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Japan radiation problem and UAVs

March 17, 2011 1 comment

It is so depressing to see the difficulties that Japan is going through now. First the earthquake, then the tsunami and now the even more dire-looking nuclear radiation situation.

Footage of attempts to cool the reactors by having military helicopters dump sea water on the reactors has emerged on Youtube :

While the military personnel and the plant workers are performing heroic deeds by risking their own lives,  it seems that there is a possible way to keep up a continuous supply of water to cool the nuclear plants. Why can’t we just use some Unmanned Aerial Vehicles(UAVs) to continuously pump water from the ocean to the plants till the cooling systems are operative? This seems like the exact situation where UAVs could be used to do ‘dirty & dangerous’  jobs without risking human lives. Also, using heli-UAVs in this situation would mean that you can basically hover over the plant and continuously dump seawater. Surely, UAVs like Boeing’s Hummingbird or Northrop Grumman’s FireScout would be able to to do this. Hopefully Boeing/Northrop Grumman/EADS/Lockheed Martin/IAI would volunteer and help the Japanese in these difficult times.

P.S. – I just wrote a quick post on Randy’s blog about this and hopefully he can pass it on to people better informed to make a judgement.

If this solution is workable, the other issue would be the disposal of the UAVs heavily impacted by radiation. Probably, there are ways to take care of that, but this would be far far better than risking human lives.

Something to think about..

P.S. – Just found this news article : [Article] The people working at the nuclear plant, many of them volunteers, are real heroes. Everything must be done to help them

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Categories: Aviation, Boeing, News, UAV

KC-46A it is…

February 25, 2011 1 comment

After years of delays, fierce debates, a re-bidding and intense public relations battles, the KC-135 tanker replacement contract was awarded to Boeing’s KC-767 tanker which was up against the EADS North America KC-30.

Valued at over $30 Billion, this competition was witness to many twists and turns that put the spotlight on the many different players involved. What was an evaluation of aircraft proposals quickly turned into debates on illegal state subsidies, WTO rulings, patriotism, outsourcing, jobs and Mobile, Alabama vs Everett, Washington.

With Boeing opening a second 787 line in Charleston, South Carolina, there was a general feeling that Boeing’s traditional workforce in Washington was being undermined. With the KC-46A expected to be built in Everett, Washington, this win would give Boeing’s workforce in Washington a big morale boost.

More details here :

Flightglobal AirlineReporter

Here’s the announcement (at the very end!) : Link (Credit : Flightglobal)

Thanks to Flightglobal and AirlineReporter.

Categories: Aviation, Boeing, EADS, News

A new life for the 747

February 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Boeing unveiled the passenger version of the 747-8, the 747-8I (Intercontinental) in a ceremony yesterday on Feb 13, 2011. What was totally unexpected was the new Boeing livery on the 747-8I. Called the ‘Sunrise’ livery, it features a dark Orange-Grey paint job and is a big change from Boeing’s usual Blue-White scheme. Although Boeing did give some clues for a few weeks before the unveiling by having the 747-8I depicted, presumably during dawn, in most of the ads in various aviation forums, the secret was very well kept.

Here is the video of the ceremony (Credit to the owner of the video) :

Watching Mr Joe Sutter, the chief designer of the original 747 (over 4 decades ago!) leading the crowd for having a look at the 747-8I was a nice moment.  🙂

Personally, I like the tail colours more with the lighter shade of orange and yellow, but overall, the huge 747-8I looks majestic in the new livery.

AirlineReporter has an article on this here. (Don’t miss the photos of the unveiling at the end of the article).

Categories: Aviation, Boeing, News Tags:

Beautiful Paine field

November 25, 2010 Leave a comment

This is a really beautiful panoramic shot of Paine field in Everett, Washington state, US, where Boeing is building its new 787 Dreamliners. The snow covered airfield looks magical in the yellow-golden evening sun. You can spot an assorted array of 787s in various stages of assembly, 747 Dreamlifters, a little Cessna on the taxiway, a twin engine GA aircraft landing, a B-52 sitting solemnly and aircraft from Cathay Pacific Cargo, Air India, Air France, Alaska Airlines, EVA Air, Korean Air, Cargolux, Turkish and others make this a truly beautiful photo.

Note the two 787s in the far right (JAL and Royal Air Maroc) with engines yet to be installed.

Credit to Liz Matzelle for the photo, which you can find here (30000 x 2373 – ~14.1 MB)

Categories: Aviation, Boeing

A Boeing and an 8 year old

June 21, 2010 Leave a comment

BOEING.

The next thoughts that spring to mind are of a high-tech, massive, glamourous, aerospace company whose earnings outstrip GDPs of some countries. Now imagine an airplane-crazy 8 year old kid. At the most, what effect do you suppose a kid can have on Boeing? Turns out, the kid can send Boeing scrambling to salvage its image.

Boeing receives thousands of unsolicited ideas to improve their products and almost all of them are customarily disposed of. Enter 8 year old Harry Winsor. When Harry sent his drawing to Boeing, Boeing did the usual bit and sent him a curt Thank you note.  Harry’s father wasn’t amused and wrote about this on his blog. Things happened and eventually, Boeing invited Harry and his family to Seattle for tours of the Boeing assembly plant and the Future of Flight museum. They also gave him a Boeing bag with tons of Boeing goodies inside!

But Harry had the last laugh when he gifted Boeing a drawing he had made to thank them for the invitation. Guess what the drawing was? An Airbus A380. 😆

Credit must go to Boeing for being so sporting and making this happen. 

More here

Categories: Aviation, Boeing