Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Airplane pilots hit by ‘nearly blinding’ glare from massive California solar facility

Airplane pilots cruising over southern California have been complaining about a “nearly blinding” glare emanating from a massive government-funded solar thermal facility.

The Ivanpah solar energy plant in San Bernardino County is the world’s largest solar thermal plant and has 173,500 large mirrors that reflect sunlight onto boilers in three 459-foot towers. A feat of modern engineering — to green energy advocates, but a flying hazard to pilots.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) got two anonymous complaints in August that mentioned a “blinding glare” coming from the Ivanpah solar facility. One complaint came from a Los Angeles air traffic controller and the other from a small transport plane pilot that took off from an airport in Boulder City, Nevada.

“The FAA is aware of potential glare from solar plants and is exploring how to best alert pilots to the issue,” an FAA spokesman told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Dozens of flights per day fly over or near the Ivanpah solar facility on routes between the Las Vegas area and Southern California. On its initial climb leaving Boulder City airport, the pilot of the small transport plane “experienced a very bright, intense light from three solar complexes which interfered with their ability to scan for traffic,” according to the ASRS filing.

“[T]he Co-pilot and I were distracted and momentarily blinded by the sun reflecting off of mirrors at the solar power plant facility located near the CA-NV border near the town of Primm,” the pilot wrote to ASRS. “This solar power plant which I believe is still under construction consists of three massive circular arrays of thousands of mirrors oriented inward toward a central tower.”

“From the pilot’s seat of my aircraft the brightness was like looking into the sun and it filled about 1/3 of the co-pilots front windshield,” the pilot added. “In my opinion the reflection from these mirrors was a hazard to flight because for a brief time I could not scan the sky in that direction to look for other aircraft.”

“Daily, during the late morning and early afternoon hours we get complaints from pilots of aircraft flying from the northeast to the southwest about the brightness of this solar farm,” wrote the Los Angeles air traffic controller in August.

“On this particular morning, an air carrier complained about the brightness and reiterated that it was ‘nearly blinding,’” the controller continued. “I have no idea what can be done about this situation, but being a passenger on an aircraft that flew through this airspace and saw it for myself, I would say that something needs to be done. It is extremely bright and distracting.”

In August, the Ivanpah solar facility was still being built. During the time of the complaints, the facility’s developer BrightSource Energy “was testing and calibrating the mirror assemblies, called heliostats, but it is unknown if that had anything to do with the reflection,” reports the Press-Enterprise. The Ivanpah facility was brought online last December.

Ivanpah’s co-owner and operator, NRG Energy, was notified of the “blinding” complaints this week and said it would respond within 10 days. The FAA received the complaints last November and the Clark County Department of Aviation was notified of them at the end of January.

BrightSource’s environmental impact study for Ivanpah included mitigation measures for glare issues related to the site’s reflective mirrors. The aviation community actually raised such worries during the environmental review process.

Ivanpah’s environmental impact study found that the solar thermal plant could cause temporary blindness to pilots flying within 3,300 feet of the heliostats, which compromises safety. BrightSource had to develop a heliosat position plan to mitigate the potential harm from Ivanpah’s glare.

“At the right angle, you will get the intensity, which is similar to looking at a car headlight at night. If you were to look away you’d still have that shape in your vision,” Chad Davies, president of Riverside Air Service, told the Press-Enterprise.

“If you see a reflection, you turn your head, you don’t look at it,” said Phil Shallenberger, who regularly flies over the project to refuel his plane. “It’s not going to stay there long. When you move, it goes away.”

Story and comments/reaction:   http://dailycaller.com

Rick's Cabaret International Announces Sale Of Cessna TTx; Also Selling Cessna Citation Mustang

HOUSTON, March 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Rick's Cabaret International, Inc. today announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, TT Leasing, LLC, has sold its 2013 Cessna TTx aircraft.

The Cessna TTx, a single engine, four place, piston aircraft, was purchased in July of 2013. The company realized a small profit from the transaction.

Rick's also reported that it has listed for sale its 2010 Cessna Citation Mustang. Recent market research indicates a tight supply of late model Mustangs, and the company expects the aircraft to sell in the near future.

About Rick's Cabaret

With 43 units, Rick's Cabaret International, Inc. (NasdaqGM: RICK) is the leading hospitality company operating adult gentlemen's clubs and sports bar/restaurants in the US. Adult clubs in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, Minneapolis, Indianapolis and other cities operate under brand names such as "Rick's Cabaret," "XTC," "Club Onyx," "Vivid Cabaret," "Jaguars" and "Tootsie's Cabaret." Sports bar/restaurants, which also feature live entertainment, operate under the brand names "Bombshells" and "Ricky Bobby Sports Saloon."

For More Information

   -- Web: http://www.ricksinvestor.com

   -- Twitter: https://twitter.com/rickscabaretinc

   -- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rickscabaretintl

Forward-looking Statements

This press release may contain forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause the company's actual results to differ materially from those indicated in this press release, including the risks and uncertainties associated with operating and managing an adult business, the business climates in cities where it operates, the success or lack thereof in launching and building the company's businesses, risks and uncertainties related to the operational and financial results of our Web sites, conditions relevant to real estate transactions, and numerous other factors such as laws governing the operation of adult entertainment businesses, competition and dependence on key personnel. Rick's has no obligation to update or revise the forward-looking statements to reflect the occurrence of future events or circumstances.

Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110418/MM85342LOGO

SOURCE Rick's Cabaret International, Inc.

Web site: http://www.ricks.com 

Robert Watters

PRESIDENT, Rick’s Cabaret

 Cessna Corvalis 400 

“Flying lessons were my ‘surviving Katrina’ self-reward and served to give me something to look forward to during the painful recovery. Now, five years and 750 hours of flying time later, my plane is the fastest fixed gear single, and this amazing machine takes me all over the country on business at speeds up to 250 miles per hour. I love everything about flying; the pure excitement of wheels up and the visceral thrill of a successful instrument approach can’t be beat. Private aviation is one of the great American freedoms that I count myself fortunate to be able to enjoy.” 

Guys Who Fly: http://www.myneworleans.com

Rick’s Cabaret
Sabrina Hart, et al. v. Rick’s Cabaret International, Inc., RCI Entertainment (New York) Inc. and Peregrine Enterprises, Inc. Staff: Heather O'Neil, Wade Underwood 
Attorneys: E. Michelle Drake, Anna P. Prakash, Steven Andrew Smith
This is a collective and class action lawsuit under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and New York Labor law.  This lawsuit was brought in 2009 on behalf of entertainers who worked at Rick’s Cabaret.  The lawsuit alleges, among other things, that: (1) Defendants misclassified entertainers as independent contractors when, in reality, the entertainers are employees; (2) Defendants violated state and federal law by requiring entertainers to pay “house fees” and fines in order to work; and (3) Defendants violated state and federal law by failing to pay entertainers the minimum wage and that amounts entertainers received from customers were tips, not wages, and could not be used to satisfy the Defendants’ minimum wage obligations. 

In 2013, the Court ruled that Rick’s Cabaret in New York misclassified its entertainers as independent contractors and that, as a matter of law, the entertainers are employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York Labor Law.  The Court ruled that Rick’s NY’s statutory duty to pay the minimum wage was not satisfied by the money that entertainers received from customers.

The current Complaint in this case is available here.

The Court’s September 2013 Summary Judgment Order is available here.

Source:    http://www.nka.com/case/ricks-cabaret-new-york/

Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority discussed hiring property lease manager: Employee would oversee properties, work to fill buildings with tenants

Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority board members agreed Tuesday that hiring a property lease manager would be a good idea.

“This is a work in progress,” said Eric Johnson, MTAA president. “It is in its infancy.”

The manager would handle properties on the “non-aeronautical side,” Johnson told board members.

He also said the person would oversee and manage properties and work to fill the buildings with new tenants.

“This is a draft,” Johnson said of the job description he handed out to board members. “We certainly need to tweak it.”

The salary for the position would be between $40,000 and $60,000, which would include benefits and incentives.

“We will continue working on this and bring it back to the board for review (in April),” Johnson said.

Johnson also gave board members a brief update on Topeka-Chicago flights. He said the United Airlines flights in January and February were “horrible” — January had a 14 percent cancellation rate. But things are looking up, he said. From March 12 through Monday, flights have been at capacity or oversold.

Johnson said business travelers haven’t supported the flights as well as he would like, but the leisure travelers are “very supportive.”

Board members also:

■ Discussed the time frame people have had to wait for taxi service to and from the airport. Johnson told board members that some people have had to wait nearly two hours for service. He said two shuttle companies have contacted him about offering service to area hotels and picking up and dropping off at customers’ houses.

■ Approved spending about $10,000, which is reimbursable, for improvements made to a space leased by the Transportation Security Administration. The money will be used to have a company oversee work, as well as fiber installation and installation of a “complex lock” on a door. The money will be reimbursed by TSA through a two-year firm term lease.


Mount Airy/Surry County Airport (KMWK), Mount Airy, North Carolina

State gives grant to airport project:  Money will be used for utility relocation on Holly Springs Road

The state has thrown a little money behind a project to extend the runway of the Mount Airy-Surry County Airport, a project officials claim will ultimately lead to economic development opportunities in the county.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Division of Aviation has awarded $260,000 in state monies to be used for utility relocation associated with the project.

According to Airport Authority Chair John Springthorpe, the money will help defray the costs associated with the relocation of underground utilities.

“It was something we’d applied for as part of the ongoing runway extension project, and will allow us to begin the utility relocation, including the water line on Holly Springs Road that can now be moved when the road is moved,” he said. “It will save us money because we can do it all at the same time instead of having to come back after the road is built and move the line.”

The relocation of the road is part of a larger plan that will extend the airport’s 4,300-foot runway by 1,200 feet, space that is necessary to accommodate larger planes.

The project will construct about a mile of new roadway on Holly Springs Road that will “horseshoe” around the extended runway.

Springthorpe said these days, many companies have corporate aviation divisions, and the length of the runway precludes some jets from landing at the local airport.

“We had identified a need that the runway needs to be larger,” he said, noting that four corporate jets are based at the airport. “At times they can’t use the airport because the runway is too short, and it’s keeping out prospective businesses.”

Mount Airy company Smith-Rowe LLC, was awarded the contract for the project last year, bidding $4,888, 743.

The Surry County Board of Commissioners has appropriated $411,000 as a local match for the project against a $5 million investment from the state and federal governments, money which Springthorpe said will help fuel the county’s economy. The recent grant award was not included in the original budget for the project and will hopefully lower the price of the project.

“It will help us reduce the overall costs by several hundred thousand dollars because we will be able to move the utilities while we construct the roadway,” he said.

“Less than 10 percent of the costs are coming from local taxpayers, but the funds will be coming back into the county to help put people to work and create this new road segment,” he said.

At present, Springthorpe said the contractor is still in the process of surveying the location and getting the needed equipment into place. Smith-Rowe began work on the project on March 3.

“Initially, most of the activity will involve surveying and staging equipment,” he said. “I don’t know when they’re going to start moving dirt, but we have already moved affected houses away from the construction area, and most of the initial activity will take place north of Holly Springs Road.”

Springthorpe said he is glad the state sees the benefit associated with funding a portion of the project.