Diogo Monteiro looks back at Pan Am and its classic Boeing 747 fleet.
Pan Am, the giant North American airline, was so popular that it became one of the greatest cultural icons of the 20th century. In the last century, the meaning of glamor and air travel was synonymous with Pan Am.
Since its foundation in 1927, the airline focused on product differentiation and exclusivity thanks to the vision of its founder, Juan Trippe. A pioneer in aviation in several areas, Pan Am quickly expanded both in terms of routes, fleet and services provided.
After the classic and excellent success of the Boeing 707, which was the plane that took the necessary leap to enter the jet age (shortly after Britain’s de Havilland Comet), Pan Am was once again responsible for the creation of what would become one of the best known and classic planes in commercial aviation, which allowed the beginning of the mass air travel: the Boeing 747.
Pan Am was the first airline to place an order for the 747, and it also became its customer and launch operator for what became known as the Queen of the Skies.
History of the Pan Am 747 Fleet
In 1966, Pan Am placed an order to Boeing for 25 aircraft valued at 20 million dollars each, for a total order of 500 million dollars.
On 22 January 1970, Pan Am would start its regular passenger 747 service on the prestigious New York – London route, with the Boeing 747-100 registered N736PA (named “Clipper Young America”). The first commercial Boeing 747 was even named by the then American First Lady, Pat Nixon.
Between 1969 until the airline’s closure in 1991, Pan Am received a total of 65 Boeing 747 aircraft models. Of these, 44 were 747-100’s, ten were 747-200B’s and the remaining 11 were 747SPs.
The time of launch of the 747 was during a very peculiar period: the beginning of the 1970s. Despite the great success that the aircraft had experienced, there were several political and social factors that could have jeopardized the operational viability of the 747. The Vietnam War, the oil crisis, the constant tensions in the Middle East, and the growing threat of terrorism that was beginning to use planes as a hijacking stage.
Pan Am’s Boeing 747s were no exception and unfortunately, some were hijacked and others made news for being involved in some of the most notorious plane crashes in history.
Surviving Pan Am 747s
With most of Pan Am’s 747 aircraft being over 40 years old, it is to be expected that most have already been scrapped. However, there are still a few that are preserved.
Evergreen International Airlines has its own aviation museum, the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in Oregon. They have three of the old Pan Am 747s on display, including one painted as Air Force One for a display related to presidential special transport.
Another aircraft that was preserved was the old N727PA, a 747-200, which is preserved in Sweden and has been converted into a hostel for travelers. It is located outside Stockholm Arlanda Airport, and known as the JumboStay Hostel.
Pan Am 747 Fleet List
The following is a list of all old Pan Am Boeing 747s and what their current status is.
|Type||Pan Am Reg||Entry to Service||Fate|
|Boeing 747-100||N4704U||Dec-85||Broken Up at OSC in 2013|
|Boeing 747-100||N4710U||Dec-85||Broken Up at PIK in 2002|
|Boeing 747-100||N4711U||Dec-85||Broken Up at ROW in 2011|
|Boeing 747-100||N4712U||Dec-85||Broken Up at PIK in 2017|
|Boeing 747-100||N652PA||Apr-71||Broken Up at TLV in 2006|
|Boeing 747-100||N653PA||Apr-71||Broken Up at MZJ in 2013|
|Boeing 747-100||N654PA||Apr-71||Broken Up at ROW in 2011|
|Boeing 747-100||N657PA||Jun-71||Broken Up at MZJ in 1999|
|Boeing 747-100||N734PA||Dec-69||Broken Up at GYR in 2002|
|Boeing 747-100||N736PA||Jan-70||Crashed at Tenerife North in 1977|
|Boeing 747-100||N737PA||Jan-70||Broken Up at SBD in 1997|
|Boeing 747-100||N738PA||Feb-70||Accident at KHI in 1983|
|Boeing 747-100||N739PA||Feb-70||Destroyed at Lockerbie in 1988|
|Boeing 747-100||N740PA||Feb-70||Broken Up at JFK in 2000|
|Boeing 747-100||N742PA||Mar-70||Broken Up at ADM in 1995|
|Boeing 747-100||N743PA||Mar-70||Preserved at Johor Bahru, Malaysia|
|Boeing 747-100||N744PA||Mar-70||Preserved at DMA|
|Boeing 747-100||N747PA||Oct-70||Scrapped in 2020|
|Boeing 747-100||N751PA||Apr-70||Broken Up at MZJ in 1999|
|Boeing 747-100||N752PA||May-70||Destroyed at Cairo in 1970 after hijacking|
|Boeing 747-100||N754PA||May-70||Broken Up at MHV in 1998|
|Boeing 747-100||N755PA||May-70||Broken Up at JFK in 2000|
|Boeing 747-100||N770PA||May-70||Broken Up at CHR in 2002|
|Boeing 747-100||N771PA||Aug-70||Preserved at Jungong Road, Shanghai|
|Boeing 747-100||N9670||May-84||Stored at ROW in 2006|
|Boeing 747-100||N9674||Dec-83||Stored at ROW in 2001|
|Boeing 747-100F||N902PA||May-78||Preserved at McMinnville, OR, USA|
|Boeing 747-100F||N903PA||Jan-78||Broken Up at ROW in 2005|
|Boeing 747-200||N727PA||Jun-84||Preserved as hotel at Stockholm Arlanda, Sweden|
|Boeing 747-200||N728PA||Mar-83||Scrapped in Maryland in 2021|
|Boeing 747-200||N729PA||Feb-83||Preserved at McMinnville, OR, USA|
|Boeing 747-200||N730PA||Mar-83||Broken Up at MZJ in 2015|
|Boeing 747-200F||N535PA||Oct-74||Broken Up at MZJ in 2020|
|Boeing 747-200F||N726PA||Jun-84||Broken Up at DUS in 2006|
|Boeing 747-200F||N904PA||Jul-79||Broken Up at OSC in 2001|
|Boeing 747-200F||N905PA||Aug-79||Stored at OSC in 2013|
|Boeing 747SP||N529PA||Sep-83||Stored at MHV in 2016|
|Boeing 747SP||N532PA||Mar-76||Broken Up|
|Boeing 747SP||N533PA||Mar-76||Broken Up at ADM in 1997|
|Boeing 747SP||N534PA||May-76||Broken Up at ADM in 2001|
|Boeing 747SP||N536PA||May-77||Active for NASA as SOFIA|
|Boeing 747SP||N537PA||Jun-78||Broken Up at MZJ in 2003|
|Boeing 747SP||N538PA||Jul-78||Preserved at ACY (USA)|
|Boeing 747SP||N539PA||Apr-79||Stored at MZJ in 2019|
|Boeing 747SP||N540PA||May-79||Broken Up at CWF in 2021|
Did you fly on a Pan Am 747? What are your memories of it? Leave a comment below!
Our thanks to Diogo for this article.