747 Formation Takeoff – Well, Nearly

AU0E4529.jpgWhile the world’s 747 fleet is progressively running down, United is still a big operator of the type and SFO is a focus of their operations of the type. Consequently, during the surge of departures to Asia in late morning, you will have a pretty steady stream of Jumbos taxiing out and taking off. While Roger and I were out, a couple of them taxied out at the same time. We had one holding short of 28L and the other was in the gap between 28L and 28R as incoming aircraft approached. I joked with Roger that the two of them should line up on parallel runways and depart in formation.

C59F7901.jpgWhen the inbound jets had landed, both aircraft moved forward again and, sure enough, they lined up on both runways. We couldn’t help but laugh at this since they seemed to be following our instructions. You will regularly see parallel departures on the 01 runways but we couldn’t believe that we would have the same thing here. Sadly, we were right. The closer jet departed first and was then followed a short while later by the second. It would have been very cool to see them climb out side by side but that was a bit too much to ask.


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