Thursday, August 14, 2014

HUGH and CHRISTINE BEAGAN: The impact of the Marshfield Airport project

In celebrating the addition of land to the Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary in Marshfield (“Our Opinion: 3 stories of creating a meaningful legacy,” Aug. 4), it is important not to overlook the significant and damaging impact that the airport project has had on the marshes on which the runway addition has been constructed.

The beautiful marshland and estuary has been clear cut by the construction crews, forcing out wildlife that had been protected by the vegetation. Marshfield residents driving along Plymouth Avenue will be shocked to see the extent of the clear cutting that has occurred.

Additionally, the airport manager has been given a permit to “lethally take” Canada geese, herring and ring-billed and great black-backed gulls that are deemed harmful to the planes.

More than 2,500 pilings coated with copper, chromium and arsenate have been driven into the marsh to support the new runway. The long-term effects of these chemically coated pilings on our water are not known.

As Ms. McCallum of the Audubon Society states, “Marshland is an important habitat to preserve … most importantly, it can act as a sponge to absorb storm surges across Green Harbor, protecting residents, businesses and people.”

Ironically, the marshland that has been cut for the project directly borders many neighborhoods, thus removing a safety barrier.

The marshlands also provided noise mitigation for the neighborhoods close by. Significant increases in noise and jet fumes have been reported by neighbors. In part because of such complaints, the airport has bought homes from neighbors and is discussing the possibility of buying more. Thus, a neighborhood is being destroyed.

While the rationale for the runway construction project was “aeronautic safety,” one wonders if the safety of the neighbors was ever considered. In the study prior to the airport project going forward, one scenario was to leave the airport as it was, and have jets, which would need a longer runway, use larger municipal airports close by, such as in Plymouth. This common-sense solution was dismissed out of hand.

What Ms. McCallum states is sadly true: “Any land that is not permanently protected can potentially be used for something, either now or in the future.” Whole neighborhoods are now living with the results of such thinking. All residents of Marshfield should take note.



Canandaigua Airport (D38) officials seek public comment

Flight Instructor Roger Tones of M&S Air Service speaks at a resident forum at the airport to discuss concerns with a new airport expansion plan.

Canandaigua officials invited Canandaigua residents to gather on their local airstrip Thursday to field questions and concerns about a future airport expansion.

The Canandaigua airport supports business jets, local recreational traffic and the occasional military aircraft. Its runway was expanded a year ago to accommodate larger airplanes that bring commerce opportunities to the area, but residents living around the airport are increasingly concerned about noisy aircraft flying over their houses on weekends and in the dead of night.

A master plan for an expanded airport that can handle more traffic is in the works for 2015, said Ontario County Industrial Development Agency Economic Developer Mike Manikowski. But before that plan takes off, he and airport officials wanted to hear from the community, he said.

“We want to create a dialogue and an open forum around this,” Manikowski said in front of about 25 residents sitting outside next to a row of small aircraft at the airport on Brickyard Road. He emphasized the value of including points of public concern in the airport’s new plans, but said that having a larger airport will help the area keep the business attraction it currently holds.

“How do we stay competitive? We need aviation,” he said. “This helps maintain the businesses we already have here.”

The airport will not support passenger airliners — those will stay at the Greater Rochester International Airport, said McFarland Johnson airport planner Zachary Staff. “This will relieve some congestion at the Rochester airport so that smaller aircraft don’t hog that airspace,” Staff said.

Residents’ main concern was the noise of aircraft in the area — “it’s just very pesky,” said resident Charles Ron Evans, who lives on New Michigan Road, two miles north of the airport. Evans said planes buzzing back and forth over his house cause constant irritation.

“Where I live, it just keeps getting worse,” he said. “I can’t use my property because of the way (Canandaigua officials) choose to use their property.”

Other neighbors, like Canandaigua National Bank CEO George Hamlin, said that the Canandaigua airport offers convenience to local aviators.

“Instead of driving an hour to Rochester and waiting in that airport, we can use this airport and get to two, three places a day,” Hamlin said. Small aircraft are also less noisy than other forms of recreational transportation, he said. “These aren’t nearly as loud as one single car down at the motorsports park,” he said.

