Friday, October 30, 2009

The end of an era, last flight the last United 737

The last of the fleet of United Airlines 737's flew it's last flight on October 28th. I always considered myself a "Guppy Girl" and I loved the 737 airplanes. They were cozy and comfortable and it was a more intimate group of passengers, not like having 200 passengers with 4 flight attendants today on the 757...the 737 had 120 with 3 flight attendants, sometimes 4.
It's the end of an era, that's for sure. Here are some vintage photographs as well as some modern ones, and some Boeing 737 Facts:

■ The entire 737 family is the best-selling commercial jet in
history, with orders of more than 6,000 aircraft over the years.
■ The Guinness Book of World Records acknowledged the
737 as the most-produced large commercial jet airplane in
aviation history.
**The first picture here is of the final day in the life of flight 737 which started early in the morning at Dulles International Airport (IAD).
■ More than 541 operators fly 737s to more than 1,200 cities in
190 countries.
■ With more than 4,100 airplanes in service, the 737 represents
more than a quarter of the total worldwide fleet of large
commercial jets flying today.

■ ** Flight 737 on the ramp in Chicago after flying from Dulles. It was then bound for Denver...then San Francisco and then Los Angeles...on it's way to the aircraft graveyard in Victorville, California.
-On average, approximately 1,250 737s are in the air at all times;
one takes off or lands every 4.6 seconds.
■ The 737 fleet has carried more than 12 billion passengers.
■ Since its commercial revenue service history began in 1968,
the 737 fleet has flown more than 75 billion miles – equivalent
to approximately 403 roundtrips from the Earth to the Sun.
**When I began to fly for United, this was the paint job they had...I will always hold this paint as my favorite although I also really like the newest blue paint job.
■ Once the 737-200 was in service, that model quickly proved
to be the overwhelming favorite of the flying public, and the
737-100 was discontinued after production of 30 airplanes.
■ About 50 gallons of paint are used to paint an average 737.
Once the paint is dry, it weighs approximately 250 pounds.
The Boeing 737 as Part of United’s History
*** The paint job was from the 70's and early 80's.
■ It is estimated that the 737-300 and 737-500 for United flew
a combined 6.3 million flights and carried a total of more than
418 million passengers. Altogether, the 737s carried a total of
more than 700 million passengers for United.
■ The 737 is nicknamed by many United pilots the “guppy”.
Accounts of the origin vary, but most agree that it was due
to the squat appearance of the plane compared with its
contemporaries. Originally conceived as a five-across
Economy cabin similar to the DC-9, Boeing widened the
fuselage to make room for six-across in economy but
left the length and wingspan the same, giving it a slightly
pudgy look.
***Earliest paint job after delivery
■ United introduced its first B737-222 into revenue service
on April 28, 1968, adding the B737-300s in 1986 and the
B737-500s in 1990. The 737 fleet totaled more than 220
aircraft at one point.

First United B737 Flight vs. Last United B737 Flight
First Flight Last Flight
April 28, 1968 *October 28, 2009
Model Number 737-200* 737-300
Span 93 feet* 94 feet 9 inches
Length 93 feet 9 inches *109 feet 7 inches
Gross Weight 111,000 pounds *130,000 pounds
Cruising Speed 580 mph *500 mph
Range 1,150 miles *1,820 miles
Ceiling 35,000 feet *37,000 feet
Power Two 14,000-pound-thrust* Two 20,000-pound-thrust
P&W JT8D-7 engines *CFM 56-3 engines
Accommodation 6 crew (3 pilots, 3 flight 6 crew (2 pilots, 4 flight
attendants) and up to attendants) and up to
107 customers 120 customers

United Airlines Flight 737 Facts
■ United received delivery of this aircraft on August 11, 1988, and as of October 28, 2009,
it has flown approximately 60,846 hours and performed 33,836 flights.
■ Of the 33,836 flights, 52% (17,595) occurred at United’s hubs at Chicago O’Hare, Denver,
San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington Dulles):

■ Approximately 3,034,783 customers have flown with us on this aircraft – an average of 394
people per day.
■ It has used approximately 54,488,955 gallons of fuel.
■ This aircraft has had three different paint schemes over the years and three different
seating configurations:

8 United First® seats/120 United Economy® seats
- 8 United First® seats/126 United Economy® seats
- 8 United First® seats/46 Economy Plus® seats/112 United Economy® seats

A Genteel Era of Flying: Reminiscing With Sara Dornacker, Flight Attendant on First B737
Departure From DCAMemories of a First Flight

I was a “stewardess” – as we were called then -- on June 6, 1968, which was the first day that the B737 launched out of Washington National Airport. I remember it vividly, as the date coincided with the introduction of the first Jean Louis designed uniform -- the "mod" style with the kepi hat and short mini-dress.
It was extremely exciting to step on board a brand new jet. I had been on the line for nine monthsI was trained on DC-6s, DC-8s, 727s, Viscounts, and the Caravelle, which was French-made, very comfortable and fast.

The 737 was brand new, and the launch customer was United. Boeing took a lot of pains to ensure passengers had a comfortable experience. I liked it because it had a small first class cabin; the airplane was very comfortable.
It was different from previous aircraft, where the galleys were side-facing in the back of the airplane. And the 737 innovated brewed coffee! On the prop planes at the time, the DC-6s and Viscount, they boarded containers of hot coffee and iced water.

The galley was a real innovation, with one in front and one in back. One of the things to watch out for was on takeoff, we had to make sure the restraining bar on the carrier was in the full up position, or the carrier would slide out. It happened to me on my first flight -- a rack of coffee cups fell out and crashed into the galley on takeoff. It was one of those first flight gaffes you always remember. I never forgot to fasten that restraining bar again!

One of the things that made the 737 superior to previous aircraft was that it had air vents over each passenger service unit, so you could direct the flow of cold, air conditioned air toward yourself or away.
The Heyday of Business Travel
1968 was a time of great prosperity. Business was thriving, and customers were very eager to talk business -- whether they were making Johnson's wax, or auto parts in Youngstown, Ohio, they were mostly sales people flying to sell their products and were really enthusiastic about flying and doing business. They loved United, because we catered to that kind of customer.
My routes were from DCA to Atlanta, Asheville, Huntsville. The aerospace industry was developing, and Huntsville was big for military and defense contractors. I also flew to Ft. Wayne, Rochester, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and Lincoln. In those smaller, regional airports, people still came out to the airports to look at the new jet. They used to have observations decks in small airports, where people could watch takeoffs and landings. In Lincoln and Ft. Wayne, people would line up just to watch the airplane land.
Luminaries on Board
Roger Mudd, senior CBS news correspondent, was on the first flight, sitting in the last row of first class. On other 737 flights, there were several repeat customers I enjoyed visiting with. Shirley Povich, father of Maury, who for decades was the sports editor of the Washington Post, was a passenger on one of the flights and invited me to visit his offices at the Washington Post to sign my copy of his book. He even showed me around the newsroom. A couple times we flew Ben Bradlee, and once he sat across the aisle from Frank Mankiewicz, movie producer, coming back from a social function in New York. I was dying to eavesdrop! I've been a political junkie from an early age. We also flew George Foreman and Red Skelton.
Raining in the Galley
The company and Boeing were so responsive to flight attendant feedback about the aircraft. The first winter was brutal, because with galley servicing trucks pulling up to door 1R at the front and an open door on 1L, the winter breezes came through when they put the galley units on board. It was chilly and rained inside the galley, near the entryway to the main cabin door. So they quickly realized that this was a serious safety hazard and bought rubber mats for the floor of the aircraft to prevent people from slipping. We were allowed to wear our coats during galley loading, because it was chilly. The company was really eager for our feedback on how the new aircraft was going over and how the service was being received.
More Innovations
The 737 was the first aircraft with window shades that moved up and down. The DC-6s had cloth curtains, and since the flight attendants didn't have separate serving garments, we put wraps over our uniforms that were striped in the same fabric and stripe as the window curtains. It was very stylish in the 50s for a housewife to wear an apron matching the curtains in her kitchen.
Tray tables were introduced with the 737, which was a great advance. They were built into the seat backs for all but the front two rows, where we had to plug in the tray tables. It was a much greater improvement over the old DC-6s that didn't have any tray tables. We had to distribute pillows to customers to balance the food trays.
A Bittersweet Goodbye
I am sad to see the B737 go. It represents a year that was very important in my life. That was the first year I voted. I was active in the campaign. In fact, I met President Johnson and Hubert H. Humphrey that year. I worked with Humphrey's campaign in the final weeks of October and flew on a United 727 charter with him. I was thrilled to be asked, being that my parents lived in Minnesota. The last time I had a conversation with Humphrey, before he died, it was on a 737. Like a good politician, he claimed to remember me from the charters! And I have the pictures to prove it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Top Ten NWA Pilot Excuses

Top Ten Northwest Airlines Pilot Excuses

10. "Bunch of fat guys seated on right side of plane made us vector east"
9. "We get paid by the hour"
8. "MapQuest always takes you the long way,
7. "Tired of that show-off Sullenberger getting all the attention"
6. "You try steering one of those airplanes after eight or nine cocktails"
5. "Wanted to catch end of in-flight movie"
4. "Activating autopilot and making occasional P.A. announcements is exhausting"
3. "According to our map, we only missed target by half-an-inch"
2. "For a change, decided to send luggage to the right city and lose the passengers"
1. "Thought we saw Balloon Boy"

Couldn't resist passing this along. :)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Just like riding a bike!

I haven't spun any yarn in so long, I wondered if I had forgotten how. I guess it's like riding a bike, once I started again, it came back to me immediately and began to feel natural again. The fiber I bought at the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival just spoke to me and I was glad to get started spinning it up. The reds are actually darker and more red/less pink than in the picture here. I bought a pound of this roving, it's Merino Wool, Alpaca, and Mohair (from the Angora goat-it's what makes the yarn have a hairy halo about it). It's so very soft and I just had to have some when I saw it. I used to do a lot of hand dyed rovings, both space dyed and processed like this one that has been extruded from the carding machine in stripes. I don't want to have to dye and deal with a lot of fleeces to get a nice colorway so I was glad to have found it. I was even more happy with the results once I began to spin it.

If you're not a spinner and you're wondering why I'd go to the trouble of spinning my own yarn, I'll try to's because it feels so good, it's therapeutic, it's creative, and it's a way to really get exactly what you want for your project. It's also nice to know that nobody anywhere will have the same project in the same yarn as you will. A good quality yarn for the project I'm spinning for would cost me far more than the unspun fiber I've purchased for this project. Spinning is also very relaxing and rhythmic...and I do it in front of the TV in the living room so I get to spend time with the family and watch the shows I enjoy, but I get the added plus of yarn for knitting that I've completed while most people just watch TV. There is a tee shirt out (on cafe press) that says "I knit so I don't kill people" and spinning is just as therapeutic as knitting...the creative outlet is a very important aspect of good mental health for me. :)

I am also a great believer in the value of my time and effort. If I spend the time working on a project, I'm not going to use crappy yarn on it, my time is more important to me than that. I use "good" yarn on all my knitting, I use only natural fibers because I want my projects to be beautiful and to last forever, to be passed on and to be enjoyed by someone else after I've checked out. I do use a lot of commercial yarns, but again, only natural fibers. With hand spun yarns, I love the way the slight irregularities of hand spun yarn add interest, character, and beauty to a finished project.

This is a bobbin of singles or a single ply spun from the roving on my Ashland Joy spinning wheel against the backdrop of the ball of fiber. As you can see, the reds are much subdued after spinning, and the yarn is beginning to have a lot of interest and color contrasts in it, exactly what I'd hoped for. I've never spun this light weight of a yarn before, and it's actually much easier for me than trying to spin sport or worsted weight. I'm hoping for a fingering to lace weight once I've added the second ply to the first.
I made the second bobbin of singles today, and I was so excited to ply them together and see what the finished yarn will look like. This is the bobbin of two plied yarn on my Louet S-75 which is my workhorse for plying. It has more uptake so while I decided to use another wheel for the singles which I wanted to keep very thin, I always go back to my favorite S-75 for ease in spinning and I love the monster 4 ounce bobbins. I also have a skein winder mounted on this wheel so I made a skein of the yarn so I can set the spin on it before I use it.

This is the skeined yarn that I will be using for my project. It turned out to be 16-17 wpi and this skein weighs 3.7 ounces and contains about 309.17 yards, less than half of what I'll need to complete the project I'm going to use the yarn for. It's a little thicker than the lace weight called for in the pattern by diameter but not by weight, so I'm guessing I got the calculations wrong on the number of yards I made. I will need another skein and perhaps more, but I do have enough to get started on the project (after I finish some of the "on the needles" projects I'm in the middle of).

The project this is being spun for is this rectangular shawl. It's called "Miss Lambert's Shetland Pattern for a Shawl" and the pattern is in the "Victorian Lace Today" book. I've seen other examples of this shawl on Ravelry done in thicker yarn and I think it's going to be really nice regardless of the actual weight of the handspun. And the best of all is that nobody will have exactly the same yarn as I do!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival adventure

After getting home at midnight last night from work, we slept in this morning and got up to find a dreary and overcast day outside with intermittent rain showers. However, it was the weekend of the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival in Berryville, Virginia. I'd never been to this event even though Jenn had told me about it years ago, so I wanted to go and check this festival out. I was sorry I hadn't been able to go to Rhinebeck, but I thought I wouldn't spend as much going to this fairly local festival than a big one like NY.
We headed out to the west towards the Shenandoah mountains and though the leaves were now past their peak color, they were still beautiful. Because of the overcast, it was hard to get a photograph that showed how pretty it was despite the weather.

We began to see the hills and mountains as we continued to drive West and then South.

The Potomac river goes under the highway as you approach Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. The rivers in the area are the Potomac and the Shenandoah and at their confluence sits the very quaint and historic town of Harper's Ferry, which is a National Park. It's full of history, and though I won't bore you with the history of the area, it's also a crossing of the Appalacian Trail that runs from Georgia to Maine, and the C & O trail which goes from Georgetown to Cumberland.

The River runs along the right side of the road along the way back into Virginia. It's beautiful along this road, but treacherous in the wintertime.

Another River shot. The river has many rocks in it and flows slowly in some places. It's a great place to go canoeing, kayaking, and rafting in the summer months.

We arrived in Berryville and the festival in a torrential downpour but there were many other cars parked at the Festival so we knew there were other hardy fiber lovers there before us. The Llama barn was set up to allow kids to walk the llamas through a course. Llamas are very smart and also very sweet. Many people get them to be companion animals to their sheep and alpacas, they've got a sweet dog personality.

There were other Llamas and Alpacas in the barn being sold or exhibited. There was a lot of fiber available for sale, but I've got plenty of Llama and Alpaca at home to spin, should the mood strike. :) There was also a rabbit barn and one for sheep too.

There were a few barns with vendors, as well as a few vendors out in the outside area. Here are a couple of shots of the vendor barns.

I did not succumb to my great love of raw fleeces and did not buy any fleece today, I certainly have enough of various breeds of fleece to spin back at home. But I still had to touch and pet the fleeces and look at the breeds and prices of them all. They did have a judging here and some of the fleeces were absolutely yummy!
I felt so badly for these nice Angora goats that had to be standing in this tiny pen in the rain, their locks of fiber were a muddy and wet mess. I think they were for sale, and their owner had mohair yarn and fiber for sale in her tent right next to the goats.

We drove back into Maryland and I saw many other places were the leaves were beautiful. It continued to be rainy, but the sky began to get just a little bit brighter as we then made our way to do an errand in Gettysburg, PA.

We drove over the bridge again into West Virginia for a short time and again over the river. I kept busy along the way with a few things I spent my month's allowance on at the festival.

I got this neat spindle from the Serendipitous Ewe's booth. It's Jade that has been carved into a flower and it's just the right weight to spin this lovely roving that I got at another vendor's booth. The roving is made of Merino, Mohair and a small amount of Alpaca. I'm spinning it very fine, hoping to make something laceweight, perhaps to do a lace shawl. The mohair is blooming out from the singles already so it has a slightly fuzzy look. It's turning out pretty soft despite spinning it so finely.

Of course, I was also knitting along the way. This is the one of the socks I worked on for awhile on the way back from the festival. It's a bit of a challenge to spindle my roving in the car, so I went back and forth between knitting and spinning.

This sock yarn was an "Ewepsie" oopsie dyeing mistake from the Serendipitous Ewe. I thought it was really neat. The colorway is called "Secret Garden" and it's fingering weight so I could use it for a lace project or a pair of socks. Right now it's going into my stash.

Ok, I probably need a 12 step program to break my addiction to sock yarn, but I really liked this one that I got from Y2 Knit. It's called "Crazy Zauberball" and they had several colorways that I thought were fantastic but this is the one I chose. I also got a "K2tog" and a "ssk" oval magnet for my car from Y2 knit.

Here's a better picture of the flower petals carved on the whorl of the new spindle. It was really inexpensive compared to similar spindles I've seen in the past at other festivals, and that added to why I loved it so much!

We continued to make our way through Maryland and then into Pennsylvania and it was beautiful as usual as we drove into Gettysburg. I do volunteer work at the Museum in the Visitor's Center at the National Park, but I don't get out into the park itself very much.

Here's a monument along Taneytown Road. As you can see it was still overcast and dreary. Considering how many people died on these lands, it's pretty fitting to have it be dark and overcast.

The statue on top of the dome is the Pennsylvania monument which is one of the biggest monuments (and a beautiful one) on the battlefield.

A view from the road toward the high water mark.

This is the high water mark/bloody angle and there were plenty of people up there walking up where Pickett's charge had been. We were on the way to pick up some clothing for Mark that we didn't get to the shop in time to get.
I was very glad to find these apples because I wanted to make applesauce tomorrow. These are Jonogolds, a hybrid of the Jonathan apples that are my very favorites for sauce and pies. We got them at the festival. The orchard owner said that Jonathans and MacIntoshes (also a favorite) grow further north and don't do as well in Virginia.

I got out my Ashford Joy to spin some more of the fiber that I got today, and Belle decided that she needed to supervise.

It's really hard to spin with a cat on your lap trying to grab the fiber as you draft. I'm lucky that she has a very short attention span.

Here's some of the fiber spun on the wheel, still in singles. I have enough to do a full shawl and I'm planning on doing a two ply in lace to fingering weight. So far it's reading mostly red with brown, blue, and white undertones.

This is the other sock that I had with me to work on and I got an inch or two done. It's called Cloning Anemone Rib and it's the Socks that rock kit from September 2008. I love the colors!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The socks that wouldn't go away

OH MY GAWD these socks drove me crazy and no matter how I seemed to knit on them they never seemed to get any closer to being finished! I started them in February and have finished many pairs since but since I wasn't enjoying the pattern (Wheat socks, a free pattern on the internet) I kept putting them off and putting them aside. I kept toting them to work and trying to take a few stitches here, maybe a row there, and eventually I got the first one finished. I forced myself to cast on for the second sock, and eventually I got to the heel flap, then the heel, and kept on until I finally got the second sock finished today. I'm having a quiet weekend so I had time to work on them with minimal distractions, but of course, I have gotten nothing else done all day. But here they are, and I will wear them proudly knowing that I will never make another with this pattern! :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Some favorite things

This morning a package arrived from my favorite Bison ranchers and fiber guys with an entire pound of yummy bison down. It's packaged up so pretty in one ounce packages...2 of them are already winging their way to a new home with a nice lady in Western Australia. I have spun and knit with bison down and it's so wonderfully airy and soft as well as being warm. I stock Bison yarns and Bison/Silk and Bison/Bamboo yarns that are to die for as well! I know that this nice stuff is going to be finding new homes very quickly, it's hard to keep it in stock. I thought the bags looked so pretty that I wanted to share them with you'all.
I decided this morning that it was close enough to Halloween to change the clothing on our resident Goose. She oversees the kids walking to and from school in the morning in our neighborhood. My friend Diane gave her to us to put on our step, and she has many changes of clothing for different occasions. They're big up in the North, but I haven't seen many of them here in Maryland. I think she's fun, and I keep wanting to get to the sewing room to make her both a Hawaiian outfit and a Civil War dress and Bonnet. Maybe the next time I cut out a 1860's dress, I'll cut one out for her too.

This is the first 100 rows on the "Dainty Bess" lace scarf that I've been working on while at home on days off. It's not a travel appropriate project since I have to have the chart out to do the pattern rows. It's not at all difficult, just takes a little concentration, but it works well while watching TV. It's obviously not blocked, and lace always looks like a used kleenex before it's blocked. I just love the pattern, and blocking it will open up all the holes in the pattern and make it seem more lacy. It's about 20% finished. Sorry, Jenn, it's not for you, but I do remember doing a lace alpaca/angora scarf for you a few years ago. :)

Our newest furry child, Sammy, has slowly begun to venture down the stairs, but he is still as skittish as ever. If there is even a small noise, he scurries up the stairs to the bedroom and hides, then sometimes comes back down in a little while. He's gotten braver in some ways, he's a lot more snuggly at night lately, and a couple of times in the past few days I've awakened to the sound of Sammy snoring close to my ear...with his head on my pillow. How he gets up there without waking me up, I have no idea. He still hasn't figured out how to be good friends with the other cats, though he's trying very hard but they don't seem to play. At least he's awake on and off during the day, he used to be hibernating under the bed from about 9am to about 8pm every day.

Belle says "pleased to see you again" to Sammy in a typical cat manner.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Bad news, Good news!

The bad news is that my honey has been sick. We were supposed to go to a picnic yesterday for work that had been on the calendar for quite awhile. We'd RSVP'd long ago and unfortunately with him hacking and coughing and feeling crummy we had to decline. The good news is that my friend Loraine who was planning on being in Maryland for a week or so starting last Friday called me to ask if I wanted to go to a lace knitting class in Delaware with her yesterday. Since I couldn't go to the picnic, I told her I'd go and boy, am I glad that I did! Here's a picture of Loraine at the class.

The class was taught by Franklin Habit, who I've never heard of prior to Loraine's invitation, but I surely know of him now! He is a very gifted knitter, historian, and teacher, as well as having written a book of knitting themed cartoons called "It Itches". Loraine got me a copy of his book and he graciously signed it for me. Loraine knew that since the class was going to present the history of lace knitting (as well as knitted lace, they are not the same thing) and the knitting styles of Orenburg, Shetland, and Estonian lace, I'd be hooked and want to go. Being a history nut, I really enjoyed everything. He explained the differences in styles, construction, and development. He is a contributor to Knitty's online magazine about historical knitting, and has posted re-done patterns for Victorian and Pre-Victorian projects.

Prior to starting the history part of the class, Franklin got us all started with a simple rosebud motif (not shown here, I did the motif and then ripped it out so I could start the larger scarf pattern shown here), and did some question and answer on the various stitches and explained charting and reading charts. Then while he was talking we were able to work at our own pace on whatever we wanted. I began the scarf and got to about row 15 on it, but I haven't decided if I'm going to rip it out and start again now that I have the hang of doing the slipped edging. I will probably do the entire scarf project at some point, he had one that he'd made and it was esquisite, with an added knitted edging all along the sides and ends. Franklin had quite a few pieces of knitted lace he'd made to show and pass around, and it's gotten me enthusiastic again about doing this very interesting (and not very difficult) type of knitting. I've actually learned some of the lace stitches that he demonstrated in class through my Socks that Rock club socks. Many of them are lacy and without knowing what I was doing, I ended up expanding my knitting through them. I'd made a lace shawl and a lace scarf in the past, they weren't all that nicely done...but I think my knitting skills are better now so I am looking forward to trying again.

When we got home, I pulled out some of the lace patterns I had already at home and found one that was mentioned in the class from Queen Elizabeth I's knitted silk stockings and I think I may do that as a scarf for practice. It's from Mrs. Montague's pattern, she was the Queen's silk woman, and I can't wait to try the pattern, it looks pretty easy.

This is Franklin as he was signing his book for me. Add this great class to the time in the car on the way there and back to chat with Loraine, as visiting a great knit shop (though I didn't buy any yarn) made it a great day. :) Now to get knitting and finish a couple of projects and get them off the needles so I can get some lace going! :)