Browsing Tag: Boeing 747-200

Here is PanAm Boeing 747-200 N724PA taken in 1990, about a year before Pan Am went out of business.

Here is PanAm Boeing 747-200 N724PA taken in 1990, about a year before Pan Am went out of business.

A while back after I blogged a photo of a Pan Am Boeing 747-200 taking off at Seattle, an ex-pilot that flew for Pan Am emailed me and thought the registration number had to be wrong. He remembered quite clearly that N724PA was not for a 747, but it belonged to a Boeing 707-300 that flew for Pan Am. This was curious for me, since when I looked up photos of aircraft belonging to N724PA there was a photo of a Boeing 707 in Alaska Airlines livery. It is common for airlines to re-use registration numbers, but I felt a story involving a Pan Am Boeing 747 and 707 used by Alaska needed to be told.

It turns out he was right. N724PA a Boeing 707-300, which Pan Am called “Clipper Mercury,” went into service on December 8, 1959 and served Pan Am well, until 1971. Mercury was leased to GE, then Donaldson International Airways until being leased to Alaska Airlines for the summer of 1972. After Alaska’s lease was up it went back to Donaldson and the registration number was changed from N724PA to G-BAEL.

When Mercury’s registration number was changed, it allowed Pan Am to “re-use” the number and register a new aircraft. When Pan Am got a Boeing 747-200 in 1984 from Sinapore Airlines, they gave her the name “Clipper Fairwind” and the registration number N724PA, which previously belonged to the Boeing 707.

I can’t find where the Boeing 747 ended up, but based photos taken in 2005, I am guessing she is no longer flying (can anyone else confirm that?).

So, that explains the confusion of the registration numbers, but left me wondering why the heck Alaska was flying a Boeing 707 for only one summer. For that answer you will have to wait until tomorrow!

Thanks Nick Y for pointing this out!

Also check out:
* Photos of Fairwind Clipper Boeing 747 through the years on

Image by Torsten Maiwald
from used with permission
Air Force One (a modified Boeing 747-200), visiting Paris in 2008

Air Force One (a modified Boeing 747-200), visiting Paris in 2008

Happy President’s Day! I figured this would be a good excuse to take a look at the aircraft that have been used to fly the President of the United States around the world since 1943.

First off, I realize that any US Air Force aircraft the president is in, is called “Air Force One.” For the sake of this post, when I will be talking about the aircraft whose sole mission is to safely fly the President of the United States to his destination, I will refer to this particular aircraft as “Air Force One.”

The first Air Force One has its roots in 1943, when Franklin D Roosevelt was the first president to fly while in office. He flew on a Pan-Am Boeing 314 5,500 miles to Morocco. Previously presidents did not fly, because airplanes were not well equipped with communication devices. That changed for Roosevelt, when the threat of German U-Boats made him think twice about going via boat.

Thinking that commercial air travel was not reliable enough to transport the President of the US, the Air Force converted a Consolidated C-87 Liberator Express to be used to transport Roosevelt on international flights. However, the C-87 was not known for a stellar safety record and the Secret Service refused to let Roosevelt fly on the aircraft. Instead, a Douglas C-54 Skymaster (DC-4) was converted to fly the president around the world. Roosevelt flew on the C-54 Skymaster, called “Sacred Cow”, only once before his death in the spring of 1945. In 1947 Harry S Truman replaced the C-54 with a modified VC-118 Liftmaster (DC-6).

Before an incident in 1953, the president’s aircraft all had standard flight numbers, like any commercial airline flight. The Dwight D Eisenhower administration changed that, when he was flying on Air Force Flight 8610 and an Eastern Airlines flight with the same number received similar orders and got too close to the president’s aircraft. After that, any flight that held the president would be called “Air Force One.”

Eisenhower added the Lockheed C-121 Constellations to the presidential fleet in the mid 50’s and then the Boeing 707 was added in 1958. In 1962, the John F Kennedy administration created the first aircraft used exclusively for presidential travel. The modified Boeing 707-353B (referred to as SAM 26000) had its livery designed by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in the familiar blue, silver and white design.

Eisenhower added the Lockheed Constellation to the Presidential Fleet

Eisenhower added the Lockheed Constellation to the Presidential Fleet

During the Reagan administration, a new plane was requested for the president. They wanted a minimum of three engines, wide-bodied and a range of at least 6,000 miles. Boeing proposed the Boeing 747 and McDonnell Douglas pushed the DC-10. Boeing won the proposal and the US government ordered two identical Boeing 747-200’s.

The Boeing 747-200’s (VC-25A) were delivered in 1990 to sitting president, George HW Bush and still remain in service today. The VC-25A’s have been retrofitted and interiors re-done multiple times since 1990. The US Air Force Air Mobility Command (USAF MC) is currently looking at a replacement for the aging Boeing 747’s.

In January 2009, the USAF MC stated they would start flying a new Air Force One by 2017. Shortly after the announcement, Airbus stated it would not be bidding on the contract, leaving only Boeing. It is most likely the Boeing 747-8 will be the replacement, however there is talk the Boeing 787 could be the replacement.

What is your favorite Air Force One aircraft or which would be the best one to use in the future?

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Images: B747 from Three Forty | Constellation from Wikipedia

This Boeing 747-200 is a Jumbo Hostel

This Boeing 747-200 is a Jumbo Hostel

So, it might not technically be an airline, nor can the plane fly. The livery itself is really kind of bland, but the concept is pretty cool.

This plane is the Jumbo Hostel, which is a land based hostel. The Boeing 747-200 has 25 rooms and 85 beds.

The Jumbo Hostel is located in Stockholm, Sweden, so if you don’t live near by, you might need to take a flying Boeing 747 to get there. Some additional information:

* Jumbo Hostel’s official website
* CNN Video about the hostel
* Pictures of the inside and outside

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HatTip: Airliners Gallery Image: Lady Anna via Flickr