L.A. Times: First Passenger-Flying Boeing 747 Sits Abandoned, Rusting in South Korea

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Talk about your inglorious ends. The Los Angeles Times posted a story this week about the "Juan T. Trippe," the first passenger-flying Boeing ever produced (the second, overall) and how it's sitting abandoned, gathering dust in a shabby restaurant lot, 25 miles northeast of Seoul, South Korea.

The Trippe was a revolutionary piece of technology when it was christened by then First Lady Pat Nixon in 1970. It spent 21 years making transatlantic flights. And after a few more years afterward spent as a cargo hauler, the airplane was bought by a South Korean couple in 2000.

The couple paid a cool $1 million for the Trippe and another $100,000 to have it shipped in pieces to South Korea and reassembled at their lot where it became an airplane-themed restaurant (a trend that was apparently the hot thing to do in parts of Asia back then).

That trend died. And in 2005, the couple (who wouldn't give the Times their names, apparently out of shame) shut the restaurant.

It's there, in an overgrown lot, that the Trippe has been sitting ever since.

There is one nugget of good news for anyone who attaches value to the history of aviation (or to the concept that important objects should find better ends than a South Korean rust heap). That is that apparently some Japanese businessmen have a mind to possibly move the plane to Tokyo and put it in a museum at Haneda Airport.

We'll let folks know as soon as that happens and hopefully word will get back to William Edward Boeing so he can quit rolling over in his grave.

 
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