A ROTC cadet launches a balsa-wood airplane.

ROTC cadet launching a balsa-wood airplane

Roughly 1,200 high school and college students from across Washington state descended on Alaska Airlines’ maintenance facilities at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport recently to get a behind-the-scenes look at the aviation industry. More than 350 Alaska Airlines employees volunteered their time and expertise for the day.

An attendee checks out King County's search & rescue UH-1H helicopter.

An attendee checks out King County’s search & rescue UH-1H helicopter

The Navy brought an EA-18G Growler over from Naval Air Station Whidbey, local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies brought vehicles and staff to answer questions about careers, and more than a dozen general aviation aircraft filled a hangar for students to see, and some were available for them to learn how to pre-flight, including a Piper J-3 Cub and a Cessna Caravan.

The first Boeing 737, seen at the Museum of Flight

April 9, 1967 was a special day in aviation history. Capt. Brien Wygle and First Officer Lew Wallick took the Boeing 737 prototype on its maiden flight. Fast forward 50 years to April 9, 2017 and we found ourselves at the Museum of Flight in Seattle to celebrate the Boeing 737’s 50th birthday.

The festivities kicked off in the theater with a panel discussion moderated by Mike Lombardi, Boeing Company historian. The other members on the panel were Peter Morton, Boeing 737 marketing, Capt. Brien Wygle, Captain of the 737’s first flight, and Bob Bogash, a 737 engineer. With nearly a full theater, the lively discussion lasted for nearly 90 minutes.

CX0254 LHR to HGK - Photo: Alastair Long | AirlineReporter

CX254 LHR to HGK – Photo: Alastair Long | AirlineReporter

My working holiday in Hong Kong at the end of April started with a delightful journey on Cathay Pacific (CX). I upgraded from Premium Economy to Business for the nearly 12-hour overnight flight on a 777-300ER out of Heathrow’s (LHR) Terminal 3. Now a long day’s work always deserves a beer. And I was also on a mission to sample a Betsy.

CX Lounge in T3 - Photo: Alastair Long | AirlineReporter

CX Lounge in T3 – Photo: Alastair Long | AirlineReporter

My business ticket granted me access to CX’s lounge in LHR T3. I therefore scurried over to discover it and to crack open a CX-inspired cold one. Reopened in November 2016, the revamped Cathay lounge is slick and elegant, finished in brown wooden panels and marble.

“Ah, I’m sorry, you’re gonna have to get out of the car,” the Delta Air Lines security guard said as he peered farther into the window of the Uber I had taken to the northern edge of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Distracted, as I had been staring at a 757–200 beautifully adorned in Delta’s classic widget livery until about five seconds prior, I could only muster a perplexed, “uh, okay.” There really was no sense in arguing with the guy. I acquiesced, slightly annoyed, thanked my driver, and hopped out of the car.

Classic Widget Delta 757 – Photo: Jake Grant

I stayed mad for, oh, five seconds at the most. You see, at the Delta Flight Museum, the exhibits begin in the parking lot, a stone’s throw from both arrivals on the northern runway 8L/26R into Delta’s biggest fortress hub and Delta’s brick castle of a headquarters down the street. Due to the preservation efforts of Delta’s 80,000-strong workforce, the museum’s outdoor exhibit highlights a trio of classic airliners; the 757, a Douglas DC-9, the short-haul workhorse for the better part of four decades, and the first Boeing 747–400 built, with a display plaza being pieced together around the Queen of the Skies.

DC-9! Woo – Photo: Jake Grant

A note on the plaza: I ended up taking my tour before it opened at the end of March. It’ll definitely be worth a visit by any Atlantians or folks with long layovers. The 747 and the plaza taking shape around it were primarily funded by Delta employees. This is a recurring theme of the Delta Flight Museum. The inside of the 747 is an extension of the two hangars full of Delta relics across the parking lot. This writer certainly intends to check out the finished project when he gets the opportunity.