Tehran's Air Museum

Photos © Thomas Pohl

Thomas Pohl visited the museum in October 2002 and a number of aircraft remain to be identified; the museum is placed near the Iran Air maintenance area and the dump-corner, containing a couple of interesting aircraft. An eye-catcher is the former Iran Air 707 EP-IRJ that is used as a restaurant.

Jeroen van Leeuwen wrote me in Aug.2005: " I found on this 707 that it was reregistered (EP-NHL) but the old tailnumber remained on the aircraft; construction number is 18958 and line number 475; it was delivered by Boeing on 18Feb66 and delivered 25Feb66 to Pan American (as N416PA), type designation Boeing B-707-321B."
Thanks Jeroen!
This is also listed on Peter Riool's Production Lists

The aircraft is totally complete and has a basic white colourscheme with a small red cheatline. The rudder displays black and white stripes.
What history brought it to Iran ???
Matt Miller seems to have an excellent theory:

I am sure this is EP-TWB cn 12680. In my usual fashion I have compared the side view with a photo of EP-TWB.
1. Both have one panoramic window.
2. The photo reveals a rather unusual side-by-side aerial arrangement on the rear fuselage. The photo I have of EP-TWB shows the same.
3. The colour scheme appears to be very similar - I only have a black and white of EP-TWB. The style is identical on the fuselage. The design on the tail has changed but retains some similar characteristics.
Cn 12680 has a long American connection including NC49552 with Sears Roebuck, reregistered N78SR. I found no mention of American World Airways in the history of cn 12680."

(Posted Dec.2002).

Near the undercarriage is a small plate visible, it shows the name of "American World Airways".
Matt again:

I looked more closely at the photo of the stencil. Is it possible that it says Pan American World Airways with the "Pan" worn away over the course of time? The next line appears to say Brownsville, Texas. This was a Pan Am base - perhaps the plane was overhauled there at some time.
(Posted Dec.2002).

The book "Douglas DC-3" by Air-Britain (1984) has this to say about the history of c/n 12680 :
USAAF 42-92835 Delivered 05Mar44 - to 8th AF in Europe 19Apr44 - returned to USA - RFC 25Sep45 - Bought by Sears Roebuck & Co of Chicago, IL and registered NC49952 (named: "Pacific Coaster") in 1951 - Reregistered as N78SR in 1965 - To Continental Aviation Co. in Oct70 - To D.D. Coffin Jr of W. Palm Beach, CA in Dec70 - Bought Power & Water Dept, Teheran and reregistered as EP-TWB (Reg'd Mar72) - stored without further use, Teheran (1980) .

In April 2003 I received some additional info from Leon Manoucherian, born Armenian in Iran, now a U.S. citizen.:
The Dakota picture you have was operated by Ministry of Water and Power in its Agricultural Irrigation department before it was retired. They had another C-117 (actually an ex-US Navy R-4D) in their inventory, fate of which is unknown.
Here is a link to a photo taken 27Feb05, on Airliners.net

On 04Sep2013 Dean Baxter wrote this to me: "I have found an old chest full of my father's papers. He used to be a Line Pilot for Pan American World Airways.
In his chest I have discovered many of his old flight logs and incidental papers. The file which I have included is of an incident involving the DC-3 NC49552, which is shown in the photograph on your web page.
I have his complete flight log books from his first flight in the early 1930s through the 1950s. My father flew the Boeing 307 in the Smithsonian Museum; he flew it, and a sister ship, to South America. He also flew a plane know as the 'Eichman Ellis Aerobat' in Brownsville, TX in about 1943.
My father passed away in an auto accident in October of 1953."
Documents on NC49552 BirdHit (pdf)

But... the debate was reopened by photos of Niels Borcharding of this C-47A, showing the c/n plate stated... 12580 !
Niels added the following comment:
"Although the door was locked I could enter EP-TWB since there are no panoramic windows anymore. The inside of the C-47 was empty except for some carpet on the floor, the plate was attached on some sort of cupboard / case on the right hand side just behind the cockpit."

Air-Britain's authoritive publication, 'DC-3 - The First Seventy Years' (published in 2006) added on the above mentioned history: "Although c/n 12580 has been quoted, this is still with SAAF and the FAA quote 42-92835 for N49952"

