How Much Do Boeing Airplanes Cost To Make?

Boeing (NYSE:BA) is well known for its hugely popular 737, as well as its 747, first introduced in 1970, and its 787 Dreamliner. But there’s also a new, 400-seat aircraft — the 777X — that’s still on the drawing board, and it’s predicted to become the biggest-selling airplane in the market after its first delivery in 2020.

Investors cheer when Boeing beats out rival Airbus for lucrative contracts as it generates more revenue and higher profits. At the Paris Air Show just last month, Boeing crushed Airbus by announcing commitments for 437 new airplanes compared to only 182 for its rival.

Big things, small packages

The big seller was the 737 MAX family of aircraft, which scored 418 commitments from buyers, mostly for the new 737 MAX 10, though Boeing also received 125 commitments for the 737 MAX 8. The rest of the commitments were for the 787 Dreamliner.

Notably absent were orders for the iconic 747, which underscores why Boeing is phasing out the aircraft.

In its latest “Current Market Outlook,” which forecasts industry demand out to 2036, Boeing eliminated a separate callout for very large aircraft that previously contained the 747, choosing instead to merge it into a combined “medium/large passenger widebody” category.

Boeing says the planes aren’t selling (Airbus says likewise in relation to its A380 airplane) because few carriers have the capabilities and routes to handle planes with more than 400 seats. The 747 is a 400-seat aircraft, but can be configured to cram as many as 660 passengers onto a single plane. In fact, Boeing only has 23 747s in its backlog of airplanes, the fewest of any of its aircraft, and it produces just one plane every two months.  Obviously it’s not committing many resources to it.

Flying into turbulence

Airbus was quoted as mocking Boeing’s decision to abandon the market. “They would do that,” said Airbus sales chief John Leahy, according to IndustryWeek. “The 747-8 isn’t selling. We have no intention of sharing that market with them.” Airbus noted it remains committed to producing very large airplanes because of growing passenger traffic and congestion on routes.

That still might be a foolish stance to take since Airbus didn’t sell a single A380 last year ,  and Boeing doubts it will be able to sell the remaining 107 aircraft that Airbus has in its backlog. Indeed, Airbus is struggling to maintain production of the 550-seat model at one per month, and its biggest deal at Paris was for 100 A320neo (short for “new engine option”) single-aisle jets.

That’s where Boeing sees most of the market moving. In its long-range forecast, it sees single-aisle planes accounting for 72% of all aircraft deliveries in 2036, valued at $6.1 trillion.

Firing up production

Boeing plans on grabbing more than its share of that market. It’s churning out 42 737s per month and has a backlog of 4,500 orders, making it the most in-demand aircraft in Boeing’s fleet. Even though they’re the cheapest planes Boeing produces, it makes up in volume what it gives up in price. Not surprisingly, the 747 is one of its priciest aircraft (though not the most expensive), but with few sales, it really doesn’t matter what they cost.

Below are the production rates for each family of aircraft Boeing produces, its order backlog, and the average price of each family of plane.

boeingProduction rates for each family of aircraft Boeing produces, its order backlog, and the average price of each family of plane. Photo: The Motley Fool

As noted, the 737 is the cheapest of its aircraft, with the 737-700 going for just $82.4 million. The most expensive? The 777-9, which retails for $408.8 million.

The needs of the airline industry are not static, but dynamic, as can see by Boeing’s outlook, which forecasts 4,200 fewer planes needed than last year’s report suggested. The number of single-aisle jets needed is also lower.

One thing that doesn’t change? Boeing’s leadership role in delivering the latest, most technologically advanced aircraft in the market.

Rich Duprey has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Chinese mega deal confirms Airbus’ edge over Boeing

At last month’s Paris Air Show Boeing secured twice as many orders as Airbus, closing 571 orders worth €60bn against Airbus’ 326. That was mostly on thanks to Boeing’s new 737 MAX 10 airliner, competing directly with the Airbus A320 best seller. Both planes are in the single-aisle 100 plus passengers category.

Airbus projects global demand for planes with more than 100 seats to double over the next two decades, reaching 40,000 aircraft. Much of this demand will come from emerging markets, particularly China.

In January 2016, China placed an order for 30 A320 valued at just under €2,4bn. But, on Wednesday, Airbus announced a massive €20bn order for 140 planes from China’s Aviation Supplies Holding Company (CAS).

