Monthly Archives: June 2009

US Navy Improved Point Detection System

In defense industry news, Bruker Detection Corporation today announced that it has been awarded a contract for ten first article test and verification units for the Improved Point Detection System (IPDS) replacement program of the United States Navy, based on Bruker’s RAID-S2 shipboard chemical detector. The award includes ten units and certain engineering modifications, with a total contract amount greater than one million dollars.

Bruker’s RAID-S2 is a gas trace detector for the detection of chemical warfare agents (CWAs) and toxic industrial chemicals (TICs). It is based on advanced high-performance ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) technology. The RAID-S2 is specifically designed for long-term monitoring of ambient air for the presence of hazardous chemical vapors in the interior or exterior of ships, buildings or shelters.

Mr. Frank Thibodeau, Vice President of Bruker Detection Corporation, commented: “The IPDS evaluation program consisted of a challenging competitive testing regime under demanding environments which pushed the limits of chemical point detection systems. The RAID-S2 performed very well in these evaluation trials and has been selected by the U.S. Department of Defense for final test and validation of production units. We are delighted to have been selected for the IPDS program by the US Navy, and believe that Bruker’s robust and proven RAID IMS technology, unsurpassed detection capability, and proprietary industry-leading false-alarm suppression have led to this contract award. These technological features are also built into our industry-leading RAID(TM)-M handheld detector, RAID-XP portable combined chemical and gamma radiation detector, as well as our RAID-AFM Autonomous Facility Monitor for critical building and infrastructure protection, which has been developed under a separate Department of Homeland Security development contract.”

Airbus Moves Forward with New Eco-Efficient Aircraft

Dassault Systèmes announced that Airbus is deploying DS Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions to support several key design processes around 3D of its A350 XWB program. The software will provide Airbus engineers with a collaborative solution from 3D design to manufacturing engineering, enhanced comparatively to previous programs.

Based on Dassault Systèmes ENOVIA VPM, a 3D Digital Mock Up of the plane will support design activities from several thousands of designers, from Airbus and its suppliers. The aircraft composite structure design, developed on Dassault Systèmes CATIA Composite Part Design solution, can be revised by all parties involved, leading to improved engineering reactivity. The 3D Digital Mock-Up (DMU) is also going to be connected to Manufacturing Engineering (Dassault Systèmes DELMIA software) for an optimization of the manufacturing process and an end to end process from engineering to manufacturing.

The A350 XWB programme is focused on operational efficiency with a family of new-generation aircraft perfectly suited to the market’s changing needs in terms of size, range, passenger comfort and the environment. It will provide improved fuel efficiency, reduced emissions and lower noise levels during departure, cruise and arrival. This is why, managing the lifecycle of its A350 aircraft in a virtual 3D PLM environment, has been one of Airbus’ major objectives.

“Dassault Systèmes is supporting Airbus in its objective to improve manufacturing techniques and to increase collaborative innovation for sustainable business.” comments Etienne Droit, Executive Vice President, Dassault Systèmes. “Two years ago, Dassault Systèmes and Airbus agreed to have 3D as the master of the A350 definition and 3D reliable configured DMU to be the reference for any A350 designers and managers, to put in place Dassault Systèmes PLM solutions to support the wide Extended Enterprise ecosystem working to develop and produce A350, and to simplify and harmonize IT environment to be efficient in supporting these challenges: This is now a reality.”

“In today’s interconnected world, it is even more critical for manufacturers to intensify their collaborative approach for smart product design and development. IBM and Dassault Systèmes have worked together to deliver an implementation that allows Airbus to collaborate more easily with partners and suppliers. This helps optimize operations globally and creates a leaner and faster model for product development”, stated Albert Bunshaft, vice president, IBM Product Lifecycle Management.

Island Air Pilots, Management ‘Ink’ New Contract

Island Air pilots, who are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), have announced the signing of their new collective bargaining agreement with management. Among the immediate improvements included in the four-year agreement are wage increases, work rule advances and furlough protections. Specifically, Island Air pilots will receive annual wage increases totaling 12 percent over the next four years, as well as other economic and work rule improvements that allow for increased compensation.

