All values are presented in the unit of the day.
Please refer to the table at the foot of the page for metric conversions.

The following is reproduced verbatim from the Qantas Boeing 707-138B Operations Manual dated 22 April 1968. It should be noted that these specifications do not necessarily apply to VH-XBA in its present configuration.


The model 707-138B principal dimensions are: wing span 130 feet 10 inches, total wing area 2521 square feet, vertical fin height 41 feet 8 inches, body length 128 feet 10 inches. The approximate weight empty is 115,000 pounds with a structural design gross weight (for taxi and takeoff conditions) of 258,000 pounds.

Four Pratt & Whitney JT3D-1 turbofan engines are installed beneath the wing in individual strut mounted pods.

The primary electric system is 3 phase, 400 cycles, 115/200 volt AC. Power is generated by four 30 KVA engine driven generators. A synchronising bus-tie loop makes it possible for any generator to supply power to any load bus, in addition to its own load bus, and any combination of generators can be operated in parallel to share the total power demand. The 28 volt DC power is derived from the AC system through transformer-rectifier (T-R) units.

Interior and exterior lighting are provided for all normal operations, ground servicing and emergency operations.

All fuel is carried in the interspar area of the wing structure. Two outboard reserve tanks and four main tanks are integral with the wing structure. The wing centre section tank is composed of integral sections at the wing root, plus nylon and rubber bladder cells enclosed by wing structure bays. Fuel is supplied directly to each engine from the respective main tank or from the fuel manifold. The fuel manifold can be supplied from any main tank or from the wing centre tank. Main tanks fuel boost pumps supply fuel directly to the corresponding engines and to the fuel manifold through the manifold valves. The centre wing tank boost pumps, when on, will override the main tanks boost pumps and will supply fuel to the fuel manifold.

Fuel flow from one tank to another, except for the reserve tanks, is prevented by check valves. Fuel from the reserve tanks feeds by gravity to the adjacent main tanks. A four point underwing pressure fuelling system is used. Provisions are also made for overwing fuelling through standard filler necks.

Engine mounted turbocomps and engine airbleeds provide high pressure air for pressurising, heating, cooling and ventilating the cabin interior. Fresh outside air is compressed to provide the air supply.

Cabin airconditioning is provided by an air cycle system. Pressurisation is accomplished by controlling the outflow of cabin air through the outflow valves, located along the bottom centreline of the aircraft.

Thermal anti-icing is provided for the wing leading edges, engine nose cowl and engine inlet guide vanes. Electrical anti-icing is used for the windshields.

The hydraulic system consists of a utility system and an auxiliary system designed for a working pressure of 3000 psi. Two engine-driven pumps supply pressure to the utility system and two electrically driven pumps supply pressure to the auxiliary system. An electrically driven pump supplies pressure to the brake system for ground operation.

The landing gear is a retractable tricycle type, hydraulically operated. Each main landing gear is a four wheel truck. The nose gear is a dual wheel hydraulically steerable unit. Main landing gear wheels incorporate hydraulically actuated brakes. The brake hydraulic system incorporates anti-skid. An emergency pneumatic brake system is provided for use in the event of failure of the brake hydraulic system.

The primary control surfaces consist of ailerons, elevator and rudder. The ailerons and elevator are aerodynamically balanced and are actuated by means of cable controlled tabs. The rudder, flaps and spoilers are hydraulically operated. In addition to aiding in lateral control, the spoilers can also be used as speed brakes. The horizontal stabiliser angle of incidence may be varied electrically, manually, by the autopilot, or Mach trim. The primary flight controls incorporate control systems for both manual and automatic (autopilot) operation of inboard ailerons, rudder and elevator.

The automatic flight control system consists of an autopilot which includes an automatic VOR and ILS coupling. The autopilot provides sensitive, automatic, co-ordinated control of the aircraft at any desired altitude, attitude and heading.

