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Posted by Jody Victor's Crew on

Luxury and Romance at the Speed of Sound

Supersonic passenger flights have a certain luxury and romance about them – at the very least, anyone who has ever been on a long, international flight can appreciate a significantly reduced flight time.

NASA announced Monday it has awarded a $20 million contract to Lockheed Martin to develop a preliminary design for a quiet demonstration passenger aircraft designed to fly faster than the speed of sound.

The piloted test aircraft would use so-called Quiet Supersonic Technology, or QueSST, to create a supersonic “heartbeat,” a kind of soft thump instead of the annoying sonic booms usually associated with supersonic planes. NASA is calling its quieter sonic boom design “low boom” technology.

To cut costs, the plane will be built using off-the-shelf parts from existing aircraft when possible, including landing gear from F-16 fighter jets. The cockpit likely will be set about 40 feet behind the nose of the aircraft, and pilots likely will use a synthetic generated vision system for takeoffs and landings.

The project is the first in a series of NASA “X-planes” as part of its New Aviation Horizons initiative. The planes are aimed at making flight greener, safer and quieter all while developing aircraft that travel faster, and building an aviation system that operates more efficiently.

If NASA and Lockheed can deliver on all these promises this sounds like a win for speedier international travel.

Posted by Jody Victor's Crew on

Five World Record, Five Star Luxury Complex

For some time Dubai has been known for its ostentatious luxury hotels and resorts. These days, building a resort in Dubai isn’t a simple matter of providing a 5-star experience. Now it seems one has to reach for a sixth star and break world records.

Meydan One, unveiled on Monday by Dubai-based Meydan Group, the new leisure, retail, residential and hotel complex promises to break five world records by the time construction is complete in 2020.

Record one and two will be for the world’s tallest residential tower and highest 360-degree observation deck which will come in at 711 meters. Record three for the highest restaurant, coming in at a planned 675 meters. Record four for the world’s largest dancing fountain, 420 meters tall.

Finally, record five—are you ready for this—longest indoor ski slope 1.2 kilometers long and 180 meters high. Remember, Dubai is in the desert! Summer temperatures can reach 113 F.

There will also be a water park, 100-berth marina and 300 meters of beach. But if water sports (or winter sports for that matter) aren’t you thing there will be a mall complex with over 600 stores. And if that doesn’t do it for you there is an 8K person capacity indoor sports arena coming in at 25,000 square meters.

The estimated cost of the Meydan One is estimated at 8.6 billion.

Posted by Jody Victor's Crew on

Some Thoughts on Traveling on a Budget

For many people money is most certainly the biggest factor when deciding on a destination or whether to travel at all. The first most important item to consider is one’s mindset. It is probably unrealistic for some of us to expect to fly first class or stay in five star hotels and resorts—if one gets it in their head that the only way to have a good vacation is by spending the most amount of money possible on everything any other vacation will surely fall short of expectation.

On the other hand, one can forgo luxury in their daily lives to save money for a more luxurious vacation. For example, many people spend as much as five dollars a day on a single convenience item—coffees from high end cafés. If there are approximately 22 business days in a month, multiple that times 5. That is a 110 dollars a month; multiple that by 12 months. That is 1,320 dollars a year. Of course some of this money would still go to coffee if making it at home before leaving for work, but those savings already have you on your way towards a dream vacation.

One might dedicated one’s self to purchasing no convenience items for six months, calculate the approximate cost of their convenience expenditure per pay period and put that money in a savings account. Luxuries like eating dinner or lunch out could similarly be cut and the money saved. A disciplined dreamer could have the money for their luxury vacation in no time.

Many of these principles could be applied while on vacation as well. Purchasing easy breakfast items from a local grocery while on vacation could save you a bundle of money. One might consider planning their days around lunch as well. Many hotels have mini refrigerators in the rooms, eating in for breakfast and lunch might be a good option as well. While experiencing local cuisine is certainly a big part of travel, some cost-effective morning and midday meals will allow you to afford the fancy dinners you really want.

Also consider that too much rich food could ruin a day or two of a vacation as easily as sunburn!

Keep thinking, every time one turns around they can find a way to save money while on vacation. If you are driving to your destination, buying a case of bottled water instead of purchasing expensive gas station beverages could save you money. Likewise, purchasing water from a local grocery and keeping them in your hotel room could save you dollars. Grab a few waters on your way out of the room every morning.

Using these examples one should easily be able to come up with many more money-saving tips on their own. Vacation smarter, stay longer, have more fun!

Jody Victor