“Faced with many challenges throughout the negotiating process, we believe the end result speaks for itself,” said Capt. Charlie Ciszek, chairman of the ALPA unit at Island Air. “We are pleased with management’s willingness to work with us toward achieving a new agreement that recognizes the pilots’ contributions to the success of Island Air. We are aware of the competitive market in which we fly and this agreement also provides management with the tools they need to maintain the quality service our loyal customers have come to expect and grow our business.”

The Island Air pilots’ contract became amendable November 30, 2007, and after 16 months of negotiations, the pilots reached a Tentative Agreement with management. Upon approval by the Island Air Master Executive Council—the union’s governing body—this Tentative Agreement was given to the pilot membership. Informational meetings were held for Island Air pilots to ask questions about the proposed agreement and provide feedback. With overwhelming support from the membership, the elected pilot leaders at Island Air ratified the agreement. It was then signed by ALPA and Island Air representatives, with the final signature coming from ALPA President Captain John Prater.

“The new Island Air pilot contract is an incredible accomplishment,” said Captain Prater. “Negotiations are challenging even in the best of circumstances, yet Island Air pilots persevered through extremely difficult economic conditions and reached an agreement with gains in several key areas. They, along with their management team, are a prime example on how we can—and should—work together for the benefit of the airline and the employees who make the airline a success.”

Evektor Aircraft Launches Flight School Incentive Program

Evektor Aircraft, headquartered in Melbourne, Florida, announced this week a new Flight School Incentive Program designed specifically to help flight schools around the United States replace their costly and aging fleet of trainers at only 1/2 (half) of the cost of a new Cessna, Piper, or Diamond Aircraft. From Evektor Aircraft’s SportStar MAX BT (”Basic Trainer”) to their top-of-the-line SportStar MAX IFR, each aircraft is customizable, depending on each flight school’s training, instrumentation, and cost/benefit requirement.

Evektor Aircraft, Inc., already a recognized leader in Certified S-LSA Aircraft used for flight training in the USA, has made several refinements to its 2009 aircraft offerings. The SportStar, the first Sport Aircraft to be certified in the US (2005), is well known for its rugged, all-metal construction, stable flight characteristics, and low maintenance costs. The aircraft is built for flight schools and the daily rough use expected, and can be kept out in the weather for many seasons without adverse effects. Its straight forward stall and spin characteristics make it one of the safest aircraft in the air, and a stable, student pilot platform.

Josef Bostik, President of Evektor Aircraft, Inc. stated, “The Evektor SportStar is not just a training aircraft. The SportStar MAX is a desirable Sport Plane that can be flown by pilots looking to lower the cost of their pleasure flying or business commute. Able to carry two persons in its 47” wide, comfortable cockpit, carry a week’s supply of baggage at 110 knots for nearly 800 miles non-stop, the SportStar is not your Grandfather’s Cessna or Piper!”

For those Flight Schools that require the full “Monty” in its training fleet, Evektor offers the SportStar MAX IFR. The MAX IFR is the first Light Sport Aircraft that is Part 23 instrument compliant for IFR IMC flight, and can be used to train students from Sport Pilot, Private, up to and including a Commercial Instrument rating. The MAX IFR comes equipped with the Certified Rotax 912S 100 HP which has a 1500 hour TBO. Based on 800 hours per year use in a flight school, the operating cost of the SportStar BT, and SportStar Max IFR Trainer is less than half that of a Cessna 172.

“Low acquisition costs, low maintenance costs, and the lowest operating costs make Evektor Aircraft’s 2009 lineup the logical choice for integration into existing training fleets,” Stated John Dunham, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Evektor Aircraft, Inc. Dunham added, “We are hearing from flight school operators interested in seeing the SportStar up close and personal, and already have dozens of aircraft working, and new arrivals are being placed into Flight Schools in many major metropolitan areas.”

To facilitate ease of acquisition for Flight Schools, Evektor Aerotechnik is working on a comprehensive Export and Flight School Financing Program for the USA in cooperation with the Czech Export Bank. Distribution is from its US based operation, Evektor Aircraft, Inc. of Melbourne, Florida. Fleet prices will range from a little over $110,000 for the SportStar BT, to around $155,000 for the SportStar MAX IFR equipped version.

“It is becoming quite popular. Everyone who flies the SportStar MAX really likes it. I’d love to add more aircraft to my training fleet,” stated Bob Archibald, Flight School Owner of Santa Rosa, California’s DragonFly Aviation.

SpaceX and ATSB Announce New Launch Date for RazakSAT Satellite

SpaceX and Astronautic Technology (M) Sdn Bhd (ATSB) of Malaysia announced a new launch window has been set for Falcon 1 Flight 5, carrying the RazakSAT satellite to orbit. The launch window opens Monday, July 13th and extends through Tuesday, July 14th, with a daily window to open at 4:00 p.m. (PDT) / 7:00 p.m. (EDT).

The launch was delayed last month after SpaceX identified the potential for an unfavorable interaction between the satellite and the launch vehicle. After further analysis, SpaceX determined the implementation of a simple vibration isolation system would address this concern. SpaceX selected the SoftRide isolation system from CSA Engineering for this purpose, citing the system’s strong flight heritage and established success in addressing vibration concerns.

Falcon 1, a two-stage, liquid oxygen/rocket-grade kerosene vehicle designed from the ground up by SpaceX, will place the RazakSAT satellite, equipped with a high resolution Medium-Sized Aperture Camera (MAC), into a near equatorial orbit.

RazakSAT was designed and built by ATSB, a pioneer and leader in the design and manufacture of satellites in Malaysia. The satellite is expected to provide high resolution images of Malaysia that can be applied to land management, resource development and conservation, forestry and fish migration.

SpaceX’s Falcon 1 launch site is located approximately 2500 miles southwest of Hawaii on Omelek Island, part of the Reagan Test Site (RTS) at United States Army Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA) in the Central Pacific. Due to the location of the launch site, the Kwajalein local date at the opening of the launch window will be Tuesday, July 14th.

Update on Real-Time Middleware for Unmanned Ground Vehicle Project

RTI announced this past week that Base Ten Systems Electronics GmbH (Base10) has selected RTI Data Distribution Service for their unmanned ground-based vehicle (UGV) project. When the German Military of Defense needed the expertise to develop a UGV for deployment in hazardous environments, Base Ten Systems Electronics GmbH (Base10) was the natural choice. Base10 has over 30 years of experience in the use and adaptation of commercial electronics and microprocessor technology for military applications.

Base10 is currently in the development phase of the RoboScout project, a system demonstrator comprising two ground vehicles and a mobile command post, scheduled for delivery to the German Armed Forces next year. RoboScout is built around a modular design to support multi-role operation, from SIGINT and reconnaissance through convoy and transport systems. It also has the ability to support both terrestrial and satellite data links, as well as acting as a communications relay station for other vehicles.

For such a mobile system, comprising multiple autonomous components, reliable real-time communications is a major concern. Base10 found that RTI’s real-time middleware, the RTI Data Distribution Service, addressed a number of key technical and systems integration issues in the development of this ground-breaking UGV project.

The communications environment for such an autonomous unmanned vehicle system has a demanding combination of special requirements, including low-latency real-time performance; high reliability and deterministic messaging; ability to support modularity and flexibility in system configuration; and to operate transparently in a heterogeneous communications environment using satellite and radio data links.

Base10 found that RTI’s Data Distribution Service provides the ideal framework for communication and integration within the modular design of the RoboScout architecture, helping them to meet their performance requirements on this challenging and innovative UGV project.

The publish-subscribe model of RTI’s Data Distribution Service middleware also ensures that future upgrades and expansion to the RoboScout system can be undertaken with minimal effort, by greatly reducing the time involved in new software integration in support of additional functionality. It is the intention that the RoboScout System will be compatible with present and future military networks.

Progress Made on Solar-Reflective Coatings for Aircraft Windows

PPG Industries’ aerospace transparencies business is developing coating technology for aircraft cockpit and passenger-cabin windows that reduces solar heat transmittance for more crew and passenger comfort and reduced load on the air-conditioning system for lower operating costs.

