Big Orange: Braniff 747s
Braniff’s first 747 was nicknamed ‘The Great Pumpkin’ or ‘Big Orange’ due to its bright orange scheme and was decked out internally with the finest leather seats and furnishings. The cabin was split into five rooms with its own colours and lounge space and was branded the 747 Braniff Palace ‘The Most Exclusive Address in the Sky’. Revenue service began on 14th January 1971 between Dallas and Honolulu. For the next seven years the airline’s sole 747 (a second was cancelled) operated the daily Hawaii service recording record utilisation rates for the type.
In February 1978 the frame was moved to the new Dallas-Gatwick route but only until March when a second 747 joined the fleet (N602BN). By the end of the 70s Braniff was in full insane expansion mode and by late 1979 was operating 3 747-100s, 3 747-200s and 1 747SP with 3 more SPs on order (only 2 of which were delivered). N601BN actually operated Braniff’s last ever flight and subsequently went to Metro Int and then Tower Air. As N601FF she flew until she was broken up in May 1994.
The Dragon Wings mould (above) is pretty good, except for the undercarriage being a bit simple, though the printing isn't amazing. The cockpit windows are too small and the reg which should read N601BN says N501BN (both of these things were fixed in a subsequent Jet-X release on the same mould). Incidentally it is interesting that N601BN wore this non-standard livery - not a full Jellybean (no black anti-glare shield or white wings) and not a Flying Colors either.
N602BN was the only new build 747-200 ever delivered to Braniff (one other was bought second-hand from Lufthansa and two others leased). As with all Braniff’s 747s ship 375 operated in a unique Orange version of the Ultra colours. After Braniff’s demise this plane was leased by People Express in 1983, for their transatlantic low-fare services, before being bought by Northwest at the end of 1984. There she operated as N635US until being stored in late 2003.
The Gemini Jets mould also isn't great and like many early GJ 747s the cockpit windows are a bit large. She may also be a bit dark on the orange but she also still looks good and together they make a nice couple.
4/9/2017 03:16:00 pm
We flew into Dallas/Fort Worth on a Delta 737 and when I saw that big orange plane that dwarfed the one we had just deplaned, I said I wouldn't get on that gigantic thing - I don't think it could get off the ground. Someone said behind me, that is our plane to Honolulu! I was horrified. But it took off beautifully and was a smooth ride.
23/1/2020 10:13:16 pm
Oh what memories. Many years ago when this plane was the 'dream' of air travel, we used to fly from DFW to Honolulu and oh what a flight it was. The 747 to the islands quickly got the name of 'Fat Albert'; named after the big orange sweatshirt in the Cosby comic characters. Everything about that plane was class. I remember a number of times when we were at the 'bar' on the plane (yes, they had a bar), you go up and sit with other passengers and the subject always was the plane - and yes sometimes even the islands. GREAT times.. Thanks Braniff - God knows that all of us that flew you certainly do wish you were still around; just not the same without you. Rest peacefully Tom.
1/4/2020 02:32:05 pm
Um, it's called "Braniff Place", not "Braniff Palace".
8/1/2023 12:57:27 am
I worked in the Braniff Credit Union at Love field. When the first Orange plane came in, many called it the great pumpkin. They took employees up and flew around a pattern. I was included in the first flight up with employees. Love it and flew every chance I got.
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I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: