100 years ago this week, in one of aviation’s most historic moments, William E Boeing took to the skies for the very first time. His first aircraft, called the Boeing and Westervelt Seaplane was built in Seattle where the company later set up its home thanks to the ready supply of spruce wood used in its construction.
Here at Virgin Atlantic we’ve always had Boeing aircraft in our fleet. Our very first aircraft, Maiden Voyager was a Boeing 747-200 but it wasn’t the oldest model 747 we’ve ever owned. That honour goes to G-VMIA, Spirit of Sir Freddie which was the only Boeing 747-100 that we flew. It was also the only aircraft we’ve ever given a male name to. Richard Branson wanted to honour one of his heroes Sir Freddie Laker with this accolade. Those early 100 series 747 were distinctive because they were the only version with just three windows on the upper deck. Later 200 series had ten windows and the current 400 series has 19.
Our latest Boeing, G-VFAN, Pin up girl, joined our fleet just a few days ago when it was delivered from Boeing’s new factory in Charleston. Rather than spruce wood, the 787 is made from the very latest composite materials which give it fantastic fuel efficiency and customer comfort. G-VFAN brings our total number of Boeing 787-900s to 13.
As your aircraft crisscross the globe today we will salute you Mr Boeing on your centenary. Happy Birthday. Find out more about the history of Boeing here.