Friday, September 16, 2022

Navy will recover wreckage of aircraft that crashed in Mutiny Bay

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the U.S. Navy will recover the wreckage of the DHC-3 Turbine Otter that crashed on Sept. 4 off Whidbey Island, Washington, the NTSB said Friday.

The main recovery effort to raise the wreckage is expected to begin on Sept. 26.

The U.S. Navy will use the Deep Drone 8000 remotely operated vehicle (ROV), a barge and a crane to recover the wreckage from the seafloor. Once the barge is outfitted and in place, it will be a 24/7 operation. The crane will lift the aircraft wreckage pieces. The ROV will work on the seafloor collecting smaller pieces of wreckage into baskets and connecting the wreckage to the crane to be lifted.

NTSB also released a preliminary report for the investigation. The report contains facts only; the NTSB will determine the probable cause of the crash at the end of the investigation.

According to the preliminary report, the aircraft departed from Friday Harbor, Washington, around 2:50 p.m. Pacific time, with a destination of Renton Municipal Airport. At 3:09 p.m., the aircraft impacted the water and sank. The pilot and nine passengers were fatally injured.

The airplane was operating as a business charter flight. The accident occurred during the pilot’s second trip of the day. Each trip involved multiple flight legs.

Witnesses near the accident site reported the airplane was in level flight before it entered a slight climb, then pitched down in a near-vertical descent. Several witnesses described the airplane “spinning,” “rotating” or “spiraling” during portions of the descent.

NTSB coordinated with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Navigation Response Team and the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory to locate the wreckage in Mutiny Bay. A sonar survey located the main wreckage and debris field at a depth of approximately 190 feet.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

FBI awards contract to Pilatus Business Aircraft

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has awarded Pilatus Business Aircraft LLC, Broomfield, Colo., an indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract with a maximum dollar amount of $140 million.

Under this new contract, Pilatus Business Aircraft is responsible for providing single engine turbine pressurized aircraft to the U.S. Department of Justice, FBI Critical Incident Response Group.

The ordering period for the contract is from Sept. 30 through Sept. 29, 2027.

The FBI announced the contract award on Friday.

New Broomfield paint facility

In response to the growing demand for the company's PC-24 and PC-12 NGX aircraft, Pilatus opened a new state-of-the-art paint facility at their U.S. Completions Centre in Broomfield, Colo.

Pilatus executives, employees, industry partners and invited guests gathered to celebrate the official grand opening of the facility at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport.

The $15 million investment is the latest building expansion for the US Completions Centre, which has been located at the airport for more than 26 years. The new facility opens 25 job opportunities with projected growth as the fleet and production continue to increase.

“This investment allows Pilatus Business Aircraft Ltd to manage and maintain the high quality standards and procedures set by our Swiss parent company.” said Thomas Bosshard, president and CEO of Pilatus US subsidiary, Pilatus Business Aircraft Ltd.

Reduce cost and production time

Pilatus Business Aircraft Ltd is responsible for more than 60 percent of annual business aircraft sales and deliveries for the Swiss manufacturer. Their recent expansion will not only reduce logistical complexities and costs related to painting aircraft, but also decrease production time.

The 28,445 square foot (2,643 square meter) custom-designed facility features three separate booths, all equipped to efficiently prep and paint the PC-24 and PC-12 NGX from base to finish. The Preparation and Detail Booth will primarily be used to prepare aircraft for paint, while also facilitating detailing, touch ups and silk screen printing of placards.

The Crossdraft Booth will serve as the primary booth for base to finish aircraft painting. The Downdraft Booth is uniquely designed for green to finish painting as well as an intricate base to finish paint schemes of the PC-24 and PC-12 NGX.

With production and personnel at capacity, the paint facility is forecasted to complete up to 100 aircraft on an annual basis – the first aircraft was scheduled to deliver as early as July.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

New non-stop flight service to Fort Lauderdale and Punta Cana by Swoop

Canada's leading ultra-low-cost airline, Swoop, expanded its winter sun-flying offering from John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport with new non-stop service to Fort Lauderdale and Punta Cana.

Swoop will begin the nonstop service to Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 16, and to Punta Cana on Jan. 11.

"As summer comes to an end, residents of southern Ontario are turning their attention towards winter travel planning with their sights set on a sunny getaway,” said Meghan Miller, Hamilton-based Regional Sales Lead.

