Saturday Edition: Achievement Unlocked, Fly on the 747

I love aviation. I have model aircrafts. I can identify aircrafts as they fly over us or taxi around airports (even though Lauren does not care). I’m always researching and learning more and more about what makes these things fly. My favorite moments during a flight are ALWAYS the takeoff and landing. Because during the takeoff something amazing is happening, and science is making this giant piece of aluminum filled with hundreds of people get off the ground! And landing, because it’s essentially a controlled crash.

Check out one landing in St. Maarten:

Since I was a little kid I have always wanted to fly on the legendary Boeing 747. The giant, double decker, four engine behemoth that is so impressive that the United State chose it for the President as Air Force One. The problem was I had never traveled to a location that required this aircraft. Since it is designed for the long hauls, flying to Mexico City from Miami, or to Seattle from San Francisco never requires anything larger than a 737 or A320. And for the one time I got to go to the UK for several months, they booked me on United, which uses the 767, and while large does not compare to my goal aircraft.

So when we were looking for tickets to Barcelona, I made it a little goal of mine to seek out a 747 for the initial flight. And sure enough, British Airways delivered! They had a special sale, with the first leg being a non-stop SF to London flight on a 747-400!!!! Not only was the price right, the schedule fit perfectly well too, so boom tickets bought.

The days following the ticket purchase I was really excited. I kept telling Lauren random facts like, “Did you know we will be flying atΒ Mach 0.92 (614mph)?! That’s almost the speed of sound!” or Did you know it has the largest passenger interior volume of any commercial airliner, which is equivalent to more than three houses each measuring 1,500 square feet?” I learned that facts like these actually freak her out, so I kept them to myself. =)

So fast forward to the day of the flight. I was super excited. Waiting patiently. The plane hadn’t arrived yet (being 2 hours delayed). Then suddenly….

Wow. wow. wow. Look at this giant plane! I cannot wait to board.

Since we were delayed and on a tight schedule I didn’t ask to see the upper deck or the cockpit (Which I’ve done on other flights and the pilots LOVE showing me around their controls). Yes I’m 8 years old.

The flight felt different. You can really tell you’re on board something much more powerful. The taxi to the runway was smooth. The takeoff felt really heavy and took a while to get off the ground. During turbulence, and boy there was some nasty bumps, I always felt safe. Like the plane was like “I got this shit!” Amazing.

About 6 hours in, we were approaching the polar regions and I noticed the ground speed was almost at 700mph. This means we were almost at the speed of sound (767mph) and I got excited. I wanted to tell Lauren, but she was OUT. All cozied up, face on the head nubbin and snoozing hard.

We spend a total of 18 hours on the 747 during both flights. On the one home, the entire flight was in this eternal daylight since we were heading west. It was fascinating how much it felt like we were time traveling. Thanks to the light, we managed to take a peak out the window and saw the arctic. I also had a chance to take a photo from our little cabin in the middle of the plane.

I think now that I’ve completed this goal of mine, I should update it a bit. Next up, fly first class on the upcoming 747-8. I mean look at this:

Anyways, I leave you with a video that makes me wish I was a pilot. Shot by a pilot of an A319 (the planes you fly with Virgin America) while flying into Brazil.

13 thoughts on “Saturday Edition: Achievement Unlocked, Fly on the 747”

  1. Oh yeah , I LOVE flying, and takeoff is my favorite, the speed feels so so good. Also that first airplane is a KLM and not to sound like a commercial or anything but those planes have a place in my heart since I met the boy in one of those.
    First class looks good ! Now you made me want to add it to the life list.

  2. I’m a plane nut too.
    In fact, Mark and I met on a tramping trip where I got all excited by what kind of helicopter was coming to pluck one of our party members out of the bush…
    In 2009, Emirates started flying the A380 Double Decker Auckland – Sydney – Dubai, and they had a sale on tickets Auckland – Sydney.
    Yep. I persuaded Mark that we should fly via Auckland (adding a 1 hour domestic flight, plus 2 hour layover to a 3 hour trans-tasman flight) JUST so we could fly on the A380. He was pretty keen anyway πŸ™‚

    I got this shot of a 747 and a 737 flanking our A380 before we left Auckland

    But yeah, I am still SO excited that we get to fly in a 747 on our trip to Europe next month (NEXT MONTH!!), and was stoked to get to clamber on board a 777-300ER yesterday at an air show. (FA-18s, Boeing C17s. sigh)

      1. The A380 is scary big! I know one goes in and out of SFO, but I’ve never seen it since its only in terminal G. I’ve actually never flown out of that terminal for some reason.

  3. nerd-tastic!! And yes – the plane was like “I got this!” hahahaha

    ps: My dad is a huge plane nerd (and works for Boeing), who will slow down in his car to figure out what kind of plane is flying above us, so if Kamel ever wants a tour when you guys are here – holler at your girl!

    1. Oooo I love this! You can do with the Wolfram Alpha app or website too. Since I work near the airport I always get curious to the planes that are coming in for landing. =)

  4. I did that St Marteen landing and take off. Crazy stuff.

    Glad you had a fun flight. I want to see pics when you go first class! πŸ™‚ That one looks AMAZING.

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