Ander and Janene Sweet are new residents on Yerkes Road in Canandaigua, which is about a mile away from the airport. While they had concerns about moving close to an airfield, “the airplanes have been pretty quiet,” Ander Sweet said. “The Army choppers were the loudest I’ve heard it, but that was the only real issue.”

Earlier this year, Manikowski got calls about the racket of several Black Hawk military helicopters using the airport for training, he said. They are based in Rochester but come out to Canandaigua occasionally on “reverse cycles,” when they practice flying at night, said McFarland Johnson project manager James Dolan. While these helicopters are noisy, several residents agreed that they were happy the military was practicing in this area, in case a natural disaster or other emergency were to occur locally.

Aircraft flying over Canandaigua from other smaller airports like Penn Yan and Sodus may be adding to the area’s noise, Dolan said. He said he spoke to the airport personnel at those locations to see what can be done about noise control.

The airport currently supports about 28,000 “operations,” or takeoffs and landings, per year, Staff said. Taxpayers do not fund the airport and will not fund the expansion, Manikowski said; it is funded completely through the Federal Aviation Administration. Plans for new hangars would be included in the new master plan, so that businesses could base their aircraft in Canandaigua, Manikowski said.

“To grow, we have to have more services to bring their aircraft and business to this area,” he said. “Having a fully equipped airport, which we hope to get to, will help keep that business going in this community.”

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Business jet sales take off again in better climate

Financial Times 
By Michael Stothard in Paris
August 13, 2014

When the chief executives of Ford, Chrysler and General Motors flew to Washington, cap in hand, during the 2008 financial crisis to ask for a government bailout, they did so in three separate private jets.

Following the subsequent torrent of criticism, GM terminated the leases on seven Gulfstream jets. Citigroup, which received billions from the government, cancelled a Dassault Falcon 7X and put on the market two older Falcon 2000EXs.

This episode, combined with a rapid fall in corporate profits, business confidence and deal-making, helped bring about an unprecedented 30 percent fall in the private jet market by delivery value between 2008 and 2013.

But this year the global market is showing signs of a comeback, pointing to the creeping improvement in global business confidence and the impact of the ever-growing number of the ultra-rich on the luxury goods sector.

“We are now seeing a decent recovery for the market as a whole,” says Captain Stephen Taylor, head of Boeing’s business jet unit, which along with rival Airbus makes some of the biggest and most expensive jets in the world.

The market for deliveries, which has a year or two delay from when orders are placed, is expected to rise 3 percent this year to $23bn, and then 10 percent the following year, according to Teal Group, the US aerospace consultancy.

This bodes well for the main business jet groups, which include Gulfstream, Bombardier, Dassault Aviation, Cessna and Embraer. Hawker Beechcraft, which went bankrupt in 2012, last year left Chapter 11 protection.

The structure of the market has changed significantly, however. The smaller end of the market, where jets cost between $4m and $26m, saw a whopping 56 per cent drop in deliver values from 2008 to 2012, and still shows few signs of recovery.

It is the bigger jets, costing from $26m to $400m, that are leading the post-crisis revival, tapping into greater demand for long haul travel, but also the rapid return to profitability of the world’s largest corporates, particularly in the US.

“The large-cabin long-range aircraft has recovered much more quickly than the midsized or the light-jet market,” says Scott Neal, who runs sales and marketing globally for Gulfstream, the jet-maker owned by General Dynamics.

Demand for larger jets, while improving everywhere, was coming “especially from the larger corporations in the US, the Fortune 500-type companies,” he added.

Margins at S&P 500 companies are hovering near all-time highs of 9.8 percent. The cash of the largest companies’ balance sheets is also near a record at $1.233tn, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.

The rapid rise in large jet sales also taps into the growing number of the global super rich. The number of billionaires increases nearly ever year, growing from 935 in 2003 to 1,682 in 2013, according to Knight Frank’s annual Wealth Report.

“Countries with a new class of rich people, for example in Russia, want the biggest, fastest, strongest planes,” says Fabio Gamba, head of the European Business Aviation Association. “A decade ago this market did not exist in the same way.”

