Saturday, November 9, 2019

Week in review (11/3 to 11/9)

Late last month NASA selected Tuskegee University (TU), the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and Virginia State University (VSU) in Petersburg for a NASA program to provide students at minority-serving institutions the education and experience needed to help address manufacturing needs in the American aerospace sector.

Tuskegee will focus on 3D printing, also called additive manufacturing. It will work with Bell Helicopter and NASA to accelerate the integration of 3D printing into high-volume aerospace manufacturing and supply chain management for helicopters and drones.

Bell will identify critical helicopter parts and work with TU to develop a complete business case for the use of 3D printing in the manufacture of those parts. In the drone track, TU will incorporate 3D printing into the design, build, and test phases of drone development to improve the functionality and performance of these aircraft. The work will be conducted in increments to allow for continuous assessment of the quality performance of 3D-printed parts.

Bell has a manufacturing operation in Ozark, Ala., which produces the Fire Scout unmanned helicopter. The Ozark site also has been selected by Bell to build the 407GXi, should Bell win the competition to build the new Navy helicopter trainer that will replace the TH-57. Airbus Helicopter's H135 and Leonardo Helicopter's TH-119 are also in the running.

In addition to the 3D printing effort at Tuskegee, UTEP is partnering with Lockheed Martin and the Army to create a manufacturing ecosystem in the southwest that addresses a skills shortage. The partnership will provide curricula, internships and apprenticeships in design and production of composites and PCBs. And at VSU, it will create a pilot program to advance research, education, and outreach to undergraduate and graduate students at VSU and Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk, Va., focused on advancing on all fronts of manufacturing in this sector.

The NASA program will provide almost $1.5 million to fund curriculum-based learning, research, training, internships and apprenticeships at the three universities to meet the growing demand for expertise and techniques in high-volume aerospace manufacturing.

You can read more about this in the news release.

A special tip-of-the-hat to loyal reader Freddie, who drew my attention to this story.

An Air Force airman who fell out of the C-130 he was flying in over the Gulf of Mexico still hasn't been found. The search is now considered a recovery effort, and it's focused on an area south of the Florida Panhandle between Destin and Pensacola, Fla.

The plane was based at Hurlburt Field, Fla., near Mary Esther. Officials received the report that the airman from the 24th Special Operations Wing fell into the water on Tuesday around 11:30 a.m. The staff sergeant was in training at the time and fell from the aircraft at about 1,500 feet. His name has not yet been released. Others in the plane saw the airman's parachute deploy and that he was treading water once he landed. (Post)

-- The Blue Angels are wrapping up another season with a Homecoming Air Show Saturday at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. The Blue Angels fly at about 2 p.m. There was also a show Friday. (Post)

UTS Systems LLC, Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was awarded a maximum $200 million contract for commercial shelters. This is a one-year base contract with three one-year option periods. Location of performance is Florida, with a Nov. 7, 2020, performance completion date. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa.

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