Tag Archives: Boeing 747

The final British Airways heritage livery arrives at London Heathrow

G-CIVB Rolling Out. Iain White – Fennell Photography.

British Airways has made this announcement:

The fourth and final British Airways aircraft in a heritage livery has touched down at Heathrow this morning.  The Boeing 747-400 (above) adorns the Negus design which was originally on the British Airways fleet from 1974-1980.

The arrival of the aircraft rounds off a nostalgic few weeks for the aviation community.

Enthusiasts around the world have already been treated to a British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) liveried Boeing 747-400, a British European Airways (BEA) Airbus A319 and a British Airways Landor 747-400, which have collectively flown to more than 30 destinations across the UK, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and North America.

The special series of designs have been introduced to mark British Airways’ centenary, as the airline celebrates its past while looking to the future. Alongside the heritage liveries, all new aircraft entering the fleet, including the A350, will continue to receive today’s Chatham Dockyard design.

Copyright Photo: Michael Kelly.

The Negus-liveried 747-400, registration G-CIVB, entered the IAC paint bay at Dublin Airport earlier this month where it was painted with the first version of the Negus livery which adorned the British Airways fleet from 1974-1980, directly after the merger of BOAC and BEA and the formation of the airline that customers know today. The aircraft will head to Cape Town later today for its first commercial flight in its retro design.

When it initially flew, the Negus livery was the first to carry “British Airways” since 1939, when the original British Airways Limited merged with Imperial Airways to form BOAC. Interestingly, the Union Flag is not present on the side of the aircraft as, like the final BEA aircraft livery, the flag began to be fully celebrated on the aircraft’s tailfin instead.

In its centenary year, British Airways is hosting a range of activities and events. The airline is hosting BA 2119 – a program, which will lead the debate on the future of flying and explore the future of sustainable aviation fuels, the aviation careers of the future and the customer experience of the future.

The airline will be working with expert partners to identify BA’s 100 Modern Britons; the people up and down the country who are currently shaping modern Britain, and of course, the year would not be complete without creating some special moments for customers – on and off board.

The centenary activity is taking place alongside the airline’s current five-year £6.5bn investment for customers. This includes the installation of the best quality WiFi and power in every seat, fitting 128 long-haul aircraft with new interiors and taking delivery of 72 new aircraft. Earlier this week the airline also revealed its highly-anticipated new business class seat – ‘Club Suite’ – and confirmed it will arrive on the first of its A350 aircraft in July.

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Photo of the Day: British Airways G-CIVB departs Dublin in the Negus livery

Today, the pictured Boeing 747-436 G-CIVB (msn 25811) of British Airways departed the paint shop at Dublin bound for London’s Heathrow Airport and regular service.

The Jumbo is painted in the 1973 Negus and Negus livery which was the first livery for British Airways in 1974 when BOAC and BEA merged to form BA. G-CIVB is also the fourth (and final) historic livery in the BA 100 celebrations.

This livery was unveiled in September 1973 on Boeing 707 G-AXXY.

Copyright Photo: Greenwing.

Boeing celebrates 50 years of flight for the 747 with photos

Boeing published this story and photos to celebrate 50 years of Boeing 747 flying:

Every day millions of people fly, it is an accepted way of life – but that has not always been the case. From the early days of commercial aviation, flying was limited to business travelers and those with the means to purchase the very expensive tickets.

Destinations were also limited requiring a number of connections to fly between major cities. In 1969, that all changed as an incredible invention was revealed to the world. On Feb. 9, 1969, the Boeing 747, called the “Super Jet,” and dubbed the “Jumbo Jet” by the press took to the skies for the first time. To those whom have loved the plane through the years she is the “Queen of the Skies.”

Innovation

The 747 quickly became the icon of commercial aviation. The 747 was postage stamp famous, an icon of pop culture, the backdrop of movies and television, and it even carried the Space Shuttle. The airplane introduced a number of technological and aviation firsts, the greatest being the invention of the twin aisle wide body design. It also marked the first commercial use of the high bypass turbofan engine.

