Boeing 747 'Jumbo Jet'

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Boeing 747 'Jumbo Jet'
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About the Boeing 747

Boeing started the development of the 747 in the mid 1960s. The manufacturer was one of the contenders in a USAF-contract for a big transport aircraft, but the Air Force chose the competing Lockheed C-5 Galaxy. The knowledge and experience gathered with the mlitary transport was also useful for a big airliner and this became the 'Jumbo Jet'. Pan Am was the first airline to order it.
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The Boeing 747 first flew on 9 February 1969 and certification was awarded on December 30 of the same year. Pan American put the first aircraft, a basic 747-100, in service in January 1970. The basic model was soon followed by the 747-200B with higher weights, more powerful engines and extra range. Other early developments were the 747-200F Freighter, the SR (Short Range) optimised for high-cycle short-sector operations, especially in Japan, and the C (Convertible).
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The most remarkable early 747-model was the SP (Special Performance). This version with a 47ft 1in (14.35m) shorter fuselage was developed during the mid 1970s as an extra long-range aircraft. The idea was a smaller number of seats in exchange for more range.
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The 747SP's maiden flight took place on July 4 1975 and Pan Am was the first airline to receive the SP in March 1976. In spite of a number of record flights and pioneering a number of long nonstop routes, the 747SP was not a sales success. Only 45 were built.
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The Boeing 747-300 was the first version with a 7.11m (23ft 4in) stretched upper deck, which offers space to up to 69 economy class passengers. The 747-300 first flew on 5 October 1982 and the first aircrat was delivered to Swissair in early 1983.
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On board of the earlier 747s Boeing built in a spiral staircase, but in the 747-300 a conventional straight stairs was introduced. Apart from the upper deck there are not many differences between the 747-300 and the 747-200. It has the same takeoff weight and engines.
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Boeing offered Combi and Short Range versions of the -300, but no freighters. Recently some 747-300s were being converted to freighters. Some older 747-100s and 200s were retrofitted with the stretched upper deck. Airlines using this option were KLM, UTA and Japan Airlines.
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A much more improved development than the 747-300 was the 747-400, the best selling of the 747 models so far. The first flight took place on 29 April 1988 and Northwest airlines became the first operator in early 1989.
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The most important visual changes are the increased wingspan and winglets on the wingtips. The 747-400 has a new two crew digital cockpit, new engines, a new interior, a recontoured wing/fuselage fairing, a lower empty weight but a higher maximum takeoff weight, and greater range.
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Boeing offers several versions, like the 747-400D Domestic, optimised for Japanese short-haul domestic services without winglets, the 747-400M Combi passenger/freight model, and the 747-400F Freighter. The freighter has the old 747-200F's fuselage without the stretched upper deck. The newest versions are the 747-400ER (Extended Range), with strengthened wing, body and landing gear and extra fuel tanks, and the 747ERF (Extended Range Freighter).
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Of all 747-versions a total of more than 1400 have been ordered. The 747 is still in production. During the last couple of years most sales are freighters.
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A new development is the launch of the Boeing 747-8 in 2006. This will become a modestly stretched version, including a passenger and freighter variant, 747-8I (Intercontinental) and 747-8F (Freighter).
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Three ex-airline 747-400s are being converted to Large Cargo Freighters (747LCF), with an extra wide and hight body for the transport of large 787 construction parts. It also has a swing-tail for easy loading and a redesigned tail with extended fin.


Boeing 747 Air India

Air India is an early 747 user. Shown is a 747-200 but the airline also flies 747-300s and 400s.



Boeing 747 MAS Kargo

Many early Boeing 747s are converted to freighters. The picture shows a Boeing 747-200 owned by Air Atlanta of Iceland but flying in the colours of MAS Kargo from Malaysia.



Boeing 747SP Syrianair

The Boeing 747SP is a short-body version of the Jumbo Jet. The picture shows an aircraft of this version in the colours of Syrianair.



Boeing 747-300 Surinam Airways

The 747-300 was the first version with the stretched upper deck. The picture shows an example of Surinam Airways at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.




Boeing 747 Lufthansa

A Boeing 747-400 of Lufthansa approaches its homebase Frankfurt Airport. The aircraft has a football painted on its nose, promoting the World Championship 2006 in Germany.



Boeing 747 Asiana

Asiana is the second airline of Korea. A Boeing 747-400F cargo aircraft approaches Amsterdam Schiphol.





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