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  1. #1
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    The queen of the sky is flying into the sunset

    I live very close to SFO and sadly other commitments rendered me unable to go to SFO today and watch this grand lady fly off for her final flight with United. As an avowed plane geek from a very young age I've always enjoyed watching 747's lift into the sky. It still amazes me something this big can fly. There are still a few carriers flying them but their days are numbered.
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-747...to-the-sunset/
    Emotional goodbye to United's Boeing 747 - TravelSkills

  2. #2
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    Wow didnít realize it was getting retired. Quite an engineering achievement.

    Iíll never forget Fleet Week in Ď92 or Ď93 when United flew a 737 low across the Bay doing wing waggles.

  3. #3
    tka
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    Sad to see them go, but they aren't the most economical aircraft to keep flying.

    Back around '91 one of our biggest customers requested me, another engineer, and their account manager to come and visit them for an "emergency" meeting on our equipment. We all knew it was a ploy to get us to agree to make some changes were that were outside of spec, but we decided we would attend. It was less than a week before Christmas when they called, and getting a flight to Seoul was really tough. The travel department finally got us on a flight from LA to Seoul, but the only seats available were business class. The plane turned out to be a brand new 747-400 making its third trip to (and second revenue flight to) Seoul. Everyone was treated like dignitaries, with gifts provided to every passenger. Business class was on the upper deck, with only 40 or so seats, but 6 flight attendants. The 2 meals were easily the best meals I ever had on a flight.

    Since it was a new plane there was a Boeing representative on board to track the performance. The rep was sitting in the seat across the aisle from me. We got to talking and the next thing I know he's showing me around the plane. Got the see the flight deck, crew rest quarters, and the forward galley with the stair (ladder) to the lower deck. It was pretty fun to see some of this stuff. The flight deck was really stunning to see as it was the first time I'd ever seen an all-glass flight deck. It was easily the highlight of the trip.

    It's sad to see these icons go, but technology is quickly making them obsolete. They had a good run.

  4. #4
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    I'm so proud to say I flew the classic. Always dreamed of flying her as a young kid and I still marvel at the sight of one to this day!
    Last edited by woodys737; 1 Week Ago at 07:21 AM.

  5. #5
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    as a teenager, I was working a summer job at a corporate aircraft facility in El Paso, TX when the first 747 to ever land there began its approach.

    all the mechanics and pilots gathered at the front of the hangar to watch the show...the plane was enormous and made some very unusual sounds, unlike any other commercial jets of the time.

    a very cool moment for a young guy who was totally fascinated by planes.
    the 45th POTUS is inept, corrupt, and a pathological liar. and those may be his better qualities...

  6. #6
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    They are still producing 747's, but only as freighters.
    Bad decisions make great stories - JP

    Spring is here... snowflakes are melting.

  7. #7
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    I got to tour the 747 production facility when I was a young business student. Got the behind the scenes tour, including sitting in the cockpit mockup, the trainer, saw the production line and then watched films of the early test flights.

    Up close and personal, they looked even bigger.

    My favorite was one shots were of some crazy test pilot with the nose in the air and tail dragging on the runway (apparently they installed a hardwood skid) kick the flaps at speed and rocket into the air. That, and a segment showing another (perhaps the same?) idiot doing a barrel roll with one. Made me confident that whenever I got booked on one, it was not going to fall out of the sky.

    It remains an amazing engineering feat for its time--designed by the slide rule set of real engineers, and tested in a real wind tunnel by other real engineers.
    "There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year oldís life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paralizer View Post
    I live very close to SFO and sadly other commitments rendered me unable to go to SFO today and watch this grand lady fly off for her final flight with United. As an avowed plane geek from a very young age I've always enjoyed watching 747's lift into the sky. It still amazes me something this big can fly. There are still a few carriers flying them but their days are numbered.
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-747...to-the-sunset/
    Emotional goodbye to United's Boeing 747 - TravelSkills
    Wow, end of an era. Interesting history. Originally envisioned by Juan Trippe, founder and CEO of Pan American Airlines. He wanted a jet for the long runs over the Pacific to replace the Boeing double decker, 4 engine propeller driven "Stratocruiser." The cockpit was put up on top of the fuselage to make room for a front loading hatch, anticipating the supersonic Concorde would take over the passenger market eventually, and the 747s could move on to carry freight, which is what they're doing now. The original cockpit design was a bubble reminiscent of the B-36. They brought the aerodynamics up to snuff by adding the spoiler which housed the lounge.

    Never got the pleasure of riding in one. I went from 707s to 757s, skipping everything in between. My brother went to Europe on a Concorde once. Flew in a BOAC Comet over Indonesia in the '60s. Air currents from the volcanoes below gave us a rough ride. It may have been the very first commercial passenger jet introduced after WW2. It had structural problems. Several blew up in the air at altitude. By the '60s the Boeing 707 was the Greyhound Bus of passenger jets.

    Full story for the curious:

    https://www.airspacemag.com/how-thin...578877/?page=1

  9. #9
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    It's been a remarkably successful plane, a real engineering marvel, especially when you compare it with the careers of its contemporaries, the L-1011 and DC-10/MD-11. The last MD-11 was built over 15 years ago, and L-1011 production stopped more than 30 years ago. As Chain noted, 747 freighters are still rolling out.

