Saturday, July 6, 2013

Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crashes at San Francisco airport

At 2:36 p.m. EDT Saturday, Asiana Airlines Flight 214, a Boeing 777 arriving from Seoul, South Korea, crashed while landing on runway 28L at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in California. Representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the accident.

Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are already gathering information on the crash, a "Go Team" is being sent to the scene, the agency reported on Twitter.

David Eun, a passenger on the Asiana flight, reported on Twitter, “I just crash landed at SFO. Tail ripped off. Most everyone seems fine. I'm OK. Surreal. Fire and rescue people all over the place. They're evacuating the injured. Haven't felt this way since 9/11. Lots of activity here. Friends, please don't call right now. I'm fine. Most people are totally calm.”

Los Angeles International Airport officials report, "Due to the accident at SFO, some flights scheduled to land at SFO are being diverted to LAX. Please contact airline for details."

Air traffic control communications with Asiana Airlines flight 214, click here.

Frontier Airlines reports, "Due to the unfortunate incident at SFO, the airport is closed and our flights today have been canceled. Please call reservations to rebook."

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DCNewsroom most popular posts June 2013

1.) First KC-46A tanker aircraft taking shape at Boeing - Boeing workers in Everett, Wash. loaded a wing spar for the first U.S. Air Force KC-46A aerial refueling tanker, starting production of that aircraft and achieving another milestone toward delivering 179 tankers during the next 14 years. [Full post]

2.) Plane crashes into water near Ocean City, Md. - Local boaters contacted the U.S. Coast Guard in Hampton Roads at approximately 4 p.m. EDT on June 30 reporting that a plane had crashed approximately 500 yards offshore of Ocean City, Md. [Full post]

3.) Third UK F-35 arrives at Eglin Air Force Base - The third LockheedMartin F-35B Short Takeoff/Vertical Landing (STOVL) Lightning II for the United Kingdom arrived at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., in June where it will be used for pilot and maintainer training. [Full post]

4.) NASA launch will produce lithium gas clouds in clear skies - NASA made several attempts throughout June to launch two sounding rockets from Wallops Flight Facility, Va. The rockets finally launched on the morning of July 4. [Full post]

5.) Leasing company takes delivery of its first Boeing 787 - The Boeing Company, International Lease Finance Corp. (ILFC) and Norwegian celebrated several milestones in June during a delivery ceremony for a new 787 Dreamliner. It was the first 787 delivered to ILFC and its lessee, Norwegian, which will operate the airplane. The 787 also marked the 700th airplane Boeing delivered to ILFC. [Full post]

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Air Force meets with industry to discuss Alaska Radar System contract

The Air Force 673rd Contracting Squadron and the 611th Air Support Group at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), Alaska, will host a Site Visit next month for companies interested in bidding on the operations and maintenance contract for the Alaska Radar System (ARS). The Site Visit will be held on Aug. 7, followed by an Industry Day meeting Aug. 8.

ARS provides Alaska airspace surveillance, intercept control, and navigational assistance to military and civilian aircraft.

During the Site Visit, personnel will be transported from JBER to remote radar sites located at either Point Barrow or Tatalina, with alternate sites at Tin City or Cape Newenham. Transportation to and from the remote sites will be with the 537th Airlift Squadron via military aircraft.

The 611th Air Support Group will present information on their requirements at the Industry Day meeting. All contractors who are interested as a prime, teaming arrangement, or subcontracting role are encouraged to investigate opportunities at this event. Forty-five minute, one-on-one, contractor capabilities presentations may be scheduled on a first-come basis. Participation is highly encouraged for all small business enterprises.

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Friday, July 5, 2013

Missile defense test fails to intercept target

The U.S. military is launching an extensive review of their missile defense system to determine why a flight test on Friday failed to intercept a target over the Pacific Ocean.

The Missile Defense Agency conducted an integrated exercise and flight test Friday of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense element of the nation's Ballistic Missile Defense System. “Although a primary objective was the intercept of a long-range ballistic missile target launched from the U.S. Army's Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands, an intercept was not achieved,” the Department of Defense said in a press release. The interceptor missile was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. “Program officials will conduct an extensive review to determine the cause or causes of any anomalies which may have prevented a successful intercept.”

The Air Force 30th Space Wing, Joint Functional Component Command, Integrated Missile Defense and U.S. Northern Command participated in the test.

