The Dangers of Speculation

The dangers of speculation by nelson lewisLet’s just say that a Presidential candidate you dislike is rumored to have done or said something unsavory.  And even if it’s not true, taken out of context or easily rebutted, people still believe it.  Regardless of your political affiliation, this is something that we all experienced throughout 2016.  And it serves as an example as to why speculation following events can be dangerous, irresponsible and counterproductive.  Whether something is true, false or implied, simply because it’s said people will believe it.  If you go on social media after any big event, it will be abuzz with all sorts of speculation.  I recently read an article about the dangers that said speculation holds, especially when speculating in the aftermath of airline crashes.

Everything is seen on social media.  Often times, the news will pick up a random story that will spread a message, not often true, that will mislead plenty of readers.  Let’s just say there’s a crash, and immediately afterwards somebody online speculates that it “might be due to the weather”.  Yeah, that’s always a possibility, but that’s just one possibility.  With that in readers’ minds, suddenly they’re terrified of flying.  On social media, it’s upsettingly easy for misinformation to spread, while accurate information about how safe aviation is gets drowned out.  

Another example of the dangers of speculation involves tiger sharks in Hawaii.  Sharks are pretty scary, and amazingly efficient predators, and tiger sharks are among the biggest and scariest of them all.  Along with the bull shark and great white, they’re known to attack humans, but it’s actually pretty rare.  In Hawaii, three to four shark bites happen a year, but compare that to the untold hundreds of thousands of times that humans swim, dive and surf in Hawaii every day.  Speculation about the danger they could pose to tourism in Hawaii, nearly 5,000 tiger sharks were culled.  While this damaged the shark population, it did nothing to decrease the number of interactions between humans and sharks.  

Ultimately, speculation is a basic human reaction to events, and I’d be lying if I told you I never speculated.  Speculation involves both reasoned and completely irrational ideas, which people use to form opinions.  But it’s important to keep it for the right audience, otherwise it could snowball in a game of telephone.  

Snakes on a Plane (But Actually)

Snakes on a plane (But actually) by Nelson Lewis10 years ago, the film “Snakes on a Plane” was released.  Many ridiculed the film, as the concept, as well as the title, seemed pretty outlandish.  Yet sometimes life is even stranger than fiction.  Yesterday passengers on an Aeromexico commercial flight were treated to a venomous green viper, roughly five feet long, which slithered into the cabin.  Passengers watched in horror as the snake uncurled from the ceiling and fell onto the floor.  Since we live in the information age and love a good social media post, of course one particularly brave passenger took the time to film the incident, and posted it online.  Funnily enough, even if the prospect of a snake on a plane is pretty terrifying (of course once you get beyond the fact that

Flight 231 makes the two-hour trip from Torreon to Mexico City every day, although this is the first time this has ever happened.  In the video, you can see the snake slowly slithering down the side of the plane before falling onto seats.  What’s particularly interesting to me is that even if the prospect of being trapped 30,000 feet in the air with a venomous snake is pretty terrifying, nobody in the video seems to be screaming or running away.  Concerned?  Absolutely.  But nobody Since this occurred mid-flight, the plane was given priority landing at its destination.  The pilot immediately began organizing an emergency landing, and the slithery stowaway was caught by some passengers who improvised with a blanket and some magazines before emergency personnel were able to collect the reptile.  It’s as of yet unclear as to how the snake made its way onto the plane, although a spokesperson for the airline has stated that they’re looking to get to the bottom of the issue and make sure that this doesn’t happen again.  

You can check out the video below:

10 Most Famous Aircraft in the World

When picking through the rich history of aviation, it can be difficult to select from just ten aircraft that have played the biggest roles.  However, I recently came across an article from privatefly.com that presents a top 10 rundown of the world’s most famous aircraft:

Wright Brothers plane

The Wright Flyer: As the plane that performed the world’s first-ever powered flight back in 1903, it’s no surprise that this plane would make the list.  It was built with spruce wood, with the engine and other parts all made by hand.  To fly the plane, Wilbur Wright had to lay on his stomach on the lower wing to reduce drag, with the steering controlled with a hip cradle that pulled wires to warp the wings.

Concorde airplane

Concorde: Widely recognized as one of the most significant aircrafts in aviation history, this supersonic airliner, the first of its kind in world history, allowed passengers to travel across the Atlantic in just 3 ½ hours.  It entered service in 1976, and continued commercial operations for British Airways and Air France until 2003.  The Concorde featured a pointed, adjustable nose that allowed it to achieve optimum aerodynamic efficiency in flight while also allowing the flight crew a full view during take-off and landing.

