Sunday, May 1, 2016

Waiting for the Giant in the Sky

As I was watching planes yesterday, I barely missed catching the 747 that was on its way to Japan.  When I got home last night, I decided to look up the flight time so that I could catch it today.
 There was a slight catch today though.  It was pretty foggy.  In fact, I think the deck was probably 500 to 1000 feet or so.  That pretty much meant that I had to be on my toes.  First up was this Canadair Regional Jet.  Unfortunately, I can't make out too many of the tail numbers, so I can't look up the flight information.
 I think this is an Airbus 319.
 This is an Embrear plane.  It comes out of Brazil.
 This Airbus 320 was heading to Minneapolis.
 Like I said, it didn't take long for it to disappear into the fog.
 An MD-80.
 I think this is another Airbus 319.
 Another Canadair Regional Jet.
 This Airbus 330 was on it's way to Japan.  I think Delta is going to the larger two engine planes for long distance flights.
 After a while, the plane I was looking for finally appeared.  This is one of Delta's daily flights from Detroit to Narita Airport in Tokyo, Japan.  Several years ago, I took this particular flight and 13 hours in a plane is pushing it.
 The 747 is probably one of the most recognizable aircraft in the world.  It was referred to as a Jumbo Jet and sometimes the Queen of the Skies.  It came about as the result of an Air Force requirement for a large cargo jet.  Boeing offered a variant of the 747 and Lockheed offered a variant of what would become the C-5A Galaxy.  The Lockheed aircraft would end up winning.
As Boeing was building the design for the Heavy Cargo Airplane, they were approached by Juan Trippe who was the owner of Pan Am Airways.  He was looking for a large airliner for his international routes.  Boeing switched from a high wing design to something more similar to the current plane.  This plane could carry over 300 passengers.  It would have its first flight in 1969.  Over the years, over 1500 of these planes (and their variants would be ordered).
The original 747's had a lounge in the distinctive bulge on the roof.  Over the years, those were eliminated in the desire of airlines to put more people on them.  The one pictured is a 747-400.  The newest version is the 747-800 but I'm not sure who is interested in those.
Sadly, the Delta version of the 747 is fading into history.  I heard that they plan on retiring it by next year.  I'm not sure what they are going to replace it with.

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