Good Morning Race Fans

Live from the “World Center of Speed”, the Daytona International Speedway, today is final practice for the Sprint Cup cars for Sunday’s Daytona 500. Additionally, today the Nationwide Series races in “The Drive 4 COPD 300. The weather is ripe for a fast and exciting car race in about two hours.

See you after the races!

Sent from Leon Hammack’s smoking’ iPhone!

Posted via email from captainblowdri’s posterous

Captain Blowdri’s Cool Adventure!

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(photo courtesy Leon Hammack)

On Tuesday of this week I was able to fulfill a a trip that was 37 years in the making!  For all my flying years, and that dates back to August 1973, I have always wanted to visit the USAF boneyard at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ.  The “boneyard” is formally known as the 309th AMARG (Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Group) located at Davis-Monthan, AFB on the East side of Tuscon.

After making some phone calls to get the tour schedule, we decided to get over to the Pima Air & Space Museum on Tuesday morning for the 10am tour bus departure.  I was very excited about the possibility of seeing some of my old friends, the T-37 and T-38 from my USAF Undergraduate Pilot Training days at Williams AFB, AZ, and my old C-141’s that I flew during my six year USAF tour at Travis AFB, CA.

Two of my brothers, Jim and Jerry, along with Jerry’s son, Scott, decided it would be best to be on the first tour of the day which launched at 10am.  So we arrived at the Pima Air Museum a little after 9am to purchase our tickets and assure ourselves of being on that first tour bus.

As we pulled out from the Museum heading over to the “boneyard” my excitement began to grow.  Our first stop after entering the acres and acres of stored airplanes is called “celebrity row”.  In this area there appears to be one of just about every aircraft that is stored in this facility.  In this area there were C -130’s, S-2’s. S-3’s, F-4’s,F-16’s, F-14’s, A-4’s, A-7’s, EB-66’s, F-111’s, KC-135’s, EC-135’s, B-1’s, just to name a few.  There were helicopters like, the Cobras, Hueys, Sea Furies, etc.

As the bus turned one of the corners I could see row after row of the T-37 Tweet.  That is the first airplane that I flew in Pilot Training.  All those rows of Tweets instantly brought back the memories of 2Lt. Boyd L. Hammack climbing into a USAF aircraft for the very first time.  Back in August of 1973 there were feelings of excitement, exuberance, as well as feeling hugely overwhelmed at the fact that, here I really am a humbly poor boy from Fresno, getting the chance to become a USAF pilot!

Further on our bus tour stood row after row of the T-38 Talons.  This aircraft was the second plane that I flew at Williams AFB, AZ.  Seeing all these plans brought back another emotion, that of being “bullet proof”, as well as a felling of accomplishment.

However, my biggest disappointment was learning during the tour that just recently almost all of the C-141’s that were stored in the “boneyard” have been removed, cut up and destroyed! What a dramatic let down!  Nevertheless, I was informed that there was one C-141 spared and sent over to the Pima Air & Space Museum, the next stop on our tour.

As we walked around the 74 acres of aircraft in the Pima Air & Space Museum, I spotted my old long lost friend, the C-141 pictured above.  When I got closer to this old war horse, I recognized the tail number as one of the airplanes that I personally flew during my five years at Travis AFB.  There was a warm fuzzy feeling the flowed from my head to my toes.  It was like seeing an old high school or college friend that you haven’t seen, for me personally, in 36 years!  It was 1975 all over again!

As I walked up to it and touched the skin of my long lost friend, I had instant flashbacks.  There were the memories of my first trip across the Pacific, my first landing at Clark Air Base in the Philippines, my part in the Saigon Evacuation in April of 1975, checking out in the left seat and becoming the aircraft commander, and many, many more pleasant memories.  I could have sat down in the shadow of my long lost friend and mulled over the plethora of “good old days” experiences that I had over those five years flying this airplane!  However, I had to move on, and with great regret I had to say good bye.

Nevertheless, the rush of feelings and memories continued to flow through my brain for hours and hours, long into the night after I left my old friend.

So as you can see, the tour through the 309th Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Group was cathartic for Captain Blowdri.  This tour comes just a few days after I have received notice that my flying career with United Airlines is now history.  Therefore, this tour generated much more meaning for me now than it would have been a few weeks, months, or years ago!

Once again, I must bid adieu to three old friends and the memories that composed those “good old days”!

ROGER, WILCO, OVER AND OUT!

The Time Has Come!

