Monday, January 09, 2006

Underwater Boeing

Next weekend a decommissioned and thoroughly cleaned Boeing 737 will be lowered into the sea near Vancouver Island, off the west coast of Canada. Formerly registered as C-GBPW, and still painted in Canadian Airlines colours, the airplane will become an artificial reef, to provide homes for sea creatures, a point of interest for scuba divers, and a source of tourism dollars for the nearby community of Chemainus, British Columbia.

Many airplanes have ended their life at the bottom of the ocean, but few have or will ever be so deliberately and grandly retired. There's going to be a viewing platform, a dinner dance, and tickets sold to the event. I think it would be interesting to swim through an underwater airplane and see what fish and crustaceans had taken up residence. An airplane, even with all the engines and control surfaces removed, has such a beautiful shape. Surely even the fish will appreciate it.

Usually news footage of a half submerged airplane suspended by a crane involves the aircraft being fished out of the water by the Transportation Safety Board, in the throes of an investigation. It's funny to think of one being lowered in. One of the pilots who used to fly the airplane said that it seemed as good an end as any for the airframe, better than sitting in a scrapyard.

There is more information here on the society that organized the sinking, and the process they had to go to to make it happen.

6 comments:

sweavo said...

Wow! That beats Cumbria, England's secret gnome garden

I need to dive more and that sounds interesting but I don't have the qualifications to swim *inside* things. I have to be able to go straight up to get out at all times.

Lord Hutton said...

Mad! What's wrong with rocks?

Greybeard said...

Rocks are pretty inefficient for flying, LH!
Heavy, and most aren't at all aerodynamic!

pissoff said...

Ohhh, and my son is going to be out on a boat watching that. It should be exciting.

Piggy and Tazzy said...

Will they be chaining George Bush to one of the seats beforehand?

I'm only askin'

Sam said...

What was the crazy dumb movie that involved the sinking of an airplane will all the people inside - and of course remained watertight until help came? I think it was Airport 76...