The aircraft flight instruments include an integrated flight instrument system and a Polar Path Compass System; a conventional magnetic compass; turn-and-bank indicator; rate-of-climb indicator and clock are also provided. The integrated flight instrument system provides heading, radio and attitude information. The Polar Path Compass system provides heading information from the D.G. transmitter. This information may be slaved to a magnetic heading as obtained from a Fluxgate Transmitter.

Radio and radar in the aircraft include communications equipment in the HF and VHF ranges. Navigation equipment including ADF, VOR-LOC, a Marker Beacon System, Loran, Glideslope, DME(T), Weather Radar and Doppler. An ATC radar beacon (transponder), a selcal system, a passenger address system and an interphone system are included in the aircraft communications equipment.

The control cabin accommodations provide for a pilot, copilot, flight engineer and a navigator. An observer or check pilot is accommodated behind the pilot. Main cabin interior arrangements provide accommodations for approximately 70 to 152 passengers and four cabin attendants. Seat tracks and removable partitions allow adjustment of passenger accommodations to provide any combination of tourist and luxury class seating. Cargo is accommodated in two cargo compartments, one located in the lower forward and the other located in the lower aft sections of the body.

Separate, independent oxygen systems provide oxygen for the crew and passengers. Supplemental and protective breathing oxygen are supplied to the crew. Supplemental and therapeutic oxygen are included for the passengers. The passenger supplemental oxygen system is actuated automatically or by the pilot when needed.

The aircraft is designed to facilitate servicing. Numerous access doors and panels are provided for inspection and maintenance. Most major servicing is accomplished on the right side of the fuselage. Passenger entry doors are located on the left side of the fuselage. Fuel is loaded from stations on the lower surface of each wing.

Emergency equipment, consisting of lights, oxygen, fire extinguishers and first aid kits, is used in the event of inflight or landing emergencies. Escape ropes, escape slides and crash axes are installed to assist in ditching or in abandoning the aircraft. Liferafts, UHF/VHF survival beacons and life vests are provided for use after ditching. Crash, fire and rescue information is provided in Chapter 3.


The following dimensions and areas are approximate:


Wing Area, including Ailerons, Flaps and 323 square feet of Body 2521 square feet
Span 130 feet 10 inches
Span when RH wing probe antenna fitted 131 feet 2 inches
Root Chord 377.4 inches
Tip Chord (Construction Tip) 112 inches
Taper Ratio Tip Chord/Basic Chord .342
Taper Ratio Tip Chord/Root Chord .297
Incidence Root +2°
Construction Tip +2°
Sweep Back 1/4C (Quarter Chord) 35°
Aspect Ratio 7.065
Mean Aerodynamic Chord 241.88 inches
Leading Edge of MAC is located at Body Station 786.2


Inboard Flap 159.3 square feet
Outboard Flap 162.1 square feet
Wing Fillet Flap 40.25 square feet
TOTAL 361.65 square feet
Flap Area (Leading Edge) 74.19 square feet


Aileron Area (Aft of Hinge Line)
Inboard Aileron, including 5.8 square feet of TAB area 39 square feet
Outboard Aileron, including 5.5 square feet of TAB area 80.6 square feet
TOTAL 119.6 square feet
Horizontal Tail Area Total 548 square feet
Stabiliser to Elevator Hinge Line including 60.9 square feet of fuselage 382.7 square feet
Elevator Aft of Hinge Line including 18.0 square feet of TAB Area 117.6 square feet
Span (Horizontal Stabiliser) (Note 1) 43 feet
Vertical Tail Area Total (not including Fin) 372.8 square feet
Dorsal Fin 8.7 square feet
Vertical Fin 226.4 square feet
Rudder, Aft of Hinge Line including Tabs 101.9 square feet
Ventral Fin 44.5 square feet
Fin Height (At full gross weight. Height will increase 4" - 6" at empty weight) 41 feet 8 inches


Length (Note 2) 135 feet 1 inch
Width 12 feet 4 inches
Cross Section Vertical Height 14 feet 21/2 inches


Tread, Main Gear 22 feet 1 inch
Wheel Base, Nose to Main Gear 47 feet 4 inches
Main Gear, Wheels 17.00 x 20
Main Gear, Tyres 46 x 16
Nose Gear, Wheels 12.50 x 16
Nose Gear, Tyres 39 x 13


The following is reproduced from the the Qantas Boeing 707-138B Operations Manual Part II, Vol II (Performance) dated 22 November 1965. It should be noted that these specifications do not necessarily apply to VH-XBA in its present configuration.


