747 - fifty whole years

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Richard_C
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747 - fifty whole years

Post by Richard_C »

I saw a feature today about the Boeing 747, the first one rolled out on 30 September 1968. You don't see many now but they still look magnificent, there is something 'right' about the shape even after all these years. It must be 6 or 8 years since I last flew in one but it still beat the later 777s for feelgood factor. To my eye the Airbus 380 is plug ugly in comparison, but I did have a very long trip in an A350 earlier this year and realised how far things have moved on since the 747. Anyway, still in service as a passenger plane notably with BA and Lufthansa in quantity and odd ones elsewhere, and lots as cargo planes which are still in production as far as I can see. Korean Airlines bought a brand new passenger one only a year ago. The 747-800 is a very different beast from the original under the skin, but its still recognizable as a "Jumbo Jet".

To put it in context I thought about the cars that were about when the 747 appeared. Mk 2 Cortina and various Austin/Morris etc 1100s were vying to be best sellers in UK, you could still buy a Farina bodied Morris Oxford, the Ford Zephyr/Zodiac was in its Mk IV block of wood shape, the magnificent DS was middle of its life cycle, the Dyane had just appeared, I was taking O levels and our family car was Mk 1 Hillman Hunter in a fetching shade of beige. Aside from the DS, they all look 'proper old' now - the 747 doesn't. What other transport icons have lasted as well ?

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white exec
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Re: 747 - fifty whole years

Post by white exec »

London Transport tube trains?

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bobins
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Re: 747 - fifty whole years

Post by bobins »

InterCity 125 are now 40+ years old, but we'll have to wait a few more years to see if they make it to 50 years old :)

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Re: 747 - fifty whole years

Post by Homer »

Richard_C wrote:
01 Oct 2018, 22:03
What other transport icons have lasted as well ?

B52 bomber first flew in 1952, production ended in 1962, still going strong and could be still around for decades yet.

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EDC5
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Re: 747 - fifty whole years

Post by EDC5 »

I saw a fantastic two part documentary on the building of the 747 and how it nearly ruined Boeing. Personally, I feel the main innovation it brought to the table was the wide-body, rather than the second (partial) deck.

I believe it was also the first plane to have a high bypass turbofan too, another major milestone (that proved near fatal for the 747 project too).

To me, I've always though the 747 as a rather ugly plane, especially from the front and also from a technical point of view, a plane with the cross sectional drag of a double decker, but only a partial top deck. Although I am heavily biased in favour of the A380 having seen it's first flight in the UK first hand. News that one of them is already being broken for parts breaks my heart, however I understand that there is no room for sentimentality in the airline business.

Class 43's are my favourite loco from a design point of view, love the design and the sound of the older engines. It is pretty amazing that they are still going, especially in the age of the self propelled carriages they call trains these days.

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Re: 747 - fifty whole years

Post by Richard_C »

I'd sort of forgotten trains. BR Class 483, built 1940 and still trundling round in pairs on Isle of Wight. Design Icon - maybe.

At the time of the 747, aerodynamic wisdom suggested that a long bit with a constant area of cross section was good for efficiency, so the top deck tapered down where the wings began to stick out. Wings are much thinner section now so I'm sure the thinking has changed. Not flown in a 380, but very impressed with the 350 - quiet and seems like you can fly to the moon and back on a thimble full of fuel with the Trent XWBs and the wing and tip design is a triumph of styling and (I hope) engineering.

2018_NZ_00640_RPh.jpg

Here starts an airline rant. 50 years ago the number of seats/people you could cram in was in part limited by the weight/power/fuel load calculations. Now with super efficient twin jets the only limit is how close you can pack the seats. BA has crammed one or two extra rows into their 320s, and I believe are going 10 across in their 787s which were originally set up for 9. Other airlines are as bad with only a few notable exceptions. OK, they can get the headline price down a bit but where will it all end? It matters on long flights. A couple of years ago I booked from Vancouver to Toronto with Air Canada, 5 hours, many flights each day, I deliberately chose one with an older A320 because their seating density in their new 787s is appalling. Ryanair legroom is starting to look generous - they don't have reclining seats so your space is your space throughout.

Rant over. Best get back to being a french car forum. Or you could combine the two ....

Last edited by myglaren on 02 Oct 2018, 19:50, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: YouTube link

Hell Razor5543
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Re: 747 - fifty whole years

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

I remember watching the BBC programme about the development of the 747. It came about because of talks between Boeing and Pan-Am. Pan-Am wanted a double deck aeroplane (to carry more passengers), but Boeing found there were technical difficulties with that. They then looked at making a wide bodied aeroplane (even though this was not what Pan-Am wanted). Boeing worked out they could make the cabin very wide (and a round tube is stronger that a figure of eight shaped tube). There was a meeting between Boeing and Pan-Am (although the lead engineer was not involved, as he did not suffer fools whatsoever). The Boeing engineer who was at the meeting had an unusual item in his briefcase; a 20' length of rope. Before he said much he stretched out the rope against a wall. THAT was when Pan-Am realised how big the proposed aeroplane would actually be. The 747 then became a wide bodied aeroplane (although it does have a high flight deck, and some variants with an extended upper deck).

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Re: 747 - fifty whole years

Post by Gibbo2286 »

I flew into Tenerife a few days after this, two 747s that wouldn't fly again:

https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Te ... RM=IDINTS

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Michel
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Re: 747 - fifty whole years

Post by Michel »

Richard_C wrote:
02 Oct 2018, 11:14

Here starts an airline rant. 50 years ago the number of seats/people you could cram in was in part limited by the weight/power/fuel load calculations. Now with super efficient twin jets the only limit is how close you can pack the seats. BA has crammed one or two extra rows into their 320s, and I believe are going 10 across in their 787s which were originally set up for 9. Other airlines are as bad with only a few notable exceptions.


I recently flew Heathrow-Mexico City-Bogota on Aeromexico. I was dreading it, but it was literally half the price of flying direct to Bogota.

Loads, loads of legroom. Seriously, I've had less in BA business class!

Here's the legroom on the 737 from Mexico City to Bogota.. bear in mind I'm 6ft and a bit with 32" inside leg..
Screenshot_20181002-130846_Facebook.jpg

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Re: 747 - fifty whole years

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Richard_C wrote:
02 Oct 2018, 11:14
I'd sort of forgotten trains. BR Class 483, built 1940 and still trundling round in pairs on Isle of Wight. Design Icon - maybe.


Class 483 had 5 minutes of fame on POTD 5th November 2017!
Nice pic culled from wiki

Image

Regards Neil

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EDC5
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Re: 747 - fifty whole years

Post by EDC5 »

That looks like ample legroom there Michel :)

The best legroom I have ever had was flying on a small Embrear jet between Manchester and Helsinki, it was only a 2 x 2 seating configuration so the seats were very wide too!

Back to the 747.....

Image