Two 747’s Almost Crash Over Scotland — And That’s Not The Scariest Part

On a course headed for what might have been the worst disaster in aviation history, two Boeing 747 aircraft came within 100 feet of each other in a near-miss event over Scotland.

It happened in June of this year but the report is just now being released by by the UK Airprox Board, which examines near misses in UK airspace. The planes were 30 miles north of Glasgow when an air traffic controller noticed they were moving closer together. Ordered to fly in different directions, cockpit crews apparently got the instructions reversed and wound up flying towards each other.

“It was apparent that both crews had taken each others’ instructions, and the board found it hard to determine why this had occurred,” noted the Airprox report, a reported in a SkyNews article.Odds are all four pilots in the two aircraft probably were not paying a lot of attention to ground control, already having received clearance to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Compounding the problem: both planes had been ordered by air traffic control to fly at 34,000 feet.

The really scary part: A crash was only prevented because two pilots on each aircraft saw each other. Taking evasive action avoided collision with one plane climbing and the other diving.

Abandoned Airports Brought Back To Life

We’re used to thinking of airports as places that flurry with activity no matter the hour. Much like a big city, they tend to be bustling hubs that never sleep. But all around the world, there are a number of airports that have been abandoned — vast structures that became ghost towns after economic problems caused them to fail and shut down.

The good news is that some of these zombie airports are now being given a new lease on life as they’re transformed into attractions like amusement parks or repurposed into places like schools.

In Sweden, the former Bulltofta Airport was turned into a park and entertainment zone. In Denver Colorado, Stapleton International Airport has been redesigned into a mixed-use housing community. And in Madrid, Spain, the Ciudad Real Central Airport is currently being used as the set of a film. So it got us wondering — what kinds of cool things would we like to see airports turned into?

  • A restaurant district. Just imagine all the quirky little places you could set up a restaurant. Sushi conveyor belt at the security checkpoint? Meals with a view in the air traffic control tower? It would sure beat the current airport dining experience.
  • Go kart racing tracks. How much fun would it be to whizz around on miles of airport tarmac? I mean, really, do we even need to sell you on this idea?
  • A hotel. Old airplanes and airport facilities would make a great site for a concept hotel. In fact, the Jumbo Stay hotel/hostel in Stockholm has already seized on this idea, turning an old Boeing 747 into a funky place to crash for the night.
  • A fitness center. Dragging ourselves through vast airport terminals is an absolute chore when we’re jetlagged and running late for our flight, but all that space is ideal when the goal is working out. And those moving walkways? Yup, they’re perfect built-in treadmills.

What else would you like to see old airports transformed into? Let us know in the comments!

Space Shuttle Endeavour To Fly One Last Time

Space shuttle Endeavour will be departing Kennedy Space Center for the last time next month and the public is invited to a series of events happening in September.

First, the public has the opportunity to see Endeavour as it is being prepared for its journey atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) September 14 and 15. Scheduled exclusive Endeavour bus tours will let guests view the orbiter as it is lifted by the mate-demate device (MDD) and placed atop a specially designed Boeing 747 aircraft. Viewing and photo opportunities will be available from the bus. The tour price is $20 per adult/$14 per child in addition to regular admission

Then, on Monday, September 17, at about 7:30 a.m. EDT, a limited number of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex guests will have a front-row seat to witness the departure of Endeavour from the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF). Another fly-out viewing option is from the Visitor Complex as the history-setting mission covers the sky above the attraction’s Rocket Garden. The tour price for this up-close opportunity is $40 per person plus admission.
Also, live NASA TV video coverage of Endeavour’s fly-out and commentary will be broadcast in the IMAX Theater. Doors will open at 6 a.m. EDT. Coverage begins at 6:30 a.m. EDT.

In 19 years of service, Endeavour went on 25 missions, carried 133 astronauts, spent 299 days in space and traveled 122,883,151 miles. As a collectible, complimentary gift during the festivities, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex guests will receive a lithograph of Endeavour as a keepsake.

For more information and to purchase tickets, call 877-313-2610 or visit

[Flickr photo by AlphaTangoBravo / Adam Baker]

What Happens When A Boeing 747 Comes To The End Of Its Working Life?

We talk a lot about what goes on with airplanes while they’re being used by airlines, but have you ever wondered what happens to an aircraft when it comes to the end of its working life?

Since its first commercial flight in 1970, Boeing’s 747 jumbo jet, one of the most recognized aircrafts in the industry, has been flying travelers around the world. Like all commercial airplanes, the 747 must undergo regular checks to ensure its safety and efficiency. According to Digital Trends, about every six years these airplanes undergo a complete overhaul on the inside and outside.

BBC recently looked closely into the matter, creating a documentary called “Engineering Giants.” The documentary looks at the process of a Boeing 747 refit and what happens when one reaches the end of its working life. Usually, the first step is to take everything of value out of the airplane, like cockpit screens that can go for $30,000 each and engines that sell for around $1 million. From there, it’s time to crush the plane’s shell, which takes about three days. Lastly, the twisted aluminum is sold for approximately $55,000 and recycled into drink cans, bicycle frames and other useful items.

For a visual of the demolition, check out the video above.

Watch Desert Winds Pick Up And Move This Boeing 747

It’s interesting seeing the fluid dynamics of modern flight turned backwards on a stationary aircraft. Normally during takeoff, an airplane flies into the wind to create as much air movement as possible over the wings. It’s a mixture of the Bernoulli effect and a variety of other physical principles, but the end result is lift as a function of air speed.

And if the aircraft isn’t moving? Technically you can still get lift with enough air speed. Youtube user CaptainHarlock999 captured an amazing video this week in an aircraft boneyard outside of Los Angeles. With winds at the scrapyard reaching over 70MPH, enough lift was actually generated by a 747’s wings to actually pick the fuselage up off of the ground, bouncing the plane around as the back wheels stayed in place.

The Southern Air 747 in question was actually scheduled to be scrapped, so the engines and much of the interior were stripped off of the airframe. Because of that reduced weight the aircraft was able to lift off the ground — so don’t worry, it won’t happen to you on your next trip!

[via Steven Frischling]