The iconic Jumbo Jet – Boeing 747 – leaves production for good. The last unit just left the factory.
The Boeing 747 has been in manufacturing for more than half a century. Tens of thousands of employees have worked in its construction since 1967.
This event also marks the end of four-engine airliners. Both Boeing and its competitor Airbus have fully transitioned to the new generation twin-engine models that are built using wide fuselages to provide additional lift and reduce fuel consumption.
This particular 747 is the 1,574th unit from this line. It was manufactured in Boeing’s Everett factory yesterday.
Boeing 747 – Aircraft that Made History
When Boeing started the 747 development program, this airplane was to become the largest civilian aircraft in the world.
The plane was designed using high-bypass turbofan engine technology that was initially conceived for the C-X military aviation program – which was then won by Boeing’s competitor Lockheed. But the company looked for possibilities to adapt the new engine technology in the civilian commercial market.
At that time, Boeing even had to construct a new assembly hall in Everett, which is used to this day and is the largest building in the world by its volume, according to the company.
With time, the 747 became the preferred choice for many leading airlines for long-haul trips. It was also used as a U.S. Space Shuttle carrier, and its modified version Boeing 747-200B also served as a U.S. presidential transport aircraft, with the codename VC-25A Air Force One.
There were also some experimental versions of the airplane, including the famous Airborne Laser YAL-1 with a front-mounted laser gun intended to destroy missiles. It, however, did not enter production despite some promising early results.
The need for replacement aircraft emerged after the world faced the need to increase fuel efficiency and the overall economy. Now, the priority is not to transport the largest possible numbers of passengers, but to achieve this with the lowest cost and fuel input per passenger.