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I met my wife on Airliners.net!

By James Richard Covington
July 27, 2006

Airliners.net is proud to once again publish the work of one of our esteemed photographers! Herein, Mr. Covington provides a remarkable story that will surely inspire many of our readers to start their own discussion forums, and do a little extra research on the birds they've photographed!

I don't think that anyone would ever compare Airliners.net with any of the numerous matchmaking or dating websites scattered throughout the Internet. When I started posting photos to Airliners.net back in 1999, little did I know that a simple posting of a particular aircraft would lead to marriage! First, a historical perspective of the aircraft in question...The Douglas Aircraft Company constructed a DC-9-32 series aircraft with serial number 47442, line number 524 on July 11, 1969 and registered it N1797U. This aircraft was then delivered on August 24, 1970 to THY (Turk Hava Yollari) Turkish Airlines and named "Akdeniz." It was registered TC-JAG.

Click here for full size photo!
Photo © Stefan Sjögren

After flying overseas for a while, it returned to the United States and was purchased by the McDonnell-Douglas Finance Corporation on November 16, 1994 and registered N927VV. Valujet then purchased the aircraft on March 17, 1995 and re-registered it to N938VV on April 17, 1995.

Click here for full size photo!
Photo © Howard Chaloner

Valujet then changed its name to AirTran Airlines, and eventually the aircraft was re-registered by AirTran as N838AT on December 10, 1998.

Click here for full size photo!
Photo © Joerg A. Dittmer

This proud bird flew for a couple of more years when something went tragically wrong on August 8, 2000. AirTran Airways flight 913 en route from Greensboro to Atlanta executed an emergency landing in Greensboro shortly after declaring an emergency due to an in-flight fire and smoke in the cockpit. Fortunately everyone on board escaped serious injury during the evacuation, but sadly, the aircraft sustained substantial fire, heat, and smoke damage and had to be written off. The hulk of the aircraft was purchased by Charlotte Aircraft Corporation and was subsequently shipped to their dismantling and storage facility at Laurinburg-Maxton Airport in Maxton, North Carolina. I photographed this aircraft, already in different pieces, in November 2002. The first photo was taken of the rear section of the fuselage, with the registration being covered by tape.

Click here for full size photo!
Photo © James Richard Covington

In the remark section of the upload, I asked for help in identifying the aircraft because I had no idea what the registration was! There was no record trail of N838AT after it was written off at Greensboro, so I had no idea that this was indeed that aircraft... well, not yet anyway... I received several emails from devoted Airliners.net visitors trying to assist me in my quest to identify this mystery bird at Maxton, including one from a female Airliners.net enthusiast. Elisabeth emailed me in September 2004 with very detailed research about the possible identity of this aircraft... I was shocked that anyone, especially a female, would go to all this trouble and take the time and effort to send me a long and detailed email regarding a scrapped aircraft. I knew this girl was special! An aviation geek like me, and a female as well! We kept in touch via email for a while and exchanged photos, then began chatting over the Internet. I finally called her in November 2004, and she invited me out to visit her in December (she lived in North Carolina at the time, and I lived in Arizona). We started dating after my visit and I commuted from Arizona to North Carolina every other weekend for 7 months!

By June 2005, I was ready to make a commitment to Elisabeth, so I decided to propose to her on June 5th (her birthday!), and knew I had to do it in a special location. I decided to propose INSIDE the hulk of the aircraft that she had emailed me about!

Fortunately, the aircraft at this location were freely accessible, and we both enjoy venturing into aircraft that are being dismantled (we had visited and ventured inside this particular aircraft on previous occasions), so Elisabeth thought this was "just another visit" to our original aircraft. So it was quite a surprise to her when I got down to one knee and proposed to her!! She immediately said yes, and we continued with our tour of the aircraft... Since it was her birthday as well, we went back to the car and got the birthday cake and bottle of champagne I had hidden in the trunk, and enjoyed them both inside the plane!

Click here for full size photo!
Here is the outside view of the fuselage...

Click here for full size photo!
And here is where I proposed marriage...

Click here for full size photo!
After we were officially engaged, we ventured around the inside of the fuselage and the cockpit.

While looking around the cockpit, Elisabeth noticed a number written near the ceiling of the cockpit in between where the Captain and First Officer would sit. That number was 47442... We then realized that the identity of the mystery bird was indeed N838AT due to the serial number being 47442! What a great day we had! Not only did we get engaged, but inside the aircraft that Elisabeth had emailed me about, she found the serial number!

Elisabeth and I were married in Hawaii in October 2005, and are living a nice life in sunny Arizona. We both still visit Airliners.net quite often, and we both will always have a special place in our hearts for this very special website which ultimately brought us together for a lifetime... So, yes folks... I met my wife on Airliners.net! The best website in the world!!

James Richard Covington
Elisabeth Covington

Written by
James Richard Covington

James Richard Covington has been a flight attendant with Southwest Airlines for 14 years. His hobbies include aviation photography, flying, airplane spotting, and collecting aviation related memorabilia (mostly timetables/schedules). His wife Elisabeth is, of course, a fellow aviation enthusiast and his partner in crime!

