Why This 747 Has An Extra Engine

  • Jan 7, 2016 5:49am GMT

A behind the scenes look at Qantas as they transport a fifth Rolls Royce engine on a Boeing 747 from Sydney to Perth and on to Johannesburg this week.

Quantas Flight 63 from Sydney to Johannesburg landed in Perth, Australia yesterday with a six tonne Rolls Royce engine attached. The Boeing 747 has the ability to carry a fifth engine, fitted between the body of the aircraft and the inner-most engine on the port (left) side.

The extra engine isn’t powered for the ferry flight it's just a very large spare part from being sent from their engineering HQ in Sydney to be fitted on one of their other Boeing 747s in Johannesburg.

The airline says, "We do this to get our customers and our aircraft on their way as quickly as possible – rather than shipping the engine across by boat or chartering a freighter aircraft."

It was Quantas that first pioneered the carriage of a fifth engine with their Boeing 707s (see photo below video) back at the dawn of the jet age to save shipping costs.

"Additional drag is caused by air travelling around the spare engine during flight and, to counterbalance this, our pilots are trained to use the flight controls to ensure the aircraft flies straight, level and safely," the airline said. The last time the airline transported a plane engine in this way was in 2011

And what about the spare engine that we removed in Johannesburg? It was sent home by ship.

Watch how they do it in the Quantas video below and watch the jet land in Perth HERE.