Transcending mere aviation, the 747 — the world’s most instantly recognized and recognizable airplane — is today a global iconCredit: The Boeing Company

Last Saturday marked the 50th anniversary of the 747 jumbo jet era; back when Pan Am ferried American tourists to and from Europe and iPhones were still just a twinkle in Steve Jobs’ eye. But Boeing’s big gamble on the world’s first twin-aisle commercial aircraft not only went on to pay off handsomely, it led to a revolution in the way the whole world traveled and shipped air freight.

Thus, to mark the anniversary of the 747’s February 9, 1969, inaugural test flight, here are five things you might not have known about the world’s first jumbo jet.

The widebody era begins with a perfect landing by the first Boeing 747 during its initial test flight, February 9, 1969.Credit: The Boeing Company

The 747 was so large Boeing had to build a new factory just to put it into production.

Its six-story high tail was simply too big for any existing factory, veteran aviation author Jay Spenser told me, who along with the late 747 engineering lead Joe Sutter, co-authored Sutter’s memoir: “747: Creating the World’s First Jumbo Jet and Other Adventures From a Life in Aviation”

So, Boeing chose Paine Field, a former World War II airbase some 30 miles North of Seattle, as the new factory’s site. Thus, in 1966, Boeing began construction on a 200 million-cubic-foot 747 assembly plant in Everett, Wa. This facility, since expanded to include 767, 777 and 787 production, remains the world’s largest building by volume.

“On its September 30, 1968 rollout, the first 747 prototype looked ready to fly but was in fact just 80 percent complete,” said Spenser. “This deliberately premature unveiling served to reassure skittish bankers that their large loans had resulted in a real airplane.”

Able to fly farther than other jets of the era, the 747-200 was an instant sensation in intercontinental service.Credit: The Boeing Company

A losing bid on the Air Force’s C-5 program led Boeing to a new understanding of the 747’s need for powerful and fuel-efficient, high-bypass turbofan engines.

What Sutter learned from Boeing’s competition with the Lockheed Corporation to secure a contract for the C-5 transport serendipitously paved the way for stronger, more fuel-efficient turbofan engines. Such engines were exactly what was needed for the next generation of wide-body aircraft like the 747.

These high-bypass-ratio turbofan engines would soon replace the low-bypass fanjets that were then powering the world’s existing commercial jetliners, as Sutter and Spenser note in “747.”

As the authors explain, “a [turbojet] engine works by compressing air, mixing in fuel, and feeding the fuel into combustion chambers where it ignites. The exploding exhaust gases vent to the rear past curved metal blades on rows of turbine discs. This hot, high-pressure efflux pushes on those curved blades, spinning the turbines on a central shaft running the length of the engine.”

It’s rotational energy that powers the compressor at the front of the engine, they note. This energy, in turn, pushes more air through the engine, continuing a cycle of continuous combustion.

In contrast, a turbofan adds a fan unit at the front, the authors note. This is a wide compressor that passes only some of the air it pressurizes through the engine’s core, they write. The rest of the air passes around the core in a nozzle-shaped path through the engine. This ultimately produces net thrust.

But it was the turbofans that revolutionized commercial aviation propulsion by offering three things over existing turbojets: They accelerated a larger volume of air to a lower velocity so that takeoff acceleration is improved. They used less fuel. And they were much quieter than the old turbojets.

Early 747 operators frequently used the upper-deck space aft of the flight deck as a premium-class passenger lounge. Qantas’ luxurious Captain Cook Lounge, pictured here, was particularly popular with travelers.Credit: The Boeing Company

The 747 was arguably inadvertently responsible for the demise of supersonic transports (SSTs) like the Concorde.

The 747 was envisioned as only an interim intercontinental subsonic substitute before being replaced by SSTs.

