Boeing 747-467, B-HUI (c/n 27230), was one of the last passenger variants flown by the airline.
After 22 years of flying, during which it amassed 101,000 hours and more than 15,000 landings, it was bought by aviation support services firm GA Telesis.
It was ferried from Hong Kong to Manchester on October 27 and four days later made the 30-minute hop to Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire, where it is being dismantled by GJD Services.
Captains Simon McGlynn and Nick Heard operated the final leg and Heard explained that the last landing, which they practised in the simulator, was unusual – the runway is 9,8842ft (3,000m) but has tall trees surrounding it and no approach aids, so great precision was required. McGlynn flew ’UI on his very last trip into Hong Kong’s old Kai Tak Airport and his first out of Chek Lap Kok, so commanding its final flight was rather special.
Analysis afterwards revealed the ground roll was a mere 2,840ft (865m).
After the Tech Log was completed one last time ’UI was handed over to its new owners. GJD’s Managing Director Gary Spoors explained the disposal process. The four Rolls-Royce RB211- 524G/H-T engines were leased from the manufacturer and still have useful life remaining. They will be inspected, repaired if necessary, inhibited for storage, and then made available for installation on other aircraft. Then, on behalf of GA Telesis, GJD Services will carefully remove components that are to be reused on other airframes.
Spoors pointed out that the picking lists have become shorter and the task less time consuming recently as most 747 operators now have plentiful inventories. What remains will eventually be broken up. Recycling is an important consideration, and will include cabin insulation being used in refrigerated lorries, and carbon fibre – which is cheaper to recycle than to produce – used in new car production. According to Spoors, whatever is left over will be melted down and used to make “Stella Artois cans” although the cockpit section is likely to be saved and made available to a museum.