5 months ago

HPM: Airbus A220 assembly line project gaining momentum in Alabama

MOBILE, Alabama – On the campus of Airbus’ Alabama manufacturing facility, construction crews are completing the early phases of a project that represents the next chapter of the aerospace company’s U.S. growth plans.

Work on the A220 aircraft assembly line in Mobile is moving forward rapidly, just months after high-ranking Airbus executives joined state and local leaders at an official groundbreaking ceremony at the site.

“We are well into construction,” said Greg Ellis, vice president for program development at HPM, the Birmingham-based firm overseeing the project. “The site is full of tower cranes and tons of yellow equipment. It looks like ants on a hill right at the moment.”

For HPM, the new project is a déjà vu moment. The firm oversaw the construction of Airbus’ A320 Family manufacturing facility at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley industrial park, a $600 million investment that gave the aircraft maker its first U.S.-based commercial aircraft assembly site.

The facility now being built on the Mobile campus is also strategically significant as it will allow Airbus to produce a second aircraft type in Alabama — the single-aisle A220 passenger jet to meet the demands of U.S. airlines.

It’s also an extension of the partnership the Alabama firm has forged with Airbus.

“The relationship with Airbus has played an integral role in the growth of HPM, and we’re honored to expand our partnership on the new A220 assembly line,” said Ryan Austin, chief operations officer at HPM. “Through past projects, we have cultivated a mutual respect and keen understanding of the strategic processes and objectives for each organization.

“Those symmetries will enable us to deliver a top-caliber facility that will help Airbus to achieve its production goals and will ultimately contribute to increased growth and prosperity for the city of Mobile and state of Alabama,” he said.

RENEWED PARTNERSHIPS

Though the groundbreaking ceremony was staged just five months ago, HPM’s work on the project actually started in Spring 2018, when it began working on programming efforts with Airbus and its A220 partner, Canadian aircraft maker Bombardier, according to Ellis.

HPM then teamed with the engineering and development firm Mott MacDonald, a partner on the A320 project, to draw up a master plan and assemble the design build and construction teams for the new project.

HPM tapped Brasfield & Gorrie, which built the A320 assembly line, for the same role in the A220 project. Another Birmingham-based firm, BL Harbert International, is adding four additional hangar bays to support A220 and A320 production.

Both are moving forward for a fast-track delivery for Airbus, which aims to begin assembling A220 aircraft at the site this summer.

Ellis said BL Harbert has topped out the steel structures for the new bays and begun pouring slabs and enclosing the buildings. Brasfield & Gorrie is already into steel construction and prepping areas for an underground tunnel that will run within the assembly line.

“They’ve got all the foundation systems installed and all of the temporary shoring. They are closing in on about 50 percent completion with the building of the final assembly line,” Ellis said. “Over the next 60 days, we’ll start to install roof and exterior wall systems once they get the steel far enough along.”

A future phase of the project calls for an expansion of the delivery center on the Airbus campus, where more than 120 Alabama-made A320 Family aircraft have already been delivered to eight U.S.-based airline customers.

“This will be a nice enhancement to the facility there and will bring a little more prominence and ceremony to the delivery of aircraft in Mobile,” Ellis said.

Once the new facility is at full production, Airbus plans to build four A220 aircraft each month.

The company is hiring more than 400 new workers to staff the new assembly line and is also adding jobs to increase production of A320 Family aircraft in Alabama. Read a story on Airbus’ hiring plans.

MEETING GOALS

The A220 project’s accelerated timeline has prompted HPM to take a different approach than the one it used with the original assembly line.

“This is a bit more streamlined. We are designing while building, while we are prepping for equipment to be installed, so that as soon as things are tested and approved, we can begin working with the operations team to bring aircraft through the facility,” Ellis said.

Another challenge for HPM is that the heavy-duty construction work must be performed on the site of a major manufacturing facility.

