Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Cosmic Top Secret DC-10s

I just ran across an article saying that Canada Post has terminated its contract with Air Canada and taken on transporting the mail itself. According to the above linked article, Canada Post spokeman John Caines said Canada Post has made arrangements with other carriers to deliver US and international mail and it has bought DC-10s to carry mail between major centres.

That didnt sound quite right to me. It's a big deal to start up a new air operation. I can't see Canada Post taking that on. Looking around for more on this, I see bulletin board talk indicating that Kelowna Flightcraft, the carrier with the Purolator contract, is picking up Canada Post work, and ALPA sasys KFC will add two DC-10s this fall. I'm thinking those are the DC-10s in question. I wonder where they are buying them from, maybe Northwest, which is shedding its DC-10s. They're a pretty ancient airplane, but I guess they'll fit in with the B727s. They might even be more fuel efficient than the B727s. Did Canada Post buy these for Purolator? Is the relationship among Canada Post, Purulator and KFC complicated enought that it makes sense for Canada Post to say that they have bought the DC-10s? Or was Caines just misquoted in the article? Blogging is making me lazy. I could try to figure it out, but I'm going to sit back and let someone else tell me who owns and operates what airplane.

Meanwhile, looking at Canada Post tenders I found two interesting lists. One is the list of vehicles that Canada Post may mandate in specific mail delivery contracts:

  • 1/2 T truck
  • Straight truck
  • Cube van
  • Cargo van
  • ATV
  • Boat
  • Ski-doo
  • Other
I think it's funny that there is so much specificity on vans, but that "boat" is so general. And I like the fact that mail in my country is sometimes delivered to communities by canoe, ski-doo and ATVs. Come to think of it, I've offloaded a Canada Post package from my cargo bay to a homebuilt utility trailer in tow behind an ATV driven by a grandmother.

I wonder what security clearance she held. Here's are the possibilities, listed on the tender form for Canada Post.

  • protected A
  • protected B
  • protected C
  • confidential
  • secret
  • top secret
  • NATO confidential
  • NATO secret
  • Cosmic Top Secret
I think Cosmic Top Secret would be a good name for something. A blog, a band, a pet ... probably not a kid.


Anonymous said...

"COSMIC Top Secret" is just a label for top secret information shared among NATO members.

Aviatrix said...

Yah, but it sounds funnier than NATO top secret.

Anonymous said...

This classification is awesome. I guess the reasoning goes a little something like this:

When the mail agency person handles something labeled as 'confidential', (s)he may not read the contents and/or tell anyone about them. When the item is labeled as NATO secret, (s)he may absolutley not read the contents and/or tell anyone about them.

To me, a list like secret, top secret and NATO secret has always sounded like trying to find different words for the same thing as in a little pregnant, pregnant and top pregnant, i.e. this seems, at best, like funny but also completely weird bravo sierra.

Unknown said...

Steve visualises room full of "spooks" all shiftily eyeing each other and uncomfortably shuffling feet.....one has to start the discussion, but none is willing to break the rules and discuss the document with anyone else.

How I miss Monty Python!

Re- the delivery fleet, volume purchases need careful consideration,-if you are going to buy a few hundred the same, they need to be thought about. when you're buying "a " boat, the "wrong" purchase is liable to cause inconvenience to maybe half a dozen people....heck, a sensible organisation would consult the intrepid sailor,or even let him/her procure one.....so that's not happening, then. they'll probably buy half a dozen Pedalos,'cause they're Eco-friendly!

Anonymous said...

you are now #5 on a google search for cosmic top secret.

Yellowbird said...

"you are now #5 on a google search for cosmic top secret."

I think that's part of her nefarious plan.

Anonymous said...

ZB pretty much missed the boat here. the different levels are for different levels of clearances, and , amusing sounding names aside, yes there are real distinctions in the different levels of security clearances.

It's true there is only one degree of pregnancy, however there are many levels of security clearances.

The difference between a "secret" clearance and a "top secret" clearance is the depth to which your background is investigated, and the standards which you must meet under scrutiny.

If you were a member of The Young Jihadists Marching Society, or The Communist youth Committee for the overthrow of the West (or insert your boogeyman du jour) when you were 13, it might not be picked up at the level of investigation required for a "protected B" clearance, but you can bet your dogma that if you apply for a Top Secret clearance, the background investigation will be thorough enough to discoiver this.

Lynn Grant said...

A squared pointed out that the different levels of security clearance require different background checks. The flip side of this is the security levels themselves. They are defined on how much damage to national securtity would occur if the imformation was revealed to the wrong folds. The definitions are somewhat open to interpretation, specifying "damage", "serious damage", and "exceptionally grave damage." Rumour has it that the amount of embarassment to the classifying organization factors in there somehow, too.


Anonymous said...

Another difference between the security levels is the amount of protection and paperwork involved in dealing with material at a given secrecy level. Top secret information requires a better safe, more guards, stronger encryption, etc, than is required for information that is merely confidential.

Top secret is further subdivided into compartments along specific areas of knowledge. Some of these compartments are even more highly protected than generic top secret information. The compartments are not hierarchical (i.e. clearance for compartment D does not automatically grant clearance for compartments A, B and C) and there is no overarching compartment that authorizes anyone to know everything.

Anonymous said...

Someone will likely know this better than I do, but my understanding is that KFC owns the DC-10s and operates them on various routes for Canada Post in the same way that they do for Purolator. I would expect, though I have seen no mention of this anywhere, that before KFC bought these planes that they had some kind of deal with Can Post to finance them. Part of what is going on is that Can Post has refused to pay fuel surcharges to AC and Westjet for carrying mail and thus decided to organize another option. It does not seem to make much sense on the whole, but Can Post will do what it wants. Can Post does not own the planes as far as I can tell in the same way that Purolator does not either.

Anonymous said...

Way back in the day, when CP first picked up Purolator, you can imagine the outcry from the other couriers nationally. Here was a crown corporation, enjoying the benefits of a govt imposed monopoly on mail services, using its substantial financial powers to subsidize a private company ( by giving Purolator mail transport contracts and sharing space on aircraft previously on dedicated CP runs )and unfairly compete against other privately owned courier companies.

Courier companies whose employees income taxes paid for CP to undercut them out of a job.

Sadly, the protestastions never went anywhere, as the public simply enjoyed sending an express document overnight with Priority Post for 5.00 instead of paying UPS / Loomis / CanPar the 10.00 they were charging.

Even Purolators rates, for moving the same product on the same planes, was easily double Priority Posts' rates.

In regards to the -10s, I think all it would take would be a CP/Purolator gaurantee/contract that KFC could take into the bank, in order to secure financing for those two big white elephants.

A gaurantee that they will continue to use your tax dollars against you....sigh.

I would be extremely surprised if CP had any type of ownership stake in those a/c, other than essentially underwriting their operation costs for the first 2-5 years.

I had a peek inside the office of one of them the other day though and I have to admit having a soft spot for a widebody jet that has a big Blue & Black AI front and center instead of a screen...

They're both painted white, with no logos at all, save the mandatory sized reg markings ( GKFA & GKFB ). They kind of look Cosmic Top Secret, but they're pretty hard to hide.

Anonymous said...


Definitely owned by KFC now. Lately they've been running at least one of them along a CYHM - CYWG - CYYC - CYVR routing. Heard the same rumour that they had the Canada Post contract after ACA had lost it.