Queen Of Skies ( Boeing 747 )

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( source: google )


Boeing 747 was one of the greatest achievement in aviation history made by the Boeing Company. It was the first double decker aircraft ever flown. Boeing 747 oftenly known as "Queen of skies" or by it's nick name "Jumbo Jet" was basically built as a passenger jet and a cargo jet. However now due to its amazing design and engineering its used for different purposes by NASA. The hump/upper deck makes it more recognizable and that is what it is most famous for. The 747 has capacity two and a half times greater than that of a B707, which is also a multi engine jet aircraft manufactured by Boeing. It was built in the 1960s by the Boeing Aircraft Manufactures in the United States Of America. The hump/upper deck of B747 serves the first class passengers. B747 made it's first commercial flight in 1970. Due to the huge size the 747 could carry most passengers for upto 37 years until the Airbus A380 came in.

A Qantas A380 (left) and a JAL B747 (right) parked at ramp. (source:google)


B747 comes in a couple of versions as a freighter passenger and several other used for special reasons. B747 has came out in nearly five main variants out of which the B747-400 is most famous for passenger transport, it can carry about 660 passengers on high density seating configuration, having a cruise speed of Mach 0.85, and range of about 13400km. 

First moments of the first B747 ever built (source:youtube)


B747 was initially designed as per contract issued by United States Airforce to different aircraft manufacturing companies inculuding Boeing, for building a plane that could carry a huge amount of cargo. However the design made by the Boeing was rejected and the one made by Lockheed Martin was selected.

Blueprint of the very first B747 (source:google)

As by the time of 1960s the travelling had increased, Boeing thought of modifying their design, and turning the aircraft from a military cargo, to a passenger jet liner, which could carry a lot of passengers and cover huge distances at once. Boeing was also being forced by a major airline, to design and build an aircraft that is much bigger and able to cover big distance. So this was a great time to start the work. Pan Am Airlines was already looking for an aircraft of this type and they had already contacted Boeing for that, and had already ordered 25 B747s worth 3.7 billion dollars in today's money

One of the earliest documentaries made on the B747 (source:youtube)

In beginning the design of a B747 looked much different that what it looks like today, some of the very first designs of a B747 were like ones shown below.

Initial designs of B747 (source:google)

The real man behind the present design of a B747 was Joe Sutter. He was who designed the hump of a B747. He is known as the "Father of 747s".

Joe sutter and the first B747 in the background (source:google)

Now designing the engines for this whole new big metallic bird was a new problem to be faced. GE ( General Electrics ) had some concepts and design, but they were for the C-5 Galaxy and could not deliver on the B747Boeing needed engines such that they could have a maximum power but they consume fuel much lesser. Hence Pratt & Whitney with Boeing & Pan Am agreed to design a new engine, only for the B747. These engines were only supposed to power the mighty B747. These engines were called JT9D.

A  Pratt & Whitney JT9D (source:google)

These JT9D engines had been doing trouble in the beginning test, on start up on of them blasted damaging a quite good part of B747 even before its maiden flight. However Pratt & Whitney figured out the trouble and came with a good solution.

Pratt Whitney JT9D (source:youtube)

Designing and making of a B747 was a huge gamble for the company. If the project had failed the Boeing would had to be facing bankruptcy. When the management was starting the B747 project their words were "Bet the company". Boeing had agreed to deliver the B747 to Pan Am by 1969. The working time and the schedule was so busy and fast that, the people working on the B747 were nick named as "The Incredibles" .

Planes that changed the world (source:youtube)

Difficulties Faced By Boeing 747 After Its Making

Now as the design, engines and all other problems were solve, the B747 had to go through some tests as per FAA ( Federal Aviation Administration ), and pass them in order to be in operation. These were very heavy moments, because failing one test could have result in loss of all the efforts made in past, and the B747 would not have been considered safe for passengers, and the whole project would have been a loss. One of the most important test for any aircraft is the evacuation test. As per FAA the aircraft is considered safe if all the passengers are evacuated in the time of 90 seconds, anything more than that is a fail.

