PiedmontINT
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Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:43 am

Hey everyone, I have been wondering; why was the 747-SP built and what are some of it's advantages and disadvantages? I always thought it was overkill to have a shrunken 747 for the number of pax it carried and while some people love the way it looked, i always thought it looked kind of goofy. Any input would appreciated!
 
EMBQA
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:49 am

Quoting PiedmontINT (Thread starter):
I have been wondering; why was the 747-SP built

Long Range....!!
"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
 
Slarty
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:52 am

An acquaintance of mine took it from New York to Hong Kong in the early 80's. I think it was the only aircraft that could have done that route in one stop? Not sure ... so don't flame me toooooo much!  Smile
 
ATLFlyer323
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:53 am

Quoting PiedmontINT (Thread starter):
Hey everyone, I have been wondering; why was the 747-SP built

For rich companies/ governments to use a private planes instead of a little jet.  Silly Example: The 747sp at CAK.

Quoting PiedmontINT (Thread starter):
i always thought it looked kind of goofy

I totally agree with you there.

~Brandon
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CanadianNorth
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:56 am

shorter fuselage = less weight. This was done for two main reasons. #1 a lighter aircraft burns less fuel so you can go farther with the fuel you have and #2 if the MTOW stays the same you can pack more fuel onto it.

So basicly yeah it was to increase range.



CanadianNorth
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mariner
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:59 am

Quoting ATLFlyer323 (Reply 3):
For rich companies/ governments to use a private planes instead of a little jet.   Example: The 747sp at CAK.

One of the most successful 747SP routes was Pan Am - LAX/SYD non-stop.

At the beginning, no one else had the aircraft, so no one else could fly the route non-stop.

Later, Qantas used the 747SP very successfully on flights to South Africa.

cheers

mariner
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A5XX
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 8:04 am

The 747SP was one of the most beautiful airplane ever built imho.  

It's sad to see them go....one by one.

I miss the SP, just like I miss the L1011.

Yves.

[Edited 2005-09-27 01:08:01]
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Slarty
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 8:07 am

Found this in our own backyard, which explains a little more ...

http://www.airliners.net/info/stats.main?id=98
 
ktachiya
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 8:10 am

I believe that the most frequent argument that I hear for it was PanAm to start the NRT-JFK services non-stop. This is before better engines like the JT9D advanced versions were built. So at that time, the 747-200B were unable to do the route. But for instance when NH entered int'l service to the states in 1986 to IAH from NRT, the 747-200B engines had evolved enough so that they could get there.

Hence only 45 airframes (somewhere around there) made.

That is the argument on Japanese aviation magazines frequently seen.
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planenutz
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 8:15 am

The 747SP's allowed South African Airways to operate flights non-stop to Europe during the apartheid years, when airspace sanctions meant they couldn'y fly over much of the African continent.
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yowza
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 10:02 am

Why are there so few of them flying now, I guess newer metal is more economical.

To the Saffies on A.net my friend Sean told me Thabo's getting an ex SA SP for his personal use, any truth in that?

YOWza
 
ikramerica
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 10:15 am

SPs allowed sultans and monarchs to fly anywhere in the world nonstop (since they weren't heavily loaded as private planes).

On a more realistic note, the SP opened up routes like SFO-HKG, LAX-SYD, etc.

One thing that made the SP look extra short was that just like on the 735/6, the tail got bigger as the plane shrunk, because the wingspan was greater than the fuselage length and it lead to stability issues.

That said, flying in the back of the Y section on a Pan-Am SP from SFO-HKG was not a great experience. There was a constant pendulum like yaw period in turbulent skies, and with limited radar, the pacific ocean lead to a lot of that. flying on QF, I didn't experience that because I was in business, right over the wing.

But at 275 three class long range configuration, it's still a bit bigger than 772 size for a typical carrier. Same in two class. Just much, much more costly to fly.  Wink
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hz747300
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 10:20 am

Speaking from my memory as a child while my parents were working for Saudia.

At the time, it was needed, but the technology became obsolete fairly quickly as the range was matched by the 747-300 then 747-400. Now it looks nice as a private plane. It has the look and feel of a 747SP, without the perceived boastfulness ("Hey look at me") that comes with owning your own A346 or 747-400.
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PhilSquares
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 10:31 am

The SP was developed at the request of airlines, PA specifically, for a longer range version of the 747.

At the time, the primary powerplant was the PW JT9-7A. That airframe/powerplant combination couldn't make JFK-NRT, LAX-SYD non stop, so the decision was made to builld the SP. Lighter operating weight, same fuel capacity, lower payload. (IIRC Saudia used the RB-211 on their SP)

However, during the development several things occured. First GE/RR entered the scene with the CF6 and RB-211. These engines offered a dramatic improvement on SFC. PW introduced the JT9-7Q which like the GE/RR engines offered similar improvement on SFC (range).

Boeing stuck with the development and certification of the SP and then introduced the 747-200B with the other engine combinations. The 2B had options which incluced a 2/3 reserve system which added about 400NM range to the aircraft. There was also an increase of the MTOW from 800,000lbs to 820,000 and a further increase to 833,000lbs. These improvements then allowed the 200B to do JFK-NRT all year with no payload restrictions and SYD-LAX with some payload restrictions.

Just to clairfy, the 300 was no real improvement over the 200B. It had a higher empty weight and the same MTOW, thus it has a smaller payload available when compared to the 200B.
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Starlionblue
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 10:36 am

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 11):
One thing that made the SP look extra short was that just like on the 735/6, the tail got bigger as the plane shrunk, because the wingspan was greater than the fuselage length and it lead to stability issues.

You are right that the fin was bigger on the SP, but this was not quite due to a wingspan issue in itself. Quite simply, with a shorter fuse the moment arm is less (consider your lever physics; force x length of lever) so to counteract this the fin has to be larger. In the same way the fin on the 330 is larger than on the 342/343.

So an engine out situation would need a bigger fin on the SP.



[Edited 2005-09-27 03:40:25]

[Edited 2005-09-27 03:42:31]
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thomasphoto60
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 10:37 am

Quoting Ktachiya (Reply 8):
But for instance when NH entered int'l service to the states in 1986 to IAH from NRT, the 747-200B engines had evolved enough so
that they could get there.

I think that you mean IAD, not IAH. Sadly, NH (nor JL) ever considered an IAH route.

SA, took delivery of an 'SP' from Everett in the 1976, flew it nonstop to CPT and still had 2 hours worth of fuel left later. I believe that this record was held until the A340 was introduced in the 90s.

http://www.747sp.com/NewsDetail.asp?id=17

Thomas
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irelayer
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 10:40 am

Also IranAir used them to inagurate THR-JFK N/S and some other long range routes. They remain in the fleet b/c of the lack of available aircraft, but they are pretty uneconomical to fly. Not like IranAir cares about economics. I wonder how long the sole remaining SP will be with IR. Those airframes (especially the classics) are getting really old.

-IR

[Edited 2005-09-27 03:42:23]
 
Trolley Dolley
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 10:52 am

Another reason they were developed was to try and provide fleet commonality with the existing 747's so that airlines wouldn't migrate to DC10s etc. (Hmm, go figure PA who ended up operating all sorts of 747's, the DC10 and L1011!) The economics and improved performance of the later 747 classics put an end to that idea.

While the 747SP had long legs, it also had great short field performance. QF initially used them into the short field ports like Wellington, New Zealand or Townsville, Australia.

Small correction, QF used the 747SP for many years on the route to Zimbabwe, when flights to South Africa were not allowed due to sanctions. By the time apartheid ended, the route had been upgraded to full sized 747's.
 
ikramerica
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 10:55 am

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 14):
You are right that the fin was bigger on the SP, but this was not quite due to a wingspan issue in itself.

Sure it is. If the wingspan were shorter, the tail would not need to be as tall. Same thing on a sailboat with the rudder. Decreased fuselage moment contribution is the result of shortening the fuselage but not the wingspan. We're talking ratios here, not absolutes.
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Starlionblue
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 10:59 am

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 18):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 14):
You are right that the fin was bigger on the SP, but this was not quite due to a wingspan issue in itself.

Sure it is. If the wingspan were shorter, the tail would not need to be as tall. Same thing on a sailboat with the rudder. Decreased fuselage moment contribution is the result of shortening the fuselage but not the wingspan. We're talking ratios here, not absolutes.

