Daily Archives: February 9, 2024

9 February 1969

The prototype Boeing 747, N7470, City of Everett, takes off at Paine Field, 9 February 1969. (Boeing/The Museum of Flight)
The prototype Boeing 747, RA001, City of Everett, takes off at Paine Field, 9 February 1969. (The Museum of Flight)

9 February 1969: At 11:34 a.m., Boeing Chief Test Pilot Jack Wadell, with Engineering Test Pilots Brien Singleton Wygle, co-pilot, and Jesse Arthur Wallick, flight engineer, took off from Paine Field, Everett, Washington, aboard RA001, the prototype Boeing 747-121, and made a 1 hour, 15 minute test flight. The ship was named City of Everett after the home of the factory where it was built. It was originally registered N7470.

The test pilots who flew the first Boeing 747: Brien Wygle, Jack Waddell and Jess Wallick. (Seattle Times)
The test pilots who flew the first Boeing 747:  Left to right, Brien S. Wygle, Jack Waddell and Jesse A. Wallick. (Seattle Times)

The 747 was the first “wide body” airliner and was called a “jumbo jet.” It is one of the most widely used airliners and air freighters in service world-wide. The latest version is the 747-8, the “Dash Eight.” After 53 years, production ended with a total of 1,574 747s built.

Boeing 747-121 RA001, City of Everett, 9 February 1969. A Canadair CL-13B Sabre Mk.6, N8686F, is the chase plane, flown by test pilot Paul Bennett. (Boeing)
Boeing 747-121 RA001, City of Everett, 9 February 1969. A Canadair CL-13B Sabre Mk.6, N8686F, is the chase plane, flown by test pilot Paul Bennett. (Boeing/The Seattle Times)

The Boeing 747 is a very large swept wing, four engine commercial transport. The 747-100 series was the first version to be built. It was operated by a flight crew of three—pilot, co-pilot and flight engineer—and was designed to carry 366 to 452 passengers. The airplane is 231 feet, 10.2 inches (70.668 meters) long with a wingspan of 195 feet, 8 inches (59.639 meters) and overall height of 63 feet, 5 inches (19.329 meters). The wings are swept aft to 37° and have a total area of 5,500 square feet (511 square meters). The angle of incidence is 2°, and there are 7° of dihedral.

The interior cabin width is 20 feet (6.096 meters), giving it the name “wide body.” Its empty weight is 370,816 pounds (168,199 kilograms) and the Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW) is 735,000 pounds (333,390 kilograms).

Boeing flight crew (Image courtesy of Neil Corbett, Test and research Pilots, Flight Test Engineers)
Boeing 747 RA001 flight crew, left to right, Jack Wadell, Brien Wygle and Jess Wallick. (Image courtesy of Neil Corbett, Test and Research Pilots, Flight Test Engineers)

The 747-100 is powered by four Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7A high-bypass ratio turbofan engines. The JT9D is a two-spool, axial-flow turbofan engine with a single-stage fan section, 14-stage compressor (11 high- and 3 low-pressure stages) and 6-stage turbine (2 high- and 4 low-pressure stages). The engine is rated at 46,950 pounds of thrust (208.844 kilonewtons), or 48,570 pounds (216.050 kilonewtons) with water injection (2½-minute limit). This engine has a maximum diameter of 7 feet, 11.6 inches (2.428 meters), is 12 feet, 10.2 inches (3.917 meters) long and weighs 8,850 pounds (4,014 kilograms).

The 747-100 has a cruise speed of 0.84 Mach (555 miles per hour, 893 kilometers per hour) at 35,000 feet (10,668 meters). The maximum certificated operating speed is 0.92 Mach. The airliner’s maximum range is 6,100 miles (9,817 kilometers).

The prototype Boeing 747 during its first flight. (Boeing)

City of Everett last flew in 1995. It is on static display at The Museum of Flight, Boeing Field, Seattle, Washington.

