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Monday, 30 May 2016

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Trivia: The wingspan of a 747 is longer than the Wright Brothers first flight. And think I read it here at TOP. When the friend of the wright brothers who stood at the camera and took the shot of the plane lifting off of the ground under its own power, that turned out to be the only photograph he ever took in his life.

I toured Air Force One last weekend, at the Boeing Museum of Flight in Seattle. It was SAM 970, used by Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon.

The article mentioned a change in paint scheme during the Kennedy administration. It does not mention that Raymond Loewy was the designer of the new paint scheme, which has been adapted to fit all Air Force One planes since then. Loewy designed many things, including cars and even a camera or two.

Aircraft have 'mirrored' cameras to the extent that the exterior appearance has changed little (on airliners at least) since the Boeing 707 (FF Dec 20th 1957), but almost everything under the skin has gone from analogue to digital, metal to composites, etc.

In fact, the time between Kittyhawk (Dec 17th 1903) and the introduction of the Boeing 707 (still flying in some places) was 54 years and three days.

The first flight of the 707 to the present day is 59 years, and some airframes are still in service.

The average transit time across the Atlantic has not improved since the 707 entered service, but the cost has come down by around 90%.

In fact, the same applies to almost everything. Walk into an American home in the 1960s and you would recognise almost everything as an older version of its current form, including the car in the drive.

The only real change has been the introduction of the smart phone, which in practice is just an integration of wireless phone, computer, hi-fi and camera in a single device.

You may also argue that the home computer (which morphed into a tablet) also qualifies, but even home computers were around from the early 1980s.

It's as if every advance we have made since the 1960's has been focused on refinement and accessibility, not revolutionary development. If I wanted to cross London today, I would have exactly the same set of options and it would take the same time that it would have taken in 1950.

The biggest difference is my access to other people and to information. Almost everything has focused on the individual consumer's desire to talk to everyone else...

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