Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Night in the Cockpit of a 747

Emergency landing on a field

We have lost most of our instruments. We are pushing the engine controls as hard as we can, but none of the engines are responding. I shout mayday to the radio, but the radio is silent. And I fear that the aircraft's hull may no longer hold pressure. I curse my decision to ever enter the cockpit of this rusty 747-200. This night is going to end badly. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I decide that it is time to exit the cockpit, run down the stairs, and ... order a drink from the steward.

I am at the Jumbo Hostel near Arlanda, Stockholm's international airport. We've really lost the instruments and engines, because the plane was stripped down from valuable parts before this Singapore Airlines 747 was converted into a hostel.


For once, I'm not somewhere skiing. It is kind of my summer vacation from skiing. The south side of the planet is too far into spring by now, the north side hasn't gotten into winter yet, and I'm too busy at work. So I'm taking my son to visit Stockholm for the weekend, and we're staying at the hostel. We have room #747, the smallest but most interesting room. It is the cockpit suite. We sleep in the actual cockpit which is tiny, but we also have a bathroom with shower, and a lounge area with eight first class seats; the upper deck is all ours. The bulk of the other rooms are on the main deck, and that is also where the hostel's cafeteria serves food; the seating for the cafeteria is in the nose.

Beds

Fire in the engines!

Facilities

There is a full-service bar and a basic restaurant that serves grilled food or heats frozen meals. The steward in duty recommends us to take the bus to the terminals and eat there, but frankly I have already eaten often enough at the Arlanda airport. So we eat at the hostel.

Cafeteria

Dinner

There's seating and tables outside the plane, and I suppose they would be very nice during the summer. Now in the rain it is not such an appealing option.

At the back of the plane there is a children's swing where you can sit on a 747 tire.

The tail and the swing

Verdict

The Jumbo Hostel is a very interesting place to stay for a night for airplane enthusiasts. It is also a low-cost and convenient place to stay when changing planes or otherwise having to overnight somewhere before taking your next flight. The airport is right next to you, and breakfast is being served from 3AM onward.

The airplane enthusiasts may even opt for multiple nights. Here's a possible schedule for a stay:
  • 1st night cockpit suite
  • 2nd night rear pressure bulkhead double room
  • 3rd night main gear well room
  • 4th night engine #2 (room under construction)

Engine room, under construction

The only downside is that if you have interests or work in the city, the commute to the airport is long.

Only a few of the rooms have their own bathroom. But this was probably my only time that I've had a shower in an aircraft!

The shower in the cockpit room

By the way, Stockholm is an excellent city to visit. I like the Medieval Museum and the Wasa Museum in particular. You can also fish right in the city center:

Fishing in Stockholm city center

More Pictures

Engine room entrance

Upper deck entrance

Pressure bulkhead double room

Cockpit room entrance and room number

Main deck corridor

It is never a good sign to see rental car company signs from the cockpit

Pilots need a toy

Side corridor in the back

Rear door, leading to the washroom

Normal cabins sleep 2-3 people (but no bathroom)

The single room in the back (has bathroom)

Upper deck lounge area (part of cockpit suite)

What did they DO to her?

Photos and videos (c) 2012 by Jari Arkko

2 comments:

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  2. There is also some discussion of this article at the airliners.net site.

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