“We cannot in any way, shape, form or fashion impact their ongoing operations. That is a unique challenge in and of itself,” he said.

‘LAUNCHING PAD’

Since completing the A320 assembly line project for Airbus, HPM has been involved in several large-scale aerospace and aviation projects, including Aerojet Rocketdyne’s new advanced manufacturing facility in Huntsville, and expansion projects for MRO companies VT MAE and HAECO America.

Earlier this year, HPM was selected to help Boom Aviation locate, design and build a manufacturing facility for its planned supersonic airliner. Two years ago, HPM began its work alongside the properties and facilities teams of FedEx Express throughout the U.S. managing airport and runway projects, enhancing sorting facilities and renovating offices.

“The A320 project was really our launching pad into aerospace and aviation,” Ellis said.

Since then, HPM has also worked with global manufacturers such as Continental Tire and Mercedes-Benz, which is adding a second campus to its industrial footprint in Alabama.

“When you work for an international client the size and magnitude of Airbus, and you satisfy and please them, the rest of the world stands up and takes notice,” Ellis said.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

39 mins ago

Former Bama star Jalen Hurts befriends bullied boy — ‘It meant the world to me’

Former University of Alabama star quarterback Jalen Hurts continues to be an exemplary role model.

This past weekend, Hurts’ current team — the University of Oklahoma Sooners — hosted 12-year-old Rayden Overbay as their special guest.

Overbay, who has autism, Type 2 diabetes and is deaf in one ear, went viral recently — but not for a good reason. The boy made national headlines after being assaulted by bullies in two separate incidents, each recorded on video.

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Hurts heard about Overbay’s story, and the Heisman contender spent time with him after the Sooners’ game against Iowa State on Saturday in the locker room.

In a video posted by ESPN, Hurts can be seen signing a football for the boy before telling him that he and his teammates are behind him.

Hurts also told OU Daily how important the experience was to him.

The quarterback said Overbay inspires him.

“I mean honestly, Rayden is an inspiration to me,” Hurts said. “I told him he was a soldier for just how he handled himself. It meant the world to me honestly to meet him. That whole meeting was great for me, and he has a friend in me.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 hours ago

Siegelman: Expect a Roy Moore-Doug Jones rematch in 2020

Now that former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is officially a candidate for U.S. Senate, many political prognosticators say he is a lock to regain the Senate seat he held for two decades, which is currently occupied by Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook).

Not so fast, says former Democrat Gov. Don Siegelman.

During an appearance on WVNN’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” Siegelman predicted Sessions would fade and argued the race would be won by former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore. If that came to be, Moore would face Jones in a rematch of the 2017 special election.

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“There are multiple reasons,” Siegelman, author of the forthcoming book “A Theft of Power: Stealing Our Democracy,” said. “Frankly, I think Jeff is in trouble. He is being branded and has been branded by some Trump supporters as a traitor to Trump, someone who turned his back on Trump. Whether that’s just in Trump’s mind or in all of those voters’ minds, it doesn’t matter. I think it has hurt him. And as I mentioned on MSNBC, I have a book coming out this spring where I detail my crossroads – where Jeff Sessions and I have met over time when I was secretary of state, attorney general, and on. Those are not particularly flattering compliments – when he opposed the lawsuit against Big Tobacco. Whether that impacts a Republican primary or not, I don’t know.”

“I do know this: Most of Donald Trump’s voters were evangelical,” he continued. “And I do know the constitutional amendment that passed in 2018 requiring that the Ten Commandments be posted in every public place received over a million votes in Alabama. And I do know that Roy Moore is branded as the Ten Commandments judge. I think Roy Moore has a silent Christian vote that is huge. And I think they’re going to come out and vote for him. This is a guy that gave up his seat on the Supreme Court because of his belief in the Ten Commandments. And you know, say what you want about Roy Moore – I think he has got a strong base.”

Siegelman indicated that Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill could be a sleeper in the race but pointed to constitutional amendments that passed in 2018 on the general election ballot as a strong indicator for Moore.

