The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.© Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
Boeing bids farewell to an icon, delivering its last 747 jumbo jetBy GENE JOHNSON SEATTLE
©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.
Login to comment
Many pilots attest that it was the best aircraft to fly.
Except for the 1985 accident, yes, it was a good airplane.
Texas A&M Aggie
My father was stationed at Paine Field in the late 1960s when the 747 plant was being built. I can recall being driven through the acres of planter sticks in the ground on my way to school. Ah, those were the days.
Having been fortunate enough to fly the 747 since the early 1970's till it's recent retirement in all the different classes of seating, I will say the upper deck business section is the best seating hands down. Quiet, spacious and lots of leg room and hardly any engine noise. I also remember the upper deck first as a lounge cocktail area, although I couldn't afford that at the time, but even in the rear of coach near the tail, there was a stand up lounging area with complimentary snacks. So cool compared to current planes. Also, it was different era of flying back then when most flyers dressed very nicely and behaved accordingly. And also noteworthy was that the flight attendants were all great and very attractive. Another memory is being able to converse with one the of captains of the newer 747-400 model in the 1980's and visiting the cockpit through an invitation and who mentioned exceeding the sound barrier (ground speed) on a HNL to west coast SFO run, albeit with a strong jet stream tail wind.
Please excuse this post if it sounds a bit boastful but these are some of the personal flight memories I will cherish about the Boeing 747, a truly magnificent plane.
The Boeing 747 was a technological marvel when it came out. I remember how comfortable and spacious the seating was back then.
One time I walked high up in the control tower at Vandenberg AFB to watch the planes. We had an extra long runway, with very little traffic in-between space launches, and the pilots would do touchdowns and takeoffs to get accustomed to the plane. With most planes, from high up in the control tower, one would be looking down at the plane, but not with the 747. It felt strange to only be at cockpit level from high up in the tower. Not the largest plane in the world, but very big.
My uncle flew these in the '70s, first for BA, then as an instructor at SIA; I even got to ride up front at age 9 all the way to Changi. Then, in the '90s, these were the queens of domestic flights between Haneda and Fukuoka - two planes taking off in each direction every single hour of the day. Of course, for a 90 minute flight they hardly had to load any fuel so they took off light. Very light, which made for an impressive power to weight ratio on and a shocking rate of climb when the pilots could get away with it.
The 787 and 350 are incredible aircraft, quiet, economical and comfy. But the 747 is majestic.
To really appreciate just how enormous a 747 is one should visit the outdoor aerospace museum in Palmdale CA called Blackbird Air Park. There is a side of the museum run by the Air Force featuring quite naturally an SR-71, but also a surprisingly old A-12 (the CIA operated predecessor to the SR-71, looks the same but a touch smaller), an F-117, a U-2 with a 1959 production date and a D-21 drone. Immediately west is the side run by the city of Palmdale. As you drive east on Avenue P (also called Rancho Vista Bl.) approaching Blackbird Air Park you are looking pretty much nose on to a B-52 parked next to the 747 used to carry Space Shuttles east to Florida if they landed at Edwards AFB. Nose on like this you can see the underside of the 747s wings are above the wings of the B-52! The airliner towers above the big bomber. I had always thought the BUFF was a huge airplane but seeing it alongside a 747 made it look pretty small. I think both airplanes are iconic of a time when Boeing was run by engineers and engineering excellence was the corporate bottom line. I doubt any subsequent Boeing products will prove as durable as these two airplanes are.
The flight line food shack at Vandenberg had a great cheeseburger and the best hand made milkshakes. That made it, for us, a natural half way point and refueling stop on training flights.