American celebrates a special 75th anniversary with a 777

What does 75 years at the same job get you? For American Airlines mechanic Azriel “Al” Blackman the answer is an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records and a celebration flight in a company 777. Oh, and that plane just happens to have a bit of extra art at the nose celebrating his achievement, too.

Following a celebration at JFK Airport the company took Blackman and a bunch of other employees and guests for a quick tour of the New York City area.

I happen to be in town this week and I’m a sucker for a good fly-by up the Hudson so I headed out to snag a couple shots as well.

The Al Blackman 75th Workiversary 777 flyby up the Hudson
The Al Blackman 75th Workiversary 777 flyby up the Hudson

The news chopper was pretty close, though obviously further than these images make it appear. Also, hazy day and terrible lighting to work with mid-afternoon.

The Al Blackman 75th Workiversary 777 flyby up the Hudson
The Al Blackman 75th Workiversary 777 flyby up the Hudson

For his 70th workiversary Blackman got a similar joyride, but on a DC-3. This tribute will last a bit longer as the nose art will remain on the aircraft for a while yet, it appears. Worth noting that Blackman no longer does any real maintenance work on the aircraft. No climbing ladders and no playing with the many tools involved in aircraft maintenance. Plus he has a “crew co-chief” supervising his work. Those pesky FAA rules and all…

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


    1. Started as an apprentice in High School on a recommendation from his teacher after showing aptitude in metal working. Turning 92 shortly so he would’ve been 16 or 17 when he started, I suppose.

    1. Well, he does have someone follow him around all day. Though that’s mostly due to FAA regulations and needing to ensure that the work he oversees is done correctly, not because he’s a rock star. πŸ˜‰

  1. The original official callsign on that was Blackie75. Someone realized that might not be the best idea and the FAA switched it to (Bravo Kilo) BK75.

    1. I also noticed that one of the early stories published had “Blackie” as his nickname while all the others changed it to “Al” to clean things up. Whoopsie.

  2. Sad thing is that he probably still has to work at 92. They probably wiped out his pension in one of the bankruptcies, and he still needs the health insurance benefits. Work ’til you drop is the new retirement plan.

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