11.30.2018 Uncategorized No Comments

Cockpits Not Often Seen

M1 Abrams


AH-1Z Viper Helicopter


Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird


P-51 Mustang Cockpit


B2 Bomber


Mi-24 Hind




Gulfstream G650


F-35 Lightning


Cessna 206


AH-6 Little Bird


EH-60 Black Hawk


AV-8B Harrier II


Enola Gay (Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber which dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima)


Spruce Goose


Space Ship One


Supermarine Spitfire

08.30.2018 Uncategorized No Comments

Speaking Eagles who have written a book bring a signed copy to put in the SWA library


We asked every Speaking Eagle who had written a book to bring a signed copy to the private session with Gary Kelly, CEO of Southwest to put in the SWA library. This was just before the National Speakers Assn. annual convention began, on July 14, 2018 Hilton Anatole in Dallas, TX.

Front row: Col. Lee Ellis, Howard Putnam, Gary Kelly, Don Hutson , Linda Swindling, Rick Jakle, Jim Rhode. Other familiar faces in the photo also. It was a memorable hour. Gary is a humble CEO and “visits” not lectures.

06.14.2018 Uncategorized No Comments

Last Rites For a UA 747 N118UA

Do you remember your first flight on a 747? I remember mine on TWA. May, 1970, from ORD to either SFO or SEA, when I was a staff assistant at UA headquarters in CHI. 48 years ago.

– Howard

Last Rites for a Boeing 747

The jumbo jets dubbed Queen of the Skies are being phased out, cut up for spare parts and recycling

By Scott McCartney

TUPELO, Miss.—Its sheer size defies gravity. Its grace and elegance defy reason. The Boeing 747, mother of all jumbo jets, is in its twilight years for passenger service, leaving multitudes of travelers nostalgic for a time when air travel was comfy and exhilarating.

Only 180 of the original jumbo jets, dubbed the Queen of the Skies, remain in passenger service. Boeing Co. built more than 1,500 of the 747s – passenger and cargo – but is unlikely to be building any more of the passenger variety; the 24 orders that remain are all freighters. Delta and United, the last U.S. airlines flying the two-aisle humped giant, both retired their remaining 747s late last year.

On Saturday, United hosted five 747 aficionados who bid frequent-flier miles, along with their guests and some employees, for a final tour and celebration of the airline’s last one, tail number N118UA. It is here to be stripped of parts and cut up for recycling. Interest in the 747 retirements has been so strong that United auctioned the trip, including transportation to Tupelo, hotel, a tour of Universal Asset Management’s giant warehouse of reusable aircraft parts and a chance to climb all over the jet’s carcass and give it a final Champagne toast.

The five winning bids totaled 1.3 million Mileage Plus miles, says Tara From, senior manager of loyalty redemption at United. The two highest bids were 420,000 miles each, or easily enough for $10,000 or more worth of business-class tickets.

“I never had a bad flight on it,” says Ted Birren, a school administrator from the Chicago area who was one of the 420,000-mile bidders. Like many travelers, he says the physics of the 747 still boggle his mind. “To get something that big off the ground is amazing,” he says. “This plane really set the pace for the airline industry as we know it today.”

The 747 – six stories tall, with a wingspan more than 70 yards wide and the fully loaded weight of roughly seven M1 Abrams tanks – was a breakthrough in aviation when it entered passenger service in 1970. It revolutionized international air travel, bringing affordable tickets to the masses and making it far easier to jet between continents.

‘Queen of the Skies’ Is Fading Away

The Boeing 747 revolutionized air travel. But fuel prices proved to be a significant headwind for the four-engine jumbo jet. The number in passenger service worldwide peaked above 1990s.

Boeing 747 airline passenger fleet in service by month:

At the time, aircraft design was more focused on supersonic planes such as Europe’s 100-seat Concorde. Not fully believing in the passenger potential for a whale of a plane, Boeing designed the 747 with a distinctive bubble top for the cockpit so that when used to carry freight, containers could be loaded right up to the nose of the plane.

The shape proved iconic. The 747 became the most identifiable plane in the skies, and a symbol of American engineering and manufacturing prowess in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1990, the 747 was adopted as Air Force One, further elevating its stature.

With hundreds of seats to sell on each trip, the 747 quickly changed the economics of air travel. Airlines discounted prices to fill the planes, and soon the masses could afford to explore the world. By the summer of 1998, more than 800 747s were ferrying passengers around the globe, according to data and analytics company FlightGlobal.

Many travelers say they have special love for the 747 because it was their first flight, or at least the first they remember. Some recall being awestruck watching the four-engine bird take off: slowly rolling down the runway and gradually tipping its nose toward the heavens, climbing slowly and majestically.

Two-engine planes exert more brute force – the hares to the 747’s tortoise. Passenger jets have to still be able to take off after one engine fails, requiring each engine on a two-engine plane to be, in a sense, over-sized. A four-engine plane doesn’t have pumped-up biceps so it doesn’t leap off the ground into a steep ascent.

But the four engines led to the plane’s descent from passenger airline service. Two-engine jets burn less fuel yet grew to closely match the 747’s carrying capacity. United had 374 seats on its recently retired 747-400s; its 777-300s carry 366 passengers and burn about 25% less fuel.

Airbus has struggled with its four-engine superjumbo, too, the double-deck A380, which is larger than the 747. Over the past 12 years, only 223 A380s have been delivered to airlines. No airline other than Emirates has placed an A380 order since January 2016. The trend among airlines internationally has been to fly past big connecting hubs on long trips and offer flights directly to cities on smaller, long-range planes like the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350, both carrying roughly 250 to 350 passengers.

Today’s coach-cabin seat squeeze has created lingering love for 747s, which never seemed as claustrophobic. The sidewalls of the lower-deck cabin don’t have curves that cramp space. Like an old station wagon, the 747 cabin feels expansive. It even has a staircase to the upper deck.

British Airways is still flying 36 of the 747 planes and Lufthansa 32, according to FlightGlobal’s database. Korean, KLM, Air China and Qantas still have a handful. In all, 22 airlines are still flying the 747 for passengers, FlightGlobal says. Singapore retired its last 747 in 2012; Air France in 2016. Only three carriers—Lufthansa, Korean and Air China—have the newest version, called the 747-8.

United’s final 747 was manufactured in 1999 and flew for only 19 years. That’s only middle-aged—many planes fly for 25 to 35 years. But the 747 market is in such decline that N118UA was worth more for its parts than selling it to another airline. United retains ownership and will get proceeds from parts sold by Universal Asset Management, less commission.

The final passenger flight Nov. 7 was from San Francisco to Honolulu—retracing United’s original 747 flight in 1970. N118UA was then flown to an aircraft storage and recycling facility in Victorville, Calif., where it was stripped of airline gear like galley carts and coffee pots, plus anything that said “United,” according to Jim Garcia, United’s senior manager of fleet surplus sales. Then it was flown to Tupelo.

Within 24 hours, engines were removed—they’ll be inspected, refurbished if necessary and likely reused quickly. Valuable parts like cockpit computers and navigation electronics were taken out, but most of the parts-picking and recycling of aluminum and other metals was put on hold for the United frequent-flier event. (United says it will start auctioning 747 hardware to customers this fall.)

James Munn, a Minneapolis-based television engineer for live sporting events, records each aircraft he flies and knew he had flown on N118UA from London to the U.S. once. Like many travelers, he books 747s whenever he has the opportunity. Boarding the un-air-conditioned plane on a hot, humid Southern afternoon, his eyes got big. “It hasn’t changed too much,” he says.

Mr. Munn sat in seat 1A, first-class in the nose, his favorite seat on United. The cabin was pale, dark and sad—décor and equipment stripped out, seats and overhead bins looking dated and dusty. But Mr. Munn was all smiles. “The 747 represents the golden age of travel,’’ he says.

