Jumbo 747 gets chopped up . . . for glamp­ing pods

Ayrshire Post - - NEWS -

One of avi­a­tion’s most fa­mous craft is say­ing her good­byes – af­ter 15 years on the Prest­wick sky­line, writes Stu­art Wil­son.

The Boe­ing 747 jet, dis­man­tled this week as part of a cut­ting edge re­cyling project, en­joyed life as both a com­mer­cial and freighter giant.

In later life, she would act as a vi­tal train­ing tool for se­cu­rity and res­cue ser­vices on the air­field.

Now, bosses at Prest­wick- based Chevron Main­te­nance are lead­ing a pi­o­neer­ing project on the for­mer PanAm jumbo.

It’s hoped that in her new life, the re­tired up­per deck will reap­pear as glamp­ing pods for sick chil­dren.

Chevron’s Si­mon Yeard­ley, over­see­ing the dis­man­tling project, said: “She was a won­der­ful plane with so much his­tory.

“She first flew in 1970 with United Air­lines and was named ‘ The Orig­i­nal Eight’ af­ter the first fe­male air hostesses em­ployed back in the thir­ties.

“But I sup­pose she was most famed for her time with Pan Am, where she was the sis­ter ship to flight 13 which blew up over Locker­bie.

“Even­tu­ally she was con­verted into a freighter and bought by Po­lar Air Cargo and re­tired to Prest­wick in 2002.”

From the road­side, train­ing ops on the old girl could of­ten be ob­served by ev­ery­one from the fire ser­vice to the SAS.

Now di­a­mond en­crusted wire cut­ters are be­ing used to slice up the plane, which will be­come the first in the UK to be 100 per cent re­cy­cled.

Gateshead- based Stu- Art Avi­a­tion Fur­ni­ture are set to snap up the top half of the plane in a bid to cre­ate the glamp­ing dream.

They be­lieve a £ 50,000 in­vest­ment could trans­form the iconic craft.

The firm’s Stu­art Ab­bott said: “My pas­sion is tak­ing old air­craft and re­cyling them into high end fur­ni­ture.

“I can make any­thing from sum­mer houses to wall clocks out of the win­dows.

“It’s a hugely ex­pand­ing mar­ket and this rates as the most ex­cit­ing project I’ve ever worked on.

“The his­tory of this air­craft is in­cred­i­ble and peo­ple would be des­per­ate to land any small part of it be­cause of the Pan Am link.”

The jet, which is now re­garded as a land­mark on the Prest­wick air­field, will take just one week to de­con­struct.

Si­mon added: “It’s a phe­nom­e­nal task and, along­side our col­leagues at EMR and Net­work De­mo­li­tion, we’re prob­a­bly un­der­tak­ing a first in Europe.

“Rather than send­ing large parts of this plane to land­fill, it will be 100 per cent re­cyled, which is amaz­ing.

“And the glamp­ing pods mean that a char­ity will ben­e­fit for many years to come, so this mag­nif­i­cent air­craft is far from done.”

His­tory Si­mon Yeard­ley, left, with plane re­cy­clers Vince Essex and Stu­art Ab­bott

Take off Our man Stu­art hops in the cock­pit

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