Queen of the Skies

By Ray Wodehouse

August 2015

In 1970 I was 11 and living in Miami, where my dad worked for National Airlines at their main office. That September, the airline had a special event for their employees and families: a sneak preview of their newly delivered, brand-new 747, the first of two National had ordered from Boeing. I attended this with my parents. We were astonished beyond words at the sheer size of this airplane, its huge interior that looked as big as a hotel, the upstairs lounge with its elegant spiral staircase, its huge wing and engines ... but we also agreed on how beautiful the airplane looked, especially in National's yellow and orange colors with the smiling sun on its vertical fin.

Little did I think that 21 years later, I would be working for the very company that designed and built this magnificent jumbo jet and its many descendants. I still get goosebumps when I walk out to Final Assembly here in Everett, Wash., and look at the new 747-8s being readied for their customers. After 45 years, the 747 is still the "Queen of the Skies."