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Discussion in 'AviatorChat.com' started by Bob Parks, May 15, 2019.
Boeing rolled out the 707 prototype, the 367-80. Pretty exciting for a twenty seven year old.
Indeed. Some work an entire career and never have the privilege of being part of a clean sheet design. I think you've been blessed in that department. I've only had one, the 777, but like to think that was a pretty good one to be on. I recall the roll-out ceremony and it made a big lump in my throat.
Bob - is this the one you worked on???!!!!!
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Yes indeed! I also saw that roll over the Gold Cup Race course going north and the one going south. Tex did two that day.
Bob, I figured you'd chime in with this one! The world hasn't been the same since. It also led to the near extinction of U.S. passenger railroading (with help from the Interstate highway system) and worldwide ocean liner travel.
I was lucky to attend one Boeing rollout, the 767. Ironically I was vacationing in Seattle at the time, but calling one of my former co-workers got me inside the gate as a visitor.
Bob, I've been enjoying your book and just finished that section. Thanks for being here!
Thank you. Few recognize the changes in travel in this country. One that I feel is a big loss is the railway system. Some of the best trips that I ever took were on the train and one was on a troop train during the war. Now it is a hodge podge of old and new equipment that usually has flat wheels but it is more comfortable than air travel by far. It's ridiculous when compared to rail travel in Europe. In the 50's and 60's U.S. air travel was a wonderful way to go but today it has dropped into more of a torture than a joy...unless one can afford first class. This is supposed to be the richest country in the world but it can't seem to get its act together when it comes to infrastructure and its own transportation systems.
Thank you. I'm glad that you are enjoying my recall. It's not much of a book as great writing goes but I'm not an Ernest Gann. I just felt that I should describe what it was like to see things in my time that were somewhat unique. Like the beginnings of air travel, the Depression, the War, and the beginnings of jet air travel. It was a lot easier to move around then without fear of being assaulted or having to cope with the drug culture.
Well Bob, this Frenchman hopes that the US trains are still nice, because I shall be spending eight days on board of these in September: will be flying to Chicago, then taking the "Empire Builder" to Seattle; from here, the "Coast Starlight" to San Francisco, and then back to Chicago with the "California Zephyr". And from Chicago, flying back to Paris. From what I have seen, accomodation doesn't look bad; at least, better than it was in 2001 on board the Transsiberian from Moscow to Vladivostok, which is 9.600 kms or 6.000 miles. ..
You have to go downtown for Amtrak so try to hit the Chicago River walk. Very clean and new with an amazing view. My favorite west coast city skylines are San Francisco and Seattle. Both are growing and very beautiful.
Chicago River walk this week from London House 21st floor rooftop and ground level(free to get in).
Sorry back to topic
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Thanks Tom, will do, if time allows. I already visited Chicago, in 2010; very interesting city. Loved it.
Tommy, when were those pics taken?... looks like there still some green in the river from St. Patrick's Day...
Back to topic.
Still remember my first plane ride... AND my first train trip; overnight on the Santa Fe "El Capitan" from Albuquerque to Los Angeles....waking up in my berth in Flagstaff in the middle of the night, etc.
Well, its obvious, as said by Bob, that air travel has changed beyond recognition. Was watching and old french movie from 1963 a few days ago; it ended with a scene inside an Air France Boeing 707 "INTERCONTINENTAL" (emphasis in the movie's dialogue) and the plane was from the first serie of Air France 707, named for each of the great "Château de la Loire": crossing the Altlantic by plane looked really as something very special. Today, folks go from Paris to New-York just like they commute at the end of the day for their job. On one hand, this is fine: air travel is cheaper and more democratic; on the other, something has definitively be lost: the purpose of travelling shouldn't be in going to point B from point A: it's in the travel itself.
And don't get me started on the ridiculous and lengthy security checks in every airport...
Sounds like a great trip. I've ridden the Empire Builder a couple times both ways (fall and winter). Lots of wide open scenery. Enjoy and post some pics.
I envy your taking this trip! You will see some spectacular country on each route. I have flown over (and through ) most of it on the west coast and I have seen most of it on the Calif. Zephyr route by auto. The trains are very comfortable and easy on the passenger. One can get up and walk around and stretch his legs. I have been told that sleeping accommodations are good. Can't vouch for dinning car quality. Going through the upper tier of the states you will see vast farm lands and in the Dakotas and Montana you can see open prairies and the northern Rockies. You will go through places in which we have lived ,like Sandpoint, Idaho, Everett, Wa. and you will make a short stop in Edmonds, Wa. where we presently reside. Beautiful views along the shoreline as you travel south. Then you go through the Cascades. On the Zephyr you will travel through the "Wind Wild West' and see some more of the Rockies. You are doing some traveling that most Americans will never do. Good stuff!