Wednesday’s order includes 100 A320 single-aisle jets and 40 A350 wide-body aircraft. The order confirms strong demand by Chinese Airlines for aircraft that can service domestic, regional, and long-haul routes. For Airbus, the Chinese order is “one of the biggest contracts {to be} signed in a long time,” the company’s CEO Tom Enders said.

But, the sale also boosted Airbus’ dominance in the single-aisle aircraft category, having 13,000 order and 7,600 deliveries to date. Airbus has gone from a 6% share of the Chinese market in the 1990s to a 50% share today.

Incredible contrail made by Boeing 787 – what causes them, and are they part of a global conspiracy?

A pilot has captured incredible footage of contrails billowing from the engines of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner at an altitude of 33,000ft.

Lou Boyer was piloting a Boeing 747 flight from Tokyo to Alaska when he saw the contrails – or ‘chemtrails’ depending on your appetite for conspiracy theories – over eastern Russia.

The Dreamliner was flying towards Asia when Boyer spotted it passing 1000ft below his own aircraft. The pilot described the event as “normal traffic separation on an airway.”

Due to volcanic activity in the area, quite a few flights were on the same route over eastern Russia,” Boyer told RT.com.

The combination of high relative humidity and a nice sunrise gave this contrail a nice deep color as the contrail created its own shadow,” he added.

Aremarkable video has emerged of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner spewing out a thick cloud of vapour as it flies over Russia. It was captured by pilot Lou Boyer from the cockpit of a passing 747, RT reports.

The clip is bound to fan the flames of conspiracy on some of the more incredulous online forums. The seemingly random appearance of “contrails”, as these lines of condensation are commonly called, is considered by a small but vocal online minority to be evidence of a global conspiracy. Why do some planes emit long, lingering clouds, they ask, while others pass overhead without leaving a trace?

The conspiracy theory

The clouds are, according to some, in fact “chemtrails” – chemical or biological agents sprayed at high altitude for any number of top secret reasons. So persistent is the chemtrail theory that it has been discussed on radio talk shows, raised by politicians, while US government agencies report calls from irate citizens demanding an explanation.

The trails which arouse the most suspicion are those that remain visible for a long time, dispersing into cirrus-like cloud formations, or those from multiple aircraft which form a persistent noughts-and-crosses-style grid over a large area.

Very suspicious
Very suspicious CREDIT: © DIRK V. MALLINCKRODT / ALAMY/DIRK V. MALLINCKRODT / ALAMY

So what possible reason would the world’s governments have for jettisoning vast quantities of chemicals into the stratosphere?

Proponents of the conspiracy theory offer a variety of explanations. It is an attempt to control global warming, according to some, while others cite far more sinister goals, such as human population control, psychological manipulation, and military weapons testing. The trails, it is claimed, are to blame for health problems and respiratory illness.

It is an attempt to control global warming, according to some; others cite human population control, psychological manipulation, and military weapons testing

These claims took root in the Nineties, with the publication of a US Air Force research paper about weather modification. The ability to change the weather isn’t all pie-in-the-sky. Cloud seeding – where particles such as silver oxide are sprayed onto clouds to increase precipitation – is commonly used by drought-prone countries, and was part of the Chinese government’s efforts to reduce pollution ahead of the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

The truth

Governments and scientific institutions have, of course, dismissed the theories, and insist those vapour trails which persist for longer than usual, or disperse to cover a wide area, are just normal contrails. The variety of contrails seen in the sky is due to atmospheric conditions and altitude, they say, while grid-like contrails are merely a result of the large number of planes that travel along the same well-worn flight lanes.

“The combination of high relative humidity and a nice sunrise gave this contrail a nice deep colour as the contrail created its own shadow,” explainer Lou Boyer, who captured the video above.

Patrick Smith, a US pilot, dismisses the conspiracy theory in his book about air travel, Cockpit Confidential. “Contrails are formed when humid jet exhaust condenses into ice crystals in the cold, dry, upper-level air –­ it’s not unlike the fog that results when you exhale on a cold day,” he says. “Contrails are clouds, you could say. Water vapour, strange as it might sound, is a byproduct of the combustion within jet engines, which is where the humidity comes from. Whether a contrail forms is contingent on altitude and the ambient atmospheric makeup – mainly temperature and something known as vapour pressure.

