Not many aircraft can claim to launch a new age in aviation, but that tag can be applied to the Boeing 747 which first flew in 1969. The new airliner spawned the dawn of mass long-distance air travel. Nicknamed the Jumbo Jet, the airliner has been developed into numerous variants and is viewed with such affection that the title ‘Queen of the Skies’ has also been bestowed upon it.
The Jumbo held the record for the greatest passenger capacity for 37 years and with continual development, spawned many variants. The latest of these, the 747-8 Intercontinental, entered service in 2012.
As the iconic Boeing 747 celebrates its golden anniversary, Airliner World’s Craig West reflects on the illustrious career of the aircraft that fundamentally changed the face of commercial aviation, brought air travel to the masses and opened up affordable international flights that made the world significantly smaller.