted 41 years, with over 2,400 aircraft built.
DeltaB717video United b727 video


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Drone Hits Plane

     It’s hard not to fall in love with the annual JFK International Airport “Air Cargo Association Expo,” held at Russo’s On The Bay near the main runways of the southern Queens facility in New York City. Transportation alums gather in Howard Beach, Queens, on March 31, 2016 all day from 08:00 until 17:00 hours.
     This year, as has happened for the past 17 years, some dear hearts and gentle people will once again set up displays and get their trade show networking mojo on for a day of networking, speeches, and a panel discussion.
     Headlining this year’s gathering, which was breathlessly branded “Air Cargo Industry Transformation & Specialization,” are some opening remarks by Director of Aviation at the Port Authority and good-guy Thomas Bosco.
     Tom Bosco has a big job and a bigger airport at JFK, with lots of empty land in the cargo area “’neath starry skies above.” The landscape rolls by like a big magic carpet outside the windows of the world’s airlines, which arrive and depart nightly in massive numbers from a New York gateway that once handled 60 percent of all the airborne commerce generated in America.
     Today—even with LaGuardia and Newark tonnage added to the tally—New York still trailed Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Memphis (FedEx) in total air cargo throughput in 2014.
     On the bright side, the JFK Air Cargo Day will include a power-lunch address delivered straight from the shoulder, right from the heart by Jim Butler, Cargo President at American Airlines, the biggest air carrier in the world.

Bag, Tags, & Water Bottles
     The Expo’s Exhibition Portal features over forty exhibitors from all segments of the air cargo industry displaying their products and services.
     Typically sold-out well in advance, it offers the wonderful benefit of direct, face-to-face interaction and networking with airline, freight forwarder, and other key industry decision-makers in a dedicated and focused environment.

Cool Chain On Ice
     “Cool Chain Dynamics: Hot Topic, Cold Facts” will feature panelists including Ron Schaefer, Project Lead Center of Excellence (CEIV) Pharmaceutical Logistics, IATA; Chris Connell, President of CFI – Commodity Forwarders Inc.; Pawel Borkowski, Manager Product & Express Development, Delta Cargo; and Brandon Fried, Executive Director of the Airforwarders Association.

Bottom Line
Air Cargo Industry Transformation & Specialization: JFK EXPO 2016
Russo's on the Bay
162-45 Cross Bay Blvd., Howard Beach, New York, 11414
March 31, 2016
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Registration: $85.00; Expo Table: $300.00; Sponsorship Banner: $200.00
More Information: JFK Air Cargo Association
PO Box 300887
JFK International Airport Station Jamaica, NY 11430
(516) 508-2534

Air Cargo News 40th Anniversary Issue

If You Missed Any Of The Previous 3 Issues Of FlyingTypers
Access complete issue by clicking on issue icon or
Access specific articles by clicking on article title
Vol. 15 No. 17
Carmen Taylor Unplugged
Chuckles For March 1, 2016
5/20 Or Fight
A Brief Conversation With Duncan Watson

A Leap Of Faith
Vol. 15 No. 18
India Buried Under The Weight
Where Are We Now?
View From A Fish Eye
Chuckles For March 2, 2016


Over The Moon

Vol. 15 No. 19
Will Ocean Containers Add Lift?
Dead Heat On A Carousel
Chuckles for March 7, 2016
Drone Hits Plane

Quick Before It Melts

Meanwhile At The FBO

Publisher-Geoffrey Arend Managing Editor-Flossie Arend
Film Editor-Ralph Arend Special Assignments-Sabiha Arend, Emily Arend Advertising Sales-Judy Miller

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