NIZMO
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TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:42 pm

I found an interesting video on youtube and it shows a fill size projector being used on an original 747-100, you can see the system in the video at 4:04.

Was this type of system commonplace as it looks prone to failure and needs specialist operation and did all original 747 operators use it and for how long?

Youtube link
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnFCpz2pmf0&feature=related

thanks
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Viscount724
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:39 pm

Similar film projecter systems were used on 707s and DC-8s starting in the early '60s. In fact, TWA was one of the first carriers (possibly the very first) to regularly show inflight movies on 707s, in 1961 if memory correct. The original systems used 16 mm film which was replaced a little later by 8 mm. I remember some flights on 707s with the film projectors that were mounted horizontally and folded down from the ceiling at the rear of the F and Y cabins to load the large film reels. I still clearly remember my very first inflight movie, on a Pan Am 707 SEA-LHR in April 1970. It was named "The Rievers", starring the late Steve McQueen.

In my memory those early film systems were fairly reliable. Many much more recent IFE systems don't win any prizes for reliability.

[Edited 2012-08-13 14:57:03]

[Edited 2012-08-13 15:02:14]
 
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falstaff
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:52 pm

Quoting NIZMO (Thread starter):
looks prone to failure

I'm sure it required regular maintenance, like any movie projector, but I doubt it was difficult to use, one you learned how. The films were new too and wouldn't be as prone to failure as 40 plus year old 16mm films are now. Up until very recently all of the movies at the theater were film and it wasn't very often that those projectors or films failed.

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 1):
Many much more recent IFE systems don't win any prizes for reliability.

I have seen them lock up and have to be reset with regularity. The only likely problem with that 16mm film back in the day would have been bulb failure or film breakage both of which can be fixed rather quickly, assuming you have the stuff on hand).
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DL_Mech
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:13 pm

I remember seeing "An Officer and A Gentleman" (up until the film melted on the screen) on a TWA 747 in 1982.

When DL bought ten EA L-1011s in 1991, only one had a SVHS system installed. Nine airplanes still had the reel film projectors installed (Film: "The Presidio"), I remember the widescreen picture and quality of the film projectors blew the SVHS away.
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NIZMO
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:23 pm

Thanks for the answers, I just thought it was a strange way to show an inflight movie compared to the 8mm projectors that were more commonplace, i can imagine a flight attendant today lifting that thing into the ceiling.....
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Viscount724
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:24 pm

Some 1961 newsreel footage, featuring Bob Hope, of an early inflight movie on a TWA 707-331 from LHR (then LAP) to JFK (then IDL). Then it was in first class only.
http://www.britishpathe.com/video/bo...e-sky-aboard-boeing/query/Bob+Hope
 
Max Q
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:37 pm

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 5):


Some 1961 newsreel footage, featuring Bob Hope, of an early inflight movie on a TWA 707-331 from LHR (then LAP) to JFK (then IDL). Then it was in first class only.
http://www.britishpathe.com/video/bo...e-sky-aboard-boeing/query/Bob+Hope

I love it, each passenger gets a 'featherweight headset' remember those godawful things ?


By the time the movie was half way through your combination ear / headache was so painful you didn't care about seeing the rest !
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tonyban
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:45 pm

Oh my ! The memories.

I flew on a flight in the early-80s from SFO-LHR on BA and the projector broke mid-flight.
They couldn't repair it so we all moved to a different cabin and sat in any empty seat we could find.
 
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DL_Mech
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:09 am

Quoting NIZMO (Reply 4):
I just thought it was a strange way to show an inflight movie compared to the 8mm projectors that were more commonplace, i can imagine a flight attendant today lifting that thing into the ceiling.....

I recall seeing an "Inflight Motion Pictures" van that would pull up to the plane with new films and bags of headsets.
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falstaff
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:54 am

Quoting Max Q (Reply 6):
'featherweight headset' remember those godawful things ?

I sure do...I wish the younger generation could get a chance to use them and see how far we have come.

Quoting NIZMO (Reply 4):
s, I just thought it was a strange way to show an inflight movie compared to the 8mm projectors that were more commonplace,

are you talking about 8mm film or 8mm video?

Quoting DL_Mech (Reply 3):
I remember the widescreen picture and quality of the film projectors blew the SVHS away.

Film is always better than VHS and SVHS. It took years for digital photography to equal Kodachrome slides, taken by a good photographer with a good camera.