Richard Schmidt, also a 420,000-mile bidder, first flew aboard a 747 in 1974 and most recently two weeks ago on Lufthansa. “It was a great ride,” says the chief executive of an energy technology company in Houston.

Eric Chiang remembers his first flight aboard a 747, with Northwest Airlines to Taiwan from Detroit with a stop in Tokyo. “I remember as a 4-year-old how massive the airplane looked,” he says.

Now an economist at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fl., he came to Tupelo to get a behind-the-scenes look at the object of his affection, and learn more about airline operations. “It’s sad that United’s no longer flying it,” he says. “Every time it takes off it’s a thrill.”

About the 747

Flight Manifest

Father of the 747: Boeing engineer Joe Sutter

First test flight: Feb. 9, 1969

First commercial ​passenger flight: Jan. 22, 1970, New York to London

Launch customer: Pan American World Airways ordered 25 in April 1966

Speed: Original version 640 mph; latest version 660 mph

List Price: $402.9 million for the 747-8

Total Orders: 1,568 (including freighters)

Business jet/VIP 747s: 8

06.04.2018 Uncategorized No Comments

Ellen Church first ever flight attendant, 1930. Boeing Air Transport, Predecessor of United Airlines

Ellen Church, left, and Virginia Schroeder in front of a 12-ton United Mainliner in May 1940. Ms. Church’s 1930 trip as the first airline stewardess ever was so successful that United Airlines placed attendants on all of its coast-to-coast flights.

Applicants had to be less than 25 years old, less than 5 feet 4 inches tall and less than 115 pounds. The job was strenuous, after all: The planes were small, and the flight — from San Francisco/Oakland to Chicago – took 20 hours and made 13 stops in good weather.

Ellen Church was a licensed pilot and a registered nurse from Iowa. When she realized she had no chance of flying the aircraft herself, she convinced the head of Boeing Air Transport’s San Francisco office that having female stewardesses aboard could help ease anxieties.

Boeing hired eight women – all nurses, “to give passengers an even greater sense of security,” The Times later noted. The so-called Original Eight took flight on this day in 1930, and Ms. Church, 25, became the world’s first airline stewardess.

Ms. Church had initially persuaded Boeing, a forerunner of United Airlines, to hire the stewardesses for three months. She flew for another year and a half and later went on to join the Army Nurse Corps during World War II, receiving the Air Medal and other honors for her distinguished service. She died in 1965.


10.19.2017 Uncategorized No Comments

United Airlines B 747-400 ( 747-s being retired November 2017), at Fleet Week in San Francisco, October 2017

Photos compliments of Sal Hernandez Photos, retired UAL photographer, SFO

08.18.2016 Uncategorized No Comments

Incredible photos of an F-18 going down

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Check out all the smoke from the canopy rocket motors.

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There he goes ! So that’s what the striped handle does ! The left engine has the nozzle fully open, showing that #1 engine was developing no power.

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The white thing is the seat-stabilazing drogue chute. Notice  the pilot’s head pinned to his chest from the severe ‘G’  forces produced by the solid rocket motors in the ACES II  seat. They burn for about 2/10 of a second . . enough time to propel him at least 60 feet clear of the aircraft. Hellova ride.

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One millesecond from eternity for a beautiful FA-18. Check out the now-unoccupied ejection seat following the aircraft to glory.

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The moment-of-impact photo shows flame shooting out of the left engine .. . its ‘last gasp’. There goes the seat above the fireball. The pilot will be downing his first of several shots within the hour, soon as his hands stop shaking.


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And the pilot lived happily ever after . . .

12.20.2015 Uncategorized 1 Comment

Real Heroes – War Dogs – In the Air – On the Ground

Heroes Wonderful

So nice to see those brave









So nice to see those brave dogs being looked after!

my human









This is my human – there are many like it but this one is mine…
And the guy on the left has a  BIG smile on his face. It’s his dog and he is glad it found another lap to sit on instead of his. (Note the brown leash)

we fit









Oh Come On We Both Fit On This Thing!See!?

wing man









I totally saw the dog and is wonderful wing man, never really paid attention to anything else until I started reading the comments. Thank you to our military and their very special dogs who are sent into the worse case scenarios.

board rider









My son was half of a K9 couple. His first partner was Banjo, explosives detection. Oh, the stories we’ve heard! His second partner was Brit, drug dog. I have nothing but the utmost respect for all K9 teams.

thanks for your service









He/she deserved it! Thank you for your service, sweet little puppy.










Look at the power in the thighs and shoulders of this soldier. And that beautiful, determined face. I grew up being told by my Air Force father that women could never serve in combat. Oh, yeah? Tell that to this American soldier! To paraphrase Lincoln: “SHE who shall have borne the battle…”

fierce but sad









He looks so fierce, but sad.. Tears rolling down his/hers face.










They trust each other!










The dog survived, the handler sadly did not.









He is receiving a medal for his service to our Country…well deserved.

go for a walk









Let’s go for a walk they said.   It’ll be fun they said.

best friend









Best friend I could of ever asked for!!!

love one another









IF ONLY we humans would love one another this way too.

angel of war









Every K9 soldier would give their life for their partner, no question they are angels of war…bond beyond words.

Israeli soldier









Hey, that’s an Israeli soldier!

greater love hath no man









The love of a dog is the closest thing to the love God has for the human race. smile emoticon Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his friends …

rainbow bridge









Thank you for your service. Now run free over the rainbow bridge.

dog of war









Not a K9 Soldier, but nonetheless a dog who will serve. His contribution to morale and mental health of the soldiers who found him, take care of him, and will hopefully bring him home with them should also be recognized. Not a War Dog, but still a Dog of War.

awesome picture









THAT is an awesome picture!!!

he ain't heavy









The sharp dried weeds/grass was probably hurting the dog’s feet. Saw another picture once where the human soldier was carrying his dog over
burning hot sand. If it’s too hot or cold on the ground for you to go barefooted, it’s too hot or cold for animals too. He ain’t heavy – he’s my brother!










This is the family of fallen Marine Cpl Dustin Lee. They were allowed to adopt “Lex”.

that's a marine









“that’s not a dog, THAT’S A MARINE.” – Gny Sgt. Leroy Jethro Gibb, USMC “NCIS”










He looks like he’s saying it’s okay – we got this covered.

looked after you









Look after them like they looked after you.

12.16.2015 Uncategorized No Comments


Hope you enjoy this great introduction to the Christmas Season.



“Starting with a single cellist on the floor of the National Air and Space Museum ‘s “Milestones of Flight” gallery, and swelling to 120 musicians, the U.S. Air Force Band exhilarated museum visitors with its first-ever flash mob. The six-minute performance featured an original arrangement of “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring/Joy to the World,” led by the band’s commander and conductor, Col. Larry H. Lang. Unsuspecting museum visitors including tourists and school groups were astonished as instrumentalists streamed into the gallery from behind airplanes and space capsules and vocalists burst into song from the Museum’s second floor balcony.”


12.11.2015 Uncategorized No Comments

Boeing unveils the first 737 MAX — and its new production line

Originally published December 8, 2015 at 9:31 am
Updated December 8, 2015 at 5:08 pm

Boeing rolled out the first 737 MAX 8 outside the 737 final-assembly factory in Renton on Tuesday. (Mike Siegel/The Seattle Times)
Boeing rolled out the first 737 MAX 8 outside the 737 final-assembly factory in Renton on Tuesday. (Mike Siegel/The Seattle Times)

Seattle Times aerospace reporter

The first Boeing 737 MAX rolled off a spanking-new assembly line in Renton last week, and on Tuesday morning it emerged in a teal-colored livery from the paint hangar for a celebratory unveiling before up to 8,000 first-shift employees.

Until this year, the Renton plant housed two highly productive assembly lines, each churning out 21 single-aisle jets per month. In a rabbit-out-of-the-hat transformation, Boeing has now fitted within the same factory space a third assembly line for this new jet – one big enough to accommodate seven 737s nose to tail.

“The complexity of this is not so much the changes in the airplane itself, but more about how you weave this new airplane into a factory that’s been producing (the current 737) for 19 years now,” Keith Leverkuhn, vice president of the 737 MAX program, said in an interview Monday.

The smooth solving of this manufacturing puzzle is remarkable.

Without pausing its breakneck production pace of 42 jets per month, Boeing cleared space for the MAX by consolidating all the subassemblies that feed into the assembly lines and creating a highly automated and efficient fixture for installing the systems inside the empty fuselages that arrive from Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kan.

In parallel, Boeing automated its wing manufacturing in an adjacent building to handle further production-rate increases.

Yet as the first finished MAX debuted Tuesday, Boeing faces a tough reality: Arriving late to market, its new airplane has already ceded ground to the rival Airbus A320neo family.

While the current 737 and A320 models divide the market roughly 50/50, at the end of November Airbus had firm orders for 4,443 neos compared with Boeing’s orders for 2,955 MAXs — a 60/40 market split.

Boeing’s MAX sales show no sign of closing that gap. Not only did the neo amass more than 1,000 orders before the MAX launched in December 2011, since then it has won 53 percent market share against the Boeing jet.

The MAX flight-test airplane celebrated Tuesday is expected to fly early in the new year. After roughly a year of test flying by a total four test aircraft, the first MAX delivery should go to Southwest Airlines in the third quarter of 2017.

Airbus is well ahead, with the first A320neo expected to be delivered by the end of this month.

 That lag leaves Boeing with “a product strategy problem,” according to Issaquah-based aviation analyst Scott Hamilton.

Writing on his Leeham.net website Monday, Hamilton said Airbus’ “commanding market share” means Boeing may be forced to launch a new airplane to replace the MAX as early as 2019 — which would inevitably depress additional MAX sales and so reduce the return on all the investment it’s made in Renton.

Preparing for flight

On Monday, with MAX No. 1 still tucked inside the paint hangar, journalists toured the new assembly line. Mechanics and engineers were busy conducting functional tests on MAX No. 2, which is missing only its new, fuel-efficient LEAP engines made by CFM International.

Two workers in the cockpit connected a rugged laptop to the airplane test equipment and through headphones talked to colleagues on the floor who were tending to the jet’s landing gear.

As they worked, with the airplane supported on mobile holding equipment, the landing gear swung up into the wheel bay and down again, apparently operating as it should.

Inside the jet, seven racks of computers and electronics boxes lined each side of the space that one day will be reconfigured into a passenger cabin.

The equipment will be used to gather and analyze every aspect of performance and stress during the upcoming flight tests.

Thick bundles of orange wiring, the color that identifies extra wiring installed purely for flight-test purposes, looped everywhere through the racks and along the ceiling and sidewalls of the cabin.

On the floor behind MAX No. 2, the wings and horizontal tail parts of No. 3 awaited the arrival of their fuselage.

In front of the airplane, the vast floor space was empty as far as the giant exit doors, indicating the scale of Boeing’s housecleaning. Within a year, MAXs should be lined up to fill this space.

A fast ramp-up

The third assembly line will allow the production rate in Renton to climb to 52 jets per month in 2018 and possibly past 60 per month by the end of the decade.

Leverkuhn said about 1,400 people were working on the MAX at peak during the design phase. That figure is declining as MAX engineering winds down and Boeing switches its engineering focus to the 777X in Everett.

For the MAX, the focus is now on production and getting ready to ramp up.

Greg Batcher, head of MAX manufacturing, said 241 people currently work on the final-assembly line.

About 190 of those are experienced mechanics who have worked producing the current 737 model for years.