Boeing 747-121, City of Everett, on take off from Boeing Field. The prototype has been re-registered N1352B. RA001 carried this registration number from July 1970 to April 1975. (The Museum of Flight)

© 2021, Bryan R. Swopes

9 February 1963

The prototype Boeing 727, N7001U, takes off on its first flight, 9 February 1963. (The Museum of Flight)
The prototype Boeing 727, N7001U, takes off from Renton Municipal Airport on its first flight, 9 February 1963. (The Museum of Flight)

9 February 1963: Boeing’s Chief Test Pilot, Samuel Lewis (“Lew”) Wallick, Jr., made the first flight of the prototype Boeing Model 727 jet airliner, N7001U (c/n 18293), from Renton Municipal Airport, Renton, Washington. Richards Llewellyn (“Dix”) Loesch, Jr., was the airliner’s co-pilot, and Marvin Keith (“Shuly”) Shulenberger was the flight engineer.

Lew Wallick, Dix Loesch and Shuly Shulenberger in the cockpit of the prototype Boeing 727. (Boeing via Rebecca Wallick’s “Growing Up Boeing”)

The 727 remained airborne for 2 hours, 1 minute, and landed at Paine Field, Everett, Washington.

N7001U had been rolled out at Renton on 27 November 1962. It was painted lemon yellow and copper-brown, similar to the paint scheme of the Model 367-80 prototype, eight years earlier.

The first Boeing 727 is rolled out, 27 November 1962. (Boeing/Aviation Week)

After completing the flight test and certification program, N7001U was delivered to United Air Lines, 6 October 1964. United operated N7001U for 27 years before retiring after 64,495 flight hours, and 48,060 takeoffs and landings.

In 1991, United Air Lines donated the 727 to The Museum of Flight, Seattle, Washington. N7001U has been restored and is currently on display. According to the Museum, United purchased the 727 for $4,400,000, and during its service life, it generated more that $300,000,000 in revenue.

Prototype Boeing 727 airliner, N7001U, during its first flight. ( Airline Reporter/Boeing)
Prototype Boeing 727 airliner, N7001U, during its first flight. (Airline Reporter/Boeing)

N7001U is a Model 727-22, now considered to be a 727-100 series aircraft. The Boeing 727 is a swept-wing, three-engine, medium-range jet airliner intended for operations at smaller airports than could be serviced by the 707. It was operated by a flight crew of three and could carry up to 131 passengers. The airliner was 133 feet, 2 inches (40.589 meters) long with a wingspan of 108 feet (32.918 meters) and overall height of 34 feet, 3 inches (10.439 meters). Empty weight was 87,696 pounds (39.8000 kilograms) and maximum ramp weight was 170,000 pounds (77,200 kilograms).

Three-view illustration of the Boeing 727. (Boeing Images)
Boeing 727 N7001U 9 February 1963 (Airline Reporter/Boeing)
Boeing 727 N7001U 9 February 1963 (Airline Reporter/Boeing)

Power was supplied by three Pratt & Whitney JT8D-series turbofan engines rated from 14,000 to 14,500 pounds of thrust (62.275–64.499 kilonewtons), depending on the specific version. The JT8D was a two-spool engine with a 2-stage fan section, 13-stage compressor (6 low- and 7 high-pressure stages), nine combustion chambers and a 4-stage turbine (1 high- and 3 low-pressure stages). The JT8D-1 was 3 feet, 6.5 inches (1.080 meters) in diameter, 10 feet, 3.5 inches (3.137 meters) long, and weighed 3,096 pounds (1,404 kilograms). Two of the engines were in nacelles at either side of the aft fuselage, and the third was mounted in the tail. Its intake was above the rear fuselage at the base of the vertical fin.

The prototype Boeing 727 airliner during its first flight. (The Museum of Aviation)
The prototype Boeing 727 airliner during its first flight. (Airline Reporter/Boeing)

The Boeing 727s were very fast airliners with a maximum speed in level flight of 549 knots (632 miles per hour/1,017 kilometers per hour). The Design Cruise Speed (VC) was 530 knots (610 miles per hour/981 kilometers per hour) at 25,000 feet (0.88 Mach). The airplane was certified with a Maximum Mach Number (MMO) of 0.92 Mach (this was later reduced to 0.90 Mach). (During flight testing, a Boeing 727 achieved 0.965 Mach in level flight.) The airliner’s service ceiling was 37,400 feet (11,400 meters) and the range was 2,600 nautical miles (2,992 statute miles/4,815 kilometers).

