Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Legacy Of The Plane That Hit The North Tower

A decade has passed since the day that brought horror and shock to the majority of the world. The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 shattered the innocence of various generations, militarized the common thought in this nation, and gave the world a new nightmare.
Worst of all, two of the airliners used in the terrorist attacks are symbols of US aeronautical design: the Boeing 767. The aircraft involved with United flight 175 had an exemplary service record. It was one of the first 767s to take to the air in the early months of 1983. It also served United Airlines for seventeen years and almost reached retirement age where it not for the tragic circumstance in 2001.
Aircraft N612UA at (Above image) San Diego April of 1983 and (Right image) at Boston in April of 2000.

The age of this aircraft is significant as the average airliner flies for twenty years before being scrapped for Coca-Cola cans or bought second hand in less economical nations. The thing about this aircraft, however, is how it is also a symbol of diversity. Very few nations in this world did not have a 767 flying in their skies. Most airlines around the world could not afford to fly the Boeing 767, especially since it helped revolutionize a new era of air travel. This aircraft brought a new wave of twin-engine aircraft ferrying passengers to every part of the globe. One of the aircraft that came along with the 767 was the thin fuselage Boeing 757, which was the second aircraft used for the terrorist attacks in 2001.

In the 1970s, airlines believed that three engine aircraft were perfect to haul passengers from one part of a nation to another. Many aircraft followed the concept of adding more engines to provide more power. The Jumbo Jet had four engines; most medium sized aircraft had three engines. The political fallout of the Yom Kippur War, however, left the western world in an oil crisis that shocked the airline industry. Deregulation of airlines in the United States, in 1978, allowed cutthroat competition to exist between airlines. Three engines no longer seemed beneficial for carrying people in short or medium flights. An upcoming European company, Airbus Industries, devised a twin-engine aircraft to satisfy the needs for a fuel-efficient medium range airliner. The Airbus A300 was innovative and brought a new era to the airline industry. Not to be outdone, the Boeing Company also launched a twin-engine jumbo, the 767. Boeing developed this aircraft in the late 1970s, and delivered to its first customer, United Airlines, in August of 1982.

The interesting thing about the 767 is contrary to its involvement in the terrorist attacks. This aircraft was a symbol of the convergence of cultures, rather than the division of them. United States aeronautical engineers designed and built this aircraft and the Boeing 767 became the workhorse of the airline industry in this country. Then terrorists used this aircraft as part of a symbolic attack on US ideals and thought. Yet, many cultures and nations, including many states in the Middle East, use the 767 as the workhorse of their fleets. Many languages are found written on the side of these airliners:
Cyrillic (Russian)
and Mandarin (Chinese).

Adversaries and allies alike use the Boeing 767. In fact, do not be surprised if Iran Air, despite its anti-American rhetoric, will purchase/lease a second hand 767s to aid their aging fleet. The 767 exemplifies the diversity in this world. Different cultures are willing to fly a US jet in order to bring their people the creature comforts of air transportation.

There are two lessons about the legacy of the 767 during the attacks on September 11, 2001:

1. Acts of terrorism, no matter which ideals fuel them, rarely go unpunished.

2. If US corporations are willing to delve into multiculturalism in order to profit, then the population around the world must embrace the different cultures, races, and languages that exist on Earth. The global tensions in this new millennium and increasing globalism exasperate the need to understand and coexist with other people on this planet. If we fail to do so...well...history does have a nasty habit of repeating itself.

Image Credits:
Wikimedia Commons:
Berlin Spotter (Image of the Aeroflot 767):