Moderators: richierich, ua900, PanAm_DC10, hOMSaR

Topic Author
Posts: 862
Joined: Sat May 20, 2000 10:07 am

Your Early Memory Of Commercial Jets

Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:02 pm

I'm curious about other members of this community and when they fell in love with aviation and planes? I have a couple specific memories from childhood.

Living near KBUF i can recall vividly seeing the Eastern Airlines 727's and L1011 coming and going. I would run outside whenever I'd hear an approaching jet and look up. I also can't forget the sight and sounds of the Allegheny Airlines BAC-111's and DC-9. Smoky and Loud.

I also have fond memories of seeing all those National Airlines tails when we would head to KFLL to visit my grandparents in Florida. That livery was so cool. It was like being in another world.

The pic below is one I snapped when i was about 10 years old. My dad drove me over as i was doing a photo essay of the airport for a school report.
Overview of Buffalo aiport (KBUF) circa 1975
Posts: 2776
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2002 1:47 am

RE: Your Early Memory Of Commercial Jets

Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:31 pm

Stretch DC-8s feature prominently in my memory. Along with the crackling takeoffs, smell of jet fuel, and smoky takeoff at the old Pittsburgh airport. I remember putting in my dime to go out on the observation deck and seeing the DC-8s, Allegheny DC-9s, and Eastern L-1011s. Seemed like the reverse thrust landings were about as loud as the takeoffs.
Also, the skies were more interesting with 4 engine contrails much more common.
Ghosts appear and fade away.....................
Posts: 817
Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 10:29 pm

RE: Your Early Memory Of Commercial Jets

Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:57 pm

I lived on Guam at the time PAA introduced the 707 in 1960 and was able to tour the airplane during an Open House at the Naval Air Station Agana terminal. It was N715PA, Clipper Liberty Bell, and I remember receiving a small plastic model of a 707 and brochures on the new service. The airplane was huge, comparing it to most of the propeller aircraft I was more accustomed to in those days. I was there for the first flight to HNL and SFO and the thought that someday I'd fly them routinely was very remote in my teenage mind at the time, but just 5 years later, back stateside, my first ride on a pure jet was an Eastern 720 from PHL-ATL in October 1965, followed by a Delta DC-8 ten days later from ATL-MSY.
The rest is history. I joined an airline in 1969 following military service and I've been riding airplanes ever since my first trip on one....a Capital Airlines DC-3 in 1953.
watch what you want. you may get it.
Posts: 2449
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 3:21 pm

RE: Your Early Memory Of Commercial Jets

Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:12 pm

My father used to work for WA in SFO. Back in the early 1970's he would take me all over the ramp and hangar areas showing me the airplanes up close. Planes such as the 707, 720, 727, and 737. I will still remember to this day the first time a WA DC-10 came to SFO. My father had me stand inside the engine nacelle of the #1 engine and took my picture. I still have that picture. I also got to ride in the elevator down to the galley in that plane.

Another favorite of mine was being taken to the old parking lot next to runway 1R at SFO to watch the planes take off. There is nothing like listening to 707's, DC-8's, Convair 880's, and other pre-hushkitted planes as they powered up and went down the runway on their takeoff roll. The sound was deafening. After I moved out of the SFO area, I would always return to that parking lot whenever I visited SFO. Too bad the events of 9/11 caused the parking lot to be closed.  
Posts: 117
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2009 3:48 pm

RE: Your Early Memory Of Commercial Jets

Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:26 pm

I grew up on the island of Kwajalein, in the Marshall Islands, PKWA. The runway takes up well over a third of the island. When I was very little, my dad would put me on his bike and take me to see the Saturn DC-8's and Air Force C-141's. As I got older, my friends and I would ride down ourselves and feel the jet blast from the departing Continental 727 combis. We had a poor man's St. Maarten. I left many years ago, but have had the chance to return, operating one of my company's 738's on a charter for NASA out of HNL. Funny, too. Of the 20 or so boys in my 6th grade class, 7 of us are airline pilots. Guess I wasn't the only one bitten by the bug.
Posts: 120
Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2006 3:24 am

RE: Your Early Memory Of Commercial Jets

Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:26 pm

My first Jet memory, is a flight in a Braniff DC-8 from Bogota to Miami, I was 6 and we were going to "Disney"  

My love for airplanes started when I was about 8 in a flight from Quito to Guayaquil in Ecuador on a Saeta Caravelle, I loved the sound of the engines and they let me visit the cockpit in flight.
Posts: 1976
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2005 7:21 am

