The Last 747 Has Rolled off the Production Line.

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jedi

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It’s a grand old bird. Many good hours with no significant failures.

Most interesting story I recall was another crew that took of in an old Pan Am plane with a seat belt belt buckle hanging out the door. At rotation it beat itself to death against the passenger window but it lasted at least 30 minutes before it departed into the Pacific Ocean.

The adjacent passengers and flight attendants got rather excited though.
 

jedi

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I recall the write up in Aviation Week on the first revenue flight, Pan Am out of KJFK, January 22, 1970. They overheated an engine on startup with a tail wind and had a three + hour delay for an engine change.
I flew with the captains flight attendant daughter many many years later.

“First Commercial Flight
Pan Am introduced its first 747 service on January 22, 1970. Originally scheduled for January 21, the inaugural flight was delayed when technical difficulties grounded the aircraft that had been slated to make the journey.”
The 747 Takes Off – The Dawn of the Jumbo Jet Age

I also have many hours on RA-1, the Boeing first test 747, as power plant flight test engineer. One of the other flight test engineers claimed the bicycle speed record riding his bike in the 747 (on a ferry flight I believe.)
I also worked propulsion flight test on the old American 747 NASA used to ferry the STS Space Shuttle. We simulating the glider launch from atop the 747. The glider turns right and the tow plane turns left.
 
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fly2kads

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I also have many hours on RA-1, the Boeing first test 747, as power plant flight test engineer. One of the other flight test engineers claimed the bicycle speed record riding his bike in the 747 (on a ferry flight I believe.)
I also worked propulsion flight test on the old American 747 NASA used to ferry the STS Space Shuttle. We simulating the glider launch from atop the 747. The glider turns right and the tow plane turns left.
I got to sit in the cockpit of NASA's shuttle carrier 747 one time. That was a treat! It sure felt like a loooong way off the ground! The pilot commented that without the shuttle on its back, the plane was a real pussycat to fly.
 

TFF

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Nothing like a plane where the cockpit so wide, you can get in the pilot seats by going on the wall side as easy as through the isle.
 

Dan Thomas

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There was a lot more change in aircraft design and development in the first 55 years than in the last 55. That's something that the wishful thinkers often overlook. Revolutionary developments get more and more difficult, and only new technologies can fix that. Examples are turbine engines, electronics, and composites. We need more such stuff.
 

Riggerrob

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The first time I saw one was 1970 and it was on approach into Honolulu. It was so big that it seemed to just hang in the sky.
This reminds me of the time I drove a friend to Frankfort am Main Airport circa 1985. We attended a drunken Christmas Party the night before, so I may not have been sober at that early hour.
As we passed an off-ramp, I read the town name "Zeppelinheim."
A couple minutes later I saw this giant shape to the right and mentally noted "Zeppelin."
Then my brain started to wake up and question my original identification. A second look revealed a Boeing 747 on approach to Frankfort Airport.
 
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geraldmorrissey

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Worked the 47 line for a year as tool liaison. Went down to see the Spruce Goose in Mcminnville. Thought to myself, it's not that big.
 

cluttonfred

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In the mid-2000s I was the public affairs officer at the U.S. Embassy in Luxembourg when partially state-owned Cargolux, who flew 14 cargo 747s IIRC, was under pressure from France/Spain/Germany/Italy to switch the the Airbus A380 cargo model.

I worked with our commercial specialist and Boeing and Jeppesen to push out info to the public, government, and parliament on why that made no sense at all. The 747 had its origins in a military freighter design (hence the upper deck to keep the cargo area clear) and the cargo models retained the hinged nose for loading. Every aspect of Cargolux operations was designed around the 747: height of loading ramps, model of forklift, sizes of containers, everything. On top of it all, the A380 was designed with double decks from the beginning so it could not take anything oversize.

In the end, not only did Cargolux not go Airbus, a few years later they became co-launch customer for the 747 Advanced cargo model. The first prototype was painted in Japan Airlines Cargo colors on one side and Cargolux on the other. American tax dollars at work promoting American business…. ;-)

1665216896451.jpeg
 
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jedi

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Post # 10. “Revolutionary developments get more and more difficult, and only new technologies can fix that.
……..,
We need more such stuff.”

Each year Aviation Week has a year in review issue. I can’t tell you the exact year but it was probably in the 1980 - 1985 time frame. The general theme was that there was not a lot of new development. NASA was between programs. The military was in a lull, etc.

I read that and just shook my head.

We were in the golden years of Ultralight development. The modern hang glider was replacing the old standard Rogollo Wing design. Paraglider wing development was in full swing. Motorized Easy Risers were showing up at Oshkosh and new designs like the Weed Hopper and CGS Hawk were being developed.

We need more low speed light and simple Ultralight development. Development of foldable aircraft that are free from the constraints of the airport hangers, ramp and fence where they live 99.99% of their life. New control systems that make aircraft control more natural and learning to fly less demanding. Aircraft that don’t stall and spin when pilots are distracted. Aircraft that don’t make a spiral dive when the world outside is not visible. Aircraft that do not need a thousand feet of runway to take off or land.

I don’t think we need thousands of electric VTOLs delivering packages and providing taxi service in high density urban areas.

Let’s get to work.
 
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jedi

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I recall spending many lunch breaks walking around under the belly’s of 747s trying to convince myself that those things really could fly.

Then I got to ride thru a flight test stall series well into heavy buffet and thinking this thing is really just a giant scale model of a Piper Cub.
 

speedracer

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Yes it's the end of an era
I got a redeye flight from Portland, OR to Chicago on a 747 in the 70's. There were (exactly) 16 passengers on that flight. I flipped up the armrests, got a bunch of pillows to make a bed and slept like a baby. Just before I fell asleep a flight attendant (stew back then) said "You comfortable?"
 

Dan Thomas

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Post # 10. “Revolutionary developments get more and more difficult, and only new technologies can fix that.
……..,
We need more such stuff.”

Each year Aviation Week has a year in review issue. I can’t tell you the exact year but it was probably in the 1980 - 1985 time frame. The general theme was that there was not a lot of new development. NASA was between programs. The military was in a lull, etc.

I read that and just shook my head.

We were in the golden years of Ultralight development. The modern hang glider was replacing the old standard Rogollo Wing design. Paraglider wing development was in full swing. Motorized Easy Risers were showing up at Oshkosh and new designs like the Weed Hopper and CGS Hawk were being developed.
See this:

1665247195954.png

That's Otto Lilienthal, flying his hang glider in 1895. Eight years before the Wrights flew their powered airplane. Lilienthal created several different models starting in 1891, and flew them until he was fatally injured in a crash in 1896. Otto Lilienthal - Wikipedia

Hang glider development was a throwback to Lilienthal's time, not a step forward. The hang gliders soon got engines, then landing gear, then three-axis controls, then an enclosed cockpit, and a whole raft of airplanes, including the Avid Flyer, was the result. Some of them were pretty sketchy. All of it was based on available technology. All of it.
 
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