Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 258,704
2013: 330,818

Lost in Time: The Oldest Flying Boeing 747 – N93101

The number 5 on the steps refers to aircraft line number 5, which was N93101. At the time, it was still in the test flight program, and did not have a fully furnished interior; note the bare passenger door above Ernie, Les and Des. Also, the word EXPERIMENTAL can be seen next to the number 1 door.

The 5 on the steps refers to aircraft line number 5, which was N93101. At the time, it was still in the test flight program, and did not have a fully furnished interior; note the bare passenger door.

N93101 was first delivered to Trans World Airlines (TWA)  in August 1970 after her first flight on July 13, 1969. She was the fifth Boeing 747 to be produced and the first to be delivered to TWA. The airline celebrated that this was their first Jumbo Jet with painting a “5” on the front of the aircraft.

The 747-100 didn’t stay in service with TWA for long. It was sold to the Iran Air Force in March 1975 (reg#: 5-280) and has been in service with the Iran Air Force (reg changed to 5-8101)and Iran Air (reg#: EP-NHV) until 1985. After that, she has flown only for the Iranian Air Force.

This aircraft is special, since not only was it the first of 30 Boeing 747’s operated by TWA, it is also the oldest flying Boeing 747 flying today. This amazing aircraft has been flying for about 41.5 years.

The Iran Air Force has quite the Boeing 747-100 collection. They also have aircraft numbers 8 and 9 (both with similar histories to aircraft #5) with a total of seven actively flying Boeing 747-100’s.

Now, I am not a big history buff, but the idea that Iran was able to get quite a few almost-new Boeing 747-100’s only five years after they were delivered seems like there might be more to the story. Anyone have some thoughts?

Click the registration numbers above for additional photographs. This is the newest photo of the 747 I can find, taken in December 2010. Thanks to MK for pointing this airplane out to me.

Image: DCS Almuni of TWA