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Goodbye BA Jumbos

Old 20th Jul 2020, 19:22
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Can anyone confirm my first experience of a BA 747. Would be no later than 1974, my 21st birthday. Did Ian Allan fly experience flights on BA 747's departing from the Maintainance area. Trip was about 2 hours?
My overriding memory was, having only then flown on Vanguards, the shear size and smoothness.


Last and most memorable 747 flight was a Beardy Branson from Las Vagas with a low (ish) pass over the Grand Canyon and the Captain got 'special permission' to fly a fig of 8 so both sides could get a view. In 2015. I estimate we were only 33% full so easier for the centre seats to move round

Many thanks 747
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Old 21st Jul 2020, 03:34
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What turns out to be my last on a BA 744. 19th Feb this year in the circuit ex-CPT. The M25 is below. A truly fabulous machine.

Last edited by PAXboy; 21st Jul 2020 at 20:43. Reason: Typo
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Old 21st Jul 2020, 07:16
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Originally Posted by Bergerie1 View Post
suninmyeyes,

Yes, the flight deck is upstairs for the reasons you say. But it was made so tight around the pilots' heads in order to minimise the local Mach No. It could have been larger but for this. It is all to do with controlling the shock wave and minimising flow separation and thus the resulting drag.
At least they didn't try the C-74 answer to a cockpit high in the fuselage.
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Old 21st Jul 2020, 07:39
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I wonder how many hosties had bruises on the heads.
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Old 21st Jul 2020, 08:50
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Some memories:

1. Jump seat out of Dhaka on a 236B. Stately doesn't begin to describe it climbing from the chaos of the city
2. Jump seat out of Mahé (Seychelles) to Nairobi a full 3 months after the incident where an unwell man entered the office and proceeded to accelerate descent by means of throwing himself at the SFO. Flight crew couldn't have been more welcoming to us. Made clear we'd have to take our seats pre descent into Nairobi. As if only it was there that mentally unwell folk could strike... crew only following procedures, of course.
3. The KLM tour around the Cape inbound to CPT. Complete with tour narration from the Captain. "And there's Table Mountain" etc.
4. Skimming through summer CB's around JFK on the inbound. Captain querulous PA as it seemed vectors into some activity "La'z n gemmun plz fasten belts ". Few slight bumps then smooth again...
5. Too many wannabee sim sessions (at own cost for birthdays etc) marvelling at the handling characteristics AND the lambswool seat covers. Were they as comfortable after 9 hours, we wondered?

And many more. She was indeed the Queen and as a failed wannabe I will miss her as pax and a dreamer. Doubt we'll see the like again....
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Old 21st Jul 2020, 08:56
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Originally Posted by Meikleour View Post
That near sonic airflow around the flightdeck was also the reason that the flightdeck was so noisy on the 747! Hence the abundance of slightly deaf high houred ex Jumbo pilots! (self included!)
Pardon!!!!
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Old 21st Jul 2020, 16:24
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Originally Posted by Cornish Jack View Post
The flight deck size was most noticeable when I was moved from Tristar to 400 tech training. The Tri was ENORMOUS! ... the 400, cosy! ...the Concorde? more akin to an MG TC!
One passing thought - what will happen to the blue disc on the outside of Cranebank main building - future users will wonder why it's there. (installed to indicate the height of the 747 'fin' top)
When I was at Cranebank I was told the blue disk indicated the pilot's eye height on a 747.
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Old 21st Jul 2020, 18:38
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Mr Mac, the 1011 was a really nice aircraft i thought from all rspects as a passenger, i have read a lot of good comments from the flight deck too, not the first or last aircraft to be popular with all but the finance team. My daughter who has done a lot of miles and of course from a different era , her first trip -on a 1011 LHR-BDA was aged 4 months but she still rates it as her favourite . It was very popular among the locals in BDA compared to the DC10 and always seemed to offer a much smoother flight. I flew on BA. Eastern , Air Canada , Gulf Air and Delta on most marks including the -500 all of which seemed to have that approach on rails effect although the good ol' boys , ex USN who flew ATL-Bermuda used to love the scenic approach at low level along the south shore of Bermuda followed by a tight descending turn rolling level close in to runway 31 at Kindley Field which one of them assured me was about their favourite approach on the whole DL network.

