Boeing 707

Boeing 707
Former Qantas 707-138B owned by John Travolta at the 2007 Paris Air Show
Role Narrow-body jet airliner
National origin United States
Manufacturer Boeing Commercial Airplanes
First flight December 20, 1957[1]
Introduction October 1958 with Pan American World Airways
Status In limited cargo and private service
Primary users Trans World Airlines (historical)
Continental Airlines (historical)
Pan Am (historical)
Saha Airlines (historical)
Produced 1958–1979
Number built 1,010[2]
Unit cost
US$4.3 million (in 1955)[3]
Developed from Boeing 367-80
Variants Boeing 720
Boeing C-137 Stratoliner
Developed into Boeing E-3 Sentry
Boeing E-6 Mercury
Northrop Grumman E-8 Joint STARS

The Boeing 707 is a mid-sized, long-range, narrow-body, four-engine jet airliner built by Boeing Commercial Airplanes from 1958 to 1979. Its name is commonly pronounced as "seven oh seven". Versions of the aircraft have a capacity from 140 to 219 passengers and a range of 2,500 to 5,750 nautical miles (4,630 to 10,650 km).[4]

Developed as Boeing's first jet airliner, the 707 is a swept-wing design with podded engines. Although it was not the first jetliner in service, the 707 was the first to be commercially successful. Dominating passenger air transport in the 1960s and remaining common through the 1970s, the 707 is generally credited with ushering in the Jet Age.[5][6] It established Boeing as one of the largest manufacturers of passenger aircraft, and led to the later series of airliners with "7x7" designations. The later 720, 727, 737, and 757 share elements of the 707's fuselage design.

The 707 was developed from the Boeing 367-80, a prototype jet first flown in 1954. A larger fuselage cross-section and other modifications resulted in the initial-production 707-120, powered by Pratt & Whitney JT3C turbojet engines, which first flew on December 20, 1957. Pan American World Airways began regular 707 service on October 26, 1958. Later derivatives included the shortened long-range 707-138 and the stretched 707-320, both of which entered service in 1959. A smaller short-range variant, the 720, was introduced in 1960. The 707-420, a version of the stretched 707 with Rolls-Royce Conway turbofans, debuted in 1960, while Pratt & Whitney JT3D turbofans debuted on the 707-120B and 707-320B models in 1961 and 1962, respectively.

The 707 has been used on domestic, transcontinental, and transatlantic flights, and for cargo and military applications. A convertible passenger-freighter model, the 707-320C, entered service in 1963, and passenger 707s have been modified to freighter configurations. Military derivatives include the E-3 Sentry airborne reconnaissance aircraft and the C-137 Stratoliner VIP transports. Boeing produced and delivered 1,011 airliners including the smaller 720 series; over 800 military versions were also produced. Ten Boeing 707s were in commercial service in July 2013.


Model 367-80 origins

Main article: Boeing 367-80

During and after World War II, Boeing was known for its military aircraft. The company had produced innovative and important bombers, from the B-17 Flying Fortress and B-29 Superfortress, to the jet-powered B-47 Stratojet and B-52 Stratofortress. The company's civil aviation department lagged far behind Douglas and other competitors, the only noteworthy airliners being the Boeing 314 Clipper and 307 Stratoliner. During 1949–1950, Boeing embarked on studies for a new jet transport, realizing that any design must be aimed at both the military and civilian markets. At the time, aerial refueling was becoming a standard technique for military aircraft, with over 800 KC-97 Stratofreighters on order. With the advent of the Jet Age, a new tanker was required to meet the USAF's fleet of jet-powered bombers; this was where Boeing's new design would potentially win military orders.[7]

Boeing studied numerous wing and engine layouts for its new transport/tanker, some of which were based on the B-47 and C-97, before settling on 367–80. The "Dash 80" took less than two years from project launch in 1952 to rollout on May 14, 1954, then first flew on July 15, 1954. It was powered by the Pratt & Whitney JT3C turbojet engine, which was the civilian version of the J57 used on many military aircraft of the day, including the F-100 Super Sabre fighter and the B-52 bomber. The prototype was a proof-of-concept aircraft for both military and civilian use. The United States Air Force was the first customer, using it as the basis for the KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling platform.

Whether the passenger 707 would be profitable was far from certain. At the time, Boeing was making nearly all of its money from military contracts: Its last passenger transport, the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser, had netted the company a $15 million loss before it was purchased by the Air Force as the KC-97 Stratofreighter.[8] In a demonstration flight over Lake Washington outside Seattle, on August 7, 1955, test pilot Tex Johnston performed a barrel roll in the 367-80 prototype.[9]

Boeing 707-123B cockpit

The 132-inch (3.35 m) wide fuselage of the Dash 80 was large enough for four-abreast (two-plus-two) seating like the Stratocruiser. Answering customers' demands and under Douglas competition, Boeing soon realized this would not provide a viable payload, so it widened the fuselage to 144 in (3,660 mm) to allow five-abreast seating and use of the KC-135's tooling.[10] Douglas Aircraft had launched its DC-8 with a fuselage width of 147 in (3,730 mm). The airlines liked the extra space and six-abreast seating, so Boeing increased the 707's width again to compete, this time to 148 in (3,760 mm).[11]

Production and testing

Members of the joint FAA and Boeing team performing test flight on the Boeing 707 during certification process in April 15, 1958: From left to right: Joseph John "Tym" Tymczyszyn (FAA), Lew Wallich (Boeing), unknown, unknown

The first flight of the first-production 707-120 took place on December 20, 1957, and FAA certification followed on September 18, 1958.[12] Both test pilots Joseph John "Tym" Tymczyszyn and James R. Gannett were awarded the first Iven C. Kincheloe Award for the test flights that led to certification.[13] A number of changes were incorporated into the production models from the prototype. A Krueger flap was installed along the leading edge between the inner and outer engines on early 707-120 and −320 models.[3][14]

Further developments

Early production Boeing 707–329 of Sabena in April 1960 with the original short tail-fin and no ventral fin

The initial standard model was the 707-120 with JT3C turbojet engines. Qantas ordered a shorter-bodied version called the 707-138, which was a −120 with six fuselage frames removed, three in front of the wings, and three aft. The frames in the 707 were each 20 in (500 mm) apart, so this resulted in a net shortening of 10 ft (3 m) to 134 ft 6 in (41.0 m). Because the maximum takeoff weight remained the same, 247,000 lb (112 t), as that of the −120, the −138 was able to fly the longer routes that Qantas needed.[14] Braniff International Airways ordered the higher-thrust version with Pratt & Whitney JT4A engines, the 707-220. The final major derivative was the 707-320, which featured an extended-span wing and JT4A engines, while the 707-420 was the same as the −320, but with Conway turbofan engines. British certification requirements relating to go-arounds with one engine inoperative also forced Boeing to increase the height of the tail fin on all 707 variants, as well as add a ventral fin, which was retrofitted on earlier −120 and −220 aircraft. These modifications also aided in the mitigation of Dutch roll by providing more stability in yaw.

A Pakistan International Airlines Boeing 707 photographed in Germany, 1961

Though initially fitted with turbojet engines, the dominant engine for the Boeing 707 family was the Pratt & Whitney JT3D, a turbofan variant of the JT3C with lower fuel consumption and higher thrust. JT3D-engined 707s and 720s were denoted with a "B" suffix. While many 707-120Bs and -720Bs were conversions of existing JT3C-powered machines, 707-320Bs were available only as newly built aircraft, as they had a stronger structure to support a maximum takeoff weight increased by 19,000 lb (8,600 kg), along with modifications to the wing. The 707-320B series enabled nonstop westbound flights from Europe to the US West Coast and from the US to Japan.

The final 707 variant was the 707-320C, (C for "Convertible"), which had a large fuselage door for cargo. It had a revised wing with three-sectioned leading-edge flaps, improving takeoff and landing performance and allowing the ventral fin to be removed (although the taller fin was retained). The 707-320Bs built after 1963 used the same wing as the −320C and were known as 707-320B Advanced aircraft.

Production of the passenger 707 ended in 1978. In total, 1,010 707s were built for civilian use, though many of these found their way to military service. The 707 production line remained open for purpose-built military variants until 1991, with the last new-build 707 airframes built as E-3 and E-6 aircraft.

Traces of the 707 are still found in the 737, which uses a modified version of the 707's fuselage, as well as the same external nose and cockpit configurations as the those of the 707. These were also used on the previous 727, while the 757 also used the 707 fuselage cross-section.



