February 9, 1969 was cold, cloudy, and windy. In other words, a typical winter’s day in this neck of the woods. But it was also a day that changed everything.
First takeoff – Paine Field, February 9, 1969.
It wasn’t like first flights today, where we know a lot about how the airplane is going to perform even before it flies. In this case, we didn’t quite know what to expect. But it went fairly well.
First flight crew: (L to R) Pilot Jack Waddell, Co-Pilot Brien Wygle and Flight Engineer Jess Wallick.
The “City of Everett” on its maiden flight.
By the way, as some of you may have noted, this was a double anniversary. On the same date 20 years ago, the 747-400 entered service for the first time.
Joe Sutter, the “Father of the 747.”
747 and chase plane over Puget Sound.
The “City of Everett” today, on display at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.
Of course the story doesn’t end with these anniversaries. The 747-8 Freighter is in final assembly in Everett with first flight scheduled for later this year. The 747-8 Intercontinental passenger model will follow about a year later.