Inside Incredible Machines

Jumbo Jet

Series 1 - Episode 1 Jumbo Jet



Given its current woes regarding the 737 Max, manufacturer Boeing must be gnashing its teeth that the plane that made its fortune, the 747 jumbo jet, first launched commercially nearly 50 years ago, has now been retired in favour of more fuel-efficient aircraft. In this documentary, former Nasa engineer Chad Zdenek is in Mississippi at a souped-up knackers’ yard, where a 20-year-old 747 is being disassembled, its usable parts (engines, avionics, seating, landing gear) stripped to be sold on, and the rest torn apart for scrap.

In between wrangling very large wrenches, Zdenek gives us a decent history of the plane that revolutionised long-haul travel, but it’s quite sad seeing the “queen of the skies” reduced to a mere skeleton.


A team of engineers disassemble a jumbo jet down to its six million individual parts, and meet pilots and members of the original design team along the way.