RE: Your Early Memory Of Commercial Jets

Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:34 pm

My first jet flight (at 9 years old) was a Pan American DC-8 from JFK-KEF-PIK in 1967. We departed from the same gate as seen in the pilot episode of the TV series 'Pan Am'. (Gate 2). I liked watching my Uncle Mike working at the old TPA. In 1968, he walked me up to an Eastern DC-8 and opened the main gear well doors. In 1971, he came to my house at 2am, woke me up, took me to the airport and drove me across the active and showed me around the new TPA terminal 2 months before it opened. 6 months later, he handed me the wands and let me marshall in a Pan Am 707...I was 13. Very SWEET memories, indeed!!
Just accept that some days, you're the pigeon, and other days the statue
User avatar
Posts: 8354
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2001 3:43 pm

RE: Your Early Memory Of Commercial Jets

Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:33 pm

I used to be taken out to watch aeroplanes 3x a week after playcentre as a pre-schooler.
I recall the AR 747s being a special treat to see, CP DC10s, the SB Caravelle, ON 732Cs and the Flying Tigers 741Fs. I flew on my first flight aboard an F27-500 age 4 and a bit and took photos of all of these on my first camera.

UA 741/2/SPs BA 741s/744s and NZ742s also linger in my memory along with TG/CO DC10s
Flown to 147 Airports in 62 Countries on 83 Operators and counting. Wanderlust is like Syphilis, once you have the itch it's too late for treatment.
Posts: 14807
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2006 3:38 am

RE: Your Early Memory Of Commercial Jets

Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:58 pm

I grew up at the bottom end of nowhere, as far as aviation was concerned, so I have very few early memories of any kind of jet. The first ones are of Luftwaffe fighters on training missions in my area... and of contrails, loads of them.

As for commercial aircraft, since the nearest airport was HAJ (and even that was well over an hour of driving away) and nobody in my family ever took any flights - apart from an estranged aunt - my own memories start with my first ever airline flight at the age of fifteen: FRA-MAD-GRU on LAN Chile, as they were called back then, aboard a 767. It was the beginning of a year of student exchange in Brazil, but the excitement over that wasn't the only reason why my adrenaline level set a new personal record during that very first take-off. 

During the year, the airline replaced its 767s on the SCL-GRU-MAD-FRA route with A340s which had the legs to fly SCL-MAD direct, so we ended up flying GRU-SCL-MAD-FRA... or, in my case, NAT-MCZ-SSA-GRU (overnight)-SCL-MAD-FRA... which reminds me of this:

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Achim Loges

And yet, even despite "having" to fly one of the biggest detours of my entire group, I loved every second of it... and the SCL-MAD flight is still the longest one I ever took, although that is set to change next week.
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
Posts: 3164
Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2005 6:56 am

RE: Your Early Memory Of Commercial Jets

Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:14 am

My first memory was a trip on an AC DC9-15 from YXU to YYZ and then on KLM form YYZ to AMS to visit realatives in Northern Germany back in 1975, I think that was when it was, it may have been earlier. I don't remember what type of plane it was from YYZ to AMS. I would have to ask my parents to show me the slides of the trip and even then I would not be sure if there was a record of the flights.
Rush forever Closer To My Heart
Posts: 7129
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2001 6:33 am

RE: Your Early Memory Of Commercial Jets

Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:44 am

Right not the first flight I can actually remember was DEN-ASP on a Bae-146. I only remember a few seconds of the flight it was a big bump and I remember everyone going "Whoa!"

The first flight which I have decent memories of was in 1997 MIA-LAX on a 757. I remember getting a meal on the flight, feeling a little sick on the flight and watching the movie Liar Liar.
A few other flights come to mind. A trip to Israel a year later when I was 8 years old. I did not want to board the airplane. For a few years I did not like flying for some reason I still don't really understand. I remember a few parts of all the flights on that trip except for the last leg JFK-MIA.

The earliest flight with a solid memory would be in 2000 DFW-ANC I don't remember the MIA-DFW leg much. I remember eating hamburger before the flight, I remember being delayed for a tire change and watching I love lucy and I remember the landing in ANC. I was 10 almost 11 at the time.

But I degress. Two memories which really come to my mind when I think about starting to love aviation and real flight are two flights in particular.
In November 2000 I flew MIA-JFK-MIA on Delta. A fantastic 727. I was only 11 at the time but I was starting to like aviation. I remember walking on the jetway and picking up the bistro bag. Crazy how I wish we had bistro bags on 3 hour flights now in the U.S. I remember the landing clearly it was choppy water near JFK on a cold November. The return was delayed hours, I think my longest delay ever. It was due to fog something I knew very little of being from Miami. I remember getting into MIA around 2am and going to school the next day!

