Thursday, October 31, 2013

Larger Fire Scout takes flight

POINT MUGU, Calif. -- The Navy's newest variant of the Fire Scout unmanned helicopter completed its first day of flying Thursday at Naval Base Ventura County at Point Mugu. At 12:05 p.m. PDT the MQ-8C Fire Scout, built by Northrop Grumman, flew for seven minutes in restricted airspace to validate the autonomous control systems. The second flight that took off at 2:39 p.m. was also flown in a pattern around the airfield, reaching an altitude of 500 feet. The MQ-8C upgrade, based on a Bell 407 airframe, will eventually replace the MQ-8B, based on a Schweizer airframe (now Sikorsky). The MQ-8B is currently operating aboard USS Samuel B. Roberts. The MQ-8C is larger, has a range of 150 nautical miles and a payload capacity of more than 700 pounds. (Source: NNS, 10/31/13) Gulf Coast note: The MQ-8B is built in part in Moss Point, Miss., where work also will be done on the MQ-8C.

Contract: Lockheed, $422M

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $422,063,723 modification with cost-plus-incentive-fee line items to a previously awarded advance acquisition contract (N00019-12-C-0004) for recurring sustainment support for F-35 aircraft. Sustainment support to be provided includes ground maintenance activities, action request resolution, depot activation activities, Automatic Logistics Information System operations and maintenance, reliability, maintainability, and health management implementation and support, supply chain management, and activities to provide and support pilot and maintainer initial training. Work will be performed in Ft. Worth, Texas; El Segundo, Calif.; Warton, United Kingdom; Orlando, Fla.; Nashua, N.H.; and Baltimore, Md., and is expected to be completed in October 2014. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Air Force (44.6 percent), U.S. Marine Corps (29.7 percent), the U.S. Navy (15.8 percent); and the governments of the United Kingdom (4.3 percent); the Netherlands (2 percent); Australia (1.2 percent); Turkey (.7 percent); Italy (.6 percent); Canada (.5 percent); Norway (.4 percent); and Denmark (.2 percent). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 10/31/13) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Airline having good launch

DESTIN, Fla. -- Southern Airways Express' flights to the Destin Airport the past five months have been popular enough that the Memphis-based startup will make Destin a cornerstone of its service next year. The airline started offering direct flights between Destin and Memphis, Tenn., Oxford, Miss., Birmingham, Ala., and New Orleans in May. It also serves Panama City. Keith Sisson, chief operating officer for Southern Airways Express, said the flights to and from Destin have been its most popular and have outpaced the forecast. Southern Airways uses nine-seat turboprop Cessna Caravans with luxury executive-style seating for all its flights. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 10/31/13)

777X decision a blow to Seattle

Boeing will place a significant amount of design work for the new 777X jetliner in five U.S. cities and Moscow, but no decision has been made about using its Seattle area facilities where the current 777 was designed and is being built. "It has been decided that much of the detailed design will be carried out by Boeing engineering teams in Charleston (South Carolina), Huntsville (Alabama), Long Beach (California), Philadelphia and St. Louis," Boeing told employees in an internal memo obtained by Reuters and confirmed by Boeing. The Boeing design center in Moscow will also do some of the work. However, at this time, no decisions have been made about 777X design or build in Puget Sound (Seattle area)," the memo said. Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee called Boeing's decision "disappointing" and vowed to "compete boldly and aggressively to win this work." (Source: Reuters, AFP via Yahoo, 10/30/13) Previous

Airbus offers wingtip retrofit

Close-up of A320 sharklet.
Airbus photo
Airbus plans to offer to retrofit fuel-saving wingtips on older versions of its A320 jets beginning in 2015. The upward-slanted wingtips, which Airbus calls sharklets, have become an increasingly common sight. By bending wingtips, planemakers can reduce drag and create more lift, reducing the consumption of fuel. Airbus says the wingtips cut fuel costs by up to 4 percent and increase range by up to 185 kilometers. Airbus is matching Boeing in making the wingtips available on older models as an option. Boeing also has an open-jawed design for the 737 MAX, where the wingtip is split at the end and angled both upwards and downwards. (Sources: Airbus, Reuters, 10/29/13) Gulf Coast note: Airbus is building an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala., that will produce its first A320 in 2016.

FAL training begins for hirees

MOBILE, Ala. -- The first 10 manufacturing-related employees hired for the Airbus final assembly line in Mobile reported this week for orientation. The group includes six manufacturing engineers, three station managers and a quality conformance manager. Four are from Mobile and Baldwin counties. Classroom training begins the first full week of November, and local training will last two months before the group goes to the final assembly line in Hamburg, Germany, for hands-on training that could last as many as nine months. The $600 million A320 FAL will employ 1,000 and the first plane will come off the line in 2016. (Source:, WLOX-TV, 10/30/13)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

F-35 drops guided bomb

An F-35 dropped a 500-pound guided bomb this week, hitting a tank at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The F-35B released the laser-guided GBU-12 Paveway II from its internal weapons bay while flying at around 25,000 feet. The Pentagon's top arms buyer this week said the F-35 program had made sufficient progress to budget for higher production in fiscal year 2015. (Source: Reuters, 10/30/13) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center. Previous: F-35 has missile launch milestoneF-35 drops 2,000-pounder; F-35 drops AIM-120; F-35 has external weapons test

Airport celebrates Southwest

PENSACOLA, Fla. – Pensacola International Airport is holding a formal inaugural party Monday to mark Southwest Airlines' new daily, nonstop service to Nashville, Tenn., and Houston. The first flight arrives Sunday from Nashville. The airport had courted Southwest for years, and got the airline when Southwest bought AirTran, which had been serving PNS. Southwest chose to keep the Pensacola service. (Source: GCAC, 10/30/13) Previous: Southwest announces flights; Pensacola getting Southwest; Panama City airport gets Southwest

