Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Memorable Quotes; where do they come from?

Have you ever wondered where all of those snazzy quotes come from? Who records all of those unique phrases attributed to people? Who decides who gets credit for them? Have you yourself ever come up with any? Totally original lines you never heard before?

 To date I recall three. For years my email sig line was either:

"Filled with Fruit like Filling." or

"Apparently Providence knows no bounds."

My latest missive is:

 "People are said to leave sheltered lives. Just make sure your shelter is a Blimp Hanger and not a Phone booth."

I'm sure there are others in deep memory recall somewhere. Do you have any clever, unique sayings? Post them here and perhaps history will remember us!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas to all!

Here's wishing you all enjoy a good holiday season, no matter what your religion is. The Season has kept us busy and occupied fairly heavily and posting time is few and far between. Hopefully the new year will bring better changes to the saga of transport issues in Labrador Canada. Alas  the province of Newfoundland is badly foot dragging on a new ship to replace the often broken down MV Northern Ranger. The Department of Transportation not even commissioning a request for a replacement yet.

In my analysis I'm seriously considering the Harbin Y-12F as a definitive option in place over the Beriev BE-32. The only problem there is the idea of finance. It would be easier perhaps to seek Russian financing and procure two types of Russian aircraft and try to get them to also fund a small portion for a non-Russian aircraft. With a lease option on a few AN-70's. Originally that seemed promising with a package of the IL-114-100, the BE-32K-100 and the AAC Angel.

 The AAC Angel could be substituted by the new Racehorse aircraft and it would give a full Turbine powered fleet. But the production of the IL-114-100 is also now in doubt. There is the SU-80 but it's much smaller. And I really shudder to replace the AAC Angel as it is far more useful in serving very small Island and Coastal towns too small to justify any other air service.

 The other issue is the fare system, which is not really applicable to this market. The idea is to do this marginally over cost. Just covering operations, staff and maintenance. Currently the Aviation market uses aircraft that require heavy subsidies from the government. It's ironic that I suspect the most economically sound aircraft would most likely be the largest and smallest aircraft being considered. Which is yet another option. And let the rest of the market serve the other segments.

 For sure though the first choice of doing business up there would be an energy company. Targeting Peat and Natural Gas in the area. With peat being job one. For so many reasons Peat is so applicable to Labrador. It can easily power small Labrador communities in a green and carbon positive manner without destroying the bogs. It can offer a huge solution to community waste disposal. It can join with the distressed timber industry and offer valuable exports for cash income.

 Using wise peat harvesting practices, peat electric and heating stations could slowly spread to all of our communities. Giving local jobs and security. This would also provide benefit to add to the marine shipping industry both locally and abroad.

 Let us hope the new year brings some of all of it!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sweet Frieda


Friday, September 13, 2013

AVIC/ Harbin Y-12F

My apologies to Yannick. It seems AVIC/Harbin has made something a bit more different. Though it seems to be a work in progress with things not fully clear. We seem to have the Y-12F referred to as Aircar. Though the AVIC site seems new and some details are missing. And we also see references to a Y-12F Twin Panda. Different name and factory but here we see PWC PT6A-65B's are spec'ed in as powerplant.

 What is clear is the pedestrian old Y-12 got a makeover and power boost. Gaining some much needed width to cater more toward larger western customers. The looks are much improved with the new aerodynamics and fully retractable gear as well. Cruise speed is now a very respectable 390km/h (242mph for you retro types). And much to my liking, a full 3000kg payload with a 540 meter take off run and a 420 meter landing run. Though it's not clear if that's over a 16 meter obstacle or not.

 What is really nice is that the full passenger layout of 19 seats you get a good 1300 kilometer ( 807 mile) range with a 45 minute and 200 nm reserve. That does not sound right though. Maybe either or? In full cargo loading, you get 770 kilometers ( 478 miles) of range. Ferry range is stated at 2650 Kilometers ( 1647 miles).

 This promises to be a very worthy contestant. Though we need some clarification on the particulars. I personally would opt for PWC PT6A-67B's however. Which would add 100hp per engine being the same dimensions.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Peat for Energy in Labrador: Initial Jobs potential

 When looking at the inaugural operations of the pilot Peat operation, we need to pin down the most likely economic model for start up. Ideally in a perfect world, a co-generation plant providing steam for making peat products and electricity to power the plant and local community would be the ultimate goal. However that will be the target of initial operations after proving the concept via a mobile processing system.

  One of the limiting economic factors of peat as an energy source is it's high water content level. Which makes distance to market or end use a key concern. Also pivot-able is preserving the peat deposit with as little damage as possible. These factors dictate as little road development as possible and keeping de-watering in close proximity to the target deposit. This applies to the marketable peat product sold for home energy , horticultural and filter media use. Paradoxically it turns out solid media co-gen plants actually work better with higher water content. But for pilot purposes, we will stick to "near bog" processing of the peat for maximum economic benefit.

  By going with a "near bog" processing site, we have a higher density fuel product available, meaning we gain more money per pound or kilo of product moved. We also greatly lower fuel requirements for machinery harvesting and moving the product. This is partially offset by powering the mobile processing station. It may or may not be feasible to derive the power from a wet peat fueled boiler/generator station. However this may be cost prohibitive at start up. But has it's attractions. Alternatively it could be powered by diesel generators. Something I would prefer to avoid.

 Additionally you have the mobile processing station itself. This would be a system mounted on trailers which will do a number of chores. There would be a dump pan/sorter that feeds presses. The presses themselves. Conveyors to move treated product to a filling or bagging area. For enviromental purposes, some other things are needed. An area to treat pressed water(done by peat itself), a clean up team using very small dozer like machines, and an operation to move and place matts and cut top sod to preserve the bog.

