Sunday, November 3, 2019

Video: NASA test Starliner spacecraft at White Sands Missile Range

NASA and Boeing will test a pad abort system on the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft on Monday from Launch Complex 32 at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

The test is scheduled for 9 a.m. EST (7 a.m. MST) with a three-hour test window.

Boeing's Pad Abort Test is part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program. The goal of the program is to provide safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station.

The test on Monday is designed to verify that each of Starliner's systems will function not only separately, but in concert, to protect astronauts by carrying them safely away from the launch pad in the unlikely event of an emergency prior to liftoff. During the test, Starliner's four launch abort engines and several orbital maneuvering and altitude control thrusters will fire, pushing the spacecraft approximately one mile high and one mile north of the test stand.

The spacecraft's crew module will use parachutes with landing airbags to touch down at White Sands Missile Range. It will be recovered and brought back to Launch Complex 32 for evaluation and analysis.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Virginia rocket launch may be visible in Chesapeake Bay region

Several space technologies will be put to the test with the launch of a suborbital rocket at 8 p.m. EDT on Thursday from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Called Suborbital Technology Experiment Carrier-8 or SubTec-8, the launch is designed to test new technologies to improve the capability of conducting suborbital science missions. Some of these technologies also may be applied to orbital spacecraft. The launch may be visible in the Chesapeake Bay region.

SubTec-8 will fly on a Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket and is predicted to reach an altitude of 128 miles before descending by parachute and landing in the Atlantic Ocean. The first SubTec launch occurred in 2005.

SubTec-8 technologies include distributed payload communications that will allow multipoint measurements for scientists to study multiple regions in space simultaneously; a low cost star tracker for assisting in pointing the rocket when taking astronomical observations; and a high data rate encoder that will provide the ability to transmit data from the rocket to the ground four times faster than currently available.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Video: Navy extends contract with contractor owned and operated fighter jets

The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Patuxent River, Md., intends to award a Firm Fixed Price and Cost contract to Airborne Tactical Advantage Company (ATAC) for an additional 18 months from Nov. 18 2020 to May 20 2022 to provide contractor owned and operated fighter jets.

This acquisition provides Contracted Air Services (CAS) of contractor owned and operated aircraft to the Department of the Navy for a wide variety of airborne threat simulation capabilities,” the Navy said in contract documents. “The aircraft are used to train shipboard / aircraft squadrons, weapon systems operators, and aircrew counter measures for potential enemy Electronic Warfare and Electronic Attack operations in today's Electronic Combat environment. This support is provided in a variety of venues, from basic "schoolhouse" Air Intercept Control training to large multinational exercises or small, single unit training exercises, including target tow. Locations include multiple Continental United States sites and foreign or remote operating bases Outside Continental United States. Aircraft operate from designated or home bases on the East Coast, West Coast, Hawaii, Japan and from any operating site worldwide during periods of deployment. Other customers for CAS under this contract may include other Department of Defense (DoD) agencies and services, non-DoD government agencies, and Foreign Military Sales customers.

At this time, ATAC is the only fighter jet services source, which owns approved aircraft with Navy Interim Flight Clearances and Federal Aviation Administration Airworthiness Certificates that can continue performance during the above stated ordering period of fighter jet missions without an unacceptable delay or interruption in support to the fleet.”

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Black Hawk medium-lift utility helicopter up for sale

The U.S. Army Contracting Command-Redstone in Huntsville, Ala., announced Wednesday they have an Army Black Hawk helicopter up for sale. The contracting command is handling the aircraft sale on behalf of the Program Executive Office, Aviation, Logistics, Black Hawk Exchange and Sales Team (BEST) Program.

The aircraft is a Sikorsky UH-60A Black Hawk medium-lift utility helicopter (tail number 81-23624). The helicopter is located at the BEST Aircraft Consolidation Facility in Huntsville, Ala.

The following property is available for sale through negotiation at fixed prices,” the Army said in the announcement. If more than one agency has indicated interest in the item, the sale will be on a ''first-come, first-served'' basis. Payment must be made within 30 calendar days after purchase.

A series of Army UH-60A helicopters have already been sold. Click here for articles covering past aircraft sales.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

F/A-18C jet gets Blue Angel airframe upgrade

The Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River, Md., intends to award a sole source contract to The Boeing Company to install Airframe Change (AFC-483) A1 and A2 kits (Blue Angel modification) to a F/A-18C jet, BUNO 163747. The contract award was announced Friday.

