Very light planet? The crystal ball gazers, industry experts and analysts...are having a hard time when it comes to guessing the size of the emerging flock of very light jets. In particular, the ball seems to have become very cloudy when it comes to forecasting the impact on VLJs of the air taxi market, indeed if such a market exists at all. Whereas some see 2,000 VLJs a year, others like John Walsh see a lot less. Presenting his "600 to 700 a year" forecast, Walsh says: "I have restricted this forecast to the planet Earth." Maybe this forecast of 2,000 VLJs a year applies to some other planet. And what do believers call the sceptics? "Air Limo atheists" - what else?

Divine intervention Talking of which, when it comes to making those end-of-year sales targets it's amazing where the marketing department looks for help: Budgie News: "According to these figures, you must be expecting orders for over 200 new engines over the next two months. Where will they come from?" C F Motormouth: "Er...God?"

Curvaceous Catia Monsieur D'Assault: "Well, you know, you English and American types think we only make beautiful business jets and fighters. We also make this wonderful Catia software that helps designers all over the world make beautiful shapes. For example, look at the lovely curves on that radome...oh, and talking of shapely radomes, the system is also now being used to make extra lovely curves by a French bra manufacturer. Ah monsieur isn't technology wonderful?"

Beware of engines

(Sign spotted at Wonderfans test site): "If you see anything that looks like an engine, or part of an engine, get out of the way immediately!"

Your defence dollars at work? The US Air Force recently showed off the results of tests it conducted over a year ago with a B-2A that dropped 80 GBU-38 500lb JDAMs in one go using a smart bomb rack assembly. But what's this? No matter how hard they tried, the crew could only find 72 targets. So what did they do with the remaining eight precision weapons? Punch a neat pattern of holes in the desert floor in the shape of a huge smiley face of course.

And on a related subject The USAF F/A-22 Raptor combined test force were recently conducting jettison tests of the large external fuel tanks over the test range. After one sortie the ground teams went looking for the discarded tanks and discovered the Raptor's first air-to-ground kill - a slightly dented blockhouse!


Source: Flight International