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NASA accused of favoritism at Moffett

Original post made on Jan 27, 2011

Four years after the surprise news that Google executives were allowed to base their private planes at Moffett Federal Airfield, there have been not been similar agreements made to use the airfield as officials had promised.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 28, 2011, 12:00 AM

Comments (11)

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Posted by Cuesta Parker
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 27, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Hilarious. These "Google people" located their HQ in Mountain View and employ thousands of local residents and you are complaining about where they park their jet?


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Posted by JustGuessing
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 27, 2011 at 11:36 pm

I'm guessing NASA as the 'FBO' here makes a killing on the fuel for the heavy metal (757, 767), and takes on Google's smaller jets as part of the deal. probably not much interest or incentive for NASA to house a bunch of business jets. It is about $ and PR... Google looks good for PR, buys lots of overpriced fuel, while AirshipVentures is a VERY visible showpiece of new businesses setting up at Moffett. Aid flights as part time work for a predominately corporate jet? What does that buy NASA? To most of the locals, it just represents more noise and sours the relationship with NASA... I mean, seriously, if they actually did fly aid flights on a part time basis, how many days/weeks would it take to exit the news? If it weren't for billboards along 101, most would not even know the ANG rescue wing is based at Moffett.


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Posted by BassetHound
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 28, 2011 at 12:50 am

Why do Google executives need a fighter jet?


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Posted by haha
a resident of another community
on Jan 28, 2011 at 2:16 am

The fighter jet is for Google's upcoming new feature... "search... and destroy" ;)


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Jackson Park
on Jan 28, 2011 at 3:08 am

It's not where Google parks their toys that is the question...it's the fact that they're the only ones allowed to do so... read it again.

And as a life-long resident of M.V. of over 50 years I can tell you that most of those "thouands of local residents", are not local at all and weren't Mountain View residents until after Google hired them. Most of the true locals (and many of my friends)lost their jobs, and some their homes, when manufacturing companies left and high-tech software and internet-related outfits replaced them.


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Posted by Surprised
a resident of another community
on Jan 28, 2011 at 3:54 am

Just because Google is there in Mountain View, many other good start-ups have setup offices in Mountain View - such as LinkedIn. Its actually good for the City and the business environment there.

Parking a couple of Jets in Space Agency's space shouldn't be such a big issue.


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Posted by brazil
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 28, 2011 at 9:05 am

The 129 rescue wing pays nasa for rent
nasa makes money
We need the ANG rescue wing as we need Fema and Humanitarian Air
wend the big one hits is in (Earthquake)we need them


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Posted by ric
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 28, 2011 at 10:31 am

As usual the Voice fails to meet the basic impartiality test and once again fails to accurately report the facts.

I am a NASA employee who has been involved in the effort to retrofit the Google aircraft for science payloads. I DO NOT speak for NASA Ames, however.

1) The "fighter" jet is a two seat TRAINER. It is being modified to carry science payloads that will be used to monitor pollution levels here in the Bay area as well as across California.

2) Modifying a passenger or cargo aircraft with our sensors while meeting stringent FAA standards is a time consuming and expensive effort. In fact, some modifications may preclude the modified aircraft from being used for its original purpose. Mr Asmus is clearly ignorant of this fact or he would not be willing to risk his "fleet" so cavalierly.

3)Basic journalistic footwork on the Voice's part would have uncovered these two facts and certainly would have helped take some of the "yellow" tinge from this article.


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Posted by Anne
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 28, 2011 at 10:57 am

This isn't a very convincing article. The whole story is written from the perspective of one disgruntled person who was denied access to use the airfield. That's like asking someone who was fired from the Mountain View Voice what he think of your paper.


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Posted by BassetHound
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 28, 2011 at 7:50 pm

@ haha, lol.

@ ric, thanks for the info.

Still, I have to wonder, why a fighter jet (even a trainer jet)? Did Sergey pick one up cheap at a garage sale or something?

Wouldn't any similar sized jet be able to carry such a payload? Aren't fighter jets configured to fly fast and maneuver easily? Are those performance characteristics necessary for this purpose?

These are the kinds of questions I ask myself when I read stuff like this. I'm not trying to pick a fight, just really curious. Info like this article can be read as "rich boys and their exotic toys," and understandably raises some eyebrows. But if there are truly valid reasons, I'm all for it.


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Posted by HAL
a resident of another community
on Mar 4, 2013 at 12:00 pm

"Modifying a passenger or cargo aircraft with our sensors while meeting stringent FAA standards is a time consuming and expensive effort. In fact, some modifications may preclude the modified aircraft from being used for its original purpose. Mr Asmus is clearly ignorant of this fact or he would not be willing to risk his "fleet" so cavalierly."


The comment above from a NASA employee that Mr. Asmus is clearly "ignorant" about adding scientific equipment to Humanitarian Air Logistics proposed aircraft fails to connect on a couple of points.

First) According to public statements from NASA it was only AFTER NASA signed the lease agreement with H211 that they determined that the Boeing aircraft could not handle the instrumentation and that is why they obtained the Alpha Jet. So why did the experts at NASA not know this before they signed the lease with H211 in the first place -- or were they also ignorant?

Second) HAL was told by a NASA Ames airport official that HAL did not really need to do any scientific testing because humanitarian/disaster aid flights already met the NASA mission requirements to use Moffett.However, HAL was willing to help with that mission.


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