We talk a lot about what goes on with airplanes while they’re being used by airlines, but have you ever wondered what happens to an aircraft when it comes to the end of its working life?
Since its first commercial flight in 1970, Boeing’s 747 jumbo jet, one of the most recognized aircrafts in the industry, has been flying travelers around the world. Like all commercial airplanes, the 747 must undergo regular checks to ensure its safety and efficiency. According to Digital Trends, about every six years these airplanes undergo a complete overhaul on the inside and outside.
BBC recently looked closely into the matter, creating a documentary called “Engineering Giants.” The documentary looks at the process of a Boeing 747 refit and what happens when one reaches the end of its working life. Usually, the first step is to take everything of value out of the airplane, like cockpit screens that can go for $30,000 each and engines that sell for around $1 million. From there, it’s time to crush the plane’s shell, which takes about three days. Lastly, the twisted aluminum is sold for approximately $55,000 and recycled into drink cans, bicycle frames and other useful items.