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from Stories I’d like to see:

Picking government contractors, high-flying Dubai, and a dubious drug on the market

1. Who picks the contractors?

In the wake of the failed launch of Healthcare.gov there has been some spectacular insider coverage, particularly by the Washington Post and New York Times, of the failure of the private contractors to deliver what they promised when they won the assignments to build the federal insurance exchange. But while there has been some mention of problems with the contract procurement process itself (focusing on the notion that in Washington the IT providers who win the contracts are better at winning IT contracts than at doing cutting-edge IT), one piece of the story has so far been missing: Who actually decided to award the Healthcare.gov contract to CGI and the others who shared the work? And on exactly what basis?

We know the winners had invested heavily over the years to get on a list of pre-qualified companies who could bid on contracts like this one, a tortuous process that the best and brightest technology companies outside the Beltway typically don’t bother with because they have too much more rewarding work to do in the private sector, where the bidding process is more straightforward. But we still haven’t gotten a good picture of who in the government runs these processes.

I know from some reporting I’ve done recently that in Kentucky, to take one example, the contractor that won the job to build that state’s Obamacare website was chosen by a committee that did not include the person who was actually in charge of building the Kentucky exchange. In other words, the person who would supervise the outside vendor, and whose career depended on whether the contractor did a good job, had nothing to do with picking the contractor. In fact, I’m told that the official in charge of the website didn’t meet the leader of the contracting team until after the choice was made.

It turns out that the lead Kentucky contractor -- Deloitte Consulting -- did a great job, and its team worked perfectly in synch with the state officials supervising them. But that seems to be more a matter of good luck than a procurement process designed to produce teamwork and accountability. Imagine a private corporation picking a supplier to work on a key project without the executive supervising the project being allowed to meet the supplier’s team leader first.

from Global Investing:

Emerging markets to fuel airline spending trajectory

Emerging markets may not have all the technological know-how in civil aerospace, but from China across the world to Brazil, they do have the cash.

The civil aerospace sector performed well in 2013, according to Societe Generale data, trading at a 4 percent premium over the MSCI world index, while the defence sector has steadied, and in the medium to long term civil aerospace should be supported by strong orderbooks from emerging economies.

from Summit Notebook:

EADS chief longs for airplane that is no longer

What would you guess is the airplane that the head of  the company that produces the Airbus longs for?

Think fast and past.

"Concorde," Louis Gallois, EADS Chairman and CEO, says without hesitation. "It's a dream."

from Global News Journal:

Safe landing? Airliner just had apricot face mask

A silhouette is seen on a Mexican flagApricot face masks can hydrate the skin, shrink your pores and strip the paint off  your average Airbus passenger jet.

Next time you buckle up for landing, take a moment to find out when your plane was last blasted with ground apricot pits.

from The Great Debate:

A dark and windy night

Miles O’Brien is a pilot, airplane owner and freelance journalist who lives in Manhattan. His blog is located at www.milesobrien.com. The opinions expressed are his own.

A lot of travelers boarding an Airbus today might be thinking twice. After all, yet another Bus is at the bottom of yet another ocean – and another 153 souls have gone west.

from UK News:

Little to celebrate at Paris Air Show

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-- John Bowker is UK Transport and Utilities Correspondent--

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It feels like a typical day at the Paris Air Show -- terrible transport links, a vast complex of exhibition tents, planes of all sizes and noise so dreadful it's impossible to talk, let alone use a mobile phone.

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One difference is the weather. It's more like Manchester in February than Paris in June, chucking it down.

from The Great Debate:

The paradox of “simplicity”

milesobrien_136

Miles O’Brien is a pilot, airplane owner and freelance journalist who lives in Manhattan. His blog is located at www.milesobrien.com. The opinions expressed are his own.

Air France Flight 447 went down in a giant, dangerous, violent storm that might not have been survivable under any circumstances. But as the Airbus A-330 penetrated that huge system of thunderstorms, sensors, systems and computers on the plane started failing in a rapid cascade that would make any pilot’s head spin – even if he was not in the middle of extreme turbulence flying blind in the night.

from The Great Debate UK:

The paradox of “simplicity”

[CROSSPOST blog: 44 post: 3959]

Original Post Text:
milesobrien_136

Miles O’Brien is a pilot, airplane owner and freelance journalist who lives in Manhattan. His blog is located at www.milesobrien.com. The opinions expressed are his own.

Air France Flight 447 went down in a giant, dangerous, violent storm that might not have been survivable under any circumstances. But as the Airbus A-330 penetrated that huge system of thunderstorms, sensors, systems and computers on the plane started failing in a rapid cascade that would make any pilot’s head spin – even if he was not in the middle of extreme turbulence flying blind in the night.

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