Boeing 747 to be driven up the M5 and M6 next week as it makes its final journey
Drivers on the M6 and M5 can be forgiven if they think they're seeing things next week when the top deck of a Boeing 747 passes by.
The unusual sight will be winding its way through the Black Country and Staffordshire on Thursday, August 11, as it makes it ways north.
Instead of being sent for scrap, the partial remains of the iconic plane will be heading from Kemble in Gloucestershire to Barton City Airport in Salford, Greater Manchester, where it will become a visitor attraction.
Called The Deck, the plane once registered G-BYGA will become a tourist attraction which will also provide the setting for educational and leisure tours, allowing visitors to get up close to the pilot's seat and take controls to fly the plane as it becomes the UK's only 747 flight sim using a real aircraft flight deck.
Doors2Manual, the company behind the project, also plans to use The Deck as an Insta-dream wedding and conference venue.
Drew Hanna, co-founder, Doors2Manual and Director, The Deck said: “This has been a dream of ours for a long, long time and we’re so excited to be finally getting ready for G-BYGA’s final journey to our hangar. I don’t think many of us will have witnessed a Boeing 747 driving up the motorway before so it’s set to be a sight many families and flight fanatics will never forget.
"We've been able to build Doors2Manual into one of the world's leading suppliers of airline memorabilia and parts. Now being able to salvage such a significant part of an iconic aircraft is our biggest thrill so far.”
The plane is due to depart Kemble at around 9.30am on Thursday, and take four-and-a-half to five hours to complete the 150-mile journey to Salford. Anyone wishing to follow the plane can track its progress on The Deck's Facebook and Instagram pages - search @thedeck747.
Due to its size, the plane will be taking up two lanes of the carriageways of the M5 and M6 as it heads north.
Karen Kearns, ops manager, Doors2Manual and Director, The Deck added: “The journey to Manchester’s original airport is just the start of a second life for the old girl and we’re so privileged to be able to give her a bright future. More than that, we know TheDeck is going to provide the perfect backdrop to so may special days for flight fans and can’t wait to see people come back through the doors for tours, events and to get behind the yoke and fly her.”
G-BYGA was once owned by British Airways until it became a victim of the Covid-19 pandemic which wreaked havoc on the aviation industry.
British Airways got rid of all 31 of its 747s, while Virgin Atlantic retired its last seven examples.
Once installed the plane will become the newest addition to City Airport's visitor attraction, which also includes three other flight simulators - allowing visitors to take the controls of three different aircraft including an Airbus A320, a viewing area to watch aircraft take off and land with regular events, picnic area, children’s play area and the VG Bar & Grill.
Aircraft, helicopter and gyrocopter flights and lessons are also available at the venue’s flying schools.