Air Force One plane

Air Force One: While it’s been immortalized as a symbol of American power, the Air Force One isn’t any specific aircraft, but rather an air traffic control call sign most often used by the private aircraft designated to transport the President.  However, this call sign can be used by any US Air Force aircraft while the President is on board.  The term was first developed in 1953 after a security glitch occurred when Eisenhower’s plane entered the same airspace as a commercial airliner with the same call sign.  Several different aircraft have been used as Air Force One since, with Boeing now the exclusive manufacturer of choice.

Supermarine Spitfire

Supermarine Spitfire: Designed by RJ Mitchell of meet the RAF’s need for a new fighter aircraft, this is arguably one of the most universally respected and loved aircraft in the world.  It first flew in 1936, and was produced in greater numbers than any British aircraft before it.  It’s most famous for its role in securing British air superiority in World War II, winning the hearts of the British public.

Airbus A380

Airbus A380: Nicknamed the “Superjumbo”, this is currently the largest passenger airliner in the world, that can carry up to 853 passengers in a double-deck seating configuration.  Designed by manufacturer Airbus to challenge Boeing’s monopoly, it entered commercial service in October 2007.  Its huge size meant that specially-designed ships, barges and roads had to be built for surface transportation.  The A380 features highly innovative passenger provisions and pilot technology, along with an avionics suite based on that of advanced military aircraft.

Charles Lindbergh Spirit of St Louis

Spirit of St. Louis: When he made the first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic in 1927, Charles Lindbergh made this plane famous.  One of the most fuel-efficient and aerodynamic designs of its time, the aircraft was designed by Ryan Airlines and named after Lindbergh’s hometown of St. Louis.  The fuel tanks were at the front of the plane to improve safety and balance, although this meant that there couldn’t be a front windshield in the tiny cockpit, so a periscope was needed to provide front visibility.

Amelia Earhart Lockheed 5B

Lockheed Vega 5b: When Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly non-stop across the Atlantic, she made the six-seater monoplane famous.  At the time, that specific design was a popular choice for record attempts due to its long-range and rugged design.

Gulfstream GIV plane

Gulfstream GIV: As the first truly global business jet, the Gulfstream IV has a special place in the hearts of all aviation enthusiasts.  After its 1987 launch, it became a firm favorite, with an unmatched range that allowed private jet passengers to travel anywhere in the world with just one fuel stop.

Cessna Citation XL

Cessna Citation XL: Since its first flight in early 1996, the Citation XL revolutionized the private aircraft market by offering a cost-effective competitor to the twin turboprop aircraft.  It quickly won the hearts of private jet passengers and aircraft operators due to its speed, high passenger capacity and relative low cost in comparison to its competitors.

SpaceShipTwo

SpaceShipTwo: With its open cabin and large viewing windows, this suborbital spacecraft is a leader in the race to take commercial air passengers into space.  It might still be in testing, and if the October 2014 crash is to be believed, still has some kinks to work out, but the thought of taking a flight into outer space is exciting indeed.

5 Ways to Celebrate National Aviation Day

Two days from now marks National Aviation Day.  A presidential proclamation made in 1939 invites people to observe this day with “appropriate exercises to further stimulate interest in aviation”.  Nowadays, when you can simply go to Travelocity and pick up a ticket from Atlanta to New York City, it’s easy to take aviation for granted, and forget how much a miracle it seemed when the Wright Brothers first flew some 112 years ago.  Aviation has gone leaps and bounds since that fabled first flight in Kitty Hawk; a record number of more than 3.3 billion people got on a plane last year alone.  Of course, aviation is far from perfect, but the future for planes looks bright, with many airliners on their way to serving travelers around the world in cool, sophisticated ways.  I recently came across an article with some ideas for celebrating Aviation Day, listed below:

Clipper flying cloud

1. Air and Space Museum: While the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum has got plenty to offer to celebrate National Aviation Day, their companion facility outside DC pays homage to one of history’s groundbreaking airliners: the last surviving Boeing 307 Stratoliner and the first successful commercial airliner with a pressurized cabin, the Clipper Flying Cloud.  The plane’s pressurized cabin virtually “eradicated” passenger sickness, allowing airline passengers to fly above bad weather and make the ride much smoother.

