Woman in field with one of Flash Forest’s prototype drones

Startup Aims To Plant 1 Billion Trees By 2028 Using Drones That Transport And Plant Seed Pods

We are losing the oldest species on earth at the rate of 7 billion trees per year. Flash Forest came up with a drone technology that can transport and plant up to 20,000 seed pods per day and access sites that human planters cannot reach. The drones transport the pods and plant them faster and at a lower cost than humans with trucks and shovels. It won’t stop deforestation but it will slow climate change and narrow the gap in the race to restore the planet’s breathing mechanism.

Read more at:

https://www.fastcompany.com/90504789/these-drones-can-plant-40000-trees-in-a-month-by-2028-theyll-have-planted-1-billion

(Photo credit: Flash Forest: One of Flash Forest’s prototype drones. )

Fixed-wing drones that are launched by catapults and recovered using this arrestor system (from Zipline)

Drone Manufacturer Asks FAA To Approve Unmanned Medical Supply Flights In Response To Pandemic

Zipline is offering to setup a drone-based supply chain across the US for distribution of emergency supplies such as medicine, PPE gear, test kits and even blood to ease supply chain blockages. The drones are launched by catapult and recovered by an arrestor system. The company has been operating the drones to deliver emergency medical supplies to remote locations in Africa for several years.  Medical supplies are dropped by parachute to healthcare workers and rushed to areas suffering severe shortages.

Read more at:
https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media/all-news/2020/april/13/zipline-pitches-drones-for-us-coronavirus-relief

(Photo credit: From Zipline via AOPA: Zipline created these fixed-wing drones.)

Man Wearing Face Shield, with Aircraft in Background

Piper Aircraft Applies R&D Ingenuity To Build Superior Medical Masks For Hospitals Faced With A Shortage Of PPE

The engineers at Piper Aircraft came up with a unique solution to the current shortage of masks for healthcare workers. Using a plastic stamping machine and materials normally used in the production  of aircraft interiors, they found a way to utilize in-house equipment and materials for the production of face shields for hospitals on the front line.

Read more about Piper’s engineering turnaround at:

https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media/all-news/2020/march/30/piper-joins-fight-for-coronavirus-relief

(Photo credit: Piper Aircraft via AOPA/Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association)

White Water Boat with cargo with "Houston Express"

Manufacturers Who Cut Inventories And Profit Margins To The Bone Are The Most Vulnerable To The Current Crisis

In order for western manufacturers to remain competitive, many components are sourced from China. When China delays manufacturing, western manufacturers’ ability to finish their products and deliver them to market is impeded. To compound that problem, inventories are typically stockpiled for just 15-30 days due to cost-saving inventory management methods such as “just in time delivery”. That spells double trouble for manufacturers and consumers alike.

Read more about how the current crisis is impacting global supply chains at:
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/03/supply-chains-and-coronavirus/608329/

(Photo credit: Julius Silver)

 

Cargo trucks on a road with cars behind them

Trade Continues Despite US Border Closures with Canada and Mexico

Recent announcements of US border closures with Canada and Mexico state that the borders remain open for trade. Canada’s Transport Minister Marc Garneau explained that truck drivers, train and airline crews are exempt from the restrictions.

Read more about the border closures at: https://www.ttnews.com/articles/us-canada-agree-close-border-remain-open-trade
&
https://www.ttnews.com/articles/us-mexico-border-close-amid-spread-coronavirus

 

(Photo credit:Trucks on the road. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

Back of aircraft being loaded. Aircraft marked "Polar"

Passenger Travel Ban From Europe Causes Severe Disruption Of Air Freight Industry

Some US importers are unaware that the travel ban for passenger flights from Europe will impact their air cargo shipments. The reality is that over 60% of air cargo is carried by passenger aircraft. As a result of the travel ban from Europe to the US, shippers are competing for space on a handful of freighter aircraft, pushing up rates, delaying cargo and diverting traffic through non-European airlines.

Read more at:
https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-travel-ban-is-expected-to-snarl-trans-atlantic-airfreight-11584040963

Flying Car concept - Aeromobil VTOL concept via breakingdefense.com

Air Force Comes Up With Ingenious RFQ To Expedite Development Of Flying Cars

To promote the development of EVTOL cars, the Air Force will issue an RFQ for a program named Agility Prime, soliciting proposals from commercial developers to design a flying car for troops and cargo. The benefit to commercial developers is that military airspace will be made available to the winning bidders to test their aircraft. Access to military ranges will reduce the time required for certification by the FAA by creating a faster track to proof of airworthiness. Developing the technology for both military and commercial applications at inception would prevent the loss of an entire supply chain to early commercial investors, as was the case with the drone market, now controlled by Chinese investors. Uber and Nasa are working on similar concept vehicles for commercial applications.

Read more at: https://breakingdefense.com/2020/02/air-force-pushes-ahead-on-flying-car-challenge/

Uber’s Flying car concept via breakingdefense.com

(Photo credits:
Above: Uber’s Flying car concept via breakingdefense.com
In header: Aeromobil VTOL concept via breakingdefense.com)

Railcar being lifted

Journey of a Typical Railcar from Factory Through Locomotion in Another Country

The international journey of new railcars from factory through installation on a track overseas, is not as simple as booking trailers, a ship and cranes.

It starts with engineering modifications to the railcars to create lifting beams and lashing rings. COG calculations are made to ensure the lifting plan keeps the railcar balanced through the lifting operation. At the same time, early shipments are dispatched with tracks, welding equipment and materials, communication and signal systems, depot structures and fixtures as well as track maintenance equipment.

A local crew starts installing the tracks and associated equipment at destination while the railcars are being built and custom fitted with lifting and lashing points for the journey.

This complex process is designed and managed by specialists like Overseas Brokers, with the help of marine engineers who assist in creating lifting diagrams noting center of gravity,  drafting of required crane spreader specifications, making angle and clearance calculations, as well as oversight by marine insurance surveyors who supervise every step of the loading/unloading, lashing, lifting, delivery and placement on the final track at destination.

Note: The lifting configuration of the railcar in the photo is designed to maintain a 90 degree angle and keep the railcar level when lifted, to prevent the lifting cables from causing damage to the side panels of the railcar.

Read more about such projects at:

https://www.stattimes.com/royal-cargo-moves-multiple-unit-trains-of-philippine-national-railways-logistics

(Photo Credit – above: Via The STAT Trade Times: “This shipment is the first delivery of PNR trains and seven more new trainsets are set to arrive in 2020.”)

https://www.topgear.com.ph/news/motoring-news/pnr-indonesia-train-coaches-a4354-20191211

Railcar (Philippine National Railways)

(Photo credit: DOTR – via TopGear)

Air Taxi with people standing by

Unmanned Air Taxi Demo Takes Flight

The first ever demonstration of an autonomous air tax  in the US took place January 7 in Raleigh, NC, just 200 miles from the site of the Wright Brothers first powered flight. Although the demo was unmanned, the taxi can carry 2 passengers or cargo.

Read more about the demo at: https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nc/charlotte/news/2020/01/07/north-america-s-first-autonomous-air-taxi-demonstration-takes-flight-in-raleigh

(Photo credit: From Governor Roy Cooper on Twitter – via Spectrum News’ site)

Fuel Efficent Aircraft

Mysterious Bullet-Shaped Aircraft Appears In The Skies Of California

An experimental aircraft, shrouded in secrecy, has been seen flying near Victorville, CA. Word is that it’s a prototype of the Otto Aviation Celera 500L which according to patents filed, would cruise around 500 mph up to 65,000 feet. The plane is purported to be 10 times more fuel efficient than other jets with similar cruise speeds and much lower operating ceilings.

Read more at:

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/30948/potentially-the-most-revolutionary-aircraft-you-have-never-heard-of-has-flown

(Photo Credit: SoCal Airshow Review)