Every time I looked at the model of the 747-100 my father had owned, I saw two things. First, a great reminder of my father's love of aviation -- for more than three decades, he worked for the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing as a Flight Test aerospace engineer. Second, that the little airplane could use some paint and a home where more people could see it.
I went to the Paint Operations and C&IS/Airplane Painting Support team with my father's story and a request.
"We lost Dad 17 years ago and miss him every day. He would be thrilled and honored to see the airplane restored. Would you paint it and display it?" I asked.
The answer was a big "yes" for the small airplane, so that's just what they did.
My dad was a great father, dedicated grandfather and true craftsman. He loved to work with wood, fix cars, or do anything that needed power tools. As a child he took apart his mother's washing machine and attached the motor to his bike to make it go faster. He got in big trouble for that, but his bicycle was faster than anyone else's in the neighborhood!
We used to joke he could build anything with a box of toothpicks and some glue. So just to shut us up, he built a sailboat and even sewed the sails himself! That sailboat required a coffee can to bail with every now and then, but we sailed many times in it. He was a true engineer at heart: methodical, laid-back, easygoing, funny and very, very smart.
Now the restored model sits proudly in the Everett, Wash., Paint Operations office, handsomely painted with every window and door in its proper place.
I would like to thank everyone at the Paint Operations and C&IS Airplane Support Team for the time and care that they put into rebuilding this 747 during their free time. I am truly touched by their kind gesture and enthusiasm for the project. I know my father would sincerely appreciate this.