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50 Years of the 747

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50 Years of the 747

Old 15th Feb 2019, 08:17
  #61 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by czarnajama View Post
About 1975, I had a delightful flight from Vancouver to Honolulu on the upper deck of a CP Air 747-200B. It was outfitted with about 28 economy seats, used when the main deck was fully booked. We were not allowed down the spiral staircase, which went into the first class cabin, but the flight deck door was open all the time and we had our own attendant, who was quite concerned and needed an explanation when I presented a very heavy woollen coat to be hung in the closet ... she was thinking of Siberia rather than Mauna Kea! The view out of the windows was spectacular, and it was an oddly cosy and intimate way to cross the ocean in such a huge aircraft, whose wings and engines on both sides were so visible from that cabin. For me, the 747 was usually attractive because one could take long walks through its cabin, broken up into relatively small sections by all the central galley and toilet blocks.
Lovely old recollections of the CP 747. Thanks.

CPAir, Wardair and World AW were the first regular 747's to be seen at LGW from around 1973 onward.

Wardair had 16 Y on the Upper Deck in 4 rows, just 4 abreast each side (not 6 abreast like CPair),
plus 6 lounge seats across the rear of the cabin.

Virgin had 14J seats on the UD - the very comfy armchair type seats we no longer see...
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Old 15th Feb 2019, 08:23
  #62 (permalink)  
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I've been fortune to have had one of the most interesting experiences of my life in a 747-400 (no not that one!!!). When the cockpit cabin door opened, the vision out the front of the plane was one of the most memorable in my life. It was dawn, the sky was glowing a luminous purple colour that faded into deep blackness high above revealing a few solitary stars. Directly in front of us all blazoned an enormous full moon, its silvery brilliance exposing every crater on the moonscape and bright enough to cast shadows in the cabin as it hovered majestically just above the horizon, creating the illusion that we were flying to the moon. It was both an incredible sight and experience, and perhaps even a precursor to what future travel may be like.

My sincere thanks goes to the Singapore Airlines crew for providing this incredible experience.
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Old 16th Feb 2019, 00:30
  #63 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Ft. Collins, Colorado USA
Age: 85
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First, I have enormous respect for the B747 - a great aircraft to fly on.
It must be admitted however that the early days were quite tough for maintenance. The three leased Pan American -100 we operated ate Pratt's -3B engines at a rate that reminded me of the old Wright 3350 on the Connies and DC-7. There was little relief there until in later years (at another carrier) we celebrated the removal of the last -3B model and replaced it with the greatly improved -7.
Then there were the turbine reversers originally fitted. Until they were finally deactivated it was a constant thing to be shoving the sleeve back forward and locking them out. The early engines had little stall margin and thunderous booms were pretty frequent.
I can never forget the multiplex passenger entertainment system. It consumed a whole crew of radiomen to maintain. Occasionally a zone units would overheat and start dripping smoking resin from a transformer. The smell was unpopular with the pax.
When converted to freighters many aggravations went away. I found them to be much easier to maintain with all the pax gear stripped out. Strangely, I never had anything to do with any later models. Wish I had.
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Old 16th Feb 2019, 04:25
  #64 (permalink)  
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A QF 747 was the airliner that gave me the most impressive trip performance wise. Had flown trans Pacific and the aircraft then did a 380nm domestic leg. Saturn rocket take off, well thats what it felt like, and up to 41,000 in a heart beat for the cruise portion. The view of Antarctica from the cockpit was a treat as well.
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Old 16th Feb 2019, 04:46
  #65 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: yyz
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Had the good fortune of catching rides in the CAIL 400s. Most impressive was a ride up front in a yvr snow gongshow. They ran out of deice fluid halfway through and had to wait for resupply from ksea. Captain put on extra dino juice, after deice showed up we flew @.88 yvr-yyz took 3+08 with a tailwind. I regret that i shall probably never get another ride, or get to drive La Grande Dame de L'Air
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Old 16th Feb 2019, 23:49
  #66 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Brisbane
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How Ironic, about the same time the 'Queen' celebrates 50 years and still in production, now with a growing order book, the 380 demise is announced.
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Old 17th Feb 2019, 01:45
  #67 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: down under
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I had a great flight LHR-Vancouver in 1994, in a Air Canada 744. On a whim I asked a FA if I could go up to the flight deck, and she took me up there. The captain asked what I did for a living, so I told them about my genetic manipulation of viruses. They thought it sounded exciting (it's not, it's boring), much more so than flying 744s. I spent a couple of hours chatting to these guys. The joys of flight pre-9/11.
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Old 17th Feb 2019, 02:00
  #68 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2015
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Tonytales, I found the freighters less aggravating as well, no pax issues, just freight , allll kinds of freight.
Miss having a F/E though, always enjoyed the 3rd guy(sorry, haven't seen any female F/E's at my airline). Never forgot lookin back to see the F/E open the smoke port, take a duct hose and stick it to the open port and subsequently started vacuuming the cockpit floor with it.....or see pigs jumping out when they opened the nose cone,crashing into the platform in Abu Dhabi in the middle of summer(I guess 1 crate wasn't covered).

