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January 5 - The Week Ahead Open Thread

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100yrsofflight.jpg100 Years of Flight
Six years after Kitty Hawk, a publication known as Flight was founded in the United Kingdom. The first century of Flight was an extraordinary one and I cannot wait to see how its 2nd century unfolds. This week's commemorative cover is really a beauty. Inside the magazine is a full color cutaway of the De Havilland Comet, the world's first jetliner, which will also celebrate 60 years since its first flight July 27.

Much of the history of flight can be read here, but if you get a chance to pick this issue up on newstands, I highly recommend it, if only for the aviation art inside. I wake up every morning honored to be associated with the history of this publication. Happy Birthday Flight!

Twin-Engine Biofuel Flight
This Wednesday, the United States will see its first biofuel flight on a Continental 737-800 aircraft. The flight will use an algae and jatropha biofuel blend.

So far, alternative fuels have been tested on an A380, Virgin Atlantic 747-400 and Air New Zealand 747-400. All of these aircraft are powered by four engines, making this week's flight the first time a twin engine aircraft will be used. This is a 25% improvement in the confidence of this technology, a major leap forward for biofuels. Sadly, with oil at $46 a barrel, I'm unsure if there's an economic justification to support widespread adoption when/if a certification structure is finally established.

787 Structural Deliveries
Over the weekend, Global Aeronautica received twin deliveries from Italy and Japan of section 45/11 and 44 and 46 (respectively) destined for Dreamliner Nine, an aircraft that will go to ANA sometime in 2010. Later this week, Section 47/48 for ZA005 should find its way to Everett from Vought as well.

Airbus/Boeing Order Battle
With 2008 having come and gone, we should soon know who won the aircraft order battle. All indications point to Airbus winning this round. As of December 23, Boeing booked 662 net orders to Airbus' 756 net orders through the end of November. Boeing typically gives its final tally this week with Airbus following later in the month.

How soft is the backlog?
According to one analyst: Very.
The Teal Group's Richard Aboulafia believes the possibility exists that as much as 70 percent of more than 7400 total orders held by Boeing and Airbus will become order deferrals instead of aircraft. A global economic crisis coupled with erratic fuel prices throws a big wrench into the engine of just about every kind of air travel and as airlines around the world struggle to direct their fleets toward profitability the most expedient solution for some may be a rollback of expansion plans.
Airbus is pulling out all the stops to prevent this from happening. You'll know aerospace manufacturing is in trouble when Huyndai's Assurance becomes the new business model for selling aircraft.
2008 Traffic Report
Having wrapped up the first full year of FlightBlogger, I can enthusiastically report that this blog earned 1,587,202 page loads in 2008. This was well above our goal for the year. 230,000 of those came in December alone, FlightBlogger's best month ever! 2 million for 2009 anyone? Thank you so much to everyone who made this possible! If you're reading this, that means you!

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