Test Flight #6

Dad sent a story of a 747 pilot’s experience flying the shuttle Atlantis from Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi to Florida. Dad worked for BOEING for over thirty years, and living in Seattle we grew up knowing that we were indeed The Jet City. (Queensryche’s song “Jet City Woman” is based on this fact.)

747 with shuttle
When I thanked Dad for the email, yet another unheard story came to light. Here is what he wrote:

“You’re welcome.  I happened to be scheduled on the prototype test flight #6 to take some environmental readings.  They had also scheduled the FIRST aerodynamic stall.  The nose came up, up, up, and, I was sure we were going to spin;  but, the lady just quit flying and “dropped her nose” down with very little wing drop until she picked up enough airspeed to become flyable again.  It was a great experience.  A very stable aircraft.  It would have to be seriously abused by the pilot before it quit flying.
Love, Dad”

Let me encourage you to talk to the people you know who have been on the planet a long time. You never know the delightful stories they have just waiting for an attentive ear.

UPDATE: Turns out Dad winkled a deal for my older brother, Stewart, to take part in the emergency exit tests for the 747. They were in a big hanger someplace, Everett (Paine Field) probably, and all the inflatable slides were inflated and they got to slide down them! I wonder if they got to act panicked and scream and stuff. We’re trying to pry the story out of Stewart, but I’m not holding my breath. He’s probably busy designing the next Lunar lander, or the robotic arm that will pluck a piece of Martian rock up for examination. He’s the mad genius of the family.


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