The massive plane dates back to 1985 when it once flew passengers for defunct Brazilian airline Varig, which was Latin America’s largest 747 operator at the time.
Source: Big Imagination
After retirement, the “art car” was owned by the non-profit organization Big Imagination Foundation and fitted with 150,000 LED lights that synced to music. Festival-goers, known as “Burners,” could walk on the wing, dance, and check their “emotional baggage.”
While the 747 was a success during its years at Burning Man, it came under scrutiny in 2018 when it was left in the desert for weeks after the event.
This angered Burners because it went against the “leave no trace” mission that the festival stood for. The jumbo jet was eventually taken off the property and stored before returning to Burning Man for the last time in 2019.
After its time at Burning Man, the gutted Queen of the Skies was stored in several pieces until Fisher Brothers, a US real estate and development company, purchased the jet in 2022.
Source: Fisher Brothers
The firm plans to convert the jet into a tourist attraction at AREA15 near the Las Vegas Strip, which is an immersive gaming and entertainment venue that has things like ax throwing, hands-on art, and virtual reality.
Fisher Brothers partner and AREA15 CEO Winston Fisher told Insider that the exact plans for the jet are still undecided, but he enjoys the design process and is excited about what they can create.
“The beauty is we don’t know what it’s going to be, which is the fun part,” he said. “We’re studying it, and we didn’t buy it with a clear idea other than it’s iconic, it’s incredible, it’s art, and we can work with it. We could use projection mapping on the outside, and it can be anything inside.”
While it waits for refurbishment, the 747 is sitting at the Las Vegas Speedway north of the city. Insider toured the retired plane and found it still had some of the original systems and wiring from its heydey — take a look.
AREA15 chief marketing officer Meg Parker drove me to the 747 on Thursday, where it currently sits in storage.
However, the plane is not yet it in true form. Specifically, the front and aft passenger sections have been disassembled, leaving the plane in three main pieces.
I felt like I was exploring a piece of history, especially considering how revolutionary the 747 was for the aviation industry.
One day, the vintage jet will sit at AREA15 and be easily visible from the main interstate that runs through Las Vegas.
Fisher Brothers believes the history of the 747 at Burning Man and its uniqueness makes it a perfect addition to AREA15.