Airliner roars over area
March 1, 2006
The low-flying Delta Air Lines Boeing 767, named "The Spirit of Delta," surprised quite a few residents in Park City as it took its victory lap around the mountains early Monday afternoon.
Jim Umlauf dropped to the floor inside his home on Aerie Drive as the plane roared overhead.
"I ducked. I thought it was coming right into the house," he says. "I assumed something was very wrong I thought we were goners."
Delta spokeswoman Gina Laughlin told The Park Record the flight path was no accident, however. Before retiring The Spirit of Delta for permanent display at the Delta Air Transport Heritage Museum in Atlanta, the airline picked up children from the Boys and Girls Club at Salt Lake International at noon for a demonstration tour.
"In a 30-minute demonstration flight, depending on air traffic control, the plane could go 5,000- to10,000-feet high, it really just depends on the day and the weather, but it’s typically not your normal cruising altitude," she explained. "These flights, they fly lower because of their short duration."
It would take 20 or 30 minutes to reach normal cruising altitude, Laughlin said.
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The demonstration was the first stop on a tour will continue for two weeks, stopping in Los Angeles, Seattle and Dallas, before its final destination in Atlanta.
Delta employees raised $30 million to purchase the plane in 1982 to show their appreciation to the airline during a time when the industry was "troubled by a weak economy and high fuel prices," according to a statement released by the company this week. It was Delta’s first Boeing 767, a wide-bodied plane with two aisles.
The midday flight, which appeared to be flying close to the peaks of the Wasatch Mountains, prompted three phone calls to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.
Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds learned later that the plane was headed south through Summit County toward Provo, he said.
Though Edmunds did not find any laws were broken, he said he could have used a heads up from Delta.
"I certainly would have appreciated a phone call prior to that," he said, adding that, given safety measures were taken during the flight, it’s "not a huge concern."