Kermit Weeks (pictured above) announced today that his “Fantasy of Flight” operations in Central Florida will close for daily operations on April 6. In a letter to employees, Mr. Weeks said:
After 18 years of being in operation, it’s time we close the attraction and move forward toward creating the vision for what I know Fantasy of Flight can become.
Mr. Weeks has long emphasized that Fantasy of Flight should be seen as an experience, not a museum as most see it. The facility will remain available to host weddings, meetings and corporate events, and Weeks said he plans to open part of the collection in a reduced capacity and admission price later this year but most of the staff will be let go in the coming months.
I visited Fantasy of Flight last year and I was very impressed with the operation and Kermit’s passion. I wish everyone involved success in the future, wherever that future lies.
The lovingly maintained P-51 Mustang from Fantasy of Flight
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Congratulations to Canada’s Pete McLeod on his first podium finish at a Red Bull Air Race. Pete finished 3rd at this morning’s race in Abu Dhabi behind Paul Bonhomme and Hannes Arch.
A great start to the season for Pete and his team. As he always says:
It appears that the long rumored demise of the A-10 Warthog will be officially confirmed when US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel presents his 2015 budget preview later today.
For the Air Force, an emphasis on capability over capacity meant that we protected its key modernization programs, including the new bomber, the Joint Strike Fighter, and the new refueling tanker. We also recommended investing $1 billion in a promising next-generation jet engine technology, which we expect to produce sizeable cost-savings through reduced fuel consumption and lower maintenance needs. This new funding will also help ensure a robust industrial base – itself a national strategic asset.
To fund these investments, the Air Force will reduce the number of tactical air squadrons including the entire A-10 fleet. Retiring the A-10 fleet saves $3.5 billion over five years and accelerates the Air Force’s long-standing modernization plan – which called for replacing the A-10s with the more capable F-35 in the early 2020s.
The “Warthog” is a venerable platform, and this was a tough decision. But the A-10 is a 40-year-old single-purpose airplane originally designed to kill enemy tanks on a Cold War battlefield. It cannot survive or operate effectively where there are more advanced aircraft or air defenses. And as we saw in Iraq and Afghanistan, the advent of precision munitions means that many more types of aircraft can now provide effective close air support, from B-1 bombers to remotely piloted aircraft. And these aircraft can execute more than one mission.
It’s interesting that the F-35 is touted as a part of the replacement arsenal for the Warthog. The A-10, as Secretary Hagel mentions, might well be a “single-purpose” airplane but it is definitely very, very good at satisfying that purpose and I dare say it does it much cheaper than the alternatives.
The Boeing 737 is the world’s most produced commercial airliner. Since it’s introduction in 1968, nearly 8,000 airframes have been built. From the original 737-100 all the way up to the new 737-MAX, the 737 looks to be headed to a half century of continuous build.
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Just over a week after WestJet reported good earnings, Air Canada chimes in with news that 2013 was their best year in their 77 year history. Its full-year adjusted earnings were a company record of $340 million, or $1.20 per share — six-times higher than in 2012. This comes despite the fact that 4th quarter earnings missed forecast due to bad weather and the drop in the Canadian Dollar.
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Article by Terry Maxon in today’s Dallas News shows that Republic Airways is planning on parking 27 Embrarer regional jets due to a lack of qualified pilots. The company states,
Due to the significant reduction in qualified pilots who meet the congressionally mandated 1,500 hour pilot experience rule and the Company’s rigorous qualification standards, the Company is no longer seeking extensions for 27 of the 41 ERJ aircraft.
Experts have been forecasting for years that the need for qualified pilots will not be met resulting in serious consequences for commercial air travel.
The entire article can be read here.
WestJet announced this morning that their 4th quarter and year end results for 2013 show record earnings.
“We continued to expand on our success in 2013 as several key accomplishments, including the launch of WestJet Encore and our Fare Bundles product, helped us achieve a year of record earnings, and a return on invested capital above our 12 per cent target for the sixth consecutive quarter,” said WestJet President and CEO Gregg Saretsky. “We are very excited about continuing our success into 2014, and I am grateful to our nearly 10,000 WestJetters for the commitment they demonstrate to our guests every day.”
Although load factor dropped from 82.8% in 2012 to 81.7% (-1.6%), the number of passengers carried rose 6.1% to 18,485,144. Revenue increased by 6.9%
This follows the news on January 9th that WestJet was named 2014 Value Airline of the Year by Air Transport World magazine.