In the late sixties, the next generation of SSTs was thought to be close to taking over the global aviation market. Once passenger SSTs were flying globally, Boeing was planning on primarily marketing the 747 as a cargo freighter. After all, less than a month after the first 747 test flight, an Anglo/French supersonic transport consortium was testing the Concorde which made its first test flight in Paris on March 2, 1969.

But it was the 747 that was the big hit of the 1969 Paris Air Show. Ironically, at the time, even Boeing had some supersonic skin in the game. After all, it’s not for nothing that Seattle’s former NBA franchise was named the Supersonics.

Even so, as Sutter notes in “747,” an SST requires lots of fuel to plow through the kinds of aerodynamic shockwaves generated by flight faster than sound.

The Concorde also had range and capacity problems. It could barely accommodate 100 passengers and its range limited it to crossing the North Atlantic. By contrast, the fledgling U.S. SST program, designated as a Boeing 2707, was being designed to carry 270 passengers across the Pacific at three times the speed of sound.

But as noted in “747,” an internal Boeing study noted that the planned B2707’s economics were shaky. Even a 5% increase in the price of fuel would make it unprofitable for the airlines. Thus, in the Spring of 1971, Congress cut funding for the joint NASA/Boeing SST initiative.

Also designed to be an excellent main-deck freighter, the 747 has for decades been the backbone of global air cargo.Credit: The Boeing Company

The 747 was initially envisaged as a single-aisle double-decker aircraft.

Boeing’s C-5 proposal had called for a double-decker aircraft, with a cargo deck below and a troop deck on top. Thus, Boeing designers thought a similar twin deck configuration might work for the new747 Boeing was also leaning towards this design at the urging of Pan Am CEO Juan Trippe — who like the 747’s primary launch customer — had long dreamed of an aerial ocean liner of the skies.

But Boeing soon realized there were problems inherent to any double-decker design.

Today’s 747 configuration — with a shortened upper deck and cockpit on top of a twin-aisle main passenger cabin — is both the result of a large cargo-loading design option in the 747’s front-end as well as aerodynamic concerns.

There were also safety concerns with a double-decker since Federal regulations dictated that all airliners be able to do an emergency evacuation within 90 seconds. That’s harder with a twin deck aircraft.

Ironically, the 747’s wide-body design only emerged when Boeing realized that it could accommodate an almost equal number of passengers by using today’s classic dual-aisle, 10-across passenger seating configuration.

But Boeing may have been right to be cautious about a twin-deck design. With this week’s Airbus announcement that it’s discontinuing production of its A380 double-decker superjumbo, Sutter’s words at the end of “747” sound particularly prescient, since he expressed surprise that Airbus had opted for such a design.

RA0001, the first prototype, shares Boeing’s Seattle flightline with a sister 747 destined for Pan American World Airways.Credit: The Boeing Company

The test pilots marveled at how well the 747 handled turbulence from the very first flight.

“As we flew out, we realized the airplane was very responsive and performing very successfully,” Brien Wygle, the First Officer on that first initial flight told me. “We commented that it seemed to handle the turbulence that we encountered very well.”

It probably handled turbulence better than other aircraft at the time, says Wygle, because it was larger and heavier and those same air currents would have less effect.

And in the end, as Spenser points out, the 747 transformed air travel because its operating costs per seat were 30% lower than competing airliners. Thus, he says, via lower ticket prices, it opened up air travel to the masses.

Without the 747, there would likely have been no extended range Boeing 767s, 777s, and 787s; no Airbus A330s, 340s, or 380s. For when Wygle touched down on that cold February day, he might not have realized it, but the world had already begun to shrink.

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Going beyond simple air travel, the747– the world’s most quickly acknowledged and identifiable aircraft– is today a worldwide icon Credit: The Boeing Business

Last Saturday marked the50 th anniversary of the747 jumbo jet age; back when Pan Am ferried American travelers to and from Europe and iPhones were still simply a twinkle in Steve Jobs ‘eye. However Boeing’s huge gamble on the world’s very first twin-aisle business airplane not just went on to settle handsomely, it resulted in a transformation in the method the entire world took a trip and delivered air cargo. (************ )

Therefore, to mark the anniversary of the747’s February 9,1969, inaugural test flight, here are 5 things you may not have actually learnt about the world’s very first jumbo jet.

