Boeing 720

The Boeing 720 is a four-engine narrow-body short- to medium-range passenger jet airliner. Developed by Boeing in the late 1950s from the Boeing 707, the 720 has a shorter fuselage and a shorter range. The 720 first flew in November 1959 and the model entered service with launch customer United Airlines in July 1960.

Two primary versions of the aircraft were built. The original 720 with Pratt & Whitney JT3C turbojet engines entered service in 1960, while the improved 720B with Pratt & Whitney JT3D turbofans entered service in 1961. Some 720s were later converted to 720B specification.

Although only 154 were built, the Boeing 720 and 720B were profitable due to the low research and development costs, being slightly modified versions of the 707-120. They were later replaced by the Boeing 727. The 720 is the only Boeing jet airliner not to follow the company's "7x7" naming formula (excluding former McDonnell Douglas airliners, such as the MD-80).

Boeing 720
Cyprus Airways Boeing 720B G-BCBB LHR 1978-8-24
Cyprus Airways Boeing 720 arriving at London Heathrow Airport in August 1978
Role Narrow-body jet airliner
National origin United States
Manufacturer Boeing Commercial Airplanes
First flight November 23, 1959
Introduction July 5, 1960, with United Airlines
Retired September 29, 2010[1]
Status Retired
Primary users United Airlines
Western Airlines
Eastern Airlines
Northwest Airlines
Produced 1958–1967
Number built 154[2]
Unit cost
US$3.4M (1958)[3] ($29.5M today)
Developed from Boeing 707


Shorter range 707

MEA Boeing 720 Marmet-2
A Middle East Airlines Boeing 720B in April 1982

Boeing announced its plans to develop a new version of the 707 in July 1957.[2] It was developed from the 707-120 to provide for short- to medium-range flights from shorter runways. The model was originally designated 707-020 before being changed to 720 at the input of United Airlines.[4] Compared to the 707-120, it has four fewer frames in front of the wing and one fewer aft: a total length reduction of 8 feet 4 inches (2.54 m).[5]

The new model was designed to a lower maximum takeoff weight with a modified wing and a lightened airframe. The wing modifications included Krueger flaps outboard of the outboard engines, lowering take-off and landing speeds—thus shortening runway length requirements—and a thickened inboard leading edge section, with a slightly greater sweep. This modification increased the top speed over the 707-120.[5] It had four Pratt & Whitney JT3C-7 turbojet engines producing 12,500 lbf (55.6 kN) each.[6]

At one point in the development phase, it was known as the 707-020, then 717-020,[4] although this was the Boeing model designation of the KC-135 and remained unused for a commercial airliner until it was applied to the MD-95 following Boeing's merger with McDonnell Douglas in 1997.[7]

Because the aircraft systems were similar to the Boeing 707, no prototype Boeing 720 was built; any different systems were tested on the Boeing 367-80.[8] The first 720 took its maiden flight on November 23, 1959.[5] The type certificate for the 720 was issued on June 30, 1960. It was first put into service by United Airlines on July 5, 1960;[5] 65 of the original version were built.[9]

Further developments

The 720B version of the 720 had JT3D turbofan engines,[5] producing 17,000 lbf (75.6 kN) each.[6] The JT3D engines had lower fuel consumption and higher thrust.[10] The maximum takeoff weight for the 720B was increased to 234,000 lb (106,000 kg). The 720B first took to the skies on October 6, 1960, and received certification and entered service with American Airlines in March 1961;[6] 89 720Bs were built,[9] in addition to conversions of American's 10 existing 720s.[11]

As a modification of an existing model, the 720 had minimal research and development costs, which allowed it to be successful despite few sales.[12] The company built 154 Boeing 720s and 720Bs from 1959 to 1967.[13] The 720's wing modification was later added on the 707-120B and on 707-120s retrofitted to the B standard.[14]


The Boeing 720 is a four-engined low-wing cantilever monoplane. Although it was similar to the Boeing 707, compared with the 707-120, it was 9 ft (2.74 m) shorter in length,[4] and had a lighter structure through use of lighter forged metal parts and thinner fuselage skins and structures.[15]


The rearmost of the 707's over-wing emergency exits was deleted on each side, which reduced passenger capacity, while two over-wing exits were an option for higher-density configurations.[16]


The 720 uses an improved wing based on the 707 wing. The wingspan remained the same as the 707-120. For the 720, the wing was changed between the fuselage and inner engines by adding a wing root glove.[17][18] This glove reduced the drag of the wing by decambering the root, which reduced the "middle effect", thereby increasing the effective local wing sweep. The wing root glove reportedly increased the drag divergence Mach number of the wing by Mach 0.02.[19]


Though initially fitted with turbojet engines, the dominant engine for the Boeing 720 was the Pratt & Whitney JT3D, a turbofan variant of the JT3C with lower fuel consumption and higher thrust. JT3D-engined 720s had a "B" suffix; some of American's 720Bs were conversions of JT3C-powered 720s.[10]

Like the 707, the 720/720B used engine-driven turbocompressors to supply high-pressure air for cabin pressurization. The engines could not supply sufficient bleed air for this purpose without a serious loss of thrust. The small air inlets and associated humps are visible just above the main engine inlets on the two inner engine pods of all 720s and 720Bs; the lack of the turbocompressor inlet on the outer starboard pod (number 4 engine) helps spotters distinguish 720/720Bs from most 707s, which had three turbocompressors.

B720 791004 Palma421
Cockpit view from an original-style Boeing 720

Other equipment

The Boeing 720 lacked an auxiliary power unit, and relied instead on ground power and pneumatic air to power the aircraft's systems, provide air conditioning, and start the engines while on the ground. The normal practice for Boeing 720 aircraft was to start the number three (inner starboard) engine first, then disconnect ground power and air. After start of the first engine, the use of bleed air from that engine could be used to provide necessary air pressure to start the other engines one by one. However, on ground, with ground starting crew already at hand, all four engines were usually started with ground crew help, as this was more reliable and faster.

Operational history

Boeing 720-023B N7533A AA SFO 19.09.70 edited-2
American Airlines 720-023B at San Francisco International Airport in 1970

The first aircraft was a production aircraft for United Airlines which flew on November 23, 1959. The type certificate for the 720 was issued on June 30, 1960. The first service of the 720 was by United Airlines on July 5, 1960[9] on the Los Angeles-Denver-Chicago route. American Airlines followed by putting the 720 in commercial operation on July 31 that same year. On January 2, 1962, Pakistan International Airlines′ first Boeing 720B – a Boeing 720-040B (registration AP-AMG) piloted by Captain Abdullah Baig and copilot Captain Taimur Baig – set a world record during the London-to-Karachi leg of its delivery flight to Pakistan for speed over a commercial air route, making the flight in 6 hours 43 minutes 55 seconds at an average speed of 938.78 km/h (583.33 mph).[20][21]

The 720 was supplanted by the Boeing 727 in the mid-1960s in its medium-range, high-performance market.[4] In the late 1960s, 720 and 720B aircraft were used by the US military to shuttle troops to the Far-East war efforts. The interiors of these planes were stripped of class partitions. Some of these flights originated at Travis AFB California and flew nonstop to Japan. At least one of the landing sites was Yokota AB, Japan, before the troops traveled to their final destinations.

After disposal of 720s by the major airlines, many were acquired by second-rank operators in South America and elsewhere.

Boeing 720-023B HK-1973 Aerocondor MIA 03.08.75 edited-2
Boeing 720-023B of Aerocondor Colombia at Miami Airport in 1975

In 1984, a Boeing 720 flown by remote control was intentionally crashed at Edwards AFB as a part of the FAA and NASA Controlled Impact Demonstration program. The test provided peak accelerations during a crash. The performance of fire-retardant fuel was also tested.[22]

The first 720 (N7201U) was later renamed "The Starship" and became a private charter jet used mainly by touring rock bands. Its main user was Led Zeppelin in the 1970s. The seating capacity was reduced and a bar with a built-in electric organ was added, along with beds, a shower, a lounge area, a TV, and video cassette player.[23]

Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 720B ET-AAH LHR 1982-5-29
An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 720-060B at London Heathrow Airport, 1982

Honeywell operated the last Boeing 720 in the United States, flying out of Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix. The aircraft had been modified with an extra engine nacelle mounted on the right side of the fuselage to allow testing of a turbine engine at altitude, operating on special certification allowing it to be used for experimental use. This 720B was scrapped on June 21 and 22, 2008.[24] Honeywell replaced their aircraft with a Boeing 757.

