Straight & Level 14 January

Final restaurant place for airliner
A museum is on the hunt for an airliner to turn into a restaurant, and says any donor need not make a meal out of delivering it.
The Classic Air Force, based in Newquay near Cornwall, will collect and says “if any airline, anywhere in the world, has a suitable candidate [we] would be pleased to offer a well-looked after home with a 10,000ft runway for a final flight, and a chance to become the most famous eating place west of Plymouth (with respect to Rick Stein in nearby Padstow)”.
The museum lost its previous eatery – a DC-6 – when it moved from Coventry to the Cornish resort in 2012. Plans to convert a former RAF VC10 into a diner proved tricky. “A nice, interesting pure civil airliner would be far easier,” says a spokesman.

Smoking aside
The latest wheeze from Emirates? Onboard shisha lounges. At least that’s according to, which explains that premium passengers will be able to order the aromatic delight from their seat before retiring to the “Signature Shisha Room, where it will be prepared by an expert”.
All nonsense of course, as is everything on the satirical site. But we enjoyed it all the same.

Not playing ball
Analyst Andrew Lobbenberg’s latest missive has his thoughts on the revelation that British Airways will not carry the England football team to the World Cup in Brazil in 2014. “Face it – the holding company CEO is from Ireland, CFO from Spain, and BA’s head of product a Dutchman. BA’s CEO is a West Ham fan and how many players have they got in the England squad?”

A new low
Giorgio Dainese writes from Germany to say he is impressed by a Rosoboronexport advert for the new Il-76MD-90A, which claims the aircraft can operate from aerodromes from 300m below, to 3,000m above, sea level.
“This means the Ilyushin is basically a flying U-Boot,” he suggests. “Neither the A400M nor C-17 can get near to that performance.”
It got us thinking about how many aerodromes in the world would test the latest Il-76’s low-elevation capabilities. The world’s lowest airport – Bar Yehuda near the Dead Sea in Israel – sits at -386m, and so is outside its range.

Eagle memories
Prompted by our story on the reunion of Pan Amigos 22 years after that airline’s collapse, Nigel Thompson tells us that Pan Am is not the only carrier whose surviving ex-staff continue to raise a glass to old times. Nigel is the one-time marketing man for British Eagle, who held a Heathrow get-together with 70 former colleagues last year to recall the 45th anniversary of the airline’s failure in November 1968.
It is likely to be the last such occasion, notes Nigel sadly, “as many of us are now fast approaching our dotage”.

Proud Bird back
Finally, back on the subject of aviation-themed diners, good news from the other side of the world on a story that we first reported back in October. The closure-threatened Proud Bird at Los Angeles International has won a reprieve for at least a year.
For 48 years the eatery on the approach to runway 24L, which has a collection of historic aircraft on its lawn, has been a favourite haunt for spotters and pilots alike.
Now it is hoped the owners can negotiate a longer-term deal with Los Angeles World Airports.


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