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Link - by Jon Dunbar and A. Abrams

The first Jumbo Jet to be flown commercially - rusting away, haunted by kitchen smells

We've seen "Airplane House & Boat Conversions", now it's time to check out converted-aircraft eating establishments - which lure customers inside the decommissioned planes (in hope to distract them from the quality of food?) Anyway, one such super-fast-jumbo-sized joint apparently is not in use any more:

all images copyright Jon Dunbar, used by permission

Jon Dunbar, whom you might remember from his "Abandoned Amusement Parks in Asia" article, sends us another account of his urban exploring in South Korea. This time it's an abandoned Boeing 747 restaurant, looming huge over the highway, and yet dwarfed by a swarm of apartment buildings all around.

Jon says: "Thanks to the helpful people at Urban Exploration Resource I discovered that this was the second Boeing 747 ever made and apparently the first to be flown commercially." Here is the photo of its better days (see more here) -

(image credit: Marc Lehmann)

Then later it was disassembled and partially reassembled over here to be used as a restaurant. It clearly was closed up very quickly and now just sits next to a railway wasting away.

On approach, one can see the apartment buildings, which in Suwon look somewhat like milk cartons:

Here it is, a strange sight in the neighborhood...

This is somewhat surreal shot: it almost looks like this Jumbo 747 landed on a poor little building, which still tries to be cheerful with all these painted Pokemons and a satellite dish:

The jet engines don't look very authentic, however:

Look at its proud cockpit, and try to reflect on this unique aircraft's history:

Inside the plane, the cockpit is no longer a cockpit - but a seating space with a view:

The menu, and typical restaurant bar trinkets are still there -

When airliners fall into disrepair, they spawn some unusual-looking mushroom growth on their wings... On the right, nicely-used landing gear:

On this photo the airliner looks like it's ready to join the flow of city's traffic -

all images copyright Jon Dunbar, used by permission

In its day, this particular Jumbo Jet (the second ever built, and the first one to be flown commercially) was subjected to rigorous testing - here is a "Tail Strike" Test video, plus its history holds some minor accidents and damage. Here it is shown being disassembled before reaching Korea - and a Boeing employee talks about its history:

(image credit: Duncan Stewart)

Then Humpty Dumpty was put together again, to host the hungry customers and thirsty bar drinkers.

Airliners used as restaurants seem to be quite popular in South Korea: there is one in Daegu, and here is another on in Mokpo:

(image via Cary, more info)

One more aircraft "cafe" was one time in Seoul, but is gone now (more info, the place now is used for screen golf)

El Avion: Iran-Contra-Cargo Plane Converted Into a Bar in Costa Rica

This cargo plane was apparently delivering supplies to the Nicaraguan Contras and was shot down in 1986... leading to the Iran Contra scandal and investigation of Reagan administration' involvement - for the full info and directions to get there click here

UPDATE: Andrew Hoskin writes: "Actually, this is the sister to the plane that got shot down. The US government had purchased and was running two of these planes. When the one that sparked the Iran Contra affair was shot down this one was abandoned at the San Jose airport in Costa Rica. It was many years later that the derelict plane was purchased and moved to its new location."

(images credit: Scott)

A plane inside a restaurant might be a better idea -

... then the unique (and often historic) aircraft is spared the wear and tear and spilled food from many customers, plus it's protected from weather elements. One restaurant owner in Switzerland - map - decided to put an old Russian Ilyushin-14 into his restaurant and called it "Runway 34":

(images credit: Runway 34)


Also Read:
Ghost Rides: Abandoned Parks in South Korea

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Anonymous srk said...

Two more that I have seen in person:
Restaurant Silbervogel in Hannover, Germany:

and one in Petrovice, Czech Republic:

There are hundreds more pictures to be found on planepictures.net but to save their system resources I won't hotlink the exact search.

Anonymous Kit said...

what a sad demise to an iconic aircraft..

McDonald's in Taupo, New Zealand, has utilised a DC3 for many years now..


at least they look after the exterior

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Flannery's Restaurant in Penndel, Pennsylvania (a little north of Philadelphia) featured a Lockheed Super Constellation as its cocktail lounge. The place was a landmark for many years until the aircraft was donated to the Air Mobility Museum in Dover, Delaware. More information here:


Blogger Tom said...

You spelt 'Seoul' wrong on your article.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You spelled "spelled" wrong.

"spelt", lol.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You spell "spelt" "spelled"? What language do you speak, some bastard colonial version of the language of southern Great Britian?

Blogger AStanhope said...

There is one in Saraburi, Thailand.

Anonymous WannaSmile.com said...

Very cool stuff...

Anonymous tadejtadej said...

There is also an old Soviet plane, transformed into a bar in Olomouc, Czech Republic - Latka Bar: http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/Czech_Republic/Olomoucky_Kraj/Olomouc-401624/Nightlife-Olomouc-BR-1.html

Blogger Bobby said...

An even better use for old jumbo jets can be found on the website for the Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia


Equally interesting, the Discovery Channel tells the story of efforts to deploy the 737-200 as an artificial reef which was, understandably, a logistics nightmare. You can catch it on their MegaBuilders series or read the synopsis here:


Blogger Tom Vidar said...

And in Sweden - very close to Stockholm Airport - Arlanda (ARN/ESSA) there`s a retired 747 serving as a hotel !

Anonymous José M. / 4PS_Gizmo / SanglassPatrol said...

Hello! you still can add more conversions... in Aviadores Virtuales Asociados we have found...

Plane Cafe in Russia

Disco (in Barcelona - Spain)


There is another disco-plane in Madrid (Spain) but I did not find any photo

Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Thank you guys, great tips

Anonymous José M. / 4PS_Gizmo / SanglassPatrol said...

We have linked your airplane conversions and we have added some more (in spanish)

Anonymous Thijs Simons said...

In Holland the former plane of Erich Honecker (East Germany) is transfered into a luxury suite. See: http://www.hotelsuites.nl/suites.php?view=detail&hotel=1894

Anonymous Tom said...

That's incredible!! How the hell did they manage to drag a 747 to this spot? I guess it started out pretty cool and then turned into a bit of an eye sore! Did they close it for health and safety reasons? It looks pretty warn out!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Colorado Springs, CO USA, a former C-97 is now Solo's restaurant (and from what the ads in the Colorado Springs travel guides say, an aerospace museum as well).

Blogger Crasher-Carl said...

Question: how could that Pan Am 747 look so RUSTED? I thought that the exteriors were all aluminum.

Blogger Axel said...

Just got torn down. Sad, really....

Anonymous James said...

Tom (and anyone else who wants to know),
I worked on this project. I came in a little late, but was one of the last two people on the job. Disassembly was run by Aviation Warehouse out of El Mirage California. The actual disassembly and cutting took part at the decommissioned Norton Air Force Base. The mountains in the back are the San
AW provided airplane sets and acts as a parts salvage yard. I remember the FAA guys coming by to look into the tanks and telling us this was the second 747 built.
Basically, the parts were stripped and the shell was cut into pieces that would fit into sea containers. We used 14" gas powered chop saws.
I came in after the tail section was cut. You can see the cut marks all over the plane. We all wondered if they would bondo them or do something to hide them, evidently they didn't.
They were loaded on by a Gehl reach lift.

OpenID Hex said...

There's another plane-as-restaurant (similarly abandoned) somewhere along the road in the Puncak Pass, Java, Indonesia, or was when I went down that way in 2004.

Blogger DimitriBR said...

Once I was going from Wien to Prague, so I used a GPS. In my route I can see an airplane that is an restaurant or like similar. I would love to find it again. Do anyone have any idea where it is?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 747 is sad--my late Father-in-Law was among the people who built that plane, and he took great pride in his work. He put in 45 years on the assembly floor, riveting the first flight build of all the Boeing commercial jets from the 707 through the 767.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Father in Law, Walter William Lewis, was the Senior Flight Engineer for Pan Am when this 747 was put into service. As the senior engineer he got to choose his plane and he chose to fly in this one. He continued in the 747 until his retirement in the early 1970's.

Blogger james alexander said...

In a small city park in Santa Cruz Bolivia sits an old Lockheed constellation aka a Connie that was a travel agency, fast food restaurant and a bar. I'd love to share the true origins of this particular propeller masterpiece if anyone cares. ssalpha20k@yahoo.com

Blogger Nigel Santa Barbara Ca said...

I worked on N747PA When it took it's last flight to San Bernardino, California. Same paint scheme only it said Pasta Air on it instead of Jumbo 747. It sat in San Bernardino for awhile awaiting a buyer, it got heavily damaged when a strong storm pushed the aircraft into a small building causing a large hole on the right side fuselage. The repair was going to take about 300 man hours and done by Santa Barbara Aerospace, but no one wanted to fork the money over so it was never flown again.


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