    For a certain sort of airplane aficionado (like me), the wonderful thing about it is its beauty and grace in spite of its great size. It has always seemed pretty, in contrast to some other wide-body jets. Airbus's ponderous bloated whale, the A380, being the most notable example (IMHO - I know I'm talking aesthetics here, and ugliness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder).
    We are far from pefect,
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  10. #10
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    Strangely, I've never flown on a 747; I have flown on a DC-10, an L-1011, and even a BAC 1-11 on (gasp) Mohawk.
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  11. #11
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    not to dish on the 747, but I never thought the it was an overly attractive design...just too 'plump.'

    a distinctive and unique aircraft, yes...but just not sexy like the 707.
    the 45th POTUS is inept, corrupt, and a pathological liar. and those may be his better qualities...

  12. #12
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    They had a nice celebration when the United 747 pulled up to the gate here at HNL. draped an orange lei around the fuse, had some Hawaiian music / hula for the arriving pax and crew, etc. I guess the first pax flight for United's 747 was also SFO-HNL so it came full-circle.

    scott s.
    .

  13. #13
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    In the summer of '67 I was working as a brakeman for the Great Northern Railway and we serviced the plant in Everett Wa where the 747's were built. One day I was assigned to the local that was to take 4 or 5 boxcars up to the plant. There were unusual procedures in place to get to the plant. From the shoreline of Puget Sound in Mukilteo you shoved up a couple miles of 7% grade (IIRC, most rail grades don't exceed 2%) then broke out in a clearing where you could see the building about a 1/2 mile away.

    On the SW corner of the building you could see a tiny door which as it turned out was where the train entered the building. After some security measures we entered the Boeing grounds and pushed our train up to and into the building. The older guys had already prepped me for what I was about to see but it still was just amazing. The plane, number 001 was well along with the fuselage and wings mostly built and on top of the structure several humans were scurrying about doing their jobs. they looked like ants. Our 90' boxcars were dwarfed by the plane. I was stupefied by the enormous size and scale of the plane. You really had to wonder how the heck such a big structure could actually fly.
    I never had the occasion to fly on one though.

  14. #14
    Adorable Furry Hombre
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    It's been a remarkably successful plane, a real engineering marvel, especially when you compare it with the careers of its contemporaries, the L-1011 and DC-10/MD-11. The last MD-11 was built over 15 years ago, and L-1011 production stopped more than 30 years ago. As Chain noted, 747 freighters are still rolling out.

    For a certain sort of airplane aficionado (like me), the wonderful thing about it is its beauty and grace in spite of its great size. It has always seemed pretty, in contrast to some other wide-body jets. Airbus's ponderous bloated whale, the A380, being the most notable example (IMHO - I know I'm talking aesthetics here, and ugliness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder).

    Great thing for Boeing too. Development basically bankrupted Boeing...they had to borrow a crapload of money to keep the company alive to finish it and deliver it. If the 747 would have flopped, Boeing would have ceased to exist. The 747 effort nearly destroyed their company. And there were also many a teething problems...the orig engines had problems IIRC.

    Amazing aircraft, more so because it was designed the old school way, and on an insane development timeline.



    There was a great documentary on the development of the plane on the Smithsonian Channel a while back.
    "Refreshingly Unconcerned With The Vulgar Exigencies Of Veracity "

  15. #15
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    Marc, IIRC, JAL ordered a crapload of 747's early on and that was what moved Boeing out of peril. JAL opened up a 747 flight training center in Moses Lake WA in a closed air force base in the early 70's to prepare for their fleet conversion. At one time, i believe they had over 80 747's in service.
    Last edited by Birddog; 1 Week Ago at 06:14 AM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birddog View Post
    In the summer of '67 I was working as a brakeman for the Great Northern Railway and we serviced the plant in Everett Wa where the 747's were built. One day I was assigned to the local that was to take 4 or 5 boxcars up to the plant. There were unusual procedures in place to get to the plant. From the shoreline of Puget Sound in Mukilteo you shoved up a couple miles of 7% grade (IIRC, most rail grades don't exceed 2%) then broke out in a clearing where you could see the building about a 1/2 mile away.

    On the SW corner of the building you could see a tiny door which as it turned out was where the train entered the building. After some security measures we entered the Boeing grounds and pushed our train up to and into the building. The older guys had already prepped me for what I was about to see but it still was just amazing. The plane, number 001 was well along with the fuselage and wings mostly built and on top of the structure several humans were scurrying about doing their jobs. they looked like ants. Our 90' boxcars were dwarfed by the plane. I was stupefied by the enormous size and scale of the plane. You really had to wonder how the heck such a big structure could actually fly.
    I never had the occasion to fly on one though.
    I was a cargo serviceman in '65, at JFK airport in NY. I always marveled at how easily those big passenger jets took off. The Northwest Airlines pilots did it on such a steep angle, I was always amazed they didn't stall out. We exist enveloped in air as if its nothing. But its a thick blanket of gases, that supports huge vehicles, like fish in water. Always dreamed of being a pilot. Tertiary color blindness and near sightedness removed that occupation as an option.

    My dad worked for TWA in WW2 installing radios in airports. After the war he traveled to Japan, Korea, India, with the International Air Transport Association, IATA, setting up radio frequencies for international flights. This was when long distance radio signals relied on bouncing off the ionosphere, making possible distances beyond line of sight. "Skip" distances varied according to wavelengths and the level of ionization and altitude in the ionosphere. The maximum useable frequency, MUT, changes over the 11 year sunspot cycle. Lower frequencies travel along the ground beyond the curvature of the earth, and also bounce off the ionosphere at night, so assigning frequencies that would keep communication open were complicated. Satellites solved those problems. Quite amazing the speed at which technology has advanced in the air travel technology.

  17. #17
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    Flew first class in 1980 from LA to Hawaii on the top deck of a 747 , 12 seats two stewardesses.
    It was great.

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