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Miquel787
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21-01-1970 Historic day — 50 Years of the 747

Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:47 pm

Today the 747 is 50 year in service..50 years..unbelievable. N736PA lifted off from New York for the flight to London.

The first attempt went wrong with another 747..because of an engine problem it went back to the gate. But Pan Am had another 747 on stand by, two says earlier delivered.

It made history with this flight. It created a new market, created what flying now is.

A salute to Boeing, Joe Sutter and his incredibles and
Juan Trippe for his vision.

And of course to 747 itself,for me still the " Queen of the Skies"
Last edited by atcsundevil on Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Title edited for clarity
 
MrBretz
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Re: 21-01-1970 Historic day — 50 Years of the 747

Tue Jan 21, 2020 5:10 pm

You just made me feel old. I went on my first 747 flight, I thought, in 71 or 72. It was on AA from LAX to JFK. My recollection was that it was on their inaugural flight on that route, at least. I recall some ceremony as we got on board. I was too young and unsophisticated to under what was happening. But I recall getting on a huge plane and being aware we were towering above other aircraft as we taxied.
 
Miquel787
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Re: 21-01-1970 Historic day — 50 Years of the 747

Tue Jan 21, 2020 5:23 pm

MrBretz wrote:
You just made me feel old. I went on my first 747 flight, I thought, in 71 or 72. It was on AA from LAX to JFK. My recollection was that it was on their inaugural flight on that route, at least. I recall some ceremony as we got on board. I was too young and unsophisticated to under what was happening. But I recall getting on a huge plane and being aware we were towering above other aircraft as we taxied.

Lol...I wasn.t even born yet..that happened a year later..I never flew on a P&W Classic so wow you flew on one of the firsts..Great!
 
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ClipperYankee
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Re: 21-01-1970 Historic day — 50 Years of the 747

Tue Jan 21, 2020 5:33 pm

Was N736PA the air frame that was substituted for another that was supposed to fly the first flight and wasn't able to due to an engine issue? And was N736PA also the aircraft involved in the Tenerife accident or do I have my recollections wrong?
707/717/727/737-100,200,300,400,500,700,800/747-200,300,400/757-200,300/767-300,400
772/788&9/DC3/DC6/DC8/DC9/DC10/MD80s/L1011/A300/A319,320,321/A332&3/A343/A359/A388/
BAE146/ATP/ATR42/DHC2,3,7,8/S340B/CRJ200,700,900/E140,145,175,190/F70,100/B1900
 
Miquel787
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Re: 21-01-1970 Historic day — 50 Years of the 747

Tue Jan 21, 2020 5:41 pm

ClipperYankee wrote:
Was N736PA the air frame that was substituted for another that was supposed to fly the first flight and wasn't able to due to an engine issue? And was N736PA also the aircraft involved in the Tenerife accident or do I have my recollections wrong?

Yes you are absolutly right..N736PA was the back up plane..And yes it was destroyed on 27th March 1977 when it collided with the KLM 747 PH-BUF at Tenerife.
 
Starfuryt
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Re: 21-01-1970 Historic day — 50 Years of the 747

Tue Jan 21, 2020 5:48 pm

And may she fly for another 50 years. (I know that's a stretch but hey we can always dream)
 
MrBretz
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Re: 21-01-1970 Historic day — 50 Years of the 747

Tue Jan 21, 2020 5:49 pm

Miquel787 wrote:
MrBretz wrote:
You just made me feel old. I went on my first 747 flight, I thought, in 71 or 72. It was on AA from LAX to JFK. My recollection was that it was on their inaugural flight on that route, at least. I recall some ceremony as we got on board. I was too young and unsophisticated to under what was happening. But I recall getting on a huge plane and being aware we were towering above other aircraft as we taxied.

Lol...I wasn.t even born yet..that happened a year later..I never flew on a P&W Classic so wow you flew on one of the firsts..Great!



