Sunday, October 21, 2012

The New Scientific Commercial Firm (SCF) Technoavia LLC Rysachok arrives

One hard road to tow is finding an aircraft that meets all present certifications and has multi-national blessing on production sales. Now we have a fairly recent aircraft that could find excellent utility in the Labrador Aircraft market. Both as a passenger aircraft or freighter. Meet Rysachok:

Photo courtesy of:

 Racehorse (english for Rysachok) is an interesting beast indeed. Featuring General Electric's new H80 turboprop. A new version of the excellent Walther M601 design that GE purchased. Service history of this engine is extensively known as one of the most trouble free designs. Especially in the Let 410 series which plies the world over as we speak. The H80 benefits from some new GE technology. Primarily making the M601 more efficient in flow. And adding some very nice materials that all but eliminate fuel nozzle and hot core inspections. While increasing shaft power and hot and high performance while almost doubling engine life to 6,600!!!!! Very nice.

                                                          Photo courtesy of:

The Racehorse is supposed to carry up to 19, though that seems a bit cramped. It can operate from grass strips of 500 meter length. Some very good features of this aircraft is a somewhat higher top speed of 211 knots. It has an economical cruise speed of 135 knots. A very good range of 1080 nmi (2000km or 1243 miles) with a 1570kg (3450 pounds) payload.

 To watch a russian video relating to production of Racehorse, click here.

 In yet another interesting event, Rysachok is produced by Samara Space Center. One of the main producers of large Russian Spacecraft. Yes it is practically built by Rocket Scientist. Which would clearly convey an excellent reputation to the quality of the aircraft. Oddly the Samara website says it is a 15 seat aircraft. In various articles it also seems blessed with anti-icing gear as one would expect. All in all I would think this aircraft could compete very well in Labrador.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Greetings viewers and readers. It has been a while since I managed some posting. I have been watching the transport news on the Labrador coast on the Northern Ranger and it seems it is the usual debacle. The prevailing powers not even able to agree if the ship is done for the remainder of the shipping season. I am really stunned by the lack of ire from the Nunatsiavut Government. Surely they recognize no economic development will ever occur without a reliable shipping arrangement. And that freight costs will only drop with a steady stream of in and OUT bound goods. Nevermind that freight and Ferry operations are best served by separate ships.
 There was even a curious mention by the transport minister of a hybrid service. I am not sure of what exactly he speaks of. I suspect it is the odd Hoverflight 90 being pushed in Australia. Which is similar to an ACV which Canada is well familiar with. The Hoverflight 90 vehicle simply being a fully water tight hulled version with streamlined cushions for higher speeds. Meaning it floats better if stopped. Now add wings and more powerful engines and you get the whole ungainly thing airborne, much like the Russian Wing in ground affect vehicles. There are also genuine WIG's like the proposed Beriev BE-2500 of Russia. But suffice it to say neither exists in this world today. And no one can accurately say just how effective they would be in service. They would have some liabilities as well as advantages too.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Unit Load Devices? Would they work?

The most promising idea thus far has been looking at the Unit Load Devices currently in mostly airline use. They are far smaller then the typical TEU container. And clearly would offer a dual plus of remaining usable in aviation as well as shipping. They also come in specialized versions for cold food or medical shipping.

 The problem then will be to identify which containers would offer the most benefit per size. Clearly if one is using Marine shipping, having the largest handy size is a must. And for ease of handling by ground crew and smaller aircraft, having a smaller unit in two weight ranges opens up flexibility. For the forseeable future I can not envision aviation not being the best choice for food and medical transport.

 Potentially I find most use for three different specific units. The LD-3. A smaller unit, likely more handy for use on smaller outport stops and also general jet aviation operations. The LD3-45. Which is a slightly lighter version of the same container. But carries less then the 3000 pound load common to many small STOL aircraft. And lastly the LD-11. The largest rectangular unit that conveys better then 6000 pounds payload.

 Mind you, I think it prudent that limited TEU container capability should still be called for. In both 20 and 40 foot sizes. But it should not be the only choice. I am thinking a ship carrying 4 to 8 40 footers at most. Plus at least a dozen 20 footers too. Apart from a bevy of all three types of LD container.

 In this way we are maximizing our investment in LD containers. Which could simply be handled with standard commercial fork lifts. And toss in a four wheel dolly and you could also tow them off with a normal pick up truck, large snow vehicle or tractor. With the added plus they are only 65 inches high. Meaning pulling one in a building would be easy if desired. Try that with a Sea-can.

A LD-11 dolly:

An LD-11 Diagram:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Divergent, possibly aberrant thought

Once more the situation in the Arctic gives pause for thought. With freight cost causing insane food prices and locking Inuit Economic development in a vice of death; new thinking is called for. Often I have heard from many those dwelling in the North want freight and personal transport a certain way. And that it must be unified. For many reasons I do not accept this premise. Depending on the current Ro-Ro oriented passenger Ships is a formula for expensive operations. Which in itself creates a rare niche of very large and over-powered ships. Which are expensive to build. Drink fuel like there is no tomorrow. And are costly to maintain to multiple tough standards. Suffering a triple whammy of passenger regulations, Ice classed Standards, and Cargo regulations.

 For these reasons I find the best long term solution would be to exercise the recruitment of various ice classed General Cargo Ships. Preference being given to having at least a 30 ton crane and tween decks. And leaning to some Ro-Ro capability. But here we only derive a partial solution. As the short shipping season rears it's ugly head. A big problem, especially in terms of financing ships of Ice Classed operations. Essentially dictating any ship plying these routes carry a big mortgage payment to start with.

 In the past this would have been seen as a problem. And it is to a degree. But in seeing another common complaint, we might have a silver lining. This complaint being the use of Sea-cans...err rather TEU containers that are in use everywhere. The problem being the poor state of containers. The rather bad loading and sorting of them. And the total lack of container handling equipment in nearly all ports they abandon them in.

 This means two things. A) We need to examine smaller container types. And B) With a smaller container use, we can look at smaller, more fuel efficient ships. Now add in the desire to extend the shipping season past what mother nature allows and we have a new opportunity.

 What is needed is a ship sometimes. And sometimes as mother nature permits; an Air cushioned Vehicle. And in this case I would propose a ship that in ice season, modularly becomes an Air Cushioned Vehicle. Not one we know in the common sense. But one that could make way in heavy winds at a leisurely pace, not much faster then it is normally accustomed to. Having enough installed power to push her over terrain it needs to tackle. In this case perhaps around some shorelines and beaches to avoid winter storms.

 Yes. I know. It sounds daft at first, but more is yet to come on this line of mental gestation.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The sad state of shipping redux in Labrador

Well some things change yet; some things remain the same. Reading Nain Bay blog ; it appears the M.V. Northern Ranger is yet again having problems getting to sea.

Sometimes one wonders if the first Northern Ranger suffered these same maladies:

It seems the ship annually fails to deploy. Or if she does, problems arise and she gets stuck in route. According to her Wiki, she is a small coastal ferry:
Type:Ice-breaking coastal ferry
Tonnage:2,340 GT
Length:72 m (236 ft 3 in)
Beam:15.6 m (51 ft 2 in)
Draft:4.25 m (13 ft 11 in)
Speed:14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph)
Capacity:131 passengers

Naturally she is run by Woodard. A company that seems to walk hand in hand with sub-standard equipment and poor maintence. Quite differently then the sunny and paradoxic appraisal of  running history given here at this tourism site. I guess I can't fault them too much, they are trying to attract tourist. Though I doubt they would ever return if they actually ran the boat.

Worse news still. The Canadian Coast Guard is looking to decommission the CCGV Harp based out of St. Anthony currently. The rational given the ship is too slow/ they want to privatize bouy tending. This is bad news since the Harp routinely plies off Labrador. It seems the Maritime situation gets worse every day for Nunatsiavut

Friday, June 08, 2012

Really wanting to blog today. Can't settle on a subject. I blame this on this pain in the wrist from yesterday's Carpal Tunnel surgery. One gift to humanity on this subject. If they give you a choice of the procedure with or without Bier Block; take the Bier Block. Far less pain I promise you. It is not tooo bad though.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Russia finally orders Antonov AN-70

Well it was a painful birthing process, but the Russia's VTA (Military Transport Service) has finally ordered 60 of the outstanding AN-70 Air Freighters.