Have fun! In my experience with the Empire Builder and other Amtrak trains, mostly through family members, the train itself isn't too bad. The schedule is another story-- delays of 24-48 hours are not uncommon, and expect Amtrak to tell you that it's perfectly on time until the departure time has passed, and then it's "delayed."
Thank you Bob and gentlemen ; not wanting to derail Bob’s thread about the anniversary of the 367-80, so I shall remain concise and write only a few short lines.
I do love trains, as they allow you to actually see some parts of the country you are crossing from close quarters; of course, it’s not like living in it, but it is better than airplane travel, where you are only flying over it. And ionboard a train, you usually have actually some occasions to speak with people, even if it is - more often than not - usually « small talk ». Train travel is not hectic, you can enjoy the trip. I appreciated a trip I did in 2010 with Amtrak : Chicago to Boston, then to New-York, and then to Washington. I’m not travelling very often for plaesure ; probably travelled « enough » for my job, not « much », but « enough » ; and grew tired of it, airports in particular. Will turn 60 in January 2020, so was looking for something to mark the occasion ; but January is winter, so not ideal. It occured to me that actually seeing some of the landscape we see in many movies from close, from a train, could be a good way to catch a glimpse of the US, outside its main cities that we tend to visit most of the time. I do expect many interesting moments.
No problem with letting the conversation roll along to wherever it's going. One can be educated by the knowledgeable inputs on this forum. On our recent trip from Portland to Edmonds, I was disgusted how the clattering wheels ruined our journey. The southbound and northbound trains ALL had flat spotted wheels and it sounded like a machine-gun when it got to 70mph. I strolled from the head end to the last car and every one of them were clattering. I wrote a letter to Amtrak and received a form letter in return. The trains in U.K were very smooth, as I remember. Also, well equipped with a young lady pushing a little cart with a selection of relaxing beverages ! It was after 1700 , of course.
Not like in the Royal Navy, then? In the old days, the usual question before having a drink was: "Is the sun already above the horizon?"
Pray for scattered thunderstorms across the Great Plains. While crossing the vast prairie in western North Dakota and through Montana it is always wondrous to see massive thunderheads building 50-100 miles distant, massive sheets of virga, and even a good hail storm on the train while sitting in the copola car. Sadly you'll miss a bit of the Rockies on the Empire Builder (being nighttime), but following the Mississippi to Minneapolis is grand, as well as most of WA and the Cascades.
I'd love to take the Zephyr someday, and also the TransSiberian and TransAustralian.
I grew up in the lightning capitol of the U.S. but the wildest and most spectacular thunderstorm I experienced was in Sturgis, So. Dak. (not there for the Motorcycle thing) .
The Transsiberian is an extraordinary experience that I did in 2001, at 41 of age. But (not wanting to derail the thread - no pun intended...) it is a bit spartan, even in first. Washing facilities are limited, even traveling first class: you have to wash in a small sink in the toilets, and food is not very varied (actually, it is better to buy something at each train stop to the people selling it to the passengers). Only the number one train, going to Beijing, had showers on board at that time. We were happy to have scheduled a two days stop ar Irkoutsk with an hotel room...and a shower (The Baikal lake more than justify the stop, believe me). Landscape is nice from Moscow to Irkoutsk, but pretty barren after it until Khabarovsk. Nice again after that to the terminus in Vladivostok. But the feeling at Vladivostok, knowing that Japan is only a night away by boat, is really something. I would do it again in a heartbeat. You need a good travel companion, good books...and a strong back. My girlfriend was fluent in Russian, which helped enormously.
All in all, absolutely unique. We met some pretty wild russians all along.
Like my late brother always said, " It's 5 pm somewhere, let's have a drink."
I rather wish they would take the fan engines off of the Dash 80 at Udvar-Hazy and replace them with a set of J57s removed from one of the re-engined KC-135s. Even if not identical to the engines that were originally fitted, they would be closer to the original configuration, which is really the way the aircraft should be displayed.
Bob- Reminds me that the 707 had not been in service that long when I took a Pan-Am 707 from Oslo to Idlewild in July 1961. Chapped off my folks, though. They already had reservations on the Oslofjord ocean liner when USAF dictated everybody going to or from Norway would use a jet liner instead of an ocean liner. Had a lot of booze to use up that was saved for the farewell party on the ship.