BBJ Sets Speed Record To New Zealand

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A Boeing BBJ set a new world speed record over the weekend, the company said, flying from Los Angeles to New Zealand nonstop -- a distance of 5,658 nautical miles -- in 13 hours, 7 minutes and 54 seconds. The airplane landed with 7,800 pounds of fuel still in the tanks. The jet, a modified 737-700 that is owned by Samsung Electronics, is equipped with seven auxiliary fuel tanks, Boeing said. It was flown to New Zealand for installation of a VIP interior. Steve Taylor, BBJ president, said the airplane was 21,000 pounds below max takeoff weight when it left California. "This means the customer can add a full VIP interior, fill all the seats and still carry full fuel and have remarkable range," he said.

The record attempt was monitored by the National Aeronautic Association. Boeing said the BBJ is its best-selling model in the business jet line, with 157 sold to date. The company forecast recently that it expects the world market to demand 34,000 new airliners over the next 20 years, with the 737 expected to capture a major share of those orders.