Lax mi JoshiJanuary 2022 / Volume 5/ Article 62Q ueen o f t h e B o ei n g 777Aviation MechanicAm ber MielkeBoeing 777
1 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comUSAHCONTENT1. Featured Article-Pgs. 3-14....... Air India 777 Pilot-Laxmi Joshi by Jimi Simmons2. World Flight Brief-Pgs. 15-21........Boeing 777 Article & Photos by Jimi Simmons 3. Women In Aviation-Pgs. 22-28........Amber Mielke, Aviation Mech. by Jimi SImmonsStaffUnited States Aeronautical History (USAH) is a non-profit organization that was established and dedicated to preserve, educate and maintain the history of aviation in the United States and abroad. USAH is committed to making sure the history is kept alive, archived and accessible for the next generation. We are devoted to the aircraft, aviation equipment, and the stories of those men and women; from the 1903 Flyer with the Wright Brothers, to present day aviation, both Military and Civilian.We feel it is imperative to keep the existence of our Military and Civilian Aviation alive to allow our youth to explore and gain the knowledge of the great history that would otherwise be forgotten. At USAH, we are able to provide this through monthly digital magazine issues, documentaries, photos and videos. We work to support the collection and archive of information as it pertains to aviation.Here at USAH we cover many aerial events such as; U.S. Military/Military Decommissions, Commercial Aviation, Pilot, Air Shows, Experimental, Air Racing, Aerobatic, Expos and simply put...everything aviation.USAHP.O. Box 56Claymont, DE 19703(302) 927-1133 We want our Military of All Branches........those serving currently and veterans that you are never alone......you are always in our thoughts and prayers to keep you close to God's angels and to protect you while protecting our freedom and bring you home safe.Jimi Simmons: V.P.Photographer/Videographer & JournalistShawn Byers Senior Editor Photographer & JournalistKenneth Strohm Photographer & Journalistwww.usaeronauticalhistory.com Guy Spumoni Chief EditorHarry Bristow/U.K.Videographer &PhotographerLindie Hecker Journalist/Europe
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Article by Jimi Simmons Lax mi Joshi3 www.usaeronauticalhistory.com
4 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comThe Staff at USAH are proud to publish you the first issue in the New Year for 2022! Our first feature is on Boeing 777 international female commercial pilot, Laxmi Joshi.We bring you Air India Queen Pilot, Boeing 777 First Officer, Laxmi Joshi. Laxmi is a young and upcoming Commercial Pilot from India. She grew up in Mumbai, India, which is on the west coast of India and it's Capital. She currently resides in Mumbai, and started her flying career in New Zealand, where she also worked as a flight instructor and then, joined Air India as an Airbus A320 First Officer. Laxmi was then upgraded to a Boeing 777 (777) First Officer which is the equipment she is currently flying. I was intrigued for Laxmi to tell me about her childhood, and how she became interested in aviation as well as becoming a pilot. "Since my childhood, it was my dream to become a pilot. Whenever I saw aircraft in the sky I would jump with excitement and tell my father one day, I will fly that plane. Well, my dream did come true! I am truly blessed to have the support of my parents and family. They have always supported me in all my decisions", stated Laxmi. Laxmi was 19 years old when she flew for the first time. She obtained her Private Pilot?s License (PPL) when she was just 19 that same year. ?I went to New Zealand to do my entire pilots training. It was a flying club I joined after I finished college in Mumbai, India. I was working as a flight instructor in New Zealand and then I joined Air india as an Airbus A320 First Officer (FO). I was then upgraded to 777 FO which is my current position and equipment I am flying?. With all the training that Laxmi has accomplished I asked her what was the most difficult part..."Well it took me about 1.5 years to complete the entire training and the hardest part I would say was staying away from my family for such a very long time was very tough. As Mumbai is approximately a 20 hour flight (7, 683 miles), so it was not as though I could just come home on the weekends. But apart from that, I was very interested in the industry of aviation, so luckily everything fell into place. So it was all worth it in the end. Anything worth working for in life will not always be easy" .Laxmi and her Father
5 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comLaxmi's current endorsements include; C-152, C-172, P-68, Airbus - 318/320/321, B777- (200/300). She did inform me that she would love to have the Airbus 380 and B747 endorsement in the future. It is one thing to be a commercial pilot doing regional or cross-country trips (max flight time 6.5 hours); but for Laxmi, the average flight time is 20 hours. Since her flights are all international, to the USA, UK and Canada. I asked her to give me some of the pros and cons of being an international pilot. ?Well, I would have to say the pros definitely out weight the cons. So, pros are I get to see the world, traveling to many countries weekly that some people will only ever see on T.V. or in photos. I get to meet new people every day, and being in our business you