Overthecascades
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B-747SP - Was it economically viable for their operators?

Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:14 pm

This has always been fascinating to me. Did users of this type of B747 find it economically viable for their respective markets? I know IR, CA had them.
Last edited by SQ22 on Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Title updated
 
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NameOmitted
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Re: B-747SP

Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:32 pm

The SP had range unmatched by anything else available. So, if you wanted a route from, say, Tehran to New York, it was the only game in town.
 
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scbriml
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Re: B-747SP

Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:06 pm

Overthecascades wrote:
This has always been fascinating to me. Did users of this type of B747 find it economically viable for their respective markets? I know IR, CA had them.


The 747SP was the ULR plane of its time. Like all other ULR types, it's very much a niche market and only 45 SPs were ever built.
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eta unknown
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Re: B-747SP

Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:10 pm

And many had high premium class configurations to save on weight. Pan Am only had 100 Y class seats (the last section) on their SP's. IIRC SA's were initially configured 3-4-2.
 
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Re: B-747SP

Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:27 pm

And they were also BIG TIME gas guzzlers
 
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:33 am

I believe Boeing floated the idea of a modernized SP based off the -400. No takers.

GF
 
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:39 am

Overthecascades wrote:
This has always been fascinating to me. Did users of this type of B747 find it economically viable for their respective markets? I know IR, CA had them.


Although there is a huge wealth of information on airliners.net and all over the internet regarding this particular aircraft but Wikipedia has a very informative page dedicated to the Boeing 747SP which I suggest that you look at for starters anyway!
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:00 am

scbriml wrote:
Overthecascades wrote:
This has always been fascinating to me. Did users of this type of B747 find it economically viable for their respective markets? I know IR, CA had them.


The 747SP was the ULR plane of its time. Like all other ULR types, it's very much a niche market and only 45 SPs were ever built.


Once the 747-400 came out, the 747SP was no longer economically viable. The 400 had the same range as the SP with the passenger capacity of the 300 and much better CASM. AA did redeploy some SP's acquired from TWA when they bought TWA's Pacific routes on a DFW-NRT route until the MD-11 would become available. The SP's used on this route were configured in a premium configuration. The Y customers were sent to AA's hubs on the west coast.
 
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hongkongflyer
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:23 am

Didn't some airlines require Boeing for a ULH 747? i.e. 747sp is more or less a tailor made model.
 
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:42 am

727200 wrote:
And they were also BIG TIME gas guzzlers

They were NOT "big time gas guzzlers"! They actually used LESS fuel than a standard B742, on which they are based, as they were lighter. Where there was a problem is fuel consumption PER SEAT, which meant as soon as the B744 came out with enough range, they became uneconomic on the ULH routes.
The other thing they were VERY good at is field performance. QF actually brought their two to serve WLG from east coast Australia. They were replaced in that service by B767 when they came out.
QF allso certified theirs via a STC, to take the same RR as the B744 which they also operated, helped both fuel consumption & maintenance.

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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:55 am

flyingclrs727 wrote:
AA did redeploy some SP's acquired from TWA when they bought TWA's Pacific routes on a DFW-NRT route until the MD-11 would become available. The SP's used on this route were configured in a premium configuration. The Y customers were sent to AA's hubs on the west coast.


TWA didn't have Pacific routes. It had already parked the airplanes when AA acquired them. It was not AA's first choice for the DFW-NRT route, but suitable 747-200s were not available.

And the configuration was F26C99Y78, so economy service was offered. AA didn't have any other NRT service at the time, so it couldn't have sent passengers to "AA's hubs on the west coast" (which it also didn't have at the time).
 
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:16 am

MO11 wrote:
flyingclrs727 wrote:
AA did redeploy some SP's acquired from TWA when they bought TWA's Pacific routes on a DFW-NRT route until the MD-11 would become available. The SP's used on this route were configured in a premium configuration. The Y customers were sent to AA's hubs on the west coast.


TWA didn't have Pacific routes. It had already parked the airplanes when AA acquired them. It was not AA's first choice for the DFW-NRT route, but suitable 747-200s were not available.

And the configuration was F26C99Y78, so economy service was offered. AA didn't have any other NRT service at the time, so it couldn't have sent passengers to "AA's hubs on the west coast" (which it also didn't have at the time).