46 User Comments:
Username: 777DAD [User Info]
Posted 2006-07-28 14:10:43 and read 32768 times.

Congratulations to the both of you.
May the Good Lord bless you.


Username: Lufthansi [User Info]
Posted 2006-07-28 16:28:01 and read 32768 times.

You are some kind of a lucky guy! That's a story that puts some hope in my life as an aircraft mechanic at Lufthansa.

All the best to you and your lovely wife! May your hearts fly together forever!

Best wishes from Paris (known as the city of love)


Username: N410WN [User Info]
Posted 2006-07-30 21:42:06 and read 32768 times.

Congratulations both of you! :)

Username: Sarahd [User Info]
Posted 2006-08-01 21:28:42 and read 32768 times.

That is the cutest story ever.. Congrats..
Im new to airliners my husband is mad about photography and Im obviously into it myself so I now drag his booty out to Dublin airport.. its cool its something we can do together.. I take photo's and get tips from him!!!

It's great having something to share!

Username: Mechgm [User Info]
Posted 2006-08-02 03:32:18 and read 32768 times.

Congratulations! The best and nicest story ever on this website!
I really like you guys and please if you decide to visit Daytona Beach, FL , I'll be very happy to meet you here. Just drop me an email.


Username: Adacyn [User Info]
Posted 2006-08-02 14:39:22 and read 32768 times.

Wonderful story. I pray you will have a wonderful marriage and that the Lord will bless you always.

Username: Brdcessna [User Info]
Posted 2006-08-02 17:42:07 and read 32768 times.

The best of luck to the both of ya

Username: Comanche [User Info]
Posted 2006-08-02 17:51:21 and read 32768 times.

Great story James and Elisabeth, and what a great ending indeed (or shall I say beginning)!

Congratulations and best wishes for a lifetime of happiness together

Username: Trekster [User Info]
Posted 2006-08-02 21:13:47 and read 32768 times.

Amazing story. This site is a great place to meet people, and in the end teh L word does get used now and again, in your case it was the M word.

Congratulations to you

Username: BR715-A1-30 [User Info]
Posted 2006-08-03 23:53:05 and read 32768 times.

Congratulations... That is quite a story that will end up in the airliners.net history books.

Username: Usairways0369 [User Info]
Posted 2006-08-04 05:35:50 and read 32768 times.

congratulations, and the best of wishes to you both!

Username: NZ8800 [User Info]
Posted 2006-08-04 09:39:59 and read 32768 times.

Congratulations, what a lovely story :) I have to say it - you're a very good looking couple! Loved the story, the research, the proposal in the aeroplane, and two aviation partners in crime getting married :D

Username: Kuhndogg [User Info]
Posted 2006-08-04 18:12:06 and read 32768 times.

Awww thats sweet lol This is unlike the dating websites I've tried! May the Lord bless you two with a happy marriage.

Username: Jumbojetsetter [User Info]
Posted 2006-08-06 15:35:07 and read 32768 times.

What an incredible story of two people coming together from across the U.S. and with common interests. Now that's what I call fate! All the best to you guys and hope to "spot" you in YUL sometime.

Username: Longhaulheavy [User Info]
Posted 2006-08-09 18:58:54 and read 32768 times.

The two of you should shorten your last name to CVG.

Great story and congrats!

Username: Mechgm [User Info]
Posted 2006-08-10 22:24:28 and read 32768 times.

(The two of you should shorten your last name to CVG)

What do you mean by CVG?

Username: Kmh1956 [User Info]
Posted 2006-08-11 19:53:14 and read 32768 times.

Isn't CVG the abbreviation for Covington airport in Kentucky?

Username: LemonKitty [User Info]
Posted 2006-08-13 05:50:44 and read 32768 times.

It is indeed!!! CVG=Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport..

James Covington

Username: MasterofA319 [User Info]
Posted 2006-08-15 21:32:49 and read 32768 times.

You're very lucky James
God give me a wife like yours(intrested in aviation i mean)

Username: Airmaillabel [User Info]
Posted 2006-08-15 23:55:50 and read 32768 times.

Hey! Congratulations :-)

I flew in that aircraft when it carried Turkish Airlines colors. It was on 23 Dec 1993 from ESB (Turkish capital city Ankara Esenboga Airport) to TZX (Trabzon, a province in north east part of Turkey, at Black Sea coast). Pity it was the only time I was on board the TC-JAG.

Wow! It was almost 13 years ago. Time passes quickly.

Username: StrangeLESI [User Info]
Posted 2006-08-19 00:00:07 and read 32768 times.


Fantastic story!

Username: LemonKitty [User Info]
Posted 2006-08-19 03:19:36 and read 32768 times.

Very interesting Information..Was it configured in a 2 class layout while with Turkish?


Username: Carmenlu15 [User Info]
Posted 2006-08-19 07:04:01 and read 32768 times.

What a great story! Here's to a happy life together :)

Username: I530j [User Info]
Posted 2006-08-20 01:20:59 and read 32768 times.

Wow very cool.