have to love working with the public, and I love making new friends all around the world. Not to mention working with some of the best flight crews in the business! The cons I would have to say are definitely jet lag, as the hours are very, very long with unusual sleeping patterns. One of the hardest things is staying away from family; missing out on important dates, and holidays with family and friends. But I knew this going in, and with the advent of the internet with Facebook, messenger and so much more, it is very easy to communicate and see them virtually. It is very easy to see one another while I am out of the country working?. Another key note to international flights which most people do not know is there are more than one flight crew, that is correct, two (2) flight crews. I will let Laxmi fully explain in detail how all this works on an international flight. When I met with Laxmi at Newark Airport in Newark, N.J. it was a sight to see; approximately eight (8) pilots walking out from the Air India Flight. "On our international flights, you have two (2) separate pilot/co-pilot teams; one crew for takeoff and another for landing. A minimum of two (2)Laxmi in the Boeing 777
6 www.usaeronauticalhistory.com(2) pilots are required to fly the 777. However, on longer flights, three (3) and sometimes four (4) pilots are on board to enable each other to have decent rest and sleep. We normally have a minimum of eight (8) cabin crew members for our flights we have from India to the U.S.A. This ensures that we can perform at our best during take off, flight and landing. We take turns resting in the birthing bunks which are below the passenger decks. This is required not only by law, but also by the number of hours we have been working. For us it's 'chocks-on/chocks-off'. Meaning our 'crew time' starts the minute we step on the plane, long before passengers board".I asked Laxmi to explain her responsibilities on a flight, so I asked her to give me a typical work day from start to finish. As well as her role as a Pilot FO aboard a 777. ?Well mostly all my flights are from New Delhi to the destination in the U.S.A., Canada or U.K. So one day before my actual flight day, I travel SOD (staff on duty) from Mumbai to Delhi, since my home base is Mumbai, India. After that I have a night off in Delhi, where I get rest in Delhi before operating a ULR (Ultra Long Range Flight). The day of the flight generally goes with the preparation for the flight; like general weather check and many other things we check before the flight. This also includes getting proper rest which is very much important as well. As a FO I am the second pilot (also referred to as the co-pilot) of the aircraft. The FO is second-in-command of the aircraft to the captain, who is the legal commander. In the event of incapacitation of the captain, the FO will assume command of the aircraft. As a pilot there are many responsibilities involved. Having said that, taking your passengers to their destination in the safest way is the most important part of our flights, as well as the safety of our crew and aircraft. Being a pilot means constantly learning and evolving into your position as a 777 pilot". "But there are so many other factors that are involved in this. While operating the Typical berthing compartments for the crew on ULR flights.
7 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comULR, there are so many important things and decisions you need to make. Fuel, weather, enroute weather, diversion airports, so many things are involved which you need to check. As the FO, I am required to conduct a pre-flight inspection of the aircraft to ensure that all navigation, safety, and operating systems are properly working. As FO, I am required to communicate with the air traffic control unit during take-off, flight, and landing. As well as maintaining navigation manuals and charts". "With so many flights departing every single day, no two flights are ever the same, even when you are a pilot. Each day can bring a new challenge, which not only keeps things exciting, but also encourages you to become a better pilot", stated Laxmi. I was curious to see what the future holds for Laxmi, with her being so young the sky? literally is the limit. So, I asked her if she sees herself going into the private sector (charter/corporate) or staying in the commercial side. If so why, and if not why. To say her schedule is a light one would be an understatement at best. Being her flights are all international flying to; the U.S.A. (San Francisco, Chicago and NYC), Canada (Toronto and Vancouver) and the U.K. ?For now, I think I like and will continue flying in the commercial sector. But in the near future who knows, because it does not matter if it?s the commercial sector or charter sector, I just want to keep flying?.The one key component that we at USAH pride ourselves on is the support and dedication to women in aviation. I had asked Laxmi if she ever had any ambition to join the military to become a pilot in India and she stated she never thought about joining the military. It's not very often one hears about India trailblazing on issues of gender equality. A veteran female for Air India pilot, Kshamta Bajpai stated the following in an interview from 2019; "The urban India has stoppedLaxmi conducting her pre-flight inspection of the 777.
