VirginFlyer
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Qantas 747-200 To Be Retired To Longreach Today

Sat Nov 16, 2002 3:46 am

G'day all,

Last Saturday, Qantas Boeing 747-200 VH-EBQ (City of Bunbury) flew its last revenue flight for Qantas, arriving in Sydney from Perth. Today (Saturday 16th), the old bird will make one final flight, to the Q.A.N.T.A.S. Founders Outback Museum (http://www.qfm.org.au) in Longreach, Queensland, where Qantas was founded some 82 years ago. All going to plan, EBQ will arrive at Longreach at 11am, where it will land on a 1936 metre long runway. The aircraft will be preserved at the Museum as it was delivered (there has been some talk of trucking up time expired engines to replace the ones EBQ currently has - I am unsure what they full story with this is).

Thousands of people are expected to be at Longreach to see the event, and the museum has organised charter flights from Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane to see the event. I will be on the Sydney flight (which is to be operated by Qantas 737-800 VH-VXB Yananyi Dreaming), and will hopefully take plenty of photographs of the event (and maybe even get them uploaded here). Is anyone else from airliners.net going to Longreach today?


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Photo © Micheil Keegan
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Photo © Glenn Stewart



V/F
"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
 
VirginFlyer
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RE: Qantas 747-200 To Be Retired To Longreach Toda

Sun Nov 17, 2002 10:08 am

G'day again!

I am back from Longreach! What a wonderful day it was yesterday, too! I flew up on the charter from Sydney, on Qantas Boeing 737-800 VH-VXB (Yananyi Dreaming), the flight leaving just after 8am AEDT.
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Photo © Grahame Hutchison


It was a very festive feeling flight, with a champagne breakfast and a very bubbly atmosphere from everyone (among the passengers consisted were a large number of retired and current Qantas Pilots, Flight Engineers and Staff. I was sitting next to a retired 747-400 check pilot). After a flight of a little over two hours, and an interesting approach (we seemed to be puddling around at low level for ever!) we landed at about 9:30am AEST. Meanwhile, VH-EBQ had departed Sydney, and was on the way - its departure captured by Craig Murray:
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Photo © Craig Murray
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Photo © Craig Murray



While waiting for EBQ to arrive, there was time to look around the Qantas Founders Outback Museum, which is a great display. Eventually, buses took us to a prime vantage point on the side of the runway, and no sooner had we set up than someone noticed EBQ circling in the distance. She was asked to do two flypasts, which she dutifully did, one crosswind overhead the runway, and a second upwind directly overhead of our area. She then circuited the airport, before turning onto final at about 5 miles. This was it, the moment everyone had been waiting for. With a cloud of dust, she made contact with the runway, which at 6000 feet in length and only 30 feet in width, was somewhat undersized for such an aircraft. With the assistance of autobraking, she was brought to a halt at the end of the runway, where she was then shut down. What followed next could be described as comical, and reminiscent of a scene from the first Austin Powers movie, as ground crew, with a tug trucked in from Brisbane, attempted to turn the 747 around, so it could taxi back down the runway to the terminal and museum. Easier said that done. Half an hour later, after a 19 point turn, EBQ was finally ready to roll to her final resting place. The engines were fired up again (more dust!) and she slowly made her way to the apron, to the applause of all.

Positioned next to Yananyi Dreaming, the engines were shut down, and a cherry picker, the only thing around able to do it, was positioned at the door, where three uniformed crew came out. And a fourth. And a fifth! EBQ Had carried a full house in the front office of 4 Captains and a Flight Engineer - one of the captains having gained his place through a bidding system that we are told raised a substantial amount for the museum. A replica DH-60, one of Q.A.N.T.A.S.'s first aircraft was positioned in between engines #1 and #2. After more photographs, 'I Still Call Australia Home' was sung, and the official presentation of the aircraft took place, Qantas represented by Chairperson Margaret Jackson. Some facts she gave about the aircraft: in its operational life, it has flown the equivalent of 100,000 round the world trips, or the equivalent of 100 round trips to the Moon, and averaged more than 12 hours flying every day of its life - a total flying time of more than 10 years!

As the crowds moved away, so the 747 was towed from in front of the hangar to its final position, next to the terminal. This was not without some difficulties. First a tree went in the back of #1 engine as the aircraft was being reversed. It took some work to remove the offending branches, and tie the trees back while the engine passed them. A fence that had been erected behind the trees was the next object to get in the way, people hastily shifting it so EBQ could be reversed. Then the ADF aerial on the port wing caught another tree - the solution to this was simply to remove a few branches. The aircraft could then be backed into its final position, facing the runway at right angles, with its tail towards the railway line. Success!

