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cedarjet
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UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Sun May 18, 2014 1:02 pm

Hey everybody. I was thinking about how the 747SP had a bit of a renaissance at Heathrow in the 90s with service by both United and American. I guess the aircraft were inherited when they took over, respectively, the route licences of Pan Am and TWA, and initially those airlines used whatever they got from the failing giants that preceded them, before they could buy their own fleets of MD-11s, 777s etc.

My perception was that they just needed anything with wings and transatlantic range, because the 747SP was obviously built for ultra long haul, but I know United mostly (or only) used them on the LHR-EWR run, not even to California, which would have been closer to the SP's capability. Having said that, it seems AA already had their SPs from TWA in 1985 for the Dallas to Japan run.

So I was wondering if any of you have clearer memories than I do - where did these airline fly them to from LHR and for how long?

(I put TWA in the title because as an aside, I wondered if any of you know where TWA flew their three 747SPs between delivery in 1980 and selling them to AA in 1985.)

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Judging from the photos on a.net, they never really stretched their legs, just doing the usual Europe stuff that the 747-100 did, mostly Paris with a bit of London, Tel Aviv, Amsterdam and one grainy shot in Barcelona. The TWA livery really suits the 747SP.

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[Edited 2014-05-18 06:06:31]
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
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STT757
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Sun May 18, 2014 1:05 pm

Quoting cedarjet (Thread starter):
So I was wondering if any of you have clearer memories than I do - where did these airline fly them to from LHR and for how long?

As you mentioned EWR is something I remember clearly, they were running 747SP's from EWR to both LHR and NRT in the early '90s. Would see them from the Turnpike all the time. I also think they were flying them LHR-IAD.
Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
 
commavia
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Sun May 18, 2014 1:07 pm

Quoting cedarjet (Thread starter):
So I was wondering if any of you have clearer memories than I do - where did these airline fly them to from LHR and for how long?

I believe AA only flew its 747SPs to LHR from a single destination - JFK.

As you said - AA's 2 ex-TWA 747SPs were originally used on DFW-NRT (inaugurated March 1987), but once the MD11s arrived, the 747SPs were used for a relatively short period of time on JFK-LHR and JFK-BRU before being disposed of.
 
jfk777
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Sun May 18, 2014 1:42 pm

Quoting cedarjet (Thread starter):
(I put TWA in the title because as an aside, I wondered if any of you know where TWA flew their three 747SPs between delivery in 1980 and selling them to AA in 1985.)

TWA purchased the 747SP for flights to teh Middle East that never happened. Saudi Arabia was the destination. The SP flew around TWA's European system, they didn't fly to Asia or Brazil so Europe was the only place they could fly hem to.
 
SpaceshipDC10
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Sun May 18, 2014 1:43 pm

Quoting cedarjet (Thread starter):
I guess the aircraft were inherited when they took over, respectively, the route licences of Pan Am and TWA

No. UA got their from Pan Am when they took over the company's Pacific network during the mid-80s. AA got two of the three TW SP's after they were dropped by TW. AA used them to inaugurate the non-stop DFW-NRT back in 1987.

Here is a previous thread regarding these aircraft.

TWA'S 747 SP's Routes And Need (by BDL2STL2PVG Sep 16 2007 in Civil Aviation)
 
skywaymanaz
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Sun May 18, 2014 4:54 pm

Quoting commavia (Reply 2):
As you said - AA's 2 ex-TWA 747SPs were originally used on DFW-NRT

TWA still did the heavy maint on them when they were with AA. I remember seeing them at the overhaul base when I'd fly into MCI in the winter. AA's TUL overhaul base may no longer have had the proper tools for 747's by that time. Since it was a stopgap measure until the MD-11's came online it probably wasn't worth it to invest in the equipment.
 
lemonkitty
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Sun May 18, 2014 7:37 pm

Quoting commavia (Reply 2):
DFW-NRT (inaugurated March 1987

This service was actually started on May 21, 1987..
I met my wife on Airliners.Net!!!!
 
timz
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Sun May 18, 2014 8:37 pm

Quoting cedarjet (Thread starter):
not even to California

Circa 1992 UA's second daily SFO-LHR nonstop was an SP.
 
dcajet
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Sun May 18, 2014 11:07 pm

Quoting cedarjet (Thread starter):
I know United mostly (or only) used them on the LHR-EWR run, not even to California, which would have been closer to the SP's capability.

Growing up in the LA area, I remember that United used to deploy them on the daily non stop LAX-SYD (same as QF) until the 744 joined the fleet in 1990. They were also seen often on the LAX-LHR runs and a very short lived LAX-GRU circa 1994. The odd domestic sector also saw them, especially on the LAX-IAD morning departure (I suppose they also flew some European runs from IAD) and if memory serves, they did - before the 767-322ER started to join the fleet circa 92-93 - the daily non stop to Miami, from where it would continue to either GRU or EZE. I really can't remember whether or not they did any runs to Asia from LAX, but I would imagine that back then most Asia flying was done from the SFO hub.

