View Full Version : Premature lament for a grand old lady (747)?

1st May 2014, 15:06
Over the last month or so I have seen many of the world's flagship carriers retiring their venerable 747 - some as young as 21 years old (BA).

Most of these are going to the desert for parting out or "storage" - but its unlikely that they will see service again.

We need to celebrate this magnificant machine.

Designed in the 1960's, it set the standard for luxury, endurance, reliability, and so many other things through the end of the last century and well into this one.

I have flown on many variants - and always felt safe and comfortable - even in the most treacherous weather.

Its very sad to see them go - in my mind they are simply irreplaceable - but then I'm getting on a bit myself - maybe time to think of parting myself out soon !

1st May 2014, 20:13
Don't worry. They're still building them.

1st May 2014, 20:37
With so many around the world and so many spare parts available, you have to wonder how long they will keep flying ?

1st May 2014, 21:22
With so many around the world and so many spare parts available, you have to wonder how long they will keep flying ?

Good question, as the 707* is still alive and well, flying along very happily all over the world.

How many DC-8s are still flying, a dozen if that many?

* Must admit most are military, but still a 707 at heart.

Yes, I know the KC-135 came before the 707, but the only difference is a bit of hardware (aerial refueling bits) removal and the adding a bunch of passenger windows, plus making it a bit longer.

1st May 2014, 21:26

I look at it from a business case but don't know the airline industry.

Yes, new aircraft are cheaper to fly etc but unless these third world
countries have the money to buy them, they are stuffed.

And an old 747 sitting on the ground, fully paid for and being used
probably doesn't cost them the earth.

1st May 2014, 21:27
I believe that there are still a few DC3s in some sort of service.

1st May 2014, 21:29
ConPilot. Hmmm. 135 has a smaller diameter fuselage, so not quite as simple as adding windows etc.,:)

John Hill
1st May 2014, 21:47
Our DC3 was flying until a few weeks ago and only came out of the air because of the need for more expensive paper. She is now standing in our museum.

1st May 2014, 21:51
G-CPTN (http://www.pprune.org/members/119143-g-cptn)

I believe that there are still a few DC3s in some sort of service. Yes! The Military sort of service.

The South African Air Force is flying a modified version know as the C-47TP Turbo Dakota.

They are Turbo Engined, and lengthened Dakota's fitted with kit from the Shackleton.

See The South African Air Force (http://www.saairforce.co.za/the-airforce/aircraft/19/c-47tp-turbo-dakota)

1st May 2014, 21:53
Don't worry. They're still building them.

Boeing just rolled out the 1,500th 747 last week - an Intercontinental destined for Lufthansa. The order book is getting a bit thin with ~50 currently on order, but there are rumblings of some significant new orders in-work.

There were a whole bunch of 747-400s delivered in the early 1990s that have been well used and are heading for retirement or already retired (100,000+ hour aircraft of that vintage are not uncommon). But 747s will be flying around for many more years.

1st May 2014, 22:04
ConPilot. Hmmm. 135 has a smaller diameter fuselage, so not quite as simple as adding windows etc.,

True, forgot that bit, but still, same basic aircraft, wings, front fuselage, tail, gear, etc. :ok:

1st May 2014, 23:39
Have memories of the very first one delivered to a client. 1969, Heathrow, Pan Am brought their new bird to London for "Show and Tell". I must have been considered a littlie then, as I got to see. Seeing the first one nestled amongst the 707's etc. it was truly massive. Then it was hard to believe that it had actually flown there. It really was jaw-dropping moment.

1st May 2014, 23:46

I have had that feeling twice.

First time I flew on a 747 to Aus.

And the first time I saw the SR-71 Blackbird in the UK.
I fell in love with it.

1st May 2014, 23:53
Never loved watching some of these old ladies more than this... and I was at an airshow in Wales at the time...

Rugby Worldcup Flyover.session-01.mp4 - YouTube

And the agency "chatem, cheatem and run..." :-)

They did this again last year with another venerable old girl.... (clearly not a 747 like the nincompoop that posted the video thinks)...



2nd May 2014, 02:45
circa late 1970's, England playing cricket against Aus. at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, mate asked ATC if he could fly over the MCG immediately after take-off, shadow of the a/c fell across the wicket - and the Aus. batsman was bowled 'out'. The TV clip clearly showed him saying "Fu*****g British Airways, it was a plot ! "

( well executed, too ! )

Next trip, same series, at start up asked the score, told Aus. something like 65 for 6, so I suggested that they, ATC, were praying for rain ? " Nah, nit yit." On take off, " Speedbird 10 change to departure conrtrol 122.6, and by the way, we're prayin' for rain, we've just lost another wicket !"

Returned from NZ a couple of days later and asked the score on first contact with AUS ATC, explained that we had been in NZ for the weekend and of course it was closed, couldn't listen to the cricket from Aus. "Nit goin' to tell ye, I'll put one of me Pommie mates on" then a very proper British accent advised us that Aus. had lost be an innings and so many runs. But then we knew that, just trying to wind them up !!

