Kevin Scott caught this once in a lifetime shot of a Boeing 747SP (VQ-BMS) at Boeing Field with three Boeing 787 Dreamliners in the background.

Kevin Scott caught this once in a lifetime shot of a Boeing 747SP (VQ-BMS) at Boeing Field with three Boeing 787 Dreamliners in the background.Click for larger.

Soak it in. This is not a photoshop — you are seeing one classic Boeing 747SP in front of three 787 Dreamliners caught while at Boeing Field in February 2011.

This 747SP first flew on May 1, 1979 and was delivered to Pan Am ten days later with the name “Clipper White Falcon” and registion N540PA. From 1979 until PanAm sold the aircraft to United Airlines in 1986, she held three other names: Clipper Flying Arrow, Clipper Star of the Union and China Clipper.

United flew this 747SP until it was leased in 1993 to Tajik Air. United regained control of the aircraft from February 1994 to August 1995 when it was sold to the Brunei government. They operated the aircraft in VIP configuration until 1997 when it was then sold to the Bahrain government. Then finally in August 2008, the Las Vegas Sands Corporation bought the 747SP and uses it to fly their VVIP (probably add a few more “Vs” to that) customers around the world.

According to, the aircraft has had the following registration numbers: N540PA with PanAm, N149UA for United, V8-JBB and V8-JP1 for the Brunei Government, A9C-ISA, A9C-HHH, A9C-HMH with Bahrain and VQ-BMS with Sands, which I assume will be her last registration number.

Getting a ride on one of Sand’s classic airliners is for sure on my bucket list, but unfortunately I am not much of a gambler.

Photo by Kevin Scott/Depth Photography

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me:
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Very cool! Boeing missed an opportunity when they didn’t capture this image.

I like how Boeing is doing more to cover their past, present and future, but if they did everything, it wouldn’t allow fans to catch gem’s like this 🙂


R Lopaka

Been on her many many hours.SEA-HKG and NRT-JFK. Good times!!

While with UAL or PA?


Wonder what the economies of an SP with modern engines, a 300/400 upper deck size and a -400 wing would be?

Probably need to have that conversation over at a-nut 🙂

I had the chance to ride one of AA’s SPs years ago on the JFK-LHR route. That was a real treat.

I flew on a United 747SP from SEA to LHR in the early 90s. Wonder if this was the one. I recall the flight engineer, a >60 yr old former 747 captain who was relegated to flt engineer status due to his age, strolling around the biz class section (front of the plain on lower deck) chatting with customers. Those were the days…

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