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Cotswold Airport

Kemble, a small village close to Cirencester, in the Cotwolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, might seem an unlikely destination for aging Boeing 747 jetliners. It is however the “biggest graveyard for aircraft in the UK”, at the Cotswold Airport. Planes which shuttled passengers and freight 55 million miles between continents for over 35 years, have their interiors stripped in a matter of weeks. With the interior stripped, over just two days, a 174,000 kg mass of a Boeing 747 is ripped into pieces of sheet metal by a mechanical excavator on wheels.

The Cotswold Airport was previously known as Kemble Airfield before it’s name was changed in 2009 is now a private general aviation airport. It has history going back to 1936 when it was a British Royal Air Force (RAF) base, RAF Kemble. Up until 1983 it was the home of the Red Arrows, the world-renowned British aerial acrobatics team.

Beyond being a “aircraft graveyard”, Cotswold Airport is a busy airfield. It is able to accept a wide variety of aircraft from wide-bodied Boeing 747s microlights and accommodates business flights as well as leisure aviators. The airport has been awarded airport of the year.

Kemble is the closest settlement to the source of the River Thames, England’s longest river which flows from the small the small Gloucestershire village of Kemble through royal Windsor and into London, where its tidal flow means it can flow upstream or downstream, depending on the tide. Low tides help larger vessels to navigate into London passing under the lowest bridges.

The post photo shows a Boeing 757 at Cotswold Airport, the lack of engines suggesting it may have flown its last flight and may be recycled like this 747, to be made into anything from drinks cans to biscuit tins or car wheel rims.

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