I recall seeing an AA SP at LHR....have a slide of it somewhere.
 
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:37 am

Gemuser wrote:
QF allso certified theirs via a STC, to take the same RR as the B744 which they also operated, helped both fuel consumption & maintenance.

Gemuser


?

QF 747SPs had RB211-524C2s

and

QF 744s have RB211-524G2s
oh boy, here we go!!!
 
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:39 am

ULH aircraft always have short lives, because their economics don't work anymore the second a mainstream aircraft can cover the range, even imperfectly. So the SP got cannibalized by the 744; the 345 by the 77L/77W; and the 77L first by improved 77Ws and then for good by the 789/359 combination. Even today it's easy enough to see that a re-engine of the 787-9 would kill the 359ULR and a re-engine of the A350-1000 would kill the 778.
 
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:43 am

flyingclrs727 wrote:
scbriml wrote:
Overthecascades wrote:
This has always been fascinating to me. Did users of this type of B747 find it economically viable for their respective markets? I know IR, CA had them.


The 747SP was the ULR plane of its time. Like all other ULR types, it's very much a niche market and only 45 SPs were ever built.


Once the 747-400 came out, the 747SP was no longer economically viable. The 400 had the same range as the SP with the passenger capacity of the 300 and much better CASM. AA did redeploy some SP's acquired from TWA when they bought TWA's Pacific routes on a DFW-NRT route until the MD-11 would become available. The SP's used on this route were configured in a premium configuration. The Y customers were sent to AA's hubs on the west coast.


The SP was obsolete almost as soon as it was delivered. Boeing had been working or a 747-200B which had increased fuel capacity increased MTOW and PW7R4G powered engines. In fact, the Q powered 200 could almost beat an SP. Given the reduced payload of the SP and the desire of airlines to optimize payload, the SP was DOA pretty much out of the gate. There were a few routes where the SP worked, light loads, little cargo, but all in all the 200A and especially, the 200B pretty much killed the SP market.
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:29 am

Pellegrine wrote:
Gemuser wrote:
QF allso certified theirs via a STC, to take the same RR as the B744 which they also operated, helped both fuel consumption & maintenance.

Gemuser


?

QF 747SPs had RB211-524C2s

and

QF 744s have RB211-524G2s




I believe the QF SP’s had the RB211 D4
engine, the ultimate variant of this power plant also used on late model -200’s


Cathay had several of these classics used
on their longest routes, Qantas may have
had some 200s equipped similarly
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:29 am

Overthecascades wrote:
This has always been fascinating to me. Did users of this type of B747 find it economically viable for their respective markets? I know IR, CA had them.


SA had to use them because due to apartheid sanctions they were unable to fly over most of Africa to reach Europe. So they had to basically follow the Atlantic northwards, thousands of miles out of the way. As other have stated, the economics of better ULR’s (744’s and a340’s), along with the end of apartheid and it’s sanctions, spelled the end of the model for SA.
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:48 am

cschleic wrote:
MO11 wrote:
flyingclrs727 wrote:
AA did redeploy some SP's acquired from TWA when they bought TWA's Pacific routes on a DFW-NRT route until the MD-11 would become available. The SP's used on this route were configured in a premium configuration. The Y customers were sent to AA's hubs on the west coast.


TWA didn't have Pacific routes. It had already parked the airplanes when AA acquired them. It was not AA's first choice for the DFW-NRT route, but suitable 747-200s were not available.

And the configuration was F26C99Y78, so economy service was offered. AA didn't have any other NRT service at the time, so it couldn't have sent passengers to "AA's hubs on the west coast" (which it also didn't have at the time).


I recall seeing an AA SP at LHR....have a slide of it somewhere.


The AA 747SP saw ops to Gatwick and Brussels then shifted to Tokyo Narita. Then the MD11s arrived and the 747SPs shown the runway.

...and agreed, TWA never op’d Japan routes on a scheduled basis. They had plenty of MAC charter fly’s thru/to Tokyo-Haneda, Yokota Air Base and Kadena Air Base, Okinawa..flew on those myself.
BN747
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:52 am

BN747 wrote:
cschleic wrote:
MO11 wrote:

TWA didn't have Pacific routes. It had already parked the airplanes when AA acquired them. It was not AA's first choice for the DFW-NRT route, but suitable 747-200s were not available.

