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An aircraft that changed the world

The Boeing 707 and its iconic vertical stabilizer

The late 1950s marked the beginning of the jet era in air traffic. The Boeing 707, in service from 1958, was the most popular jet airliner with 1010 built, shrinking the world. D-ABOD (manufacturer serial number 11720/115) had 16 First and 132 Economy class seats installed, boasting a range of about 8000 km plying regular routes from Frankfurt to Tokyo, São Paulo or San Francisco. Its trademark was the iconic empennage, in this version the 707 flew with four Rolls-Royce Conway engines. After ending its active service with Lufthansa, it took off one last time in 1976 and was stored at Hamburg Airport afterwards. There it was repeatedly used as film set for movies such as “Twilight’s Last Gleaming” (1977, painted as “Air Force One”, starring Burt Lancaster) or “Bend it like Beckham” (2002, starring Keira Knightley). In 2021, D-ABOD was dismantled and Recaro secured the vertical stabilizer.

The Boeing 707

  • was not the first jet airliner in scheduled service, but the most important
  • was the most widespread jet airliner in the 1960s
  • is seen as pioneer of the jet age


July 15, 1954 – First flight of prototype Boeing 367-80 (to be renamed 707)

December 20, 1957 – First flight of first production aircraft Boeing 707-120

October 26, 1958 – Pan American premieres Boeing 707 scheduled service

April 24, 1960 – Lufthansa puts D-ABOD into service as its third 707

December 1, 1975 – D-ABOD is retired after 59,024 flight hours

June 15, 2021 – The stabilizer is detached and brought to Schwäbisch Hall

Author: Andreas Spaeth
Sources: Archiv Deutsche Lufthansa, Deutsches Technikmuseum, Archiv Andreas Spaeth