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One retired British Airways Boeing 747 will live on as a film set

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Last week a British Airways Boeing 747 departed from Cardiff Airport and headed to Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, where it will start a new life as a TV and film set.

Top Gear fans will probably recognise Dunsfold Aerodrome, which is used as the Top Gear test track.

The aerodrome already has one Boeing 747 that is used for filming, which you may have spotted during previous Top Gear episodes.

Dunsfold Aerodrome 747

This aircraft is also an ex-BA Boeing 747-200 and was used in Casino Royale as a stand in for the entirely fictional ‘Skyfleet S570’ aircraft. It joined Dunsfold in 2005.

With thanks to Ian Shaw

It takes two to tango

New arrival G-CIVW will now provide some company for the 747-200. G-CIVW is a 747-400 variant manufactured in 1998 and retired earlier this year. You can watch it arrive in this short video filmed by Mark Boyt here:

The aircraft will keep its current ‘Chatham Dockyard’ British Airways livery and will be stored ‘in public view’. In addition to use as a film set, the hope is that the aircraft will be opened up as an exhibition for visitors now that Boeing 747s are becoming an endangered species.

BA 747 Dunsfold Aerodrome landing
With thanks to Ian Shaw

Jim McAllister, Chief Executive of Dunsfold Aerodrome said:

The 747 is a unique and important piece of aviation history and we are excited to be taking delivery of this retired aircraft at Dunsfold Aerodrome. Whilst G-CIVW will no longer fly, the aircraft will be preserved and given a new lease of life in the world of TV and film, training and special events.


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Comments (19)

  • David Faichney says:

    My last Pre Covid and first 747 flight was in first class LAX to HRW 😢♥️

  • Dubious says:

    If you’re flying into Gatwick from the north or west whilst Gatwick is operating on easterlies (Runway 08L or 08R), you can often spot Dunsfold just north of the approach (you’ll need a window seat of the left side of the aircraft).

    You can usually spot at least one 747 so maybe now you can get a peek of the old BA 747 too.

  • Julian says:

    A great pity I didn’t know about the Dunsfold BA 747 arrival in advance or I could have gone over there to try and watch it as its only about 12 miles or 25 minutes away from my home a few miles south of Dorking.

  • Jonathan says:

    The 747 runs on some antique technology, a bit geeky but this is worth a watch if want to see some behind the scenes footage of a 747. https://www-theverge-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2020/8/11/21363122/boeing-747s-floppy-disc-updates-critical-software

  • Catalan says:

    Great video of G-CIVW’s final touchdown

    • Rob says:

      A reader sent a better one but Dunsfold has banned us from showing it as the reader was technically on their land when he filmed it.

      • The real John says:

        Does the word “technically” add any meaning to that sentence? Either he was on their land or he wasn’t?

        • Chris L says:

          Apparently the Negus has been gifted to Cotswold Airport to be used for events/education with profits going to charity.

        • Rob says:

          There is a difference between, say, cutting the fence to film next to the runway and filming in an empty field a long way away which it turns out is owned by the airport.

      • cinereus says:

        Can you just let them upload to YouTube? I’m not aware of any law that prevents them putting the footage in the public domain even if it was obtained while trespassing (yet to be shown one way or the other).

  • HM says:

    Managed to make it there too on Thursday – was a fantastic day. I have got plenty of pictures too if you need any more HfP, including interior shots (cockpit + cockpit hatch!).

    • Julian says:

      Really annoyed I didn’t know about this so I could see her come in to land when I was able to go along that day and live so near by. Although would I have been able to get on to the airfield without an invitation? Still could easily have seen her touch down from beyond the perimeter fence though………

      How exactly did BA and/or Dunsfold Aerodrome publicise this event?

  • Alex M says:

    It was manufactured only 22 yrs ago and already retired . Why could not they sell it to Africa where they fly 40 yrs olds…

    • Catalan says:

      You do realise Africa is a continent with some 54 countries. Could you be more specific?

    • DP says:

      I’m guessing not many African routes require a 747 its a pretty big and expensive plane to operate. Many African airlines have pretty young fleets compared to legacy European ones.

  • Mark says:

    I have always wondered why the 747 already at Dunsfold has both engines under each wing on one mount, anyone know why?

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