Four-wheel landing-gear bogies on a 707–120

The 707's wings are swept back at 35°, and like all swept-wing aircraft, display an undesirable "Dutch roll" flying characteristic that manifests itself as an alternating yawing and rolling motion. Boeing already had considerable experience with this on the B-47 and B-52, and had developed the yaw damper system on the B-47 that would be applied to later swept-wing configurations like the 707. However, many novice 707 pilots had no experience with this phenomenon, as they were transitioning from straight-wing propeller-driven aircraft such as the Douglas DC-7 and Lockheed Constellation.

On one customer-acceptance flight, where the yaw damper was turned off to familiarize the new pilots with flying techniques, a trainee pilot's actions violently exacerbated the Dutch roll motion and caused three of the four engines to be torn from the wings. The plane, a brand new 707-227, N7071, destined for Braniff, crash-landed on a river bed north of Seattle at Arlington, Washington, killing four of the eight occupants.[15]

In his autobiography, test pilot Johnston describes a Dutch roll incident he experienced as a passenger on an early commercial 707 flight. As the aircraft's movements did not cease and most of the passengers became ill, he suspected a misrigging of the directional autopilot (yaw damper). He went to the cockpit and found the crew unable to understand and resolve the situation. He introduced himself and relieved the ashen-faced captain who immediately left the cockpit feeling ill. Johnston disconnected the faulty autopilot and manually stabilized the plane "with two slight control movements".[16]


View of number 1 (top left) and 2 (center) Pratt & Whitney JT3D engines on the port side of a Boeing 707-320C: The number 1 engine mount does not have the "hump" for a pressurization turbocompressor.

The 707 uses engine-driven turbocompressors to supply pressurized air for cabin pressurization. On many commercial 707s, the outer port (number 1) engine mount is distinctly different from the other three, as this engine is not fitted with a turbocompressor. Later-model 707s typically had this configuration, although American Airlines had turbocompressors on engines 2 and 3 only. Early 707 models often had turbocompressor fairings on all four engines, but with only two or three compressors installed.[17]

The JT3D-3B engines are readily identifiable by the large gray secondary air inlet doors in the nose cowl. These doors are fully open (sucked in at the rear) during takeoff to provide additional air. When the engines are throttled back to cruise, the doors are shut.

The 707 was the first commercial jet aircraft to be fitted with clamshell-type thrust reversers on each of the four engines.[18]

Upgraded engines

Omega Air's 707-330C testbed for the 707RE program takes off from the Mojave Airport

Pratt & Whitney, in a joint venture with Seven Q Seven (SQS) and Omega Air, has selected the JT8D-219 as a re-engine powerplant for Boeing 707-based aircraft, calling their modified configuration a 707RE.[19] Northrop Grumman has selected the −219 to re-engine the United States Air Force's fleet of 19 E-8 Joint STARS aircraft, which will allow the J-STARS more time on station due to the engine's greater fuel efficiency. NATO also plans to re-engine their fleet of E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft. The −219 is publicized as being half the cost of the competing 707 re-engine powerplant, the CFM International CFM56, and is 40 dB quieter than JT3D engines that are being replaced.[19]

Operational history

Olympic Airways Boeing 707 in 1978

The first commercial orders for the 707 came on October 13, 1955,[20] when Pan Am committed to 20 707s and 25 Douglas DC-8s, a dramatic increase in passenger capacity over its existing fleet of propeller aircraft. The competition between the 707 and Douglas DC-8 was fierce. Several major airlines committed only to the DC-8, as Douglas Aircraft was a more established maker of passenger aircraft at the time. To stay competitive, Boeing made a late and costly decision to redesign and enlarge the 707's wing to help increase range and payload. The new version was numbered 707-320.

Pan Am was the first airline to operate the 707; the carrier inaugurated 707 service with a christening at National Airport on October 17, 1958, attended by President Eisenhower, followed by a transatlantic flight for VIPs (personal guests of founder Juan Trippe) from Baltimore's Friendship International Airport to Paris.[21] The aircraft's first commercial flight was from Idlewild Airport, New York, to Le Bourget, Paris, on October 26, 1958, with a fuel stop in Gander, Newfoundland. In December, National Airlines operated the first U.S. domestic jet airline flights between New York/Idlewild and Miami, using 707s leased from Pan Am; American Airlines was the first domestic airline to fly its own jets, on January 25, 1959. TWA started domestic 707-131 flights in March and Continental Airlines started 707-124 flights in June; airlines that had ordered only the DC-8, such as United, Delta, and Eastern, were left without jets until September and lost market share on transcontinental flights. Qantas was the first non-US airline to use the 707s, starting in 1959.

