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Boeing’s Iconic 747 turns 50

Boeing’s Iconic 747 was introduced to the public on September 30 in 1968, during the ‘golden age’ of plane travel. The planes, known as the Jumbo Jet or the Queen of the Skies, revolutionized air travel in a time when it was just becoming available for the masses. The Boeing 747 originated in 1963 as the US Air Force needed a large and capable aircraft to carry cargo that couldn’t fit in planes at the time. Air travel for the general public was also growing at this time as people began to take more foreign holidays.

The 747 was preceded by the 707, a plane designed in 1957 with a narrow body and one aisle of seats inside. But Boeing had been asked by the president of Pan American Airlines, Juan Trippe, if it could design an aircraft that was twice the size of the 707. The plane was introduced to the public on September 30 in 1968, when journalists and representatives of 26 different airlines turned up to its reveal at Boeing’s Everett, Washington factory.

The first ever flight of a Boeing 747 was two years later by Pan Am, from New York to London on January 22, 1970, christened by US First Lady at the time – Pam Nixon. However, the first plane that was meant to be used overheated, so a substitute plane had to be used instead, delaying take off by six hours. Carrying 400 people, the plane had a 3-4-3 configuration and looked supersized in the skies to those who were used to the 707 at half its size and capacity.

Since 1966, more than 1,500 of the planes have been delivered, with the very last Boeing 747 passenger plane ordered in July 2017 for Korean Airlines.

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