Oldest CV-22 retiring

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- The oldest CV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft in the Air Force inventory will conduct its last test flight with the 413th Flight Test Squadron on Thursday. The Additional Test Asset CV-22 has been used to test every major upgrade and modification of the CV-22 fleet. After the sortie the tilt-rotor will become a display piece at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The first operational CV-22 was delivered to the 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt in January 2007. (Source: 1st Special Operations Wing, 10/29/13)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Orion avionics fired up

Avionics installed in Orion at Kennedy.
Lockheed Martin photo
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. -- NASA's deep space craft, Orion, has been powered on for the first time in a major milestone in the final year of preparations for flight. Orion's avionics system was installed on the crew module and powered up for a series of systems tests last week. Preliminary data indicate Orion's vehicle management computer, as well as its innovative power and data distribution system -- which use state-of-the-art networking capabilities -- performed as expected. All of Orion's avionics systems will be put to the test during its first mission, Exploration Flight Test-1(EFT-1), targeted to launch in the fall of 2014. (Source: NASA, Lockheed Martin, 10/28/13) Gulf Coast note: Orion is built in part at Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans.

919th SOW leader picked

DUKE FIELD, Fla. -- The Air Force Reserve selected Col. James Phillips to take command of the 919th Special Operations Wing. Phillips, previously the 919th Special Operations Group commander, takes charge Dec. 7. He succeeds Col. Anthony Comtois, who left in September to become commander of the Joint Special Operations Air Component for Special Operations Command Africa. Phillips separated from active duty in 1999 and entered the Air Force Reserve in the 711th Special Operations Squadron at Duke Field, flying the MC-130E. He participated in Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 10/28/13)

10,000th in A320 family ordered

JetBlue Airways has placed a new order for 35 A320 family aircraft, specifically 15 A321ceo (current engine option) and 20 A321neo (new engine option) aircraft. The airline has opted to upsize 8 A320ceo and 10 A320neo aircraft on backlog to 8 A321ceo and 10 A321neo, respectively. This marks the 10,000th order for an Airbus A320 family aircraft. Launch in the 1984, the A320 family has evolved with the latest innovations being the A320neo and the sharklets fuel saving wing tip devices. JetBlue will be the first airline in the world to take delivery of an aircraft from Airbus’ newest assembly facility under construction in Mobile, Ala. The facility will create 1,000 new jobs in the U.S. Gulf Coast region, and is part of the strategy to meet the growing needs of customers in the United States. Deliveries at the Mobile facility will begin in 2016. Airbus anticipates the facility will produce between 40 and 50 aircraft per year by 2018. (Source: Airbus, 10/29/13)

Crew abort test reviewed

Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, recently laid out its plan to NASA to demonstrate the Dragon spacecraft's ability to carry astronauts to safety in the event of an in-flight emergency. In the test, which will take place along Florida's space coast next summer, a Dragon spacecraft will launch on a Falcon 9 rocket and an abort command will be issued about 73 seconds into the flight, when it’s flying through the area of maximum dynamic pressure. The test spacecraft will be retrieved from splashdown and returned to Port Canaveral by barge so data can be incorporated into the system's design. SpaceX is one of three companies working under NASA's Commercial Crew Integrated Capability initiative to develop spaceflight capabilities that eventually could provide launch services to transport NASA astronauts to the International Space Station from U.S. soil. SpaceX has already flown successful cargo missions to the ISS. (Source: Space Travel, 10/28/13) Gulf Coast note: SpaceX will test its developing Raptor engine at Stennis Space Center, Miss., beginning in 2014. Previous

Dream Chaser has landing snafu

Sierra Nevada's prototype Dream Chaser spacecraft had its first free-flight test Saturday, but sustained damage when its landing gear failed to deploy properly while landing at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The spacecraft, which looks like NASA's space shuttle, was unmanned during the test. It was released from an air-crane helicopter at 12,000 feet and adhered to the design flight trajectory throughout the flight profile. The landing gear in the test flight was adapted from an F-5E fighter, but future versions will use a different design. Sierra Nevada is one of the commercial companies contracted by NASA to develop spacecraft to bring supplies and personnel to the International Space Station. (Sources: NBC News, 10/27/13, Space Travel, 10/28/13) Gulf Coast note: Sierra Nevada contracted with Lockheed Martin to assemble the composite structure for the first space-bound Dream Chaser at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.

96 TW tests new warhead

A hypersonic Kinetic Energy Projectile, an advanced conventional precision effects warhead, was successfully tested at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., according to the Pentagon. The 846th Test Squadron, a geographically separated unit of the 96th Test Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., conducted the high-speed sled test of the precision weapon. During the test, the sled train exceeded 3,500 feet-per-second greater than Mach 3 or three times the speed of sound. Susan Hurd, special assistant to the director of strategic warfare, called the test a significant technology development advancement. She said the test was "critical" in order to subject the warhead to the "dynamic environment it would see in flight." Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory was responsible for the design and development of the warhead itself, while the event was managed by the U.S Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. (Source: American Forces Press Service, 10/28/13) Previous

Eglin has first STOVL mission

F-35B in first STOVL mission.
Air Force photo
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron-501 completed its first short take-off and vertical landing mission in an F-35B at Eglin Air Force Base last week. Maj. Brendan M. Walsh flew the hour-long mission where the aircraft remained in the STOVL configuration the entire flight. The aircraft flew pattern procedures around the base before gliding in, stopping in mid-air about 100 feet off the Eglin runway, performing a stationary right turn and slowly lowered to the ground on Oct. 24. Walsh is the only pilot at Eglin qualified to fly in the STOVL configuration, but he said the flight paved the way to locally train F-35B instructors and new students in STOVL operations. Walsh qualified in vertical landing operations six months ago at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz. Eglin is home of the F-35 training center. Pilots and maintainers train on all three variants of the F-35. (Source: Team Eglin Public Affairs, 10/28/13) Previous: Marine F-35 to start local flights; UK F-35 now at Eglin; UK student pilot flies F-35

Friday, October 25, 2013

Command restructure complete

WRGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger, commander of Air Force Materiel Command, announced earlier this week the full operational capability of the command's five-center system. Prior to the reorganization, AFMC was made up of 12 centers. The reduction to five centers netted an immediate operating efficiency through reduced overhead of more than $109 million per year. The command's five centers are the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, both headquartered at Wright-Patterson AFB; Air Force Test Center at Edwards AFB, Calif.; Air Force Sustainment Center at Tinker, AFB, Okla.; and the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center at Kirtland AFB, N.M. The Armament Directorate at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., falls under the AFLCMC, and the 96th Test Wing at Eglin reports to the AFTC. (Source: Air Force Materiel Command Public Affairs, 10/22/13)

Airport eyes crosswind runway

PANAMA CITY, Fla. – Officials at Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport in West Bay envision having a $17 million crosswind runway constructed by 2017. The board Wednesday accepted a $5.5 million grant from the Florida Department of Transportation. Airport Director Parker McClellan called the grant the first step towards getting funding line up. A crosswind runway is needed to provide better wind coverage for smaller aircraft. The airport’s current runway does not meet the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) wind coverage requirement for smaller general aviation aircraft. (Source: News Herald, 10/23/13)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Comau to provide Airbus FAL

Airbus chose Italy's Comau Aerospace to supply the aircraft main assembly and test stations for the A320 plant being built at Brookley Aeroplex in Mobile, Ala. The $600 million final assembly line will produce A319, A320 and A321 aircraft. Comau Aerospace will provide all jigs and tooling for the Mobile plant, and plans to open an integration center near the plant that will offer full project support. Comau, a subsidiary of the diversified manufacturer Fiat Group, was founded in 1973. It makes automation systems for the aerospace and automotive industries and operates in 23 locations in 13 countries. Headquartered in Turin, Italy, its North American operation is in Southfield, Mich. (Source: PRNewswire, 10/24/13)

Bolden visits SSC

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- NASA Administrator Charles Bolden was at Stennis Space Center Wednesday to welcome employees back to work after the U.S. government shutdown. Bolden held separate meetings with SSC and NASA Shared Services Center workers. He also toured the B-2 Test Stand, which is being prepared to test the core stage of NASA's new Space Launch System, which will carry humans deeper into space than ever before. Stennis employees returned to work Oct. 17 following a 16-day furlough. (Source: NASA/SSC, 10/24/13)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Washington aero firms courted

Alabama and South Carolina officials are in Seattle this week to develop relationships with aerospace suppliers, according to the Seattle Times. It's happening at an annual aerospace conference. The newspaper said economic development officials in Washington state are nervous about the Southeast's growing aerospace strength. Boeing has a 787 assembly line in Charleston, S.C., and Airbus is building an A320 assembly line in Mobile, Ala. A big concern is where Boeing will build the 777X. The paper also reports that a top Airbus executive was in Washington state to tell local suppliers the company is eager to bring work to Washington state. (Source: Seattle Times, 10/23/13)

X-47B mockup now at museum

X-47B on the George H.W. Bush.
U.S. Navy photo
PENSACOLA, Fla. – A full-scale mockup of Northrop Grumman's X-47B unmanned combat air system arrived at the National Naval Aviation Museum Wednesday, according to WEAR-TV. The Navy is still developing an unmanned combat system that can launch and land on aircraft carriers, but the Northrop Grumman X-47B was used as a demonstration system. In May 2013 the pilotless X-47B made its first successful catapult launch from the USS George H.W. Bush, and in July 2013 it made its first successful arrested landing aboard the same ship. The prototypes were slated to retire, but in August the Navy decided to delay the retirement and continue additional testing. (Source: GCAC, WEAR-TV, 10/23/13) Previous: Drone catapults from carrier; Drone makes arrested carrier landing; X-47B retirement delayed to 2014; Mag lauds X-47B innovators

Contract: EML, $9.6M

Electronic Metrology Laboratory LLC, Franklin, Tenn., is being awarded a $9,638,498 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for base operating support services at Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Fla. The work to be performed provides for facilities management, facilities investment, pest control, grounds maintenance, other (swimming pools), pavement clearance, electrical, gas, wastewater, water, environmental services, and base support vehicles and equipment. Work will be performed in Milton, Fla., and is expected to be completed by November 2014. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity (N69450-14-D-8000). (Source: DoD, 10/23/13)

Contract: Pratt and Whitney, $508.2M

United Technologies Corp., Pratt and Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, Conn., is being awarded a $508,214,419 modification to the previously awarded F-35 Lot VI low rate initial production advance acquisition contract (N00019-12-C-0090). This modification provides for the procurement of 18 F135 conventional take off and landing (CTOL) propulsion systems for the U.S. Air Force; six short take-off and vertical landing propulsion systems for the U.S. Marine Corps; and seven carrier variant propulsion systems for the U.S. Navy. In addition, this contract procures three F135 CTOL propulsion systems for Italy; two CTOL propulsion systems for Australia; one F135 CTOL spare propulsion system for Italy; and one F135 spare propulsion system for Australia. Work will be performed in East Hartford, Conn. (67 percent); Bristol, United Kingdom (16.5 percent); and Indianapolis, Ind. (16.5 percent), and is expected to be completed in June 2016. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps (42 percent); the U.S. Air Force (41 percent); and the international partners (17 percent). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 10/23/13) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Talbot takes new post

An award-winning newspaper reporter and co-founder of a group that publishes a book on aerospace activities in the Gulf Coast region will become spokesman for Mobile's new mayor Nov. 4. George Talbot, a former business reporter for the Mobile Press-Register and currently lead state and national political reporter for and Alabama Media Group, will become Mayor-elect Sandy Stimpson's director of communications and external affairs. As a co-founder of Gulf Coast Reporters' League, Talbot helped develop the content for the aerospace book that covers a region between New Orleans and Northwest Florida. First published in 2011, the latest edition of Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor was published in June 2013. (Source: GCRL, 10/23/13)

SpaceX picks SSC for engine R&D

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – SpaceX, the first commercial company to successfully fly a cargo mission to the International Space Station, has chosen Stennis Space Center for its rocket engine testing program. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant made the announcement today. SpaceX will use SSC to test its Raptor methane rocket engines, capable of generating nearly 300 tons of thrust. SpaceX will upgrade the E-2 test stand at SSC with methane capability. Another commercial company involved in flying cargo to the ISS, Orbital Sciences, tests AJ-26 engines that power its Antares launch vehicle at SSC. Commercial company Blue Origin also tests engine at SSC. (Source: GCAC, governor's press release, 10/23/13) Previous: Cygnus leaves ISS; Blue Origin tests thrust chamber. Background on SSC activities, see Chapter III, Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor 2013-2014.

