B-149917, OCT. 19, 1962

B-149917: Oct 19, 1962

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HOUGH COMPANY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 12. BIDS WERE REQUESTED FOR FURNISHING FIVE GASOLINE-DRIVEN TOWING TRACTORS. SHORTLY AFTER THE INVITATION WAS ISSUED YOUR COMPANY CONTACTED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER AND CALLED ATTENTION TO A POSSIBLE ERROR IN THE TOWING CAPACITY. IT WAS DETERMINED THAT THIS REQUIREMENT WAS IN ERROR AND SHOULD HAVE READ 90 TONS. THE INVITATION WAS ACCORDINGLY AMENDED TO PROVIDE THAT "MAXIMUM TOWING CAPACITY SHALL BE NOT LESS THAN 90 TONS ON SMOOTH HARD PAVEMENT WITH A 2 PERCENT GRADE.'. IT APPEARS THAT THE LOW BID WAS ON A PETTIBONE MERCURY TRACTOR. YOUR BID WAS SUBMITTED ON A TRACTOR WITH 15. 000 POUNDS DRAWBAR PULL AND WAS ACCOMPANIED BY YOUR LETTER DATED AUGUST 20.

B-149917, OCT. 19, 1962

TO THE FRANK G. HOUGH COMPANY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 12, 1962, WITH ENCLOSURES, QUESTIONING THE PERFORMANCE CAPACITY OF AIRPLANE TOWING TRACTORS BEING PURCHASED BY THE FEDERAL AVIATION AGENCY UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 87- 3-98-B1, ISSUED JULY 24, 1962.

BIDS WERE REQUESTED FOR FURNISHING FIVE GASOLINE-DRIVEN TOWING TRACTORS, TO BE CLARK EQUIPMENT COMPANY'S MODEL "CLARKTOR 80" OR EQUAL. THE INVITATION SPECIFIED CERTAIN REQUIRED CHARACTERISTICS, INCLUDING A MAXIMUM RATED CAPACITY OF APPROXIMATELY 8,000 POUNDS STARTING DRAWBAR PULL AND A MAXIMUM TOWING CAPACITY OF NOT LESS THAN 200 TONS. SHORTLY AFTER THE INVITATION WAS ISSUED YOUR COMPANY CONTACTED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER AND CALLED ATTENTION TO A POSSIBLE ERROR IN THE TOWING CAPACITY. IT WAS DETERMINED THAT THIS REQUIREMENT WAS IN ERROR AND SHOULD HAVE READ 90 TONS, AND THE INVITATION WAS ACCORDINGLY AMENDED TO PROVIDE THAT "MAXIMUM TOWING CAPACITY SHALL BE NOT LESS THAN 90 TONS ON SMOOTH HARD PAVEMENT WITH A 2 PERCENT GRADE.'

IT APPEARS THAT THE LOW BID WAS ON A PETTIBONE MERCURY TRACTOR, MODEL NO. 980, WITH 8,000 POUNDS RATED DRAWBAR PULL. HOWEVER, YOUR BID WAS SUBMITTED ON A TRACTOR WITH 15,000 POUNDS DRAWBAR PULL AND WAS ACCOMPANIED BY YOUR LETTER DATED AUGUST 20, 1962, AND CERTAIN DATA PURPORTING TO ESTABLISH THAT A CAPACITY OF 13,887.5 POUNDS DRAWBAR PULL WOULD BE NECESSARY TO MEET THE TOWING REQUIREMENTS OF THE INVITATION. YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 12, 1962, REPEATS YOUR CONTENTION THAT THE 8,000-POUND TRACTOR IS INADEQUATE AND STATES THAT REPRESENTATIVES OF YOUR COMPANY WERE ADVISED THAT IF THE TRACTORS FAILED TO SATISFY THE TOWING REQUIREMENTS THEY WOULD PROBABLY BE USED FOR OTHER DUTIES.

