Australian people are very cognizant of aviation, because it is really the only way to get out of the country. That’s why the news of the first Boeing 747 to land in Sydney caused quite a stir back in 1970.

The jumbo jet changed air travel, especially in a country as far from everywhere as Australia. Eventually it would allow non-stop services across the Pacific Ocean to the USA and one stop services into Europe in its Boeing 747-400 variant.

First Boeing 747 to Land In Sydney

A full 10,000 people went to Mascot airport to see Boeing’s new widebody, but unfortunately they had to wait. The original aircraft planned to operate the flight had hydraulic issues so Clipper Kit Carson was pressed in as a substitute.

The flight arrived on Monday, 5 October 1970 from Los Angeles, Honolulu and Nadi at 6:34pm, a full nine and a half hours late. It was carrying 312 passengers and 23 crew. Newspaper reports at the time point out 18 of those 23 crew were stewardesses!

Noise monitoring was conducted as the plane landed and it was found the Boeing 747 was substantially quieter than the Boeing 707. Captain D. W. (Bill) Saulsberry, First Office R. A. Steele and Flight Engineer J. F. Shaket were the cockpit crew on the historic flight.

Australia’s local airline Qantas did not put their own Boeing 747s into service until almost a year later on 17 September 1971. The airline ended up loving the plane, being the world’s only all jumbo jet airline between 1979 and 1985.

Overall Thoughts

Looking at the picture, you can see a lot of the people who turned out to see the Boeing 747 land in Sydney. They are all quite close to the action too, which is something you definitely wouldn’t be able to do today. The newspaper articles do mention it was the biggest security turn out to the airport ever, which in the context of the hijackings and so on going on in the world at that time, is perhaps not too surprising.

Gamechanger is a word thrown around these days so much that it’s lost its meaning. For Australia, the Boeing 747 was exactly that, bringing much of world all that much closer than before. That, along with the economics of the aircraft which permitted reduces fares to allow more people to travel, really make this aircraft a very important one for the country.

Did you go out and see the first jumbo jet land in Sydney? Have you ever gone to the airport to see a new plane visit for the first time? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Dick Leonhardt on Flickr.
Sydney 1970 picture by Wolodymir Nelowkin on via Wikimedia Commons.