When APJ Abdul Kalam charmed his way into Boeing’s nerve centre…

Nostalgia: APJ Abdul Kalam with Dinesh Keskar during his 2009 visit to Boeing's Seattle plant - PICTURE COURTESY: BOEING

Nostalgia: APJ Abdul Kalam with Dinesh Keskar during his 2009 visit to Boeing’s Seattle plant – PICTURE COURTESY: BOEING

The sudden demise of former President APJ Abdul Kalam on July 27, left people mourning in India. Over 12,000km away in Seattle too, a pall of gloom descend on Boeing’s manufacturing plant, where the former President had charmed and impressed the employees during his visit in 2009. Later Dinesh Keskar, Senior Vice-President, Asia-Pacific and India, Boeing Aeroplanes called Kalam “a friend of a lot of people, including Boeing.”

During the 2009 visit, the former President had shown an interest in meeting Joe Sutter, the man who designed the double-decker aircraft, the Boeing 747, which is popularly known as the Jumbo Jet. “The former President knew of him (Sutter) and wanted to meet him,” recalls Keskar.

The 2009 visit to the Seattle plant was Kalam’s first to the Boeing’s manufacturing facility. The 88-year-old Sutter, often called the Father of the 747, was there. The two had a 20-minute meeting which Keskar too attended. “The former President wondered how Sutter had come up with the idea of the upper deck. Kalam also asked Sutter about the support he had in designing the Boeing 747,” Keskar recalled. Perhaps Kalam, who was involved with the Light Combat Aircraft project, was hoping to replicate the same in India. The Missile Man also gave a lecture to an audience that included scientists and top technologists during the Seattle visit. Kalam, however, was not just interested in the Jumbo Jet. During his visit he also got a first-hand feel of the first Boeing 787 aircraft, the long-range, wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner . The 787 aircraft that Kalam saw in Seattle was the first of the 27 aircraft that are joining the Air India fleet.

Kalam was impressed with the aircraft, particularly its wings. The crystal model of an aeroplane that Boeing presented Kalam to commemorate the visit is still displayed in Delhi.

Bengaluru days

Bengaluru days

Kalam’s relationship with Boeing did not end at Seattle. He also visited the Boeing research centre in Bengaluru. Keskar says that the former President spent over three hours talking to the 15 people present, inquiring about their work. Many of the people were picked from the National Aeronautics Lab, where Kalam was the Chairman of the organisation’s research council.

It was during this visit that Kalam said that one of the things Boeing must do is to get India into the aeroplane market. “He was obviously very interested in getting Boeing to do something in India in terms of building an aeroplane in India. We are still working on smaller pieces of that. We have not gone to the stage of the aeroplane but that was his vision,” Keskar added.

Source…ASHWINI PHADNIS   ….www.thehindubusinessline.com


The Birth Of ” Peanut Airline” …!!!

It’s the final week for our Aviation History Month articles, and this week we are looking at airlines between 1980 and 2000.

The Birth of the 'Peanut Airline' - Aviation History Month

1989 saw a Qantas Boeing 747, fly non-stop from London to Sydney, setting a world record for a four engine jet, after having flown 11,000 miles in 20 hours. During the first half of the 1990’s, the industry suffered world recession, and in 1991, international passenger numbers dropped for the first time.  The financial difficulties were aggravated by airlines over-ordering aircraft in the boom years of the late 1980s.

However, in 1993, The 1,000th Boeing 747 came off the production line 26 years after the first 747 was built. By 1997, all EU airlines were given unlimited rights to serve airports in other member states after the European Commission approved new regulations to liberalise air travel within the EU.

Virgin Atlantic

On June 22, 1984, the airline launched its inaugural flight from London Gatwick to Newark, consisting mainly of celebrities and media. The airline celebrated its 1,000,000thpassenger only 4 years afterwards, and in 1999, Richard Branson sold a 49% stake in the company to Singapore Airlines, which was later acquired by Delta Airlines.


Virgin Atlantic inaugural flight, 1984 [Image by Virgin Atlantic]


The airline commenced operations on October 25, 1985, departing Dubai International Airport for Karachi in Pakistan. The airline began operations to Karachi, New Delhi and Bombay using Airbus A300 and Boeing 737 leased aircraft from Pakistan International Airlines. In 1992, the airline became the first to install video entertainment systems in all of its classes throughout its fleet, and in 1995 when the airline celebrated its tenth birthday; it could already boast 34 locations in the Middle East, Far East and Europe.


Emirates inaugural flight 1985. [Image by Gulf News]


The airline was established in 1985 with a share capital of £1 and 25 employees, using only a 15-seater Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirante aircraft. By 1990, Ryanair dropped its Business Class product and closed the Frequent Flyer Club, to re-launch as Europe’s first low fares airline, using only Boeing 737 aircraft. 1992 saw more than one million passengers carried in a year for the first time. The airline stopped serving meals and served only snacks instead, leading to the birth of the ‘peanut airline’.


Ryanair ATR 42-300. [Image by airliners.net]

Air China

Air China was established in 1988 after the Chinese Government decided to split the operating divisions of Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) into six separate airlines, including Air China. The carrier was given chief responsibility for intercontinental flights, and took over the CAAC’s long haul aircraft and routes, including its Boeing 747s, 767s and 707s. In 2001, Air China acquired China Southwest Airlines following a merger plan.

Air China

Air China A340

 Jet Airways

Jet Airways was incorporated in 1993 as an air taxi operator with a fleet of four leased Boeing 737-300 aircraft from Malaysia Airlines. The operator became a scheduled airline in 1995, after the Air Corporations Act was abolished, and began its first international operation in March 2004, from Chennai to Colombo.

Jet Airways

Jet Airways A340, 2005, with 1993-2007 livery. [Image by Adrian Pingstone

SOURCE:::: Poppy Marello in http://www.routesonline.com