Coverage is here.

 It is great to see politics laid aside and a worthy global competitor un-leashed on the STOL market. Particularly for heavy lift capabilities. Congratulations to Antonov and here is wishing the VTA a great success with their new aircraft.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Sorry folks. Been recreating and saling this weekend. As usual we made it to our favorite Saltwater venue. That being Jekyll Island Georgia. I guess we need to shell out $40 bucks and buy the annual pass. We are almost there now in trips this year. What is great about Jekyll is it has a lot of moderately upscale places, plus affordable things too. There is a good wiki on the island . We like it because there are so many areas you can fish. While some are very touristy and crowded(the north pier comes to mind); there are a number of spots that are still not well known to non-locals. (one of our secret spots below)

 The crabbing can be very gratifying. While numbers are not great, the size of the crabs is excellent. Yesterday for instance we landed the largest Stone crab I have ever seen in 40 plus years of salt fishing. But we also landed half a dozen Blue Crabs over 7 inches. And better then a dozen over 5 inches, which are legal keepers. Maddingly though you invariably throw back many just under legal length.

 We also landed 11 small Black Tip sharks.

 Over a dozen Southern King Whiting. 5 Atlantic Croakers. And a quite nice Black Drum that I caught on my Ultra Light rig. Which was a lot of fun. We lost a goody number of fish. Mostly on Oyster bar or piling snags. Poor Homer( My girlfriend Teresa's son). He turned his back for just a second and his brand new $80 Ultralight pole became a sacrifice to Neptune. Despite about an hour's worth of effort trying to snag it with a cast net. I am still stewing about the monster fish that hit my Ultralight just before leaving. He darn near snapped it in half. And stripped line of my fine little Shimano effortlessly. Knocking down four poles and ultimately snagging the dock. I will be back for you with more Electric Chickens my son!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Something new and different

Up until now there have been few aviation developments to write about. Though there are a few aircraft we have not covered. Today we are viewing the new Dornier Seastar CD2. A unique new amphibious aircraft of composite fiber construction.

There are a number of interesting capabilities and facts on this aircraft. While the layout and design shows a lot of Dornier design heritage; the features used timelessly convey many excellent characteristics. The back to back centerline engines give simple and safe thrust lines free from torque issues. The low down beefy  sponsons soak up landing forces and hold a copious amount of fuel advantageous to maintaining a healthy center of gravity. The cabin enjoys very good vision.

 The carbon fiber construction provides a much lighter weight while maintaining a very tough structure. Meaning the aircraft can do more with less power/ or carry more given weight. This shows up quite well in direct aircraft comparisons. Where the Seastar absolutely murders the venerable Twin Otter Float plane. Taking 12 passengers/2400lbs nearly 900 miles compared to barely 300 miles for the old Twotter. And flying 50 knots faster while doing so.

 Maintence wise the old Twotter looks terrible as well on practically all fronts. It's old tech aluminum airframe at many disadvantages. Another great thing for the Seastar is that is being built right in Cananda.

 The only down side to the Seastar is it is not very cheap. Last I heard going for about $6 mil apiece. Though a comparative new build Twotter will set you back $4.5 mil each. I suppose it comes down to how much you plan to spend in maintaining your twotter safely.

