Seattle Times staff for A Delta 747 becomes a museum piece, with opportunities to look into the innards. Also, Jeff Bezos goes inside a giant robot.
Seattle’s Museum of Flight has the first Boeing 747 ever built, serial number 001.
But if you want to get the view from standing atop a 747’s wing, you may need to go to Atlanta.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) reports that a new $5 million “747 Experience” exhibit opens March 28 at Delta Flight Museum near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
The exhibit is inside a retired 747-400 that Delta parked at the museum on its headquarters campus just north of Hartsfield-Jackson’s runways. Visitors can see the cockpit and crew rest areas, as well as cutaways showing the pipes and wires running through the plane.
Visitors also will be able to walk out onto a platform on the wing for an expansive view of the surrounding area, the AJC reported.
The 747 is expected to be a big draw — so much so that the museum is raising the price of regular adult admission including the 747 exhibit to $15, up $2.50.
However, the museum will open for a special “747 day” March 29, when the entry fee will be $7.47.
Delta also plans to rent out the plane for events like corporate cocktail parties or dinners, bar mitzvahs and proms.
“We think there will be people who think this is a nice place for a wedding,” said John Boatright, president of the Delta museum and a former vice president of corporate real estate for Delta.
The plane, known as Ship 6301, was the first 747-400 built by Boeing. After it was manufactured in 1988, it was used as a test plane, then flew for Northwest Airlines. Delta acquired Northwest in 2008.
The Atlanta paper reports that a group of employees organized an effort called the “Airloom project” to contribute money through payroll deductions and donations to raise funds for the “747 Experience.” Airloom is contributing about $600,000 toward the $5 million cost, according to Boatright.
The cost includes the months of work to get the 747 in place and prepared for the exhibit, including 30 feet of pilings down to bedrock and steel plates embedded in concrete to support the weight of the plane, a pavilion, elevator, plumbing, heating and air conditioning.
Delta TechOps mechanics and engineers helped on everything from installing the jet stand to building the wing-walk platform.
Bezos pilots a giant robot
Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos seems to like robots. After all, thousands of them help haul merchandise across his company’s warehouses and soon might be zipping through the air to deliver packages.
But the machine that Bezos climbed into during a private, Amazon-organized annual conference for robotics enthusiasts in Palm Springs, California, last weekend was pure fun: a giant robot straight out of the land of Japanimation.
From the look of glee on the executive’s face in a picture posted on his Twitter feed, piloting that beast must’ve been more fun than poring over quarterly earning statements, no matter how Amazon’s growth has been booming.
Other participants in the MARS (machine learning, home automation, robotics and space exploration) 2017 conference also took to Twitter to describe the moment. One tweet shows a video of Bezos flapping the robot’s arms around and asking, “Why do I feel so much like Sigourney Weaver?” That’s a reference to the star of the space horror series “Alien,” in which Weaver appears clad in robotic armor as she fights off evil monsters.
Fun aside, both robotics and home automation are close to the heart of Bezos and the e-commerce giant he created. This interest has manifested itself in highly automated fulfillment centers, in algorithms that predict shopper behavior, and a voice-activated user interface dubbed Alexa, which in addition to talking back to its owners helps them automate their homes.