Taking a flight on the best Boeing 757

Sebastian Anthony

The 787 Dreamliner, with its composite-fibre chassis, lithium-ion batteries, and super-efficient engines, can fairly claim to be the coolest airplane in the world. Another reasonable choice, if you really revere giant flying tubes of aluminium, is the gloriously ginormous Airbus A380. And of course, true aerospace connoisseurs would probably choose the SR-71 Blackbird, or perhaps even the Concorde. But I can tell you now, all of these planes pale in comparison to the Boeing 757, built in 1982, that I just had the pleasure of flying in.

Externally this 757, which was only the fifth of its type to roll off Boeing's production line, looks fairly normal—until you spot a giant bracket on the side of the fuselage where an optional third engine can be mounted. That pylon isn't for redundancy or extra power, though: it's for field-testing new jet engines.

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