Saturday, June 4, 2011

Week in review (5/29 to 6/4)

Regular readers certainly know that the Gulf Coast region has a lot of aerospace activity in a wide range of fields. Now there's a book that puts it all in focus.

Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor 2011-2012, which became available June 1, highlights the activities in the region between New Orleans and Northwest Florida. It was written by four veteran journalists, including me.

The book has an executive summary and a chapter about the variety of lifestyles available in the Gulf Coast region. There are chapters on foreign investments in the region, space activities, research and development, unmanned systems and robotics, military aviation and education and workforce issues.

The book or individual chapters can be downloaded at the Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor Web site. The downloads are free, thanks to the support of three underwriters: the Aerospace Alliance, Gulf Coast Regional Chamber Coalition and Mississippi Enterprise for Technology.

But if you're one of those folks who still prefer holding a book in your hand, you can order a printed version with a glossy cover from the print-on-demand service The books are available at cost, and you can buy one or more. The shipping method is up to you.

So take a look, and I’d love to hear your comments.

Also coming in the next couple of weeks is the sixth edition of Mississippi Gulf Coast Aerospace. The book details aerospace activities in South Mississippi. That's the book that led the authors to venture into doing something about the broader region. The Mississippi book is sponsored by the Mississippi Gulf Coast Alliance for Economic Development, and a free download of the new edition will be available at the group's aerospace Web site. A print edition will also be available.

The federal government is sending nearly $3.2 million to three southwest Alabama airports, including Mobile Regional Airport in Mobile, Ala. The money for safety and infrastructure improvements was announced during the week by Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala. Mobile will get $1.8 million from the Federal Aviation Administration.

- Vector Aerospace held a groundbreaking ceremony in Andalusia, Ala., Wednesday for a new facility that will bring an estimated 125 jobs to Covington County. Gov. Robert Bentley and ADO Director Seth Hammett were among those attending the event. Vector, a Canadian-based helicopter repair company, currently employs 150 people. The expansion will allow the company to nearly double the number of employees and the amount of workspace at the South Alabama Regional Airport in Andalusia.

- Trent Lott International Airport in Moss Point, Miss., now equipped with a control tower and fire station, plans to go after a military contract that could increase its revenue by 25 percent. Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard planes already use the airport’s one runway for touch-and-gos, but they can’t stop or refuel because the airport doesn’t have a military fuel contract. Carol Snapp, airport director, said they have begun the process to acquire one.

Tidbits from other fields
Shipbuilding: Huntington Ingalls Industries, Pascagoula, Miss., was awarded a contract modification in an amount not-to-exceed $25,300,000 to previously awarded contract for long lead time material for DDG 113. Forty percent of the work will be done in Pascagoula.

Marine science: The chemical sprayed in the Gulf to break up the BP oil spill may not have been effective and could be damaging the ecosystem, according to preliminary findings by University of West Florida researchers. BP dumped nearly 2 million gallons of the dispersant in the Gulf, which saw more than 172 million gallons of oil leak into the water in the wake of the April 20 Deepwater Horizon explosion.