In almost every respect Pan Am was a picture of conservatism. This was most visible in their livery which since 1958 had featured the Globe on the tail and had stayed virtually unchanged throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The introduction of the 747 had seen the Pan American name shortened to Pan Am however the rest of the livery was unaltered and didn't fit the 747 well with the tiny titles. In 1976 this had been rectified with larger titling and a modified slanting flag however it was still effectively the same scheme introduced on the first 707s. Into the 1980s and it was finally time for a change...
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.
Rarely has a single aircraft been so famous and at the same time so notorious as the Pan Am 747-121 N736PA 'Clipper Victor'. No other airline has done so much to change long-haul aviation as Pan Am however in the swansong of his career Juan Trippe bit off more than his airline could chew with the Jumbo. In April 1966 Pan Am placed an order for twenty five 747s at a cost of the staggering sum of $525 million. The huge debt this created for Pan Am was something that exposed the airline when the expected growth in passenger numbers failed to arise and the Oil Crisis struck. And so began the long decline of the world's greatest international airline.
During the 1960s and 70s Flying Tigers was the largest all cargo airline in the world and they were responsible for a number of firsts. On August 29, 1973 Tigers were the launch customer for the 747 freighter.
The airlines had been over-optimistic about growth opportunities for the 1970s and had binged on 747s, which they struggled to fill even before the Oil Crisis arrived. These factors led to several airlines trying to slim down their 747 fleets and motivated Boeing to look at alternative uses for the type. Several ex-TWA examples found their way to the Iranian Air Force and Boeing also began looking at freighter conversions.
In 1968 Canadian Pacific became CP Air when its owner, the Canadian Pacific Railway, decided to align all its brands. Each of Canadian Pacific's divisions (CP Rail, CP Transport, CP Express, CP Ships, CP Telecommunications, CP Hotels and CP Air) gained a linked branding using the new Multi-mark arrow logo. The arrow depicted motion, the semi-circle global service and the square stability. Each division gained a dominant colour with CP Air getting Orange. This led to the advertising firm 'Lippincott & Margulies' who were responsible for the makeover coming up with the slogan "Orange is beautiful". The new livery first appeared on new 737-200s in October 1968.
The Taiwanese flag carrier began operations in December 1959 as a charter airline with scheduled operations not beginning until 1963. The fleet consisted of DC-3s and DC-4s until a single, ex-Flying Tigers and Trans International, Super Constellation was purchased in late 1966.
This was joined in February 1967 by the first of a pair of new Boeing 727-109s. International services to South Vietnam, Hong Kong and Japan were started with the L-1049 and 727s.
I'd had a hole in my CO fleet for a 747 for sometime but had shied away from getting the Jet-X version as the photos I'd seen didn't make it look too nice. I finally relented after giving up on finding any Bigbirds (they seem so rare) and am very glad I did as this year 2000 produced model is actually a real beauty plus CO's 747s have a great history to go with them.
Seaboard World was one of the two major all freight airlines of the regulated US industry and had a proud history which has been rather overlooked in 1:400 save for a 707 and 747. I'd love to see some DC-8s, L1049s and CL-44s being made in their attractive schemes. 1974 saw a major step-up in capacity for Seaboard when the first 747 freighter arrived, joined in April 1976 by a sister.
Five 747-200Bs were delivered to SAA from October 1971, but it was the 747SP that was ideally suited for SAA's requirements. Its extreme range capabilities were ideal when SAA and South Africa were still pariahs. They took over the Hong Kong service and enabled the start of a Taipei route (lonely South Africa was one of the few states to recognise Taiwan).
The departure of Apollo (Witty) from the 1:400 scene is unfortunate as they produced some fine models at times. I didn't care much for their DC-10s (long legs) and their recent 727 noses look a bit odd, but the models they made on their 747, L1011 and CV880 moulds were always excellent -plus they came with very nice stands. Certainly the Apollo 747-200/300 mould is superb (my understanding is it is the old Big Bird mk1 mould). One of my last new Apollos was the beautiful delivery scheme 747-300 - HB-IGG.
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: