The 747-400 has been around for so long now and has sold so well that it is by far the dominant version of the jet in service. However, before the late 80s, there were previous versions of the 747. The 100 series through to the 300 series and the SP. The 400 series is the one you see now but, before the 400 took over, the earlier models were the ones that were everywhere. Since I wasn’t taking a lot of photos in those days, I have a lot less photos of the earlier models but I do have some.
Pan Am operated the 100 Series jets and I saw them at Heathrow in the 80s. 200 Series freighters were built in some numbers and many are still around or were until relatively recently. I think the only 300 Series jet I ever photographed was a Saudia example at Heathrow. These shots are some of the ones I have come across in my time. With the 400 Series jets now starting to disappear, it is no surprise that these earlier jets are mainly a thing of the past.
Summer of 88 meant I had probably the coolest job someone like me could ever have. My summer break was spent working for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in the UK. I was involved in noise measuring work around airports in London and the vicinity. I spent a few days inside the fence at Heathrow recording all sorts of things taking off.
I did get some photos while there when it didn’t interfere with making recordings of sound levels. In those days, Pan Am 747s were a regular at Heathrow and here are a couple of their planes heading back across the water. They also had 727s at Heathrow supporting routes to Germany. That was a hangover from the post war split of responsibilities and probably seems anachronistic now.