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Le Bourget,2nd Day

Fri Jun 22, 2001 10:20 am

First,thanks a million to those who liked my previous report.
So...to-day I decided to spend more time visiting the exhibition ,the different stands..Result : one dislocated shoulder carrying three tons of brochures it will take me months to absorb,a well worn pair of favorite shoes and a bad fit of dehydration-especially when any soda was sold three $,and anyway,when your mind is taken by all these new marvels,you don't think about your body,simple-.
This year,the trend is definitely for bigger engines,a lot more electronics in our airplanes and the beginning of some real thinking about safety,like water sprinklers (sounds so corny,but I've dreamed of it since the British airtours accident).
The new engines are something to behold , the size and the specs are unbelievable but the progress in aerodynamics makes the design of the fan blades a very creditable work of art.Tried to get one to put in my sitting-room but I was told by one RR rep it would be worth around 50,000$ apiece.Guess it saved me from a potential divorce case !
Great news for you enthusiastic passengers:What you,ve seen in terms of entertainment belongs already to the museums along with your 386 PC.Funny,once again,Boeing and Airbus differ on the way they would get internet on board:basically,AI will download before the flight a huge sample off the web,and that will be accessed by the passengers in flight.Boeing goes for a real time internet connection in their airplanes.I just shudder thinking of the capacity of the system,the antenna design and situation.....Can't wait to use it or read the first Airliners net report from one of you madly typing it at FL 410.
I'm also seeing the death of my 17 year old trusted flight bag (UAL design,two centuries ago!),callously killed by a portable PC (already inuse on the 777).But as my old buddy Bob said "The times,they are a changing"...

The Boeing stand left me with some mixed feelings.The model of the Sonic Cruiser attracted a crowd but it inspired me a lot more questions than before as the look of the engine intakes is puzzling;imagine an oval tube cut at a 30-or -so degree angle,as if the engineers didn't expect trans- or super-sonic shock wave at all.The canards now have a very important dihedral....strange but it looks ooooh so sexy!
One of the great new ways of presenting the SC is a huge hologram that projects the airplane into your face.."so coool !" says my son...Unfortunately for us airliners'lovers,most of the stand belonged to the JSF,with a full size mock-up,a cockpit simulator,a nice semi diorama of two of them (with RAF roundels?) being in-flight-refuelled.I couldn't find a brochure on the 737 NG or the BBJ and I had to ask one of the hostesses if she had anything about CIVILIAN airplanes.Being as nice as she was pretty (the unique way american girls can be) she got a few for me from the storage room.Satisfied,I went outside to have a closer look at the BBJ and the 737-900.You know,these winglets are really a sexy appendage to the classic lines of the 73.Viewed from above and slightly to the rear,it looks as if you're seeing three aircraft flying close formation.As for the 900,it is a very clean,lean and civil gentleman of the sky,the prettiest of the family.Unfortunatyely,they didn't fly so I have to watch out on sunday for their departure after the closing of the airshow (That's what I always do as it's the only moment one can expect to see them with some certainty.)

The 340/600 flew again and still the same pleasure in watching it.
The air display was a bit different from the one I saw yesterday as the C17 showed off its agility and short field performance,the Sukhoi 25's brutal handling awed the crowd,the F 18 F demonstrated an amazing set of tight maneuvers in a very restricted piece of airspace...but my heart went to these people flying the Breitling SU 26 (The pilot's name is Xavier de Lapparent) and SU 31,Brigitte de La Salle staging a gentler,more feminine version of her squad mate's routine (That's a word that does not describe what Xavier does!)
OK,ladies and gents,I hope I managed to share with you the pleasure I got from these two days at the show.
Until next time....May gentle winds blow on your contrails.
Roland