Bidding Farewell To The Queen Of The Skies

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Credit: Justin Hu/ unsplash
  • Cargo carrier Atlas Air will take ownership of the final jumbo jet Boeing 747.
  • The plane was used as a commercial carrier and presidential aircraft.
  • Roll out halts after  half a century of production.

After more than half a century of production, the last Boeing 747 has rolled out of a US factory in Washington state. The final customer was the cargo carrier Atlas Air, which ordered four 747-8 freighters early this year. The final plane was rolled out of Boeing’s massive factory in Everett, Washington.

A Long Career

The 747 jumbo jet has taken on numerous roles in its lifetime: a cargo plane, a commercial aircraft capable of carrying nearly 500 passengers, and even the Air Force One presidential aircraft. When it was first produced in 1969 it was the largest commercial aircraft in the world and the first with two aisles. It still towers over most other planes.

The plane’s design included a second deck extending from the cockpit back out over the front third of the plane, giving it a distinctive hump that made it instantly recognizable and inspired the nickname, the Whale. It took more than 50,000 Boeing employees 16 months to churn out the first 747. The company has completed 1,573 more since then.

There She Goes

Over the past two decades, Boeing and its European rival Airbus have turned to more fuel-efficient and profitable aircraft; widebody planes with two engines instead of the 747’s four. Delta was the last US airline to use the 747 for passenger flights – ending in 2017 – although some international carriers continue to fly it, including the German airline Lufthansa.

Boeing announced in May that it would move its headquarters from Chicago to Arlington, Virginia. Boeing’s relationship with the FAA has been strained since deadly crashes of its bestselling plane, the 737 Max, in 2018 and 2019. The FAA took nearly two years to approve design changes and allow the plane back in the air.

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Source: TheGuardian

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