The Story Of Tijuana’s Abandoned “Global Peace” Boeing 747

Outside of Tijuana’s International Airport (TIJ), there’s a parked and abandoned Boeing 747SP, registration N4522V, with a fascinating story. While one may see several ‘Queens of the Skies’ stored at places like Victorville, TIJ is not used as a place of long-term storage. So, why is it there? What’s its history? Let’s investigate further.

Global Peace Ambassadors 747 TIJ
This Boeing 747 is abandoned at Tijuana International Airport. It first flew with China Airlines. Photo: Daniel Martínez Garbuno | Simple Flying.

N4522V, a Taiwanese history

Landing at Tijuana International Airport allows passengers to enter one of Mexico’s most dynamic cities. Also, passengers can easily cross to the United States through the Cross Border Xpress, which is a marvel on its own. Nevertheless, for the hardcore avgeeks, there’s also one treasure to be found at TIJ: this B747SP-09 parked inside the airport, close to Volarismaintenance center.

This Boeing 747SP-09 had its first flight on June 10, 1982, according to ch-aviation’s database. The carrier China Airlines ordered Boeing the aircraft and received it on June 29, 1982. China Airlines currently has 18 Boeing 747-400 in its fleet and has had 29 additional ‘Queens of the Skies’ throughout its history.

N4522V operated with China Airlines between 1982 and 1997. It accumulated 59,183 hours of flight and 11,652 cycles.

After China Airlines, it went to Mandarin Airlines, a carrier based in Taiwan and with an active fleet of 13 aircraft currently. Mandarin Airlines has nine ATR 72-600 and four Embraer ERJ 190.

The Story Of Tijuana’s Abandoned “Global Peace” Boeing 747
This is a look at N4522V when it flew with China Airlines. Photo: Torsten Maiwald via Wikimedia Commons.

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China Airlines incident Flight 006

On February 19, 1985, N4522V was flying between Taipei and Los Angeles as China Airlines’ Flight 006. The accident took place ten hours into the flight while cruising at an altitude of 41,000 feet. According to the reports, the aircraft lost thrust in engine number four. It was the third time the engine had failed, but the crew managed to restart it after descending to a lower altitude in the two previous events. This time, they couldn’t.

While trying unsuccessfully to restart the engine, the plane rolled to the right, and the nose began to drop. At some point, the crew lost control of the flight altogether, the captain and first officer became spatially disoriented, and the aircraft descended nose first through the sky. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation, all onboard experienced g-forces as high as 5G.

After a while, the captain recovered control of the aircraft and diverted to San Francisco International Airport. There were 24 injuries including two serious.

The Story Of Tijuana’s Abandoned “Global Peace” Boeing 747
After its stint in China, this 747 flew as a Global Peace Ambassador. Photo: Juda S. Engelmayer via Wikimedia Commons.

Why does it say Global Peace Ambassadors on the livery?

Despite operating most of its life with Asian carriers, N4522V currently has a livery that says Global Peace Ambassadors.

In 2002, this 747 was acquired by Global Peace. This organization was an initiative created by Kilari Anand Paul, an Indian evangelist. He bought the aircraft through charitable contributions and renamed it Global Peace Ambassadors.

He used the aircraft for missions across the world. For example, he flew to carry a humanitarian mission to Haiti in 2004.

Nevertheless, Global Peace had to park the aircraft at Tijuana International Airport in 2005. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) suspended the plane’s operating certificate due to insufficient maintenance.

Global Peace Ambassadors 747 TIJ
The aircraft is currently parked in Tijuana. In the photo, you can see a Volaris plane in the background. Photo: Daniel Martínez Garbuno | Simple Flying.

Since then, anyone can see the aircraft at TIJ. Unfortunately, you have to enter the airport’s areas restricted only to employees to see it up close.

The current ownership status of the aircraft is unclear. Maybe it should be scrapped and sold into pieces, like Eva Air’s last 747? It definitely has an interesting story.

Have you ever seen this aircraft live? What do you think should happen with the aircraft? Let us know in the comments below. 

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