 And lastly in keeping with our mission of bulldogging aircraft with useful STOL capability for the wilds of Labrador; the Seastar CD2 will take off and land within 500 meters. Whether you do it wet or dry.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Been real busy lately. Teresa's store: has finally got the dodgy bits removed and is google approved now. Got the printer running and we have grand baby Amanda in the house. Been reading about really high food costs on the North Coast once more. How many more studies are needed? There are many great solutions. But the only provincial intent seems to be making shipping companies rich. I think my Nunatsiavut and NunatuKavut relatives and friends will have to hold firm to see any improvement. Plus with Burton Winter still fresh in our minds, there is clearly much room for improving Labrador Transportation. Oh my. The Aurora flight contract tift too. Time passes and little changes it seems. Oh yes. The last bit of info today. I fired off a query to the board that is overseeing the 2012 renewal of the Marine Mammal Protection act. Wondering if they would finally put in an exemption for Harp Seal Pelts for all Aboriginal communities in Canada. Reminding them that the ban on importation was a crushing economic blow to our communities. I hope for a response from them. It would be great to use the SEUS trade agreement to help open trade in pelts imported to the USA. There is a great market un-tapped here. If any of my Facebook family and friends have an interest, feel free to inbox me.

Monday, February 20, 2012

What would a real Bush pilot build for an aircraft?

Or perhaps this story should be "How Angels Fly." As usual click the title to view the AAC website. Very rarely in life do we find something intrinsically "done right" In the case of the AAC Angel we witness the hard labor of love to create an aircraft uniquely and innately woven into the fabric of STOL flying in remote and rough places. That also usually delivers outstanding utility and load lifting capability for it's class. And does so in a very graceful way:

At first glance one wonders how an elegant looking prop aircraft is so suited for this demanding role. A quick look around the aircraft gives away it's attributes. Large long span flaps:

Capable of over a 1900lb. load:

With a big beefy tricycle landing gear to soak up rough terrain. And a big double door access:

Powered by a pair of tried and true Lycoming IO-540's this planes reeks and oozes reliability. Helping endowing the aircraft with a STOL take off over a 50ft. obstacle in a meager 1404 foot run. And clear a 50 ft. obstacle in 1046ft on landing. And something rather unusual is this craft can throttle back to 35% power and cruise a mind boggling 13.1 hours covering 1270 miles. Not your normal short legged STOL bush hopper for sure. Need a great plane for Labrador? Call AAC.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Let L410/420 brochure

Just an update on the capabilities of a great aircraft for Labrador. Just click the article title to load the adobe presentation. Note it also has an air ambulance version which far surpasses that currently available in Newfoundland. For a number of reasons the L410 is more economical to operate. Primarily due to the superlative Walter 601E/F turboprop engines. Which use less overall fuel compared to the larger PT6-34/35 used on the venerable Twin Otter. This despite a slightly high fuel consumption rate. Due to the design the Wather 601E is much smoother in operation and does not suffer the combustor issues the PT-6-34/35 does. In fact; the superiority of this engine is so inescapable, GE just acquired Walter and has incorporated some of it's own technology to produce the new H80 turboprop. An engine that now produces 850shp and benefits from the high altitude characteristics of the M601E-11A.

Another interesting fact is the stilled L610. A larger plane based on the L410 series. This craft was also ordered by a former Soviet Airline for operations in cold and high places. But given a new H80 powered L420 already meeting FAR23 requirements, the L610 could be an option for later. This aircraft would be my choice for passenger or VIP services in Labrador. Especially given the far superior taller cabin for passengers. Which precludes subjecting Labradorians from becoming hunchbacks exiting a toothpaste tube.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Burton Winters tragedy

The wide geographic nature and equipment of SAR assets should give pause as exactly what solution is sought to address the shortfall of coverage. Particularly for very remote Labrador. While Helicopters are universally acknowledged as the best solution, they also have downfalls.

As well one must consider the activities of likely candidates for SAR services. And equipment sized for range and capability required. One must recall Labrador has an immense maritime fishery. As well as Alpine venues which may require large group rescues. Somethings that would require very large and expensive to operate helicopters.

Further one must recognize fixed wing assets have unique advantages in lower operating costs. More availability. Some are Marine environment capable. Offer much long range. Have much faster transit times. And can often portage larger loads given an equal capital outlay.

This is not to say Helicopters are not needed. They definitely are. They are UN-equaled in Alpine settings. Can access very small areas planes sometimes can't. And given forward basing can offer good coverage.

My point in this post is we need to look with clarity as what will be needed and find a long term and durable solution to support all residents of Newfoundland and Labrador. As well as design financial support for equipment, personal, training and real operating costs likely.