Lockheed Connie

2. Fly the “Connie”: Lockheed’s L-1049 Super Constellation, known to aviation enthusiasts as “Connie”, is a 50 year-old icon that you can still fly on.  However, the price for flying on this piece of aircraft history is a bit steep; to get on the plane, all passengers need to first join the Super Constellation Flyers Association for about $120, then purchase tickets starting at $230.  From May through autumn, the plane hosts pleasure flights to European destinations such as Germany, Belgium and Switzerland, and aviation enthusiasts will travel around the world in the Connie just for the experience.

Brown bird airplane

3. Fly a two-seater: For a $100 membership, you can experience the sensation of flying aboard the two-seater “Brown Bird”, just like the Wright Brothers.  It isn’t the most efficient way to travel; it burns 20 gallons of fuel an hour, and flies slow and low, yet it’s a great historical experience as you get to fly just like the Wright Brothers did.

Flying a glider

4. Glider flights: When talking about their first glider flights, people tend to use such words as “spectacular”, “breathtaking” and “sensational”.  This might be due to the fact that the only thing between you and the sky is an eighth of an inch of plexiglass, giving the user the feeling that they’re actually flying without an airplane.  In some instances, you might even find yourself flying with eagles.

flying lesson

5. Take a flying lesson: This is reserved for the more enthusiastic of aviation enthusiasts.  Research flight schools, and sign up for an hour-long introductory flight in a small plane with a certified flight instructor.  The annual number of active pilots in the US with FAA student certificates has been rising for the past four years, with thousands of new student pilots getting into the cockpit every year.  And getting a pilot’s license might be easier than you think, thanks to a 2004 FAA rule that allows wannabe fliers to earn pilot certificates in less time, albeit with more limitations.

Kawasaki P-1

Nelson Lewis Kawasaki P1

The Kawasaki P-1

In preparation for the Royal International Air Tattoo, the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) arrived at RAF Fairford in England today, where they showed their first flying display rehearsal of the fascinating Kawasaki P-1.  The two aircraft landed at Fairford yesterday after a 4-day voyage from Atsugi, Japan through the US.  From NAS Oceana in Virginia, it made the non-stop flight across the Atlantic to the UK.

The display of the Kawasaki was simple yet effective, with a couple of low passes that included one with the aircraft’s weapons bay open.  The aircraft, which resembled a Douglas DC-8 that’s been through a hot wash, is an impressive performer, airborne in about 4-5,000 feet of runway.  As the aircraft maneuvered back toward the airfield, there were also a few hints of some impressive agility.  Without a doubt, this is one of the most intriguing and exciting aircrafts to attend the Royal International Air Tattoo in the past 15 years.  Surprisingly, there hasn’t been much coverage about the development of this mysterious ocean patroller, especially when compared to Boeing’s P-8 Poseidon or the BAe Nimrod.  At the current show, engineers have been parking the P-1 next to the P-8, allowing visitors the chance to make comparisons between the two submarine hunters.

Japan seems hopeful that they’ll get the chance to export the P-1.  And with the UK expected to release a potential requirement for a maritime patrol aircraft in the upcoming Strategic Defense and Security Review later this year, it’s possible that this aircraft could be making a lot more appearances in the near future.  If you want to check out the aircraft yourself and have the time and resources for a last-minute plane ticket to the UK, then the Air Tattoo will be taking place this weekend, from July 17-19.

Breitling Jet Team in Times Square

Nelson Lewis BreitlingRecently, the Breitling Jet Team brought a full-size L-39C Albatros Jet to New York City, in the place where it would most likely cause the biggest stir: New York’s own Times Square.  This marks the team’s first ever North American tour to New York City.  In addition to the Jet Team, VIPs in attendance will include friends of the Breitling brand, amateur pilot/professional golfer Morgan Hoffmann, football legend Boomer Esiason and golfer Suzann Pettersen, who is in town for the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

For those who don’t know, the Breitling Jet Team is an aerobatics team, made up of seven L-39 Albatros jets that can reach speeds of up to 565 mph.  The Breitling Jet Team, founded by the Breitling company, is the world’s largest professional civilian flight team that performs on jets.  The team is known for their wild, flamboyant aerobatic displays, which require an inordinate amount of precision, speed and audacity to perform.  Every year, the Breitling Jet Team performs around fifty demonstrations across Europe at various air shows, Formula 1 Grand Prix races and sports events, but this marks one of the first times that they’ve made it out to the US.

