Here at Business Jet Traveler magazine, we know that it’s officially summer because our 2011 Buyers’ Guide has shipped.
At 11:29 this morning, the final space shuttle flight got under way as Atlantis rose from the launch pad on a column of fire from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The threat of thunderstorms had remained at bay, and, some 2.5 minutes later than planned, STS-135 headed skyward to punch through an overcast on its way to spending 12 days in the void above.
Now that Caiga has finalized its purchase of Cirrus Aircraft, it is more than abundantly clear that Chinese companies (most owned by the government) are making huge investments in general aviation (GA) infrastructure. But the Chinese government is making a gigantic mistake that will make it difficult for these investments ever to pay off.
President Obama had barely concluded his June 29 press conference when my e-mail box began filling up with responses from the general-aviation industry. The NBAA expressed “dismay” and announced that it was sending a “strongly worded” letter to the President about his remarks, which it said “reflect a total lack of understanding” of the field.
As part of an industry still struggling to recover from a recession and continuing attacks by the media and politicians alike, I was appalled by President Obama’s press conference Wednesday in which he used his bully pulpit to vilify corporate-jet owners. Not surprised. But appalled.
Prominent U.S. defense programs are feeling pressure from more than just Congress and Pentagon cost police. Before and during the Paris Air Show, Boeing’s KC-46A tanker and Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II faced flak from the aviation press and, in the latter case, an ally’s speech.
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.