On the 9th of February 1969, the first 747 flew for the first time, a nearly two-hour flight from Everett, Washington and back again.
My first flight with the 747 was on my birthday on a Pan Am flight to Sydney, Australia in 1971. My parents had organised for a birthday cake on the plane. I had already fallen in love seeing the plane from the Hong Kong airport window. Every second of that journey felt like magic (Pan Am was still a great airline at that time). For months afterwards, I would pretend I was on a 747 and run down the backyard path imagining it was a runway and feeling that amazing lift.
I have gone on to fly the 747 a total of 97 times. This is 97 powerful takeoffs and 97 incredible landings.
I have remained in love with this plane while traveling safely almost half a million miles (almost 20 times around the world) to 16 countries on five continents with 747s operated by 14 airlines. I have spent one and a quarter months of my life flying on a 747! I even timed my 747th flight ever to be on a Qantas Jumbo.
- 12 of the original 747-100s
- 19 747-200s which had greater fuel capacity, heavier lift capability, more powerful engines and a longer range-these appeared on the Pacific routes
- just 3 747-300s- longer upper deck, slight aerodynamic tweaks resulting in a slightly higher top speed and the spiral staircase was banished
- 372 747-400s which increased range again, reduced fuel consumption and needed a flight crew of 2 instead of 3
- 130 747-8s, the longest version with the greatest passenger capacity
Most of them are operated as freighters.
I never flew Pan Am again. These days, I spend more time on A330s, 787s and 737s than 747s. I have my heart set on three more 747 flights in my lifetime to get to 100 flights on the beautiful jumbo. I would like them to be on the 747-8 which is the only type I have not flown on. Now to make it happen.
What is your 747 love story?