Pan Am Boeing 747-100 Clipper "Maid of the Seas" N739PA
Reader David C. sent me this photo of a Pan Am Boeing 747-100. He is in the process of digitizing his photo collection and came across this beautiful aircraft taken in August of 1984 in Rome. This is not just any Boeing 747-100, but Clipper “Maid of the Seas,” registration number N739PA. This aircraft was operating as flight 103 on December 21, 1988 from London to New York when a bomb went off killing all 243 passengers, 16 crew and 11 people on the ground. Due to crashing in Lockerbie, Scottland the incident has been referred to as the Lockerbie Bombing. The Clipper Maid of the Seas was only the 15th Boeing 747 built.
David C. wanted to share this photo as a dedication to all those that lost their lives that day.
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!
This Pan Am livery is not my favorite, but what an awesome photo from the past. Reader Dave H. was excited to share this photo he took from 1987 at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Check out that DC-3 in the background.