joe sutter…father of the 747

 there are some benefits from growing up in boeing country. i lived in seattle, washington (home of the boeing company) for much of my life and in a previous blog i wrote about conducting a recent delivery flight of a brand new boeing 777-300ER earlier this year from the boeing factory in everett, washington. while i was there, i was able to meet some incredible people. among them were friends of JOE SUTTER – the lead designer and chief engineer of the original queen of the skies, the mighty BOEING 747!  before i transferred to the 777, i flew the boeing 747-400 here at cathay pacific.  unfortunately, Joe was on vacation at the time but i was still able to get him to personally autograph my copy of his book, “747.”  i purposely brought my book from hong kong to seattle for this express reason and wrote him a note which he kindly replied with a personal note of his own inside! – thanks Joe! although i now fly the 777, your 747 is still the prettiest thing in the sky! … and yes, LONG LIVE THE JUMBO!

much credit and thanks go to my friends at boeing, especially Lisa (Elizabeth) Moody with customer relations at Boeing Commercial Airplanes for helping me track Joe down! thanx Lisa, i owe you a Starbucks!

777 belly of the beast

you’ve all seen those square aluminum containers – with a corner chopped off – at airports where they put your checked luggage in and wheel them around on those small carts never to be seen again until you arrive at your destination…if you’re lucky! have you ever wondered where they go in the airplane and what it looks like in the baggage hold of one of these big jets? before every flight, we (pilots) must do an exterior pre-flight inspection of the airplane. i fly the mighty boeing 777 and on my “walkaround” i had a bit of extra time so i climbed into the belly of the beast and snapped some photos for you. nothing glamorous but this aft cargo hold is just one of three huge cargo sections on the 777. believe it or not, baggage handlers have fallen asleep in here and have been accidentally locked in – free trip woo hoo! it’s pressurized so most survive – but we only keep the temperature at around 7-15 degrees C average…warmer if we put animals down here. so next time you fly Economy Class, be thankful you’re not stuck down here – imagine if airlines start filling this section up with people! it’s large enough to have a party, just bring your own sleeping bag. things that make you go hmm…

the other photos are just a couple of other 777’s that passed by as i was doing my inspection. a brand new 777-300ER by Eva Airways heads back to its home base in Taipei, Taiwan and one of our own 777-300ER’s prepares for a long nonstop flight to New York. the 777-300ER is distinguished from other aircraft by its distinct “raked” wingtip which improves aerodynamic efficiency in flight. magic! but it looks neat too. now you know!