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 first 737 – Photo: Boeing
In flight – Photo: Boeing
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.
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
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.
The first A350 – Photo: Jason Rabinowiz
I would say that Jason Rabinowitz and I are pretty good friends. He also writes for AirlineReporter from time to time. Often he reaches out and asks if it is okay to share a story. I have never turned him down. Other times I spend lots and lots of time trying to convince him to share his story. He often agrees. Neither of these is the case for when he went to watch the first flight of the Airbus A350-1000 in Toulouse, France.
I couldn’t go, so I wanted to live through his story. He had a great time, shared it via his social media, took some great photos, but I couldn’t convince him to write up the story. Fine. Guess what? I am going to write up a story for him. Kinda.
Air-to-air photo of the Boeing 727’s first flight – Photo: Boeing
Today is the 53rd anniversary of the Boeing 727’s first flight. What a day. At the time, the 727 was a risk and important to the success of Boeing. Luckily for everyone, not only was the first flight a huge success, but the aircraft would go on to help redefine domestic air travel.
Its three iconic engines also helped to build aviation fans around the world; it is still a favorite among AvGeeks today.
BONUS: An AvGeek in the left seat – flying the Boeing 727
727 Renton flight line in 1966 – Photo: Boeing
To help celebrate the first flight’s anniversary, we reached out to Boeing to see if we could get some photos, and they delivered! We were told that some “haven’t seen the light of day in 50 years.” Rock on!
BONUS: VIDEO – A tribute to the Boeing 727