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Author Topic: Last Boeing 747 leaves Everett factory  (Read 869 times)

Bruce

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Last Boeing 747 leaves Everett factory
« on: December 07, 2022, 01:52:22 PM »

The 1,574th and final Boeing 747 has left the Everett factory and is headed for the flightline. The only new ones yet to enter service are two airframes being retooled to replace Air Force One.

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/final-747-rollout-for-queen-of-the-skies/



Long live the Queen of the Skies.
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triplemultiplex

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Re: Last Boeing 747 leaves Everett factory
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2022, 12:10:12 PM »

Bigger is no longer better in that industry, it would seem.  Smaller jets with similar range are the way of things now.  Gives airlines more flexibility in scheduling.
I imagine 747's will live longest as cargo planes.
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Bruce

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Re: Last Boeing 747 leaves Everett factory
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2022, 07:39:09 PM »

Bigger is no longer better in that industry, it would seem.  Smaller jets with similar range are the way of things now.  Gives airlines more flexibility in scheduling.
I imagine 747's will live longest as cargo planes.

The hub-and-spoke model is no longer used for the majority of trunk trip pairs. With the 787 and A350, airlines can simply run non-stop flights on trip pairs that wouldn't have made sense with a 747 or 777.
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jgb191

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Re: Last Boeing 747 leaves Everett factory
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2022, 12:17:15 AM »

^ You mean like Europe to Australia nonstop?  Or from Asia to South America?
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Bruce

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Re: Last Boeing 747 leaves Everett factory
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2022, 12:25:10 AM »

^ You mean like Europe to Australia nonstop?  Or from Asia to South America?

More like the oddball routes to mid-tier US cities that now have non-stop flights to Europe. Or Norwegian's whole pre-pandemic strategy.
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Duke87

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Re: Last Boeing 747 leaves Everett factory
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2022, 12:48:29 AM »

I imagine 747's will live longest as cargo planes.

Well that is what they were originally designed to be. At the time the 747 was being developed, the common assumption was that soon all new passenger planes would be supersonic. Boeing shoehorned in a passenger config for the 747 when that started not working out.

As far as bigger no longer being better, we shall see. If the shortage of pilots does not abate, larger planes may start looking attractive again. As it is we're already seeing some upgauges to 737s/A320s from regional jets.
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formulanone

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Re: Last Boeing 747 leaves Everett factory
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2022, 06:07:46 AM »

^ You mean like Europe to Australia nonstop?  Or from Asia to South America?

More like the oddball routes to mid-tier US cities that now have non-stop flights to Europe. Or Norwegian's whole pre-pandemic strategy.

I'm guessing that strategy is more about how to slowly capture our international market, using their overseas hubs as connections to further destinations. After all, it's worked in Europe for the Middle East 3 airlines. A non-US flag carrier isn't going to be permitted to have too many different destinations out of any one airport, so they have to spread themselves a little thinner. But I don't see how that's a great short-term strategy if expensive fuel is bigger problem for European carriers rather than the oil-rich ones, but many carriers in Europe are government subsidized to some degree.

Otherwise, I just can't imagine there's 300-500 people a day from the Nashville area (as an example) needing to go to London on a near-daily basis. So something like a twin-engine Airbus 330 or Boeing 787 can have 250 passengers and still have a decent transcontinental range. There's still a good money to be made with cargo operations, so I don't think we'll see the jets get too much smaller on long-haul routes, except for a handful of routes with reliably-full passenger counts.   
« Last Edit: December 09, 2022, 06:19:33 AM by formulanone »
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Stephane Dumas

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Re: Last Boeing 747 leaves Everett factory
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2022, 09:40:19 AM »

Still, the 747 inspired some movies like Airport 75 known in French as "747 en péril" who got some footage reused for an episode of the old live-action Incredible Hulk tv series titled 747.
https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6gfvwr

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JayhawkCO

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Re: Last Boeing 747 leaves Everett factory
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2022, 09:50:41 AM »

I'll have fond memories. Obviously there's still a chance I fly it again as it's not out of service completely, but I've flown in this bird 9 times.

