|Quoting megatop (Reply 14):|
My last to day was in april 2013 on a KLM 747-400 Combi from AMS to LAX.
Was it Karachi
? I seem to draw that one a lot...
|Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 16):|
The Majestic appearence of the type standing on the tarmac......The silent start up of its engines......
I definitely agree with the 1st part. One of the things I do enjoy about my time at LAX
is that there are always at least a few of these around.
As for the 2nd part, I can only guess you mean from the inside?
I used to love pushing out the BA744s (back when I was at DFW
; these days if I'm ever actually catching a line, it's far more likely to be PR
, Air China Cargo or KL
). I realize that PAX think
these are large aircraft from the inside, but it's quite another thing to walk alongside a moving example. It really does seem a lot more like putting a container ship into a channel than pushing just another airliner out of the alley. I know I'm carrying on about this, but you really can't get away from the size of it.
And then startup... I singled out BA
's as their RB211s are quite a different sound than the CF6s or PW4000s, and IMHO, altogether more awesome. With the interphone jack plugged in and headset on, there really isn't much to hear at first. In fact, the sound of breathing is almost enough to overwhelm the PACKs (which without hearing protection sound like a herd of Banshees; they are unusually loud and high pitched on the 747).
There are a few things I liked about this. First, as with any type, hearing the PACKs wind down. If you're really into this airplane stuff, the feeling here as that noise goes away is the same as when the lights dim and the curtains go up at any other live performance. Only here, I think this is amplified as there is a lot of noise being dumped, and a lot more about to happen. Starting from #4 leftward, a sound like a tire valve whooshing as the engine begins to turn. Soon and evenly replaced by a high pitched but barely audible fluttering, it really doesn't last long. Following up closely, a deep, persistent thrumming as the stage one's begin to turn for real. My personal favorite is on a windy day; watching the windmill effect reversed as wind up becomes self sustaining.
The auditory sensation is difficult to reproduce, although the closest I've ever heard was the alien machine start-up sequence in the 2005 reboot of War of the Worlds
. The bass effect is sufficient to vibrate your boots if you lift them from the ground.
But the absolute best is when we'd get some Captain who was cool with shutting down all three PACKs at once, instead of in sequence. The resultant air charge would make an unholy "bang" sound upon start-up, somewhere between a back-fire and the sound a dumpster might make if you dropped it from a two-story building. Can't really say why, but the whole sequence is just about enough to make one's day.
So, yeah, I'll miss all that.
I think also what I will miss is how personalized
744s tend to be. Like with any airframe, there are certain things always in the same places and done the same way. But with the 744, airlines seem to have a bit more than normal wrt the layout. A purser station right under the stairs on a BA
machine might be in a completely different spot on a KL
example. Some airlines feature only Y class upstairs, some J/C or Y+. FC layouts are full of all manner of variety as well. Then you have the sidelong galleys a la KL
, or even a whole section walled off for freight.
As well the F variants also seem to have every different type of layout in their humps, with the BCFs being the most interesting (IMHO of course).
I'll also miss the FD
layout, to some small extent. Maybe others here can chime in on this one, but to me, the 744 at least seems
easier to taxi than anything from the 737NG family. While it is a tight fit up there, the visibility was always better than I expected, and especially at close to dead weight, having 16 brake sets certainly helped with handling. Anyway, I'm rambling, so we'll cut this short(er).
As a PAX, I have to say it's similar to experiences I've had on other large widebodies. You have good airlines and not as good ones as we all know. Some layouts though, are especially nice (I'm actually pretty fond of BA
's Y+ being ahead of J and behind F on some of their units), and the fact that there are galleys and monuments all over the place gives a more intimate feeling than say a 787, which by comparison feels like sitting in a cheap cafeteria. As always, YMMV.
Used to love those... Until I had to hang a set once. Never again!
Much like a GE90, I'm a huge fan of Big Twins...