I recall never seeing the AA SPs @ LAX, but Aerolineas Argentinas (AR) used to send the SP to LAX quite often in the late 80s. I believe UA, QF and AR were the most often seen SPs in Southern California for the short period when their range made them unique.

Rgds,
Keep calm and wash your hands.
 
Viscount724
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Sun May 18, 2014 11:42 pm

I had 2 flights on TWA 747SPs:

IAD-CDG, October 1981
LHR-LAX, March 1983

My other SP flights were all Pan Am:

SIN-HKG-SFO, May 1981
LHR-JFK, May 1983
JFK-LHR, December 1983
SEA-LHR, August 1985
 
Cross757
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Mon May 19, 2014 12:56 am

[quote=timz,reply=7]Circa 1992 UA's second daily SFO-LHR nonstop was an SP.
  
I would feel years later that I was lucky to have flown on an -SP from LHR-SFO in June '93.
 
Prost
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Mon May 19, 2014 1:25 am

Did the interior of these planes still feel like 747-200, or did it feel more like a fat DC-10/L1011? I never had the chance to fly on one, but I really like their funky looks.
 
glbltrvlr
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Mon May 19, 2014 1:33 am

Quoting dcajet (Reply 8):
I remember that United used to deploy them on the daily non stop LAX-SYD

Yep, and with an extension to MEL. I flew that one back in the late 80s. The actor Brian Dennehy sat a couple rows behind us.
 
dcajet
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Mon May 19, 2014 1:38 am

Quoting Prost (Reply 11):
Did the interior of these planes still feel like 747-200, or did it feel more like a fat DC-10/L1011?

The first class cabin, upper deck and first cabin in coach felt like a run of the mill 747, it was towards the last cabin that one could tell this was not a regular 747. Main difference was the Y galley placement - on the SP at the very end of the Y cabin, while on the 747 classic it was located by doors R4/L4 and where the SP had the Y galley, the classic had quite a few lavatories. In terms of overhead bins, or other cabin furnishing, there were no differences with the classic at the time they were built.

Rgds.
Keep calm and wash your hands.
 
Prost
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Mon May 19, 2014 1:41 am

Thanks for the info! I did hundreds, if not thousands, of hours on the -100 and-200 at NW, but never got to step inside an SP. I kind of wish the airlines/airports had a 'open house' for the different airlines to check out their competitors product. Not feasible, but it'd be a fun day.
 
Viscount724
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Mon May 19, 2014 1:48 am

Quoting dcajet (Reply 13):
Quoting Prost (Reply 11):
Did the interior of these planes still feel like 747-200, or did it feel more like a fat DC-10/L1011?

The first class cabin, upper deck and first cabin in coach felt like a run of the mill 747, it was towards the last cabin that one could tell this was not a regular 747. Main difference was the Y galley placement - on the SP at the very end of the Y cabin, while on the 747 classic it was located by doors R4/L4 and where the SP had the Y galley, the classic had quite a few lavatories. In terms of overhead bins, or other cabin furnishing, there were no differences with the classic at the time they were built.

Pan Am 747SPs also had the optional longitudinal forward galley, much like current KLM 744s and a few other 747 operators. TWA 747SPs had the standard central galley.

UA (ex-Pan Am) 747SP seat map, no change from Pan Am configuration:
http://boardingarea.com/frequentlyfl...boeing-747-sp-special-performance/

AA (ex-TWA) 747SP seat map with central forward galley:
http://boardingarea.com/frequentlyfl...ap-american-airlines-boeing-747sp/

Pan Am 747SPs had rather unattractive 8-abreast seating (2-4-2) with about 38 inch seat pitch, more like what would now be offered in a premium economy product. Pan Am 747-100s/200s had very spacious 2-2-2 seating in J class (and 2-2 on the upper deck), not very consistent.

[Edited 2014-05-18 18:53:57]
 
warren747sp
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Mon May 19, 2014 12:48 pm

It can fly higher than any airliners on a regular basis. FL44000 near Tokyo fm NY n Dallas!
747SP
 
glbltrvlr
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Mon May 19, 2014 1:06 pm

Quoting warren747sp (Reply 16):
It can fly higher than any airliners on a regular basis. FL44000 near Tokyo fm NY n Dallas!

Yep - and colder. On my flight to SYD/MEL, one of the water systems froze up.
 
SpaceshipDC10
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Mon May 19, 2014 1:46 pm

Quoting glbltrvlr (Reply 17):
Yep - and colder. On my flight to SYD/MEL, one of the water systems froze up.

This reminds me a John A. Marshall story in Airways where he flew a PA 747SP NRT-JFK, if I remember correctly, and they found themselves with not properly working flight controls and the need to approach JFK with a wide turn because of it. Why? Because a block of ice had formed and partially blocked the controls.
 
laca773
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Tue May 20, 2014 3:44 am

I believe UA also flew the 74Ls on LAX-NRT in addition to LAX-SYD and SFO-LHR. Did UA fly the 74L on LAX-LHR when they purchased PAs LHR slots?
 
questions
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Tue May 20, 2014 5:00 am

It looks like the A318 of 747's.

What was the purpose/mission of this aircraft?
 
UA444
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Tue May 20, 2014 6:35 am

Quoting questions (Reply 20):

It was meant to be similar in capacity to the DC-10 and L1011 and also offer ultra long range. Many airlines had trouble filing regular 747s so this was the answer.
 
strfyr51
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Tue May 20, 2014 7:29 am

Quoting UA444 (Reply 21):
It was meant to be similar in capacity to the DC-10 and L1011 and also offer ultra long range. Many airlines had trouble filing regular 747s so this was the answer.

United only bought 2 New 747-222B aircraft with an 833,000 # Mgwt. They flew JFK- NRT exclusively.
All the rest were SP-21's, SP-27's, -122's, -123's, and -238's that had 783- 802K# mgwt. and we flew them until the 747-422's and the 777's were Acquired.
We had a few DC10-30's hanging around that flew mainly Seattle-Hkg. until we were forced to give up that route. (those were leased from CPAir with the additional Nose nbr 3055 1855U that was of Pan-Am lineage.
We also had 6 L1011-500'sthat flew the pacific as well Which later flew with Delta and Condor.
 
UA444
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Tue May 20, 2014 7:42 am

Quoting strfyr51 (Reply 22):

I know of the ex AA, QF, and PA 747s, but never knew they had any ex BN SPs.
 
SpaceshipDC10
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Tue May 20, 2014 8:50 am

Quoting strfyr51 (Reply 22):
We had a few DC10-30's hanging around that flew mainly Seattle-Hkg. until we were forced to give up that route. (those were leased from CPAir with the additional Nose nbr 3055 1855U that was of Pan-Am lineage.

Not completely accurate. Yes UA leased three DC-10-30ER from CP Air that were mainly used on SEA-HKG/NRT routes. When it took over the Pan Am Pacific network another DC-10-30 joined. However, in 1984 three former Laker Airways DC-10-30s joined the fleet as well as four DC-10-30CFs in 1986. Those eight aircraft remained in the fleet for more than a decade and as a side note, four of them were converted to freighter.

Quoting strfyr51 (Reply 22):
We also had 6 L1011-500'sthat flew the pacific as well Which later flew with Delta and Condor.

Condor never flew Tristars. Must have been LTU.
 
ZK-NBT
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Tue May 20, 2014 10:19 am

Quoting UA444 (Reply 23):

I know of the ex AA, QF, and PA 747s, but never knew they had any ex BN SPs.

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N150UA flew for BN and PA before going to UA.

The UA 74Ls served AKL for a time when they were first aquired from PA in the 1980s.
 
Delta777Jet
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Tue May 20, 2014 11:09 am

I was lucky enough to fly on a UNITED UA900 B-747-SP from London/Heathrow to New York/JFK on August 4th, 1992 (Don't have the registration!!!!) , I continued on UA934 on a B-727-200 to Frankfurt ! Those were the days !!!! My friends were flying on TWA ( we started in SFO , the SFO-JFK on a DC-10-30), their routing was SFO-BWI-LGW-FRA ! I thought by this time TWA was still in Heathrow but learned on that day that AA has taking over TWA in Heathrow, that really did upset me (I was 15) !
I still miss Trans World Airlines and the L-1011
 
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United_fan
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Tue May 20, 2014 11:40 am

Quoting jfk777 (Reply 3):
TWA purchased the 747SP for flights to teh Middle East that never happened. Saudi Arabia was the destination

I thought it was Chinese destinations that were never awarded.
"Suspicion is a matter of opinion"
 
glbltrvlr
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Tue May 20, 2014 1:35 pm

Quoting questions (Reply 20):
It looks like the A318 of 747's.

Talk about your basic pocket rocket. Same wing (and fuel as a 747-200), same engines and 100,000 less pounds to lift. Too long ago for me to remember, but the take off performance must have been similar to the 757.
 
cedarjet
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Wed May 21, 2014 11:07 am

A friend of mine saw this thread and told me that in the 90s, he and his cousin were travelling from Brussels to NY and deliberately flew via LHR cos the cousin had never flown on a 747 and always wanted to, so they booked UA via LHR to EWR. On arriving at the gate at LHR T3, the cousin was appalled to see the SP (a variant he wasn't aware of) - "it's not a proper 747", "it's only two-thirds of a 747" etc - although my friend was absolutely delighted and tried to explain to the cousin how rare this model was. Hopefully the message got across in the end. I flew on SPs of Mandarin (TPE-SYD) and Iran Air (LHR-IKA + a sightseeing flight in Germany) but I sure would have loved a United one.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
Viscount724
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RE: UA And AA 747SP Service At LHR In The 90s (and TW)

Thu May 22, 2014 2:03 am

Quoting questions (Reply 20):
What was the purpose/mission of this aircraft?
Quoting UA444 (Reply 21):
Quoting questions (Reply 20):


It was meant to be similar in capacity to the DC-10 and L1011 and also offer ultra long range. Many airlines had trouble filing regular 747s so this was the answer.

When the SP first went into service it had significantly longer range than other types, but later production 747-200s had almost as much range and were much more economic due to their larger passenger and cargo capacity.

I doubt the SP covered the development costs with only 45 sold.

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