Touring a 747!

posted in: Queensland

Driving into Longreach from the east you can’t miss the 747.  It sits just off the main highway and it looks so huge in this small town.  We had told the kids there was a Qantas museum in Longreach that we would be going to and as soon as they saw the plane they were asking if we’d get to go inside it.  I cringed a bit, knowing the tour was going to be out of our price range.  Museum, yes, tour of planes, no. Touring a 747! | How Many More Minutes? When we arrived at the museum we had one of those funny kid moments where they start chatting and before you know it they are telling your life story to a complete stranger.  In this case the complete stranger was in charge of the tours and was rather enchanted with our children.  Soon we found ourselves joining a tour and the kids were giddy.  Okay, maybe not giddy, but they were excited.  Maybe it was the adults who were giddy. Touring a 747! | How Many More Minutes? The plane was so big I couldn’t get it all in one shot! Touring a 747! | How Many More Minutes? The tour was amazing.  The tour guide is so full of information about the plane, it’s just incredible.  First he walked us under the plane and pointed out all the different things you wouldn’t normally be close enough to see.  Just getting to stand under a 747 is a great experience. Touring a 747! | How Many More Minutes? Next we got our picture taken standing in one of the engines.  My kids do not know how special this is!  To get to stand in a 747 engine like this is not something you get the chance to do very often.  In fact, they told us there are only two places you can do this in Australia!  But here we are, how cool is this! Touring a 747! | How Many More Minutes? Then we got to go inside.  Our kids were last on an airplane about a year ago when we flew to the States for a visit.  On that plane every seat had its own screen, something the kids thoroughly enjoyed as they were allowed to watch movies and play games as much as they wanted.  This plane was old enough that there were no individual screens and the guide pointed out how you didn’t have a choice of movies and you had to watch it on that one screen at the front of the cabin.  The horror!!  Overhead compartments are bigger now, too. Touring a 747! | How Many More Minutes? The black box, which isn’t really black.  It’s orange. Touring a 747! | How Many More Minutes? We could sit in the seats and play with the buckles, which is all this guy wanted to do. Touring a 747! | How Many More Minutes? The cockpit!  I wish I could remember how many levers and gauges and such he said were in here. Hundreds.  Cockpits don’t look quite the same now what with all the computerisation.  More screens, but still a lot of levers. Touring a 747! | How Many More Minutes? Touring a 747! | How Many More Minutes? Right behind the cockpit was an area for the pilots to sleep.  There were three pilots, they rotated with two flying at a time. Touring a 747! | How Many More Minutes? We got to look at all the various compartments and cupboards and such. Touring a 747! | How Many More Minutes? In the first class cabin there was a picture of what it looked like in use. Touring a 747! | How Many More Minutes? So fun to have had a look around the top deck! Touring a 747! | How Many More Minutes? Touring a 747! | How Many More Minutes? Landing a 747 at this airport was quite the feat.  The airport isn’t exactly built for landing 747s! The runway was just long enough to land on (with the assistance of autobraking), but once it got to the end they had to turn it around.  With the width of this runway it required a 19-point turn, taking half an hour to complete!  I found an eyewitness account of the events of that day here. Touring a 747! | How Many More Minutes? There were two more planes to explore.  I only made it onto one of those with the kids before they’d had enough.  An hour and a half of non-stop plane info is a bit overwhelming.  The 707 (for some reason I don’t have a picture of the outside of it) was first a part of Qantas then became a luxury charter jet, then belonged to a Saudi prince.  Touring a 747! | How Many More Minutes? Michael Jackson even flew on this plane!  The 80’s fan in me was quite pleased. Touring a 747! | How Many More Minutes? Touring a 747! | How Many More Minutes?Touring a 747! | How Many More Minutes? It was pretty fancy back in the day.  There was gold trim all over the place (most removed by now). Touring a 747! | How Many More Minutes? Touring a 747! | How Many More Minutes? This was the last one of the tour, a Catalina Flying Boat.  It bears the name of Qantas Empire Airways, which they changed to Qantas Airways in 1967. Touring a 747! | How Many More Minutes? One last pose near the big one and we were off to explore the museum. Touring a 747! | How Many More Minutes? Touring a 747! | How Many More Minutes?Touring a 747! | How Many More Minutes?

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