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2013 Wings Over North Georgia air show

The Black Diamond Jet Demonstration and AeroStars Aerobatic Flight Teams will take to the North Georgia skies above the Richard B. Russell Regional Airport in Rome, Ga., on Oct. 12-13 as headliners for the 2013 Wings Over North Georgia air show.

Some other amazing performers include the Lucas Oil Airshow team featuring Mike Wiskus. Also performing with Mike is the exciting three-man Lucas Oil Parachute Demonstration Team featuring Nick Halseth, the lead jumper from Buffalo, Minn., Luke Evans from Hopkins, Minn., and Ryan Albrecht from Belle Plaine, Minn.

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Coast Guard searching for two people near Coney Island Creek

Members from the U.S. Coast Guard along with several local agencies are searching for one man and one woman near Coney Island Creek, N.Y.

Coast Guard officials at Sector New York, in Staten Island, N.Y., were contacted by the New York Police Department (NYPD), at approximately 8 p.m. EDT Thursday, reporting that a woman had gone missing while riding on a personal watercraft with a man. The woman fell from the watercraft and the man went missing after attempting to retrieve her. The two people were last seen in the water by two duty police officers and one off duty Coast Guard member, who witnessed the event and were the first on scene.

A rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station New York, Fire Department New York marine units, and members of the NYPD marine, aviation and land units are all assisting in the search for the two people.

[UPDATE - 3:01 p.m. EDT]New York police recovered two bodies from Coney Island Creek on Friday. [source: ABC NewsThe two people were recovered not wearing life jackets.

This is a very unfortunate incident which further stresses the importance of water safety and of wearing your life jacket, especially while riding a jet ski,” said Lt. j.g. Alfred Betts, a Coast Guard Sector New York command duty officer.

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

NASA launches rockets to study electrical currents in ionosphere

Two suborbital rockets were successfully launched 15 seconds apart Thursday morning from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility as part of a study of electrical currents in the ionosphere.

The launch of the Black Brant V at 10:31:25 a.m. EDT and the Terrier-Improved Orion at 10:31:40 were part of the Daytime Dynamo experiment, a joint project between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

The project is designed to study a global electrical current called the dynamo, which sweeps through the ionosphere. The first rocket carried a payload that collected data on the neutral and charged particles in the ionosphere. The second rocket released a long trail of lithium gas to track how the upper atmospheric wind varies with altitude. These winds are believed to be the drivers of the dynamo currents.

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Goldcorp evacuates employees from gold mine due to forest fires

Goldcorp Inc. announced Thursday that it has commenced the evacuation of employees from the Éléonore project due to forest fires in the James Bay region of Quebec, Canada. A fire currently located approximately 62 miles from Éléonore is advancing with prevailing winds toward the mine site. All construction activity has ceased.

The Éléonore project is one of the significant gold mine projects in the Goldcorp development pipeline and a key component of the company's next generation of growth projects, according to their website. A 2011 pre-feasibility study update for Éléonore calls for robust, low-cost gold production in the heart of one of the most attractive mining jurisdictions in the world.

A crew will remain at site to manage and implement preventive emergency measures,” the company said in a press statement. “Goldcorp is working with local and provincial authorities to safeguard the health and safety of all people in the area.”

Goldcorp is one of the world's fastest growing senior gold producers.

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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.

The performance was the fourth act scheduled for the air show.

Video and photos submitted by spectators captured the airplane during the performance and accident. A review of the photography showed the airplane completed a left “tear drop” style turn, positioning to cross in front of the spectators from the left. The wing walker had positioned herself on the bottom side of the lower left wing. As the airplane approached the crowd, it rolled upside down. While flying inverted from the southeast to the northwest in front of the spectators, the airplane’s nose pitched slightly above the horizon. The airplane abruptly rolled to the right and impacted terrain in a descending left-wing-low attitude. A post impact fire ensued and consumed a majority of the right wing and forward portion of the fuselage.

The debris field from the accident was about 145 feet long, showing the left wing hitting the ground first. The impact crater was at least 13 inches deep. All flight controls were accounted for at the accident site. The wreckage was documented and transported to a secure location for further examination.

Initial statements gathered by the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration indicated that the pilot and wing walker had practiced the performance the day before the accident. Following the practice, neither the pilot nor the wing walker, reported any mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane.

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Hainan Airlines receives first 787 Dreamliner

The Boeing Company and Hainan Airlines celebrated the delivery of the airline's first 787 Dreamliner on Thursday. The delivery is the first of 10 787s for Hainan Airlines.

"The 787 will allow Hainan Airlines to open new routes from Beijing to North America,” said Mu Weigang, vice chairman of Hainan Airlines.

Hainan Airlines will first operate the Dreamliner on a domestic route from Beijing to Haikou. Thereafter, the airline will deploy the 787 on its North America routes, increasing the frequency of its Beijing-Seattle, Beijing-Toronto and Beijing-Chicago services, with several new destinations.

“I'm sure the 787's game-changing efficiency and flexibility will support Hainan Airlines to increase its competitive position in the global aviation marketplace,” said Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president of Northeast Asia Sales for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

The Hainan Airlines 787 Dreamliner interior consists of 36 full, flat-bed business seats configured in rows of 2-2-2, as well as 177 economy seats configured in rows of 3-3-3.

As one of only seven airlines rated as five-star by Skytrax, Hainan Airlines is the fourth largest airline in terms of fleet size in the People's Republic of China. Its current fleet includes 106 Boeing airplanes. The airline serves scheduled domestic and international services on 500 routes from Beijing, Haikou and other operating base on the mainland, and provides charter services.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Minuteman III refurbished engine test conclude

Northrop Grumman Corp. recently supported the successful test of the Minuteman III Propulsion System Rocket Engine (PSRE) at NASA's White Sands Testing Facility in Las Cruces, N.M.

The PSRE is the liquid post-boost upper stage of the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile. This was a designated product quality assurance (PQA) test, which is a full mission duty ground static test conducted in NASA's altitude test cell. The PQA test is performed to verify the quality of the PSRE after it is refurbished by the PSRE life-extension program (LEP). This test represents the last of seven PQA static tests for the PSRE LEP program.

The PSRE LEP program, initiated in 2000, is managed under a joint partnership between Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Air ForceAerojet and Boeing also support the program. The program is responsible for refurbishing the entire Minuteman III fleet of PSREs and extending its service life through 2030. Upon completion of the program last month, 558 PSREs will have been delivered to the Air Force.

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Joint NASA/CNES ocean research satellite decommissioned

A highly successful ocean research satellite jointly operating by NASA and the French space agency CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales) was decommissioned this week following the loss of its last remaining transmitter. Named Jason-1, the satellite provided a massive amount of data on Earth's oceans for over 11 years.

In the spring of 2012, based on concern over the limited redundancy of Jason-1's aging control systems, NASA and CNES moved the satellite into its planned final "graveyard" orbit, depleted its extra fuel and reconfigured the mission to make observations that will improve our knowledge of Earth's gravity field over the ocean, in addition to delivering its oceanographic data products.

The first full 406-day marine gravity mission was completed on June 17. The resulting data have already led to the discovery of numerous small seamounts, which are underwater mountains that rise above the deep-sea floor. The data also have significantly increased the resolution of Earth's gravity field over the ocean, while increasing our knowledge of ocean bathymetry, which is the underwater depth of the ocean floor.

Contact was lost with the Jason-1 satellite on June 21. At the time of the last contact, Jason-1 and its instruments were healthy with no indications of any alarms or anomalies. Subsequent attempts to re-establish spacecraft communications from U.S. and French ground stations were unsuccessful. Extensive engineering operations undertaken to recover downlink communications also were unsuccessful.

After consultation with the spacecraft and transmitter manufacturers, it was determined a non-recoverable failure with the last remaining transmitter on Jason-1 was the cause of the loss of contact. The spacecraft's other transmitter experienced a permanent failure in September 2005. There now is no remaining capability to retrieve data from the Jason-1 spacecraft.

On July 1, mission controllers commanded Jason-1 into a safe hold state that reinitialized the satellite. After making several more unsuccessful attempts to locate a signal, mission managers at CNES and NASA decided to proceed with decommissioning Jason-1.  The satellite was then commanded to turn off its magnetometer and reaction wheels. Without these attitude control systems, Jason-1 and its solar panels will slowly drift away from pointing at the sun and its batteries will discharge, leaving it totally inert within the next 90 days. The spacecraft will not reenter Earth's atmosphere for at least 1,000 years.

Mission review

Launched Dec. 7, 2001, and designed to last three to five years, Jason-1 helped create a revolutionary 20-plus-year climate data record of global ocean surface topography that began in 1992 with the launch of the NASA/CNES TOPEX/Poseidon satellite. For more than 53,500 orbits, Jason-1 precisely mapped sea level, wind speed and wave height for more than 95 percent of Earth's ice-free ocean every 10 days. The mission provided new insights into ocean circulation, tracked our rising seas and enabled more accurate weather, ocean and climate forecasts.

