Tesla vs Qantas at Avalon Airport

This week a video of a Tesla car racing a Qantas 737 jet did the rounds, with Avalon Airport being the setting. But how did they manage to pull off such a stunt?

Qantas 737 VH-XZI takes on a Tesla Model S electric car at Avalon. (Qantas)
Qantas 737 VH-XZI takes on a Tesla Model S electric car at Avalon. (Qantas)

Avalon Airport is a simple airport where the terminal is just a tin shed.

Departures terminal at Avalon Airport, airside with the You Yangs behind

Which is used by only a handful of flights a day.

Lining up in the bay

As of 2016 those flights being:

But Avalon has one important feature – a 10000 foot (3048 metre) long runway, and a parallel taxiway.

Avalon / YMAV aerodrome chart - uncontrolled version not for navigation, dated 2013
Avalon / YMAV aerodrome chart, dated 2013

The airport was opened in 1953 to cater for the production of military jet aircraft, such as the English Electric Canberra bomber and the Dassault Mirage IIIO fighter. Aircraft manufacturing stopped in the 1980s, but Avalon has still been busy with pilot training and aircraft maintenance.

Taking off over the Avalon Airport passenger terminal and car park

So back to the race – the filming run was made on April 2, 2016 with Qantas B737-800 VH-XZI as the star taking off to the north on runway 36, while the Tesla car sped along the parallel taxiway ‘A’ – which provided a safe distance between the two.


The full video can be found on YouTube.

And Qantas has posted a behind the scenes video on Twitter.

Here is a set of aviation charts for Avalon Airport (YMAV), while Wikipedia has more on the interesting history of the airport.

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