And the configuration was F26C99Y78, so economy service was offered. AA didn't have any other NRT service at the time, so it couldn't have sent passengers to "AA's hubs on the west coast" (which it also didn't have at the time).


I recall seeing an AA SP at LHR....have a slide of it somewhere.


The AA 747SP saw ops to Gatwick and Brussels then shifted to Tokyo Narita. Then the MD11s arrived and the 747SPs shown the runway.

...and agreed, TWA never op’d Japan routes on a scheduled basis. They had plenty of MAC charter fly’s thru/to Tokyo-Haneda, Yokota Air Base and Kadena Air Base, Okinawa..flew on those myself.
BN747


Actually TWA did have scheduled Pacific routes and serve Okinawa in the early 1970s. There was also another thread on this awhile back. I think it was something like SFO-LAX-HNL-GUM-OKA-HKG. Maybe TPE was in there too. Was flown on a 707-320B.
 
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:54 am

Max Q wrote:
Pellegrine wrote:
Gemuser wrote:
QF allso certified theirs via a STC, to take the same RR as the B744 which they also operated, helped both fuel consumption & maintenance.

Gemuser


?

QF 747SPs had RB211-524C2s

and

QF 744s have RB211-524G2s




I believe the QF SP’s had the RB211 D4
engine, the ultimate variant of this power plant also used on late model -200’s


Cathay had several of these classics used
on their longest routes, Qantas may have
had some 200s equipped similarly


Gotcha. 200s had many, many engine options over the years. I guess certain things were interchangeable between the 200 and the SP, makes sense. I wish I could buy and SP, 8-10 years ago there were quite a few for sale.
oh boy, here we go!!!
 
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:19 am

mmo wrote:
flyingclrs727 wrote:
scbriml wrote:

The 747SP was the ULR plane of its time. Like all other ULR types, it's very much a niche market and only 45 SPs were ever built.


Once the 747-400 came out, the 747SP was no longer economically viable. The 400 had the same range as the SP with the passenger capacity of the 300 and much better CASM. AA did redeploy some SP's acquired from TWA when they bought TWA's Pacific routes on a DFW-NRT route until the MD-11 would become available. The SP's used on this route were configured in a premium configuration. The Y customers were sent to AA's hubs on the west coast.


The SP was obsolete almost as soon as it was delivered. Boeing had been working or a 747-200B which had increased fuel capacity increased MTOW and PW7R4G powered engines. In fact, the Q powered 200 could almost beat an SP. Given the reduced payload of the SP and the desire of airlines to optimize payload, the SP was DOA pretty much out of the gate. There were a few routes where the SP worked, light loads, little cargo, but all in all the 200A and especially, the 200B pretty much killed the SP market.


The SP worked best on TPAC routes. So I wouldn't say it was obsolete once it rolled out of Everett since it took Boeing almost 15 years later before a wide body airframe could make a SFO-HKG flight nonstop. I remember Pan Am using one of their SP's on the SFO-HKG route for many years. Do recall Pan Am using another of their SPs on the JFK to AKL via SFO. As for foreign carriers that used the SP out of SFO, KE, CA (CAAC), CI, AE and QF
 
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:32 am

Flew on a United SP from Sydney to LA in 1989.
 
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:51 am



Heck, even Air Namibia had one. :D
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:57 am

flyingclrs727 wrote:
scbriml wrote:
Overthecascades wrote:
This has always been fascinating to me. Did users of this type of B747 find it economically viable for their respective markets? I know IR, CA had them.


The 747SP was the ULR plane of its time. Like all other ULR types, it's very much a niche market and only 45 SPs were ever built.


Once the 747-400 came out, the 747SP was no longer economically viable. The 400 had the same range as the SP with the passenger capacity of the 300 and much better CASM. AA did redeploy some SP's acquired from TWA when they bought TWA's Pacific routes on a DFW-NRT route until the MD-11 would become available. The SP's used on this route were configured in a premium configuration. The Y customers were sent to AA's hubs on the west coast.


