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How to transport a Boeing 747

March 22, 2019
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A Boeing 747 is not something you’d expect to see parked in a hotel garden… However, after a five-day mega transport project, that’s just where one has landed! Why? It’s being converted into a 5D experience about the 747 and the history of aviation.

Corendon, a leading tour operator, airline company and hotel chain on the Dutch and Belgian travel market, undertook the five-day journey from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport to Badhoevedorp – all of 12,5 km – where the 747 has been parked at its new final destination: the Corendon Village Hotel garden.

The Boeing’s five-day trip was an impressive operation. The aeroplane first had to be transported eight kilometres across the Schiphol airport area and then another 4,5 km through the fields. Heavy-transport specialist Mammoet transported the 160-t aircraft on a trailer that weighed more: over 200 t. The trailer divided the weight of the Boeing over 192 wheels.

To make sure the trailer would not sink into the marshy land, a special road was constructed with approximately 2 100 metal road plates weighing 1 500 kg each. Special bridges were built over the 17 ditches.

The trailer travelled at a speed of five kilometres per hour, and was controlled remotely by Mammoet staff who walked beside it. It was powered by two so-called power packs, each with a capacity of 390 kW, generating more than 1 000 hp (745 kW). A total of 18 turns had to be made during the trip.

The Boeing 747 in question is the former KLM aircraft “City of Bangkok” that was in operation for 30 years. The aeroplane is 64-m wide, 71-m long and weighs 160 t. To keep it safe and steady at its new destination, the aircraft has been lifted onto 1,5 m-high steel bases (weighing15 t in total), built on heavy concrete slabs that are strong enough to carry the enormous weight.

When the 747 is converted into a 5D experience, visitors will be able to walk on, over or under the aeroplane and visit places that are normally not accessible to the public. They can visit the cargo area where the luggage is loaded, learn about the fuelling of the aircraft, and take a look in the business-class kitchen and the cockpit on the upper deck. They can even do a wing walk over the 30-m wings.

Visitors will also be able to make a journey through the history of aviation, which begins with the ancient human desire to fly and takes them from the first serious flight attempts around 1900 to the development of the Boeing 747. The highlight of the trip is the 5D experience, in which visitors can experience flying in all its facets.

The 747 is an iconic aeroplane and was the largest aircraft in the world until 2007. It could transport two and a half-times more passengers than other conventional types. It was also the first wide-body aircraft, with two aisles. Characteristic is also the upper deck, where the cockpit is located. KLM introduced the first Boeing 747 in its fleet in 1971. When the “City of Bangkok” was added to the fleet in 1989, it was baptised by nine Thai monks.

FOCUS on Transport and Logistics is one of the oldest and most respected transport and logistics publications in southern Africa.

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