IrishAirPics paid a visit to Shannon Airport in the early hours of Monday 2nd of May to report on a very unusual aircraft movement, where an aircraft departed by road instead of by air.
David McGowan, a funeral director who is based in Ballina, Co, Mayo, is building a new glamping (glamourous camping) village in nearby Enniscrone, Co, Sligo.
He has bought an out of service Boeing 767 that used to fly for Russian airline Transaero, and plans to turn it, and other modes of transportation such as boats, a train, London buses and black taxis into camping accommodation at the village.
The initial plan was to move the 767 by road, but the logistics of the move proved too difficult, so a new plan to move the plane by barge at sea was hatched.
We arrived at Shannon Airport just before midnight on Sunday the 1st of May, to find workmen gathering to dismantle the airport perimeter fence and lay a temporary road in preparation for the move.
Video - Timelapse of Boeing 767 being moved onto transporter
The aircraft would move a distance of approximately 1.5km from the airfield to the disused seaplane ramp at Knockbeg Point. Shannon, having being built on the coast in the era of seaplanes, has a seaplane ramp that was never used, so it was dusted off in preparation for transferring the plane from land to sea. This initial move from the airport to Knockbeg Point did not involve placing the plane on the barge, this was to happen at a later time, weather permitting of course.
Once the fence and trees had been removed, a temporary wooden roadway was laid over the grass between the taxiway and the road to ensure the truck carrying the plane didn't get bogged down. Street furniture such as signage and lighting along the route had also been removed.
The wings of the plane had been removed a few days earlier, and on the day before the move the plane was placed onto the transporter using a custom support rig and made ready for the move. Once everything was ready, the move began. The transporter moved off at a slow pace, surrounded by an army of watchers guiding the plane past trees, lampposts, and an aircraft hangar. Every move was slow and deliberate, nothing was rushed.
We followed the move from start to finish, and as you'll see from the pictures in this report, it was an impressive sight. We plan to catch the aircraft arriving at its final destination of Enniscrone, so keep an eye out for Part 2 of this report.
For more information on the Quirky Nights Glamping Village you can visit them on Facebook or on their website.