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Old 10th Feb 2019, 07:46
  #9 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 945
By February 1970, I'd already built a model of the 747 and detailed it in Pan Am livery. It was a nice addition to my growing collection of military and civilian airplanes, rockets and satellites. (dad worked for TRW) So when my father announced we'd be driving from our home in Inglewood over to LAX to watch the first scheduled 747 takeoff I was much more excited about it than my step-sister!

We drove down Imperial Highway along the South side of the airport (we had read in the newspaper that 747s would have to use the Southern runway) until reaching a point as near to the Imperial Terminal as we could get. There were hundreds of people standing on rain soaked ground along the chain-link fence, some with umbrellas, most just wearing hats and jackets to withstand the steady light rain.

Then we saw it, taxiing out from the main terminal across the runway. It sure made the other airplanes look tiny! As is usual when it rains, the takeoff was made to the East. As they brought up the thrust, large plumes of moisture were produced behind the large jets. As it picked up speed, the spray from the 18 tires added more and more mist. I could see clouds in the engine inlets. Then as the nose began to rise, clouds formed on top of the wings even as the jet blast appeared to dry most of the runway width behind them. Then it lifted off and flew. How could it be flying when it looks to be going so slowly I wondered? Only a fleeting moment later it was gone, swallowed by the low overcast, banished from my sight, but burned into memory.

I've since ridden on a majority of the airliner types produced since then and piloted some bizjet types as well. I've ridden in back on the 747, but sadly will never get to fly one as a pilot. Too bad, because she really was queen of the skies!
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