Well, yes and no. It's because the engines are wing mounted. If they had been tail mounted there would have been little need for a larger fin. If you have an engine out situation on the SP it needs a larger fin than on the other marks.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
trex8
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 11:02 am

even TPE-SFO was pushing it for an early 742 which was why CI purchased them
 
PhilSquares
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 11:04 am

Starlion blue is correct. The larger vertical stabilizer is for the engine out performance. I only had about 500 hours in the SP and I do remember dutch yaw was very pronounced in the aircraft also. I can remember walking down to the back of the main deck and really being able to feel the yaw.

I have been trying to remember the yaw damper system on the SP if it was the same as the "normal" size 747s. However, those brain cells have long since died! Plus it's now about 4 am in AMS!
Fly fast, live slow
 
hiflyer
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 11:17 am

One item that impressed me was that the SP carried more weight in fuel than the aircraft itself weighed. Always wondered what would an SP do with a 400 wing and motors as far as range.
 
ktachiya
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 6:22 pm

Quoting Thomasphoto60 (Reply 15):
I think that you mean IAD

Sorry about that. I was kind of wondering myself when I was writing the reply. Yes, it was IAD not IAH.

Sadly ........... I was wrong ........... sorry
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keesje
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 6:30 pm

If I remember well the -100 lacked range & the SP was a solution for this.

However Boeing solved this with the -200 and the SP was no longer needed.
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Maersk737
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:34 pm

Quoting Planenutz (Reply 9):
The 747SP's allowed South African Airways to operate flights non-stop to Europe during the apartheid years, when airspace sanctions meant they couldn'y fly over much of the African continent.

Bingo  Wink And they didn't have to land in "the Middle of Africa" when going to the US.

Cheers

Peter
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mariner
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:44 pm

Quoting Trolley Dolley (Reply 17):
Small correction, QF used the 747SP for many years on the route to Zimbabwe, when flights to South Africa were not allowed due to sanctions.

You're right, I'd forgotten the Zimbabwe "connection".

cheers

mariner
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kingsford
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:46 pm

My favourite bird, soon extinct !  brokenheart 

I had the privilege of flying from SYD to CRS on one of it's last flight with QF. An amazing aircraft.
 
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ClassicLover
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 9:38 pm

Quoting Keesje (Reply 24):
If I remember well the -100 lacked range & the SP was a solution for this.

However Boeing solved this with the -200 and the SP was no longer needed.

Wrong, wrong, wrong!

The 747-100 was in service in 1970. The -200 followed shortly after and then the 200B which entered service in 1971.

The 747SP came out a few years later, and the range was much further than the previous versions. However, it was a niche market aircraft. QF had optioned 2 x DC-10 to use them to Wellington in New Zealand for the runway performance. Instead, they got SPs for the same reason.

Once PA began operating the SP on LAX-SYD, QF redeployed the SPs there in competition. According to all reports QF made a killing on the route because the RR engines they had were more efficient than PAs Pratts. The PA aircraft sometimes had to make technical stops - the QF did too, but much less often.

Trent.
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Springbok139
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 10:15 pm

Quoting Planenutz (Reply 9):
The 747SP's allowed South African Airways to operate flights non-stop to Europe during the apartheid years, when airspace sanctions meant they couldn'y fly over much of the African continent.

I wonder if any country in Africa besides maybe Libya would have even noticed or for that matter been able to do anything about a 747 SP flying over thier country...even today African airspace is "under-monitored".
 
ord
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 10:38 pm

Another unique aspect of the 747SP, and I'm not if this was only on Pan Am or other airlines as well, was the strange configuration of the galley between the 1st and 2nd doors. The galley ran the length of that section, but closer to the right side of the plane. So, this section, which I believe was first class, only had a single aisle and two sets of "two" seats (the left side seats and the middle seats - which had a wall next to them). If you walked around to the other side of the galley, you had the galley on one side and the entire bank of windows on the other. It was a very unusual layout.
 
wedgetail737
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 10:41 pm

I flew on PA's SP from SFO to LAX on one of my first flights to LAX. That's back when I didn't think the SP was a "real" 747.
 
cornish
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 10:45 pm

Come to LHR and you can stil regularly see the Syrian Air 747SP operating to and from the airport on the Damascus run.
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Geo772
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 11:18 pm

The SP was based on the -100 if my memory serves me correctly and was due to the fact that the early P&W engines were underpowered to give the -100 and -200 with anything more than medium range. The later versions of the -200B had the range to do many of the routes that the SP was designed for.

