The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The journey of a Boeing 757.

I am writing this story about an airplane...And those that read my blog know that besides 2nd Amendment stuff, the idiocy of the Federal government, President Obama and the bottom swilling, communist,Godless heathen Democrats and their antics, I also blog about things that I like since this is my blog, they include cars, and of course .....Airplanes!  I work in the aviation field here in Atlanta and I followed the journey of a particular airplane..Airplanes are just aluminum and wires but we who are around them imbue them with personalities and meaning.  I have a favorite airplane here at Delta and this one is my favorite,a Boeing 757-232.  The breakdown of this is as follows.  the airplane is Boeing 757-200 series and the 32 is the Customer Code that Boeing uses to designate Delta Airlines.  This particular aircraft was purchased and entered service on May 25 1988 and she wore the following colors;
This was ship N638DL as she looked back in 1988 with the traditional livery of Delta Airlines.   Here are some specs on this Boeing 757-232.  She was equipped with PW 2037 and Delta was the launch customer for this type of engine.  She flew with the traditional colors until late 90's when there was the first change in Delta Livery in 30+ years.  She was repainted with this color what Delta called "The Ron Allens"   The pic used is that of a Boeing 767 since I couldn't find one of N638DL in that color.
Ship 638 soldiered on flying routes in the United States, Puerto Rico and many other destinations from coast to coast.  She underwent another livery change to the "flowing" or as we called it the"crap" livery.  There was no "widget" as Delta people call the Delta emblem on the tail.

She flew under this emblem until Delta started "Song" airline...basically fly for a "song" marketing strategy.

Song, LLC was a low-cost airline within an airline brand owned and operated by Delta Air Lines from 2003 to 2006.  Song's fleet consisted of 47 Boeing 757 narrow-body, fitted in a 199 seats, all-economy class, more-legroom configuration and painted in a lime-green livery and one Boeing 757 narrow-body (N610DL) in pink to support the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. After Song was dismantled, this aircraft became the Delta Pink Plane from 2006 until 2010 when it was repainted into standard Delta livery when a new pink Boeing 767-400ER (N845MH) was introduced. Song aircraft were the first in Delta's fleet to carry onboard satellite television equipment for passenger entertainment before being introduced into the mainline fleet, including all Boeing 737-700 and domestic 767-300, and select Boeing 737-800 aircraft.
Song's main focus was on leisure traffic between the northeastern United States and Florida, a market where it competed with JetBlue Airways. It also operated flights between Florida and the West Coast, and from the Northeast to the west coast.
Song's aircraft were fitted with leather seats and free personal entertainment systems at every seat, with audio MP3 programmable selections, trivia games that could be played against other passengers, a flight tracker, and satellite television (provided by the DISH Network). Song offered free beverages, but charged for meals and liquor. Both brand-name snack boxes and healthy organic meals were offered. The flight safety instructions were sung or otherwise artistically interpreted, depending on the cabin crew. In addition to crew uniforms designed by Kate Spade, customized cocktails created by nightlife impresario Rande Gerber and an in-flight exercise program designed by New York City fitness guru David Barton, the airline created its own distinct mark in the industry. The airline operated more than 200 flights a day and carried over ten million passengers.
Song's last flight took off on April 30, 2006. Service shifted to mainline Delta on May 1, 2006.
On January 1, 2008, Delta began repainting the last aircraft bearing the Song livery into mainline Delta Air Lines colors.
     This is where I come into the picture.  I was laid off from Ford Motor Company when they closed the Atlanta Assembly Plant that built the Tauruses and Sables.  I was a car paint sprayer.  We used the Electrostatic paint system to paint the cars.  I basically painted whatever the robots couldn't get.  Well it was on my resume that I had on various websites and Delta airlines were looking for painters and I was hired based on the experience I had at Ford Motor company. I was happy to be hired by a company with a good reputation.  My confidence had taken a beating when Ford shutdown and I was looking everywhere for a job and the constant rejections sucked.  I was delivering Pizza and working at Scotts lawn service as a night auditor part time.  I was worried on how I was going to support my family. 
    Well I had walked into the hanger where I saw the ship 638 for the first time in the spanking new colors.  The Widget was back! and the plane looked awesome. Ship 638 was the first plane painted in the new livery.  She was unveiled the the media and I was there when she was pushed outside for the first time.  The plane represented the restoration of my pride and confidence in myself after the long job search when I was mentally beaten down by the constant " no's that I had received in my job search.   Delta was emerging from Bankruptcy and I was feeling pride for the first time since I was told that Ford was closing the Atlanta Assembly plant in January of 2006 and the plant will be shuttered in October 2006.
There was great pride at Delta, we were emerging from bankruptcy, and had beaten back several hostile takeover attempts from U.S. Airways, there were a bunch of "keep Delta my Delta" floating around as Delta reorganized during the bankruptcy.      Our CEO at the time was Gerald "Jerry" Grinstein.  
      Grinstein came to the position in 2004, after CEO Leo F. Mullin stepped down amid a controversy over executive retirement and cash bonus plans that were deemed excessive. He is succeeded by Richard Anderson, a former Northwest Airlines executive, although Grinstein expected one of his two deputies for the top job. Grinstein and his wife Carolyn live in Seattle, Washington.
     Grinstein also set about regaining the trust and confidence of Delta's rank and file employees, most of whom still harbored a great deal of resentment over the previous management's actions. He promised open, honest communications and granted himself an annual salary of $450,000 with no bonuses or stock options of any kind, well below the multimillion dollar compensation packages accepted by Mullin and his top executives at a time when Delta was losing billions of dollars. Mr. Grinstein's mix of almost grand-fatherly demeanor and his down-to-earth communication approach enabled him to be singularly able to restore the family atmosphere at Delta despite tremendous external pressures. Grinstein was successful in attracting several highly talented executives to Delta who played critical roles in the company's survival despite the airline's precarious financial position. And Mr. Grinstein actively sought the input of employees by maintaining consistent communication with the Delta Board Council, frontline employees, and the councils and forums assembled to represent them.
In November 2006, US Airways launched an unsolicited hostile takeover bid for Delta which Grinstein and his executive team led by Jim Whitehurst and Edward Bastian successfully fended off by supporting the employee-led Keep Delta My Delta campaign. Grinstein retired in the Summer of 2007.
Unlike his predecessor Mullin who collected in excess of $13 million despite Delta's profuse bleeding upon his forced exit from Delta in 2003, Grinstein instead directed the company to use his allotted bankruptcy emergence stock grants to establish a scholarship fund for Delta employees and their children and a hardship fund for Delta families.
     This information I used above came from "Wiki".  I do know that many Delta airline employees considered "Jerry" as the best CEO that Delta could have had during those trying times.   The reason I mention this in association with my airplane article is that this plane was dedicated to "Jerry"
     Here is a pic of my son under this dedication.  I took this pic when I had taken him to the hanger so he can look around because he loves airplanes and "raid" the MD-88's for a drink and munchies. and I saw that she was in for another maintenance check.  I took this pic a year ago.
Because of what this plane signified to us here at Delta I kept my eye on her when ever she flew in for maintenance.
 Well I was working the ramp and I saw this plane on the ramp a few weeks ago at night and stood up on a golf cart and took this picture.   We at Delta are still proud of what Jerry did and how the airline is improved for what he did.
     Well I saw a Boeing 757 on the ramp and her colors were painted out.  That means that the plane is retiring and flying to Victorville in California.  That is where planes go when they have reached their operational life at a U.S. carrier.  I took a picture of the plane from a distance:

