I think I have remembered all the planes I have flown on since I started traveling in the 1960’s. That was tough. I started traveling as a child in the midwest, then to South America, and then, well all over.
There are still small operators with DC-3s in revenue service and as cargo aircraft. The common saying among aviation buffs and pilots is that “the only replacement for a DC-3 is another DC-3”. The aircraft’s legendary ruggedness is enshrined in the lighthearted description of the DC-3 as “a collection of parts flying in loose formation.” Its ability to take off and land on grass or dirt runways makes it popular in developing countries, where runways are not always paved. This was indeed the case when I flew on DC-3’s in Bolivia in the early sixties. The runway was not paved. More exciting was that the ceiling (maximum height the plane could fly) was below the altitude of the Andes mountains we were flying through. So, we weaved our way between the mountains, and could look out the windows at peaks far above us.
Very few DC-4s remain in service today. There are a couple nostalgia airlines still flying them, and I would love to take a trip on one again.
I flew on DC-6s all over South America on LLoyd Aereo Boliviano. I flew over the Andes and across the Amazon jungle to Brazil. I swear I remember flying over a native village in the middle of the Amazon rain forest, looking out the window, and seeing natives angrily waving spears at the giant silver bird. Remember, this was 1964, we were flying at about 5000 feet, and I was 10.
At this time in my life, my father worked for Lockheed. I got to go on a walk-thru of the plane before the first one was built. Then, when they went into operation I was sure to take a flight. It was a very quiet aircraft, also nicknamed the “whisperliner”. It faced stiff competition from the DC10 and the 747, and proved to be Lockheed’s last civilian liner.
Now, onto the Boeing line!I’ll get back to Boeing at the end of this post for obvious reasons.
For now, let us look at the Airbus planes I have flown.
Just as Boeing has stuck with the 7 theme in naming its craft, Airbus seems stuck on the 3xx theme.
Now for odds and ends.
For four long years I lived in a backwater called Bocas Del Toro, Panama. The only way in or out of Bocas (other than a chicken bus then a water taxi) was to fly. Two airlines served the airstrip (I will not call it an airport). One was Aeroperlas
And now, the end, the final, the future…
Thanks for reading. Sorry this was so long but after all I have been flying for fifty + years! Please share with a friend, and make a comment!
We are now in Phuket. It is not pronounced like you just pronounced it. The locals pronounce it like Bukcket. Close anyway. It is an hour and a half flight south of Bangkok.
It has a huge international airport with flights from Oz, Europe, the Middle East and Japan. Airlines I have never heard of. Tiger Air? Eidelweiss Air? Pacific Blue Airlines?
We flew in on Air Asia, the local equivalent of Air Arabia. Air Asia started after WWII as an arm of Air America, which was the CIA’s worldwide on-demand transport service. Their motto was “Anything, Anywhere, Anytime”. My father worked for Air Asia until he found out that they were dropping rice into Viet Cong held villages during the monsoon so that they could keep up the fight, prolong the war and sustain America’s war machine. Anyway, the CIA sold Air Asia after the Vietnam war and it is now a profitable airline. It serves all of SE Asia, Japan, China, Oz, India and even flies to London.
Phuket is a tropical island. I find it hard to compare to anywhere else I have been in this whirlwind year. Of course nothing like the UAE Nothing is like Nepal. The closest is probably Bocas. But once you get past the palm trees and the banana trees, the similarities cease.
First, the airport. Although there are houses alongside the airport, there is a real fence and there are no people meandering along the side of the runway carrying stuff home. They deliver your bags on a carousel instead of stuffing them through a whole in the wall. The bathrooms work. The parking lot is not mud.
The island is maybe 10 times the size of Isla Bocas and has been a tourist destination for over 40 years, consequently, it is “built up”. Every chain store and brand name you can imagine is in town. There are wonderful white sand beaches all around it. I have not noticed any surfers. I think the last big wave here was the Tsunami. One thing in common with Bocas is Euro Trash tourists walking around in nothing but a nutbag.
Hotels here, at least ours, are quite nice. You can choose on or near the beach, as we did, or up in the hills if you are paranoid about another tidal wave. Of course being an international destination you have a choice of any kind of restaurant. Menu prices are higher than Chiang Mai or Bangkok, but lower than Bocas.
International destination is an understatement. We have heard every language other than American here. There are many many young Japanese couples in Phuket. They have this weirdo custom. They wear matching outfits that “split” a T shirt. It is hard to describe, but I will try. Imagine one of those Japanese cartoon characters talking into a soup can, with a string leading off the left side of the guy’s shirt. The girl will have on a shirt with the string leading on from the right side, to a soup can held to her ear. Maybe this is easier. Each has half a butterfly, so if they stand next to each other they make a complete butterfly. Maybe they are honeymooners. I cannot imagine walking around like that for very long. In fact, I cannot imagine ever doing it, at all, not for one day,one hour, one minute. Crazy as shithouse rats is my opinion and I’m sticking to it.Mary Ann thinks it is cute. When she told me that, she watched my face, and said “don’t worry”.
That is all I have to bore you with today. If you want to know what I had for dinner you will have to read about it on FaceBook. Isn’t that why you are on FB anyway so people can tell you what they had for lunch?
Some pics follow. Thanks for reading, tell a friend, make a comment. Peace.