I just found out that

1. For 24 years every pilot who landed at the airport in Nagpur, India had to be warned about the Boeing 720 sitting next to the runway.

2. That it was my dad's fault.

This is the story of my dad's junkyard jet. Image
Some time in 1990 my dad, an airplane mechanic at Brown Field Municipal airport, saw a guy circling the abandoned Boeing 720. It had been resting in the dry desert air ever since the previous owner, Kenneth Copeland, had ditched it a couple years back for reasons unknown. ImageImage
The guy, an Indian tire magnate named Sam Veder, asked my dad if it could fly again. My dad said yes, he could get it flying. The 29-year-old plane wasn't commercially viable in the US, but India's another story. All they had to do was get it there.
A normal dad might have an old muscle car he tinkers with on the weekend, but -my- dad had a Being 720. For the next year, when he wasn't working on the plane he was pestering Boeing engineers for advice and picking through aircraft boneyards for parts.
From the beginning the other mechanics in the hangar said he was wasting his time. Even if my dad could get it to fly (which he wouldn't) it could never legally fly again due to noise regulations.
Modern jets are required to be much quieter and more efficient than they used to be. Plane's today are about 1/4th as loud as they were in the 1950s! It's possible to retrofit a dinosaur from the 1950s like the Boeing 720 to be compliant, but India's rules were, uh, Different so.
While my dad was fixing up the plane my mom was filing paperwork with the FAA. They just needed to fly across the border to Tijuana to complete the test flights. The FAA agreed - on the condition that the plane climb north to 14,000 feet before turning south to Tijuana.

...yeah. Image
After they completed the test flights in Tijuana, my dad's junkyard jet embarked for India with my dad and Sam Veder on board. If Sam was going to die, then mick mechanic who "fixed" it was going to die with him.
He was right to worry: Granted, the plane DID make it to India, but they encountered engine problems on the maiden flight from Delhi and had to do an emergency landing at Nagpur airport, where it would live for the following 24 years.
They initially left it on the runway itself, but it was quickly towed 300 feet away, but still that's way too close for regulations or comfort and it should have been moved much farther immediately, but it wasn't and so it's a story.
According to the airport Sam Veder was a broke bitch, owed them rent, and needed to move the plane. Sam said he had a plan to at least move the plane immediately, but the airport wouldn't give him access to the plane, so they're like a landlord that locked a tenant inside.
Regardless of why, it was. Time passed. Sam retired, built Balaji Puram temple to honor Lord Balaji, and the plane remained. In 2011 the government told the airport to move the damn plane or they would strip the airport's license, so they dragged it a little farther away. Image
In the most incredible "the problem I was avoiding for [eternity] only took [moment]" ever, in 2015 the new airport director decided to solve it, changed the tires, and got rid of the plane in half an hour.
there's no moral here. hail lord balaji. Image
also, my dad lied and told my mom that the plane was still flying around India carrying "people and chickens".

He did not enjoy his trip to India because the food was too spicy, complaining that those lunatics in India will eat onions with hot peppers for breakfast.
there's a lot of confusion here, so to clarify, the only person who thinks Indians are crazy for eating onions and hot peppers is my dad, I think it's delicious and ate it just last week.
@harishmenon80 managed to get Sam Verma on the line! Verma says some key details of my story (and previous news stories!) were wrong, although since my dad definitely went to India I'm choosing to believe that Verma just didn't remember him. qz.com/india/2073680/…
My mom's only feedback is that while the FAA gave them permission to fly to Tijuana the FAA didn't think they would actually do it; they told her the only way that plane was ever leaving Brown Field was in "small pieces on large trucks".
My mom says she can't believe Sam Verma doesn't remember them as they saw him regularly. m.timesofindia.com/city/nagpur/tw…

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