These days at SWA we fly 737-300s, -700s, and -800s. The 300s are getting old. Maybe old is the wrong term, more like worn out. We have the highest aircraft utilization, in terms of hours/day, of any airline out there. The planes are mostly 80s and 90s vintage 737s and they are simply used up.
When a typical mechanic shows up at work we look at the job board and sometimes when we find out we are working one of these older planes we cringe. "Not another old beast." I admit that I myself have had those days when I get assigned a 300 and I think "this thing is going to be falling apart."
My buddy SkyWalker is the exact opposite-he gets a 700 and he thinks, "what a bunch of relays and circuits." SkyWalker likes the older mechanical jets. Planes like 727s and the older 737s are just his cup of tea.
I have been looking at the older planes, recently, as older friends or older family members. These old warriors deserve our respect. There have been times when we have had battles and cursed them and even hit them with hammers in frustration. These planes have made us lay down in puddles in the rain, burned our arms while trying to pry out their PRSOVs, cut us, and even knocked some of us out cold. The leaks that only show up during high power runs, the L1 and L2 windows that would not see themselfs removed, the Rudder PCUs that needed to be RR'd in ALL types of weather and any times of the day.
The one thing that I try to remember is that the 300s have done all those things to me and those working with me BUT they also kept me and my family feed and clothed, they put money in my pocket and for many of us have provided the ONLY stable job we have had in the airline business.
These planes deserve a little respect from us. They are worn out that much is true,but day in and day out they go out and do their thing. They may be old and worn but I still feel bad when they are cut up and scrapped.
Check out these links regarding some of my old friends who will not be taking to the skies any more.
|Not AC 504 but a pic of AC 501|