So many great stories, wish a publisher would collect all your great stories and put it in writing, maybe one day...
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Old 17th Feb 2019, 04:27
  #69 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2004
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I had requested a visit to the cockpit while flying on a Cathay Pacific 200 non stop to Hong Kong from London

When I was invited up we were already in the descent, both jumpseats were already occupied, the Captain invited these passengers to stay up for the landing and then said ‘you can too if you hang on’

An unforgettable memory, standing at the back of the flight deck, looking from there, bracing myself in the door frame as we approached and touched down on 31 at Kai Tak
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Old 17th Feb 2019, 09:50
  #70 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 1999
Location: UK
Age: 72
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Here's a Pan Am 741 approaching LHR 28R in 1968. The blow-in doors on eng #4 are closed, suggesting this engine has been shut down.

I recall an early 747 driver joking that the only time they got to fly on four engines was in the sim.

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Old 17th Feb 2019, 22:04
  #71 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Looking for the signals square at LHR
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Originally Posted by LeadSled View Post
At the risk of being pedantic, QF 747SP38 never used full rated thrust out of Wellington, only Rating !.
The reason, the Vmcg limited Vi on full rating was too high to fit a balance field length on the short runway.
But it was fun even on Rating 1.
But not nearly as spectacular as a B767/238-338 on full charge out of the same place, at the usual light weights, only going to the "big island".
Tootle pip!!
At the risk of being irrelevant, I well remember the drama of a full power take-off from Wellington.

But in a Miles Gemini with a whopping 90hp per side, so the VSI showed rather less than a Seven Four at MTOW! This was when Wellington was Rongotai, couldn't take anything larger than a DC3 or Lodestar and was more than 70 years ago! Happy days . . . .

Last edited by Gipsy Queen; 17th Feb 2019 at 23:00.
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Old 24th Feb 2019, 17:16
  #72 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: San Clemente, CA
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I was privileged to have commanded every Boeing and Douglas commercial jet ever designed. Including the Classic 747-100, 200, F, and SP, on which I spent the better part of 15 years and 10,000 Hrs.
I can unequivocally say the "Rope Start" 747 was the best flying machine in terms of safety, stability, durability, agility, speed and ease of flying I have ever flown!
The younger sisters, 777 and 787 maybe far advanced in technology and economy. But they could never match the beauty and grace of their older sibling. Therefore the 747 shall for ever, remain the undisputed "Queen of the Skies!"
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Old 24th Feb 2019, 18:24
  #73 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: UK
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Flying Brisbane - London in City of Edinburgh (where i was born) early 90's as my son's birthday was in flight just happened to let the hostie know. Thought had missed the opertunity 😚 however through the night while snoozing was asked would we like to up to the cockpit.😀
Nothing really unusual occurred on the flight deck😑 worth recounting but thanks skipper for taking the time.
However it was only later I realised it was the BA9 aircraft we had been on
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Old 25th Feb 2019, 02:18
  #74 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Australia the Awesome
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First 747 flight

Looking back at my QANTAS JUNIOR V-JET CLUB logbook, my first flight on a 747 was VH-EBC, City of Sydney, SYD-MEL 22/12/1972. Prior to that it was the 707.

As a 18 month old, fair to say I don't remember much of that flight, but have many fond memories of the Jumbo up until my last flight almost 39 years later on a QF -400 in Nov 2011 SYD-SIN.

My dad was a QF engineer (Ground), so we were lucky enough to travel regularly, and for a long time the 747 was the only aircraft I remember traveling on, up until the introduction of the 767. It was 1988 before I went on an Airbus, Air France A300 LHR-CDG.

I was lucky to be airside for the arrival of the -400 into SYD after its non-stop flight from LHR. No ASIC or Hi-Vis required.

Many visits to the flight deck, with a stern warning from my father to always address the Captain correctly, Captain or Skipper, and be polite and don't touch anything.

I really wanted to be a Flight Engineer, (an Uncle was one on B727, A300, B747) but that wouldn't work out. Posters on our walls as kids were the cut away of the JT9D and the RR RB211

My brother was fortunate to fly the 747-400, and I have flown the 787. The A320 is my ride now, it's a practical machine, but nothing commands the attention or respect of the "Queen of the Skies".

VH-EBC Boeing 747-238B
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Old 25th Feb 2019, 08:27
  #75 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: DORSET
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QF was one of the few Legacy airlines (with new Boeing 747's on order) to be a solely 747 operator for quite a while...

