The four-engine 747 and A380 are the Hercules of the skies. Michael Doran looks at how these two aircraft match up.
Aircraft like the Boeing 747 and the Airbus A380 are almost impossible to meaningfully compare. The 747 was conceived in the 1960s to capitalise on the surging demand for air travel, while the A380 was a 1990s answer to slot-constrained airports and airline hub and spoke networks.
The 747 was virtually a clean sheet design, built around the needs of Boeing's major customer, Pan American Airways, and their push to radically reduce seat-mile costs on longer flights. It was going from a 707 with around 180 seats to a two-story jumbo with 400 passengers.
Thankfully, the 747 designers and engineers were up to the task and produced a beautiful and graceful aircraft that ruled the skies for nearly 30 years. Flying on a 747 was special and generally left people wondering how on earth such a big aircraft could so effortlessly take to the air.