Flight Plan

Milestone moments

| Updated on: Feb 05, 2019

On April 13, 1966, Boeing announced that it will build a 490-passenger 747 transport aircraft. The massive airplane required the construction of a 200 million-cubic-foot (5.6 million-cubic-metre) 747 assembly plant in Everett, Washington, the world’s largest building (by volume).

“The building was being erected as we worked, so it was mandatory to wear hard hats and rubber boots. It rained for 67 days straight, and the place was a sea of mud and flowing water. But nothing stopped our dedicated progress. We built the first 747 in 16 months while we were finishing the factory. Mal Stamper, the programme’s vice-president and general manager, only took one day off in four years — a single Christmas Day,” recalls Desi Evans, who worked on the Boeing 747 programme. He was one of the 50,000 people who were called Boeing Incredible. These included construction workers, mechanics, secretaries and administrators.

The pilot sat in a mock-up of the 747 flight deck built on the top of three-storey high stilts on a moving truck. He learnt how to manoeuvre from such a height by directing the truck driver by radio.

The fuselage of the original 747 was 225 feet (68.5 metres) long; the tail as tall as a six-storey building. Pressurised, it carried a tonne of air.

The cargo hold had room for 3,400 pieces of baggage and could be unloaded in seven minutes.

The total wing area was larger than a basketball court. Yet, the entire global navigation system weighed less than a modern laptop computer.

The Boeing 747 fleet has flown 3.5 billion people, the equivalent of half the world’s population.

The Boeing 747 has also starred in numerous movies, television shows and song lyrics.

Source: Boeing and various websites

Published on February 05, 2019
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