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Sunday, May 31, 2009

A year gone by without the crane


On May 31 2008, JAL operated its last flight with the Tsurumaru logo (aka the crane logo). This marks an end to almost half a century of the crane era and the completion of the JAL-JAS merger. If JAL were still using the crane logo, this coming August would have been its 50th anniversary. A year has passed since the complete phase out of the old markings and I still feel a little bit sad when I looked at the videos of the last crane flights below.

Some people might not know there are actually two versions of the crane logo. The one on the left was used between August 1959 and May 1989, while the one on the right was used until May 2008. Notice the color and the JAL font differences between the two logos. The first jet with the crane logo was a DC-8 named Fuji. The crane log was actually placed on the fuselage right behind the cockpit instead of on the tail.

I wasn't old enough to see the older version on an actual JAL metal. But I still remember seeing the bright red crane on the tail and how happy I was when I flew the first time on March 15 1991. Maybe that's why I still like JAL so much today. Hopefully one day JAL will make a retro marking on one of its jets for some special occasion, say the coming 60th anniversary (Oh I hope the double mileage campaign will be back too) :P

I posted a bunch of Japanese news videos regarding the last crane flight on my facebook last year but most of them are gone (either the user removed it or it violates the youtube user agreement). Below are the few ones left (even though some aren't as good unfortunately). You can see they held a massive farewell ceremony and had the cabin attendants dressed in uniforms from different era to welcome the passengers and handed out souvenirs. I really wished I were there but it was too late to arrange my trip when I found out about this last year.

The real last crane flight arriving at HND:

 

The one below shows the arrival of the last international crane flight and a little bit of history of the logo. There's also interview of a "Crane Generation" cabin attendant:

 

Ground staff saying goodbye to the crane flight at FUK:

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