Kanye West visited Donald Trump at the White House yesterday in a theatrical show of an erratic cultural icon cozying up to a wannabe authoritarian. Amongst the selfies and oozing self-satisfaction shared by West and the White House staff, there was talk of an airplane: the "iPlane 1." West expressed confidence that this iPlane 1 could replace Air Force One. He claimed Apple would manufacture it, and that it would be powered by hydrogen. He showed Trump a picture of what it might look like.
West went to the White House under the guise of discussing criminal justice reform. Instead, he used part of his time to pitch an unnecessary aircraft idea-one that he had apparently dug up on the Internet. The iPlane was invented by industrial designer Shabtai Hirshberg for his 2012 master's thesis project at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. In his project, Hirshberg proposed an aircraft to be used for travel in 2030. His project is posted online; anyone, Kanye West or otherwise, can check it out.
Hirshberg was just as surprised as anyone to see it being discussed in the Oval Office; needless to say West did not credit him. He also told the Verge that his project, which took him a year to complete, isn't exactly realistic. He said it required "more advanced propulsion systems and better building materials" than what we've got now. He also said his plans didn't include hydrogen power or an Apple partnership; he explained to CNBC that an "ultra-high bypass turbo fan" was what he had in mind.
Furthermore, Hirshberg said his plans were intended to help solve many problems in air travel today, including in developing countries. I'm assuming a materialistic state leader who refers to such places as "shithole countries" and spends a quarter of his time on the golf course wasn't his intended audience. Still, Hirshberg said he'd be "more than happy" to work with West on plans.
Transportation is a worthy cause. We need vehicles that are ecologically responsible. We need travel to be accessible for all. We need to get to space. West's half-cooked "iPlane 1" pitch won't accomplish any of those goals. He just wanted to show Trump some cool shit he found on the internet. We look forward to their relationship dissolving over artistic differences, like the complete lack of gold-lacquered sconces on gold-plated walls aboard iPlane 1.
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