Max Q
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That Older Widebody Smell?

Thu Oct 18, 2012 4:44 am

The cabin cleaner thread had me reminiscing over the smell that always used to hit me as a young man on boarding the older widebodies, such as the B747 Classic, DC10 and L1011.


It wasn't unpleasant, but hard to describe, perhaps a mixture of fuel / hydraulic fluid / electronic equipment all blending to produce a unique scent !


I don't seem to notice it on modern Aircraft and I miss that, it was always the first clue another airborne adventure was about to start.


Anyone else remember this ?
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BMI727
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RE: That Older Widebody Smell?

Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:06 am

Quoting Max Q (Thread starter):
It wasn't unpleasant, but hard to describe, perhaps a mixture of fuel / hydraulic fluid / electronic equipment all blending to produce a unique scent !

There's also that slightly musty smell of old aircraft and the mixture of coffee and jet fuel that seems unique to DC-9s. Other planes probably had that too, but those are what I flew on most as a kid.
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AA737-823
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RE: That Older Widebody Smell?

Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:29 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 1):
There's also that slightly musty smell of old aircraft and the mixture of coffee and jet fuel that seems unique to DC-9s. Other planes probably had that too, but those are what I flew on most as a kid.

For me, growing up in the 1990's flying American, it was the 727's that had "the smell". I loved it. And no other airplane in the fleet had anything to compare; not even the MD-80.
And honestly, to this day even as an airline mechanic, I can't pinpoint what that smell must have been. We're still burning jet A. We're still using Skydrol. Coffee is coffee. Blue juice is blue juice.
Yet no other airplane makes me reminisce about flying as a kid like a 727.
 
IAHFLYR
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RE: That Older Widebody Smell?

Thu Oct 18, 2012 12:34 pm

I'm most happy with the aroma of burning JET-A floating around early in the morning!   

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 1):
There's also that slightly musty smell of old aircraft and the mixture of coffee and jet fuel that seems unique to DC-9s. Other planes probably had that too, but those are what I flew on most as a kid.


That coffee smell mixed with jet fuel with a nice as a nice breeze is blowing through the galley door while the catering truck is there during boarding.....NICE!!!
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Lemmy
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RE: That Older Widebody Smell?

Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:25 pm

Don't forget to add the smell of stale cigarette smoke. I vividly remember that from my first couple of flights as a kid.
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pwm2txlhopper
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RE: That Older Widebody Smell?

Thu Oct 18, 2012 4:50 pm

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 2):

For me, growing up in the 1990's flying American, it was the 727's that had "the smell". I loved it. And no other airplane in the fleet had anything to compare; not even the MD-80.
And honestly, to this day even as an airline mechanic, I can't pinpoint what that smell must have been. We're still burning jet A. We're still using Skydrol. Coffee is coffee. Blue juice is blue juice.
Yet no other airplane makes me reminisce about flying as a kid like a 727.

Same thing with me. However, it was the 1980's and I was usually boarding Delta 727's/ DC-9's or United 727's or 737-200's when I smelled the smell. It's one I've never forgotten.

In my opinion, it was a mixture off "new car" smell, coffee, Jet-A, stale cigarettes, and mustiness. I loved it.
 
IAHFLYR
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RE: That Older Widebody Smell?

Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:01 pm

Quoting pwm2txlhopper (Reply 5):
In my opinion, it was a mixture off "new car" smell, coffee, Jet-A, stale cigarettes, and mustiness



I believe we've just uncovered an a.net perfume/cologne to market!!   
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KELPkid
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RE: That Older Widebody Smell?

Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:01 pm

Lav juice also entered into the equation...back in the day, it had a very chemically odor to it...  
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bond007
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RE: That Older Widebody Smell?

Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:06 pm

Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 6):
I believe we've just uncovered an a.net perfume/cologne to market!!

...or a new car air freshener for aviation nuts. You can now make your Camry smell like an L1011 !


Jimbo
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tb727
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RE: That Older Widebody Smell?

Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:31 pm

I love that smell, I think it's just of older airplanes. Even though I fly airliners that were converted long ago to freighters, sometimes I get a whiff of that smell that I vividly remember from my childhood non-reving all over the US dreaming of becoming a pilot. It's not always there, but it comes out occasionally.

Just the other day I was climbing through the bulkhead of an ex-EAL 727 delivered in 1970 heading to the cockpit for a flight and got a smell of it. This particular aircraft is nearing the end of her life and I couldn't help to think of all the places it's been and all the people she had carried safely over the years. And that for 42 years that same smell has been there through it all. I stopped and just closed my eyes for a moment and again remembered again how lucky I was to be there doing what I love to do.
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Max Q
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RE: That Older Widebody Smell?

Fri Oct 19, 2012 4:14 am

Quoting tb727 (Reply 9):


I love that smell, I think it's just of older airplanes. Even though I fly airliners that were converted long ago to freighters, sometimes I get a whiff of that smell that I vividly remember from my childhood non-reving all over the US dreaming of becoming a pilot. It's not always there, but it comes out occasionally.

Just the other day I was climbing through the bulkhead of an ex-EAL 727 delivered in 1970 heading to the cockpit for a flight and got a smell of it. This particular aircraft is nearing the end of her life and I couldn't help to think of all the places it's been and all the people she had carried safely over the years. And that for 42 years that same smell has been there through it all. I stopped and just closed my eyes for a moment and again remembered again how lucky I was to be there doing what I love to do.

You hit the nail on the head TB
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TWA772LR
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RE: That Older Widebody Smell?

Fri Oct 19, 2012 4:59 am

I wish I can say I've smelled that old-airplane smell. However, I have smelled brand-spankin-new new CO 739ER smell, I felt like I was in a new Ferrari for some reason    . Kind of off topic, but am I alone on the fact that I love the smell of the airport whenever you are curbside at an airport whose roads are flanked by terminals (like IAH)?
Not every day we find light winds. What do we do in these situations? Fly.
 
IAHFLYR
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RE: That Older Widebody Smell?

Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:20 am

Quoting TWA772LR (Reply 11):
Kind of off topic, but am I alone on the fact that I love the smell of the airport whenever you are curbside at an airport whose roads are flanked by terminals (like IAH)?

Not at all, thus my reference to the lovely aroma of Jet-A early in the morning.
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TWA772LR
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RE: That Older Widebody Smell?

Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:02 pm

Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 12):
Not at all, thus my reference to the lovely aroma of Jet-A early in the morning.

There's nothing like the smell of Jet-A in the morning. It smells like... VICTORY!!!  
Not every day we find light winds. What do we do in these situations? Fly.
 
my235
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RE: That Older Widebody Smell?

Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:35 pm

Quoting Lemmy (Reply 4):
stale cigarette smoke

Yes! Stale Marlboro cigarettes in my case, remind me of walking through JFK in 1989 as a 5yr old about to board a Virgin Atlantic 747-200 on a late night flight to Gatwick! Nostalgia  
 
bohica
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RE: That Older Widebody Smell?

Sat Oct 20, 2012 2:21 am

Quoting Lemmy (Reply 4):
Don't forget to add the smell of stale cigarette smoke.

  

Any airplane delivered before 1985ish had that unique airplane smell. Shortly after that time is when smoking was progressively banned on airplanes. Airplanes delivered after 1990 (with a few exceptions) do not have that unique smell due to the lack of the stale cigarette odor.

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