Actually, no. It was the improved range of the much earlier -200B that almost instantly killed the SP. The -400 is "modern history".
 
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:00 am

BoeingGuy wrote:
BN747 wrote:
cschleic wrote:

I recall seeing an AA SP at LHR....have a slide of it somewhere.


The AA 747SP saw ops to Gatwick and Brussels then shifted to Tokyo Narita. Then the MD11s arrived and the 747SPs shown the runway.

...and agreed, TWA never op’d Japan routes on a scheduled basis. They had plenty of MAC charter fly’s thru/to Tokyo-Haneda, Yokota Air Base and Kadena Air Base, Okinawa..flew on those myself.
BN747


Actually TWA did have scheduled Pacific routes and serve Okinawa in the early 1970s. There was also another thread on this awhile back. I think it was something like SFO-LAX-HNL-GUM-OKA-HKG. Maybe TPE was in there too. Was flown on a 707-320B.


We are talking Japan routes, not Pacific. Okinawa does technically qualify for Japan svc. But that’s like Jin Air servicing Hawaii and saying Jin Air serves the USA...a yes and a no type answer.

However, your transpacific routing is correct. TWA did also come to Taipei-Sunshan (I got that pic) as well.

BN747
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:41 am

I flew one 747SP of Corsair on ORY- OAK - PPT and return a long time ago...
Next trip : BOD - AJA - BOD - AMS - AUH - CDG - BOD - WAW - KRK - WAW - BOD - NCE - BOD - MRS - BOD - GVA - BOD - NCE - BOD - ZRH - ATH - JTR - JMK - HER - ATH - FRA - BOD - AMS - SIN - DPS - LOP - DPS - LBJ - DPS - SIN - AMS - BOD
 
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:48 am

flyingclrs727 wrote:
scbriml wrote:
Overthecascades wrote:
This has always been fascinating to me. Did users of this type of B747 find it economically viable for their respective markets? I know IR, CA had them.


The 747SP was the ULR plane of its time. Like all other ULR types, it's very much a niche market and only 45 SPs were ever built.


Once the 747-400 came out, the 747SP was no longer economically viable. The 400 had the same range as the SP with the passenger capacity of the 300 and much better CASM. AA did redeploy some SP's acquired from TWA when they bought TWA's Pacific routes on a DFW-NRT route until the MD-11 would become available. The SP's used on this route were configured in a premium configuration. The Y customers were sent to AA's hubs on the west coast.


in the late 1980's AA could not send their economy passengers via the west coast since they didn't have any other Tokyo NRT flights.
 
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:06 am

1984 as a 15 year old with my parents I took a QF SP from Sydney to Beijing. China was very different back then.
 
SpaceshipDC10
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:13 am

hongkongflyer wrote:
Didn't some airlines require Boeing for a ULH 747? i.e. 747sp is more or less a tailor made model.


Yes, Pan Am, to launch New York-Tokyo non-stop, for instance.
 
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:15 am

jfk777 wrote:
flyingclrs727 wrote:
in the late 1980's AA could not send their economy passengers via the west coast since they didn't have any other Tokyo NRT flights.


Here's a seat map showing their three-classes on the 74L, including 78Y.

https://frequentlyflying.boardingarea.c ... ing-747sp/
 
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:33 am

Fastphilly wrote:
The SP worked best on TPAC routes. So I wouldn't say it was obsolete once it rolled out of Everett since it took Boeing almost 15 years later before a wide body airframe could make a SFO-HKG flight nonstop. I remember Pan Am using one of their SP's on the SFO-HKG route for many years. Do recall Pan Am using another of their SPs on the JFK to AKL via SFO. As for foreign carriers that used the SP out of SFO, KE, CA (CAAC), CI, AE and QF


