Creating keyrings and bag tags out of the skin of retired aircraft has become all the rage. Following the retirement of British Airways’ fleet of Boeing 747 aircraft, it is now possible to own a part of G-CIVM, a 23-year-old Boeing 747 retired in March.
For a while now, companies have been making keepsakes from retired aircraft. Indeed, in February, Simple Flying reported that you could own a keyring made from the fuselage of the first A380 retired. Those sold like hotcakes. With the current aviation downturn prompting a considerable increase in aircraft retirements, we should expect to see many more.
Many thousands of aviation fans were saddened to hear British Airways’ shock retirement of the Boeing 747 aircraft earlier this year. One of those individuals was Ant Friedl, the founder of Tailfins.co.uk. To give aircraft a better future than tin cans, he is upcycling old aircraft parts into tailfin shaped keyrings.
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This is where G-CIVM enters the equation. The former British Airways Boeing 747 was retired in March and has since had parts removed left, right, and center. A couple of these parts were portions of tailfin sent to Ant. Over the past month, he has been cutting the tail fin shapes out of the sheets and engraving them with their registration and a limited edition part number. In total, 190 tags have been made, being sold now on partofaplane.com.
G-CIVM was built by Boeing in 1997, taking its first flight on May 27th that year according to Planespotters.net. The aircraft has the line number 1116 and was delivered to British Airways on June 5th, 1997. According to CAA data, as of May 20th, 2019, G-CIVM had completed 96849 flight hours.
Of course, the aircraft has flown many more hours since then. One flight on February 5th even made the news as one of former Prime Minister David Cameron’s bodyguards left a loaded gun in the aircraft’s premium economy toilets.
What’s next for Tailfins?
Tailfins started by selling 24 pieces of the tail from CIVM’s sister, G-CIVG. These sold out in just hours, proving to Ant how much people wanted such parts. Simple Flying caught up with Ant to find out what the future of his company holds. He told us,
“The feedback has been incredible, constructive and humbling… there will be a lot more bespoke Tailfin aviation products to come, all handcrafted and made in Great Britain.”
He went on to add,
“I want to oversee every single piece we produce personally, I’m not going to sell anything I wouldn’t cherish myself which means I’ll never scale this up to vast production runs… We all have those deeply emotional memories and you don’t need millions to own part of a plane.”
Do you own a part of a retired aircraft? Let us know in the comments!