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(Captain Blowdri in his high altitude office)

On January 5. 2011 I received a phone call from United Airlines Medical Department that my request for a medical retirement had been approved.  United Airlines had no choice because The FAA had grounded me back on July 9, 2010 in light of the cardiac ablation procedure that was performed on me to try to regulate my heart’s rhythm.

I have had 24 hours to reflect upon the reality and gravity of the news.  I have had time to ponder, evaluate, and relive some of the 37 years of flying memories that my career spanned.  Over the coming days, weeks, and yes months I thought that I would put some of those memories to paper and share them with you the readers, my friends, and family.

Although the end to my flying career didn’t end in the manner that I had envisioned,  nevertheless, my 37 year aviation career has reached its sunset. I will miss my flying buddies from Eastern Air Lines and United Airlines, but I will not miss all the behind the scenes, contract negotiations , bickering, feuding, and company BS that accompanied the job.

So I will leave you with a song that probably sums up my aviation career, and most likely my life as well.  It is a classic song that Paul Anka wrote and “old blue eyes” sang so eloquently, “My way”!

Check out this classic Frank Sinatra video.  Nobody can do it like Frankie did it!!

THIS IS CAPTAIN BLOWDRI SIGNING OFF……

ROGER,WILCO, OVER, AND OUT!!!

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZerZbsEMKQ&feature=related

 

The 2010 Trek To Talladega

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(photo courtesy Leon Hammack)

With all the required preparation complete, Tuesday was the the day to launch out of Yuma with my brother, Jim, for our second adventurous trek to the 2010 Chase “wild card race”, Talladega Superspeedway, in Talladega, AL.  The plan was to fly to LAX Tuesday, grab a hotel, then launch out of LAX early Wednesday morning flying to Denver, then on to Atlanta, GA.  Once we got to ATL, we would grab a hotel room, get a good nights sleep, get up Thursday morning, rent a car, drive over to Anniston, AL, about 1 1/2 hr drove, and set up camp at our hotel for what is billed this year as the “Hallodega” race weekend.

Well, Tuesday was our shortest day, flying from Yuma,AZ to LAX.  That first segment went off without a single hitch.  We got to our LAX hotel, checked in, and got a good nights sleep, knowing that we were getting up early at 5am for our next segment of travel, LAX-DEN-ATL.

Day 2, Wednesday, started out early with a wake up call at 5am. we hopped on the 6am hotel bus back to the airport.  Security went swimmingly well with almost no line whatsoever at the security checkpoint.  Both Jim and I were hungry for something small in order to get our morning medications down. So we stopped at the gourmet restaurant of Mickey D’s, we knew that we would have a couple of hours at Denver with much better eating choices at the Mile High airport.

As it turned out there were plenty of seats available on the Denver flight, therefore, Jim and I had a whole row to our selves.  Once we got into our seats, settled down and buckled in, the B-767 pushed back, started up the engines, and taxied out for takeoff on runway 25R at LAX.

The 1:47 flight went by very quickly, added by a couple of a cat naps along the way!  On the descent, my thoughts turned to the layover time and the ability to get some better food at the Denver airport vs. LAX!  As we settled into a seat in the food court, I decided to look quickly at the departure screens to determine how far our walk would be to our departure gate.  To my total and utter dismay, I noticed that our flight to ATL had just been cancelled!  There was only one more flight to ATL and that was going to be in 6 hours.  Not only was it going to be a 6 hour wait, there would be more passengers there than seats available on the airplane!  Since we were standby passengers, it wasn’t looking very good for us to get to ATL  Wednesday night.

What a bummer!

With some quick mental gymnastics, I tried to look for a quick and reasonable alternate plan.  I saw that the Birmingham flight was running about 1:30 minutes late and it was scheduled to depart now in about 20 minutes.  Quickly I called Karen, got her working on listing the both of us on that Birmingham flight, cancelling our room in ATL that night, trying to get us a hotel room in Anniston, AL, and reserving a rental car in Birmingham, as well!  Those were going to be some daunting tasks to be done rapidly.

The first task was accomplished quickly and we were able to get onboard the flight to Birmingham.  The rest of those tasks would be accomplished while the two of us were airborne to Birmingham.  Now I had to wait until I landed in Birmingham to see if the other requests were able to be fulfilled, the rental car availability, hotel room, cancelling the room in ATL, etc.

Once we landed in Birmingham, I thought of one more problem that I failed to address before we got on the plane to Birmingham.  Our bags were going to ATL and we were now in Birmingham, AL, 125 miles away from ATL.

OOPPSS! The only way to get our bags was to drive to ATL airport and pick up the bags once they arrived there.  Well first things first, we have to see if we have a rental car reserved in BHM.  I turned on my phone to find that there was a voice mail from Karen saying that there is reservation at Enterprise, the hotel room in ATL was cancelled, and that I would have to get the hotel room in Oxford/Anniston myself, but there were rooms available.

When I showed up at the Enterprise Car rental desk at BHM and talked to the person behind the desk, I found out that there was no reservation in the computer, additionally, that they didn’t have any available cars!  Big Bummer dude!  I tried  call Karen, but she was hanging out with her girlfriends at a casino in town playing bingo.  So I left a voice mail on her phone and decided that Jim would start at one end of the car rental area and I at the other end and just checking to see if there was a way to rent a car.  It wasn’t looking very favorable when Karen returned my call.  She had the confirmation number, I gave that number to the Enterprise dude behind the desk, and his reply made my heart sink.

The reservation was for the following day!

What do I do now? I’m in BHM with what looks like now way to leave!  Nevertheless, within a couple of minutes the Enterprise dude had me hooked up with a sardine can for a rental car, but a rental car nonetheless!  Now we have to decide what our approach would be for a hotel room.

The decision was to approach the hotel that we have reservations with for Thursday-Sunday to see if they had a room for the additional night of Wednesday.  Using the now world famous Hammack charm, Jim and myself was not only able to requisition a room at our hotel for Wednesday, but got two queen beds to boot!

We have successfully dodges almost all the bullets that were shot our way…….so far.  Now we have one last obstacle in our way, getting our luggage at the Atlanta airport.  We are feeling soooo good now, what could possibly go wrong now?

We depart Oxford/Anniston, AL headed for Atlanta 93 miles away.  With a  phone call I was reassured that the DEN-ATL flight was landing at 10:29pm.  ATL is in the Eastern time zone and because the drive was about 1:30, we left Oxford at 7:30pm trying to time our arrival at ATL.  We arrived at ATL at approximately 10:10pm, parked the car, walked into the terminal, and was reaffirmed by the TV monitors that the plane was scheduled to land at 10:29pm.  Now the only question to be answered is, did our bags make this flight?

So the brothers Hammack hung out at Carousel #5 patiently waiting for the bags to come up the conveyor belt and plop down on the circular belt that takes the bags around and around.  Thirty minutes no bags, forty five minutes no bags, where could the bags be? More questions and less answers as the time rolls on!

While waiting so patiently, we struck up a conversation with  two wome that were waiting for someone off of that same flight.  We found out that because of all the weather in the area earlier in the evening, there was a backlog of flights arriving into the ATL airport, forming a logjam on the taxiways, and thus the planes were unable to get to the gates, causing excessively long delays.

Nevertheless, we waited patiently by Carousel #5 for our bags.  Now it is one hour, an hour and fifteen, on hour and a half, still now bags!  The patience has now turned frustration, cynicism, and even a small bit of anger.  Finally at the one hour forty five minute mark, the bags start to fool off the conveyor belt!  Jim’s bag was the second one to come up the chute, hooray!  Now mine should follow shortly.

Not so fast pilgrim!  We waited and waited, it was an additional ten minutes before my bag came ambling up the chute.  Hip, hip hooray our evening was  a success!  It is only now 11:50pm Wednesday night.

Now we have the 1:30 drive back the Oxford/Anniston,AL, initially in a driving down pouring rain storm.  Our final arrival time to end our day was 1:15am Thursday morning!  If you were counting that was 18:30 minutes after we started our day back in LA!

That my friends, was how my Wednesday went this week on the trek to Talladega!


Tissue or Mechanical?

Have you ever been asked that question?

Well, looking back on all the segments of my life, there have been many questions that have been asked of me.  Questions like how do you like your steak?  Would like paper or plastic?  Is this cash or charge?  Would this be credit or debit?  Would you like cheese on that?  Would you like that super-sized (my answer to that was always of course)?  Are you married or single?  Do you have any children?  Are you a  Republican or Democrat?  Are you conservative or liberal?  These questions get asked of most everyone very frequently, but not mechanical or tissue?

Well, now I have to really start thinking about how to answer what quite possibly might be the single most important question for my future.

Would you like tissue or mechanical, Captain Blowdri?

Aortic Valve Replacement Picture Using Bioprosthesis Valve Device

This mechanical aorta valve will last forever.  However the the patient must take coumadin for the rest of his/her life.  There are some really serious possible side effects from prolonged use of this drug:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); back, side, muscle, joint, or stomach pain; black, tarry, or bloody stools; blood in the urine (pink or brown urine); bloody or coffee ground-like vomit; chest pain; decreased urination; dizziness; fainting; fever; numbness or tingling; pain, unusual color, or temperature change in any area of the body; pale skin; purple, dark, or painful toes; shortness of breath; skin sores or ulcers; stroke symptoms (eg, confusion, slurred speech, vision problems, one-sided weakness); sudden severe pain in your legs, feet, or toes; trouble swallowing; unexplained swelling; unusual bruising or bleeding (eg, nosebleed, unusual bleeding from gums, increased bleeding from cuts, increased menstrual or vaginal bleeding, coughing up blood, bleeding at the injection site); unusual headache or weakness; unusual pain, swelling, or discomfort; wounds or sores that do not heal properly; yellowing of the skin or eyes.

Additionally the following may occur:

  • Fatal or nonfatal hemorrhage from any tissue or organ. This is a consequence of the anticoagulant effect. The signs, symptoms, and severity will vary according to the location and degree or extent of the bleeding. Hemorrhagic complications may present as paralysis; paresthesia; headache, chest, abdomen, joint, muscle or other pain; dizziness; shortness of breath, difficult breathing or swallowing; unexplained swelling; weakness; hypotension; or unexplained shock. Therefore, the possibility of hemorrhage should be considered in evaluating the condition of any anticoagulated patient with complaints which do not indicate an obvious diagnosis. Bleeding during anticoagulant therapy does not always correlate with PT/INR.
  • Bleeding which occurs when the PT/INR is within the therapeutic range warrants diagnostic investigation since it may unmask a previously unsuspected lesion, eg, tumor, ulcer, etc.
  • Necrosis of skin and other tissues.
  • Adverse reactions reported infrequently include: hypersensitivity/allergic reactions, including anaphylactic reactions, systemic cholesterol microembolization, purple toes syndrome, hepatitis, cholestatic hepatic injury, jaundice, elevated liver enzymes, hypotension, vasculitis, edema, anemia, pallor, fever, rash, dermatitis, including bullous eruptions, urticaria, angina syndrome, chest pain, abdominal pain including cramping, flatulence/bloating, fatigue, lethargy, malaise, asthenia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, pain, headache, dizziness, loss of consciousness, syncope, coma, taste perversion, pruritus, alopecia, cold intolerance, and paresthesia including feeling cold and chills.

Rare events of tracheal or tracheobronchial calcification have been reported in association with long-term warfarin therapy. The clinical significance of this event is unknown.

Priapism has been associated with anticoagulant administration; however, a causal relationship has not been established.

Let me just add that if I were to “suffer” from priapism I could start a whole new professional acting career and make a ton of money down in the San Fernando Valley!!  (I understand that the adult film industry, just like the United States Marine Corps, is always looking for a few good men!!!)

Now my other choice for aortic valve replacement is a tissue valve.  The tissue replacement may come from the patient, from a pig, or from a cow.  Life expectancy of the tissue replacement valve is approximately 10 years.  Therefore, at my present age, 59, there is a possibility that I might have to endure two of these surgeries, when the decision to replace my aorta arrives !

Now having researched these two options still doesn’t make the decision very easy.

Let me review these choices:

If, when the time comes, I select a tissue replacement from either a pig or a cow there are some serious humanitarian concerns.  What are the ramifications to society for consuming either a very finely grilled prime rib, rib eye, T-bone, porterhouse, an In-N-Out burger, or some really great pork chops?  Would that be a tabu thing to do in our society?  Would I be considered a cannibal?  These are questions that I want the surgeon to clear up before I ever have to make this particular decision!

Similarly, if the decision is made to have the mechanical valve relacement, and I was confronted with the dreaded side effect of priapism, would I be considered an outcast if I decided to capitalize on that “misfortune” and move to the San Fernando Valley to start my film career?

What is your view?  I need your help!  Is it mechanical or tissue?

I’ll get by with a little help from my friends!!

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZcWTYZFHGc

9/11: Where Were You?

The 9/11 attacks

(UAL flt 175 prior to impacting The World Trade Center)

It has been nine long, and sometimes painful, years since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington D.C., and the UAL crash in Pennsylvania.  On that day I lost one friend, Captain Jason Dahl the captain on UAL flight 93, the airplane that crashed in PA.

