Tonight: Clouds returning and not as cold with an overnight low in the mid to upper 40s. An east to northeast wind at 10mph.
Friday: Mostly cloudy with a slight chance for showers south, especially late day. A cooler afternoon high in the low/mid ... More...
Made in Dunlap: Precision Aerodynamics
by Calvin Sneed
Many companies in the Chattanooga area specialize in products that spotlight outdoor activities. Almost two decades ago I placed my own life into the hands of one of those companies. I jumped out of a perfectly good plane with this company's product on my back. In fact, the first President Bush has jumped with a parachute designed by Precision Aerodynamics. It's nice to share that distinction about parachutes, that are proudly MADE IN DUNLAP..
It was in the skies over the airport in Tullahoma, Tennessee 19 years ago, when I jumped out of that plane with a Precision Aerodynamics parachute for the series called "Kill Calvin."
"We build parachutes and send them all over the world," says company founder and president George Galloway.
Precision Aerodynamics makes parachutes from nylon fabric.
"Actually, the yarn to produce the fabric comes from Chattanooga, the Dupont plant on Access Road," he said.
First step in the process of making a parachute is telling a computer which pattern to cut, either electronically or by laser. Each station in the plant has a different responsibility in the process. Susie sews reinforcement strips into the fabric that will hold the weight the parachute will carry to the ground.. At Teenie's station, "she assembles all of the cut pieces with the reinforcement tape sewn into them."
At another station, Sue does the same thing Teenie does, only it's a different type of canopy.
"They really make the sewing process look easy, but it is quite a skill," says Galloway.
In one area, Judy sews the fabric for a reserve parachute in case the main one malfunctions. I had one of those when I jumped, too.
Each parachute, main and reserve has many suspension lines, cut by Cindy. "She marks the lines and puts loops in the end of them," Galloway says.
How strong is the line? At the testing station, the line snapped at 607 pounds.
The finished lines then go to Treena, "who attaches the suspension lines that Cindy cut," says Galloway. Cleo has the job of securing each one of 40 strength points on this parachute, which Galloway says, "is the point in the canopy that bears up the load when the ripcord is pulled, slowing the parachutist from 120 miles per hour to about 4 miles per hour, in about one and a half seconds. My instructor and I relied on those strength points when the ripcord was pulled.
Karen double-checks the lines, and Stephanie checks the overall canopy, and we have one finished parachute in the process that is good to go.
My parachute operated perfectly.. But it was that gopher hole in the ground upon landing that I missed seeing. I broke my ankle in 3 places that day.
12-thousand feet of perfect parachute.. And human error got me in that last foot.
George Galloway and Precision Aerodynamics, has been working the past 2 years on a special parachute for the world's longest parachute jump from 120-thousand feet high.. 3 times higher, than commercial jetliners fly. The jump is scheduled for later this summer.
We'll keep you posted on that jump..
More Business News
Last Update on April 17, 2014 17:08 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of people applying for U.S. unemployment benefits last week rose 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 304,000. Jobless claims continue to be near pre-recession levels despite the slight increase.
The Labor Department says that the four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, fell 4,750 to 312,000. That is the lowest four-week average since October 2007, just two months before the Great Recession started. The average has fallen by 53,500 applications over the past 12 months.
Applications are a proxy for layoffs. The current level of claims suggests that employers are holding on their workers with the expectation of stronger economic growth ahead.
Employers added 192,000 jobs in March and 197,000 in February, the Labor Department reported. Hiring has picked up after a slowdown caused by severe winter weather.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell this week for the second straight week as the spring home-buying season begins.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate for the 30-year loan fell to 4.27 percent from 4.34 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage eased to 3.33 percent from 3.38 percent.
Mortgage rates have risen about a full percentage point since hitting record lows about a year ago.
Many analysts have been expecting an improving economy to lift the housing market, which has been recovering over the past two years. But housing has struggled to maintain momentum. Rising home prices and higher mortgage rates have held back some potential home buyers. Others have had trouble qualifying for mortgages.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Investment bank Goldman Sachs says its first-quarter earnings fell as fixed income trading slumped.
The bank earned $1.9 billion in the quarter, down 11 percent from the same period a year earlier when it made $2.2 billion.
The earnings were equivalent to $4.02 a share. Analysts polled by FactSet had predicted earnings of $3.49 a share.
Revenue totaled $9.3 billion, down 8 percent from a year earlier, when the bank generated revenue of $10.1 billion. The latest quarterly revenue beat analysts' expectations of $8.7 billion.
Goldman's stock rose $2.78, or 1.8 percent, to $160 in pre-market trading.
NEW YORK (AP) -- PepsiCo reports a stronger-than-expected first-quarter profit as the company slashed costs and sold more snacks around the world.
The company, which makes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Mountain Dew and Tropicana, says global snack volume rose 2 percent while beverages were even from a year ago.
In its closely watched North American beverage unit, PepsiCo Inc. says volume was even. Growth in other drinks offset a 1 percent decline in sodas.
For the quarter, the company earned $1.22 billion, or 79 cents per share. Not including one-time items, it earned 83 cents per share, above the 75 cents per share Wall Street expected.
A year ago, it earned $1.08 billion, or 69 cents per share.
Revenue edged up to $12.62 billion, higher than the $12.39 billion analysts expected.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) -- Toy maker Mattel says weak sales of Barbie and markdowns to clear out excess inventory left over from a sluggish holiday season led to an unexpected first-quarter loss.
Toy makers are facing a weak environment globally due to the uncertain economy and popularity of electronic gadgets.
The largest U.S. toy maker says its net loss for the three months ended March 31 totaled $11.2 million, or 3 cents per share. That compares with net income of $38.5 million, or 11 cents per share last year. Analysts expected earnings of 7 cents per share.
The company which makes Disney Princess dolls and Hot Wheels cars says revenue fell 5 percent to $946.2 million. Analysts expected $947.6 million. Barbie revenue dropped 14 percent.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Target is vastly expanding the goods that are available to order by subscription as it fends off its biggest non-traditional retail rival, Amazon.com.
The nation's second-largest discounter first dabbled with subscriptions last September, trying to win over haggard parents with 150 baby care products.
That program has been expanded more than tenfold this week to nearly 1,600 items across a much wider array of consumer goods. Everything from beauty products and pet supplies, to home office supplies like printer ink, are now available through subscription.
Target, based in Minneapolis, is playing catch up in the subscription arena, which has exploded as companies test consumer appetites for almost every niche, from socks to razors, to clothing and entertainment.
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