jetskipper
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747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 1:18 am

What were the first cities to see scheduled 747 service when the aircraft was introduced, and for extra credit what year did service start to each of the cities. Thanks
 
boeingfever777
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 1:56 am

I believe it was Pan Am's "Clipper Young America" N731PA 15th Jan. 1970 from IAD-CDG. Then the first revenue route was JFK-LHR.

[Edited 2006-01-26 17:57:57]
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Type-Rated
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 4:07 am

TWA had 747 Service JFK-ORD during the summer of 1970. I took TWA #3 in June of 1970. They had a special 747 rep onboard to answer any pax questions that they may have had about the 747.

I asked him what the stall speed was, and he replied that "This aircraft doesn't stall!". Oh well......
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andz
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 4:16 am

I remember flying Salisbury-Luanda-London in November 1972, this was on an SAA 742 route that originated in JNB. I can recall seeing 747s in the sky over London in 1973 and thinking they looked huge!
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efcar98
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 6:38 am

Quoting BoeingFever777 (Reply 1):
Then the first revenue route was JFK-LHR.

That was with the ill fated Clipper Victor.
 
cedarjet
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 6:47 am

Qantas initially flew them as far as Singapore, then added service to the Persian Gulf and London. Of course in those days the European services were more widespread than today's mere London and Frankfurt, they had Rome, Manchester, Paris (which only disappeared from the QF route map recently), also Geneva, Belgrade and Athens.

Many of BOAC's eastbound 747 flights stopped in Munich or Zurich. Some weird hangover from the 50s, which of course were only 15 or 20 years previous at the time.

MEA flew the same plane through Beirut from London to Jeddah and / or Bahrein.

Quoting Type-Rated (Reply 2):
TWA had a special 747 rep onboard to answer any pax questions that they may have had about the 747. I asked him what the stall speed was, and he replied that "This aircraft doesn't stall!". Oh well......

You should have slapped him. They may as well have put a monkey in a red jacket by the sound of it. This aircraft doesn't stall. How funny.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
PanAm747
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 7:09 am

Pan Am's first revenue 747 flight, JFK-LHR, was delayed due to mechanical problems. It was scheduled to be flown with Clipper "Young America", but an engine overheat forced a substitution.

The replacement aircraft was N736PA, Clipper "Victor", which was sadly destroyed at Tenerife. Pan Am crews still painted on the name "Clipper Young America" to Victor for the one special flight.

America West took delivery of two second hand 747-206's from KLM for PHX-HNL-NGO. The service didn't last long...

Last piece of trivia I know: Delta and Pan Am were the only U.S. airlines to operate all three American wide-body types simultaneously - the L1011, the DC-10, and the 747.
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cs03
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 7:24 am

Eastern leased a 747 or two from Pan Am for JFK/SJU and JFK/MIA work early on.
 
cedarjet
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 7:28 am

Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 6):
America West took delivery of two second hand 747-206's from KLM for PHX-HNL-NGO. The service didn't last long...

Presumably there were officials, VIPs and journalists on the first flight, but actual paying passengers? Just one.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
Aircellist
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 9:27 am

CDG was not built yet, in 1970...
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remford
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 9:52 am

I just became teary-eyed. Those were the days; and except for the Emirates A340-500 service, they are gone for good.
 
SFOMB67
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 9:54 am

Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 6):
Last piece of trivia I know: Delta and Pan Am were the only U.S. airlines to operate all three American wide-body types simultaneously - the L1011, the DC-10, and the 747

I'm thinking that UA also operated all three wide body type after they inherited the 1011's from PA, although not for long.
Not as easy as originally perceived
 
BOAC911
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 10:10 am

Lufthansa was first European airline to introduce the 747.
BOAC (now simply BA) was late due to a dispute with its pilots, and introduced the 747 in 1972.

SABENA, Swissair, KLM, and SAS formed a cooperative alliance to take advantage of economies of scale in maintaining the 747, and operating the aircraft economically. The 747 was not easy to fill in the early 70's, many airlines flew the plane with low load factors.

Iberia introduced 747 service on MAD-JFk and MAD-YUL-MEX
TAP introduced the 747 in 1972 with two in its fleet
TWA appeared with 747 in MAD in 1970, Pan Am flew JFK-LIS-BCN thrice weekly, alternating with a 707 on other days)

Most Europeans carriers operated the 747 initially into JFK, some into ORD, or LAX.

The original P&W engines were a big headache for early 747 operators, and it took some time to get use to load/unloading baggage containers (new at the time)

The US operators initially had the largest 747 fleets. Pan Am and TWA having the most by far, followed by, UA, NW, AA, NA, DL. (EA leased from PA, as well as AA initially)
 
remford
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 10:52 am

And don't forget BN and CO among U.S.-based 747 operators.
 
PanAm747
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 11:00 am

Quote:
I'm thinking that UA also operated all three wide body type after they inherited the 1011's from PA, although not for long.

