The Wright brothers’ first flight. The primary transatlantic journey. The invention of the jet engine. The introduction of the Boeing 747.
Few moments in business aviation historical past have had as massive an influence as Boeing’s jumbo jet: It first flew in 1969 and entered service a 12 months later with the now-inoperative U.S. provider Pan Am. The primary wide-body passenger aircraft and a defining icon of the golden age of journey, the double-decker unlocked routes, continents and new economics for the airline business; it additionally allowed carriers to introduce unparalleled ranges of luxurious.
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After greater than 50 years, the “queen of the skies” has reached the top of its reign. Boeing this week rolled the ultimate double-decker out of its meeting hanger in Everett, Washington, closing a manufacturing line that has been at work since 1967.
The aircraft, a 747-8 Freighter with the tail quantity N863GT, is Boeing’s 1,574th 747, and will probably be delivered to cargo airline Atlas Air in early 2023. Atlas Air obtained the second-to-last 747 in October, too — tail quantity N861GT. TPG had an opportunity to see that airframe on the meeting line in June throughout a tour of Boeing amenities.
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“For greater than half a century, tens of 1000’s of devoted Boeing workers have designed and constructed this magnificent airplane that has really modified the world,” Kim Smith, Boeing’s vice chairman and basic supervisor of the 747 and 767 applications, stated in a press release.
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“We’re proud that this aircraft will proceed to fly throughout the globe for years to return,” Smith added.
Whereas the 747 continues to be optimum for freight carriers, its utility for passenger airways has diminished lately. With 4 engines, the aircraft is costlier to function than narrow-body planes like Boeing’s 777 or 787. For that reason, many airways retired their 747 fleets in the course of the 2010s and 2020s, with some plans accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Delta Air Strains and United Airways each retired their 747s in 2017.
Boeing’s final passenger 747 was delivered to Korean Air in 2017. Lufthansa, Korean Air and Air China nonetheless fly passenger variations of the jets.
Two navy variants of the 747-200 — the VC-25A — function Air Drive One. Two alternative VC-25Bs, primarily based on the 747-8, have been constructed and are anticipated to be delivered to the U.S. authorities round 2026 or 2027.
The 747-8 — at 250 ft and a couple of inches — is the longest business airplane in service. The Freighter has a cargo payload of 133.1 tons, Boeing says — sufficient to hold 10,699 strong gold bars or, if somebody is so inclined, about 19 million golf balls.