Friday, July 4, 2014

Purcellville 2014 annual 4th of July Parade

The Purcellville Volunteer Fire Department and the Town of Purcellville held their annual 4th of July Parade on Friday.

The parade started at 12:30 p.m. EDT at Emerick Elementary (continued up Orchard Avenue, right onto Main Street, left onto Maple Avenue) and ended at Loudoun Valley High School.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

F-35 fleet grounding

The technical air worthiness authorities of the Department of the Air Force and Department of the Navy have issued a directive to ground the F-35 fleet based on initial findings from the runway fire incident that occurred at Eglin Air Force Base on June 23, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby announced on Thursday.

“The root cause of the incident remains under investigation,” Kirby said. “Additional inspections of F-35 engines have been ordered, and return to flight will be determined based on inspection results and analysis of engineering data. Defense Department leadership supports this prudent approach. Preparations continue for F-35 participation in international air shows in the United Kingdom, however a final decision will come early next week.”

Orbital-2 mission to space station

Orbital Sciences' Cygnus cargo ship is scheduled to launch from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on July 11 at 1:40 p.m. EDT.

The Cygnus will be filled with more than 3,000 pounds of supplies for the International Space Station, including science experiments to expand the research capability of the Expedition 40 crew members aboard the orbiting laboratory, crew provisions, spare parts and experiment hardware.

Among the research investigations headed to the space station aboard the flight, known as Orbital-2, are a flock of nanosatellites that are designed to take images of Earth, developed by Planet Labs of San Francisco; and a satellite-related investigation called TechEdSat-4 built by NASA's Ames Research Center in California, which aims to develop technology that will eventually enable small samples to be returned to Earth from the space station. In addition, a host of student experiments are being flown in association with the Student Spaceflight Experiment Program, an initiative of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education and NanoRacks.

If Cygnus launches as scheduled, the spacecraft will arrive at the space station on July 15. Station commander Steven Swanson of NASA and Flight Engineer Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency will be standing by in the station's cupola to capture the resupply craft with the station's robotic arm and install it on the Earth-facing port of the station's Harmony module.

Aircraft converge over Denver to support air quality study

Two NASA aircraft are participating in field campaigns beginning this month in Colorado that will probe the factors leading to unhealthy air quality conditions and improve the ability to diagnose air quality conditions from space.

The NASA aircraft will be joined by a research aircraft from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for flights July 16 to Aug. 16 from the Research Aviation Facility maintained by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo.

The main study area extends from Denver to Fort Collins and as far as Greeley. This area contains a diverse mixture of air pollution sources that include transportation, power generation, oil and gas extraction, agriculture, natural vegetation and episodic wildfires. The region being studied often experiences ozone levels in summer that exceed national health standards.

NASA's contribution to the effort is called DISCOVER-AQ, which stands for Deriving Information on Surface Conditions from Column and Vertically Resolved Observations Relevant to Air Quality. The Colorado study is the final stop in a series of four field studies by the DISCOVER-AQ team focused on areas across the United States that routinely experience poor air quality. Previous flights focused on the Baltimore-Washington area (2011), California's San Joaquin Valley (2013), and Houston (2013).

These detailed observations of air pollution from the surface up into the atmosphere will help improve the capability of future satellites to monitor air quality around the world. The combined studies will produce an unprecedented level of detail for understanding air quality over a metropolitan area.

NASA's twin-engine King Air from Langley Research Center will fly at 27,000 feet, looking downward with remote sensors to measure the amount of gaseous and particulate pollution below the aircraft. A P-3B Orion from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility will sample the vertical distribution of gaseous and particulate pollution by profiling from 1,000 and 15,000 feet above the surface over selected monitoring sites on the ground.

For the Colorado flights, the DISCOVER-AQ mission is collaborating with a second study, the Front Range Air Pollution and Photochemistry Experiment, or FRAPPE. Jointly sponsored by the state of Colorado and NSF, FRAPPE will include the NCAR/NSF C-130 research aircraft, as well as additional activities on the ground.

