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Sunday, 30 September 2018


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The things one learns on a “photography “ blog....

I found myself on a red-eye from Los Angeles to London (non-stop) on the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first flight. I even knew of the anniversary before the pilot announced it. I also marveled at the thought it was only 66 years from Kitty Hawk to Tranquility.


Another point of comparison: The first flight of the Avro Lancaster (piston-engine) bomber was on 9 Jan 1941. The first flight of the Avro (same company) Vulcan (jet-engine) bomber was on 30 August 1952.

So just over 11 years difference. Shouldn't we be flying at Mach 10 by now?

The 30th of September also marks the 53rd anniversary of the TV show, 'Thunderbirds'.

Thanks for this one, Mike. Not OT for me. I hope to get to Oshkosh in July for EAA AirVenture

I don’t have opportunity to fly very often, once every 3-4 years. My regret is that, in my 70th year, I’ve never flown on a 747.

I have two 747 recollections. The first is from 1978 or 1979 looking down from the observation deck at Simon Bolivar International airport near Caracas on a 747 parked next to a Concorde and thinking which one of these looks like it could actually fly...and it wasn't the 747! The second recollection was flying into Hearhrow in about 1990 while seated in the furthest row forward on a 747 and actually being able to look out and see ahead of the plane for the first time because the tapering of the fuselage allowed a view forward. I think that was the last time that I flew on one. Cheers, Dick

Fifty years later, we've 'progressed' to cattle-car seating, dehumanizing TSA experiences and fees for everything. Unless there's a large body of water between where I am and where I want to be, I drive rather than fly commercially. No matter how long it takes.

This from a retired Boeing engineer. :-)

What still amazes me about aviation history is that the Wright Brothers flight happened five years before the Ford Model T started production.

I once got bumped from two flights in a row and the third plane was a 747 and the only available seat was in the hump with a standup bar and a piano.
As far as I know the only other aircraft equipped with a piano was the Hindenburg.

I wish I had it online somewhere to post, but my flight was delayed at LAX because a very special* 747 came in for a landing. I managed to get a pretty good picture of it.

I managed to fly in the upper lounge once, that was pretty cool.

*Air Force 1

Shortly after after our family moved to Seattle in 1970, my dad and I went down to Sea-Tac airport one rainy morning to watch the 747 prototype shoot some touch'n'go landings there. That was when they still had an observation deck for the public. I was astounded that anything that big could fly (I still am). It's still my aircraft of choice for long-haul flights (BA and Lufthansa operate the type between here and UK/Europe, KAL, Eva and Asiana to Asia).

It was intended to be a "bridge" aircraft until the airlines all started flying the SST, after which Boeing would sell freighter versions of the 747 to make their money back. The SST didn't get off the ground, but the 747 changed/democratised passenger air transportation. Ironically, with orders for the passenger version tailing off, it will be the freighters that keep the type flying for at least another twenty years.

Here in Omaha you can see a lot of Boeing aircraft at Offutt Air Force Base.
It is home for the E4 fleet which are the emergency presidential command posts and are based on the 747. You will also see a lot of variants on the "dash 80" air frame. RC, KC, EC and plain old C135 aircraft are regulars out here. In civilian livery the Dash 80 enjoyed long success as the 707 airliner.
We also have occasional visits from B52 aircraft.
The Dash 80 and the B52 both entered service in 1954 and there is no plan to stand them down anytime soon.
I have been lucky enough to do stories involving flights in KC and EC135s and a 12 hour ride in a B52 back when it was still tasked as a low level penetration bomber.
Sitting in the IP seat while they flew that monster up a canyon in Wyoming full tilt, 150 feet off the deck in the middle of the night kind of put the zap on then young head.
A few weeks earlier one of the planes had come back from a night training mission with a big piece of a pine tree embedded in the end of a wing. Apparently the crew had tried a turn a little too close to the ground.
As one of the pilots said after my ride "Boeing makes a really tough airplane".

On February 9, 1969, my family was living about a 2 miles (as the 747 flies) off the end of the runway that Boeing's 747 plant uses. I was just 4 1/2 years old. My father came home from work early that day and gathered the whole family in the yard to watch the first flight of the "City of Everett", the official name of 747 #RA001, the first flying Boeing 747. I'll never forget that big thing in the sky. Thanks for the memory!

Some great photographs of the insides of 747s when they were at peak wonderfulness


and apparently women were wearing medium sized furry animals on their heads...

I know we are not supposed to comment on comments, but working on Kirtland AFB, I get to see a lot of C130's take off every day. I am pretty sure the pilots take off low over the parking lot to set off car alarms! 8^)

How did they get fast enough shutter speed in 1914 to freeze that plane in flight? (I know it wasn't going fast, but the background shows no panning blur; the water doesn't look all that sharp.) I'm actually quite suspicious.

I commuted from NY to Tel Aviv fairly frequently in the 1990s (because of a two-continent relationship) and did much of it, thanks to upgrades, in the comfortable business class seats of TWA's recycled Greek 747's, bought from the failed Olympic airways. Sitting next to a deadheading pilot, I heard great stories of low level B52 antics in his previous service. That plane, unfortunately, blew up as TWA 700 a year or so later.

The Remarkable Persistance of The 747.

Amazing plane. It still turns heads. I visited the Boeing Everett plant and also Boeing Field in the 80’s. It was like a pilgrame for pilots back then. I was flying the little sister, the 727 in those days.

40 years ago (!) when I lived in Boston, I would occasionally fly home to Detroit on a Lufthansa 747. The flight originated, I think, in Stuttgart, landed in Boston where nearly everyone got off, and then on to Detroit. It was standby, and cost something like the deflationary equivalent of $50.
There was no worry about getting a seat, because I shared the plane with perhaps 30 snoring auto executives and (it seemed like) 20 or 30 flight attendants. Wunderbar!
The flight attendants were very kind, talked to me through the whole flight (since they had nothing else to do) and allowed me to practice my grammatically disastrous German. Sadly, they had no particular interest in a scruffy graduate student, so our relationship ended when the wheels came down.
All the same, it was truly the most elegant airline experience ever, flying through the night in my own, nearly empty, personal 747.

Unless the fuel consumption has improved with new turbine technology, the old 747 was a fuel guzzler that made it expensive to operate.

My best memory of a 747...

We were in a Cessna 421 taxiing out to the runway at Miami International Airport. The next aircraft behind us was a 747. I remember looking back at that enormous plane and hoping they could see us in front of them!

I still remember the Piano in the upstairs in First class.
They didn't last long they changed to additional seating.

The old skinny turbojet engines turned vast quantities of fuel into noise and smoke.
The new, fat, turbofans are way better.

The Buffalo B52 still flying, 1952 first flight and US AIR FORCE still have 76 on line till 2040,

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