Happy Anniversary, Big Ol’ Jet Airliners

jumbojet
A 747-400 flies over the ocean in a photo by Aaron Escobar, used via Creative Commons.

This week Boeing’s jets reach a trifecta of anniversaries: The maiden flight of the Boeing 247 was on February 8, 1933, and today marks the anniversaries of the maiden flights of the 727 Trijet (February 9, 1963) and the 747 Jumbo Jet on February 9, 1969.

One of the most distinct memories of my childhood was making the long-trek across the Atlantic Ocean coming home from Europe to the USA in a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet that carried us all the way from London to New York City in what felt like days instead of hours. Fun days/hours, though; as young children there were few things my brothers and I loved more than going somewhere on a plane. Back when the 747 Jumbo was still a new model, taking a flight was still a pretty big deal for most people. I remember that people used to dress for their flights the way they used to dress to go to the theater or church or a business meeting. While I am perfectly happy to live in a much more informal society, I do wish that taking a plane ride was still the thrill it was then.

Oh well, it’s not Boeing’s fault: they continue to build bigger and/or better planes all the time, including the new Boeing 747-8 Freighter which yesterday had its first flight up in Everett in front of more than 5,000 employees, customers, suppliers and community leaders. According to their press release here which has some nifty photos of the plane both on the ground and in the air (the 747-8 is rather an attractive plane, I think), Boeing’s Freighter 747s carry over half the world’s air freight. Pretty impressive.

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