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The widebody age starts

with a best landing by the very first Boeing747 throughout its preliminary test flight, February 9,1969 Credit: The Boeing Business

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747 was so big Boeing needed to develop a brand-new factory simply to put it into production.(***************** )(************ )

Its six-story high tail was merely too huge for any existing factory, veteran air travel author Jay Spenser informed me, who together with the late 747 engineering lead Joe Sutter, co-authored Sutter’s narrative:”(****************************************************************** ): Producing the World’s First Jumbo Jet and Other Experiences From a Life in Air Travel”

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So, Boeing picked Paine Field, a previous The second world war airbase

some30 miles North of Seattle, as the brand-new factory’s website. Therefore, in(********************************************************* ), Boeing started building and construction on a200 million-cubic-foot747 assembly plant in Everett, Wa. This center, considering that broadened to consist of767, 777 and787 production, stays the world’s biggest structure by volume.

” On its September30,1968 rollout, the very first747 model looked prepared to fly however remained in truth simply 80 percent total,” stated Spenser.” This intentionally early unveiling served to assure skittish lenders that their big loans had actually led to a genuine aircraft.”

Able

to fly further than other jets of the age, the747-200 was an immediate feeling in global service. Credit: The Boeing Business

A losing quote on the Flying force’s C-5 program
led Boeing

to a brand-new understanding of

the747’s requirement for effective and fuel-efficient, high-bypass turbofan engines.

What Sutter gained from Boeing’s competitors with the Lockheed Corporation to protect an agreement for the

C-5 transportation serendipitously led the way for more powerful, more fuel-efficient turbofan engines. Such engines were precisely what was required for the next generation of wide-body airplane like the 747.(************ )(************* )These high-bypass-ratio turbofan engines would quickly change the low-bypass fanjets that were then powering the world’s existing business jetliners

, as Sutter and Spenser note in”747″

(************* )As the authors discuss,” a[turbojet] engine works by compressing air, blending in fuel, and feeding the fuel into combustion chambers where it sparks. The taking off exhaust gases vent to the rear previous curved metal blades on rows of turbine discs. This hot, high-pressure efflux presses on those curved blades, spinning the turbines on a main shaft running the length of the engine.”

It’s rotational energy that powers the compressor at the front of the engine, they keep in mind. This energy, in turn, presses more air through the engine, continuing a cycle of constant combustion.

On the other hand, a turbofan includes a fan system at the front, the authors keep in mind. This is a large compressor that passes just a few of the air it pressurizes through the engine’s core, they compose.

The remainder of the air circulates the core in a nozzle-shaped course through the engine. This eventually produces net thrust.

(************* )However it was the turbofans that transformed business air travel propulsion by using 3 things over existing turbojets: They sped up a bigger volume of air to a lower speed so that

launch velocity is enhanced. They utilized less fuel. And they were much quieter than the old turbojets.

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Early747 operators regularly utilized the upper-deck area aft of

the flight deck as a premium-class
traveler lounge. Qantas’ elegant Captain Cook

Lounge, envisioned here, was especially popular with
tourists. Credit: The Boeing Business

(************* ) The747 was perhaps unintentionally accountable for the death of supersonic transportations( SSTs) like the Concorde.

The747 was visualized as just an interim global subsonic alternative prior to being changed by SSTs.

In the late sixties, the next generation of SSTs was believed to be close to taking control of the worldwide air travel market. When traveler SSTs were flying internationally, Boeing was intending on mainly marketing the747 as a freight truck. After all, less than a month after the very first(****************************************************************** )test flight, an Anglo/French supersonic transportation consortium was checking the Concorde that made its very first test flight in Paris on March 2,1969

However it was the747 that was the success of the 1969 Paris Air Program. Paradoxically, at the time, even Boeing had some supersonic skin in the video game.

