Departing Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (KATL: ATL) bound for Seoul–Incheon International Airport (ICN: RKSI), there was an air of nostalgia as we flew this now retired 747 (HL7490) as it once did before being taken out of service in 2016. Today, those 4 Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines were spooled up once again.
It enabled air travel to many for 25 years. Think of all the people that flew on it. What were they doing? Where were they going? Where are they now? There’s something lamentable about a retired plane and something extraordinary about it. Think of all the laughs, fears, excitement, joy and tears that people went through whilst sitting on this. People on their way to see loved ones, on business, on holiday or even just to fly the queen of the skies - this full fat Jumbo Jet.
What this flight did show is that this old bird does like a drop of fuel or two, and we emptied those tanks with nothing to spare. A good altitude, step climb, fiddling with the variables throughout the 14 hour 14 minute flight made minor improvements but nothing that could stop her monstrous appetite for aviation fuel, and, well, as we brought this plane back into service for a memorial run for one marathon flight, it was worth every single burned up kilogram.