For the last nine years, two Boeing 737-200 aircraft have been sitting at Perth Airport, deteriorating and accumulating parking fees in excess of their value. Andrew Cotterell an avid plane enthusiast wanted to give these two aircraft a new lease on life.
When Andrew had this crazy idea to move the two Boeing 737-200 aircraft from Perth airport to White Gum Air Park in York, Western Australia he contacted Toll.
The aircraft were no longer airworthy and were on their way to being scrap metal until Andrew initiated a project to save the planes.
What needed to be done was transport the aircraft, each measuring 30.5 metres long with a 28.3 metre wing span, 5.5 metres high and weighing 28 tonnes some 100km by road to their new resting place.
Sounds fairly simple right? Well, what makes this relocation challenging is negotiating a wide load through high security gates, Perth’s main roads, paddocks and bushland.
So, where does Toll fit in this story?
Toll was tasked with transporting the two planes from the airport to their new home at White Gum Air Park. This is somewhat an out of the ordinary request, however Toll is always up for a challenge.
The first segments of the plane to be transported were the two tail sections and the wing assembly. Seems easy enough – disassemble the plane, put it on a trailer and then move it on its way…right?
Well, not quite.
The first hurdle was getting the planes through the airport security gates - a 4.5m wide load through a 4.3m security gate, although the difference is very small, this is where driver skills needed to come in.
Secondly, negotiating farmer’s paddocks to reach the final destination was also a challenge – rough terrain and narrow roads certainly tested our Toll heavy haulage drivers.
There is always a solution to every problem and our Toll team certainly managed to overcome the hurdles they faced.
Toll is experienced in transporting over-dimensional freight, as we offer a number of heavy-haulage services to suit our customer’s needs.
Although the wing could be transported on a normal semi-trailer, it was decided that a Drake Blade trailer was better suited for this project. The reason for this was the need for manual/hydraulic steering - this meant that it was easier to negotiate those tight corners out of the airport security gates and down the narrow windy corners through paddocks and bushland. As well as its capability to raise and lower the load, saving the complications of a large crane in use at an international airport. It also was cost efficient which is an added bonus for a community involved project.
Toll’s expertise in heavy haulage has resulted in the relocation of the first Boeing 737-200 aircraft. With the second fuselage being relocated in the coming months, they will be ready to begin their new life very soon.
Andrew intends on positioning and assembling the aircraft as a public attraction for aircraft enthusiasts like him. One of the aircraft will provide visitors with a unique opportunity to see and touch parts of an aircraft that very few get to experience - it will be stripped back revealing some of the internal facades.
The other plane with eventually be converted into themed accommodation.
To follow the journey of the two Boeing 737-200 planes, visit the website here: http://www.737-200.com.au
“You guys are fantastic. We had an incident free journey with the wing, some challenges along the way that your guys took in their stride and carried the task out in a very professional manner. Their friendly smile and great sense of humour made it completely enjoyable.
“How do you get a 4.5m wide load through a 4.3m security gate? Easy, ask Toll! Despite our bulldozing and grading, the track through the bush was still too narrow and windy, but not for Mick, Pebbles, Daryl and Scott!
“Without your support I don't know if we could have achieved any of this. Thank you Toll.”
– Andrew Cotterell, Save the Boeing 737-200
Photos courtesy of Kevin Sanders