Editor's Column: Boeings next airplane project
July 3, 2008 · Updated 11:06 PM
Whats next for Boeing, now that its highly successful Boeing 787 Dreamliner has been unveiled? To find out, all we have to do is ask Mr. Aviation Answer Man.
Q: What is Boeings next project?
A: Having satisfied the demand for trouble-free, pleasant flights with the 787, Boeing is now eyeing the youth market. Millions of youth spend their time flying around the globe seeking various thrills, such as mountain climbing, river rafting, jungle hiking, base jumping and other dangerous activities, as long as they dont involve Iraq. So Boeing is designing an airplane to appeal to thrill-seekers.
Q: What will they call it?
A: The airplane will be called the Boeing 666 Screamliner.
Q: What are some of its most interesting features?
A: The logo will feature the first pilot, Jack Nicholson, looking his demonic best in a captains cap. Possible Screamliner mottos include We Fly Over the Cuckoos Nest, and Well get you there in one piece, maybe more. Passengers will be exposed to various in-flight stunts, including the loop under, loop over, loop-de-loop, and the airbag special. Disembarking passengers, if any, will be presented a souvenir button stating, I Survived the Screamliner.
Q: Sounds like fun, but it might be expensive to build a jetliner that can survive so much stress with the likes of Jack Nicholson at the controls.
A: Thats precisely why Boeing is going back to the Washington State Legislature for help. Remember, Boeing got $4 billion in tax breaks for 1,000 Dreamliner assembly jobs, which works out to a tax subsidy of $4 million per job. Almost all the actual work was parted out to other states and countries, but the 1,000 workers in Washington get to bolt the thing together.
Q: So what will Boeing demand to assemble the Screamliner in Washington?
A: Another $4 billion, which will allow them to lay off everyone but Gus Johnson, the companys senior machinist with 42 years experience. The Screamliners last bolt will be tightened by Gus in Everett, in a ceremony watched worldwide in factories where the plane was actually built.
Q: Isnt $4 billion a lot for Gus?
A: Thats why the Legislature insisted that Boeing build it in Washington.
Q: The Screamliner?
A: No, the bolt. Gus will make it in his spare time. Proud legislators will brag that they saved airplane assembly for Washington State and created a new bolt-building industry as a byproduct. Nobody will question the cost, its unpatriotic.
Q: What happens when Gus retires?
A: Boeing will turn its Everett plant, which is the worlds largest building by volume, into the worlds largest espresso stand. Assuming the Legislature steps up and pays for the coffee and the baristas, of course.
Q: The Screamliner sounds great, despite the cost to the average taxpayer. But will Airbus sit back and let Boeing dominate the thrill-seeker market?
A: Fat chance. The Europeans are already working on something called the Airbus Terrorist Express. If they get the pilot they want, itll make the Screamliner experience feel like a kiddie carnival ride.
Q: Whos that?
A: Dick Cheney.