Under the command of chief designer Joe Sutter, the 747’s design was based in safety. Boeing introduced quadruple hydraulic systems, redundant structures and four main landing gear (the plane is able to operate on two), Boeing also reinvented pilot training, moving away from strictly procedural training to behavioral training.

It did not take long for the 747 to have a giant impact on air travel. It was the must-have flagship for the world’s airlines and attracted passengers with its luxury and passenger appeal.

Boeing video (click):

http://players.brightcove.net/800000612001/a7975ab0-d4c3-4514-a6c3-d7bfff0667c5_default/index.html?videoId=5999714761001

Customers

What has made the 747 extraordinary aside from its distinguishing hump and its Hollywood status,has been the customers who have helped the 747 fleet log more than 57 billion nautical miles (121.5 billion kilometers) which are equal to more than 137,000 trips from the Earth to the moon and back! It is through partnerships with our customers that air travel became a possibility for much of the world. 747s, have flown more than 5.9 billion people – the equivalent of 78 percent of the world’s population.

And as the 747’s role continues, it provides a service that the original designers foresaw and optimized the 747 to perform as the world’s finest freighter – a testament to an airplane that was built to last.

Boeing 747-100 customers

Boeing 747-200 customers

Boeing 747-300 customers

Boeing 747-400 customers

Boeing 747-800 customers

Boeing 747SP customers

Moments

“Over the last 50 years, the 747 has become legendary, today it is a bridge to a romantic era of flight, an era that we should continue to aspire to resurrect.

But more than that the 747 is a reminder of the power of the human spirit and what we can accomplish with our hearts, minds and hard work. It reminds us that even though we may lose hope in a world that seems filled with strife, we can turn our eyes to the skies and see those great contrails of the Queen of the Skies crossing the heavens and know that we can still overcome great adversity and accomplish incredible things.” – Mike Lombardi, Boeing Historian

Historical Snapshot

747 Commercial Transport/YAL-1

The 747 was the result of the work of some 50,000 Boeing people. Called “the Incredibles,” these were the construction workers, mechanics, engineers, secretaries and administrators who made aviation history by building the 747 — the largest civilian airplane in the world — in less than 16 months during the late 1960s.

The incentive for creating the giant 747 came from reductions in airfares, a surge in air-passenger traffic and increasingly crowded skies. Following the loss of the competition for a gigantic military transport, the C-5A, Boeing set out to develop a large advanced commercial airplane to take advantage of the high-bypass engine technology developed for the C-5A. The design philosophy behind the 747 was to develop a completely new plane, and other than the engines, the designers purposefully avoided using any hardware developed for the C-5.

The 747’s final design was offered in three configurations: all passenger, all cargo and a convertible passenger/freighter model. The freighter and convertible models loaded 8- by 8-foot (2.4- by 2.4-meter) cargo containers through the huge hinged nose.

The 747 was truly monumental in size. The massive airplane required construction of the 200 million-cubic-foot (5.6 million-cubic-meter) 747 assembly plant in Everett, Wash., the world’s largest building (by volume). The fuselage of the original 747 was 225 feet (68.5 meters) long; the tail as tall as a six-story building. Pressurized, it carried a ton of air. The cargo hold had room for 3,400 pieces of baggage and could be unloaded in seven minutes. The total wing area was larger than a basketball court. Yet, the entire global navigation system weighed less than a modern laptop computer.

Pilots prepared for the 747 at Boeing training school. The experience of taxiing such a large plane was acquired in a contraption called “Waddell’s Wagon,” named after Jack Waddell, the company’s chief test pilot. The pilot sat in a mockup of the 747 flight deck built atop three-story-high stilts on a moving truck. The pilot learned how to maneuver from such a height by directing the truck driver below him by radio.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration later modified two 747-100s into Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. The next version, the 747-200, holds approximately 440 passengers and has a range of about 5,600 nautical miles (10,371 kilometers). In 1990, two 747-200Bs were modified to serve as Air Force One and replaced the VC-137s (707s) that served as the presidential airplane for nearly 30 years. The 747-300 has an extended upper deck and carries even more passengers than the -200.

The 747-400 rolled out in 1988. Its wingspan is 212 feet (64 meters), and it has 6-foot-high (1.8-meter-high) “winglets” on the wingtips. The 747-400 also is produced as a freighter, as a combination freighter and passenger model, and as a special domestic version, without the winglets, for shorter range flights.

In August 1999, major assembly began on a militarized 747-400 Freighter to be used as a platform for the U.S. Air Force’s Airborne Laser (ABL) program. It rolled out on Oct. 27, 2006, and was eventually designated YAL-1. Boeing was the prime contractor for ABL, which was designed to provide a speed-of-light capability to destroy all classes of ballistic missiles in their boost phase of flight. Boeing provided the modified aircraft and the battle management system and is the overall systems integrator. ABL partners were Northrop Grumman, which supplied the chemical oxygen iodine, or COIL, high-energy laser associated lasers, and Lockheed Martin, which provided the nose-mounted turret in addition to the beam control/fire control system. On Feb. 11, 2010, the flying test bed destroyed a ballistic missile off the coast of Southern California. The program was canceled in 2011, and in 2012, YAL-1 was flown to the U.S. Air Force “bone yard” near Pima, Ariz., to be scrapped.

Another variant is the Dreamlifter — a specially modified 747-400 — that transports the large composite structures, including huge fuselage sections of the 787 Dreamliner, from partners around the world to Everett, Wash., and Charleston, S.C., for final assembly. The massive cargo is loaded and unloaded from a hinged rear fuselage. The last of the series four was delivered Feb. 16, 2010.

The longer range 747-400 airplanes (also known as 747-400ERs) were launched in late 2000. The 747-400ER (Extended Range) family is available in both passenger and freighter versions. The airplanes are the same size as current 747-400s and have a range of 7,670 nautical miles (14,205 kilometers) as opposed to the 747-400 range of 7,260 nautical miles (13,450 kilometers). It incorporates the strengthened -400 Freighter wing, strengthened body and landing gear, and an auxiliary fuel tank in the forward cargo hold, with an option for a second tank. When the 747-400ER’s full-range capability is not needed, operators can remove the tank (or tanks), freeing up additional space for cargo.

In November 2005, Boeing launched the 747-8 family — the 747-8 Intercontinental passenger airplane and the 747-8 Freighter. These airplanes incorporate innovative technologies from the 787 Dreamliner. In fact, the designation 747-8 was chosen to show the technology connection between the 787 Dreamliner and the new 747-8, including the General Electric GEnx-2B engines, raked wingtips and other improvements that allow for a 30 percent smaller noise footprint, 15 percent reduction in-service carbon emissions, better performance retention, lower weight, less fuel consumption, fewer parts and less maintenance.

The 747-8 Freighter first flew on Feb. 8, 2010. The airplane is 250 feet, 2 inches (76.3 meters) long, which is 18 feet, 4 inches (5.6 meters) longer than the 747-400 Freighter. The stretch provides customers with 16 percent more revenue cargo volume compared with its predecessor. That translates to an additional four main-deck pallets and three lower hold pallets.

The passenger version, the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental, serves the 400- to 500-seat market and took its first flight on March 20, 2011. The cabin’s sculpted ceilings, bigger overhead and side stowbins, a redesigned staircase and dynamic LED lighting all add to an overall more comfortable passenger experience. With 51 additional seats and 26 percent more revenue cargo volume than the 747-400, Boeing delivered the first 747-8 Intercontinental to an undisclosed Boeing Business Jet customer on Feb. 28, 2012. Launch customer Lufthansa took delivery of the first airline Intercontinental April 25, 2012.

On June 28, 2014, Boeing delivered the 1,500th 747 to come off the production line to Frankfurt, Germany-based Lufthansa. The 747 is the first wide-body airplane in history to reach the 1,500 milestone.

All photos by Boeing.

Videos:

 

The Boeing 747 has flown the equivalent of 78% of the world’s population

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the first flight of the Boeing 747 on February 9:

From Boeing on social media:

Another reason to love the 747! It has flown more than 5.9 billion people – the equivalent of 78% of the world’s population.

