|Part of the old Boeing 707- the first and only aircraft used in Viet Nam through the American War is being dismantled and removed from its resting place in Tan Binh District, HCM City. — Photo docbao.biz
HCM CITY (VNS) — An old Boeing 707 is being dismantled and removed from its resting place in a field on Hong Ha Street, Tan Binh District, HCM City.
Witnesses yesterday saw a group of workers reach the spot where the plane – one of Viet Nam's first passenger aircraft – has lain exposed to the elements for more than 30 years, on the campus of the HCM City Aviation Training Centre, about 1km from Tan Son Nhat International Airport. They were removing its tail and wings and cutting the body into pieces.
A worker said a company belonging to the defence ministry had hired them to do the job, but he was not clear how the parts would be used.
The Boeing 707 was the first and only aircraft of the model to be used in Viet Nam through the American War.
Under the wings of the plane is the sign, VN-A304, of Viet Nam Airlines. The aircraft is about 30m long, with a wingspan of about 15m. A local businessman once used it to set up a café.
The Boeing 707 was the first version of a passenger jet manufactured in the United States. It was the largest passenger aircraft at that time, with 181 seats, and could fly at 966km per hour, and up to 4,828km.
The American aircraft manufacturer said on its website that the model, built between 1958 and 1979, was the first jetliner to be commercially successful.
Former General Director of the Civil Aviation Authority of southern Viet Nam Phan Tuong told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that Pan Am Airways had seized the plane from the US-backed Sai Gon regime as part of a debt recovery effort.
After the war ended on April 30, 1975, when Viet Nam closed its airspace to American flights, the United States government negotiated with Major- General Tran Manh, then general director of the Civil Aviation Authority, to allow its planes to fly over Viet Nam.
Viet Nam agreed to the request, and the United States returned the airplane seized by Pan Am.
The local government later relabeled the aircraft as VN-A304.
It was used till about 1980, when the government decided that it was no longer fit for commercial use and left it at the current site, after removing the engine and control centre for use at the city's flight training centre.
The plane's history has attracted local and foreign visitors alike and someone even ran a cafe under it till recently.
Work on cutting up the plane for scrap was expected to last a week, the Voice of Viet Nam reported. — VNS