SFOmm
Topic Author
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2004 1:28 am

SFO to Europe

Sat Aug 18, 2018 3:00 am

What were the first non-stop routes from SFO to Europe. Did Pan Am or TWA have anything back in the day?
 
Cunard
Posts: 2388
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2016 6:45 pm

Re: SFO to Europe

Sat Aug 18, 2018 3:20 am

I don't know what it is with some of these recent threads that we're currently seeing on a.net it's obvious that some can't be bothered to search such information before opening Threads and asking questions that are readily available in literary seconds thanks to a quick search on either Google or Wikipedia :-)

TWA began flying nonstop from SFO to LHR in 1957 with Lockheed Constellation (L-1649).
94 Countries, 327 Destinations Worldwide, 32 Airlines, 29 Aircraft Types, 182 Airports, 335 Flights.
 
stratocruiser
Posts: 300
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 3:41 am

Re: SFO to Europe

Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:11 pm

Cunard wrote:
I don't know what it is with some of these recent threads that we're currently seeing on a.net it's obvious that some can't be bothered to search such information before opening Threads and asking questions that are readily available in literary seconds thanks to a quick search on either Google or Wikipedia :-)

TWA began flying nonstop from SFO to LHR in 1957 with Lockheed Constellation (L-1649).


Wikipedia is not always entirely accurate and indeed their San Francisco page is incorrect in calling the L-1649 a Lockheed Constellation. Although a derivative of the Constellation series, the L-1649 incorporated so many changes from the previous designs that Lockheed did not call it a Constellation but instead named it the L-1649 Starliner. The Constellations and Super Constellations did not have the range for non-stop US west coast to Europe flights but the Starliner did and allowed TWA to introduce ‘over the Pole’ airliner flights to Europe.
 
jfk777
Posts: 6973
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:23 am

Re: SFO to Europe

Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:24 pm

The TWA L-1649 took 18 hours to fly from London to California. To conserve fuel they flew at very low altitudes after takeoff and increased altitude naturally as the plane burned fuel and became lighter. Imagine flying from London to LAX at 2,000 feet over Ireland, what a view. Truly the Golden Age of planes which lasted only a few years as the 707 was soon coming.
 
EvanWSFO
Posts: 1119
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2018 9:22 pm

Re: SFO to Europe

Sat Aug 18, 2018 1:07 pm

stratocruiser wrote:
Cunard wrote:
I don't know what it is with some of these recent threads that we're currently seeing on a.net it's obvious that some can't be bothered to search such information before opening Threads and asking questions that are readily available in literary seconds thanks to a quick search on either Google or Wikipedia :-)

TWA began flying nonstop from SFO to LHR in 1957 with Lockheed Constellation (L-1649).


Wikipedia is not always entirely accurate and indeed their San Francisco page is incorrect in calling the L-1649 a Lockheed Constellation. Although a derivative of the Constellation series, the L-1649 incorporated so many changes from the previous designs that Lockheed did not call it a Constellation but instead named it the L-1649 Starliner. The Constellations and Super Constellations did not have the range for non-stop US west coast to Europe flights but the Starliner did and allowed TWA to introduce ‘over the Pole’ airliner flights to Europe.


A Connie is a Connie, regardless of how they marketed it.
I have been on this site 15 years. A unrecoverable email account led me to starting over. Those of you who call me a rookie, you may stop ok?
 
timz
Posts: 6561
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 1999 7:43 am

Re: SFO to Europe

Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:12 pm

TWA's timetables always said "fuel stop may be necessary" -- probably the 1649 did succeed in doing SFO-LHR nonstop now and then, and maybe even SFO-ORY.

Likewise, we don't know how often PA's 707-320s made it nonstop SFO-LHR. When they started SFO's longest runway was around 9500 ft, so they couldn't always use MTOW. Aug 1961 schedule was 12 hours, which suggests they planned a stop

http://timetableimages.com/ttimages/pa/pa61/pa61-04.jpg

As I recall BOAC started SFO-LHR in 1962 -- didn't last long, but maybe the 707-420 could hope to do it nonstop more often than not?

PA got 707-320Bs in summer 1962-- SFO-LHR would be no problem for them, assuming usual SFO temperature.
 
FriscoHeavy
Posts: 1544
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 4:31 pm

Re: SFO to Europe

Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:31 pm

jfk777 wrote:
The TWA L-1649 took 18 hours to fly from London to California. To conserve fuel they flew at very low altitudes after takeoff and increased altitude naturally as the plane burned fuel and became lighter. Imagine flying from London to LAX at 2,000 feet over Ireland, what a view. Truly the Golden Age of planes which lasted only a few years as the 707 was soon coming.


Flying at lower altitudes uses more fuel, not less. The higher you go, the more fuel you conserve (burn less).
Whatever
 
cedarjet
Posts: 8488
Joined: Mon May 24, 1999 1:12 am

Re: SFO to Europe

Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:47 pm

FriscoHeavy wrote:
jfk777 wrote:
The TWA L-1649 took 18 hours to fly from London to California. To conserve fuel they flew at very low altitudes after takeoff and increased altitude naturally as the plane burned fuel and became lighter. Imagine flying from London to LAX at 2,000 feet over Ireland, what a view. Truly the Golden Age of planes which lasted only a few years as the 707 was soon coming.


Flying at lower altitudes uses more fuel, not less. The higher you go, the more fuel you conserve (burn less).

Yes and no. If you’re too heavy, you’ll burn a tonne of fuel trying to climb or cruise. I think a step climb or cruise climb on a flight with marginal fuel and payload could start low (although 2,000 ft across Ireland sounds far fetched). Even as recently as the 747 — United used to pass Chicago still at 25,000 ft en route from JFK to SFO on their original 747-122s with the weak early P&W JT9Ds with blow-in doors. That was as high as they could climb until more fuel was burned off.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
Freshside3
Posts: 1584
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:11 am

Re: SFO to Europe

Sat Aug 18, 2018 10:38 pm

I flew SFO-ORY on the 707.
 
timz
Posts: 6561
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 1999 7:43 am

Re: SFO to Europe

Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:33 pm

In summer 1963 PA still scheduled SFO-LHR at 12 hours, presumably with a 707-320 and a stop -- ditto in summer 1964. So TWA was apparently the first to fly a -320B nonstop to Europe: in summer 1963 their SFO-ORY schedule was 10-55, and in 1964 it was 10-35. (Longest runway at SFO: 9700 feet.)

In August 1958 TWA's schedule SFO-LHR was 19-00; PA's schedule was 19-05, cruising a bit faster and stopping at Frobisher. Likewise to ORY: TWA's schedule was 19-45, PA's was 19-50.
 
Cointrin330
Posts: 1115
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2016 12:23 pm

Re: SFO to Europe

Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:14 pm

Did TWA fly nonstop to CDG from SFO in the 1980s? I am thinking they did not, but wondering.
 
timz
Posts: 6561
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 1999 7:43 am

Re: SFO to Europe

Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:25 pm

Doubt it. Pretty sure no 747 nonstop, and pretty surer no 707 nonstop.
 
workhorse
Posts: 623
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2005 11:35 pm

Re: SFO to Europe

Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:17 am

stratocruiser wrote:
The Constellations and Super Constellations did not have the range for non-stop US west coast to Europe flights but the Starliner did and allowed TWA to introduce ‘over the Pole’ airliner flights to Europe.


Over the Pole? SFO-LHR does not get near the Pole under any circumstances. The Great Circle route goes over Hudson Bay, southern Greenland and south of Iceland. The "highest" route that is flown on rare occasions when the winds are really strong goes over Thule which is quite a northernly place indeed but still nowhere near the North Pole (and also I doubt they would allow a civilian flight pass over Thule at that time).
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 3360
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: SFO to Europe

Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:56 am

Marketing, again.

GF
 
User avatar
RayChuang
Posts: 8136
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2000 7:43 am

Re: SFO to Europe

Mon Aug 20, 2018 2:30 am

My guess is that the first truly regular SFO to Europe nonstop flights didn't happen until the late 1970's, when BA used the 747-200's equipped with the Rolls-Royce RB.211-524 engines.
 
BoeingGuy
Posts: 6259
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:01 pm

Re: SFO to Europe

Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:51 am

RayChuang wrote:
My guess is that the first truly regular SFO to Europe nonstop flights didn't happen until the late 1970's, when BA used the 747-200's equipped with the Rolls-Royce RB.211-524 engines.


In the early to mid-1970s both Pan Am and TWA had 707s non-stop SFO-LHR. I remember it was in some schedules, but not others.
 
Begues
Posts: 83
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:43 pm

Re: SFO to Europe

Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:49 am

workhorse wrote:
stratocruiser wrote:
The Constellations and Super Constellations did not have the range for non-stop US west coast to Europe flights but the Starliner did and allowed TWA to introduce ‘over the Pole’ airliner flights to Europe.


Over the Pole? SFO-LHR does not get near the Pole under any circumstances. The Great Circle route goes over Hudson Bay, southern Greenland and south of Iceland. The "highest" route that is flown on rare occasions when the winds are really strong goes over Thule which is quite a northernly place indeed but still nowhere near the North Pole (and also I doubt they would allow a civilian flight pass over Thule at that time).


Even the very first article about a US west coast to Europe route, says it goes over Greenland.


Denmark—Greenland—U.S.A.

ON November 15th Scandinavian Airlines System inaugurated one of the most important long-distance air services of recent years—the 5,160-mile route between Copenhagen and Los Angeles via Sondre Stromfjord (formerly Bluie West 8) in Greenland and Winnipeg, Canada.

The main advantage of the Greenland route is the time saved on journeys to the west coast of North America.



The only semi real polar routes (they still did not cross the north pole) were the ones from Europe to Japan via Anchorage.
 
stratocruiser
Posts: 300
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 3:41 am

Re: SFO to Europe

Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:29 am

Begues wrote:
workhorse wrote:
stratocruiser wrote:
The Constellations and Super Constellations did not have the range for non-stop US west coast to Europe flights but the Starliner did and allowed TWA to introduce ‘over the Pole’ airliner flights to Europe.


Over the Pole? SFO-LHR does not get near the Pole under any circumstances. The Great Circle route goes over Hudson Bay, southern Greenland and south of Iceland. The "highest" route that is flown on rare occasions when the winds are really strong goes over Thule which is quite a northernly place indeed but still nowhere near the North Pole (and also I doubt they would allow a civilian flight pass over Thule at that time).


Even the very first article about a US west coast to Europe route, says it goes over Greenland.


Denmark—Greenland—U.S.A.

ON November 15th Scandinavian Airlines System inaugurated one of the most important long-distance air services of recent years—the 5,160-mile route between Copenhagen and Los Angeles via Sondre Stromfjord (formerly Bluie West 8) in Greenland and Winnipeg, Canada.

The main advantage of the Greenland route is the time saved on journeys to the west coast of North America.



The only semi real polar routes (they still did not cross the north pole) were the ones from Europe to Japan via Anchorage.


I am aware of the Great Circle routing but that did not stop TWA marketing these flights as “Over-the-Pole” or “Polar” flights on their inauguration in 1957!
 
BravoOne
Posts: 3418
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:27 pm

Re: SFO to Europe

Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:55 am

No question about it, neither TWA, nor Pan Am (DC7C), got above 78N when going to or from LHR/CDG As others have noted this was a marketing ploy by both the airlines and Lockheed. Even when the 707 first started flying these city pairs they remained below 80N. TWA had dumped their navigators in favor of dual Doppler and loran, this eliminating the grid navigation capability required for polar nav. Pan Am retained some navigator capability and thus could fly the higher latitudes required by using grid nav for more efficient long range polar flying. When INS came along the playing field was once again leveled for all but by that time it was 747 all the way. Pan Am installed INS in a couple of 707's but only for validation purposes prior to the 747 introduction.

For the poster that suggest that the 1649 flew at 2000 over Ireland, that is simply not the case. Probably more like 10,000 or 12,000 for initial level off and then as fuel burned off start a step climb upwards, again depending on weight. Typically the Connie or DC7 required high blower power settings above 16,000.