“John and Coach Tuberville I think have a statewide name recognition,” Siegelman added. “I think John Merrill has an advantage over all of the candidates except for Sessions and Moore, in that he has a city-by-city, county-by-county political base, which Tuberville does not have. If Merrill finds a way to gain traction, he could move ahead of Tuberville and be ready to enter a Republican runoff should Sessions fail. Those are the kinds of political maneuvers that we will see happening over the next several months. I think right now, the way I see it, and because of the silent Christian majority in Alabama, and say silent – let me explain why: Because there are 399,000 additional Republican votes that came out and came out and largely to vote for the two constitutional amendments, against abortion and for the Ten Commandments. That is a sizeable chunk of voters, and I think those voters will largely go to Judge Moore. So I think he has a place in the runoff.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.

2 hours ago

Living Life On Purpose with Matt Wilson Episode 12: Interview with Chris and Sophie Corder

Many marriages go through difficult situations and end in disaster. Addiction, infidelity, anger and deception are just a few of the things that Chris and Sophie Corder walked through in theirs. However, through the grace of God, and His miraculous life-changing power, their marriage has been restored and strengthened. Now, they want to encourage other people through their triumph. They have turned pain into purpose and want to show how God can do anything if we will get out of the way and let Him.

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15 hours ago

Veteran helped by Alabama deputies could reconnect with son

JASPER, ALA. (AP) — A social media post about a veteran wearing an oxygen mask while walking down a road may help connect the man to his estranged son.

The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post that the Gulf War veteran attempted to walk about 100 miles (160 kilometers) from Walker County to Huntsville for an appointment Wednesday because his car wasn’t working.

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A Walker County deputy worked with other deputies to transport him to and from his appointment at the VA. News reports identify him as Gerald Baldwin.

The post has more than 150,000 shares. Baldwin’s son Lance in Pennsylvania saw the story and recognized his father. He told news outlets Sunday that the two hadn’t spoken in about five years. He now plans to reach out to his father.

(Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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Editor’s note — The aforementioned Facebook post is as follows:

15 hours ago

Auburn’s famed golden eagle Nova possibly in early stages of heart failure

Auburn University’s widely known golden eagle Nova, War Eagle VII, could potentially be in the early stages of heart failure, according to university veterinarians and a press release issued last week.

“The 20-year-old male eagle received a biannual checkup in early October at the College of Veterinary Medicine followed by another echocardiogram Oct. 31.,” the statement stated. “In 2017 he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a chronic disease of the heart, and was sidelined from flying at football games to reduce stress.”

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“Nova’s condition has been medically managed and he has remained stable during the past two years, however, during his October exam, we observed decreased systolic function and enlarged vessels in his liver,” said Dr. Seth Oster, faculty avian veterinarian for the college’s Southeastern Raptor Center. “This could be an indication of the early stages of heart failure.”

Veterinarians also said they increased Nova’s dosage in a new round of treatments and that they will monitor how he responds.

“We will know more after we see how Nova responds to his latest rounds of treatment,” Oster said.

According to Andrew Hopkins, the assistant director of raptor training and education, Nova’s appearance at the Southeastern Raptor Center’s educational programs will be limited as veterans continue to monitor his progress.

The statement released on Nova’s health also provided background information on Nova.

It read, “Nova was hatched in 1999 at the Montgomery Zoo and was non-releasable due to human imprinting. He came to Auburn in 2000, made his first pre-game flight in 2004 and was designated War Eagle VII in 2006. He has helped promote wildlife conservation and awareness at almost 2,000 educational programs at the raptor center and at schools and conservation events around the Southeast. Raptor center staff conduct almost 300 presentations annually.”

Aurea, a 5-year-old female golden eagle, and Spirit, a 23-year-old female bald eagle, have both made pregame flights this season in Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Kyle Morris also contributes daily to Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @RealKyleMorris.