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Preserving a BA 747 - The need for Action Now!!!

Preserving a BA 747 - The need for Action Now!!!

Old Jul 21, 20, 2:11 pm
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Preserving a BA 747 - The need for Action Now!!!

The 747 served BA for over 50 years, and the 744 was, I believe the longest variant in service, and the longest serving variant of any aircraft in the BA fleet to date, and arguably more important to the airline and history of travel than Concorde (which BA saved all 7). At least one needs to be saved for the nation, to inspire future generations and remember the machine that helped build modern aviation. I was going to start lobbying BA next year on this, given the planned retirement in 2023/24, but obviously things have now changed. A 747 needs saving now!

The fleet will have been financially written off, so there will be minimal financial cost in the airline donating one or two airframes to museums. Duxford would appear problematic given the short runway[1] , but would be an obvious home and would be a huge draw. Yes the 744 is only a part-British aircraft (its RR engines), but it has played a huge part in UK aviation.

The Australians have preserved two 747s (one in Longreach, one in Wollongong). The Americans now have several, as do the German’s and South Africans. It would be a real inexcusable tragedy if the UK did not save one (as an aircraft rather than a film prop!). Ideally I was hoping one could be kept live (powered), even airworthy(?) out of Cardiff. Given the expertise in the local engineering community I’m sure there would be a body of people willing to volunteer their time to maintain her and offer tours. But I guess there is not time to arrange this given the announced retirement.

So how do we go about ensuring that one aircraft is preserved, and ideally kept live until a long-term plan is come up with? Clearly funds are tight all round at the moment, but that does not mean this will always be the case, nor can we sell our long term heritage for want of a few short term pennies. I’m aware there are a number of people on this board with connections within the BA community (pilots, managers etc). Would anyone be able to make enquiries? I have no industry knowledge and am just a frequent flyer/enthusiast with a family heritage in aviation, but would be willing to offer help in any way I can.

All that is needed right now is for BA to commit to either gifting a complete aircraft or two, or holding a couple off from being scrapped. Ideally the best condition/lowest hour aircraft would be saved, but I guess there would also be a case for the preservation of G-BNLY (back it its original livery), G-BYGC (in original 747 livery), G-CIVP (recent NY-Lon record) or BYGG (the last ever BA 747 delivered and the yongest).

I happy to help in whatever way I can and look forward to others’ thoughts and suggestions.

GBOAC is offline  
Old Jul 21, 20, 2:23 pm
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There is an aviation museum at Gatters, might be worth a shot
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Old Jul 21, 20, 2:44 pm
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A great cause. I think keeping one flying may prove a bridge too far but if it is at all possible...

Could I also suggest proposing one to remain at Heathrow to sit alongside Concorde Alpha Brava?

Last edited by gliderpilot; Jul 21, 20 at 2:59 pm
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Old Jul 21, 20, 3:35 pm
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Originally Posted by gliderpilot View Post
Could I also suggest proposing one to remain at Heathrow to sit alongside Concorde Alpha Brava?
Nice idea, but I think the problem with that is space. Concorde is a relatively small aircraft, a 747 isn't. It would take up a lot of space that BA uses, whereas Concorde was pushed into a corner that really couldn't be used. I don't know what BA's plans are for the "White van graveyard" beside Concorde and if a 747 could be put there without sinking into the dirt.

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Old Jul 21, 20, 4:16 pm
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Wy does it need saving? it isn't like Concorde where which had British involvment and there were only a handful , such that when BA/AF stopped flying them, that was the end of their service and are now only museum pieces; keeping a aeroplane type for posterity when they cease to be in use makes historical sense