SAS is probably the only commercial operator that got close to the NPOLE. BTW, if you put NPOLE in the FIX or LEGS page of any Boeing Honeywell FMC, it will show you the Distance and Track to the North Pole, so the next time you get a visit to the flight deck of a 777, ask the pilots to type in NPOLE on the FIX page of the FMC.
 
reality
Posts: 433
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:01 pm

Re: SFO to Europe

Mon Aug 20, 2018 2:36 pm

Originally, Polar Route just meant going over the polar region.

"A polar route is an aircraft route across the uninhabited polar ice cap regions. The term "polar route" was originally applied to great circle routes between Europe and the west coast of North America in the 1950s.[1]"

Today, "the American Federal Aviation Administration now defines the North Polar area of operations as the area north of 78 deg north latitude,[16] which is north of Alaska and most of Siberia."

"[1] For instance, Aviation Week 22 July 1957 p47 reports on "polar routes" from California to Europe granted to Pan Am and TWA."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_route
 
workhorse
Posts: 623
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2005 11:35 pm

Re: SFO to Europe

Mon Aug 20, 2018 3:33 pm

reality wrote:
Today, "the American Federal Aviation Administration now defines the North Polar area of operations as the area north of 78 deg north latitude,[16] which is north of Alaska and most of Siberia."


SFJ is at 67°N and THU is at 76°N.
Last edited by workhorse on Mon Aug 20, 2018 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
BravoOne
Posts: 3418
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:27 pm

Re: SFO to Europe

Mon Aug 20, 2018 3:35 pm

reality wrote:
Originally, Polar Route just meant going over the polar region.

"A polar route is an aircraft route across the uninhabited polar ice cap regions. The term "polar route" was originally applied to great circle routes between Europe and the west coast of North America in the 1950s.[1]"

Today, "the American Federal Aviation Administration now defines the North Polar area of operations as the area north of 78 deg north latitude,[16] which is north of Alaska and most of Siberia."

"[1] For instance, Aviation Week 22 July 1957 p47 reports on "polar routes" from California to Europe granted to Pan Am and TWA."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_route


You are correct but as you acknowledge Polar Route is a term thrown around by the clueless media types and add agencies with little or no knowledge of the subject. Advisory Circular AC120-42B, Chapt 6 is a good resource.
 
timz
Posts: 6561
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 1999 7:43 am

Re: SFO to Europe

Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:43 pm

RayChuang wrote:
My guess is that the first truly regular SFO to Europe nonstop flights didn't happen until the late 1970's

Boeing says the 707-320B could do 5000 nmi with 141 pax plus bags

https://www.boeing.com/resources/boeing ... ps/707.pdf

But maybe the 9700-ft runway would be a problem on a warm day -- think that was the longest until the early 1970s.
 
Begues
Posts: 83
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:43 pm

Re: SFO to Europe

Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:25 pm

BravoOne wrote:
SAS is probably the only commercial operator that got close to the NPOLE.


Finnair HEL-NRT that started in 1983 was the closest, they had to do a detour via the Bering Straight, so the routing was something like 89 deg north.
 
BravoOne
Posts: 3418
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:27 pm

Re: SFO to Europe

Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:48 pm

Perhaps but SAS started with the DC6B in the mid 50's and later moved on to the DC7C. Did not know about Finnair..
 
User avatar
Aeroflot777
Posts: 3157
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 2:19 pm

Re: SFO to Europe

Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:48 pm

BravoOne wrote:
SAS is probably the only commercial operator that got close to the NPOLE.


I think I've seen SFO-DXB and return get pretty darn close up there.

Also, when SU used to fly SVO-SFO-SVO as well as the SEA tag-on, I used to be a frequent flyer there. I always remember the in-flight map and us going way, way north. Cool days, those were. Hope to see SU back on the route eventually.
 
BravoOne
Posts: 3418
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:27 pm

Re: SFO to Europe

Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:15 am

This post was originally about the early days (DC7C-1649-707-DC8) of flying from LHR to SFO, not todays polar ops. You are correct when you talk about the current state of polar ops, as it's very busy "up there" with lots of traffic

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos