N606BN. Boeing 747SP-27. c/n 21992-447.


 

This was the third Boeing 747SP ordered by Braniff International on May 22, 1978 to meet the anticipated passenger growth in the deregulated United States passenger market. It was the thirty-second 747SP to be built. Rolled out of the Boeing plant at Everett on March 24, 1980 it was fitted with Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7A engines. Entered onto the United States Aircraft Register as N606BN it flew for the first time on May 19, 1980. Accepted by Braniff at Paine Field on May 30, 1980 in the striking orange livery it was configured to seat 192 passengers.

 

Little of the expected new business materialised from the anticipated growth in air travel from the newly deregulated United States market. This was evident with many Braniff 747 services departing from the new Boston hub nearly empty. The new Los Angeles hub, created to handle expected increases in travel on the airline's trans Pacific flights to Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul, as well as an "oil run" service between Dallas, Houston and Dubai utilising the 747SP fleet, did not deliver the anticipated growth. Rising fuel costs and reduced passenger bookings due to an economic recession resulted in Braniff cancelling all of its Pacific services except for the Dallas - Honolulu route. As a result this aircraft was offered for sale soon after delivery.

 

This aircraft was acquired by Pan Am on September 23, 1983 and named 'Clipper America'. Reregistered as N529PA on October 25, 1983 it was observed at London's Heathrow Airport on November 1 still registered as N606BN. Sold to the National Bank of North Carolina on November 03, 1983 it was immediately leased back to Pan Am. Pan Am repurchased this aircraft on August 26, 1985 in preparation for its sale to United Airlines.

 

'Clipper America' was acquired by United Airlines on February 12, 1986 when Pan Am sold its entire Pacific Division (routes and aircraft) for $US 750,000,000 in an attempt to deal with its dire financial problems. It was reported that the sale value on this aircraft was $US 1.00. It entered United service retaining the Pan Am cheatline with small United titles and full tail logo. It was reregistered as N150UA on February 21, 1986. By April 1988 it had been repainted into the United 'rainbow' livery with small fuselage titles, with these titles being changed to the larger style at a later date.

 

As United were phasing out 747SP operations this aircraft was purchased by Elias C. Rodriguez of Fairfax, Virginia on July 20, 1992 and was immediately leased to the Oman Government. It was observed at Orlando, Florida being refurbished before being sold to the Oman Government on December 01, 1992. It was converted into an executive configuration. Cancelled from the United States Aircraft Register on April 30, 1993 it was entered onto the United Arab Emirates Aircraft Register as A40-SP the same day. It was issued with a special airworthiness certificate in the 'experimental' category in order for it to comply with FAR requirements due to the interior modifications that had been carried out by Page Avjet. The Oman Government operated the aircraft until October 01, 2004 when it was retired.

 

Ferried to Roswell, New Mexico it was then sold to Aviation Capital Management LLC on October 19, 2004. Cancelled from the U.A.E. Aircraft Register on October 20, 2004 it entered long term storage by having all openings sealed and mylar applied to the windows. It was advertised for sale with an asking price of $US 8 million, having flown 46,076 hours with 7,820 cycles.

 

It was sold to William Fry of San Diego, owner of Frys Electronics for $US 10 and other goods and valuables on June 20, 2005. By July 01, 2005 the engines had been removed. Despite being stored all systems were run-up every week or so using the onboard APU, with the interior fittings covered to prevent damage, these are reported to be as in 'new' condition.

 

Returned to the United States Aircraft Register as N747FU on September 19, 2006 it was finally ferried Roswell - Tucson - Norton A.F.B. on April 27, 2007 where maintenance work, a new paint scheme and interior refurbishment was carried out. It carried out a 90 minute test flight on November 9th before being handed over to its owner 10 days later. It was then flown from San Bernardino to San Jose International Airport with a ballerina and nut cracker mural on tail with 'Ballet San Jose' in black above windows.

 

N747FU was observed at San Bernardino Airport on January 21, 2008 named 'Clipper America'. It flew the Ballet San Jose to China on May 17, 2008 for a six week 'good will' tour. It was observed at McClellan Air Park on October 14, 2008 registered as N747A. This aircraft has been observed at various locations over the ensuing years in an excellent condition and continues to be operated by its owner for specific charters.

 


 

N606BN. Braniff International - in the standard livery at Los Angeles Airport, June 1980.

N606BN. Braniff International - in the standard livery at an unknown airport, March 1981.

N606BN. Braniff International - in the standard livery at an unknown airport, March 1982.

N529PA. Pan Am - in the standard livery at Frankfurt Airport, June 1984.

N529PA. Pan Am - in the standard livery at Sydney Airport, May 1985.
N150UA. United - in the original livery at San Francisco Airport, June 1986.
N150UA. United - in the original livery at Osaka Airport, August 1988.
N150UA. United - in the revised livery at Melbourne Airport, June 1989.
N150UA. United - in the revised livery at Melbourne Airport, June 1989.
N150UA. United - in the revised livery at San Francisco Airport, June 1989.
A40-SP. Oman Royal Flight - in the standard livery at Paris Orly Airport, March 1996.

A40-SP. Oman Royal Flight - in the standard livery at Paris Orly Airport, April 1996.