While the DISCOVER-AQ aircraft will be dedicated to sampling over ground sites, FRAPPE will have much more freedom to direct the C-130 to different locations as conditions warrant.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Qatar Airways launches non-stop service at Dallas/Fort Worth

Qatar Airways commenced daily non-stop service between Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and the newly unveiled Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar, on Tuesday. The new route increases Qatar Airways' extensive global network to seven gateways within the United States and 144 destinations worldwide.

Dallas/Fort Worth becomes Qatar Airways second destination in Texas. Along with Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth will serve as a crucial junction between Qatar Airways' global network, via Doha, and other key destinations across the Southwestern USA, including Austin, San Antonio and Oklahoma City.

Dallas/Fort Worth is a world centre for major American corporations, including Justin Boots, Texas Instruments, Frito Lay and AT&T. The region is also home to major oil and gas companies, including Exxon Mobil.

"DFW is an integral economic driver to the region and this new nonstop service will add approximately $200 million annually to our economy," said Sean Donohue, DFW Airport's chief executive officer.

The new route flies daily between Dallas/Fort Worth and Doha, departing from Doha at 8:10 a.m. and arriving into Dallas/Fort Worth at 3:35 p.m. the same day. Overnight service to Doha departs Dallas/Fort Worth at 8:00 p.m. and lands in Doha at 6:20 p.m. the following day. The route is operated with a Boeing 777-200LR configured with 217 Economy Class seats and 42 Business Class seats.

Outbound passengers to Doha will enjoy fast, convenient connections to key destinations throughout the world, including Delhi, Beijing, Tokyo, Bangkok and Perth, via the world's newest international hub, Hamad International Airport.

Officially commencing full operations on May 1, Hamad International Airport is capable of handling over 360,000 flights and 30 million passengers annually, with a fluid capacity of 50 million passengers after full completion.

As one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, Dallas/Fort Worth represents Qatar Airways' tenth new destination of 2014. Now in its 17th year of operations, Qatar Airways has a modern fleet of 134 aircraft flying to 144 key business and leisure destinations across six continents. The airline will be adding the highly anticipated Airbus A380s and A350s in the near future.

Southwest Airlines goes international

U.S.-based Southwest Airlines launched international service on Tuesday by inaugurating flights to Caribbean destinations from three of its U.S. gateway cities.

Southwest Airlines' first international departure, Flight 1804 from Baltimore/Washington to Oranjestad, Aruba, departed ontime at 8:30 a.m. EDT, closely followed by Southwest Flight 906 to Montego Bay, Jamaica, where its first-ever scheduled international arrival was planned for just after 11 a.m. EDT. A midday flight from Baltimore/Washington to Nassau/Paradise Island also brings Southwest Airlines' legendary customer service to The Bahamas.

Customers on the carrier's inaugural international flights from Baltimore/Washington joined those in two other gateway cities of Atlanta, and Orlando who celebrated alongside employees with commemorative beach balls, snorkels and masks.

Southwest operates the largest fleet of Boeing aircraft in the world to serve 93 destinations in 40 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and five near-international countries. Some flights are operated by wholly owned subsidiary AirTran Airways.

DCNewsroom most popular posts June 2014

1.) Critical heat shield installed on NASA's new Orion spacecraft NASA and Lockheed Martin engineers have installed the largest heat shield ever constructed on the crew module of the agency's new Orion spacecraft. [Full story]

2.) First scheduled transatlantic flight for WestJetWestJet marks a key milestone in its 18-year history Sunday night with the launch of its first scheduled transatlantic service between Toronto and Dublin, Ireland, with a brief stop in St. John's, Newfoundland. [Full story]

3.) Lufthansa receives milestone Boeing 747 jetBoeing has delivered the 1,500th 747 to come off the production line to Frankfurt, Germany-based Lufthansa. The milestone airplane is a 747-8 Intercontinental, the 14th one that Lufthansa will incorporate into its long-haul fleet. [Full story]

4.) St Louis FD find body after plane crash in Lake Superior - Shortly after midnight Sunday, the St. Louis County Fire Department (FD) reported that they had found the fuselage of an aircraft that crashed into Lake Superior on Saturday. [Full story]

