Monday, July 9, 2018

Department of Energy replacing atmospheric research aircraft

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program is in the process of replacing its existing aircraft, and will be purchasing a replacement, used aircraft for atmospheric research. One of the following aircraft types (short list) is planned to be purchased, and therefore engineering modification will required on one of the following types:

Aircraft types: (only one aircraft will be purchased from this list)
Bombardier Dash 8 Q300
ATR 42-500/600
Bombardier CRJ 200
Bombardier Challenger 800/850
The purchased aircraft will need modifications to convert it into an aircraft that will be able to be fitted with instrumentation used for atmospheric research.
All original passenger seats (unless they have four or five point harnesses installed) shall be removed from the cabin. All overhead bins shall be removed except for the four bin spaces in the aft most section and the two bins in the forward most section of the aircraft. Quick connections for oxygen masks shall be installed. The cabin shall have a minimum of five and maximum of seven seats installed.
An atmospheric research aircraft rarely operates at designed cruising altitude and speed. The aircraft will routinely operate at altitudes between 1,000 feet to 5,000 ft above ground level. The aircraft will nominally operate at indicated air speeds of 180-190 knots with engines at 50 percent power. Ambient temperatures at these altitudes can often exceed 90 Fahrenheit.
The contractor shall design and install a cooling system that can keep the cabin temperature at or below 75F. The occupancy of the aircraft is a total of two pilots and seven operators. This requirement is both on the ground during taxi and in the air.

Pillsbury and Hungry Jack brands sold to private equity firm

Private equity firm Brynwood Partners of Greenwich, Conn., has signed a definitive agreement to acquire a portfolio of brands from The J.M. Smucker Company for $375 million. The portfolio includes the exclusive U.S. rights to the iconic Pillsbury brand's shelf-stable baking products along with the Hungry Jack, White Lily, Jim Dandy and Martha White brands. The Pillsbury brand license agreement is a royalty-free, perpetual agreement with General Mills, Inc. and encompasses all U.S. shelf-stable baking products, including flour, dry baking mixes and ready-to-spread frosting, in the retail channel. The transaction includes the 650,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Toledo, Ohio, and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018, subject to customary U.S. regulatory review.

Brynwood Partners created the Hometown Food Company to acquire the assets from Smucker. Hometown will be headquartered in Chicago, Ill., and will operate the Toledo facility. Pillsbury and Hungry Jack are leading national brands in the shelf-stable baking and breakfast categories. The Funfetti sub-brand is also included in the acquisition as are the strong regional brands White Lily, Jim Dandy and Martha White, which participate in the flour, corn meal and grits categories. Many of the acquired products are manufactured at the Toledo facility where approximately 255 full-time employees are employed.

"The iconic portfolio of brands and the company's strong Mid-Western manufacturing footprint will provide us with a solid platform to invest in and to grow,” said Henk Hartong III, chairman and CEO of Brynwood Partners.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

USGS plans airborne electromagnetic and magnetic survey in California

The U.S. Geological Survey is conducting a market survey to find companies eligible to compete for a contract to conduct an airborne electromagnetic and magnetic survey in San Joaquin Valley, Calif. The contractor will be required to provide digitally recorded and processed airborne geophysical and ancillary data.

“The USGS requests airborne geophysical data covering areas in the southern San Joaquin Valley, Calif., using magnetic and electromagnetic methods,” USGS officials said in contract documents released Sunday. “An electromagnetic system is required that can image lithologic variations, groundwater salinity variations, and structural controls on groundwater flow within agricultural and suburban areas. These data are intended for rigorous inversion and interpretation of the 3-D hydrogeologic conditions of the subsurface. These data will be used in aquifer and salinity mapping, the design of groundwater monitoring strategies, and the characterization of geologic structures.

“The goal is to provide high quality airborne geophysical data that will be used for quantitative hydrogeologic framework and groundwater salinity studies.”

Companies interested in competing for the contract must contact the USGS by July 16.

First Air merges with Canadian North airline

Makivik Corp. and the Inuvialuit Corporate Group (ICG) announced Friday they have signed an agreement in principle to merge First Air and Canadian North in order to provide the best possible essential air services across the Arctic.

Following execution of definitive agreements and the receipt of applicable regulatory approvals needed to establish a strong new entity, the proposed Pan-Arctic airline will operate under the name "Canadian North" and aircraft will feature new First Air livery, including its Inukshuk logo. Headquarters for the proposed airline will be located in Ottawa. The parties expect to complete the merger by the end of 2018.

The companies believe this merger will:
  • Improve Arctic air services by offering customers greater reliability, better on-time service, and fewer interruptions;
  • Further enhance safety by enabling newer aircraft across the network, as well as specialization in maintenance of B737 and ATR aircraft;
  • Improve sustainability and efficiency of Arctic air services thus enabling the airline to more effectively meet demand across vast service areas while addressing challenges related to pilot shortages; and
  • Contribute to Northern and Inuit economic development by creating a wholly Inuit-owned, new airline focused on Canada's North.
"Air service is not a luxury for Northerners; it is a vital lifeline which requires ongoing investment," said Patrick Gruben, chair of the Inuvialuit Development Corp.

A report commissioned by the Government of Nunavut supports the need for more efficiency in Nunavut air transportation services; a merger of First Air and Canadian North is the only viable way to both meet and exceed these essential needs for Nunavummiut and all Northerners.

“Customers of First Air and Canadian North will not see changes to services, including fares and scheduling, while we work toward achieving regulatory approval and finalizing the merger,” Makivik said in a company press release.

US Navy looks to test Close-Range Armed Unmanned Air Vehicles

The U.S. Navy released a Request For Information (RFI) on Friday as part of a market survey to determine the availability, technical capability, and logistics capability of industry to provide specific information to Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Crane Division about Commercial Off-The-Shelf Close-Range Armed Unmanned Air Vehicles (CRA-UAVs). The RFI document includes CRA-UAVs that are developed but not yet in production, but can reasonably be expected to be in the status of test-ready articles for comparative testing in April 2019. CRA-UAVs include armed UAVs that have a range of up to 50 kilometers and endurance time of five minutes to six hours. “Ordinary Close Range-UAVs are usually used only for reconnaissance and surveillance tasks; however the CRA-UAVs that NSWC Crane Division seeks should be armed for immediate firing on targets found during reconnaissance and surveillance flights,” the Navy said in the RFI.

NSWC Crane is presently conducting this market survey seeking information from industry, U.S. government, and academia, to analyze alternatives and consider various CRA-UAVs for future procurement. These can be either hover-type or loiter-type CRA-UAVs.

The CRA-UAVs that NSWC Crane Division seeks should meet the following:

• Carry armaments which may include small arms, rockets, grenades, and less-than-lethal weapons and devices, or combinations of weapons and devices.
• Have a wireless remote safe, arm, and fire capability, allowing safe, arm, and either fire, or return to safe while in flight.
• Once armed, CRA-UAVs must be able to be remotely placed back into the safe mode, allowing the CRA-UAVs to safely return to the launch point.
• Be capable of single person operation (pilot is the gunner) or double person operation (pilot and gunner separate individuals).
• Be compatible with common tactical mobile Smartphones or other mobile devices.
• May include remotely-controlled gimbals or mounted remote firing stations.
• May include concepts for non-line of sight operation, such as signal repeaters.