View Full Version : Milestone On Monday

Cpt. Underpants
7th Feb 2004, 19:53
35 Years ago on this coming Monday, the prototype B747 flew for the first time...

From The Seattle PI:

Brien Wygle has flown a lot of airplanes, but he still remembers the day he co-piloted the first Boeing 747 ever to take off, 35 years ago Monday. He met the media yesterday at Everett's Paine Field to help Boeing celebrate the giant plane's production milestone.

On Feb. 9, 1969, along with flight engineer Jesse Wallick and pilot Jack Waddell, Wygle boarded the brand-new No. RA001 and took off.

He had test-flown everything from a B-52 bomber to a 737, and he found the 747 "less nimble than the 737, but a remarkably nice- handling airplane. It was a very impressive airplane, and still is."

The crew never even donned their standard-issue parachutes, he said.

Wygle, 79, has retired after 39 years at Boeing, 29 of them as a test pilot. But the 747 hasn't. It's still in limited production in Everett.

To date, that factory has turned out 1,338 747s. Those planes have flown 3.6 billion people - the equivalent of more than half the world's population. They have logged more than 35 billion miles, which is more than 73,000 round trips to the moon.

And it's not even Boeing's longest-lived plane. The 707 was in production for 36 years, and the 737 is now in its 37th year of production, Boeing spokeswoman Leslie Nichols said.

Visitors to the Museum of Flight, which now houses RA001, can still see the names of Wygle and his flight crew - faded but legible - under the cockpit window.