The venerable Boeing 747 celebrates its 40th birthday today. Up until the introduction of the Airbus 380, the 747 was the giant of the commercial aviation world. She was the first to be called a “Jumbo”.
The 747 will always be my favorite mode of air travel. The size, the power, the sheer majesty of a 747-400 at takeoff always makes my heart beat a little faster than any other airplane. The first time I flew on one was back in the 80’s – a CP Air “Empress”. Years later I had a guided tour of an Air Canada combi (half passenger/half cargo) as it cruised above the Atlantic and then spent 2 of the greatest hours of my life up on the flight deck shooting the shit and drinking coffee with a very accommodating Captain and FO. I’ve been on aging KLM’s, Lufthansa and refurbished British Airways models. I’ve been in coach, business and on the upper deck. I sat in Row 1, farther forward than the flightdeck. Every flight was a memory I’ll always cherish.
The chances of flying on a 747 are still there. Boeing has a new version on the books. I hope to board the beast again.