GREAT FLIGHT (English)
The GREAT FLIGHT...
...how to dismantle an TU-154M
September 2016 update: We´ve made it!!!!
We have moved our beautiful TU-154M aircraft (reg. no. 1016) from Prague to Kunovice! During 3 days, 48 hours and 3 phases, we moved our plane´s fuselage, inner wings, one wingtip and also engine cowlings to new home in Kunovice Aviation Museum. 383,1 kms and 51,5 metres long truck with the fuselage - this is a new Czech record concerning aviation technology.
How it looks like when a group of aviation museum members, aviation professionals and enthusiasts decide to save (dismantle with their own hands, move them on a truck through whole republic, and then complete them again :-) two big airliners? You can find out here. The Great Flight is about saving former Czech Air Force Tupolev TU-154M planes, that were stored in 2007.
The planes themselves had an interesting history - they are one of the newest TU-154s ever made (one was built in 1996, the other in 2000). Czech politicians (including the former president, Mr. Vaclav Havel) flew them as well as Czech military, humanitary transports, or also sportsmen coming from special events. The most famous flight one of the planes, was the comeback of Czech ice hockey team from the Olympic games in Nagano, Japan, 1998). Both planes were supposed to be sold but without any success. It seemed that the planes would be scrapped, but luckily, two years ago, the aviation museums in Olomouc and in Kunovice (south-eastern Moravia) bought them and saved from scrapping.
A volunteer group of aviation enthusiasts, hobby pilots, proffesional mechanics and other aviation geeks now works on dismantling those planes for free, in their free time (weekends). We want to dismantle them without any cutting of the construction, just to screw and screw and dismantle the planes so one of them could be taken from Prague to Kunovice (approx. 350 kms) on a truck. The fuselage will be taken in one piece, we just will remove the wings and tail part. The other plane will be probably sold to any of aviation museums abroad or in the Czech Republic.
We started a crowdfunding project on a "Czech kickstarter" and we have collected the needed money for the transport in 39 hours! Our main goal was to collect approx. 16.000 USD and finally, after 31 days, we collected more than 50.000 USD. Currently, we are the 5th best project of the history of Czech crowdfunding!
We worked in quite cool conditions - the planes are placed in the stand in the middle of military base Kbely airport, not in a hangar. Our volunteers work on ladders, on mountaineer's ropes, without special ramps. In summer heat, in winter snow and freeze, in the rain... We have been working since the end of 2014, at the weekends (not every weekend - the volunteers have also their families etc., and they have to travel 350 kms on Saturday early morning to Prague and back on Sunday evening), and we have already removed the outer parts of the wings, the engines and engine cowlings and also the horizontal stabilisers of both planes (as well as the "smaller" parts like rudders, slats, flaps.). Now we are doing preparations for removing the vertical stabiliser and then the central wings... the parts that were never supposed as removable. :-) Nobody, as far as we know, tried to do something like that.
When the Great Flight itself will come? We don't know yet - we haven't dismantled the planes completely yet. We just know that they have to leave Kbely airport until the end of 2016, probably in the autumn. It will be great! It will be the biggest transport of one plane in one piece in the history of Czech Republic.
Sounds interesting to you?
Would you like to get any more information, photos... Would you like to publish an article about our project? We would be happy for any support. Please, contact the Captain's Assistant Teri - via e-mail: trsirova (at) gmail.com