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The Boeing 747 The Mightiest Plane in the Sky

BoeingThere is nothing like it and there will never be anything like it again. The Boeing 747 – the world’s first wide body commercial airliner. It is the most recognizable aircraft in the world and perhaps the most commercially successful aircraft in aviation history. The 747 is manufactured by Boeing’s Commercial Airplane unit in the United States. The original version of the 747 was two and a half times the size of the Boeing 707, one of the most popular large planes of the 1960’s. The 747 first flew commercially in 1970 and it 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 for extra seating and to allow the aircraft to be easily converted to a cargo carrier by removing seats and installing a front cargo door. The 747 exceeded expectations with production passing the 1,000 mark in 1993. As of June 2009, 1,416 747’s have been built, with 107 more in various configurations remaining on order.


The 747 was conceived while air travel was increasing in the 1960’s, led by the enormous popularity of the Boeing 707 and the Douglas DC-8. Boeing was urged by Juan Trippe, president of Pan American Airlines, to build a passenger aircraft more than twice the size of the 707.

In 1965, Joe Sutter began working on the design. Sutter was the chief engineer of the Boeing 747 and is often referred to as the “father of the 747.” At the time, it was thought that the 747 would eventually be superseded by supersonic transport aircraft. Boeing responded by designing the 747 so it could be adapted easily to carry freight and remain in service even if sales of the passenger version declined.

On January 15, 1970, the first 747, Pan Am’s Clipper Victor, was christened in Washington D.C. It entered service on January 22, 1970 on a route from New York to London. The 747 enjoyed a smooth introduction into service and the rest is history.

If you are a flight student, you have probably flown in one of these magnificent planes as a passenger. It will be an even more exhilarating experience if you get the chance to command it as a pilot.

Boeing 747 Facts


The 747 fleet has logged more than 42 billion nautical miles (77.8 billion kilometers), equivalent to 101,500 trips from the Earth to the moon and back.

The 747 fleet has flown 3.5 billion people – the equivalent of more than half of the world’s population.

A 747-400 has six million parts, half of which are fasteners.
A 747-400 has 171 miles (274 km) of wiring and 5 miles (8 km) of tubing.
A 747-400 consists of 147,000 pounds (66,150 kg) of high-strength aluminum.
The 747-400 has 16 main landing gear tires and two nose landing gear tires.
The 747-400 tail height is 63 feet 8 inches (19.4 m), equivalent to a six-story building.

The 747-400 wing weighs 95,000 pounds (43,090 kg), more than 30 times the weight of the first Boeing airplane, the 1916 B&W.

The 747-400 wing measures 5,600 square feet (524.9 m 2 ), an area large enough to hold 45 medium-sized automobiles.

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