While this photo was taken in October 2002, it had been sighted in 2000, too. I found the following was published elsewhere on this unidentified (at the time) deHavilland Caribou.:
"I have spoken with the person who gave me the photo, and he has confirmed that the photo was taken in March 2000. He has also told me some more about the aircraft.
The aircraft was 're-discovered' by westerners (well, UK-based enthusiasts) during late 1996/early 1997 by somebody who works for British Airways. He managed to visit the museum in Feb 1997, and had the opportunity to crawl all over most of the aircraft in the museum (there's a DHC-2 Beaver there too). For most of the aircraft he was able to get a positive identity for each aircraft, but the interior of the DHC-4 had been mostly trashed and he was unable to find a manufacturers plate.
On the forward fuselage (in 1997) it was just marked 'IAF', but it was possible to see where the first 'I' had been scrubbed. The first 'I' was 'Imperial', but this was removed from all aircraft at the time of the revolution in the mid/late 70's. The number under the 'IAF' is either '552' or '553', but this is its Iranian identity, not necessarily its former US identity.
At the time of the visit in 1997, the guy from BA spoke with the museum curator, and he was told that the aircraft used to fly up and down the Iran/Russian border full of 'electronics gear'. At the time of the revolution the gear was removed and the aircraft left in Iran - therefore it may well have been a USAF/US Army example! The curator also implied that the aircraft had been in the museum since the 80's.
(Graham Tanner, http://www.oc-kahuna.com/OtherCV2.htm)

Leon Manoucherian offered the following information:
There were two USAF-owned C-7A in Iranian camouflage, operating covert missions out of Mehrabad air force base (1st tactical base-Tehran), flying mostly Eastward toward Dasht-e-cavir desert, where U.S. had highly classified Intelligent bases. They were also flying to North of Khorasan Province Northwest of Iran where Iranian-U.S. Listening posts and IBEX-system radars were installed across the border with (then) Soviet Union.
They had Iranian serials 5-53 and 5-55 (5-55 had three-tone standard IIAF camouflage, while this one had a desert tone). The serials are not even standard as Iranian aircraft cargo carried 5-XXX digits and after 1977 5-XXXX, there was no two digit throughout the inventory.
Nobody would talk about these two aircraft, but it is known that they carried full gear of SIGINT and ELINT equipment, perhaps operated under CIA branch Iran.

Niels Borcharding wrote in March 2007 upon a recent visit to this museum:
"I tried to enter the DHC-4 but couldn't, since both doors are locked. Right hand side was locked by a bolt and left hand side was locked by a padlock, which was not well attached to the door; we tried to open that door, but for some reason it was stuck and we had to abandon it completely when a schoolclass of about 30 children looked at the three of us to see what we were doing!
Looking through the last window on the left hand side I could see the msn plate attached near the righthandside door of the aircraft. I told my new friends that if they ever were able to enter the plane that that was the plate and that I really wanted to know what was on it.
So close..."

In Sep.2013 I received a welcome update by Jean-Louis Bleneau:
"About the Caribou II AF-553 on display at the Teheran Aerospace Exhibition I would like to give you some clues: This aircraft was not a C-7A but a DHC-4A (c/n 52) delivered in April 1962 to Air Asia with registration B-853 and operated by Air America in SVN until 1968.
Transferred to the USAF as serial 61-2388 (out of sequence because 61-2388 was originally attributed to another C-7A, c/n 45, w/o in August 1963), she was leased back to Air America until sold to The Pacific Corp in June 1973.
The Pacific Corp, itself known to be backed by the CIA, sold it to Southern Sky Inc, based in Dallas, TX, to the purpose of logistic support of the Ibex stations in Iran.
553 was flown only for logistic support and personnel transport and this is why she was abandoned in Iran.
SIGINT and ELINT operations in connection with Project Ibex were flown using four C-130H, two Aero Commander 560 and later converted Boeing 707, all belonging to the IIAF."
Jean-Louis used to write for several French aviation magazines in the past; since retired he writes on a regular basis online:
Click on 'Monographies JLB', on the left side of the screen, to see Jean-Louis' writings.
And you will see he published recently a rather extensive history of the DHC-4 Caribou.
For his references he built a large selection of files about transport planes, piston or turboprop powered, with a dedication for twin engined ones.

Fokker F-27 EP-SNA

A few more photos of the Boeing 707:

The interior: what would the food be like ?

The cockpit.. well, it once was !

Scramble issue 331 (Dec.1006) carried a report of a visit on 13Apr06 to this museum. The text translates (from Dutch) as:

This museum is located on part of Mehrabad Airport. The ramp near the museum, all fenced in, had the following aircraft (only EP-PLN was accessable, the others seem not yet part of the museum, perhaps stored)-
5-2503 RC690 Iran Navy
SN-4101 F.27-600 Iran Navy
9L-LDC L.1011-100 Air Universal
EP-ASE F.28-4000 Iran Aseman Airlines
EP-GDS 727-81 Govmt of Iran
EP-IAA 747SP-86 Iran Air
EP-IAC 747SP-86 Iran Air
EP-ICC 747-2J9F Iran Air
EP-IGA 737-270C Iran Air
EP-IGD 737-270C Iran Air
EP-IRB 727-86 Iran Air
EP-IRC 727-86 Iran Air
EP-IRF 737-286 Iran Air
EP-IRH 737-286C Iran Air
EP-IRI 737-286C Iran Air
EP-PLN 727-30 Govmt of Iran

In the hangar of the technical school, in the same area and off-limits (unless you ask nicely):
5-2504 RC500S Iran Navy