5.) Virginia-based Navy fighter jet crashes into seaU.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 81 based at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana, Va., impacted the water during an approach to the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier Wednesday night. [Full story]

Monday, June 30, 2014

Mokulele Airlines inaugural flight from Kalaeloa Airport

Mokulele Airlines will host a grand opening celebration on Tuesday at the airline's newest service location, Kalaeloa Airport on west Oahu, marking the successful conclusion of a year of preparations. Kalaeloa is located at the former Barber's Point Naval Air Base John Rogers Field. The grand opening and inaugural flight will take place 15 years to the day that the former base was closed and turned over to the State of Hawaii.

Dignitaries from the Hawaii Department of Transportation will be in attendance and Kahu Daniel "Kaniela" Akaka, Jr. will offer a traditional Hawaiian blessing of the airport and the plane that will make the inaugural flight.

July 1 will mark the beginning of Mokulele's daily nonstop service to Kahului, Maui from Kalaeloa, with six scheduled daily flights, three each way. The inaugural flight to Kahului will depart at 1:00 p.m. The grand opening celebration is open to the public.

Kalaeloa will be the ninth airport Mokulele serves. As with most of the other airports Mokulele operates from, parking is hassle-free and Transportation Security Administration screenings are not required.

Mokulele Airlines, flying the skies of Hawaii since 1994, was purchased by TransPac Aviation, Inc. in 2011 with a goal of providing high quality, low-cost interisland air service. Mokulele, which is headquartered in Kailua-Kona, now offers more than 120 flights a day connecting Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui and the Big Island on its fleet of nine-passenger, turbine-powered Cessna Grand Caravans.

Navy orders 25 E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft

The U.S. Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman Corp. a $3.6 billion contract to deliver 25 new E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft, bringing the total number of aircraft on contract to 50.

Developed and produced by Northrop Grumman, the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is the world's only aircraft specifically designed as a carrier-based airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system. With its structurally distinctive design - a rotating rotodome and four vertical stabilizer tail configuration - the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye provides unprecedented, 360-degree surveillance to the warfighter.

As the only Department of Defense designed, tested and in-production AEW&C platform, the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye has undergone a significant transformation from previous E-2 models, resulting in revolutionary capabilities. This includes the new, more powerful AN/APY-9 radar system, exclusive to the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, which represents a two-generational leap in radar technology and allows the warfighter to "see" a greater number of targets at much greater distances - as well as new avionics and a glass cockpit.

"A multiyear procurement of these additional E-2Ds will take advantage of efficient, stable production lines at both Northrop Grumman and our suppliers, and will generate significant cost savings for taxpayers and the Navy," said Bart LaGrone, vice president, E-2/C-2 Programs, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.

The Northrop Grumman-led supplier team - "Team Hawkeye" - brings together the best in industry. Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics and Surveillance Systems, Syracuse, N.Y., serves as the principal AN/APY-9 radar system supplier and is teamed with Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, Baltimore, and Raytheon's Space and Airborne Systems, El Segundo, Calif. Rolls-Royce (Indianapolis, Ind.) provides the T-56-A engines while BAE Systems, Greenlawn, N.Y., is responsible for the identification friend or foe system and L-3 Communications Randtron Antenna Systems, Menlo Park, Calif., developed the ultra-high frequency electronically scanned array antenna.

"Since the first E-2D Advanced Hawkeye delivery in 2007, every aircraft has been delivered on schedule and on budget," LaGrone said.

The Navy's E-2D Advanced Hawkeye program of record is for 75 aircraft, of which Northrop Grumman has already delivered 13 production aircraft.

The Navy is confident the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye will attain initial operational capability later this year.

NASA's SOFIA astronomy plane lands in Germany for maintenance

A highly modified Boeing 747SP jet carrying a 17-ton telescope for astronomy research landed at Hamburg Airport on Saturday to undergo extensive maintenance. Known as SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy), the plane is a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

SOFIA (tail number N747NA) is stationed in Palmdale, Calif., near NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base. From now until the beginning of November, the aircraft and its telescope will be undergoing extensive maintenance at the Hamburg facilities of Lufthansa Technik.

