Boeing Jetliner Prototypes and Testbeds
Boeing's 367-80 is the first of all Boeing jetliners. It is not a 707. It is a jet-powered development of the model 367 Stratofreighter (C-97). It carries construction number 17158. It has always been registered as N70700. It first flew on July 15, 1954. After serving as a testbed for a multitude of projects, it was retired to the Military Aircraft Storage and Disposition Center (MASDC) at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona in 1969.
367-80 Stratoliner Prototype, N70700 in storage at MASDC on November 12, 1973.
The 367-80 flew from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base to Boeing Field, Seattle, Washington on January 27, 1990. It was restored by Boeing staff and placed into storage until it was delivered to the National Air and Space Museum. It made its final flight on August 27, 2003.
The first two prototypes for the 707-based Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) were modified 707-353Cs designated EC-137D. They differed from the E-3 Sentry in having the full complement of passenger windows and bare metal fuselages.
The second EC-137D, 71-1408 at Boeing Field in Seattle on June 18, 1973.
EC-137D, 71-1408 carries Boeing construction number 20519. It was held by Boeing for tests before it was converted to E-3A standard. It was delivered to the Air Force as an E-3A on December 15, 1978. It was later converted to E-3B standard.
The number one 747 first flew as N7470 on February 9, 1969. It carries construction number 20235. On July 1, 1970 it was registered as N1352B.
747 Jumbo Jet prototype, N1352B at Boeing Field, Seattle, Washington on June 18, 1973. It was equipped with General Electric CF-6 engines to investigate the option of offering customers an alternative to the Pratt & Whitney JT-9D engine. Operators of CF-6 powered DC-10s wanted to reduce the variety of different engine types that they had to maintain.
The 747 prototype was re-registered as N7470 on April 16, 1975.
747 Jumbo Jet prototype, N7470 at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards Air Force Base, California on October 28, 1979.
At the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center with NB-52B Stratofortress, 52-0008 on October 28, 1979.
The number one 747 was initially withdrawn from use on October 5, 1983. It returned to service to test the Pratt & Whitney PW 4084 engine on November 11, 1993. It is now displayed at the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field in Seattle.
For a number of years, General Electric used a former Pan Am 707-321 to test the CFM International (a GE/SNECMA collaboration) CFM56 engine at the Mojave Airport. SNECMA brought the fan design and Low pressure turbine, while GE contributed the High Pressure Compressor, Combustor, and High Pressure Turbine.
General Electric's CFM56 Testbed carries construction number 17608. It first flew on April 15, 1960. It was delivered to Pan Am as N730PA on April 28, 1960. Donaldson Airlines registered it aS G-AYXR on May 5, 1971 and converted it to a 707-321F. Donaldson went belly up, so Pan Am repossessed the 707 on August 9, 1974. British Midland bought it on September 3, 1975. Over the next five years British Midland leased it to Syrian Arab, Tunis Air, Kuwait Airways, Kenya Airways, and Pakistan International Airways. International Air Leases registered it as N37681 on November 11, 1980 and continued to lease it to Pakistan International Airways.
707-321, N37681 in the colors of Batch Air at the Mojave Airport on July 3, 1982. It is equipped with Pratt & Whitney JT3C straight turbojets.
General Electric leased it on February 25, 1983 and mounted a CFM56 engine on the number-2 pylon.
707-321, N37681 in the colors of Batch Air at the Mojave Airport on May 9, 1985.
707-321, N37681 has a CFM56 engine mounted on the number-2 pylon at the Mojave Airport on May 9, 1985.
General Electric bought 707-321, N37681 in December 1986.
707-321 General Electric CFM56 Engine Testbed, N37681 at the Mojave Airport on October 2, 1988.
At the Mojave Airport on October 2, 1988. Note that the 727-63 General Electric UDF Testbed in the background has had the unducted fan engine removed.
At the Mojave Airport on August 13, 1989. The CFM56 engine is hidden inside the work shack. The 727-63 General Electric UDF Testbed remains parked in the background.
General Electric changed the registration of the CFM56 Engine Testbed to N707GE in June 1990. It was not the first 707 to be registered N707GE. That registration was previously worn by former Pan Am 707-321B, c/n 18840 in 1982-1983.
707-321, N707GE over Castle Butte on October 5, 1990.
N707GE was eventually towed to the storage area on the back side of the Mojave Airport, where it was broken up in 2005.
In 1986, General Electric modified a 727-63 to test an unducted fan (UDF) engine in place of the starboard turbofan engine. The engine powered two counter-rotating fans with eight blades each. They were expected to achieve significant improvements in fuel efficiency and were planned to power a proposed 150-seat airliner dubbed the 7J7. The modified UDF Testbed made its first flight at the Mojave Airport in August 1986. The General Electric security guard was the very first person to hassle me for walking the Mojave Airport flight line.
The Unducted Fan Testbed carried construction numer 19846. It first flew on March 26, 1968. It was delivered to Faucett Airlines on April 9, 1968. Boeing registered it as N32720 on May 18, 1985 and leased it to General Electric in August 1985.
727-63 General Electric UDF Testbed, N32720 at the Mojave Airport on August 9, 1986.
727-63 General Electric UDF Testbed, N32720 at the Mojave Airport on November 9, 1986.
At the Mojave Airport on November 9, 1986.
At the Mojave Airport on November 9, 1986.
General Electric returned the UDF Testbed to Boeing on February 25, 1987. It was parked on the Mojave Airport flightline for four years. In 1991 it was used for the crash scene in the movie Hero. It was painted in the colors of a fictional Midwestern airlines and given the fake registration N88892. The crash scene was filmed near Piru, California.
Link to a picture of the simulated crash site on the airliners.net web site.
Allied Signal modified a 720-051B to test the TFE731-40 turbofan engine. It was the oldest Boeing jet airliner that still flew when it was retired in December 2007.
Allied Signal's TFE731-40 Testbed wears construction number 18384. It first flew on September 15, 1961. TWA leased it as N794TW beginning on August 27, 1961. Northwest leased it as N733US on October 26, 1962 and then bought it on July 1, 1968. Maersk Air registered it as OY-APZ in January 1973 and leased it to Nigeria Airways in December 1974. TEA leased it as OO-TYA on November 6, 1979 and returned it to Maersk on January 19, 1980. Conair acquired it on February 16, 1981. Allied Signal registered it as N720GT on November 24, 1987 and mounted an engine test pylon on the right side of the forward fuselage.
N720H made its last flight on December 29, 2007 and was broken up at Sky Harbor in 2008. It has been replaced with Boeing 757-225 N757HW.
Hughes modified a 720-060B to serve as an Airborne Infrared Measurement System (AIRMS) Testbed.
The 720-060B AIRMS Testbed carried construction number 18977. It first flew on September 1, 1965. It was delivered to Ethiopian Airlines as ET-ABP on September 20, 1965. Ethiopian Airlines leased it to Middle East Airlines from January 1, 1966 to March 31, 1968. On December 7, 1972, it was seized by hijackers at Addis Ababa. A grenade detonated on board during the hijacking. AAR Allen Aircraft registered it as N440DS on January 19, 1988 and stored it at Marana, Arizona.
Hughes Aircraft Corporation acquired it on March 1, 1989 and registered it as N7381 in February 1990. It was flown to the Lockheed facility in Greenville, South carolina where an 8-foot by 6-foot port was installed on the left side of the forward fuselage. Hughes installed the Airborne Infrared Measurement System at the Van Nuys Airport in 1993. The 720 received the name Embraceable Annie.
It was transferred to the Air Force in October 1993. Data acquisition flights were conducted from the Mojave Airport and Edwards Air Force Base. It was returned to Hughes Aircraft on January 17, 1997. At the conclusion of the test program, it was retired to the Mojave Airport.
720-060B Hughes AIRMS Testbed, Embraceable Annie, N7381 at the Mojave Airport on July 27, 1997.
Embraceable Annie at the Mojave Airport on September 10, 2001.
Embraceable Annie at the Mojave Airport on September 10, 2001. She has had her fanjets replaced with straight turbojets.
Embraceable Annie was scrapped on October 17, 2003.
Link to the Mojave Airport page about Embraceable Annie
For a number of years, General Electric has used a former Pan Am 747-121 as an engine testbed.
General Electric's 747-121 Engine Testbed carries construction number 19651 and was the 25th 747 off the production line. It first flew on March 3, 1970. It was delivered to Pan Am as N744PA Clipper Star of the Union on March 21, 1970. It was later rechristened Clipper Ocean Spray. Pan Am retired it on December 4, 1991.
General Electric leased it and registered it as N747GE on March 9, 1992. A variety of engines have been tested on its number-2 pylon, including the GE90-115 and the CF34. It was based at the Mojave Airport for several years before its operations were transferred to the Southern California Air Logistics Center at Victorville in 2002. It is the oldest 747 that is still flown.
The 737-900 Prototype carries construction number 30017. It first flew on August 3, 2000.
737-900 Prototype, N737X at Edwards Air Force Base on November 2, 2000.
At Edwards Air Force Base on November 2, 2000.
At Edwards Air Force Base on November 2, 2000.
At Edwards Air Force Base on November 2, 2000.
The 737-900 Prototype was delivered to Alaska Airlines as N302AS on April 29, 2003.
Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-990, N302AS flight ASA292 to Los Cabos, Mexico departing Los Angeles International Airport on March 2, 2006.
The Air Force operates a modified T-43A (737-200) as a Radar Test Bed (RTB) with radar imaging gear on its nose and tail in radomes that are 9 feet long and over 6.5 feet in diameter.
The RTB is used to make radar images of stealthy aircraft. The images are used to evaluate the effectiveness of their stealth characteristics, to reveal the rate of degradation of the radar deflecting and absorbing components as the aircraft age, and to determine the effectiveness of maintenance and repair methods.
T-43A, 73-1155 carries Boeing construction number 20702. It first flew on July 2, 1974 and was delivered to the Air Force ten days later. It served initially as a navigation trainer. It was retired from that role and delivered to AMARC on September 25, 1997. Identified as TH002, it was sealed with spraylat and sat in the desert sun for over two years. 73-1155 was selected for modification as the Radar Test Bed. It was pulled out of storage at AMARC and delivered to the Ogden Air Logistics Center (OO-ALC) at Hill Air Force Base, Utah for refurbishment on November 19, 1999.
NT-43A Radar Test Bed, 73-1155 making radar images of a Northrop-Grumman B-2 Spirit at an altitude of about 7,000 feet over Death Valley on January 24, 2003.
The 777-200LR Long Range Prototype carries construction number 33781. It first flew on March 8, 2005. The 200LR has the fuselage length of the 777-200 series combined with the longer wing of the 777-300 series. It can fly farther than any other airliner.
777-200LR Long Range Prototype, N60659 glimpsed from a great distance over the Mojave Desert on June 11, 2005.
The 777-200LR Long Range Prototype was delivered to Pakistan International Airlines as AP-BGY in March 2006.
Boeing modified the prototype 767 as an Airborne Surveillance Testbed (AST) for the Army Airborne Optical Adjunct (AOA) Program in the mid-1980s.
The 767-200 AST carries construction number 22233 and is registered as N767BA. It first flew on September 26, 1981.
Two large sensors were mounted in the cupola on the top of the fuselage. The cupola is 86 feet long, 8 feet high and 10 feet wide. Hughes Aircraft Company produced the infra-red sensors and Honeywell produced the on-board data processor.
Boeing 767-200 AST, N767BA at the Southern California Air Logistics Center, Victorville on June 17, 2005. It was once used to monitor ICBM launches and simulated warhead re-entries at Kwajalien Atoll.