After all, it’s not for absolutely nothing that Seattle’s previous NBA franchise was called the Supersonics.(************ )(************* )However, as Sutter notes in”747, “an SST needs great deals of fuel to rake through the type of aerodynamic shockwaves produced by flight quicker than noise. (************ )

The Concorde likewise had variety
and capability issues. It might hardly accommodate100 travelers and its variety restricted it to crossing the North Atlantic. By contrast, the fledgling U.S. SST program, designated as a Boeing2707, was being created to bring270 travelers throughout the Pacific at 3 times the speed of noise.(************ )

However as kept in mind in” 747,” an internal Boeing research study kept in mind that the prepared B 2707’s economics were unstable. Even a 5% boost in the cost of fuel would make it unprofitable for the airline companies.

Therefore, in the Spring of1971, Congress cut financing for the joint NASA/Boeing SST effort.

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Likewise created to be an exceptional main-deck truck, the(****************************************************************** )has actually for years been the foundation of worldwide air freight.

Credit: The Boeing Business

(**************** )The747 was at first imagined as a single-aisle double-decker airplane.

Boeing’s C-5 proposition had actually required a double-decker airplane, with a freight deck listed below and a troop deck on top. Therefore, Boeing designers believed a comparable twin deck setup may work for the brand-new747

Boeing was likewise leaning towards this style at the advising of Pan Am CEO Juan Trippe– who like the747’s main launch consumer– had actually long imagined an aerial ocean liner of the skies.

(************************ )(******************************* )However Boeing quickly understood there were issues intrinsic to any double-decker style.

Today’s747 setup– with a reduced upper deck and cockpit on top of a twin-aisle primary traveler cabin– is both the outcome of a big cargo-loading style choice in the747’s front-end along with aerodynamic issues.

(************* )There were likewise security interest in a double-decker considering that Federal policies determined that all airliners have the ability to do an emergency situation evacuation within90 seconds. That’s more difficult with a twin deck airplane.

Paradoxically, the747’s wide-body style just emerged when Boeing understood that it might accommodate a practically equivalent variety of travelers by utilizing today’s traditional dual-aisle,10- throughout traveler seating setup.

However Boeing might have been ideal to be mindful about a twin-deck style. With this week’s Jet statement that it’s ceasing production of its A380 double-decker superjumbo, Sutter’s words at the end of”747″ sound especially prescient, considering that he revealed surprise that Jet had actually chosen such a style.

RA0001, the very first model, shares Boeing’s Seattle flightline with a sis747 predestined for Pan American World Airways.

Credit: The Boeing Business

The test pilots admired how well the747 managed turbulence from the extremely first flight.

” As we flew out, we understood the aircraft was extremely responsive

and carrying out extremely effectively,” Brien Wygle, the First Officer on that very first preliminary flight informed me.” We commented that it appeared to deal with the turbulence that we came across effectively.”

It most likely managed turbulence much better than other airplane at the time, states

Wygle, due to the fact that it was bigger and much heavier and those exact same air currents would have less result.

And in the end, as Spenser mentions, the (****************************************************************** )changed flight due to the fact that its operating expense per seat were

(************************************************************************************* )% lower than completing airliners. Therefore, he states, by means of lower ticket costs, it opened flight to the masses.

Without the 747, there would likely have actually been no prolonged variety Boeing767 s,(**************************************************************** )s, and(*************************************************************** )s; no Jet A330 s,(*************************************************************************** )s, or 380 s. For when Wygle touched down on that cold February day, he may not have actually understood it, however the world had actually currently started to diminish.

” readability =”19555658950797″ >

Going beyond simple air travel, the747– the world’s most quickly acknowledged and identifiable aircraft– is today a worldwide icon Credit: The Boeing Business(*********** )(************ ).

