Happy anniversary to the 747

  TOPCAT® 22:34 30 Sep 2006

It's thirty eight years this weekend since the first 747 rolled out of the factory. Something to celebrate? Well, yes and no. Many of those earlier planes are destined for that 'graveyard in the sky' - waxing lyrical I am but actually they're dismembered on the ground of course. Quite a few have been chopped up already but, in the next decade or so, some eight thousand planes could be no more.

It is interesting to note that the modern versions contain substantial amounts of carbon fibre, and this is much easier and far quicker to recycle. The quality of the end product is so good, say Boeing, that they are confident it can be used in new manufacture. This cannot be said of the earlier planes however, as their construction poses more recycling difficulties.

click here

Maybe Boeing (or BA) could offer one as a gift to the FE to go with his Jumbo passport? After all, he is a very frequent business traveller, is he not? ;o) TC.

  Pidder 16:17 01 Oct 2006

I wasn't crew, just a humble wireless mech, back in 1950...

Incidentally, wasn't the 747 the first plane that one could fall downstairs in?

  Forum Editor 16:22 01 Oct 2006

I get the same feeling at takeoff. No matter how many times I've done it I still find myself thinking "how will this thing ever get itself into the sky?"

At 180 mph or thereabouts we part company with terra firma, and all is well, but I prefer not to think about the fact that I'm inside something that weighs over 400 tons as we thunder along the runway.

  Forum Editor 16:24 01 Oct 2006

I was but a child.

Long boring story, but it was an operational aircraft at the time.

  def90csw 16:40 01 Oct 2006

WTM travelling in the back of a C130 can be fun, but it does depend on how many are also travelling on Fat Albert at the time. OK service is crap, toilets are basic & in flight entertainment is nil, apart from that it's great. Even more fun when your dropping in to a hot DZ or grass strip.

  TOPCAT® 17:06 01 Oct 2006

in the seventies I sat just behind the starboard wing. It was a midnight take-off from Heathrow so I saw very little out of the window as we accelerated down the runway. Coming up to Nairobi airport in daylight for landing, I was astonished to see by how much the wing's profile changed as the flaps were lowered in stages. I remember thinking there couldn't be any more flap to show, but on the final approach they were lowered even more! I could see all the hydraulic pipelines and other components fitted under them. An amazing sight without doubt for a first timer but, with engines throttled way back one realised how these flaps helped to keep this monster aircraft in the air at slow speed.

As we came in to land, however, my attention was suddenly drawn away from the flaps and the view when the engines went on to full boost and the nose rose up steeply. The flaps were partly raised and we gained height rapidly. As we banked and circled around, the passengers, myself included, silently asked each other what was going on. Then, the calm voice of the British captain came on to say, "Sorry about that ladies and gentlemen. Some idiot has failed to clear the runway in time." You could sense the relief from his flock, I can tell you! He brought the plane down for a very gentle landing and all was well. I shall never forget my first 747 flight! TC.

  WhiteTruckMan 17:28 01 Oct 2006

didnt boeing have a twin deck prop job based on a b-29? Stratocruiser, or something like that. But you could certainly fall downstairs on a sunderland, probably also the old pre-war empire boats.


  Diemmess 18:18 01 Oct 2006

I'm sure you could fall downstairs in the civvy version of the Sunderland flying boat, at least if you were on your way to the flight deck.

There was still a luxury service with these aircraft in the mid-fifties leaving Southampton for Madeira as a weekly service.
I've no idea how many stops or how long it took but it was a cut above your average bucket and spade holiday!

  TOPCAT® 18:47 01 Oct 2006

Here are some historical Boeing aircraft - the Stratocruiser is featured here. TC.

click here

  Forum Editor 19:02 01 Oct 2006

My father was station commander at RAF Felixstowe, and as a child (a very young one) I can remember seeing the coastal command Sunderlands taking off and landing - a wonderful sight.

  WhiteTruckMan 19:06 01 Oct 2006

Thanks for those-nice pics. But the more I think about it, the more I can conclude that you can keep your 747's. sure, they are fast and economical and convenient, but, oh, to have been a long distance passenger on one of the pre-war empire boats! talk about style!. yes, slow by todays standards, and not cheap either, but thats the way for me.

I think the only thing that could compete adventure wise were the guys who flew a reproduction ww1 vickers vimy bomber (of alcock and brown fame) down through africal a few years back. Glorious!


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