The plane that changed everything: what standards in aviation is still set by the Boeing 747

Atlas Shrugged

Millions of people use air travel every day, and for many it is already normal

phenomenon. But it was not always so.During the early days of commercial aviation, flying was the preserve of businessmen and those who had the means to purchase very expensive tickets. Destinations were also limited, so flights even between two major cities required transfers.

According to the International Civil OrganizationAviation (ICAO), in 2017, 4.1 billion people (almost half of the world's population) made flights by regular flights. This is 7.1% higher than in 2016. According to ICAO, the most active passenger traffic is growing in developing countries.

In total, in 2017, 37 million passenger flights set off.

But dramatic changes began with the orderBoeing President William Allen on the development of the world's largest aircraft. It was a controversial decision to take huge financial risks, to put the company on the line for this aircraft.

The first takeoff. Photo: Boeing

The impetus for creating the Boeing 747 became immediatelyseveral factors: the need to reduce the cost of air tickets, the increase in passenger traffic on air transport and the constantly growing load of airspace. After losing the competition to the giant C-5A military transport aircraft, Boeing decided to develop a new improved civilian aircraft, taking advantage of engine technology with a high degree of bypass.

The design philosophy of the 747 was characterized in thata fundamentally new aircraft was developed, with the exception of engines. Designers deliberately avoided using any equipment designed for the C-5. Many have said that the new aircraft will not fly, either literally or financially.

However, in 1969, when the invention was presented to the world, the entire air transport paradigm changed. On February 9, 1969, the Boeing 747, dubbed the Jumbo Jet by the press, first flew into the sky.

About 50 thousand people worked on the 747.Boeing employees. They built the world's largest commercial aircraft, the Boeing 747, in less than 16 months at a plant in Everett, Washington. The final version of the project included three aircraft configurations: passenger, cargo and convertible passenger-cargo model.

Special in the family

The 747th was really stunned by its size. This huge aircraft demanded the construction of a 5.6 million cubic meter assembly plant. m - the company has become the largest structure in the world in terms of volume. The length of the first 747's fuselage was 68.5 m, and the height of the tail unit corresponded to the height of a six-story building. When sealing the cockpit, the plane was carrying a ton of air. The luggage compartment could hold 3,400 pieces of luggage and was unloaded in seven minutes. The total area of ​​the wing was larger than the basketball court. And while the entire global navigation system weighed less than a modern laptop.

Pilots for the 747 were trained at a flight schoolBoeing company. Taxiing experience at the controls of such a large aircraft was gained through a contraption called the Waddell's Wagon, named after Boeing's chief test pilot Jack Waddell. The pilot sat in a mock-up cockpit mounted on three-story-high stands mounted on the roof of the truck. This is how the pilot learned to fly the plane in such a high cockpit position. The truck driver's actions were monitored via radio communication.

The new aircraft featured a whole range oftechnological and aviation innovations, the main and revolutionary invention was the invention of the design of a wide-body aircraft, and for the first time in commercial aviation a turbofan engine with a high bypass ratio was used.

Photo: Boeing

Beyond size, comfort and efficiencyThe most important criterion for modern passengers is safety. Under the leadership of chief engineer Joe Sutter, the design was based on safety measures that were unprecedented at that time. Boeing introduced quadruple redundant hydraulic systems, redundant designs and four main landing gear (the aircraft can be operated on two - Hi-Tech), in addition, Boeing revised its approach to pilot training, moving from strictly procedural training to behavioral training.

Friendship of two giants

Joe Sutter’s friendship with Juan Trippe, the legendary head of Pan American Airways, played a role in the successful fate of the aircraft, which became the catalyst for the launch of the 747 program.

The Boeing and Pan Am partnership marked the beginning of an erajet liners in 1958, when Pan Am took delivery of the first civil jet aircraft, the Boeing 707-120, and a year later the companies solemnly launched the first flight of the 707th and the first daily transatlantic regular flight from New York to Paris. Air traffic began to grow, and by the early 1960s, carrying capacity was reached at all major airports. Juan Tripp began the search for a larger aircraft. Then Tripp and Allen came to an agreement in the field of aircraft construction twice as large as the 707th. The meaning of the agreement reached was in the phrase "If you buy, we will build." So the 747th program was launched.

Liner as art

Very quickly, the 747th had a tremendous impact onair freight It became a landmark and obligatory attribute for global airlines and attracted passengers with its luxury and comfort. It was the size of the giant aircraft, its colossal range, passenger capacity and economy had the most significant impact, making flights available to all mankind. 747th forever marked a point in history, when any person had the opportunity to fly anywhere in the world. By July 1970, the 747th carried the first million passengers.

Photo: Boeing

Boeing 747 quickly became an icon of civil aviation. It was the first aircraft with two aisles between the rows. Most air passengers have no idea on which plane they are flying, but the size of the 747 and the characteristic hump made it instantly recognizable. The original form of the fuselage is the result of skill inherent in engineering, its design is often recognized as an outstanding creation of architecture. Among other things, the 747th became part of pop culture, appearing in a number of films, TV shows and lyrics.

Airplane for all occasions

In 1976, the space agency NASAmodified two 747-100s into Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. And in 1990, two 747-200s, the next modification of the aircraft, were converted into presidential aircraft. In November 2005, Boeing launched the 747-8 program - the passenger 747-8 Intercontinental and the 747-8 Freighter. These aircraft incorporate the innovative technologies used on the 787 Dreamliner.

747-8 Freighter made its maiden flight 8February 2010. The length of the aircraft is 76.3 m, which is 5.6 m longer than the 747-400 Freighter. The passenger version of the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental operates in the 400 to 500 seat segment and made its first flight in 2011.

Photo: Boeing

In 2014, Boeing delivered its 1,500thThe 747 rolled off the production line to Frankfurt for the German airline Lufthansa. It became the first wide-body aircraft in history to surpass the 1,500 unit mark.

The Boeing 747 continues to play its role, itfulfills the tasks that its designers originally envisioned and provided, allowing it to become the most efficient cargo airliner in the world. In this incarnation, it will remain with us for many more decades, which is evidence of the durability and reliability of the aircraft.