VIDEO: Another look inside Anthony Toth’s Pan Am 747 replica

You can call me an Aviation Geek, but I can’t get enough stories about Anthony Toth, the man I featured last year who built a replica Pan Am 747 inside a warehouse outside of Los Angeles.

Anthony was recently featured in a three-minute video made by MSN. The video has some of the best pictures I’ve seen about life on board this mock-up.  (Incidentally, you’ll likely be seeing some of Toth’s aviation collection on this year’s season of “Mad Men.”)

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Ever wonder what a VIP-configured Boeing 747-8 looks like?

Boeing 747 Have you ever wondered how you might configure your own Boeing 747?

According to a filing with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Lufthansa Technik has received a commission to outfit a 747-8 aircraft for “Presidential Flight Abu Dhabi.” The plans required certain exemptions from typical U.S. and European safety rules, Lufthansa says. The filing suggests these types of waivers are routinely granted, but it’s fun to take a look  just to see what you can do with such a large airplane.

The map is the best part, but if you’re bored or just want more information, here’s the full filing:

Lufthansa Technik AG – Exemption Rulemaking

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This man built a Pan Am Boeing 747 mock-up inside a Los Angeles-area warehouse. What’s next for him?

Anthony Toth built a 747 replica inside a warehouse. Here, he stands in front of the first class cabin. Photo:  Stephen Carr.

Anthony Toth built a 747 replica inside a warehouse. Here, he stands in front of the first class cabin. Photo: Stephen Carr.

You may remember Anthony Toth. He’s the California man and United Airlines executive who built a replica of a Pan Am 747 inside a Los Angeles-area warehouse.

This is not a joke. He dedicated years of his life to his pursuit because Pan Am was the airline Toth loved to fly as a child.

As of a year ago, when I wrote a long story on him, Toth had hired a contractor and spent more than $100,000 on his life’s dream. At the time, Toth had a first-class section, complete with 18 seats, and a Clipper Class section — sort of like premium economy — with 26 powder blue seats. He had also built an upper deck lounge. And Toth had all the soft goods — the Pan Am branded napkins, the drink stirrers, the headphones, the glassware — to go with it. He even piped in the sounds of aircraft noise.

But Toth wanted more. I caught up with him recently and wrote an update for our main website. Here’s some of what I learned:

  • Playboy did a one-week shoot on his plane for an upcoming issue. There were 12 naked women around. “It was a shocking week for me,” Toth said. 
  • The cockpit, with help from some special effects. Photo: Anthony Toth.

    The cockpit, with help from some special effects. Photo: Anthony Toth.

    Toth bought a cockpit for $6,000 off a retired Air Canada plane and had it installed on the front end of the upper deck. Before, Toth had a cockpit door, but if you opened it, it actually just led to a storage area. 

  • “Mad Men” rented some props from Toth. It was a top secret mission. Someone from the show called Toth and asked him for stuff from a specific airline and specific time period. He says he is not allowed to say anything about what he rented out because it might give away a plot point. But he said he loves the “Mad Men” gigs. “They want everything to be validated,” Toth said. “They are true to their craft. They re-create vintage aviation in the way I want it to be recreated.”
  • Toth is now partnering with a company called Air Hollywood that specializes in aviation sets and props for airplane-related entertainment shoots.  The company is based in Pacoima in the San Fernando Valley and Toth is considering moving his replica there. Why? It would give him a lot more room. Perhaps enough for a full 747 mock-up. “If I want to play in this space,” he said, “I’m going to need a bigger airplane.”
  • He is in the market for old airline uniforms for his rental business — not just Pan Am, but other airlines as well. The acquisition costs are  high . A Pan Am uniform hat? That runs $700 to $800, he says. A Pan Am uniform? Toth says he recently bought two — for $1,000 apiece.
The Clipper Cabin on Toth's mockup.

The Clipper Cabin on Toth’s mockup.

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ANA will retire its 747s next month

Lufthansa is the only major passenger airline now flying the 747-8, the newest model of the iconic plane. Other airlines have decided the aircraft is not financially viable. Photo: Lufthansa

Lufthansa is the only major passenger airline now flying the 747-8, the newest model of the iconic plane. Other airlines have decided the aircraft is not financially viable. Could this the end of the line for the 747? Photo: Lufthansa

Another major airline is retiring its Boeing 747s — the airliner nicknamed the “Queen of the Skies.”

This time, according to Christine Negroni writing in the New York Times, the airline is Japan’s All Nippon Airways. ANA and JAL — Japan’s top two carriers — each started operating 747s in the 1970s, but JAL retired its final 747s in 2011. People, especially aviation nerds, love the airplane, but it’s no longer practical for a lot of airlines.

“Emotions, however, are no match for economics when it comes to a four-engine airplane and jet fuel that costs $123 a barrel,” Negroni wrote in the Times. “Along with the two Japanese carriers, Cathay Pacific and Singapore have also eliminated the 747 from their fleets, and Air India, Air New Zealand and Taiwan’s EVA Air are planning to do the same.”

ANA expects to have its final 747 flight on March 31, according to the Times.

There’s some question about whether this is only a 747 issue, or whether the market has dried up for super large jetliners. People get excited about the double-decker Airbus A380, but the future, some say, is in smaller 777s, 787s and Airbus A350s. In addition to generally having fewer seats than the 747, those planes have only two engines, which makes them considerably cheaper to operate. (Airbus is supposed to deliver its first A350 later this year, to Qatar Airways.)

“Many airline executives, however, say market changes are to blame for the slow sales,” Negroni wrote. “They say the mammoth airliner is history — and  (ANA’s chief executive officer, Osamu) Shinobe, is one of them. When he first saw the 747 in 1979, he said, the Japanese air travel market was booming and the jumbo’s 500-plus seats, in domestic configuration, far outmatched the next biggest airplane, the 320-seat Lockheed L-1011. Now, he says, the airline does not need that capacity: ‘Domestic will not grow so much anymore.’”

There is a new model of the 747 called the 747-8, which Lufthansa started flying in 2012. It is more efficient than its predecessors, but it is so far not selling well. 

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Fiji Airways retires its final 747; we’ve got facts and figures on this plane’s life

Fiji Airways -- formerly called Air Pacific -- retired its final 747 this month after a flight from Los Angeles. Photo via wikimedia commons.

Fiji Airways — formerly called Air Pacific — retired its final 747 this month after a flight from Los Angeles. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Last week, Fiji Airways retired its final Boeing 747-400 after a flight from Los Angeles International Airport to Nadi International Airport in Nadi, Fiji.

The airplane actually carried a Air Pacific livery, as that was the name of the airline until it re-branded recently. The new Fiji Airways operates a fleet of A330s and 737s. The much more efficient A330s have taken over the Los Angeles flying.

Len Sloper, regional general manager of airports for Fiji Airways, put together a nice dossier on this final 747. Here are some of the facts he shared:

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