After Some Bumps Boeing 727 Successfully Transported Overland In The UK

Back in November we first reported on a Bristol entrepreneur’s vision to repurpose an old Boeing 727 as a work and event space. Since then we’ve also reported on the project’s progress and setbacks. But now, Johnny Palmer’s goal of moving the old jet from Cotswold Airport to Bristol has finally been achieved, making for some spectacular sights along the way as the fuselage was moved down the motorways and backroads of southwest England.

PytchAir 727
Transportation was to take place by road via the motorways M5 and M4, as well as A4174 from Cotswold Airport to the outer edges of Bristol. Some of the route had to be changed due to road emergencies. Photo: Johnny Palmer | PYTCH

“Our virtual events studios have been getting busy since covid and we need more space at PYTCH.  So rather than do resource and carbon intensive construction we decided to re-purpose the icon of unsustainable hyper-consumption – the airliner private jet.   And also have a lot of fun along the way.”  -Johnny Palmer, Founder, PYTCH

The move from Cotswold Airport to Bristol

Over the weekend, the old aircraft body, now known as PYTCHAir, was transported from its home at Cotswold Airport to its new, permanent resting place on an industrial estate in Bristol.

Moving the 727 fuselage was no easy task, requiring two giant cranes to lift the enormous airliner to place it in position. In the process, the aircraft body blocked motorways and small backroads and required the assistance of local police to manage traffic and the large crowds of onlookers.

“Getting PYTCHAir to Bristol was a major challenge and there were some hairy moments!  Such as when the police refused for us to use the planned route, when it scraped under a motorway bridge, and when emergency services had to get past us.” -Johnny Palmer

Palmer adds that getting the fuselage strapped to the trailer in a very specific manner was essential- as a rolling fuselage on the road could have been a lethal disaster.

The general response from the people of Bristol is reported to have been overwhelmingly positive. Palmer says that he is grateful to have put together a project that has brought cheer during a time that might otherwise be drab for many.

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The jet attracted the attention of the public, who came out to watch the big move. Photo: Johnny Palmer | PYTCH

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Jet settling

As already mentioned, settling the new jet into its new home at “PYTCH HQ, 21 Bonville Road,” required two heavy-duty cranes. Taking place on Saturday evening, the aircraft body was lifted into place atop a number of old shipping containers.

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A shot of the aircraft being lifted into place atop shipping containers. Photo: Johnny Palmer | PYTCH
PytchAir 727
A wider shot showing how many shipping containers are supporting the fuselage. Photo: Johnny Palmer | PYTCH

Big plans for the space

Palmer has some exciting plans for the big metal tube. The tech entrepreneur, activist, and investor intends to convert it into a work and event space, used for collaboration.

“We needed more space for meetings as our virtual events broadcast business has taken off since lockdown and we have lost all our offices to multiple sound stages and green-screen broadcast areas” Palmer says.

In its early days, the aircraft was used by Japan Airlines before being sold and converted into a private jet. The aircraft was fitted with “VVIP interiors,” which is rumored to have been originally fitted out for a Saudi prince.

If purchased new, the aircraft would have cost £40m ($55.6m). However, the PYTCH founder secured a deal for far less, due to its lack of engines and wings. Despite getting a deal, Palmer says that this is “by far the most expensive office space that has ever been installed in Bristol (or at least it would if the aircraft could fly.)”

While we know about a 747 hotel in Sweden, a 737 caravan in Lancashire (England), and an A330 coffee shop in Thailand, this 727 collaboration space is the only such use of this aircraft type in Europe.

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The fuselage is to be used as a collaboration space at Palmer’s industrial estate in Bristol where his broadcast, creative, and tech businesses are based. Photo: Johnny Palmer | PYTCH

The fuselage itself will subsequently become an iconic piece of artwork as it will be an arts collaboration with local street artists. Indeed, Bristol is an area already well-known for its bustling arts scene.

We’re wishing Palmer and his new business and event space all the best. We’re looking forward to seeing the finished work in the months to come!

Have you been following the progress of PYTCHAir? What do you think of the move? Let us know in the comments.