Saturday, July 27, 2013

Two dead in Lake Michigan plane crash

Two men were pronounced dead after their small single-engine plane went down in Lake Michigan on Saturday, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. [source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

Just before 4 p.m. EDT, air traffic controllers at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee reported to search-and-rescue coordinators at Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan that they had lost a single engine Piper aircraft on radar about three miles northeast of the airport and had no radio communications with the plane.

A crew from Coast Guard Station Milwaukee aboard a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium responded to the scene along with local police land units and fire department marine units. An aircrew from Coast Guard Air Facility Waukegan, Ill., aboard an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter also responded to the accident.

Upon arriving on scene, the Station Milwaukee crew reported finding a debris field in the water. The plane, a Piper Cherokee manufactured in 1975 (tail number N1549X), is registered to Ann Marie Schmid, Franksville, Wis., according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

The cause of the crash is unknown.

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First Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner rolls out of paint hangar

The Boeing Company continues to make progress on the first 787-9 Dreamliner. The airplane has just rolled out of the paint hangar.

With the fuselage stretched by 20 feet (6 meters), the 787-9 will carry 40 more passengers an additional 300 nautical miles (555 kilometers), with 20 percent less fuel use and 20 percent fewer emissions than similarly sized airplanes,” Boeing said in a press release.

Boeing is on track to roll out and fly the 787-9, currently in final production, in late summer. First delivery to launch customer Air NewZealand is set for mid-2014.

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Fifth astronaut candidate selected for Citizens in Space program

Citizens in Space, a project of the United States Rocket Academy, has announced the selection of its fifth citizen-astronaut candidate.

Informal educator and aerospace historian Greg Kennedy will join four other citizen-astronaut candidates who are training to fly as payload operators on the Lynx spacecraft, currently under construction by XCOR Aerospace in Mojave, Calif. XCOR expects to begin Lynx test flights later this year.

Citizens in Space has purchased 10 flights on the XCOR Lynx spacecraft. To fill those flights, Citizens in Space is seeking 100 citizen-science experiments and 10 citizen astronauts to fly as payload operators.

Greg Kennedy is currently director of education at NASTAR Center, a leading provider of spaceflight training for commercial vehicles, in Southampton, Pa. Previously, he was associate curator for manned spaceflight at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.; director of the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas; founding director of the American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum in Fort Worth; executive director of the Space Center in Alamogordo, N.M.; executive director of the Mid Atlantic Air Museum in Liberal, Kan.; and executive director of the American Helicopter Museum in West Chester, Pa.

Kennedy is a noted aerospace historian whose books include Touching Space: The Story of Project Manhigh, Apollo to the Moon, The First Men in Space; Rockets and Missiles of White Sands Proving Ground, and Vengeance Weapon Two: Germany's V-2 Rocket. He was also a co-author of The Space Shuttle Operator's Manual and Rockets, Missiles, and Spacecraft of the National Air and Space Museum.

Kennedy is a qualified spacesuit technician and commercial spaceflight instructor. At NASTAR Center, he conducts training for commercial spaceflight participants and suborbital scientists, along with various workshops and summer-camp programs which he has created for teachers and students.

Current citizen-astronaut candidates include Maureen Adams, an elementary-school teacher and principle from Killeen, Texas; Michael Johnson, an aviation instructor from Dallas, Texas; Lt. Col. Steve Heck (USAF-ret.), and Edward Wright.

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Forward fuselage section rolled out for new KC-46A tanker

Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. celebrated completion of the first forward fuselage section, Section 41, for the new Boeing KC-46A tanker. Boeing and U.S. Air Force representatives joined Spirit leadership and employees to mark the occasion on Friday.

"Right now we the fly KC-135R models and they are great and give gas all over the world. We need to recapitalize the fleet,” Maj. Gen. John Thompson said on Friday. Thompson is the U.S. Air Force Program Executive Officer for Tankers. “We need something better and newer. The KC-46A is the answer. You all are part of the program and on the team. The stability of the program is fantastic. I am counting on you to deliver these planes on time and with high quality so our warfighters can safely, efficiently and effectively do their job to protect our freedom.”

Meanwhile, Spirit announced Thursday they plan to layoff approximately 360 employees, “a strategic move to make the company more competitive in a cost-sensitive environment.”

In June 2011, Spirit was announced as a supplier on the KC-46 program. The company is responsible for the forward fuselage section, strut and nacelle components, and the fixed leading edge for the KC-46A tanker. Spirit manufactures the Section 41 and strut and nacelle components at its Wichita, Kan. facility. Production of the KC-46A is integrated directly into the Boeing 767 commercial production line at Boeing's Everett facility.

