Saturday, August 3, 2013

Video: Japan launches fourth cargo ship to International Space Station

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's HTV-4 Transfer Vehicle was successfully launched from the Tanegashima Space Center on Saturday for a rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS).

Once there, the HTV-4 will deliver 3.6 tons of dry cargo, water, experiments and spare parts to the ISS. Unlike a Russian Progress vehicle which docks automatically, the HTV-4 will be captured by the Canadarm2 and berthed to the ISS. The cargo ship is scheduled to reach the space station on Friday.

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Alert at Alabama nuclear plant 'safely resolved'

The alert at the Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Plant unit 1 has been safely resolved as of 12:10 p.m. EDT, according to the plant's owner, Alabama Power Company. The plant declared an alert on unit 1 at 6:20 a.m. EDT on Saturday due to the inadvertent release of carbon dioxide from a fire suppression system during maintenance activities.

Plant personnel safely isolated the carbon dioxide and verified that there was no impact to plant equipment,” Alabama Power said in a press statement. “There were no injuries to personnel and there was no danger to the public.”

An alert is the second least serious of four nuclear plant emergency classifications assigned by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Units 1 and 2 continued to operate safely at 100 percent power. "There was no release of radiation," the company added.

Plant Farley, a two-unit electric generating plant located near Dothan, Ala, is owned by Alabama Power Company and operated by Southern Nuclear Operating Company. Both are subsidiaries of Southern Company.

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Alabama nuclear power plant declares alert status

The Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Plant near Dothan, Ala. declared “an alert” at 6:20 a.m. EDT on Saturday due to the release of carbon dioxide within the plant. Alabama Power Company, the facility's owner, said the carbon dioxide release has been isolated. Carbon dioxide is an agent routinely used to mitigate fire hazards, however there was no indication of a fire on site.

An alert is the second least serious of four nuclear plant emergency classifications assigned by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission,” the company said in a press release. “At this point there is no danger to the public. Appropriate federal, state and local officials have been notified.

The facility's Units 1 and 2 continue to operate at 100 percent power. There is no release of radiation in progress associated with this event. 
All site personnel have been accounted for and there are no accidents or injuries reported."

Alabama Power said additional details will be announced as they become available. Members of the public should stay tuned to their radio and television for the latest information.

Plant Farley, a two-unit electric generating plant, is owned by Alabama Power Company and operated by Southern Nuclear Operating Company. Both are subsidiaries of Southern Company.

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Friday, August 2, 2013

Preliminary report on Fredericksburg plane crash

On July 22, a single engine Cessna 172M (tail number N61954), was destroyed when it collided with terrain while maneuvering near Shannon Airport in Fredericksburg, Va. The private pilot was fatally injured.

The accident airplane was operated by a flight school located at Shannon Airport. A flight instructor who worked for the flight school stated that he had met the accident pilot about three months before the accident, and had performed a checkout flight with the pilot so that he could rent the flight school’s airplanes. The pilot had subsequently flown the school’s airplanes several times between the date of the checkout and the accident flight.

On the day of the accident, the pilot utilized the flight school’s internet-based computerized scheduling system to reserve a flight in N61954. He arrived at the airport shortly thereafter. The flight instructor who had previously flown with the accident pilot was at the flight school at the time, preparing for an upcoming flight with another student.

“According to the flight instructor, he and the pilot had a brief conversation about work, their recent flying activities, and the current weather conditions,” the National Transportation Safety Board said in their preliminary report. “The flight instructor reported that the pilot seemed to be in good spirits and was not otherwise behaving abnormally. After retrieving the paperwork required to dispatch the airplane, along with the keys from where they were normally secured, the pilot said goodbye to the instructor and proceeded to the airplane.

The flight instructor next saw the accident airplane as it performed a low pass down the runway and then began maneuvering erratically in the vicinity of the airport. The airplane then climbed to an estimated altitude of 3,000 feet before it pitched down and descended in a near-vertical attitude. During the descent, the engine sounded as if it were producing 'full' power, and the airplane subsequently impacted the ground about 200 feet northwest of the runway.”

The aircraft is registered to Cross Flot Aviation, Inc., Fairfax, Va., according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

The crash is still under investigation.

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NASA plans to remove engines on Shuttle Carrier Aircraft

NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC) is putting together a plan to remove the engines from the two retired Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), according to contract documents posted Friday on the Federal Business Opportunities website.

“NASA/DFRC has a requirement for engines removal, assessment for airworthiness and packing for shipment of Pratt and Whitney turbofan engines JT9D-7J,” the space agency said in contract documents. “The engines are currently installed on two retired Boeing 747SCA. These 747SCA are located in two different locations: one aircraft is located at the Dryden Aircraft Operation Facility in Palmdale, Calif., and the other aircraft is located at the Johnson Space Center, Ellington Field, Houston, Texas.” All assessments must be conducted at these locations, NASA said.