You are correct - I had completely forgotten about UA's inheritance of the TriStar. They got rid of them pretty quickly, didn't they?
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777fan
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 11:28 am

Yes, I believe they (UA TriStars) were gone within 3-4 years after they were acquired. I'm sure someone knows for sure.

On a semi-related note, I nostalgically recall taking UA ORD-HNL 747 flights when I was a kid. The three-windowed lounge upstairs, spiral staircase, flight attendants in "Aloha shirts", smoking section in the back. Ahhhhhhh, the good ol' days!
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RayChuang
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 12:44 pm

Speaking of early 747 service, did Pan Am fly from SFO to (then) TYO non-stop with the 747-100? I do know that Pan Am flew HKG to SFO with the 741 via TYO (then later NRT).
 
lincoln
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 12:59 pm

On the subject of 747 service, why was the spiral staircase replaced with a straight staircase? (and when was that, with the -400s?)

My dad has always talked up the spiral staircase from his 747 flghts (international business traveler... the "international" was infrequent) more than just about any other frature, so I was a bit taken aback when I boarded my first (and only, so far) 747-400 flight (UA100, N117UA ORD-LAX, booked solely because it was a 747) and found myself climbing a straight staircase to the upper deck... seems to me that it would "waste" more space.

Lincoln
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cptkrell
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 1:17 pm

This little experience happened in 1970 or so, just before DTW had any 74 service. A good friend and I were doing DTW/LAX and we scheduled an a/c change at ORD just to get that final leg on a 74. This was a Saturday.

When approaching the boarding ramp at ORD I balked; it was a 707. The ramp attendant said that although 747 service was published, AA quit because of not enough pax on Sats and substituted 70s. A little talking got us no-cost swapped (they did that back then) onto a TWA 747 scheduled in about two hours.

If I remember the numbers generally, there were something like twelve or so FAs and ten pax on that TWA 747, including us. We got total tour of the a/c en route, including jump-seat time (something else they did back then).

My first - and last - 747 flight. Subsequent flights to the west coast were all on D10s for me from then on. Regards...jack
all best; jack
 
bohica
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 1:20 pm

Quoting Lincoln (Reply 17):
On the subject of 747 service, why was the spiral staircase replaced with a straight staircase? (and when was that, with the -400s?)

The straight staircase was started on the -300 model when the upper deck was stretched. The upper deck on the 747-100, -200, SP was not intended at the time to carry revenue seats as they were originally designed as a lounge. Airlines decided to add seats and the lounges disappeared. Now that they have passengers upstairs a straight staircase is easier to go up and down as opposed to a spiral one, especially with bags.

[Edited 2006-01-27 05:22:53]
 
vv701
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 1:41 pm

It was said back in the mid seventies (and I do not know how true it was and certainly cannot verify it) that if you got to LHR in time for the first flight arrivals on a summer's weekday and stayed there until dusk that you could clock 75 per cent of the world's 747s.
 
Type-Rated
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 2:01 pm

CedarJet:

You are right, the TWA 747 PR guy on board was just a regular PR type that did nothing but walk around the aircraft smiling and tell everyone how many lavatories, galleys, and how many people it could accomodate at any given time. He even noted how proud TWA was of the interior decor! (Woodgrained side panels with white indents around the windows and red seats!) After I asked him the stall question, he kind of hurried off to the next cabin.
At the time I took this trip, TWA had the 747 in service for only a few weeks.
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boeingfever777
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 2:49 pm

Quoting Aircellist (Reply 9):
CDG was not built yet, in 1970...

Sorry... I show my age. ahaha.. "After seven years of planning and construction, CDG began service on March 8, 1974." All I recall in the book, "Birds of Prey" that the first flight was IAD-Paris. I assumed it was CDG and was wrong.
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LTU932
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 5:12 pm

Quoting BoeingFever777 (Reply 22):
Sorry... I show my age. ahaha.. "After seven years of planning and construction, CDG began service on March 8, 1974." All I recall in the book, "Birds of Prey" that the first flight was IAD-Paris. I assumed it was CDG and was wrong.

I would guess that first flight was then IAD-LBG, right?
 
PanAm747
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 5:19 pm

Quote:
did Pan Am fly from SFO to (then) TYO non-stop with the 747-100?

Yes, they did.

One of the first incidents involving a 747 was a Pan Am flight LAX-SFO-TYO. If I remember correctly, the pilots miscalculated the weight and the needed take-off room, and ended up having the undercarraige collide with equipment at the end of the runway, damaging the aircraft, necessitating a return to SFO.

The plane landed safely, with the front landing gear collapsing. The plane was N747PA, the second one built.
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AeroTycoon
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 6:14 pm

Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 24):
If I remember correctly, the pilots miscalculated the weight and the needed take-off room, and ended up having the undercarraige collide with equipment at the end of the runway, damaging the aircraft, necessitating a return to SFO.

The takeoff was calculated for 28L takeoff but were assigned 01R instead. Respective runway lengths (2006 charts) for 28L and 01R are 10,602' and 8,648'. The pilots failed to adjust the airspeed bugs to adjust for the shorter runway. The takeoff roll was too long and the airplane hit the approach lights.