8 www.usaeronauticalhistory.com differentiating between what a girl should pursue as a career and what a boy should do?. It should also be known that she holds the world record for leading the longest flight with an all-female crew. Another great female pilot from India is Flight Lieutenant Gunjan Saxena. She is an Indian Air Force (IAF) officer and former helicopter pilot. She joined the IAF in 1994 and is a 1999 Kargil War veteran. She received a gallantry award in her home state of Uttar Pradesh for "displaying exemplary courage" for her role in the conflict and has been hailed as "a pioneer" who "broke the glass ceiling" and inspired many young women to join the air force. Gunjan stated; "I never saw a ceiling, and never went there to break one. If I broke it, I'm glad. And if I inspired others to break it, I'm fortunate?. More than 20 years later, her Netflix biopic, Gunjan Saxena was released. I personally watched this movie and no man can ever say they know the trials and tribulations women fight to earn their place as equals. Hats off to you Gunjan, and it is women like her and Laxmi that are paving the way for others around the world.Laxmi 's 777 Air India Flight arriving early morning to the U.S.A. at Newark Intl.
9 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comUnfortunately, some countries traditions are not as diverse as the U.S.A. for example. So I also asked Laxmi if she sees more women pilots coming into the aviation community, as well as commercial pilots, and how it is looked upon in traditional India. To my surprise, here was Laxmi's answer ? ?India soars above other countries when it comes to hiring women pilots, despite the country's deeply entrenched patriarchal mindset. India has the world?s most female pilots in the entire world, so that is something really changing and I see more and more ladies are now joining to become pilots. The world and their orthodox thoughts are changing too which is great to see. India airlines are introducing policies not only to attract more and more women to the cockpit ,but also to retain them".Laxmi 's and Flight Crew of Air IndiaLaxmi in her uniform to start her 20 hour flight to the USA.
Not only is Laxmi a 777 First Officer Pilot of a world wide airliner, but she is also a large ambassador to the women in the aviation community. She has a very large following on her Instagram page, with over 355,000 followers! Below are some of her reels. Make sure to follow her on Instagram @pilotlaxmi.10 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comLaxmi in the right seat in the 777.Laxmi preparing to conduct her pre-flight inspections.
As much as we would like to forget about Covid, it has unfortunately become a stigma in our lives. I asked Laxmi how she has personally been affected by it, and how it has affected her position as a pilot. The general public, as well as passengers need to know the effort and sacrifices these pilots and crew are putting themselves in. Besides flying passengers they are also flying vaccines and medical equipment getting to its most needed areas.?Well for me there has not been much of a change as we were operating flights even during Covid; to deliver the vaccine, masks and medical kits. We were also operating and still are operating flights under the 'Vande Bharat Mission', which is to bring back and take the Indians who are stuck outside and vice versa. But yes, a lot of things have changed, restrictions on travel and also that sense of threat in your mind about the virus to stay away always stays in your mind whenever you step out. Before you didn?t have this as a problem but now this is the major issue, welcome to the new mask life, I guess". 11 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comLaxmi masked up and contrinuting to Operation Vande Bharat bringing vaccines and medical kits where needed.
Every pilot has his/her favorite destinations when flying. But when you are an international pilot, you are able to visit some beautiful destinations. Since Laxmi works only international flights, we asked her what her favorite destination is that she always looks forward to going back to and here is what she had to say. "Well, this is a tough one, but my favorite destination is San Francisco, California in the U.S.A. I am in love with that city as everything about that place is just magical and the weather most of the year is perfect".Below are just a some of the destinations that Laxmi has visited! 12 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comDesert Safari in Abu Dhabi Niagara Falls, Canada Chicago, IL., USASan Francisco, CA., USA New York City, N.Y., USAQueenstown, New Zealand
When Laxmi is not crossing oceans and continents in the sky, I asked her what she does on her down time. "When I am not working, I like to spend my time with my family and friends, as well as my dog Bruno. I also love to watch shows on Netflix, and documentaries. I workout and swim about 3-4 times a week, so visiting the gym is a must, which I have made mandatory for myself, both physically and mentally. I also love to shop, eat out at new restaurants when we are traveling and see many different sites. Rest of my time off goes from recovering from the jet lag of the previous ULR flights by taking rest and recovery and then I am ready for the next flight". As in every interview I conduct, I always ask every pilot what makes the 'ideal' professional pilot. "In my opinion a pilot who can carry out all the operations from the beginning to the end of the flight in a safe and professional manner is an ideal pilot. We