This aircraft must be delivered no later than 30 June 2020 to support the Blue Angels 2020 show schedule,” the Navy said in contract documents.

In order to install this modification, the required support equipment must be on site by contract award.  Additionally, an 8,000 foot runway must be in place with a flight and ground operations staff to support Functional Check Flights (FCF) after completion of the modification and before aircraft delivery. The government will provide the FCF pilot. The place of performance for this requirement must be within 25 miles of the Cecil Commerce Center in Jacksonville, Fla.

Boeing was awarded the contract to retrofit nine Block 1 F/A-18E Super Hornets and two Block 1 F/A-18F Super Hornets for the Blue Angels team from the current crop of F/A-18C/D fighters, according to an article published in 2018 by the U.S. Naval Institute.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

US nuclear administration seeks to replace Bell helicopters

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Office of Nuclear Incident Response (ONIR), is hosting an Industry Day meeting in Las Vegas this month to discuss the replacement of two Bell 412HP helicopters with a new rotary wing aircraft. The meeting was announced in contract documents released in August.

“Information exchanged during this event will be used to help refine the acquisition strategy and obtaining innovative approaches, solutions, and technologies to meet the government requirements for replacing two helicopters with new rotary wing aircraft,” NNSA said in contract documents.

The ONIR is the premier technical leader in responding to and successfully resolving nuclear and radiological incidents or accidents. Technical teams are prepared to search for radioactive material, and help manage the consequences of a release of radioactive material into the environment. One of these assets, NNSA's Aerial Measuring System, has specialized airborne radiation detection systems that provide real-time measurements of low levels of air and ground contamination. The equipment, aircraft, and trained experts maintain a state of readiness to respond to a radiological emergency at any time. The aircraft operations are at Joint Base Andrews, Md., and Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas, Nev.

To perform these aerial surveys, flights are performed from 50 to 3,000 feet above the ground at speeds from 60 to 80 knots. The crew consists of two pilots and two technical specialists that operate the detection equipment. Survey flight patterns are predominately parallel line patterns often performed over congested areas of the country.

The NNSA Industry Day meeting will be held at North Las Vegas Airport on Oct. 29.

Friday, August 30, 2019

NASA celebrates 20th anniversary of the Chandra X-ray Observatory

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Alabama are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Chandra X-ray Observatory -- the world's most powerful X-ray telescope.

Since its launch on July 23, 1999, Chandra has been NASA's flagship mission for X-ray astronomy. Astronomers around the world use Chandra's X-ray vision to explore cosmic mysteries -- from distant galaxies and an expanding universe to black holes, dark energy and supernovas.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Robert Binns appointed president of Air Wisconsin

Robert (Rob) Binns has been appointed president of Air Wisconsin. The announcement came in a company press release on Monday. Binns will oversee all aspects of operations and performance initiatives for Air Wisconsin and will report directly to Christine Deister, the airline's chief executive officer.

Binns brings over 25 years of airline and industry-related experience to his new role, including chairman and CEO of Global Aviation Holdings, a holding company for World Airways and North American Airlines. He has also held CEO, CFO, CMO and other executive roles at Hybrid Enterprises (Lockheed Martin), TransMeridian Airlines, Pegasus Aviation and Trans World Airlines.

Binns holds a Master of Business Administration as well as a BA in history and political science from the University of Kansas, and an MA in political behavior from the University of Essex (England). He is also a Certified Internal Auditor. Since 2007, Binns has served on the Carter Center Board of Councilors in Atlanta.

Air Wisconsin Airlines, founded in 1965, operates over 300 departures daily to 32 states in partnership with United Airlines. With service to approximately 70 cities throughout North America, Air Wisconsin carries nearly five million passengers annually.

Monday, February 4, 2019

United Airlines opens new club at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport

United Airlines on Monday welcomed the newest addition to its network of more than 50 United Club locations around the world with the opening of a brand-new 5,000 square foot United Club at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Located near Gate C1, this new United Club is the first of four new United Club locations set to open in 2019.

"Our multimillion-dollar investment in the United Clubs is one of many ways we are working to improve every aspect of our customers' experience,” said United's Chief Customer Officer Toby Enqvist in a company press release.

This summer, United plans to open a new United Club in New Orleans in conjunction with the opening of the new terminal at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. United will also open a brand-new United Club location in New York's La Guardia Airport to coincide with the relocation of its operations to the airport's Terminal B. Additionally, United will introduce its first-ever United Club location in Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Video: Boycott of Kraft Heinz products called over Super Bowl ad

A boycott of Kraft Heinz products has been called for by Culture Reframed, an organization that builds resilience and resistance to hypersexualized media and porn.