An Air France Boeing 707–328 at Hannover-Langenhagen Airport, 1972

The 707 quickly became the most popular jetliner of its time. Its popularity led to rapid developments in airport terminals, runways, airline catering, baggage handling, reservations systems, and other air transport infrastructure. The advent of the 707 also led to the upgrading of air traffic control systems to prevent interference with military jet operations.[22]

As the 1960s drew to a close, the exponential growth in air travel led to the 707 being a victim of its own success. The 707 was now too small to handle the increased passenger densities on the routes for which it was designed. Stretching the fuselage was not a viable option because the installation of larger, more powerful engines would, in turn, need a larger undercarriage, which was not feasible given the design's limited ground clearance. Boeing's answer to the problem was the first twin-aisle airliner—the Boeing 747. The 707's first-generation engine technology was also rapidly becoming obsolete in the areas of noise and fuel economy, especially after the 1973 oil crisis.

Saha Airlines 707 landing at Tehran-Mehrabad in 2011: Saha Airlines was the last commercial operator of the 707.

In 1982, during the Falklands War, the Argentine Air Force extensively used 707s for long-range maritime patrol, with some of them being intercepted and shepherded away by Royal Navy Sea Harriers,[23] it also led to the conversion of British Nimrods to carry Sidewinder air-to-air missiles after a casual encounter.

Trans World Airlines flew the last scheduled 707 flight for passengers by a US carrier on October 30, 1983,[24] although 707s remained in scheduled service by airlines from other nations for much longer. Middle East Airlines of Lebanon flew 707s and 720s in front-line passenger service until the end of the 1990s. Since LADE of Argentina took its 707-320Bs from regular service in 2007, Saha Airlines of Iran was the last airline to keep 707s in scheduled passenger service until April 2013.[25]

Operations of the 707 were threatened by the enactment of international noise regulations in 1985. Shannon Engineering of Seattle developed a hush kit with funding from Tracor, Inc, of Austin, Texas. By the late 1980s, 172 Boeing 707s had been equipped with the Quiet 707 package. Boeing acknowledged that more 707s were in service then than before the hush kit was available.[26] Most remaining 707s are in freighter form, or as business jets.[27]


Although certified as Series 100s, 200s, 300s, etc., the different 707 variants are more commonly known as Series 120s, 220s, 320s, and so on, where the "20" part of the designation is Boeing's "customer number" for its development aircraft.


Main article: Boeing 720

The 707-020 was the original designation for what ultimately became the Boeing 720. Launch customer United Air Lines was a Douglas DC-8 customer and preferred not to be seen as buying the competing 707, hence the 720 designation. American Airlines always referred to its 720s as 707s.


Turkish Airlines 707-121B in 1976

The 707-120 was the first production 707 variant, with a longer, wider fuselage, and greater wingspan than the Dash 80. The cabin had a full set of rectangular windows and could seat up to 189 passengers.[28] It was designed for transcontinental routes, and often required a refueling stop when flying across the North Atlantic. It had four Pratt & Whitney JT3C-6 turbojets, civilian versions of the military J57, initially producing 13,000 lb (57.8 kN) with water injection. Maximum takeoff weight was 247,000 lb and first flight was on December 20, 1957. Major orders were the launch order for 20 707-121 aircraft by Pan Am and an American Airlines order for 30 707-123 aircraft. The first revenue flight was on October 26, 1958;[29] 56 were built, plus seven short-bodied −138s; the last −120 was delivered to Western in May 1960.

The 707-138 was a −120 with a fuselage 10 ft shorter than the others, with 5 ft (three frames) removed ahead and behind the wing, giving increased range. Maximum takeoff weight was the same 247,000 lb as the standard version. It was a variant for Qantas, thus had its customer number 38. The seven −138s were delivered to Qantas June–September 1959 and first carried passengers that July.

A 707-120B (VC-137B) wing, showing the new inboard leading edge like the 720s, with a British Airways Concorde at right

The 707-120B had Pratt & Whitney JT3D-1 turbofan engines, which were quieter, more powerful, and more fuel-efficient, producing 17,000 lbf (75.6 kN) each, with the later JT3D-3 version giving 18,000 lbf (80 kN). (This thrust did not require water injection, eliminating both the system and 5000–6000 lb of water.) The −120B had the wing modifications introduced on the 720 and a longer tailplane; a total of 72 were built, 31 for American and 41 for TWA, plus six short-bodied −138Bs for Qantas. American had its 23 surviving −123s converted to 123Bs, but TWA did not convert its 15 -131s. The only other conversions were Pan American's five surviving −121s and one surviving −139, the three aircraft delivered to the USAF as −153s and the seven short-bodied Qantas −138s. The first flight of the −120B was on June 22, 1960, and American carried the first passengers in March 1961; the last delivery was to American in April 1969. Maximum weight was 258,000 lb (117,025 kg) for both the long- and short-bodied versions.


The 707-220 was designed for hot and high operations with more powerful 15,800 lb (70.3 kN) Pratt & Whitney JT4A-3 turbojets. Five of these were produced, but only four were ultimately delivered, with one being lost during a test flight. All were for Braniff International Airways and carried the model number 707-227; the first entered service in December 1959. This version was made obsolete by the arrival of the turbofan-powered 707-120B.


The 707-320 Intercontinental is a stretched version of the turbojet-powered 707-120, initially powered by JT4A-3 or JT4A-5 turbojets producing 15,800 lb (70.3 kN) each (most eventually got 17,500 lb (78.4 kN) JT4A-11s). The interior allowed up to 189 passengers, the same as the -120 and -220 series, but improved two-class capacity due to an 80-in fuselage stretch ahead of the wing (from 138 ft 10 in (42.32 m) to 145 ft 6 in (44.35 m) ), with extensions to the fin and horizontal stabilizer extending the aircraft's length further.[30] The longer wing carried more fuel, increasing range by 1,600 miles (2,600 km) and allowing the aircraft to operate as true transoceanic aircraft. The wing modifications included outboard and inboard inserts, as well as a kink in the trailing edge to add area inboard.[14] Takeoff weight was increased to 302,000 lb (137,000 kg) initially and to 312,000 lb (142,000 kg) with the higher-rated JT4As and center section tanks. Its first flight was on January 11, 1958; 69 turbojet 707-320s were delivered through January 1963, the first passengers being carried (by Pan Am) in August 1959.


Conway-powered BOAC 707-436 at Sydney Airport in 1970

The 707-420 was identical to the −320, but fitted with Rolls-Royce Conway 508 (RCo.12) turbofans (or by-pass turbojets as Rolls-Royce called them) of 18,000 lb (79 kN) thrust each.[31] The first announced customer was Lufthansa. BOAC's controversial order was announced six months later, but the British carrier got the first service-ready aircraft off the production line. The British Air Registration Board refused to give the aircraft a certificate of airworthiness, citing insufficient lateral control, excessive rudder forces, and the ability to over-rotate on takeoff, stalling the wing on the ground (a fault of the de Havilland Comet 1). Boeing responded by adding 40 in to the vertical tail, applying full instead of partial rudder boost, and fitting an underfin to prevent over-rotation. These modifications except to the fin under the tail became standard on all 707 variants and were retrofitted to all earlier 707s. The 37 -420s were delivered to BOAC, Lufthansa, Air-India, El Al, and Varig through November 1963; Lufthansa was the first to carry passengers, in March 1960.


A Boeing 707-320B of Pan American World Airways in 1979

The 707-320B had the application of the JT3D turbofan to the Intercontinental, but with aerodynamic refinements. The wing was modified from the −320 by adding a second inboard kink, a dog-toothed leading edge, and curved low-drag wingtips instead of the earlier blunt ones.[14] These wingtips increased overall wingspan by 3.0 ft. Takeoff gross weight was increased to 328,000 lb (149,000 kg). The 175 707-320B aircraft were all new-build; no original −320 models were converted to fan engines in civilian use. First service was June 1962, with Pan Am.

The 707-320B Advanced is an improved version of the −320B, adding the three-section leading-edge flaps already seen on the −320C. These reduced takeoff and landing speeds and altered the lift distribution of the wing, allowing the ventral fin found on earlier 707s to be deleted. From 1965, -320Bs had the uprated −320C undercarriage allowing the same 335,000 lb (152,000 kg) MTOW. These were often identified as 707-320BA-H.


Ecuatoriana de Aviación 707-321C in January 1987

The 707-320C has a convertible passenger–freight configuration, which became the most widely produced variant of the 707. The 707-320C added a strengthened floor and a new cargo door to the −320B model. The wing was fitted with three-section leading-edge flaps which allowed the deletion of the underfin. Three hundred and thirty-five of these variants were built, including a small number with JT3D-7 engines (19,000 lb or 84.6 kN takeoff thrust) and a takeoff gross weight of 335,000 lb (152,000 kg). Ironically, most −320Cs were delivered as passenger aircraft, airlines hoping that the cargo door would increase second-hand values. The addition of two additional emergency exits, one on either side aft of the wing raised the maximum passenger capacity to a theoretical 219. Only a few aircraft were delivered as pure freighters. One of the final orders was by the Iranian Government for 14 707-3J9C aircraft capable of VIP transportation, communication, and in-flight refuelling tasks.


The 707-700 was a test aircraft used to study the feasibility of using CFM International CFM56 engines on a 707 airframe and possibly retrofitting existing aircraft with the engine. After testing in 1979, N707QT, the last commercial 707 airframe, was restored to 707-320C configuration and delivered to the Moroccan Air Force as a tanker aircraft via a "civilian" order. Boeing abandoned the retrofit program, since it felt it would be a threat to the Boeing 757 program. The information gathered from testing led to the eventual retrofitting of CFM56 engines to the USAF C-135/KC-135R models, and some military versions of the 707 also used the CFM56. The Douglas DC-8 "Super 70" series with CFM56 engines was developed and extended the DC-8's life in a stricter noise regulatory environment. So, more DC-8s than 707s are in service now.

Other variants

The 707-620 was a proposed domestic range-stretched variant of the 707-320B. The 707-620 was to carry around 200 passengers while retaining several aspects of the 707-320B. It would have been delivered around 1968 and would have also been Boeing's answer to the stretched Douglas DC-8 Series 60. Had the 707-620 been built, it would have cost around US$8,000,000.[32] However, engineers discovered that a longer fuselage and wing meant a painstaking redesign of the wing and landing-gear structures. Rather than spend money on upgrading the 707, engineer Joe Sutter stated the company "decided spending money on the 707 wasn't worth it". The project was cancelled in 1966 in favor of the newer Boeing 747.[33]

The 707-820 was a proposed intercontinental stretched variant of the 707-320B. It was to be powered by four Pratt & Whitney JT3D-15 turbofan engines and would have had a 10-foot (3.0 m) extension in wingspan. Two variations were proposed, the 707-820(505) model and the 707-820(506) model. The 505 model would have had a fuselage 45 feet (14 m) longer than the 707-320B and would have carried 209 passengers in mixed-class configuration and 260 passengers in all-economy configuration. The 506 model would have had a fuselage 55 feet (17 m) longer than the 707-320B and would have carried 225 passengers in mixed class configuration and 279 passengers in all economy configuration. Like the 707-620, the 707-820 was also set to compete with the stretched DC-8s. The design was being pitched to American, TWA, BOAC, and Pan Am at the time of its proposal in early 1965.[34] The 707-820 would have cost US$10,000,000.[32] Like the 707-620, the 707-820 would have required a massive structural redesign to the wing and gear structures. The 707-820 was also cancelled in 1966 in favor of the 747.[33]


USAF E-3 Sentry in flight
RAAF 707-368C at Perth International Airport, Australia
Boeing 707s at AMARG being used for salvage parts for the KC-135s

The militaries of the US and other countries have used the civilian 707 aircraft in a variety of roles, and under different designations. (The 707 and U.S. Air Force's KC-135 were developed in parallel from the Boeing 367–80 prototype.)

The Boeing E-3 Sentry is a US military airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft based on the Boeing 707 that provides all-weather surveillance, command, control, and communications.

The VC-137C variant of the Stratoliner was a special-purpose design meant to serve as Air Force One, the secure transport for the President of the United States. These models were in operational use from 1962 to 1990. The two aircraft remain on display: SAM 26000 is at the National Museum of the United States Air Force near Dayton, Ohio and SAM 27000 is at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

The Canadian Forces also operated the Boeing 707 with the designation CC-137 Husky (707-347C) from 1971 to 1997.


Boeing 717 was the company designation for C-135 Stratolifter and KC-135 Stratotanker derivatives of the 367-80. The designation was later reused in renaming the McDonnell Douglas MD-95 to Boeing 717 after the company was merged with Boeing.


