Jumbo Of Mystery

While I was watching the most recent episode of the not-usually-very-good Fifth Gear, I discovered that the recently publicised VW-Touareg-tows-747 stunt (about which my own deathless insights can be found here) was actually done for (or at least partly by) that show.

What immediately distracted me from the stunt itself, though, was the deep weirdness of the aircraft being towed.

Funny looking 747

Instead of having two engines spaced out across each wing, their 747 had drop-tank-y things where two of its engines should be. It still had four engines, but they were mounted in pods of two, like B-52 engines.

There have been many 747 variants, including early versions that sometimes have five engines - the extra one is inactive, just hung from the left wing for transport purposes, but disbelieving onlookers generally don't know that. But nothing that looks anything like this. Even the I-swallowed-a-787 Large Cargo Freighter has its engines in the usual place.

Cutting to the chase: It's not a real 747 variant. It was used in a movie, it can't fly any more, the weird engines are fakes.

More details in this press release.

Does anybody know what movie this plane was in?

8 Responses to “Jumbo Of Mystery”

  1. lordbritish Says:

    It was used as a concept aircraft being introduced by an aircraft manufacturer in the new Bond movie, Casino Royale.

  2. pcervelli Says:

    I noticed the goofy looking plane in the new James Bond movie, Casino Royale. 007 saves it from destruction.

  3. lordbritish Says:

    The aircraft was used as a model of brand new aircraft, and subsequent target of a terrorist attack, in the new Bond movie, Casino Royale.

  4. Daniel Rutter Says:

    Thanks, everyone!

    I haven't seen Casino Royale yet, on account of living up here in banjo country. I intend to, though, based on the numerous people who have, with astonishment, reported it to actually be rather good.

    I'm still waiting for a Bond movie with powered armour, though. They could give Desmond Llewelyn a proper send-off by putting his disembodied brain in charge of a prototype 'Mech with a Union Jack on its chest armour. Or its shield. A sword and shield would definitely be good.

    The three broadly identical comments above, by the way, were brought to you by WordPress, which decided that something common to them all - presumably "Bond" or "Casino Royale" - meant that they had to be held for moderation. I do not know why this is (it's holding THIS comment, too). I've turned off my anti-spam plugins, and you guys didn't even link to anything. Bizarre.

    It's interesting that Fifth Gear didn't mention that this was the Casino Royale plane, seeing as they'd pimped the heck out of that movie beforehand (their piece on the movie stunts was OK, but their Daniel Craig interview was as dire as most of their other celebrity frottage).

    Presumably VW and MGM/Columbia/Eon/whoever don't have a mutual promotion deal. Hardly surprising, given the Bond/Aston Martin thing.

    If the towing stunt had been done with a Ford, or Bond had driven an Audi, Bentley, Bugatti or Lamborghini, I bet we would have heard all about the plane's provenance :-).

  5. TrippyMCT Says:

    Here is some info on the plane itself..


    "An initial trial was carried out successfully in Germany with an operational Boeing 747-400 weighing 190 tonnes but it subsequently became difficult to obtain an aircraft for the length of time and in an appropriate location to conduct a press demonstration. Colleagues therefore requested Volkswagen UK to obtain a suitable aircraft and location."
    "The result was an ex-British Airways Boeing 747-200 weighing 155 tonnes. The aircraft, first flown in 1980 and retired last year retains its full complement of 500 seats, 11 toilets and complete landing gear, albeit without an operating braking system. The original engines were removed last year to make way for dummy items used in the filming of a recent motion picture. Despite this, the aircraft still weighs 155 tonnes, due in part to the 28 tonnes of water held on board in the fuel and nose tanks."

  6. TrippyMCT Says:

    D'oh it was already in that press release, lol nm

  7. Daniel Rutter Says:

    Duh - the word that's triggering the (apparently unstoppable) spam filter is, of course, "casino".

  8. Moetop Says:

    I suspect this was in result to their 2003 mishap with advertizing and towing. Now if I could only tow a 747 down a highway.



    "The Touareg that can't
    Volkswagen USA has had to compensate owners of its Touareg 4WD after a misleading national TV and newspaper advertising campaign. The advertisment showed the Touareg towing a massive Airstream trailer, which in reality it is unable to do. CBS reports that the advertising campaign has been cancelled, and VW plans to send letters to every Touareg owner outlining its true towing capabilities"

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