Username: Flyboy14295 [User Info]
Posted 2006-08-20 18:18:19 and read 32768 times.

Congrats and best of luck to the both of you!

Username: YYZflyer [User Info]
Posted 2006-08-22 22:08:49 and read 32768 times.

Wow what a nice story. You're very lucky to have found a woman that's also an aviation enthusiast . Congrats to the both of you. :)

Username: Alex5 [User Info]
Posted 2006-08-24 13:42:19 and read 32768 times.

Good luck for your future!!! This story is really fantastic! :)

Username: Tom12 [User Info]
Posted 2006-08-24 21:16:00 and read 32768 times.

Congratulations :)

Username: DIJKKIJK [User Info]
Posted 2006-08-25 18:36:56 and read 32768 times.

Many Congratulations! Very Nice story, and you are a beautiful couple.

If we had known before we could have pooled some cash and purchased the remains of that aircraft for you as a gift. It will look good in your garden ;)

Username: Laurmar737800 [User Info]
Posted 2006-09-18 00:44:25 and read 32768 times.

There is still such a thing as happy endings. Congrats to the both of you.

Username: Flinhion757 [User Info]
Posted 2006-09-21 04:58:27 and read 32768 times.

Congrats to James and Elizabeth, Meeting on a.net or an airport is my dream. ~~~~~~ cofety lol

F757 :)

Username: Xaapb [User Info]
Posted 2006-10-08 16:48:18 and read 32768 times.

Great story James!
Congrats to your wife and to you!
Jorge M.

Username: Toulouse [User Info]
Posted 2006-10-10 18:05:15 and read 32768 times.


What a beautiful and wonderful story. Thank you so much for sharing it with us, it has certainly brightened up my day.
It is wonderful that you and your wife share the same hobby (as I do with my wife), and the whole story of how you met is a wonderful one you'll always be able to tell.
You are a wonderful looking couple together, and from here in Europe (my user name is the hint to where I live), this Irish man wishes both you and Elizabeth all the best for your future together.
Congratulations and take care!

Username: Nyou81 [User Info]
Posted 2006-10-26 12:30:47 and read 32768 times.

Great story :)
Congratulations to you both .

Username: AAL151Heavy [User Info]
Posted 2006-10-31 03:39:47 and read 32768 times.


What a fairy tale story for our hobby! Congrats to you and Elisabeth.

Benjo :)

Username: Aktol [User Info]
Posted 2006-12-21 17:34:18 and read 32768 times.

Great story.

Congratulations both of you.

Username: Mountprat [User Info]
Posted 2007-02-11 06:18:39 and read 32768 times.


Username: September11 [User Info]
Posted 2007-03-18 03:29:46 and read 32768 times.

Interesting story

Username: Hamaad [User Info]
Posted 2007-03-23 17:11:41 and read 32768 times.

Congratulations ......... nice story :p

Username: Emirhanizmir [User Info]
Posted 2007-09-05 00:10:32 and read 32768 times.

Congratulations to both of you, from Turkey.

Those THY planes are also called "pajama planes", because of their lines.

Wish you both have a long and happy life together.

If you will have a kid, name him/her with a name which is special for aviation ;)


Username: Sandyy [User Info]
Posted 2008-02-07 18:47:02 and read 32768 times.

Amazing man......the most romantic story ever....congratulations to you both.. god bless :)


Username: Kataline80 [User Info]
Posted 2008-08-26 03:07:18 and read 32768 times.

Congratulations :-) This is a brilliant story... I often think while flying if there is someone else on the plane with whom I could share the great experience of flying... How to recognise these people..? Pretty hard...

Username: Avicrew [User Info]
Posted 2009-01-09 20:12:43 and read 32768 times.

I met my boyfriend kinda that way too. ( met him on Youtube by leaving
comments on aviation video on christmas day)

we two are both aviation geeks just like you and your wife. he works for
boeing and lives in Seattle. (i live in Korea.......too far from each other..sad, isnt' it?)

we first started with emailing to get to know each other, then chatting, calling , and visiting eventually.

we need to fly half across the earth to see each other every time but we've
been together more than a year , and i'm so sure that he's the one for me.

i was so blessed to find somebody like him. any place we can spot airplanes can't be more romantic for us.

i wish you a happy marriage and Happy New Year :) you two look so happy together!!!!!


Username: Navega [User Info]
Posted 2009-04-17 06:19:58 and read 32768 times.

Your story touched me as I am very fond of Airlines.net. It has been with me through my airline carrier and it has kept me informed of what is happening in the aviation world.

My passion for airlines and aviation would not be the same without this site.

I am glad that Airliners.net contributed to your happy life.

God Bless you and your wife....

Username: Jcamilo [User Info]
Posted 2009-09-01 18:24:02 and read 32768 times.

great story!! so beautifull storyy!

Username: AirIndia [User Info]
Posted 2010-01-13 01:23:08 and read 32768 times.

I hope you honeymooned on Maho Beach..... St Maartens :D

just kidding, infact i hope not. as you wud have just spent entire honeymoon spotting...... ;)

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