10 Little Known Facts About The Boeing 747
- The Boeing 747 first flew in February 1969, just five months before Apollo 11 landed on the moon.
- The 747 was over 2.5 times larger than the Boeing 707, which was one of the most common commercial aircraft at the time.
- Pan Am’s founder, Juan Trippe, pushed Boeing to build a jet that was more than twice as big as the 707. At the time, airport traffic was becoming congested, and fewer, large aircraft would help Pan Am operate more efficiently.
- The 747 was the first widebody aircraft ever produced, meaning it had two aisles in aircraft cabin.
- The Evergreen 747 Supertanker, a modified 742-200, is the largest aerial firefighting aircraft in the world. It can hold up to 20,000 gallons of firefighting chemicals.
- This year, righteous metal band Iron Maiden will be touring around the world in this Boeing 747 jumbo jet codenamed “Ed Force One,” piloted by lead singer Bruce Dickinson.
- The project was so expensive that Boeing struggled to get the loans to complete the project. Boeing had over $2 billion in debt – the most for any company at the time.
- Early models of the 747 had a high-speed flutter problem in the wings. Engineers solved the problem by placing depleted uranium counterweights in the outboard engine nacelles.
- Complex high-lift devices were used so the 747 could operate out of existing airports. Leading edge slats and three-part fowler flaps increase the wing area by 21%, and increase lift by up to 90%
- Boeing didn’t have a facility large enough to build the 747, so they had to construct a new assembly plant in Everett, WA. The project timeline was so aggressive that the first 747 mockup was built before the building’s roof was finished. The plant is still the largest building by volume in the world.