Nepal | December 18, 2018

Nepali pilot revives crashed plane as aviation museum

Agence France Presse

Captain Bed Upreti turns the wrecked Turkish Air Airbus-330 into an aviation museum at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, on Saturday, February 4, 2017. The cockpit of the craft would provide a space to showcase various aircraft models since the time of Wright Brothers. Photo: RSS

Kathmandu, October 23

A Turkish Airlines plane that crash-landed at Kathmandu airport two years ago will be welcoming ticket holders on board again — not for a flight but as the Nepali capital’s first aviation museum.

The Airbus A330 was carrying 224 passengers when it skidded off the runway at Kathmandu’s airport in March 2015.

The plane was eventually dragged to a disused corner of the airport where it sat rusting for two years — until pilot Bed Upreti had an idea.

Upreti bought the metal carcass and has invested $600,000 to turn it into an aviation museum.

Upreti’s first task was moving the 63-metre plane across the road from the airport to the museum’s lot.

He previously brought an abandoned Fokker 100 and transported it 500 kilometres to Dhangadi in Nepal’s far-west where he also set up a museum, though on a smaller scale than this one.

Working only at night when the airport was closed, it took a team of engineers from Turkey six weeks to dismantle the plane into 10 pieces, before loading them onto trucks for the 500 metre journey across the road. It took another two months to put all the pieces back together. With all the seats stripped out of the belly of the plane, the new museum feels surprisingly spacious.

The business class section will feature a model of the Wright Brothers’ first aircraft — the first machine to successfully take to the sky — and in the tail there will be a cafe. More than 150 miniature display planes will chart the history of aviation as well as the story of Nepal’s flying industry. Upreti hopes that the museum will inspire young minds to become pilots and engineers, and is confident that it will be a hit with visitors.”Passersby are already peeking to get a glimpse,” he said.

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A version of this article appears in print on October 24, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.


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