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"Nowadays you can get good robotized gearboxes that have almost none of the disadvantages, except for a slightly higher price."

1. These automatic transmissions are still the weak spot on most vechicles.

2. They still use clutch bands that wear. The trannies are anything but simple. Most mechanics farm out rebuilding a tranny. I would recon that a malfunctioning automatic transmission us the number one cause of junked vechicles, besides wrecked vechicles.

3. It's straight forward weekend job to replace a clutch.

4. We all know modern engines can put close to 300,000 miles on them. Manufacturers know it. There's a reason they only give 70-100k on the tranny.

5. A modern automatic transmission is not a simple fix. Even AMCO guys are learning on your dime (notice they won't just give a price for a complete rebuild over the phone? AMCO in San Rafael, CA. Yea, I remember you slick.)

6. When checking a used vechicle, check that tranny fluid. It should be pink as a baby's butt. (Even then--there's no guarantee. The seller could have just changed the fluid. It shouldn't be black, brown, or smell burnt.

7. Sorry about my tirate on automatic transmissions. I've been to Automotive school, and worked as a mechanic for two years. The Automatic Transmission always intimided me.

If anyone could come up with clutch bands that don't wear, well let's say, you could dine with the 1 percenters? Tyat that be hell though?

Yes, at FedEx, we considered that problem for about three seconds before we noticed that we also needed:

(1) A suitable, existing airport at the hub location.

(2) Good weather at the hub location, e.g., relatively little snow, fog, or rain.

(3) Access to good ramp space, that is, where to park and service the airplanes and sort the packages.

(4) Good labor supply, e.g., for the sort center.

(5) Relatively low cost of living to keep down prices.

(6) Friendly regulatory environment.

(7) Candidate airport not too busy, e.g., don't want arriving planes to have to circle a long time before being able to land.

(8) Airport with relatively little in cross winds and with more than one runway to pick from in case of winds.

(9) Runway altitude not too high, e.g., not high enough to restrict maximum total gross take off weight, e.g., rule out Denver.

(10) No tall obstacles, e.g., mountains, near the ends of the runways.

(11) Good supplies of jet fuel.

(12) Good access to roads for 18 wheel trucks for exchange of packages between trucks and planes, e.g., so that some parts could be trucked to the hub and stored there and shipped directly via the planes to customers that place orders, say, as late as 11 PM for delivery before 10 AM.

So, there were about three candidate locations, Memphis and, as I recall, Cincinnati and Kansas City.

The Memphis airport had some old WWII hangers next to the runway that FedEx could use for the sort center, aircraft maintenance, and HQ office space. Deal done -- it was Memphis.

That's how the decision was really made.

Uh, I was there at the time, wrote the first software for scheduling the fleet, had my office next to that of founder, COB, CEO F. Smith.

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