(************************************* )Last Saturday marked the50 th anniversary of the 747 jumbo jet age; back when Pan Am ferried American travelers to and from Europe and iPhones were still simply a twinkle in Steve Jobs’ eye. However Boeing’s huge gamble on the world’s very first twin-aisle business airplane not just went on to settle handsomely, it resulted in a transformation in the method the entire world took a trip and delivered air cargo.(************ ).

Therefore, to mark the anniversary of the747’s February 9, 1969, inaugural test flight, here are 5 things you may not have actually learnt about the world’s very first jumbo jet.

.

.

The widebody age starts with a best landing by the very first Boeing 747 throughout its preliminary test flight, February 9,1969 Credit: The Boeing Business

.

.

The 747 was so big Boeing needed to develop a brand-new factory simply to put it into production.

Its six-story high tail was merely too huge for any existing factory, veteran air travel author Jay Spenser informed me, who together with the late 747 engineering lead Joe Sutter, co-authored Sutter’s narrative:” 747: Producing the World’s First Jumbo Jet and Other Experiences From a Life in Air Travel”

So, Boeing picked Paine Field, a previous The second world war airbase some 30 miles North of Seattle, as the brand-new factory’s website. Therefore, in 1966, Boeing started building and construction on a 200 million-cubic-foot 747 assembly plant in Everett, Wa. This center, considering that broadened to consist of 767, 777 and 787 production, stays the world’s biggest structure by volume.

“On its September 30, 1968 rollout, the very first 747 model looked prepared to fly however remained in truth simply 80 percent total,” stated Spenser. “This intentionally early unveiling served to assure skittish lenders that their big loans had actually led to a genuine aircraft.”

.

.

Able to fly further than other jets of the age, the 747 – 200 was an immediate feeling in global service. Credit: The Boeing Business

.

.

A losing quote on the Flying force’s C-5 program led Boeing to a brand-new understanding of the 747’s requirement for effective and fuel-efficient, high-bypass turbofan engines.

What Sutter gained from Boeing’s competitors with the Lockheed Corporation to protect an agreement for the C-5 transportation serendipitously led the way for more powerful, more fuel-efficient turbofan engines. Such engines were precisely what was required for the next generation of wide-body airplane like the747

.

These high-bypass-ratio turbofan engines would quickly change the low-bypass fanjets that were then powering the world’s existing business jetliners, as Sutter and Spenser note in” 747.”

As the authors discuss, “a [turbojet] engine works by compressing air, blending in fuel, and feeding the fuel into combustion chambers where it sparks. The taking off exhaust gases vent to the rear previous curved metal blades on rows of turbine discs. This hot, high-pressure efflux presses on those curved blades, spinning the turbines on a main shaft running the length of the engine.”

It’s rotational energy that powers the compressor at the front of the engine, they keep in mind. This energy, in turn, presses more air through the engine, continuing a cycle of constant combustion.

On the other hand, a turbofan includes a fan system at the front, the authors keep in mind. This is a large compressor that passes just a few of the air it pressurizes through the engine’s core, they compose. The remainder of the air circulates the core in a nozzle-shaped course through the engine. This eventually produces net thrust.

However it was the turbofans that transformed business air travel propulsion by using 3 things over existing turbojets: They sped up a bigger volume of air to a lower speed so that launch velocity is enhanced. They utilized less fuel. And they were much quieter than the old turbojets.

.

.

Early 747 operators regularly utilized the upper-deck area aft of the flight deck as a premium-class traveler lounge. Qantas’ elegant Captain Cook Lounge, envisioned here, was especially popular with tourists. Credit: The Boeing Business

.

.

The 747 was perhaps unintentionally accountable for the death of supersonic transportations (SSTs) like the Concorde.

The 747 was visualized as just an interim global subsonic alternative prior to being changed by SSTs.

