I have a soft place in my heart for Northwest Boeing 747-200s. My first time flying in a 747, my first time flying as an unaccompanied minor, and my first time being able to ride in the nose section was all on one of those birds. Even though that was at the age of five, it was very exciting and has stayed with me.
Anytime I see a photo of one of these aircraft, I wonder if it is the one that I flew on. I have no way of knowing, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to get to know more about the life of every Northwest 747-200 that I come across.
Not long ago, I documented the life of a Lockheed L1011 (which I named Martin). I have fun tracking down the lives (and often the deaths) of classic airliners and I enjoyed sharing Martin’s journey with you all (and many of you seemed to get a kick out of it as well). When I came across N642NW, a Northwest 747-200, I thought her history was pretty interesting and worth sharing.
I have decided to name this classic beauty Madison for two main reasons. During my trip (explained above), I flew from Seattle to Minneapolis to visit my uncles and we spent some time in Madison, WI. I might have also had a boyhood crush at the time on Madison from the movie Splash (played by Daryl Hannah). Either way, we can say that I like the name and I like the plane, so it works!
Now, let’s take a look at Madison’s birth, how she lived, and if she is still around today.
Air Force One has been an iconic aircraft since before I was born (not caring who was onboard, of course). Yes, I know that any aircraft carrying the U.S. President is called Air Force One, but I am talking about the two VC-25As – built off the Boeing 747-200 – that typically fly the president around the world. Those two planes (registration SAM 28000 and SAM 29000) not only represent the office of the president, but also our entire nation. In some ways, it says who we are as a people and how we want other nations to see us. Our country is also in the process of upgrading Air Force One to a pair of Boeing 747-8 Intercontinentals, called the VC-25B. You can probably look up dates when they might be finished, but I am willing to bet that the aircraft will be delayed.
I have also always been interested in the types of aircraft that other world leaders use for official duties around the world. Does it say something about their people? Their economies? Embargoes? Or what they might find cool and interesting? In this story I wanted to share in photos some of those aircraft. I am for sure not going to hit everyone, just those that I find the most interesting. Some leaders have an entire fleet of aircraft, while others might lease commercial aircraft from other countries to act as their state planes. The lines can often get blurred, but there are some interesting ones out there! I am not trying to make any political statements on why one state might run a fleet of wide-bodies, while another has a Cessna 152.
As you are looking through them… think about which aircraft you would want if you were a world leader. Sure, the Boeing 747 or Airbus A380 might seem like an easy choice for those who want to show off a bit, but not all airports can handle those big gals… hence why the U.S. has quite the fleet, including Boeing 757s (aka C-32), 737s (aka C-40), and many other aircraft at their disposal. Here we go!
I probably spend too much time looking at photos of classic airliners online. I am guessing that I am not alone. One of my favorites is finding an aircraft / airline combination that just doesn’t match or is an odd ball. Then down the AvGeek rabbit hole I go to learn as much as I can about the history of the airplane. When was it born? Which airlines flew it? How many times did it change hands? Was it involved in any accidents? Is it still flying today, stored in a desert somewhere, or has it been scrapped?
When I first saw the photo above, with the obvious old TWA livery with temporary titles, that looked like an airplane out of a bad movie, I became instantly hooked (or maybe “obsessed”). I wanted to get to know this plane.
I quickly found out that this Lockheed L-1011 was serial line number 1221, which I have to admit would be a pretty boring name. As I started learning more about him, I named him Martin (for obvious reasons). He was first delivered to TWA in December 1981 and had quite the adventurous life.
Follow me down the rabbit hole to learn more about Martin’s history and where he is today…
Many non-profit organizations have had challenges from COVID-19, and our local Seattle friends at the Museum of Flight have been one of them. However, they have put their creative thinking caps on and are offering up some pretty cool premium experiences, while still keeping visitors safe. From their website:
”The Museum now offers new private, curated tours for groups of up to four combining exclusive access to aircraft cockpits and cabins, viewing of rare artifacts not on public display, entertaining and expert stewardship, plus some upcoming experiences will include catered food and drink. These Premium Experiences are customized for the interests of the group, from the most casual fan to the ultimate aviation geek. All of them will adhere to the best COVID safeguards. And during Phase II and Phase III (Editor’s Note: these are specific criteria for Washington State) general attendance restrictions, the Museum”s spacious galleries will seem luxuriously intimate.”
There are some great options, but my favorite has to be Cocktails with the Queen. You get VIP access to the first Boeing 747, including the upper deck lounge and flight deck. It is not a short in-and-out sort of experience, but one that will last you 2-3 hours and will build some life-long memories. But if that is not to your liking, there are other options…
What do you get when you combine writing about airline travel since 2008, with a few decades of being a sarcastic chap? Unsolicited Travel Advice from David (the Editor-in-Chief of this dog and pony show) — that’s what! There are way too many travel-related click-bait stories out there that give you boring and questionable information from “experts.” This series will be different — I will give you entertaining, possibly less questionable information, while not caring about any sort of clicks or bait. Let me set the mood. Imagine that you and I are hanging out (before all the COVID-19 stuff ), when we have just hit upon an interesting airline/travel topic (what is the best airline credit card) and I am fired up and ready to spew my thoughts and opinions. When I wrap up, I am hoping that you won’t just awkwardly stare at me, but instead continue the conversation in the comments. Let’s do this…
WHAT IS THE BEST AIRLINE CREDIT CARD?
Heck if I know.”¨
Which airline do you fly the most? Pick that credit card. Done!
Since all my friends and family know I write about airlines, I get asked about this a lot… too much. I say that because I am bad at the airline miles / credit card ”game.” A game that can be played with-in the rules and ethically, or it can be done by trying to scam (or some might say “work”) the system.
In a recent AR story comment, my friend, and AR Managing Correspondent, JL Johnson stated how passengers can just, ”open up a personal and business ChargeMart Plutonium Card, and max them out a time or two over a 90 day window that I might get enough points to buy a FREE one-way first class ticket from Lampasas, TX to Fargo, ND.” Sign me up… three times over again!!!
(This would probably be a good time to tell you that AR gets ZERO kickbacks from any real, or fake credit cards that I talk about or make fun of in this story. Not that I am against it. If anyone from ChargeMart Plutonium Card is reading… let’s make a deal!)
Keep on reading to find out the 5 BEST AIRLINE CREDIT CARDS THAT WILL GET YOU FREE FLIGHTS TODAY…