Friday, 21 December 2012

Is this Tex Johnson, famous Boeing test pilot? In the cockpit of N7470, the first 747, probably some time in 1968
Ever wondered what the cockpit of one of the world's biggest planes looks like? Well it looks a bit like this, but hopefully not exactly. I think this is the cockpit of the very first 747, and judging by the state of some of the instrumentation (unsheathed wires, a temporary G-meter on the dashboard and is that scotch tape on the control column?) this was probably taken some time in 1968, after rollout but prior to its first flight. This is how the same cockpit looks now.

I don't know for certain who the man holding the column is, but he bears a resemblance to 'Tex' Johnson, famous Boeing test pilot who flew many earlier aeroplanes including the B 52 bomber and the 707 (more on the 707 in the near future). Is this Tex? I like to think so, but when I found the picture in an antique shop in northern Washington, it was uncaptioned. Johnson left Boeing in 1968 and never flew the 747 (as far as I know). He died in 1998.

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