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Family Aid 2020
   Vol. 20 No. 2
Tuesday January 19 , 2021
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August Martin Changed Air Cargo

If you want to learn about August Martin, the great air cargo pilot who flew for Seaboard World Airlines during the 1950’s, and was also the first black man to captain a U.S. flag air cargo plane, you better plan on either using your old Funk & Wagnall’s Encyclopedia, or visiting the wonderful high school located near JFK International Airport in Queens, New York named in honor of the air pioneer.
     The name August Martin as an internet search, most often comes up as ‘August’ 28, 1963, when ‘Martin’ Luther King delivered his never to be forgotten “I Have A Dream,” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
     We have initiated a campaign with Google and some others to change all that.
     This August Martin, a gentle man would go down in history as the first African American to serve as Captain on a U.S. scheduled airline.
     Put another way, before “Augie” as his friends called him, there had never been a black airline captain on the bridge of any U.S. flag airline.
     Although he flew for other carriers, including El Al Israel Airlines and a company called Buffalo Skylines between 1946 and 1955, it was Seaboard World Airlines, an air cargo company, which hired Augie and broke through a glass ceiling in American culture.
     Air cargo put a great aviation pioneer, who happened to be black, in the left seat.
     August Martin, who was born in 1916 had aviation blood in his veins.
     He worked all his life to be a pilot, training as a youngster to fly small prop jobs and later during World War II as a front line Mitchell B26 bomber pilot.
     He also took training at the Tuskegee, Alabama base, which spawned the legendary black pilots who gained fame as The Tuskegee Air Men.
     While awaiting his big break with a scheduled U.S. flag carrier, Augie worked as a stevedore on the New York docks to make ends meet.
     But when SWA came a knocking, August Martin was ready.
Seaboard World Airlines Lockheed Constellation     For the next thirteen years Martin piloted the legendary all-cargo aircraft of SWA, including the Lockheed Constellation, Canadair CL44 swing-tail freighter, Douglas DC-4 and DC-6 among others.
     August Martin was not just about breaking through for himself. Augie also gave back big time.
     Often, he would donate his off time and vacations, flying supplies to the impoverished in Africa, and other points of emergency and need around the world.
     On July 1, 1968 August Martin was killed aboard just such a flight when his cargo-laden aircraft crashed in a blinding rainstorm as he attempted to land in Biafra, Africa.
     Today, in modern air cargo circles not much is known or said about August Martin.
     Air cargo groups and organizations, and increasingly publications yearly name people to this and that “Hall of Fame,” blithely unaware that one of the truly, great firsts in the history of air cargo was a black man with the rank and responsibility of Captain of a great international airline.

A Shot in the Arm

GDA Getting COVID vaccine     I mentioned at the top a high school in Queens, New York near John F. Kennedy International Airport that opened in 1976 named August Martin.
     Well, that is exactly where I found myself in a long queue this past Sunday January 17th one day before the U.S. celebrated Martin Luther King Day on Monday January 18.
     Like most other things in life, an old man getting the COVID-19 injection incurs a grand bit of paperwork and waiting in line.
     While Sabiha handled the details, including filling out some forms (digitally more than once) I decided to ask people in the queue—health care workers, New York City policemen, ordinary people, a pilot, maybe a dozen in all, if they knew who August Martin was.
     Not one person had ever heard of him.
     Of course, since all were situate at August Martin High School that day and most, especially the wonderful health care workers, who will be there for the better part of the next few months innoculating people, there was at least name recognition and even interest, by most folks we spoke to as well.

August lost to aviation history

     August Martin has gotten lost in history and air cargo needs to set this right.
     The fact that the first black person to hold a position in the left seat at a scheduled commercial air carrier in the U.S., piloting all cargo aircraft speaks volumes of the opportunities our industry offers to generations; and a time during the COVID-19 pandemic when air cargo is front page news.
     Wake up air cargo!
     August Martin, God Bless him, makes us all look good!
     We just have to get the word out; create a scholarship; have a grand gathering when that is possible again.
     We ask CNS, Air Cargo Americas, Airforwarders Association, JFK Air Cargo Assn., IATA World Cargo Symposium, FIATA Word Congress, Air Cargo Africa, to individually or collectively get it together to honor August Martin.
     History demands the truth and FlyingTypers is here to help.
     Hope to hear from you, dear readers.

chuckles for January 19, 2021

Vaccine on Global Runways

     Having spent most of my life in logistics, when we started talking about COVID-19 vaccines in the springtime last year, I was anticipating the greatest logistics challenge of our times: delivering COVID19 vaccines as soon as available to thousands if not millions of Point of use (POU’s) [see below] all over the world. Famously we recall challenges such as the Berlin airlift which kept west Berlin alive in times of cold war, perhaps less famously but even more challenging we record the yearly feat of delivering the Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the five continents, ready for its grand opening every autumn. 2020, a year loathed by most, nonetheless witnessed the kick-start of the largest logistics operation of all times. We have had ways of understanding that 2020 is one of a kind. This is especially true in logistics, and will be on our records for many years to come.
     We have all become familiar with the logo of the John Hopkins University in these long pandemic months; sometimes we use their precious resources superficially, looking at their figures with insufficient knowledge on our side, but is also a resource allowing for more elaborate consideration, for example they have amply discussed the efficient and equitable logistics of vaccine distribution in this article, in so doing, they are echoing other concerns voiced inter alia by the WHO or UNICEF.