In the evening, a special dinner was held, the background noise created for us by the clanging of windmilling RB211s. There were more speeches about the museum and the aircraft, from Frith Fysh (President of the museum), Margaret Jackson and Alan Bones, the Captain who had taken delivery of EBQ in November 1979. The original name plaque of the aircraft was given to the museum. Awards were made to many people who had been involved in the project, including the crew of EBQ, Mrs Jackson, and Museum volunteers (they were all given framed photographs of the moment of touch-down). It was a wonderful night, which culminated on 6 more photographs of the landing being auctioned off, raising $10,000 for the museum (the photographs were autographed by the crew, one by Mrs Jackson, one by Mr Fysh, and one by Mr Bones and the Captain who flew yesterday (my apologies, his name has skipped my mind) - the first person and the last person to fly EBQ - that photograph raising $2,300.

The plan is to preserve EBQ in much the same condition as it flew its final flight in. The engines are all close to time expired, and some time today fittings will be inserted to stop the fan blades from windmilling. Hopefully in 6 months time, the aircraft will be open to public display - at the moment there are some bureaucratic hassles, such as the need for wheelchair access from ground level to the entrance door (which is crazy when you consider the width of the aisles!). I can't wait to go through the aircraft when it does finally open. All the documentation, such as logs and manuals, are being transported to Longreach to be stored with the aircraft. The intention is that in 50 or 100 years time, someone may want to return it to airworthy state, where it would be an amazing vintage airliner, but who knows what will happen.

When EBQ landed, many people felt a touch of sadness - it was much like witnessing a death - this would be the last time that that aircraft would be airborne, quite possibly forever. Everyone's sadness though was soon put into perspective, as people remembered that most aircraft were not so lucky, ending their lives not as a proud display, but on the scrapheap.

I have many photos of the events, most of which I doubt are up to airliners.net's high standards. I will attempt to upload a few, maybe the screeners will take note of the special circumstances. The rest I will make available on a personal website, at an address I will advise of later.

Vale Qantas Boeing 747-238B VH-EBQ City of Bunbury line number 410, serial number 22145, delivered November 1979, final commercial flight operate November 9 2002, retired November 16 2002. Thank you for many years of safe and reliable service.
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Photo © Frank Schaefer
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V/F
"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
 
Big777jet
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RE: Qantas 747-200 To Be Retired To Longreach Today

Sun Nov 17, 2002 10:38 am

Virgin Flyer-

Your report is great!  Big thumbs up I bet you have a wonderful time in Longreach. It's sad gone for 747-200 for Qantas. Thanks for your sharing story!

Big777jet

 
bells
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RE: Qantas 747-200 To Be Retired To Longreach Toda

Sun Nov 17, 2002 11:01 am

Are you sure the runway is only 30 feet wide?

That has got to be a record for a 747.

Anyone know if a 747 has ever been put down on a shorter/narrower runway than Longreach?
 
VirginFlyer
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RE: Qantas 747-200 To Be Retired To Longreach Toda

Sun Nov 17, 2002 12:00 pm

Bells - sorry, looks like I made a mistake - it is of course 30 metres (I think the 747s track width would be pushing on 30 feet!) Runway dimensions are 1936x30 metres (6352x98 feet). It is still very narrow for a 747!

On a few occaisions (mainly emergencies) 747's have landed at New Zealand's Wellington airport, which has a runway of the same length (but 45 metres or 148 feet width).

V/F
"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
 
ZK-NBT
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RE: Qantas 747-200 To Be Retired To Longreach Today

Sun Nov 17, 2002 12:19 pm

Great run down V/F! I will try and see EBQ sometime when i'm in OZ.

Well EBS will stay in service for another year or so, so there is still 1 747-238 in QF colours still flying also DQ-FJE of Air Pacific ex VH-EBR is still flying but will be replaced in FJ's fleet next year by 2 747-400's.
 
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VapourTrails
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RE: Qantas 747-200 To Be Retired To Longreach Today

Sun Nov 17, 2002 2:57 pm

I only saw the brief news story on TV - great seeing EBQ land at Longreach!  Smile Yes this is one aircraft that will not be broken up or put out into the desert.

I hope to get up there one day and see the museum, but look forward to seeing the photos on here in the meantime. Thanks for the detailed report!  Smokin cool


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From Australia. Qantas - Spirit of Australia.
 
The Red Baron
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RE: Qantas 747-200 To Be Retired To Longreach Today

Sun Nov 17, 2002 6:22 pm

There was a 747-200 at Shelton-Sanderson Field (N487GX) near Tacoma in Washington state which was in Quantum colours for a film. Looking at the charts the runway is just 5,000ft long (1,524 metres). Not sure of the width.
Don't think it had arrived by road.
Rgds
BB
 
VirginFlyer
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RE: Qantas 747-200 To Be Retired To Longreach Toda

Sun Nov 17, 2002 9:05 pm

Hi Again,

A quick message to say that I have put all the photos I took over the weekend onto this website: http://homepage.mac.com/nickmoss/PhotoAlbum2.html. I had added captions (which took quite some time to do), but then the hosting server managed to lose everything. I will try and put captions on progressively as I have time. The photos are in chronological order, and should be rather self explanatory anyway.

One thing I would like to ask - if one of the airliners.net screeners has the time to take a look at the album, I would appreciate advice on which photos would likely be accepted on this site (if any). Such advice would be greatly appreciated.

I hope you all enjoy the pictures (and if you want to use them for anything, please drop me a line on my e-mail given in my profile here and ask me)

V/F
"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
 
ZK-NBT
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RE: Qantas 747-200 To Be Retired To Longreach Today

Mon Nov 18, 2002 6:05 pm

Great work Nick some fantastic shots of EBQ there!!  Smile
 
QF743INTL
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RE: Qantas 747-200 To Be Retired To Longreach Today

Mon Nov 18, 2002 7:02 pm

hey,
great report...what can i say, i am sadened...

 
krisworldB777
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RE: Qantas 747-200 To Be Retired To Longreach Today

Mon Nov 18, 2002 7:43 pm

VirginFlyer, may I also take this opportunity to pass on my thanks for taking the time for the report and enlightening us on what was obviously a fantastic day.

I flew on EBS a few weeks back and all I can say is what a magnificent machine: 21 years on and still flying like a dream! Maybe they should create a museum here in Perth as well eh?

 
VirginFlyer
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RE: Qantas 747-200 To Be Retired To Longreach Toda

Mon Nov 18, 2002 8:14 pm

KrisworldB777 - you're welcome. Yes, it would be nice to have more old birds like this preserved. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it though - look what happened to the poor old SPs (last I hear was that -EAB is no more and -EAA is still intact, awaiting the inevitible). As for EBS, I am told by a very reliable source that it will perform its last flight on the 23rd of December, and then be ferried to Marana sometime in early January. Not so long ago there was talk of her staying till next September, but obviously this is no longer the case. I am hoping to fly VH-EBS SYD-AKL on December 22nd (QF43), provided I can change my current plans (which have me flying TG991 SYD-AKL on December 20th)

V/F
"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
 
asgeirs
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RE: Qantas 747-200 To Be Retired To Longreach Today

Mon Nov 18, 2002 9:38 pm

Nice report, VirginFlyer! It is nice to know that this 747 will be preserved in this way, considering the fact that most end their lives in the scrapeyard.

One thing, however - why are they parking such a young plane? Big grin 23 years is not that much for a 747 - I have flown on a 747 that was 29 years old at the time and she seemed to be doing quite well...
Reykjavik Aviation Photography - Just bring the aircraft to us and we'll photograph them! :-)
 
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ATA L1011
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RE: Qantas 747-200 To Be Retired To Longreach Today

Tue Nov 19, 2002 12:29 am

Great Pix of the old girl!
Treat others as you expect to be treated!
 
VirginFlyer
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RE: Qantas 747-200 To Be Retired To Longreach Toda

Wed Nov 20, 2002 7:37 am

G'day all,

Just a quick note to say I have overcome the technical difficulties I was having, and I have now got captions for all the photos in the photo album linked to in my posting above, so if you were confused by some of the pictures, hopefully they will make a bit more sense now.

Also, Qantas has finally put a press release up on its website, here: http://www.qantas.com.au/regions/dyn/au/publicaffairs/details?ArticleID=2002/nov02/2816

Finally, I won't be posting, or probably even reading, for the next ten days, because of Uni exams (first one this afternoon - Discrete Mathematics, fun fun fun...)

Take care,

V/F
"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
 
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Luxair
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RE: Qantas 747-200 To Be Retired To Longreach Toda

Wed Nov 20, 2002 3:59 pm

Thanks VirginFlyer for your excellent report!!! Very nice pictures too!!! I hope that I could
visit once this Museum  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Greetings
 
VirginFlyer
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RE: Qantas 747-200 To Be Retired To Longreach Toda

Wed Nov 20, 2002 4:05 pm

G'day again,

Another link, this time from the Q.A.N.T.A.S. Founders Outback Museum page:

http://www.qfm.org.au/01_news/747.htm

V/F
"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
 
thadocta
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RE: Qantas 747-200 To Be Retired To Longreach Today

Wed Nov 20, 2002 7:41 pm

VirginFlyer - "On a few occaisions (mainly emergencies) 747's have landed at New Zealand's Wellington airport" - where did you get this from?

The first utilisation of Qantas B747-38SP's were to Wellington, and it was a regular event.

Dave
 
VirginFlyer
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RE: Qantas 747-200 To Be Retired To Longreach Toda

Thu Nov 21, 2002 8:55 am

Thadocta - sorry, I thought I had said other than the SP, obviously I overlooked it.

As for the few occaisions (refering to full size 747s), I got those from news reports of the event, in New Zealand. I can remember a United Airlines 747 landing there a few years back, and a bit before that an Air New Zealand one. Perhaps one of the Wellington members here can give more detail.

V/F
"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
 
Alpha
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RE: Qantas 747-200 To Be Retired To Longreach Today

Fri Nov 22, 2002 7:31 pm

Hello,

A nice pic taken from the sky :

http://www.planepictures.net/netshow.cgi?1037866203:LRE

Steph

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