Es was in the children’s magazine of the pharmacy where I first encountered the Boeing 747 in my young life in 1971. I couldn’t read yet and when I was four or five years old, I saw a huge plane, white with red stripes, majestic and powerful. I was fascinated. The beginning of a passion that continues to this day. In those days, I and my mother often passed the magnificent city office of Pan American World Airways in Hamburg’s Colonnaden. To me, with polished glass doors and marble surrounds, it came close to imagining a palace.
In the large shop window stood an expansive model of the Boeing 747 that made me tug at my mother’s hand every time I walked past it. One side was plexiglass and you could see the rows of seats and the spiral staircase to the upper deck, the jumbo jet’s signature hump, below a bar and the cockpit. “Please, please go in there and ask for a brochure or poster of the 747 for me,” I would often beg my mother. Eventually she granted my wish, and when she came out, smiling, she gave me her prize: a magnificent brochure with detailed drawings of the Boeing 747’s planned operations and amenities. Pan Am was the right address, the most important airline in the world at the time had practically invented the 747 and pushed Boeing to build it, a huge risk for both companies. I still have the brochure that was printed in 1969.