“The government's delivery schedule for the engines is very critical,” NASA said in contract documents. “For the aircraft located at Ellington Field, engine assessment and removal required to be completed by Aug. 31. For the aircraft located at Palmdale, and all other tasks expected to be completed by Oct. 1.”

NASA provided no clear reason for the removal of the engines in contract documents.

SOFIA engines

In June, DFRC issued a request on the FBO website to acquire four Pratt and Whitney JT9D-7J engines specifically configured for a Boeing 747SP legacy aircraft.

The four jet engines are needed for NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) program to sustain the projected 20 year flight envelope of the science platform. The highly modified Boeing 747SP SOFIA jet carries a German-built telescope used for infrared astronomy research.

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F-16C Falcon jets collide near Chincoteague, Va.

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued an Air National Guard pilot Friday after his plane went down approximately 35 miles southeast of Chincoteague, Va.

The Coast Guard 5th District Command Center received notification via an automated Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking distress signal from an ejection seat registered to an Air National Guard plane at approximately 10:28 p.m. EDT Thursday.

The Navy's Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach contacted Coast Guard officials and confirmed two 113th Wing D.C. Air National Guard F-16C Falcon jets were involved in a mid-air collision. One pilot ejected while the second Falcon flew back to Joint Base Andrews, Md.

An aircrew aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City was dispatched to the scene to assist in the rescue. At approximately 12:30 a.m., Friday, the Jayhawk crew hoisted the pilot and transferred him to Joint Base Andrews.

The pilots were on a routine training mission, military officials said in a press statement. Both pilots were transported to a medical facility at Joint Base Andrews. One pilot was released and the other was transferred to an offsite medical facility for minor injuries.

The rescued Falcon pilot was in good condition, and the cause of the mishap is under investigation.

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DCNewsroom most popular posts July 2013

1.) First production units of Cessna TTx aircraft deliveredThe Cessna Aircraft Company announced the delivery of the first production units of the Cessna TTx to customers following a ceremony at the company's facility in Independence, Kan. The TTx holds the distinction of being the world’s fastest commercially produced and certified fixed-gear single engine aircraft. [Full story]

2.) Video: X-47B makes history, lands on deck of aircraft carrierNorthrop Grumman Corp. and the U.S. Navy completed the first arrested landing of the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System carrier demonstration aircraft on the deck of the USS George H.W. Bush. [Full story]

3.) Video: Flying a brand new F/A-18 Super Hornet - Go behind the scenes with Boeing test pilot, Steve "Bull" Schmidt, as he takes a new F/A-18 Super Hornet up for the plane's first flight. [Full story]

4.) NTSB releases preliminary report on fatal Dayton Air Show crash - On June 22, a Boeing-Stearman airplane (tail number N450JW) impacted the ground at Dayton International Airport in Dayton, Ohio, while Jane Wicker performed a wing walking act. The pilot,Charlie Schwenker, and Wicker were both fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed. [Full story]

5.) Hainan Airlines receives first 787 DreamlinerThe Boeing Company and Hainan Airlines celebrated the delivery of the airline's first 787 Dreamliner in July. The delivery is the first of 10 787s for Hainan Airlines. [Full story]

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Video: NASA testing shape-changing flaps on Gulfstream jet

NASA Dryden Flight Research Center's Gulfstream III aerodynamics research test bed aircraft (tail number N804NA) is undergoing modification to support the Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge project, a joint effort between NASA and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory.

Both of the G-III's conventional aluminum wing flaps are being replaced with shape-changing composite flaps designed by FlexSys, Inc, that form continuous bendable surfaces.

This video shows maneuvers flown to provide baseline data for comparison with data recorded after the flexible flaps are installed, a sample of a flexible flap being lab tested in a lab and the G-III in NASA Dryden's Flight Loads Laboratory undergoing baseline structural loads testing.

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Explosion at Blue Rhino propane facility

Ferrellgas Partners, L.P., one of the nation's largest propane distributors, confirmed Tuesday that an incident occurred on Monday evening at the company's Blue Rhino propane tank production facility in Tavares, Fla. “The cause of the incident, which resulted in an explosion, is under investigation,” the company said in a press statement.

The company reported that all 24 employees onsite at the facility during the time of the incident have been accounted for by Lake County officials. Six employees were injured and were quickly transported to local hospitals for treatment and evaluation. One employee has since been discharged.

“Upon learning of the incident, the company immediately put into effect its standing contingency plans, designed to prevent business interruptions,” company officials said. “The company does not expect this incident to affect customers or any other aspects of its business.”

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Brazil and Latin America a sweet spot for Eutelsat satellites

Eutelsat Communications confirmed the order of a new multi-mission high-capacity satellite on Tuesday designed to serve dynamically expanding video and broadband markets in Brazil and across Latin America.