Boeing has announced it will build 179 next-generation aerial refueling tanker aircraft that will begin to recapitalize the Air Force's fleet of 416 KC-135 tankers. Based on the proven Boeing 767 commercial airplane, the KC-46 tanker is a widebody, multi-mission aircraft updated with the latest and most advanced technology to meet the demanding mission requirements of the future.

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Video: Ariane 5 rocket launches Alphasat and INSAT-3D satellites

An Arianespace heavy-lift launcher orbited Europe’s largest ever telecommunications satellite, Alphasat, and India’s latest meteorological spacecraft, INSAT-3D, Thursday on the third Ariane 5 mission of 2013.

The Ariane 5 rocket lifted off at 3:54 p.m. EDT from French Guiana, South America, for a nearly 33-minute flight into Earth orbit, which marked the launcher’s 56th consecutive successful mission. The two solid propellant boosters on the Ariane 5 separated from the vehicle at an altitude of 67 kilometers.


Deployed first in the flight sequence nearly 28 minutes after liftoff, Alphasat is configured with a new-generation L-band geo-mobile communications relay system that will provide voice and data transmission services across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Alphasat is a partnership between the European Space Agency and operator Inmarsat, with support from the CNES French space agency.

With a liftoff mass of 6,650 kilograms, Alphasat was one of the heaviest passengers carried in the upper position of Ariane 5.


Some five minutes after Alphasat’s deployment, Ariane 5 completed its mission with the successful separation of INSAT-3D, which will provide enhanced meteorological observation and monitoring of land/ocean surfaces. The satellite carries a six-channel imager and 19-channel sounder, as well as a data relay transponder for satellite-aided search and rescue operations.

INSAT-3D was developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

“We are looking forward to the excellent operational performance of INSAT-3D for the next seven years, making a difference for the weather forecasting and disaster warning systems for the country,” said K. Radhakrishnan, the chairman of ISRO.

Designated Ariane Flight VA214 – this mission represented the 214th launch since operations began with the Ariane series of vehicles in 1979.

Arianespace’s next launch is targeted for Aug. 29, using an Ariane 5 to orbit the Eutelsat 25B/Es’hail-1 for Es’hailSat and Eutelsat, along with GSAT-7 for the ISRO.

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360 layoffs at Spirit AeroSystems

Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. announced Thursday that approximately 360 salaried support and management employees at its Kansas and Oklahoma facilities are receiving layoff notices. The company is offering affected employees severance benefits and career transition services.

Today's action is a strategic move to make the company more competitive in a cost-sensitive environment, and results from an ongoing workforce assessment designed to reduce overhead costs, increase efficiency and drive improved performance,” the company said in a press release.

Spirit AeroSystems, with headquarters in Wichita, Kan., is one of the world's largest designers and manufacturers of aerospace structures for commercial aircraft.

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Advanced procurement of C-130J aircraft for Israel

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Marietta, Ga., has been awarded a $12.9 million contract for the advanced procurement of one Israel C-130J-30 aircraft and field services representatives. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $1.6 billion. The work will be performed at Marietta, Ga., and is expected to be completed by Dec. 30, 2015. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/WLNNC, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, awarded the contract.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

US military awards aviation services contract in Africa

Berry Aviation Inc., San Marcos, Texas, is being awarded a $10.7 million contract for Trans-Sahara short take-off and landing (STOL) services.

The Trans-Sahara STOL contract provides for casualty evacuation, personnel airlift, cargo airlift, and air drop services. The work will be performed throughout the recognized political boundaries of Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, South Sudan, Tunisia, and Uganda, with an expected completion date of June 27, 2017.

The maximum value, including the base period and three one-year option periods, is $49 million.

“This contract was a competitive acquisition solicited using the Federal Business Opportunities website, and five offers were received,” the military said on Wednesday. The U.S. Transportation Command, Directorate of Acquisition, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., awarded the contract.

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New Bombardier jet first flight weeks away

Bombardier Aerospace confirmed Wednesday that the integration of the CSeries' auxiliary power unit and Pratt & Whitney engines on the first flight test vehicle (FTV1) is running smoothly. The company also confirmed that the latest software upgrades on the aircraft continue to be successfully completed; however, the highly technical last steps are taking more time than initially anticipated to validate the overall systems and ongoing software integration. First flight is expected to occur in the coming weeks, the company said in a press release.

“We have now entered the ultimate phase of systems integration and validation on the first flight test vehicle as we submit brand new technology to in-depth tests,” said Mike Arcamone, president, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “While the process has taken more time than we had expected, we are pleased with the results and are very comfortable taking more time to ensure the required integration is finalized and the CSeries aircraft is cleared for its first flight.”