Having thread drifted badly , PAX boys great photo summed up the 744 to me , Like many I have seen some great sights from 74 windows, The Bosphorus, the junction of the Niles on a rare daytime NBO-LHR, Carnasie VOR approach at JFK in wind and rain, Sydney harbour, Mt Rainer inbound to SEA and many many times the legendary checkerboard at Kai Tak. But they all started out , unless on easterlies of course , with the view Pax Boy posted , a damp day departing LHR with two great British Icons in view the M25 ! and RR on the nacelles.

A big part of my life , and it retires just as I do
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Old 21st Jul 2020, 18:43
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Originally Posted by Groundloop View Post
When I was at Cranebank I was told the blue disk indicated the pilot's eye height on a 747.
I believe there were two blue disks: one for the pilot's eye height when taxying, and the other indicating the corresponding fin height - around 9 m and 19 m, respectively.
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Old 21st Jul 2020, 19:31
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I believe there were two blue disks: one for the pilot's eye height when taxying, and the other indicating the corresponding fin height
I saw a tweet yesterday from a 747 pilot who said that the second represented the pilot's eye height in the flare.
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Old 21st Jul 2020, 21:15
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Mention of C74 took me to seach and from some photos, it appears that their early cockpits were open???

Last edited by PAXboy; 22nd Jul 2020 at 04:46.
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Old 21st Jul 2020, 22:20
  #72 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by PAXboy View Post
Mention of C74 took me to seach and from some photos, it appears that ehir early cockpits were open???
No. No... Naaaaah. No? No.

C-74 is the "Chinese" aeroplane at Milan in the film "The Italian Job". Also one of two aeroplanes referred to by James Herriot in one of his later Vet autobiographies. The other crashed.
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Old 21st Jul 2020, 22:30
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Originally Posted by PAXboy View Post
Mention of C74 took me to seach and from some photos, it appears that ehir early cockpits were open???
Not quite. Bubble canopies, one left, one right. They were unpopular; even a non-pilot like me can imagine some of the reasons, and one wonders why they were adopted, but bubble canopies on large aircraft was a fashion (B-47, XB-42, even perhaps Canberra B(I). 8, though that's much less egregious). Fighter envy?
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Old 22nd Jul 2020, 05:07
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Here's my favourite BA jumbo story (apologies if it's boring)...

Back in the early 2000s our company leased a BA 744 for a while. I remember the UK registration had been G-BNLH only because it was temporarily re-registered as NLH, which quickly became known amongst our crews, possibly unfairly, as "Never Leaves Home" as it was (allegedly) always breaking down.

As with any aircraft from another operator there were numerous small differences. One was the crew rest area. Unlike our 744s, which had 2 separate crew rest areas (1 in the cockpit and 1 at the aft of the upper deck) they only had the one, therefore on 4 pilot ops, shared crew rest in the cockpit with 2 bunks. I was a lowly new hire second officer at the time. On this particular flight I knew the F/O quite well and we always had a laugh, but I hadn't met the captain. At one point early in the flight I went into the crew rest not long after the captain had gone in. It was the middle of the night, so was pretty dark in there. After an indeterminate time and during a bout of really annoying turbulence the Captain gets up and leaves crew rest to go back on duty. A few minutes later a dark figure appears entering the crew rest. It's still really bumpy. Assuming it was the F/O, I loudly remarked as he entered, "for f$%ks sake, could you make it any f^*king bumpier you [email protected]*khead!". He didn't really reply, just lay down in the other bunk. I couldn't sleep so I thought I'll go see if the other S/O wants a break, so I head out of crew rest. I look up the front and see the F/O in the right seat!! The cogs start turning and my brain goes into slow-mo as realise that: a) I must have fallen asleep at some point and the F/O and captain swapped over without me realising which means that; b) I, the super new junior gumby, have just told the aircraft commander he was a d$^khead. Shitting bricks, I swap with the other S/O and relay my story to the F/O who wets himself with laughter.