The Boeing 747 turns 50, the “Queen of the Skies”

On September 30, 1968 Boeing displayed to the public for the first time the first prototype of the Boeing 747-100 when it was rolled out of the new Paine Field facility at Everett, WA (above). Photo: Boeing.

The first flight was successfully conducted on February 9, 1969.

On January 15, 1970, Pat Nixon, the First Lady of the United States, christened Pan Am’s first Boeing 747-100.

The first Pan Am Boeing 747-100 entered revenue service on January 22, 1970, on the New York (JFK) – London (Heathrow) route. The flight had been scheduled for the previous evening on January 21, but engine overheating cancelled the originally scheduled inaugural flight.

Pan Am (1st) Boeing 747-121 N748PA (msn 19652) JFK (Bruce Drum). Image: 102101.

Above Copyright Photo: Pan Am (1st) Boeing 747-121 N748PA (msn 19652) JFK (Bruce Drum). Image: 102101.

Pan Am aircraft slide show:

Joe Sutter was recognized by Boeing as the “Father of the 747”. On his passing in 2016, Boeing issued this tribute:

We lost one of the giants of aerospace and a beloved member of the Boeing family. Joe Sutter, the “Father of the 747,” passed away at the age of 95.

Joe lived an amazing life and was an inspiration – not just to those of us at Boeing, but to the entire aerospace industry. He personified the ingenuity and passion for excellence that made Boeing airplanes synonymous with quality the world over.

Early in Joe’s career, he had a hand in many iconic commercial airplane projects, including the Dash 80, its cousin the 707 and the 737. But it was the 747 – the world’s first jumbo jet – that secured his place in history.

Joe led the engineering team that developed the 747 in the mid-1960s, opening up affordable international travel and helping connect the world. His team, along with thousands of other Boeing employees involved in the project, became known as the Incredibles for producing what was then the world’s largest airplane in record time – 29 months from conception to rollout. It remains a staggering achievement and a testament to Joe’s “incredible” determination.

Long after he retired, Joe remained very active within the company. He continued to serve as a consultant on the Commercial Airplanes Senior Advisory Group, and he was still a familiar sight to many of us working here. By then his hair was white and he moved a little slower, but he always had a twinkle in his eye, a sharp mind and an unwavering devotion to aerospace innovation and The Boeing Company. Fittingly, he was on hand to celebrate our centennial at the Founders Day weekend. He was one of a kind.

Joe was loved. He made a difference in the world. He made a difference to us. We will miss him and cherish our time with him.

Ray

Boeing issued this historical snapshot of the Boeing 747:

The 747 was the result of the work of some 50,000 Boeing people. Called “the Incredibles,” these were the construction workers, mechanics, engineers, secretaries and administrators who made aviation history by building the 747 — the largest civilian airplane in the world — in less than 16 months during the late 1960s.

The incentive for creating the giant 747 came from reductions in airfares, a surge in air-passenger traffic and increasingly crowded skies. Following the loss of the competition for a gigantic military transport, the C-5A, Boeing set out to develop a large advanced commercial airplane to take advantage of the high-bypass engine technology developed for the C-5A. The design philosophy behind the 747 was to develop a completely new plane, and other than the engines, the designers purposefully avoided using any hardware developed for the C-5.

The 747’s final design was offered in three configurations: all passenger, all cargo and a convertible passenger/freighter model. The freighter and convertible models loaded 8- by 8-foot (2.4- by 2.4-meter) cargo containers through the huge hinged nose.

The 747 was truly monumental in size. The massive airplane required construction of the 200 million-cubic-foot (5.6 million-cubic-meter) 747 assembly plant in Everett, Wash., the world’s largest building (by volume). The fuselage of the original 747 was 225 feet (68.5 meters) long; the tail as tall as a six-story building. Pressurized, it carried a ton of air. The cargo hold had room for 3,400 pieces of baggage and could be unloaded in seven minutes. The total wing area was larger than a basketball court. Yet, the entire global navigation system weighed less than a modern laptop computer.