“If the humidity is high (greater than that needed for ice condensation to occur), the contrail will be persistent.”
“If the humidity is high (greater than that needed for ice condensation to occur), the contrail will be persistent.”

“I refuse to devote valuable page space to the so-called ‘chemtrail’ conspiracy theory. If you know what I’m talking about and wish to argue the matter, feel free to email. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t worry about it.”

In 2000, the Federal Aviation Administration, the US national aviation authority, teamed up with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to create a detailed report aimed at dispelling the rumours once and for all. It clearly didn’t work. The EPA reissued the document as recently as 2015.

The report reads: “Aircraft engines emit water vapour, carbon dioxide, small amounts of nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, sulfur gases, and soot and metal particles, formed by the high-temperature combustion of jet fuel, during flight. Of these emittants, only water vapour is necessary for contrail formation.

“If the humidity is high (greater than that needed for ice condensation to occur), the contrail will be persistent. Newly formed ice particles will continue to grow in size by taking water from the surrounding atmosphere. The resulting line-shaped contrail extends for large distances behind an aircraft. Persistent contrails can last for hours while growing to several kilometers in width and 200 to 400 meters in height. Contrails spread because of air turbulence created by the passage of aircraft, differences in wind speed along the flight track, and possibly through effects of solar heating.” Now you know.

It concluded that “persistent contrails pose no direct threat to public health” but added: “Contrail cloudiness might contribute to human-induced climate change.”

So, while “chemtrails” are widely considered a myth, contrails themselves may actually be harming us by contributing to global warming.

Read more article here

Here’s A First Look At The Boeing 737 MAX 8

BY  for pizzainmotionThe Boeing 737 MAX is the next generation of Boeing’s very successful 737 line of planes.  If you’ve flown more than once or twice, you’ve been on a 737 at some point.  With almost 4,000 737 MAX planes ordered, we’ll be seeing a lot of this plane for the next few decades.  I got a chance to tag along as Norwegian Air took delivery of their first 737 MAX 8.

We arrived at the Boeing Seattle Delivery Center to watch the plane get delivered to a proud group of Norwegian executives, including Bjorn Kjos, the long-time CEO and founder of Norwegian Air.  Anders Lindstrom, Norwegian’s Director of Communications, USA greeted us and helped us prepare for the ribbon cutting of the double delivery.

Bjorn opened by talking about how the airline grew from just a few leased aircraft to over 100 by the end of the year, including filling out the 787 Dreamliner fleet to somewhere between 40 and 50 total planes.  He heralded their model of flying affordably, driving down prices on the trans-Atlantic market.  Bjorn glowingly spoke of the Boeing partnership, noting how critical the performance of planes like the 787 Dreamliner and 737 MAX is to the success of Norwegian Air.

Bjorn took time to recognize the fundraising efforts and auction winners that helped raise almost $25,000 for UNICEF, a charity very near to Norwegian Air’s heart.

A question from the audience referenced new Norwegian Air service between Seattle and London.  Bjorn revealed plans to launch service between Oslo and Seattle and said that they’ll continue to add new routes as they receive more 737 MAX and 787 aircraft.  He also revealed that Sir Freddie Laker will grace the tail of the first 737 MAX flight.  Norwegian noted there will be 3 US aviation pioneers featured on future tail designs.

Bjorn made one comment that I found especially interesting.  I won’t get the wording exactly right, but he explained that the economics of the 737 MAX allowed them to pass on savings to customers so they could offer flights from Europe to certain East Coast cities as low as $99 one-way.  The key here for me is him acknowledging their effort to pass these savings on to customers.  It’s such a different mentality than many publicly traded airlines, who are using comparable savings to increase profit at the expense of their customers.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Norwegian is running a charity.  They need to be profitable as well.  But, they appear to be crafting a model where they can consistently offer a decent product at rock-bottom prices.  By filling virtually every seat (something they seem pretty darn good at) they can be profitable.

Boeing 737 MAX 8 First Look

The first thing I noticed about the MAX was that it carries the scalloped engine cowling of the 787 Dreamliner.  The other notable difference from the exterior is the split winglet.  The nose cone looks a little bit different, but that may just be my eye.  Otherwise, the fuselage is substantially the same from a visual standpoint as many of the 737 frames flying today.

