Braniff certainly had a flair for the theatric and in 1973 the artist Alexander Calder was commissioned to create a special scheme for one of Braniff's DC-8-62s which became known as the 'Flying Colors of South America'. The finished plane featured an asymmetrical design with bright colours and imaginary beasts along it. It was a revelation and entered service on November 2, 1973. The aircraft was followed up by a 'Flying Colors of the United States' and there were drawings for a third - this time 'Flying Colors of Mexico' which never came to fruition. The Calder jet was certainly eye-catching and inspired other airlines like Ecuatoriana to try something similar. The aircraft chosen to wear the Calder scheme was N1805:
Livery Flying Colors of SA ‘Calder’
CN / LN 45899 / 304
Delivery Date 29/09/67
Sale Date 12/05/82
This plane wore both the orange and lime green jellybean colours before getting the Green / Light Green Flying colours combo but it is as the first of the Calder specially painted aircraft that she is most famous. After Braniff's demise she was bought by a leasing company in 1983 and then by the leasee, Rich International, in 1985. She was stored in 1996 and broken up by 2000.
Braniff built its fleet in the 1970s around the 727-200Adv with DC-8-51s for high density routes and DC-8-62s for the international network. The original 8 series 62s were added to by 3 second-hand aircraft from 1977-1979. N801BN and N802BN were both ex-Alitalia machines (I-DIWK and WN respectively) whilst N810BN was originally with SAS (as SE-DBF). By the time the Alitalia aircraft joined the fleet Braniff was in the midst of its post-deregulation splurge and gone were the Flying Colors to be replaced by Ultra.
In 1977 Braniff commissioned the fashion designer Halston to design a new look which became known as the Ultra look. The aircraft wore 8 colour variations of a minimalist scheme, which did away with the BI logo, but not all aircraft were repainted before Braniff’s bankruptcy in 1982. Despite that the DC-8-62s fared well and only N1808E and N810BN didn't receive a variant of the Ultra scheme. Even the Calder N1805 was repainted.
The aircraft wore as follows:
N1803 Perseus Green (above left)
N1804 Perseus Green
N1805 Terracotta (above middle)
N1806/N806BN Corvette Blue (above right)
N1807 Burgundy (below left)
N1808E No Ultra scheme
N1809E Chocolate Brown (below middle)
N801BN Corvette Blue
N802BN Mercury Blue (below right)
N810BN No Ultra scheme
Aeroclassics has recently produced three Ultra DC-8-62s though it looks like they got the colours rather wrong! This is n't too surprising given many of the colours look quite similar and vary heavily in different light. N1807 below is wearing a good representation of the Chocolate Brown colours but as you can see she ought to be in Burgundy:
Delivery Date 11/67
Sale Date 05/82
N1807 wore the Panagra Green Jellybean, Orange Flying Colors and Burgundy Ultra during her BN career. In November 1983 she joined Hawaiian and by 1996 she was with Trans Continental as N183SK. Converted to a freighter she was last with Continental Cargo Airlines as 9G-BAN. Stored at Oslo since 2002 she was broken up in April 2013.
Aeroclassics N1806 (see part 1 for her history) also looks more like Mercury Blue rather than Corvette Blue except they've got the pink striping of the Mercury variant. The difference of the N1805 rendition to the original Terracotta is the worst of the bunch and I don't own that one. For further details see this thread: 'Aeroclassics screwed up Ultra Colours'
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: