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General Atomics’ Advanced Cockpit Ground Control Station.

General Atomics Test of Ground Control  System

for Predator Drone Termed Successful

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. announced that it has successfully demonstrated its Advanced Cockpit Ground Control Station’s capability to fly the Predator C Avenger. The flight occurred Nov. 15, 2012, at the company’s Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif.

The Predator drone on the runway.

The Predator drone on the runway.

“This flight paired our most advanced ground control station with our most advanced aircraft,” said Frank W. Pace, president of the company’s Aircraft Systems Group. “Since 1994, our ground control stations have amassed over 2 million flight hours. The Advanced Cockpit is the next logical step in ground control station progression.”

“Advanced Cockpit’s wrap-around visual display and multi-dimensional moving map dramatically increases situational awareness, while the integrated digital checklist decreases pilot workload,” said Jason McDermott, the test pilot. “The combination of these unique features greatly increases the ease and simplicity of mission planning, reduces pilot workload, thereby increasing flight safety.”

The Advanced Cockpit Ground Control Station features intuitive interfaces designed to make hazardous situations easier to identify, enhancing safety and improving the pilot’s reaction time and decision-making processes, the company said.

The Old Police Headquarters to Become Trendy Destination Venue

Future visitors to the Old Police Headquarters Downtown will be treated to an array of dining, retail and entertainment venues that could not have been imagined in the building’s heyday — 1939 to 1987— when it was home to cops and inmates. Today it’s being refashioned into a $40 million trendy destination spot by Terramar Retail Centers, the managing member of Seaport Village Operating Co., which holds a 40-year ground lease on the property from the Port District.

Rendering of the renovated Old Police Headquarters.

Rendering of the renovated Old Police Headquarters.

Terramar just recently disclosed the names of some of the top restaurants that will operate at the 100,000-square-foot property to be called “The Headquarters” —  Pizzeria Mozza, The Cheesecake Factory, Puesto, Eddie V’s, and Seasons 52.

Pizzeria Mozza’s 4,350-square-foot restaurant will have an open kitchen, wine bar, indoor dining room and central dining patio, plus two private dining rooms – one upstairs in the former police chief’s office (34 guests) and a more intimate room for 11 guests downstairs. The Cheesecake Factory will operate in a 10,400-square-foot space. Puesto will offer Mexican street food and gourmet Mexican dishes. Eddie V’s will offer premium aged steaks and fresh seafood. Seasons 52 is a fresh grill restaurant offering a healthy lifestyle cuisine – no dish contains over 475 calories.

The Old Police Headquarters property has four existing buildings set around an interior courtyard.  Upon completion it will offer up to 30 shops and restaurants. The main courtyard will feature fountains and colorful landscaping.

A First: Weekend Brunch at Bertrand at Mister A’s

There’s a first time for everything, and that includes weekend brunch at one of San Diego’s iconic restaurants. Bertrand at

Chef de Cuisine Stéphane Voitzwinkler

Chef de Cuisine Stéphane Voitzwinkler

Mister A’s has begun offering brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., along with a Sunday Happy Hour from 2:30 to 6 p.m. It’s the first time in the restaurant’s 48-year history that it has served meals during the day on weekends. “Brunch has become such a celebrated part of San Diego’s dining scene and I can’t count the number of times guests have asked us when we would offer it,” said owner Bertrand Hug. “Now, the timing seems just right. There will be no better place to enjoy a delicious brunch while taking in the incredible views of our downtown, the sparkling bay and of course, always these airplanes flying by that bring out the kid in me! And, in addition, parking is a cinch.”

Longtime Chef de Cuisine Stéphane Voitzwinkler has created innovative dishes alongside more traditional selections. Guests will have the option to order breakfast-inspired recipes as well as favorite classics, plus an array of sides, lunch dishes and desserts.  Bertrand at Mister A’s is located at 2550 Fifth Ave. in Bankers Hill.

City’s New Leases Expected to Save Millions

Mayor Bob Filner and Jason Hughes

Mayor Bob Filner and Jason Hughes

The city of San Diego has agreed to a lease of Downtown office space that is expected to save millions of dollars over the next five fiscal years, Mayor Bob Filner announced. Employees of the Public Utilities and the Engineering and Capital Projects departments will move from a building at 600 B St. to a more modern facility at 525 B St. in the next couple of months, Filner said. The lease at the current building was due to expire in about one month. He said that based on the rate of $2.62 per square foot at the current location, compared to $1.25 per square foot at the new structure, the city will save a total of $15.8 million through the 2018 fiscal year — including nearly $1.2 million in the upcoming fiscal year.

“The move is basically across the street so the employees will not be affected in all the routines that they have in parking and car pools and whatever transportation they use, so we think it will be a far more efficient way to conduct business,”Filner said. “We’re moving to a building that is more modern, that’s better for morale. It is one in that the floors we are leasing are bigger and laid out more efficiently.”

The mayor said that since the new building has retail space on the first floor, the city will set up a ground floor location for residents to pay water bills.

