04 Jun 08. Two companies that were contractors at the now-defunct Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant have been ordered to pay $925 million to residents who claimed contamination blown from the facility endangered people’s health and devalued their property. Dow Chemical Co. on Tuesday denied wrongdoing and said it will appeal. The other contractor, Rockwell International Corp., has in part been purchased by Boeing Co., which said it had no liability for the site. A federal judge on Monday ordered Dow to pay $653m and Rockwell $508m in compensatory damages, but capped the amount to be collected at $725m. Dow and Rockwell also were ordered to pay exemplary damages of $111m and $89m, respectively. The lawsuit, filed by a group of homeowners, affects up to 13,000 people who owned land near the former plant when it shut down in 1989 because of safety violations. The lawsuit claimed the companies intentionally mishandled radioactive waste and then tried to cover it up. Judge John L. Kane stayed his judgment pending the appeals. Boeing is responsible for Rockwell’s portion of the judgment, according to Kane’s order. Boeing spokesman Dan Beck said Rockwell retained responsibility for any Rocky Flats claims when Boeing obtained its defense and space businesses in 1996. Dow spokesman Chris Huntley said the company operated the site “in a manner that was safe and consistent with the standards applicable at that time. (Source: Yahoo!)
29 May 08. Thanks to the research already carried out over the last few decades – for example, the development of three successive generations of the Fenestron® tail rotor – Eurocopter now has the quietest range of helicopters in the world. These efforts are now being pursued and intensified, in order to comply with ever stricter and widerranging environmental requirements. For several years, Eurocopter has been carrying out research as part of the Optimal and Friendcopter programmes in cooperation with some 30 partners. The primary concern of this research is to reduce noise pollution:
– by reducing aerodynamic noise through the development of active noise control systems for main rotors
– by reducing engine noise through studies on engine integration, the shape, position and design of tail pipes and air intake. Significant efforts are also being devoted to developing quieter flight procedures. A major flight test campaign was performed with an EC130 in 2007 to test a wide array of situations – including takeoffs, approaches and cruising. This work earned the team international recognition in the form of the Cheeseman prize for ‘best helicopter-related technical publication’, which was presented at last year’s European Rotorcraft Forum in Kazan, Russia and at the American Helicopter Society Forum in Montreal, Canada. Similar tests are currently being conducted using an EC135 and are being accompanied by the development of a software tool called HELENA (HELicopter Environmental Noise Analysis) that predicts noise footprints and will help to define procedures that can be adapted to every helicopter type. Eurocopter is playing a major role in the European Clean Sky programme, which was officially launched on 5 February 2008, and which is of interest to the entire aeronautical industry. Clean Sky has defined six research platforms or ITDs (Integrated Technology Demonstrators), including the Green Rotorcraft platform, which is specifically devoted to helicopters and tilt-rotor aircraft. Certain research activities also cross over: the Systems for Green Operations ITD covers electrical power systems; the Eco-Design ITD concerns the complete industrial cycle; and part of the Sustainable and Green Engines ITD focuses on the design of turbine engines for helicopters.
27 May 08. Now Spraydown delivers fuel savings of up to 4%. As transport operators come under increasing pressure because of rising fuel costs, Spraydown, the revolutionary Heavy Goods Vehicle spray suppression system, has announc