Maybe you have a table made from an old piston and sheet of plastic gracing your hangar. Or the classic propeller making for excellent art on the wall of your office. I’ve personally kept the template of an instrument panel hanging up as a reminder of a restoration project’s blood, sweat, and tears. Aircraft parts can live long after they stop flying—simply because pilots recycle them into memories.
The Boeing 747-400 christened “Uniform Juliett” for its Cathay Pacific callsign was delivered to the airline on May 23, 1995—the last of the 747s that Cathay would acquire. This Queen of the Skies flew for more than 20 years before she retired in October 2016. Her colorful life in the air included the very first landing by any airplane at the new Chep Lak Kok International Airport in Hong Kong, following the closing of the famous Kai Tak airport in 1998. Her last flight took her to Bruntingthorpe, in the UK, where she was dismantled and left to a dismal fate.
Aviationtags, based in Cologne, Germany, salvaged enough of the 747’s skin to create 12,000 of its signature tags so that fans of the airplane (or airline) can carry a piece of this history. Each of the limited-edition tags is engraved with the type, registration number (B-HUJ), edition number, and size—and they vary according to where they come from on the aircraft, so no two are exactly the same. A custom lost-and-found service allows the company to use the engraved data on the tag to return it to its owner if located. They can be used as keyrings or luggage tags—and make a great little memento for pilots—especially those fans of the 747.