I have been asked to forward this information to you all by Mr. Craig O'Neill, Marketing Communications Manager at the Museum of Flight, who saw this thread and wanted to straighten out any questions about the restoration of the world's first 747.
Thanks to all the Airliners.net folks for their interest in RA001 (aka "City
of Everett"), the Boeing 747 prototype at The Museum of Flight in Seattle.
We certainly agree with the opinion expressed by many in this thread that
the aircraft is an historical treasure of international significance
deserving thorough restoration and conscientious stewardship.
Here are our current plans for RA001:
This fall, a team of volunteers will tackle reinstallation of the engine
cowlings, which we hope to have done by next summer. This is not a
straightforward job, because the JT9D engines that were donated for the
aircraft following its last use as a 777 engine testbed lacked much of the
bracketry and attach hardware for the cowlings. We suspect that some of
these parts will have to be fabricated from scratch as they are no longer
We plan to repaint the trim colors only sometime in the next year or so.
Unfortunately, there is no paint hangar on KBFI big enough to accommodate
the aircraft, so there can be no question of a complete repainting. As far
as interior restoration, RA001 was never certified as a standard airliner
and never had a complete passenger interior. Our long-term goal is to
restore the interior to a flight-test configuration. We have begun to
acquire representative test racks, ballast water barrels and other equipment
to facilitate this restoration, but we've made no final decision about
exactly which test configuration or era will be represented.
Eventually, RA001 will be housed inside the Museum's planned Commercial
Aviation Wing. At that time, the aircraft interior will be open for public
tours. There are no plans, however, to make it accessible to the public
before it goes inside. The timing of construction of this new wing is very
uncertain at this point. It depends entirely on our fund-raising success,
which in turn is tied very tightly to the health of the economy in general
and the health of the airline/aerospace industry in specific.
The constant need for money applies, of course, not just to buildings but to
aircraft restoration as well. To clarify one point, the Museum does not
receive any operational cash support from The Boeing Company, and although
we have received generous in-kind donations from the company over the years,
these are far, far below the level that would be required to do a "Dash
80-style" restoration on RA001. Boeing committed huge and unspecified
amounts of company resources (almost certainly well into the seven figures)
to restore the Dash 80 and the 307 Stratoliner for the Smithsonian, not to
mention the thousands of volunteer man-hours committed by Boeing employees.
To date, no such commitment appears to be forthcoming for RA001 (or for the
Museum's 727 prototype, which is being restored by Museum volunteers at our
Restoration Center at Paine Field/Snohomish County Airport (KPAE) in
I mention all this not for the sake of "woe-is-me" whining, but just to
underscore that what we would love to be able to do by way of restoring and
preserving the aircraft in our collection is not always what we are able to
do, particularly in the short run. There are many worthy projects vying for
a very limited pot of resources. Additions to that pot are always more than
Marketing Communications Manager
The Museum of Flight