World Aviation in 2002

After a number of years of secrecy, the American plane maker Boeing reveals its Bird of Prey stealth technology demonstrator, which has conducted a number of flights during the period 1996 to 1999. The company also completes the first flight of its X45A unmanned combat vehicle (UCAV) from NASA Dryden Flight Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California. On the air transport side of operations, the company announces proposals for two new projects, the Boeing Sonic Cruiser (which it later cancels and replaces with the super-efficient 7E7) and its high capacity long range cargo aircraft concept dubbed ‘Pelican’, or ultra-large transport aircraft (ULTRA).

European Transport ministers approved the creation of the Galileo satellite navigation system to ensure technical independence from the dominant US Global Positioning System (GPS).

United Airlines, the world’s second largest air carrier files for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the United States insolvency code. This represents the largest file for bankruptcy in aviation history.