On Tuesday, the Delta Flight Museum celebrated the opening of a new exhibit called “747 Experience.” The exhibit features the carrier’s treasured ship 6301 (N661US), the first 747-400 built by Boeing in the 1980s.
The Boeing 747 used in the museum contains quite the history lesson. The 747 has been dubbed the “Queen of the Skies” and thanks to its “hump,” the aircraft has become one of the most recognizable aircraft in the world.
Ship 6301 was the first 747-400 variant to fly, taking its first flight on April 29, 1988. The aircraft was then delivered to Northwest Airlines in December of 1989. Ship 6301 was handed over to Delta after the merger with Northwest in 2008 and has stayed in the company’s hands since.
Delta Air Lines opened the honorary display for a crowd of Boeing representatives, media, local and state members, and Delta employees.
President and Chairman of the Delta Flight Museum, John Boatright, spoke on the exhibit, “The ‘747 Experience’ will provide a look into the history of this iconic ship. It was a technological wonder when it was placed in service in 1989, and it will remain a technological wonder for years to come. We hope this exhibit will educate and inspire current and future generations to get involved in aviation.”
This specific Queen has put in 61 million miles of work from her first revenue flight at Northwest to her last Delta flight in September 2015.
Due in part to newer aircraft being more efficient than the 747, Delta has decided to replace their fleet of jumbos. However, thanks to the employee ran grassroot program, The Airloom Project, the 747 will live on in the museum for all to see. The project has raised over $600,000 to keep the 747 exhibit open and maintained.
“This is just another step in our journey to continue to provide the best aviation services across the world. While in some ways it pangs in our heart that we’re retiring such a beautiful and important aircraft, it’s also opening a new chapter as we bring on new state-of-the-art airplanes with even more amenities, services and comfort and better fuel economy for a greener and brighter future,” said Glen Hauenstein, Delta’s President.
At the exhibit, visitors will find history placards positioned inside the aircraft, a portion of the upper deck, a “wing walk” patio, and more. Visitors will be able to see Delta One and Economy seating, crew rest areas, and the cockpit.
The aircraft also has sections of open walks, floors, and ceilings, allowing viewers to truly see the inside of the 747. The exhibit is also available to rent for corporate dinners, parties, and even movie sets.
A Peek Inside:
*All photos by Michael Davis