Noses of a Boeing 747 and 727 – Photo: Caleb Howell | Flickr CC
This guest post was written by Andrew Vane (@pipelinedrew) for AirlineReporter.
Recently I saw that someone posted pictures of old Northwest 727s and DC-10s in North Carolina and I became curious. This is my home turf and I was not aware of any tri-holers “enjoying” their retirement years nearby.
I quickly started looking up Google Earth images and was able to confirm that, sure enough, there was what was left of some vintage aircraft stored in an out-of-the-way airfield somewhere in my home state. Now, how to get out there to see them.
Laurinburg-Maxton Airport (KMEB) is nestled in the pine barrens of the south-central part of North Carolina, off of US Highway 74 about halfway between Charlotte and Wilmington. Originally a U.S. Army Air base for glider training during World War II, this small airport currently is the home to the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team, has a nice local Fixed Base Operator (FBO) for civil air service, and also holds something not often seen in the eastern U.S.; a commercial airliner salvage yard.
When you normally think of aircraft storage, the first airports that come to mind are Victorville, California and Tucson, Arizona. Now add KMEB to that list.
An Alaska Airlines aviator bear – Photo: Alaska Airlines
With only a week remaining until Christmas, are you one of the millions still searching for gifts at the last minute? Or is family pestering you for gift ideas? Or do you not care it is Christmas and still want to get some cool airline-related swag?
Why not grab the perfect AvGeek present for that special someone in your life? All of the major carriers and aircraft manufacturers have online stores where you can shop to your heart’s content.
Don’t forget that you can also shop for yourself! The AirlineReporter.com Staff also welcomes AvGeek gifts of any kind.
People picking up their bags. Photo by Andrew Vane.
This Story was Written by Andrew Vane for AirlineReporter.com:
Although not filled with the glory of a wide-body international flight typically experienced by others, any opportunity to fly commercially always brings a smile to my face. Getting to fly, no matter the distance or aircraft, is what being an #AvGeek is all about! To quote a childrens book titled “Railroad Toad” by Susan Schade and John Buller (that I used to read to my children): “Give me a ticket to anywhere, the farther the better I don’t care!”
Well, that opportunity rolled around again for me. This time, I got to fly for business from my home city of Charlotte, North Carolina to the capital of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg. Up one afternoon and back the next is all I had time for with this trip.
To give you some background on Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT), in 2012 it was the eighth-busiest airport in the US and had more domestic flights than New York’s LaGuardia and Kennedy combined. As a major hub to US Airways (soon to become American Airlines), the airport has grown from three small crisscrossing runways in the 1960’s to four long runways capable of handling an A340-600 or Boeing 777. CLT officials are also planning to give the longest runway a 2,000 foot extension at some point in the future. Hmmmm. My last fortune cookie said “I see big things in your future” so perhaps someday an A380 will grace CLT.
A model of the Boeing 787 outside the Visitor Center in South Carolina. Check out the wing-like roof.
This is a guest post written by Drew Vane for AirlineReporter.com:
I recently visited a Boeing Factory. No, I’m not talking about Renton or Everett, but in South Carolina.
Covering almost 11 football fields and completed in mid 2011, Boeing’s “other” factory for manufacturing the new 787 Dreamliner is located in North Charleston, South Carolina on property bordering Charleston International Airport and Joint Base Charleston. I had the opportunity to stop by during a business trip recently and let me tell you, this facility is impressive. According to Boeing’s web site, “Boeing South Carolina fabricates, assembles and installs systems for aft (rear) fuselage sections of the 787 Dreamliner and joins and integrates mid-body sections from other partners.”
These partners include companies located in India and Japan. While I wasn’t able to tour the facility during my trip, I did take a short visit to the visitor’s facility and grabbed some pics of the lineup near the fence line. I just happened to miss the second 787 Dreamliner to depart for India by only one day. I also missed the departure of the Dreamlifter with its precious cargo bound for Seattle, but I hope to catch one in the future.
Some 787s on the tarmac at Boeing’s South Carolina facility. Image by Drew Vane.
Since green is the name of the game these days, Boeing designed this facility to be as environmentally friendly as possible. The final assembly building was fitted with solar panels that are capable of generating enough electricity to power 250 homes with a peak energy output equal to 200,000 13-watt watt bulbs. In addition, Boeing has a zero waste program where recycling and reuse is the norm, creating zero waste to landfills from the facility as a whole. Quite impressive for such a large manufacturing facility.
The visitor’s center unfortunately is for those with permission to enter the site. I had hoped to see a retail store, room full of Boeing paraphernalia and models for sale. It is too bad that the store is behind the fence, far from public eyes. The visitor center is more a front gate for those seeking security badges or meeting Boeing employees. They did have a very nice facility with a roof in the form of a 400-ft long wing, an outside small display with the history of Boeing, and a large scale model of the 787.
Boeing workers who built the facility
A very courteous Boeing employee was kind enough to talk with me as he was leaving for the day. Boeing’s Charleston facility is the only location currently in the world where the 787 tail assembly is manufactured. Boeing ships the tails to Everett where they’re assembled. Similar to Everett, all the parts are shipped here to Charleston for assembly. At the present time, Boeing’s manufacturing is only capable of producing one 787 per month. But, they hope to eventually ramp that up to one every six days, similar to the Everett Washington facility.
From public areas, I did spot some red tails (not the movie) in the lineup area and took a drive over, stopping outside the fence to snap a pic of the lineup. What an impressive sight! I was excited just to be in the same state as these fine aircraft. I cannot wait until my next visit.