025 – JFK, 1970-1981. Runway 13L – Part 2

As I discussed in Part 1, my favorite spot in the world for many years was the approach end of Runway 13L. By the mid 1970s, I was finally using color slide film, and a zoom lens. Both helped me to take better photos. It never really occurred to me that I was capturing history.


Scandinavian Airlines System was well-represented at JFK by both its DC-8-63 (OY-KT, DC‑8‑63, SAS), and 747 (OY-KHA, B.747‑283B)


Montana Austria was a frequent visitor to JFK using an ex-QANTAS Boeing 707

OE-INA, B.707‑138B,


KLM used its DC-8-63 into JFK well into the 1980s

PH-DEH, DC‑8‑63, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines


LOT Polish Airlines flew IL-62Ms into JFK until 1980, when SP-LAA crashed near Warsaw in March 1980 after suffering an engine explosion.

SP-LAA, Il‑62M, taken just a few months before it crashed near Warsaw, forcing LOT to ground its remaining IL-62Ms


I still remember my surprise as I was sitting in my favorite spot by 13L, I looked out at the approach path and, wow, that looks like a TU-154. Who in the world was flying TU-154s into JFK??

YR-TPJ, Tu‑154B‑2, Guyana Airways


Trans International Airlines was a well-known supplemental carrier for both cargo and passenger service.

N4864T, DC‑8‑63CF


Trans International was renamed Transamerica Airlines, and the DC-8s were re-engined with CFM-56s. The airline’s missions remained the same.

N4869T, DC‑8‑73CF


It’s funny/sad to look back nearly 40 years ago and think that I regarded all those Boeing 707s as boring. I really had no concept of the history that my lens was capturing.

N8409, B.707‑323C, American Airlines


I was much more intrigued by the shiny new 747s, that boasted piano bars and lounges…for a short while, anyway. Before long, the bean-counters realized that those lounges could be replaced by 30-40 more seats worth of revenue. It is also interesting to consider the domestic routes on which 747s were used, routes that are now served by twice as many aircraft holding half as many seats.

N9669, B.747‑123, American Airlines


United Airlines had a large fleet of DC-8-61s, which were used on high-density routes, as well as the longer-range flights.

N8077U, DC‑8‑61, United Air Lines


Formerly Aeronaves de Mexico DC-8-50, Aeromexico kept its DC-8s in service into the 1980s

XA-DOD, DC‑8‑51, AeroMéxico


From the time that the Concorde was first designed, I would dream of the day that I would be able to snap a photo of one landing by “My Spot”. It was worth the wait!

G-BOAF, Concorde 102, British Airways


Seaboard World Airlines was one of the largest cargo carriers at Kennedy, and enjoyed a long and colorful history. The company’s 747s were among the more colorful 747s at JFK

N705SW, B.747‑245F(SCD) , Seaboard World


Evergreen International flew several DC-8s under the banner of Emery Air Force.

N8246U, DC‑8‑33(F)


After “my spot” at the end of 13L, my next favorite photo spot was the top of the old Pan Am terminal. This was back in the good old days, when you could spend all day up there and nobody would bother you at all. True, you were looking into the sun for most of the days, but you still had a commanding view of Runway 13R/31L, the international ramp, and the taxiways coming around the corner of the Eastern Air Lines terminal.

Here is an Air Jamaica DC-8-50 rotating off Runway 31L.

6Y-JGE, DC‑8‑51, Air Jamaica


BWIA eventually replaced its 707s to JFK with Tristar 500s

9Y-TGJ, L.1011‑500


Hybrid color schemes are always interesting. Here is a Convair 580 belonging to Great Lakes Airlines of Canada, on lease to Air New England.

C-GJRP, CV‑580


Iberia Airlines was one of the original operators of the Boeing 747. It was easily photographable as it approached the International Arrivals Building.

EC-BRP, B.747‑156, Iberia


Swissair was another early operator of the 747, and they stayed in the fleet long enough to wear a revised color scheme.

HB-IGB, B.747‑257B, Swissair


Global International Airlines was one of dozens of “Deregulation Airlines” that sprung up as the legacy airlines shed their older aircraft types. GIA, which was rumored to be tied to the Central Intelligence Agency

N15713, B.707‑331C, Global International Airways


There were no two ways about it. The 747SP was NOT an aesthetically pleasing airliner!

N540PA, B.747SP‑21, Pan Am


Flying Tigers DC-8-63 lifts off of Runway 31L

N795FT, DC‑8‑63CF, Flying Tigers


Air Atlanta began operations with a handful of ex-United 727-100s.

N7083U, B.727‑22, Air Atlanta


As late as the early 1980s, American Airlines was still operating their Boeing 707-100s.

N7554A, B.707‑123B, American Airlines


It’s nice to reminisce looking at a Delta DC-8-50, but this is not any ordinary Delta DC-8-50. N8008D is, in fact, the first production DC-8, which was originally delivered to Delta as a DC-8-11 and later converted to a -51

N8008D, DC‑8‑51, Delta Airlines


In the early jet airliner days, several major airlines, including United Air Lines, operated a fleet of pure-cargo DC-8F-54s

N8053U, DC‑8F‑54, United Air Lines


American Airlines was another US carrier to operate a fleet of all-cargo aircraft. In this case, they were 707 Freighters.

N8417, B.707‑323C, American Airlines


Montana Austria eventually added a small fleet of 707-300s to its -138Bs.

OE-IDA, B.707‑396C, Montana Austria


If you look very closely at XA-DOE, you will see that it is the former N8008D, the prototype DC-8. When Delta was ready to retire it, Aeromexico bought it and used it on North American routes for several years. It was finally retired to Marana, where it was eventually scrapped.

XA-DOE, DC‑8‑51, AeroMéxico


I still enjoy going to JFK, and there are still some good spots for photography. Unfortunately, New York tends to be a bit of a hostile environment toward airplane photographers, and most of the old spots are long gone. I’m glad I was able to experience and enjoy Kennedy Airport back in the good old days, before 9/11, before hijackings to Cuba, and before airplane photography was viewed as a dangerous hobby.


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