While in its final testing stage in preparation for first flight, FTV1 is undergoing important and complex pre-flight tests, including aircraft in the loop testing (ACIL). During ACIL tests, FTV1 is “flown" on the ground in a simulated flight environment. This will be followed by low- and high-speed taxiing.

CSeries aircraft

The new CSeries jet is designed for the growing 100- to 149-seat market. Powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1500G engines, the new jet family will offer a 15 percent cash operating cost advantage and a 20 percent fuel burn advantage. The aircraft has a range of 2,950 nautical miles.

As of today, Bombardier has booked orders and commitments for 388 CSeries aircraft, which include firm orders for 177 CSeries airliners.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

60 new Krispy Kreme locations planned in South Korea

Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corp. continues to expand in the Asia Pacific region with the announcement Tuesday that it has reached an agreement on a development plan with existing franchisee Lotteria Co., LTD for 60 new Krispy Kreme franchise locations in South Korea over the next five years. The franchisee also plans significant remodels at more than half of its existing 73 Krispy Kreme locations throughout the country.

In January, the North Carolina-based company opened its first franchise location in India, in the city of Bangalore. [Full story]

Krispy Kreme has over 785 locations in 22 countries, including Australia, Bahrain, Canada, China, Dominican Republic, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, the Republic of Korea (South Korea), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Nose gear collapses on Southwest Airlines flight upon landing

Southwest Airlines flight 345 landed at New York's LaGuardia at 5:40 p.m. EDT Monday evening from Nashville. The aircraft is a Boeing 737-700. Eyewitness reports indicate the aircraft's nose gear collapsed upon landing. There were 150 people on board including customers and crew.
Initial reports indicate local responders are caring for five customers and three flight attendants who have reported injuries at this time,” Southwest said in a press statement. Southwest is cooperating with local authorities, and the National Transportation Safety Board has been notified.
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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Canadian Solar leads upward trend in solar stocks

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Consistent research and development efforts to improve solar cell efficiency have yielded positive results for stock investors year over year. The increasing focus in the U.S. on green energy will see more and more power being produced from solar cells.

In 2013, only 0.2 percent of the power produced in the U.S. will come from solar generation, according to a report published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. However, solar generation is expected to grow by 79 percent in 2013 and 49 percent in 2014. The whole solar market is predicted to provide nice returns for the long-term investors, with Canadian Solar Inc. leading the sector.

Canadian Solar Inc.

Canadian Solar (NASDAQ:CSIQ), designs, develops, and manufactures solar wafers, cells and solar module products that convert sunlight into electricity for a variety of uses. The company’s products include a range of standard solar modules built to general specifications for use in a range of residential, commercial and industrial solar power generation systems. It also designs and produces specialty solar modules and products based on its customers' requirements. Specialty solar modules and products consist of customized solar modules that its customers incorporate into their own products, such as solar-powered bus stop lighting, and complete specialty products, such as portable solar home systems and solar-powered car battery chargers.

CSIQ stock shares are up 258 percent over the last 52 weeks (July 23, 2012 to July 19, 2013). This year alone, the stock is up 294 percent, closing Friday at $13.42 per share, up one percent for the day. CSIQ has a 52-week low of $1.95 and a high of $14.47.

DisclaimerThis post is provided for information purposes only and should not be used as the basis for any investment decision. I am neither licensed nor qualified to provide investment advice. Keith Stein has no position in any stocks mentioned in this post. DCNewsroom has no position in any of the stocks mentioned in this post.

Department of Energy aircraft maintenance contract

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The U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is contemplating issuance of an aircraft maintenance contract to The Boeing Company in Seattle, Wash.

Boeing will provide an annual inspection and maintenance program to support two NNSA owned and operated Boeing 737-400 (tail numbers N980ST and N990ST) and one DC-9-33F (tail number N45NA) series transport category aircraft.

The contract was announced in documents posted to the Federal Business Opportunities website on Saturday.

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Pa. nuclear power plant needs repair following summer heat wave

A Pennsylvania power company had to initiate repairs at a nuclear power plant Sunday following a week of high temperatures and surging demand on power facilities.

Operators disconnected Unit 1 at PPL Corporation's Susquehanna nuclear powerplant in northeastern Pennsylvania from the regional power grid Sunday to repair one of four valves that control the amount of steam going into the turbine,” PPL said in a press statement.

PPL expects to complete the repairs and reconnect Unit 1 to the power grid soon. Unit 2 continues to operate at full power. Both Susquehanna units have a generating capacity of about 1,300 megawatts.

The Susquehanna plant, located in Luzerne County about seven miles north of Berwick, is owned jointly by PPL Susquehanna LLC and Allegheny Electric Cooperative Inc. and is operated by PPL Susquehanna.

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