Astrojet 1963

American Airlines 707-323C

From the Cargo Facts Archives!

It’s late October, 1963, and AA Freighter N7555A (id: 18689) is getting the press-photo treatment with Mount Rainier in the background (the location is probably somewhere just west of SeaTac Airport). At the time, it’s just five years since the 707 entered service with Pan-Am and even less since volume production began in earnest.

This particular example is a 707-320C, the most widely produced variant of the original Boeing Jetliner. Though many were built as Combis, relatively few were built as pure freighters – hence the windows, which are blanked out in this frame but still present.

It was delivered to AA on November 19th, 1963 – painted in the then-current “Astrojet” scheme seen here and named “Astro Jet Dallas-Fort Worth.” Which, I have to say, is a little spooky given the associations most people have with Dallas and November, 1963.

It served AA loyally until 1976, by which time it had gotten the red, white, & blue over polished aluminum scheme so familiar to us today.

It was then leased, and ultimately sold, to Tradewinds in the UK (in 1978). It went to Santa Lucia Airways from 1982 to 1987, and to Luxembourg-based SkyAir Cargo from 1988 to 1999 – although SkyAir Cargo did lease it out on occasion. It was parked at Sharjah in 2000 and most likely broken up there sometime between 2002 and 2004.

Curiously, there seems to be a second 707 in this photo, nearer to the mountain and presumably making a left turn towards Boeing Field – I’ve personally seen DC-8’s and the only 707 in the area, an E-3 Sentry that lives on the BFI Defense/Military ramp, make this turn. No information on who took the picture, but this was almost certainly a Boeing or AA PR photo.

Scanned (and retouched to clean it up) from an old print. Click on the photo (or the full-size button) to see it at full size.

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