Here's the platform (or dollly?) that John Allard described in his account of the trip. This is before leaving Fort McCoy -- it was newly built and is in good condition. The same was not true afterward. In the end it was pretty well beat up and a couple of the casters were bent, although still rolling.
This was shot just after we arrived at the Jonesboro shop -- my first look at the new "purchsase." To know its size in numerical terms is one thing -- and the dimensions were understated anyway -- but seeing it in front of you is not the same as knowing its measurements. I've seen hundreds of 737s around airports over four decades, often close up, but that didn't help to prepare me for the sight either -- the context is totally different. The word impressive isn't adequate to describe the spectacle before me. I was awestruck for a few minutes and wondered if we had bitten off the impossible.
But it was time to get to work, no matter how big it was, how much it weighed, or how hot it was getting.
A general view of the seller's shop. The big chunk in the middle is part the forward fuselage of a B757. The part of the airplane that was in front of it went to Italy, presumably to become somebody eles's simulator project. There are some things we just don't need to know; I didn't bother asking much about how it got to Italy. The 800-plus miles between there and Fort McCoy with my "little" 737 was enough to think about at the time.
Doing our best to keep it coming up straight and between the wheel wells.
Fully loaded and ready to taxi. No photos, but one key part of the adventure was a relaxed breakfast with the seller and his wife earlier that monrning. During the loading exercise the previous day, there wasn't much time for talking, and a lot of the subject matter I badly needed to cover with the seller was left untouched. Thanks to Cracker Barrel for their patience in letting us stay until we had covered those topics -- and several others -- in depth.
Rearward view coming down through Memphis on I 65.
Stopped for the night on the outskirts of Tupelo, MS. Strangely, pieces of airplanes on the roadways are not a particularly unusal sight around Tupelo. It turns out that the salvage operator who originally broke this aircraft down in Memphis also has an operation at the Tupelo airport. Only coincidnece that we stopped there though.
This is the fillin' station where the girl reckoned there "weren't many airplanes coming through here." Somewhere short of Birmingham, as best I can recall.
Safely at home and unloaded. As John noted, still no damge history to N379UA -- well, at least to the front 10 feet of it. I had no clue at the time that the cockpit would be there for almost a year -- that's how long it took to arrange suitable housing.