Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Air France 747, Goodbye To An Icon!

Stunning! This Is How You Say Goodbye To An Icon | All Things Aero:

A video that I enjoyed watching on the link. I used to watch the contrails from the farm as a kid, and on the rare occasions that I got to see a big city airport I always dreamed of getting on a 747.

It wasn't until my first over the pond business trip to England in late '80s that I rode one of the iconic double deckers from Minneapolis to Gatwick outside of London. The "ship of the skies" ... a slow and stately takeoff roll, a pretty level deck angle on climb. DC-10's of the era flexed and shook, with typically one or more overhead bins popping open. The 747 was solid, quiet and calm.

Sometime in the early '90s I read "Wide-body: The Triumph of the 747" a superb book. Remember, they built this beast prior to much in the way of computing power being available, and it was a REAL technological and business stretch. The book is also full of a lot of stories of the history of Boeing, including how the swept wing planes have a tendency to "Dutch Roll" which if not dampened can become violent.

On a customer acceptance flight, the customer pilot miscorrected and the roll became so violent that 3 of the 4 engines were thrown from the plane. It crash landed killing a high level Boeing exec and I believe their chief pilot -- 4 survived, largely because he was able to get the plane to the ground in a semi-controlled manner. "Bugs" in planes are often more costly than bugs in computers!

I definitely recommend the book if you have an interest in this industry changing jet.

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