Delta Moves 747 To New Retirement Home
Boeing 747-400 Prototype History
This plane is historically significant in that it is ship 001, the prototype of the -400 series, 747. It was originally delivered by Boeing to NorthWest Airlines. Delta acquired NorthWest and its fleet in 2008. I had planned to be there for the move, but they moved it today instead of tomorrow because of bad weather predicted for Sunday morning. Still went out to the airport to get a picture.
From the Wikipedia Entry on the first 747-400: The first 747-400 (N661US) was delivered to launch customer Northwest Airlines on January 26, 1989, with service entry on February 9 with a flight from Minneapolis to Phoenix. This was the twentieth anniversary of the 747-100’s first flight. On May 31, 1989, Singapore Airlines operated the first international service using a 747-400, on a flight from Singapore to London.
In May 1989, one week before the initial delivery to the 747-400’s first European customer, KLM, the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) shocked Boeing by refusing to grant regulatory certification for the aircraft, citing the upper deck cabin floor’s resistance to collapse in the event of a sudden decompression.While the manufacturer asserted that the 747-400’s cabin floor was no different from the already-certified and in-service 747-300, the JAA maintained that the newer model would have a service life into 2020 and beyond and was thus subject to a newer, more stringent standard which had been updated to reflect the risk of explosive devices. In the days leading up to the first delivery to KLM, negotiations between Boeing, the FAA, and the JAA resulted in a compromise: a temporary operating certificate would be issued for the 747-400, provided that the manufacturer develop a structural retrofit for the aircraft within two years. The last-minute deal allowed KLM and Lufthansa to take delivery of their 747-400s without further delays.
After the first 747-400 deliveries, Boeing began production on more variants of the aircraft. The first 747-400 Combi, able to carry both passengers and freight, was rolled out in June 1989. The 747-400 Domestic, a short-range variant of the aircraft designed for Japanese intra-island services, first flew on March 18, 1991 and entered service with Japan Airlines on October 22, 1991. A cargo variant, the 747-400F, was first delivered in May 1993 to Cargolux. By the end of the 1990s, Boeing was producing four versions of the 747-400.
Delta Flight Museum
It will be open to the public beginning in 2017. If you ever want something to do in Atlanta check out the wonderful Delta Flight Museum. Well worth it. In addition to the 747, there is also a 757 and DC-9 that will be part of the outdoor display. Venture inside the museum to see The Spirit of Delta, a Boeing 767 purchased by Delta employees in the 80s.
There is more coverage from the AJC here.