These are neither British heritage , nor are they the last in service; the aeroplanes are still flying. There is nothing that I can see that makes BA's ones special - it is no different to any other aeroplane that BA has operated such as DC10s , 707s and L1011s
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Old Jul 21, 20, 4:22 pm
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
Wy does it need saving?
Preservation and heritage is an important part of British culture. The 747 is enormously loved by a wide cross section of our society.
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Old Jul 21, 20, 4:24 pm
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I hope one ends up on display somewhere (in Landor livery). While the Concorde was superb and I'm glad I had one round trip on it albeit on AF the 747 had to be the most important airliner of all time. Also 50 years on it's still majestic. I hate bus gates but there is something to be said (even after first flying on a 747 50 years ago) about descending the stairs to the tarmac on a nice day and looking back at the amazing machine close up that has just brought you over an ocean with the fanblades still turning slowly. No 777 or 350 or 787 etc. ever gives me that feeling. I think people would still be happy to walk up the stairs into one on display and walk around. Still a very small percentage of the flying public have ever sat in the nose or the bubble even to this day
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Old Jul 21, 20, 4:37 pm
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Given the circumstances that we all live in, I’d hope there’s no rushed schedule to scrap these, given the operation involved to do just that. It can’t be a simple process can it?! Therefore there may be more time than usual to keep one alive!

I have no idea, however I do like the OP’s idea. What about a crowd funding effort to save one? With enough sharing of the idea online and if people were compelled to chip into a fund, even if it was £1-5 each, set a minimum needed, if its reached then take it from there in working out how the fund is used to save one 747. Just my thoughts. I’d certainly be keen to save one as I had mentioned before.

Good luck OP. Worth a shot
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Old Jul 21, 20, 4:49 pm
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Originally Posted by GBOAC View Post

I happy to help in whatever way I can and look forward to others’ thoughts and suggestions.
Suppose it all comes down to cost....not so sure a BA 747 would be enough of an attraction to the general public to make it pay.

How about turning one into 'PUCCI's' Restobar and give her the job of running it? She has time on her hands as well as many years of experience in the hospitality indusrty.
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Old Jul 21, 20, 5:02 pm
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An honourable idea.

Ignoring where it could be stored what is actually being “saved”?
the pure metal scrap value is circa £30-50k?

However, if you’d like to preserve the airframe and include landing gear, engines, apu, avionics, interior etc its likely in the £millions - which I’m sure BA would rather “cash out”

IAG would appear to lack the emotional connection or investment to entertain a “donation”
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Old Jul 21, 20, 5:08 pm
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Old Jul 21, 20, 10:27 pm
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One of the issues will be preserving at an airfield that a) has a museum already and b) has a runway long enough for one to come in. I think this rules out both Duxford and Cosford straight away, however, the latter is way more military now and as part of this focus they scandalously scrapped the ex-BA 707 and VC10 they had on display a few years ago. The 707 had some British significance too as IIRC it was the only RR Conway powered one left

It also rules out the aviation museum at East Fortune too where a BA Concorde is preserved as this no longer has a runway (apart from the old end of a main one now used for microlight flying). Similarly Filton, where another ex-BA Concorde is on display also no longer has an active runway after closure 5 years ago.

So as far as I can tell, this leaves 3 possible UK locations where a) there is a runway long enough and b) where there is an existing aviation museum that might want to add a 744 to their collection. These are LGW, MAN and BOH - notwithstanding that all 3 would currently not have enough space and logistically would have to spend quite a bit of money on infrastructure to get a 744 from the runway to the museum which are all just off-airport. So issues such as temporary roadways of sufficient pavement loading to be built and new hardstanding to display the aircraft.

If there was any one of these 3 to pick, my money would go on MAN as it has the "pull" of an ex-BA Concorde already there to add to and also the logistics look the easiest too by far.
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Old Jul 21, 20, 11:55 pm
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It always irks me that an emirates a380 sits where concorde was at the entrance to Heathrow

Could they mount a 747 real size on the approach road to Terminal 5 :-)
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Old Jul 22, 20, 1:29 am
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Originally Posted by allturnleft View Post
It always irks me that an emirates a380 sits where concorde was at the entrance to Heathrow

Could they mount a 747 real size on the approach road to Terminal 5 :-)
BA wanted to put the model Concorde previously at the entrance to the tunnel going to T1-T3, (which now sits in the entrance to the Brooklands Museum in Surrey) on that spot but HAL were asking for a ridiculous amount of money. I don't think there is enough space but from a financial perspective I doubt this could happen.
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Old Jul 22, 20, 1:54 am
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What 747 is worth and how quickly it's broken down. Enlightening seies

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