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Kalitta Air Boeing 747 lands in Sydney

written by Adam Thorn | May 17, 2021

Australian Aviation’s Dave Soda took this photo of an unusual Kalitta Air 747 landing in Sydney last week.

The 747-4H6(BCF), N741CK msn 24315, departed Singapore on 10 May at 9:26pm as flight K4835 and landed in Sydney the next day at 6:27am.

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Kalitta Air is a cargo airline headquartered in Michigan, which operates an all-freighter fleet of 777Fs, B747-400s and B767-300ERs. The aircraft itself was originally delivered to Malaysian Airlines as 9M-MHL in 1989.

In April, Australian Aviation reported how Qantas took original wall panels from one of its retired 747-200s stored in the Mojave Desert boneyard to recreate the aircraft’s 1970s upstairs lounge.

The custom-made replica will be displayed at the Qantas Founders Museum and showcases the 1970s first-class hangout where 15 first-class passengers could drink a cocktail or smoke a cigar.

The airline said fabrics and bold colours of the decade have been “meticulously recreated” to match the originals.

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Accessed via a spiral staircase, the exclusive retreat was eventually phased out in 1979 and replaced with business class seating.

Qantas Founders Museum CEO Tony Martin said, “We are excited to be able to showcase this new exhibit within the Museum which will be able to take aviation and travel enthusiasts on a walk down memory lane for generations to come.”

Qantas donated funds raised from the 747 retirement joy flights in 2020 to help cover installation costs for the installation that will feature in the main exhibition hall.

It will feature alongside the original 1970s uniform by Emilio Pucci and onboard products from the era including menus, silverware and crockery.

The attraction itself, in Longreach, only reopened on 1 July 2020 after shutting earlier in the year due to coronavirus restrictions.

Qantas sold its last 747, VH-OEJ, along with five others to General Electric in 2019 and its last-known location was in the Mojave Desert boneyard.

The airport, technically IATA: MHV, is located within the Mojave Air and Space Port and has been storing aircraft since the 1970s.

The location is preferred by airlines for storage – either temporary or permanent – because the 49-degree temperatures prevent rust and precipitation can be as low as just 130mm a year.

Little has been reported as to exactly what General Electric Co plans to do with the Qantas 747s.

VH-OEJ’s final journey in July 2020 included an emotional take-off to the tune of I Still Call Australia Home.

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6 Comments

  • Jeffrey C Magnet

    says:

    Kalitta will soon be the recipient of the world’s first B773f converted freighter.

  • ray

    says:

    sooooo what’s so unusual about the Kalitta 747 ?? ,

  • Mike

    says:

    Um…a couple of lines about the arrival of Kalitta’s B747 freighter…. then the article suddenly diverts off on a completely different tangent to become a full story about the recreated upper deck Captain Cook lounge now displayed at Longreach!! Interesting journalism.
    What may have been more on topic would be to provide details of previous Kalitta visits to Australia, this wasn’t the first after all, and in particular some details of the conversion process involved in transforming a former B747-400 pax aircraft to a dedicated freighter. That would be on topic.

  • Simon Hawkins

    says:

    Was that not intended to be a story about Kalitta? The other 2 stories have been told already.

    • Adam Thorn

      says:

      Hi Simon,

      I personally hate short stories so, if I have covered all the ground early on, I try to put some background or other relevant info. I loved the 747 story on the upper deck, which is why I put a few lines in.

      Thanks!

      Adam

  • James

    says:

    Why is this “unusual”?

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