The Boeing 747 is a wide body commercial airliner. Often referred to by the nickname “Jumbo Jet” is among the world’s most recognizable aircraft and was the first wide body ever produced. Manufactured by Boeing’s Commercial Airplane unit in the US, the original version of the 747 was two and a half times the size of the Boeing 707one of the common large commercial aircraft of the 1960s. First flown commercially in 1970, it held the passenger capacity record for 37 years, until it was surpassed by the Airbus A380.
The four-engine 747 uses a double deck configuration for part of its length. It is available in passenger, freighter and other versions. Boeing designed the 747′s hump-like upper deck to serve as a first class lounge or (as is the general rule today) extra seating, and to allow the aircraft to be easily converted to a cargo carrier by removing seats and installing a front cargo door. Boeing did so because the company expected supersonic airliners, whose development was announced in the early 1960s, to render the 747 and other subsonic airliners obsolete, but that the demand for subsonic cargo aircraft would be robust into the future. The 747 in particular was expected to become obsolete after 400 were sold but it exceeded its critics’ expectations with production passing the 1,000 mark in 1993. As of October 2008, 1,409 aircraft had been built, with 115 more in various configurations on order.
The 747-400, the latest version in service, is among the fastest airliners in service with a high-subsonic cruise speed of 567 mph. It has an intercontinental range of 8,350 mi. The 747-400 passenger version can accommodate 416 passengers in a typical three-class layout or 524 passengers.