The earliest and probably most aesthetically pleasing Jumbo Jet, the Boeing (BA.N) 747, revolutionised aviation only to have its more over five-decade tenure as Queen of the Skies ended with more productive twinjet aircraft.
53 years after the 747’s instantaneously identifiable humped silhouette captured the world’s eye as a Pan Am passenger jet, the final commercial Boeing jumbo will be handed to Atlas Air (AAWW.O) on Tuesday in the surviving cargo variant.
Bruce Dickinson, the lead vocalist of Iron Maiden, who flew the specially decorated 747 known as “Ed Force One” on the British band’s tour in 2016, believed: “On the ground it’s majestic, it’s imposing.”
It’s also very nimble in the air. A person could really throw this large aeroplane around if they wanted to.
The world’s earliest twin-aisle broad-body jetliner’s head and upper deck were constructed in the late 1960s to accommodate the need for mass travel, and were later transformed into the most opulent club above the clouds.
But the 747 truly revolutionised travel in the nearly unending rows in the rear of the new jumbo.
Ben Smith, CEO of Air France-KLM, said this was THE aircraft that made flying accessible to the middle class in the United States.
A typical family could not afford to travel from the United States to Europe before 747, according to Smith.
The jumbo also left its influence on world events, representing both war and tranquillity, from America’s nuclear command post aboard the “Doomsday Plane” to pope visits aboard specially-chartered 747s dubbed “Shepherd One.”
Currently, two previously deployed 747s are being modified to replace the American presidential aircraft known as Air Force One around the world.
Linda Freier worked as a flight attendant for Pan Am, serving everyone from Mother Teresa to Michael Jackson.
The passenger mix was really diverse. Freier believed folks who had expensive clothing and those who had little money spent it all on that ticket.
After a delay caused by an engine problem, the first 747 lifted off from New York on January 22, 1970, more than doubling the number of seats on board to 350–400. This changed the way airports were built.
Aviation historian Max Kingsley-Jones said it was the aeroplane built for the general public, the one that actually had the capacity to serve a large market.
The senior consultant at the Ascend by Cirium continued, “It was revolutionary across all aspects of the industry.”
The story of its creation is now a popular aviation legend.
Juan Trippe, who founded Pan Am, tried to reduce costs by adding more seats. He challenged Boeing CEO William Allen to create something larger than the 707 while fishing.
Allen assigned Joe Sutter, a well-known engineer, to command. With the first flight going to take place on February 9, 1969, Sutter’s “The Incredibles” crew constructed the 747 in around 28 months.
Although it eventually became a cash cow, the 747’s initial years were troubled by problems, and the $1 billion in development costs almost put Boeing out of business because it believed supersonic jets were really the future’s wave.
Following a decline during the oil crisis of the 1970s, the 747-400, which Boeing released in 1989 with turbo models and lighter materials to fulfil the rising demand for trans-Pacific flights, marked the beginning of the aircraft’s heyday.
The 747 is the most appealing and simple to land aircraft. Dickinson, who also chairs the company Caerdav which provides aviation servicing, compared it to landing an armchair.
The same wave of innovation that launched the 747 also signalled the end of the aircraft when dual-engine jets were able to match its range and capacities at a lower price.
However, due to delays, the 777X, which was supposed to unseat the 747 as the market leader in passenger aircraft, won’t be available until at least 2025.