The other recollection I have is that people were standing near the runways as we taxied out, gawking at the 747. I remember telling that to family as I arrived in NYC. Now I wonder if you could even do that at LAX back then. In any case, I do have vivid memories of the event because it was my first trip to NYC for a wedding.
 
smokeybandit
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Re: 21-01-1970 Historic day — 50 Years of the 747

Tue Jan 21, 2020 6:04 pm

So the first commercial flight for a 747 also was the first 747 to be hijacked and was destroyed in the worst air disaster of all time.
 
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readytotaxi
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Re: 21-01-1970 Historic day — 50 Years of the 747

Tue Jan 21, 2020 6:17 pm

Starfuryt wrote:
And may she fly for another 50 years. (I know that's a stretch but hey we can always dream)

Yep, Boeing did s-t-r-e-t-c-h it from the oriiginal. ;)
you don't get a second chance to make a first impression!
Growing older, but not up.
 
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ClipperYankee
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Re: 21-01-1970 Historic day — 50 Years of the 747

Tue Jan 21, 2020 6:20 pm

smokeybandit wrote:
So the first commercial flight for a 747 also was the first 747 to be hijacked and was destroyed in the worst air disaster of all time.


IIRC there was a similar parallel with the first in service 707. Also for Pan Am, that aircraft crashed in Elkton, Maryland, after being hit by lightning. Weird, eh?
707/717/727/737-100,200,300,400,500,700,800/747-200,300,400/757-200,300/767-300,400
772/788&9/DC3/DC6/DC8/DC9/DC10/MD80s/L1011/A300/A319,320,321/A332&3/A343/A359/A388/
BAE146/ATP/ATR42/DHC2,3,7,8/S340B/CRJ200,700,900/E140,145,175,190/F70,100/B1900
 
Indy
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Re: 21-01-1970 Historic day — 50 Years of the 747

Tue Jan 21, 2020 6:35 pm

I've always thought that the 747 is/was the most amazing commercial jet every built. It is awe inspiring. There is just something about it that the A380 was never able to match. Maybe it is a generational thing.
Indy = Indianapolis and not Independence Air
 
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Iemand91
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Re: 21-01-1970 Historic day — 50 Years of the 747

Tue Jan 21, 2020 6:38 pm

Oh, man, you beat me to it. I prepared this long story about it, but was planning to post it on the actual anniversary which is tomorrow. (the 22nd)
Anyway; will post it here then:

Today it's January 22, 2020 which means the very first Boeing 747 commercial flight was exactly 50 years ago!

It was the evening of Wednesday, January 21, 1970 when aviation history was about to happen.
Pan Am was scheduled to fly the first commercial flight with the brand new Boeing 747 as flight PA2 from New York JFK to London Heathrow.
Some passengers had bought their ticket over 2 years ago, for up to $375 for a one way ticket in First Class.
The flight was scheduled to depart at 7 o'clock in the evening.
The aircraft was N735PA "Clipper Young America". She was the 6th build 747. Here she is (probably; see below), pictured at the gate at the famous Worldport Terminal at JFK that evening:

Image

But it was not to be. There were many issues, problems with a passenger door and loading of cargo amongst them.
But at one point she could leave and she taxied to the runway. However engine #4 overheated and the 747 had to come back.

Since this aircraft was now not able to make the flight, Pan Am substituted another 747; N736PA "Clipper Victor"; the 11th build 747. She was delivered to Pan Am less than 48 hours before.
Because the name "Clipper Young America" was already known in the press for this flight, N736PA got that name applied.
Passengers got transferred to the new aircraft and eventually the first commercial 747 flight could finally commence.
After an almost 7 hour delay, at 01:52 in the morning of Thursday, January 22, 1970 the 747 took off bound for London with 336 passengers, 20 crew and 15 ton cargo on board.
At the time she departed JFK, the flight was supposed to have landed at LHR already.

Not many passengers slept during the flight; it was a celebration. Crew prepared a buffet and a well-stocked bar and passengers explored the biggest aircraft of the time.
They walked through the luxurious First Class in the nose, gazed at the lounge on the upper deck and took a peek in the cockpit where Captain Robert M. Weeks and his crew guided the 747 through the night.

