Happy 45th Birthday to the Queen of the Skies. The Boeing 747 first flew on February 9, 1969 and the world of commercial air travel has never been the same.
The Boeing 747 is a wide-body commercial airliner and cargo transport aircraft, often referred to by its original nickname, Jumbo Jet. It is among the world’s most recognizable aircraft and was the first wide-body ever produced. Manufactured by Boeing’s Commercial Airplane unit in the United States, the original version of the 747 was two and a half times larger in capacity than the Boeing 707, one of the common large commercial aircraft of the 1960s. First flown commercially in 1970, the 747 held the passenger capacity record for 37 years.
The four-engine 747 uses a double deck configuration for part of its length. It is available in passenger, freighter and other versions. Boeing designed the 747’s hump-like upper deck to serve as a first class lounge or (as is the general rule today) extra seating, and to allow the aircraft to be easily converted to a cargo carrier by removing seats and installing a front cargo door. Boeing did so because the company expected supersonic airliners (development of which was announced in the early 1960s) to render the 747 and other subsonic airliners obsolete, while the demand for subsonic cargo aircraft would be robust well into the future. The 747 was expected to become obsolete after 400 were sold, but it exceeded critics’ expectations with production passing the 1,000 mark in 1993. By December 2013, 1,482 aircraft had been built, with 55 of the 747-8 variants remaining on order.
The 747 remains my favorite mode of intercontinental travel and I’ve been lucky enough to travel in jumbos operated by – Air Canada, CP Air, Lufthansa and British Airways.
(info from Wikipedia)