Boeing 747’s ‘technical fault’ had me bolting from the plane – Rick Jackson

The most iconic aeroplane of them all has just celebrated her 50th birthday. This week, back in 1969, the Boeing 747 took off for the first time on her maiden test flight.

Wednesday, 13th February 2019, 3:17 pm
Updated Monday, 18th February 2019, 10:12 am
A British Airways Boeing 747 - which Rick Jackson very nearly flew in

She revolutionised air travel. Her sheer size, range and luxury set new standards. Travelling in the first class ‘bubble’ could only be bettered by a transatlantic flight on Concorde.

Maybe her days are numbered, she’s been continually updated.

Along with the Airbus A380, airlines are looking for smaller, lighter, more economic planes.

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I’ve only flown three times – to France and Spain. So maybe it will surprise you to hear I’ve actually been on a Boeing 747, in the First Class bubble, with a real glass containing champagne.

It may not surprise you however to hear that the plane in question left Gatwick for Orlando, Florida, without me or my other half at the time, on it.

Yes, I had a whopper of a panic attack.

As a bit of a plane buff I was so excited to be about to fly in the British Airways beauty. Then the fact that it was just a 500-tonne tin can hit me and I couldn’t escape my over-active imagination.

Even being upgraded by a friend who was a steward wasn’t enough to calm me down. 

The next thing I knew a member of the cabin crew informed my other half at the time that the captain was about to announce a delay due to a technical fault and it might be best to get me off the plane first.

That was it.

I heard the words ‘technical fault’ and bolted off the plane, down some steps and ended up next to the engines.

I was then informed I was in much, much greater danger of dying there than I was at 35,000 feet in the air.

They unloaded our luggage, we drove home and then caught the overnight ferry to Le Havre and ended up in Cannes.

That turned out to be a million times better than Orlando!

I don’t regret getting off the plane, we had an amazing holiday anyway, but I do wish I’d been able to fly on this magnificent machine.

Maybe one day?

Power station chimney would make a brilliant restaurant 

A building that has dominated the local skyline for almost 50 years is about to disappear forever.

Fawley Power Station was commissioned in 1971.

Smoke last bellowed from the top of it in the mid 1990s. 

More recently, the chimney provided Channel 5 with a relay transmitter for the Northam Studios in Southampton, when the rest of us couldn’t pick it up.

At 650ft, plans had been put forward to build a rotating restaurant at the top.

What a wonderful place to eat that would have been.

Sadly, now the whole site is to be cleared to make way for 1,400 homes.

I’m sure the chimney’s destruction will make one last spectacular sight.

Petrolhead nostalgia almost made me splash out £7,000

A 2005 VW Mark 5 Golf GTI I once owned was up for sale on Auto Trader. Still a beauty, I called the current owner.

It was then pointed out that maybe I’d look like I was having a midlife crisis driving round in a bright red hot hatch.

I could finish the look with a ‘No Fear’ window sticker and an Ali G-style goldie looking chain. I decided not to take up the purchase option.