Jumbo 747 gets chopped up . . . for glamping pods
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