Devour Foods, a Kraft Heinz frozen food product line, has produced a commercial on "food porn" that is slated to air during Sunday's Super Bowl.

The original, minute-long version of the commercial was posted for a day on Pornhub, the largest porn site on the web, which is widely known for making available free, hardcore porn. An edited, 30-second version airs on Sunday.

The ad normalizes the use of porn and makes light of the costs of porn addiction. "Porn addiction is widely widely shown to destroy the individual, the partners, and the children of addicts. And the impact of porn on the culture is enormous," said Dr. Gail Dines, president and CEO of Culture Reframed. "To promote porn use and make light of porn addiction is the height of irresponsibility and we call on Kraft Heinz to provide resources to groups preventing porn addiction."

Culture Reframed has deemed the use of porn "the public health crisis of the digital age."

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Video: US Navy conducts first ever all-female flyover

Honoring the life and legacy of a female pioneer in Naval aviation, the U.S. Navy conducted the first ever all-female flyover. Officially referred to as a “Missing Man Flyover,” the tribute was part of the funeral service for one of the Navy’s first female jet pilots retired Navy Captain Rosemary Mariner, who passed away Jan. 24 following a long and brave fight with cancer.

ABL Space Systems updates RS1 launch vehicle design

On Friday, ABL Space Systems announced design updates to its RS1 launch vehicle, an increase in payload capacity, and a decrease in price.

The upgraded RS1 has a larger six-foot diameter and is powered by a new family of gas generator engines, E1 and E2. The vehicle's design capacity is 1,200 kilograms to 200-kilometer, low inclination orbit, or 875 kg to 500-km sun-synchronous orbit. RS1 is priced at $12 million per launch, or as low as $10,000 per kilogram.

"In both engineering and manufacturing, small launch vehicles are fundamentally simpler than large launch vehicles, and there are many opportunities for efficiency gains," said ABL CEO Harry O'Hanley.

Founded in 2017, ABL recently completed its first development vehicle and conducted a successful tanking test.

ABL is planning an RS1 stage test in the second half of 2019, with a target first launch in 2020. 
"The global launch vehicle market is still missing a truly low-cost option in the 500-1,500 kg capacity range," said ABL CFO Dan Piemont. "We're confident RS1 fills an important role in the market for a variety of mission profiles, including bulk deployment of cubesats, deployment of three to five larger, more capable satellites, or dedicated launch of satellites with aggressive mission requirements."

ABL Space Systems was founded by former SpaceX engineering leaders in 2017 to develop low-cost launch vehicles for the small satellite industry. The company is headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., where it has 30,000 square feet of facilities for research, development, and production. ABL is a privately-owned corporation backed by a premier group of private equity investors.

Pennsylvania State Police add 96 officers to force

Acting Commissioner Robert Evanchick announced Friday that 96 cadets graduated from the State Police Academy in Hershey, Pa., and have been assigned to troops across the commonwealth. The men and women represent the 154th graduating cadet class.

The ceremony at Scottish Rite Cathedral marked the culmination of 27 weeks of classroom and physical training.

Five cadets received special awards and recognition at the ceremony:
  • The American Legion Award, presented to the most outstanding cadet in recognition of all-around academic, physical, ethical, and moral qualifications: Nathan J. Zimmerman, Lancaster County
  • The Colonel Ronald L. Sharpe Award, presented to the cadet who most exemplifies the qualities of leadership: Nathan J. Zimmerman, Lancaster County
  • The Colonel John K. Schafer Award, presented to the cadet who achieved the highest combined score on a series of physical skills tests: John A. Marotto III, Allegheny County
  • The Commissioner Daniel F. Dunn Award, presented to the cadet who earned the highest level of academic achievement in the class: Scott W. Radabaugh, Lebanon County
  • The Colonel Paul J. Chylak Award, presented to the cadet who demonstrated the highest proficiency in driver safety training: Grayson S. Peacock, Monroe County
  • The Sergeant Charles B. Gesford Award, presented to the cadet who scored the highest on the department's pistol qualification course: Joshua S. McGinnis, Mercer County
The graduates have been assigned to the following troops:

Troop A, Greensburg
Daniel T. Grabowski of Westmoreland County
Charles L. Huss of Westmoreland County

Troop A, Indiana
Lindsey R. Fleck of Cambria County

Troop B, Uniontown 
Cristen A. Cindric of Fayette County
Charles A. Hoffman of Allegheny County
John A. Marotto III of Allegheny County
Kyle E. Nolan of Westmoreland county
Grant N. Rukat of Allegheny County
Cody R. Stoliker of Butler County
Craig P. Student of Fayette County
Jonathan G. Sutton of Westmoreland County

Troop B, Washington
Matthew R. Goodall of Allegheny County
Jonnie W. Schooley III of Beaver County

Troop C, Clarion
Nicholas D. Gray of Clearfield County
Joshua S. McGinnis of Mercer County
Timothy J. Reilly of Allegheny County

Troop C, Clearfield
Emerson H. Miller of Huntingdon County

Troop C, DuBois
Tyler A. Blaniar of Armstrong County
Seth D. Gould of Centre County
Kacey L. Osborne of Jefferson County

Troop C, Kane
Andrew R. Eliason of McKean County
James W. Lenze of Elk County

Troop C, Marienville
Nash A. Rupp of Clarion County
Cheyenne D. Smith of Venango County
Jacob M. Snyder of Lawrence County

Troop C, Punxsutawney
Joshua E. Abernathy of Armstrong County

Troop C, Ridgeway
David A. Swanson Jr. of Elk County

Troop E, Corry
Johnathan H. Sutton of Erie County

Troop E, Girard
Donald H. Buzard of Erie County
Erin N. Harris of Monroe County
Sean M. Pietrone of Erie County
Adam P. Wassell of Erie County

Troop E, Meadville
Luke A. Behe of Venango County
Nathan B. Wallace of Mercer County
Jacob T. Waltenbaugh of Butler County

Troop F, Coudersport
Chip E. Scheller of Butler County

Troop F, Emporium
Patrick J. Barnwell of Niagara County, New York

Troop F, Mansfield
Michael A. Adams of Lycoming County

Troop F, Montoursville
Chance D. Goodrow of Cameron County
Christopher R. Gray of Cambria County
Travis K. Sather of Huntingdon County
Garrett J. Shnyder of Northumberland County

Troop F, Selinsgrove
Kyle L. Biddle of Philadelphia County

Troop H, Carlisle
Ross P. Griffin of Cumberland County
Samuel S. Hunter of Cumberland County
Corey A. James of Philadelphia County
Kevin S. Jiras of Burlington County, New Jersey
Jason T. Kluchurosky of Indiana County
Joshua T. Powell of Lackawanna County
Wesley C. Smith of Pike County

Troop H, Chambersburg
Bradford J. Conlon of Philadelphia County
Byron P. Estavillo of Franklin County
Christopher A. Gaetano of Lackawanna County
Kara E. Gooley of Montgomery County
Conor P. Tremaine of Dauphin County
Colton E. Wassell of Bedford County

Troop H, Gettysburg
Matthew Kile of York County
George J. Krukowski of Mercer County
Jordan G. Mroczka of Schuylkill County
Kaleb M. Reitz of Dauphin County

Troop H, Harrisburg
Bradley C. Fornwalt of Dauphin County

Troop H, Lykens
Joseph A. Oliver of Philadelphia County

Troop H, Newport
Matthew E. Jones of Bucks County
Curtis A. Jury of Mifflin County
Jennifer M. Lynn of Mercer County

Troop J, Avondale
Brandon D. Allen of Burlington County, New Jersey
Daniel P. Finnegan of Delaware County
Noah H. Hunsinger of Chester County
Brent Neifield of Philadelphia County
Scott W. Radabaugh of Lebanon County
Nicholas J. Reginella III of Lancaster County
Jared V. Toll of Union County
Nathan J. Zimmerman of Lancaster County

Troop J, Embreeville
Kyle A. Frey of Berks County

Troop J, Lancaster
Franklin D. Hood III of Lancaster County

Troop J, York
Elliot A. Wilker of York County
Jacob M. Penhorwood of York County

Troop K, Media
Briana L. Benz of Philadelphia County
Brandon T. Fitzgerald of Burlington County, New Jersey
Charles J. Heinz III of Philadelphia County

Troop L, Frackville
Joseph J. Julian Jr. of Schuylkill County
Michael C. Owens of Hartford County, Connecticut

Troop L, Jonestown
Jorge L. De Jesùs Jr. of Lackawanna County
Brian M. Grondziowski of Berks County

Troop L, Schuylkill Haven
Sean F. Elenchin of Schuylkill County
Kathleen Guadalupe of Berks County
Nicholas J. Reese of Schuylkill County
Ryan M. Swartz of Berks County

Troop M, Belfast
Jason T. Flowers of Northampton County

Troop M, Bethlehem
Kenneth A. Wong Jr. of Bucks County

Troop N, Hazleton
Paul E. Kelly II of Columbia County
Michael V. King-Comerford of Monroe County

Troop N, Stroudsburg
Kody R. Nowicki of Luzerne County
Thomas J. Butch III of Luzerne County
Craig L. Karpinksi of Luzerne County
Grayson S. Peacock of Monroe County

Friday, February 1, 2019

Cadence Aerospace appoints VP and general manager at Tell Tool

Cadence Aerospace, a provider of aerospace components and assemblies to commercial and defense customers, announced Friday the appointment of Edward Torres as vice president and general manager of the company’s Tell Tool Operations in Westfield, Mass. In his new role, Torres will be responsible for all day-to-day operations at the Cadence Tell Tool location in Westfield, including manufacturing operations, profit and loss, business planning, quality, staffing and customer engagement.

Torres joined Cadence Aerospace in January 2018. In his most recent role as Vice President Operations & Engineering, he was responsible for managing the Quality Engineering, Inspection, MRB and Root Cause Corrective Action teams.

Prior to joining Cadence Aerospace, during 2017-2018, Torres served SQA Services, an aerospace parts and metals supplier, as Regional Senior Supplier Quality and Trainer. There, he was responsible for driving supplier performance improvements among suppliers of metals, tooling and composite parts.

Earlier in 2016-2017, he served the independent consulting firm Quality Consulting as Quality System and Corrective Action Consultant, where he supported a range of procedures and updates to client business manuals regarding digital product definition for certification and preparation of AS9100 RevD and NADCAP requirements.

At AVCORP Composite Fabrication/HITCO Carbon Composites, Torres held five positions of increasing responsibility during a 15-year tenure, finishing his career at the company in 2016 as Quality Manager, leading commercial quality engineers and other teams for customer programs including Boeing, Pratt and Whitney, Spirit AeroSystems, and Fuji Heavy Industry. He also served as Director of Quality, overseeing engineers, inspectors, MRB, material testing lab, calibration, non-destructive testing, quality management system, quality assurance specialists and documentation teams. In addition, Torres was Quality Engineering, MRB, Inspection and RCCA Manager, and earlier, he was Quality Inspection and Operations Manager. Torres joined the company as Chief Inspector, supervising and training inspectors on new digital equipment and performing supplier audits.

His career at Cory Components/Matrix Science Corp., a supplier of parts and metals to the aerospace industry, spanned 11 years. Torres joined the company in 1990, serving as Tooling and Source Inspector, utilizing a series of specialized software programs. He later was promoted to Inspection Supervisor in 1999 and oversaw inspections performed for Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman programs.

Torres studied Business Organizational Management at the University of Phoenix, Calif.

Approval given for the first Arianespace mission of 2019

An Ariane 5 rocket has been authorized for liftoff on Tuesday following Friday’s launch readiness review, which was conducted at a spaceport in French Guiana, South America.

The heavy-lift Ariane 5 launcher and its dual-satellite payload – comprised of Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 (HS-4/SGS-1) and GSAT-31 – are flight-ready, Arianespace said in a mission update released Friday. Arianespace is a satellite launch service based in Europe.

With approval granted, the Ariane 5 is cleared for Monday’s rollout from the spaceport’s Final Assembly Building to its ELA-3 launch zone. Liftoff is scheduled for Tuesday at 4:01 p.m. EST.

The Ariane 5 will deliver a total payload lift performance of 10,018 kilograms into space during the mission designated Flight VA247. This total includes the two satellite passengers, plus the workhorse vehicle’s dual-payload deployment system and integration hardware.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

SkyWest signs firm order for nine E175 jets

Embraer and SkyWest, Inc. have signed a firm order for nine E175 jets, with deliveries expected to begin in 2019. The order has a value of $422 million, based on current list prices, and was already included in Embraer's 2018 fourth-quarter backlog. SkyWest Airlines will operate all nine E175s, featuring a 76-seat configuration.

"Since 2013, SkyWest has purchased a total of 158 E175s, including these nine," said Charlie Hillis, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, North America, Embraer Commercial Aviation in a company press release.

Including this new contract, Embraer has sold more than 565 E175s to airlines in North America, since January 2013, earning more than 80 percent of all orders in this 70-76-seat jet segment.

Since entering revenue service, the E-Jets family has received more than 1,800 orders and over 1,500 aircraft have been delivered. Today, E-Jets are flying in the fleet of 70 customers in 50 countries.