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That new airplane smell…

December 27th, 2007 · 2 Comments

I had the pleasure of flying one of my airline’s newest airplane yesterday. N900WN was waiting for us on the ramp in BUR as we arrived to begin our day. It had been delivered on December 9th and still looked as if it were straight off the Boeing factory floor. It even had that new airplane smell, still! It had obviously been flown mostly in warmer climes since its delivery, as it did not show any evidence of ever being de-iced. De-icing fluid usually leaves a sticky film on the aircraft’s skin after it (finally) dries, making the paint look slightly dull and oxidized. But this airplane’s skin was so clean I could have eaten my breakfast burrito right off the fuselage!

A couple interesting things I noticed right away with the new airplane were on the inside. The flightdeck instrumentation is identical to the older 737-700s we have in our fleet, but for some reason the newer airplane’s avionics have the ability to remember things like most-recent altimeter settings and altitude bug presets. On previous versions of the airplane that I’ve flown, those things get reset to standard when the airplane is powered down, so there must be some sort of memory in the avionics that holds the settings from the previous flight. Of course, if it doesn’t keep those settings, it isn’t that much work to set them to current conditions.

The other thing about this airplane that I noticed was that they (Boeing) still can’t design a forward lavatory toilet seat that will stay in the “UP” position. Here’s an airplane that costs umpteen million dollars, and yet the toilet seat will crash right down after you attempt to put it up. It makes a heck of a racket when it slams back down, too. Maybe a little tiny magnetic lock might fix this? I’m not even an engineer and I can figure out a simple and inexpensive fix for this!

I guess all Boeing’s resources were hard at work making sure the avionics up front would keep their previous settings after being shut down for six hours. They couldn’t possibly have spared any manpower to work on the toilet seat.

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Brian // Jan 9, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    Boeing has no incentive to redesign the lavatory seat. It received a TSO from the FAA for that design, probably when Boeing built the 707. Why would they spend money in creating a new design? Why are seat belt latches the same as they’ve been for so long? The amount of time, money, and effort to get a small change through is impossible to get past the bean counters.

  • 2 Mick // Apr 6, 2008 at 8:39 am

    Hi Glenn:

    Just read this post – I take it you’re with Airline X?

    (Moderator’s Note: Airline name edited out by GC to try and maintain a somewhat anonymous atmosphere here.)

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