But good times come to an end and 6 hours and 16 minutes after takeoff, flight PA2 landed at London Heathrow just after 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

The flight back to JFK was also not without issues, problems with a faulty compressed air bottle forced the 747 to fly back with more than a 4 hour delay and she flew half empty since many passengers were transferred to different flights.

N736PA had a short but turbulent life. Just months after this flight, she was the first 747 to be hijacked when on a flight from New York to San Juan, Purto Rico, the hijacker demanded to be flown to Cuba. Upon landing there, Fidel Castro was awaiting them.
Within an hour after landing, the 747 was able to fly back to Miami and eventually to San Juan.
After the hijacking, N736PA got her original name back and was named "Clipper Victor" once again.

Only 7 years later, N736PA was destroyed when she collided with KLM 747-200 PH-BUF at Tenerife, on March 27, 1977 resulting in the deadliest accident in aviation history.

PS. It's extraordinary you can find so little about this first flight. The 50 years between then and now has got to do something about it, but still.
Dates and numbers (passengers, crew etc.) about the flight are all over the place and there is (online anyway) not a single photo or video to be found.
The only picture I could find is the one above, taken at the gate at JFK prior departure.

Just to explain:

Image

This picture is often depicted as the crew from inaugural flight PA2. It's not. People on Facebook (here) have since found out, it's most likely crew that took the 747 back to JFK.

Image

This picture is supposedly also N736PA at arrival at London. It's not; it's N735PA (the one that broke down) upon arrival at London on January 13 (9 days before) that took Pan Am employees from JFK to LHR.

Image

This picture also depicted as PA2 upon arrival at London. But this picture is taken at night; while PA2 arrived at London in the early afternoon.
It *could* be taken at JFK at the night of January 21, while deboarding N735PA after if had to go back when engine #4 overheated. I don't know.

Most likely there are photo's and maybe even videos of this flight, somewhere in the archives of JFK and LHR airport, news agencies or (Pan AM) employees (or kids of PA employees), but as far as I could tell, that picture of the 747 at the gate I posted in the beginning, is the only photo/video I could find online...
Some aviation photo's on my Flickr-page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/iemand91/
 
PAA25
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Re: 21-01-1970 Historic day — 50 Years of the 747

Tue Jan 21, 2020 8:15 pm

ClipperYankee wrote:
smokeybandit wrote:
So the first commercial flight for a 747 also was the first 747 to be hijacked and was destroyed in the worst air disaster of all time.


IIRC there was a similar parallel with the first in service 707. Also for Pan Am, that aircraft crashed in Elkton, Maryland, after being hit by lightning. Weird, eh?


So I believe that was N709PA, which was line #3. N708PA was line #1, and sadly it too was w/o two years later (PA292) after CFIT on Montserrat. But that is weird & correct: N709PA was first in service; I hadn’t thought about that!
 
Miquel787
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Re: 21-01-1970 Historic day — 50 Years of the 747

Tue Jan 21, 2020 8:58 pm

Iemand91 wrote:
Oh, man, you beat me to it. I prepared this long story about it, but was planning to post it on the actual anniversary which is tomorrow. (the 22nd)
Anyway; will post it here then:

Today it's January 22, 2020 which means the very first Boeing 747 commercial flight was exactly 50 years ago!

It was the evening of Wednesday, January 21, 1970 when aviation history was about to happen.
Pan Am was scheduled to fly the first commercial flight with the brand new Boeing 747 as flight PA2 from New York JFK to London Heathrow.
Some passengers had bought their ticket over 2 years ago, for up to $375 for a one way ticket in First Class.
The flight was scheduled to depart at 7 o'clock in the evening.
The aircraft was N735PA "Clipper Young America". She was the 6th build 747. Here she is (probably; see below), pictured at the gate at the famous Worldport Terminal at JFK that evening:

Image

But it was not to be. There were many issues, problems with a passenger door and loading of cargo amongst them.
But at one point she could leave and she taxied to the runway. However engine #4 overheated and the 747 had to come back.

Since this aircraft was now not able to make the flight, Pan Am substituted another 747; N736PA "Clipper Victor"; the 11th build 747. She was delivered to Pan Am less than 48 hours before.
Because the name "Clipper Young America" was already known in the press for this flight, N736PA got that name applied.
Passengers got transferred to the new aircraft and eventually the first commercial 747 flight could finally commence.
After an almost 7 hour delay, at 01:52 in the morning of Thursday, January 22, 1970 the 747 took off bound for London with 336 passengers, 20 crew and 15 ton cargo on board.
At the time she departed JFK, the flight was supposed to have landed at LHR already.

Not many passengers slept during the flight; it was a celebration. Crew prepared a buffet and a well-stocked bar and passengers explored the biggest aircraft of the time.
They walked through the luxurious First Class in the nose, gazed at the lounge on the upper deck and took a peek in the cockpit where Captain Robert M. Weeks and his crew guided the 747 through the night.

But good times come to an end and 6 hours and 16 minutes after takeoff, flight PA2 landed at London Heathrow just after 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

The flight back to JFK was also not without issues, problems with a faulty compressed air bottle forced the 747 to fly back with more than a 4 hour delay and she flew half empty since many passengers were transferred to different flights.

N736PA had a short but turbulent life. Just months after this flight, she was the first 747 to be hijacked when on a flight from New York to San Juan, Purto Rico, the hijacker demanded to be flown to Cuba. Upon landing there, Fidel Castro was awaiting them.
Within an hour after landing, the 747 was able to fly back to Miami and eventually to San Juan.
After the hijacking, N736PA got her original name back and was named "Clipper Victor" once again.

Only 7 years later, N736PA was destroyed when she collided with KLM 747-200 PH-BUF at Tenerife, on March 27, 1977 resulting in the deadliest accident in aviation history.

PS. It's extraordinary you can find so little about this first flight. The 50 years between then and now has got to do something about it, but still.
Dates and numbers (passengers, crew etc.) about the flight are all over the place and there is (online anyway) not a single photo or video to be found.
The only picture I could find is the one above, taken at the gate at JFK prior departure.

Just to explain:

Image

This picture is often depicted as the crew from inaugural flight PA2. It's not. People on Facebook (here) have since found out, it's most likely crew that took the 747 back to JFK.

Image

This picture is supposedly also N736PA at arrival at London. It's not; it's N735PA (the one that broke down) upon arrival at London on January 13 (9 days before) that took Pan Am employees from JFK to LHR.

Image

This picture also depicted as PA2 upon arrival at London. But this picture is taken at night; while PA2 arrived at London in the early afternoon.
It *could* be taken at JFK at the night of January 21, while deboarding N735PA after if had to go back when engine #4 overheated. I don't know.

Most likely there are photo's and maybe even videos of this flight, somewhere in the archives of JFK and LHR airport, news agencies or (Pan AM) employees (or kids of PA employees), but as far as I could tell, that picture of the 747 at the gate I posted in the beginning, is the only photo/video I could find online...

This is much better then my contribution. I only made a small notice about this historic event. You posted pics and much more info, thanx for that!!
 
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SEPilot
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Re: 21-01-1970 Historic day — 50 Years of the 747

Wed Jan 22, 2020 12:10 am

The 747 has been my favorite plane since it was introduced. But I never had the opportunity to fly on one until 2013, as I only made two international flights before then, and was worried that they would all be retired before I could. But in 2013 I connected with my wife, and since then have made five flights to the Philippines, and several segments have been on 747s. The last leg of the last flight this past December was the best; we flew from ICN to JFK on a KE 748.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
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Iemand91
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Re: 21-01-1970 Historic day — 50 Years of the 747

Wed Jan 22, 2020 9:33 am

The very first commercial 747 flight took off 50 years and 2 hours ago at time of posting this.
Some aviation photo's on my Flickr-page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/iemand91/
 
factsonly
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Re: 21-01-1970 Historic day — 50 Years of the 747

Wed Jan 22, 2020 9:58 am

And......the airlines that potentially operate the B747 for the FULL 50 years are:

- Air India 1971-2021
- British Airways 1970-2020
- Lufthansa 1970-2020
- KLM 1971-2021
- QANTAS 1971-2021

Any more??
 