Robot systems center decision near

A decision on whether the University of Florida and the Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County will build a dedicated indoor robot vehicle testing center is expected by early 2014. UF and the EDC have been exploring building an unmanned aerial vehicle test facility just south of the college's Research and Engineering Education Facility outside Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. They've been conducting feasibility studies, needs assessments and conceptual designs for two years. Nathan Sparks, the EDC's executive director, said a decision to go forward with the project could be made in the next two to three months. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 10/22/13) The military at Tyndall Air Force Base, Eglin AFB, and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City, all in Florida, Camp Shelby and Stennis Space Center, both in Mississippi, all work with unmanned systems. In addition, Pensacola's Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition is internationally known for work with robotic systems and two unmanned aerial vehicles, Fire Scout and Global Hawk, are built in part in Moss Point, Miss. Background story on robitic systems, see Chapter V, Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor 2013-2014.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Cygnus leaves ISS

A private cargo ship built by Orbital Sciences left the International Space Station and will re-enter the atmosphere Wednesday and self-destruct. Unlike the Dragon spacecraft of SpaceX, Cygnus is designed to burn up upon re-entry. It has been loaded with items no longer needed at the ISS. The unmanned spaceship attached itself to the ISS on September 29, the first successful resupply flight by Orbital Sciences. Dragon was the first private company to successfully dock with ISS. Both companies have billion-dollar NASA contracts to deliver cargo to the ISS on multiple missions over the coming years. Cygnus launched Sept. 18 atop an Antares rocket. (Sources: Space Travel, 10/21/13, NBC, 10/22/13) Previous: Cygnus docks with ISS. Gulf Coast note: The Antares is powered by AJ-26 engines tested at Stennis Space Center, Miss.

Japan nearing F-35 assembly

Flightglobal reports that a $30 million contract awarded to Lockheed Martin will enable Japan to perform the local assembly of its first two F-35s. In December 2011 Tokyo picked the conventional take-off and landing F-35A for a 42-aircraft requirement. The first four will be delivered from Lockheed's Fort Worth site in Texas, with the remainder to be completed using a final assembly and check-out (FACO) line being established with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Nagoya. (Source: Flightglobal, 10/21/13) Previous: Contract: Lockheed, $30M; Japan opts for F-35

Mexican airline, Airbus ink deal

Mexican budget airline VivaAerobus has ordered 52 Airbus A320-family jets, the company said Monday, in a record deal worth $5.1 billion. The order includes 40 A320neo jets, said Rafael Alonso, Airbus executive vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean. Airbus said the deal was the biggest ever order for its aircraft by a single airline in Latin America. News that VivaAerobus would place a large order with Airbus was previously reported by Reuters as far back as June. (Source: Reuters, 10/22/13) PreviousGulf Coast note: Airbus is building an A320 Final Assembly Line in Mobile, Ala.

Tarracon wins FAL work

MOBILE, Ala. -- Hoar Program Management awarded the Mobile office of Terracon Consultants Inc. the latest Airbus A320 assembly line contract. Terracon will provide construction material testing and special inspections to support the prime contractor for the $600 million project’s Package A, which includes the final assembly line hangar, logistics building and service building at Brookley Aeroplex. Terracon is an employee owned engineering consulting firm that employs more than 3,000 at 140 offices in 40 states. (Source:, 10/21/13)

Vitter puts hold on nominee

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., put a hold Monday on President Obama's nominee for undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Energy because he claims she’s been slow to approve contracts for work at the Michoud Assembly Facility. The nominee, Elizabeth Robinson, currently is the chief financial officer at NASA. Vitter said he wants answers from Robinson before allowing her nomination to proceed. He said NASA has been stalling on a job-creating project at the Michoud for no apparent reason. (Source: Times Picayune, 10/21/13)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Blue Angels to perform in 2014

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- The Navy's Blue Angels flight demonstration team is funded for 2014 and expected to return to a full demonstration schedule, according to the Pensacola News Journal. "We're excited to be out there again for the public and representing the Navy," said Lt. Katie Kelly, a spokeswoman for the team. The team, grounded this year because of sequestration, is scheduled to perform 65 shows at 34 locations in 2014. (Source: Pensacola News Journal, 10/21/13)

EW Group wins major awards

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 53rd Electronic Warfare Groups's 36th Electronic Warfare Squadron earned an Air Force Outstanding Unit award and five individual awards from the Association of Old Crows. The AOC is a non-profit that promotes the exchange of new ideas and information and the dissemination of new research and knowledge in the fields of electronic warfare and information operations. The outstanding unit award was for accomplishments from 2011 through 2012, when the 36th EWS released 91 electronic warfare mission data updates and 301 total mission data loads, supporting aircrew training and test programs and ensuring the combat air force was prepared for contingency operations. The squadron led 13 lab, ground and flight exploitations of foreign threat systems developing new self-protection jamming techniques and increasing the survivability of combat aircraft while supporting 14 aircraft and software upgrade programs. (Source: Team Eglin Public Affairs, 10/21/13)

96th passes 2,000th sled mission

Warhead sits ready to launch. Courtesy photo
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 96th Test Wing reached an historic testing milestone this summer. The 2,000th sled test mission was conducted at the 96th TW's Kinetic Energy Munitions Test Facility (KEMTF) at the Eglin Test and Training Complex Test Area C-74. The 2,000th test was conducted in support of fuze development for the Hard Target Void Sensing Fuze program. The sled tests were to demonstrate performance and shock survivability of the fuze during simulated target environments at both ambient and cold temperatures when installed in two different warheads. The variety of testing that can be conducted at the KEMTF, operated and maintained by InDyne, includes penetration tests, warhead survivability, fuze function, aeroballistics, simulated loft dispersion, transportation container evaluation, and simulated captive flight test of systems. (Source: 96th Range Group, 10/21/13)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Contract: Lockheed, $26.8M

