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.
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: