Boeing’s 747, the unique jumbo jet, prepares for remaining farewell

  • Final 747 Freighter to be delivered to Atlas Air
  • Ends greater than 5 many years of economic manufacturing
  • Practically bankrupted Boeing earlier than turning into a money cow
  • Straightforward to fly says Rockstar pilot Bruce Dickinson

SEATTLE/PARIS, Jan 29 (Reuters) – Boeing’s (BA.N) 747, the unique and arguably most aesthetically pleasing ‘jumbo jet’, revolutionized air journey, solely to see its greater than five-decade reign because the ‘Queen of the Air” ended with extra environment friendly twin-engine plane.

The final business Boeing jumbo can be delivered to Atlas Air (AAWW.O) within the surviving freighter model on Tuesday, 53 years after the 747’s immediately recognizable humped silhouette caught world consideration as a Pan-Am passenger jet.

“It’s stately on the bottom, it’s imposing,” mentioned Bruce Dickinson, the lead singer of Iron Maiden, who piloted a specifically painted 747 nicknamed “Ed Drive One” through the British heavy metallic band’s 2016 tour .

“And it’s surprisingly agile within the air. For such a large airplane, you possibly can actually toss it round if you need to.”

Designed within the late Nineteen Sixties to fulfill the demand for mass journey, the bow and higher decks of the world’s first twin-aisle widebody jet turned the world’s most luxurious membership above the clouds.

But it surely was within the seemingly countless rows at the back of the brand new jumbo that the 747 modified journey.

“This was THE airplane that launched flying to the center class within the US,” mentioned Ben Smith, CEO of Air France-KLM.

“Earlier than the 747, the typical household couldn’t affordably fly from the US to Europe,” Smith instructed Reuters.

The jumbo additionally formed world occasions, symbolizing struggle and peace, from America’s nuclear command publish “Doomsday Airplane” to papal visits on chartered 747 plane nicknamed “Shepherd One”.

Now, two beforehand delivered 747 plane can be outfitted to switch the US presidential jets, identified all over the world as Air Drive One.

As a flight attendant at Pan Am, Linda Freier served passengers from Michael Jackson to Mom Teresa.

“It was an unbelievable number of passengers. Individuals who had been nicely dressed and individuals who had little or no and spent the whole lot they’d on that ticket,” Freier mentioned.


When the primary 747 took off from New York on January 22, 1970, after a delay as a result of an engine failure, it doubled the plane’s capability to 350–400 seats, altering airport design.

“It was the airplane for the folks that basically had the power to turn out to be a mass market,” mentioned aviation historian Max Kingsley-Jones.

“It has remodeled each facet of the business,” added the Senior Guide at Ascend by Cirium.

His beginning turned the stuff of aviation fantasy.

Pan Am founder Juan Trippe tried to cut back prices by growing the variety of seats. On a fishing journey, he challenged Boeing President William Allen to construct one thing to outshine the 707.

Allen employed legendary engineer Joe Sutter. It took simply 28 months for Sutter’s group, often called “the Incredibles,” to develop the 747 earlier than its maiden flight on February 9, 1969.

Although the 747 finally turned a money cow, the 747’s early years had been fraught with issues and the $1 billion growth price almost bankrupted Boeing, which believed the way forward for air journey lay in supersonic jets.

After a hunch through the Nineteen Seventies oil disaster, the plane reached its heyday in 1989 when Boeing launched the 747-400 with new engines and lighter supplies, making it completely suited to fulfill the rising demand for transpacific flights.

“The 747 is probably the most lovely and best airplane to land… It’s like touchdown a chair,” mentioned Dickinson, who can be chairman of aviation upkeep firm Caerdav.


The identical wave of innovation that put the 747 within the air has spelled its finish, as advances have allowed twin-engine jets to duplicate its vary and capability at a decrease price.

However the 777X, which is about to switch the 747 on the high of the jet market, gained’t be prepared till no less than 2025 after delays.

“When it comes to spectacular know-how, giant capability, nice economics…[the 777X]sadly makes the 747 appear out of date,” mentioned Richard Aboulafia, managing director of AeroDynamic Advisory.

Nonetheless, the most recent 747-8 model can be gracing the skies primarily as a freighter for years, having outlasted European Airbus (AIR.PA)’s A380 double-decker passenger jet in manufacturing.

This week’s remaining 747 supply leaves questions on the way forward for the mammoth however now underutilized Everett large-capacity manufacturing facility outdoors of Seattle as Boeing continues to battle within the wake of the COVID pandemic and a 737 MAX security disaster.

Chief Government Dave Calhoun mentioned Boeing couldn’t design a brand new airliner for no less than a decade.

“It was one of many wonders of the trendy industrial age,” Aboulafia mentioned, “however this isn’t an age of wonders, it’s an age of economics.”

Reporting by Valerie Insinna and Tim Hepher; Modifying by Alexander Smith

Our requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.


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