One of the best places to see the SP demonstrating its performance is a Heathrow where quite a few of them regularly fly from.

Personally I rather like them and will be sorry to see tham go when their economics become too awful.
Flown on A300B4/600,A319/20/21,A332/3,A343,B727,B732/3/4/5/6/7/8,B741/2/4,B752/3,B762/3,B772/3,DC10,L1011-200,VC10,MD80,
 
sparkingwave
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 11:19 pm

Quoting PiedmontINT (Thread starter):
I always thought it was overkill to have a shrunken 747 for the number of pax it carried

It might be overkill now in 2005. But the world was very different in 1976. Pan Am asked Boeing to make the 747SP, probably because it wanted both the longer range and also the commonality with its existing 747-100s.

The 747SP offered the longest range of any commercial jet airliner when Pan Am first used it nonstop between JFK and NRT on April 25, 1976. It could carry 233 passengers (First, Business, and Coach classes), around 6754 statute miles in around 13/14 hours time, which shaved off 4 hours of time from the previous JFK to LAX to NRT routing.

Another advantage that doesn't seem to be mentioned was that it could fly higher than other 747s. It had a maximum altitude ceiling of 47,000 feet, which meant that it could fly over rough air and avoid turbulence. Because it was smaller and lighter than a conventional 747, it had a higher power-to-weight ratio, which meant that pilots had more control of the aircraft in extreme situations (the Concorde had the highest power-to-weight ratio).

For Boeing, the shortened fuselage towards the front of the aircraft pulled the upper deck back closer to the wing, which gave Boeing engineers the design experience to create the stretched upper decks on the 747-300 and later the 747-400 models.

SparkingWave
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OB1783P
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Tue Sep 27, 2005 11:24 pm

I own a very good book on the subject, written by Brian Baum, but unfortunately out of print ($65 second hand at Amazon!)

I once flew on the SP, TWA from IAD to SFO. TWA, if I recall, purchased the SP for some TLV routes which failed to materialize.
I've flown thousands of miles and I can tell you it's a lot safer than crossing the street!
 
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ClassicLover
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Wed Sep 28, 2005 12:20 am

Quoting Geo772 (Reply 33):
The SP was based on the -100 if my memory serves me correctly and was due to the fact that the early P&W engines were underpowered to give the -100 and -200 with anything more than medium range. The later versions of the -200B had the range to do many of the routes that the SP was designed for.

This is completely incorrect as the SP came out several years after the -200B. Qantas got the -200B version in 1971 and was the first airline to get them. They deliberately waited for this version. The SP was much later and designed for a totally different mission.

Quoting ORD (Reply 30):
Another unique aspect of the 747SP, and I'm not if this was only on Pan Am or other airlines as well, was the strange configuration of the galley between the 1st and 2nd doors

The Qantas SP also had a similar weird galley configuration up front. I have some seatmaps from the late 1980s at home showing them. I always thought it was odd. I wonder why this was...

Trent.
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USADreamliner
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Wed Sep 28, 2005 12:39 am

Aerolineas used to have one SP(LV-OHV).Flying long haul routes with less pax than a 747-200,like Buenos Aires-Madrid-Zurich,Buenos Aires-Lima-Los Angeles,Buenos Aires-Madrid-Frankfurt.
And I remember UA using their ex-PA SP from MIA to EZE in mid 90's.

I think that airplane now flies for the government of Qatar,not sure.

USADreamliner.
 
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RayChuang
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Wed Sep 28, 2005 12:53 am

If I remember correctly, JL looked at getting the 747SP for the NRT-JFK route but improvements in GE CF6 engines and Boeing developing a modified 747-200B with extra fuel capacity (at some expense of cargo load) allowed JL to buy 742B's that could fly between JFK and NRT non-stop year-round.

Interestingly, I wonder why SQ never bothered to buy the longer-range 742B, instead going with the 747-300 (which required a fuel stop in HNL for US West Coast to TPE/HKG westbound flights).
 
idlewild
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Wed Sep 28, 2005 1:25 am

I'm curious. Didn't the ozone scrubbers in the SP's engines offset/counteract the potential range somewhat?
 
ikramerica
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Wed Sep 28, 2005 1:33 am

QF and PA both had the long galley.