The new lease was negotiated by Jason Hughes, a tenant representative who recently joined the mayor’s office as a volunteer. He said the new lease covers 77,000 square feet on floors three through six. Filner said Hughes is a creative person who is helping to develop a comprehensive strategy for the use of city buildings. (City News Service report)

Northrop Grumman’s X-47B drone

Northrop Grumman’s X-47B drone

Northrop Grumman Drone Ready for Aircraft Carrier Test

Northrop Grumman’s X-47B unmanned drone has made key steps in proving its use for the United States Navy by making its first carrier-style, or “arrested,” landing. The initial simulation took place at a land-based airstrip, paving the way for the true test: a demonstration onboard a U.S. aircraft carrier at sea. Such a test is currently scheduled for later in May.

San Diego Physician Heads American College of Endocrinology

Daniel Einhorn

Daniel Einhorn

San Diego physician Daniel Einhorn has been installed as president of the American College of Endocrinology. Einhorn is a clinical endocrinologist with Diabetes and Endocrine Associates, medical director of the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute and a clinical professor of medicine at UC San Diego. Einhorn has served on The Endocrine Society’s Clinical Affairs Committee, the American Diabetes Association Managed Care Initiative and is past chair of the Diabetes and Pregnancy Program of San Diego and Imperial Counties. His research and publication interests include diabetes prevention and reversal, recognition and treatment of diabetic complications, new technologies and pharmaceuticals, combination therapies, and clinical decision-making.


Tourism Authority Hires VP of Communications and Public Affairs

Darren Pudgil

Darren Pudgil

The San Diego Tourism Authority has hired the former communications director for former Mayor Jerry Sanders as its new vice president of communications and public affairs. Darren Pudgil will oversee local media relations, community outreach and government affairs. He previously held similar posts with Congressman Brian Bilbray and was chief of staff for county Supervisor Ron Roberts. The Tourism Authority also announced that Eric Lund, a vice president, has accepted a leadership position in the East County Chamber of Commerce.


Navy’s Newest Squadron Puts Manned And Unmanned Aircraft Side-by-Side

Back when Vice Adm. David Buss started his military career in 1978, the idea of unmanned aircraft operating alongside conventional aircraft sounded like something out of a George Lucas film.

“I would have really called that very Star Wars like but we are there today,” Buss said.

Indeed, at the North Island Naval Air Station in Coronado, officials welcomed a first-of-its-kind helicopter squadron featuring the FireScout, a remotely piloted vehicle. The FireScout is bigger than a smart car but not as wide as a sports car and has four 15-foot blades on top. The squadron is set to deploy next year to the Western Pacific.

For now, pilots like Lt. Kevin Shikuma will train to operate the FireScout system, so they are fluent in both manned and unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs.

“The UAV can stay up for a lot longer than the average pilot can and in this fiscal environment, it’s a lot cheaper to operate a unmanned drone that burns a lot of gas than say this large aircraft that takes a lot more gas and maintenance man hours,” Shikuma said.

Beyond saving some gas and money, Squadron Commander Chris Hewlett said the FireScout can be crucial in assisting larger manned aircraft on missions.

“If they had made contact while they were out flying around and the crew needed to swap out, we could send the FireScout out and that FireScout would dwell on the contact of interest…,” Hewlett said.

The squadron will deploy on the USS Fort Worth, further expanding the Navy’s reach. It’s a littoral combat ship that can operate in areas where larger ships can’t. (Reported by Tarryn Mento | KPBS)

 San Diegan Appointed to Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development

Sid Voorakkara, 42, of San Diego, has been appointed senior business development specialist at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. Voorakkara has been a partner at Ten Page Memo LLC since 2012. He was statewide program officer and San Diego regional program officer at the California Endowment from 2005 to 2011, field director of public affairs at the United Nations Foundation from 2003 to 2004 and director of production and client services at Home Front Communications from 2000 to 2002. Voorakkara was communications adviser to Minority Leader Richard Gephardt from 1999 to 2000. He is a member of the San Diego LGBT Community Center Board of Directors. Senate confirmation is not required.  The pay is is $90,000 a year. Voorakkara is a Democrat.

San Diego Smooths Way for Home-based Water Recycling



The San Diego City Council voted unanimously to ease municipal code requirements for home-based water recycling systems. Advocates say that so-called “graywater” systems, in which the outflow from clothes washers or showers is directed to landscape irrigation, can reduce household consumption by half. “Graywater is a simple and effective way to reduce our water use,” Councilwoman Sherri Lightner said. “Local environmentalists say that a family of four can save as much as 16,000 gallons a year just by reusing water from their washing machine to irrigate their yard.”

A task force created to study plans submitted by the councilwoman recommended that systems that receive water from only a clothes washer should not require a city permit. She said current city rules on the systems are “confusing and contradictory,” stunting local sales. City permits should also not be needed for a homeowner to install a system that discharges less than 250 gallons per day for landscape irrigation, takes water from a clothes washer and wash basin, and doesn’t use pumps or affect the rest of the house’s plumbing, the panel concluded.

“Don’t throw out the baby or the bath water,” Councilwoman Lorie Zapf said. Staff was ordered to return in 90 days with plans, including financing options and proposed regulations. (City News Service report)


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We Want Your Opinions on San Diego’s Big Issues In the coming months, Probosky Research (one of California’s leading opinion research firms) will continue its partnership with SD METRO to survey San Diego residents about topics of interest to our readers. We’d like to throw open the door for suggestions for topics. What do you want to know? What do you think you know, but aren’t sure? What are you certain you know, but want to prove it beyond doubt? Ideally, we’d like to see questions that have to do with public policy.

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