Bangkok’s winding sois can hold many wonders, so perhaps it shouldn’t have been a surprise when a pair of decades-old commercial jets suddenly appeared off Ramkamhaeng Road earlier this month.
The two MD-82 jetliners formerly operated by Orient Thai Airlines showed up inside an enormous lot which serves as a kind of aircraft graveyard, where planes are dismantled and stripped of valuable metal.
These weren’t the first planes to appear in this lot, which aviation geeks call a “boneyard.” Four years ago a pair of two Boeing 747 nose sections sat waiting to be dismantled in the giant lot. Seeing these massive sections from a jumbo jet once known as the “Queen of the Skies” begs the question: How did they get there? Only one 747 nose remains, accompanied by the MD-82s.
The McDonnell Douglas-built MD-82 was a commercial jetliner which entered service in 1981. Since the registration numbers of the two sitting inside the Ramkamhaeng boneyard have been painted over, it’s hard to tell when these planes were operated or retired. Even more mysterious is how their big bodies – the MD-82 fuselage stretches more than 40 meters long – ended up here along with so many other airplane components so far away from an airstrip.
Interestingly the same model of plane, operated by the same airline, was involved in a deadly accident some years back.
On Sep. 16, 2007, 89 people died after an MD-82 operated by One-Two-Go, a now-defunct budget carrier owned by Orient Thai, crash-landed and exploded during a second attempted landing at Phuket International Airport.
According to records online, One-Two-Go owned six MD-82s. The one which crashed, two others which were scrapped, and three said to be in “storage.”
Today the interiors of the planes have been stripped, but the carpeting, overhead bins, and bathrooms are still intact. Oxygen masks, safety manuals and other bits are scattered around the area, almost as if the planes had crashed there.
To catch a glimpse of this unexpected sight, head to Ramkhamhaeng Road Soi 101 and continue for roughly 100 meters. The lot is on the left, next to an auto body repair shop. It is private property, but here’s a Coconuts pro tip: the security guard accepts 100THB as the price of admission.
Have you ever flown on these planes? Have you seen them in operation? Tell us in the comments below.