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SEPilot
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Re: 21-01-1970 Historic day — 50 Years of the 747

Wed Jan 22, 2020 1:27 pm

factsonly wrote:
And......the airlines that potentially operate the B747 for the FULL 50 years are:

- Air India 1971-2021
- British Airways 1970-2020
- Lufthansa 1970-2020
- KLM 1971-2021
- QANTAS 1971-2021

Any more??

According to your criteria only BA and Lufthansa qualify. But BA did not come into existence until 1974 (it was BOAC and BEA before) that really leaves only Lufthansa. And since out of all of them only LH has the 748 it will almost certainly take the crown for the longest 747 operator once all of them are retired. Will they make it to 75 years? Since LH is known for keeping planes for their entire lives and getting every last hour out of them it is entirely possible.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
slider
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Re: 21-01-1970 Historic day — 50 Years of the 747

Wed Jan 22, 2020 1:46 pm

I was golfing the other day and saw an LH 748i and wondered aloud how many more times I would be able to look overhead and see the Queen of the skies.

The day isn't far off when there will be no more whales. That'll be a sad day.
 
Miquel787
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Re: 21-01-1970 Historic day — 50 Years of the 747

Wed Jan 22, 2020 1:48 pm

SEPilot wrote:
factsonly wrote:
And......the airlines that potentially operate the B747 for the FULL 50 years are:

- Air India 1971-2021
- British Airways 1970-2020
- Lufthansa 1970-2020
- KLM 1971-2021
- QANTAS 1971-2021

Any more??

According to your criteria only BA and Lufthansa qualify. But BA did not come into existence until 1974 (it was BOAC and BEA before) that really leaves only Lufthansa. And since out of all of them only LH has the 748 it will almost certainly take the crown for the longest 747 operator once all of them are retired. Will they make it to 75 years? Since LH is known for keeping planes for their entire lives and getting every last hour out of them it is entirely possible.

Why only LH and BA? KLM will fly it 50 years next year..And in that year the 747 will be phased out..So it will reach 50 years of service.
 
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SEPilot
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Re: 21-01-1970 Historic day — 50 Years of the 747

Wed Jan 22, 2020 1:54 pm

Miquel787 wrote:
SEPilot wrote:
factsonly wrote:
And......the airlines that potentially operate the B747 for the FULL 50 years are:

- Air India 1971-2021
- British Airways 1970-2020
- Lufthansa 1970-2020
- KLM 1971-2021
- QANTAS 1971-2021

Any more??

According to your criteria only BA and Lufthansa qualify. But BA did not come into existence until 1974 (it was BOAC and BEA before) that really leaves only Lufthansa. And since out of all of them only LH has the 748 it will almost certainly take the crown for the longest 747 operator once all of them are retired. Will they make it to 75 years? Since LH is known for keeping planes for their entire lives and getting every last hour out of them it is entirely possible.

Why only LH and BA? KLM will fly it 50 years next year..And in that year the 747 will be phased out..So it will reach 50 years of service.

The reference is flying the 747 for the FULL 50 years, which implies starting in the first year, which was 1970. Those others started in 1971.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
Miquel787
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Re: 21-01-1970 Historic day — 50 Years of the 747

Wed Jan 22, 2020 2:20 pm

SEPilot wrote:
Miquel787 wrote:
SEPilot wrote:
According to your criteria only BA and Lufthansa qualify. But BA did not come into existence until 1974 (it was BOAC and BEA before) that really leaves only Lufthansa. And since out of all of them only LH has the 748 it will almost certainly take the crown for the longest 747 operator once all of them are retired. Will they make it to 75 years? Since LH is known for keeping planes for their entire lives and getting every last hour out of them it is entirely possible.

