Cygnus Aviation Expo 2011

This year’s Cygnus Aviation Expo featured many opportunities for attendees. Whether for the purpose of making and maintaining industry connections, displaying companies’ newest products, or just learning about new technologies and industry issues, crowds of exhibitors and general attendees gathered at the show at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The show included 227 exhibitors showcasing their products on the floor. The expo included events like the Career Fair to link employers with the qualified experts they seek and networking events to encourage wider interaction. At the same time, sections like the Demos-on-Demand area allowed attendees to experience equipment first hand, and the Green Pavilion allowed companies to showcase their environmentally friendly product offerings. In addition to these opportunities was a series of seminars, which allowed attendees to learn about issues facing the industry from leading speakers.

Here is a look at the GSE seminars and the topics discussed.

Alternative Technology for GSE: Fuel Cells the Future? Speakers: Lennie Klebanoff, director, Sandia National Laboratory; Greg Moreland, representative, Department of Energy

The seminar focused on developments in fuel cell technology, and options for a sustainable introduction of this technology into ground support operations. This technology includes use of fuel cells as a power source for ground equipment, as well as use as a backup power source in emergency situations. Klebanoff shared information on the development of a mobile light stand, and the marketability of hydrogen cell technology. He sees fuel cells as one of the more viable options for the industry as carbon reduction standards combine with rising fuel prices to necessitate alternative fuel operations. Moreland focused on the advances in fuel hydrogen production through more sustainable methods, including the conversion of decomposition gasses. Discussion also covered government emission regulations, funding options, and overall operational sustainability.

Electric GSE Speakers: Wayne Alexander, Electric Blue Auto Conversions; Ryan Gibson, GSE general manager, AeroVironment

This seminar focused on the implementation of electric GSE and the conversion of diesel to electric as a cost-saving measure. The integration of electric into existing diesel fleets and effective uses of electric systems were featured in discussion. Alexander explained the process of conversion and the difficulties inherent in first-time conversions of new systems, as well as the successes he has had in standardizing conversion kits and methods. The cost and operational effects of the implementation were also featured. Alexander discussed initial costs and the overall effects on the necessary operational and repair budgets as well, and shares insight into effective practices and use of this equipment.

Gibson discussed emerging battery technology and its effects on equipment function. He explained that as batteries are becoming more advanced, their charge speed and duration improves, along with their cycle life, reducing the replacement costs that plagued older batteries. He also explained the financial effects of investments, and that by viewing costs on an amortized basis a company sees remarkable returns on their investment.

VALE Funding Speakers: Calvin Davenger, deputy director of aviation, planning & environmental stewardship division of aviation, Philadelphia International Airport; Bruce Miller, corporate real estate, PHL-Properties/facilities, US Airways

This session focused on VALE funding, giving detailed information on the available grant options and the requirements linked with this funding. Davenger discussed the variety of projects for which this funding can be used, and the restrictions and guidelines linked with these projects. He placed a focus on the airports ability to grow infrastructure such as chargers, electrical capacity and auxiliary power stations through this program, and gave specific focus to the relationship between the airport and its clients required to make effective use of these funds. Although these funds are commonly focused on the implementation of electric infrastructure, he is quick to point out that they can be applied to other alternative fuel systems as well, so long as the positive environmental impact is sufficient. He specifically emphasized the necessity of individual situational awareness and evaluation as groups seek to take advantage of this and other federal grants.

California LSI and Off-road Diesel Regulations for GSE Fleets Speakers: Mark Williams, air pollution specialist, California Air Resources Board; and Elizabeth Yura, air resources engineer, California Air Resources Board

This session focused on CARB emission requirements, the timetables involved in their implementation, and the variety of options available to companies as they seek to meet the emission mandates. In this informative session, Williams explained the calculations used to determine a fleet’s emission requirements and the varied deadlines involved, as well as related restrictions being implemented in conjunction with emission reductions. The extended timetables on implementation of the restrictions were discussed, as were the projected adjusted implementation dates. Yura discussed fleet behavior standards and tagging regulations targeted at limiting extended idling and other wasteful practices.

Human Factors on the Ramp Speaker: Dr. Bill Johnson, chief scientific and technical advisor human factors in aircraft maintenance systems, FAA

The seminar focused on human factor mishaps on the ramp and techniques that can be used to minimize the frequency of these errors. Dr. Johnson focused on awareness of personnel characteristics and task requirements to set up a work environment that is conducive to safety. The discussion included various ways to improve staff’s fitness for duty, including scheduling restrictions to avoid fatigue and periodic observation periods. It also covered ways to make the facility more staff friendly and enhance efficiency and usability, decreasing worker distraction and stress. It is Johnson’s belief that through improved work conditions and a greater awareness of workers’ needs and abilities, the incidents of human error can be greatly reduced.

Deicing Operations and the Environment Speaker: Tim Pohle, managing director - US environmental affairs, ATA

This session featured new EPA regulation of deicing run off and glycol recovery requirements. Pohle discussed the proposed 3-tiered approach to regulation, and the requirements of each tier’s mandates. In the top tier, there will be a requirement for 60% of expended glycol to be collected, stored and treated. The middle tier would be required to collect 20%, and the lowest would be immune from collection requirements, but must cease the use of urea treatment fluid. Discussion also covered available technologies designed to assist with the recovery, including deicing pads and glycol recovery units, which would be required in the larger operations to meet EPA recovery standards. Advances in deicing fluid and the improved environmental safety they entail was also a focus. The difficulties involved in the implementation of new systems and improved deicing methods were also discussed.

Networking Party

This year the expo featured a networking party for attendees to interact with representatives of the 227 exhibiting companies. The event featured live music, food, drinks, and a drawing for a 2011 Ford F-150. Congratulations to Cordell LaBrier, president of Ideal Aviation, Inc. in Sauget, IL, who was the winner of the drawing; as well as the other finalists, one of whom won a Snap-on toolbox, and the rest Snap-on tool kits.