Monthly Archives: January 2009

Bio Fuels Take Flight

Here are two news briefs lifted from the Air Transport Association’s  (ATA) website.  The ATA is an industry trade group.


Energy Bulletin

  • Biofuels take flight
    A test flight last week proved that a mix of jet fuel and biofuel from algae and jatropha nuts can power a Continental Airlines jetliner. The fledgling biofuels industry is moving beyond research into commercial production of fuels that promise to reduce the carbon footprint of the airline industry. And the progress being made is exciting: “We’re looking at five-year time horizons, not 20-year time horizons,” says Continental Airlines CEO Larry Kellner. USA TODAY (1/27) , The Washington Times (1/27)

  • Test flights speed up fuel-mix timetable
    The success of recent test flights may speed the commercial development of airplane biofuels available commercially in the next five years. Virgin Atlantic Airways, Air New Zealand, Continental Airlines and Japan Airlines have conducted tests of fuels that blend Jet A1 with oil made from such things as jatropha, algae and camelina. (1/26)

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Boeing Says Laser Downs Enemy UAVs

Boeing Laser Avenger Shoots Down Unmanned Aerial Vehicle in Tests

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Jan. 26, 2009 — The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has successfully demonstrated that a laser system mounted on an Avenger combat vehicle can shoot down a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) like those that increasingly threaten U.S. troops deployed in war zones.

During tests last month at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., Laser Avenger achieved its principal test objectives by using its advanced targeting system to acquire and track three small UAVs flying against a complex background of mountains and desert. The laser system also shot down one of the UAVs from an operationally relevant range. These tests mark the first time a combat vehicle has used a laser to shoot down a UAV.

Representatives of the U.S. Army’s Cruise Missile Defense Systems project office observed the tests.

“Small UAVs armed with explosives or equipped with surveillance sensors are a growing threat on the battlefield,” said Gary Fitzmire, vice president and program director of Boeing Directed Energy Systems. “Laser Avenger, unlike a conventional weapon, can fire its laser beam without creating missile exhaust or gun flashes that would reveal its position. As a result, Laser Avenger can neutralize these UAV threats while keeping our troops safe.”

The tests follow a 2007 demonstration in which an earlier version of Laser Avenger neutralized improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and unexploded ordnance (UXO) on the ground.

“We doubled the laser power; added sophisticated acquisition, tracking and pointing capability; and simplified and ruggedized the design,” said Lee Gutheinz, Boeing program director for High-Energy Laser/Electro-Optical Systems. “Boeing developed and integrated these upgrades in less than a year, underscoring our ability to rapidly respond to warfighters’ needs.”

Laser Avenger integrates a directed energy weapon together with the kinetic weapons on the proven Avenger air defense system developed by Boeing Combat Systems in Huntsville, Ala. It is a Boeing-funded initiative to demonstrate that directed energy weapons are maturing and are relevant to today’s battlefield.

Boeing leads the way in developing laser systems for a variety of U.S. Air Force and Army warfighter applications. These systems include the Airborne Laser, the Advanced Tactical Laser, the High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator and the Tactical Relay Mirror System.

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Great Photos of Earth From Nasa

NASA has released some new photos that are just spectacular.  From sand storms to hurricane Bertha, the high-resolution images are getting folks talking about many Planet issues like global warming.

Check out the CNN article here.

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Engine Stalls Down US Airways Jet

Well, at least that’s what Newsman Geraldo Rivera thinks.  He said as much on FoxNews,” “The O’Reilly Factor” program on Friday night.

Geraldo was held over two segments, presumably to allow him time to share his expertise on nearly every major news event; from the Caroline Kennedy pull-out, to the forced commitment of dead toddler, Caylee Smith’s grandfather.

When the subject of US Airways Flight 1549 came up, Geraldo waved an Airworthiness Directive (A.D.) which suggested compressor stalls on Airbus 320s like the one ending up in the Hudson river were all too common.  He went on to say maintenance records reveal the same US Airways jet involved, experienced compressor stalls only days prior to the crash.

Geraldo says it is too much of a coincidence to believe that this same aircraft was downed by a flock of birds and “(Captain) Sullenberger has to be a hero.”

But in his analysis, Geraldo fails to observe the bird’s feather and other tell-tale damage discovered by investigators, which tend to corroborate the captain’s account that large birds caused the failures.

At this point, I’m placing my bets on the Sullenberger account alongside the bird remains found in the first engine.  I find it easier to believe a flock of geese knocked out both engines than Geraldo’s dual compressor stall conspiracy theory.

I’m having more trouble believing it’s coincidence that Geraldo floated this theory of the crash at the same time when he needed to plug his Sunday show.  That’s where he promises us to reveal the results of his “investigation,” coincidentally!

Let’s just hope he has more to show than a dusty Al Capone safe that turns out to be empty!

Jay Rollins

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US Airways Salvage Photos

Here are some great shots of the US Airways A-320 jet being lifted from the water…

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I Love To Fly

Balloons are prepare...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Maybe it’s the mystery surrounding the idea of a human being flying where the birds do, or the quiet of floating in a hot air balloon.  It’s a wonderful thing and I suggest you seek as many forms of flight as you can.

Jay is really a great guy and an amazing expert in the aviation field.

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