N171UA departs San Francisco for a >10 hour flight to Asia.  She's a 23 year old Boeing 747-400, and still the most attractive aircraft in the sky.

This particular aircraft had a fuel leak off the left wing three years ago.  It was noticed by a US Air Force staff sergeant flying as a passenger.  He reported it to a flight attendant "who seemed unconcerned."  He then identified himself as an air refueling boom operator, which sounds like as close as one can get to an expert in that field.  The pilot took a look and swiftly decided to divert, noting that they were trying to figure out why they were losing around 6000 lbs of fuel per hour.


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