The Pan Am Series – Part XII: The Boeing 747SP

Forty-three years ago, on 10 September 1973, Pan American World Airways ordered the Boeing 747SP. Here is a blog I wrote about that aircraft…

JPB Transportation

The Boeing 747SP and a Record Making Flight

Boeing 747SP (Illustration by Mike Machat in Pan Am - An Airline and Its Aircraft) Boeing 747SP (Illustration by Mike Machat in Ron Davies’ Pan Am – An Airline and Its Aircraft)

Once the Boeing 747 was a fixture in Pan Am’s fleet, the focus in the mid-1970s was toward ultra-long range flights. In the airline’s eye was the important and potentially lucrative New York-Tokyo market. What was called for was an aircraft with a range of 7000 miles and capable of carrying approximately 200 passengers in a mixed class configuration. The flight would be about 13-14 hours duration.

Pan Am was convinced there was a demand in the New York-Tokyo market for such an aircraft and persuaded Boeing to produce a shortened version of the 747 with the range for that route. Iran Air was also looking for a high capacity airliner with sufficient range to cover its Tehran-New York route. What resulted was the…

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