Long term, there is hope Asia will drive growth. “In the last few years, we have seen Asia-Pacific, and in particular China, become a very strong and fast growing market for corporate jets,” says David Velupillai, the director of marketing for Airbus.

Some of the ultra-rich have even gone so far as to buy private jets from Airbus and Boeing, which are essentially large commercial jet lines made private, and are more typically used by governments.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the Saudi billionaire investor, for example bought one of the largest passenger jets in the world, the superjumbo A380, which seats about 550 people, according to Airbus. An A380 costs $400m at list price.

He ended up selling it to another undisclosed buyer, according to the company. Mr bin Talal already has a Boeing 747.

Captain Taylor says that for the private 747s, the interior can often cost as much as the $300m plane itself, once you factor in missile protection, for example, and the sometimes eccentric customer demands.

“Some of the things that really impressed me were a full restaurant-sized pizza oven, for a gentleman who just had to have fresh pizza, and we have seen putting greens [as well]. You name it and it has been in our planes,” he says.


Brazil Business Aviation Conference Overshadowed by Crash: Tragedy Occurred in Year When Brazil Is Expected to Become Largest Latin American Executive Jet Market

The Wall Street Journal
By  Luciana Magalhaes

August  14, 2014 7:15 p.m. ET

SÃO PAULO—As some of the world's leading aircraft makers gathered in São Paulo this week for the region's biggest aviation showcase, they had to cope with some tragic news.

The three-day Latin American Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition was overshadowed by Wednesday's plane crash that killed Brazilian presidential candidate Eduardo Campos. He and six others aboard died after the Cessna 560XLS+ Citation Excel in which they were traveling plowed into a residential area in the coastal city of Santos, about 35 miles south of São Paulo.

"Everyone was talking about it, especially because the people coming here are pilots and airplane owners," said Eduardo Marson, president of Brazil's Association of General Aviation, which organized the event. He estimates the show, which ended Thursday, attracted 14,000 to 15,000 people.

The tragedy occurred in year when analysts expect Brazil to surpass Mexico as the largest executive jet market in Latin America.

The region's two largest economies—Brazil and Mexico—are currently neck-and-neck when it comes to executive aircraft, with just over 800 each, analysts said.

But over the next decade, Brazil is expected to add up to 560 new executive aircraft, compared with between 110 and 140 for Mexico by 2024, according to industry numbers compiled by Brazil's aircraft manufacturer Embraer.

Already the world's largest market for corporate helicopters, Brazil is alluring to private jet makers as well. Manufacturers say demand is being driven by a number of factors, including its growing wealth and variety of industries.

Geography is also key. About the size of the continental U.S., Brazil has poorly developed highways, railroads and commercial airports. About the only way that business executives can travel quickly to many far-flung places is by using the nation's robust network of private airstrips—close to 3,500 in all, according to Francisco Lyra, president of São Paulo-based CFLY Aviation, a Brazilian firm which provides management and services for the aviation sector

"Only 130 of Brazil's 5,600 towns have regular commercial flights," Mr. Lyra said.

Mexico is seen as a more mature market whose buyers have easy access to secondhand executive jets from the U.S., according to industry executives.

"Brazil will surpass Mexico because of its needs, because of the size and number of its industries," said Stephane Leroy, regional vice president for international Latin American sales at the business aircraft division at Canada-based Bombardier,  who came to São Paulo this week.

Mr. Leroy declined to comment on sales so far this year. But he said he was encouraged by the number of inquiries at the show.

Industry executives said Brazil's sluggish economy, the monthlong World Cup and uncertainties regarding October's presidential elections crimped sales in the first half of 2014.

"Brazil would've been ahead of Mexico at the beginning of this year … but the market was kind of slow," said Marco Tulio Pellegrini, Chief Executive Officer and president of Embraer Executive Jets. "We continue to have clients see the jets, but they are taking longer to make a decision."

Still, Embraer is predicting a stronger second half. The company said it expects to deliver between 105 and 120 executive jets to customers world-wide this year, compared with 119 last year. It didn't provide a regional breakdown.

Latin America as a whole is seen adding some 850 jets valued at $16.3 billion in the next 10 years, Embraer said.

While the U.S. remains the world's top market with close to 12,000 executive jets, and China is up-and-coming, Latin America is still one of the most promising markets for private jets, experts said.

The Labace show in São Paulo was teeming with top-of-the-line aircraft aimed at corporate buyers and wealthy individuals. Among the fanciest was Embraer's Lineage 1000E, a modified version of the company's E-190 regional jet. Priced at $55 million, it aims to be a flying home for rich travelers. Its 70-square-meters of interior space boast a full kitchen, dining and living rooms, a master suite and private lavatory with shower.

Capable of transporting up to 19 passengers, the Lineage 1000E is the Embraer's largest executive jet. The company said 20 of the planes are in operation, some purchased by buyers in China, India, Indonesia and some nations in the Middle East.

Executives say the industry is still recovering from the global downturn that followed the U.S. financial crisis; global business jet deliveries of 678 aircraft in 2013 were about half what they were at the peak in 2008, according to data from the General Aviation Manufacturers Assoc.

"We are at turning point, with the U.S. showing signs of recovery while Europe is still hurting," said Mr. Lyra, of CFLY Aviation.

In spite of setbacks, Latin America received around 12% of the world's business jets deliveries in 2013, and almost 45% of those went to Brazil and 12% to Mexico, according to numbers provided by Bombardier.


Cessna 560XLS+ Citation Excel, PR-AFA, AF Andrade Empreendimentos e Participações

Hernando County School District's new aviation course is at risk of becoming grounded before it takes off

Application deadline extended for new aviation course in Hernando schools

With school beginning on Monday, only eight students have signed up for Aerospace Technologies I at Nature Coast Technical High School. The course will be canceled unless 10 students register.

The district has pushed back the deadline for freshmen and sophomores to apply from Wednesday until Aug. 22.

Spokesman Eric Williams said the district is not happy with the turnout and that Marcia Austin, supervisor of secondary programs, is calling a group of 65 students who had expressed interest in an aviation program in a survey. He said high school principals will also work to promote the course during the first week of school.

The course, which would be a yearlong overview, has 25 available seats.

The course is the initial offering in what the district hopes will become an academy for high school students interested in careers in aviation. The ultimate goal is to give students a foundation in the industry, bolstering the local workforce and helping to attract new industry.

On Tuesday, the School Board officially approved a partnership between the district and Corporate Jet Solutions, which has helped bring the program to fruition.

Aviation experts have said the industry expects to see a big decline in the number of pilots, mechanics and other aviation workers in the next decade. Local officials think the Hernando schools could play an important role in training students.

Plans call for the aerospace technology track to eventually include four one-credit courses: Aerospace Technologies I through III and Advanced Technology Applications, which will be optional. Students are eligible to obtain Federal Aviation Administration ground school certification after completing the third course.

Students will not be flying on the district's time. To earn a private pilot's license, students would have to complete an additional 40 hours of instruction with a certified flight instructor.

How to apply

Hernando County high school freshmen and sophomores interested in the district's new aerospace academy must submit an application by the end of the day on Aug. 22 to Marcia Austin, the district's supervisor of secondary programs. Austin can be reached at (352) 797-7051 or Students who do not attend Nature Coast Technical High School will have to transfer to the school to be part of the program.

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'Inappropriate Sexual Behavior': Malaysia Airlines flight steward 'assaulted' passenger

Malaysia flight steward 'assaulted' Aust 

 A Malaysia Airlines steward has been detained over allegations that he assaulted an Australian passenger.

A Malaysia Airlines cabin crew member has been detained in France over allegations that he sexually assaulted an Australian passenger who was scared of flying with the disaster-prone airline.

The airline said in a statement on Thursday that French police had detained a crew member for questioning following allegations by a passenger of 'inappropriate sexual behavior' on flight MH20 from Kuala Lumpur on August 4.

The Australian passenger complained to authorities about the incident after touchdown at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport, saying she had told crew at the beginning of the flight about her apprehension of flying with the airline.

The chief steward of the Paris-bound flight sat beside her and sexually assaulted her under the pretext of 'comforting' her, she said, according to a source close to the French probe.

Malaysia Airlines vowed to assist French authorities in their investigation, adding 'the safety, comfort and well-being of our passengers is always our highest priority'.

