Saturday, November 21, 2020


 The very first time I saw a 747 I was sitting at the end of a runway at Chicago's OHare field. I was in a Convair 580.  The cockpit crew called me forward.  Captain Blakesley told me a 747 was getting ready for takeoff.  Did I want to watch?  Yes! 

He made the announcement to the passengers that this 747 was about to take to the skies- and if they wanted they could watch out the left side of the aircraft.

We watched while this huge airplane lumbered down the runway! From our vantage point it looked like it was taking forever to take off!  I remember saying "Up! UP!!"  We watched as it appeared to lift off just short of the end of the runway.  I'm sure they had plenty of runway left- it was just our vantage point.  Captain Blakesley turned to me and asked if I wanted to fly on that.  At the time I joked that I wasn't going to fly on something that was bigger than my home town! We both came from Iowa, so he got the joke!

Fast forward to when we merged with NorthWest Airlines in1987.  Training on that airplane was such a fascination for me!  I know I spent a lot of time saying "WOW!"- sort of like the first time this Iowa girl went to New York and saw sky scrapers for the first time!  Ha!

I Loved the 747!  I had a special fondness for the 747-200.  When my seniority would allow, I loved working the upper deck, which was  First Class on that Airplane!  There was a lot of up and down trips on the stairs, but I didn't mind!  It was like it's own little world up there!

Later it was the 747-400 that I mostly worked. Many of the flights to Seoul, Korea were on that airplane!  Back in those days when NorthWest had  fantastic First Class service with meals served in courses with linen table cloths and china, it was a joy to work! 

I find it interesting that my two favorite airplanes were one of the the smaller and one of the largest in the industry! 

The 747-400 took me to far off places I only dreamed of.  My love of that aircraft was cemented over the years.

Recently I saw a documentary about a retired pilot who purchased a 747 from the scrap yard- had it transported to a large piece of property, and turned into a residence!  

I can see- in my imagination- where the kitchen, the lounge, the elegant bath and shower bathrooms, and the bedrooms would be!  Of course, I'll need to win the lottery first! Ha!  And then I'd also purchase my other love- the Convair 580 and turn it into a guest house! 

The chances of that happening are-- well, slim to none!  But what fun that would be!  An old Stews dream!

Until next time, dear readers! 

Remember! Life Is Indeed An Adventure! And Letting The Imagination Take Flight Makes The Adventure Fun!


Dirty Jim said...

I first got to see the 747 when it was in the Pan Americanpaint scheem. It was before DFW opened to the public. I was on a test hot on a Lear out of Dallas Love field and my pilot flew over the 747 at DFW with a 707 parked beside it to show the difference. I later got to work on the 747SP and only got to taxi one from the right seat.50+ years in service This was Boeing best ever.

The Flight Nun said...

Dear Dirty Jim- The first sight of the 747 was indeed memorable to all! I still would love to work that airplane- First Class of course!

unit 501 said...

Northwest had a route schedule that was so terrible it went Junior to Reserve. However, there was a group of us who bid the schedule for years. It flew all night for 9 days in a row with 2 days off. It went from amSP to ORD to JFK and back the same way. The upside was it arrived in New York at 7:00 and you had all day. to play in New York as we stayed at the Sheraton on Central Park. Pick up was 11:30 pm that night.

It was on a 747 -200 and rarely did we carry more than 40 passengers total. We would regularly carry performers such as Jim Croce, Dionne Warwick and Diane Ross who were finishing their shows in New York and flying home. It was a US Mail run and it had to reach its two destinations no matter what. Sometimes there were significant mechanical delays but we always got on our way.

One f/a celebrated her 100 run of that schedule! I flew it for 2 years straight. That was a way to fly the 747 ! Imagine the antics that went on. We were all in our early 20’s and crazy!

The Flight Nun said...

Dear unit 501- The night flights were always a challenge for me. Having a long layover in New York would be awesome! I'm sure that being in your 20's- you had youth on your side to survive those all night flights! It would have been awesome to only have 40 passengers on those flights! Wow!