First of a series of posts in which we will look at examples of the Press & Journal printing factually incorrect information. So lets get started …
DATE : 21st June 2011 EDITION : Aberdeen
STORY : “Wife to fly in from Paris on new £60m jet” by Catriona Webster (Page 3)
In this story Ms. Webster lavishes praise on Donald Trump’s new
“five year-old plane”
which flew into Aberdeen from New York on 20th June 2011.
This aircraft – which Ms. Webster correctly identifies as a Boeing 757 – is certainly no “five-year-old”. Boeing stopped manufacturing the 757 in 2004, and held a special event at their Renton facility in Washington state on 28th October 2004 for the roll out of the 1,050th and final Boeing 757 to mark the end of a very successful commercial aircraft manufacturing programme.
So the newest Boeing 757 in existence is over six years old and Trumpie’s mount, N757AF*, is a lot older than that.
[ * Civil aircraft have registrations just like cars etc. and Trumpie’s jet is registered N757AF (‘N’ being the ICAO prefix identifying it as being from the USA). Trumpie’s previous mount – a Boeing 727, VP-BDJ was not, however, registered in the US but under the aviation equivalent of a “flag of convenience” in Bermuda. ]
Aircraft like cars can change their registration over time, but each one has a fixed construction number and/or line number allocated to it by the manufacturer. Trumpie’s new toy is Boeing airframe number 25155 and was the 371st Boeing 757 to be built, being rolled out on 25th April 1991 and making her maiden flight on 21st May 1991 prior to delivery to Denmark’s Sterling Airways on 6th June 1991, where she flew with the registration mark OY-SHA. Now another wee point for you here, Boeing also historically employ customer codes on their models which relate to the original customer who placed the order and reflect the customer’s specifications … so this particular “frame” is a Boeing 757-200 in general sense but to get more specific it is a Boeing 757-2J4. “J4” being the code assigned to Sterling Airways. Sterling Airways went bankrupt and ceased operations in September 1993 and since then this venerable old bird has been around quite a bit, eventually being converted from an airliner to an “executive jet“.
Perhaps most notably, she was used by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen for a time.
Looking at images released following her recent re-fit, she certainly looks luxurious inside but she is certainly not “five-year-old” by any stretch of the imagination.
In summary, the aircraft the Press & Journal describe as being a “five-year-old plane” first flew over 20 years before the date they published this story.
Perhaps we have been a bit boring about Boeing 😉 but we are setting the record straight. The Press & Journal regularly carries stories about the costs and alleged potential economic benefits of various schemes, or the level of support for projects yet if they can’t get simple facts correct can we trust them at all? In the 21st Century it is easy for the public to check facts and easy for journalists – and their editors – to check facts too. In the example above, you don’t need to be the king of plane spotters to find out all of the information, you just need an enquiring mind and a willingness to look for information. We expect – and demand – better from the Press & Journal. “Journalists” should check facts prior to putting them in their stories and the veracity of those stories should in turn be checked by “editors” prior to publication.
This is the first of a series of Moved to Comment posts where we will examine the accuracy of stories in the Press & Journal. We hope you will find them informative.