28 February 2011

Sayonara JAL 747s!

Today, Japan Airlines flew its last revenue 747-400 flight as JAL75 to NRT. The Honolulu Station held a send off celebration at Gate 27 for the 421 passengers and 20 crew who were aboard this historic flight. A banner was made by the HNL staff to commemorate the 40 years of service that the 747 flew for JAL, beginning with the 747-146 in July 1970 to today's final flight with the 747-446, JA8089 (c/n 26342, l/n 905).

A white, silver, and red balloon arch with a banner marking today's flights was put up right outside of Gates 27A and 27B, alongside a JAL 747-400 model adorned with lei.

Here is the arrival of JA8089 on 8L with thrust reversers still deployed.

Here is JA8089 taxiing in just before reaching Gate 27.

The aircraft had two special decals applied on the left side of the aircraft. The decal above was between the L1 and L2 doors.

The second special decal was placed next to the L1 and L2 doors. This decal invited the passengers to touch the aircraft.

Deplaning passengers and crew from JAL76 posed for pictures under the arch, as well as boarding passengers for JAL75. This passenger drew up his commemorative banner complete with every JAL 747-446 tail numbers.

Passengers were also invited to write messages on a poster that was at the gate entrance. This poster was then loaded on the aircraft so that it could be displayed on arrival at Narita.

A lei was placed over the front of JA8089 after it arrived from NRT, and was removed after it was pushed back on to Taxiway Z, and prior to engine start.

Just prior to pushback, a low-flying helicopter with photographers appeared behind JA8089. It was only 50 feet or so above the ground, flying lower than the top of the vertical stabilizer. The helicopter then went to the right side of the aircraft to take more pictures while waiting for the pushback. The helicopter followed JA8089 all the way to takeoff.

This was JAL75's departure from Runway 8R, with its main bogeys a few feet off the deck.

HNL RareBirds team member je89_w was one of the 421 passengers, team member Ha763 was on hand as well, and contributed photos to this post.

Mahalo to the JAL HNL Station for the invitation to this historic event!

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