Browsing Tag: Museum of Flight

Joe Sutter and Brien Wylge

Joe Sutter and Brien Wylge – Photo: Kris Hull

Recently, the Museum of Flight in Seattle finished the first phase of restoring the historic first 747 to its original 1969 appearance. To celebrate this accomplishment, they hosted an afternoon seminar with Joe Sutter, who led the engineering team and is credited as the “Father of the 747”, Brien Wygle, the former Boeing Chief Pilot in 1969 who was in the right seat during the first flight, and noted author Clive Irving, who wrote one of the authoritative books on the 747. Before the main events on October 18th, we had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Sutter, Wygle, and Irving.

The 747 was an aircraft that was developed quickly by today’s standards, according to Sutter. “I was asked to investigate large aircraft designs in April 1965, Pan Am placed its first order in 1966, and we rolled out the first aircraft in 1968, with first flight in 1969, followed by entry into service in early 1970.” For an aircraft the size of the 747, three years from initial concept to rollout of the first model is still today unprecedented.

According to Irving, “It was a large program, and Joe was in the middle of the chain of command, and whenever there was a critical decision to be made, and no one else wanted to make it, Joe made it. He was the one in the end who signed off on everything, and took full responsibility.

Roll out of RA001, the first 747. Photo: Boeing

Roll out of RA001, the first 747 – Photo: Boeing

You will not find that speed in today’s environment.”It was a massive undertaking, and at one point, we were spending $5 million a day on the project. I was directed to cut 1,000 engineers by leadership, and I polled my crew and asked what they can do without; they said, ‘nothing, we need 800 additional engineers!'” said Sutter. “We were relegated to an old warehouse on the Duwamish River before the Everett factory was built, while the team heading up the government-sponsored SST program were housed in brand-new offices and buildings.”

When asked about how he felt being “relegated to a side project” compared to the high-profile SST program, Sutter replied, “We had a job to do, and we were going to build an airplane that did that job. We were going to get our job done, and we had the attitude that if we did a good job, the plane would have a great future.”

The City of Everett looks great in her new coat of paint.

The City of Everett looks great in her new coat of paint

For those of you who have previously visited the Museum of Flight, you know it is a world-class facility and well worth the visit. However, it was always sad looking at the first Boeing 747 sitting outside in bad shape.

As the years passed, the condition of the beauty only got worse. Luckily, things have been changing and now there is one gorgeous Boeing 747 sitting out in the museum’s Airpark.

The red on the stripe and tail once again pop

The red on the stripe and tail once again pop

The museum started renovating the interior back in 2013 and then the exterior this July.

The aircraft was not only the first 747 that flew, on February 9, 1969, but it also became a test-bed for 747 improvements and engine developments for the 777’s GE90.

A MV-22B Osprey on Approach to Boeing Field

A MV-22B Osprey on approach to Boeing Field

Summer in Seattle means lots of things to locals in the Pacific Northwest.  Long days with the sun setting at 10pm, with Mt. Rainier standing out tall and proud in the skyline.  Blue skies, sun, and outdoor fun, but most of all it means one thing for AvGeeks:  Jet noise!

During the first weekend of August in Seattle is Seafair, and the main attraction has always been the Blue Angels (it also coincides with Fleet Week).  However, this year, things were a little bit different over the skies and on the ground in Seattle.  The United States Marine Corps (USMC) came to town.  They were not going to let the US Navy have all the fun, and this year, it was time to bring Marine Week to Seattle.

The United States Marine Corp takes over the Museum of Flight for Marine Week - Photo: Jennifer Nagle

The United States Marine Corps takes over the Museum of Flight for Marine Week – Photo: Jennifer Nagle

This year the USMC decided to bring Marine Week to Seattle to showcase and honor not only the Marine Corps as a whole, but also how much of a role the Corps has to the local area.  People in Seattle could meet the Marines themselves, learn about what they do, why they do it, and then get to see how they do it.  The biggest part of the weekend would be the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) demonstration over the skies of Lake Washington.

A British Airways Concord visits SEA - Image: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

A British Airways Concorde visits SEA – Photo: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Today, Concorde is no stranger to the Seattle area — there is a British Airways Concorde sitting just south of Seattle at the Museum of Fight. But back in 1984, a Concorde had not yet visited Seattle. That all changed near the end of the year.

According to, on November 15, 1984, Concorde made its first trip to Seattle and it was for a special event.

It landed at Boeing Field (BFI) first to prepare for a special fundraising flight for the Museum of Flight. The plane arrived with a load of recently bottled Beaujolais nouveau wine and Seattle restaurant owner Mick McHugh along with a few guests.  The wine was specially brought to Seattle as quickly as possible to be enjoyed, and what better way than via a Concorde?!

Couldn't have a better place to celebrate -- at the Museum of Flight - Photo: David Parker Brown | AirlineReporter

Couldn’t have a better place to celebrate – at the Museum of Flight – Photo: David Parker Brown | AirlineReporter

I am admittedly not a frequent flyer guy. I love flying and do it quite often, but I am not one that goes and chases miles either in the air or on the ground via rewards programs. Before a few months ago I had heard things about the Freddie Awards, but didn’t really know what it was or what it celebrated. When I am not familiar with things related to travel and airlines, I like to dive head first and learn, so I signed up to attend the 2014 Freddie Awards, being held in Seattle, WA.

I wanted to learn a bit more about rewards, points, miles, and those companies who are doing things right. Oh, did I forget to mention, the event was at the Museum of Flight? I had a full steak/salmon dinner under the SR-71 (okay, it really is the M-21 Blackbird, but most people have no idea what that means) and an open bar? Oh yes, this was going to be a good time.