Boeing's customer codes used to identify specific options and livery specified by customers was started with the 707, and has been maintained through all Boeing's models. In essence the same system as used on the earlier Boeing 377, the code consisted of two digits affixed to the model number to identify the specific aircraft version. For example, Pan American World Airways was assigned code "21". Thus, a 707-320B sold to Pan Am had the model number 707-321B. The number remained constant as further aircraft were purchased; thus, when Pan American purchased the 747-100, it had the model number 747-121.

In the 1980s, the USAF acquired around 250 used 707s to provide replacement turbofan engines for the KC-135E Stratotanker program.[35]

The 707 is no longer operated by major airlines. A total of 10 aircraft were in commercial service with Saha Airlines (three), Hewa Bora Airways (two), and operators with one aircraft as of July 2013.[36] American actor John Travolta owns an ex-Qantas 707-138B, registration N707JT; he is also qualified to fly it as second in command.[37][38] Meraj Airlines has two Boeing 707s in their fleet as VIP aircraft.

Orders and deliveries


 Total   1994   1993   1992   1991   1990   1989   1988   1987   1986   1985   1984   1983   1982   1981   1980   1979   1978   1977   1976 
1010 1 0 5 14 4 5 0 9 4 3 8 8 8 2 3 6 13 8 9
 1975   1974   1973   1972   1971   1970   1969   1968   1967   1966   1965   1964   1963   1962   1961   1960   1959   1958   1957   1956 
7 21 11 4 10 19 59 111 118 83 61 38 34 68 80 91 77 8 0 0

707 Model summary

Model SeriesOrdersDeliveries
707-120 5656
707-120B 7272
707-138 77
707-138B 66
707-220 55
707-320 6969
707-320B 174174
707-320C 337337
707-420 3737
707-E3A 6161
707-E3D 77
707-E6A 1717
707-KE3 88
720-000 6565
720-000B 8989
707 Total 10101010


Accidents and incidents

As of September 2015, the 707 has been in a total of 246 major aviation occurrences and, 172 hull-loss occurrences[40] with 3,022 fatalities.[41]

Aircraft on display

Ex-Qantas Boeing 707-138B VH-XBA undergoing taxi tests at Sydney International Airport prior to its delivery to the Qantas Founders Outback Museum
Retired South African Air Force Boeing 707-328C at the South African Air Force Museum, Pretoria
For military variants of the Boeing 707 on display, see Boeing C-137 Stratoliner, Boeing E-3 Sentry, Boeing E-6 Mercury, and Northrop Grumman E-8 Joint STARS.


707-120 707-120B 707-320 707-320B
Cockpit crew Three (four with navigator on overwater flights)
Passengers 189 (maximum)[56] (110 typical when new) 147 (2-class)
219 (maximum)
Length 144 ft 6 in (44.04 m) 145 ft 1 in (44.22 m) 152 ft 11 in (46.61 m) 152 ft 11 in (46.61 m)
Wingspan 130 ft 10 in (39.90 m) 142 ft 5 in (43.41 m) 145 ft 9 in (44.42 m)
Tail height 38 ft 8 in (11.79 m) 42 ft 5 in (12.93 m)
Maximum takeoff weight
247,000 lb (112 037 kg) 257,000 lb (116,570 kg) 315,000 lb (142 881 kg) 333,600 lb (151,320 kg)
Empty weight 109,700 lb (49 760 kg) 122,533 lb (55,580 kg) 120,000 lb (54 432 kg) 146,400 lb (66,406 kg)
Runway needed at MTOW 10,200 ft (3,109 m) 9,000 ft (2,900 m) 11,000 ft (3,353 m) 10,840 ft (3,280 m)
Fuel capacity 13,478 US gal (51,020 L)
710 US gal (2,700 L) water
17,330 US gal (65,600 L) 21,200 US gal (80,000 L)
(no water)
23,855 US gal (90,300 L)
Landing run 6,000 ft (1,829 m) 6,200 ft (1,890 m) 6,450 ft (1,966 m) 5,950 ft (1,814 m)
(with maximum payload)
2,300 nmi (4,300 km)2,800 nmi (5200 km) 3,875 nmi (7,176 km) 3,735 nmi (6,920 km)
Range at MTOW
(with maximum fuel)
3,750 nmi (6,940 km)4,700 nmi (8,704 km) 4,920 nmi (9,110 km) 5,750 nmi (10,650 km)
Speed 495 kn (917 km/h; 570 mph) at 28,000 ft (8,500 m) and 180,000 lb (82,000 kg) 526 kn (974 km/h; 605 mph) at 25,000 ft (7,600 m) and 210,000 lb (95,000 kg) 520 kn (960 km/h; 600 mph) at 23,000 ft (7,000 m) and 260,000 lb (120,000 kg) 480 kn (890 km/h; 550 mph)
Fuselage width 12 ft 4 in (3.76 m)
Powerplants (4 x) Pratt & Whitney JT3C-6
11,200 lbf (50 kN) dry
13,000 lbf (58 kN) water injection
Pratt & Whitney JT3D-1
17,000 lbf (76 kN)
Pratt & Whitney JT4A-3
15,800 lbf (70 kN) dry only
PW JT3D-3:
18,000 lbf (80 kN)
PW JT3D-7:
19,000 lbf (84.4 kN)

Sources:[30][57][58] [59]

Notable appearances in media

The 707 is mentioned in the songs "Boeing Boeing 707", written and performed by Roger Miller, "Jet Airliner", written by Paul Pena and performed by the Steve Miller Band, and "Early Morning Rain", written by Gordon Lightfoot and popularized by artists such as Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, and Peter, Paul and Mary.

The aircraft has had major roles in the Airport and Airplane films, and has been alluded to in both television and theatrical movies. In 2011, the American television series Pan Am took place in the early and mid-1960s and featured interior sets and exterior CGI representations of the 707 on the ground and in flight; it was Pan Am's frontline airliner during that time. Additional footage of John Travolta's Boeing 707 in Pan Am livery has also been used in the TV series.[60]

The episode "The Odyssey of Flight 33" of television series The Twilight Zone takes place on a Boeing 707 with the aircraft traveling through various periods of history.

See also

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists



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  3. 1 2 Bowers 1989, p. 434
  4. Best source for range is, which shows 2800 nm for a 707-120B with maximum payload and 5750 nm for a −320B with zero payload. It does not include a graph for the −120, for which range would be 2500 nm or less with full payload.
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  20. Bowers 1989, p. 433
  21. "Pan Am's First Passenger Jet to Europe (1958)". Ghosts of DC. Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  22. "Jets Across the U.S." Time, November 17, 1958. Retrieved December 27, 2009.
  23. Finlan, Alastair. The Royal Navy in the Falklands Conflict and the Gulf War: Culture and Strategy (British Politics and Society). London: Rutelage, 2004. ISBN 978-0-7146-8569-4.
  24. "Farewell Flight." Time, November 14, 1983. Retrieved December 27, 2009.
  25. "Iranian airline SAHA halts operation due to outdated fleet". Retrieved April 1, 2015.
  26. Federal Aviation Administration issued Supplemental Type Certificate SA2699NM to SHANNON engineering March 6, 1985.
  27. "Boeing 707." Goleta Air & Space Museum. Retrieved December 27, 2009.
  28. PA, AA, TW and CO 707-120s started with 109–112 "revenue" seats and maybe a few lounge seats.
  29. Pither 1998, p. 22
  30. 1 2 "707 Airplane Characteristics: Airport Planning." Archived September 11, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. The Boeing Company, May 2001. Retrieved October 12, 2012.
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  33. 1 2 Haenggi, Michael (2003). Boeing Widebodies. Saint Paul, Minnesota: Zenith Press. pp. 15 and 17. ISBN 0-7603-0842-X.
  34. "Boeing 707-820: First details of the longer, faster, heavier and more" (Press release). Flight International. June 3, 1965. Retrieved December 12, 2012.
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  36. "World Airliner Census". Flightglobal Insight, August 16–22, 2013.
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  40. "Boeing 707 Accident summary.", February 9, 2014. Retrieved October 11, 2015.
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  42. "VH-XBA". Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  43. "4X-BYD". Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  44. "4X-JYW". Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  45. "National Museum of Flight Aircraft". Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  46. "D-ABOB". Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  47. "Boeing 707, Front Section". Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  48. "N130KR". Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  49. "CC-CCG". Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  50. "F-BLCD". Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  51. "EP-IRJ". Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  52. "707th Boeing 707-338 Cockpit lands at HARS". Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  53. "1419". Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  54. "N893PA". Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  55. "HZ-HM2". Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  56. FAA Type Certificate Data Sheet$FILE/4a21.PDF
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  60. "'Pan Am' Will Take Off in John Travolta's Boeing 707 This Week". Jaunted. Retrieved 2011-11-29.


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