Boeing 747

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A Boeing 747-400 in KLM livery.
A Boeing 747-100 in PIA livery.

The Boeing 747, sometimes nicknamed the "Jumbo Jet", is among the world's most recognizable aircraft, and was the first wide-body commercial airliner ever produced. Manufactured by Boeing's Commercial Airplane unit in the United States, the original version of the 747 was two and a half times the size of the Boeing 707, one of the common large commercial aircraft of the 1960s. The aircraft's wingspan is actually longer than the length of the Wright Brothers' first flight. First flown commercially in 1970, it held the passenger capacity record for 37 years, until it was surpassed by the Airbus A380.

The four-engine 747 uses a double deck configuration for part of its length. It is available in passenger, freighter and other versions. The 747's hump created by the upper deck allows for a front cargo door on freighter versions, and serves as additional seating in most versions. The 747-400, the latest version in service, is among the fastest airliners in service with a high-subsonic cruise speed of Mach 0.85 (567 mph or 913 km/h). It has an intercontinental range of 7,260 nautical miles (8,350 mi or 13,450 km). The 747-400 passenger version can accommodate 416 passengers in a typical three-class layout or 524 passengers in a typical two-class layout.

The 747 was expected to become obsolete after 400 were sold because of the development of supersonic airliners, but it has outlived many of its critics' expectations, and production passed the 1,000 mark in 1993. As of March 2008, 1,400 aircraft had been built, with 122 more in various configurations on order. The latest version of the aircraft, the 747-8, is scheduled to enter service in 2009.



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