Lockheed Martin Corp., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $26,772,401 modification to the existing cost-plus fixed fee contract (FA8611-08-C-2897) to retrofit fielded Mission Training Centers with Out the Window visual systems upgrade and night vision goggles capability. Effort includes upgrades for F-22 Training Systems at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Sheppard AFB, Texas; Langley AFB, Va.; Hickam AFB, Hawaii, and Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. Work will be performed at Fort Worth, Texas, with an expected completion date of Dec. 31, 2016. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 10/18/13)

Contract: Boeing, $24.7M

The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., was awarded a $24,726,375 modification for an existing contract (FA8678-10-C-0100) for QF-16 Full-Scale Aerial Target low rate initial production. The contract modification is for the exercise of the LRIP option under the basic contract, and is for the purchase of 13 QF-16s, 12 drone peculiar support equipment, and integration engineering support. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Mo., and is expected to be completed by Oct. 9, 2015. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/EBYK (Aerial Targets), Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. This contract was awarded Oct. 10, 2013, but publication was delayed by the government shutdown. (Source: DoD, 10/18/13) Previous

Contract: M1 Sup. Svc., $16.9M

M1 Support Services, Denton, Texas, was awarded a $16,893,372 modification to exercise option year two under a previously existing contract (FA4890-11-C-0005) for T-38 support for the T-38 Companion Trainer program. The contract modification is for program management, organizational and intermediate maintenance services for T-38 aircraft. Work will be performed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Beale AFB, Calif., Holloman AFB, N.M., Langley AFB, Va., and Whiteman AFB, Mo., and will be completed Sept. 30, 2014. Air Combat Command/Acquisition Management and Integration Center, Langley AFB, Va., is the contracting activity. This contract was awarded Oct. 1, 2013, but publication was delayed by the government shutdown. (Source: DoD, 10/18/13)

Contract: Aerojet Rocketdyne, $16M

Aerojet Rocketdyne Inc., Rancho Cordova, Calif., was awarded a $16,085,503 firm-fixed-price undefinitized contract action for the procurement of a classified quantity of BLU-129 warhead casings. Work will be performed at Rancho Cordova, Calif., and will be completed by Dec. 30, 2014. This contract was a sole-source acquisition. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8656-13-C-0235). This contract was awarded Sept. 30, 2013, but publication was delayed by the government shutdown. (Source: DoD, 10/18/13)

Contract: Defense Sup. Svc., $14.9M

Defense Support Services LLC, Marlton, N.J., was awarded a $14,878,790 modification exercising option year five under an existing Aerial Targets firm-fixed-price with award fee provisions contract (FA4890-09-C-0004). The modification provides for Air Combat Command AMIC contracting and program management oversight to include functional and quality assurance support for the Aerial Targets program which directly supports live-fire weapons system testing and enables the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group in the developmental and operational weapons testing for all air-to-air missiles and for the F-22, F-35, F-16, and F-15 aircraft. Work will be performed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., and Holloman AFB, N.M., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2014. This action is subject to availability of fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance funding. Air Command Command/AMIC/PKCA, Newport News, Va., is the contracting activity. This contract was awarded Oct. 1, 2013, but publication was delayed by the government shutdown. (Source: DoD, 10/18/13)

Contract: Lockheed, $30M

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $30,000,000 fixed-price-incentive modification to a previously awarded advance acquisition contract (N00019-13-C-0014) to provide long lead-time parts, materials and components required for the delivery of two additional Low Rate Initial Production Lot VIII F-35 conventional takeoff and landing aircraft for the government of Japan. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in July 2014. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting authority. This contract was awarded Oct. 11, 2013, but publication was delayed by the government shutdown. (Source: DoD, 10/18/13)

Contract: Asset Group, $7.3M

Asset Group Inc., Oklahoma City, Okla., was awarded $7,307,000 for firm-fixed-price task order 0003 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N69450-10-D-0784) for renovations to building 600 at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. Work will be performed in Pensacola and is expected to be completed by January 2015. Three proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity. This contract was awarded Sept. 30, 2013, but publication was delayed by the government shutdown. (Source: DoD, 10/18/13)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Airbus honored by chamber

The French-American Chamber of Commerce, Atlanta chapter, will honor three companies in the 9th Annual Crystal Peach Awards luncheon Nov. 6 at the Georgia Institute of Technology, including Airbus Americas Inc. Airbus is being honored for economic development. The award recognizes companies providing inbound investment in the Southeast and outbound investment in France. Airbus is building an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala. (Source: Global Atlanta, 10/17/13)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

ST Aerospace logs 3Q orders

Singapore Technologies Engineering said its aerospace arm secured new contracts totaling $600 million in the third quarter of 2013. The contracts range from airframe, component and engine-maintenance contracts to freighter conversions and cabin retrofits for commercial airlines. ST Aerospace Mobile employs about 1,500 at Brookley Aeroplex in Mobile, Ala., where it maintains and overhauls large aircraft. (Source:, 10/16/13)

LEAP engines on track

The Seattle Times reports that development of the engine designed for fuel-efficient versions of the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 jet families are running smoothly, according to leaders of CFM International. CFM, a joint venture of GE and Safran, is making the LEAP engines for the Airbus A320neo, the Boeing 737MAX and the COMAC C919 jet. The first test engine for the Airbus A320 was started up last month at GE’s outdoor test facility in Peebles, Ohio. (Source: Seattle Times, 10/16/13) Gulf Coast note: Airbus is building an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala., and Safran has an engineering center; GE has an engine parts plant near Hattiesburg, Miss., and Auburn, Ala.

