Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

A 747 appreciation post

Airplanes. I work near them. Not in them, because that's so not my job that I'd get in trouble and likely fired (possibly even arrested) if I wound up during work hours on one. (Heck, a few days ago I had a sort of anxiety dream where I'd accidentally wound up on a plane and was trying to get off of it before it left the gate but kept getting diverted and blocked.)

Anyway. Airplanes. Bombardier propeller-powered planes and lots of Boeing 737s and planes with special paint jobs (Alaska Airlines has jets with salmon on the side, planes with Northwest colleges' logos on them, Disneyland-themed planes, and Marvel movie-themed planes) and MD-11 cargo jets for FedEx and business jets and Oregon Air National Guard F-15s and, sometimes, visiting F-18s from other bases and squadrons, and more and more and more.

The largest plane PDX regularly gets is the Boeing 747. The Airbus A380, the only other double-decker passenger jet in service, as far as I know hasn't flown into PDX yet. It's a big airport, but not yet that big. We don't currently get passenger 747s, in fact: a few days a week we get cargo flights by Cathay Pacific. Like this:

But the point is, we get 747s. And I like to see them. They're a type of plane that makes it really obvious that jumbo jets are buildings with wings. They're impressively big, even as not the biggest planes that operate. Thanks (I presume) to advances in jet engines since the 747 started carrying passengers in 1970, the 747s aren't appreciably louder than smaller planes. They don't hold a candle to the noise of many military jets, or to the two loudest types of planes I used to see in Virginia when I lived near Washington Dulles Airport: the Aeroflot Ilyushin (a long-body jet with all four engines on the tail) and the Concorde.

As is probably clear, I've been watching planes since the Eighties. Don't worry, I've never been interested in piloting them. I'd be bad at that.

And back in 1985, I flew on a United Airlines 747, for one leg of a two-leg cross-country trip. I happened to be looking out the gate window at Chicago O'Hare when that 747 started to roll up and I perked up at its arrival. It struck me enough that later that year in sixth grade later I wrote an essay whose tone was "I flew on a 747 and it was cool!" I might still have the photo I took of the plane pulling up in my photo collection, though if I do, it's at Mom and Dad's house and I don't have immediate access.

I could see more 747s. Evergreen Air Venture Museum in McMinnville, Oregon has two: one parked in front of the museum where the even larger Spruce Goose is,nand another one installed on the roof of its Wings and Waves Water Park. Really, you go up into the fuselage and ride water slides out of it. (Good thing no one needs that 747 to be airworthy anymore.) But to this day, and from now on, I perk up at seeing something that big land or launch.

This isn't my deepest blog entry, but it was fun to write.
Tags: work

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