Sunday, 10 March 2013


A Boeing 747-100 high over Washington State. It is carrying the (likely spurious) registration HZ-AGK.
Another Boeing 747, but a full-sized one this time, high over Washington State some time in the early 1970s, probably 1970, in fact. There's a mystery here though - it's in Saudia livery, and carries the registration HZ-AGK, but this registration never adorned a Saudia-owned 747. A 737, yes, and a 777 (still flying, I think) but never a jumbo.

Very VERY close inspection of this 8x10in print reveals retouching paint over the engine nacelles, apparently obscuring Lufthansa logos. So the likelihood is that this is in fact one of two 747-130 aircraft that were delivered to Lufthansa in 1970 (maybe even this one), painted up before delivery to look pretty for Saudia - a client that ultimately bought four 747-100B aircraft a few years later. Mystery solved, probably. Arthur Conan-Doyle would have spent an entire book on that one, but I solved it in two paragraphs.

And... onwards! To a real Saudia 747, and an SP variant (again). And another junk shop find... 

One page of several in a full-color, large 1977 Boeing internal brochure, showing mockups of a proposed 'Boeing 747 Executive Airplane' for Saudia. The airline eventually bought three 747-SPs in 1982.
This is a bit special. Nestled inside a large, plain brown envelope in a junk shop near Seattle, I found a bound brochure of full-color photo reproductions of a proposed layout for an 'executive' Boeing 747-SP. Dating from 1977, the designs are pretty... amazing. This picture, showing one of several lounges, is relatively tame. The design team responsible was Walter Dorwin Teague, a Seattle-based design company long favored by Boeing. Saudia ultimately bought three 747-SPs in 1982 for government use. They're still flying, as far as I know. 

So there you go - that's how the 0.01% flies. Or did thirty-odd years ago.