Saturday marks the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States. For those of us in the airline industry, and specifically at United and American Airlines, the date is particularly poignant. It is a painful tribute for all who lost friends, colleagues, and passengers. Everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing on that sunny September morning when we first became aware of what had happened. This Saturday, there will be numerous memorial services and events and, hopefully, you can take part in one of them.

The flight crew of UAL flight 175.

The flight crew of UAL flight 93.

The flight crew of AA flight 11.

The flight crew of AA flight 77.

Follow this link to see the video regrading the memorial and new proposal for the national park at the crash site of UAL flight 93 in Shanksville, PA.

Where were you on the morning of September 11, 2001, the day that the world changed forever?

Please never forget these honorable people and their ultimate sacrifice!  One must remember that the price of freedom sometimes can be the ultimate sacrifice!

When you watch this video pay close attention to this video and the lyrics from this Alan Jackson song!

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AW8puRqE4Sc

It’s Off To Some Dirt Trackin’

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(photo courtesy Leon Hammack)

It is that time again to make my trek back to the Midwest for some good old fashion dirt track racing!  I am on my way to the tiny Hamlet of Belleville, Kansas for The Midget Nationals.  This is the 100th anniversary of the race track there in Belleville.

For the past 32 years this little hamlet has staged a very prestigious midget race event.  It is a USAC sanctioned event, so that means all the USAC boys from many parts of the USA will attend this race.  Some very well known race car drivers have won this event, Jeff Gordon in 1990, Jason Lefler in 1997, Kasey Kahne in 2000 and 2001, just to name a few.

It started out as a challenge and turned into the biggest event in the world for Midgets. The Belleville Midget Nationals started at the Belleville High Banks in Belleville, Kan., after some racers involved in a 1977 challenge race kicked around the idea among themselves. High interest was shown in the track by the drivers during the Rocky Mountain Midget vs. St. Louis Midget Challenge race. With the interest in the track by the drivers and a lack of a true national race for Midgets, the Belleville Midget Nationals was born when AIMS Promoter Mitch Miller brought it to life by sanctioning the Belleville Midget Nationals in 1978.

I think that this is just what the doctor has ordered.  I need to forget about my racing ticker, and go watch some fold old fashion midgets and sprint car “redneck racing”!

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

B-787 In Yuma For Testing

(photo courtesy Leon Hammack)

I read in the local newspaper that Boeing brought a B-787 into Yuma for the next nine days to do some hot temperature testing here in Yuma.  So I jumped into my car and drove to the airport and maneuvered over to the ramp area where the B-787 was parked.

The tail number of this airplane is N787EX. This is the airframe that Boeing will be doing most all of the testing on.  The EX part of the tail number signifies that this airplane is still in the “experimental” stage and not completely certified by the FAA yet.

I got out of my car, took my camera, and walked closer to the fence trying to get some good photos of this new Boeing 787 Dreamliner.  It is a long range, mid-sized, wide body, with twin engines ( this one has two Rolls Royce engines), and seats between 210-330 people depending on the configuration.

I talked to a couple of the Boeing crewmembers that were heading out onto the ramp, their nine day visit to Yuma is for the purpose of  gathering data for the flight manual regarding hot temperature and the performance of the B-787.  Additionally the engineers are here to data on single engine performance, go around performance, as well.

There are three models in the production line so far, B-787-8, B-787-3, and B-787-9. Here is some interesting information regarding this new airplane for Boeing.

B-787-8

The 787-8 is the base model of the 787 family with a length of 186 feet (57 m) and a wingspan of 197 feet (60 m) and a range of 7,650 to 8,200 nautical miles (14,200 to 15,200 km) depending on seating configuration. The 787-8 seats 210 passengers in a three class configuration. The variant will be the first of the 787 line to enter service in 2010. Boeing is targeting the 787-8 to replace the 767-200ER and 767-300ER, as well as expand into new non-stop markets where larger planes would not be economically viable. The bulk of 787 orders are for the 787-8.

B-787-3

This variant, the B-787-3, was designed to be a 290-seat (two-class) short-range version of the 787 targeted at high-density flights, with a range of 2,500 to 3,050 nautical miles (4,650 to 5,650 km) when fully loaded. It was designed to replace the Airbus A300/Airbus A310 and Boeing 757-300/Boeing 767-200 on regional routes from airports with restricted gate spacing. It would have used the same fuselage as the 787-8, though with some areas of the fuselage strengthened for higher cycles. The wing would have been derived from the 787-8, with blended winglets replacing raked wingtips. The change would have decreased the wingspan by roughly 25 feet (7.6 m), allowing the 787-3 to fit into more domestic gates, particularly in Japan.