Why only LH and BA? KLM will fly it 50 years next year..And in that year the 747 will be phased out..So it will reach 50 years of service.

The reference is flying the 747 for the FULL 50 years, which implies starting in the first year, which was 1970. Those others started in 1971.

Yeah ok.i hear you. But those 5 airlines are still the original airlines flying the 747 from 1st delivery. 50 years is a long time...Amazing.
 
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mbmbos
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Re: 21-01-1970 Historic day — 50 Years of the 747

Wed Jan 22, 2020 2:41 pm

MrBretz wrote:
You just made me feel old. I went on my first 747 flight, I thought, in 71 or 72. It was on AA from LAX to JFK. My recollection was that it was on their inaugural flight on that route, at least. I recall some ceremony as we got on board. I was too young and unsophisticated to under what was happening. But I recall getting on a huge plane and being aware we were towering above other aircraft as we taxied.


Yep, I feel old too. I remember when I was about 8 or 9 boarding a Pan Am 747 at Walker Air Force Base in Roswell, NM. At the time, the aircraft was still Boeing's and was being tested under the hot and high environment of the New Mexico desert. There was no passenger interior yet, just lots of wires, jump seats and all sorts of monitoring equipment. I remember walking up the staircase and seeing the cockpit, which blew my mind - all those controls.

Then in 1973 or 1974, when the new MCI opened, TWA offered one-hour flights on a newly delivered 747 for $25. It was thrilling to fly around Missouri for an hour in the brand new jumbo.
"If I don't manage to fly, someone else will. The spirit wants only for there to be flying. As for who happens to do it, in that he has only a passing interest."
- R.M. Rilke
 
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AirKevin
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Re: 21-01-1970 Historic day — 50 Years of the 747

Wed Jan 22, 2020 2:53 pm

SEPilot wrote:
Miquel787 wrote:
SEPilot wrote:
According to your criteria only BA and Lufthansa qualify. But BA did not come into existence until 1974 (it was BOAC and BEA before) that really leaves only Lufthansa. And since out of all of them only LH has the 748 it will almost certainly take the crown for the longest 747 operator once all of them are retired. Will they make it to 75 years? Since LH is known for keeping planes for their entire lives and getting every last hour out of them it is entirely possible.

Why only LH and BA? KLM will fly it 50 years next year..And in that year the 747 will be phased out..So it will reach 50 years of service.

The reference is flying the 747 for the FULL 50 years, which implies starting in the first year, which was 1970. Those others started in 1971.

Actually, it said potentially flying it the full 50 years, so if the airlines that started flying them in 1971 still do by 2021, they will have flown them the full 50 years. Key word in the original post was potentially.
Captain Kevin
 
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SEPilot
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Re: 21-01-1970 Historic day — 50 Years of the 747

Wed Jan 22, 2020 3:01 pm

Miquel787 wrote:
SEPilot wrote:
Miquel787 wrote:
Why only LH and BA? KLM will fly it 50 years next year..And in that year the 747 will be phased out..So it will reach 50 years of service.

The reference is flying the 747 for the FULL 50 years, which implies starting in the first year, which was 1970. Those others started in 1971.

Yeah ok.i hear you. But those 5 airlines are still the original airlines flying the 747 from 1st delivery. 50 years is a long time...Amazing.

True. But by the time they get in their 50 years the 747 will have been flying for 51 years. And it still remains a fact that when all passenger 747s are retired the only airline that has a chance to have flown them for their entire service life is LH.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
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GEUltraFan9XGTF
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Re: 21-01-1970 Historic day — 50 Years of the 747

Wed Jan 22, 2020 3:51 pm

Back in the day when Boeing engineered and made the best quality airplanes in the world...one can dream!
© 2020. All statements are my own. The use of my statements, including by journalists, YouTube vloggers like "DJ's Aviation", etc. without my written consent is strictly prohibited.
 
