Ship 728 departed A2 yesterday morning about 30 minutes late...not bad for a Tristar. We taxied past the A concourse in ATL with lines of Delta employees waving goodbye for the last time to a great old bird. As we left the ramp area and turned onto the taxiway we were given a water cannon salute. The cabin was a party atmosphere.
We turned onto the runway and sat for about 15 seconds. Then with the very familiar sound of the Rolls Royce engines we were rolling. Speeding down the runway, looking out the window (right side) we could see all the airport employees watching. As we lifted off near the TOC, there were 100's of employees waving, flashing lights.what a sight. What an
event this was.
We then leveled off about 3,000 ft and turned left and did a flyby over downtown Atlanta. After about 10 minutes of flying Captain Bill turned the L1011 back towards Hartsfield Intl. We began a decent to do a low flyby of the field, TOC and headquarters. We were cleared for a 150 foot flyby, but the TriStar went lower. Later in Victorville, Ca the were told we did the flyby around 80 feet, this was awesome!
After passing the TOC Captain Bill gave full power and we were off to Victorville, Ca.
During the flight the champagne was a flowing and so were all the great stories. It is amazing how one aircraft has touched 1000's of people in this great company. With all the messages written on the side of the aircraft, engines, wings and even inside, it really showed how this plane was a big part of Delta and its employees.
The flight attendants onboard were just fabulous, excellent service under the extreme partying conditions. We all had a chance to see Captain Bill fly his final flight in air and what in impressive sight to see out the "front windows."
To all the pilots out there, I am jealous...you guys and gals really do have the best seat in the house.
As we neared the great Grand Canyon, Captain Bill lowered 728 to flight level 15,000. We were treated to one of the most impressive sights I along with others have ever witnessed. After several circles of this magnificent wonder of nature we were then off towards Las Vegas. There we flew right over the Hoover Dam.
About 40 minutes or so we began our descent to Victorville, Ca. The cabin became very surreal as everyone knew, this was going to be Delta's last TriStar to land.
On final approach we were at 350 feet and did a low flyby over the field. Then off to the right side of the aircraft coming into view was a spectacular sight. A row of about 15 to 20 retired Delta TriStars. In a way it was sad, but what history and many stories live on as those great birds sit idle. As we made our pass, everyone on board started chanting "One More Time", "One More Time".
But that was not to be and Captain Bill lowered the gear and cabin became silent as we all knew the end of an era was near. Slowly we descended and then we felt the main gear make contact. Then the nose so softly lowered and the nose gear had touched down.
Cheers and hollering was throughout the cabin only to be out done by the roar of the mighty Rolls Royce engines going into reverse.
Captain Bill finally stopped 728 and the engines were shut down for the final time. As we were towed to the hangar it gave time for everyone onboard to reflect back to what great flight this was and probably for the many flights and memories the Delta Tristars provided in the past. We finally stopped and the doors opened for the last time. We all deplaned (of course with several artifacts from the aircraft) and walked around to marvel Delta's last L1011.
For those who were privileged to listen to some of Delta's retired L1011 pilots on this flight and to there great stories of the past....THANK YOU!!!
Delta employees are truly the greatest in the industry. What A Flight!!! - Author unknown