In November 2001 it was again a MIA-JFK-MIA flight this time on a UA 767. It was the first time I ever had PTVs it was also my first flights after joing Anet in June of 2001. It was also only about 7 weeks after 9/11. For some reason this flight just sticks with me with being a flight that really gave my aviation interest a huge kick. Whether it was the PTVs, Channel 9 or just knowing a decent amount about aviation for a 12 year old I don't know. I also remember sitting at the terminal in JFK eating a burger watching planes leaving for spots all over the world. I also remember going online at the airport hotel and writing in a post that I am about to fly JFK-MIA on an UA 767. That might be it. The next time I flew which was a few months later in March of 2002 I remember knowing so much more about planes, I knew both type of planes, what a reverse push back was, the runway we were using in MIA.

The rest is history. What's Your Next Flight (by Mas a330 Oct 19 2001 in Civil Aviation)?threadid=611123&searchid=611564&s=flymia#ID611564 reply 28. I feel like this is the first flight in my life where I was able to know these type of things. Aircraft, departure time, airport code.
Next Flight (by Serge Nov 13 2001 in Civil Aviation)?threadid=638676&searchid=653427&s=flymia#ID653427 Reply 40. I remember writing that, in the hotel office room which had internet. I felt so "cool" being able to post about flying out in 30mins from JFK to MIA.

[Edited 2013-02-27 17:03:37]
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
Posts: 3501
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2007 12:26 am

RE: Your Early Memory Of Commercial Jets

Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:22 am

Mine would be in August 2001 when I was only 8 years old. It was a flight from BOS-MSP on a NW A319(might have been an A320, I was young so don't be too harsh!). I remember going onboard and the flight deck door was wide open and the FO yelled back and asked if I wanted to check out the cockpit. I was in awe. I had never seen screens like that anywhere. I couldn't believe how high tech the aircraft was. The FO let me sit in his seat and showed me buttons to push and all types of buzzers and alarms were going off. To this day I couldn't imagine anything cooler than that. I wish I could find that flight crew and thank them. They gave me the bug and I was hooked. I remember sitting behind the engines and just looking out at the world below me in awe that something could fly. When we landed the first thing I told my mom was that I was going to be a pilot and fly her around someday. I'm still trying to get my license so I can do the second part, but every time I get on a flight anywhere, I feel the same as when I was just a little boy.
Look at sweatpants guy. This is a 90 million dollar aircraft, not a Tallahassee strip club
Posts: 2344
Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 1:49 pm

RE: Your Early Memory Of Commercial Jets

Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:14 am

My first memories are from LTN from the late 80's into the mid 90's when I really started getting into planes as my grandad used to take me in school holidays. No U2 in those days and while there were always bizjets, it was boringly quiet compared to what it is today. The best memory was always the lunchtime FR BAC 1-11 to DUB. Apart from a few ZB & BY scheds / charters, there was not much else happening at LTN then, the only other regular sched was a JE Shorts 360. Interesting freighters though with Herald's, Vanguards, Viscounts & DC3's even then and various IL76's. Air Foyle were based at LTN so had a motley collection of fresh hand me downs from the just broken up SU, companies such Inversija of Latvia and Khors Aircompany of Ukraine stand out. MK Cargo also used to fly their DC8's to LTN then, as did Aer Turas.

My other memory was BAe at Hatfield, my grandad took me to the end of the runway not too far from his house and we used to see 125's & 146's in and out - and Dash 7's for some reason too (I think as an ex DH facility they had the European mx contract for DHC a/c).

My other great early memory has to be my first visit to LHR, we arrived at 945am on the Queens Buildings roof at T2 to catch the 10am departure of Speedbird 001 to JFK - Concorde...

As for flying, my first flight was in 1987 on a British Airtours TriStar though I dont recall much other than some great crew who gave my sister and I coloring books and wax crayons (we were 4 and 6) and we were severely delayed coming back to LGW and the place was devastated and powerless when we did arrive due to a massive hurricane (October 87, some Brits may remember it) - I remember less about the next flight the following year on a BIA MD83, both were LGW - NAP.

The first flight I really remember was in December 1990 on a ZB 757 G-MONC STN - BGR - BGI! I was 9 years old, STN was a ghost town then, the terminal was brand new and empty, the stop in BGR was fascinating as I had never really seen snow like that before nor American trucks - which were way cooler than our Leylands! I got a cockpit visit and a signed postcard of MONC from the pilot which I still have.

