While technology has led to extensive change within the automotive industry, one thing has remained constant: sports cars are timeless classics. So the fact that the Boeing 757 was last produced 12 years ago means that its reputation as a “sports car” will likely remain intact for years to come.
The Race Car of the Sky
For those of you not familiar, the 757 is a very unique airplane. It’s not quite big enough to be a wide body, but larger than virtually any other narrow body. It has a long fuselage, powerful engines, and incredible wake turbulence. It even makes air traffic controllers give special warnings to aircraft following behind.
It’s also capable of flying an incredible variety of routes. From Miami to Orlando (192 miles) to Newark to Berlin (3,973 miles), the 757 is a jack of all trades. Perhaps the largest factor that makes it unique, however, is the engines that power it. Equipped with either the Rolls-Royce RB211-535s or the Pratt & Whitney PW2000s, which are capable of producing in the range of high 30,000 lbs. force to low 40,000 lbs. force each, the 757 has been described as being “overpowered.” It boasts a significantly higher thrust-to-weight ratio than a variety of other aircraft. Regardless, when one puts a pair of powerful engines on an otherwise “light” aircraft, the result is the predictable.
An Experience Like No Other
I myself got to experience the power of the 757’s engines a month ago. Though I’d wanted to sit in front of the fans on a British Airways 747 in order to hear the unique buzzsaw of the RB211-524s, I realized that a much more cost-effective way of hearing an RB211 on takeoff power – rather than spending an extra few hundred dollars to sit in World Traveller Plus – would be to ride at the front of a 757-200 and hear the RB211-535s. Needless to say, it was an incredibly cool experience.
To be sure, I’m still a 747 fan first and foremost, as the four engines, two decks, and unparalleled impact on aviation are all unique to the first jumbo jet ever produced. However, I have a new, unique appreciation for the 757.