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Key Moments In Personal Aviation History

Tue May 08, 2012 11:47 am

There are times, places and airplanes that caused my passion for aviation to progress.

Obviously because of my name you can easily guess that JFK, throughout the 60s, played a major role in influencing a love affair that has only grown more mature with age.

For me it was the Pan Am Jetport and the TWA terminal and the IAB that brought moments with 707s, DC8s that solidified my passion for commerical aviation.

I am guessing that everyone around the world had moments, perhaps one, perhaps many, that were game changers as it relates to their passion for what drives their airliners relationship.

I'll start with two specific ones that influenced mine: PA100, B707-300, JFK-LHR, my Aunty Mary was taking it back to the UK (where she lived) and as I witnessed her walk onto that exposed bridge there was something so incredibly glamorous I remember almost not being able to breath. Between the aircraft, the glamor of the stewardesses (forgive me, but that's what we called them back then) and the magic that the aircraft would soon be in a different culture and country, I was hooked and wanted to know everything about commercial aviation.

I'd love to hear from others around the world their moments in time that movedalong their passion for commercial aviation. Because of my experience Pan Am and the 707 especially will hold a forever place in my mind and heart.
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RE: Key Moments In Personal Aviation History

Tue May 08, 2012 11:53 am

I remember the day I step onto a PWA (Pacific Western Airlines) B737 in YHY heading for YYC to go visit relatives as a UM. The fact that they treated me like a king and spoiled me rotten was one thing, the most amazing part was being able to visit the cockpit and sit in the jumpseat for most of the flight was something else. That solidified my desire to get into the airline biz. After 25+ years in aviation, I still love it!
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RE: Key Moments In Personal Aviation History

Tue May 08, 2012 12:07 pm

My first flight, me about 6 years old, with my parents and my sister, CGN-PMI in a Spantax CV990.

What did I need more to fall in love?   

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[Edited 2012-05-08 05:18:07]
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RE: Key Moments In Personal Aviation History

Tue May 08, 2012 12:10 pm

For me, it was my parents taking me to the local airport (Teesside - now Durham Tees Valley - MME/EGNV) from when I was 3 or 4 years old. I think the David Bellamy 'I Spy At the Airport' book helped develop my interest too!

As a kid I got used to the sights and sounds of BMA-British Midland Airways DC-9s and Viscounts at MME; and on family holidays from NCL & MME I got used to a return flight each year throughout the 1980s on B737-200s of Orion Airways, Britannia and Dan Air, usually with cockpit visits and the obligatory Wooster model of the aircraft as a keepsake.

In January 1989 my parents took me to LHR for the first time, flying from MME on a British Midland DC-9-32. That is where I first saw all the airlines and aircraft types I had only read about so it was a really exciting weekend for a plane-mad 10 year old.

Skip forward a few years and after leaving college and having no idea what I wanted to do next, I took a drive to my local airport and watched a Britannia B757 taxi past the fence. The smell of jet fuel and the feeling of being up close to an airliner made me decide that day to pursue a career in the airline industry.

Skip forward a few more years and I am still in the industry and can't imagine doing anything else now. In the last 7 years in particular I have been seeking out the oldest and rarest of airliners and doing my best to fly on them while it is still possible. I am sitting in a hotel room at PVG right now with the sound of aircraft taking off every couple of minutes; and while I miss the roar and crackle of BAC One Elevens, B737-200s, etc from yesteryear, it is still a reassuring sound that makes me feel at home.
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RE: Key Moments In Personal Aviation History

Tue May 08, 2012 12:12 pm

Quoting oldeuropean (Reply 2):
CGN-PMI in a Spantax CV990.

