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Tower Air B747-100! LGW-MCO  
User currently offlineA340600 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2003, 4108 posts, RR: 49
Posted (12 years 17 hours ago) and read 8132 times:

Back in 1997 when I was a littlen of 9 (almost 10) years old we went to Florida for my 10th Birthday. As you can imagine my memory is a bit sketchy but with the help of my Dad I can remember enough.

Here goes, hope you like:

We were going standby through my Dad and so had a number of airlines to choose from at that time. BY and AIH (the good old days of AIH  Laugh out loud) were full so we all trooped over to the CAL desk. My Dad, Mum, Sister and me.

They had room but we had to be split up Sad. The aircraft was a DC-10 Smile Smile Smile!!! Then all of a sudden an announcement came through notifying the passengers (including us) of this flight that there was a small delay due to a fault with the left engine. OK then time to explore Gatwick Village then.

Well time passed (2 hours in fact Yawn) and no announcements. Then they announced that our aircraft was sick and wasn't going anywhere!!!

Naturally in British style (If any of you watch "Airline") hundreds of us stormed the poor girl who was the Caledonian representative been sent down (god help her Laugh out loud) to calm us all.

I stayed with my sister being a bit young. Then it was announced that they would fly a spare aircraft in from America. We were not told airline or aircraft.

After another 5 and a half hours bringing the total delay time to 7 and a half hours an aircraft appeared on finals to 08R.

This is now my Dad’s memory not mine for this little bit, I, being a 9 year old stuck in an airport for 7 ½ hours, was running around like wild. “As the aircraft got nearer it was apparent that this was a 747. As it got nearer it looked more and more worn. It was at this point that I realised that this aircraft was an old clapped up 747-100. The aircraft touched down very late and took the entire runway to slow down. Eventually it turned off and came towards out gate”

Back to me and my memory Smile/happy/getting dizzy. Everyone was now gathered at the huge windows watching this beast come towards us. It nose got nearer and nearer to the glass before stopping abruptly. The jet bridge went out to it and it was at this stage that the British holiday-makers faces fell, if only I’d had a camera Big grin. Dirt streaks covered this bare white aircraft with intrim Tower Air marks. The aircraft looked like it had been around for a LONG time!!!

Caledonian (Tower Air)

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Photo © E.S. / FAP - Finnish Aviation Photography
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Photo © Alastair T. Gardiner

Boarding was soon called and with that my family and I walked down the jetbridge onto this tatty thing (who cares it’s a 741, wasn’t aware of this at the time though and how special this would be!!!).

We were welcomed aboard by a very old American Tower Air crew in blue suit things (I think). It was now that I was amazed by the size of the 747. The width, length everything. Looking straight ahead to the spiral staircase, I smiled and turned to the right (damn Big grin) and that’s when my face dropped. Again Laugh out loud.
If you thought the outside of the aircraft was tatty then you don’t want to see inside. Window blinds were missing, fabric torn seats, broken seat back tables and writing on the walls.

The only positive thing (apart from being a 741) was that the DC-10 is a bit smaller then this aircraft and therefore everyone could stretch out, BIG TIME. Almost everyone had a row of three seats to themselves!!!

Once everyone had packed their bags into the overhead bins (which mostly were broken and didn’t stay closed) and was seated, the safety announcements were made manually. I don’t really remember this sorry though I do remember as usual no-one really paying attention. Mind you I would on THIS aircraft, wouldn’t surprise me if it just fell out of the sky Laugh out loud!!!

We pushed back and I remember being situated on the right hand side staring at the humungous wing with the “pointy thing”, as I called it then Laugh out loud, on the end. Because it was so late it would be a night time arrival at MCO.

The engines were started with a groan and straining noise like they were about drop off. 1 by one, another groan, another grunt as this old bird started up.

We made the long taxi to 08R, turned straight onto the runway and stopped. I remember seeing my first ever BA world tail on the tail of a 737 as it taxied past.