Miquel787
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Re: 21-01-1970 Historic day — 50 Years of the 747

Wed Jan 22, 2020 6:55 pm

GEUltraFan9XGTF wrote:
Back in the day when Boeing engineered and made the best quality airplanes in the world...one can dream!

I think tomorrow we will witness a engineering masterpiece taking off for the first time..I think the 747 and 777 were their finest hour. But you are absolutely right. Joe Sutter would turn in his grave if he could see the mess within Boeing..Sutter and his engineers were from a different breed I guess with a different aproach in building airplanes.The bigger the organisation gets, the harder they fall.But the 747 is great.
 
BealineV953
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Re: 21-01-1970 Historic day — 50 Years of the 747

Fri Jan 24, 2020 6:54 am

Iemand91 wrote:
Oh, man, you beat me to it. I prepared this long story about it, but was planning to post it on the actual anniversary which is tomorrow. (the 22nd)
Anyway; will post it here then:

Today it's January 22, 2020 which means the very first Boeing 747 commercial flight was exactly 50 years ago!

It was the evening of Wednesday, January 21, 1970 when aviation history was about to happen.
Pan Am was scheduled to fly the first commercial flight with the brand new Boeing 747 as flight PA2 from New York JFK to London Heathrow.
Some passengers had bought their ticket over 2 years ago, for up to $375 for a one way ticket in First Class.
The flight was scheduled to depart at 7 o'clock in the evening.
The aircraft was N735PA "Clipper Young America". She was the 6th build 747. Here she is (probably; see below), pictured at the gate at the famous Worldport Terminal at JFK that evening:



But it was not to be. There were many issues, problems with a passenger door and loading of cargo amongst them.
But at one point she could leave and she taxied to the runway. However engine #4 overheated and the 747 had to come back.

Since this aircraft was now not able to make the flight, Pan Am substituted another 747; N736PA "Clipper Victor"; the 11th build 747. She was delivered to Pan Am less than 48 hours before.
Because the name "Clipper Young America" was already known in the press for this flight, N736PA got that name applied.
Passengers got transferred to the new aircraft and eventually the first commercial 747 flight could finally commence.
After an almost 7 hour delay, at 01:52 in the morning of Thursday, January 22, 1970 the 747 took off bound for London with 336 passengers, 20 crew and 15 ton cargo on board.
At the time she departed JFK, the flight was supposed to have landed at LHR already.

Not many passengers slept during the flight; it was a celebration. Crew prepared a buffet and a well-stocked bar and passengers explored the biggest aircraft of the time.
They walked through the luxurious First Class in the nose, gazed at the lounge on the upper deck and took a peek in the cockpit where Captain Robert M. Weeks and his crew guided the 747 through the night.

But good times come to an end and 6 hours and 16 minutes after takeoff, flight PA2 landed at London Heathrow just after 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

The flight back to JFK was also not without issues, problems with a faulty compressed air bottle forced the 747 to fly back with more than a 4 hour delay and she flew half empty since many passengers were transferred to different flights.

N736PA had a short but turbulent life. Just months after this flight, she was the first 747 to be hijacked when on a flight from New York to San Juan, Purto Rico, the hijacker demanded to be flown to Cuba. Upon landing there, Fidel Castro was awaiting them.
Within an hour after landing, the 747 was able to fly back to Miami and eventually to San Juan.
After the hijacking, N736PA got her original name back and was named "Clipper Victor" once again.

Only 7 years later, N736PA was destroyed when she collided with KLM 747-200 PH-BUF at Tenerife, on March 27, 1977 resulting in the deadliest accident in aviation history.

PS. It's extraordinary you can find so little about this first flight. The 50 years between then and now has got to do something about it, but still.
Dates and numbers (passengers, crew etc.) about the flight are all over the place and there is (online anyway) not a single photo or video to be found.
The only picture I could find is the one above, taken at the gate at JFK prior departure.

Just to explain:


This picture is often depicted as the crew from inaugural flight PA2. It's not. People on Facebook (here) have since found out, it's most likely crew that took the 747 back to JFK.