Airbus, Mexican airline deal nears

Airbus is looking to sign a $5 billion order with Aeroenlaces Nacionales SA, the Mexican airline known as VivaAerobus. The airline is expanding and upgrading its fleet of Boeing 737s. The deal is for 40 single-aisle A320neos and 12 of the current A320 models. VivaAerobus is Mexico's fourth largest carrier. It may announce the transaction as soon as next week. (Source: Bloomberg, 10/16/13) Gulf Coast note: Airbus is building an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

New RR test stand opens

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – Rolls-Royce North America today officially opened its second test stand at NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center, an investment of $50 million that will mean 35 new jobs when fully operational. SSC is where NASA and commercial companies test rocket engines, but Rolls-Royce opened its first jetliner engine test stand here in 2007. "Our decision to first build, and now expand, the Rolls-Royce Outdoor Jet Engine Test Stand here at Stennis embraces the spirit of partnership with the state of Mississippi," said James M. Guyette, President and CEO of Rolls-Royce North America. "Rolls-Royce is investing in America because our collective innovation, competitiveness and cooperative spirit – and we find the state of Mississippi is the perfect location to expand our operations." The site conducts jet engine testing, including noise, crosswind, endurance and other tests, on the latest and most sophisticated Rolls-Royce civil aircraft engines. That includes the Trent 1000 that powers the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Trent XWB that powers the Airbus A350 XWB. (Source: Business Wire, 10/16/13)

Govs to attend summit

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Organizers of the Aerospace Alliance Fall Summit say Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant will attend the two-day summit that begins tomorrow. The third aerospace summit will be held at the Von Braun Center. The agenda includes discussions about unmanned aerial systems, a session on composites manufacturing, commercial space programs and an update on the $600 million Airbus final assembly line being built in Alabama's port city of Mobile. (Source: GCAC, 10/16/13) Previous background story

Airbus FAL will be efficient

MOBILE, Ala. -- The Airbus A320 final assembly line will be so efficient that when it swings into production in 2015, one shift will be able to handle four planes per month by working five days a week with no night work or weekends. That's what Jennifer Ogle, human resources director, said Tuesday during the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce's Women’s Roundtable. An aircraft can be made, start to finish, including delivery to a customer, in two weeks, she said. The $600 million Airbus plant is being built at Brookley Aeroplex. It will eventually have about 1,000 employees. (Source:, 10/15/13)

APKWS variant tests successful

The U.S. Central Command confirmed the success of recent tests of a fixed wing variant of the Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System (APKWS) laser-guided rocket. Fixed wing APKWS uses a different guidance control system to compensate for the higher altitude and longer range of the weapon. The deployment mechanism had to be redesigned to overcome higher aerodynamic forces. During the tests held since the spring of 2013 at the Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., APKWS rockets were fired from various aircraft at different altitudes. Flight launches were tested from the A-10, AV-8B Harrier II, and F-16 Fighting Falcon. BAE Systems is the prime contractor for the APKWS. (Source: Defense Update, 10/15/13) Previous

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

F-22s log milestone

F-22 marks 25,000 sortie at Tyndall
Air Force photo
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Less than two weeks after the F-22's 10-year anniversary of arriving here, Team Tyndall achieved its 25,000th F-22 sortie during a 43rd Fighter Squadron Basic Course training mission Oct. 7. The 43rd FS is the only squadron in the world that trains and develops F-22 pilots. The students learn air-to-air combat techniques during their B-course training by primarily flying sorties against the T-38 Talon from the 325th Training Support Squadron and other fighters replicating adversary aircraft. (Source: 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, 10/08/13)

New F-22 squadron named

Mr. Bones, mascot of the 95th
Air Force photo
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The base's new F-22 Raptor squadron was officially named the 95th Fighter Squadron Oct. 11. The 95th FS was the leading squadron at Tyndall for three decades and is easily identified by its symbolic mascot, Mr. Bones, a skeleton with a top hat and cane, adorning the unit patch. The unit is currently preparing for the transfer of 24 F-22s and more than 1,100 positions to the base. The additional F-22s bring the total number of the fighters to more than 50, the largest contingent of F-22s at one location. Aircraft for the new squadron will start arriving in early 2014, but opening the 95th FS for business early allows for the bed-down of incoming personnel. The squadron has started receiving an average of 50 to 60 personnel per month and will continue to do so for the next several months. The F-22 arrived at Tyndall 10 years ago with the mission of training pilots on the first fifth-generation air dominance platform. The new squadron's arrival will take Tyndall air power directly into a combat role. (Source: 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, 10/08/13)

Mag lauds X-47B innovators

The Navy's X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator was named one of Popular Mechanics magazine's 2013 Breakthrough Award recipients. Popular Mechanics said landing a fighter on the deck of a carrier is a Navy pilot's toughest challenge. But in July the pilot-less X-47B built by Northrop Grumman landed aboard the USS George H.W. Bush. The magazine listed the jet under awards for innovators who changed the world in 2013. The X-47B is the first Navy system to receive the prize since the awards began in 2005. (Sources: Popular MechanicsDefense News, 10/14/13) Gulf Coast note: Northrop Grumman builds portions of the unmanned Fire Scout and all variants of the Global Hawk in Moss Point, Miss. Previous

Airports team up for trade show

Airports from Pensacola to Tallahassee next week will team up at a trade show in a single exhibit as part of a new marketing strategy to draw aerospace companies to the Florida Panhandle. Working together like this is a first for the airports, officials said. The National Business Aviation Association's Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Las Vegas is Oct. 22-24, and it's one of the largest trade shows in the country. Pensacola International Airport, Okaloosa County Airports, Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport and Tallahassee Regional Airport will be working together under the banner of Florida's Great Northwest. (Source: GCAC, 10/15/13)

Monday, October 14, 2013

The shutdown and Boeing, Airbus

The government shutdown hasn't hurt Boeing Co., but it is hurting Airbus. That's according to Financial Times. It reports that Airbus has been unable to deliver four jetliners to U.S. customers. That's because the aircraft need certificates or registrations from the Federal Aviation Administration. But Boeing has been approved by the FAA to inspect and approve several well-established aircraft types for delivery on the government's behalf. (Source: Wall Street Cheat Sheet, 10/13/13, Financial Times, 10/11/13, Business Insider of Australia, 10/09/13)

Dutch to begin F-35 training

The Dutch air force will begin training its pilots and ground personnel in the F-35A at the end of October at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. That's what Netherland's Defence Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said to parliament at the Hague on Oct. 9. Royal Netherlands Air Force personnel will initially begin with class-room training, then pilots and maintenance personnel will move to the tarmac in December to begin flying the F-35A and hands-on mechanical training. (Source: IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly, 10/13/13) Previous/related: Dutch agree to F-35 buy; First Dutch F-35 rolls out

Friday, October 11, 2013

Minor cracks found in F-35B

Two small cracks the Pentagon described as minor were found during ground tests of the F-35B in August. The cracks were in one of four load-bearing wing carry-through bulkheads. The short-takeoff and vertical landing variant, which will be flown by Marines, the U.K., and Italy, is being tested on the ground to determine airframe durability. Airframes are designed to last through 8,000 flight hours, and the cracks were found after the plane accumulated 9,400 hours. (Source: Bloomberg, 10/10/13) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

F-35 helmet design picked

The Pentagon selected the original team of Lockheed Martin, Rockwell Collins and Elbit Systems for the F-35 helmet, dropping development of an alternate design by BAE Systems. The helmet is key to the F-35's advanced technologies. It provides a 360-degree digital view, letting a pilot "look" through the cockpit floor and walls. In addition, data is projected directly onto the visor of the pilot, providing enhanced situational awareness. Following a series of technical failures on the original helmet, the Pentagon requested that BAE Systems develop a traditional, lower-tech helmet in case the primary system could never be perfected. (Source: Defense News, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, 10/10/13) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

First Aussie F-35 takes shape

Lockheed Martin and the Royal Australian Air Force celebrated the beginnings of the first F-35 for Australia this week. The aircraft, AU-1, started the process where major components of the aircraft are joined together to form the aircraft's structure. AU-1 will make its way down the assembly line and roll out of the factory for delivery to the RAAF in the summer of 2014. The global supply chain for the F-35 has 14 Australian companies under contract and building parts for the F-35. Every F-35 built will have some Australian parts and components. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 10/08/13) Meanwhile, the F-35 surpassed 10,000 flight hours in September, with more than half accumulated in the past 11 months. The milestone was set by aircraft operating at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., Edwards AFB, Calif., Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., and Nellis AFB, Nev. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 10/09/13)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Armament Museum closed

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The Air Force Armament Museum just outside Eglin Air Force Base closed to the public today as part of the government shutdown. The museum was opened Monday, but following a review of guidance from the Air Force and the Department of Defense, it was determined that opening the museum did not fit within the list of operations that can continue to be supported during the lapse in appropriations. (Source: 96th Test Wing Public Affairs, 10/08/13) The National Naval Aviation Museum at Naval Air Station, Pensacola, has been closed since Oct. 1 because of the government shutdown.

Airbus ups 2013 numbers again

Airbus surpassed its full-year goal of selling 1,000 planes in the first nine months of 2013 and is on track for selling more than 1,200 in 2013. That’s what sales chief John Leahy said Monday. Before that, Japan Airlines announced a $9.5 billion order for 31 Airbus A350s, buying aircraft from the European manufacturer for the first time. In July Airbus increased the expected sales during 2013 from 800 to 1,000. (Source: Reuters, 10/07/13) Previous: JAL orders 31 A350 XWBs; Airbus revises numbers; Enders ups Airbus sales goalGulf Coast note: Airbus is building an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala.

Monday, October 7, 2013

DeFuniak airport expanding

DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. -- The Municipal Airport has several projects in the works to keep up with this Northwest Florida community’s growth. Construction will begin on 10 T-hangars to house an additional 20 planes. Several more hangars are expected in the near future. Officials also are planning to expand the 4,146-foot-long, 60-foot-wide runway to at least 5,000 feet long and 75 feet wide. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, 10/07/13)

Most DoD workers return

Most of the civilian employees furloughed at Florida's Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field returned to work Monday. On Saturday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the end of furloughs for almost all of the 350,000 defense department civilians who had been sent home last week as the federal government went into partial shutdown. Over 3,750 employees from Eglin and Hurlburt had been furloughed. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, WEAR-TV about Hurlburt, WEAR-TV about Eglin, 10/07/13)

DFC to be presented

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The Distinguished Flying Cross will be presented Oct. 11 to Capt. John D. Easton of the 86th Fighter Weapon Squadron. He is being honored for achievement while participating in aerial flight to successfully strike a strategic surface-to-air missile site in Libya. The DFC is awarded to any officer or enlisted man of the Armed Forces of the United States who distinguishes himself in actual combat in support of operations by heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight. (Source: Eglin Air Force Base, 10/07/13)

RR marks stand opening

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- Rolls-Royce North America will officially open its second jet engine test stand at NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center in South Mississippi Oct. 16. The test stand represents a $50 million investment and high technology jobs. The same day, Rolls-Royce will donate a Trent 1000 jetliner engine to Infinity Science Center, just outside SSC. The engine, which was tested at SSC, will serve as a centerpiece for aviation engineering and STEM career education. Headquartered in Reston, Va., Rolls-Royce North America opened its Outdoor Jet Engine Testing Facility at SSC in 2007, the first outside the United Kingdom. The facility tests the Trent lineup of engines, including noise, crosswind, thrust reverse, cyclic and endurance testing. (Source: Rolls-Royce, 10/07/13) Previous: RR to add new test stand; RR breaks ground on test facility

