As I type this, I am currently 37,000 feet in the air in a Delta Airbus A320. But this story is about another aircraft, the Boeing 747.
End of last year, I came across several articles about US airlines retiring their Boeing 747 planes from commercial service within a month. The 747, also know as the Queen of the Skies, is a 4 engine jet aircraft that is easily recognizable. It has a hump at the front of the aircraft because of its double-deck. A customized version of two 747s have been used by US presidents since 1990. And since it became Air Force One, it has been featured in many Hollywood movies. The 747s are still in use by the US carriers and other airlines as cargo planes. But if you'd like to spend a few hours in the air on board the Queen of the Skies, you'll have to fly with a foreign airline.
The reasons the US airlines retired their 747s are efficiency and money. Newer aircraft, that only have two engines, can perform the same tasks while consuming less fuel. I don't know about you, but flying across the Atlantic for 8 or 9 hours, four engines sure does sound better than two.
I've flown on the newest variant, 747-8, thru Lufthansa between International Airport Dulles and Germany on my summer trips home.
Thanks to the Children’s Democracy Project, a 747 had been shipped (on water) to DC to serve as a small museum. But the kicker is that the aircraft is only a replica of AFO. The plane is a real 747 that's been retired and then retrofitted to look like AFO. Nevertheless, I was excited to see it. I drove down there to check it out. They had a tour of the inside for $20 but since the aircraft never served as AFO, I passed. Here are a few photos:
If you asked, How cool would it have been to see the president with the Air Force One? My answer would be, Pretty darn cool, especially if it was President James Marshall! Harrison Ford said it in the movie and US airlines repeated it to their 747 customers, Get off my plane!