In the winter of 1983, our lead story involved a swap of planes between Pan-Am and Flying Tigers. Four Pan-Am 747-100SFs went to FT in exchange for three passenger configured 747-200s. Flying Tigers had been operating the pax 747-200s under its passenger/charter subsidiary Metro International Airlines.
The trio of -200 pax planes (all originally built for Singapore Airlines, msn’s: 20712, 20713, and 20888) eventually ended up as freighters, all of them ultimately going to Evergreen International.
The -100SFs, meanwhile, went first to FT and then to FedEx after it bought Flying Tigers. After that they were sold to UPS in 1991, and ultimately consigned to the desert – though some were still flying as late as 2007.
The plane pictured, however, is not one of these planes. This is N535PA, a 747-200C (msn: 20651), the Convertible model which came with nose loading access (but on which the side loading door was optional!). 20651 was built for World Airways in 1974 but was leased to Pan Am Cargo from October of that year until December, 1979. After it was returned to World, it was leased to more than a half dozen other operators before ending up with Evergreen.
Pan-Am had operated main-deck jet freighters since the mid-1960’s (previously using 707-320Cs). At the time, Pan-Am said it would focus primarily on belly cargo. Flying Tigers used the freighters to increase frequencies between JFK and Brussels and to points in South America.
Pan-Am Cargo was becoming a thing of the past, but on page 3, just below the article about the swap, was a very new thing – an Airbus A300B4 convertible freighter in Hapag-Lloyd livery.