Friday, May 15, 2015

USGS Alaska using unmanned aircraft to survey walrus herds

The U.S. Geological Survey located in Anchorage, Alaska, intends to make a non-competitive contract award to the University of Alaska (Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration) located in Fairbanks for flight services to acquire data using an unmanned aircraft system (UAS).

The objectives of the services are related to investigating the potential of using a UAS for photographic surveys of walrus herds on sea ice in the Chukchi Sea and coastal haulouts in northwest Alaska.

"The University of Alaska is the only known source that has the experience with marine mammal surveys in conjunction with the appropriate UAS type (hexacopter or other rotary platform) and imaging technology (real-time video in conjunction with high resolution photography) for the study," USGS officials said in contract documents released Friday.

Realtors flying drones to market property listings

There will be a time when realtors can legally fly an unmanned aerial system (UAS), or drone, around property listings to capture images for marketing purposes, but that time has not yet arrived, at least not completely. That's according to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials who told realtors Friday during the “When, Where and How can I Use My Drone” session at the Realtors Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo.

According to Jim Williams, manager of FAA's UAS Integration Office, the agency's administrator Michael Huerta is committed to quickly finalizing the federal rules for the commercial use of UAS in national airspace, which is currently prohibited. Until that time, realtors can apply for a Section 333 waiver, which provides a limited-use permit to the applicant and comes with many safety restrictions on use of the machine.

Panelist Doug Trudeau of Tierra Antigua Realty in Tuscon, Ariz., the first realtor to apply for and receive a Section 333 exemption from the FAA to create marketing videos for property listings, discussed the waiver application process and offered advice to other realtors who are interested in pursuing a waiver.

After contacting an attorney with the FAA, Trudeau said he did several weeks of research on his own and chose to complete the application without hiring a private attorney. The guidelines are fairly clear, Trudeau said, but he could have saved himself some headaches if he had logged his previous UAS flying times and made sure his quadcopter was built in the U.S., because the FAA will not register a UAS that is registered by any foreign government.

From start to finish, the process took Trudeau 170 days, but he said it should go a lot faster for new applicants.

The FAA has received more than 1,200 waiver applications, approved 311, and is on track to approve 20 to 40 waivers each week.

Some of the earlier waivers restrict operators from flying a UAS within five miles of any airport, while other waivers limit it to two miles. Williams said that safety is the agency's biggest concern, and because UAS are so easy to purchase and fly, it's a growing problem.

"A lot of folks out there don't understand the risk they are getting into when they operate near an airport. It's potentially very dangerous," said Williams, who also encouraged realtors to call the FAA and report any UAS activity near airports.

The FAA is working on ways to approve UAS flights over major metropolitan areas and also flights that go beyond the line of sight of the operator. On May 6, National Association of Realtors President Chris Polychron issued a statement in support of the FAA's intention to study the safety of these flights, which could lead to important benefits in the real estate industry, particularly for agents who wish to market rural and large commercial properties.

During the session, NAR Associate Counsel Lesley Walker advised the audience that until the FAA finalizes its regulations, Realtors should refrain from using UAS technology for commercial marketing purposes.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

NASA to award unmanned aircraft test site contracts

NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in California intends to solicit and award one or more contracts to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorized Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Test Sites, according to contract documents released Thursday. The FAA authorized six Test Sites for the purpose of research, development, and testing of UAS aircraft to support integration of unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System.

The anticipated release date of the Request for Proposal is on or about June 15, with an anticipated offer due date of on or about July 30.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle market worth $1.6 billion

The small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) market will reach $1.61 billion in 2015, according to a new report published by Visiongain, a London-based research firm that produces market research reports giving a 10-year forecast.

The wide variety of applications in which small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can be deployed is growing every day. As this growth-platform finds new uses, the demand for small UAVs will be significant, with a wide and varied geographical spread. This growth is forecast to vary country-by-country and by design type. Understanding these dynamics - particularly the variations and intricacies the market produces - will be crucial to those seeking to invest in the small UAV market.

Homeland security and defense applications are set to grow, particularly as payloads grow to enable collection of a wide variety of data (such as CBRN threats, facial recognition, military ISTAR sensors and others), as are data-collecting applications for research purposes.

The use of small UAVs to replace manned tasks which risk life and limb reduces the liabilities associated with traditional inspection and detection techniques (patrolling, etc). The automation of small UAVs will also likely bring great cost and time savings for applications such as agricultural spraying, delivery of goods and many other applications.

Pratt & Whitney to provide data management service for Bombardier CSeries aircraft

Bombardier announced Tuesday that it has teamed up with Pratt & Whitney to develop and implement a data management service for the CSeries aircraft - part of the overall Bombardier Aircraft Health Management System (AHMS) capable of transmitting real-time and recorded data from the aircraft. The AHMS will facilitate remote troubleshooting and deliver efficient and accurate diagnostics for use by maintenance and flight crews.

Under this agreement, Pratt & Whitney's eFAST system will be the infrastructure unit used to perform data transmissions from the CSeries aircraft's on-board Health Management Unit to the ground. Along with Bombardier, they will make up the data acquisition structure which will automatically download, process and store data that will be available for upload to respective customer portals. Pratt & Whitney is also the supplier for the CSeries aircraft's PurePower Geared Turbofan engines.

“CSeries operators will be able to immediately review the performance of their aircraft, allowing them to make smarter business decisions related to their PurePower engine fleet,” said Graham Webb, vice president, Pratt & Whitney Commercial Engines.

“Pratt & Whitney and Bombardier together have developed a service that will provide real-time monitoring of all critical aircraft systems for use in optimizing flight operations and lowering maintenance costs,” said Rob Dewar, vice president, CSeries Program, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Canadian Solar stock has rallied over 50 percent this year

On Monday, Canadian Solar Inc.'s stock (CSIQ) surged 5.36 percent, to close the day at $39.09. The stock recorded a trading volume of 5.99 million shares, above its three months average volume of 2.45 million shares. The company's shares oscillated between $37.22 and $40.08 during the session.

Over the last one month and over the past three months, Canadian Solar Inc.'s shares have surged 13.17 percent and 42.46 percent, respectively. Furthermore, the stock has rallied 61.60 percent since the start of this year.

The stock is trading above its 50-day and 200-day moving averages. Canadian Solar Inc.'s 50-day moving average of $34.34 is above its 200-day moving average of $29.97. Additionally, the stock traded at a PE ratio of 7.86 and has a Relative Strength Index of 58.56.

Source: Investor Edge

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.

Turkish Airlines to receive 12 Boeing planes this year

Turkish Airlines recently celebrated a milestone with the delivery of the airline's 125th airplane purchased from Boeing – a Next-Generation 737-900ER – and one of 12 aircraft the Turkish carrier will take delivery of this year.

Boeing and Turkish Airlines' relationship stretches back to 1968 when the airline first purchased one McDonnell Douglas DC-9. In 1974, it began operating the first of the Boeing 7 Series, taking delivery of two 727-200s. Since then, Turkish has grown to become one of the world's leading carriers and currently operates a mix of Boeing 777-300ERs and 737 Next-Generation airplanes.

"Boeing has played a pivotal role in the development of Turkish Airlines and these deliveries continue to enable this airline to compete, expand and reach new short and long-range destinations nonstop from our hubs in Istanbul," said Ahmet Bolat, Chief Investment and Technology Officer, Turkish Airlines.

"We are incredibly proud of our long standing relationship with Turkish Airlines, which now stretches back over 40 years with over 100 777 and 737 airplanes delivered," commented Todd Nelp, vice president of European Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

The Next-Generation 737-900ER is a short-to-medium range twinjet.

Monday, May 11, 2015

PC-24 Super Versatile Jet performs maiden flight

The new PC-24 Super Versatile Jet took off on its maiden flight Monday from Buochs airport in Switzerland. Just under 1,800 Pilatus staff, directly or indirectly involved in the project, were there to applaud the business jet as it taxied for takeoff. Prototype P01, call sign HB-VXA, flew across central Switzerland for a total of 55 minutes. Officials from Pilatus Aircraft, the plane's manufacturer, said the flight went exactly as planned with no problems whatsoever.

The twin-engine business jet took off from runway 07 in just under 600 meters and climbed to 10,000 feet (approx. 3000 m) in around three minutes, where the two pilots completed a series of meticulously planned tests. The maiden flight followed a route across central Switzerland – from Altdorf to BrĂ¼nig via Engelberg. 

Test pilot Paul Mulcahy, who has some 11,000 hours under his belt, flew the PC-24 as pilot in command.

Throughout the flight the PC-24 was accompanied and monitored by a PC-21. As is normal on maiden flights, the PC-24 landing gear was not retracted on this occasion. Twelve flight test engineers watched the flight from the ground as they kept an eye on a stream of real-time flight data received from the PC-24.

Challenging test flight program

A total of three PC-24 prototypes will be built and used to complete a rigorous test program of some 2,300 hours over the next two years. Fewer than half those hours will actually be flown in Switzerland, the remainder will be flown elsewhere. Certification and initial deliveries of the first aircraft to come off the production line are planned from 2017. 

Pilatus sold 84 PC-24's in the space of just 36 hours at last year's European Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition in May.

The PC-24 is the world's first business jet to be equipped with a cargo door as standard, with takeoff and landing performance that allows the use of very short and even unmade runways. The jet also boasts a spacious cabin with an interior which can be customized to accommodate individual customer needs.