Pilots prepared for the 747 at Boeing training school. The experience of taxiing such a large plane was acquired in a contraption called “Waddell’s Wagon,” named after Jack Waddell, the company’s chief test pilot. The pilot sat in a mockup of the 747 flight deck built atop three-story-high stilts on a moving truck. The pilot learned how to maneuver from such a height by directing the truck driver below him by radio.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration later modified two 747-100s into Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. The next version, the 747-200, holds approximately 440 passengers and has a range of about 5,600 nautical miles (10,371 kilometers). In 1990, two 747-200Bs were modified to serve as Air Force One and replaced the VC-137s (707s) that served as the presidential airplane for nearly 30 years. The 747-300 has an extended upper deck and carries even more passengers than the -200.

Video: Boeing.

The 747-400 rolled out in 1988. Its wingspan is 212 feet (64 meters), and it has 6-foot-high (1.8-meter-high) “winglets” on the wingtips. The 747-400 also is produced as a freighter, as a combination freighter and passenger model, and as a special domestic version, without the winglets, for shorter range flights.

In August 1999, major assembly began on a militarized 747-400 Freighter to be used as a platform for the U.S. Air Force’s Airborne Laser (ABL) program. It rolled out on Oct. 27, 2006, and was eventually designated YAL-1. Boeing was the prime contractor for ABL, which was designed to provide a speed-of-light capability to destroy all classes of ballistic missiles in their boost phase of flight. Boeing provided the modified aircraft and the battle management system and is the overall systems integrator. ABL partners were Northrop Grumman, which supplied the chemical oxygen iodine, or COIL, high-energy laser associated lasers, and Lockheed Martin, which provided the nose-mounted turret in addition to the beam control/fire control system. On Feb. 11, 2010, the flying test bed destroyed a ballistic missile off the coast of Southern California. The program was canceled in 2011, and in 2012, YAL-1 was flown to the U.S. Air Force “bone yard” near Pima, Ariz., to be scrapped.

Another variant is the Dreamlifter — a specially modified 747-400 — that transports the large composite structures, including huge fuselage sections of the 787 Dreamliner, from partners around the world to Everett, Wash., and Charleston, S.C., for final assembly. The massive cargo is loaded and unloaded from a hinged rear fuselage. The last of the series four was delivered Feb. 16, 2010.

The longer range 747-400 airplanes (also known as 747-400ERs) were launched in late 2000. The 747-400ER (Extended Range) family is available in both passenger and freighter versions. The airplanes are the same size as current 747-400s and have a range of 7,670 nautical miles (14,205 kilometers) as opposed to the 747-400 range of 7,260 nautical miles (13,450 kilometers). It incorporates the strengthened -400 Freighter wing, strengthened body and landing gear, and an auxiliary fuel tank in the forward cargo hold, with an option for a second tank. When the 747-400ER’s full-range capability is not needed, operators can remove the tank (or tanks), freeing up additional space for cargo.

In November 2005, Boeing launched the 747-8 family — the 747-8 Intercontinental passenger airplane and the 747-8 Freighter. These airplanes incorporate innovative technologies from the 787 Dreamliner. In fact, the designation 747-8 was chosen to show the technology connection between the 787 Dreamliner and the new 747-8, including the General Electric GEnx-2B engines, raked wingtips and other improvements that allow for a 30 percent smaller noise footprint, 15 percent reduction in-service carbon emissions, better performance retention, lower weight, less fuel consumption, fewer parts and less maintenance.

The 747-8 Freighter first flew on February 8, 2010. The airplane is 250 feet, 2 inches (76.3 meters) long, which is 18 feet, 4 inches (5.6 meters) longer than the 747-400 Freighter. The stretch provides customers with 16 percent more revenue cargo volume compared with its predecessor. That translates to an additional four main-deck pallets and three lower hold pallets.

The passenger version, the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental, serves the 400- to 500-seat market and took its first flight on March 20, 2011. The cabin’s sculpted ceilings, bigger overhead and side stowbins, a redesigned staircase and dynamic LED lighting all add to an overall more comfortable passenger experience. With 51 additional seats and 26 percent more revenue cargo volume than the 747-400, Boeing delivered the first 747-8 Intercontinental to an undisclosed Boeing Business Jet customer on Feb. 28, 2012. Launch customer Lufthansa took delivery of the first airline Intercontinental April 25, 2012.

On June 28, 2014, Boeing delivered the 1,500th 747 to come off the production line to Frankfurt, Germany-based Lufthansa. The 747 is the first wide-body airplane in history to reach the 1,500 milestone.

More from Bloomberg: CLICK HERE

Some of the Boeing 747-100 operators: CLICK HERE

Some of the Boeing 747-200 operators: CLICK HERE

Some of the Boeing 747-300 operators: CLICK HERE

Some of the Boeing 747-400 operators: CLICK HERE

Some of the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental operators: CLICK HERE

Some of the Boeing 747SP operators: CLICK HERE

Lufthansa joined the celebrations and issued this statement:

It’s been 50 years since the first Boeing 747-100 took off over Seattle on its official maiden flight on February 9, 1969 – to the cheers of thousands of spectators. The Boeing 747-100 was the largest jet airliner the world had ever seen.

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, in which Lufthansa engineers also took part, the jet, built from around six million individual parts, was ready to take to the skies.

Lufthansa's first Boeing 747-130, delivered on March 10, 1970 - Best Seller

Above Copyright Photo: Lufthansa Boeing 747-130 D-ABYA (msn 19746) JFK (Bruce Drum). Image: 102291.

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 9, 1970 and was deployed on the Frankfurt-New York route for the first time on April 26, 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 (PanAm).

The excitement of the passengers and crew on board was immense. Right from the entrance point to the jet, one gets into a “celebrative 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.

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”, offering space for 365 passengers at Lufthansa. 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.

Before accepting its first Jumbo Jet, Lufthansa 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 trucks and tanker trucks were all developed at Frankfurt Airport, including a 27,000 square meter aircraft hangar with space for up to six Jumbo Jets. In addition, further counters had to be made available in the check-in hall.

After Lufthansa had also operated its successor models (the 747-200 and 747-400), Lufthansa was the world’s first passenger airline to receive the first Jumbo Jet’s “grandson”, the Boeing 747-8, on May 2nd, 2012. The modern aircraft can accommodate up to 364 passengers in First, Business, Premium Economy and Economy Class. It consumes just over three liters of fuel per passenger over 100 kilometers and has 30 percent lower noise emissions than its predecessor. When Lufthansa unveiled its new brand look about a year ago, a Boeing 747-8 was the first aircraft to be presented in the new livery. Like the first 747 aircraft 50 years ago, this machine is called “Yankee Alpha”, too.

The Jumbo Jet did not only have a career as a passenger aircraft. In March 1972, Lufthansa took on the world’s “first smiling Boeing” – the freight version, the Boeing 747-230F. Its prow opened up horizontally, making it easy to load even bulky goods. The Jumbo Jet was nicknamed the “Beetle swallower”, as it had space for 72 VW Beetles in its fuselage.

Happy Birthday, Jumbo!

United’s tribute to the Boeing 747:

Boeing 747 celebrates 50 Years

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Boeing announced on social media:

On September 30, 1968, the first 747 rolled out of the Everett assembly building before representatives of the 26 airlines that had ordered the airplane.

Thank you to our exceptional 747/767 teammates who are continuing the legacy of producing this incredible airplane!

Photo: Boeing.

United’s last Boeing 747 revenue flight

On November 7, 2017 United Airlines operated its last Boeing 747 revenue flight with flight UA 747 from San Francisco (SFO) to Honolulu (HNL). The last flight was operated with the pictured Boeing 747-422 N118UA. Flight UA 747 departed around noon almost an hour late due to a mechanical issue.

The aircraft is now expected to be ferried to Victorville, CA (VCV) for storage and final disposal.

Mark Durbin was there at SFO to record the historic departure. All photos by Mark Durbin/AirlinersGallery.com.

United Airlines issued this statement and photos:

On November 7, 2017, United Airlines (UAL) flew – for the final time – a Boeing 747 aircraft, the jumbo jet with the unmistakable silhouette that once represented the state-of-the-art in air travel.

 

Serving as the ultimate throwback, the airline recreated the first 747 flight operated by United in 1970 for today’s historic farewell journey. Flight UA747 departed from San Francisco with service to Honolulu with more than 300 customers, employees and distinguished guests onboard.

From a 1970s-inspired menu to retro uniforms for flight attendants to inflight entertainment befitting of that first flight, the “Queen of the Skies” is being sent off in style. Seats for this flight sold out in less than 90 minutes when this farewell celebration was announced in September.

“The iconic 747 is a remarkably special aircraft that signaled a new era of air travel and was equally recognizable and beloved by our customers and crew alike,” said Oscar Munoz, CEO of United. “While today is bittersweet, we’ll continue to honor the Queen of the Skies’ game-changing legacy of connecting people and uniting the world with our next-generation of long-haul aircraft.”

The send-off began this morning at SFO with a gate party featuring a 747 gallery, 1970s costumes for use in a retro photo booth, a life-size retirement card for customers and employees to sign and of course, cake. Oscar Munozaddressed the crowd alongside State Senator Jerry Hill and executives from Boeing and Pratt & Whitney.

Upon landing in Honolulu, local employees will welcome the aircraft with final festivities to close out the historic day, including remarks from United leaders and Hawaii State Representative Henry J.C. Aquino.

747-400 Facts and Figures

  • The 747-400 ranks as the commercial airliner with the largest passenger interior volume, at 31,285 cubic feet.
  • At 231 feet, 10 inches from nose to tail, the 747-400 is roughly as long as five humpback whales end-to-end.
  • The wingspan (211 feet, 5 inches) is about 10 feet wider than the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
  • Its wings have a surface area of 5,650 square feet, bigger than a standard size NBA basketball court.
  • A typical trans-Atlantic flight uses over 5.5 tons of food supplies— more than the weight of a large Asian elephant.
  • The tail height is 63.8 feet, equivalent to a six-story building.
  • The aircraft contains 171 miles of wiring, enough to connect New York City to Baltimore.
  • The 747-400 is one of the fastest passenger aircraft in service, with a cruise speed of 565 mph, more than twice as fast as a Formula One car.

United’s 747 Through the Years

June 26, 1970 United Airlines receives its first 747-100 complete with a christening ceremony fit for a luxury liner.

July 23, 1970 United makes its first 747 commercial flight, with a trip from San Francisco to Honolulu.

April 22, 1985 United announces its plan to acquire Pan Am’s Pacific routes, as well as 11 747SP planes. The 747SPs feature a 48-foot-shorter body and fly higher, faster, and farther than standard 747 models.

January 29-30, 1988 Friendship One, a 747SP owned by United Airlines, sets the around-the-world air speed record of 36 hours, 54 minutes, and 15 seconds. This special flight raises $500,000 for children’s charities through the Friendship Foundation. Tickets cost a minimum of $5,000, and special guest passengers included astronaut Neil Armstrong, famed test pilots Bob Hoover and Lieutenant General Laurence C. Craigie, and Moya Lear, the widow of Lear Jet founder Bill Lear.

June, 1989: United Airlines receives their first 747-400 which provides increased range.

September 1996A 747SP previously flown by United is transformed into NASA’s SOFIA, or Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, which carries a 17-ton, 8-foot-wide infrared telescope mounted behind an enormous sliding door.

January 11, 2017United announces that it will retire the 747-400 fleet in the last quarter of 2017.

July 28, 2017United schedules a special domestic flight from Chicago O’Hare to San Francisco to allow more customers to experience the Queen of the Skies.

October, 2017: United employees get a chance to say goodbye to the 747 when the aircraft goes on a farewell tour with stops at each of the carrier’s U.S. hubs.

October 29, 2017United flies its last international 747 flight from Seoul to San Francisco.

November 7, 2017United celebrates the retirement of the 747 with a fitting full-circle moment. A special retro event sees the aircraft flying from San Francisco to Honolulu—a nod to its first-ever flight back in 1970.