Some were not all that exciting:
Saigon to Bangkok on Lufthansa in Economy
Hong Kong to San Francisco (and vice versa) on United in Economy
Singapore to Hong Kong on United in Economy

Some were far more interesting:
Jakarta to Singapore on Lufthansa in First Class
JFK to Heathrow on British Airways in Premium Economy

And then the grand daddy:
Singapore to Tokyo to Los Angeles in Singapore Airlines First Class. I sat in seat 1B which was known as 'The Throne' because it was literally in the nose of the plane (and the cockpit was directly above you).

Lufthansa is still the largest operator of 747s flying 29 routes per day.

SP Cook

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Re: Last Boeing 747 leaves Everett factory
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2022, 01:33:20 PM »

The chance of flying on one as a passenger is about gone.  According to simple flying, Air China has 10 747s, one of which is its version of “Air Force One” and the other 9 are mostly used within China. 

Atlas Air, which is a cargo airline, has 7 of its 747s that can be set up for passengers which it is willing to lease to an airline if one wanted it.  6 are currently set up for cargo and the 7th is leased to a contractor to move US troops across the Pacific.

Asiana (Korean) has one.  It is currently parked in Taiwan waiting for the market to pick up.

Korean Air has 10.  These are regularly in service and this is among one’s best chance of flying on one.  They use it for Seoul to Honolulu often.

Lufthansa (German) has the most, with 27, which are in service around the world.

Max (Nigerian) has one that is regularly used to fly to Middle Eastern hubs from Nigeria.

And then there are the two special cases.  Mahan (Iranian) 2 full passenger and the last “combi” (half passenger, half cargo) in service.  Iran cannot purchase modern planes and has a whole fleet of 1980s era planes.   It gets service parts via Egyptian middle men.

And Rossiya, (Russian) which has nine.  All are grounded as they cannot overfly most western countries.  Stuff I read says that many Russian planes are leased and they just won’t return them to the banks so they are careful about what countries they fly to even if allowed, to avoid the repo men; and that they are maybe 18 months from starting to run out of spare parts for Boeing and Airbus planes. 
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Ted$8roadFan

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Re: Last Boeing 747 leaves Everett factory
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2022, 01:36:15 PM »

As someone not that familiar with aviation……did fuel economy/climate change concerns have anything to do with this?
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formulanone

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Re: Last Boeing 747 leaves Everett factory
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2022, 02:43:03 PM »

As someone not that familiar with aviation……did fuel economy/climate change concerns have anything to do with this?

Mostly fuel economy; at speed, a 747 guzzles gallons of fuel at a rate of 40-60 gallons per minute. It's not as if a 777 is much better (about 15%, according to sources), but factor that over a 20-year-lifespan and that's some serious savings. It also depends on total weights, flying into headwinds, extra or unplanned maneuvers and it all gets pricey.

So far, I don't think the aviation industry has the same public scrutiny that road-going traffic has against it. I'm sure there will be a reckoning and the industry will more or less be forced to adapt to changing regulations and requirements.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2022, 02:47:42 PM by formulanone »
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US 89

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Re: Last Boeing 747 leaves Everett factory
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2022, 03:40:51 PM »

I believe the fuel economy of a Boeing 747 is on average approximately 5 gallons per mile.

kphoger

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Re: Last Boeing 747 leaves Everett factory
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2022, 04:05:18 PM »

The fuel economy of an airplane varies significantly by journey length, because so much more fuel is burned at takeoff than while cruising.
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Re: Last Boeing 747 leaves Everett factory
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2022, 04:06:51 PM »

So far, I don't think the aviation industry has the same public scrutiny that road-going traffic has against it. I'm sure there will be a reckoning and the industry will more or less be forced to adapt to changing regulations and requirements.