DLR and NASA have selected Lufthansa for the overhaul of the aircraft because they have the world's longest and most extensive experience with maintaining aircraft of this type.

There were 45 Boeing 747SPs built, 18 of which are still in use. Boeing itself, however, no longer supports this aircraft type. U.S.-based companies with a license for extensive maintenance and repair do not have comparable experience. The previous U.S. operators of this aircraft, Pan Am, who brought the aircraft into service as 'Clipper Lindbergh' in 1977, and United Airlines, who purchased the plane in 1986, also no longer perform maintenance on this type of aircraft, and, as they are no longer operating the 747SP, they have let their licenses lapse. The SP in 747SP stands for 'Special Performance.' The aircraft has a much shorter fuselage but the same power; these aircraft can therefore fly significantly higher than other versions.

SOFIA is a unique airborne observatory, which, since 2010, has made around 90 scientific flights to study the development of galaxies and how stars and planetary systems are formed from molecular and dust clouds.

In contrast to space observatories, continuously improved or even newly developed instruments can be used and the latest technology can be implemented on SOFIA. This airborne observatory performs almost like a space observatory, but it returns to Earth after each flight. Because SOFIA flies in the stratosphere, above the water vapor in the atmosphere, it can observe infrared radiation with virtually no losses. Ground-based telescopes are not able to measure this radiation from space, as the water vapor blocks most of the infrared radiation.

The German SOFIA Institute at the University of Stuttgart has been charged with the coordination of the DLR operating contribution. While the aircraft is undergoing its overhaul in Hamburg, DSI personnel will take the opportunity to also perform thorough maintenance on the telescope. "We will replace worn parts and improve its functionality," says DSI Director Thomas Keilig.

The specifications of the aircraft also influence its treatment in the maintenance facility: "We must, for example, first lift SOFIA to a height of six meters to replace the landing gear,” says Sven Hatje, the project manager responsible for the SOFIA overhaul program. “The rear of the aircraft is, with its weight of 48 tons, too heavy for conventional lifting methods. This is why we will have to jack SOFIA up with five instead of three lifters. For this, we have to obtain a special permit."

Looking to the future, Eddie Zavala, SOFIA program manager at NASA says: "On May 29, we formally completed the development phase and NASA declared SOFIA fully operational. After the overhaul here in Hamburg, SOFIA will be resuming operations in 2015 with approximately 100 planned observation flights per year for many years to come and it will be a unique scientific tool for infrared astronomers."

Virginia-based AMA awarded NASA contract option

NASA has exercised the third option of its Technology, Engineering, and Aerospace Mission Support 2 contract with Analytical Mechanics Associates Inc. (AMA) of Hampton, Va. AMA will continue providing engineering support to the agency's Langley Research Center.

The potential value of the contract, including the approximately $50 million one-year option that starts Oct. 1, is $341.3 million. This is a cost-plus award-fee, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract.

Under the contract, AMA will support research and technology on complex, long-term NASA missions. This includes scientific research; engineering design, analysis, and development; and technology readiness level advancement of work associated with evolving NASA missions. The company also will implement technology programs, tests, operations, systems analysis and conceptual design, as well as provide program and project management support.

Video: Carbon dioxide monitoring satellite prepared for launch

Learn how NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 spacecraft and the United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket were prepared for liftoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Dynamic Airways new service to Guyana begins with 'inconvenience'

Dynamic Airways had to apologize to passengers Saturday when their new nonstop service from New York to Guyana hit a scheduling snag.

“Dear passengers - coming to Georgetown, Guyana tomorrow [Sunday]. Very sorry for the inconvenience that our schedule caused to passengers, and we are glad that we were able to protect all passengers to their final destination,” the airline said in a message posted on their Facebook page Saturday. “Big kudos to Dynamic Airways team which worked non-stop to resolve starting hiccups.”

