The first 747 rolled out of the assembly line in Everett on September 30, 1968.
It’s been 50 years since the first Boeing 747-100 took off over Seattle on its official maiden flight on February 9th, 1969 – to the cheers of thousands of spectators. The Boeing 747-100 was the largest jet airliner the world had ever seen.
Pan Am began its final preparations for the first 747 service on the evening of January 21, 1970, when Clipper Young America was scheduled to fly from New York John F. Kennedy to London Heathrow. An engine failure delayed the inaugural flight’s departure by several hours, necessitating the substitution of another 747, Clipper Victor, which eventually flew to London Heathrow. 62 Passengers cheered and drank champagne as the jet finally lifted off from the runway at John F. Kennedy Airport.
The success story of the Boeing 747 aircraft family started in the mid-60s when Boeing developed a wide-body jet as an answer to the growing aviation needs. After less than four years of planning and development, the jet, built from around six million individual parts, was ready to take to the skies.
The first Boeing 747-130 with the Lufthansa registration “D-ABYA” carried the production number 12. The “Yankee Alpha”, as it was called within the company, was handed over to Lufthansa on March 9th, 1970 and was deployed on the Frankfurt-New York route for the first time on April 26th, 1970. Lufthansa was the first European airline to provide its passenger the opportunity to fly by Jumbo Jet, being the second international airline following Pan American World Airways (Pan Am).
The excitement of the passengers and crew on board was immense. Right from the entrance point to the jet, one gets into a “celebratory champagne mood”, a journalist wrote at that time. Hardly surprising, when considering that there was a bar in the First Class Lounge on the upper deck of the aircraft. To this day, the “hump” of the Boeing 747, which houses the cockpit and upper deck, remains the distinguishing feature of the Jumbo Jet in comparison to all other types of aircraft. The silhouette of the Boeing 747 has shaped the jet age and is still a style icon for many aviation enthusiasts.
Some interesting facts
The Boeing 747, with almost 70 meters in length and a span of nearly 60 meters, was christened by the American press as “Jumbo Jet”. The height of the tail unit, approximately 19 meters, was higher than a five-story building. The aircraft had a four-engine wide-body. These engines achieved more than twice the performance of a Boeing 707, which had previously been used on long-haul flights in intercontinental air traffic, but could only accommodate about 150 passengers compared with Jumbo Jets from 360 passengers and upwards depending on various airlines seat configuration
Before accepting its first Jumbo Jet, all airlines had to adapt its aircraft and passenger handling so that they could cope with the different dimensions of the aircraft. New passenger boarding bridges, special tractors, kitchen lift tracks, and tanker trucks were all developed. larger Aircraft hangar with space for several Jumbo Jets. In addition, further check-in counters had to be made available in the departure hall.
The Jumbo Jet did not only have a career as a passenger aircraft, the freight version, the Boeing 747-230F. Its prow opened up horizontally, making it easy to load even bulky goods.
50 years Boeing 747 – a tribute to the QUEEN OF THE SKIES
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