So, for those of you who haven’t seen the story on the Flightglobal homepage, here’s the model of the Comac C919 at the Asian Aerospace show in Hong Kong.
Looks like a sort of Bombraer-Boebus C7320.
All a bit of fun of course, but models and artist’s impressions canhave odd consequences. I was at a press conference in about 1992 whenBritish Aerospace unveiled the proposed twin deriviative of the RJfamily. In the slightly dodgy drawings the nacelles were distinctlyflattened at the bottom leading to wild rumours that it was alreadydecided that it would be CFM56-powered. Not true, and all came tonothing anyway.
Heavily updated after refreshing my memory: Then there was the
Navy League Air Force Association show in Washington about the same time. Nobody knew what the planned, and hugely controversial Air Force version of the A-12 naval strike fighterlooked like. I went into the Lockheed General Dynamics booth to chat to the PR folks andto my astonishment there was a model of it hanging from the ceiling. Itwas a finless-pure delta design – quite astounding. With the PR guy’sagreement I sprinted off to find a photographer and literally hired awoman snapper who I had never met as she walked among the exhibits.
By the time I got back to the booth a USN admiral had heard about themodel and ordered
Lockheed GD to hide it forthwith. The Navy would decidewhen and how to reveal the configuration was not amused by having the first A-12 model unveiled at an Air Force show, he told them. So my exclusivewas stillborn (not the only one.) Within a year Dick Cheney had finallylost his sense of humour with the Pentagon and its then staggeringlyarrogant contractors and cancelled the programme. He and I would havelittle common ground politically today, but it was a fine thing he did.
Also about the same time the whole world was desperate to see any kind of artist’s material of the YF-22 and YF-23stealth fighters which were built, but unrevealed. Lockheed went firstwith the YF-22 and released their own artist-s impression of the beastwhich, remember, was supposed to be the stealthiest thing in the sky.The image was duly released and published all over the place.
To my secret pleasure I learned a few months later that a mid-rankingLockheed PR, who went onto greater things, had taken it upon himself toget the artist to add a couple of utterly imagined foreplanes. None ofthe world’s alleged stealth experts (which certainly didn’t include me)commented on this bizarre configuration. The F-22 went onto greaterthings too of course, and needless to say never did have foreplanes.