Dynamic's new service from New York to Georgetown, that was scheduled to begin Thursday, is part of the carrier's phase of expansion, said Paul Kraus, the airline's CEO. New York is the most in-demand route from Georgetown, Guyana, where nearly a quarter of a million Guyanese reside.

Guy Pollard posted on Dynamic's Facebook page, “You better cancel and take another airline, only lies all the time. Went to the airport this morning and they want you to get on a bus for two to three hours and go to Atlantic City airport to catch the flight to Guyana.”

As it currently stands, Dynamic is the only U.S. carrier to serve the route, which has attracted much interest from Caribbean based airlines. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation rejected applications from Caribbean Airlines and Fly Jamaica Airways to service the route.

“Dynamic airways is committed to Guyana's market, supported by the Guyanese Government, and plans to operate further routes from the Guyanese capital,” the company said in a press statement.

New imaging satellite will be able to identify mailboxes from space

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has delivered the next-generation commercial remote sensing satellite built for DigitalGlobe to a launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The WorldView-3 satellite is slated to fly aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket in mid-August for DigitalGlobe, a leading provider of commercial high-resolution earth observation and advanced geospatial products.

The WorldView-3 spacecraft passed a full suite of environmental, functional and performance tests in preparation for integration with the launch vehicle, along with thorough pre-ship reviews by Ball Aerospace and DigitalGlobe.

WorldView-3 is the first multi-payload, super-spectral, high-resolution commercial satellite for earth observations and advanced geospatial data. Operating at an expected altitude of 383 miles (617 kilometers), WorldView-3 will collect imagery with 12 inch resolution (31 centimeters). "At 30-60 centimeters, you can easily discern key features such as manholes and mailboxes," according to DigitalGlobe's website. This level of resolution performance would be fundamentally impossible without the four-foot (1.1-meter) aperture telescope and the primary visible/SWIR sensor built by Exelis, which allows for a breadth of applications unmatched by smaller, lower-performance satellites. DigitalGlobe recently received permission from the U.S. Department of Commerce to sell its higher resolution satellite imagery, and once WorldView-3 is operational, the company will be able to deliver imagery with significantly greater clarity and spectral depth than anything else on the commercial market.

WorldView-3 also carries a Ball Aerospace-built atmospheric instrument called CAVIS, which stands for Clouds, Aerosol, water Vapor, Ice, and Snow. CAVIS will monitor the atmosphere and provide correction data when WorldView-3 images earth objects through haze, aerosols or other atmospheric obscurants.

The range of customer applications enabled by the DigitalGlobe constellation is greatly expanded by WorldView-3's ability to sense both the visible spectrum as well as deeper into the infrared spectrum. Its data-rich imagery will enable customers to search for new sources of minerals and fuels, manage forests and farms, and accelerate DigitalGlobe's creation of Geospatial Big Data - a living inventory of the surface of the earth.

WorldView-3 builds upon WorldView-2 and WorldView-1 technology by carrying forward the satellites' advanced Control Moment Gyroscopes (CMGs). The CMGs reorient a satellite over a desired collection area in 4-5 seconds, compared to 30-45 seconds needed for traditional reaction wheels. This enables the WorldView satellites to collect large areas far faster than competing satellites.

Lufthansa receives milestone Boeing 747 jet

Boeing has delivered the 1,500th 747 to come off the production line to Frankfurt, Germany-based Lufthansa. The milestone airplane is a 747-8 Intercontinental, the 14th one that Lufthansa will incorporate into its long-haul fleet.

"The new 747-8 is delivering on its promise to our customers, and we continue to look at ways to make it even more efficient in the future," said Eric Lindblad, 747 vice president and general manager, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

The 747 is the first widebody airplane in history to reach the 1,500 milestone. Its iconic shape makes it instantly recognizable, and passengers have consistently voted it their favorite airplane to fly.

At a delivery ceremony Saturday, a special logo commemorating the 1,500th airplane was revealed for the first time.

Lufthansa is the launch customer of the 747-8 Intercontinental and took delivery of its first airplane in April 2012. The airline has 19 747-8 Intercontinentals on order.

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