Since launch, it has charted nearly 1.6 inches (4 centimeters) of rise in global sea levels, a critical measure of climate change and a direct result of global warming,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

During parts of its mission, Jason-1 flew in carefully coordinated orbits with both its predecessor TOPEX/Poseidon and its successor, the Ocean Surface Topography Mission/Jason-2, launched in 2008. These coordinated orbit periods, which lasted about three years each, cross-calibrated the satellites, making possible a 20-plus-year unbroken climate record of sea level change. These coordination periods also doubled data coverage.

Combined with data from the European Space Agency's Envisat mission, which also measured sea level from space, these data allow scientists to study smaller-scale ocean circulation phenomena, such as coastal tides, ocean eddies, currents and fronts. These small-scale features are thought to be responsible for transporting and mixing heat and other properties, such as nutrients and dissolved carbon dioxide, within the ocean.

"Like its predecessor TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1 provided one of the most comprehensive pictures of changes in the tropical Pacific Ocean, including the comings and goings of El Nino and La Nina events," said Lee-Lueng Fu, Jason-1 project scientist at NASA's Jet PropulsionLaboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "These Pacific Ocean climate cycles are responsible for major shifts in sea level, ocean temperatures and rainfall every two to five years and can sometimes be so large that worldwide weather patterns are affected. Jason-1 data have been instrumental in monitoring and predicting these ever-changing cycles."

The Jason-2 mission, operated by the meteorological agencies of the United States and Europe (the National Oceanic and AtmosphericAdministration and EUMETSAT) in collaboration with NASA and CNES, is in good health and continues to collect science and operational data. This same U.S./European team is preparing to launch the next satellite in the series, Jason-3, in March 2015.

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Hawaiian Airlines adds Airbus A330 simulator for pilot training

Hawaiian Airlines, Hawaii's largest and longest serving airline, has unveiled an Airbus A330 Full Flight Simulator (FFS) at its corporate headquarters to provide on-site training for its pilots. The airline announced the new addition in a company press release on Tuesday.

The simulator is manufactured by Sim-Industries, a subsidiary of LockheedMartin, and allows Hawaiian to continue its Advanced Qualification Program for pilots using the most advanced and sophisticated technology available. Hawaiian is the first and only Hawaii-based airline to have a FFS on-site for its pilots. The multi-million dollar investment is estimated to return $3.6 million in cost savings every year, the company said in a press statement.

“This means that Hawaiian Airlines' pilots can now complete their qualification at our facilities here in Honolulu," said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian Airlines president and CEO.
Prior to the installation of the FFS, Hawaiian utilized third-party simulation facilities in Florida at significant expense to the company.

Construction is currently underway for a new facility where the FFS is housed, and will include classrooms and offices for instructors and pilots.
There are currently 627 Hawaiian Airlines pilots, of which 233 fly the A330 aircraft. About 250 new and current A330 pilots are expected to use the FFS this year, with 26 instructors to lead the Advanced Qualification Program. Hawaiian currently has a fleet of 13 A330s, with nine more slated to be delivered by 2015, bringing the total to 22.

“The A330s are more fuel-efficient and have longer operating range than Hawaiian's fleet of Boeing 767-300 aircraft,” the airline said. The new A330s will allow Hawaiian to open new nonstop routes between Hawaii and visitor markets throughout North America and East Asia. Although, Hawaiian just launched their inaugural flight to Sendai, Japan, last week using Boeing 767-300ERs.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

7th Special Forces Group jump training

The U.S. Army's 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) is looking for a company that can provide dedicated contracted service for passenger air transportation within 200 nautical miles of Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., to conduct jump training (Paradrop) during daylight and night hours.

“This service is an augmentation to Air Support Operations conducted by U.S. government-owned, [military] government operated aviation assets,” the Army said in contract documents released Tuesday through the Federal Business Opportunities website. Aircraft support will involve contractor aircraft only.

Basic services

The contractor will provide all fixed-wing aircraft with side door or rear ramp capability, personnel, equipment, tools, material, maintenance, and supervision necessary to perform airdrop operations based on Short Take-Off and Landing locations in the Eglin AFB area. Aircraft will operate primarily out of airfields with improved surfaces, but shall be capable of conducting air operations out of unimproved surfaces. Specific locations will be provided at the time of mission scheduling.