'Malaysia Airlines expects and accepts nothing short of the highest standards of conduct from its crew and takes any such allegations very seriously,' it said.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared mysteriously in March with 239 people aboard, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. No trace has been found and the airline was widely criticised for its handling of the crisis.

On July 17, MH17 was shot down over Ukraine, with 298 people killed.

The airline stands on the financial brink after the disasters.

State investment fund Khazanah Nasional, which has controlled the airline for years via a 70 per cent ownership stake, said last week that it plans to buy all remaining shares and de-list the company before undertaking a 'complete overhaul'.


Fistfight: Saudi Arabian Airlines captain and flight steward fight

Pilot-steward fight holds up Saudia flight

A spat between a pilot and a cabin crew member grounded a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight bound for Madinah from Cairo for six hours on Wednesday morning.

The verbal argument between the steward and the flight’s captain soon turned violent when the two engaged in a fistfight.

“The fight took place as the plane was about to take off,” said Col. Mutaz Youssef, duty head of the airport police.

The steward sustained hand injuries and was treated on the spot in the presence of security personnel, while the pilot was injured in his eye and transferred to a nearby hospital.

Flight attendants from Cairo evacuated the 153 unhurt passengers from the plane and kept them in the transit hall until Saudia administration in Jeddah sent another team on a plane leaving from Jeddah to Cairo three hours after the Madinah-bound plane was due to take off.

The flight finally took off six hours after its scheduled departure time.


ORNGE fined for improper pilot training: Ontario’s air ambulance service has been fined twice by Transport Canada for allowing pilots to fly without proper training, federal records show


OTTAWA—Ontario’s air ambulance service has been fined twice by Transport Canada for allowing pilots to fly without proper training, federal records show.

ORNGE was slapped with two violations of Canadian Aviation Regulations for allowing pilots to fly in 2013 without having fulfilled the necessary training requirements and had to pay a $4,000 fine for each offense.
ORNGE’s aviation operations have been in the spotlight since the May 2013 crash of a Sikorsky S-76C helicopter at Moosonee, Ont., killed the two pilots and two paramedics onboard.

Though not related to the fatal crash, the enforcement action by Transport Canada shows that the agency has been under increased scrutiny by the federal regulator.

ORNGE spokesperson James MacDonald said it has paid the fines.
“ORNGE takes these matters seriously and accepts Transport Canada’s findings. We worked collaboratively with the regulator to ensure these matters were addressed as quickly as possible,” he said.

In the first case, a flight crew member in Moosonee was allowed to fly a Sikorsky S76A helicopter without having completed controlled flight into terrain avoidance training (CFIT) as required by ORNGE’s training manual, MacDonald said.

Controlled flight into terrain happens when pilots inadvertently fly their aircraft into the ground, usually in conditions of poor visibility or darkness. It could be one of the causes of the May 2013 accident, which happened at night.

In the second infraction, a Sudbury-based AW139 helicopter pilot had not received technical ground training on the helicopter,” MacDonald said.

“Both pilots have received the appropriate training, and ORNGE now meets or exceeds the regulator’s requirements for CFIT training,” he said.

MacDonald said the agency has also taken steps to avoid a recurrence, including implementing an electronic system to track pilot training.
Transport Canada spokesperson Silvia Di Tiero said the shortcomings were found during a “process inspection” in June 2013, just weeks after the accident.

“The department issued two administrative monetary penalties to the company for issues identified in the process inspection. The company has addressed the issues,” she said.

The department came under fire in June during a meeting of the Commons transport committee when NDP MP Mike Sullivan questioned the apparent lack of enforcement action by Transport Canada on ORNGE.

“I want to know why Transport Canada is not bothering to enforce its own regulations,” Sullivan said.

But Martin Eley, director-general of civil aviation, told Sullivan the department had hit ORNGE with monetary penalties and suggested further fines could be coming if an ongoing investigation by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada turns up further evidence of problems.

“We have applied monetary penalties to ORNGE. Certainly, if further evidence comes from the TSB, we will respond to that,” Eley told the committee in June.

“We went in there. We did inspections. Some things were corrected. We did apply monetary penalties.”

In May, ORNGE was hit with 17 health and safety charges alleging that the pilots at the controls of the helicopter that crashed in Moosonee were improperly trained, lacked experience in night operations and should never have been paired together.

Transport Canada has raised questions about ORNGE’s air operations in the past. In December 2012, Transport Canada inspector Ken Walsh asked about ORNGE’s policy to avoid pairing two inexperienced pilots on the same flight. And he also asked about so-called “black hole” procedures, used when the combination of night sky and lack of ground lights leaves pilots with few visual references.

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Transportation Safety Board
 ORNGE’s aviation operations have been in the spotlight since the May 2013 crash of a Sikorsky S-76C helicopter at Moosonee, Ont., killed the two pilots and two paramedics onboard.

Whistle-blower lawsuit accuses Derco Aerospace of false billing

A whistle-blower's lawsuit claims Milwaukee-based Derco Aerospace Inc. and others used special software to overbill the U.S. Department of Defense by nearly $50 million for aircraft parts.

The false billing extended back to at least July 2006, according to the attorney for plaintiff Mary Patzer, a former Derco financial analyst and assistant controller.

The attorney, Nola Hitchcock Cross, said the government is entitled to triple damages plus penalties of $5,500 to $11,000 for each request for payment. Altogether, it could add up to $150 million.

"This is potentially the largest whistle-blower suit ever filed in Wisconsin under the False Claims Act," Hitchcock Cross said.

Derco is a subsidiary of Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn. Sikorsky spokesman Paul Jackson said the lawsuit's allegations had no merit, and the company intended to defend itself vigorously. He declined to comment further.

As the "relator" in the lawsuit, Patzer may be entitled to between 15% and 25% of any money recovered.

The original complaint was filed in 2011 but remained secret until it was unsealed this week by U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa.

The complaint alleges that Derco and its parent and sister companies, Sikorsky Aircraft and Sikorsky Support Services Inc., respectively, submitted false bills to the Department of Defense with an impermissible 20% markup on parts the companies had purchased from other vendors. According to the complaint, special software hid the markup to make it difficult to detect, as the price billed to the government appeared to be the actual purchase price of the spare parts, but was instead the price plus the markup.

The markups, on parts for military training aircraft supplied to the U.S. Navy, totaled nearly $50 million, according to Hitchcock Cross.

Patzer was hired by Derco in 2002 as a financial analyst. In 2003, she became assistant controller for financial reporting and Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. By 2009, she was the point of contact for the company's defense contract audits, according to the complaint.

"In the course (of) her employment, Patzer gained firsthand knowledge of fraudulent and improper billing practices by Derco and its parent and affiliated companies," the complaint says. "Such practices included presenting inflated bills for costs to the United States government based on an unauthorized and undisclosed markup of parts and repair services obtained from suppliers, billed to Sikorsky Support Services Inc., and ultimately billed to the United States government."

Soon after Patzer exposed the billing issues to a Sikorsky manager in 2010, she was fired due to a "reduction in force," according to the lawsuit.

"I had to stand up and do the right thing. But after I questioned the markups with the company, I was walked out," Patzer said in a statement through her attorney.

The complaint alleges she is entitled to damages for retaliatory discharge, including but not limited to reinstatement, double back pay and benefits, and special damages resulting from the damage to her career.

The U.S. Department of Justice said it would file its own complaint within 60 days, according to the online publication Law 360. It only intervenes in whole or in part in about 26% of False Claims Act cases, Cross said.

For the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2013, the U.S. government recovered $3.8 billion in settlements and judgments under the False Claims Act. Such recoveries generally are based on complaints filed by individuals, most often employees, who have original information about fraud against the government, according to Hitchcock Cross.

"The statute establishes a private-public partnership to recover monies from those who have defrauded the government," she said.

Founded in 1979, Derco maintains one of the largest and most diversified aircraft spare parts inventories in the world, according to the company's website.

Sikorsky Aircraft designs, manufactures and services aircraft including military helicopters. Sikorsky and Derco are part of United Technologies Corp., also named in the lawsuit, which has more than 212,000 employees and had $63 billion in revenue last year.

United Technologies, based in Hartford, Conn., provides high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.

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