Ok, so you want to fly 90,000 feet into the stratosphere to study the ozone layer, among other things. But you found out that you can’t fly a conventional aircraft that close to space for this type of job. What can you do? Well, you can fly a Glider into the sky, that’s what you can do.
Engineers of The Perlan Project are building a 2 seat, engine free sailplane that they say can withstand the unique hazards of stratospheric flight and achieve an altitude seemingly unreachable.
The idea is take the traditional practice of Glider plane flight and turn it up a notch. Or maybe a couple of notches. Taking a look at the website for Freehold, NY’s Nutmeg Soaring Association one can quickly get an idea of how these flights are conducted. A traditionally powered plane, like one you might see pulling an advertisement at the beach, will “tow” the glider into it’s initial flight altitude of 3,000 feet. Taking advantage of rising air not wind, the glider can sustain flights of about an hour on average.
The Perlan Project is taking this concept and using it to attempt to reach an altitude of 17 miles. The flight is set to be attempted in Argentina where they predict that the Pacific Ocean winds will deflect off of the Andes Mountains and create a “wave” of air similar to a white-water river you would ride down. These waves are thought to be able to take the glider to an altitude of nearly 60,000 feet on their own before they weaken. From there the glider, named Perlan II, is thought to be able to use another weather phenomenon, the polar vortex, to reach its intended altitude.
That intended altitude is 90,000 feet to set a new record for a glider. Perlan I currently holds the mark at 50,726 feet. There are many other issues for the team to solve before they will attempt this flight, namely how to solve the air pressure issue, but the reward could be very fruitful.
Thoughts and talking points from the 2013 NCFBAA Government Affairs Conference on Capitol Hill
Armada Services was honored to be in attendance for the 2013 NCFBAA Goverment Affairs Conference on Capitol Hill last week. Topics covered ranged from the House and Senate Bill for Customs Reauthorization, the controversial FMC ANPRM that calls for stringent regulations on OTI’s and CBP Commissioner Gary Winkowski on improvements in processing entries and a general state of the industry. Armada had the honor to meet with Rep. Donna Edwards of Maryland’s 4th District and her Legislative Director, Chris Schloesser as well as Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland’s 2nd and his Senior Legislative Assistant Deborah Haynie.
House Bill 6642 and its accompanying Senate Bill 662 contain important provisions to modernize trade processes and provide the tools to make customs facilitation and trade enforcement a priority. The House Ways & Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee have spent several years developing these legislative proposals. The NCFBAA strongly supports passage of a robust customs reauthorization bill that provides firm direction to the revitalization of CBP’s commercial trade.
The bill would help:
-Complete the core functions of the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) and support full participation by other agencies in the International Trade Development System (ITDS).
-Revise House language that requires customs brokers be accountable for importers.
-Modernize the Duty Drawback Program.
-Leverage the process now under way to promote the role of the customs broker in reaching, educating and acting for importers of all sizes.
Generating more debate was the Federal Maritime Commission’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The ANPRM calls for stringent revisions to the rules that regulate Ocean Transportation Intermediaries (OTI’s). OTI’s are private businesses that act as ocean freight forwarders and non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCC’s) and assist shippers in transporting their cargo. The NBCFAA for one, is opposed to this set of rules because the FMC has neglected to establish a fact based foundation for the the majority of the proposals.
Some of the proposals listed, with the NCFBAA pushback in italics following:
-The ANPRM requires, for the first time, OTI’s to renew their license every two years. Updated information is already required of OTI’s and further, the FMC is behind on processing the new applications submitted to them, adding to that queue is not productive.
-Higher bond levels will be required of OTI’s. This is not in sync with the requirements already established by Congress but also creates a hardship on smaller businesses.
The NCFBAA has respectfully asked those potentially affected to contact the FMC and the Congressional committee of jurisdiction and call for the rulemaking to be withdrawn.
Worldwide Aeros Corp is close to beginning test flights for their cargo carrying blimp. Yes, it is basically exactly what it sounds like. Worldwide designed the lighter than air “Aeroscraft” as part of a $35 million collaboration with NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense, specifically DOD’s avant garde technology agency, DARPA. The Aeroscraft is said to be capable of carrying 66 tons of cargo.
The Aeroscraft is hoped to be a vehicle to help invent new ways to move heavy and oversized cargo, especially to areas lacking a marine infrastructure.
The aerospace company said the cargo aircraft is for more than military use, and can be a solution for cargo bottlenecks or to bring in vital supplies in response of humanitarian crises.
The United States Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration’s, U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service (CS) is organizing an auto supply chain trade mission to Mexico City and Monterrey, Mexico, September 23-26, 2013.
The aim of this trip is for U.S. companies that are involved in the automotive supply chain to build new relationships with Mexican suppliers of key components. Suppliers of spare parts, original equipment manufacturers (OEM), hybrid vehicle components as well as parts and systems that enhance efficiency in the supply chain are the focus of the mission.
The mission aims to introduce these buyers and suppliers in the hopes of fostering long term business relationships that benefit both countries and both economies. Taking part in this mission gives these U.S. companies far greater access and opportunities to forge these relationships versus travelling to Mexico on their own and finding their own way.
