In an effort to save money, possibly in the lead up to the United Kingdom Royal Wedding of Price Harry and Kate Middleton, Prince Charles has opted for some alternative travel plans. In planning for a trip to the United States to visit President Obama as well as address an agriculture conference, the Prince chose to forgo a very large, government-owned private jet with full entourage on the British dime, instead opting to borrow his personal friend Joe Allbritton’s private Gulfstream IV as a favor.
On his travels between May 3 & 5, just days after the Royal Wedding of his son Prince William, it is confirmed that neither Prince Charles nor the UK taxpayer will pay a cent toward the flight over, instead having the Texas financier cover the cost.
While some are chiding the Prince for not acknowledging the carbon impact of such a decision, the prince's communications secretary Paddy Harverson argued that they, “always do consider the carbon impact of our travel plans, but we have to take into account a number of important factors when deciding how to travel, such as security, and the guarantee of prompt departure and arrival times…When these and other factors are taken into account, we decided that the use of the private charter was the best practical option to ensure the trip could go ahead smoothly.”
While some view private jets as a lavish, unnecessary expense, chartering such a flight has proven its worth time and time again. With the ability to fly in and out of smaller, less crowded airports with no wait to pass through security, as well as the ability to deal with decreased air traffic, private jets provide passengers the ability to retain the most valuable resource: time.
Boeing was granted US patent Number 7,900,865 on March 8, 2011 for an incredibly unique and revolutionary type of aircraft. With a design the likes of which have never been seen in the commercial aircraft industry, Boeing may just be gearing up for the 797, the 737’s successor. The patent includes the following design features:
- Canard elevators on the forward fuselage.
- An elliptical wide body fuselage that could accommodate twin aisles.
- Wings mounted at the 10 and 2 o'clock position on the rear fuselage.
- Forward swept wings with a forward wing sweep of 15 to 19 degrees.
- Engines mounted on pylons at the rear of the fuselage.
- The rear fuselage and wings extended to form a horizontal stabilizer and elevator.
- Two canted vertical stabilizers
- Main landing gear contained in the rear fuselage
- The design can accommodate high bypass turbofans, counter-rotating prop jets or turboprop engines.
- Engine location above the fuselage and surrounded by vertical stabilizers to reduce engine noise.
The image below from Boeing’s patent application shows what the new aircraft could look like.
Strange, yes, but there are many design aspects which will enhance the passenger experience for travelers around the world. The placement of the engines is sure to create the quietest cabin in the skies, as well as the quietest aircraft to those on the ground. With wings in the rear of the aircraft, incredible views will be afforded to passengers throughout the cabin.
Boeing has said nothing to confirm that this will be the 797, but rumors have it that the manufacturer and airlines have had discussions that a 737 replacement will have twin aisles for increased passenger comfort.
To view the patent which has incredible number of informative images, click here.