It was a very rare sight. The location? Sydney! The peculiar thing? Qantas Flight 63, a 747 plane, flying with an extra (the 5th) engine yesterday. It was a Rolls Royce turbofan that had been attached to the left wing between an inner engine and the body of plane. The plane was bound for Johannesburg, South Africa.
— Qantas (@Qantas) January 6, 2016
Are you puzzled? More like intrigued as to why this happened? We did some asking around and it turns out that this was a feat performed to transport a 10-tonne plane engine quickly. A statement released by Qantas read, “We’re undertaking this rare task to get our customers and our aircraft on their way as soon as possible — rather than shipping this engine across by boat or chartering a freighter aircraft.”
The flight made a stop in Perth for fueling since the additional engine weight and induced drag caused higher fuel consumption.
Qantas further said, “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.”
— Perth Airport (@PerthAirport) January 6, 2016
Perth Airport has even shared a video of the landing of this plane with five engines. The fifth engine wasn’t operational, more like a freeloader only. The transported engine will be powering another Boeing 747 owned by Qantas. The last time an airline transported an engine this way was back in 2011.