The 'Queen of the Skies,' Celebrates 35th Anniversary
Thirty-five years ago
Monday, Boeing changed commercial aviation history with the first
flight of the world's most recognizable airplane, the 747.
Known as the "Queen of the Skies," the 747 has carried 3.6
billion people more than 35 billion nautical miles (64.8 billion
km) -- equivalent to 74,000 round trips to the Moon -- since
entering service in 1970.
"The 747 is a cultural icon that continues to change the world
by connecting people like never before," said Boeing Commercial
Airplanes President and Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally.
"Thanks to airplanes like the 747 and our twinjet 777, people take
affordable, long-range non-stop travel for granted. It's easy to
forget how rare that was before the 747 helped shrink the
To date, Boeing has delivered 1,341 747s. After building the
747-100/- 200/-300/-400 airplanes, the
manufacturer launched the 747-400 Extended Range in 2000. That
modern airplane is available in passenger and freighter versions,
offering a range of 8,826 nautical miles (14,203 km).
Boeing is now studying the 747 Advanced, which would incorporate
technologies being developed for the all-new, highly efficient 7E7
airplane. The result would be a 747 that's quieter, more fuel
efficient, and more environmentally friendly than competing
The 747 Advanced would
be the only 400- to 500-seat jetliner, offering 8,000 nautical mile
(12,874 km) range capacity and the best economics of any in the
large-airplane class. The airplane would enter service toward the
end of the decade.
"The 747 is a remarkable machine," said Brien Wygle, co-pilot on
the first 747 flight. "It's always a special moment when you raise
its nose and take to the air. There's no question it was on Feb. 9,
1969, when we first took the 747 to the skies."
While Airbus plans to give Boeing a run for tis money in the
jumbo jet market, it is fair to say the boeing 47 will continue
flying the wild blue yonder for years to come