About 50 are new employees hired for the MAX production line and given six months of training.

Those numbers should grow as the third assembly line fills with planes.

Leverkuhn said Boeing will build the first airplanes relatively slowly to understand all the intricacies of the new assembly process, then will ramp up quickly.

“The first airplane went together very, very well,” he said. “The second one is going together even better.

“This is the closest thing we’ve got to automotive production (rates),” Leverkuhn added. “We are going to have to hit 52 (jets per month), and it’s going to have to happen fast.”

The central innovation on the MAX is the new LEAP engine, which promises to make the jet 14 percent more fuel-efficient than the current 737.

The bigger engine also necessitates new engine pods and strengthened wings.

The MAX also introduces dramatic-looking forked wingtips and
a reshaped tail cone – both adding aerodynamic efficiency
– as well as larger flight displays in the cockpit.

Among all the high-technology on view Monday, there was one makeshift adaptation on its production line: Workers impaled two tennis balls on the downward-forked spikes of MAX No. 2’s left wingtip, which came close enough to the wall to worry someone about an inadvertent ding.

Leverkuhn said he expects all four test airplanes to be flying by mid-2016, and it’s likely Boeing will send one of them to the Farnborough Air Show in England in July.

“It will be a great showpiece,” he said.


12.05.2015 Uncategorized No Comments

Cockpit Evolution: – What a Difference

This will bring back memories for many of you of the airplanes you have flown and / or ridden in….

001 - 1903 - Wright Bros
1903 Wright Flyer

1916 - 17 - Jenny JN-4 Cockpit.
1916 – 17 Jenny JN-4 Cockpit

1927 - Charles A. Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis Cockpit
1927 Spirit of St. Louis

1925 - Douglas M-2 Cockpit of Mail Carrier Craft
1925 Douglas M-2

1920's - Award Winning Bellanca CF Monoplane
1920’s Bellanca CF

1916 - Fokker DVII German Fighter Aircraft from WWI - Flown by famous Ace Baron Von Richtofen
1916 Fokker D.VII

1939 - 1945 - British Supermarine Spitfire Fighter which helped win the Battle of Britain
1939 – 1945 Supermarine Spitfire Mk. VII

1941 - Nazi's Top Fighter from WWII - Focke Wulf FW 190 F.G
1941 Focke-Wulf Fw 190 F-8

1940's - Nazi Jet Fighter - Messerschmitt ME 262A - 1A - 1st Jet Fighter to enter service in WWII
1940’s Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a

1948 - 1954 - Bell X1 Rocket ship - Test Aircraft flown by Chuck Yeager and named Glamorous Glennis
1948-1954 Bell X-1

1944 - Boeing B29 Superfortress - Ship that dropped the two Atomic Bombs on Japan
1944 Boeing B-29

1930's - Grumman G21
1930’s Grumman G-21

1949 - DeHavilland DH 106
1949 De Havilland DH 106 Comet

1977-Current: General Dynamics/Lockheed F-16 Fighting Falcon Day Superiority Jet Fighter
1977 General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon

1966 - 1998 - Lockheed SR-71
1966 – 1998 Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird

1953 - 1958 - Douglas DC-7. First Pressurized Douglas Four Engined Airliner.
1953 – 1958 Douglas DC-7

1958 - French Sud Aviation Caravelle Jet Airliner - In service for over 20 years with various models.
1958 Sud Aviation Caravelle

1969 - 2003 - First Commercial Supersonic Jet Transport. Built by both the French & British.
1969 – 2003 Concorde

1969 to Present - Boeing 747-8. First
1969 – Present Boeing 747-8

2009 - Currently Flying. Named the Dreamliner it has first widespread use of high-tech non metallic structural members.
2009 – Present Boeing 787

1984 - Currently Operating: Airbus A320 Narrow Body Airliner.
1984 – Currently Operating Airbus A320

2005 - Currently Operating.
2005 – Currently Operating Airbus A380