N767BA has been stored at Victorville since September 20, 2003.
The Boeing YAL-1A Airborne Laser testbed was recently retired to AMARG following the cancellation of the program. During the early phases of the program, it flew out of Edwards Air Force Base as Boeing Company Flight BOE1.
The Royal Australian Air Force 737-7ES Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) Prototype is the first of six. It carries construction number 33474. It first flew as N378BC on November 15, 2002, and it will serve the RAAF as A30-001.
Wedgetail at the Southern California Air Logistics Center on July 9, 2005.
The prototype 757 has been modified to serve as the testbed of F-22 radar and avionics.
The F-22 Avionics testbed has the nose of an F-22 mounted on its forward fuselage. A sensor wing is mounted above the cockpit. F-22 electronic warfare (EW) and communication, navigation and identification (CNI) sensors are mounted on the sensor wing. A simulated F-22 cockpit is installed in the cabin.
The F-22 Avionics testbed carries construction number 22212. It first flew on February 18, 1982. It first flew after modification on March 11, 1999.
The 737-800 Short Field Prototype carries construction number 34474 and the temporary Boeing Company registration N6067U. It has been flying tests around the American west. On Wednesday, March 15, 2006 it paid a short visit to the Santa Barbara Airport. Flight BOE271 departed from Edwards Air Force Base at 11:04 AM PST and arrived at Santa Barbara at 1:21 PM PST.
737-8EH Short Field Prototype, N6067U on approach to Runway 25 at the Santa Barbara Airport. Note the trailing cone static pressure source streaming from the vertical stabilizer. It is used in the determination of the airspeed of the airplane.
In recent weeks, the 737-8EH Short Field Prototype has visited Portland Oregan, Spokane Washington, Billings Montana, San Diego California, and Edwards Air Force Base.
The 737-8EH Short Field Prototype arrived at Edwards AFB for the first time on February 22.
The 737-8EH Short Field Prototype departed from Santa Barbara at 2:21 PM PST.
After completion of the short field test program, the 737-8EH Short Field Prototype will be delivered to Brazilian airline GOL TA as PR-GTA.
On Wednesday May 31, 2006, the Evergreen International 747-273C Supertanker, N470EV flew from Boise, Idaho to the San Bernardino Airport with a load of 20,000 gallons of water that it dropped in a demonstration of its potential as a firefighter. This was the final demonstration in a tour that took the Supertanker to Sacramento California, the Aberdeen Proving Ground Maryland, Scott Air Force Base Illinois, Tallahassee Florida, and Boise.
NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is a Boeing 747SP modified to carry a 2.5 meter diameter infra-red telescope. It arrived at Edwards Air Force Base early in the afternoon on May 31, 2007. It will conduct infra-red astronomical observations above most of the water vapor in the Earth's atmosphere.
Boeing 747SP-21, N747NA Clipper Lindbergh carries Boeing construction number 21441. It made its first flight on Apriul 25, 1977. It was delivered to Pan Am as N536PA on May 6, 1977. Pan Am named it Clipper Lindbergh. United Airlines bought it on February 13, 1986. United changed its registration to N145UA on November 1, 1986. It made its last revenue flight, and the last scheduled revenue flight of a 747SP in the United States, on October 17, 1994. It was withdrawn from use and parked at Oakland on October 18, 1994. It was ferried to Las Vegas on or before November 1, 1995. NASA bought it on January 1, 1997. It was ferried to San Francisco on February 17, 1997 and repainted with new titles identifying it as SOFIA on February 20. It entered a hangar at Waco, Texas for paint stripping and maintenance on May 1, 1999. The registration N747NA was reserved for it on December 17, 2004. It made its first flight after modification on April 26, 2007. After a series of local flights in the vicinity of Waco, it was ferried to its new home at the Dryden Flight Research Center.