The Shot in the Arm for Countless Billions

     Just to give you an idea of the magnitude of the challenge, I am resorting to figures published by Nature on Nov 30th: “the makers of the three vaccines that seem closest to widespread distribution — AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna — estimate a total production capacity of 5.3 billion doses for 2021, which could cover between 2.6 billion and 3.1 billion people, depending on whether AstraZeneca’s vaccine is administered in two doses or one and a half. And a vaccine created at the Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow could cover another 500 million people per year outside Russia from 2021, says the Moscow-based Russia Direct Investment Fund.

A Glimpse of a Logistics Challenge for all Time

     Anyone dealing with logistics quickly understands that delivering anything as big as 5 billion doses worldwide in a year, on top of whatever else moves already on planes, ships, trucks and trains, doest not happen by magic, but will require an exceptional deployment of resources and expertise.
     Tapping on the information provided by Deutsche Post DHL, the infographics published on line by the multinational show us the dimensions of the challenge: if you combine the item movements shown below with the number of vaccine doses that need to be delivered the result is mind-boggling.

Solutions for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

     But the challenges do not come from numbers alone. This is what Pfizer announced [abridged PR] on Nov 20th about the behemoth operation on its way:
     •  During the initial stage, our contracts are with governments, and we will be providing doses according to their preferred channel and designated vaccination locations, subject to regulatory authorization or approval.
     •  We have developed detailed logistical plans and tools to support effective vaccine transport, storage and continuous temperature monitoring. Our distribution is built on a flexible, just-in-time system, which will ship the frozen vials direct to the point of vaccination.
     •  In the U.S., our distribution approach will be to largely ship from our Kalamazoo, Michigan, site direct to the point of use (POU). We also will use our existing distribution center in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.
     •  We will be utilizing road and air modes of transportation in the United States, where we expect to be able to get product to any POU within a day or two.
     •  We also have developed packaging and storage innovations to be fit for purpose for the range of locations where we believe vaccinations will take place. We have specially designed, temperature-controlled thermal shippers utilizing dry ice to maintain recommended storage temperature conditions of -70°C±10°C for up to 10 days unopened. The intent is to utilize Pfizer-strategic transportation partners to ship by air to major hubs within a country/region and by ground transport to dosing locations.
     •  We will utilize GPS-enabled thermal sensors with a control tower that will track the location and temperature of each vaccine shipment across their pre-set routes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These GPS-enabled devices will allow Pfizer to proactively prevent unwanted deviations and act before they happen.
     •  Once a POU receives a thermal shipper with our vaccine, they have three options for storage:
          * - Ultra-low-temperature freezers, which are commercially available and can extend shelf life for up to six months.
          * -The Pfizer thermal shippers, in which doses will arrive, that can be used as temporary storage units by refilling with dry ice every five days for up to 30 days of storage.
          * -Refrigeration units that are commonly available in hospitals. The vaccine can be stored for five days at refrigerated 2-8°C conditions.
     •  After storage for up to 30 days in the Pfizer thermal shipper, vaccination centers can transfer the vials to 2-8°C storage conditions for an additional five days, for a total of up to 35 days. Once thawed and stored under 2-8°C conditions, the vials cannot be re-frozen or stored under frozen conditions.

Pfizer Speaks and Brussels Sprouts

     The news came at 11.30 EST on Dec 13th 2020 that Pfizer had started shipping vaccine doses from Michigan. This is public knowledge now as is, albeit less widely advertised, that the European Pfizer vaccine will come from a village between Brussels and Antwerp, Puur.

Jean-Claude DelenJean Claude Served DHL In Brussels

     After reading Pfizer’s challenging conditions, I thought I would resort to the knowledge and experience of my old friend Jean-Claude Delen, who served as director in DHL in Brussels, as well as being President of CLECAT between 2005 and 2009 and subsequently of FIATA, more or less at the time when I worked as DG in both associations successively.
     Jean-Claude is the rare pearl that both federations have tried to keep at their helm as long as allowed by their individual statutes.
     He is currently presiding the FIATA Foundation, after serving also as Treasurer of FIATA for a number of years. In his various institutional positions in Brussels Jean-Claude strongly contributed to the development of a state of the art facility at Brussels Airport, which boosts a cool storage capacity second to none. Similar arrangements were made in Liege, albeit at a smaller echelon. Having made such wise investments in the past proves to be crucial today and explains why Belgium is often chosen as the production and distribution centre for the whole of Europe by many pharmaceutical enterprises.

United Leads The Way

     On Nov 27th United Airlines announced the first “mass shipment” of Pfizer’s vaccines from Brussels to O’Hare in Chicago.
     So hats off to Jean-Claude who was able to don the cloak of the master of the understatement, when he said “I am aware that we have the infrastructure in place to work on the vaccine delivery programme, at least for the part that is produced in Belgium.”
     Jean-Claude also caught a flying ember today, when he pointed to out to me that “GSK have vouched millions in investments in Belgium, which appears to be a U-turn from their February 2020 statement announcing nearly 1,000 job cuts.”

United Cargo Vaccine Delivery

How Vaccine Delivers In Europe

     It is understandable that the proximity between the logistics infrastructure and the production sites has already allowed Pfizer to start delivering its vaccine within Europe, but we should not forget that the efficient delivery of so many consignments of vaccine requires resources and these need to be trained. I heard from some of my acquaintances in Brussels that training has been on the tables for quite some time now.
     There is anyway considerable confidentiality regarding the arrangements surrounding the vaccination programme in many countries, including mine.

La Dolce Vita

     In Italy the special Commissioner Arcuri appears to have decided that vaccine doses will be delivered by the Italian Army for the time being. Fedespedi and ANAMA, whose members had been bracing for the possible extra load coming from the vaccine distribution have been informed that, at least in the beginning, the doses will be handled by the military and will be stored in secured areas.
     Understandably there is concern about the complexity of the logistic chain and the safety and security of the vaccine. As Pfizer stated, this is governments’ affair and there is no private handling of vaccines, at least for the time being since no parallel market exists. Nobody wishes to talk openly about the issue, but it is clear that ministers are concerned that vaccines could get into the wrong hands, although the stringent requirements for safely handling the vaccine are a form of insurance in itself.      This is not something you can place at the back of your car, it requires a sophisticated delivery system. Needless to say the freight logistics community in Italy will respond if they are called to assist in the operations, as it will most likely happen as this year moves along.

Focus Germany

     If we remain in Europe it is nearly impossible to avoid looking at what happens in Germany, the largest country in the EU, which is in the middle of a second wave of infections right now. The following information comes from a well-informed online source:
     The transport, storage and distribution of the highly temperature-sensitive vaccines (-70°C) pose an enormous challenge. The company VA-Q-Tec in Würzburg, a specialist in cool boxes, has already received an order worth millions: "transport will take place in our containers and boxes," says CEO Joachim Kuhn. Ultra-low freezers are also required for storage. They come from the Swabian company Binder, each unit comes at around €20,000 euros. Frankfurt Airport, a proven transhipment point for cool-chain pharmaceuticals, is warming up. "We are preparing for both import and export," says Fraport manager Max Philipp Conrady. “We don't yet know what's coming and what will be produced where.” In terms of quantities, however, the corona vaccine is not an “overwhelming challenge” [for Fraport], as 13,500 square meters of temperature-controlled storage are available.
     Deutsche Post DHL, based in Bonn, with more than 180 locations around the world tailored to the needs of the pharmaceutical industry, is confident to store and transport medicines for up to three days at a constant low temperature, which can reach -80°C). The logistics group Kuehne + Nagel, headquartered in Bremen, is also involved in the distribution: "It will be a challenge, but nothing where we say: that’s impossible", said CEO Detlef Trefzger.

     In conclusion we can perhaps look at this epochal challenge with reasonable confidence. Our companies are responsive and are gearing up to the dimensions that will be required by the challenge. At this point the only risk is overconfidence, which is the perfect recipe to sleepwalk into a disaster. All hands on deck and eyes wide open we can make it, but we must remain alert and focussed.
     Stay safe all of you there, with my best wishes for the year ahead.
Marco L. Sorgetti

FlyingTalkers podcastFlyingTalkers

A few minutes with Bessie Coleman

Our Martin changed air cargo

Operation Warp Speed USA

Bill Boesch   First vaccines were distributed Sunday December 13th, and as of January 15, according to the U.S. federal government 31.2 million doses have been delivered to states, territories and federal agencies.
   Bill Boesch, special logistics advisor to the U.S. military told FlyingTypers,       “Operation Warp Speed expects to be able to ship and distribute 30 million vaccines per month until around March/April when the 4 other vaccines in addition to Pfizer and Moderna are ready to be distributed to the public.
   “When we eventually have 6 different vaccines ready to distribute, upwards of 100 million vaccines per month can be delivered.
   “The CDC is projecting that herd immunity can be achieved once a minimum of 70% of the nation receives the vaccine, or about 230 million people.
   ”By these numbers, herd immunity can be achieved by July at the earliest.
   “This is assuming everyone that is able to get the vaccine will take it and come back after the mandated time to receive their second dose of the vaccine,” Bill declared.
   “If that does not happen it may not be until the end of 2021 before herd immunity is achieved.
   “My gut feeling is end of March/early April will be when people will start to really open things back up.”
   Well, we are all standing by watching for that small light at the end of the tunnel to move rapidly forward and envelope us all in daylight once more.

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The Year That Changed Our World
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Publisher-Geoffrey Arend • Managing Editor-Flossie Arend • Editor Emeritus-Richard Malkin
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