This model would have been limited in its range by a reduced maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 364,000 lb (163,290 kg). (Actual range is calculated by the remaining available weight for fuel after the aircraft empty weight and payload are subtracted from the MTOW). A full load of passengers and cargo would limit the amount of fuel it could take on board, as with the 747-400D. This is only viable on shorter, high-density routes, such as Tokyo to Shanghai, Osaka to Seoul, or London to Berlin. Many airports charge landing fees based on aircraft weight; thus, an airliner rated at a lower MTOW, though otherwise identical to its sibling, would pay lower fees.

Boeing has projected that the future of aviation between very large (but close) cities of five million or more may stabilize around the capacity level of the 787-3. Regions such as India and East Asia, where large population centers are in close proximity, offer many examples. Approximately 3.1 billion people live within the range of the 787-3 if used in India or China. Boeing has also claimed that the 787-3’s efficiency could offset the higher landing fees and acquisition costs (compared to a single-aisle plane) and make it useful on such routes.

Boeing also believed legacy carriers could have used this variant to compete with low-cost airlines by running twice the capacity of a single-aisle craft for less than twice its operating cost (fuel, landing fees, maintenance, number of flight crew, airspace fees, parking fees, gate fees, etc.).

Beyond Asia, a range of 3,050 nm (5,600 km), or flight time of roughly six hours is sufficient to connect many major cities. The gate spacing constraint that the 787-3 was intended to overcome is really only a problem in Japan. In Europe, the -3 would still have been too wide for most short-haul gates and in the Middle East, India and China new airports are being built with wider gate spacing. Boeing had not planned to certify the 787-3 in Europe because of lack of interest in the model from potential European customers.

Forty-three 787-3s were ordered by the two Japanese airlines that operate the 747-400D, but production problems on the base 787-8 model led Boeing to postpone the introduction of the 787-3 in April 2008, following the 787-9 but without a firm delivery date. Japan Airlines canceled all of its 787-3 orders, and All Nippon Airways reduced its order to 28 in May 2009 (canceled two from its original 30). All of these canceled 787-3 orders were transferred to 787-8 orders. In December 2009, All Nippon Airways converted their remaining 787-3 orders to the 787-8, leaving no orders for this type.  It is likely the 787-3 variant will be shelved entirely following the lack of interest by potential customers caused by it being designed specifically for the Japanese market.

B-787-9

The 787-9 will be the first variant of the 787 with a “stretched” (lengthened) fuselage, seating 250–290 in three classes with a range of 8,000 to 8,500 nautical miles (14,800 to 15,750 km). This variant differs from the 787-8 in several ways, including structural strengthening, a lengthened fuselage, a higher fuel capacity, a higher maximum take-off weight (MTOW), but with the same wingspan as the 787-8. The targeted date for entry into service (EIS), originally planned for 2010, was scheduled for early 2013 in December 2008. Boeing is targeting the 787-9 to compete with both passenger variants of the Airbus A330 and to replace their own 767-400ER. Like the 787-8, it will also open up new non-stop routes, flying more cargo and fewer passengers more efficiently than the 777-200ER or A340-300/500. The firm configuration was finalized on 1 July 2010.

When first launched, the 787-9 had the same fuel capacity as the other two variants. The design differences meant higher weight and resulted in a slightly shorter range than the 787-8. After further consultation with airlines, design changes were incorporated to add a forward tank to increase its fuel capacity. It will now have a longer range and a higher MTOW than the other two variants. The -9 will be able to fly non-stop from New York to Manila or from Moscow to São Paulo and will have the lowest seat-mile cost of the three 787 variants.

Air New Zealand is the launch customer for the 787-9 and the second customer ever for the 787 behind ANA. Qantas, Etihad Airways and Singapore Airlines have placed the largest orders for the 787-9.

This is a plane that I would love to be able to fly in the future!  Unfortunately, it looks like my flying career is about to come to a screeching halt!  I will know more later in the year when the FAA evaluates my medical condition.  Until then, my feet are firmly planted on the ground!

I won’t be seeing you in the friendly skies anytime soon, nevertheless, I will be seeing you at the race tracks shortly!

So always keep the shiny side up!