Boeing 707 VH-XBA
This particular Boeing 707 - originally VH-XBA - was the first jet aircraft operated by Qantas and the very first civilian jet aircraft registered in Australia. The 707 replaced the propeller driven Super Constellations and practically halved the flying time on Qantas overseas routes. The new Boeing 707s were so fast they also introduced Australians to "jet lag" for the first time.
The American built Boeing 707 first flew in December 1957 and proved very successful with airlines world-wide. They cost four times as much as the latest propeller driven airliners but offered a much smoother and quieter ride while reducing flight times.
The Boeing 707 and other new passenger jets made propeller driven airliners obsolete on international and major internal routes. Air travel became the preferred option over the ocean liner as a form of transport. An ocean journey between America and Great Britain took several days but could now be completed in a few hours and at a lower cost for the passenger.
After serving with Qantas, VH-XBA was operated by several other airlines and private operators. After several years lying derelict at Southend Airport in the United Kingdom and about to be scrapped, it was purchased for the Qantas Founders Museum and restored by a dedicated group of volunteers, mostly retired Qantas engineers. After what was probably the most complex aircraft restoration conducted by volunteers world-wide it was flown to Longreach in June 2007.
With the exception of external paint fading, the hot dry weather and low humidity of Longreach provide excellent conditions for long-term aircraft preservation. Retired Qantas engineers continue to maintain VH-XBA in flying condition and it is possible the aircraft will be seen again at air shows. Plans are in hand to build a very large sunshade over all the Qantas Founders Museum aircraft housed in the open. Your adminission fee helps pay towards the maintenance of the aircraft and other museum exhibits.[ top ]