The Boeing 747 entered service with Pan American Airlines in January 1970 and became the workhorse of the world’s long-haul, high-capacity fleet. To-date, Boeing has delivered 1,365 747s in four basic types, the 747-100/-200/-300/-400.
In November 2005, after many false starts, Boeing finally launched the 747-8 Intercontinental to serve the 400-500-seat markets and the Boeing 747-8 Freighter.
The Boeing 747 was the first passenger jet to have a twin-aisle cabin section and a staircase leading to an upper deck in the nose section. The 747 also achieved considerable success as a freighter and has an important military application in the form of the Boeing 747-E4 airborne emergency command and control post.
Two Boeing 747s form the presidential Air Force One transport, and a 747 was also converted to transport the Space Shuttle. A number of Boeing 747s have also been converted into luxury business aircraft..
Powered by four Pratt & Whitney/General Electric/Rolls-Royce turbofans the Boeing 747 remains the world’s fastest subsonic passenger jet. It has carried more than 3.5 billion passengers on 35 billion miles of revenue-earning service with 80 airlines.
Boeing 747 Aircraft History-
Rolled out at Boeing’s Everett plant in Seattle in September 1968, the Boeing 747-100 originated from Boeing’s failed entry for the US air force’s C-5 military transport competition. The 747 was Boeing’s response to a requirement for a 400-seat long-range transport and was launched in April 1966 with an order for 25 aircraft.
Powered initially by four 43,000lb thrust Pratt & Whitney JT9D turbofans the Boeing 747 was developed into freighter and passenger/freighter versions, with General Electric and eventually Rolls-Royce developing engines. A shortened version, the 747SP, was designed to fly higher and further than the standard aircraft.
The 440-seat Boeing 747-200B appeared in 1970 with higher take-off weights and more powerful engines. Next, Boeing introduced the stretched upper deck 747-300 which first flew in October 1982, with Swissair the first customer.
The most recent version, the Boeing 747-400, introduced major aerodynamic improvements, including winglets, new avionics and an all- new flight deck. After delivery to Northwest Airlines in January 1989 Boeing was rolling out a new 747-400 every six days. The 1,100th 747 was delivered to Virgin Atlantic in January 1996.
Read more about the history of Boeing 747 in the Flight Archive