The contractor must be capable of transporting foreign national personnel for training purposes.

Mission/flight scheduling.

The government will make every attempt to provide the contractor mission schedules with 72 hours advance notice of missions/flights to be performed under the contract. The government reserves the right to make notice of unscheduled mission/flight iteration with less notice (no less than 48 hours). All missions will originate and end at Duke Airfield, Aux Field 6, or other suitable airfields.

The government anticipates contracting for an estimated 250 flight hours each year. Mission time starts when military personnel / cargo are picked up from the designated airfield (Duke Field) and ends when the last military member / item of cargo exits the aircraft.

Aircraft requirements

The contractor must provide unpressurized aircraft that are turbo prop, fixed wing, and have a side door or rear ramp for paradrop operations, both static line (SL) and Military Free Fall. Aircraft must have a minimum of 16 seats installed (approved side fold-up seats), rigged for SL paradrop operations, with an allowable cabin load capable for transporting 14 combat equipped jumpers per mission. Preferred aircraft are those already approved by U.S. Army Special Operations Command for SL Operations (C-7, C-23, C-46, C-47, DC-3, or CASA-212).

Aircraft must be able to operate from an unimproved 3,000 foot runway at sea level.

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An astronaut's guide to life on Earth

Random House Canada is proud to announce that it will publish Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield's first book on Oct. 29. The book, "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth," is the first in a two-book agreement that was completed with literary agent Rick Broadhead of Rick Broadhead & Associates.

Chris has a delightful capacity to bring home the fascinating details of what it takes to be an astronaut and what it's like to live in microgravity, and then to dig deeper into all the surprising training and lessons learned that help him, and the whole astronaut corps, do the impossible as if it's another day at work,” said Anne Collins, the publisher of the Knopf Random Canada Publishing Group. Collins is working on the book with Hadfield.

Chris Hadfield

Chris Hadfield was a top graduate of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School in 1988 and U.S. Navy test pilot of the year in 1991, Hadfield was selected by the Canadian Space Agency to be an astronaut in 1992. He was Capsule Communicatofor 25 shuttle launches and served as director of NASA Operations in Star City, Russia from 2001-2003, Chief of Robotics at the Johnson SpaceCenter in Houston from 2003-2006, and Chief of International Space Station Operations from 2006-2008. Hadfield most recently served as commander of the International Space Station where, while conducting a record-setting number of scientific experiments and overseeing an emergency spacewalk, he gained worldwide acclaim for his breathtaking photographs and educational videos about life in space. His music video, a zero-gravity version of David Bowie's "Space Oddity," received over 10 million views in its first three days online.

In “An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth,” Hadfield takes readers deep into his years of training and space exploration to show how to make the impossible possible. Through eye-opening, entertaining stories filled with the adrenaline of launch, the mesmerizing wonder of spacewalks, and the measured, calm responses mandated by crises, he explains how conventional wisdom can get in the way of real achievement--and happiness. His own extraordinary education in space has taught him some counter-intuitive lessons: don't visualize success, do care what others think, and always sweat the small stuff.

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Monday, July 1, 2013

Russian Proton rocket crashes to the ground

A Russian Proton rocket spun out of control and crashed to the ground soon after launch on Monday. The rocket, launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, was carrying three GLONASS navigation satellites.

The Proton launch vehicle is manufactured by the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center (KhSC) based in Moscow. International Launch Services (ILS), based in Reston, Va., markets the Proton booster for commercial satellite launches.

Proton Facts & Figures
  • Proton is responsible for launching 30 percent of global commercial satellites.
  • There have been over 380 Proton launches since its maiden flight in 1965; 81 of which were for International Launch Services commercial customers.
  • The value of all commercial contracts signed to date equates to approximately $7.5 billion dollars.
  • Commercial Proton launches have provided approximately 50 percent of Khrunichev’s revenues over the past decade.
  • This business helps to provide over 40,000 jobs at KhSC and over 100,000 jobs throughout Russia.
  • ILS has maintained a healthy backlog which now equates to approx. $1.5 billion for 15 missions.
  • Over the past six years, Proton has launched an average of 10 times per year.
  • So far in 2013, ILS has launched four commercial missions.
Source: International Launch Services

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First production units of Cessna TTx aircraft delivered

The Cessna Aircraft Company last week delivered the first production units of the Cessna TTx to customers following a ceremony at the company's facility in Independence, Kan. The TTholds the distinction of being the world’s fastest commercially produced and certified fixed-gear single engine aircraft.

