ZS-SPC. Boeing 747SP-44. c/n 21134-288.


 

This was the last of the three aircraft originally ordered by South African Airways on July 16, 1974. Being the eleventh 747SP to be constructed it was rolled out of the Boeing plant at Everett on May 17, 1976 with Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7FW engines. Carrying the Boeing test registration of N8297V it flew for the first time on June 04, 1976.

 

Accepted by South African Airways at Paine Field on June 11, 1976 it was entered onto the South African Aircraft Register as ZS-SPC and named 'Maluti'. Configured to carry 8 First Class, 28 Business Class and 224 Economy Class passengers it departed Seattle the following day on its delivery flight. The flight crew for this flight were Captains A. Nasmith, J. Tindal, W. Steytler with Flight Engineers A. Watt and V. du Toit. The recorded flight time was 19 hours 15 minutes.

 

On March 23, 1977 the aircraft was ferried to the Boeing factory at Seattle for modification work to be carried out. This included the installation of a straight staircase to the upper deck and strengthened landing gear along with other upgrades. On December 09, 1982 this aircraft was the first South African Airways aeroplane to land at Houston International Airport.

 

To celebrate SAAs 50th Anniversary a special decal was affixed to the front of the aircraft, and it was seen displaying it at Zurich Airport on April 28, 1984.

 

The aircraft was withdrawn from service in August 1984 in preparation for its lease to Air Mauritius. It entered the SAA workshop at Johannesburg Airport for overhaul and repainting into the Air Mauritius livery on September 02, 1984. Reregistered as 3B-NAG on the Mauritius Aircraft Register and named 'Chateau Du Reduit' it was accepted on October 30, 1984 to be deployed on their European routes.

 

This lease was terminated in October 1994 and the aircraft was returned to the South African Aircraft Register as ZS-SPC but was not repainted. On February 09, 1995 it re-entered the paint shop at Johannesburg where it acquired the Avia livery, in preparation for its next lease. Officially leased to Avia on May 01, 1995 and renamed 'Gauteng' it operated their first service to London's Gatwick Airport on May 09. This lease was short lived as the aircraft was repossessed on September 10, 1995. Returned to SAA service it was observed at London Heathrow Airport wearing the basic Avia cheatline with SAA / SAL titles on October 01, 1995.

 

By June 1996 the aircraft had been returned to its old style livery with SAA South African Airways titles. It was noted on October 31, 1997 that the aircraft had flown 63,734 hours with 13,004 cycles.

 

Once again ZS-SPC was to be leased out and on March 14, 1999 it was rolled into the paint shop where it acquired the Air Namibia livery. It was leased to Air Namibia the following day but retained its South African registration. It was observed at Frankfurt Airport on April 19, 1999 in the new Air Namibia livery. The aircraft was returned to SAA at Johannesburg on October 27, 1999. Two days later it had returned to SAA service in the new livery.

 

On October 24, 2003 it operated its final revenue service when it flew Johannesburg - Perth - Johannesburg as SA280/281. It was sold to Golden Tattoo TRD Pty Ltd on November 19, 2003 but due to financial problems the aircraft was not delivered. It was placed in storage at the Denel Aviation Facility at Johannesburg Airport and advertised for immediate sale or lease.

 

On May 21, 2005 the SAA Museum Society wrote to South African Airways requesting the airline donate ZS-SPC to it for preservation. By October 20, 2005 the Museum Society was informed that the aircraft would be donated to them. On November 01, 2005 the aircraft officially became the property of the SAA Museum Society and preparations commenced to bring the aircraft back to an airworthy state for its ferry flight to Rand Airport. After sitting idle for over a year the engines were fired up and run at full power on September 15, 2006.

 

A test flight was carried out on September 29, 2006 lasting 1 hour 40 minutes. Finally on September 30, 2006 ZS-SPC was flown from Johannesburg to Rand Airport. After making two fly overs at Rand, it landed for the last time. The flight crew on its final flight were Captain Dennis Spence, First Officer Joe Maartens, Flight Engineer John Froneman, Assistant Flight Engineer Richard Hunt, Safety Officer Phil Parsons and Civil Aviation Authority Inspector Chris Hancock. On engine shut down it had flown at total of 82,313.23 hours.

 


 

ZS-SPC. South African Airways - in the original livery at Frankfurt Airport, October 1976.

ZS-SPC. Suid Afrikaanse Lugdiens - in the original livery at Johannesburg Airport, December 1976.

ZS-SPC. South African Airways - in the original livery at Sydney Airport, September 1978.

ZS-SPC. South African Airways - in the original livery at Sydney Airport, September 1978.

ZS-SPC. South African Airways - in the original livery at Sydney Airport, September 1979.

ZS-SPC. South African Airways - in the original livery at Sydney Airport, September 1979.

ZS-SPC. South African Airways - in the original livery at Johannesburg Airport, December 1979.
ZS-SPC. Suid Afrikaanse Lugdiens - in the original livery at Sydney Airport, August 1983.

3B-NAG. Air Mauritius - in the standard livery at Zurich Airport, February 1985.

3B-NAG. Air Mauritius - in the standard livery at Zurich Airport, April 1985.

3B-NAG. Air Mauritius - in the standard livery at Zurich Airport, August 1985.

3B-NAG. Air Mauritius - in the standard livery at Zurich Airport, July 1987.

 

3B-NAG. Air Mauritius - in the standard livery at Zurich Airport, September 1988.

ZS-SPC. Avia - in the standard livery at London Airport, June 1995.
ZS-SPC. Avia - in the standard livery at London Airport, June 1995.
ZS-SPC. SAA - in the non-standard livery at London Airport, November 1995.
ZS-SPC. SAA - in the non-standard livery at Johannesburg Airport, December 1995.
ZS-SPC. SAL Suid Afrikaanse Lugdiens - in the revised old livery at Amsterdam Airport, November 1995.
ZS-SPC. Air Namibia - in the new livery at Johannesburg Airport, April 1999.
ZS-SPC. Air Namibia - in the new livery at Johannesburg Airport, July 1999.
ZS-SPC. Air Namibia - in the new livery at Johannesburg Airport, August 1999.
ZS-SPC. South African - in the standard livery at Paris Airport, January 2000.
ZS-SPC. South African - in the standard livery at Johannesburg Airport, March 2000.