Straight & Level 9 April

Bidding for a piece of history

Never mind the event name, the item topping the list of the Spring Classic Car Auction in Toronto isn’t an automobile at all, but a former Air Canada Boeing 767-200.

Not just any old twinjet, either, but possibly the most well-known aircraft in the country’s history – nothing less than the remarkable Gimli Glider, whose pilots fell victim to a mathematical blunder when a metric conversion during refuelling left the 767′s tanks drier than a martini at 41,000ft.

The result was an improvised, unpowered landing – on a runway which was being used as a drag strip – from which everyone walked away. Instant folklore, adulation and immortality on celluloid followed, naturally.

This July it will be 30

years since the Gimli Glider touchdown, so any airline memorabilia freaks who want the ultimate centrepiece for their anniversary party should head over to the auction on 14 April.

Ontario-based Collector Car Productions has been chosen as the official auction house to offer the aircraft. Can’t give you a price estimate, unfortunately, but the company has graciously cut the buyer’s premium from 10% to 4% owing to the “incredible opportunity it presents to own a piece of Canadian history”.

gimliglider.jpgA better class

of backpacker

Not for a certain Big Airline the tacky and tedious tactic of charging passengers for the privilege of checking-in luggage, favoured by no-frills and financially challenged rivals.

Instead, Birdseed is doing it by the backdoor, extending a trial where it discounts fares from Gatwick for those travelling with hand baggage only (effectively leaving those who don’t stumping up for their suitcases).

With BA losing the war of the load factors with squeezyJet at its second London hub, could this cleverly lure more of the backpack and budget-break brigade away from low-cost competitors, without persuading Mr Livid of Tunbridge Wells to vent his spleen on the Daily Telegraph letters page about BA’s new stealth fares?



I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to check that in sir

Know your place in the chain

This extract from an unnamed 787 equipment supplier’s annual report – new to a major Boeing programme – is refreshingly candid: “Towards the end of 2012, [we] estimate a sizeable increase in the rate of production. But you never know with Boeing. If they change their plans at the eleventh hour, [our] project team also has to be ready to change. You just have to wait for the next email to see what they ask for.”

Always a case of being careful what you wish for when you join the supply chain of the big two, we suspect.


Airbus’s huge Lion Air order for 234 jets on 18 March didn’t go unnoticed by the online adult entertainment community. It took the opportunity to hijack the #Airbus hashtag, flooding the Twittersphere with hundreds of invitations, supposedly from buxom sirens, to click links to sites with disappointingly little aviation content. Er, we guess.


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