I can also think of Virgin Atlantic who from 1984-1993 were a 747 Classic only airline with 8 on strength by 1991

Wardair I think flew only new 747's for a bit, until their DC-10's arrived

Was there any one else (Legacy or main stream airlines) who only flew 747's?
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Old 25th Feb 2019, 14:09
  #76 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2008
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RE my anecdotes in this thread about BOAC/BA crew life and lay-overs down route - may I extend the courtesy to Ian Burgess-Barber for his kindness in allowing his memories to be published here.
Best R.
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Old 25th Feb 2019, 15:25
  #77 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2009
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I spent 25-years as a paying passenger on about 200 flights per year. I've flown in almost every commercial aircraft built in the last 60-years on every continent except the big white one. First Class in a 747 was always my favorite for both comfort and service. I was flying out of SEA in late 1969 when I saw my first 747 and was truly overwhelmed with the size and it's takeoff performance.

My first direct 747 experience was in the early 1970s on a Continental flight. My father was a Flying Colonel and upgraded me to first class from, I believe, BWI to SEA. That luxury service set the tone for the rest of my career as a professional airline passenger. I worked very hard to ensure I always flew on a 747, if available, and often found a way to fly First Class.

In the latter '70s I worked for a major oil company who flew us around the country in First Class comfort with many of those flights on United 747s. There is little good to be said about a bunch of over paid youngish oil guys flying First from Chicago to Los Angles with free drinks. But, there was usually enough room to keep us away from the more sedate passengers. I'll never forget the hot fudge ice cream sundies served after dinner. They rolled out a beautiful service cart covered in real linen with a huge tub of ice cream sitting on dry ice and made each sundae at your seat side - real hot fudge, fresh strawberries or bananas, and whipped cream out of a silver bowl.

In the late '80s I flew as the only passenger in the front of a 747 repositioning from ORD to MSP. There were only about 50-passengers in the rest of the cabin. As others have said, you could not convince me the Saturn rockets could climb faster than a mostly empty 747.

On another NWA 747 flight, MSP-SEA, I found myself to be the only passenger in First on the upper deck and since it was Friday evening after a difficult week I quickly fell asleep in the aft most window seat. A commotion woke me just before pushback and I opened my eyes to see Prince and his truly bizzare entourage appear on the top of the spiral staircase and take their places in the front of the upper cabin. Apparently the upper deck flight attendant forgot I was up there.

I spent way too much time on 747s and they began to all look the same. I once found myself on a 747 headed for LHR from MSP when I wanted to fly to SEA. I was late arriving at the gate, but due to my NWA status and the lax security at the time, the agent at the top of the ramp/jetway just glanced at my credentials and said "the doors are shut but I'll have them opened by the time you get to the plane." The door was opening as I ran down the jetway so I quickly boarded only to find someone in 1A, my preferred seat. I showed the flight attendant my boarding pass and she laughed saying "this is the London flight - we were delayed." The SEA flight was waiting to be moved up to the jetway but, because the LHR flight was 45-minutes late - my plane was not where I thought it was. So, the jetway door was opened for me a 2nd time and I did fly to Seattle later that evening.

The culmination of my 747 experience was a 'round the world' flight I in did in the early '90s - SEA - JFK - JNB - SYD - LAX - SEA with every leg, except the last, in 747 First Class luxury. South African Air at that time seemed intent on putting on a more luxurious show than the other carriers. Their meal services were superb and I still have on my desk the beautiful little crystal hippomontamus they gave me as a gift. We had to stop at Cape Verde to refuel on the JFK - JNB leg. It was the middle of the night, local, and the cabin doors were opened to allow the wonderful warm tropical breeze to blow thru. It did surprise me that refueling was allowed with passengers on board.

Just to show how things have changed with flying and technology - I was doing one week seminars about state of the art giant computing technology in cities all over the world. My reference and speaking material was carried in two old traditional foot lockers, weighing about 75-pounds each. I also had two large roll on suitcases because the trip was almost four months long. There was no extra charge for any of that baggage. Today I carry more reference and teaching material on my laptop and also on a single USB memory stick backup.

I repeated that around the world trip a couple years later but the newer 747 was able to do JFK - JNB non-stop. I would never want to fly 18-hours non-stop in anything except the front of First in a 747. I felt the same way on both my SYD-LAX flights.

For me - flying in the front of a 747 was the only way to see the world!
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Old 25th Feb 2019, 17:18
  #78 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2009
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It was even better on the flight deck!!
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Old 26th Feb 2019, 02:36
  #79 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Australia the Awesome
Posts: 165
A write up about Qantas' first 747-400 LHR-SYD non stop

How a Qantas Boeing 747-438 made its first record-breaking non-stop flight from London to Sydney in 1989
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