Paris Air Show visitors can see coated cabin windows at PPG Aerospace’s display at Hall 2B, Stand D57. The International Paris Air Show is June 15-21 at Le Bourget Exhibition Centre.

PPG is developing solar-reflective coatings with a neutral appearance for glass and plastic windows to meet aircraft designers’ and operators’ demand for higher performing products that reduce operating costs while improving the flying experience, according to Anthony Stone, PPG Aerospace global director, new business development for transparencies.

“Unlike other aerospace solar-reflective window coatings, PPG Aerospace coatings will not be visibly reflective but will be color neutral for the attractive aesthetics important to our customers,” Stone said.

“Our tests have shown solar transmittance for a stretched-acrylic cabin window with a solar-reflective coating to be about half that of an uncoated window while maintaining high visible light transmittance,” Stone said. “Passengers and crew will experience a noticeable improvement in comfort, especially when the air conditioning is not operating while an aircraft is on the ground.”

Stone said airlines and other aircraft operators will benefit because it will be easier to maintain cockpit and cabin temperatures for reduced air-conditioning demand and related costs, especially with growing aviation use of composites. “Because composite airframes don’t dissipate solar heat as well as aluminum, our customers are looking for ways to reduce solar heat transmittance, and applying solar-reflective coatings to windows provides an ideal solution.”

PPG expects to qualify its stretched-acrylic cabin window coatings this year with a major airframe manufacturer and to apply the technology to glass cockpit windows, Stone added.

U.S. Navy Awards Argon ST $6.2 Million to Upgrade Its Surface Ship Torpedo Defense Program

Argon ST, a systems engineering, development and services company providing full-service C5ISR (command, control, communications, computers, combat systems, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) systems and services to a wide range of defense and intelligence customers, today announced that it has received a $6.2 million award for engineering development in support of the U.S. Navy’s Surface Ship Torpedo Defense (SSTD) program.

The award, a modification to an existing contract, was received from the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command to complete the engineering development model design, through critical design review, for the SSTD program’s AN/SLQ-25D system. The SSTD program is a defensive system development to counter specific undersea weapon threats to high value surface ships. The system consists of detection, control, and counter weapon subsystems.

Since 2006, Argon has served as the lead contractor in designing, developing and fielding the Torpedo Countermeasures Transmitting Set AN/SLQ-25 — commonly referred to as Nixie. Initially contracted to design and field the AN/SQL-25C, a passive, electro-acoustic decoy system used to provide deceptive countermeasures against acoustic homing torpedoes, Argon will now focus on creating the upgrade to this important system.

“The AN/SLQ-25D is the next generation of the AN/SLQ-25C,” commented Joe Carlin, Senior Vice President, Argon ST. “The basis of the specification for the AN/SLQ-25D is an open architecture. This new requirement is very strategic to the Navy’s ability to ensure interoperability with all of its ships subsystems. Additionally, the new AN/SLQ-25D will be able to serve as a host to other systems thereby supporting other information gathering and threat detection.”

Commenting on the strategic nature of the award to Argon, Kerry Rowe, President and Chief Operating Officer, Argon ST said, “We are proud that the Navy continues to rely on Argon for one of its most critical programs. This new open architecture requirement will directly align Argon with the Navy’s future procurement strategy. Argon will not only have the opportunity to field the newly upgraded AN/SLQ-25Ds but will also be in a strategic position to use our work to develop new projects. Once widely deployed on the Navy surface ships, these systems will provide us a path to expand our footprint into other ship subsystems.”

Work under the contract will primarily be accomplished at Argon ST’s Lemont Furnace, Pennsylvania facility with support from the corporate headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia and the Smithfield, Pennsylvania production facility. The effort is expected to be completed by September 2012.

Private Jets Come Back Into Vogue

New York based Coastal Jet Service, a business aviation corporation, has announced a new approach to private jet travel with daily non-stop flights between New York and Los Angeles. Coastal Jet Service is solely offering private jet services in which travelers can book and pay for seats on flights with the same ease and level of commitment as booking a commercial flight, without the hassle and headaches of commercial travel. With today’s economic market affecting the way consumers spend, Coastal Jet Service eases the burden of an up-front investment, commitment, or sizeable monthly fees, for those who want to travel with all the flexibility, speed, and luxury of a private jet.

