Last night a retired American Airlines MD-80 took to the air for the last time -- lifted by a 500-ton crane over Florida roads.
Rather than heading to the desert, this MD-80 gets a new life as a training tool for the George T. Baker Aviation School in Miami, a Part 147 organization near MIA that schools about 1,000 students in aerospace technology, electronics, avionics and aircraft maintenance (airframe and powerplant).
You can watch a video of the move here, via The Miami Herald.
[Photo credit: American Airlines]
MIA and Miami-Dade County officials closed a runway and surrounding roads at 1 a.m. and removed light poles, trees and fencing from the 39-ton aircraft's path. They also put in a temporary gravel road to speed its journey along.
The MD-80 "took off" (with the crane's help) over State Road 112 and Lejeune Road at about 1:06 a.m., came to rest on the ground about 20 minutes later, and spent about an hour getting towed the several hundred feet to the school, the Herald reports.
The trip took careful planning, American says. It worked with engineering company Odebrecht to chart out and execute the move. As Gilberto Neves, president and CEO of Odebrecht USA, put it: "You can't just fly an MD-80 into a school parking lot."
And speaking of the school, Baker students gained experience working on the move, too. They started learning right away by prepping the MD-80 for its trip, removing its wing tips and Pratt & Whitney JT8D engines.