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TAHOE/TRUCKEE, California — Aircraft enthusiasts and festival followers alike will be tantalized by the roar of T-38s flying overhead and SambaDa, a Santa Cruz group informed by bloco afro (Afro-Brazilian percussion music), samba-reggae, surf-rock, and California funk on Saturday, July 7 at the inaugural Truckee Tahoe AirFair & Family Festival.
This free all day (7 a.m.-4 p.m.) fundraising event with free vehicle and $1 bike parking in a gated corral is in support of Tahoe-Truckee youth programs.
The Opening Ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m. and will feature special performances by the “Just-In-Time Skydivers” and the Red Star Formation Flying Group. Both are certain to get the energy flying high.
“Never seen a skydiving performance or a formation flying team? Then don’t miss the opening ceremony. It will truly wow spectators. Smoke, a flag and cheers will explode at this time during the event,” says AirFair & Family Festival Chairman Tim LoDolce. “The Red Star formation flying team, soaring in YAK 52s, and the ‘Just-in-Time Sky Diving Team’ are going to make the Truckee sky come alive!”
The AirFair will feature a wide variety of aircraft on the ramp and in the air including the World War II era B-25 Old Glory and P-51 Man O’ War. Possibly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many, the Man O’ War is offering rides with profits going to the Commemorative Air Force (CAF). The CAF is the premier warbird organization now operating 156 vintage aircraft in honor of American military aviation. Ride fares are tax deductible.
AirFair spectators will also be thrilled by the “Parade of Planes” throughout the day. The airport ramp will crackle with all types of static aircraft displays and pilot docents explaining the details about each aircraft. Military, experimental, corporate and everyday general aviation aircraft offer something for everyone.
Free EAA Chapter 1073 Young Eagle flights for youth ages 8-17 are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Rides are subject to weather conditions, and parents must accompany their children at time of sign-up. Prior notice of those children interested in a free flight is highly recommended so AirFair planners may schedule planes and pilots. Call EAA Young Eagle Coordinator Michael Golden at 530-587-8017.
Another event highlight includes the attendance of two of the original Tuskegee Airmen as Grand Marshals: Les Williams and Le Roy F. Gillead. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military aviators in the United States armed forces. Videos of these veterans can be viewed on the AirFair & Family Festival Facebook page and by watching the newly released Lucas Films movie “Red Tails.”
“The participation of the Tuskegee Airmen is a true honor,” said LoDolce. “Bring your children to meet and shake hands with these military aviator historians. They will also be honored on Friday, July 6 at the pre-AirFair dinner in hangar one.” Tickets for the Friday Night Pre-AirFair Dinner honoring the Tuskegee Airmen are available in advance for $40 per person. Call the Airport at 530-587-4119, ext. 0 for ticket purchasing information.
The Family Festival will boast an array of activities including a participatory bike rodeo with ramps and obstacle course; live music by SambaDa; a live two-hour radio remote from Truckee’s KTKE 101.5FM; giant bubbles; face painting; arts and crafts; stilt walkers; food court; beer garden; souvenirs; vendors and much more family fun.
The last air shows held at the Truckee Tahoe Airport were from 1974-1996 and featured displays like Air Force F-16s, Marine Corps, Vietnam-era helicopters and other privately owned war birds. In addition, some of those planes performed an array of spectacular aerobatics with trailing smoke. The 2012 AirFair will not feature aerobatics; instead periodic fly-overs will occur including the “Parade of Planes” flown by local aviators in different and exciting aircraft.
The AirFair & Family Festival is being put on by the Truckee Tahoe Airport District with the cooperation of Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 1073, KidZone Museum and the Truckee Optimist Club. This fundraising event replaces the well-known annual KidZone Family Festival and Truckee Optimist Club’s Cannibal Cruise.
The Truckee Tahoe Airport District is the “Golden Wings” sponsor of this event, meaning they are paying for all operational costs. Other sponsorship monies and proceeds go directly to youth programs.
Major sponsors to date include Amador Cellars Winery; Charter Media; CLM Design; Community Ink; DBI Beverage Company (Coors); Dickson Realty; GLA-Morris Construction, Inc.; KTKE Radio; Paragon PR; Northstar California; Robert E. Sutton Company; Sierra Sun; Suddenlink; Taco Bell; Tahoe Donner Association; Tahoe Forest Health System; Tahoe Mountain Resorts Foundation; Tahoe Truckee Sierra Disposal; Teichert Aggregates; The Weekly; Truckee Tahoe Lumber and World Fuels.
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News Source: Sierrasun.com
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The Boeing 747-8 Freighter landed at exactly 5:35 p.m. at the Paris Le Bourget Airport in Le Bourget, France after the first transatlantic flight of a large commercial airplane powered on all engines by a sustainable aviation jet fuel.
Boeing pilots Captain Keith Otsuka, Captain Rick Braun and Cargolux Captain Sten Rossby piloted the 747 Frieghter from Washington Everett to Le Bourget equipped with four of its General Electric GEnx-2B engines powered by a blend of 15 percent camelina-based biofuel mixed with 85 percent traditional kerosene Jet A fuel. However, there are no changes were made to the airplane, its engines or operating procedures prior to departure. Normal flight parameters were followed and approved in advance by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.
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Recently, Air France-KLM has announced its intention for signing up to 60 A350 XWD aircraft, which 25 A350-900 will be firmed up shortly. The said aircraft will become an essential pillar in the group’s long-haul fleet modernization strategy.
“We are honoured that our all new, extra efficient A350 XWB will contribute to Air France-KLM’s long-term success”, said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer – Customers. “The A350 XWB’s unbeatable economics and environmental credentials will establish the aircraft as the future backbone of the airline’s long-haul fleet. We take this decision as a testimony of confidence in our brand and products”.
The A350 XWD or what they call Xtra Wide-Body is a family of all-new long range product line comprising of three models capable of flying between 270 and 350 passengers in a typical three-class layouts on flights of up to 8,500 nautical miles.
As of today, the Air France-KLM Group currently operates a fleet of 191 Airbus aircraft, comprising of six A380s, 26 A330s, 15 A340s, 24 A321s, 58 A320s, 44 A319s and 18 A318s. With this new updates, Air France-KLM joins the expanding group of airlines to have a member if each Airbus family in their fleet.
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For a brief moment in 2011, fledgling rocket maker SpaceX silenced critics with a deal to launch a commercial telecom satellite for one of the largest fleet operators in the world.
Announced in March 2011, the agreement with Luxembourg-based SES to loft the SES-8 satellite to geostationary orbit atop the twice-flown Falcon 9 rocket was widely viewed as a vote of confidence in the Hawthorne, Calif.-based startup, despite its running years late in demonstrating the ability to boost cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) for its primary government backer, NASA.
But during the past two years, as SpaceX secured contracts in major Asian markets, announced plans to introduce a heavy-lift variant of the Falcon and started construction of a new launch pad at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., the company has fallen further behind schedule.
“They’re running up against the reality of rocket engineering—getting these systems to work is hard,” says John Logsdon, a space policy expert and professor emeritus at George Washington University. “This is the teething pain of an emerging firm that doesn’t match the rhetoric, doesn’t match their optimism, but matches the reality of the situation.”
Earlier this year SpaceX pushed its first cargo demonstrator to the ISS under NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program to the end of April from February. It also slipped the schedule on a midsummer debut of an upgrade to the Falcon 9 main-stage engine, which SpaceX is obligated to fly before it can loft SES-8 next year.
Now slated to lift off no earlier than October from the new Vandenberg site, the overhaul of Falcon 9’s Merlin 1C engine aims to add enough power to boost payloads to geostationary transfer orbit. In addition to lofting SES-8, the more robust rocket positions SpaceX to deliver on commercial launch agreements with Hong Kong-based AsiaSat and Thaicom of Thailand beginning as early as next year.
“Commercial launches now represent over 60 percent of our upcoming missions,” SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said in February after announcing the agreement to launch AsiaSat-6 and AsiaSat-8 atop the Falcon 9 in early 2014.
With plans to debut the new Merlin 1D before year-end, SpaceX has been test-firing the motor “four or five times a week” at the company’s development facility in McGregor, Texas, says SpaceX spokeswoman Kirstin Grantham. The new Falcon 9 also will feature an extended propellant tank and wider payload fairing.
At Vandenberg, Grantham says SpaceX has completed demolition of the old launch site, including removal of a tower, and recently started construction of a new hangar. The upcoming launch is expected to deliver a small, scientific spacecraft built by MDA Corp. of Canada to a near-polar orbit. Delivery of hardware to the launch site, including the new rocket and satellite, dubbed Cassiope, is expected later this year.
Although SpaceX has secured commercial launch agreements with a handful of satellite operators, including a $500 million contract to loft Iridium’s 72 next-generation satellites to low Earth orbit in 2015-17, SES-8 marks the company’s first commercial mission to geostationary orbit. But with four flights on the SpaceX manifest in 2012 alone—Cassiope, the COTS demo and two commercial resupply services (CRS) missions scheduled under a separate, fixed-price contract with NASA—SES may need to consider other options.
“As an alternative, we always have a backup in place for all SES launches,” says Yves Feltes, a spokesman for SES, which has existing multi-launch agreements with Arianespace and ILS, in addition to a framework understanding with Sea Launch. “The same is true for SES-8.”
SpaceX is also expected to launch at least one mission for Orbcomm Inc. this year. After pulling a prototype of the operator’s second-generation data-relay satellite from the upcoming COTS demo, the two companies rescheduled the mission for mid-2012 as a piggyback on the first CRS mission.
SpaceX says it completed a dress rehearsal of the Falcon 9 at Cape Canaveral on March 1 in preparation for the upcoming COTS mission, loading the rocket with fuel and simulating a countdown to T-5 sec. But the company still has a roster of work to complete before the flight, which will be no earlier than April 20.
“It’s easy to expect success along the way,” Logsdon says. “But it’s still up to them to deliver on what they’ve promised.”
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A CV-22 Osprey, flown by the 8th Special Operations Squadron in Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. hangs in the anechoic chamber at the Joint Preflight Integration of Munitions and Electronic Systems hangar.
The Osprey is currently in the chamber for approximately four weeks to test upgraded electronic warfare systems. The J-PRIMES anechoic chamber is a room designed to stop internal reflections of electromagnetic waves, as well as insulate from exterior sources of electromagnetic noise. J-PRIMES provides this environment to facilitate testing air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions and electronics systems on full-scale aircraft and land vehicles prior to open air testing.
The CV-22 Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft that combines the vertical takeoff, hover and vertical landing qualities of a helicopter with the long-range, fuel efficiency and speed characteristics of a turboprop aircraft. Its mission is to conduct long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions for special operations forces.
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Source: U.S. Air Force, Eglin Air Force Base, U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr
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The Asian Shipowners Forum (ASF) firmly convinces the United Nations to adopt its counter-piracy proposal. The proposal would see armed military personnel, sponsored and supervised by the UN, guarding merchant vessels as they travel around the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden where pirates continuously flocked. (www.hellenicshippingnews.com)
The proposal would used floating bases to perform its operation against pirates sprawling in the said areas “It is extremely urgent that the ASF proposal should be implemented as soon as possible as international shipping and trade, and most importantly of lives of the ships’ crews, are all at the mercy of these ruthless Somali pirates,” said Patrick Phoon, chairman of the ASF Safe Navigation and Environment Committee.
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The business aviation market is showing early signs of increased sales from late last year carrying until 2012 with key indicators improving in January, based on initial analyst reports. (www.aviationweek.com) Used aircraft sales continued to improve while prices soar dramatically in January for the first time in months, according to Jetnet’s latest report.
Business aircraft flights, meanwhile, mark its highest levels of activity in almost a year, based on the data of Morgan Stanley and the FAA. Some of the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) shares that they seen strong interests and activity in January which is traditionally a weaker month for aircraft business.
Fleet sales across all categories drop to 10 %, specifically for turboprops while business jets decline to almost a full percentage point of 13.7 % in January. One the other hand, turboprops were down more than a percentage point of 9.3 % while both turbine’s and piston helicopters’ sales fell to 6.4 % and 6 %, respectively.
Meanwhile, average asking prices for all categories soar dramatically in January, except for piston helicopters. Prices rose to 51.6 % for turboprops and 58 % for turbine helicopters, Jetnet says. Sales in business jets has also improved while piston helicopter prices drop modestly.
The overall increase in prices favors the OEMs, some of which had to offer discounts to trim unsold inventory. It is not the first increase in prices since the economy declines.
However, expert Brian Foley, founder of the consultancy Brian Foley Associations, notes that the market value in January 2011 “will have been near the low-mark for turboprop pricing and that 2012 could potentially see pricing approaching levels not seen in three years.”
He notes that a number of factors could have affected the price increase, including the fuel price in the world market. He furthers that since turboprops are more fuel-efficient than jets, it helps to advance its value proposition. “However, within the category, buyers at the low end of the turbo product spectrum are more sensitive to overall operating costs that buyers at the high end, which could end up bifurcating the market much as we’ve seen with the business jets.”
Meanwhile, market indicators showed positive signs for used aircraft inventory, which marked an increased sale in January. Analyst Morgan Stanley adds that business aircraft improved 1.27 % in January, reaching its highest peak since June.
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon estimates that it will still cost about $1 trillion to operate a fleet of 2,443 F-35 fighter jets over the next 50 years, but is continuing to analyze how to drive that staggering sum down, a top U.S. Marine Corps official told Reuters.
Lieutenant General Terry Robling, deputy Marine Corps commandant for aviation, said top defense officials agreed last week to continue low-rate production of the new radar-evading warplane built by Lockheed Martin Corp, while keeping a close eye on the cost of maintaining and operating the new jets.
“Everybody was on board with … the program,” Robling told Reuters aboard a military aircraft on Saturday after a ceremony involving three F-35B jets at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. “We understand the costs are high. We understand that we need to do something, we need to make decisions down the road.”
Robling said the cost estimate would likely decline in coming years as more jets were built and flown, reducing the reliance on comparison data from other aircraft programs.
Unless the estimates do come down substantially, the Pentagon may have to decide to buy fewer airplanes, reduce the number of anticipated flight hours, or skip adding certain capabilities to the plane, Robling said, although he noted that decision point could still be five to 10 years off.
The estimated cost just to develop and buy the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is around $382 billion, but that number could increase somewhat when the Pentagon reports the cost of its major acquisition programs to Congress next month.
Defense officials say the cost of the program will increase somewhat since the Pentagon is postponing orders for 179 planes for five years to allow more testing and limit the number of costly retrofits to already produced planes.
The delays and budget pressures at home are prompting eight international partners who are helping fund the F-35 development — Britain, Italy, Australia, Denmark, Norway, Turkey, Canada and the Netherlands — to rethink their orders as well.
-more at wtvr.com
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San Diego, CA. – A collision that killed seven Marines in one of the Marine Corps’ deadliest aviation training accidents in years occurred over a sprawling desert range favored by the U.S. military because its craggy mountains and hot, dusty conditions are similar to Afghanistan’s harsh environment.
Officials were scrambling Thursday to determine what caused the AH-1W Cobra and UH-1 Huey to crash during a routine exercise Wednesday night when skies were clear and the weather was mild.
There were no survivors in the accident near the Chocolate Mountains along the California-Arizona border.
It was the fifth aviation mishap since March involving the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing headquartered at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station in San Diego. Throughout the Navy and Marine Corp, there have only been two other aviation training accidents in the past five years involving seven or more deaths, according to the military’s Naval Safety Center.
“It’s an unfortunate consequence of the high tempo of operations,” said retired Marine Col. J.F. Joseph, an aviation safety consultant. “They’re out there working on the edge trying to exploit the maximum capabilities of the aircraft and their tactics. Just by the virtue of that, in becoming combat ready, these unfortunately are not uncommon occurrences.”
The Marine Corps and Navy, nonetheless, stand out in their efforts to mitigate that risk and make training as safe as possible, he said.
With 17,500 Marines and sailors, including personnel stationed at Camp Pendleton and Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in Arizona, the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing conducts hundreds of aviation training exercises a year so troops can get as much experience as possible before they go to war.
The number of Marines killed in the latest crash shook the military community. Chaplains and counselors were called in to talk to troops. Six of the Marines killed were from Pendleton — the West Coast’s largest base — and one was from the base in Yuma.
Their identities will not be released until their families have all been notified.
Two of the Marines were aboard an AH-1W Cobra and the rest were in a UH-1 Huey utility helicopter. They were flying in a remote section of the 1.2 million-acre Yuma Training Range Complex as part of a two-week standard training called “Scorpion Fire” that involved a squadron of about 450 troops from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.
The helicopters collided near dunes at the edge of the Yuma range about an hour before the range was to shut down for the evening. Ground troops were in the area, but they were not affected, said Gunnery Sgt. Dustin Dunk, a spokesman at the Yuma base, which is a 90-minute drive from the accident site.
Part of the exercise involved having helicopters low on fuel descend to ground troops that have set up a refueling outpost, Dunk said.
He did not know if that’s what the pilots were doing at the time of the crash.
“Our training is always evolving, safety is paramount, and being prepared is paramount,” he said. “It was a very standard exercise for what we do. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family members … Our investigation will look to see what went wrong and how to correct it.”
The AH-1W carries a pilot and gunner and is considered the Marine Corps’ main attack helicopter. The UH-1Y, which is replacing the aging version of the Huey utility helicopter first used during the Vietnam War, carries one or two pilots, a crew chief and other crew members, depending on the mission.
Hueys often are used to pick up and drop off ground crews, while Cobras hover by ready to fire if the Huey comes under attack.
In other crashes in the past year, a twin-engine, two-seat AH-1W Cobra helicopter went down in September during training in a remote area of Camp Pendleton, killing two Marine pilots and igniting a brush fire that burned about 120 acres at the base north of San Diego.
In August, two Marines were ejected from their F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet as it plunged toward the Pacific Ocean. The two Marines spent four hours in the dark, chilly ocean before they were rescued. Both suffered broken bones but survived.
In July, a decorated Marine from western New York was killed during a training exercise when his UH-1Y helicopter went down in a remote section of Camp Pendleton.
Another Hornet sustained at least $1 million damage when its engine caught fire on March 30 aboard the USS John C. Stennis during an exercise about 100 miles off the San Diego coast. Eight sailors, a Marine and two civilians were injured.
In one of the worst accidents in the past five years, an AH1-W flying in formation with three other Marine helicopters on a nighttime training mission from Camp Pendleton to San Clemente Island collided with a Coast Guard C-130 airplane in October 2009, killing two aboard the Marine helicopters and seven aboard the C-130.
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Launch of the replacement Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2) will be delayed at least into mid-2014 while NASA finds a new launch vehicle and fixes a problem in the spacecraft reaction wheel assemblies.
After two launch failures with Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Taurus XL solid-fuel rocket, NASA has decided to try to launch its replacement on another vehicle. Possibilities include the Pegasus XL, Falcon 9, Delta II and Atlas V, according to Jim Norman, director of launch services at NASA headquarters.
NASA pulled OCO-2 off the Taurus XL because company and government failure review boards were unable to pinpoint the precise cause for the back-to-back mishaps, Norman says. “We don’t have a root cause, so we just felt it was too high-risk to continue,” he says.
The agency and Orbital Sciences signed a bilateral contract modification Feb. 2 that terminates Orbital’s task order to launch OCO-2 under its NASA Launch Services II (NLS-II) contract. The action does not end Orbital’s NLS-II contract, which gives NASA different launch options under a “catalogue” approach.
The U.S. space agency has released a new request for launch service proposals that includes the OCO-2 mission, along with the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite and the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS-1). Once one is awarded, NASA anticipates the normal 27-month turnaround time before launch of OCO-2, which was originally scheduled to fly in February 2013. That slipped to July 2014 because of the reaction wheel issues, NASA says.
“There will be an impact to the original OCO-2 launch-readiness date of February 2013,” the agency says. “However, we do not yet know how severe the impact will be.”
The initial OCO spacecraft, which was designed to produce global maps of carbon dioxide sources and sinks for climate-change studies, was lost on Feb. 24, 2009. The Taurus XL fairing protecting it during the early phases of ascent failed to separate as planned, and pulled the spacecraft into the South Pacific.
After that mishap, Orbital Sciences engineers modified the fairing-separation mechanism on the Taurus XL from a system using hot gas generated by pyrotechnics to a cold-gas system driven by bottled nitrogen, and made other risk-mitigation changes. But the new design also failed to separate the fairing on the Taurus XL that launched NASA’s $424 million Glory mission on March 4, 2011, sending it to a Pacific splashdown as well.
An Orbital spokesman said that while the cold-gas separation mechanism has worked on subsequent launches of the company’s Minotaur rocket, he was not prepared to comment on whether the company will rebid the OCO-2 launch. Orbital Sciences also provides the spacecraft bus for the OCO-2 mission, based on its LEOStar-2 design.
Under the NLS contracts, NASA will be refunded about 25% of the cost of the OCO-1 launch. By terminating the OCO-2 mission order a month after the Glory failure, the government will be paid back half of what it had spent for that work, according to Norman.
While specific contract figures are proprietary, NLS launches in the Taurus XL class under the catalogue in effect when OCO-1 was lost fell into the $30-75 million range. Since then the contract range has been raised to $22-114 million, NASA says.
Earth scientists still have a source of global carbon data in Japan’s Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite “Ibuki,” which was launched in 2009. But the Japanese orbiter returns “more than a factor of 100 fewer observations” during an orbit, and with limited coverage over the oceans, according to NASA. Delays in receiving ocean data from OCO-2 will hamper research, since oceans are an important sink for carbon dioxide.