Straight & Level 1 April

New destination for Laker legacy
Hundreds of files chronicling the development of low-cost airline pioneer Sir Freddie Laker’s Skytrain and Laker Airways have found a new home.
The documents detail Sir Freddie’s legal battles with the UK government to dismantle the air traffic agreements that he felt restricted transatlantic travel to the wealthy.
The collection of over 120 binders, which few knew existed, are being shipped back to the UK’s Loughborough University from the late businessman’s home in the Bahamas, where they will be used for research. Sir Freddie died in 2006 and they had been sitting in his widow Lady Jacqueline’s garage.
Professor Tony Thorpe, of the university’s School of Civil and Building Engineering, says: “This is an extremely exciting find. Nobody outside his immediate family knew it existed.”

Lost navigators
Congratulations to the Honourable Company of Air Pilots – formerly the humble Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators –  bestowed with a rare Royal Charter by Her Majesty the Queen, prompting the name change.
What about the poor navigators though? Evidently, they’ve dropped off the radar.
It’s a gas
Evidence has been uncovered
of Boeing infiltration into the Airbus paintshop.

Sober Swedes
During a visit to Saab’s Linköping site, our man in the flak jacket asked if there were lavish celebrations in December, as the firm got an order to rebuild at least 60 Gripens to E-standard for the Swedish air force, and later that day, the type was also selected for Brazil’s F-X2 fighter deal. No, said programme officials, as the price of buying enough cake might have had a negative effect on cost-reduction targets. Seriously.
Meanwhile, what would one call a vessel from beneath-the-waves to be developed by Sweden’s leading defence contractor under its new naval expansion plans? Easy, quips a company flack: a “Saabmarine”.
Squeezy jets
Even in the iPhone era, scribblers at the ISTAT aircraft traders and financiers bunfight in San Diego were too slow to capture the photo op of the  event – Steve Udvar-Hazy trying to squeeze into the same seat as CIT’s Jeff Knittel on stage. The leasing guru was illustrating what an 11-abreast economy configuration on the Airbus A380 would feel like. Fellow panelist, Mark Lapidus of lessor Amedeo, who has been pushing Airbus for the 11-seat layout, managed a polite smile.

Space cadets
From conspiracy shoot-down theories to hopes the aircraft had been hijacked to a rogue state in central Asia, there have been plenty of outlandish attempts to explain the loss of MH370. But this email from India is the strangest so far.
“Concerning the disappearance of Malaysian aeroplane, we, the Promoters of Superscience, New Delhi, firmly declare that the Aliens snatched it away as their first step of establishing the interplanetary relation with the planet earth, while we are planning to settle in Mars against their dominion in the space.”


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