Qantas Hands Rolls Royce The Keys To Its Boeing 747 VH-OJU

Yesterday, we reported that Qantas’ most recently retired Boeing 747 would be heading to a new life with Rolls Royce. The aircraft has now flown to Moses Lake, where it will undergo a complete transformation to become an engine testbed. Following this flight, Qantas handed over the aircraft’s ceremonial keys to its new owner.

Rolls Royce, Qantas, AeroTEC, Boeing 747
The keys to the aircraft are handed over to Gareth Hedicker, Director of Development and Experimental Engineering at Rolls Royce. Photo: AeroTEC

On Sunday, the aircraft completed its final passenger service for Qantas, carrying travelers to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Following a couple of days of rest in Los Angeles, the aircraft yesterday embarked on its second delivery flight, this time to Moses Lake in Washington. Here it was handed over to its new owners, Rolls Royce.

The delivery flight

Yesterday VH-OJU embarked on its second delivery flight. Interestingly, the Boeing 747 was delivered back to the state in which it originated, Washington in the United States of America. The aircraft departed Los Angeles International at 10:13 in the morning.

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Rolls Royce, Qantas, AeroTEC, Boeing 747
The aircraft’s delivery flight took it from Los Angeles to Moses Lake. Image: FlightRadar24.com

After taking off towards the west, the aircraft quickly turned to a northerly heading. It then continued to climb to an altitude of 34,000 feet for its final journey wearing Qantas colors. It reached its cruising altitude around Bakersfield.

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QF6021 then began its final descent with a Qantas flight number above the north of the state of Oregon. At 12:13, according to FlightRadar24.com, the aircraft touched down at Moses Lake, marking the end of an era in service with the Australian flag carrier.

Rolls Royce, Qantas, AeroTEC, Boeing 747
The Boeing 747 is set to be transformed into a flying testbed for engines. Photo: Rolls Royce

The ceremony

Of course, any important aircraft delivery requires a ceremony. Present at the event were representatives of Qantas and Rolls Royce, in addition to AeroTEC. AeroTEC is the company handling the Boeing 747’s conversion from passenger jet to high tech testbed. They were, of course, joined by some invited guests.

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As at any delivery ceremony, speeches were made by representatives of all the key parties. There was also a photo opportunity as the ceremonial keys for the aircraft were handed over. Chris Snook, Executive Manager of Engineering for Qantas. Regarding the delivery, he commented,

“The Boeing 747 has been an integral and much-loved member of the Qantas fleet for many years.”

Rolls Royce, Qantas, AeroTEC, Boeing 747
The aircraft’s keys were handed from Qantas to Rolls Royce. Photo: AeroTEC

He went on to add: “OJU has proudly worn the flying kangaroo for more than 20 years and we’re delighted that she has a long life ahead of her to help test and support the development of the next generation of aircraft engines.”

The Boeing 747 will now spend around two years in the care of AeroTEC. The company will strip the aircraft’s current passenger configuration. Instead, the aircraft will be converted into a flying laboratory capable of testing engines for both commercial and business aircraft.

Are you sad to see VH-OJU leave the Qantas fleet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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Sam Rittler

At least it’s not rotting in a boneyard.

Hein C Vandenbergh

I think ‘sadness’ should be reserved for major adverse life events. This is just business. Nice to see it’ll be used to advance the science of flight though, rather than being immediately dismantled.

Tom

At least this queen never ends in the scrapyard. Good Job to RR to keep the legendary Queen 😀

Paul Thorne

In a way it is sad that a faithful servant is deemed to be unproductive and dated and has to be moved on.This one has at least a new and exciting future.

Moaz Abid

Do aircraft REALLY need keys?