What if you were planning to retire a Boeing 747SP and leave it on static display?

Easy. You'd get a pilot to fly it there and park the plane.

But what if the facility had a much smaller landing strip than 747s typically land upon?

Easy. You get a really good pilot to land it.

Watch that video. You'll see the pilot make a few low passes before ultimately landing on that little runway.

That's some impressive flying.

Posted by jzawodn at November 07, 2006 07:49 AM

Reader Comments
# said:

why is this impressive?

on November 7, 2006 09:25 AM
# hack said:

Yeah, why is that impressive? I've spot landed 747's on much smaller strips. Okay, it was in Microsoft FS2000, but it's pretty much the same.

on November 7, 2006 09:37 AM
# Doug Kaye said:

Why is it impressive? First, it looks like the wheelbase width is about the same as the pavement. Second, a short-field landing requires touching down at just above the minimum-controllable airspeed and right at the runway threshold. When you land on a runway that's 12,000' long and 400' wide, you don't need anywhere near that degree of precision.

Any idea how long that runway is, Jeremy?

on November 7, 2006 09:46 AM
# Josh Wand said:


1660x15 m


5446x49 ft

@ 5482ft elevation

Mininum runway length for 747SP varies by payload and altitude, found on page 48 of this PDF:

At that elevation, and at absolute mininum landing weight, the minimum runway length is just shy of 5000 feet.

Minimum length at takeoff is similar, depending on temperature and takeoff weight. (page 42)

on November 7, 2006 10:39 AM
# Ray Everett-Church said:

I think it's one of those instances of an expert making it look easy. Try parallel parking a pristine restored 1972 Cadillac Eldorado while a city bus is barrelling down a narrow street behind you, giving you about 10 seconds before disaster. That's probably about what it's like trying to land a jumbo jet on an airstrip that's too small. Yes it was unloaded and probably had very little fuel (weight), and they picked a day with favorable wind. But it's easy to have the variables go just enough in the wrong direction to eat up your cushion.

on November 7, 2006 11:31 AM
# VaibhaV Sharma said:

I wish they did not have the blasting music in the background. Amazing stuff.

Thanks for the link.

on November 7, 2006 11:52 AM
# Nick Arnett said:

And I was hoping "SP" meant "Single Pilot."

on November 7, 2006 01:13 PM
# Aristotle Pagaltzis said:

Yeah, what’s with so many aviation video clips having some kind of rock music blasting away in the background? I want to hear the engines and the wind, darnit.

The feat is pretty impressive, but the clip doesn’t do much to show it off. I wish we had gotten to see and hear more of the maneuver itself, rather than someone’s favourite music and text effects. Oh well.

on November 7, 2006 01:26 PM
# Shop Suchmaschinenoptimierung said:

A very interesting site, I think. The Idea of Technometry was new for me but worth to be read and thought abot it (although I'm not a native english-speaker and have some difficulties whith this language)

on November 9, 2006 11:49 AM
# milo said:

The music is annoying, but the video is amazing.

on November 10, 2006 03:15 AM
# Michael said:

"what’s with so many aviation video clips having some kind of rock music blasting away...?"

Two words: Top Gun.

on November 10, 2006 11:17 AM
# Mark B said:

I saw a similar clip of a 747 landing at Hong Kong (screwy sideways slipping and all the flaps and leading edge stuff out). What's impressive to me is a really, really big machine that didn't become a fireball. But why didn't the runway cave in? Even at minimum weight, I'd expect a hell of a lot more weight than runway strength. Did they use special "fatter" tires ;) I've seen the F-14 Tomcat at Pao Robles: it's on steel plates to keep it from sinking into the ramp. Another question: who was the pilot and why did he agree to do it? Must be for fame, not fortune ;) Thanks for posting the clip, Jeremy :)

on November 18, 2006 01:08 PM
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