Click on the image to watch the Pan Am Boeing 747 video.

Click on the image to watch the Pan Am Boeing 747 video.

This is a pretty slick video showing the ins and out of a Pan Am Boeing 747-100. It does not start out in English, but no worries, it turns into English and what you see is much more important than what you hear anyhow.

From the control tower, to starting up the engines to the cockpit, to the Worldport — this is one sweet classic ten minute video that shows off Pan Am 747 Clippers: N656PA, N750PA and N741PA.


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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Mark C. (OKC)

Sadly I’m blocked from YouTube at work. Also sad that all three Clippers appear to have found the scrap heap in the early 1990’s. Thanks David, I’ll just catch this video at a later date.

I hope you have had the chance to watch it now?

Worth it 🙂


Oh wow, and it also has a Delta L1011-500 at FRA and PA L1011-500s at JFK. I flew TriStar 500 N 514PA from LHR to SEA in 1982, and I flew three 747 flights. The first was N738PA from SFO to LAX in 1979, and then N750PA from SEA to LHR and returned to SEA on N749PA (with an unplanned fuel stop in Edmonton) in 1983. While in the UK I flew a BA Trident 3B G-AWYZ to Belfast and an almost brand new 757 G-BIKB back to LHR.

The cockpit shots were great with round dials the way the Wright Brothers meant to be. I was at the death of PanAM in 1991 when I was doing temporary duty at ORY when DL bought the PanAm routes. For the first few weeks, PA continued to operate one European route before declaring bankruptcy–a daily MIA CDG trip with a 747. I saw that at CDG, so I saw one of the last PA 747 flights

My only flight on Pan Am, 747, SFO-LAX, 1981’ish… glad I did….my mom was so mad to have to take me all the way to SFO from Gilroy CA….

Nice catches Brian! That is why I normally watch these old videos more than once. To watch the main part, then watch again and look in the background.


Sweet video David.
I used to spot these at London, Heathrow back in the late 70s / early 80s.
The series 100s made a wonderful sound on take-off, way better than the British Airways 747-200s with their Rolls-Royce RB-211s

That had to be great!

How do you compare it to the new -8?


Thanks for posting this video. It turns out that it shows 2 Panam aircraft that I have flown in. Clipper Empress of the Seas was my first 747 ride in Sep 1970, LAX-SFO-ANC-TYO(HND). Also, after United took over the PA L1011s, I did a couple of NRT-SEL-TPE and return trips in N513PA….
The ANC stop in the trip above included a 24 hour hotel stay (in Girdwood!!!) while an oil seal was located for something on the No.1 engine. Take-off, shut-down No.1, fuel dump, return to ANC. What a way to be introduced to the 747. Only 75 PAX aboard, so we enjoyed a good flight to Tokyo (eventually)……

Bob the Airplane Nut

David ,
Correction…..My aging memory has failed me! My first 747 ride was on Clipper!Queen!of the Seas, not Empress…… Anyhow, it still was an interesting introduction.

Bob the Airplane Nut

It’s okay. My memory of my first 747 flight is a bit hazy. I think I was about 8 years old and Northwest Boeing 747-200 from Seattle to Minneapolis. It was also my first flight by myself as a minor to visit my uncle. I was crying and crying. It worked out, since they put me up in first class since I was crying.

Pimping 🙂


As a travel agent’s kid in Menlo Park (on the SF peninsula), I remember being taken on family trips out of all of the Bay Area’s major airports. But my first flight on a 747 didn’t come until the Summer before 7th grade on a family trip to Europe. Dad probably found some great fares. Mom took my brother on a DC-10 charter that stopped a bazillion times before reaching Amsterdam. Dad and I departed from SFO on a 707 to JFK, and then on my first 747 flight to Paris, then transferring to a Caravelle for the last hop to Amsterdam. I was very impressed with the 747. (A family trip to Brazil in 2nd grade had already inspired me to read up on how jet engines work. So I was beginning to earn my AvGeek credentials at a young age.

But nothing even today compares with the flight home from that trip. While Mom and my brother took the same DC-10 charter back to Oakland, Dad and I went via London, which a little time for sightseeing, and then on a British Airways 747 for the nonstop to SFO. On the flight, Dad knew they’d take kids up to see the flight deck, and asked a flight attendant to arrange it. When it was my turn, they took me upstairs to the flight deck. The left seat was empty – thanks to the British custom of afternoon tea. The first officer motioned to it and said, “Have a seat. But don’t touch anything.” I said something indicating I understood, and sat in the captain’s seat of the 747. I still remember the view clearly. I wasn’t tall enough to see well over the instrument panel – but the view was ice mountains of Greenland. The instruments seemed overwhelming at the time, though I made an effort to look at most of them. The First Officer said we had reached a checkpoint where he was going to enter some numbers in the center console. He typed on the console. Then the autopilot turned the yoke in front of me as the plane made a gentle turn to its next flight segment. (I have since come to understand that meant in 1978 even 747’s were still navigating across the Atlantic by Lindbergh’s method of breaking the great circle route into line segments at a computed heading. It was still a few years before computers would smooth those out into a continuous great circle path.) Then the captain returned and wanted his seat.

If you want to know the advantage you can give a kid from inspiring them, I was an example. From that point, I knew I would be a pilot. 10 years later, minus one day, I was a college student making my first solo flight in a Cessna 150. Today I’ve taken that dream far enough to share it – as a certified flight instructor, I help people with that same dream of flight to become pilots.

If anyone can find out who was first officer on the British Airways nonstop from LHR to SFO on July 8, 1978, I never found a way to say thank you.

Oops…. correction, August 8, 1978. Too many 7’s and 8’s, and too late at night right now.

Ah, yes.. I remember that flight! They started to close the door on me as I tried to reassure you. Didn’t know about the First Class upgrade.


Does the crying trick still work?

Cheers and thanks for the videos and your passion!


Haha — I haven’t tried it since. I think it might get me kicked off a plane now :).


Empress of The Seas was the 747 that blew up over Scotland?


Empress of the seas was hijacked in Karachi in 86 pan am 73 best friend lost a friend on that flight

absolutely terrific video…quite historic in fact
so sad to see the world port, sure wish DL could figure out a way to save that structure….it’s such a nice balance to TWA down the way….

jane monaghan

My dad flew the first fleet of 747’s. He was a senior pilot with Pan Am. A few of them trained in Hawaii and took to the skies with the first 747’s to fly. It was so exciting. I’ll have to look at his logs to see which clippers he flew. I flew in one of them in 1981 down to Antigua, met a pilot who had bought our house in Connecticut.

Hey Jane,

That’s so cool that you still have your dad’s logs. There are quite a few good sites you can use to track this history of planes. To see where they ended up and just maybe one is still flying!

David | AirlineReporter

jane monaghan

The Clipper Flying Cloud that’s in the Smithsonian, is in his logs.NC19903.He flew Lindbergh a few times, and very many others.
They wrote up a wonderful article in the Saturday Evening Post when he flew the tropical tramp.Great history.He was a wonderful man, pure Pan AmThanks for answering,Jane

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