Happy birthday 747

On the 9th of February 1969 Boeing successfully tested the 747 for the first time. This behemoth has now become an icon of passenger flight throughout the world. Happy birthday 747 – Deskarati

As commercial air travel boomed in the 1960s, the need for a plane capable of handling more passengers than Boeing’s reliable old warhorse, the 707, became obvious. But the technology of jet-engine design was changing rapidly, too, and the feeling was that any new aircraft built using existing subsonic engines would soon be made obsolete by planes capable of supersonic flight.

So the 747 was designed to be easily convertible to hauling cargo, which Boeing believed would ensure its long-term sustainability.

Configured for commercial passenger service, the original 747-100 could carry more than twice as many passengers as the 707, between 366 and 452. It was propelled by four Pratt & Whitney high-bypass turbofan jets and designed with a number of redundancies and backup systems to ensure maximum safety of the aircraft. The first 747 entered commercial service with Pan American Airways in 1970.

In the end, commercial supersonic flight proved a bust, for various financial, environmental and technical reasons. The 747, meanwhile, expected to be obsolete after 400 were built, surpassed 1,000 aircraft in 1993 and, with several series modifications, remains in production to this day.

via Feb. 9, 1969: Behemoth Aloft | This Day In Tech | Wired.com.

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