747-4Q8 G-VBIG

  • Tinker Belle 747 Cufflinks
    747-4Q8 G-VBIG Cufflinks
  • Tinker Belle 747 Mini Model
    747-4Q8 G-VBIG Mini Model

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The 747 was the result of the work of some 50,000 Boeing people. Called “the Incredibles,” these were the construction workers, mechanics, engineers, secretaries and administrators who made aviation history by building the 747 — the largest civilian airplane in the world — in roughly 16 months during the late 1960s.

The incentive for creating the giant 747 came from reductions in airfares, a surge in air-passenger traffic and increasingly crowded skies.

The 747 was truly monumental in size. The massive airplane required construction of the 200 million-cubic-foot (5.6 million-cubic-meter) 747 assembly plant in Everett, Washington, the world’s largest building (by volume). The fuselage of the original 747 was 225 feet (68.5 meters) long; the tail as tall as a six-story building. Pressurized, it carried a ton of air. The cargo hold had room for 3,400 pieces of baggage and could be unloaded in seven minutes. The total wing area was larger than a basketball court. Yet, the entire global navigation system weighed less than a modern laptop computer.

The 747-400 rolled out in 1988. Its wingspan is 212 feet (64 meters), and it has 6-foot-high (1.8-meter-high) “winglets” on the wingtips.

Manufacturer Serial Number 26255, G-VBIG first flew on 28 May 1996 and was delivered to Virgin Atlantic a few weeks later on 10 June named ‘Tinker Belle’. Her final revenue flight, as VS28, landed at Gatwick from Orlando on 10 November 2019. Her final flight to St. Athan for scrapping as VS849P took place on 22 November and she landed for the last time having accumulated over 108 000 flight hours. She was scrapped in May 2020. Prior to her demolition, several window sections of fuselage skin were removed from the upper deck and rear fuselage. These were acquired by Aerotiques Ltd. to produce a limited edition range of wall art, clocks and other unique items.  Now Icarus Originals, in collaboration with Aerotiques Ltd, have produced a range of Tinker Belle cufflinks, mini models and pin badges that will ensure this iconic ‘Queen of the Skies’ will live on beyond her retirement.