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Wed, May 23, 2007

Boeing Unveils Interior Concepts For New ANN Mobile Global HQ... Er, 747-8 VIP

"We Want One"

ANN Internal Memo 05.23.07
TO: J. Campbell -- Boss, Friend, Philanthropist
FROM: R. Finfrock
CC: P. Plack, A. Kurman, N. Atkinson, P. Combs, B.Pauli-Hack
RE: New Mobile ANN 10.0 Global HQ (i.e. Zoom Force One)

Jim -- I have been fielding emails and phone calls from Aero-News staffers all afternoon, regarding the news that Boeing Business Jets unveiled new interior concepts Tuesday for its largest VIP aircraft, the 747-8 VIP, at the European Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition in Geneva. The overwhelming consensus among the ANN staff is as follows:

We want one.

"With more than 5,000 square feet of cabin space, the new 747-8 VIP jet epitomizes incomparable luxury and operational flexibility," said Steven Hill, president of Boeing Business Jets, regarding the detailed concept renderings showing such opulent features as vaulted ceilings, spiral staircases and video wall displays. "The 747-8 VIP builds on the proud legacy of the 747 and incorporates the advanced technology of the 787 Dreamliner. It is a proven design with the operational flexibility to fly into most airports throughout the world."

Jim, the VIP version of the 747-8 Intercontinental provides a cabin with 4,786 square feet of room -- more than enough to incorporate our numerous computer systems, as well as separate audio AND video studios, sleeping quarters, and even a workout room (complete with an Everlast "Mayor Daley" speed bag.)

Need I also point out having our very own staff 747-8 VIP would also eliminate the need to rent housing and a workspace at Oshkosh every year? Instead, we could simply work out of the jet! Imagine the savings... nevermind the crowd's reaction when ANN's own "Zoom Force One" lands at Wittman Field (need I also mention we'd pretty much be guaranteed a spot on AeroShell Square... location, location, location!)

But wait... there's more. Boeing also says the new "SkyLoft" area -- located above the main cabin, between the upper deck and tail of the 747-8 VIP -- provides a potential of 881 square feet of cabin space, giving owners the opportunity to create unique personal suites, private offices and recreational spaces. I believe this would make an ideal Managing Editor's office/suite, especially as this is over 150 square feet larger than my current apartment.

Of course, Jim, as ANN Publisher you would certainly have first choice of office space... but I don't think this will be an issue regarding a 747-8 VIP. After all, Boeing says that with SkyLoft, the VIP-configured 747-8 offers a total of 5,667 square feet of cabin space, and can carry 100 passengers and fly up to 9,260 nautical miles.

Also, to appeal to your desire for speed... Boeing also says the 747-8 VIP is the fastest large-cabin business jet available, capable of cruising at Mach 0.86. That's even faster than the Glasair! (Heck, there's probably enough room to store it onboard, too... that would cut down on hangar charges...)

Of course, there is the tiny matter of a pricetag... which is firmly in the "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" territory. But I think we can get around this minor issue, Jim, by doing much of the interior work ourselves. Boeing does not design or install interiors in VIP airplanes -- instead, the planemaker delivers VIP airplanes "green," meaning the airplane does not have interior furnishings or exterior paint. That could work out to quite a bit of savings...

Normally, customers then work with certified designers and interior completion centers to develop personalized interiors... but I'm thinking we could outfit the plane ourselves. All it would take is a few staff weekends... and probably some plywood.

I'd also like to point out the 747-8 VIP jet is the only large airplane in its class that fits today's airport infrastructure -- unlike that A380-derived "Flying Palace" being sold by Airbus. Building on the current 747's capability to fly into most airports worldwide, the 747-8 VIP uses the same pilot type ratings, services and most of the same ground support equipment.

There are currently 22 747s in VIP use today, Jim... meaning we'd be in some VERY good company... including a certain Leader Of The Free World. Certainly, this degree of exclusivity is well worth the considerable price... for you to pay, of course, with no negative impact to my salary... right?

You still there, Jim?

FMI: www.boeing.com

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