B747 with emergency evacuation slides open (source:google)

It was a hard task for a B747 to pass the test. It was the first and only of its type, which could hold a huge number of passengers. Evacuating them all with in the time of 90 seconds was not an easy task, and the B747 failed the test in first attempt. The 560 volunteers during the test were evacuated in the time 150 seconds, 60 seconds more than the maximum limit that is 90 seconds. Volunteers were also injured. The main problem was evacuating the upper deck/hump. Later on the goal of 90 seconds was achieved after performing a series of tests.

An Example Of Evacuation Test (source:youtube)

Maiden Flight And Difficulties During Flight

On September the 30th 1968 the Boeing 747 was first revealed to the world and press. Lot of airlines were impressed and made their orders, even though nobody yet knew if it can really fly. 

The first Boeing 747 ever, being shown to world. 30th Sept 1968 (source:googl)

The airlines had been showing great interest in this aircraft, as it was the only of its type, could carry the double amount of passengers and could cover huge distances in a single flight. On February 9, 1969 in the command of pilots Jack Waddell and Brien Wygle, The first B747 made out to the sky successfully.

  Jack Waddell, B747 test pilot (source:google)

Jack Waddell (left seat), Brien Wygle (right seat) & Jess Wallick at the engineers seat, In the B747 cockpit (source:google)

According to them, despite of the problem with one of the flaps, B747 was very comfortable and easy to handle in flight, however reaching the speed limit would bring off a lot of the oscillation to the structure of the B747, which was very dangerous as it could result into breaking of the aircraft in the mid flight. This was confirmed by the in flight flutter tests. However Boeing had figured it out and solved the issue. 

First flight of the B747 (source:youtube)

Entry Into Airlines & Fame

The B747 was delivered to Pan Am and scheduled to fly on its Newyork-London route on 22 January 1970, however the flight was delayed due to engine over heating problem.

Clipper Victor or Clipper Young America was the first B747 delivered to Pan Am in 1970, also the first B747 to fly commercially. It was the same aircraft that collided with the KLM's 747 in 1977. (source:google)

Pan Am had some kind of special relation with the B747 and Pan Am was famous for it. Pan Am had been there with the B747 from scratch till its flight. Later on many other famous airlines inducted the Jumbo of its fame and reliability. Soon the B747 was world famous and a must have aircraft for every airline. Now the same project that put Boeing in risk of its bankruptcy was a golden star and the best creation in aviation history.

All of Pan Ams B747s (source:youtube)

Entry Into AirForce One

There had been a demand by President Ronald Regan of an aircraft in fleet of Airforce One, with minimum of 3 engines and range of 6000 miles without refueling. DC 10 by McDonell Douglas and B747  by Boeing were submitted, to replace the aging B707s. The Presidents team chose the B747 because of its design and reliability, and VC-25 (B747 designate to Airforce One) to join the Airforce One fleet was delivered on 23rd of August 1990.


VC-25 flying over mount Rushmore (source:google)


VC-25 landing (source:youtube)

End Of The Boeing 747 Fame

The B747 was famous and ruling, in the aviation industry until the making of the new giant Airbus A380, which took off for the first time 27th of April 2005. A380 was much bigger, much faster, increased range and more fuel efficient than the B747A380 decreased the B747 sales, and came out as a new beast in the market. B747 has half deck above, whereas the A380 is a double decker. A380 just changed the future of aviation and Airbus company. However the Boeing team wont let it's place to Airbus. They have started work on their new B747 variant, the B747-8.

A documentary on struggles of Boeing to take back their position (source:youtube)

B747-8 in Lufthansa livery (source:google)



Boeing logo (source:google)




About The Author Of This Blog

Hey! I'm Abdalla Syed and I have been flying on Simulator, since past 4 years and am part of VATSIM community since past 1 year. Im VATSIM P1 rated pilot, P2 theory passed and practical check to go and Boeing 777 commander with PIAV. Flew Cross The Atlantic 2 times, 1 time participating in VATSIM GRAND CTP Event 2k15 (East bound). Also I have obtained S1 ground controller rating of VATSIM from Pakistan vACC. In real I'm a trainee pilot going through my basic training.   











About the author


19/ Taurus / Trainee Pilot / Vatsim P1 Rated Pilot / Vatsim S1 Controller/ B737 Specialist/ Aviation Analyst/ Aviator.

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