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Rush Limbaugh

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RUSH: All right, let me see if I can make this point. I normally communicate very well. A 55-mile-an-hour speed limit, the express purpose here is to save oil and to conserve gasoline and all that. We do not have a shortage. We don’t have a shortage, I don’t care what anybody’s telling you. Whenever you go to the pump, it’s there, is it not? Okay. We don’t have a shortage. So cutting back to 55 is simply another gimmick, and it will bollix everything up. There’s a reason that it was repealed. It’s an economic drag, for one thing, when you factor the time value of money. But beyond all of that, here’s the thing that I look at. You know, the Pentagon just redid the re-up on the tanker deal, and Boeing got it away from Airbus. Now, you know what tankers are. These are large converted airliners that refuel military airplanes in the air during military operations and training exercises and so forth. They’re going to buy lots and lots of these tankers, and these tankers are going to hold a lot more jet fuel than just that necessary to propel themselves. We read that the United Arab Emirates have ordered hundreds of jets into the future, from Airbus and other places. They’re parking airplanes, but they’re going to have to replace some of these old ones with new ones with more efficient engines and so forth.

The bottom line, all of these plans being made down the line way into the future, do not incorporate the notion that there will not be jet fuel. Just the opposite. You don’t invest this kind of money that long down the road if you think there’s going to be a problem with supply of jet fuel. Now, you might be saying, ‘Yeah, well, even if there is, Rush, the military will get first dibs on it.’ Probably so, but the consumer aircraft and airline industry is expanding and growing around the country in terms of — well, they’re cutting back in the United States on domestic flights, but nobody’s planning on a shortage of jet fuel or gasoline down the road. All of this is smoke and mirrors from the environmentalists. We’re running out; it’s a finite supply; we’ve gotta go alternative. They’re scaring you to death with this. There’s no reality to it whatsoever. Airline manufacturers are announcing new models all the time. Boeing’s got the 787 Dreamliner coming out. Corporate aircraft makers are constantly building new airplanes, bigger ones. Gulfstream is coming out with the G650 in 2012.

Now, it’s going to be more fuel efficient than anything they’ve got now by some, but it’s bigger, it’s a wide body, it’s a much bigger airplane. They’re not figuring there’s not going to be jet fuel, are they? They’re figuring there’s going to be plenty of it, and they took something like 600 orders for one, the first day from around the world, and the first plane is not going to roll off the assembly line ’til 2012 if they’re on time. You know, people aren’t going to be buying these airplanes if they think there’s not going to be any jet fuel, right, and they’re certainly not going to make them if there isn’t going to be any jet fuel. And yet the auto industry is doing what? Trying to figure out ways to make lawn mowers into automobiles. Now, a lot of that is due to the high price of gas and people don’t want to pay a whole lot for it, and that’s the market working, that’s fine and dandy, but this 55-mile-an-hour speed limit, it’s just another area of control over people’s lives that’s going to really interrupt a lot of people’s value of their time. People that travel for business, the longer they spend on the road the less time they’re going to have to spend with whoever they’re there to see or the less time they’re going to have with their families or what have you.

In the airline business, flight in general, have you ever wondered why they never suggest that while we cut back to 55, have you never wondered why, if we can cut back and conserve, why can’t the airlines throttle back to 350 miles an hour instead of five? Well, let me give you one example. Let’s talk about international flights, a Boeing 747 or a jumbo somewhere, and let’s say it’s going to go to New York — 17-hours — Singapore, Indonesia somewhere. They gotta carry, for 17 hours, I don’t know how many flight crew, at least four pilots for crew change during the flight. I don’t know what the union rules are, but I figure that eight ours is max, then you get a new crew in there, and you want a new fresh crew in there on that flight for the landing. I don’t know how many flight attendants. You slow them down to where that flight takes X, they may not be able to make it nonstop depending on winds, and how many more crew are they going to have to put on board to handle slowing down, and how much more fuel are they going to use? You’d have to look at the drag coefficients to find out. Some of these things can’t get up to where the air is really thin, these heavies, you know, 37, 39 feet may be it for a significant portion of the flight ’til they burn off some fuel and get lighter.

Now, a corporate jet can go up to 45, 47, 51,000 feet and do Mach .88 or whatever, because there’s hardly very much less wind resistance. But even at that, I asked some aviation experts, ‘It really is amazing to me. Here we are, we are advancing technologically like we’ve got a space shuttle, little Rovers up on Mars, why is it that we can’t go faster than the speed of sound? We’re limited by the speed of sound, domestically, because people don’t want to hear the booms.’ He said, ‘No, no, no, you don’t understand. Flight is a series of compromises: weight, speed, altitude. The faster you go at lower altitudes, the greater the wind resistance. It’s not just that the thrust propels you through, it’s that the air gets thicker and it becomes heavier for you to get through. So by the time you try to go from Mach .82 to .85 at certain altitude, it may be cost prohibitive, you may not gain that much speed based on the fuel that’s going to be required to get you that additional speed because of the wind resistance.’ And the same thing can happen at slower altitudes as well, or slower speeds, you can also increase the drag coefficient if you slow down.

So the point is, from an engineering standpoint, airplanes are designed to fly at the speeds and altitudes they fly at in terms of economics and safety. You want a high altitude because you want thin air. The thinner the air, the less fuel theoretically you use, because it takes less thrust to get you through that air, and the higher you can go, the better. The Concorde flew at 60, you could see the curvature of the earth, but you couldn’t turn on the afterburners until you got so far out to sea so that the booms only disturb the whales, you know, and screw them ’til the environmentalists heard about it. But throttling back the airlines on the concept it’s going to save money, it’s going to do just the opposite. It’s going to increase crew costs, ’cause it’s going to slow down people getting where they have to go. It’s going to make the aircraft inefficient — (interruption) what, Mr. Snerdley, what’s the question? Hm-hm, hm-hm. Well, the Concorde is not the most efficient because it — economic efficiency, it cost — by the time they shut the thing down, it might have been $7,500 one way. I mean, that thing flew 2,000 miles an hour. You go New York to London to Paris in three hours as opposed to seven or eight, depending on what city on the East Coast you’re living on. That burned a lot of fuel.

When you were on the Concorde and when you were coming in for landing, they very rarely made the Concorde suffer delays or circle because they didn’t have the fuel to do it. They had plenty of reserves and so forth. They were not violating any of those regulations, but I mean it took a lot of fuel to fly that thing that fast. Four engines, however they were configured, you figure two of the three hours they’re on afterburner at Mach 2 or whatever, 1500 miles, whatever it was, I forget. It just burns a lot of fuel so it gets to the point where it’s cost prohibitive for a passenger or even cargo, and there’s not enough room on one of those things to ship cargo. After awhile with fuel costs and maintaining those airplanes, they didn’t make any new ones. So we’re sitting here, the supersonic transport speeds are still on the drawing board. But they’re on the drawing board, and there are people working on them. Now, that has to also mean that the people doing that don’t figure there’s going to be a fuel source or fuel supply problem down the road. What they’re trying to do is make it affordable for people. You couldn’t fly the Concorde coast to coast, there’s no advantage to it because you couldn’t go supersonic, because it would just blow people’s windows out with the sonic booms. I happen to like sonic booms because I like aviation but, you know, most people, nation of whiners, start complaining to the cops.

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