In the late sixties, the next generation of SSTs was believed to be close to taking control of the worldwide air travel market. When traveler SSTs were flying internationally, Boeing was intending on mainly marketing the 747 as a freight truck. After all, less than a month after the very first 747 test flight, an Anglo/French supersonic transportation consortium was checking the Concorde that made its very first test flight in Paris on March 2,1969

.

However it was the 747 that was the success of the 1969 Paris Air Program. Paradoxically, at the time, even Boeing had some supersonic skin in the video game. After all, it’s not for absolutely nothing that Seattle’s previous NBA franchise was called the Supersonics.

However, as Sutter notes in” 747,” an SST needs great deals of fuel to rake through the type of aerodynamic shockwaves produced by flight quicker than noise.

The Concorde likewise had variety and capability issues. It might hardly accommodate 100 travelers and its variety restricted it to crossing the North Atlantic. By contrast, the fledgling U.S. SST program, designated as a Boeing 2707, was being created to bring 270 travelers throughout the Pacific at 3 times the speed of noise.

However as kept in mind in” 747,” an internal Boeing research study kept in mind that the prepared B 2707’s economics were unstable. Even a 5 % boost in the cost of fuel would make it unprofitable for the airline companies. Therefore, in the Spring of 1971, Congress cut financing for the joint NASA/Boeing SST effort.

.

.

Likewise created to be an exceptional main-deck truck, the 747 has actually for years been the foundation of worldwide air freight. Credit: The Boeing Business

.

.

The 747 was at first imagined as a single-aisle double-decker airplane.

Boeing’s C-5 proposition had actually required a double-decker airplane, with a freight deck listed below and a troop deck on top. Therefore, Boeing designers believed a comparable twin deck setup may work for the brand-new747 Boeing was likewise leaning towards this style at the advising of Pan Am CEO Juan Trippe– who like the 747’s main launch consumer– had actually long imagined an aerial ocean liner of the skies.

However Boeing quickly understood there were issues intrinsic to any double-decker style.

Today’s 747 setup– with a reduced upper deck and cockpit on top of a twin-aisle primary traveler cabin– is both the outcome of a big cargo-loading style choice in the 747’s front-end along with aerodynamic issues.

There were likewise security interest in a double-decker considering that Federal policies determined that all airliners have the ability to do an emergency situation evacuation within 90 seconds. That’s more difficult with a twin deck airplane.

Paradoxically, the 747’s wide-body style just emerged when Boeing understood that it might accommodate a practically equivalent variety of travelers by utilizing today’s traditional dual-aisle, 10 – throughout traveler seating setup.

However Boeing might have been ideal to be mindful about a twin-deck style. With this week’s Jet statement that it’s ceasing production of its A 380 double-decker superjumbo, Sutter’s words at the end of” 747″ sound especially prescient, considering that he revealed surprise that Jet had actually chosen such a style.

.

.

RA 0001, the very first model, shares Boeing’s Seattle flightline with a sis 747 predestined for Pan American World Airways. Credit: The Boeing Business

.

.

The test pilots admired how well the 747 managed turbulence from the extremely first flight.

“As we flew out, we understood the aircraft was extremely responsive and carrying out extremely effectively,” Brien Wygle, the First Officer on that very first preliminary flight informed me. “We commented that it appeared to deal with the turbulence that we came across effectively.”

It most likely managed turbulence much better than other airplane at the time, states Wygle, due to the fact that it was bigger and much heavier and those exact same air currents would have less result.

And in the end, as Spenser mentions, the 747 changed flight due to the fact that its operating expense per seat were 30 % lower than completing airliners. Therefore, he states, by means of lower ticket costs, it opened flight to the masses.

Without the 747, there would likely have actually been no prolonged variety Boeing 767 s, 777 s, and 787 s; no Jet A 330 s, 340 s, or 380 s. For when Wygle touched down on that cold February day, he may not have actually understood it, however the world had actually currently started to diminish.