Bangkok’s Bizarre Boeing 747 Graveyard on the Edge of Ramkhamhaeng Road

abandoned-747-graveyard-bangkok-thailand-5 (Image: Christopher Schultz via YouTube; Bangkok’s strange Boeing 747 graveyard)

In February 2011, Christopher Schultz documented his exploration of an unusual aircraft graveyard in the somewhat incongruous environs of suburban Bangkok (full video below). Lying immediately adjacent to the long Ramkhamhaeng Road, which connects the centre of Thailand’s capital to the city’s eastern limits, the massive, hulking remains of two Boeing 747 jetliners lay semi-dismantled on what appeared to be little more than a patch of wasteland.

Why the abandoned aircraft were brought to this specific site, which is estimated to be around four acres in size, is rather baffling. “By far the strangest thing is its location. Neither particularly close to the airport, nor in a particularly industrial area,” Schultz points out in the video. He adds that the boneyard is “situated on Ramkhamhaeng Road next to a condo, a primary school and a temple, adjacent to a canal.”

abandoned-747-graveyard-bangkok-thailand-8 (Image: Christopher Schultz via YouTube)

In a bid to find out more, the American expat paid a visit to the mysterious aircraft boneyard one Sunday morning. There he discovered an early model Boeing 747 completely disassembled, its parts stacked among the weed-strewn scrubland. The front third of another ‘Jumbo Jet’, however, remained more intact.

abandoned-747-graveyard-bangkok-thailand-9 (Image: Christopher Schultz via YouTube)

Schultz described the incongruous scene as looking “like a giant model airplane kit nestled amongst the weeds, their bare ribs looking vaguely skeletal like the remains of prehistoric monsters.”

He continued: “Ironies abound as exit signs lead to the open air and oxygen masks mingle uselessly with dead leaves. The school next door stares down on the old planes, the cockpit of one plane resting like a skull without its jawbone.”

abandoned-747-graveyard-bangkok-thailand-10 (Image: Christopher Schultz via YouTube; cockpit section in the 747 graveyard)

Elsewhere, “the vertical stabilizer is cut into pieces, the dymanic red and blue of Orient Thai’s colour scheme deconstructed and meaningless… Next to it the tail cone rests like a whale’s skull, the APU exhaust hole gaping like a mouth. ”

abandoned-747-graveyard-bangkok-thailand-11 (Image: Christopher Schultz via YouTube)

Schultz likened the environment of the bizarre 747 graveyard to that of an aircraft disaster movie or the opening scene of Lost. The setting also brings to mind a scene from Steven Spielberg’s 2005 telling of War of the Worlds, in which a Boeing 747 crashes to earth amid the houses of suburban America.

abandoned-747-graveyard-bangkok-thailand-4 (Image: via Google Street View; workshops fashioned from abandoned fuselage sections)

Meanwhile, back in Bangkok, several fuselage sections have been transformed into makeshift workshops, where valuable components are recycled before the remainder of the defunct airframes are dumped for scrap. Ageing ovens still line empty galleys, and signage in unoccupied toilets reflects the plane’s former use as a charter carrier taking pilgrims to Mecca.

abandoned-747-graveyard-bangkok-thailand (Images: via Google Street View; abandoned 747 and MD-80 in Bangkok)

More recent images visible via Google Street View suggest that at least one of the abandoned Boeing 747s has now left the boneyard, only to be replaced by several equally defunct twin-engine McDonnell Douglas MD-80s. But the forward section of the other old Jumbo Jet remains in place, its massive nose unmistakable to motorists on Ramkhamhaeng Road.

abandoned-747-graveyard-bangkok-thailand-6 (Image: Christopher Schultz via YouTube; stairs to the upper deck)

Venturing inside, Schultz remarked that “this is the same interior as the Orient Thai plane I flew to test the new Suvarnabhumi Airport in July 2006, three months before its official opening.” He then asked: “Could this be the very same plane?”

abandoned-747-graveyard-bangkok-thailand-7 (Image: Christopher Schultz via YouTube; gutted 747 flight deck)

“The cockpit is only slightly less stripped than on the other plane, but the presence of the flight engineer’s station on the right hand side confirms its age – at least 21-years-old.”

abandoned-747-graveyard-bangkok-thailand-2 (Image: via Google Street View)

Schultz concluded: “Thinking how this plane, which, in its time, must have carried nearly a million passengers to places near and far, waves and meloncholy and nostalgia wash over me. Everything has its time I suppose, and for these planes, their time has passed.”

abandoned-747-graveyard-bangkok-thailand-3 (Image: via Google Street View)

It’s understood that the surviving 747 forward fuselage is – or at one time was – due to be transformed into a coffee shop at a different location. But for now, it remains alongside an abandoned MD-80 immediately adjacent to the busy Ramkhamhaeng Road, an incongruous relic amid one of the world’s strangest aircraft graveyards.

Related – A Different Kind of Aircraft Graveyard: Fatigue Test Airframes at Paine Field, Washington



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