   I decided to go closer for a look and see what the ship number was: N638DL
  "My" 757 was retiring....  I had mixed emotions when I saw this.  I know that the 757's and older Airbuses are being phased out in the next 5 years and being replaced with Boeing 737-900ER's.  I was hoping that she would be the last one to go as befitting a good plane.  After 25 years of service, she is retiring.
    I took some more pics of her on the ramp
   Here she is facing me
The dedication is painted out.
Her ship number is painted out.
     I took another pic of the airplane in her entirety.

      I took the last pic of her before I had to go back to work;
She is lined up with her bretheren on the line...for the last time.    I know that time marches on and things change and objects become obsolete or "old" and the newer stuff is coming that is more fuel efficient, more comfortable, ete,ete.  I still have a soft spot for certain airplanes and I will miss seeing "my" 757 when she comes roaring into Atlanta.
  The pics are compliments of www.airliners.net, and my droid. 


  1. You are such a plane hugger. Go hug a plane! LOL. My uncle was a pilot. Too bad he didn't see your post, he would have liked it.

  2. I just found your blog and I’m going to put you in my links or blogroll, I hope you don’t mind. Thanks.

  3. GREAT story! And you're right, we all have our 'favorite' airplanes! Mine was a particular P-3 that I flew on for almost 5 years, and knew every squeak/rattle and quirk on that bird! She was butt ugly, the inside looked like crap, but every piece of equipment on her worked all the time every time we 'really' needed it! Other crews hated that plane, but every time we took her, she was a champ! I will also tell you I MUCH prefer flying Boeing iron to Airbus...

  4. Hi Momma Fargo;)
    Yep I am a plane hugger, would rather hug a plane than a tree:). And i am happy that you liked my post.
    Hey Joe;
    I don't mind at all, I will check your blog out later on today(tomorrow) what day it is and i will add you to mine.
    Hey Old NFO;
    They have a way of getting under your skin. I actually had a bit of a hard time writing this one...damm dust on the keyboard. I work on the Airbus but I consider the 757 to be a real "pretty" airplane if that makes sense. It is a shame that they stopped the 57 line up in Boeing. Now they are going to use the '37 to replace it.

  5. Yep, but the 73 is a pretty good bird... Other than that little dutch roll habit...

  6. Yep,
    They seemed to after having some "teething" issues back when they were first developed, the 73's have turned to be a popular airplane with many airplanes. Boeing makes more 737's than any other airplane. I am hopeful that Delta will buy some of the 747'800's but I havn't heard anything about that.