The resulting investigation blamed the "erroneous information" from the flight dispatcher for the crash.
 
rolfen
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 8:35 pm

Quoting Type-Rated (Reply 2):

I asked him what the stall speed was, and he replied that "This aircraft doesn't stall!". Oh well......

I believe that would make it VTOL capable.
Why were they hiding this from us?
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OB1783P
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 8:39 pm

Quoting LTU932 (Reply 23):
I would guess that first flight was then IAD-LBG, right?

More likely ORY. By 1970, LBG was an outdated airport specialized in Africa services. But I'm not sure, since that was not a regular scheduled flight.
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flight7e7
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 8:59 pm

I clearly remember NW had a 747, took it just for thrills at USD $26.00 each way, JFK/IAD/JFK continued onto Tokyo and Seoul from there. Think is was NW 24-25 respectively. Incredible that they served a hot breakfast on a 56 minute flight. Hustled, but got it done! Gone but not forgotten. Where else could you get a ride on a 747 and a hot meal to boot for $26.00!

I also recall NW JFK/MSP/SEA/ANC late night milk run 747-100. Left JFK at 21:00, arrived 07:30 ANC time, then 720's and 727's would feed into her and she'd sail for NRT and HKG. Anyone help with the flight number?

They also did a 747-100 JFK/SEA at some point as well. I remember as a kid growing up on Long Island, NY, (35 years ago) on one of those clear, sapphire blue winter mornings, hearing the sound of the JT-15D's droning above, and watching the "red tail" as it headed east, then as if a clock was set, made the long gradual turn west...Yes, those were the days!

Cheers!

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cedars747
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 10:34 pm

I flew B747 by Air France back in 1973 from CDG to EZE with stops in RIO-SAO-MTV.Incomparable!!!
Alex!!!
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SeeTheWorld
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 11:04 pm

Ah, my first 747 was UA HNL-LAX in Sep 1971 as an airline brat. I used to go upstairs, sit on the wrap-around couch, drink a coke, and play solitaire. I was often the only one up there. Damn, did I think I was the sh**ts!!!
 
lincoln
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Fri Jan 27, 2006 11:43 pm

Quoting Bohica (Reply 19):
The straight staircase was started on the -300 model when the upper deck was stretched. The upper deck on the 747-100, -200, SP was not intended at the time to carry revenue seats as they were originally designed as a lounge

Ah, that makes sense. Thanks.
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C133
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Sat Jan 28, 2006 12:35 am

American initiated U.S. domestic 747 service with 2 leased Pan Am -100s, LAX-JFK. The date was March 2, 1970.
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boeingfever777
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Sat Jan 28, 2006 1:24 am

Quoting LTU932 (Reply 23):
I would guess that first flight was then IAD-LBG, right?

I assume... someone with better french airport history should know. I couldn't kind anything on it.
Faire du ciel le plus bel endroit de la terre.
 
Euclid
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Sat Jan 28, 2006 5:03 am

Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 24):
The plane landed safely, with the front landing gear collapsing.

Sorry, but no. I saw video footage of this landing. The body gear was damaged by the impact with the lights, leaving only the wing gears operable. After landing, due to the missing support from the body gear, the aircraft settled onto its tail. It did not suddenly drop backwards, but went quite slowly.

According to a book I read that had the story of this incident in it, even Boeing was surprised at the fact that the aircraft settled onto its tail. They never thought that would happen if the body gear support was missing.
 
Stretch 8
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Sat Jan 28, 2006 6:23 am

Regarding the post above about early 747 service at DTW, here are my personal experiences:

1. December 1970, Delta 747 "Widebody" from DTW to Miami

2. August 1972, BOAC 747 "Daily Direct" DTW-Boston-LHR

3. October 1973, American 747 "LuxuryLiner" ORD into DTW.

4. December 1973, Pan Am 747 (Leased by Delta) DTW-MIA.
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PanAm747
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Sat Jan 28, 2006 6:30 am

Quote:
The body gear was damaged by the impact with the lights, leaving only the wing gears operable. After landing, due to the missing support from the body gear, the aircraft settled onto its tail. It did not suddenly drop backwards, but went quite slowly.

According to a book I read that had the story of this incident in it, even Boeing was surprised at the fact that the aircraft settled onto its tail. They never thought that would happen if the body gear support was missing

Thank you for filling in the details. I mentioned that the plane landed safely because I remember that (a) all passengers were evacuated safely (despite the fact that some had been injured in the original collision!), and (b) the plane was repaired and returned to service.

Surprisingly, aviation-safety.net has no record of this incident, so I am only going from a distant memory of what I read many years ago. Thank you all for providing the correct details!  bigthumbsup 
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brooklynite
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RE: 747 Service In The Early Days

Sat Jan 28, 2006 6:43 am

In the spring of 1970 (May-June) I was travelling on home leave from the Philippines to the US via Europe. We were booked on a TWA 747 flight which was cancelled due to equipment problems (apparently not enough planes delivered yet to provide a substitute), so we ended up on a BOAC VC-10.