NOW you are talking! What an amazing aircraft to start your interest.
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RE: Key Moments In Personal Aviation History

Tue May 08, 2012 2:05 pm

Mine was standing with my Mum on the Queens Building at LHR in the 70s watching the planes go off around the world. My mum reminds me that even at the age of 6 I said I would work for an airline and I have done since I left school 24 years ago!
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RE: Key Moments In Personal Aviation History

Tue May 08, 2012 5:15 pm

Mine was taking my first commercial flight in Aug 2001 from BOS-MSP on a NW A319 on my way to visit my mothers then boyfriend (now husband). I was hooked immediately. When I came on board the pilots asked me if I wanted to visit the cockpit and I went in and they were flipping the switches and made buzzers go off and I was just in heaven. They gave me a little airplane card that they both signed and gave me wings. Ever since then I've had the dream of being a commercial pilot and now I'm finally in training to fulfill that dream! I just wish NW was still around. The day they announced the merger with DL I was so bummed. I wanted to fly for them more than anything.
Look at sweatpants guy. This is a 90 million dollar aircraft, not a Tallahassee strip club
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RE: Key Moments In Personal Aviation History

Tue May 08, 2012 8:42 pm

I was an airline brat from the age of 2. I don't ever remember NOT flying to get somewhere. Heck we would fly from Peoria to Chicago and spend the weekend going to Lincoln Park Zoo or the museums. A 3 hour drive? No way! To this day I would rather spend 10 hours on a plane than 1 hour in a car.
"True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain." -Mercutio
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RE: Key Moments In Personal Aviation History

Tue May 08, 2012 9:14 pm

While I had flown previously (I was 3, DEN-STL), I don't remember much of it. I didn't get to fly much at all, I craved it. The rare flight that triggered my love was COS-OKC-DAL and back on BN, I think I was 6 years old. I got an Aero-mini 727 to play with that matched my flight -- had the retracting air stairs, I still have it. Best of all, we got to hang out on the observation deck atop the concourse at DAL, watching all those Braniff easter eggs, but also the truly "exotic" airlines I'd never heard of before: Delta, Mexicana, Texas International, and... Southwest, in what must have been their first few months of operation.

That same trip I also remember driving out to the site where the new DFW airport was just under construction. It was all bulldozers and earth movers, which was also exciting for a 6 year old. Texas Stadium was also under construction. It was an exciting time to be Dallas.

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RE: Key Moments In Personal Aviation History

Tue May 08, 2012 9:36 pm

There were various times, places and airplanes that increased my passion for aviation.

My first flight was a DC-3 (at age of 1).
Flying on the 2 Braniff Calder aircraft (DC-8 and 727).
Non-revving in First Class, eating baked Alaska and drinking champagne while flying in South America.
Having Seat 1A on a BA 747 from LHR to NBO.
Being invited into the cockpit in flight on a DC-8 as a youngster.
Boarding aircraft from the ground and not having to go thru any security.
Hearing the distinctive engine sounds of a Vicker's Viscount and Lockheed Electra.
Flying PanAm out of JFK on a 707-320, then later a 747 to Europe.
Being one of 30 non-revs on a 747 ferry flight from DFW to LAX. Spending time in the cockpit in flight.
Lucky enough to have flown on the following Boeings: 701,702,703; 720; 721,722; 731,732,733,734,735,737,738,739; 741,742,743,744,747SP; 752; 762,763; 772.
Boeing Flown: 701,702,703;717;720;721,722;731,732,733,734,735,73G,738,739;741,742,743,744,747SP;752,753;762,763;772,773,788.
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RE: Key Moments In Personal Aviation History

Wed May 09, 2012 2:08 pm

When I first saw the photo of my father walking around united 232 in SUX, I became interested in planes, watching them and being near them.
As I grew older we used to spend countless hours sitting at the DSM blue lights viewing area, unfortunetly closed now. That really hooked me on planes and aviation.
Ironic that my first flight was on a United Express CRJ-200 from DSM-ORD when I was a junior in college, but it was magnificent.
Getting my first airline job, and being pissed that I couldn't go right out and work the ramp and had to sit in the office for three days doing training.
Gettting moved to first class on a recent DTW-RDU flight was a real highlight and made the overnight stay in DTW TOTALLY worth it. I was so excited and it was nice to experience.
looking forward to many long years in the biz.
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RE: Key Moments In Personal Aviation History

Wed May 09, 2012 2:49 pm

my first flight, as a UM on WN the route was STL-CLE i believe, back in the day before the canyon blue and i was in row 1.

and my first solo flight during flight training in my little C-152, i remember talking to myself on upwind and crosswind "I'm flying a plane! I'm flying a plane! OH MY GOD I'M FLYING A PLANE!!"
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RE: Key Moments In Personal Aviation History

Wed May 09, 2012 4:32 pm

My first ever flight was when I was about three, on an Indian Air Force Mi-8 helicopter. I was hooked very early  
Quoting khpn (Reply 11):
and my first solo flight during flight training in my little C-152, i remember talking to myself on upwind and crosswind "I'm flying a plane! I'm flying a plane! OH MY GOD I'M FLYING A PLANE!!"

My second solo check was more special than my first. I had done a few touch n' gos with my CFI, at the end of which he said he hadn't seen enough progress from my first solo, but he's gonna release me anyway. I came in for a very smooth landing with the CFI observing from the tower at our small airfield, and as I was completing the rollout, I heard his voice over the radio saying "Alpha Delta, what the hell was that". I checked the cockpit for anything I may have missed, and was bewildered until he said "Why don't you do a smooth landing when I'm on board?". It was his backhanded way of giving me a compliment (not to mention all the non standard phraseology involved), and I was so thrilled   

edited for typo.

[Edited 2012-05-09 09:33:57]
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RE: Key Moments In Personal Aviation History

Wed May 09, 2012 5:05 pm

I took an interest in the airlines in Dec 1975, when I was 7 years old. My parents and I were visiting Grandma in New Jersey, and we went out to JFK to pick up an uncle, who was flying in from SEA on NW. I stood next to the windows of JFK's T2, fascinated by all of the airplanes coming in from all over the world, and I was hooked!

Other memories which intensified my affection for the airlines:

o Summer afternoons standing on DTW's old observation deck atop the C Concourse, waiting for the PA and BA 747s to arrive.

o Being the only child on an AA DC-10 DTW-LAX in June 1978, and having one of the stewards smuggle a sundae back from first class for me

o Reading through airline timetables, and seeing flights to far off places like Cali, Colombia (BN) and Okinawa, Japan (NW).

o A local travel agent giving me a used OAG from 1976, which I couldn't put down!

o My first visit to the University of Michigan's transportation library, and being stunned at their collection of 50 years' worth of airline annual reports, and back issues of the OAG, Flight International, and Aviation Week.

o Finding a copy of issue 1 of short-lived Airliners International at a dingy used book store in inner city Detroit. I still read the magazine, especially the twelve day, 33 flight trip one of the editors took.

o Pulling into LHR's T2 in 1983 on an SK DC-9-40, seeing all the spotters on T2's observation terrace, and deciding then and there that I wanted to study in England at least one semester of college, so I could spend more time at LHR. Yes, I was able to do so!

Despite all the criticism of the airline industry, I feel very fortunate that so many people in the airlines gave me "treasures", and encouraged my love of the airlines.
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RE: Key Moments In Personal Aviation History

Wed May 09, 2012 11:57 pm

My first plane ride hooked me. It was June 1984, TF-FLV BWI-KEF
FI642. Strapped sideways into the cockpit of the mighty DC-8-63.

The take-off roll started, and I couldn't understand why the lights on the runway
were getting smaller... then realized we were airborne. I was hooked.

Now-a-days I call it "Aviation Syphilis." It effects your mind!

I have been lucky enough to see the world from the cockpit of the DC-10 and MD-11.

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RE: Key Moments In Personal Aviation History

Thu May 10, 2012 9:23 pm

Some of my key moments after thousands of flights, still very clear in my memory.

My very first flight at about age 8 on an AC (then TCA) Vickers Viscount (thus my user ID), from YXD (then the airport serving Edmonton) to YYC.

About 2 years later (1957 or so), my first flight on a piston-engine aircraft, a TCA L-1049G Super Constellation YXD-YVR.

My first flight on a jet, an AC (still TCA) DC-8-40 YEG-YVR in 1963, followed about a week later by my 2nd flight on a jet, a UA Boeing 720 SEA-YVR.

