Cranky on the Web: More 747 Love

747, United

One of United’s last 747s comes to Houston once more before retirementHouston Chronicle
It’s like I’m an addict who can’t quit the 747 tributes. But hey, the Houston Chronicle asked me for a comment when the 747 came through to say goodbye in Houston, so I had to answer, right? RIGHT?!

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7 comments on “Cranky on the Web: More 747 Love

  1. I flew as a Trans World director of Customer Service on board TWA’s 747 100 series in the early 70s. Great memories! Of all the celebrities and VIPs on my flights, my most memorable passenger was Charlie Chaplan LAX-LHR.

  2. Non-avgeeks (and maybe even some younger geeks) may not know that the 747 was the *first* widebody… before it debuted, the largest passenger jets were DC-8s. Boeing management certainly was bold to go so big, instead of just building an incrementally larger aircraft.

    1. Bold?

      The 747-100 almost bankrupted the company. It had engine/wing mounting problems and a whole host of issues that delayed entry. After the project was operational, Boeing laid off so many engineers that someone hung a billboard on Interstate 5 saying, “Would the last person out of Seattle, please turn off the lights?”

      In retrospect, I have to believe Boeing made a carload of money for its shareholders on the 747-100. And it is a great plane to fly in. But it was more than bold.

      Innovative, thoughtful and progressive, certainly. But bold? I’d prefer to think the 747 was borderline crazy from a business investment perspective.

  3. First flew a TWA B747/100 in 1970 and flew a Lufthansa B747/800 just last year, the latter will be going for decades more since they are practically new. Have flown the 100, 200, SP, SR, 300, 400 and 800. What a plane!

    1. Flew in a Qantas 747SP from SYD-CNS, as a swapped-out replacement, back in 2000; never forgot the landing – the pilot was halfway through righting the plane during a 180 degree turn (having flown along one side of the mountain range) when the wheels touched down. Ballsy as hell.

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