The nose wheel landing door of RC501, the first flight test 747-8, carries initials that are a reminder of the crew that put the first “Queen of the Skies” into the air 41 years ago.
The doors carry the initials JW, a nod to Capt. Jack Waddell, who was pilot-in-command when the 747-100 took to the air on Feb. 9, 1969.
The second flight test article, RC521, will bear the initials BW for Brian Wygle, the co-pilot, on the same doors.
And the third test airplane, RC 522, will remember flight engineer Jess Wallick. That’s right, there was a three-man cockpit team in those days. It wasn’t until the 747-400 that Boeing introduced a two-person cockpit for its big widebody transport.