Let’s Get Going!

Inside The Boeing 737 MAX 8

After getting to walk around the plane a few times, it was time to board.

Look At That Seat Assignment!

Inside, it looks like…..a 737.  The interior is pretty much the same as most newer 737s flying the skies now.  The Norwegian configuration surprised me in one key detail.  Given their low-cost roots, I figured they would put the “MAX” number of seats on the plane.  However, Boeing lists the MAX 8 capacity at 200 seats.  Norwegian is close, but only has 189 seats.  I reached out to Anders to get some clarity.  I like his reply:

Norwegian will not compromise on legroom and customer experience for profitability, like so many other airlines do.

He also shared an infographic about the Norwegian 737 MAX 8 which confirms, among other things, a 30″ seat pitch.

Seat pitch is a bit of an imperfect measurement with the new generation of seats.  Due to carve-outs at the knees, a 30″ seat pitch can actually seem more like 32 or 33″.  That’s probably part of the reason American Airlines tried to shrink seat pitch for some rows to 29″ on their upcoming 737 MAX order.

I found the resulting amount of legroom to be ample enough, though I’m only 5’9″.  Since we had about 9 hours of flying to get to Oslo, I tried taking a nap part way through the flight.  I definitely think the seats are better sitting upright than “lie-flat coach”!  Taller folks may want to angle for an exit row.  The legroom looked to be at least a few inches more.

I had friend and fellow blogger Melinda from Magic of Miles snap some pictures of me working on my laptop in 3 different positions.  As you can see, the seat pitch still allowed me to work on my laptop, though it was tight when the seat in front of me was reclined.

Seems Just Fine With My Seat Upright As Well As Seat In Front

Gets A Bit Tighter With Seat In Front Reclined

A Bit More Comfortable When I Recline

Our northerly route took us over some pretty cool sights.  Here’s a peek out the window as we passed over the top of Hudson Bay by the Northwest Passages.

Cockpit

The cockpit of the 737 MAX sees some big and small changes.  For starters, there are two new larger monitors in addition to the ones already front and center for the pilots.  This monitor design borrows from the 787 as you can see in the two photos below.

Boeing 737 Cockpit

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Cockpit

During our conversation with the pilots, they noted that a number of additions to the 737 MAX had actually been introduced recently in newer 737NG deliveries.  Those roll-outs by Boeing cut down the amount of certification time necessary for pilots transitioning from earlier versions of the 737.

WiFi Is Coming

Even though Norwegian offers Wifi on most of their planes, I wasn’t expecting us to have Wifi for our delivery flight.  My understanding is that most airplanes don’t leave the factory with WiFi kits installed.  The Wifi providers have their own installation procedures that are separate from Boeing’s delivery of a new airplane.  I was a bit surprised to see the notable “hump” of the radome for WiFi on top of our plane.  When I asked the folks from Norwegian, they noted they had the equipment installed to provide WiFi but were still negotiating final contracts for their 787 and 737 MAX fleet.  They expect to have this resolved by the end of the year.

 

I have a bit of knowledge in this area, but I’m by no means an expert.  What do you do when you have a question?  You contact an expert.  I pinged my friend Seth, who writes the Wandering Aramean blog and also writes for Runway Girl.  He confirmed that Boeing now offers airlines the option of having Boeing install the radome during assembly.  This represents a big upside for the airlines.  Normally they to pick up a brand new plane and fly it somewhere else for WiFi install (and lose valuable days of service without paying passengers).

With Boeing offering to complete part of this process, airlines have a much smaller piece to accomplish on their own.  Seth notes that this helps with certification and aircraft resale value.  That means Boeing can afford to charge a premium for this service.

Landing In Oslo And The Final Two Pennies

The published range on the 737 MAX 8 is roughly 3,500nm.  Our delivery flight was lightly loaded, with less than 50 passengers and few bags.  I’m not sure exactly how much difference that makes in fuel.  According to Flight Radar 24 (another thanks to Seth for helping me find this), we traveled about 4,500nm. The route was a northerly one, which saw us fly completely in daylight for the 9+ hours we were in the air.  We took off at 1pm in Seattle and landed in Oslo just after 7am local time.

I talked to the pilots afterwards and they noted we had enough fuel left onboard to make it another 500-750nm.  It’s safe to say the 737 MAX can cover the longest of the current routes Norwegian plans to use them on (Bergen to Stewart in upstate NY).

This was my first delivery flight, though not my first flight on Norwegian Air.  I also rode one of their 737s from New York to Martinique for their inaugural flight of that service.  The thing that both flights had in common were great crews who really seemed to enjoy their job.  They joined the rest of us in celebrating the 737 MAX entering service for Norwegian Air.  While 9 hours in coach isn’t necessarily my idea of a great time, I’m still pretty excited to have gotten the experience of a delivery flight.  I’m not sure I’ll get that chance again.

Check out two gleaming Boeing aircraft dancing together in the sky

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is one of the best things that have happened to the airline industry after the jumbo 747. Anyone who has taken a ride on this modern aircraft with cutting edge passenger comforts and unmatched fuel efficiency will agree that it is a pleasant experience to be onboard the 787.

On the other hand, the latest variant of the most popular aircraft on the planet – the 737 MAX 9, is currently the most sought after aircraft for aviation enthusiasts. For the upcoming Paris Air Show, Boeing decided to display the aircraft and it has released a new video to have the maximum impact for the announcement – a synced flight of the two aircraft in the spotlight.

The video shows the 787-10 and the 737 MAX 9 doing a formation flight over the Washington State. Apart from the beautiful shape of the 787 and the gleaming paint job of the 737 MAX 9, Boeing also indicates the ability of these yet-to-be-launched aircraft for commercial flights. Both the aircraft display great agility and superior aerodynamic stability while performing high-speed manoeuvres.

To some eyes, it may seem that there’s a considerable amount of CGI trickery going in the background. However, Boeing has assured that everything you see in the video has been performed for real by expert pilots and the whole thing has been shot with a helicopter and a chase plane.

Both the aircraft will go into public service by 2018. But you can catch a glimpse of these next-gen aircraft at the 2017 Paris Air Show as part of static display exhibits.

Leaked American Airlines Memo on Aircraft Changes And Why US Airways Flight Attendants Are Unhappy

We’re going to see more transatlantic destinations coming to American Airlines, and a bunch of changes to the planes that are flying American’s international routes.

None of that’s especially surprising — one of the things that the merger allows American to do is take legacy American Airlines planes and put them on historically US Airways routes and vice versa based on matching the best equipment to route (some US Airways routes might have had planes that were too small, some routes might have had planes that were too big, the goal is to be… just right).

However what is surprising is that we’ll be seeing this on prime international routes that flight attendants love to fly before the airline integrates flight attendants of the two airlines. American still isn’t set up to have legacy American Airlines flights attendants fly legacy US Airways aircraft and vice versa, or to mix legacy American and legacy US Airways flight attendant crews on the same flights.

So when they take a European route historically flown by US Airways and assign a legacy America Airlines plane to fly it, that means US Airways flight attendants lose the opportunity and American Airlines flight attendants pick it up. It also means moving crew around the system to put them in place to do the flying.

  • American has been flying legacy US Airways 757s to Hawaii. Those planes were leased and are being returned to the lessor.
  • So US Airways transatlantic 757s are going to replace them on Hawaii routes, coming off of Philadelphia – Europe flying.
  • Some Philadelphia – Europe routes will see legacy American Airlines 757s and 767s as a result.

This is good for customers. It means seeing planes with fully flat seats on the transatlantic routes, which is something that American has committed to so shouldn’t come as a surprise (and it was unlikely they were going to reconfigure leased 757s).

However the legacy US Airways flight attendants who are losing some Europe flying are not at all happy, since they won’t get to work those flights until American completes flight attendant integration. The airline handed out big raises to employees but this is likely to undermine some of the goodwill they had hoped for.

Here’s a memo sent to Philadelphia-based flight attendants from American Airlines Network Planning, via Flyertalk moderator TWA884:

Network Planning, Crew Operations and Flight Service
Thursday, June 8, 2017
All PHL-based flight attendants

Summer 2018 PHL international flying

This is the time of year we start loading our flight schedules into Sabre (our reservations system) for the following summer. You may have seen on social media that the PHL-LIS route is changing from a LUS aircraft to a LAA aircraft beginning in April 2018. First, we are incredibly sorry if you found out this way. We’re trying to be as transparent with you as possible – especially on things that affect your work life – and our plan was to share this aircraft swap once we had a better picture of the full summer schedule. Unfortunately this change was loaded into Sabre prematurely. To avoid something similar happening in the future, we want to share everything we know about next summer’s flying, including the background on this swap and some other changes you’ll see in 2018.

We are in the process of retiring some of the Boeing 757 (“B75H”) aircraft historically flown to our Hawaii markets. We don’t own these aircraft and the majority of our leases are set to expire. Unfortunately, extending our lease isn’t possible because the lessor has already committed these aircraft to other airlines. When looking at what aircraft to put on routes, we have to consider our network and fleet as a whole. The best decision to backfill them is to use the B757s (“B75E”) currently deployed in PHL-LIS, PHL-GLA and PHL-SNN.

That means we need to put new aircraft on those PHL-based international flights. As a result, we will be assigning LAA B757s and B767s to PHL-LIS, PHL-GLA and PHL-SNN for summer 2018. These are the aircraft that best match customer demand, stage length and other variables. Until FOI in October 2018, it also means these seasonal routes must be flown by LAA-based flight attendants. In addition, next summer we will be adding two new seasonal international routes from PHL that will also be flown with LAA B767s.

We fully recognize how big of a deal this is. While none of these changes will result in flight attendant displacements or furloughs, we understand the implications this will have on those who like to fly these routes and the overall effect this will have on those who prefer to fly high time each month. From our base visits we also know that many of you are really disappointed about the delay of flight attendant operational integration (FOI). This, combined with the news of the metal swaps on these premium international routes next summer, makes it even harder. You have our commitment that we will come up with options to make this better for you and make sure you are not negatively impacted. We are looking at a lot of things we can do and will share more in the next month or two once the full summer schedule is finalized.

PHL is and will continue to be a key hub in our international network. Though it doesn’t feel this way now, this will be more flying for PHL as a hub, and ultimately for you.

Again, this is not the way we envisioned breaking this news and we sincerely apologize. As soon as we’ve firmed up our plan, we’ll share those details and will be in PHL to answer your questions face-to-face.

In the meantime, we’ve started an online frequently asked questions (FAQs) page that’s posted to Crew Change.
VP, Network Planning
VP, Crew Operations
VP, Flight Service

Ultimately we should see a couple of additional Philadelphia – Europe routes announced and that should please Philadelphia-based flight attendants.

How blue whale evolved to size of a Boeing 737

Blue whales can grow to a length of 30m but they only started reaching such a gigantic size two to three million years agoALAMY

Millions of children have gazed up at the massive blue whale model in the Natural History Museum in London and wondered at the sheer size of the largest animal to have lived. Now scientists believe that they have discovered why whales became so big.

Blue whales can grow to 30m (100ft), the length of a Boeing 737 airliner, but such size is a relatively recent feature in their evolutionary history.

Thirty million years ago, similar filter-feeding whales were much smaller, typically a maximum of 10m long. Very large whales began appearing only about two to three million years ago, according to a study of fossil whale skulls by the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.

Researchers found that the increase in size coincided with the formation of glaciers in the northern hemisphere. Meltwater from the glaciers flushed nutrients from the land into coastal waters. The nutrients acted as fertiliser for phytoplankton at the base of the ocean food chain, resulting in periodic surges in the prey that whales feed on, such as krill and other small crustaceans.

Prey became less evenly distributed around the ocean and much more abundant at certain times and places. Larger whales could make more efficient use of the dense patches of food and were also better able to migrate thousands of miles to find those seasonally abundant supplies. They could survive for months without eating, thanks to their vast fat stores.

Nicholas Pyenson, curator of fossil marine mammals at the Smithsonian, said that studies showed that different species of whale all grew larger at around the same time. “We see the extinction of much smaller baleen whales and the sudden appearance of very large body sizes like the blue whales and fin whales that we see today,” he said.

Other species of filter-feeding whales, such as the humpback, gray and right whale, were also now “substantially bigger than anything we find in the fossil record”, he added.

“We live in a time of giants right now. Whales have never been as large as they are today.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more

JetBlue paints Airbus A320 in colors of New York City police

, USA TODAY – JetBlue rolled out its newest special paint scheme Monday, unveiling a livery honoring the New York City Police Department. The Airbus A320 will begin flying through JetBlue’s 101-city network after Monday’s unveiling at New York’s JFK Airport, the carrier’s busiest base.

The “Blue Finest” livery features a bright blue fuselage before ending with the NYPD flag across the tail section. A smaller badge and shield will greet fliers by the jet’s forward boarding door.

The flag that was the inspiration for the aircraft’s tail design was adopted by the NYPD in 1919. Among its highlights are a field of 24 white stars, which represent the 23 separate towns and villages that eventually became a part of New York City. The 24th star represents New York City itself.

The "Blue Bravest" livery is to honor the Fire Department

The "Blue Bravest" livery is to honor the Fire Department

 

“As New York’s Hometown Airline, supporting our local public servants including the NYPD is part of our DNA,” Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue’s EVP for customer experience, says in a statement. “Our mission of inspiring humanity is brought to life each day through our crewmembers, many of whom are also former public servants. This mission also lives in the work the NYPD does to keep our communities safe.”

Adding to the poignancy for the carrier, JetBlue estimates up to 15% of its in-flight crewmembers have served in some capacity as public servants in positions ranging from law enforcement to first responders to military service.

“I want to thank everyone at JetBlue for honoring the hardworking men and women of the NYPD with this incredible symbol of partnership and professionalism,” NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said in a statement. “This aircraft, ‘Blue Finest,’ has the perfect name and appearance to represent those who have made it their lives’ work to fight crime and keep people safe. It is an impressive interpretation of NYPD hallmarks and will spread our commitment to public safety far beyond New York City.”

JetBlue’s “big reveal” of the aircraft came Monday morning at its hangar at JFK in front of employees, “many of whom previously worked with NYPD and were specially invited to the event.”

Also on hand were “Bobbies” from the British Metropolitan Police Department, who were competing in “plane pull” charity event against teams made up of JetBlue crewmembers and local authorities from the New York Police and Fire departments. The event was to raise funds for childhood cancer research. Also benefiting from the charity event is the J-A-C-K Foundation, a children’s cancer research fund established by officers from the British Metropolitan Police Department.

Tracking over the UK, US Air Force WC-135C Constant Phoenix Nuclear explosion ‘sniffer’ 62-3582 COBRA55

On Feb. 17, 2017, U.S. Air Force WC-135C Constant Phoenix Nuclear explosion “sniffer,” serial number 62-3582, using radio callsign “Cobra 55” deployed to RAF Mildenhall, UK.

As we have already reported the WC-135 is a derivative of the Boeing C-135 transport and support plane. Two of these aircraft are in service today out of the ten examples operated since 1963. The aircraft are flown by flight crews from the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron from Offutt Air Force Base while mission crews are staffed by Detachment 1 from the Air Force Technical Applications Center.

The WC-135, known as the “sniffer” or “weather bird” by its crews, can carry up to 33 personnel. However, crew compliments are kept to a minimum during mission flights in order to lessen levels of radioactive exposure.

Effluent gasses are gathered by two scoops on the sides of the fuselage, which in turn trap fallout particles on filters. The mission crews have the ability to analyze the fallout residue in real-time, helping to confirm the presence of nuclear fallout and possibly determine the characteristics of the warhead involved: that’s why the aircraft is important to confirm the type of explosion of today’s test.

 

Along with monitoring nuke testing, the WC-135 is used to track radioactive activity as happened after the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster in the Soviet Union in 1986 and Fukushima incident back in 2011.

One of these aircraft was deployed near North Korea in anticipation of Kim Jong Un rocket launches then was spotted transiting the UK airspace in August 2013 raising speculations it was used in Syria thanks to the ability to detect chemical substances down wind from the attack area days, or weeks after they were dispersed.

Although they cross the European airspace every now and then, their deployment in the Old Continent is somehow rare. As of yet, there has been no official statement from the U.S. military about the reasons why such nuclear research aircraft was deployed there. However, many sources suggest the aircraft was tasked with investigating the spike in Iodine levels detected in northern Europe since the beginning of January.

Iodine-131 (131I), a radionuclide of anthropogenic origin, has recently been detected in tiny amounts in the ground-level atmosphere in Europe. The preliminary report states it was first found during week 2 of January 2017 in northern Norway. Iodine-131 was also detected in Finland, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, France and Spain, until the end of January.

However, no one seems to know the reason behind the released Iodine-131. Along with nuclear power plants, the isotope is also widely used in medicine and its presence in the air could be the effect of several different incidents.

Or, as someone speculates, it could have been the side effect of a test of a new nuclear warhead in Russia: an unlikely (considered the ability to detect nuke tests through satellites and seismic detectors) violation of Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Maybe the WC-135 will help authorities find out the origin of the Iodine-131.

Boeing vs. Airbus: Which Airplane Manufacturer Is a Better Buy?

In this clip from Industry Focus: Industrials, Sean O’Reilly and Adam Levine-Weinberg talk about which airplane manufacturer is a better buy for long-term investors: Airbus (NASDAQOTH: EADSY) or Boeing (NYSE: BA). Find out which has the bigger backlog (and why that isn’t necessarily a good thing), what’s coming around the bend for both companies, what’s going to be cutting into demand for the next few years, and, of course, which company is a better buy.

A full transcript follows the video.

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Sean O’Reilly: Let’s talk some numbers before we head out of here. Who sells more planes?

Adam Levine-Weinberg: As I said before, Airbus definitely has a lead right now in terms of the orders. Every year for the last few years, they have pretty reliably come in ahead of Boeing in terms of orders. On the widebody side, both companies had about 1,200 or 1,300 orders in backlog, and those planes tend to go for $100 million or more. So, between the two of them, that’s several hundred billion dollars of planes. On the narrowbody side, the numbers are actually even bigger. Boeing has over 4,400 planes that are in backlog just with the 737 and the upcoming 737MAX. Airbus has over 5,600. That’s quite a bit ahead.

O’Reilly: This is a lot of planes we’re talking here.

Levine-Weinberg: So there’s definitely an advantage for Airbus, but the fact remains that it’s going to take Boeing seven years just to build all the planes that it has. Airbus, it’s kind of overkill. It’s great to have that many orders in backlog; it means that you can survive a recession where you might have orders dry up suddenly for a couple years at a time. But unless that happens, it’s not going to really matter so much, because Airbus doesn’t have the capacity to build planes much faster than it’s already planning to build them, which is less than 700 a year. So it has eight or nine years of production already locked in. As a result, it’s just not going to sell as many planes in the future, or it’s going to have to figure out some way to build new factories or squeeze more planes out of the existing factories it has.

O’Reilly: So, obviously, this is The Motley Fool; we’re investors. What do you see coming around the bend for these guys, and what do you think of the valuations of these companies? I have looked, Boeing is long — I cannot believe this company’s return on capital and equity. It’s like in the 90s, some years, 90% return on equity in a year. It’s a fun balance sheet, and we can talk about that a little bit more another time. But it’s got a 12, 13 multiple P/E. Airbus, it’s a good business, but it’s inferior by every measure. They’re not free-cash-flow positive most years. Boeing just throws off money like it’s its job. Which stock do you like? What do you see coming around the bend for these guys?

Levine-Weinberg: I still like Boeing’s stock. It has run up quite a bit in the last few months. Early last year, about a year ago, it had dived down to the low hundreds, and it’s risen about 15% since then. But I still think that Boeing could continue to gain ground over the next few years. Right now, they have a little bit of a transitional period where a couple of their models, particularly their 777, which has been a big cash cow for them in the past few years, demand is really falling off. But the reason why is that you have a new version of that plane which is coming out in 2020.

O’Reilly: And they all know it, so they’re not ordering it.

Levine-Weinberg: Everyone knows; they announced it several years ago. It’s really hard to keep selling an old plane when everybody knows that a new, better model, more fuel-efficient, more range, is coming out not that far in the future. And it’s also true that right now, a lot of the developing world in particular has been having trouble both with a strong dollar, which makes it more expensive to buy these planes, and also just unsteady demand, especially in places like Russia and Brazil, where you’ve had big drop offs in GDP recently. So that’s definitely cut into the demand for these planes. But if you look out to 2020 and beyond, once that new version of 777 ramps up, Boeing is going to be, I think, in pretty good shape to continue growing its free cash flow.

Adam Levine-Weinberg owns shares of Boeing. Sean O’Reilly has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.