As I wrote, the SP could do some routes. However, the 200B, could also to those routes with a payload hit and it could still carry more payload than a SP could on the same route. The 200B could easily do DTW-SEL, DTW-KIX with no payload hit at all. If you look at the lack of orders you would see the SP didn't sell very well due to the payload limitations when compared to a 200B. In addition, the PW powerplants on the SP were not that reliable and were fuel guzzlers in the best of times. The R4G2 was a great engine as the Q was. With the 2/3 reserve tanks added into the 200B and the 833,000 MTOW you could pretty much fill the belly, all seats and get just about full tanks.
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jupiter2
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:17 pm

mmo wrote:
Fastphilly wrote:
The SP worked best on TPAC routes. So I wouldn't say it was obsolete once it rolled out of Everett since it took Boeing almost 15 years later before a wide body airframe could make a SFO-HKG flight nonstop. I remember Pan Am using one of their SP's on the SFO-HKG route for many years. Do recall Pan Am using another of their SPs on the JFK to AKL via SFO. As for foreign carriers that used the SP out of SFO, KE, CA (CAAC), CI, AE and QF


As I wrote, the SP could do some routes. However, the 200B, could also to those routes with a payload hit and it could still carry more payload than a SP could on the same route. The 200B could easily do DTW-SEL, DTW-KIX with no payload hit at all. If you look at the lack of orders you would see the SP didn't sell very well due to the payload limitations when compared to a 200B. In addition, the PW powerplants on the SP were not that reliable and were fuel guzzlers in the best of times. The R4G2 was a great engine as the Q was. With the 2/3 reserve tanks added into the 200B and the 833,000 MTOW you could pretty much fill the belly, all seats and get just about full tanks.


The 200B, could not do any West Coast USA/Australia route, the nearest any airline did was LAX/AKL by NZ. The PW SP's could have taken the same engines as later delivery 200Bs, if anybody had requested it.

QF swapped out their original RR engines on their SP's to the engines delivered on later delivered 200/300's, it gave them an increase in payload and range, especially over the SP's that PA and then UA flew to Australia. When taken off the nonstop LAX flights, the QF SPs were fitted with over 300 seats and used all over the network, they may not have been as efficient as the 200 and 300s in the fleet, but they weren't such a drag that they were retired a.s.a.p. after the 400s arrived.
 
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flyingclrs727
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:57 pm

oldannyboy wrote:
flyingclrs727 wrote:
scbriml wrote:

The 747SP was the ULR plane of its time. Like all other ULR types, it's very much a niche market and only 45 SPs were ever built.


Once the 747-400 came out, the 747SP was no longer economically viable. The 400 had the same range as the SP with the passenger capacity of the 300 and much better CASM. AA did redeploy some SP's acquired from TWA when they bought TWA's Pacific routes on a DFW-NRT route until the MD-11 would become available. The SP's used on this route were configured in a premium configuration. The Y customers were sent to AA's hubs on the west coast.


Actually, no. It was the improved range of the much earlier -200B that almost instantly killed the SP. The -400 is "modern history".


Sure the increased gross weight 200B killed off future orders for the SP, but lots of SP's got parked pretty soon after the 400's were delivered.
 
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fbgdavidson
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:12 pm

SpaceshipDC10 wrote:

Here's a seat map showing their three-classes on the 74L, including 78Y.

https://frequentlyflying.boardingarea.c ... ing-747sp/


Very cool, thanks! The solo seats at the front of first class in the nose whilst everything else was paired seating is a funny quirk!

Looking at the other 747SPs configurations linked on that page UA's had a solo seat in the nose in the front row but only on the right hand side!
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TWFlyGuy
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:13 pm

cschleic wrote:
MO11 wrote:
flyingclrs727 wrote:
AA did redeploy some SP's acquired from TWA when they bought TWA's Pacific routes on a DFW-NRT route until the MD-11 would become available. The SP's used on this route were configured in a premium configuration. The Y customers were sent to AA's hubs on the west coast.


TWA didn't have Pacific routes. It had already parked the airplanes when AA acquired them. It was not AA's first choice for the DFW-NRT route, but suitable 747-200s were not available.

And the configuration was F26C99Y78, so economy service was offered. AA didn't have any other NRT service at the time, so it couldn't have sent passengers to "AA's hubs on the west coast" (which it also didn't have at the time).


I recall seeing an AA SP at LHR....have a slide of it somewhere.


Yes, when they acquired TW's LHR authority and the MD-11 come online they moved the SP's to the LHR service. I flew one Jan-1992 LHR-JFK.
 
oldannyboy
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:01 pm

SpaceshipDC10 wrote:
jfk777 wrote:
flyingclrs727 wrote:
in the late 1980's AA could not send their economy passengers via the west coast since they didn't have any other Tokyo NRT flights.


Here's a seat map showing their three-classes on the 74L, including 78Y.

https://frequentlyflying.boardingarea.c ... ing-747sp/


Yeah, wow. I'd completely forgotten about that configuration. 29F and 78J is HUGE. Talk about high yield routes!
That was one spacious SP!
 
jimatkins
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:02 pm

NASA's SOFIA infra-red telescope plane is an SP. There's one for sale, formerly Qatari Royal Family, $9.5 million. Sands Corp in Vegas still has one or two still flying for VIP customers. Always liked them.
 
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NWAROOSTER
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:37 pm

Northwest Airlines considered buying a few 747SP aircraft to use on the New York Tokyo route. But Boeing finally improved the 747-200B and equipped it with Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7Q engines and then the 747-200B could fly the route non stop. It did did require blocking off some coach seats but it could also then fly other routes without payload restrictions. Northwest bought the 747-251B aircraft and skipped the 747SP. :old:
Procrastination Is The Theft Of Time.......
 
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flyingclrs727
Posts: 2488
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:55 pm

NWAROOSTER wrote:
Northwest Airlines considered buying a few 747SP aircraft to use on the New York Tokyo route. But Boeing finally improved the 747-200B and equipped it with Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7Q engines and then the 747-200B could fly the route non stop. It did did require blocking off some coach seats but it could also then fly other routes without payload restrictions. Northwest bought the 747-251B aircraft and skipped the 747SP. :old:


The higher gross weight 200B's also had better residual values, because the extra fuel tanks could be removed and could be used as ordinary 200B's or converted to freighters once the 400's became available. The increased gross weight made them great for freighter conversions.
 
IAHWorldflyer
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:24 pm

Why did Braniff International buy 2 frames of the SP's back in the late '70's? I know they were trying to start up a Pacific network, but their flights stopped in HNL on the way to HKG, so not sure why they needed the range. I know they used to route their 747SP's to LGW from DFW before they went under.
 
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flyingclrs727
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:42 pm

IAHWorldflyer wrote:
Why did Braniff International buy 2 frames of the SP's back in the late '70's? I know they were trying to start up a Pacific network, but their flights stopped in HNL on the way to HKG, so not sure why they needed the range. I know they used to route their 747SP's to LGW from DFW before they went under.


They wanted to start an IAH-THR nonstop for oil traffic. By the time the BN got the frames, Iran wasn't a place Americans would want to travel to.
 
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NameOmitted
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:49 pm

As I understand it, the development of the SP involved working out the aerodynamics of having the second passenger deck end over the wings. This led to a relatively inexpensive stretch of the passenger deck for the -300 and beyond.

As such, it was not so much an orphan made obsolete by the -200B or -400, but an integral part of the eventual success of the -400.
 
SFOThinker
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:24 pm

I flew CI's 747 SP several times from SFO to TPE, which was at the time the only nonstop from the mainland US to Taiwan.
The SP flew higher than other passenger aircraft - if I recall, 40,000 feet. At that altitude you could see the curvature of the earth. Do any airliners today fly that high?
 
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American 767
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:11 pm

SFOThinker wrote:
I flew CI's 747 SP several times from SFO to TPE, which was at the time the only nonstop from the mainland US to Taiwan.
The SP flew higher than other passenger aircraft - if I recall, 40,000 feet. At that altitude you could see the curvature of the earth. Do any airliners today fly that high?


No you still don't see the curvature at 40000ft. You would have to climb to 55000-60000ft to see the curvature, the only commercial aircraft flying this high was the Concorde, and maybe the TU-144. The highest altitude a subsonic jet has ever flown at is 45000ft which is the altitude record for the 747SP. Commercial flights usually don't go above 41000ft.
Ben Soriano
 
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seabosdca
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:34 pm

American 767 wrote:
SFOThinker wrote:
I flew CI's 747 SP several times from SFO to TPE, which was at the time the only nonstop from the mainland US to Taiwan.
The SP flew higher than other passenger aircraft - if I recall, 40,000 feet. At that altitude you could see the curvature of the earth. Do any airliners today fly that high?


