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Artifact Spotlight: The Spirit of Delta Live TV Test

Oct 16, 2013

We recently acquired some great artifacts & firsthand story about Boeing 767 The Spirit of Delta's transformation into a test lab for live TV in 1996! Delta became the first airline with live broadcast television programming—offering customers a new in-flight entertainment (IFE) experience. 

Button, Spirit of Delta Live TV tests 1996

This pinback button was a find at Atlanta Airline Collectibles Show earlier this month. It celebrates first day of Live TV testing, Delta's project partners and The Spirit of Delta in special paint for 1996 Olympic Games. 

Below, passengers onboard Spirit of Delta watch the 1996 World Series live as Atlanta Braves take on New York Yankees. Photo from Delta Archives.

Did you know that The Spirit of Delta still wears an artifact leftover from its Live TV testing days? 

One of the project participants, Kent Horton, recently wrote us, "One thing to take note of that I am quite proud of is the big 'hump' (actually a radome) on top of Ship 102 The Spirit of Delta. 

That is a remnant of the world's first satellite TV receiver on a commercial transport airplane we installed in 1996. I was the technical focal for that endeavor and the folks responsible for the hardware after I moved on never got around to removing the radome once the trial was over after about 2 years of operational trials. When the airplane retired and was made a museum piece, I was glad it never got removed!"


You can just see the radome "hump" in this photo of Spirit doing a fly-by of Delta headquarters on the last day of its Farewell Tour before coming home to the Delta Flight Museum in 2006. 

Once our renovations are complete in Spring/Summer 2014 and The Spirit of Delta is removed from its plastic wrappings, you'll get a great view of the radome and easy access to tour Spirit from a new mezzanine in Hangar 2. Look forward to seeing you then!

Marie Force

Archives Manager

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