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Published on May 24, 2012
This 747 is sitting in a boneyard in Mojave, CA waiting to be dismantled and recycled at the end of its useful life. On May 23rd, 2012 the area experienced extreme winds of 70+ miles per hour and reports of gusts up to 100 near the pass due to a low pressure zone. Without the weight of its engines and with its landing flaps deployed, the slightly tail heavy 747 tries to take to the skies one last time. The next day the plane was found to have also rotated about 45 degrees from its original position. The same wind storm damaged many rooftops, cut power and sent huge clouds of sand and dust billowing into the sky. Mojave will occasionally experience this type of wind storm due to geography. --Mike
UPDATE: Well it's gone viral...boy that's a lot of hits. And I am laughing at all the commenters that think this is fake. There were many dozens of witnesses to this event. The plane was still sitting nose up until around May 30 when they pulled it back down. I have 21 MP still photos of the same event.
Q: Why isn't the camera shaking?
A: because I'm out of the wind sticking the camera out the door on the lee (non-windy) side of a building and I am using a tripod. At 400mm focal length, this is very important. I'm not a fan of 'shaky-cam'. Optical Image stabilization (IS) is also enabled on my Canon 100-400 IS USM 'L' lens.
Q: Why aren't the other planes moving similarly?
A: They have more weight in the front and/or their flaps are not deployed. This plane has its engines removed, flaps down and likely cockpit avionics and other interior elements stripped. the CG (center of gravity) of that plane is now well aft of the main gear.
Q: Is the plane hiding behind the moving plane's tail missing its nose gear?
A: yes, it is. This is a boneyard and planes are being dismantled. Many of the planes in this boneyard are sitting on stacks of large palettes rather than their gear, in the later stages of dismantling. The final large step in the dismantling of large aircraft is a large saw cuts the fuselage into multiple pieces. on the left side of the frame, you can see some fuselage bits that have already been sliced up from other aircraft.