Rolls-Royce turns former Qantas 747 into a test facility

Johanna Koyser
2 minutes

Only a few days ago the WingMag reported about the last flight of a Boeing 747 for Qantas. It was a farewell after almost 50 years of Qantas – 747 history. However, the journey is far from over for at least one former jumbo jet of the Australian airline. Last October, Rolls-Royce started to convert the former Qantas 747 aircraft VH-OJU into a flying test laboratory.

Thus, it now belongs to the “IntelligentEngine” project of Rolls-Royce. Current and future jet engine technologies will be tested on board the VH-OJU. For this purpose, the aircraft will be equipped with the latest test facilities. For example, for the very first time engines that power both commercial and business aircraft will be tested. A team of highly qualified test pilots is ready for this. Gareth Hedicker, Rolls-Royce’s Director of Development and Experimental Engineering was also enthusiastic about the 747.

The Queen of the skies will become the jewel in the crown of our global test programmes. This is a significant investment that will expand our world-leading test capabilities even further and will allow us to obtain more flight test data than ever before.

Gareth Hedicker, Director of Development and Experimental Engineering at Rolls-Royce

We are thrilled that the tradition-rich era of the Qantas 747 is not coming to an abrupt end after all, thanks to Rolls-Royce. With Rolls-Royce the VH-OJU has at least a new owner with whom it already knows its way around. After all, it has already flown more than 70 million kilometres with the help of four Rolls-Royce RB211 engines.

Picture © Rolls-Royce

by Johanna Koyser

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