This picture is supposedly also N736PA at arrival at London. It's not; it's N735PA (the one that broke down) upon arrival at London on January 13 (9 days before) that took Pan Am employees from JFK to LHR.


This picture also depicted as PA2 upon arrival at London. But this picture is taken at night; while PA2 arrived at London in the early afternoon.
It *could* be taken at JFK at the night of January 21, while deboarding N735PA after if had to go back when engine #4 overheated. I don't know.

Most likely there are photo's and maybe even videos of this flight, somewhere in the archives of JFK and LHR airport, news agencies or (Pan AM) employees (or kids of PA employees), but as far as I could tell, that picture of the 747 at the gate I posted in the beginning, is the only photo/video I could find online...


An excellent post – thank you.
50 years of service is cause for celebration.
As ‘factsonly’ posted, it is remarkable that Lufthansa, British Airways, Qantas, KLM and Air India will fly the game-changing ‘Queen of the Skies’ for 50 years.

Boeing took a huge risk in building the 747, and airlines took a risk in jumping from the capacity of 707s, DC-8s and VC-10s to the huge new airliner. I think you could say it turned out well.

In the 1960s and 70s I lived a mile or two north of Heathrow. My father was ex-RAF, liked aeroplanes and we regularly stopped by the airport to see what was going on.
When the Pan Am and then TWA ‘Jumbo Jets’ first appeared, I remember being astonished by their size, dwarfing the 707s, DC-8s and other airliners.
My neighbour’s father was a BOAC engineer, and when the first BOAC 747 was delivered we all piled into his car and went to the BOAC engineering base to have a close look. Back then I guess he was able to sign us through Security; you couldn’t do that now. I have pictures of my sister and me standing by the 747’s nose-wheel.

If over the past 50 years you lived in London and traveled regularly, you will have ended up on a lot of 747s.
If I remember correctly, there was a time, perhaps in the late-70s, when it was said that on any given day half of the world fleet of 747s would pass through Heathrow.
To date I’ve made 364 flights on 747s, spending a total of 2,841 hours and 35 min flying on them, the equivalent of more than 118 days of my life.
Of course I do realise that this won’t be much compared to flight or cabin crew, but it’s not a bad effort for a passenger.
I’ve flown on 109 different 747 airframes, covering the 747-100 & 200, SP, 300, 400 and -8 models.

My first flight on a 747 was with KLM from AMS to FRA, a short trip made simply to get the type in my log.
I flew on all but three of the 747-136s delivered to BOAC / BA, including half a dozen flights between 1983 and 1998 on the 747 that my sister and I had stood beside in April 1970. Back then I probably never dreamed that I’d go on to fly on that magnificent airliner not just once but a number of times.
I flew on all 16 of BA’s 747-236s.
I have flown on all 57 of BA’s 747-436s. That wasn’t a fluke: in recent years I made a number of special trips just to fly on those I hadn’t been on.
I got my last BA -400 on a trip to Las Vegas with a quick turn-round at McCarran. I didn’t leave the terminal.
I figured that it was best to tell the US Immigration officer the truth: “BA has 57 747-400s, there is just one I haven’t flown on, and I’m doing this trip to fly on it. I’ll be here for 6 hours.”
I expected to be sent to Secondary Inspection and for the latex gloves to come out, but she laughed, said “Sounds good to me honey” and sent me on my way.

PS:
BOAC took delivery of its first 747 in April 1970. However, an industrial dispute with the pilots delayed entry into service until April ’71. So, BA will clock up 50 years of 747 services in April next year.
By March ’71 six 747s had been delivered to BOAC, and they were parked around the engineering base until services could begin.
When the 747 first entered service the engines were unreliable, and at least some of the first six BOAC 747s had their engines removed and loaned to other 747 operators while their own engines were being modified. To keep the noses of the BOAC 747s down, the engines were replaced by concrete blocks hung from the engine pylons.
Ever since childhood, when I lived within sight of London Airport, I have seldom seen a plane go by and not wished I was on it.”
With apologies to Paul Theroux - ‘The Great Railway Bazaar’

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