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50 Years ago

Discussion in 'AviatorChat.com' started by Bob Parks, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. Bob Parks

    Bob Parks F1 Veteran
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    Nov 29, 2003
    6,036
    Shoreline,Washington
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    Robert Parks
    Fifty years ago, Feb. 9, I sat at the top of the main hangar at Paine Field and watched the first 747 take off. The weather was cold and a little bit of snow around, not like it is here now. We listened to everything on the radio and one interesting anecdote was the intrusion into the restricted area by a student pilot flying a C150. He had no idea where he was at the time and he had to be talked out of the area after the controller asked him about his destination. The controller asked if he could any water (Puget Sound) and after a long silence he said that he could see a swimming pool and maybe a river of some kind. It was almost more interesting than the 747. After the take off we listened to Jack Waddell talking to flight test and he stopped and said that they heard a loud bump. They took a look and spotted that the RH inboard flap had jumped off the flap track and jammed. I think that they continued some other tests and came in with a perfect smooth landing. It is hard to believe that was 50 years ago and all of the hard work that came afterwards seems like ancient history. They don't call me Fossil for nuthin'.
     
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  2. tifoso2728

    tifoso2728 F1 Veteran
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    Apr 30, 2014
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    Cool stuff!
     
  3. airborne

    airborne Rookie

    Feb 19, 2013
    47
    Northern VA
    Great memory - thanks for sharing!
     
  4. BMW.SauberF1Team

    BMW.SauberF1Team F1 World Champ

    Dec 4, 2004
    11,618
    Great story! Amazing it's still in use as much as it is today 50 years later.

    They still have 24 orders pending delivery (all -8Fs with 6 of those ordered in 2018).
     
  5. Tcar

    Tcar F1 Rookie

    Thanks Bob.... I remember my first flight on a 747... to Hawaii. Looong time ago... 40+ years ago.
     
  6. Bob Parks

    Bob Parks F1 Veteran
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    Nov 29, 2003
    6,036
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    The aerodynamics and structural engineering on this airplane could not have been surpassed. The static test airframe was proof that the wing was beyond the design ultimate when the aft fuselage failed in a simulated Mach 1 pullout. An easier fix than the wing. The tenor of the 747 program was far different than all the others on which I worked and that was everything from the B-52 to the 777. I did not work on the "odd" airplanes, the 737 and initially the 757. The 747 had a tense and totally objective aire about it. If you didn't perform at maximum RPM you were booted out and someone else brought in. Failure was not an option. People were expendable and many achieved that status. Heart attacks, some in-plant, and divorces were common. There were some supervisors sleeping on cots in their offices at times. To the displeasure of my wife, I worked many weekends without pay. It was a desperate situation to get the airplane done in time and everybody pitched in and somebody coined the phrase that we were the "Incredibles". One year later I was one of thousands that were laid off.
     
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  7. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    Feb 27, 2004
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    Jim Pernikoff
    And I believe that when they rolled it out, the plant building was still not quite finished. I know that the freeway that led to the plant was still under construction!

    My first 747 flight was from MIA to ATL in July 1971 on Delta (using a Pan Am airplane).
     
  8. Bob Parks

    Bob Parks F1 Veteran
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    Nov 29, 2003
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    The east parking lot had a copse of woods east of it that harbored a bunch of coyotes that came down into the parking lot to have lunch with the guys who ate in their cars. The new administration twin towers are there now. One of the most comfortable flights I ever had was in a 747SP from London to Seattle. Great airplane.
     
  9. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    Feb 27, 2004
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    Jim Pernikoff
    In my last days in Everett in 1980, I was already taking stuff out to my car in that same parking lot, and I saw a deer standing on a hillside that was immediately adjacent to the lot. So I can believe your story about the coyotes!
     
  10. Bob Parks

    Bob Parks F1 Veteran
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    Nov 29, 2003
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    Robert Parks
    Something else that I remember with a chuckle was a raunchy old Buick that was half eaten up by deterioration. Painted in white on the trunk, "RUST NEVER SLEEPS!" I think that you and I could collaborate on a book about Boeing's early days. We have probably bumped into one another and never knew it.
     

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