The Boeing 707 has been credited for ushering in the Jet Age, a new era for passenger transportation that introduced many of us to the pleasures and conveniences of air travel. It was a popular aircraft, in service for half a century, in use by many airlines in many countries, bringing the citizens of the world together in a matter of hours, instead of days and months. Let’s get a closer look at the 707, and one specific plane that crossed oceans as a commercial jetliner for Lufthansa then later as a charter plane that carried some of the biggest names in music. Celebrate the 707 and add a Boeing 707 PlaneTag to your collection.
It is an American-made long range, narrow body aircraft introduced by Boeing in 1957 as their first jetliner. It was developed from a prototype Boeing 367-80, also known as the “Dash 80”, a concept aircraft. The KC-135 was also developed from the Dash 80, as a jet powered military tanker and transport aircraft.
The hopes of the company were invested in the 707. Boeing had resisted entering the commercial market for many years, instead focusing solely on the military planes they were producing. With the 707, the company took a risk by paying for the development and production of a brand new plane that could be used as a military tanker and a commercial passenger transport. In 1952, the board allowed a commitment of $16 million of Boeing’s money to build the Dash 80, risking an amount that was nearly all of the profit Boeing had made since WWII. Years of development and effort culminated on December 20, 1957 when the first production 707 took its successful maiden flight near Renton, Washington.
The 707 would go on to become a wildly successful and popular aircraft. It was faster, larger and much smoother than its propeller predecessors, changing the game for domestic and international travel. Not only did the jet engine make it possible for larger and faster airliners but it allowed airlines to reduce their costs, and therefore airfare, making air travel available for more people.
The jet age was romantic and modern, appealing to not only business travelers but also families who had planned and saved for a long time to take such a lavish, adventurous trip to new places they had never before dreamed they could go. Menus could include roast beef and caviar, champagne and cocktails and freshly brewed coffee. Passengers could also expect smooth takeoffs and landings as well as a calm flight above the stratosphere.
When imagining the 707 passenger experience, airlines like Pan Am and American Airlines come immediately to mind. Lufthansa entered the Jet Age in March 1960 with the delivery of its first 707. Their North American route followed shortly after on March 17, 1960. By January 1961, the airline had begun operating 707 routes to the Far East, with stops in Bangkok, Tokyo and Hong Kong. Our plane, registered as D-ABUF, was delivered to Lufthansa on December 28, 1965. It flew for Lufthansa, was leased to Condor in 1978, then again for Lufthansa until 1984.
Used by permission from Malcolm Nason
After years of flying for Lufthansa and Condor, the plane was then delivered to Lowa and registered as N88ZL. It was updated to an executive configuration and its new life as a charter plane began. Based in Miami, Florida, N88ZL was seen in airports all over the world. The buzz in aviation forums began, speculating on who was flying and where they were heading.
Over the years, VIPs including former President Bill Clinton, the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the President of Angola, Hugh Hefner, the Bee Gees, Fleetwood Mac, Beyonce, Bryan Adams, Pearl Jam, and Depeche Mode flew aboard this 707. The Eagles used it for their world tour in 2004. Bon Jovi also chartered it in 2006 for their tour.
On January 21, 2006, while carrying members of Bon Jovi, along with other passengers and crew, N88ZL skidded off the runway at Hamilton International Airport in Ontario, Canada. The plane was landing in severe weather conditions and overshot the runway. No one was severely hurt and the band continued on its tour.
Photo by Mike McGill, courtesy of Airliners.net
MotoArt owner Dave Hall was stoked when he saw that N88ZL was available. He and the team had been in search of the right 707 for a long time. “As someone who loves music and seeing concerts, this plane immediately caught my attention,” says Hall. “We saw it as a great opportunity to preserve a 707, one with plenty of stories to tell.”
Our 707 PlaneTags are numbered to 7,500 and are available in the following colors: Dark Gray, White, Light Gray, Blue, and combinations in Dark Gray/White and Light Gray/White. Each is attached to an attractive display card with a sturdy metal ring and is ready to add to your collection. They will make an excellent gift for a music aficionado or your favorite avgeek.
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