My first time on a 747SP

Flight report from my first time flying the 747SP

It was back in the autumn of 1997 when my girlfriend at the time and I started planning for a trip to Australia. She was in love with Australia and I loved a holiday.

This was way back before you could plan and buy your airline tickets online so we did our planning at home before going to the travel agency to book our tickets.

It’s a long flight going from Sweden to Melbourne in Australia so we planned for a stop in Hong Kong. Cool to see Hong Kong, plus it would ease up the jetlag a bit…
But most importantly it would give me some time to go plane spotting at Kai Tak!

I think I drove the girl in the travel agency crazy when I asked again and again to find a flight from HKG to MEL on a 747SP. I knew Qantas operated that leg with the 747SP sometimes. When our flight itenary finally looked good we were booked on 1998-02-27:
SK437 GOT-CPH on SAS DC-9-41 LN-RLN then equipment change to
SK991 CPH-HKG on SAS B767-3 SE-DOC.

Time passed and we prepared our trip and I looked forward to finally getting to fly the lovely 747SP! We flew to Hong Kong and were treated with the famous checkerboard approach into runway 13. I had a fantastic view in my seat 30H looking straight into the buildings as we turned final in front of the checkerboard.

We had a fantastic stay in Hong Kong and did most tourist things as well as some time well spent on the parking lot of the airport terminal as well as the high rise offering the beautiful and classic view of the checkerboard approach and touchdown.
I was like a kid in a candy store! But it would get even better as we had the 747SP flight still ahead of us.

So came the day for the flight to Melbourne. Finally!
Our flight was early out of Hong Kong on the 2:nd March 1998 and it was dark as we were bussed out to the good looking Qantas 747SP parked on the apron. I missed the landing so I only first saw it when we came close with the bus. I stepped outside and noted the registration. VH-EAB c/n: 22672 City of Traralgon. What a beauty!

When we checked in I asked for a window seat and my girlfriend who very well knew my passion for aviation never argued who’d be in that seat..
I looked at my boarding card; QF88 HKG-MEL Economy Seat: 40A. Lovely…. Already imagining all the photos I would take during this flight south to Australia. I hoped it would give me a nice view of the engines and not be too far back in the plane, meaning the wing would block all view of the landscape below…

I was so excited and thrilled that I even forgot to take a photo of the airplane as we stepped out of the bus. I always do that…. duh!

We boarded the plane and started walking down the aisle to find our seats.. 30…35….40! Here it is. And my jaw dropped…. What ? This can’t be true….

IT turns out my window seat has no window!

Seriously?! You wouldn’t be ably to make this s*** up. I’ve waited my whole life for a flight on the 747SP and when i finally do…. it has no window!

Seat 40A with my girlfriend at the time by the “window”

I looked around and the aircraft was filling up good, not many empty seats around us. The flight was going to be quite full… Too bad as we could have switched seats…

Oh well, extremely disappointed but still on a 747SP we took off from Kai Tak on runway 13 and routed to MEL.

Route of QF88 HKG-MEL (not exact)

As we reached our cruising altitude I walked around a bit to find a view of the R&R engines. The sun started to rise as we flew south-east towards Australia.

Starboard wing with it’s 2 Rolls Royce engines

I managed to talk my way into the cockpit and had a chat with the cockpit crew of QF88.

Captain of QF88 VH-EAB 747SP Qantas
First Officer of QF88 VH-EAB 747SP Qantas

Unfortunately we are almost at the top of descent point so we didn’t have much time to chat. They started their approach briefing and I was allowed to stay in the cockpit.

Approach briefing for MEL – Melbourne International

After the approach briefing we started our descent from FL410 which was our final cruising altitude. I made my way downstairs again to my seat.

Spiral stair onboard VH-EAB 747SP Qantas

We landed safely in Melbourne and I must have been pretty excited after all because I didn’t even take a photo of the aircraft as we left her at the gate….

If I had done this flight today I would have looked up a seating chart for Qantas 747SP and learned where these fake windows are to avoid a disaster like this but back in 1998 it wasn’t as easy…

Found this photo to show you my “window”

VH-EAB 747SP Qantas. Photo: Aero Icarus at SYD Click the photo to see the original photo.

After all I flew on a 747SP and got a cockpit visit! And a new reg in my logbook.

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Tommy Mogren
Tommy Mogren
Passion 4 Aviation and the 747SP in particular. Photographer and video producer. YouTube | Viking Wings

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