are ever evolving in our industry and continued training and learning is a must. If a pilot ever thinks they know everything, gets complacent and lax, that is a recipe for disaster. Just like working out keeps your body fit, learning and continued education keeps your mind and skills sharp and alert", stated Laxmi. At the end of our interview, Laxmi has these kind words for all looking to reach their dreams in aviation. ?When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. So, all the lovely girls and boys out there no matter how many hurdles you have to face in life to achieve your goals never give up on your dreams. As in the end, all your effort and hard work will be worth it. I give all the credit to my biggest inspiration in my life my dad, who has taught me you can achieve whatever you wish in your life with your positive approach, determination and hard work?.Laxmi, I would like to wish you nothing but the best in your aviation career and we can see nothing but great accomplishments forthcoming for you. Keep inspiring others to achieve their goals in aviation. You are a true role model for our young ladies to look up to. We would also like recognize Air India for their superb work in their platform for women in aviation, and hope other countries follow suite. Laxmi is a prime example of putting her nose to the grind and making her dreams a reality!13 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comLaxmi and her dog Bruno
Below we have put a video together for Laxmi, saluting her and great accomplishments as a Commercial 777 Airline Pilot. Keep the world smiling Laxmi!14 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comLaxmi hitting the gym Laxmi a night out on the town Laxmi enjoying fine dining
15 www.usaeronauticalhistory.com I felt it was only fitting to do an article on the Boeing 777, since we just did a feature on a 777 pilot. Besides the 747, I think the 777 is the most majestic airliner today. The 777 was the first entirely new Boeing airplane in more than a decade and it was the first jetliner to be 100 percent digitally designed using three-dimensional computer graphics. Throughout the design process, the airplane was ?pre-assembled? on the computer, eliminating the need for a costly, full-scale mock-up.The Boeing 777, commonly referred to as the Triple Seven (777), is an American long-range wide-body airliner developed and manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It is the world's largest twin jet. The 777 was designed to bridge the gap between Boeing's other wide body airplanes, the twin-engine 767 and quad-engine 747, and to replace older DC-10's, as well as L-1011 tri-jets.DESIGN & DEVELOPMENTThe program was launched in October of 1990 with an order from United Airlines. In June of 1995, United flew its first 777 in revenue service. The Boeing board of directors authorized production of the 777-300 on June 26, 1995, and the first 777-300 was delivered to Cathay Pacific Airways in June of 1998.Alan Mulally served as the Boeing 777 program's director of engineering, and then was promoted in September of 1992 to lead it as vice-president and general manager. The design phase for the new twin jet was different from Boeing's previous commercial airliners. Eight major airlines; Nippon Airways, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, Japan Airlines, Qantas, and United Airlines had a role in the development. This was a departure from industry practice, where manufacturers Article by Jimi Simmons 777
typically designed aircraft with minimal customer input. The eight airlines that contributed to the design process became known within Boeing as the "Working Together" group. At the first group meeting in January of 1990, a 23-page questionnaire was distributed to the airlines, asking what each wanted in the design. In March of 1990, Boeing and the eight airlines had decided upon a basic design configuration: a cabin cross-section close to the 747's, capacity up to 325 passengers, flexible interiors, a glass cockpit, fly-by-wire controls, and 10 percent better seat-mile costs than the A330 and MD-11. Boeing selected its Everett factory in Washington, home of 747 production, as the 777's final assembly site. Boeing has the largest building in the world by volume at 13,385,378 sq. ft. The 777 was larger than all other jet airliners, but smaller than the 747 and included improvements in airfoil technology, flight deck design, passenger comfort and interior flexibility. The airplane seated from 301 to 386 passengers in a three-class configuration with a range capability of 5,240 nautical miles to 9,395 nautical miles. By 2014, the 777 was available in six models: the 777-200, 777-200ER (Extended Range), a larger 777-300, two longer range models, the 777-300ER, which rolled out on Nov. 14, 2002, and 777-200LR Worldliner (the world?s longest range commercial airplane) and the Boeing 777 Freighter.It can accommodate a ten?abreast seating layout and has a typical 3-class capacity of 301 to 368 passengers, with a range of 5,240 to 8,555 nautical miles. It is recognizable for its large-diameter turbofan engines, six wheels on each main landing gear, fully circular fuselage cross-section, and a blade-shaped tail cone. It is the first Boeing aircraft with fly-by-wire controls. It initially competed with the Airbus A340 and the McDonnell Douglas MD-11, both now out of production, and as of 2021 competes with the Airbus A350 XWB and A330-900.16 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comSingapore Airlines Boeing 777 Landing at JFK, NYC, N.Y.
POWER PLANTThe original 777 had a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 545,000?660,000 lbs. and was produced in two fuselage lengths: the initial 200 was followed by the extended-range 777-200ER in 1997; and the 33.25 ft. longer 777-300 in 1998. Those 777 Classics were powered by 77,200?98,000 lb.General Electric GE90, Pratt & Whitney PW4000, or Rolls-Royce Trent 800 engines. The longer-range 777-300ER, with a MTOW of 700,000?775,000 lb., entered service in 2004, the ultra long-range (ULR) 777-200LR in 2006, and the 777F freighter in 2009. These long-haul variants use 110,000?115,300 lb. GE90 engines and have extended raked wingtips. On November 12, 1995, Boeing delivered the first model with General Electric GE90-77B engines to British Airways, which entered service five days later. Initial service was affected by gearbox bearing wear issues, which caused British Airways to temporarily withdraw its 777 fleet from transatlantic service in 1997, returning to full service later that year. General Electric subsequently announced engine upgrades.As one of the three available engines for the new Boeing 777, the GE90 was an all-new $2 billion design meant to handle transoceanic routes, in contrast to the offerings from Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce which were modifications of existing engines. Problems with GE90 development and testing caused delays in Federal Aviation Administration certification. In addition the GE90's increased output was not yet put to use by airlines and it was also the heaviest engine of the three available choices, making it the least popular option while Rolls-Royce held the top spot. British Airways soon replaced the GE90 with Rolls-Royce engines on their 777?s.17 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comThe GE -90 Engines
18 www.usaeronauticalhistory.com For Boeing's second-generation 777 long-range versions, greater thrust was needed to meet the specifications. General Electric and Pratt & Whitney insisted on a winner-take-all contract due to the $500 million investment in engine modifications needed to meet the requirements. GE received sole engine supplier status for the higher-thrust engine variants for the 777-200LR, -300ER, and 777F. The improved version entered service with Air France in May 2004.The higher-output GE90-110B1 and 115B engines, in combination with the second-generation 777 variants 200LR and 300ER, has been a primary driver of the twinjet's sales past the rival A330/340 series. Using two engines produces a typical operating cost advantage of around 8?9% for the 300ER over the A340-600. The 777-300ER has also been seen as a 747-400 replacement amid rising fuel prices given its 20% fuel burn advantage.Until passed by its derivative, the GE9X, the GE90 series held the title of the largest engines in aviation history. The fan diameter of the original series being 123 in., and the largest variant GE90-115B has a fan diameter of 128 in. As a result, GE90 engines can only be air freighted in assembled form by outsize cargo aircraft such as the Antonov An-124, presenting unique problems if, due to emergency diversions, a 777 were stranded in a place without the proper spare parts. In 2011, its list price was US$27.5 million, and it had an in-flight shutdown rate (IFSD) of one per million engine flight-hours. Until November 2015, it accumulated more than 8 million cycles and 50 million flight hours in 20 years. Pratt & Whitney Engine Royles Royce Engine
In July 2020, the fleet of 2,800 engines surpassed 100 million hours, powering over 1,200 aircraft for 70 operators with a dispatch reliability rate of 99.97%. A complete overhaul costs more than $12 million. In November 2013, Boeing announced the 777X development with the -8 and -9 variants, both featuring composite wings with folding wingtips and General Electric GE9X engines.FLY-BY-WIREBoeing introduced a number of advanced technologies with the 777 design, including fully digital fly-by-wire controls, fully software-configurable avionics, Honeywell LCD glass cockpit flight displays, and the first use of a fiber optic avionics network on a commercial airliner. Boeing made use of work done on the cancelled Boeing 7J7 regional jet, which utilized similar versions of the chosen technologies. In 2003, Boeing began offering the option of cockpit electronic flight bag computer displays. In 2013, Boeing announced that the upgraded 777X models would incorporate airframe, systems, and interior technologies from the 787.In designing the 777 as its first fly-by-wire commercial aircraft, Boeing decided to retain conventional control yokes rather than change to side stick controllers as used in many fly-by-wire fighter aircraft and in many Airbus airliners. Along with traditional yoke and rudder controls, the cockpit features a simplified layout that retains similarities to previous Boeing models. The fly-by-wire system also incorporates flight envelope protection, a system that guides pilot inputs within a computer-calculated framework of operating parameters, acting to prevent stalls, over speeds, and excessively stressful maneuvers. This system can be overridden by the pilot if deemed necessary. The fly-by-wire system is supplemented by mechanical backup. To date the 777 has made many new advancements and is the leader in ULR flights around the world for both passenger and cargo .19 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comPhoto by Laxmi Joshi -On the Yoke in the 777
AIRFRAMES and SYSTEMS The wings on the 777 feature a supercritical airfoil design that is swept back at 31.6 degrees and optimized for cruising at Mach 0.83 (revised after flight tests up to Mach 0.84). The wings are designed with increased thickness and a longer span than previous airliners, resulting in greater payload and range, improved takeoff performance, and a higher cruising altitude. The wings also serve as fuel storage, with longer-range models able to carry up to 47,890 US gallons of fuel. This capacity allows the 777-200LR to operate ultra-long-distance, trans-polar routes such as Toronto to Hong Kong. In 2013, a new wing made of composite materials was introduced for the upgraded 777X, with a wider span and design features based on the 787's wings.Unlike smaller airliners like the Boeing 737, no current 777 wings have winglets; instead, the exceptionally long raked wings of the 777 serve the same drag-reducing function. Large folding wingtips, 21 feet long, were offered when the 777 was first launched, to appeal to airlines who might use gates made to accommodate smaller aircraft, but no airline purchased this option. Folding wingtips reemerged as a design feature at the announcement of the upgraded 777X in 2013. Smaller folding wingtips of 11 feet in length will allow 777X models to use the same airport gates and taxiways as earlier 777s. These smaller folding wingtips are less complex than those proposed for earlier 777s, and internally only affect the wiring needed for wingtip lights. 20 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comPhoto by Laxmi Joshi in the 777 Photo by Laxmi Joshi -Operating the Flaps in the
21 www.usaeronauticalhistory.com In 2012, Boeing began developing an advanced manufacturing technology for 777 fuselages known as Fuselage Automated Upright Build, or FAUB. With this technology, fuselage sections are built using automated, guided robots that fasten the panels of the fuselage together, drilling and filling the approximately 60,000 fasteners that were originally installed by hand.Boeing?s 777X is the newest family of twin-aisle airplanes. In November 2013, Boeing Commercial Airplanes launched the airplane at the Dubai Airshow with 259 commitments from four customers. Production of the 777X was scheduled to begin in 2017, and first delivery was targeted for 2020. The 777X was designed to be the largest and most-efficient twin-engine jet in the world, with 12 percent lower fuel consumption and 10 percent lower operating costs than the competition. The 777 has been ordered and delivered more than any other wide-body airliner; as of August 2021, more than 60 customers have placed orders for 2,061 aircraft of all variants, with 1,669 delivered. The most common and successful variant is the 777-300ER with 844 aircraft ordered and 810 delivered. By March 2018, the 777 had become the most-produced Boeing wide-body jet, overtaking the Boeing 747. As of July 2018, Emirates was the largest operator, with 163 aircraft. As of September 2021, the 777 had been involved in 31 aviation accidents and incidents, including 8 hull losses (5 during flight and 3 on the ground) with 541 fatalities, and 3 hijackings. Boeing 777 -300 was the longest airliner in the world until the introduction of the Airbus A340 600. Boeing is currently in the final stages of testing the brand new Boeing 777X model. This updated 777 was due to go into service in 2020, however, due to updated certification requirements and the Covid19 travel downturn, it is more likely that the 777X will be delivered in 2023. Photo by Shawn Byers-Emirates 777 -200Photo by Shawn Byers-ANA 777 -300
A M B E R M IE L K EWe are very pleased to bring you the first segment of Women In Aviation, featuring female Aviation Mechanic, Amber Mielke. Amber grew up in the little farm town of Becker Minnesota, attended and graduated from Becker High School. She attended college later down the road at Northland Community and Tech college were she obtained a degree in Aviation Maintenance Technology (associates). Amber currently resides in St. Peter Minnesota.When I interviewed Amber, I obviously had the the questions of; "What attracted you to have a career in aviation, an more so becoming an Aviation Mechanic?". I had also asked her what her career was or path before knowing she wanted to be an Aviation Mechanic. "I was introduced into aviation later in life (22 years old), where I worked for FedEx (Grand Forks, N.D.) on the airport, marshalling airbuses, loading up small cargo planes with boxes, figuring out weight and balance for cargo containers (on the airbus), and deicing planes. From day one when my feet touched the tarmac I was in love with aviation, Article by Jimi SimmonsAmber Mielke at Work22 www.usaeronauticalhistory.com