 This will give some basic idea of the scope involved.

What peat weighs- by cubic yards.

Here are a few handy averages for peat weight/volume. Of course it will vary by water content. These figures are taken from the USGS commodity report for peat BTW:

The density in kg/cu meter  by common types of peat:

sphangnum moss 170-220

hypnum moss 480-580

reed-sedge  560-600

Humus 800-1060

Or pounds/cubic yard:

sphangnum moss 286-371

hypnum moss 809-977

reed-sedge  943-1011

Humus 1348-1786

Or lastly, we have cubic yards required for one ton (2000 pounds):

sphangnum moss 286-371  or between  6.99 and 5.39 cubic yards to make a ton

hypnum moss 809-977     or between  2.47 and 2.05 cubic yards to make a ton

reed-sedge  943-1011    or between  2.12 and 1.98 cubic yards to make a ton

Humus       1348-1786   or between  1.48 and 1.12 cubic yards to make a ton

This gives us a rough guide stick to figure processing and harvesting estimates.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Quality of Russian and Chinese aircraft

 What are the considerations of buying aircraft from China or Russia? What is the quality and durability? Of course aircraft vary by particular model, so it is case dependent. But many circumstances present determine the ultimate determination.

 The ultimate last word is achieving an FAA approval. This would be meeting the various Air Worthiness ratings as listed here(the typical ones). If an aircraft meets these criteria, then it is definitely an aircraft built to recognizable standards. One other major consideration are equipment options. Now that there are so many co-produce engines and avionics, the playing field is leveled.

 Differences probably will be minor. And I find all builders wish to make a good product. As far as I know none wishes to sell substandard products. This is where misconceptions lay. These builders use the best local materials as demanded by whatever markets they cater too. You simply have to be quite specific about your needs and follow up on making sure it happens. And remember a fit out of interiors acceptable in the third world might not be advisable on aircraft targeting western flyers.

 Make no mistake, Russians in particular can outfit aircraft with very lavish interiors. Much more so then I would specify. I'm sure the Chinese can as well. It will come down to what YOU require. What you need to do is look for other reasons to buy their products. For instance what about terms? How about bulk financing. Can you seek marketing rights for the aircraft in your home market? How will spares and c-checks be handled? Can your financing cover multiple types of aircraft, perhaps even a few foreign ones to fill out your fleet requirements?

Of course you also have to check how your intended aircraft would fit into the local infrastructure. I find by mixing in western engines and avionics, Russian and Chinese aircraft are excellent choices. You just have to underpin their chance of success by providing capital and maintenance capacity.

 As far as any fleets of my own, no there is none......yet. From my point of view the transportation project is secondary to the energy and mining project. But in a perfect world I already know what fleet I will look into. About 6 AN-70's. 6 IL-114-100's 12 BE-32K's and 12 AAC Angels. The BE-32K's would actually be bought to help foster a possible new model. Much more attuned to Canada and flexible for multi-role use.

 Incidentally that is a niche problem the Harbin product faces along with the LET-410 and BE-32K. They do not come out to well against the Twin Otter. The LET and BE-32K both have potential to beat the Twin Otter. Actually it is a bit unfair to cast the Harbin aircraft against any of the other three. It is more in competition with aircraft typical of the South pacific(PAC XL-750, Super Caravans). It's sort of between all of them really though. The real killer against the first three is airspeed.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The case of Peat. Moving Labrador forward.

Just a bit of underlying reasons why a Peat mining operation could be a major boon for Labrador communities up and down the coast. Offering multiple scalable benefits to all communities. Even though green groups have dismay towards peat mining, the benefits are very tough to ignore. And of course Labrador is blessed with many types of peat resource. Very few which would need to be harvested. And that which is would be done so under best practices of the International Peat Society. And only by the much preferred wet harvesting Technic  which not only preserves the bogs or mires, but spurs additional carbon capture then what was originally present.

 First off, any mining start up would be small. Both for economic and resource assessment needs. Potential sites would need proving. Equipment would need to be prepared and tested. This really is an odd venture in terms of harvesting equipment. Much more on that later. Products would have to be prioritized. There are numerous products available. And to my notion, the products which could benefit  Labrador communities directly would be the first choice. The products that can spawn income would have to be investigated.

The most obvious products are:

Energy Products - Not only pelletized peat, but also pelletized peat incorporating excess forestry cuttings and later peat converted to natural gas. And in the long run, Methane collection straight from the marshes and bogs could be explored.

Filter Media - Peat is natures most versatile filtering agent. Being uniquely usable in cold northern climates as well. And is also handy for spill clean up. Here is an excellent chance to address sewage treatment issues in all Labrador communities.

Horticulture - Here is the typical use of peat. Both as a soil improver for moisture retention and in secondary means in the form of peat containers. Which could prove a good over winter job activity during those months. All without the fuel intensive, rough on the bog system of harvesting peat in that current industry.

In the long term pelletized and log peat would be a desirable product for home heating. Pellets could also replace those dirty diesel electric plants up and down the coast. Relegating the diesel units as back up. They could even be converted to run on natural gas derived from the peat later. This is clearly the number one justification on mining the peat. And will eventually lead to opportunities for in Labrador jobs in directly mining, and in processing the peat. Also in transporting and marketing the peat in our communities.

 In this vein it would be most economical to ship the peat in bulk and offload it by vacuum lift into bulk storage bins not unlike Grain silos. Once offloaded, they could be dumped into bulk containers on vehicles or bagged for local use. Eventually bulk natural gas could be also offloaded and sold via a filling station. Obviously other bulk tanks would address local power stations. Or fill orders for filtering media.