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Let’s Review 29: The Oh Let the Woodpile Do It Edition

The New Weekly Reader is now available at the Woodpile Report

Painters of the Victorian Era targeted the wealthy, those with mansions requiring large, epic art. Such patrons were inclined to dramatically lit grand vistas and heroic moments from history, or classical themes with the maximum nudity good taste would bear. There was a lucrative secondary market, however. Their wives. This is such a painting.

On the 3rd of January, Delta flew the last 747 in US passenger service to the boneyard in Arizona. First one entered service a half-century ago. Not my favorite airplane. I was conditioned to what was “normal” in the early DC-9 and Boeing 727 and 737 era.

The 747’s takeoff roll differed substantially from normal, as if they had decided to drive to the destination. “Cut it out, cantcha?! What are you trying to do, wrinkle it?” On the one occasion I measured it, it came to fifty-nine seconds. Rotation was sedate, like a DC-6, then it was gain altitude-level out-climb at leisure.

Boeing hedged its bets by configuring the 747 for an easy makeover to freight service. It looked the part. But there’s a limit to where size is reassuring. It seemed too big for anything but smiling skies. On one trip, as we made landfall over Newfoundland in winter, we hit some memorable turbulence. The flexing end-to-end was plainly visible, not a simple bending, it came in long ripples. Not for nothing are “travail” and “travel” etymological kin……

Every Tuesday Ol’ Remus puts out a new stack from the venerable Woodpile Report. the rest of which is here and more than worth your time.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • ghostsniper January 10, 2018, 12:22 PM

    Sometimes I gobble it down in a single sitting and sometimes I nibble on it all day long. Never disappointed and always learn something, usually many somethings. The best part’s are his own words.

  • Snakepit Kansas January 10, 2018, 5:04 PM

    RE 747s: Althought not in a few years, I have had many rides back/forth from the US to Asia, and always on the venerable 747. I was traveling enough at one point that I automatically got upgraded to Business Class. First time I sat down at 7AM in my seat on business class, the stewardess wanted to know if I wanted orange juice of champagne. Oh yeah. Later, a ceramic bowl of chilled cashews was delivered. A wine list with dinner options. All the top shelf booze you can drink. The seat of a large home recliner. Mercy, this is how the other half lives.

  • Ed January 11, 2018, 12:08 AM

    Sometime in mid-fall of ’69 I was flown into SeaTac on a job interview trip. Riding up to Seattle at dusk I could see Boeing Field down to the right below the Interstate. What the hell is that? I’d never heard of the 747. There below me was the biggest plane I’d ever seen, bigger than I could imagine. I think it was just on the threshold of entering commercial service, although a quick check might prove me wrong. A 59 second roll to rotation seems exaggerated, but far be it for me to question Remus.

    I never miss the Woodpile Report, usually savored through the day, too much to ingest at one brief setting. You’re right, ghost. The best parts are his own words.

  • Gordon January 11, 2018, 8:26 AM

    In 1968, I think, they were testing the 747 at Roswell, because the former air base has a gigantic runway and very little weather. My dad had an event, and there was a tour as part of the event. But the 747 broke and had to fly back to Seattle, so no tour. A couple of years later my grandparents took me along on a trip to Seattle, and we tried to get on the Boeing tour. No dice, I was too young (my grandmother, who was pretty severe about rules, looked at me and said, “So why didn’t you say you were 12?”). Later, I flew across the Atlantic about a dozen times, in 747s, but always in Economy.

    So I never got to climb the circular staircase up to the upper deck. I regret that.

  • ghostsniper January 11, 2018, 10:45 AM

    As a child of about 11-12 I used to stand at the fence around Page Field and watch the big jets take off. Having only recently moved to a suburbia from my previous rural lifestyle outside of Gettysburg, the only time I saw big planes with my bare occular glands was way up at 30k feet. Now, I was within a 100 or so and it was amazing. Couldn’t get my head around something so big acting like it was lighter than air. I had been building and flying balsa and tissue paper planes from about age 8 and my dad, an ex-air force mechanic, had told me about dihedral and some other things but I had no knowledge of what it took to keep those things up there. A few years later I learned about the bernoulli principle and it sort of made sense, though still kinda unbelievable. I was fascinated watching them and couldn’t get enough of it. It wasn’t until I was 19 and joined the army that I got the chance to fly in a large aircraft and it was a short flight from Fort Myers to Miami in a DC prop plane. Climbed the stairs at the rear then walked uphill inside to my seat. It was a tail dragger. Good enough, for now. I had a window seat and when aloft I saw fluids of 3 different colors flowing backward from the engine compartment over the wing. Uh-Oh. Later when I told my dad he chuckled and said it was when there was no fluids flowing over the wing that it was time to worry. Shortly after that I got a ride on a large jet but I don’t know what kind because I walked through a tunnel to get to it. No exterior stairs. So I was inside but didn’t see the outside. A sort of false reality had been created. When I got to Fort Knox for basic they wheeled the big stairs out and I got to see the big jet. It wasn’t a 707 like I used to watch at Page Field, it was bigger and had 2 engines on each wing. 727? Dunno. Now I was addicted to this stuff. And the stewardesses. OMG A few months later I landed at Fort Benning for the start of jump school. My dad asked me if I lost my mind. The uniforms they issued me in basic had 82nd airborne patches installed and I was going all the way through to the other side. Stepping out of the side of a C130 at 5000 feet may sound daunting but it was different for us that were in that slipstream. Mentally we were all pushed as high as we’ve ever been in adrenalin. And, when you’re standing nutz to butz with the guys in front and behind you, you don’t really get a full sense of what’s going on. You have tunnel vision to the max. “Stand up, buckle up, shuffle to the door….” The wind coming in the open doors makes you push even harder toward it and the noise is overwhelming. “….jump right out and count to four”. Suddenly everything is quiet and you’re jerked hard from above and the whole earth turns upside down instantly, your feet are up with the parachute and your head is down toward the earth, then you settle down. The natural instinct is to grab the straps with all your strength and hang on for dear life. But you’re falling fast, about 40 mph. A 28′ canopy isn’t built for comfort, it is built to minimum standards. The last 100′ go real fast and catch you off guard the first time. 3 weeks of drilling causes the response to hit and roll to the side, and you hit pretty hard. My grandmother used to call such things “ass over tin cups” whatever that means. My right knee hurt like hell and bothers me still. Stagger up and grab the canopy and static lines up in your arms while the wind is trying to take them back. I did it! My last jump was about 6 months later, at night time in 20 degree weather, over Gelnhausen, Germany at about 2am on 20 Apr 1975, the day I became a disabled vet. Last night I was watching a travel show in Switzerland on TV and it showed people doing BASE jumps off of a 2500′ shear mountain and I got them ol’ feelings all over again like I always do when I watch that stuff.

  • Snakepit Kansas January 11, 2018, 5:52 PM