Didn't some aircraft use Laserdisc projectors in the 1980s and 90s?
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tymnbalewne
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Tue Aug 14, 2012 4:29 am

I'm sure some of you remember the film breaking on Columbia Airlines 409 IAD-LAX that was diverted to SLC in 1975? I think the film that broke was "American Graffiti"  
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Aeri28
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:31 am

I remember the pull downs and projectors when I flew from SFO to Honolulu in 1970 when I was a small one. Film showing was "Butterflies are Free" with Goldie Hawn.

Quoting tymnbalewne (Reply 10):
I'm sure some of you remember the film breaking on Columbia Airlines 409 IAD-LAX that was diverted to SLC in 1975? I think the film that broke was "American Graffiti"  

I was thinking the same thing lol. That's a perfect example of the film breaking and wondering if the FA would know how to splice it back together,, ha
 
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:16 pm

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 1):
TWA was one of the first carriers (possibly the very first) to regularly show inflight movies on 707s, in 1961 if memory correct. The original systems used 16 mm film which was replaced a little later by 8 mm. I remember some flights on 707s with the film projectors that were mounted horizontally and folded down from the ceiling at the rear of the F and Y cabins to load the large film reels.

My Dad was a TWA flight dispatcher and when visiting his office at Hangar 12 in New York we were often allowed to go aboard aircraft undergoing maintenance downstairs. (The word 'security' did not exist in those days.) I remember watching several times on both 707s and 747s as the entire projector assembly was removed and replaced with a fresh one from Inflight Motion Pictures. I also recall seeing the film reels being loaded at the gate before a flight. (When traveling non-rev our family was often allowed to board via the outside stairs on the jet bridge well before the other passengers. Dad was very good friends with all of the New York-based flight crews and again security was not a concern. I was able to watch not only the movies come aboard but also chatted with the 'hostesses' as the galley was being set up.)

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 5):
Some 1961 newsreel footage, featuring Bob Hope, of an early inflight movie on a TWA 707-331 from LHR (then LAP) to JFK (then IDL). Then it was in first class only.

TWA was the very first with inflight movies, at the start only for First Class and only on 'select' flights from New York to London and Paris. Within two years they were available on all trans-atlantic flights in both F and Y.
 
tothestars
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:46 pm

The projectors left before I started with TWA but I remember hearing how the Purser/Flight Service Manager would have to manually start the movie in each zone of the plane at slightly different times. On the 747 there were 5 zones so she/he would start it in Royal Ambassador, then Ambassador, then Coach C,D,E zones. I'm not sure if there was ever a projector on the upper deck at that time. After I started I remember thinking how high tech the big VCR that dropped down from the the ceiling in the back of FC was.
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:09 pm

I flew on a TWA 707 from Idlewild as it was called to London and it was very exciting to see a movie. It was in 1964. In the back they placed a big projector and I think you could hear it in the back. They had a small screne in the middle of the aisle.It never broke down on any of my flights. Not all airlines showed movies and it was really a "big deal." They gave you head phones. As far as I recall there was no music. Just a movie.

Also in those days the standard TWA meals consisted of a steak and a cheesecake with Bel Paese cheese. I preferred flying in those days (in Y) than today.And it was pleasant leaving from the TWA Terminal.

[Edited 2012-08-14 10:12:27]

[Edited 2012-08-14 10:13:35]
 
SmithAir747
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:05 pm

When I flew my TWA 747 trip from JFK-MAD in 1994, I remember it was my first ever inflight movie. I remember a (VHS-style?) projector box hanging from the centre overhead bins in each cabin; it had three lenses (red, green, blue).

My question: Were the headsets in 1994 still pneumatic?

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christao17
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:46 am

Great video - thought it was funny how people were hanging out alongside the runway. Can you imagine that being allowed these days?
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DTWPurserBoy
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:41 pm

I worked 747-100's and-200's with the old projectors in the ceiling. Only zones A, C, D and E had them. Upper deck and B zone did not--we were told that the cabins were too short to get proper projection and focus.

Each reel held three movies. On que, flight attendants would move to the left f/a panels at doors 1,2, 3,and 4 and simultaneously push the start button. You had to hold it down for quite some time until you saw the screen light up and heard the projector start to run. If you released pressure on the button too soon it would cause the film to jerk and then break. VERY unhappy peeps then. We did it simultaneously so that the passengers seated in the front outboard rows of seats (that still had plug-in tray tables!) would watch the movie on the screen of the cabin forward of them and we thought (hoped?) that while they were watching the film in the front cabin their sound was coming from their own cabin. Problem with that logic was that each film had different length leaders on them so it never really synchronized very well.

