Saturday, February 14, 2015

Wendy's to expand in the Middle East

Alghanim Industries and The Wendy's Company announced Saturday the signing of a Master Franchise Agreement aimed at expanding the Wendy's brand in the Middle East.

Alghanim Industries acquired the rights to develop Wendy's restaurants across the Middle East North Africa region from Alamar Foods, a Saudi-based company owned jointly by Al Jammaz Group and the Carlyle Group.

Wendy's joins Alghanim Industries' portfolio of leading global brands, including American Express, British Petroleum, Colgate-Palmolive, General Motors, Honda, Mars, Mondelez, Philips, Toshiba, Hitachi, and Whirlpool.

Alghanim Industries is one of the largest, privately-owned companies in the Gulf region.  Originally founded in 1932 by Yusuf Ahmed Alghanim in Kuwait, the company has since grown into a multi-billion dollar conglomerate, employing over 14,000 people in 30 businesses, and present in 40 countries across the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Asia.

Established in 1969, Wendy's is widely recognized for its great-tasting hamburgers with square beef patties. The Wendy's system includes more than 6,500 franchise and company restaurants in the United States and 28 countries and U.S. territories worldwide.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

NOAA to replace weather radar system aboard Orion aircraft

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is seeking a new Nose Weather Radar System for use in the agency's WP-3D Orion aircraft, according to contract documents released Tuesday.

The NOAA Aircraft Operations Center (AOC) instruments, maintains, and operates aircraft in support of a variety of meteorological and oceanographic research projects. Two of AOC's aircraft are WP-3D Orions (a variant of the Lockheed P-3C), manufactured in the 1970's. Each aircraft is equipped with a Collins WXR-700 C Weather radar system mounted in the nose of the aircraft. The system was originally installed in 1984. “This system is no longer being manufactured and some repair parts are no longer available,” NOAA said in a Request For Information (RFI) document made public Tuesday. “NOAA/AOC is considering alternatives to replace the nose weather radar system with a commercially available system. Since these aircraft are primarily used for weather research the ability of the radar to penetrate and identify severe weather is critical to the safety and success of the aircraft mission.”

The WP-3D aircraft fly in close proximity to and penetrate the severe weather in hurricanes and thunderstorms. These flights are often conducted at very low altitudes. “It is desired that the weather radar system have features that improves the situational awareness of the flight crew under these circumstances,” NOAA said in the RFI document. “It is also used to identify weather features important to the mission such as hurricane eye location. It should have features to allow the crew to adjust the system parameters to fit the mission situation in order to best map the weather hazards.”

NASA experiments return to Earth aboard Dragon spacecraft

SpaceX's Dragon cargo spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean about 7:44 p.m. EST Tuesday 259 miles southwest of Long Beach, Calif., with nearly 3,700 pounds of NASA cargo, science and first-of-its-kind technology demonstration samples from the International Space Station.

The Dragon spacecraft will be taken by ship to Long Beach, where some cargo will be removed and returned to NASA. Dragon will then be prepared for a return trip to SpaceX's test facility in McGregor, Texas, for processing.

Among the returned investigations were printed parts and hardware from the first technology demonstration of 3-D printing in space. The 3-D printer demonstration used relatively low-temperature plastic feedstock on the space station. The test phase ended with a printed ratchet wrench made with a design file transmitted from Earth to the printer.

Dragon also returned samples, hardware and data from several biology and biotechnology studies performed on the station. The Advancing Membrane Protein Crystallization by Using Microgravity investigation explored the production of high-quality crystals of the cystic fibrosis protein and other closely related proteins. Because many medically relevant proteins are difficult to crystalize on Earth, researchers attempt to grow them in space to help determine their shape and structure with the hope of improving drug therapies for cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs and digestive system.

Samples from the Advanced Plant Experiments 03-1 will help scientists better understand the effects of microgravity on the development of roots and cells on plant seedlings. Researchers will conduct a detailed analysis of the returned plant samples to determine the molecular and genetic mechanisms that control plant development in microgravity. With this knowledge, scientists may be able to improve agricultural and bioenergy research on Earth, leading to crops that use resources more efficiently.

The Dragon capsule lifted off atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Jan. 10 carrying more than 5,000 pounds of supplies and elements to support 256 scientific investigations and arrived at the orbiting complex two days later on Jan. 12. The mission was the fifth of at least 12 cargo resupply trips SpaceX will make to the orbiting outpost through 2016 under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contract.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Lufthansa to demonstrate pilot-controlled taxiing system without engines running

TaxiBot, a semi-robotic pilot-controlled vehicle, transports airline aircraft from terminal gates to the runway and back, without using the airplane's own engines.

TaxiBot's in-service evaluation started last month with commercial Lufthansa Boeing 737 flights departing out of Frankfurt, Germany. TaxiBot use by airlines reduces fuel consumption by 85 percent. As such, the return on investment for airlines is less than two years.

Since 2008, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), along with its industrial risk-sharing partner TLD, has been cooperating with Lufthansa LEOS in the development of the TaxiBot, with the support of both Airbus and Boeing. Several working groups are actively studying and preparing to introduce TaxiBot in some of the world’s leading airport hubs in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

An “Airbus No Technical Objection” approval is expected to be issued soon for TaxiBot operational tests in Frankfurt. This will allow TaxiBot to dispatch Airbus A320s before takeoff. The Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 airplane families comprise over 70 percent of the world’s mainliner airplanes, hence the potential market is estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Advanced negotiations are progressing with several potential customers.

This innovative system will save millions of dollars in fuel savings for airlines, ground-handling companies and airports worldwide,” said IAI President and CEO Joseph Weiss.

Commercial aircraft engines are very effective at high-altitude flight, but not when driving on the ground. During the ride, those engines burn large amounts of fuel, emit carbon dioxide, and create a lot of noise in the environment. TaxiBot allows the start of aircraft engines near the runway and significantly reduce the time they run on the ground.

The fuel consumption of a Boeing 747 during a 17 minute ride before it takes off is approximately one ton of fuel (1250 liters). A ride using TaxiBot reduces fuel consumption by 85 percent when the system itself needs only 25-30 liters of fuel.

“Using TaxiBot requires no changes to the aircraft and operating systems, there is no extra weight of the aircraft and the cargo volume has not declined by carrying it,” IAI said in a company press release. “Simulations and studies have shown that the entry of TaxiBot active use will require slight changes in the various airports.”

TaxiBot will hold a demonstration with a Lufthansa Boeing 737 on Feb. 19 at Frankfurt International Airport.