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Last Boeing 747 ever delivered tears are due all round

This truly is the end of an era, so gather your tissues.

the delivery in full

One of the most recognizable airplanes in aviation history, the 747 is available as a passenger, freighter, business, military, and civil model. The 747 was the first jumbo aircraft and was known as the “Queen of the Skies.” On December 6, 2016, the final aircraft rolled off the assembly line after more than 50 years of manufacturing.

The 747-8F, with the registration number N863GT, was just given to Atlas Air and will be wet-leased to Kuehne+Nagel. Its codename is “Empower” and it was the 1,574th 747 produced since 1969.

The fifth and final 747 was given to Atlas Air and will be used by Kuehne+Nagel; it was given the name “Inspire.” The front right side of the final 747 features a decal on it as an homage to Joe Sutter, the head engineer on the 747’s development. “Forever great,” reads the sticker.

The jumbo jet was developed by a team of about 4,500 engineers under the direction of Sutter, a legend in the aviation business. Several Boeing executives, including Charles Trippe, the grandson of Pan Am founder Juan Trippe, and members of the Boeing and Sutter families, attended the occasion.

Additional attendees were a number of “Incredibles” (Boeing personnel who planned and built the first 747) and Kim Smith, the final 747 program boss.

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The first 747 produced, the 747-100, had Pan-American Airways as its launch client. Pan Am ordered 25 of the innovative new jumbo jet when it was still in development. The first plane, which was given the nickname Clipper Victor and christened by First Lady Pat Nixon, was delivered in January 1970.

A total of 46 airlines have used the 747 since that time, with over half purchasing the -400. These included illustrious airlines like TWA, Swissair, BOAC, Flying Tiger Line, and others. Of fact, several modern airlines—including British Airways, Qantas, Virgin Atlantic, and others—operated their own Queens. With 112 Boeing 747s in service over the years, Japan Airlines was the most active operator.

The 747 is operated by a wide variety of top freighter firms, and some of them have taken part in unique missions like the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), which was deactivated last year, and the two VC-25As that routinely fly under the callsign “Air Force One.”

Elizabeth Lund, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Airplane Programs at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, mentioned the significance the 747 has had for many individuals through the years in her remarks at the ceremony today.

Whether it’s Air Force One or another special-purpose aircraft, the 747 has a way of transforming lives. We’ve heard accounts of people who were able to rebuild their lives after fleeing war-torn nations on 747s, people whose businesses found new life thanks to the international air freight the 747 carried, and people who received deliveries of food and life-saving supplies as a result of the 747.

The plane has been modified to serve as a firefighting tool, and it currently supports commercial space launch vehicles in addition to having transported the space shuttle in the past. The heyday of quad jets is over as the industry transitions to a more sustainable future. Boeing has said goodbye to the 747 after Airbus stopped producing the A380 in late 2021.

Numerous passenger airplanes had to be retired early due of the COVID-19 epidemic, which started with a few 747 operators and had devastating effects across the globe and in many businesses. Boeing will focus its widebody efforts on the 787 Dreamliners, which have been a success, and the ongoing development and testing of the 777X as it bids farewell to the 747. The end of the blather?

While the construction of newly constructed 747s has ended, the 747 is by no means out of the picture. Many cargo carriers, such as Atlas Air, continue to depend on the jumbo for their operations, and it is probable that the Queen will continue to serve in this role for many years to come.

Lund added:

Today is a send-off, as you can see. But everyone is aware that the 747 will continue to be used and inspire people for a very long time.

If flying on the Boeing 747 is on your bucket list, there are still some options to do so even if passenger operations are less frequent. Four airlines now fly the 747, which is an option if you want to travel as a passenger in 2023.

Although Asiana Airlines intends to retire the 747 after March, scheduling data from Cirium shows that China Airlines, Korean Air, Lufthansa, and Asiana Airlines are all currently operating passenger flights.

We say goodbye to the last brand-new Boeing 747 to leave the factory for the time being. May she soar high and prosper over the hopefully many years of service she will provide.

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