Photo: Low-flying jetliner cruises the Coastside

By on Tue, November 20, 2007

Don Baldwin
Renovated vintage 747 Pan Am "Clipper America" flying low over the Coastside

I was pleased to read that I was not the only person to see a low-flying 747 in the area yesterday.  Here’s the photo I took of it as it flew over Mavericks.  I am experiencing photographer’s lament, of course: if only I had been able to capture a landmark in the photo!

After first being startled that such a large passenger jet emerged from behind the lands-end cliff at Pillar Point and into my field of vision, I imagined—in a few nanoseconds—some possible explanations for this anomaly: 1). passenger jet in distress—but no visible signs of flight instability; 2). Air Force One—but no known disaster photo-opportunity and, besides, I’ve seen the real Air Force One and this isn’t it; 3). California One—maybe Arnold and Dianne have borrowed a squat version 747 from their corporate buddies and are circling the Bay Area continuously to monitor the oil spill cleanup, ever vigilant; 4). another Silicon Valley company has outfitted a 747 for business trips and has special permission to fly the scenic approach to Moffett Field.

Then I finally snapped the photo.  Thanks to your readers for publishing the explanation that the renovated vintage 747 Pan Am "Clipper America" was flying about.  Without image enhancement software, however, I cannot quite decipher the tail markings.  It does not look like Pan Am to me; I’m inclined to believe that Arnold and Dianne do, indeed, have their secret California One 747 and are being very vigilant on our behalf.

Don Baldwin