As I flew home amid the screaming babies in the back of a packed 767 from Charles de Gaulle Airport to New York’s JFK, something struck me as different about this Paris Air Show, apart from the exceptional number of orders and so-called commitments the world’s civil aircraft manufacturers had managed to collect for broadcast at Le Bourget.
The McDonnell Douglas A-12 Avenger II’s radical, wedge-shaped design still looks exotic, even in the 20 years since the program was cancelled after an outlay of billions of dollars that failed to produce even one real airplane. The proposed Navy attack bomber has fascinated me ever since the first time I saw an artist’s rendering of it.
Here we are, 41,000 feet in the air, sailing along at a little more than 476 knots and a little more than halfway from Morristown, N.J., to the Paris Air Show. We’ve got a biofuel blend of Honeywell’s finest and jet-A feeding engine one and straight jet-A in the other. The G450’s Rolls-Royce engines appear to be perfectly happy on a diet of either, and the flight is as smooth as a glass-top table.
A pink golf shirt. I understand companies want to curry the attention of journalists, but at some stage you reach the point of diminishing returns.
Later this morning I’ll hop on a train for my biennial pilgrimage to the Paris Air Show. Thanks to the tunnel beneath the Channel connecting the UK to the mainland of Europe, and the speedy Eurostar train, it is not a long or arduous journey–not least because it no longer involves having to endure one of London’s accursed airports.
One result of our Netflix subscription is that my wife and I are watching many films that we probably would have missed. Two such films are Michael Ferguson’s “Inside Job,” which won the Academy Award for best documentary last year, and Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” with Michael Douglas reprising his role as Gordon Gekko from 1987’s “Wall Street,” also directed by Stone.
Most of the time, business aviation makes air travel painless and trouble-free. That’s what you’re paying for and that’s why you love it.
Congressman John Mica keeps ratcheting up his war against the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which he shoulders the blame for creating in the aftermath of 9/11. And judging from anti-TSA sentiments at the recent National Air Transportation Association Air Charter Summit, he probably can enlist a lot of spearchuckers to help win the battle.
Just as the flight data recorders from Air France Flight 447 were first being read–a few weeks shy of the two-year anniversary of the aircraft’s fatal plunge into the Atlantic Ocean four hours after takeoff from Rio de Janeiro en route to Paris–I started receiving calls from reporters asking for comment on word leaking out that pilot errors had caused the aircraft to stall and crash, killing all 228 people aboard.
Even if you are really tired of reading about Donald Trump, I encourage you to take a look at the June/July 2011 edition of Business Jet Traveler, where you will find him on our cover.