Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The 747's Real Value Goes Beyond The Terminal

Below is the raw article about the 747-AF-1. Its better than just another big behemoth. Enjoy the read from Canada.com. Its a repost and link for your enjoyment.

Air Force One 9/11 captain swears by 747 in new doc

Col. Mark Tillman featured in Discovery doc 747: The Definitive Guide


From Canada.com:

Air Force One 9/11 captain swears by 747 in new doc

"Most travellers’ experience of a Boeing 747 is being squeezed into a flying sardine can, surrounded by short-tempered flight attendants, warmed-over gruel that passes for food, and now a surcharge for having the gall to fly with a checked bag.

Fortunately for Col. Mark Tillman (U.S. ret.), the man who was at Air Force One’s controls on Sept. 11, 2001, the presidential 747 isn’t outfitted like a commercial airliner.

As Tillman recalls in the new Discovery Canada documentary 747: The Definitive Guide, Air Force One was required to do some fancy flying that day.

Then-president George W. Bush was in Sarasota, Fla., at the time, reading out loud from a book to a class of Grade 2 pupils.

Tillman first learned of the terror attacks from watching TV.

“Everything happened so quickly that morning that the information we gathered was from watching television,” Tillman told Postmedia News, from his Arizona home. “The first we heard of it was on TV.

“This is how we run our life at Air Force One,” he added, dryly. “If CNN or Fox have pictures, we react.”

Tillman knew his mission without being told: Get the president back to Washington, D.C., as soon as possible, even if that meant “going stealth,” to use the military term.

After being told a small crowd of people had gathered at the end the runway — and nobody, not even the control tower, knew who they were — Tillman he realized he had to get the plane off the ground in as little distance as possible, even if that meant a hair-raising takeoff. Literally, as in hair raising.

As 747: The Definitive Guide points out, each engine on a 747 generates more thrust than all five engines on a B-52 bomber combined. Tillman opened up all four engines on the runway — “We were flying light,” he said, almost apologetically — and took off at nearly a straight angle, causing Bush to remark as if the plane was taking off “tail up.”

“We were using a 747-400, which uses about 57,000 pounds of thrust apiece for each engine,” Tillman said. “The advantage we had that day was that we were travelling light and so could accelerate quickly and climb in a hurry.

The 747 is so manoeuverable for such a large aircraft. A lot of other planes are stiff at the controls; the 747 is just a dream to fly.”

Tillman was not about to mess around, and when he got a warning that an unidentified passenger jet had gone silent and was nearing Air Force One’s airspace, he put the 747 through evasive flight manoeuvres.

747: The Definitive Guide, from Montreal’s Handel Productions, examines all aspects of the 747, from its design and development to its present place in civil aviation and possible future.

The future for the 747 looks cloudy, where commercial aviation is concerned. This is the age of cost-cutting, fuel efficiency and twin-engined passenger jets like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner that can fly across entire continents and oceans without refuelling.

Tillman believes reports of the 747’s demise are greatly exaggerated, though.

For one, Air Force One will probably always need to be a four-engine plane, he said, because four engines are needed to power the plane’s military-grade electronics and other classified add-ons. The 747 is so aerodynamic it can fly on just one engine.

Tillman flies economy, not business class, whenever he travels, either by himself or with his family.

“I always fly economy,” he said. “My family and I have grown up in the military, and you learn how to save your money. I always sit at the back, and just let them do their jobs. I have no concerns about the flying capability of commercial airlines in the United States and Canada; it seems to be really good, in both countries.”

And, no, he doesn’t recline his seat.

“That’s a good question,” he said, laughing. “Actually, I don’t. I literally force myself to sit straight up and down more often, because it hurts my back when I recline.
“It bothers me a lot, though, when people recline without asking. It’s just a common courtesy.”

747: The Definitive Guide airs Sunday, Sept. 28, Discovery Canada"