Back from vacation! Sheldon Adelson’s chariot for high rollers! At Boston Logan for just an hour (notice this speed demon uses the entire runway to land!), I did not recognize this plane and one of my wonderful – and expert aviation friends gave me the low down! Thanks Phil and here it is, for those of you, like me who are still learning:

SP Stands for “Special Performance” with a shortened fuselage, lower weight, therefore lower fuel consumption and greater range. 50 were built between 1976 and 1982 (approximately) with Pan Am, South African, and QANTAS being among the main customers for their long-haul routes. Other operators included American, TWA, United, Braniff, Aerolineas Argentinas, Air Namibia, Air Malawi (just one flight) and probably a couple of dozen other carriers large and small.


  1. Everyone has dreams but it takes balls, seriousness, competence and sincere effort to make it a reality. Hats off to Sheldon Adelson.

  2. Saw this same plan (or one with the exact same livery) in Hong Kong a couple years back. I wondered where it was from, and some of the spotters around me told me it was owned by a casino. Cool to see it live!

  3. This is a really cool jet. I see it a lot at LAX. It definitely has you do a double take because it is so much shorter than a regular 747. This baby takes a lot of high roller billionaires back and forth from Vegas to Asia. I wouldn't mind riding in this baby across the pacific. I'm sure its very luxurious inside.

  4. +Matthew Chan It was originally developed for South African Airways who during the 70's and 80's were barred from entering most African countries' airspace. This meant all flights from SA to Europe had to fly just off the west coast of Africa and around the "bulge". This resulted in an additional 3-4 hours flying time. The first possibility to refuel was then Lisbon. In order to survive the 15 hour flight, Boeing developed a plane that was reasonably smaller and lighter (with the same amount of fuel reserve as a normal 747) that would consume less fuel. When the political system changed in SA. they sold their 747sp fleet – flogged off mainly to Iran.

  5. Oh how cool Capt.! Several of the spotters from our local aviation group actually went to Hanscom to see it and got a few nice pictures of the plane while it was there!!! 🙂

  6. You nailed that video especially the takeoff! Landing lights shining bright and then the silhouette on climbout. Great work and thanks for posting!

  7. WOW!!Super catch!!You don't see them everyday!!I loved the SP in backlight!! 😛 Wonderful video!!Cheers from Barcelona!

  8. To compare any AirBUST to a Boeing is an unsult – let alone the mniserable and lowly A318. You should apologize for that comment to the Boeing family and the venerable 747SP.
    If it aint a Boeing, I aint going…

  9. You guys are right. It is Las Vegas Sands' plane. In other words Sheldon Adelson. It takes him around the world picking up friends, family and suckers to gamble at his casinos.

  10. I love the 747sp…spent 12 amazing hours on one from detroit to tokyo on the way to bangkok back in the late 90s…they're sort of like the a318 of the 747 family

  11. I agree, mine too! I love it when one of these planes come into Boston – and as you said, a really unique and beautiful aircraft! Wish there were more of them out there!

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