Over Memorial Day Weekend, Breitling performed at New York’s Bethpage Airshow at Jones Beach, and flew around some of New York’s most well-known landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty and the World Trade Center.  For their North American tour, the Breitling Jet Team will be continuing their North American tour in Ocean City, Maryland, and the Vectren Dayton Airshow in Dayton, Ohio.  Through October of this year, the Breitling Jet Team American Tour will perform at nearly 20 airshows across the US and Canada.  To find out what their schedule looks like, you can visit their website, The Breitling Jet Team.  Who knows?  They could be coming to a city near you!

How to Not Get Kicked Off an Airplane

Earlier this week, a cancer victim made headlines after she was kicked off of Alaska Airlines for not having a doctor’s note.  After the story went viral, the airline had to apologize and reimbursed her and her family the money for tickets and accommodation.  Nowadays, cabin crews are under pressure to police the skies, and it isn’t always clear what constitutes a security threat or what could be offensive to others.  If you travel enough, you’re bound to see a passenger get kicked off the aircraft; sometimes before the plane is fully boarded, but also when the plane is getting ready to push back from the gate.  I recently came across an article that shared some tips for not getting kicked off a plane.

Nelson Lewis hijack

Don’t joke around: Making jokes about hijackings, weapons or bombs while going through security or boarding a plane is more than just not funny, it will also get you arrested.  And people who threaten or assault a crew member, damage the aircraft or make any threatening statements are also removed.

Nelson Lewis swearing

Don’t swear: Back in 2011, Gawker published a story about a passenger who turned to his seatmate and dropped an F-bomb while asking why it took so long to close the overhead compartments.  Not long afterwards, after the aircraft took off, the pilot turned the plane around and the police removed the passenger from the plane for being “disruptive”.  Even if this is pretty extreme, it’s a good idea to be safe rather than sorry.

Nelson Lewis t-shirt

Don’t wear offensive clothing: Airlines have something known as a “contract of carriage”, which you agree on when purchasing a seat on a plane.  These contracts vary by airline, but Southwest Airlines has clearly stated that they can “refuse to transport or remove” passengers for all kinds of violations, including those “whose clothing is lewd, obscene or patently offensive”.  Last month, a passenger was removed from a flight at Denver International Airport for wearing a T-shirt that read “Broad F%#@ing City”, in promotion of the Comedy Central show “Broad City”.  After the passenger refused to remove the shirt, he was denied passage by the airline.

Nelson Lewis stinky

Don’t stink: Airlines reserve the right to remove you from the plane if you emanate what they define as an “offensive odor”.  Even if you think you smell fine, others around you might speak up, and you’ll be left back at the gate.  Such an occurrence is unusual, but it’s happened before.

Autonomous Planes

automated plane

A prototype drawing of what one of these automated planes would look like.

If aviation is to break out of its niche and become a ubiquitous mode of transport, then autonomous technology in the air and on the ground is necessary.  Whether it’s easy-to-fly personal airplanes, air taxis or single-pilot commuter transports, aviation needs to go beyond automation in order to ensure wider public use of aircraft.  Aviation enthusiasts look ahead to the day that air transport is “democratized”, where a mix of personal, air-taxi and other “thin-haul” air vehicles provide “on-demand” mobility for communities over distances of 50-500 miles.  However, he acknowledges that there are technological, regulatory and societal challenges to this vision, such as airspace control, usability, safety, noise and enabling robust daily operations in all weathers.

One example is the Hopper electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) regional public transport concept that Stanford University and NASA developed.  The baseline vehicle is a 30-passenger tandem-rotor helicopter with battery-electric, fuel-cell or hybrid-electric propulsion.  The Hopper is designed for extreme short-haul flights as an alternative to road and rail transport in congested areas.  Electric propulsion is heavier, but energy usage is much lower than for turboshaft-powered aircraft.  Stanford has conducted simulations of Hopper operations in the San Francisco Bay, where the population density and geography combine to make difficult commutes.  The simulations have looked at network operations carrying up to 30,000 passengers every day, which would mean hundreds of Hopper vehicles making thousands of flights between dozens of vertiports connected to road and rail links.  With three major airports in the area, this would inevitably raise airspace management issues.

