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Boeing 747



The Boeing 747, commonly known as the Jumbo Jet, was the largest passenger aircraft in the world until the Airbus A380 took over that title recently. The aircraft was initially designed to be a new transport plane for the United States military forces. When Lockheed's C-5 Galaxy was chosen over Boeing's design, the Seattle-based manufacturer decided to develop a passenger version. The first flight of the Boeing 747-100 was on February 9, 1969 and the first aircraft entered service with Pan American Airways in January 1970.


747-100: The first version of the Jumbo Jet, with the characteristic upper deck. The massive airplane overshadowed the 707's and DC-8's used for long-haul travel at that time. The upper deck was used either as a crew rest area or a lounge for first class passengers. The short upper deck normally had only three windows on each side, although some airlines chose to have more windows installed.

747-200B: The first airline to use this upgraded version, with more range, higher operating weights and more powerful engines, was KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Versions developed from the -200B were the -200SR (Short Range), adapted for shorter, high-cycle routes with a strenghtened fuselage and undercarriage, and the -200C (Combi) which could be used either for passengers or freight. Then there was also the all-cargo -200F.


Martinair Boeing 747-200 PH-MCE at Amsterdam Schiphol

747SP: The 747SP (Special Performance) is the only shorter version of the Jumbo Jet, designed to carry less passengers over a longer distance. The fuselage was shortened by 14.35m (47ft) and the tailfin lengthened. It flew for the first time in July 1975 and Pan Am was the first airline to receive one in March 1976. The aircraft set a number of distance records, the most important being a non-stop flight from Paine Field, near Seattle, to Cape Town (16,500km) in late March '76. This record was only broken by a Qantas 747-400 flying the 17,950km from London to Sydney non-stop in 1989.

747-300: Boeing was studying possibilities to increase passenger capacity of the 747, looking at options such as stretching the fuselage or stretching the upper deck along the entire length of the fuselage, but in the end opted for stretching the upper deck with only 7m (23ft), which allows for an economy class seating of 69. Launch customer Swissair received the first 747-300 in March 1983. Versions included the -300SR (for Japan Airlines) and the -300M (combi). KLM and UTA converted a number of older 747's by fitting them with the stretched upper deck.


Thai Airways Boeing 747-300 HS-TGD

747-400: Although it resembles the 747-300 from the outside, the -400 was a completely new aircraft when it entered service in 1989. The main external difference are the winglets, while inside it is the two-crew glass cockpit instead of the three-crew classic design. Hundreds of knobs and buttons were replaced by six CRT-screens, and the flight engineer became obsolete. Variants include the -400 Domestic without winglets and strenghtened fuselage and undercarriage for the Japanese domestic market, the -400M combi and the -400F, a freighter with the short upper deck of the early 747's. Boeing also developed extended range versions, the -400ER and -400ERF. The Boeing Converted Freighter programme (BCF) was set up to convert 747-400 passenger aircraft into full-cargo versions, following a decline in popularity of the Jumbo Jet for passenger services in favour of twin-engined long haul aircraft.


Japan Airlines Boeing 747-400 on final approach


Global Supply Systems Boeing 747-400F at London Stansted

747-400LCF: Boeing developed the Large Cargo Freighter to ferry components of the 787 between the various production plants, much like Airbus does with the A300-600ST Beluga. Three converted 747-400's will enter service, two of them in early 2007. The aircraft have an extended upper fuselage lobe, with an increased ceiling height of about 3 metres (10 feet) and a swing-tail assembly for loading and unloading. The tail fin has been extended by 0.6m (2 feet).

Future versions: Boeing has announced the 747-8, a stretched version of the 747-400 with a new type of wing with raked tips instead of winglets. The aircraft will be available in both passenger (-8 Intercontinental) and cargo (-8 Freighter) versions. The original concept of the 747-8I was for a plane with a length between the 747-400's and 747-8F's, but Boeing later decided to give it the same dimensions as the Freighter.


Illustration of the 747-8I (below) and -8F (Boeing)

Technical specifications


  • 747-100/200/300: Length 70.66m (231ft 10in), wing span 59.64m (195ft 8in), height 19.33m (63ft 5in)
  • 747SP: Length 56.30m (185ft), wing span 59.64m (195ft 8in), height 19.94m (65ft 5in)
  • 747-400: Length 70.67m (231ft 10in), wing span 64.44m (211ft 5in), height 19.41m (63ft 8in).
  • 747-8I/F: Length 76.40m (250ft), wing span 68.50m (225ft), height 19.60m (64ft).


  • Typical seating arrangements (747-100/200): 397 in three classes, 450 in two classes and up to 500 in all-economy.
  • Max payload of 747-200F 112,500kg (248,000lb).
  • 747SP: 316 in a typical two-class layout, or 440 in one-class, high-density.
  • 747-300: 470 in two classes.
  • 747-400: 416 in three classes. -400 Domestic: 568 in two classes. -400M: 266 in three classes plus seven pallets on main deck.
  • 747-400F: 30 pallets on the main deck.
  • 747-8I: 467 pax in three-class layout.


  • 747-100: 4x Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7A @208.9kN (46,950lb) or JT9D-7F @215.1kN (48,000lb), or General Electric CF6-45A2 @206.8kN (46,500lb).
  • 747-200B: 4x P&W JT9D-7R4G2 @243.5kN (54,750lb), GE CF6-50E2 @233.5kN (52,500lb) or Rolls Royce RB211-524D4 @236.2kN (53,110lb).
  • 747SP: 4x P&W JT9D-7AW @218.4kN (48,750lb), or RR RB211-524B @222.8kN (50,100lb) or RB211-524C @229.5kN (51,600lb), or GE CF6-45A2 or CF6-50E2-F @206.8kN (46,500lb).
  • 747-300: similar to 747-200.
  • 747-400: 4x P&W PW-4056 @252.4kN (56,750lb) or PW-4060 @266.9kN (60,000lb) or PW-4062 @275.8kN (62,000lb), or GE CF6-80-C2B1F @252.4kN (56,750lb) or CF6-80-C2B1F1 @273.6kN (61,500lb) or CF6-80-C2B7F, or RR RB-211-524G or -524H @258.0kN (58,000lb) or RB-211-524G/H-T @262.4 to 266.9kN (59 to 60,000lb).
  • 747-8I/F: 4x General Electric GEnx-2B67 @ 295kN (66,500lb).


  • 747-100: 9000 km (5000 nm) with 385 pax
  • 747-200: 12,750 km (7000 nm) with 365 pax
  • 747-200F: 9000 km (5000 nm) with 90,000 kg (200,000lb) payload
  • 747SP: 12,325 km (6650nm) with 276 pax
  • 747-300: 11,250 to 12,500 km (6250 to 6950 nm) with 400 pax
  • 747-400: 13,500 km (7250 nm) with 420 pax, -400ER 14,200 km (7650 nm)
  • 747-400ERF: 9200 km (5100 nm)
  • 747-8I: 14,800 km (8220 nm) with 467 pax
  • 747-8F: 8230 km (4570 nm) with 134t


  • 747-100 all versions: 205
  • 747-200 all versions: 383
  • 747SP: 45
  • 747-300 all versions: 81
  • 747-400 (as of June 2006, including orders): 446, -400D: 19, -400M: 61, 400ER: 6
  • 747-400F: 126, -400ERF: 38
  • 12 military 747's including two for the US President




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