THE FEDERAL AVIATION AGENCY REPORTS THAT THERE IS NO RECORD OF ANY STATEMENT THAT THE TRACTORS WOULD BE USED FOR OTHER DUTIES IF THEY DID NOT MEET THE TOWING REQUIREMENTS, ALTHOUGH THE FACT IS THAT THEY ARE UTILIZED FOR OTHER PURPOSES IF NEEDED.

IT IS FURTHER REPORTED THAT, IN VIEW OF THE OBJECTIONS RAISED IN YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 20, 1962, SEVERAL MEETINGS WERE HELD WITH MR. J. W. MCDUFFIE OF YOUR COMPANY, AFTER WHICH THE CONTRACTING OFFICER REFERRED THE MATTER TO FEDERAL AVIATION ENGINEERS, WHOSE INVESTIGATION INDICATED THAT THE TRACTOR OFFERED BY THE MERCURY MANUFACTURING DIVISION, PETTIBONE MERCURY CORPORATION, DID MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE INVITATION. ORDER TO FURTHER CLARIFY THE MATTER, AND AT THE SUGGESTION OF MR. MCDULLIE, AN ENGINEER FROM THE FEDERAL AVIATION AGENCY VISITED THE ARMY ENGINEER CENTER, FORT BELVOIR, VIRGINIA, AND SOUGHT INFORMATION FROM THE ENGINEERING STAFF WHICH DESIGNS AND DEVELOPS MILITARY REQUIREMENTS FOR TRACTORS AND RELATED HEAVY EQUIPMENT. PERSONNEL OF THIS STAFF ASSURED THE FEDERAL AVIATION AGENCY THAT THE PETTIBONE MERCURY GAS TRACTOR, MODEL NO. 980, WITH THE 8,000 POUNDS RATED DRAWBAR PULL WAS FULLY CAPABLE OF MOVING A 90-TON LOAD UP A 2 PERCENT GRADE ON A DRY AIRPORT PAVEMENT. THIS INFORMATION WAS CONVEYED TO MR. MCDUFFIE WHO STATED THAT HE WAS SATISFIED AND WOULD OFFER NO FURTHER OBJECTIONS.

WITH REFERENCE TO THE COMPUTATION OF RECOMMENDED DRAWBAR PULL ON PAGE 2 OF YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 20, 1962, IT IS NOTED THAT YOU HAVE INCLUDED THE WEIGHT OF THE TRACTOR AND THAT THE TOTAL OF THE RESISTANCE FACTORS HAS BEEN INCREASED BY 25 PERCENT FOR A WET SURFACE, WHICH IS NOT SPECIFIED IN THE INVITATION AND APPARENTLY WAS NOT INTENDED. IT IS NOTED FURTHER THAT 40 POUNDS PER TON, WHICH APPEARS IN YOUR CHART FOR SMOOTH BRICK, HAS BEEN USED AS THE ROLLING RESISTANCE FACTOR, WHEREAS THE FIGURE OF 28 POUNDS PER TON FOR HARD ASPHALT WOULD APPEAR TO BE MORE ACCURATE. ALSO, AT LEAST ONE FACTOR, NAMELY, ACCELERATION RESISTANCE, IS ADMITTEDLY VARIABLE. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, THIS COMPUTATION CAN HARDLY BE CONSIDERED AS CONCLUSIVE, EVEN ASSUMING THAT THE BASIC FIGURES ARE ACCURATE.

THE DETERMINATION OF THE NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT AND HOW THEY SHALL BE MET IS PRIMARILY THE FUNCTION OF THE CONTRACTING AGENCY AND IN THE ABSENCE OF CONVINCING EVIDENCE OF ERROR WE ARE NOT REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO SUCH DETERMINATION. ON THE PRESENT RECORD WE WOULD NOT BE JUSTIFIED IN CONCLUDING THAT THE TRACTOR BEING PURCHASED WILL NOT MEET THE PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS OF THE INVITATION.