Empty Weight (approx.) (Note: 3) 115,000 pounds
Maximum Zero Fuel Weight 170,000 pounds
Maximum Taxi Weight 258,000 pounds
Maximum Inflight Weight 258,000 pounds
Maximum Inflight Weight at which reserve tanks can be empty 243,000 pounds
Maximum Landing Weight 190,000 pounds
Maximum Operating Altitude 42,000 feet


The following is reproduced from the the Qantas Boeing 707-138B Operations Manual Part II, Vol II (Performance) dated 4 December 1967. It should be noted that these specifications do not necessarily apply to VH-XBA in its present configuration.


Minimum Control Speed (Air) - VMCA
(one engine inoperative with Max. takeoff thrust)
117 knots IAS
Minimum Control Speed (Ground) - VMCG
(one engine inoperative with Max. takeoff thrust)
112 knots IAS
Minimum Control Speed (Air) - VMCA
(two engines inoperative with Max. takeoff thrust)
162 knots IAS
VMCA with an outer engine inoperative (remaining engines at Max. takeoff thrust) and rudder boost inoperative 187 knots IAS
Max speed flaps extended (Flaps 50) 185 knots
Max speed flaps extended (Flaps 30) 210 knots
Max speed flaps extended (Flaps 20) 220 knots
Max speed Landing Gear operating - VLO (0 - 29,999 feet) 270 knots
Max speed Landing Gear operating - VLO (30,000 feet and above) 280 knots
Max speed Landing Gear operating - VLO (emergency descent only) 320 knots
Max speed Landing Gear extended - VLE 320 knots
Max Mach Landing Gear extended - MLE M.83


The following is reproduced from the the Qantas Boeing 707-138B Pilots Handling Notes Part IV, Vol III (Limitations section), dated July 1962. It should be noted that these specifications do not necessarily apply to VH-XBA in its present configuration.


Max Airspeeds (clean configuration):
VNE S.L. to 25,000 feet (when MNE is limiting) 387 knots
VNO S.L. to 25,000 feet (when MNE is limiting) 344 knots
MNO = MNE = M.91
Max Autopilot Speeds:
MAO M.89
Minimum Manoeuvring Speeds:
With Flap 50 VREF
With Flap 40 VREF + 10 knots
With Flap 30 VREF + 20 knots
With Flap 20 VREF + 30 knots


A three-view drawing of the 707-138 in a Boeing publication dated May 1958 shows the span of the horizontal stabiliser (tailplane) as 39 feet 8 inches. The 707-138B conversion involved a tailplane extension of 1 foot 8 inches on each side, which should result in a tailplane span for the 707-138B of 43 feet 0 inches. This latter measurement was confirmed during a survey of VH-XBA after its arrival in Sydney.
Although the heading implies Body Length, the figure quoted (135 feet 1 inch) is actually the Overall Length of the aeroplane (i.e from the tip of the radome to the trailing edge of the elevators at the tip). The correct Body Length (i.e. from the tip of the radome to the tip of the tailcone) is 128 feet 10 inches. This Body Length did not change with the 138B conversion although the Overall Length did increase by 7 inches from 134 feet 6 inches to 135 feet 1 inch by virtue of the "overhang" of the extended fin and tailplane.
Drawn from the Qantas Boeing 707-138B Operations Manual dated 22 April 1968 (quoted previously) and added here for clarity.



1 inch 25.4 millimetres
1 foot 304.8 millimetres
1 square foot 0.09290 square metres
1 pound 0.45359 kilograms


Something missing? Ask us.


Note 2 has been amended to include a reference to the increase of Overall Length following the 138B conversion.
An apparent anomaly with the span of the tailplane has been resolved and Note 1 amended accordingly.
Original Issue. Sourced by Tracey Smiley.