Saturday, June 15, 2024

Library in the clouds: retired aircraft put to use in Michoacán

A Boeing 727 aircraft retired from service in 2008 has been repurposed as a 21st-century library in Ciudad Hidalgo, Michoacán.

Called Biblioteca en las Nubes, or Library in the Clouds, the plane has been visited by countless students since it opened in April 2018, 10 years after it made its final landing at Mexico City airport.

The fuselage of the aircraft is equipped with the latest technology including high-speed internet and computers and tablets so that visiting students can conduct research. It also has a projector and screen to show educational films.

The rear of the plane serves as a reading lounge where visitors can sit back and enjoy a traditional paper book, while in the cockpit students can try their hand at flying the plane using a virtual reality flight simulator.

Library manager Yanet Martínez Sánchez told the newspaper El Universal that students from preschool right up to university have visited the plane free of charge to make use of its facilities and develop their research and reading skills.

Computer terminals line either side of the fuselage.
Computer terminals line either side of the fuselage.

Norberto Antonio Martínez Soto, a former federal lawmaker and current state deputy, was responsible for getting the project off the ground.

After Aeroméxico withdrew the Boeing 727 from service, it was kept in a hangar at the Mexico City airport for almost a decade before it was transferred to Ciudad Hidalgo by road in three pieces in March 2017.

The reassembly and refitting of the plane was completed by the non-profit organization Suena México Suena (Dream Mexico Dream) and supported by the federal Secretariat of Culture.

Students from Ciudad Hidalgo’s 18 de Marzo primary school enjoyed all facets of their recent visit to the Library in the Clouds.

After using the flight simulator, 8-year-old Kathy Hayden Hernández said the experience was very realistic, explaining that she felt like she was really in control of the plane.

“The world looked very beautiful from above,” she added.

A young student flies the plane with a simulator.
A young student flies the plane with a simulator.

In the reading lounge, students commented that the experience was a unique and relaxing one.

“I really liked coming into an airplane to read. Everything is very calm. I read the book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and another about fish,” said one girl.

“It’s really cool, it’s relaxing because there’s not a lot of noise and [the experience] is very interesting,” said another.

Most of the students said they would like to return for a second visit.

Teacher Edith Silva Núñez said that the majority of her class hadn’t been on a plane before so the visit to the library wasn’t only academically enriching but also very exciting.

“The promotion of reading through technology is also very important; a lot of them don’t have the opportunity [to use] any kind of computer,” she added.

Source: El Universal (sp) 

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