Can you spot what is different about this Boeing 747SP (C-GTFF)? If you guessed the engine attached to the upper deck -- you win. Pratt & Whitney is testing the PW1200G engine. Photo by Guy Norris.
Guy Norris, with Aviation Week, recently posted an interesting story and photos on Pratt & Whitney’s flying test bed – a class Boeing 747SP. P&W is in the process of testing their PW1200G engine, that is slated to for the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) and Norris was able to take a tour of the unique and classic aircraft.
P&W uses a Boeing 747SP that was originally delivered to Korean Airlines (reg HL7457) on January 30, 1980. It flew with the airline until it was placed into storage in 1998. Then in 2008, P&W purchased the 747SP to use for engine testing.
Big kudos to P&W for keeping a few rows of first class seats and the mural. For those who dream of the “golden age” of flying, those are the seats you used to fly in. Compare them to some of of the products available today: Emirates Airlines or Singapore Airlines first class product and really, how can you miss the “golden age” that much?
To see more photos and learn more about the testing check out Norris’ story on Aviation Week. Also check out additional photos of the 747SP on Airliners.net.
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 747SP.com, 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