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 Boeing 747 Lands on a 50-foot Wide Runway Dauntless Aviation


A normal runway is 150 to 200 feet wide... especially for this big bird.
Actual shots are from a fairly impressive operation.

One of South Africa Airline's first B-747s retiring to Rand Airport, Germiston, South Africa (elev.5568 feet with 4898 x 50 feet wide

Approach speed (Vref) was 115kts! An inch is as good as a mile.

Actual press release:

24 January, 2004, JOHANNESBURG: Saying goodbye to a trusted friend is never easy. It is especially sad when that friend has served you well for 32 years.
South African Airways today retires the Lebombo, its oldest Boeing 747-200 and first ever Jumbo, wishing it well on its career change with the South African Airways Museum Society.

The Lebombo will not fly again. The stately old lady has been donated to the Museum Society and will be housed at Rand Airport in Germiston. Here it will play an important role in preserving civil aviation history in South Africa.
The Lebombo will also be used to teach future generations about aviation and to raise funds for the Museum Society through small corporate functions such as board meetings and conferences, product launches, award ceremonies and even weddings.

Lebombo joined the airline on 6 November 1971 and has done an amazing
107 000 flying hours and 20 291 landings.

At today's splendid send-off for the aircraft at SAA Technical, the Lebombo took 291 passengers on a short flip over the Hartbeespoortdam
- its
final flight.

On its arrival back at Johannesburg International Airport the aircraft was welcomed at SAA Technical by an elaborate spray from fire engines, a welcoming party and entertainment.

Present in this group were those who welcomed Lebombo in 1971 and those who were part of the crew on her first flight from London to Johannesburg on 6 November 1971.

The arrival of Lebombo as the first of the airline's 747s in the early seventies, meant exciting changes and huge technological advancements for the airline. For the first time cabin crew had to work with bars on trolleys. Crew numbers grew.

This was also the beginning of In-flight entertainment: movies on pull-down screens.
The retirement of the Boeing 747-200s, of which the airline had five aircraft, forms part of SAA's fleet renewal plan where the older 747s are being replaced by the new flagship, the Airbus A340-600s and the Airbus A340-300Es.


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