Honey They Shrunk The Plane

Boeing’s stubby B747-SP

This Special Performance jumbo was introduced in 1978 in a makeshift response to the advent of the trijets, namely Lockheed Tristar and the DC-10. It was 48 feet shorter than a regular 747. The project was a commercial flop and only 45 were ever produced. In 1986, I had the privilege of flying in this aircraft from HKG to SFO and back via operator Pan Am.

it cruised higher (@45,000 feet) – supposedly above the turbulent layers of the atmosphere, and 10% faster.  Among other operators were Saudi Arabian, Iran Air and South African Airways.    The last Iran Air 747SP was retired on 23 September 2014.


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