My next flights were by TriStar 500 (BWIA), 747-200 (Airtours lsf Air NZ) & DC10-30 (JMC Air) all of which I didnt truly appreciate then as I do now.
Follow me on twitter for YVR movements @vernonYVR
Posts: 1976
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2005 7:21 am

RE: Your Early Memory Of Commercial Jets

Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:11 pm

Quoting aloges (Reply 8):
SCL-MAD flight is still the longest one I ever took, although that is set to change next week.

From where to where and on what airline? Do tell!
Just accept that some days, you're the pigeon, and other days the statue
User avatar
Posts: 460
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 5:38 pm

RE: Your Early Memory Of Commercial Jets

Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:51 pm

I don't remember my First Flight ( I was less then a year old ), but it was a Aloha Bac-111. My first Jet memory is my dad taking me to his work at Lockheed in HNL, and seeing Aloha 737-200, Hawaiian DC-9s, JAL DC-8 and Pan Am 707 while visiting my uncles that worked at the other carriers. I still remember watching T-33 & F-102s taking off from Hickam and Pan Am 707, and United DC-8 landing and taking off at HNL. Later when my Dad started working for Western, watching 720B, 707 in HNL, before moving to LAX.

Its sad now days, how hard it is to bring in Friends and kids to work and show them around. I remember the smell of Burnt Jet Fuel as a kid, and everytime I smell it, it brings back great memorys.
Posts: 5983
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2007 4:15 am

RE: Your Early Memory Of Commercial Jets

Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:11 pm

I didn't get to fly until I was ten years old, but when I did I thought it was the dog's nuts! We were on a BA 757-200 from LHR to MAD. I had no idea what to expect really, and recall asking my friend seated next to me whether we were going fast enough to take off yet, even though we were only trundling along on the taxiway! I just had no idea at all. When the takeoff roll began, I was astonished. I chided myself for being so silly as to think that we were going fast enough to fly during taxi, because I now realised quite how fast you really had to go to take off. I loved it though. We came back on a 737-200, and I remember thinking how absurdly noisy it was in comparison to the 757. Nonetheless, I somehow thought it was cooler because it was more compact and the slim engines look very sleek.

Before that, living in central London I used to watch a lot of traffic overhead on its way to LHR. I had an Observer's book of aircraft from the mid 1980s, but still couldn't readily identify many types. I do recall seeing DC-9s, and in general I always remember thinking that planes with rear-mounted engines were somehow more dangerous and dodgy. Of course I realise this is complete crap, and I love the look of them now.

Although not commercial planes, the aircraft I really started on though were the A-10s doing the rounds over the Suffolk countryside where we lived prior to London. There used to be absolutely loads of them, and I loved seeing them. Definitely the first aircraft I was able to identify.
✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
Posts: 14807
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2006 3:38 am

RE: Your Early Memory Of Commercial Jets

Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:02 am

Quoting rwy04lga (Reply 13):
From where to where and on what airline? Do tell!

It's just FRA-EZE-FRA on LH and might even get cancelled at the last second.
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
Posts: 3576
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2001 3:36 am

RE: Your Early Memory Of Commercial Jets

Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:45 pm

I wish I had more (or any) pics from when I was a kid. I spent a few years of my childhood right near San Francisco airport, and planes would take off basically right over my house. In those days (late 70's), climb performance of most commercial jets wasn't that great so they'd often be pretty low. I remember 747-100's shaking our house! I have no photos from those days but I did go back to show my wife the house I partly grew up in and I took these photos from the end of my old street:

If you click the first thumbnail, you can see SFO in the background. In the second photo you can see the runways, although it was a hazy day the day I went back there. I remember the view being clearer most of the time.

When I was a kid in 1979-1980, I used to stand at that fence with a pair of binoculars and watch the takeoffs and landings for hours. I became convinced I wanted to be a pilot. I remember being really disappointed one day because I saw on the news that a plane landed with no nose gear and had to be foamed down, and I missed it!

Ever since then I have actually tried to live near airports. Right now I live very close to JFK - close enough to get shots like this from my back yard:

(Though I don't take enough photos like this now either... and I've sold that lens at this point.)
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
User avatar
Posts: 8472
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 3:59 am

RE: Your Early Memory Of Commercial Jets

Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:50 pm

For me the defining aviation moment in my formative years was when I was five, flying on a CO M80 from RSW-EWR.

When we landed in EWR the man sitting behind me said "Oh gee, there's a jumbo jet". I piped up - in a loud voice that about half the aircraft could hear - "Daddy, that man thinks that plane is a jumbo jet, but actually it is an A340. You can tell because it doesn't have a bump".

I guess I was destined to love planes!
Worked Hard, Flew Right
Posts: 171
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2012 4:32 am

RE: Your Early Memory Of Commercial Jets

Sun Mar 03, 2013 1:56 am

I remember being 3 or 4, and we traveled on a CRJ200 from TRI-ATL, and asking whether the flight will be bumpy  . My first "jet" flight was when I was 6 months old, from somewhere in the US (hey, I dont remember   ) to KUL on a 747 maybe.

A300/319/320/321/332/333/343/346 B732/738/744/752/762/763/772/773 CRJ200/700/900 ERJ140/145/170/175 MD88
Posts: 7892
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:46 pm

RE: Your Early Memory Of Commercial Jets

Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:36 am

I somehow remember being about 1 and on board a DL 757 en route CVG-FLL in 1992..... I remember reaching up and playing with the lights and the vents with my dad....

but what my parents say and what I DO NOT remember- me screaming bloody murder because of my sensitive ears popping....   
Follow me on twitter:
User avatar
Posts: 532
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2010 8:47 am

RE: Your Early Memory Of Commercial Jets

Sun Mar 03, 2013 6:07 am

Great thread. Thanks to everyone above!

I don't remember flying SYD-HNL-SFO on Pan Am in 1969, but my parents have photos of the event, including nice ones of the wings and engines of the 707 we rode on to HNL.

My first real memory of flight is on Eastern, MIA-ATL-STL circa 1970 on 727s. It was dark when we arrived in Atlanta, and there was a long tarmac delay, waiting for a gate I suppose. The weather was fine. I recall loving the airport at night with the colored lights on the runways and taxiways and airline names on their hangars in neon. Still do!

Around 1971, I remember JFK-HAM on a TWA 707. It was a night flight, and I was enthralled by my window seat view of the dark ocean and bright crystalline stars in a moonless sky.

But my favorite young-man flying experience was on United in the summer of 1974 -- LAX-HNL on what must have been a very new 747. Don't know if it was a -122 or a -222, but it wore the Stars 'n Bars Friendship livery. The upper deck bubble was a lounge only, no assigned seating, and had a bar, couches, and PONG! Warm macadamia nuts were served to all pax throughout the cabin. The inflight movie was Woody Allen's Sleeper. I was given a nice Child Fun Kit -- crayons, a United coloring book, wings, etc. -- and allowed to visit the cockpit after landing. Wonderful!

On that visit, my family took an interisland flight HNL-ITO on Hawaiian. At Hilo, we deplaned via airstairs onto the ramp and real flower leis were placed around our necks by lovely ladies right there! How often does that happen these days on the Islands? One of the volcanoes had recently erupted, so our visit to volcano park was especially fun.

Cheers, all --


Edit --

Oh, zrb2, I forgot to thank you for your very nice B&W photo! The UA DC8 and 721, an EA 727 Whisperjet in WHITE paint, and that dear Allegheny DC9. Gorgeous, darling!

[Edited 2013-03-02 22:19:04]
Posts: 568
Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2006 3:34 am

RE: Your Early Memory Of Commercial Jets

Sun Mar 03, 2013 8:37 pm

I was born in 1989 and I consider myself lucky to remember flying 727s and DC10s. Memories I will cherish!
User avatar
Posts: 309
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 11:22 pm

RE: Your Early Memory Of Commercial Jets

Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:58 pm

My first memory of seeing a commercial jet was when my mother flew from ABI-DAL in order to fly on to MKC in the summer of 1969. She flew on a Trans-Texas Airways DC-9, which looked enormous to me as I saw it sitting at the ABI terminal. I was only 5. My first flight was on a BI 727 from MKC to DAL.
Posts: 7129
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2001 6:33 am

RE: Your Early Memory Of Commercial Jets

Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:14 am

Quoting LONGisland89 (Reply 22):
I was born in 1989 and I consider myself lucky to remember flying 727s and DC10s. Memories I will cherish!

Same here. I wish I or my parents would have taken more pictures when we flew especially pre 9/11 But the flights I remember on 727s and 732s, 742s etc.. and food on every flight (for the U.S.) those were just easier times both for myself and I feel for the country I lived in.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 21 guests

Popular Searches On

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos