Briefing July 2023


Republic Recruitment Targets Captains

New hire pilots accepted for Republic Airways’ new pilot-recruitment program will likely be captains in a year or so and the airline expects them to stay in the job for at least two years lest they face a major financial penalty. The airline says it’s only hiring relatively high time FOs so they can quickly transition to the left seat. Major airlines have been poaching the most experienced regional pilots for several years and that’s created a major shortage of aircraft commanders. Republic wants to restock its roster of captains but it also doesn’t want to lose them immediately after training. It’s insisting new hires for the program sign a contract that requires them to pay $100,000 in “liquidated damages” if they leave before three years is up and prohibits them from working for a competing airline for at least a year after their departure. The Teamsters Union, which represents the pilots, says the plan will backfire and will deter pilots from applying to Republic.

Wheels Up Founder Steps Down

Wheels Up founder Kenny Dichter stepped down as CEO and will continue as a member of the board of directors. Dichter took the company public in 2021 after a high profile period of rapid growth from its inception in 2013. It built a dedicated clientele of 12,000 members but never did find profitability. In fact, it lost $197 million in its first year after going public and a staggering $555 million in 2022. “As we continue our path to profitability, this is the right time to take on a new role…,” Dichter said.

eVTOL Integration To Be Gradual

The FAA says the first wave of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) will be more of a ripple and the eVTOL aircraft will initially use existing facilities and airspace. If and when they become the phenomenon that a lot of people are betting big money on, some major changes will be needed. The agency has updated its plans for integration of the small point-to-point aircraft and says that when the numbers swell, it will segregate them from other air traffic as they evolve into an interactive and self-supporting aviation ecosystem.

Emirates CEO Says AI Won’t Replace Pilots

The CEO of Emirates says artificial intelligence will be embraced by aviation but that won’t extend to autonomous aircraft in the near future. “You might see a one-pilot aircraft,” Tim Clark said in an interview but he also said he didn’t think customers would accept an empty flight deck. “Could the aircraft be flown on a fully automated basis?” Clark said. “Yes it could, technology is right up there now, [but] there’ll always be somebody on the flight deck in my view.” He said there are myriad other applications for the new tech in aviation and predicts the industry will welcome it with open arms.

NTSB Rejects Runway Inspection Pass Appeal

The NTSB has denied an appeal by pilot and YouTuber Trent Palmer over his suspension for a low pass over a private airstrip in 2019. Palmer said the pass was necessary for inspection of the runway in his back country-equipped aircraft on a runway that was normally used for RC model aircraft. Neighbors alleged it unnecessarily endangered them and their property. The FAA sided with the neighbors, who presented a security camera video of the overflight. It suspended Palmer’s certificate for 120 days. In an earlier appeal, a judge reduced that to 60 days but this latest appeal re-instated the full suspension. The NTSB ruled that Palmer didn’t prove his case that the inspection pass was necessary. The FAA also appealed the penalty reduction and the NTSB said that given the circumstances and prior violations by Palmer the sanction was warranted.


Canada is giving Ukraine a Russian An-124 it seized … Environmental groups sue FAA over SpaceX launch damage … A “gustnado” destroyed eight Tulsa flight-school aircraft … Company plans hybrid-powered Islanders … FAA has struck a runway incursion safety committee … ADs ground all B-17s … Cathay Pacific will make pilot cadets work the gates … Find breaking news in general aviation at


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