something just clicked. I enjoyed every -30-degree day if it meant I was able to hang out with airplanes, later down the road I decided to advance in aviation, and become a ramp agent for Delta Global Services (Bemidji, MN.), yet it still seemed not to be enough to fix the itch for aviation". "That was when I decided to move back to Grand Forks, N.D. and attend college for aviation. Originally, I planned to attend college for aerospace engineering/flight, and become a flight test engineer. Everything was set in stone to go down the engineering pathway until I attended my first Airventure Oshkosh, in 2019. I heard so many stories, got a seaplane ride, met an amazing organization called Mission Aviation Fellowship, a man there explained to me how he travels overseas helping medically in many of the third world countries. I fell in a daze listening to all his stories, and how many hearts and souls he has touched throughout time. The end of that day I asked him what it would take to fly small seaplanes overseas helping others around the world, and that was when I was informed that all their pilots required their A&P. Luckily for me when I arrived home and did some research just an hour away a college offered an A&P program, a week later I was enrolled and ready to start my journey". "During my three years of college, driving an hour one way every day to complete my degree, I worked full time as a Quality Control Inspector for Cirrus Aircraft. I added a semester to be an intern maintenance technician at the University of North Dakota.", stated Amber. As we all know, college tuition is very expensive and not easy. I was very intrigued seeing how she had to take the route of both working full-time and going to school full-time. No offense to college students, but most have it fairly easy, with parents paying for everything and the student just attending class. So my hat is tipped for you Amber as I know from first hand juggling a job and going to school full time is not an easy task! Amber enjoying the beautiful outdoors.23 www.usaeronauticalhistory.com
Knowing how hard this had to be for her I had asked Amber how long the schooling was to become an Aviation Mechanic and what was the most difficult part while in school. "College took me a bit longer than most as I worked full time, while attending college full time. It took me three years to complete my associates degree.""The biggest challenge for me was trying to balance work and college. There would be months I would go without a day off, so it took a toll after three years. My shift at Cirrus was Friday thru Sunday 12 hour days, and college Monday thru Thursday 8 AM to 4:30 PM, plus the one hour drive one way each day. It was worth every moment, and the drive did allow me to study, or listen to e-books to help retain some knowledge. Planners... yes planners (I had two), helped me keep my daily routine in check to make sure I had time to study, get some rest, and still put my 100% in work and college. Time management became key in my life. I graduated college in April of 2021, started my first A&P in general aviation at North Star Aviation in Mankato MN., where I am now training to become one of their repair station inspectors". I asked Amber if she sees herself going to work in the private or commercial sector and here is what she had to say. "I personally fell in love with general aviation compared to airlines, and I hope to continue my career advancing in general aviation. The big major difference I have noticed between the two is the community base. General aviation carries a passion, a community, basically one big happy family. Community is key to happiness for myself, and as I continue down the path of general aviation, the more of a family general aviation becomes".24 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comAmber......her tool box......and her planes!
I asked Amber to give me some benefits, pros and cons of working charter/corporate vs. commercial."General Aviation is a world of many types of aircraft of all ages. This is a pro/con in itself. You learn a lot every day on the ins and outs of many aircraft but you may not have the tool or part needed for that plane. Commercial Aviation follows a more universal style of parts and tools and you may only get to work on one type of aircraft and one specialty, such as hydraulics or sheet metal. In General Aviation, you are a jack of all trades right from the beginning. It takes some time to get used to but every day, you are learning and taking on more skills and knowledge".Amber's current company, North Star Aviation is known for their flight school where they focus on Pipers (Seminoles, Archers and Warriors) and Cessnas (152). "We also service customers under our repair station which includes everything under the sun from Cub to a Piper Navajo and everything in between. We do everything from annuals/100 hours to putting floats/skis on a tail dragger. Being as I mainly focus on the Pipers there are days where you have the mindset, seen one, you?ve seen them all, but the moment you finish an inspection and you get to run up the airplane, it reminds me that we are the reason these airplanes are running. The better we know an aircraft the better a mechanic we become. Every airplane has its pros/cons, some powerplants are easy to work on, easier to complete an oil change on, and others require more maneuvering around.25 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comAmber's smile says it all.
