A retired Southern Air Boeing 747-200F gets one last chance to almost fly — even without any engines.

From the videos description on YouTube: “This 747 is sitting in a boneyard in Mojave, CA awaiting scrapping. On May 23rd, 2012 the area experienced extreme winds of 70+ miles per hour due to a low pressure zone. Without the weight of its engines, the slightly tail heavy 747 tries to take to the skies one last time. The next day the plane was found to have also rotated about 45 degrees from its original position. The same wind storm damaged many rooftops, cut power and sent huge clouds of sand and dust billowing into the sky. Mojave will occasionally experience this type of wind storm due to geography.”

Thanks Allen for pointing this one out!

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me: david@airlinereporter.com

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That poor 747. It senses its about to die and wants to run away.

She just wants to fly… come on. So close.


I wonder If there Southern winds 🙂

While it makes a nice story describing it as trying to fly one last time, it was simply unbalanced after its engines were removed. All its weight was on the main gear. If it had gotten off the ground, it would not have been pretty. Without 3-axis control, it would have briefly accelerated in the 70+ mph winds and come down with a thud that would reduce it and probably one of the neighboring 747s to a mountain of aircraft parts.

I was in Mojave 3 years ago (to see the Space Shuttle Atlantis on mission STS-125 landing nearby at Edwards) when the first of several Southern Air 747s including this one arrived. The one that I saw land is probably the one sitting on the right side of the frame in the video, since I vaguely recall the first one remained up front in the view from the Mojave flight line. (Though if I’m wrong in that recollection, I’m sure I’ll get a swift correction.) Here’s my photo of the 747 taxiing off the runway from its retirement flight. http://ian.kluft.com/pics/mojave/20090523-mhv-l94/img_2762.jpg

I noticed some people acting sad about the planes getting scrapped. It’s necessary to retire metal airliners before metal fatigue becomes a safety hazard. They have an engineered lifetime of tens of thousands of pressurization cycles with proper maintenance. And with the large quantity of aluminum in a 747, some of it may get into aircraft or spacecraft to fly again.


does anyone know the tail number


They always told me ” The south shall rise again..”


This particular aircraft has only been in Mohave for a few months. It is N749SA, a PW powered -300 and former Korean Air passenger bird.

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