Saturday, September 22, 2018

Week in review (9/16 to 9/22)

In the course of working on the upcoming aerospace and aviation education edition of our bimonthly newsletter, our reporting team has reached out to a range of people, from company officials and workers to students and academic officials.

I can tell you from my own experience heading up this project, there’s a good deal of enthusiasm over what we’re doing. During the week I talked to an official with the Mississippi Department of Education’s career and technical training program, and he sent word to all his contacts about our project. He was particularly excited that there was a hands-on learning center being built in the region – Flight Works Alabama. It didn’t matter that it’s in another state. It’s an opportunity for student from the entire region.

Weeks earlier, when I reached out to an academic official I’ve known for several years in Pensacola, he too was happy we are devoting the entire October issue to education and training the current and next generation of aviation workers. He reached out to his associates, and one contacted me about their programs. I passed that along to the reporter handling the Florida story.

In Louisiana, one official from Louisiana Economic Development who participated in a conference call with me and others about the project pulled together – unsolicited – and sent to me a list of some of the college aviation activities in his state.

All of which goes to show that when you decide to do a story or publication that focuses on education and training, you find there is no lack of folks who are dying to tell you about what they’re doing. The passion is there, and I feel certain this October issue will be of high interest because this issue is important.

I recently participated remotely in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Aerospace Workforce Symposium. The overall message was clear: There is a current and growing need to fill the aerospace and aviation education and training pipeline, and the need ranges from pilots to maintenance workers and more.

The problem, in part, is that with so many exciting technology fields vying for workers, the aerospace industry is facing tough competition and has to reach out early to students, as well as tap into a large pool of potential workers from demographic groups that have been under-represented in the industry.

With aerospace and aviation growing so much in our region, we hope this upcoming issue will help get the word out about the opportunities and highlight the pathways. And we may end up making this an annual research project.

Now for your week in review:

Airbus’ A320 series production facility in Mobile, Ala., has delivered its first aircraft partially powered by sustainable jet fuel to customer JetBlue.

The A321 flew out of Mobile with a 15 percent renewable jet fuel mixture in its tanks. In total, five A321s are due to be delivered to JetBlue from Mobile using sustainable fuel by the end of 2018.

All of the fuel will be supplied and certified by Air BP. It will be loaded into the aircraft by Signature Flight Support, Airbus’ fueling services provider in Mobile.

Since May 2016, Airbus has offered customers the option of taking delivery of new aircraft from Toulouse, France, using a blend of sustainable jet fuel. Following the deliveries to JetBlue, Airbus will determine the next steps toward offering this option to more customers taking aircraft deliveries from Mobile.

Longer term, Airbus envisions supporting industrial production of sustainable fuels for aviation in the U.S. Southeast.

Renewable jet fuel is chemically equivalent to conventional jet-A fuel, with no difference in performance or safety. Thousands of commercial flights have flown on different types of renewable jet fuel. (Post)

Aircraft maintenance contracts
Two military aircraft maintenance contracts that will involve work in Northwest Florida were awarded during the week.

In one contract, DynCorp International LLC, Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $173.2 million modification to a previously awarded contract. It provides organizational, intermediate, and depot-level maintenance and logistics support for 16 T-34, 54 T-44, and 287 T-6 aircraft.

Thirty-nine percent of the work will be one in Milton, Fla., home of Naval Air Station Whiting Field, and another eight percent will be done in Pensacola, Fla., home of Naval Air Station Pensacola.

Most of the work, 50 percent, will be one in Corpus Christi, Texas, home of Naval Air Station Corpus Christi. The remaining three percent of the work will be done in various locations within the continental U.S.

Work is expected to be completed in September 2019. The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Orlando, Fla., is the contracting activity.

In another contract, L3 Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., was awarded $16.3 million modification to a previously awarded contract to exercise an option to provide for intermediate level maintenance, repair, and logistics services in support of the Navy’s Chief of Naval Aircraft Training aircraft.

Half the work will be done at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., and 5 percent at Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Milton, Fla. Another 45 percent will be one at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas. Work is expected to be completed in September 2019.

The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Orlando, Fla., is the contracting activity.

Other contracts
CAE USA Inc., Tampa, Fla., was awarded a $25.4 million modification to a contract for fixed-wing courses, academic and flight simulator, flight training and support services. Work will be performed in Dothan, Ala., home of Fort Rucker. The estimated completion date is March 9, 2024. U.S. Army Mission and Installation Contracting Command, Fort Rucker, is the contracting activity. … EMR Inc., Niceville, Fla., was awarded a $16 million contract for an addition/alteration to an existing commissary at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. The contract is for a 539 calendar day period based on the issuance of the notice to proceed which is expected in November 2018. The contracting activity is the Defense Commissary Agency, Enterprise Acquisition Division, Construction Design Branch, Joint Base San Antonio, Lackland, Texas.

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