Mexico’s automotive industry boasts the 8th largest production volume in the world and the 2nd largest in Latin America. Currently 9 manufacturers; Detroit’s Big 3, Fiat, Nissan, Renault, Honda, Toyota and Volkswagen build 42 brands of vehicles in 20 Mexican assembly plants. Vehicle production has nearly doubled in the past 3 years with more growth expected from the aforementioned manufacturers.
More information can be found at: http://export.gov/mexico/tradeevents/eg_mx_058436.asp
So you are looking to import a classic 1980 Land Rover Defender 110. You may ask yourself, what could go wrong? Well, when it comes to importing that classic vehicle there are a few items to watch out for.
Vehicles older than 25 years old are exempt from certain import and EPA rules and laws. So there is an obvious benefit for unscrupulous auto dealers to commit VIN fraud with a newer vehicle. Before purchasing the vehicle, make sure all parts of the vehicle are original to the year, make and model that you purchased. An individual can validate this by checking the VIN and Chassis number through the manufacturer’s vehicle registry.
In recent years, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has taken extra precautions and created additional procedures in order to make sure that all vehicles coming stateside are compliant and safe to drive on the road. If they believe that it is not conforming, the port director at the port of entry will mandate that you, the importer, export the vehicle, abandon the vehicle, or have the vehicle be seized by customs to be destroyed. If the vehicle is deemed by U.S. Customs Officers, who inspect the merchandise as being clearly illegal, the officers will automatically seize the vehicle and destroy said merchandise at a later date. Also, make sure that the engine does not consume diesel fuel. Lastly, make sure the chassis is not galvanized and that no new aftermarket modifications have been done to either the exterior or the interior of the vehicle. We, at Armada Services, can guide you through the pitfalls of this process so that you may avoid disasters such as seizure and destruction when trying to import your prized possession into the United States. Visit our Facebook Page to check out a couple of videos about illegal LR Defenders being seized and destroyed at the Port of Baltimore.
Customs largest initiative to prevent the improper importation of older vehicles is the creation and implementation of the CTAC, Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center. The primary goal of this new government entity is to work jointly with other government agencies to make sure that all goods and merchandise coming in are legal. In the case of the 25 year old vehicles, the CTAC works hand in hand with the Environmental Protection Agency as well as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to make sure that due diligence is paid to these classic imports. Two videos below describe in further detail how the individuals, who work for CTAC go about the process of searching for illegal vehicle importations, so that they may be filtered out and dealt with accordingly.
The process of bringing in classic cars to the United States can be a daunting task if done improperly. If done correctly, and with the proper paperwork and parts validation , these procedures can be quite seamless and relatively easy. The import department at Armada Services would be more than happy to help you make the movement of your new purchase as simple and convenient as possible.
Although there are some dissenting opinions on the causal effect of the rise of export volume out of the US, I feel that it is a great sign that American Exporters are gaining ground in the global market. The export volumes speak highly of the Maryland USEAC team led by Bill Burwell and the Maryland DBED International team led by Signe Pringle. The DEC works closely with the USEAC, DBED and the Maryland Port to develop new markets and expand existing markets for businesses in Maryland and D.C.
The Wall Street Journal (8/7, Cronin) reports that the US trade deficit fell 22 percent in June to $34.2 billion from $44.1 billion in May, the Department of Commerce reported on Tuesday. This is the lowest figure since October 2009. Exports were up sharply, while imports were down as oil purchases dropped. Economists estimate that the results could significantly boost the original estimate of a 1.7 percent GDP growth rate notched in the second quarter.
It’s not all high hopes as The Hill (8/7, Wasson) reports the slowing “imports could also reflect a decline in consumer sentiment that several respected surveys reflected for June.”
Some of the positive impact on the deficit could be short lived, as the decrease in oil imports is always a volatile event.
USA Today (8/6, Mullaney) reports JPMorgan Chase economist Daniel Silver chalked up the drop in oil imports to “the ongoing exploitation of newly commercialized reserves embedded in shale rock and tar sands.” June was also good for aircraft manufacturers, “and exports of finished petroleum products like gasoline and liquified natural gas grew,” IHS Global Insight economist Greg Daco said.
The AP (8/7, Crutsinger) reports exports to the European Union increased 1.5 percent. That helped decrease “the deficit with the region to $7.1 billion.” The deficit with China dropped “4.3 percent to $26.6 billion, while America’s deficit with Japan rose 2.2 percent to $5.5 billion in June.” The AP also notes that a “smaller trade deficit lifts economic growth because it means consumers and businesses are spending less on foreign goods than companies are taking in from overseas sales.
Major East Coast Ports are gearing up for the expansion of the Panama Canal in 2015 with deepened berths and larger cranes in hopes of increasing container ship traffic from India and Asia, two markets that traditionally ship to West Coast US Ports. The Panama Canal expansion will allow the larger capacity container vessels to pass through, opening up new trade route options between the eastern seaboard and Asia.
Baltimore, along with Norfolk, is the only current East Coast Port equipped to handle the larger capacity container lines with the freshly deepened Seagirt berth and the installation of four, 40 story Super Post-Panamax Cranes. Currently West Coast ports handle about 75% of Asian imports but once the Canal expansion is complete, the East Coast options will be attractive to Asian companies.
What this all means is that our industry is growing and should continue to grow.