British Aircraft Graveyard Sees First Boeing 747 Departure In 40 Years

Cotswold Airport in the United Kingdom has acted as the final destination for many Boeing 747s over the years. However, on Wednesday, one jumbo jet left the aircraft graveyard for the first time in 40 years. Local residents were delighted to watch the departure of the former Corsair 747, which has now headed to the United States.

Corsair, Boeing 747, Aircraft Graveyard
This Corsair Boeing 747 took a one-way flight out of an English aircraft graveyard on Wednesday. Photo: Getty Images

Around the globe, many four-engined jets have met their end prematurely due to the current pandemic, be they the Boeing 747, the Airbus A340, or the Airbus A380. These aircraft have ended up at aircraft graveyards, primarily around Europe. However, one Boeing 747 that thought it was the end got to enjoy one more journey in on Wednesday.

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Flying to the Arizona Desert

Back in June, we reported that Corsair was sending its final three Boeing 747s to Kemble in the United Kingdom. It was assumed that this would be the last flight of the aircraft. After all, Kemble is an aircraft graveyard, notorious for scrapping the Queen of the Skies.

However, for at least one of these Boeing 747s, the trip to Kemble wasn’t one way. On Wednesday, F-HSUN took to the skies, bound for Pinal Airpark in the Arizona Desert. The facility is home to many other Boeing 747s, from airlines such as Delta and Evergreen International, that won’t fly again.

The final journey

F-HSUN made its final journey in two parts. The aircraft needed to stop over in Bangor to refuel. Given the relatively short (for a Boeing 747) runways at Kemble, the fuel onboard was likely restricted to reduce the takeoff distance.

Corsair, Boeing 747, Aircraft Graveyard
The aircraft first flew to Bangor to refuel. Photo:

The Boeing 747 waved goodbye to Kemble at 14:16 on Wednesday, August 12th, according to data from Having departed from the facility, the aircraft flew west for five hours and 40 minutes before touching down in Bangor, at 14:56.

Corsair, Boeing 747, Aircraft Graveyard
The aircraft then continued to its final destination. Photo:

The aircraft then refueled at Bangor, before departing at 16:40. Its final flight was a domestic one, touching down in Marana at 18:29, four hours, and 50 minutes later.

An unusual departure

The departure of a Boeing 747 from Kemble would’ve come as a shock for many. Indeed, according to a local publication, the Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard, this was the first time that an aircraft of that size has left the airport since the 1980s.

British Airways, IAG Cargo, Boeing 787-10
Most aircraft only make a one-way trip to Kemble. Photo: Getty Images

When Simple Flying reported that British Airways had sent one of its Boeing 747s to the facility earlier this year, it prompted a debate in the comments as to whether the queen of the skies was capable of departing the airport. Regardless of the views held, this quite clearly shows that the Boeing 747 is capable, after all.

Corsair has two more Boeing 747s currently at Kemble, F-HSEA, and F-G-TUI. It was not immediately apparent at the time of writing whether these other two aircraft will also make the hop across the pond.

Have you flown on a Corsair Boeing 747? Did you get to see the aircraft departing from Kemble? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!