Mrs. ExS and I have good reason to look upon the 747 with fond remembrance. Leaving Los Angeles for Tokyo, I added to my Welcome Aboard address that, if it was your birthday make the most of it as we would shortly be crossing the dateline and passing into tomorrow.

Couple of hours later one of the girls came up and asked me to sign the back of a passenger Menu on which one of the crew had cobbled up a birthday card for one of their female pax. and wanted all the crew to sign it. I refused until I'd seen her, bring 'er up. A few moments later a vision stood at the flight deck door and said, Hello, I'm XXXXXX. XXXXXX and I were married 4 months later.

Happy 747 days.

John Hill
2nd May 2014, 04:10
One of the first flights across Afghanistan after we got the communications systems working c1990 was a Qantas flight.

"Kabul this is Qentees... Rosie flight level...)" The call was made with that special intonation which indicates he would have been surprised to get any response.

Kiwi voice "Arh gudday Qantas, this is Karrbull, do you have an update on the crucket?"

IIRC Australia was having a hard time in the Windies just about then.:)

John Hill
2nd May 2014, 04:22
I wish I had a photograph but I saw a Haj charter loading at Kabul on a 747 painted all white with the registration obviously painted by hand by someone standing in the rear cabin doorway reaching up as far as he could, it sort of trailed off downwards towards the rear of the aircraft!

2nd May 2014, 04:50
A few moments later a vision stood at the flight deck door and said, Hello, I'm XXXXXX. XXXXXX and I were married 4 months later.
That is so touching. Did she walk down the aisle to the tune of 'Love is in the Air'?

During the Second World War there was a pilot of a certain twin engined Westland fighter and a fitter 2E on the squadron who it was said fell madly in love.
It was of course a whirlwind romance.

(and if won't swallow that one . . .. . let me assure that a certain chief pilot of a Tasmanian airline, ex RAAF, named his first born, twins, Alison and Hercules. )

Digressing further, and thinking of the old bushy DC-3 skipper giving a PA inbound to Charleville -

"AH . . . just to let ya know down the back . . . . we'll be landin' Charlie-ville in about a half an hour.
If ya sittin' on the right ya might just make out Blackall. If ya sittin' on the other side . . . well all ya can see is f***all."

2nd May 2014, 14:21
I hear she goes alright on 2 burners so can't ya switch off the other two in flight to save on gas and just operate ETOPS?

Could be a bit slower but not by much I would think.

(Aint you glad I don't run an airline)

2nd May 2014, 18:46
and some of the flying controls, the pressure shell, fuel system, electrical power generation and distribution and the flight deck. Apart from that they're pretty much the same.

Okay, okay, okay, okay, I give up, there if not a single thing in common between the 707 and the KC-135. Nothing. Nothing at all, not a blasted thing.

If fact, they are not even made by the same company.

Happy now? :{

glad rag
2nd May 2014, 19:57
Didn't the KC come from the 720, which was a forerunner of the 707, having itself being gestated from the earlier 367-80??




"Like its sibling, the commercial Boeing 707 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_707) jet airliner (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jet_airliner), the KC-135 was derived from the Boeing 367-80 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_367-80) jet transport "proof of concept" demonstrator, which was commonly called the "Dash-80". The KC-135 is similar in appearance to the 707, but has a narrower fuselage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuselage) and is shorter than the 707. The KC-135 predates the 707, and is structurally quite different from the civilian airliner. Boeing gave the future KC-135 tanker the initial designation Model 717.

2nd May 2014, 20:00
Developed by Boeing in the late 1950s from the Boeing 707, the 720 has a shorter fuselage and less range.

It was later replaced by the Boeing 727.



. . . . . .

2nd May 2014, 21:28
I flew KC-135s in the USAF Reserve for a couple of decades. The Reserves had a contract with American Airlines to provide annual sim training on American's 707 simulators.

There was a five minute brief on the differences between their 707 and USAF's 720s.

They flew, performed, and operated almost exactly the same.

Also, the type rating reads 707/720.

2nd May 2014, 22:55
Boeing originally planned the 707 to use the same fuselage as the KC-135 (which had the Boeing internal designation of 717 - the real 717, not the MD-95 that the idiots then in charge renamed the 717 after the McD/Boeing merger).

However after Douglas pitched the DC-8, which had a wider fuselage and would allow six across seating, Boeing realized maintaining the KC-135 fuselage would be a huge disadvantage. So they bit the bullet and redesigned the 707 with a wider fuselage. While I'm sure going to the larger fuselage was painful at the time, that same basic fuselage has been used on over 10,000 airliners (every 707, 727, 737, and 757), so I think they got their money's worth out of it :E

As noted, the 720 was a lightweight version of the 707 - as I understand they took out too much weight and it had horrible metal fatigue issues.

3rd May 2014, 06:57
Wasn't there some story of United refusing to buy Boeing 707's, so they created the 720 instead ? Or am I thinking of another Life ?

3rd May 2014, 18:24
Western Airlines used to operate the B720 out of Calgary to Denver. The coffee shop scuttlebut was that it was faster and had a better rate of climb than the B707. What I remember best was the early morning flight`s breakfast service with complimentary champagne cocktails. yippee!

Go Habs,Go!