Video: Syrian Fighters Shooting at an Airliner? NYCAviation Investigates
(SFW: Video contains gunfire, but no gore or English profanity)
If embed error prevents watching, view the video HERE.
We were left with a ton of questions, and one cannot assume to trust the video headline. Was it really Syrian fighters? What is even in Syria? Was this even recently filmed as claimed? Was it really an airliner? (also see UPDATE at bottom of page)
In the 53-second video, we see a half dozen or so men firing sniper rifles, AK-47s and machine guns at what is a Boeing 747 on approach to land. By the end of the video, the aircraft seems to continue on regardless of the hundreds of bullets sent in its direction, but the men firing seem to feel victorious regardless. Politics aside, we here at NYCAviation do not like to see any aircraft take a beating, so let’s start to break it down and see what it really happening here.
With these facts out of the way, we can start doing some research. Back to the internet, we began hunting for Classic 747s in that area of the world and beyond. Though likely candidates were found early, the search went through thousands of different airframes, with one particular “company” catching our eye.
The Iranian Air Force is known to have at least four Classic 747s that are painted with a blue cheatline, blue tail, white top and blue bottom, with no printed titles. One of them, a 747-100 registered EP-AJT, was seen flying in Tehran, Iran just a few weeks ago on January 11th. Formerly registered 5-8101 seen here, the aircraft sports the exact scheme as in the video. It also has a bump just above the nose, which was intended to be used for mid-air refueling, which seems to be visible in the grainy video as well. This, and minor details on their three other 747s, leads us to believe it is this specific airframe. It is also no secret that Iran has been supplying various forms of aid to Syria during their time of civil unrest (to put it lightly).
If records are correct, this specific airframe is the 5th Boeing 747 ever built and was the first for TWA in 1969, and would currently be the oldest 747 still flying today. Again, politics aside, these guys are shooting at history. The airframe would later be converted to a freighter in 1975, and flew for an Iranian airline before the Iranian Air Force grabbed it up.
OUR CONCLUSION: FSA fighters in Syria shot at an Iran Air Force 747 that happens to be a flying relic.
UPDATE 2:52pm EST: We have heard an unconfirmed report that Syrian rebels had shot on an Iran Air 747 (EP-ICD) about one month ago. This would be a separate incident.
In addition, Reuters reports that the Iranian Air Force aircraft have been flying over Iraqi airspace under the guise of operating civilian flights, since Iraq does not allow Iran military aircraft into their airspace.