Pratt & Whitney Canada operated the last flying 720 until 2010. Its final operational flight occurred on September 29, 2010. Pratt & Whitney Canada replaced the testbed with a Boeing 747SP.[1] In May 2012, the former PWC 720 was flown to CFB Trenton, Ontario, to be put on display at the National Air Force Museum of Canada.[25]


First production variant with four Pratt & Whitney JT3C turbojet engines
Several high-density seat configurations delivered to Eastern Airlines included four over-wing escape hatches and brake cooling fans to effect quick turns on short-haul sectors.. These aircraft, designated "720-025", were certificated to carry up to 170 passengers, provided that certain safety requirements were met.[26]
Improved variant with four Pratt & Whitney JT3D turbofan engines, American Airlines converted its 720s to 720B standard.[10]


Boeing 720-048 EI-ALA Aer Lingus 1965
Boeing 720-048 of Aer Lingus-Irish International in 1965
Air Rhodesia Boeing 720 (6068614006)
An Air Rhodesia Boeing 720 at Salisbury Airport in 1977.

♠ Original operators

These operators flew Boeing 720/720Bs:

  • Belize Airways 5 x 720B, used from 1976 until 1980.[27]
 Democratic Republic of the Congo
 Dominican Republic
  • Air Bali 1 x 720 leased in 1975 but airline failed to gain approval for charter flights to the United States.[27]
 Papua New Guinea
 Saudi Arabia
 United Kingdom
  • Invicta Airlines 1 720-023B.[27]
 United Kingdom
 United States

Accidents and incidents

The Boeing 720 has had 23 hull-loss accidents during its career; it was also involved in a number of incidents including nine hijack incidents and one aircraft destroyed by a bomb in mid-air in 1976. Only 12 of the hull-loss accidents included fatalities which totaled 175 deaths in addition to the 81 deaths on the aircraft destroyed in mid-air by a bomb.[43]

The worst accidents were:[43]

  • On February 12, 1963, Northwest Airlines Flight 705, a Boeing 720-051B (reg. N724US), suffered an in-flight break-up over the Florida Everglades about 12 minutes after leaving Miami, bound for Chicago. All 35 passengers and eight crew died. The cause of the crash was determined to be an unrecoverable loss of control due to severe turbulence.[44]
  • On May 20, 1965, Pakistan International Airlines Flight PK 705, 720-040B (reg AP-AMH), crashed short of the runway at Cairo International Airport, killing 121 of the 127 people on board.[45]
  • On December 8, 1972, seven members of the Eritrean Liberation Front hijacked Ethiopian Airlines Flight 708, a Boeing 720-060B, on its way to Paris. Security forces on the plane immediately opened fire, killing all but one of the highjackers (the last surviving hijacker later died in hospital). During the altercation, a hand grenade was detonated that damaged control cables under the cabin floor. However, the pilot put the plane into a controlled dive and managed to land the plane safely back in Addis Ababa with no further casualties.[1]
  • On January 1, 1976, Middle East Airlines Flight 438, a Boeing 720-023B (reg. OD-AFT), was destroyed en route from Beirut to Dubai by a bomb in the forward cargo hold. All 66 passengers and 15 crew were killed.[46]

Aircraft on display


720 720B 707-120B 707-320B
Cockpit crew Four (pilot, copilot, flight engineer, navigator)
Passengers 149
170 (720-025, certification[26])
110 (2 class)
189[53] (1 class)
147 (2 class)
189 (1 class)
Length 136 ft 2 in (41.50 m) 136 ft 9 in (41.68 m) 145 ft 1 in (44.22 m) 152 ft 11 in (46.61 m)
Wingspan 130 ft 10 in (39.88 m) 145 ft 9 in (44.42 m)
Tail height 41 ft 5 in (12.62 m) 41 ft 2 in (12.55 m) 41 ft 8 in (12.70 m) 42 ft 5 in (12.93 m)
Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW) 229,300 lb (104,000 kg) 234,300 lb (106,300 kg) 257,000 lb (117,000 kg) 333,600 lb (151,300 kg)
Empty weight 110,800 lb (50,300 kg) 115,000 lb (52,000 kg) 122,533 lb (55,580 kg) 146,400 lb (66,400 kg)
Runway needed at MTOW 8,300 ft (2,500 m) 11,000 ft (3,400 m) 10,840 ft (3,300 m)
Fuel Capacity 16,060 US gal (60,800 L) 16,130 US gal (61,100 L) 17,330 US gal (65,600 L) 23,820 US gal (90,200 L)
Landing run 5,750 ft (1,750 m) 6,200 ft (1,890 m) 5,950 ft (1,814 m)
Operating range (typ. payload) 3,680 nmi (6,820 km) 3,680 nmi (6,820 km) 3,735 nmi (6,917 km)
Range at MTOW (max. fuel) 3,800 nmi (7,000 km) 4,700 nmi (8,700 km) 5,750 nmi (10,650 km)
Cruising speed 540 kn / 621 mph (1,000 km/h) 525 kn/604 mph (972 km/h)
Fuselage width 12 ft 4 in (3.76 m)
Powerplants (4 x) Pratt & Whitney JT3C-7:
12,000 lbf (53.4 kN)
Pratt & Whitney JT3D-1:
17,000 lbf (75.6 kN)
PW JT3D-3:
18,000 lbf (80.1 kN)
PW JT3D-7:
19,000 lbf (84.5 kN)

Sources: Boeing[4][54][55][56]

See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists


  1. ^ a b Niles, Russ. "Last Boeing 720 Retired.", October 5, 2010. Retrieved: October 26, 2010.
  2. ^ a b Angelucci, Enzo; Paolo Matricardi and Adriano Zannino. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Civil Aircraft: From Leonardo da Vinci to the Present, p. 346. Edison, New Jersey US: Chartwell Books, 2001. ISBN 0-7858-1389-6.
  3. ^ "Boeing 707". Flight International. July 25, 1958.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Boeing 720". Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Archived from the original on September 3, 2011. Retrieved July 7, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d e Frawley, Gerald. "Boeing 720". The International Directory of Civil Aircraft, 2003/2004. Fishwick, Act: Aerospace Publications, 2003. ISBN 1-875671-58-7.
  6. ^ a b c Donald, David, ed. The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1997. ISBN 0-7607-0592-5.
  7. ^ Lombardi, Michael. "The first KC-135 rolled out 50 years ago this month." Historical Perspective, Start of a Proud Mission: Boeing Frontiers, July 2006. Retrieved: April 17, 2010.
  8. ^ Pither 1998, p. 29.
  9. ^ a b c Boeing 720 Archived September 3, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Boeing
  10. ^ a b c "Boeing 720". Retrieved January 10, 2012.
  11. ^ Pither 1998, p. 30
  12. ^ Proctor 2010, p. 120.
  13. ^ "Boeing 707/720 Short History." Archived June 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Boeing. Retrieved: December 27, 2009.
  14. ^ "Boeing 707." Retrieved: December 27, 2009.
  15. ^ Proctor 2010, p. 119.
  16. ^ Proctor 2010, p. 118.
  17. ^ "The Boeing 720". Flight, August 19, 1960.
  18. ^ The Ultimate Boeing 707 Guide Retrieved September 5, 2011.
  19. ^ Cook, William H. The Road to the 707: The Inside Story of Designing the 707. Bellevue, Washington: TYC Publishing, 1991. ISBN 978-0-9629605-0-5.
  20. ^ "FAI Record ID #7679". Archived from the original on September 22, 2017. Retrieved January 1, 2017.
  21. ^ via "1962 - PIA Boeing 720B Record Flight Info on FAI Website"
  22. ^ "Flight test experience and controlled impact of a remotely piloted jet transport aircraft, NASA-TM-4084." NASA, November 1, 1988. Retrieved: December 27, 2009.
  23. ^ Film The Song Remains The Same
  24. ^ "Resident Boeing 720B." Retrieved: December 27, 2009.
  25. ^ Lessard, Jerome (May 10, 2012). "Historic landing a success". Trenton Trentonian. Retrieved March 27, 2013.
  26. ^ a b FAA Type Certificate Data Sheet$FILE/4a28.PDF
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj Pither 1998, pp. 116-219.
  28. ^ "History of Air Rhodesia." Viscounts in Africa: The Air Rhodesia Story. Retrieved: 7 February 2014.
  29. ^ "Alaska Airlines" by Cliff & Nancy Hollenbeck, 2012, published by Hollenbeck Productions,
  30. ^ "Character & Characters: The Spirit of Alaska Airlines" by Robert J. Serling, 2008, published by Documentary Media LLC,
  31. ^ Pither 1998, p. 133.
  32. ^ Pither 1998, p. 142.
  33. ^ Pither 1998, p. 151.
  34. ^ Pither 1998, pp. 154–155.
  35. ^ Federal Aviation Administration (September 1987). "Full-Scale Transport Controlled Impact Demonstration Program" (PDF). Atlantic City International Airport, New Jersey: FAA Technical Center. p. 5. DOT/FAA/CT-87/10, NASA-TM-89642. Retrieved September 2, 2014. This was the first time that a four-engine jet aircraft (Boeing 720) had been flown successfully by remote control. It was also the first time that an aircraft was flown solely and successfully on antimisting kerosene fuel (AMK).
  36. ^ Pither 1998, p. 158.
  37. ^ Pither 1998, pp. 183–184.
  38. ^ Pither 1998, pp. 186–187.
  39. ^ Pither 1998, pp. 187.
  40. ^ Pither 1998, p. 211
  41. ^ Pither 1998, pp. 212–213.
  42. ^ Pither 1998, p. 215-216.
  43. ^ a b "Boeing 720". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
  44. ^ "Northwest Airlines flight 705." Retrieved: December 27, 2009.
  45. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 720-040B AP-AMH Cairo International Airport (CAI)". May 20, 1965. Retrieved March 27, 2013.
  46. ^ Bladd, Joanne. "MEA flight 438." Retrieved: December 27, 2009.
  47. ^ Pither 1998, p. 311.
  48. ^ PIA Planetarium, Lahore
  49. ^ "AP-AXL - All Pakistan Aircraft Registration Marks". Retrieved August 26, 2017.
  50. ^ "B720 « National Air Force Museum of Canada". Retrieved August 26, 2017.
  51. ^ Pither 1998, p. 308.
  52. ^ Franco, Javier. "Uniendo el maletín retro de Avianca con sus Boeing 720 y 727". Retrieved December 26, 2014.
  53. ^ FAA Type Certificate Data Sheet$FILE/4a21.PDF
  54. ^ "Boeing 720." Archived June 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Boeing, May 2011. Retrieved: December 27, 2009.
  55. ^ "707 Airplane Characteristics: Airport Planning." Archived September 11, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Boeing, May 2011. Retrieved: September 21, 2012.
  56. ^ "Boeing 707 Family." Archived April 30, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Boeing. Retrieved: December 27, 2009.
  • Francillon, René. Boeing 707: Pioneer Jetliner. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Motor Books International, 1999. ISBN 0-7603-0675-3
  • Pither, Tony (1998). The Boeing 707 720 and C-135. England: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. ISBN 0-85130-236-X.
  • Proctor, Jon (2001). Boeing 720. Miami, FL: World Transport Press. ISBN 1-892437-03-1.
  • Proctor, Jon; Mike Machat; Craig Kodera (2010). From Props to Jets: Commercial Aviation's Transition to the Jet Age 1952–1962. North Branch, MN: Specialty Press. ISBN 978-1-58007-146-8.

External links

1981 Pakistan International Airlines hijacking

In March 1981, Al-Zulfiqar led by Murtaza Bhutto hijacked a Pakistan International Airlines flight en route to Peshawar from Karachi, and diverted it to Kabul. The hijacking went on for thirteen days, during which Major Tariq Rahim was shot to death; the hijackers mistakenly believed Rahim to be the son of General Rahimuddin Khan. Tariq Rahim has been ADC with Mr. Bhutto and has been transferred to Foreign Service on the reference of Mr. Bhutto. He was very well known to the Bhutto Family but Murtaza felt he had deceived his father. Rahim was executed following Murtaza Bhutto's conferring with KHAD chief Mohammad Najibullah. The execution forced the Zia-ul-Haq regime to accept the demands of the hijackers, releasing dozens of Pakistan Peoples Party and other leftist political prisoners languishing in Pakistani jails. Major Tariq Rahim's body was thrown from the plane on the tarmac where he bled to death.

Al-Zulfiqar and PSF activist Salamullah Tipu along with three other PSF militants hijacked the plane. The plane was first forced to land at Kabul airport, and was then flown to Damascus. Although undertaken to ‘avenge Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s hanging by Zia’, the hijacking was at once condemned by the young co-chairperson of the PPP, Benazir Bhutto, who was languishing in a Karachi jail.

The hijackers demanded that 55 political prisoners be released. These included PPP, PSF, NSF and some Marxist Jiyala activists. Zia-ul-Haq hesitated and Tipu shot dead Captain Tariq Rahim, whom he mistakenly believed to be the son of then-martial law administrator General Rahimuddin Khan on the plane accusing him of being a part of Zia's coup against Bhutto. He wasn't.

Around 50 prisoners were eventually released by the Zia-ul-Haq regime. Tipu was thrown in a Kabul prison and eventually executed in 1984 for murdering an Afghan national. His body was never returned, and he is said to have been buried somewhere near Kabul.

The successful hijacking not only saw many of the released men join AZO, but the organisation also welcomed a whole new batch of recruits who travelled across Pakistan's tribal areas and entered Afghanistan

AZO described itself as a socialist guerrilla outfit, but its main purpose was avenging Bhutto's death. The organisation was mostly made up of young PSF militants, and members of small left-wing groups such as the Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party.One of the three American hostages on the flight, Fred Hubbell, ran for the position of governor of the state of Iowa in the 2018 election.


Aeroamerica, Inc. was founded as a US supplemental carrier in 1973. It was headquartered at Seattle Boeing Field, Washington. In 1975 the airline established an overseas base at Tegel Airport in what used to be West Berlin prior to German reunification. Berlin Tegel was the main operating base from 1975 until 1979. Aeroamerica ceased operations in 1982.

Air Rhodesia

Air Rhodesia was the national airline of Rhodesia. Its head office was located on the property of Salisbury Airport in Salisbury.The airline was formed as a subsidiary of Central African Airways (CAA) in June 1964, but became an independent corporation on 1 September 1967. It flew internal routes to Buffalo Range, Bulawayo, Fort Victoria, Kariba, and Victoria Falls. During the 1970s, it operated international flights to Johannesburg and Durban in South Africa; Beira, Vilanculos and Lourenço Marques in Mozambique; and Blantyre in Malawi.

Air Rhodesia's mainstay aircraft were Vickers Viscount 700D turboprops and Boeing 720 jetliners, three of which were successfully purchased in April 1973 despite sanctions against the Rhodesian government. After the country was renamed, the airline became known as Air Zimbabwe Rhodesia in 1979, before reforming as Air Zimbabwe in 1980.

Caesar's Chariot

Caesar's Chariot was a former United Airlines Boeing 720 passenger jet which was chartered by English rock band Led Zeppelin for their 1977 concert tour of North America.

The plane, N7224U (S/N: 18077), was rolled out from the assembly line on December 12, 1961 and its first flight was on January 16, 1962. It was delivered to United Airlines on April 10, and in 1975 was purchased by Desert Palace Inc. and then by Todd Leasing in March 1975, when it was named Caesars Chariot.Caesar's Chariot was hired by Led Zeppelin in 1977 from Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino in Paradise, Nevada. The band required the plane because the plane they had previously used for their 1973 and 1975 North American concert tours, The Starship, was permanently grounded at Long Beach Airport with engine difficulties, and they required a comparable alternative.Caesar's Chariot had been converted from a regular Boeing 720 into a 45-seat plane. For the 1977 tour, the fuselage of the plane was painted with the 'Led Zeppelin' and 'Swan Song' logos. It was also fitted with huge, overstuffed-chair type seating, and there was a bar and private rooms for each member and a Hammond organ. The fees charged for leasing the plane amounted to $2500 per day.As they had done on their previous 1973 and 1975 concert tours with The Starship, Led Zeppelin based themselves at major cities such as Chicago and used Caesar's Chariot to shuttle them to and from concerts. Tour manager Richard Cole explained:

It (Led Zeppelin's 1977 tour) wasn’t a lot different to me from the ’75 tour; it was the same process of workin’, you know. We had our 707 jet, and I worked out what cities were in range of Chicago. It was easier to leave at 3 or 4 or 5 in the afternoon and then just go to our plane and fly straight into the city we were performing in. It was specifically because it was much better and more comfortable for us to be based in one city and fly in and out. And leave straight afterwards and go straight back to Chicago.

After Led Zeppelin returned the plane in late 1977, it returned to Caesar's Palace service until the United States Air Force bought it in late 1986 and sent it to Davis-Monthan AFB in early 1987 for use in the KC-135 re-engine and spares support program. It was totally parted out by the end of 1987, but parts may have been obtained by an aircraft maintenance school.The aircraft was used by the Bee Gees in their Spirits Having Flown Tour of 1979. It was hired for a cost of over one million dollars, and was custom painted in a black and red scheme with gold and silver accents.

Children's Museum of Bogotá

The Children's Museum of Bogotá (Fundación Museo de los Niños) was a privately managed museum foundation in Bogotá, Colombia's capital city, established in 1986 and aimed at teaching children about science, technology, culture and arts. The foundation operated the Children's Museum in an 8,000 m² (86,000 ft.²) building in the geographical centre of Bogotá, in which over 23 different modules and hundreds of individual exhibits were housed. The museum served approximately 150,000 visitors per year — 69% of them children under 11 years of age that come to "learn by playing" in the exhibits.

In 2018, it became a park for children. Its main attractions are bouncing houses, bicycle rides, and races for kids.

In addition to guided tours, the Children's Museum conducted workshops, special vacation programs for children and highly structured events for schools.

To celebrate their 15th anniversary, the museum invited the most important young Colombian artists to each paint a mural on the museum walls. This resulted in a collection of 42 murals which have become a landmark for art students in Bogotá. Another highly important program of the Museum is the Computer Clubhouse – an international program promoted by the Intel Corporation and the Museum of Science, Boston. Computer Clubhouse teaches children of low income families computer skills for computer animation, graphic design, composing and editing, as a means to close the digital divide in the society. An introduction to robotics is also included in this program.

In the outer gardens of the museum, a real Boeing 720 aircraft (without actual function, fuel, electricity or engines) was present to teach children the basics of aeronautics. The airliner was donated by Avianca (the biggest airline in Colombia) in the mid-1980s.

The museum also featured a room with a small representation of a city's roads to teach children traffic signs and behaviour while driving or walking on the streets

Conair of Scandinavia

Conair of Scandinavia A/S was a Danish charter airline which operated between 1965 and 1993. Established by Simon Spies, it originally had a fleet of Douglas DC-7 aircraft, taken over from Flying Enterprise.

From about 1970, the airline replaced its fleet with Boeing 720 aircraft, bought from Eastern. From around 1979 these were replaced by the engine stronger version Boeing 720B. It bought second-hand Airbus A300 in 1987 and in 1991 six new Airbus A320. The airline was based at Copenhagen Airport. In 1993, it merged with Scanair to establish Premiair, today Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia which still has its base at Copenhagen Kastrup Airport, EKCH/CPH.

Controlled Impact Demonstration

The Controlled Impact Demonstration (or colloquially the Crash In the Desert) was a joint project between NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that intentionally crashed a remotely controlled Boeing 720 aircraft to acquire data and test new technologies that might help passengers and crew survive. The crash required more than four years of preparation by NASA Ames Research Center, Langley Research Center, Dryden Flight Research Center, the FAA, and General Electric. After numerous test runs, the plane was crashed on December 1, 1984. The test went generally according to plan, and produced a spectacular fireball that required more than an hour to extinguish.

The FAA concluded that about one-quarter of the passengers would have survived, that the antimisting kerosene test fuel did not sufficiently reduce the risk of fire, and that several changes to equipment in the passenger compartment of aircraft were needed. NASA concluded that a head-up display and microwave landing system would have helped the pilot more safely fly the aircraft.

El Al Flight 432 attack

El Al Flight 432, was a Boeing 720-058B (a shortened Boeing 707-120B) that was attacked by a squad of four armed Palestinian militants, members of the Lebanese-based militant organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, while it was preparing for takeoff at the Zurich International Airport in Kloten on February 18, 1969. The plane was on its way from Amsterdam to Tel Aviv via Zurich, and was due to take off at Zurich International Airport. Several of the crew members were injured during the attack, and one later died of his injures. The plane was severely damaged. A greater disaster was averted when Mordechai Rahamim, an undercover Israeli security agent stationed on the plane, opened fire at the attackers and killed the terrorist leader. Rahamim and the three surviving attackers were arrested and tried by Swiss authorities. The attackers were found guilty and given prison sentences, while Rahamim was acquitted.

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 708

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 708 was a Boeing 720-060B, due to operate an international scheduled Addis Ababa–Asmara–Athens–Rome–Paris passenger service, that experienced a hijacking attempt on 8 December 1972.

Garrett TPF351

The Garrett TPF351 is a turboprop engine designed by Garrett Engine Division of AlliedSignal Aerospace Company. Initiated by Garrett in October 1987, the TPF351-20 engine was selected by Embraer to power the Embraer/FMA CBA 123 Vector, a high-speed commuter "pusher" aircraft. It was first tested on May 19, 1989 and then ground tested and flight tested on a Boeing 720 in July 1990. The first prototype CBA123 was tested in July 1990, followed by a flight to the Farnborough Air Show in September of the same year. Both programs were cancelled in 1994.

Hispaniola Airways

Hispaniola Airways was an airline from the Dominican Republic, that operated flights to Europe and the United States out of its base at Puerto Plata Airport. The company was founded in 1981 and disestablished in 2000. Hispaniola operated Boeing 707, Boeing 720, Douglas DC-8 and Sud Aviation Caravelle jetliners.

Lideta Army Airport

Lideta Airport (ICAO: HAAL) also colloquially known as the Old Airport is a decommissioned military airport located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Formerly the main air hub for the Addis Ababa area, in 1960, Ethiopian Airlines realized the runway at Lideta was too short for its new jet aircraft, the Boeing 720. Thus a new airport was built at Bole and Lideta was converted to function solely for Ethiopian military activities.

Middle East Airlines Flight 438

Middle East Airlines Flight 438 a Boeing 720B, callsign CEDAR JET 438, was an international passenger flight from Beirut, Lebanon to Muscat, Oman, with a stopover in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. On 1 January 1976 the aircraft operating the flight was destroyed by a bomb, killing all 81 people on board. The bombers were never identified.

PIA Planetarium, Lahore

PIA Planetarium is a planetarium in Lahore, Pakistan run by Pakistan International Airlines. It was established after the establishment of PIA Planetarium, Karachi. It contains a dome building and a retired Boeing 720-047B (registration AP-AXL) standing in a park.

Pakistan International Airlines Flight 705

Pakistan International Airlines Flight 705 (PK705) was a Boeing 720 airliner that crashed while descending to land at Cairo International Airport on 20 May 1965. Of the 121 passengers and crew on board, all but 6 were killed. The accident, the fourth and worst involving a Boeing 720, was the deadliest to occur in Egypt at the time and remains the third-deadliest, behind Flash Airlines Flight 604 and Metrojet Flight 9268.

Peter Spoden

Peter Spoden (born 8 November 1921) was a German night fighter ace during World War II. He was born in Borken. He was credited with 24 night victories and bearer of the German Cross in Gold. Spoden was member of night fighter units NJG 5 and NJG 6 and appointed to Gruppenkommandeur of I./NJG 6 at the end of war. In the 1950s, after the re-establishment of the German airline Lufthansa, he became Captain on the DC-3 and the famous Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation, later on Boeing 720, Boeing 707 and Boeing 747. He trained hundreds of commercial pilots until his retirement in 1981.

The Starship

The Starship was a former United Airlines Boeing 720 passenger jet, bought by Bobby Sherman and his manager, Ward Sylvester, and leased to touring musical artists in the mid-1970s.

Trans European Airways

Trans European Airways, usually referred to by its initials TEA, is a defunct Belgian airline that operated from 1971 to 1991. It had its head office in Building 117 on the grounds of Melsbroek Airport in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium.

Trans Polar

Trans Polar A/S was a Norwegian charter airline which operated between June 1970 and May 1971. The airline operated a fleet of three Boeing 720s and had a close cooperation with Aer Lingus for maintenance. Trans Polar was established by Thor Tjøntveit, although he never held any management positions. The airline was headquartered in Oslo, although most of the flights operated out of Copenhagen, Denmark, which was the base of Spies Rejser, Trans Polar's largest customer. The airline held operating permission from Norway and Denmark, but not Sweden; nevertheless, they operated several illegal flights out of Stockholm.

Trans Polar ceased operations on 16 May 1971 when Boeing Commercial Airplanes seized one of their aircraft for failing to pay installments. After the company's bankruptcy on 23 June, the police undertook a seven-year investigation of the company. The airline had operated eight months with insolvency; with a debt of 33 million Norwegian krone (NOK) it was at the time the largest bankruptcy case in Norwegian history. Tjøntveit was acquitted of charges of deceit in 1978.

In development
Not developed
Boeing aircraft model numbers
Turbine engines
Boeing 7x7 aircraft production timeline, 1955–present
1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 2020s
5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2
Boeing 717 (MD-95)
Boeing 737 Original Boeing 737 Classic Boeing 737 NG 737 MAX
Boeing 727
Boeing 720 Boeing 757
Boeing 707 Boeing 767
Boeing 787
Boeing 777 777X
Boeing 747 (Boeing 747SP) Boeing 747-400 747-8
  = Narrow-body   = Wide-body
*Overlapping production times like between the 747-400 and the 747-8 have been decided in favor of newer models


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.