A high performance, all-composite aircraft, the TTx is designed for advanced pilots. “The leather-wrapped side-stick control and additional horsepower provide advanced TTx pilots with speed and performance close to that of a jet,” Cessna said in a company press release.

One of the customers accepting delivery is David Barnes, chief executive officer of Watermark Retirement Communities. Representatives from Pacific Air Center (PAC) were on hand to assist with the event. PAC is a Cessna authorized sales center covering the southwest United States, with bases in Long Beach, Calif., and Scottsdale, Ariz.

Production line flow of the TTx was announced in April of 2012 at the Sun ‘n Fun International Fly-In and Expo in Lakeland, Fla. The aircraft has a top speed of 235 knots true airspeed (270 miles per hour), an operating ceiling of 25,000 feet and an optional Flight into Known Icing system, enabling pilots to file flight plans allowing for varying weather conditions. The TTx is the first aircraft to be equipped with the Garmin G2000 avionics system which features a glass cockpit with dual 14.1 inch high definition displays and touch screen controls.

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C-130s throughout Israel's military history

A timeline snapshot of C-130s throughout Israel's military history, and highlights of their latest C-130J: Shimshon.

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Two years in orbit, ORS-1 satellite meeting military expectations

UTC Aerospace Systems announced Monday that the small military spy satellite ORS-1 celebrated its second anniversary in space over the weekend. Specifically designed to support military combat operations, ORS-1, which stands for Operationally Responsive Space-1, was launched from Wallops Island, Va. on June 29, 2011, aboard an Orbital Sciences Corp. Minotaur I rocket.

Designed, manufactured, integrated and tested by ISR Systems in Danbury, Conn, ORS-1 is a 500-kilogram satellite that is providing a warfighting advantage.

"The ORS-1 satellite has been meeting or exceeding expectations since its launch and continues to provide daily support to U.S. Central Command and to those tasked to protect our troops and efforts overseas," said Andreas Nonnenmacher, general manager, ISR Systems.

Initiated to fulfill requirements from the commander of U.S. Strategic Command to support U.S. Central Command, the satellite went from the drawing board to delivery in 30 months.

ORS-1 has demonstrated an alternative to normal acquisition process for other intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms, UTC said in a company press release. “ORS-1 is an affordable contributor to the ISR 'force mix' in this fiscally constrained environment.”

ORS-1 features a modified version of the SYERS-2 multispectral sensor, the primary imaging sensor on the Air Force U-2 reconnaissance plane. Alliant Tech Systems was ISR Systems' subcontractor for the spacecraft bus, derived from its TacSat-3 system.

The ORS-1 Program is managed by the Space Development and Test Directorate located at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, on behalf of the Operationally Responsive Space Office at the same location.

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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Plane crashes into water near Ocean City, Md.

The U.S. Coast Guard, Maryland State Police and Ocean City Fire Department are searching after a plane crashed into the water near Ocean City, Md. on Sunday.

Local boaters contacted Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads at approximately 4 p.m. EDT reporting the plane crashed approximately 500 yards offshore of 130th Street in Ocean City.

Sector Hampton Roads issued an urgent marine information broadcast and dispatched crews aboard boats from Coast Guard Station Ocean City to assist. A Maryland State Police helicopter is also assisting in the search, and the Coast Guard has divers from the Ocean City Fire Department aboard.

The plane is reported to be a CJ-6A and took off from the Ocean City Municipal Airport.

The aircraft reportedly sank shortly after crashing into the water.

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Sir Richard Branson pledges $100,000 to space telescope project

Planetary Resources announced Sunday that Sir Richard Branson, chairman of the Virgin Group, has joined the company's core group of investors.

Based in Seattle, Wash., Planetary Resources is planning a series of low-cost robotic space missions with the ultimate goal of one day mining precious minerals from near Earth asteroids.

I’m excited to be part of the Planetary Resources’ team working on extracting precious minerals from near Earth asteroids," Branson said. “The only way to truly explore our Solar System is to develop the technology and means to sustain our presence in space without depleting resources of Earth.”

Branson generously made a campaign pledge of $100,000 toward the ARKYD space telescope project managed by Planetary Resources. ARKYD will be the world's first crowdfunded space telescope for the public, which has generated nearly 17,000 supporters and over $1.3 million in pledges.

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