Boeing 747 40th Birthday

Boeing 747 turns 40 today

On Feb. 9, 1969, the first flight of the Boeing jumbo jet was cut short by a minor problem with the wing flaps. The test pilots kept their cool, landed the plane safely, and the rest is history. To date, 1,412 of the jets have been delivered.

So this lends itself to a question of when an airplane has its anniversary? Is it the

  • first time metal is cut
  • the design is finalized?
  • first flight
  • the first time the aircraft is fully assembled?
  • some other time?

To me, I’d say it’s the first flight

First Delivery (kinda like the birth of a baby).

Feb 9th was also the 20th anniversary of the 747-400 going into service with Northwest (Orient).


I’d say first flight too. Design phase is like the decision to have a baby, manufacturing is like the gestation period, and delivery to an airline is like the baby being adopted by loving and caring parents who could not produce an airplane themselves.

Sorry - double post… :blush:

The Age (Melbourne) has an interesting article today about the B747. They mention that some in the aviation world are saying that the commemorations for the B747 today pretty much resemble a wake at a funeral. And in some aspects, they are right.

The last passenger B744 was delivered 4 years ago. only 6 B744Fs are being delivered this year, and only DLH has ordered a passenger B747-8i; the rest are freighters. USAF may be the only other customer so far. Both the B777 and A340 can fly longer distances, so the only advantage the B747 has is carrying more passengers and/or cargo. With passengers, the A380 has that beat now…

So birthday or soon-to-be death knell? Discuss.

Uncertain Future for Boeing 747


I would have thought whatever process is taken for “certification” for flight would be the anniversary date.

Plane certified for flight may be December 1976 but not flown til 1977.

Still a 1976 model plane no matter what year it’s first flight is taken.

The article says there are 112 orders to be filled. Dami or RobK do you guys know if those are all 747-8 orders?

On a long trip, I’d rather fly on a 747 then any other aircraft. First or Business Class are the most quiet and comfortable seats in the airline world.

28 orders are for the 747-8 Intercontinental and the rest are freighters. :smiley: