MIAMI – With aviation memorabilia, special flight photos, final assembly photos, and much more, the Airchive, recently rebooted by aviation veteran Chris Sloan, is the perfect place to await your next (in person) AvGeek adventure.
Founded in 2003, the Airchive was created as a digital aviation museum, celebrating all aspects of aviation. The Airchive features AvGeek collectibles such as vintage timetables, route maps, brochures, safety cards, and menus.
Additionally, the site allows users to experience historic flights, virtual tours, special flights and events, as well as photos of airport terminals, aircraft and airplane graveyards.
Let’s take a closer look at some events, memorabilia and photography featured on the site.
Airbus A380 Inaugural Flight
Singapore Airlines (SQ) officially inaugurated service of the Airbus A380 on October 5, 2007. Since then, the airline has taken delivery of 24 of the aircraft type.
After a short 14 years in service, the large aircraft type became a casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has become increasingly rare.
The inaugural flight took place from Singapore to Sydney, a route currently served by Boeing 777s.
American Airlines Boeing 787 Inaugural Flight
On May 7th, 2015, American Airlines (AA) introduced its first Boeing 787 into service. The airline now has 53 in service, operating secondary international routes.
The inaugural flight took place from Dallas (DFW) to Chicago (ORD) celebrated with a large gate event.
The Boeing 747 Through the Years
The Boeing 747, one of the most influential passenger aircraft ever produced, has become a favorite of aviation enthusiasts and travelers alike.
Designed in the 1960s to propel growing demand for international jet travel, the aircraft’s development was lead by the legendary Joe Sutter.
Through the Airchive, we can take a look at some of the marketing materials and other memorabilia that helped market the aircraft.
After the aircraft’s introduction with Pan Am, the aircraft became the foundation for airlines to revolutionize air travel. The aircraft allowed space for airlines to add new service features that we still see today.
The Boeing 747, quickly became a well known favorite of many passengers with a spacious cabin, onboard lounges and overall comfort.
After the success of the Boeing 747-100, Boeing introduced the 747-200 model in 1971 with more powerful engines and a higher MTOW (maximum take off weight). Following the -200 model, Boeing introduced the -300 in 1983 with a stretched cabin and increased seat capacity.
In 1985, development of the 747-400 began and became one of the most popular widebody aircraft ever produced. Although most of the 747-400 aircraft variant have been retired, a number of -400s still operate as cargo transports, and even a few as passenger aircraft.
Finally, in November of 2005, Boeing introduced what would be the final Boeing 747 variant, the 747-8, entering passenger service with Lufthansa in 2012.
Gone, But Not Forgotten
Although the aviation industry sees many airlines come and go through the years, memorabilia can offer a glimpse into the foundations of the modern industry.
Before merging with United Airlines, Continental was a premier US airline with its main hub in Houston. The below route map depicts Continental’s domestic route network shortly before its merger with United in 2012.
We can even take a look at an onboard menu from a Pan Am Clipper flight from 1966. Famously known for its luxury travel, the menu’s offerings are a far cry from some present-day airline meal services.
The Airplane Graveyards
An unbeknownst fact for many, when airplanes are retired by airlines, they usually head to ‘airplane graveyards’ in the desert. While awaiting metal scrapping, the planes sit in the desert to avoid erosion or damage caused by humid conditions.
Many old aircraft are then dismantled for spare parts or salvaged for metal. In fact, such airplane graveyards became increasingly busy in the past year as airlines worked to lower costs and consolidate fleets.
Airplane graveyards give aviation enthusiasts one final chance to see many rare aircraft before they are dismantled.
Be sure to check out more photos from The Airchive by clicking here.
Featured Image: Chris Sloan/The Airchive