Simulations reveal that dynamic flightpath routing based on the time of day could help reduce potential conflicts with the background air traffic and limit controller workload by avoiding heavily-used airspace.  However, enabling a Hopper-style public transport network would require a high level of automation, both on the ground and in the air.  The vehicle would be single-pilot, with later potential for fully autonomous operation.  Vertiport operation, including charging/changing batteries, would be automated.  Flying and VTOL are energy-intensive transportation modes for relatively short distances, yet still represent a potential way to bypass the congestion that comes with urban surface-transportation.  Near-term battery technology could make such short-range vehicles feasible within 10 years if airspace and infrastructure challenges can be overcome.

The wealthier of the Bay Area’s tech industry commuters are the main target for Joby Aviation’s S2 electric VTOL two-seater.  The design, set to be available within a few years, has 12 electrically driven propellers on the wing and tail that tilt for VTOL and fold in cruise to provide efficiency, redundancy and reduced noise.  Point-to-point, it’s five times faster than a car and twice as fast as a Robinson R22 two-seat helicopter, and uses five times less energy than a car and 10 times less than a helicopter.  On-demand aviation could also be effective in Los Angeles, where around 233,000 commuters travel 200 miles or more every day to and from work.  The best place to start, however, would be to apply autonomy and electric propulsion to general aviation to improve safety, reduce noise and overcome shortcomings in efficiency, emissions, ride quality, robustness and operating costs.

Celebrating D-Day

Beaches of Normandy

The quiet and scenic beaches of Normandy, which some 70 years earlier were the site of one of the most important battles of World War II.

Tomorrow is an historic day, as it marks the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, when the US-led Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy.  This was the start of an invasion that helped bring down Nazi Germany.  While you might have heard about it from older family members, in history class, “Saving Private Ryan” or “Band of Brothers”, but it takes a good visual prompt so you can begin to understand what happened on that fateful day.  I recently came across an article that discusses some ways for Americans can celebrate and honor this important and historic day, where so many American soldiers fought and died to protect the free world.

In France, the Basse-Normandie Region will be hosting an official 70th anniversary series of events and ceremonies, which include such activities as parachute drops, a walk that retraces the steps of soldiers, fireworks displays, a screening of the Tom Brokaw-narrated IMAX film “D-Day Normandy 1944”, wreath-laying ceremonies and a sound and light show.  Over the course of the year, hundreds of other events shall be occurring throughout Basse-Normandie.  If you would like to visit the area with a guide, plenty of companies are offering D-Day tours throughout the year.  You can choose an historic tour, or maybe something like a hiking or biking trip to see the beaches and countryside of Normandy.

Stephen Ambrose, who wrote “Band of Brothers” and founded the National D-Day Museum, started his own tour company that offers trips to all of the places he wrote about.  In September, history buffs can partake in Ambrose’s personally-designed “D-Day to the Rhine” tour, based on thorough research and hundreds of interviews with World War II veterans, while accompanied by a war veteran.  Historic Hotels of America has partnered with National Trust Tours for a series of tours, such as a September D-Day tour.  Led by a World War II historian, you’ll be taken to the less-visited landmarks associated with the invasion, such as the house where Eisenhower decided to carry out the invasion, Churchill’s Cabinet war rooms and a chateau where the BBC broadcast its reports.

Various different travel companies, such as Ciclismo Classico, Discover France and Wilderness Travel all offer fantastic options for those who want to get in a little workout while learning about the history of the area.  On Ciclismo Classico’s Normandy bike tour and Discover France’s “Brittany to Normandy” bike tour, you can pedal through the beautiful hills and coast of the Norman countryside.  Both tours also include stops at key D-Day sites and memorials, and offer plenty of delicious French food.  Wilderness Travel does hiking tours of Normandy and Brittany, pairing you with an historian as you walk the high cliffs of Normandy, which are still pockmarked with shell holes and German bunkers.  Travelers spend a day exploring historic areas, such as the rows of crosses and clifftop lawns at the American cemetery at Colleville-Sur-Mer.  While D-Day is the primary focus of this tour, it also focuses on food and the general region of the history, which dates back some 6,000 years.

However, these aren’t the only options.  You can also see the region by boat with Tauck through two different river cruises, “Rendezvous on the Seine” and “Cruising the Seine Plus Versailles, Paris & London”.  Both cruises will visit the D-Day beaches in Normandy and the American Cemetery and Memorial at Colleville-sur-Mer, as well as stops in other French hotspots as Paris, Rouen and Giverny.  Other special D-Day Normandy tours throughout the year include “Memorials of War: Normandy & Paris” and “World War I and World War II Battlefields”.  Les Manoirs Hotel in Tourgéville, located near the Normandy beaches, has a special package for two.  The quaint, 57-room hotel offers three nights accommodations, two dinners at its on-site 1899 restaurant, a private tour guide of the D-Day beaches and American war cemetery, admission to the D-Day museum and two spa treatments.

