Watch: Qantas 747 Carrying A Spare 6 Tonne Engine

Now this is something you don't see every day — a Qantas Boeing 747 with a fifth six tonne engine attached to the wing.

Image: aussiepomm on Imgur

“We’re undertaking this rare task to get our customers and our aircraft on their way as soon as possible — rather than shipping this engine across by boat or chartering a freighter aircraft,” Qantas explained in a statement.

The fifth engine wasn't operational in any way. Here's a quick look behind the scenes to see how it was attached:

Departing Sydney with a final destination of Johannesburg South Africa, the flight to first made a fuel stop in Perth. Extra fuel was needed due to additional drag the fifth engine caused.

“Additional drag is caused by air travelling around the spare engine during flight and, to counterbalance this, our pilots are trained to use the flight controls to ensure the aircraft flies straight, level and safely." Qantas said.

Perth airport captured footage of the "special visitor" with an "extra passenger" on board coming in to land.

This article previously reported the engine weighed 10 tonnes. This has now been amended to the correct weight of six tonnes.



    I wonder if that voids insurance in any way, and how it fairs against the cost of standard shipping techniques (cost of extra landing/takeoff and extra fuel etc)
    Cool idea though

      No, the 747 is specifically designed to have the capability to carry the 5th engine in this way, so it should have no or minimal effect on insurance. It is done fairly routinely around the world by other airlines. It does cost money in fuel, but added to the cost of shipping it by other means is the cost of down time of the U/S aircraft at a foreign airport, which is costing the company in lost income as well as local fees and charges, accomodating the crew or flying them home etc. You crunch the numbers and at some point the 5th engine comes out cheaper.

      The started doing this back in the 60's/70's because jet engines weren't as reliable as they were today so the need to ship an engine and short notice and replace it was common place.

    I believe 747s are designed to carry the 5th engine there when needed, they have been doing for years anyway.

    Why would it void their insurance? The 747 is certified to have a non functioning engine mounted there, the QANTAS operations manual clearly allows it, and as a result CASA has approved it. I'm not even sure how insurance would come into it.

    Hey....dont you know they can fly one there without voiding insurance.

    Sure glad: "our pilots are trained to use the flight controls to ensure the aircraft flies straight, level and safely."

    Isn't that the point of having trained pilots, otherwise we may-as-well not use them (pilots).

    (They're making a story out of a "common", designed use of the aircraft.)

    Back in the day, when 747 was introduced, only military transports could carry the large turbo-fan sized cargo, regular air transports couldn't, so to get them around the world quickly, easy, bolt it onto an additional "hardpoint". OR hire a USAF C-5 (first flight 1968 [operational 1970] vs 747 introduction 1969)

    so if 747s are designed to carry a spare 6 tonne engine, why the hell are we paying for excess baggage...

      Because it cost money to carry a six tone engine it is not free the airplane is designed to carry a six tone engine doesn't mean fuel is free crew don't get paid and maintenance is free that's why we pay for excess baggage. It cost the airline money for excess baggage to be carried on board. That's why they tell us to pay for it as it is a lose to them.

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