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Watch: Super Smoky Classic Airliner Ops At SFO

The Mid-70s Action Was Shot At The Airport That Starred In “Bullitt” And “Magnum Force.”

Photo courtesy United Airlines

Here’s some classic commercial airliner action shot at San Francisco International Airport (KSFO) in 1973! Shot by Ken Butz, this footage of departures from runway 1R and approaches on runway 28L was originally silent but the uploader of the transfer, Classic Airliners & Vintage Pop Culture, added sound. The film features Western Airlines (WA) and Trans World Airlines (TWA) Boeing 707s, United Airlines (UAL) and Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) Boeing 727s, WA and PSA Boeing 737s, Pan American (PanAm), American Airlines (AA) and Northwest Orient Boeing 747s, Delta and UAL Douglas DC-8s, AA and UAL McDonnell Douglas DC-10s, and even a Hughes Airwest Fokker F-27A Friendship.

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Photo courtesy Boeing

SFO grew over the years into a top 10 domestic airport

KSFO opened for business during the 1930s on the western side of the San Francisco peninsula near San Bruno. United Airlines was one of the original and still most frequent carriers at the airport. Pan Am began flying five weekly flights to Honolulu from SFO soon after the end of World War II. Like all major airports, SFO has been expanded, modernized, and improved many times in order to accommodate the latest airline equipment and routes. SFO also starred in the 1968 Warner Brothers drama “Bullitt” starring Steve McQueen and 1973’s Malpaso/Warner Brothers film “Magnum Force” starring Clint Eastwood as “Dirty Harry.” Airlines from Aer Lingus to XL Airways France flew into and out of SFO more than 450,000 times in 2016.

Photo courtesy Northwest Orient on Twitter

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Written by Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.