The Boeing 747 jumbo is one of the most famous planes in aviation history. The plane, referred to by many as the “Queen of the Skies,” helped revolutionise air travel for the masses when it arrived on the scene in 1969. It’s been going strong for over 40 years.
Even though Boeing has sold more than 1,500 747s, the airline industry shifted toward smaller and more fuel-efficient twin-engine jets in recent years, such as the Boeing 777. As a result, the company has had a difficult time finding buyers for the iconic jumbo jet.
But the resilient Boeing 747 is still alive and very much in production. Recently, Chris Sloan of Airways News had the opportunity to take a guided tour during Boeing’s media days of the Everett, Washington, factory where the aeroplane maker assembles the jumbo.
Here’s what he saw.
These days, Boeing is selling the latest version of the jumbo jet, the 747-8. It's the largest and most efficient 747 ever built.
Sloan's tour of Boeing's Everett, Washington, plant was helmed by Boeing vice president and general manager of the 747-8 program Bruce Dickinson .
The Everett plant is the largest manufacturing building in the world. The factory consists of 472 million cubic feet of space and sits on 98.3 acres of land.
Boeing assembles both the passenger intercontinental and freighter variants of the 747 at the plant.
At the time of Sloan's tour, Boeing had three 747s under construction at the plant, all of which were freighters.
According to Sloan, it takes Boeing roughly 112 days to complete assembly of a new 747 -- about two-thirds of the time it used to take.
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