Friday, I offered feet:
Are you coming to New York September 21 for the People’s Climate March? There’s a train coming from San Francisco, picking up activists along the way . . . and others are coming on foot from Los Angeles. My plan is to walk or call an Uber — but I’ll be there.
The subject line was alarming: WheelTug’s Iron Foot Disclosed. Ugh. One thing you don’t want attached to your commercial jet — or to the speculative stock in which you own a gazillion shares — is an iron foot. We’re looking for words and phrases like “soar” or “fleet of foot” or “sure winner before the end of the year.” Not something even more dead weight than “feet of clay” or “cement shoes.”
But it’s not that at all:
WheelTug’s Iron Foot Disclosed
Gibraltar, 24 July 2014. WheelTug plc has released footage of its Iron Foot, the mechanical test rig for testing the WheelTug across a range of aircraft and airport operating parameters. The video can be seen and downloaded at http://media.wheeltug.com.
The WheelTug® system uses high-performance electric motors, installed in the nose gear wheels of an aircraft, to provide full mobility while on the ground without the use of the aircraft’s jet engines or tugs. There are currently 985 Airbus A320 family or Boeing 737 NG and MAX aircraft in the Order Book, over 23 different airlines.
“The Iron Foot is a very important tool in the development and test of the WheelTug systems. It allows us to conduct full simulations of every ground operation of the WheelTug system in every possible operating environment,” said Isaiah Cox, WheelTug’s CEO. “Because of its versatility and instant configuration changes, this system unlocks far more testing capability than if we had several airplanes doing nothing but system testing around the clock.”
To the company’s knowledge, this dynonometer is unique, perhaps larger than any other in the world. “Nobody else has a smart-drag on the load side to simulate the real world. The tire and wheel guys we have shown it to have been very excited.”
I am, I know, a broken record, and I may still surely be proven wrong — which is why you should only own shares of WheelTug grandparent Borealis with money you can truly afford to lose. But how is “e-taxi” in some form by now not inevitable? Why would any airline not want to save a bundle of money each year? Why would any busy airport not want to increase its capacity without having to build new gates and terminals? (Because WheelTug allows faster turnaround times, the same gate can handle more flights each day.) And if it is in some form inevitable, why would WheelTug — with its smaller, lighter, less complex solution, and its patents, and its endorsement from industry legend Bob Crandall, and its 23 signed airlines (compared to zero signed by its competitors) — not have a chance to own a meaningful part of the business?
And if in a few years it were bringing $50,000/plane in annual lease payments to the bottom line across thousands of planes for an annual profit of hundreds of millions of dollars, might it not then have the resources to commercialize some of its other potentially valuable technologies? (Or find a use for this one in, say, automobiles?)
At which point, why couldn’t Borealis be worth a couple of billion dollars? I have friends worth a couple of billion dollars. Which would be about 40 times as much as it is selling for today. (And stupid as I feel saying this, one could even imagine a scenario in which it could be worth more than a couple of billion.)
So enjoy the video. The music is too loud and I’d have preferred Dustin Hoffman and Marisa Tomei as the leads with Donald Sutherland doing the voice-over. But never mind that: it’s one more reason to think our patience may — conceivably — eventually –pay off.
PS – I like to invest in things that could make the world more efficient, as e-taxi would. If you have $250K you can truly afford to lose in a private company with a patented way to build (small) bridges faster and cheaper — that will last longer and require less maintenance — me-mail me.