In PA, the 3x2 section was economy.

in QF (when i flew it), it was business class, and i don't know if it was 2x2 or 2x1 or just 2 seats. I don't recall. i do recall that our seats in business were on the right side right behind the entrance to that galley, and yet service was still pretty bad, as the QF F/As disappeared for great lengths of time...
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
trex8
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Wed Sep 28, 2005 2:41 am

Quoting RayChuang (Reply 38):
If I remember correctly, JL looked at getting the 747SP for the NRT-JFK route but improvements in GE CF6 engines and Boeing developing a modified 747-200B with extra fuel capacity (at some expense of cargo load) allowed JL to buy 742B's that could fly between JFK and NRT non-stop year-round.

IIRC JL never had any GE powered 747s till the 744.
 
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Braybuddy
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Wed Sep 28, 2005 3:12 am

Quoting ATLFlyer323 (Reply 3):
Quoting PiedmontINT (Thread starter):
i always thought it looked kind of goofy

I totally agree with you there.

Couldn't disagree more. It's a wonderful looking plane in this age of monotonous twins. I flew on it once in 1978 from LA to London and loved it. Flying, it felt as sturdy as a 737.

Quoting A5XX (Reply 6):
The 747SP was one of the most beautiful airplane ever built imho.

It's sad to see them go....one by one.

We're on the same wavelength, A5XX. And wasn't the TriStar 500 a fantastic looking plane, with the fillet below the centre engine intake?

I'm curious about your username. I reckon Airbus missed the boat by not calling the A380 the A500. For such a big leap it would have been more appopriate, seeing that it's a 555 seater.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Wed Sep 28, 2005 3:18 am

Quoting Braybuddy (Reply 42):

I'm curious about your username. I reckon Airbus missed the boat by not calling the A380 the A500. For such a big leap it would have been more appopriate, seeing that it's a 555 seater.

I think they're keeping their "500 series" for future projects. There is a "400 series" already after all.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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Braybuddy
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Wed Sep 28, 2005 3:24 am

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 43):
think they're keeping their "500 series" for future projects. There is a "400 series" already after all.

Possibly. Then there'll be a 600 series, but somehow I doubt if they'll ever go for a 700 series.
 
TheCheese
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Wed Sep 28, 2005 3:33 am

Also, remember that overflying the USSR was not allowed when the SP entered into service.

The extra range enabled some carriers (and I'm drawing a blank on who) to fly from Europe to destinations in Asia (or the other way, natch) without refueling.

I want to say Korean Air flew SPs for this reason, as I remember seeing them stop in Anchorage when I lived there. Though (obviously) they weren't flying those 'frames non-stop from Seoul to Europe.
 
ikramerica
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RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Wed Sep 28, 2005 3:36 am

Well, they still have the 360, 370 and 390 designations which would cover replacements for the 320, 330/40/50, and 380, so if there's a 500 in the future, it's gonna be a LONG way down the road. Or are you thinking it will be for the SST or something like that?
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
Trolley Dolley
Posts: 548
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2000 1:57 pm

RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Wed Sep 28, 2005 3:45 am

The SP's floor layout with longitudinal galley and rear bulkhead galley, plus toilets totally seperate from the galleys was designed for a smooth passenger flow and to keep the noise, smells etc of the galley as far away fom the passengers, and to naturally stop the flow passengers using galleys as a cross-over.

The longitundinal galley up front was not adopted by TWA or Braniff, but all other airlines used it. (Can't comment on the flying palaces.) This galley layout is also used by Thai and KLM in their 747 fleet (classics and 400's) and it was also adopted by the factory purchased 747-300's by SAA.

PS Mariner. No worries about the confusion. But if you ever call a Zimbabawean a South Africa....well its like calling a Kiwi an Aussie. (Says the Aussie living in NZ who was born in Zimbabwe! Let's not get started on my identity issues!)  wink 
 
chazzerguy
Posts: 271
Joined: Sat Jun 29, 2002 4:06 am

RE: Why Was The 747-SP Developed?

Wed Oct 05, 2005 1:34 am

Here's a thumbnail explainer of the SP:

http://www.747sp.com/Explained.asp

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