A personal ode to the Boeing 747

The Boeing 747 flew its maiden voyage in early February of 1969, a week or so after I was born. This was not a commercial flight. That wouldn’t come until a year later, in late January of 1970, a week before my first birthday, when the world’s first jumbo jet took off from New York following a bizarre christening with red, white, and blue water by First Lady Pat Nixon. It was just a trial, from the runway near Boeing’s new factory north of Seattle, a building constructed for the express purpose of assembling the 747, and, by the way, the largest structure ever erected.

The 1970s have developed a reputation for ennui, the so-called Malaise Era. This is somewhat deserved. Global events like domestic and international terror, proliferating…

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