I decided to head over to the airport tonight. I thought I had a pretty good chance of catching a 747 that was flying in from Minneapolis. I also knew that there was a regular 757 flight. I ended up getting a surprise though.
First up is an MD-11 belonging to Fed Ex. It was bringing cargo into Detroit. The MD-11 was an outgrowth of the DC-10 program. McDonnell-Douglas started to investigate a replacement for the DC-10 in 1976. Initially they started with a stretch version of the DC-10 that could carry more passengers. The MD-11 was launched in 1986 but the fact that it used three engines meant it was less efficient than the twin engined wide bodies that were coming out at the time. It wasn't particularly successful for passenger service but cargo companies bought it. When Boeing bought McDonnell-Douglas, they only continued production of the freighter version.
I still think it is a pretty cool looking aircraft.
Next up was a 747 that was arriving from Minneapolis-St Paul Airport. It flew there from Tokyo and I'd imagine it was coming here to used for the return flight to Tokyo tomorrow. I know that the MSP folks were happy because Delta discontinued 747 flights there for the most part.
As I've said before, I'm not sure how much longer the 747 will be flying out of Detroit, so I will always be happy to catch it.
One more shot.
And of course, I stuck around for my favorite plane, the Boeing 757.
In all of my pictures, I don't think I've ever went through the history of this fabulous airplane. The Boeing 757 is a twin-engine narrow body airliner. It was intended to replace the 727 for short and medium flights. The turbofan engines it uses are sufficiently powered to allow it to take off from shorter airfields and this makes it a versatile aircraft. It was also one of the first passenger aircraft to be equipped with a glass cockpit instead of the various gauges and dials of older aircraft. It was designed the same time as the 767 and shares enough features that pilots can be qualified to fly both aircraft.
The first flight was in February 1981 and it was launched less than a year later with Eastern Airlines. This particular model is the 757-200. There is also a 757-300 model which is longer. Over 1,000 757s were built when production ended in 2005. Boeing decided to continue with the 737 (which isn't a bad aircraft but not as nice looking as this one).
There are current 738 757s in service and Delta flies 138 of those.