Thursday: Mostly cloudy with a period or two of showers and storms. Ending as the afternoon goes on. High in the mid/upper 80s. ... 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 July 23, 2014 17:22 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The International Monetary Fund has shaved its forecast for U.S. economic growth this year, mostly because of a sharp contraction in the first quarter.
But the global lending organization still expects that growth accelerated in the April-June quarter and will remain healthy for the rest of this year and next.
The IMF projects growth will be just 1.7 percent this year, down from a 2 percent estimate in June. That would make 2014 the weakest year since the recession ended in June 2009.
The IMF's outlook is more pessimistic than the Federal Reserve, which expects growth of at least 2.1 percent. But it matches most other economists.
The Fund also urged the U.S. government to take steps to boost growth, including encouraging more Americans to find jobs and lifting productivity.
RETAIL SALES-ANNUAL FORECAST
NEW YORK (AP) -- The nation's largest retail trade group is paring its annual sales forecast because of slower-than-expected growth during the first half of the year tied to winter storms and lingering economic woes.
The Washington-based National Retail Federation says Wednesday that it now expects retail sales will rise 3.6 percent this year to $3.2 trillion, instead of its original prediction of 4.1 percent released in early February.
The figures include sales in stores and online but exclude automotive sales and sales at gas stations and restaurants.
Retailers now are heading into the back-to-school shopping season, the second-largest shopping period behind the winter holidays.
SEC-MONEY MARKET FUNDS
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Regulators have voted narrowly to end a longtime staple of the investment industry -- the fixed $1 share price for money-market mutual funds -- at least for some money funds used by big investors.
The idea is to minimize the risk of a mass withdrawal from the funds during a financial panic.
The Securities and Exchange Commission also is letting money funds block withdrawals when their assets fall below certain levels or impose fees for withdrawals.
The new rules were adopted Wednesday on a 3-2 vote. They were opposed by one Democratic and one Republican commissioner.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate has advanced an election-year bill limiting tax breaks for U.S. companies that move operations overseas. But big hurdles remain.
The Senate voted 93-7 Wednesday to begin debating the bill, which would prevent companies from deducting expenses related to moving operations to a foreign country. The bill would offer tax credits to companies that move operations to the U.S. from overseas.
Senate Democratic leaders say the bill would end senseless tax breaks for companies that ship jobs abroad. Republicans say the bill is an election-year ploy that has no chance of becoming law. They note that a similar bill failed two years ago.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Federal Aviation Administration says it will continue its ban on U.S. airline flights to Tel Aviv while assessing the danger of rocket attacks.
The agency said Wednesday it is working closely with the Israeli government to review new information they have provided and to determine whether safety concerns have been resolved.
FAA instituted the flight prohibition on Tuesday in response to a rocket strike that landed about a mile from the airport.
The directive applies only to U.S. operators, and has no authority over foreign airlines operating to or from the airport.
But European airlines are also avoiding Tel Aviv, after the European Aviation Safety Agency on Tuesday recommended doing so.
On Wednesday, Germany's two largest airlines, Lufthansa and Air Berlin, extended their cancellations through Thursday. Air France said it was suspending its flights "until further notice."
BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Union's executive is proposing legislation to curb the energy use of households and firms by almost one third by 2030 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower its dependence on gas imports, particularly those from Russia.
The Commission proposed Wednesday to increase energy efficiency by 30 percent, an upward revision of its earlier target of 20 percent by 2020.
Energy savings can be achieved by improving building insulation, upgrading heating systems or lowering the electricity need of new appliances like fridges.
The Commission says that for one additional percent in energy savings, EU gas imports are expected to fall 2.6 percent.
It estimates reaching the target will require investments of 89 billion euros ($132 billion) annually across the 28-nation bloc.
The proposal still requires approval from EU governments.
BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Union is giving Lithuania the green light to adopt the euro currency starting next year.
Ministers from the 28-nation bloc on Wednesday cleared the final legal hurdle for Lithuania to become the 19th member of the currency zone encompassing some 330 million people. The country had been given preliminary approval in June.
Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius said adopting the euro will strengthen the Baltic nation's economy.
Alluding to the tensions with Russia over Ukraine, he added deeper integration with western Europe "means greater security as well."
Lithuania's Baltic neighbors, Estonia and Latvia, are already members of the euro. All three countries achieved independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
The euro is just emerging from years of financial stress following debt problems in a number of countries.
LONDON (AP) -- Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline has cut its full-year earnings expectations as it says its second-quarter profits were hit by currency moves and a fall in sales of its respiratory drugs.
The company said Wednesday it expects 2014 earnings per share to be broadly similar to last year. It had previously forecast growth of between 4 and 8 percent.
GSK said second-quarter revenue fell 16 percent to 5.6 billion pounds ($9.5 billion) from 6.6 billion pounds in the same quarter in the previous year. Profit attributable to shareholders dropped from 1.05 billion pounds a year earlier to 654 million pounds.
The firm, which remains troubled by a high-profile bribery investigation in China, said sales there were down 20 percent.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee has endorsed former Procter & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald to be the new secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The panel unanimously backed McDonald on Wednesday, one day after a nomination hearing in which he faced no opposition.
Senators said they are eager for McDonald to begin work at the beleaguered agency, which has been plagued by treatment delays and falsified records at VA hospitals and clinics nationwide.
McDonald has pledged to "transform" the VA and address a series of "systematic failures," including patient access to health care, transparency, accountability and integrity.
The Good LifeCelebrating the events, adventures and activities that represent "The Good Life" in the NewsChannel 9 viewing area.
SideroadsTake a ride with Brian Smith to explore the unique people and places to be found along the Sideroads of the NewsChannel 9 viewing area.
Road TrippinCome Road Trippin' with us and see all the great sites in your area!
Closings and DelaysThese are the latest School and Business Closings reported to NewsChannel 9. If you see errors or need to add a school or business, call 423-757-7320.
Educator of the YearVote now on your favorite candidate teacher for the Educator of the Year!
Deaf & Hard of HearingInformation provided to NewsChannel 9 by members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community.
Sponsored EventsCheck Back Often for NewsChannel9 Sponsored Events!