Flying out of private FBO’s, Avitat in White Plains and Million Air in Burbank, travelers may arrive fifteen minutes prior to departure and avoid the headaches and frustrations caused by the usual two hour standard arrival, long lines, and crowded terminals. Once aboard, Coastal Jet Service passengers will enjoy the sumptuous experience of flying aboard a Citation X, the fastest civilian jet in the world. A haven of sophisticated comfort, the aircraft features exotic wood finishes, genuine leather fully-reclining club seats, twin Rolls Royce engines, and spacious accommodations; these are just a few of the luxurious amenities available onboard. The speed of the jet reduces coast to coast flying time from an average of six hours to less than five hours, diminishing bi-coastal jet lag, easing the duration of bi-coastal travel, and enabling the traveler a swifter arrival time.

Coastal Jet Service’s cost for the one-way flight will be set at a flat rate of $4,600 + Tax, with 1% percent of each ticket sold donated directly to St. Jude’s charity. Coastal Jet Service plans on expanding their routes to include top destinations Miami, Dallas, and Las Vegas in 2010. With the $30,000 cost of chartering a private jet and private jet time-share programs costing hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, Coastal Jet Service offers the ideal alternative to private jet travel and the perfect answer to today’s economic environment. For additional information visit,

Newark Airport Gets Serious About Baggage Sorting

Accu-Sort announced that Newark Liberty International Airport is the latest airport to install Accu-Sort’s AXIOM bar-code scanning systems, increasing the accuracy of baggage sortation and improving the customer experience by reducing the risk of lost luggage. Part of a significant upgrade to an air carrier’s baggage handling facility, the project required high read rates, integration with a tilt-tray sorter, low installation and maintenance costs, and the ability to remotely monitor scanner performance.

Baggage sorting requires exceptional performance because the bar code can be in any position, even underneath the bag, as it travels at high speed through an airport conveyor system. Accu-Sort has a large base of airport customers and a field-proven product line that enable the company to offer a variety of baggage scanning solutions tailored to the unique requirements of each facility. Major airports in Europe, Asia, Australia, and the United States, including airports in California, Pennsylvania, Alaska, North Carolina, Missouri and New Jersey, rely on Accu-Sort baggage scanning systems.

The AXIOM line of laser scanners employs several technologies that are especially useful for baggage-handling applications:

Embedded processor. Accu-Sort embeds the computing and communications functions inside each bar code scanner so airport scanning arrays do not require an external multiplexor. Fewer components to install and wire leads to a lower system cost. The system is also more reliable because there are fewer connections that can fail, and because any scanner can assume control of the array.

Omni-directional scanners. The AXIOM-X scan head emits two scan lines in an X pattern that can read baggage tags in any orientation. This technology reduces the number scan heads needed to be kept on hand as spares, further reducing system costs.

Plug-and-play component replacement. A modular design makes repairs fast and easy. For example, to replace a scan head, the technician simply removes four screws, pops in the new scan head, presses a button, and the scan head takes its configuration from parameters stored in the wiring base. Scanners can be returned to service within a few minutes – an important feature for baggage applications because flights cannot wait for delayed baggage.

High read rates. It is difficult to achieve high read rates in airports because bags move at high speed and because the scanners have to read at a long distance. The AXIOM-X bar code scanner reads bar codes up to 56 inches away at up to 1120 scans per second. This capability minimizes no-reads and the associated cost of manually reading baggage bar codes.

High reliability. The AXIOM bar code scanner is rated for 70 thousand hours MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures). High reliability reduces maintenance costs and avoids downtime.

Remote monitoring. Accu-Sort FAST Monitor software displays statistics on the performance of each sortation tunnel, plus diagnostics on individual devices connected to the system. This information can help airport facility managers maximize baggage throughput and generate historical reports for troubleshooting and predictive maintenance. When system performance data are unified inside of FAST Monitor, users can check on the health of any component equipment from a single software interface. This saves users considerable time compared to walking around miles of conveyors and reading the displays of individual equipment.