Aviation Historian 13
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M.Hiscock - The Miracle of Flight 843
With the starboard wing repaired and a new No 4 engine fitted, N761PA was returned to Pan Am, with which it served until the spring of 1977, when it was acquired by Philippine airline Air Manila International. The airline continued to operate scheduled services with the long-serving 707 until it was withdrawn in early 1981.
A rare photograph of 707 N761PA at the Boeing factory at Renton, near Seattle, before joining Pan Am in June 1962. The aircraft was the second production 707-320B (designated -321B in Pan Am service), the new variant replacing the 320’s turbojets with turbofans and an improved wing of increased span and reduced drag.
The undercarriage of a Pan Am 707 is pulled up sharpish as it roars away in this airline publicity still. Pan Am inaugurated its jetliner service between San Francisco and Honolulu in August 1959 using its newly-delivered turbojet-powered 707-121s, which rapidly replaced its fleet of ageing Boeing 377 and Douglas DC-7C propliners.
Another photograph of N761PA at Heathrow in February 1963, before it became famous for its role in the dramatic events over San Francisco in 1965. Note the ventral fin on the fuselage, added to some 707 models in order to improve lateral stability and prevent over-rotation during take-off.
Jet Clipper Friendship at Heathrow in February 1963, while operating on Pan Am’s transatlantic service. By the summer of 1965 N761PA had been transferred to Pacific operations and was a regular on the San Francisco-Honolulu service.
“Be there in half the time... enjoy twice the comfort” - so ran the Pan Am publicity campaign for its Intercontinental Jet Clipper service. The airline’s standard configuration for its 707-321Bs accommodated up to 144 first-class and tourist passengers, five abreast in the former and six abreast in the latter, and up to ten crew.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have had some minor trouble..This remarkable photograph was taken by one of the passengers aboard Boeing 707 N761PA shortly after take-off from San Francisco International Airport on the afternoon of June 28, 1965. With the fuel pipes ruptured after the departure of No 4 engine, the starboard wing trails a plume of flame
Federal investigators study the charred stub of N761PA’s starboard outer wing at Travis. Captain Kimes initially speculated in press conferences immediately after the incident that it may have been caused by a birdstrike during take-off, but it quickly came to light that it was mechanical failure owing to flawed maintenance.
Officials inspect the remains of N761PA’s No 4 engine in the suburb of San Bruno. The JT3D sheared through the concrete wall of a furniture shop, seen here on the right, missing workmen by 15ft (5m), before coming to rest in the adjacent alleyway.