Honeywell operates Boeing 757-225 N757HW as an engine testbed at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. It is powered by a pair of Rolls royce RB211-535E4B37 turbofans. It carries a third jet engine on the right side of the forward fuselage. The construction number of N757HW is 22194. It first flew on February 4, 1983. It was delivered to Eastern Airlines as N504EA on February 28, 1983. It was withdrawn from use at McCarren Airport, Nevada in January 1991. Airtours International Airways registered it as G-JALC on February 1, 1995. Airtours International Airways changed its name to MyTravel Airways on May 1, 2002. Honeywell International Incorporated gave it its current registration on October 4, 2005. It was flown to Pinal Airpark for painting on October 24, 2005. It made its first flight with three engines on December 20, 2008.
Boeing 787s are still infrequent visitors to the Valley of the Sun.
Early production Boeing 747-8s occasionally visit Phoenix-Mesa GAteway Airport. The 747-8 is the largest airplane made in the United States.
The Boeing 787-8 Max Prototype N8704Q visited Phoenix Sky Harbor on September 25, 2016.
You can buy a 2018 calendar featuring my photographs of Boeing Jetliner Prototypes and Testbeds.
A dozen photos of Boeing Jetliner Prototypes and Testbeds. Aircraft pictured include:
367-80 Stratoliner Prototype, N70700, MASDC, November 12, 1973
EC-137D Airborne Warning and Control System Prototype, 71-1408, Boeing Field, Seattle, June 18, 1973
727-63 General Electric Unducted Fan Testbed, N32720, Mojave Airport, November 9, 1986
747-121 General Electric Engine Testbed, N747GE, Kramer Junction, California, August 24, 1999
#1 737-900 Prototype, N737X, Edwards Air Force Base, November 2, 2000
NT-43A Radar Test Bed, 73-1155, Death Valley, January 24, 2003
#1 757-200 F-22 Avionics Testbed, N757A, Air Force Plant 42, Palmdale, California, February 13, 2006
747-273C Evergreen International Supertanker, N470EV, San Bernardino, May 31, 2006
720-051B Honeywell engine testbed N720H, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, December 27, 2007
757-225 Honeywell engine testbed N757HW, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, February 1, 2010
#6 787-8 Prototype N787ZA, Mesa Gateway Airport, Arizona, November 11, 2011
#3 747-8 prototype N50217, Mesa Gateway Airport, Arizona, June 21, 2010
Put a copy of the Boeing Jetliner Prototypes and Testbeds: 2018 Calendar in your Lulu.com shopping cart for $14.95.
You can buy a 2018 calendar featuring my photographs of Giant Airplanes.
A dozen photos of giant airplanes, most of the airplane types with wingspans greater than 195 feet:
Coulson Flying Tankers Martin JRM C-FLYL Hawaii Mars, Lake Elsinore, California, October 27, 2007
Lockheed C-5B Galaxy 87-0039, Travis Air Force Base, August 8, 1998
Boeing 747-123 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft N905NA/Atlantis, Edwards Air Force Base, July 7, 2007
Antonov Polet An-124-100 RA-82080,Mesa Gateway Airport, January 15, 2011
China Airlines Boeing 747-409 B-18210 Dreamliner, Los Angeles International Airport, March 2, 2006
Antonov An-225 Mriya UR82060, Zhukovsky, Russia, September 3, 1993
Evergreen International 747-273C Supertanker, N470EV, San Bernardino, California, May 31, 2006
Boeing Thai 777-3D7 HS-TKD, Los Angeles International Airport, August 20, 2013
Air Tahiti Nui Airbus A340-313E F-OLOV, Los Angeles International Airport, March 2, 2006
China Eastern Airlines Airbus A340-642 B-6052, Los Angeles International Airport, February 28, 2006
British Airways Airbus A380-841 G-XLEE, Los Angeles International Airport, January 19, 2015
Lufthansa Boeing 747-830 D-ABYK, Los Angeles International Airport, January 19, 2015
Put a copy of the Giant Airplanes: 2018 calendar in your Lulu.com shopping cart for $14.95.
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