Everything went quiet, then, like an explosion, the four engines went to full thrust. We were all thrown to the back of our tatty seats. The aircraft shook violently and what overhead bins that could actually be shut originally now fell open onto people. Cutlery went flying around in the galley and I turned to see a Women looking horrified (another picture moment Big grin). The aircraft seemed to never get in the air and when we were right at the end of the runway we were hauled into the air.

The chime came and the cabin crew got out of their seats. We climbed fast and I saw my house Laugh out loud!!!

The noise was incredible and the pilot didn’t pull back on the thrust for ages. When he did the engines shook and went to a whine once more. The wing flapped round like it was made out of play dough Laugh out loud next to me.

We broke into a small amount of cloud and turned back to head towards lands end.

I got my pad out and started drawing busses and planes and trains Laugh out loud because I liked transport, it evolved into my love of planes Smile.

Dinner was served (yes dinner) as the sun began to set. I don’t really remember what it was but I remember that it tasted like… well I’ll leave that to your imaginations Big grin.
The cabin lights were dimmed and me being me decided not to sleep. The flight attendants had disappeared  Confused. Everyone took a row of seats to themselves and soon gentle breathing could be heard over the whine and strain of the engines.

I took up the last row available and drew some more. Oh the boredom. Then I fell asleep for an hour. When I awoke the cabin lights were still dimmed. Everyone in my family was fast asleep in wonderful dreams Laugh out loud and I sat there bored.

I read the writing (grafitti) all over my three seat back tables, one of which was on one hinge Laugh out loud. I seem to remember “Keelie woz ere ‘96” for some reason LOL.

After another couple of hours the lights came on again and a snack thing was given out. No thanks, wtf was it LOL Confused  Confused  Confused!!!

The lights of Orlando soon came into view and I remember seeing our huge wing get nearer and nearer the ground. A land rover or something like that was whizzing along the taxiway next to the runway and we touched down with a thump.

The aircraft shook violently as the reverse thrust was applied. We slowed slowly lol and turned off the runway. We taxied into the gate where the engine gave one last grunt before being shut down. I de-boarded and was welcomed to Florida Smile/happy/getting dizzy.

Overall, certainly a fun flight, sorry if I didn’t remember enough but I did more than I originally thought Smile/happy/getting dizzy  Smile/happy/getting dizzy  Smile/happy/getting dizzy.

Tower Air were a disaster, their aircraft a mess, cabin crew non-existent and rude and the food… well let’s not go into that Big grin.

Who cares though I got the rare opportunity to fly on a 747-100 and not many people my age can say that Smile/happy/getting dizzy. The flight back was one of the best, with Caledonian on the DC-10, the cabin crew were great but I shant go into detail on that one.

Can anyone find out the reg of the aircraft that I got please Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Thanks for reading, comments are welcome

Sam Big thumbs up

Despite the name I am a Boeing man through and through!
15 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineWorldoftui From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (12 years 17 hours ago) and read 8010 times:

Sounds like a real bone shaker! Memorable though I am sure!

From what I remember, Caledonian had a lot of long delays like this towards the end. Pity as they were a highly regarded airline.

Not a bad report though.


User currently offlineJaspike From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2008, 1 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (12 years 17 hours ago) and read 8004 times:

Sounds like.. a lovely flight!  Laugh out loud

Window blinds were missing, fabric torn seats, broken seat back tables and writing on the walls.
Worse than Pulkovo  Wow!


User currently offlineWidgetBoi From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 1432 posts, RR: 18
Reply 3, posted (12 years 15 hours ago) and read 7931 times:

Oh how I miss Tower Air!  Sad


User currently offlineScottysAir From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (12 years 12 hours ago) and read 7834 times:

It is very good trip report and did make good ride on FF.

User currently offlineA340600 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2003, 4108 posts, RR: 49
Reply 5, posted (12 years 10 hours ago) and read 7723 times:

Cheers guys for the replies, keep 'em comin

Jeremy u actually MISS them  Wow!!!!

Thanks again

Sam Big thumbs up

Despite the name I am a Boeing man through and through!
User currently offlineWidgetBoi From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 1432 posts, RR: 18
Reply 6, posted (12 years 9 hours ago) and read 7717 times:

Traveling on Tower Air was always an experience  Big grin Unfortunately, never a good one!


User currently offlineCOAB767 From Guam, joined Nov 2003, 1377 posts, RR: 8
Reply 7, posted (11 years 12 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 7435 times:

Great report. Oh how I'm glad Tower Air is gone! What a horrible airline!

Continental Micronesia: "Fly With The Warmth Of Paradise"
User currently offlineMYT332 From Australia, joined Sep 2003, 9120 posts, RR: 67
Reply 8, posted (11 years 12 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 7391 times:

Cool sounds like a fun flight. It really does get boring though crossing the pond.

Was the Tower Air IFE a colouring book?  Laugh out loud

Good read, bonjour for writing it  Big grin

One Life, Live it.
User currently offlineA340600 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2003, 4108 posts, RR: 49
Reply 9, posted (11 years 11 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 7044 times:

Was the Tower Air IFE a colouring book

LOL yeah!!! They managed to write everywhere, and I mean everywhere Laugh out loud!!!

It was like being in a giant colouring book and I had to leave my mark of course (not that there was much room left. On the table in front I drew the plane and wrote my name. Wonder if it's still there??? Laugh out loud

Sam Big thumbs up

Despite the name I am a Boeing man through and through!
User currently offlineTom_eddf From Germany, joined Apr 2000, 454 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (11 years 11 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 6621 times:

Like your trip report... reminds me of my last flight on a B741 on Dec. 7th, 1996 from CDG to MIA with Air France. Quite not as horrible as TowerAir, but still, noisy, rattling, broken seats and bins, heavy turbulences throughout the entire flight, IFE not working, bouncing back several time when we finally touched down....

But still, my last flight on such a classic 747-100 (well, not exactly, return flight also was a 741, but not as spectacular), and something to remember. Was a 741 with just 3 upper deck windows, by the way  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

On the return flight, I remember they were playing Phil Collins' "dance into the light" video clip many times on the main screen - quite a bright and colorful clip. I was sick (got a cold, ice cold florida aircon's to blame) and this damn bright video woke me up whenever I just fell asleep  Wink/being sarcastic

User currently offlineNWADC9 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 4904 posts, RR: 9
Reply 11, posted (11 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 6429 times:

My 747-100 experience was on NW. Luckly, it was nicer than "OH MY GOSH!!! WE'RE GONNA DIE!!!!!!!!!!!" Airlines, with the exception to being seated in the smoking section when I was 6(!!!) Great story, and memory Laugh out loud

Flying an aeroplane with only a single propeller to keep you in the air. Can you imagine that? -Capt. Picard
User currently offlineA340600 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2003, 4108 posts, RR: 49
Reply 12, posted (11 years 11 months 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 6111 times:

Yea, the 747-100's sure are aircraft to remember!!! Mine only had 3 windows on the top deck too lol!!! To be honest, some modern aircraft are boring, quiet, smooth, u gota ruff it sumtimes Big grin. Like the 732 and 741


Sam Big thumbs up

Despite the name I am a Boeing man through and through!
User currently offlineTranStar From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 530 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (11 years 11 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 5896 times:

My only 747-100 experience was on a TWA 747-100 from Munich to Paris CDG back in 1988. The plane was not that ratty at all back then. Flight was extremely short, around an hour and a little bit more. There less than 20 people on the plane, however, and it was great walking around the big 747 with nobody on board.

From my understanding, it was not inconceivable that the plane I was on ended up with Tower Air. I understand that Tower got most of TWA's old 747-100 fleet.


User currently offlineA340600 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2003, 4108 posts, RR: 49
Reply 14, posted (11 years 11 months 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 5648 times:

Did they???

Never new that. Well good ridence to em.

Wonder if it's sitting in the dessert somewhere with my drawing on a seatback table???

Sam Laugh out loud

Despite the name I am a Boeing man through and through!
User currently offlineTommy767 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (11 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 5502 times:

WOW. Its damn good to see a tower air report! I have not seen one in ages. I think a lot of 741s aquired by tower were from the former pan am.

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