Surprisingly, it's not just about Ford at The Henry Ford. Meet the Fokker.

Surprisingly, it’s not just about Ford at The Henry Ford. Meet the Fokker.

I recently found myself in Detroit for three days thanks to one of Spirit Airlines’ ridiculous airfare sales combined with my favorite Spirit tip: Actually going to the airport to buy tickets. At $38.41 round trip, how could we resist? While I can honestly say DTW was not anywhere near the top of my to-do list, I go where the sales are. All literature regarding tourism in Detroit pointed to one definite venue: The Henry Ford. I knew Ford was influential in many early forms of transportation besides the obvious one, so I gave it a shot. For AvGeek appeal I expected an exhibit on the Tri-Motor. What we got was so much more.

A variant of the Queen of the Skies took a step closer towards the history books this week as Kalitta Air retired its remaining 747-200, which is one of the few remaining airworthy civilian models of the type.

N793CK, a Kalitta Air 747-200 freighter, prepares to land at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on its next-to-last flight before being placed into storage.

N793CK, A Kalitta Air 747-200 freighter, prepares to land at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on its next-to-last flight before being placed into storage

This particular airframe was delivered to United Airlines in March 1987, having been built at Boeing’s Everett, Wash., factory. It was converted to a freighter in 2000 by Boeing while registered to Northwest Airlines, and was eventually put into storage in 2009. In 2010, it returned to service with Kalitta, and was officially retired on April 23.

Seconds before touchdown at SEA.

Seconds before touchdown at SEA

“It’s nice to see that people still care about this stuff,” said Capt. Scott Jakl as he and his flight crew were preparing the aircraft for the flight to Kalitta’s maintenance facility in Oscoda, Mich. “This is a very big deal for us,” he said of the plane’s last flight.

The first 737MAX-9 with Seattle in the background – Photo: Boeing

Boeing’s 737 MAX 9 took to the skies for the first time on April 13 from Boeing’s plant in Renton, Washington. I had the privilege of being able to watch it take off with fellow aviation geeks on a hill overlooking the airfield. After takeoff, my photographer and I headed to the Boeing Delivery Center at Boeing Field in Seattle, where the plane would land that afternoon.

The Boeing 737 MAX 9 flies for the first time - Photo: Jonathan Trent-Carlson | AirlineReporter

The Boeing 737 MAX 9 flies for the first time – Photo: Jonathan Trent-Carlson | AirlineReporter

As we waited for Captain Christine Walsh and First Officer Ed Wilson to complete their tasks in the air, Boeing treated us to boxed lunches. As we ate, Boeing Vice President/Chief Engineer and Deputy Program Manager for the 737 MAX program, Michael Teal, talked to us about the airplane and the 737 MAX family.

D-AIDB- One of Lufthansa's newly equipped IFC aircraft. Photo: JL Johnson | AirlineReporter

D-AIDB, one of Lufthansa’s newly-equipped IFC aircraft – Photo: JL Johnson | AirlineReporter

Here in the U.S., we have been spoiled by the ubiquity of in-flight connectivity (IFC). A few years ago the IFC saturation rate reached a level affording passengers the opportunity to adjust expectations from being a nice-to-have feature to a downright entitlement. Delta, our on-again, off-again largest domestic carrier, has long been an in-flight WiFi leader, having reached just shy of a 100% IFC-equipped fleet years ago. Thanks to early IFC pioneers like Gogo, with their ATG products, the U.S. has truly had a jump start on other markets.

Because of this, it may be surprising to our U.S. readership that IFC is not terribly common with short-to-medium-range flights in and around Europe. Lufthansa (plus subsidiaries Austrian Airlines and Eurowings) are looking to change that. In partnership with Lufthansa Technik, Honeywell Aerospace, and Inmarsat, these carriers are deploying a new IFC solution at the steady clip of eight planes per week.

I recently had the opportunity to spend some time with Lufthansa Technik to learn about Lufthansa’s new in-flight connectivity solution and even experience it first hand…