One other minor difference (that I doubt many knew - I certainly didn't) was that it had no GPS unlike our fleet which were all GPS equipped. Later on in the flight, I was on deck with the captain who seemed in good spirits (I was loathe to bring up the subject - thinking at the time maybe he hadn't heard me? Turns out later he did!). We were approaching land after 10+ hours over water. I was staring emptily at the ND (as you do on a 14 hour flight when you've just accidentally called the captain a d^@khead) when the magenta line suddenly moves halfway across the ND to the right. In my half-dead-jetlag-but-thinking-I-might-get-fired haze I'm like every new jet pilot when the aircraft does something they're not expecting, "wtf is this thing doing?". The aircraft does a big turn to the right to re-intercept (we're obviously in LNAV). I look over at old mate with a "WTF" expression, he with the same expression back, moments before cracking up laughing, "map shift! It's just updated the FMS position from that VOR" he giggles. We'd never seen this as all our aircraft had GPS. Having broken the ice, we had a good laugh about the "[email protected]*khead" incident. He said he was giggling the whole time as he knew I'd mistaken him for the F/O, but didn't want to laugh until I'd left the crew rest!
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Old 22nd Jul 2020, 07:40
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Originally Posted by Innominate View Post
I saw a tweet yesterday from a 747 pilot who said that the second represented the pilot's eye height in the flare.
Here are the marks in question on the Block C offices at Cranebank:




The legend on the photo does indeed suggest that the both discs relate to pilot's eye height.

That said, a quick back-of-the envelope calculation would suggest that the greatest eye-to-wheel height achievable in the flare on a 747, just short of striking the tail, would be about 15 m, compared with the aforementioned 9 m eye-to-wheel height when taxying. But the upper disc in the photo looks to be at least twice as high above ground level as the lower one, although the parallax makes it hard to be sure (any photogrammetry experts out there?).

I believe the building in question may have now gone, so it looks like we might never get a definitive answer.

https://www.reddit.com/r/flying/comm...eight/cuphyl3/

Last edited by DaveReidUK; 22nd Jul 2020 at 07:52. Reason: Photo credit added
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Old 22nd Jul 2020, 10:26
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Originally Posted by Kiltrash View Post
Can anyone confirm my first experience of a BA 747. Would be no later than 1974, my 21st birthday. Did Ian Allan fly experience flights on BA 747's departing from the Maintainance area. Trip was about 2 hours?
My overriding memory was, having only then flown on Vanguards, the shear size and smoothness.


Last and most memorable 747 flight was a Beardy Branson from Las Vagas with a low (ish) pass over the Grand Canyon and the Captain got 'special permission' to fly a fig of 8 so both sides could get a view. In 2015. I estimate we were only 33% full so easier for the centre seats to move round

Many thanks 747
Ian Allan did indeed do BA 747 charters. My parents treated me to one in 1972 LHR-SNN-LHR with an outing to Bunratty Castle. It was an amazing day out and a massive thrill fo experience the beast.
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Old 22nd Jul 2020, 11:59
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Originally Posted by Gin Jockey View Post
Here's my favourite BA jumbo story (apologies if it's boring)...

Back in the early 2000s our company leased a BA 744 for a while. I remember the UK registration had been G-BNLH only because it was temporarily re-registered as NLH, which quickly became known amongst our crews, possibly unfairly, as "Never Leaves Home" as it was (allegedly) always breaking down.

...

One other minor difference (that I doubt many knew - I certainly didn't) was that it had no GPS unlike our fleet which were all GPS equipped.
Great story. I believe in BA she was known as “Never Leaves Hangar” but same difference I guess. A proper hangar queen.

