Commercial Awareness Update – W/C 12th December 2022December 12, 2022
What is Working in Property Law Really Like?December 14, 2022
From the Wright brothers’ first motor-operated airplane to modern commercial jets that we’re all familiar with, airplanes have genuinely evolved into a complex piece of machinery. Today, many commercial airline companies have a fleet of Airbus A320s and Boeing 737 that can transport people and cargo across vast distances.
But even with these modern aircraft ruling the skies, there is one particular aircraft that many people are familiar with: the Boeing 747. When it made its commercial debut in 1970, it was considered the biggest aircraft and had a distinct hump that extends beyond the cockpit. It was also the favorite choice of many airline companies for their long-haul flights, thus earning the name Queen of the Skies.
While the Boeing 747 revolutionized air travel, this isn’t the only reason why many individuals are in awe of the majestic aircraft. There’s plenty more you might not know about the Boeing 747.
Whether you’re a pilot working on their type rating or one that’s fresh out of flight school, here are six more interesting facts about the Boeing 747.
It Was Used Commercially to Free up Airports
In the 1960s, traveling long distances became easy, thanks to jets like the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8. It also made air travel more popular, which turned airports into very busy transportation hubs. Thinking of ways to make airports less congested, Juan Trippe, the founder of Pan American World Airways, asked Boeing to build an aircraft more than two times bigger than the Boeing 707 to help the airline operate more efficiently. Hence, the 747 was designed for this purpose.
It Can Be Converted into a Cargo Aircraft
During the initial phase of building the 747, Boeing’s design team ensured that the plane could be easily converted into a cargo aircraft. At the time, many people in the aviation industry thought that supersonic aircraft would eventually replace the 747. Because of this, Boeing made provisions to prepare the aircraft to become a cargo aircraft if needed. The plane had an upper deck, which was initially used as an exclusive lounge area, and can be turned into a cockpit. This allowed a cargo door to be incorporated into the aircraft’s nose, helping operators to load the freight into the plane more efficiently.
It’s Used by NASA
Although the 747 was designed for commercial airlines’ use, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has also utilized the aircraft. Back in the late 1970s, NASA used the 747 to transport its space shuttles. NASA also preferred the Boeing 747 over the Air Force C-5 because the former has a low wing design, making it easy to mount the shuttle on top of it and the 747 can take off after.
It Has Other Purposes
Apart from transporting cargo, passengers, and NASA’s shuttle, the Boeing 747 has served other purposes too. A modified 742-200, the Evergreen 747 Supertanker is the largest aircraft for aerial firefighting in the world. It can easily hold up to 20,000 gallons of firefighting chemicals.
Another notable user of the 747 is the president of the United States. Since 1990, highly customized Boeing 747-200B aircraft is used when the US president needs to fly to different destinations. And it’s still being used today. The United States Air Force ordered two Boeing 747-8s, with the designation VC-25B, to be the next official presidential aircraft. Either of the two aircraft can be used for different reasons, such as a decoy and a backup in case one is out of commission.
It’s One of the Fastest Commercial Aircraft
Even though passenger experiences have greatly evolved when flying on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A350, they still can’t beat the 747 when it comes to speed. With a top speed of Mach .86 just over 650MPH, the Boeing 747 remains to be the fastest commercial airplane. And this is backed by evidence. On the aircraft’s 50th anniversary in 2020, a 747 set a transatlantic flight record from New York to London in just under five hours.
Most 747 Aircraft Are Retired
While the 747 is very popular, most commercial airlines have retired their fleet of Boeing 747 in favor of newer jets. In 2017, United Airlines announced its plans of phasing out the model, and other commercial airlines have since followed suit.
However, there are still some airline companies that still use the Boeing 747-400 on select routes including China Airlines, Korean Air, Lufthansa, Thai, Virgin Atlantic, Qantas, Air China, and British Airways. Among these companies, Air China, Korea, and Lufthansa will likely be the last ones to retire the 747 as they were the only customers of the latest Boeing 747-8i model. British Airways planned the retirement date for their 747s by 2024.
The Boeing 747 is truly a legendary model as it changed commercial aviation. Aside from that, there are more facts that make it an amazing aircraft. You just have to read up on the pieces of information listed here and you’ll understand why it has lived up to its name of being Queen of the Skies up until today.