But every challenge teaches us a lesson and just makes the next round go a bit smoother."The best part of my job is after completing an event/annual/100/cylinder change/engine change is running up an aircraft and watching all the engine gauges work in unison with one another, and listening to your hard work making history, as I like to say. The most stressful thing is stripped screws, my biggest nightmare. There are days something may only take a couple hours, and becomes a day long project because of stripped screws, missing hardware or a hidden leak that requires a removal of some wing panels or the bottom cowl off an aircraft. Every day is an adventure simply due to the fact you never know what you are walking into because each airplane has a hidden mystery just waiting to be found".It was interesting to have Amber walk me through her daily routine. "Every day, every morning, starts with making a pot of coffee in the hangar, need that go-go juice. I work 10 hour days typically running a Thursday thru Sunday shift, and coming in during the week for more training, or helping out in the shop when need be. After the pot of coffee is brewed, I go on our database to see if any of our flight students/instructors wrote down any aircraft (maintenance discrepancies). If so we try to solve those maintenance problems first, sometimes it could be we need to change an idle setting, dead battery, flat tire, or a bird strike (a few of the common ones)". After those have been touched base on, it is onto 50 hour events on the flight school aircraft. There are four events that complete an annual per aircraft. Each event will either be an engine detail or engine routine. If the engine is a routine inspection then the airframe will be a detailed, and vise versa. An engine detail would consist of an oil change, magneto timing, compression check, clean, test and gap spark plugs, lubrication of controls, a deep inspection per component on the aircraft, and any maintenance that is required that was noticed (a common one is a leaking intake gasket)". "After the event is complete its required to do a full run up to make sure the operation check is good, engine gauges are in the green, engine runs smoothly, correct magneto drops, controls are correct, and the airplane runs on idle, just to name a few things. Each event is estimated to take about six hours according to Piper standards".26 www.usaeronauticalhistory.com
Sometimes there is traveling involved with being a A&P. The only traveling required for Amber's company is if an airplane breaks down at another location, at that point she would fly to the destination and do the necessary repairs and fly home. This is normally just a day outing if she were to have to go. All of us have had our Covid stories and here is Amber's. "Due to covid, my school got extended an extra semester. Originally I was supposed to graduate in December of 2020, but ended up graduating in March of 2021. The flying club I was initially going to do flight training through closed down, so my flight training was on hold an extra year, but as I always say, everything happens for a reason. If it wasn?t for Covid, I would have never been able to travel for two months and find a lovely flight school in Idaho to do my first 10 hours of mountain flying. It was an experience of a lifetime"!With Amber's career just beginning, I did ask her where she sees herself in the industry in 10 years or where she would like to be. I also asked her what makes a 'quality Aviation Mechanic'. "The greatest thing about aviation is the opportunities are endless in the field and you can take many paths throughout your years. My biggest dream is be a pilot/mechanic for aerial fire fighting or search and rescue, and spend a couple of months throughout each year flying as a humanitarian pilot for medical support. For me what makes a 'quality Aviation Mechanic' is one who wakes up smiling going to work and coming home with an even bigger smile on their face. When you do something you love, you never work a day in your life".During Amber's down time and when she is not working, she enjoys being a big part of her community, and just recently was accepted into her local fire department as a fire fighter/first responder. Amber is also pursuing her private pilot?s license, and crossing her fingers to be a full-blown private pilot by spring time of 2022. "Between firefighting, flying and working; you will find me out in the wilderness enjoying one of my adrenaline hobbies: kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, mountain biking, climbing, downhill skiing. If I am really lucky and get a few days off I am out backpacking or getting27 www.usaeronauticalhistory.com
off the grid for a few days in my little off-road Pontiac vibe loaded up with either a mountain bike or a quiver of skis", stated Amber.Amber has these final words for any women or men looking to become an Aviation Mechanic. "Go to your local airport, ask to shadow a mechanic, offer a hand in the shop! We mechanics love the extra help, and nothing is more enjoyable than to watch a young mind grow in aviation. In middle school/high school take shop classes, any knowledge of any kind in shop will help you become a mechanic. Even wood shop, it?s amazing how every tool has more than one use. Find local aviation communities, like the EAA, they have tons of opportunities to introduce young minds into aviation, especially for mechanics, everyone loves to build and learn how to build an airplane"."When it comes to pursuing a career in Aviation Maintenance, there is three tracks you can take: military, college, or on the job training. I had the combination of schooling and work which I think was a golden way to go about it. If I had the opportunity to backtrack and go about it again, I would do on the job training (it takes about two or three years to build the required hours), but during that time I would also pursue my flight training. After required hours are met, there are three categories of testing required to get your licenses: you will have an oral portion, practical (performing maintenance projects), and a written. Each of these three categories are broken up into three subcategories: Airframe, Powerplant, and General. Reading this may sound like a lot, but when you?re what I like to call, airplane doctors, every detail matters". 28 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comAmber Mielke we wish you the best and your picture here says it all about being an Aviation Mechanic.
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