…and that particular Boeing 767-232 aircraft just happens to be more popularly known as The Spirit of Delta.
After 35 consecutively profitable years, Delta Air Lines posted a net loss in the spring of 1982 due to the airline industry being troubled by a weak economy, high fuel prices and deregulation.
Led by three flight attendants, employees of Delta Air Lines spearheaded what became known as “Project 767” to raise money to pay for the first Boeing 767 aircraft for Delta Air Lines.
“Project 767” was an inspiring effort to raise $30 million through the combined donations of employees, retirees and friends; and it was done as a way of expressing their appreciation for company support during this trying time — hence, The Spirit of Delta.
Here is a video of the day — Wednesday, December 15, 1982 — when The Spirit of Delta was presented to Delta Air Lines by greater than 7,000 of its employees at the Technical Operations Center…
…and the video continues until the day in 2006 that the Spirit of Delta was brought into its current home in historic Hangar 2 in the Delta Flight Museum.
…and directly after the dedication ceremony, The Spirit of Delta — also known as Ship 102 — left Atlanta on its inaugural service flight to Tampa to begin flying 70,697 hours and 34,389 trip cycles over the next 23 years.
The aircraft had proudly sported different liveries over the years — including special ones commemorating the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and 75 years of Delta Air Lines in 2004.
Retired on Sunday, February 12, 2006, the aircraft was repainted back to its original 1982 livery.
Exactly 24 years after it was presented to Delta Air Lines by its employees, The Spirit of Delta opened on Friday, December 15, 2006 as an exhibit sharing story of “Project 767” and the Jet Age of Delta Air Lines since 1959.
The exhibit includes a model of a supersonic aircraft sporting Delta Air Lines livery when there was a possibility in the 1960s that Delta Air Lines might fly supersonic aircraft as part of its fleet.
The Spirit of Delta aircraft was brought into what was then known as the Delta Heritage Museum on Sunday, May 7, 2006 — from the Technical Operations Center of Delta Air Lines, off airport property, across two roads and into its current home in historic Hangar 2.
Prior to the ceremony on that day, some of the beams above the entrance needed to be cut — cleverly, in the shape of the “widget” of Delta Air Lines — in order for the aircraft to be brought inside Hangar 2.
…and today, The Spirit of Delta sits proudly amongst all of the other exhibits in Hangar 2 of the Delta Flight Museum.
I like how the carpet underneath The Spirit of Delta mimics a runway.
I have already registered to attend the 2015 Freddie Awards on the evening of Thursday, April 30, 2015. If you plan on attending as well — here is a map which could be helpful to you — please let me know and I hope to see you there!