You’ll be pleased to know they’re all fitted with GPS now!

champ
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Old 22nd Jul 2020, 15:04
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I have so enjoyed reading this thread as well as the others dedicated to the Queen of the Skies.
I don't work in aviation but my mum was BA ground crew at CPT during the 90s and early 00s and the 058/059 was a part of daily life in our household. My dad and I would wait in our garden in the evenings for the roar of her engines and when we heard them, we'd wave and wave up at the night's sky and I'd know that my mum would be on her way home. 15 years after retiring, my mum still stood in the garden in the evening waiting to hear the 058 go and if we happened to see her standing proudly in the sun at CPT, the tears would gather in my mum's eyes every time.

I don't know how many times I flew with her - but I know I had a life time of travel far beyond the means of most and my understanding of what a privilege it was at the time so I wish to leave some memories here:
- 1x engine failure CPT to LHR and the Cpt warning us that we may have to make an emergency landing. But on she flew and we landed safely at LHR
- too many frozen Mars bars from the lovely ladies and gents in the galley
- having a little scrapbook into which I had glued all the tails of the World Images livery and ticking them off when I spotted a new one I hadn't seen
- when I was 10 years old, flying from LHR to SYD via KUL on Christmas Eve, my parents were bumped up into the bubble leaving me flying UM style in economy with a wrapped present in my backpack under the seat in front of me that I knew was a box of chocolates. I heartily tucked into the chocolates (revenge for being left behind), and when we arrived at KUL, my parents had the embarrassing pleasure of escorting a completely drunk 10 year old off the plane for a walk about while the aircraft was being refuelled. I had consumed the entire box of cognac-filled chocolates and, while at KUL, proceeded to vomit all over myself. Without a fresh change of clothes, I sat the whole way from KUL to SYD in my vomit clothes and I haven't touched a drink since (pity the poor pax around me!)
- in Sept 2003, on my 5th day of trying unsuccessfully to get home standby from LHR to CPT after a year living in France and desperately homesick, the kindly folk at the standby desk advised that I use my coupon to go to NBO and on to JNB from there. The flight was empty, bar a familiar face from the standby desk, and as we touched down we had the most beautiful view of the champagne coloured grasses and a herd of giraffes with babies, their beautiful heads looking this way and that
- in 2007, flying QF from JNB to SYD, we were given orange ice lollies as a midnight snack. I was seated next to two Russian girls and we eagerly unwrapped the lollies and then sat for a good 15 minutes with our tongues and lips frozen solid to the lollies, laughing hysterically
- in 2008, flying QF from JNB to SYD, experiencing the worst turbulence I ever have and holding the hand of the man next to me who was crying in fear while drinks were tossed around the cabin. My mum's words came back to me then, 'they're designed for this' and on she flew landing safely
- and of course, that view of Table Mountain, on approach into CPT on a sunny morning. A view like no other

This quiet, distant farewell unbecoming of her years of service to the public and the very special place she holds in my childhood and the memories of those who spent so many hours with her is sad. If I had known, I would have been on that viewing deck that last time, the child in me, waving and waving! In the last three months, I have lost my business, any form of income and there have been many sad good byes - but this one really ached. Best of luck to all of those affected in aviation and elsewhere.
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Old 22nd Jul 2020, 21:02
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BA operated an ex SAS B747-283B Reg G-BMGS in the 1980s. The aircraft was also operated in Caledonian livery. This was referred to as "Might Go Sick" by the engineers due to its reliability. Eventually operated by Beardy as G-VOYG.
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Old 23rd Jul 2020, 12:39
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I once met a chap at a dinner who had been on Speedbird 9 out of Jakarta. His tale of the descent was rather worrying to say the least. One of the people at the dinner quipped, 'remind me not to get on a flight with you'
Imagine to my horror sometime later as I was sitting in Business Class, on a BA 747-4, as he brushed past me into First Class. It was an 11 hour flight, I never slept a wink!
​​​​​​

Last edited by rolling20; 23rd Jul 2020 at 12:50.
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