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Monday, October 15, 2007

Era of SuperJumbo begins

Photo: The retired Concorde - Still the World's Fastest--and smallest-- passenger jet

Airbus just delivered the world's first Superjumbo jet - the Airbus 380 which will hold 555 to 800 passengers! It dwarfs the huge Boeing 747. It will need bigger terminals to handle it. Some airlines will offer in-flight showers with their versions of it.

Meanwhile, American Boeing's new Dreamliner carries 330 and has been a big hit because it reaches Mach .85 (650 miles per hour vs. 500 for most jets today) and is fuel efficient.

The Europeans went for bigger and the Americans went for faster. The Europeans are claiming the Airbus is more fuel efficient per passenger than a car. But I think having a shot at a shower after flying 20 hours to Australia might impress people more.

What I miss, and what we need, is a fuel efficient version of the CONCORDE, which flew at Mach 2 and took me from New York to London in a little over 3 hours on a trip many years ago. We cruised at 60,000 feet, high enough to see the curvature of the earth.

But I'd want one the size of a 747. The Concorde was so small it was like sitting inside of a pencil. When I was younger (and skinnier at dripping wet 155 lbs.) it was a tight fit.

If I were President, I'd order up a supersonic jet (Mach 2 would be perfect) to be Air Force One-- instead of lumbering around in a 747 for hours on end. In this century, international travel by our leadership is vital. Cutting global travel time to Europe from 8 hours to 3 (and the Middle East from 16 hours to 6) makes sense.

America must continue to lead in global technology to remain relevant in this global 21st century.

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