Eutelsat has selected U.S.-based Space Systems/Loral to manufacture the Eutelsat 65 West A satellite that will be launched and operational in early 2016. It will be located at 65 degrees west longitude on the Earth's equator, where Eutelsat's subsidiary, Eutelsat do Brasil Ltda. was granted frequencies in C, Ku and Ka-bands by Aantel, the Brazilian telecommunications regulatory authority, in June.

The new satellite will combine the benefits of C and Ku-bands for video distribution and Direct-to-Home broadcasting, with broadband access in the Ka-band. This tri-band configuration will equip Eutelsat to target markets with the highest growth potential across Latin America, in particular Brazil as it upgrades its digital infrastructure and prepares to host the 2016 Olympic Games.

Eutelsat 65 West A will deliver service for 15 years or more, the company said in press release.

Eutelsat's use of 65 degrees west, already a well-anchored neighborhood for video services, will transform the company's commercial presence in the Latin American region which is undergoing dynamic economic growth, generating high demand for digital infrastructure with ubiquitous coverage. Satellites are well-positioned to benefit from this trend, with forecasts of above 7 percent average annual growth in transponder demand over the 2011-2016 period.

Eutelsat has been operational in Brazil since 2000 through its Eutelsat do Brasil subsidiary located in Rio de Janeiro that markets capacity through a first generation of satellites providing connectivity between South America, Europe and Africa. These resources will be boosted in 2014 by EUTELSAT 3B and in 2015 by EUTELSAT 8 West B that will both deliver Latin American coverage.

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Domino's Pizza lawsuit filed over delivery driver wages

The law firms Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC, Paul McInnes LLP, and Weinhaus & Potashnick, have filed a lawsuit against RPM Pizza, LLC, a franchisee of 138 Domino's Pizza restaurants in Mississippi and Louisiana, and its owners, for failing to pay minimum wage to their delivery drivers.

The suit alleges that RPM violates federal wage and hour laws by failing to adequately reimburse its drivers for their automobile expenses, resulting in unreimbursed business expenses that reduce pizza delivery drivers' net wages below minimum wage. The lawsuit is presently pending in the United States District Court, Southern District of Mississippi. The driver who filed the lawsuit is seeking collective action status.

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Escape artist plans life-threatening drop from aircraft

Anthony Martin, a nationally-recognized escape artist, has announced plans to attempt an escape he survived 25 years ago but with additional life threatening challenges.

In this new stunt, Martin will be handcuffed before donning a parachute and locked in a freight box with a "keyless" lock. Locksmiths will scramble the lock combination rendering it nonfunctional. He will then be shoved out of the cargo bay of an aircraft at a height ten times that of the Empire State Building in a daring race with death.

Martin, 47, will have to free himself from the plummeting missile as it speeds to the earth at 200 feet per second. The escape artist has set Aug. 6 at 3 p.m. EDT as the date and time of the perilous feat.

Martin accomplished the first time ever stunt when he was only 22 years of age in 1988. Now with over 20 years of additional experience and a litany of death defying feats to his credit he feels the time has come to improve upon this - his signature escape. The escape artist has been lowered under the ice in steel cages, buried alive in Las Vegas and has jumped handcuffed above the Snake River Canyon in Idaho. This will be the 25th anniversary of the harrowing escape and will coincide with the release of Martin's new book "Escape Or Die - An escape artist unlocks the secret to cheating death."

The escape is being made possible by the sponsorship of Skydive Chicago, which will both prepare Martin and host the event at its skydiving facility in Ottawa, Ill.

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Joint Europe/Qatar communications satellite arrives at launch site

The Eutelsat 25B satellite of Eutelsat Communications has arrived at the European spaceport in French Guiana and is now in final stages of preparation for launch by an Ariane 5 vehicle on Aug. 29.

Built by U.S.-based Space Systems/Loral, this high-power, multi-mission satellite is jointly owned by Eutelsat and Es'hailSat from Qatar. It will be operated at 25.5 degrees east on Earth's equator, currently occupied by the Eutelsat 25C satellite, in order to provide communications coverage over the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia for broadcasting, telecommunications and government services in Ku and Ka-bands.

The satellite is designed to provide service for 15 years or more.

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

FEMA seeks air cargo services for flood affected areas in Alaska

The Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) intends to issue a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) for air cargo services in Alaska to assist flood victims in rebuilding efforts, according to contract documents released Friday on the Federal Business Opportunities website.

Services will include loading and unloading. Cargo may consist of building materials and supplies to include: concrete floors, garage floors, floor systems, exterior wall, interior partitions, truss packages, roof systems, paint, and donated items,” FEMA said in contract documents. Under the contract, aircraft will provide air cargo services for Fairbanks, Alaska to flood affected areas such as Galena, Fort Yukon, Hughes, Eagle, Circle, Emmonak, Alakanuk and possibly other areas of Alaska.

The BPA contract minimum is $3,000, with a ceiling of $500,000. The contract will run for one year from the date of award with a six month option.

FEMA invites companies interested in providing the services to submit a price quote by Friday.

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