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Monday, January 22, 2024


The first commercial flight of Boeing's 747 took off on this day in 1970 only seven hours behind schedule.  A few wrinkles had to be ironed out before the jumbo left JFK for London.

CLICK HERE for NBC News' coverage with Chet Huntley reporting.

Good night, David.

Good night, Chet.

Above: Captain Robert M. Weeks, Captain John Noland and Flight Engineer August (“Mac”) McKinney flew the Pan American World Airways Boeing 747-121, N736PA, Clipper Young America, from New York (JFK) to London [Heathrow] on a 6 hour, 14-minute inaugural passenger-carrying flight of the new wide-body jet. Aboard were a cabin crew of 17 and 332 passengers, including actress Raquel Welch.  

Pan Am had the best-looking uniforms in the air.

Sad History. The 747 pictured with the flight crew bore the ID number N736PA.  Rolling off the assembly line it had been named Clipper Victor, but the name was changed to Clipper Young America for the inaugural New York to London flight on Jan. 22, 1970.  The first 747 suffered mechanical problems thus earning N736PA its place in history as the first commercial 747 flight.

Bad luck followed N736PA as it was hijacked on August 2, 1970 and flown to Cuba. After that incident, N736PA was renamed
 Clipper Victor — its original name. 

Tragically, N736PA was destroyed in a collision with a Dutch Boeing 747 at Tenerife, Canary Islands, March 27, 1977 resulting in a massive loss of lives.

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