My first flight on a 737, a CP Air 737-200 YVR-YPR (Prince Rupert, British Columbia) in November 1968, when less than 100 737s had been delivered. Almost 44 years later, the total stood at 7,147 at the end of April.

My first longhaul international flight, a CP Air DC-8-43 YYC-AMS in January 1970.

My first flight on a 747 in April 1970, 3 months after the 747 went into service, Pan Am LAX-HNL.
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RE: Key Moments In Personal Aviation History

Thu May 10, 2012 10:13 pm

Quoting CitationJet (Reply 9):
Flying on the 2 Braniff Calder aircraft (DC-8 and 727).

I never did the DC-8, but did fly the 72S Calder PDX-SEA once.

Quoting CitationJet (Reply 9):
Having Seat 1A on a BA 747 from LHR to NBO

Had seat 1A on 2 Northwest Orient 742's SEA-HNL-SEA with their Regal Imperial Service

Quoting CitationJet (Reply 9):
Boarding aircraft from the ground and not having to go thru any security

I had this experience at MKK, boarding TS 73S, HA DH7 and SD330

Quoting CitationJet (Reply 9):
Hearing the distinctive engine sounds of a Vicker's Viscount and Lockheed Electra

Flying a Vickers Viscount on Air Rhodesia JNB-BUQ when I was 4, never got an Electra, I'm jealous.

Quoting CitationJet (Reply 9):
Flying PanAm out of JFK on a 707-320, then later a 747 to Europe

Flying an SAA 707-300 out of JFK enroute to Rio and Jo'burg when I was 4.

You had a lot of great experiences, I have been into planes since my Dad would take us to LAX and watch planes when I was still riding on his shoulders.

As a teenager, I used to use any money I got from B-days, working, chores, allowence and saved it up to just fly to SEA from PDX. In the late 70's to mid eighties I flew over 25 different airlines on this route, but also almost as many aircraft types. IMO, PDX-SEA was one of the best tag routes ever and almost every carrier at one time or another flew it. PA 707's and 747's didn't carry local traffic, even HA flew it with L-1011's. 747's on BN and the list goes on from there.

[Edited 2012-05-10 15:18:54]
707 717 720 727-1/2 737-1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 747-1/2/3/4 757-2/3 767-2/3/4 777-2/3 DC8 DC9 MD80/2/7/8 D10-1/3/4 M11 L10-1/2/5 A300/310/320
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RE: Key Moments In Personal Aviation History

Thu May 10, 2012 10:20 pm

I spent alot of time around airports thanks to my Dad working at QANTAS. As a result I caught the travel bug early as our family could travel cheaply to various destinations around the world, which was great. The real bonus however was being able to fly on DC-9's, QANTAS B707's, B747-200 and BOAC VC-10's, especially the novelty of being seated backwards on that aircraft.

One of the highlights in the early days was visiting the flightdeck of a B707 in flight at night and seeing another aircraft flying below us. It was one sad day when my Dad announced he was leaving QANTAS.

Another abiding memory is getting on a plane on a rainy day, looking out the window at takeoff as the world dropped away, enter the overcast and then a few minutes later break through the cloud cover and enter the wild blue yonder.

This all inspired me up to a point of wanting to become an airline pilot. This didn't pan out, but my passion for all things aviation continued as I bought endless books and magazines on aircraft, commercial and military having amassed a particularly large collection.

One particular book, recounting the history of the Wright Brothers and their journey to perfect heavier than air flight led me on a pilgrimage to Dayton Ohio. I visited their home, since relocated to Michigan thanks to Henry Ford of Model - T fame, the bicycle shop where they built the planes and Huffman Praire near Wright Paterson Airforce Base, where they continued to perfect their flying machines after their first successful flight at Kitty Hawk. I also visited the Airforce Museum which I cannot recommend enough. Still have to get out to Kitty Hawk though, one day soon I hope.

But my passion for all things aviation continued on into outerspace as I immersed myself in space history, with 3 visits to NASA and the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida where I finally witnessed a night launch of the Space Shuttle, pretty impressive to see night turned into day in the blink of an eye.
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RE: Key Moments In Personal Aviation History

Fri May 11, 2012 4:11 am

My grandparents lived in St Albans, half an hour drive away from LTN. He was pretty high up at Royal Mail and he set up Datapost and the moving of mail by air during the night. A lot of this happened at LTN so he had a personal interest in the airport apart from being geographically close to it. He personally knew Phillip Meeson from Channel Express among others well and he knew the various capacities of the various aircraft. He had drawn up his own notes how to identify all the different types of aircraft.

After being made redundant pretty young, but as you can imagine not needing to work again, he was always around when my mum took my sister and I over to see them every Wednesday in the school holidays. My sister got taken shopping or to the farm or something, whereas I would eagerly await time with my granddad - he would take me to LTN to watch the planes and explain what they all were and where they were going - it was fascinating!

Back then - talking late 80's / early 90's there was little in the way of scheduled traffic like there is today and while you would generally see a BY or ZB 737 or 757, the only real scheduled traffic was a JE Shorts 360 and some new airline from Ireland - FR with a Romanian ROMBAC 1-11. There were always bizjets thee, even then, though nothing like today.

He also used to take me to Hatfield and we would occasionally see BAe test new 125's or 146's. I also seem to remember Dash 7's, I think he said BAe had a maintenence contract for them, I assume they were the Brymon ones, I dont really remember.

For xmas 1990 he bought me my first aviation book, Observers series "Airliners" by William Green & Gordon Swanborough with a photo & specs and silhouette drawings of all the major types. I was hooked, I wanted to see all these aircraft. For my birthday the next summer my aunt bought me "The Hamlyn Guide to Commercial Aircraft & Airline Markings" by Christy Campbell. This again had all the major aircraft types, but also history, photos & fleet lists of all the worlds major airlines. I could not put them down and I copied the pictures and colored them in with my crayons. I still have them - just wasted an hour or some on nostalgia...

I used to go to WH Smith in my home town and pore over the aviation books, couldnt get enough of the pictures. In 1994 I finally bought the annual "Civil Aircraft Markings" by Alan J Wright. I then wanted to know what all these lists of numbers were about, so my grandad showed me the registrations on the sides of the aircraft. I now had a new focus, ticking off the registrations in my book and hi-lighting them yellow. Off we went to local GA airfields near St Albans of Elstree, Leavesden, Panshanger, Rush Green & Denham to tick off as much as I could in this book and it was fascinating being able to wander around unhindered on the grass amongst the Cessna's & Piper's etc. I remember the frustration of seeing bizjets with N or VR-B or VR-C registrations and having no idea who they belonged too. I remember when I got my first edition of "INTAG" then later JP Airlines Fleets which helped identify some of these foregin aircraft and the enlightenment it bought - even into the late 90's early 00's there was not the information on the net there is today and we didnt have it at home and I couldnt use it at work. I have only just started going through my old logs from the mid 90's onwards trying to identify on the net all those aircraft I saw back then, I really should publish a little blog - the history even in 15 years is astounding. All the Russian metal at LTN, all the Boeing classis the EU airlines used to operate at LHR and hardly any Airbii. BA planes with names..................

Anyway, each birthday I got a new book from someone and I have quite the library now. The big present one year was my binoculars so I didnt have to shares grandad's! They seemed like they were worth a million pounds and as being on the flightpath of LHR at home I used to sit in the garden or kitchen proudly telling my mum what was coming over!!

As I got older, I used to go and stay there for a week in the holidays and we would go on spotting weeks and cover LHR, LGW, STN, OXF as well as LTN of course and the GA fields too.

When I got my own car, I drove myself around, mostly to LTN and air shows - but my biggest regret now I have left the UK is that I did not spot more and get round to even more airports, places like SEN and FAB which today I would not think twice about driving to from North London to see different planes.

My last and ongoing special memory really is living in Richmond and 5 mins from YVR - its great having a major international airport literally on your doorstep with a plethora or rare types and different visitors a daily guarantee and have a feel on the pulse of the daily goings on with the local spotting & photographer community here.
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RE: Key Moments In Personal Aviation History

Fri May 11, 2012 12:58 pm

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