If a trip to France is out of your budget, that’s totally fine, since there are endless ways to celebrate in America.  At the Warbird Air Museum at the Valiant Air Command in Titusville, FL, you can climb on board and fly on the “TiCo Belle”, which was not only at the D-Day invasion, but also participated in other historic events, such as the Berlin Airlift.  Flights are available on the third Saturday of every month.  The National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA is hosting a series of events tomorrow, such as a wreath-laying ceremony by D-Day units, a parade, a USO Show, a parachute jump and a flyover by a P-51 and C-47.  At the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D in Chattanooga, you can see the “D-Day Normandy 1944” movie, in addition to military displays and rare artifacts used during the invasion.  Over 25 different IMAX theaters, ranging from Maine to Washington State, will also be screening the movie.

The Success of VistaJets

VistaJet

The luxurious inside of a VistaJet.

Warren Buffett once quipped that, considering how unprofitable commercial airlines have proven,  investors in aviation should have shot Orville Wright at Kitty Hawk in the early 1900s.  However, there might be somebody who can prove this famous quip wrong.  Thomas Flohr, owner of the company VistaJet, is not a mass consumer airline by any stretch of the imagination, with prices starting at around $9,500 for just an hour of flight time.  However, VistaJet has been able to make profits in each of the ten years since it first opened, a notable achievement in such a highly volatile industry.  VistaJet claims that it’s the world’s fastest growing private aviation company in a market that includes NetJets, Buffett’s own private jets investment.  Last year, VistaJet placed what they claim is the biggest order in business aviation history: a $7.8 billion agreement with Bombardier for 56 aircraft options of a further 86.  VistaJet currently employs 500 people.  Headquartered in Zurich, it has bases in London, Frankfurt, Beijing, Moscow, Lagos, Dublin, Hong Kong, Malta and New York.  Altogether, it has 42 planes, all painted silver with a red stripe.  The company doesn’t issue detailed turnover or profits figures, but he says that turnover increased 27 percent just last year, after VistaJet flew 27,000 passengers on 11,000 flights to 137 countries.

Flohr first entered the private airline business due to frustration due to lack of an available product that was simple and physically available on a consistent basis.  He didn’t feel that whatever was available in the marketplace was worth the price.  Flohr had used private jets in the past, and saw the business opportunity that they offered.  While you could be in three different cities in one day, Flohr was frustrated that he never knew what he was paying for until he arrived at the airport.  He tried to join the fractional aircraft trend, but never received a satisfactory answer on what the share in a plane would be worth at the end of the agreement.  While you were paying $30,000 for a flight, you were drinking cheap coffee out of a styrofoam cup, or getting cheese platters on plastic trays.  So, at the end of 2003, he purchased his first plane and started hiring it out when he wasn’t using it.  Soon, a second plane followed.  After hiring some analysts, Flohr learned that it was a non-industrialized industry, with no consistent product or simple business model.

Against the logic of the industry, Flohr decided that his planes wouldn’t have a home base.  Instead, they’re maintained at 40 Bombardier service centers around the world.  Pilots who fly VistaJet are required to take commercial flights back, as all VistaJet flights are one-way.  A lot of people were surprised by this choice, thinking that he didn’t understand how the industry worked.  But Flohr kept asking questions, and wanted to disrupt and ultimately change the industry.  In many ways, Flohr had excellent timing; globalization was starting, and emerging markets were demonstrating growth.  The company expanded rapidly, and every airplane Flohr took delivery of was immediately fully booked.  VistaJet had extremely simple contracts, and the product that he offered was consistent on a global basis.  Five years after its founding, VistaJet purchased the Skyjet International fractional ownership business of Bombardier, which allowed it to cover all global markets, with the exception of the US.  After the arrival of the financial crisis, Flohr reduced prices and deferred delivery of some of the planes.  Despite this hiccup, VistaJet still grew revenues by 16pc in 2009.  What was key about the success of VistaJet was that it was  in an emerging market that continued to grow.  Nobody else in the business was in an emerging markets, and a lot of the smaller charter operations disappeared.