American Airlines Boeing 720-023B   N7538A              (c/n  18024)


                                                  Early in the development stage of the 707, Boeing recognized the need for a slightly smaller,
                                                  medium range variant of the basic design.  Initially this was dubbed the Boeing 707-020, and
                                                  differed externally from the original model in that it had a modified wing profile with increased
                                                  sweepback and changes to the trailing edge at the wing roots.  However, in terms of structure
                                                  and weight the design was, in fact, an entirely new aircraft, resulting in the designation of the
                                                  model 720 being assigned.   American ordered some 25 of them   The photograph of N7538A
                                                  above (acquired from American Airlines in the early 1960s) shows the aircraft with the '707'
                                                  legend on the rear fuselage (tough to see in this reduced image).   It wasn't until 1962 that they
                                                  were universally referred to as 720s.  This particular machine went to Middle East Airlines in
                                                  1971 as OD-AFQ