Ours were always 16mm films. We also had a button labled "cycle" that just ran the film without projecting it if we wanted to "fast forward" to the next feature. Occasionally the film would break and we would have MILES of plastic film cascading out of the ceilings--really funny to see. Those reels were HUGE--easily 4 feet across and very heavy.

We were delerious when in about the mid 80's we finally went to a VCR system so then every passenger could watch the film. We had a locked library of VHS tapes and the purser would pick the appropriate film for that flight and pop it in. Sometimes as a "customer service initiative" (read: passenger control) we would show another film, time permtting. Then the airline found out about it and warned us that they had to pay a $1,500 royalty fee for every movie shown and there was an internal counter that kept track of them. Think that stopped us? Nah.......

Our DC-10's never had movie capacity until the VCR's came along, only music.

Personally, while I do enjoy the current technology of IFE, my favorite "default" is still a good book. I never travel without one.
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jetdudetim
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Thu Aug 16, 2012 5:45 am

Ugh! In the wee early 1980's at Capitol Air, some of our DC 8's still had these. You had to start each cabin separately. IT was a pain, and very clunky to work around.
 
NIZMO
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:03 pm

Absolutely fascinating what went on in the old and not so old days, I'm loving the stories.....! When did VCR based systems start to appear then as I found a picture of a delta L-1011 with video projectors that was taken in 1980?
http://www.airliners.net/photo/Delta...d=dd9e46e91a1ef1d86c6e47c5563aa341
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DTWPurserBoy
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:38 pm

Quoting NIZMO (Reply 19):
Absolutely fascinating what went on in the old and not so old days, I'm loving the stories.....! When did VCR based systems start to appear then as I found a picture of a delta L-1011 with video projectors that was taken in 1980?
http://www.airliners.net/photo/Delta...aa341

I question the date on that photo. It was only about 1979-1980 that VCR's were available for home use--I remember that I paid over $600 for mine in about 1980-81. They certainly did not appear on civil aircraft until the mid 80's because they had to be "industralized" to withstand being knocked around inflight and on landings. The first generation VCR's had very tempermental heads.

Also, if I am not mistaken, the original L1011's, like the DC-10's were not delivered with center line overhead bins. These were added much later--mid '80's as I recall. Carry-on baggage was a nightmare because only the outboard side had bins. The 747's all came with centerline bins.
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DL_Mech
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:03 pm

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 20):
Also, if I am not mistaken, the original L1011's, like the DC-10's were not delivered with center line overhead bins

Those are factory centerline bins from Lockheed. All of the -500s and ship 729 and newer were delivered with them. 729 was delivered in 1980, so it is possible that the date is correct. -500s had the controls for the reel film projectors and centerline bins, so could that 1980 pic have a reel film projector? I don't know.
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longhauler
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:08 pm

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 20):
I question the date on that photo. It was only about 1979-1980 that VCR's were available for home use--I remember that I paid over $600 for mine in about 1980-81. They certainly did not appear on civil aircraft until the mid 80's because they had to be "industralized" to withstand being knocked around inflight and on landings

The first aircraft I recall with the VCR/three colour projector head, was Air Canada's DC-8s with the last "wide body" look interior. They were installed in the spring/summer of 1980.

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 20):
Also, if I am not mistaken, the original L1011's, like the DC-10's were not delivered with center line overhead bins. These were added much later--mid '80's as I recall. Carry-on baggage was a nightmare because only the outboard side had bins. The 747's all came with center-line bins.

The L1011s when built, had a closet between the two centre seats 2x2-closet-2x2. When it went to 2x5x2, you are right, it was a nightmare for carry on. Air Canada's L1011-1s never did get the centre-line overhead bins, (just the -500s). Till the day they left, it was always a problem.
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Tristarsteve
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:10 pm

Quoting DL_Mech (Reply 21):
Those are factory centerline bins from Lockheed. All of the -500s and ship 729 and newer were delivered with them. 729 was delivered in 1980, so it is possible that the date is correct. -500s had the controls for the reel film projectors and centerline bins, so could that 1980 pic have a reel film projector? I don't know.

