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26th October 1958

It was on this day in aviation history that Pan American World Airways opened the Jet Age when one of their Boeing 707-121 flew from New York Idlewild to Paris Le Bourget with a fuel stop at Gander, Newfoundland. (1963 New York Idlewild was renamed New York John F. Kennedy Airport after the murder of President John F. Kennedy)

The Pan American World Airways Boeing 707-121 arriving at its parking position at Paris Le Bourget Airport on the 27th of October 1958.


Onboard the first flight were 111 passengers and 11 crewmembers. The flight covered a distance of 3158 nm (5848 km). The total duration of the flight was 8 hours and 41 minutes. The fuel stop at Gander was required due to runway and taxiway loading limitations at Idlewood airport, Only 9731 gallons of fuel could be taken in combination with the passenger load.

The Boeing 707 was the development follow-up from the earlier Boeing Model 367-80, also known as the "Dash Eighty".

The four-engine jetliner would become one of the icons of the early jet age, only rivalled by the Douglas DC-8 and to a lesser degree the De Havilland Comet.

The Boeing 707-121. N711PA, Clipper America prior to departure on the 26th of October 1958.


The Boeing 707-121 was flown by a crew of four;

  • Captain

  • First Officer

  • Navigator

  • Flight engineer

It had a 35-degree wing sweep at the leading edge of the wing, which had a span of 130' 10" (39,88 meters). The height of the fin was 42'5" (19.93 meters). The fuselage diameter was 12' 4" (3.76 meters) with a length of 145'1".


First versions of the Boeing 707-121 were powered by four P&W Wasp JT3C-6 turbojet engines, producing 11.200 pounds of dry thrust and 13.500 pounds of thrust with water injection. The twin-spool engine had an all axial compressor supplying air to an 8 flame tube combustion section and all axial turbine;

  • 9 stage low-pressure compressor

  • 7 stage high-pressure compressor

  • Single-stage high-pressure turbine

  • 2 stage Low-Pressure turbine

Pratt & Whitney JT3C


Between 1958 and 1979 Boeing built 1010 aircraft of the Boeing 707 family. The aircraft that opened the jet age on this day in aviation history had line number 5 out of the factory and had its first flight only a month before, on the 20th of September 1968, It was delivered to Pan Am. In 1965 it was modified to the -121B standard:

  • the aircraft was re-engined with Pratt and Whitney JT3D-1 turbofans, providing 17.000 pounds of thrust.

  • Wings were modernised to Boeing 720 standard

  • Tailplane was changed.

After its career with Pan Am, the aircraft went to several operators before being scrapped in Taipei in august 1984 after 26 years of service.

Some additional specifications of the Boeing 707-121, as it was on the 26th of October 1958 that were not mentioned before in this blog;

  • Passenger load 1 class - 174 seats 2 class - 137 seats

  • OEW 122.533 lbs (33.580 kg)

  • MTOW 247.000 lbs (112.000 kg)

  • Fuel Capacity 17.330 US Gallon ( 65.600 litres)

  • Cruise speed 484 - 540 knots (896 - 1000 kph)

  • Range at MTOW 3000 nm (5600 km)

  • TOFL 7500' (2.300 meters)

  • LFL 6500' (2.000 meters)





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