Bill Sweetman

Flying Outside the System 

When this magazine reviewed the status of elite and unconventional air travel two years ago (ATW, 6/03, p. 42), we talked quite a lot about a startup called Indigo, which planned to connect Chicago Midway with Teterboro using 16-passenger Embraer Legacy jets. Indigo, like so many all-premium airlines, is no longer with us, but that has not squelched enthusiasm for a different kind of air service aimed, as the Concorde was, at a premium market.

Battle of the Middleweights 

Last summer, 787 VP and GM Mike Bair talked of a "land rush" of airline orders and, along with Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Alan Mulally, repeatedly predicted that more that 200 787 orders would be on the books by the end of 2004. But even the late-January order from six Chinese carriers for a total of 60 787s left the company 14 short of its year-end target, while the number of firm orders remained at 56.

17 years young 

When the first A320 was delivered to launch customer Air France in October 1987, it represented a revolution in commercial aircraft flight control technology and also featured the most extensive use of automation and computerization on any civil transport flightdeck. Today, with Boeing having embraced fly-by-wire in its two most recent new aircraft programs, and when even regional jets such as the Embraer 170 offer it, it may be difficult to recall the controversy generated by the aircraft.

40 years of airliner technology 

When the Beatles arrived in New York in February 1964, they stepped off Pan Am's 707-320 Clipper Defiance, a first-generation pure-jet aircraft that was less than five years old. The classic 707-the longer-range, turbofan-powered 707-320B-was then quite new. A week before the Fab Four's US debut, Hawker Siddeley handed over a brand-new Comet 4 to Kuwait Airways. A brand-new Comet, by gad.

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