By Marc Brecy ( Photo from The Boeing Company)

Using information available on the Internet, I’ve been able to trace some of the history of a very unique airplane in TWA’s fleet. Following the end of the war, a surplus B-17G-105-VE, serial number 44-85728, was purchased by TWA for conversion as an executive transport. Following the purchase of this “Flying Fortress,” it was ferried to Boeing's plant in Seattle, WA for conversion work. All of the military equipment was removed and the fuselage was fitted with airline-style seating, and additional passenger windows were cut into the sides of the fuselage.

Since Boeing had by then used up all the letters of the alphabet for sub-variants of the B-17’s Model 299 series, the company had to start through the alphabet all over again in designating later versions, and Boeing assigned the designation of Model 299AB to our conversion.

The first civil registration assigned to the Model 299AB was NX-4600, but this was soon changed to NL-1B, the L being a new symbol introduced in the immediate postwar years to designate former military aircraft that had been converted to commercial uses. These sorts of conversions were given a limited type certificate of LTC-1, since they could not qualify for the standard license that purely commercial aircraft were given. One restriction on the LTC-1 type certificate was that these conversions were not allowed to carry paying passengers.

TWA used its Model 299AB for survey and liaison work in setting up its routes in the middle east. So far as I am aware, it conformed to its certificate and never flew revenue passengers. At the end of 1947, the machine was donated to the Shah of Iran, and the Iranian registration of EP-HIM was assigned, where the HIM stood for "His Imperial Majesty". The Shah's B-17 was scrapped for spares at Creil, France in 1970.

Marc Brecy (1974 - 1997), served as Load Control Agent, Operations Agent, and Flight Dispatch International Officer at CDG Airport, and presently serves as the Webmaster who manages TWA Senior web sites.