The museum has a restaurant inside a Boeing 707:
(EP-IRJ) 707-321B white c/s

The aircraft with the museum are-
5-2501 RC690 Iran Navy (c/n 11076)
5-2502 RC500S Iran Navy (c/n 3141)
553 DHC-4 Iran Air Force
5-8903 RC681B Traffic Police (c/n 6072)
HH43-9411 HH-43F
EP-AHH A-9B (c/n 1460)
EP-AGU RC681 (cockpit only)
EP-AKB RC681B NIOC (c/n 6067)
EP-KID Ce414
EP-SNA FH-227B Iran Aseman
no marks A-26B ex N956R and 44-34759
no marks C-47A (ex EP-TWB of Iranian Power & Water Dept)
no marks DHC-2 ex 6-9701 and 53-7784
no marks Glass Goose
no marks PA-23 (ex EP-PAH)
no marks PA-31
no marks T-6

List of Iranian Aerospace Exhibition Centre, by Bob Ogden (2008)
List of Iranian Aerospace Exhibition Centre, by Bob Ogden (Air-Britain, 2008)

During Feb.2008 Michael Prophet went to Tehran and he made a report of his visit to the museum.

Nigel Hitchman reported on a visit to Tehran 06Feb2017:
"At 1830 local this evening, 1500gmt, I saw what only could have been an IL-18, sitting on the cargo ramp at Tehran, Khomeini (OIIE); it was just dark and saw it nose on, so no idea of the operator, any ideas?

I went to the Tehran Aerospace Exhibition Centre but to find it closed, as had been reported.
Security on the gate were friendly, but wouldn't let me in; they even called someone but answer still 'no'. Apparently it closed around a year ago and the 707 restaurant next door closed 4 years ago!
From the road I could see most of the museum collection through the fence.
Of interest might be confirmed still present: the DHC 2 Beaver, DHC4 Caribou and the DC-3.
I couldn't see the A-26. I think due to the angle I had to look and buildings and trees that were in the way.
Everything else seen on Google Earth in the museum area towards the front were seen, exactly as on there..
Didn't risk taking pictures, could have got some reasonable ones thru the fence, although perhaps not the DC-3 as it was too far away.
I also went to the Holy Defense museum, which was good, but nothing relevant for propliner enthusiasts.

I visited Besat Park and saw the C-47 here (unmarked and I believe identity still unconfirmed; pics further below), but I didn't find the Beech 18.
The Beech 18 sighting was reported to me by Bob Ogden in a draft copy of his museum book notes."

On the above question about identity of Ilyushin IL-18 it was suggested: "...may be EX-75466, which is possibly still active in the area (last noted 8/15 at Erbil, Iraq)."
And 'Dave' (dfspotting on Yahoo's Classic-Propliners) added: "ATDB.aero reports the Ilyushin 18 at Khomeini to be TT-WAK (c/n 172011401)."

Bob Parmerter remarked on the Beech 18: "Reportedly, in 2011, the following two Beech 18s were spotted in Iran:
· EP-HIH D18S A-525 - Displayed at the entrance to Qazvin airport [OIIK]
· EP-.... - Displayed in Besat Park, Teheran [T] .
The Besat Park Beech18 was either EP-ADH AT-11 c/n 1265 of Iranian Airways Co, Tehran (crashed @Abdullah Airport, Ahwaz, Iran 26Aug1956; seems like a long time for the remains to still be around),
or ... the only other Beech 18 to have been reported in Iran, EP-HII, whose identity (c/n) is unknown."

Here are the images submitted by Nigel Hitchman, taken during his THR visit Feb.2017 to Besat Park
DC-3 at Besat Park (Tehran), feb.2017 by Nigel Hitchman
Believed to be Douglas DC-3 EP-AML ?

DC-3 at Besat Park (Tehran), feb.2017 by Nigel Hitchman

Besat Park, Tehran
Google Maps, screendump 14Feb2017.

DC-3 at Besat Park (Tehran), feb.2017 by Nigel Hitchman

DC-3 at Besat Park (Tehran), feb.2017 by Nigel Hitchman

DC-3 at Besat Park (Tehran), feb.2017 by Nigel Hitchman

DC-3 at Besat Park (Tehran), feb.2017 by Nigel Hitchman

DC-3 at Besat Park (Tehran), feb.2017 by Nigel Hitchman

DC-3 at Besat Park (Tehran), feb.2017 by Nigel Hitchman



In May 2017 I trawled the internet and airliners.net in particular and came across the following additions/updates:
Boeing 707 converted to restaurant in Tehran
Boeinf 707 recorded by Christian Waser in 2007, on which he added: "This former Iran Air has now been converted into a restaurant. It is placed on a little hill next to the technical area at Mehrabad International Airport."

Here is more:
"Converted cockpit for staff rest...A very interesting place adorned with Iranian red carpet." (15Mar2009)

Boeing 707-321B EP-IRJ (c/n 18958) - "Air Restaurant at Aerospace exhibition center. Tehran - Mehrabad International (THR / OIII), Iran (October 2010)".




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