Swoop has increased frequencies on existing sun-flying routes from Hamilton, with more weekly flights to Cancun, Las Vegas, Orlando, and St. Pete-Clearwater. Swoop will continue to operate non-stop flights from Hamilton to Moncton, NB and St. John's, NL through the winter.

"Hamilton is thrilled to have Swoop expand flight destinations and service from our city, which offers people from the entire region greater convenience and supports jobs, growth, and tourism in our community as well,” Mayor Fred Eisenberger said.

Swoop was established in 2018 as an independent subsidiary of the WestJet.

Swoop's fleet, comprised of ten Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft and three Boeing MAX-8 aircraft, will grow to 16 with the addition of three Boeing MAX-8 this year.

Defense Department ask for 115 F-35 jets in lot 18 order

The F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office (JPO) intends to solicit and negotiate multiple contract actions with Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth, Texas, for the development of additional F-35 Lightning II jets in their lot 18 order.

The proposed contract actions will provide for a total of 115 aircraft in lot 18 (75 F-35As, 25 F-35Bs and 15 F-35Cs).

The Naval Air Systems Command Headquarters at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland announced the lot 18 contract on Tuesday in a presolicitation document.

“This notice is not a commitment by the government to issue a solicitation or make an award (or awards),” the Navy said in the presolicitation. “The data associated with the F-35 JPO is export controlled and is not available to foreign sources or representatives.”

According to POLITICO, the Pentagon temporarily halted delivery of F-35 fighter jets to the military recently after Lockheed Martin discovered a metal component used in the jet's engine had come from China.

The Defense Contract Management Agency notified the F-35 Joint Program Office at the Pentagon on Aug. 19 that an alloy used in magnets contained in the F-35’s turbomachine pumps came from China, according to the POLITICO article. An alternative source for the alloy was found and will be used in future turbomachines.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Airbus A330-200 delivers supplies to Jackson, Mississippi water crisis

As Mississippi's capital city, Jackson, faces an unprecedented water shortage crisis, National Airlines donated and airlifted hundreds of cases of drinking water to the city. Over 150,000 people in the city are left without safe running water after the city's main water treatment facility failed due to the recent flooding.

The National Airlines' Airbus A330-200 flight from Fort Lauderdale to Jackson was transporting a prominent school band along with their specialized equipment in the cargo belly. The crew and operations team used the remaining luggage space as an opportunity to load the water cases, making sure the needed supplies reached Jackson on time for distribution.

"National has always been in the forefront of transporting immediate relief supplies to crisis-hit regions,” said Christopher Alf, chairman, National Air Cargo Holdings, Inc., in a company press release. “Be it COVID-19 medical supplies or essential supplies during natural calamities, National Airlines aircraft airlifts supplies to the most affected areas for timely distribution. The recent efforts to bring drinking water to Jackson, is yet another opportunity for us to serve people when in dire need", 

The recent flooding of the Pearl River led to the failure of pumps at the Jackson water treatment plant. This decreased the water supply to households this week. Currently, state officials and voluntary organizations are coordinating efforts to distribute safe drinking water to each household as the situation gets better in the region. People are also advised to boil water before using it for essential purposes.

Hard Rock Sportsbook app launch in Indiana and Tennessee

Hard Rock Sportsbook continued its multi-state expansion by launching its mobile app Tuesday in Indiana and Tennessee.

Indiana is home to the Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana, where a retail Hard Rock Sportsbook location opened in May, while Tennessee has three Hard Rock Cafes (Nashville, Memphis, and Pigeon Forge) and the Bristol Casino located just across the Virginia state line.

The Hard Rock Sportsbook app offers innovative promotions, fast deposits and withdrawals, and hundreds of games and props to bet each day along with same game parlays and prop parlays. Hard Rock Sportsbook has also introduced in-app streaming and the Mystery Wheel, a new interactive rewards experience where players can earn up to $5,000 in free bets.

“The successful debut of the Mystery Wheel is the latest example of the unique interactive experiences that can only be found at Hard Rock Sportsbook as well as our commitment to building the most entertaining app in the market,” said Marlon Goldstein, executive managing director & CEO for Hard Rock Digital, in a news release.

The Hard Rock Sportsbook mobile app is available for download through the App Store (iOS users) or the Google PlayStore (Android users) and can be utilized by fans located in Arizona, Indiana, Tennessee, and Virginia with plans to expand to additional states soon. Hard Rock Sportsbook also serves fans online in New Jersey and Iowa through the Hard Rock Sports & Casino NJ and the Hard Rock Sportsbook Iowa apps, respectively.