Boeing had expected to sell approximately 250 727s. (200 were needed for the manufacturer to cover its costs.) In production from 1962 to 1984, Boeing built 1,832 Model 727s, making it one of the most successful airliners in history.

Prototype Boeing 727 lands at Paine Field, 9 February 1963. (The Museum of Flight)
Prototype Boeing 727 lands at Paine Field, 9 February 1963. (Airline Reporter/Boeing)
The flight crew receives congratulations following the first flight of the Boeing 727. (The Museum of Flight)
The flight crew receives congratulations from Henry F. McCullough, Boeing preflight control supervisor, following the first flight of the Boeing 727. (Airline Reporter/Boeing)
Prototype Boeing 727 restoartion nears completion at Paine Field, Everett, Washington. (The Museum of Flight)
Restoration of the prototype Boeing 727 nears completion at Paine Field, Everett, Washington. (The Museum of Flight)

© 2019, Bryan R. Swopes

9 February 1933

James A. Mollison with his de Havilland DH.80A Puss Moth, shortly before his transatlantic flight. (NB Museum Archives X8735)

9 April 1933: Jim Mollison flies solo across the South Atlantic Ocean. He left Dakar, Senegal, at 12:15 a.m., 9 February, and arrived at Port Natal, Brazil, at 03:20 GMT, 10 February. Mollison’s airplane was a de Havilland DH.80A Puss Moth, G-ABXY, which he had named The Heart’s Content.

Jim Mollison’s de Havilland DH.80A Puss Moth, G-ABXY, “The Heart’s Content.”

Port Natal, Brazil (Thursday)

     Mr. J. A. Mollison, after a flight of 17½ hours from Dakar, landed here at 3.20 G.M.T. this afternoon. He has completed the flight from Lympne, which he left at 8.12 on Monday, in 82 hours 8 minutes, thus beating the French record by 25 hours 52 minutes. This was the first solo westward flight across the South Atlantic. After he landed Mr. Mollison attended an official reception, at which the Governor of the Province, the Mayor, and a number of military officials were present.

     He made a perfect landing in Heart’s Content, and getting out said, “I had good weather most of the way. The South Atlantic is a much simpler task than the North.” Mr. Mollison said his machine averaged 115 miles per hour. He is staying here to-night and flying on to Rio de Janeiro to-morrow.—Reuter

     Considerable interest has been taken during the week in the progress of Mr. Jim Mollison (teh husband of Miss Amy Johnson), who left Lympne at 8.12 last Monday morning on an attempt to fly to South America in three and a half days and thus beat the record of 4½ days from France to Brazil, set up by a French monoplane.

     At 5.10 on Monday evening he landed at Barcelona. Fog caused him to miss the aerodrome at Barcelona and he went some 40 miles out of his way before finding it. This delayed him about an hour.

If the Spanish Air Force had not put out flares for him it is doubtful whether Mr. Mollison would have been able to land at Barcelona at all.

He left this place at 8.45 the same night and landed at Agadir, Morocco, at 7.20 on Tuesday evening. At 3.15 p.m. on Tuesday he reached Villas Cisneros, and at 8 o’clock on Wednesday morning he was at Thies, Senegal. The distance fro, Lympne to Thies is 2,410 miles, and Mr. Mollison flew there in a few minutes under 48 hours.

     At 12.15 a.m. yesterday he left Dakar for Port Natal.

Devon and Exeter Gazette, Friday, 10 February 1933, Page 20, Column 1


De Havilland DH.80 Puss Moth three-view illustration with dimensions, from NACA Advisory Circular No. 117, THE DE HAVILLAND “MOTH THREE” AIRPLANE (BRITISH)

The de Havilland Aircraft Co., Ltd., DH.80A Puss Moth was a single-engine high-wing monoplane with an enclosed cabin for a pilot and two passengers. It was constructed of a welded tubular steel frame and wood wings covered with doped fabric. The airplane was 25 feet, 0 inches (7.620 meters) long with a wingspan of 36 feet, 9 inches (11.201 meters) and height of 6 feet, 10 inches (2.083 meters). The Puss Moth had an empty weight of 1,150 pounds (522 kilograms) and gross weight of 1,900 pounds (863 kilograms).

G-ABXY was powered by a 373.71-cubic-inch-displacement (6,124 cubic centimeters) air-cooled de Havilland Gipsy Major I inverted, inline 4-cylinder engine with a compression ratio of 5.25:1. It produced 120 horsepower at 2,100 r.p.m and 130 horsepower at 2,350 r.p.m. The engine weighed 306 pounds (138.8 kilograms).

The DH.80A had a cruise speed of 105 miles per hour (169 kilometers per hour) and maximum speed of 125 miles per hour (201 kilometers per hour). The airplane had a service ceiling of 13,000 feet (4,000 meters). The standard DH.80A had a range of 440 miles (708 kilometers) (with optional tanks, the range was extended to 570 miles or 700 miles).¹

De Havilland built 284 DH.80A Puss Moths between 1929 and 1933. Only eight are known to exist.

G-ABXY was first registered in July 1932. Its Certificate of Registration was number 3816. Flown by Harold Leslie Brook, it was destroyed in a crash near Génolhac, Gard, France, when Brook encountered freezing fog, 28 March 1934. Losing altitude, the airplane crashed on the slope of a mountain. Brook was injured.

¹ Specifications and performance from National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics Advisory Circular No. 117, https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/19930090394

© 2023, Bryan R. Swopes

9 February 1914

Second Lieutenant Henry Burnet Post, United States Army. (San Diego Air and Space Museum)
Second Lieutenant Henry Burnet Post, 25th Infantry Regiment, United States Army. (San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives)

9 February 1914: Second Lieutenant Henry Burnet Post, 25th Infantry Regiment, United States Army, was “Killed in hydroplane No. 10 accident at Signal Corps Aviation School, San Diego, Calif., at 9.35 a.m. Feb. 9, 1914. (in line of duty)”

Lieutenant Post had just returned from 15 days’ compassionate leave (22 January–5 February 1914). His father, Henry Albertson Van Zo Post, had died at the family home in Manhattan, New York City, 25 January 1914.

North Island, looking west, 1914. Coronado is to the left. The body of water between is Spanish Bight. (San Diego Air and Space Museum Archives)

The New York Times reported:

Lieutenant Post Plunges To Death In San Diego Bay
Beachley Blames The Government

SAN DIEGO, California – February 9, 1914 – Lieutenant Henry B. Post of the First Aero Corps, considered one of the most skillful United States Army aviators, plunged to his death in San Diego Bay today, when the right wing of his hydro-aeroplane crumpled. Lieutenant Post died after establishing an American altitude record of 12,120 feet. He fell 600 feet into shallow water and was dead when Francis Wildman, another aviator, reached the spot in a flying boat.

Lieutenant Post left the North Island hangars at 8:50 o’clock this morning after having declared his intention of breaking the American altitude record for hydro-aeroplanes. Within an hour he had attained a height of 12,120 feet, the barograph showing this figure when recovered from the wreckage.

A series of wide spirals was a feature of the descent, the machine appearing to be under perfect control. When within 600 feet of the water the plane was seen to collapse, then careen. The next instant the pilot was hurled from his seat and the machine dropped like a bullet. Post fell into five feet of water, the wrecked craft disappearing from sight a few feet away.

Captain Arthur S. Cowen, head of the First Corps, said the machine which Lieutenant Post was piloting was responsible for the accident.

“The man has the natural ability of a born flyer, and it had to take the breakage of his machine to cause his death.,” said Captain Cowen.

“The death of Lieutenant Post only substantiates the charge that I made against the policy of the United State Government last November,” said Lincoln Beachley, aviator, in a telegram received here tonight.

“At that time I blamed Congress for the deaths of the Army and Navy aviators. I do not believe Government aviation would be much better off if the $2,000,000 or $3,000,000 appropriation for the supposed betterment of the flying branch of the services were made. They simply would have a little more machines with which to kill off more officers.

“Within a week that old machine will probably be patched up with a few new wires and some cloth and another aviator will be sent out in it.”

Some time ago Beachley told Secretary Garrison that Army aviators were losing their lives because the equipment supplied to them was old.

Lieutenant Post was 28 years of age. He came here June 28, 1913 from Honolulu where he was attached to the Twenty-fifth Infantry, and became a military aviator November 11. He is survived by his widow and his sister, who came here recently to visit him from their home in Babylon, New York, where his mother also resides. His brother, V. Z. Post, is a novelist. His father died two weeks ago.

The body will be sent to Washington for interment in the Arlington National Cemetery.

The death of Lieutenant Post was the fourteenth aviation fatality to occur in the United States Army and Navy service. Beside the fourteen officers killed, two civilian instructors, Al Welch and Paul Beck, lost their lives while experimenting with Army machines. The first officer killed was Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge on September 17, 1908. He was flying as a passenger with Orville Wright at Fort Myer. Lieutenant Selfridge was the first man to lose his life in an aeroplane accident.

The other officers who lost their lives were: Lieutenant G. E. M. Kelly, on May 10, 1911, at San Antonio; Lieutenant L. W. Hazelhurst, jr., on June 11, 1912, at College Point, Maryland; Lieutenant L. C. Rockwell and Corporal Frank Scott at College Point on September 28, 1912; Lieutenants Rex Chandler and Lewis H. Brereton at North Island on April 8, 1913 [Note: Brereton survived the accident and rose to the rank of lieutenant general.—TDiA]; Lieutenant Joseph D. Park on May 9, 1913 at Los Angeles; Ensign William B. Billingsley on June 30, 1913 while flying over Chesapeake Bay; Lieutenant Loren H. Call on July 8, 1913 at Texas City; Lieutenant Moss L. Love on September 4, 1913 at San Diego; Lieutenant C. Perry Rich on November 14, 1913 when he fell into Manila Bay; and Lieutenant Kelly at San Diego on November 24, 1913.

The New York Times, 10 February 1914, Page 1.

A Wright Model CH hydro-aeroplane, circa 1913. (Wright Brothers Aeroplane Co.)

Henry Burnet Post was born at Brooklyn, New York, 15 June 1885. He was the last of seven children of Colonel Henry Albertson Van Zo Post, a Civil War veteran, engineer and railroad equipment financier, and Caroline Burnet McLean Post.

Henry Post entered the School of Applied Science at Columbia University as a member of the Class of 1906. He studied mechanical engineering. While at the University, he was a member of the Alpha Chapter of the Delta Psi (ΔΨ) fraternity, and in 1905, was president of the sophomore class. Post was also a member of the Deutscher Verien (the German club). He participated in varsity athletics, playing the position of Left End on the University football team and the Stroke of the Varsity Eight  Crew.

Henry Burnet Post married Miss Grace Woodman Phillips at St. Paul’s Methodist Episcopal Church, Manhattan, New York City, New York, 25 January 1907. (Mrs. Post later married Captain Francis Cogswell, U.S. Navy. She was a Foreign Service Officer for the United States government during World War I. During World War II, she served with the Office of Strategic Service (O.S.S.) and later, the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.). She died 21 December 1971.)

On 28 January 1910, Henry Post enlisted as a private in Troop 4, Squadron A, of the New York National Guard. He served with the Guard’s 1st Aero Squadron. On 11 February 1911, Post was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the 25th Infantry Regiment, United States Army. Lieutenant Post then attended the School of Musketry at the Presidio of San Francisco in San Francisco, California. He completed the course 6 January 1912.

Lieutenant Post joined Company E, 2nd Battalion, 25th Infantry, at Schofield Barracks on the island of Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, 22 March 1912.

During 1913, Schofield Barracks suffered an epidemic of typhoid fever as a result of a “gross pollution of the water supply.” Lieutenant Post was “sick in quarters (line of duty)”and quarantined from 27 January to 12 February 1913. He then returned to duty with Company E.

On 5 July 1913, Lieutenant Post was detached from Company E to attend the Signal Corps Aviation School, San Diego, on North Island, for training as an airplane pilot.

On 18 December 1913, he flew an airplane to 10,500 feet (3,200 meters). 10 days later, 28 December 1913, Georges Lagagenaux of France set a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Record for Altitude at 6,120 meters (20,079 feet).¹

Second Lieutenant Henry Burnet Post, 25th Infantry Regiment, United States Army, died in the line of duty at San Diego, California, 9 February 1914. He was buried at the Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia. Post Field, Fort Sill, Oklahoma, (now, Henry Post Army Airfield) was named in his honor.

A Wright Model C sits on the factory floor at Dayton, Ohio. (Wright Brothers Aeroplane Co.)

The airplane flown by Lieutenant Post during his record-setting flight, and subsequent fatal accident, was a Wright Model CH hydro-aeroplane, Signal Corps serial number S.C. 10. (This was the second S.C. 10. The first, also a Wright Model C, had been destroyed in a crash during acceptance trials at College Park, Maryland, 11 June 1912. Arthur L. Welsh, a Wright Flying School instructor, and 2nd Lieutenant Leighton Wilson Hazelhurst, Jr., were killed.) The U.S.  Army Signal Corps had purchased six of these airplanes. The Model C was similar to the earlier Model B, though it had dual flight controls. The wings were shorter and the rudder taller.

Three-view illustration of the Wright Model C.H. Hydro-Aeroplane. (FLIGHT, No. 245 (Vol. V., No. 36), 6 September 1913, Page 979)

The Wright Model CH was 28 feet, 6 inches (8.687 meters) long, with a wingspan of 38 feet, 0 inches (11.582 meters). The upper and lower wings had 5 feet, 0 inches (1.524 meters) vertical separation. The airplane weighed 1,160 pounds (526 kilograms), including the 240 pound (109 kilogram) float.

Three-view illustration of the Wright Model C.H. Hydro-Aeroplane. (FLIGHT, No. 245 (Vol. V., No. 36), 6 September 1913, Page 979)The airplane was powered by a water-cooled, normally-aspirated, 405.891-cubic-inch-displacement (6.651 liters) Wright inline 6-cylinder overhead-valve engine which produced 50–75 horsepower between 1,400–1,560 r.p.m. The Wright “6-60” weighed 305 pounds (138 kilograms).

Two 8 foot, 6 inch (2.591 meter) diameter, two-bladed, fixed-pitch, counter-rotating propellers, driven by a chain drive and turning 525–575 r.p.m., are mounted behind the wings in pusher configuration.

The Model C had a maximum speed of 55 miles per hour (89 kilometers per hour).

A Wright hydro-aeroplane at Texas City, Texas, 1913. (U. S. Air Force)

All six of Signal Corps’ Wright Model C airplanes had crashed and been rebuilt at least once. The airplanes were prone to aerodynamic stall because of the pusher propeller configuration. As the pilot raised the nose, the propellers’ thrust vector accelerated the rate of pitch change. The wings stalled and the nose pitched down. There was insufficient elevator authority to bring the airplane out of the dive.

By the end of 1913, eleven Army pilots had been killed while flying Wright Brothers’ airplanes, five of them were flying the Wright Model C. Lieutenant Henry Burnet Post was the sixth pilot to die while flying the type.

Within a week of Lieutenant Post’s death, the Army grounded all pusher-type airplanes and prohibited their future use. This ended the Wright Brothers’ business with the United States Army.

¹ FAI Record File Number 15442

© 2019, Bryan R. Swopes