The Gulf Air L1011s were delivered in 1976 with films on reels. But they were much snaller than the one in the OP clip.
The projectors were quite small, and fitted under the bins, and the film was in a cassette and lay horizontally.
I really can't remember, but this L1011 picture could be of a film projector. I worked there until 1987, and I don't remember videos on board. (Had one at home around 1980, I picked Betamax, and had to change 5 years later!!)
 
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DL_Mech
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:29 pm

Quoting Tristarsteve (Reply 23):
I picked Betamax

In a lot of ways, the TriStar is like a Betamax! (and that is not an insult)
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DeltaRules
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:55 pm

Quoting Max Q (Reply 6):
I love it, each passenger gets a 'featherweight headset' remember those godawful things ?

Those look to be similar to the plastic pneumatic headsets that DL used into the early 2000s. Are they the same, or was that technology predated by something else?
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Fri Aug 17, 2012 5:42 pm

Quoting DeltaRules (Reply 25):
Those look to be similar to the plastic pneumatic headsets that DL used into the early 2000s

Actually, the DL ones had foam earpieces and were quite comfortable. The more popular (and cheaper) headsets had rubber earpieces that were painful to wear after about an hour or so.
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:24 pm

Quoting Tristarsteve (Reply 23):
The Gulf Air L1011s were delivered in 1976 with films on reels. But they were much snaller than the one in the OP clip.
The projectors were quite small, and fitted under the bins, and the film was in a cassette and lay horizontally.
I really can't remember, but this L1011 picture could be of a film projector. I worked there until 1987, and I don't remember videos on board. (Had one at home around 1980, I picked Betamax, and had to change 5 years later!!)

BTW, most of DL's L-1011s originally had Betamax-based systems. In the early 1990s, DL upgraded the IFE on all of their L-1011s to a Matsushita S-VHS based system, and the spin-dial channel/volume controls in each seat were replaced by buttons and 7-segment green LED displays. The L-1011-250s and -500s also had Airshow installed at the same time.

I actually once found it quite strange that the L-1011s would have the seat controls with the buttons/LED displays while the domestic 767s (except 1401-1404) would have spin-dial controls.
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tommy767
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:46 pm

Looks like TWA had S-VHS by 1987. Inflight promos for TWA Ambassador theater were video based.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pgDNQn6K3o


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY4WFkwZTZs

That has to be one of the most classic airline advert campaigns: "TODAY'S TWA!"

Quoting DeltaRules (Reply 25):
Those look to be similar to the plastic pneumatic headsets that DL used into the early 2000s. Are they the same, or was that technology predated by something else?

I flew on a DL 757 from Atlanta to Grand Cayman in 2001 and we indeed had the pneumatic headsets. I thought it was so dated to have at that time, especially for a 757. When did DL put IFE into their 757s? Mid 80s?
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1337Delta764
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:14 pm

Quoting tommy767 (Reply 28):
I flew on a DL 757 from Atlanta to Grand Cayman in 2001 and we indeed had the pneumatic headsets. I thought it was so dated to have at that time, especially for a 757. When did DL put IFE into their 757s? Mid 80s?

The 757 IFE was installed around the late 80s/early 90s. The 757s were the first aircraft in the DL fleet to have the seat controls with buttons and green 7-segment LED displays, rather than the spin-dial controls of older aircraft. However, even some of DL's newest domestic aircraft at the time you flew (such as the 738s and 764ERs) still used the pneumatic headsets. I remember them as late as 2003 on a 764ER.

[Edited 2012-08-17 13:18:25]
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135mech
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:48 pm

WOW... I remember UA had their inflight movie "Maxie" (1985) with Glenn Close and Mandy Patinkin on their DC-8 (70 series)... watched it 4 times on one trip alone... CLE to SFO or LAX and LAX or SFO to HNL and the return trip! I was about 15 or 16 when seeing in on UA and remember always having to look over some tall guys head or around the seat in front of me to watch!

Memories!  
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:18 pm

I remember watching "Outbreak" on our way to ZRH on a DL L1011 July 95. I remember a f/a had to attach a movie screen to the roof of the plane.
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DeltaRules
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RE: TWA Original 747 In Flight Entertainment System

Sat Aug 18, 2012 12:21 am

I remember flying CVG-BOS on a 763 in 1998 and seeing the F/As flip the screen at the front of the cabin and attach a ceiling mounted screen mid-cabin for DL's short-subject entertainment (precursor to Delta Horizons) as well.
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