Dallas' Subsidy for Vintage Airplane Museum Could Total $8.7 Million

Dallas City Council members were treated to the Commemorative Air Force's cinematic masterpiece "If These Planes Could Talk."

There are known knowns about Dallas Executive Airport. These are things we know that we know. One of the known knowns, courtesy of Dallas City Council member Tennell Atkins, is this: "We know that Dallas Executive Airport is an airport."

Another known known is how much the city of Dallas pledged to lure the Commemorative Air Force and its collection of vintage WWII warbirds to Dallas Executive: $8.7 million in grants, plus generous rent breaks, provided the group builds a museum and meets certain other benchmarks.

There are also several known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. Like whether the CAF will in fact deliver the 60 full-time jobs and $36 million boost to City Hall's bottom line over the next two decades like Atkins and the city's economic development staff are predicting. Or whether CAF's arrival will be the thing that pulls DEA, formerly called Redbird, out of the red ink its been drenched in for years. Dallas Aviation Director Mark Duebner would only say that DEA will be in the black "as soon as possible."

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The Red Bull Air Race Is Coming to North Texas

Red Bull/Peter Besenyei
As insanely dangerous as the event sounds -- it consists of flimsy-looking stunt planes weaving through a series of large pylons at 200-plus miles per hour -- there has been only one crash in eight years of Red Bull Air Races. It happened in 2010 in Perth, Australia, during a practice run when 36-year-old Adilson Kindleman of Brazil lost control of his craft, flipping it into the Swan River. He walked away with minor injuries.

That was enough, it seems, for organizers to put the event on indefinite hiatus, canceling the races scheduled for 2011, 2012 and 2013 to reorganize and address potential safety concerns.

All that has now been taken care of. The announcement came down yesterday that the Red Bull Air Races are coming back for 2014, and will make one of two U.S. stops in North Texas, flying into the Texas Motor Speedway in September.

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A Solar-Powered Plane Landed at DFW Airport Last Night After a Record-Breaking Trip

Solar Impulse
At sunrise on Wednesday, an airplane took off from Phoenix International Airport, eventually landing 1,000 miles to the east in Dallas. That in itself is hardly remarkable. Commercial jets travel the same path dozens of times each day. What was different about this journey was that the aircraft, the Solar Impulse, is powered by sunlight. When it touched down at DFW Airport just after 1 a.m., running off battery power for the trip's final hours, it had just completed the world's longest-ever solar powered flight.

Piloting the vessel was Andre Borschberg, a Swiss entrepreneur who helped launch the Solar Impulse project a decade ago. Three years ago, he piloted the plane for a record 26 hours though, with an average speed of 26 miles per hour, he covered significantly less ground than he did on the Dallas trip.

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Man Found Scrapping for Copper at Love Field Now Faces Federal Charges

Robert Schneider
When Dallas police found Robert Schneider on the wrong side of a six-foot barbed-wire fence at Love Field in March, the 55-year-old at least had the wherewithal not to yell "jihad," or "Jesus" for that matter.

"I'm in there scrapping," he explained according to police records.

See also
Turns Out, Guy Caught in Love Field Hangar Was Guided by God, Yelled "Jesus," Not "Jihad"

That much was clear from the lengths of copper pipe and plumbing fixtures piled in a shopping cart next to Schneider's car, and from the wire cutters he was carrying, and from the fact that, when the cops showed up, he was laying on an interior roof in the Dalfort Hanger building some 20 feet from a spot in the hangar ceiling from which the copper piping was noticeably missing.

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American Airlines Grounds All Flights, Will Offer Refunds as Soon as the Computers Work

American Airlines broke the news a while ago that it's in the midst of a massive, system-wide computer failure. Perhaps it was a glitch? Hiccups from the U.S. Airways merger? Hackers? Former CEO Tom Horton landing on the servers after having his golden parachute snipped?

It's too early to tell why, but the computer problems have caused the airline to ground all flights to be grounded until 4 p.m. (Update at 3:12 p.m.: Make that 7 p.m.) AA has promised refunds to impacted travelers once the computers are back up, but the delay has left thousands of travelers stranded at airports across the country with little to do but tweet impotently.

AA's announcement sparked surprisingly little outrage, at least on Twitter. Snark's probably a better description for it.

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DFW Airport is Getting Nap Rooms Next Month

Soon, travelers stranded at DFW Airport be forced to pretzel themselves on uncomfortable seats or sneak away to an isolated corner of carpet for a few minutes of shuteye. That's because the airport is getting nap rooms.

The rooms -- more accurately, a nap hotel -- are planned by Minute Suites, a company which, according to a report yesterday on NPR's All Things Considered "is building tiny airport retreats across the country."

The company already has locations in Atlanta and Philadelphia. "Next up," NPR reports, "are Dallas-Fort Worth and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport."

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American Airlines and US Airways Are Officially Merging. Here's What it Means.

Last month's unveiling of American Airlines' new logo and livery (er, paint job) was a prelude to this: the long-awaited, full-blown merger with US Airways.

The airlines are making it official this morning after their respective boards approved the $11 billion deal yesterday.

US Airways CEO Doug Parker will head the combined carrier, with AA chief Tom Horton relegated to the somewhat ceremonial position chairing the board of directors. For a year.

So, what does this all mean? A few quick points:

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The Designer of the Old American Airlines Logo Really Doesn't Like the New Design

On the left, an example of powerful yet understated elegance. On the right, pure and undiluted crap, at least according to the designer of the one on the left.
In 1967, back when Helvetica was still brand new, American Airlines recruited Italian designer Massimo Vignelli to develop what would become the carrier's logo for the next 46 years. It was simple, straightforward, and instantly recognizable: a pair of A's, one red, one blue, separated by a stylized blue eagle.

Bloomberg Businessweek caught up with Vignelli last week in the wake of American's announcement that it would be jettisoning his creation in favor of a newer, more modern look.

Suffice to say, Vignelli is not impressed.

"It has no sense of permanence," he told Bloomberg. "The American flag is great. ... But the American flag has 13 stripes, right? Not 11. Did American add only 11 stripes [to the flag on the tail] because they are in Chapter 11? I don't think two more stripes would have been a disaster. And there are only two colors shown instead of all three. So is it a different flag?"

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Meet the New American Airlines, Which is About Like the Old One but with a New Logo

American Airlines has had a rough go of it in recent years, what with its ongoing bankruptcy, a knock-down fight with its unions, and the general hatred of the flying public.

Today, on the heels of its first quarterly profit in a while, American announced that it is turning over a new leaf. This is being done primarily, it seems, through a massive rebranding effort.

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Southwest Airlines Owes Passengers 5.8 Million Free Drinks

Thumbnail image for southwestairlinesflightattendent.jpg
The settlement, alas, does not require the drinks to be served by flight attendants dressed like this.
Two years ago, Southwest Airlines abruptly changed the rules of its Business Select program, which allows travelers to breeze through security, get to the front of the boarding line, earn extra reward points, and, most importantly, get free booze.

Before August 1, 2010, could use their free drink vouchers whenever. After August 1, the airline decided they could only be used on the day of travel that was printed on them.

This apparently enraged Chicago attorney Adam Levitt, who, according to the Chicago Tribune, filed a class action lawsuit claiming that Southwest had screwed him and untold other Business Select passengers out of their free drinks.

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