New roles for classic airliners – heritage livery for others

Two of three former Spanish Air & Space Force (SpASF) Boeing 707s are set to be preserved, while in the US an airworthy Douglas DC-8 has been given a new role

Work to disassemble the Boeings, currently in open storage at Madrid’s Getafe air base, is already under way. Boeing 707-368C 21367 (formerly HZ-ACJ with Saudi Arabian Airlines) and registered with SpASF as T.17-3/47-03, flew missions with 47 Grupo Mixto from Torrejón air base. After 25 years of service it was ferried to Getafe for storage, but last year was allocated to the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos to serve as a test airframe for aerospace engineering students.

Boeing 707-368C 47-03 is one of two to survive the scrapman’s axe
Boeing 707-368C 47-03 is one of two to survive the scrapman’s axe Roberto Yáñez

The second aircraft, 707-351C 19164 (once SX-DBO with Olympic Airways and N366US with Northwest Orient Airlines) also flew with 47 Grupo Mixto, as TM.17-4/47-04. It served from March 1996 as a communications, optical and electronic information gathering platform, until retired on July 17, 2014. It is destined for static display at the Museo del Aire at Cuatro Vientos, also near Madrid.

707-351C 19164 is destined for static display in Spain
707-351C 19164 is destined for static display in Spain Roberto Yáñez

Meanwhile in the US, NASA’s Douglas DC-8-72, N817NA, has been given a new task at Boeing’s Paine Field, Washington base. The 1969-built airliner will take airborne emission samples from a Boeing 737 MAX 10 as part of Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator programme. The 737 will use reduced emission Sustainable Aviation Fuel in one wing, and standard aviation fuel in the other. The DC-8 will fly in close proximity in order to obtain airborne samples.

NASA’s DC-8 at Paine Field in October
NASA’s DC-8 at Paine Field in October Joe G Walker

In a tip of the hat to its history, American Airlines (AA) has recently applied retro schemes to part of its Airbus A321 fleet. It had previously painted some of its A319s in the ‘heritage’ liveries. The airliners salute carriers such as Allegheny and Piedmont, both of which were eventually inaugurated into AA. With thanks to Roberto Yáñez and Joe G Walker

Airbus A321 N581UW wearing AA/Piedmont colours departs Seattle on October 12
Airbus A321 N581UW wearing AA/Piedmont colours departs Seattle on October 12 Joe G Walker