JAL orders 31 A350 XWBs

Japan Airlines (JAL) signed an agreement to buy 31 A350 XWBs, plus options for a further 25 aircraft. It was JAL's first ever order for Airbus aircraft, and the first order Airbus has received from Japan for the A350 XWB. Engine-maker Rolls-Royce welcomed the decision. The Trent XWB will power 18 A350-900 and 13 A350-1000 JAL aircraft. The engine powered the A350 XWB to its first test flight in June this year at the Airbus base in Toulouse, France. (Sources: AirbusRolls-Royce, 10/07/13) Gulf Coast note: Airbus is building an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala.; Trent XWB engines are tested at Stennis Space Center, Miss. Previous: Lufthansa picks XWB engines; A350 XWB takes to air; RR wins IAG Trent order

Friday, October 4, 2013

No contract annoucements for now

The Pentagon stopped publicly announcing contract awards Oct. 1 because of the government shutdown, but the Pentagon is still awarding contracts. The announcements, required by law, won't resume until the shutdown ends. When it does end, the Pentagon plans to catch up. The awards notices, which reveal competitive and sometimes market-moving information, are closely followed by contractors, attorneys, investors and the media. (Source: Bloomberg, 10/04/13) Gulf Coast note: The daily Pentagon list is monitored every day by GCAC and contracts of interest to the Gulf Coast aerospace region regularly appear on this news feed.

Airport wants to extend runway

PICAYUNE, Miss. -- Picayune Municipal Airport hopes to expand its runway to accommodate larger planes and produce more economic growth for the city. Director of Operations Andy Greenwood asked the council to approve a letter to NASA's Stennis Space Center requesting approval to expand the airport runway further into the buffer zone around NASA's primary rocket engine testing facility. The request is to extend the runway by 2,000 feet to 7,000 feet. (Source: Picayune Item, 10/03/13)

Global Hawks to nest in Japan

The Japanese government has agreed to base two to three U.S.-operated Global Hawk unmanned surveillance aircraft on Japanese soil beginning in 2014. The deployments at a U.S. base will not be year-round. The announcement was part of a sweeping defense cooperation effort between the two countries that will also include F-35 fighters, new ballistic missile radars, and increased bilateral cyber and ISR programs. (Source: Defense News, 10/03/13) Gulf Coast note: Global Hawks are made in part in Moss Point, Miss.; Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center. Previous: Drone foreign sales discussedF-35 courts foreign customers; F-35 deal nearJapan opts for F-35

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Bases prep for rough weather

Military bases in Northwest Florida evacuated some aircraft and placed others in hangars in preparation for the possible arrival of Tropical Storm Karen. Hurlburt Field and Duke Field officials decided to fly aircraft to locations away from Karen. Hurlburt's aircraft went to Arkansas and New Mexico. Officials at Eglin Air Force Base decided to move aircraft inside of hangars built to withstand storms like Karen. The storm is expected to reach land over the weekend somewhere between Louisiana and Northwest Florida as a tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane. Naval Air Station Pensacola often sends aircraft away from a storm, but by mid-day Thursday had made no announcement. (Sources: Northwest Florida Daily News, Pensacola News Journal, 10/03/13)

50th anniversary events postponed

PENSACOLA, Fla. – All the events surrounding the 50th anniversary celebration at the National Naval Aviation Museum have been postponed to a date yet to be determined. The postponement of the Oct. 4-5 celebration is due to the government shutdown. The anniversary included a black-tie gala planned for Saturday evening. The museum itself is also closed until further notice due to the furlough of museum employees. (Source: National Naval Aviation Museum, 10/02/13)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

F-35C formally rolled out

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – The Navy's version of the F-35 fighter, the C model, was officially rolled out during a ceremony Tuesday. The long-planned ceremony went on despite a shutdown of the federal government. Hundreds of guests attended in a hangar at Eglin, home of the F-35 training center. Strike Fighter Squadron 101 hosted the ceremony. (Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, WEAR-TV, WMBB-TV, 10/01/13) Previous: F-35C fleet roll-out plannedSecond F-35C now at Eglin; First Navy F-35 arrives at Eglin; Navy F-35 logs first training flight

Paris show cost figures released

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Alabama's participation in the Paris Air Show last summer cost $86,609, according to records released by the state commerce department. The total expense of the June trip, including a booth at the show, travel, lodging and meals for seven people, was $222,015. But it was offset by $135,406 in income from the sale of sponsorships, reception passes and more bought by communities and companies who participated. (Source:, 10/01/13) Previous: Pricetag for Paris released; FGNW-led group to attend air show; Alabama team to attend air show

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The body heat charger

Smart phones could one day be charged in a pocket using only body heat. Even sooner, rocket sensors needed to monitor an engine's health while launching it into space could feature sensors powered solely by the heat generated from the rocket. Those opportunities are possible thanks to a new patent-pending Loyola University New Orleans invention by physics professor Patrick Garrity. A $74,523 NASA grant from Stennis Space Center, Miss., will allow the invention to enter prototype, or beta testing, at SSC. Thermoelectric technology, turning heat into electricity, has been around for years but it's inefficient. But Garrity aims to change that with a system that redirects the heat and raises the efficiency dramatically. (Source: Loyola University, 09/30/13)

Report: F-35 oversight blamed

The Pentagon Inspector General found hundreds of flaws in the way defense contractors produced the F-35 fighter jet, flaws that led to a higher pricetag. The IG's 126-page report describes 719 "issues" with the jet's primary manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, and five other major contractors. It also listed failures of the F-35 Joint Program Office for not ensuring the prime and subcontractors were applying rigor to design, manufacturing, and quality assurance. Both Lockheed Martin and the JPO said the report was old news and that the issues have been mostly addressed. (Sources: multiple, including ABC News, AFP via Spacemart, Reuters, 09/30/13) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 training center.

Region redefining itself

SANDESTIN, Fla. -- Workforce training was the most consistent theme during the opening day of an economic development symposium in Northwest Florida. But the vision of a region on the cusp of change might have been the most compelling message. Much of that reason for the new vision of the future is thanks to the Airbus' assembly line being built in Mobile, Ala. The opening day of the 17th annual Gulf Power Economic Symposium drew nearly 600 movers and shakers to the Sandestin Resort. The symposium continues today. (Source: GCAC, 10/01/13)