No you still don't see the curvature at 40000ft. You would have to climb to 55000-60000ft to see the curvature, the only commercial aircraft flying this high was the Concorde, and maybe the TU-144. The highest altitude a subsonic jet has ever flown at is 45000ft which is the altitude record for the 747SP. Commercial flights usually don't go above 41000ft.


The SP's certified service ceiling, like that of all 747s except the 747-8, is 45,100 feet. But the SP could and did actually get up to FL450 on a regular basis, whereas it took exceptional conditions to get full-size 747s up there.

"Seeing the curvature of the earth" is a subjective thing -- how much curve do you expect to see? -- but I feel that you can see it clearly at FL430 (the highest I've been in a commercial aircraft, in a AA 777-200ER) and even FL410, routinely reached by domestic 73G and 738 flights.
 
Flighty
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:35 pm

American 767 wrote:
SFOThinker wrote:
I flew CI's 747 SP several times from SFO to TPE, which was at the time the only nonstop from the mainland US to Taiwan.
The SP flew higher than other passenger aircraft - if I recall, 40,000 feet. At that altitude you could see the curvature of the earth. Do any airliners today fly that high?


No you still don't see the curvature at 40000ft. You would have to climb to 55000-60000ft to see the curvature, the only commercial aircraft flying this high was the Concorde, and maybe the TU-144. The highest altitude a subsonic jet has ever flown at is 45000ft which is the altitude record for the 747SP. Commercial flights usually don't go above 41000ft.


Well not to be pedantic, but I've been on a commercially owned passenger airplane above 50000ft before. It was a lot smaller than a 747SP though.
 
citationjet
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Re: B-747SP

Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:39 pm

IAHWorldflyer wrote:
Why did Braniff International buy 2 frames of the SP's back in the late '70's? I know they were trying to start up a Pacific network, but their flights stopped in HNL on the way to HKG, so not sure why they needed the range.


"Braniff took delivery of two Boeing 747SPs (Special Performance) in 1979. The 747SPs were used on D/FW - Los Angeles to Hong Kong flights. In 1980, Singapore and Korea were added."

"According to the October 1979 "Flying Colors" Braniff magazine, Braniff had originally ordered the 747sp to fly between Dallas and Houston to Bahrain, U.A.E. This would have been the "oil route." They also received approval to fly to Tokyo. These routes never transpired. "

http://www.braniffpages.com/1965/1965.html

I don't believe the HKG flights stopped in HNL. I will check my old timetables. Also Braniff initially used the SP on the LA to Santiago, Chile route.
According to the above link, Braniff ordered 4 747SPs in total. N603BN, N604BN, N606BN and N608BN. (N608BN was never delivered).
Boeing Flown: 701,702,703;717;720;721,722;731,732,733,734,735,737,738,739;741,742,743,744,747SP;752,753;762,763;772,773.
 
VSMUT
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Re: B-747SP - Was it economically viable for their operators?

Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:45 pm

Overthecascades wrote:
This has always been fascinating to me. Did users of this type of B747 find it economically viable for their respective markets? I know IR, CA had them.


The market was very different in the day. Most airlines were state owned. Many state airlines were permitted to run at a loss, and were subsidized. Further, fuel prices were significantly lower, and ticket prices much higher. There was little competition, certainly no low-cost airlines, and the industry was heavily regulated. There was no open-skies agreement, so opening a route between 2 countries meant political negotiations and agreements beforehand, ergo few competitors. Even US domestic routes were regulated!

Thats why aircraft like the 747SP could be economically viable.
 
citationjet
Posts: 2517
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2003 2:26 am

Re: B-747SP - Was it economically viable for their operators?

Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:08 pm

N603BN, N604BN, N606BN:
Boeing Flown: 701,702,703;717;720;721,722;731,732,733,734,735,737,738,739;741,742,743,744,747SP;752,753;762,763;772,773.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 4081
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: B-747SP - Was it economically viable for their operators?

Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:09 pm

The highest altitude a subsonic jet has ever flown at is 45000ft which is the altitude record for the 747SP.


Tell that to Lear, Gulfstream, Global crew and passengers, please. All certified and flown up to F510. And certainly the U-2 is subsonic.

GF

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