Even at 0.25 mpg, it can still work out to better fuel economy than if everyone had driven their own cars instead.
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Duke87

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Re: Last Boeing 747 leaves Everett factory
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2022, 02:48:38 AM »

So far, I don't think the aviation industry has the same public scrutiny that road-going traffic has against it. I'm sure there will be a reckoning and the industry will more or less be forced to adapt to changing regulations and requirements.

Even at 0.25 mpg, it can still work out to better fuel economy than if everyone had driven their own cars instead.

This is true, though it works out to only somewhat better than typical car travel. And trains (even high speed trains) are still way more energy efficient than airplanes. This is part of why some countries have been passing regulations to forbid certain journeys from being taken by plane when a train that can make the trip relatively quickly is available. For example you can no longer book a plane ticket from Paris to Bordeaux, it's illegal for an airline to sell you one. That said, airlines are still allowed to fly that segment to serve connecting passengers, so you could skiplag it.

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kkt

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Re: Last Boeing 747 leaves Everett factory
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2022, 10:41:45 AM »

As someone not that familiar with aviation……did fuel economy/climate change concerns have anything to do with this?

Yes, and the airlines don't need the government telling them that fuel efficiency is good.  Something like 20 to 40% of an airline ticket price goes straight to the fuel bill.

Newer planes than the 747 use carbon fiber and other exotic materials in strategic spots on the aircraft for high strength at low weight, instead of thicker aluminum.  Saves weight and improves fuel economy.  The 747 had four jets, and new planes hardly ever need more than two - the jets now are extremely reliable and the chance even one will fail is tiny let alone two.  Two big engines are more efficient than four medium-sized ones.

When introduced, the 747 revolutionized the travel industry almost as much as jets and pressurized cabins a generation earlier.  The 747 could carry people so much cheaper, the middle class could suddenly make cross-country or cross-ocean trips.
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CtrlAltDel

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Re: Last Boeing 747 leaves Everett factory
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2022, 11:49:17 AM »

The chance of flying on one as a passenger is about gone.  According to simple flying, Air China has 10 747s, one of which is its version of “Air Force One” and the other 9 are mostly used within China. 

I have had that chance. It was one of the Lufthansa ones (as you might have guessed), in 1994 (as you might also have guessed). What I remember most about it was that it took forever to board and deboard and that they gave me free booze, even though I was only 14.
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kkt

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Re: Last Boeing 747 leaves Everett factory
« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2022, 12:11:58 PM »

I never flew in the upper deck, but there's a 747 at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, so I've walked through it there.
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Bruce

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kkt

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Re: Last Boeing 747 leaves Everett factory
« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2023, 12:13:54 AM »

A fine aircraft.
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abefroman329

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Re: Last Boeing 747 leaves Everett factory
« Reply #21 on: February 01, 2023, 11:22:43 AM »

The first time I got to fly one was on United, NRT-LAX.  I had a ticket in business class, and there was a second business class cabin on the upper deck.  Only 24 seats, and it felt like I was flying in a private jet.  The captain came out before takeoff and introduced themselves to each passenger (all 24 seats were not occupied).

I got to fly BA's 747s seven years ago, but in coach, and it was indistinguishable from flying in coach on any other plane.

^ You mean like Europe to Australia nonstop?  Or from Asia to South America?

No, like, LHR-MSY, LHR-AUS, LHR-BNA.  Air New Zealand uses one to fly ORD-AKL nonstop.  Qantas was to fly ORD-BNE nonstop, but the service was to start right around the time COVID hit, and they dropped their plans.

The plane that seems to be the real game changer is the Airbus A321neo LR, though - Aer Lingus uses it to fly DUB-CLE.
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jgb191

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Re: Last Boeing 747 leaves Everett factory
« Reply #22 on: Today at 12:12:26 AM »

As someone not that familiar with aviation……did fuel economy/climate change concerns have anything to do with this?

Fuel-savings sure as heck did.  As with auto-buyers, airlines are looking for the most fuel-efficient aircraft to reduce cost.  The main thing about fuel efficiency was reducing weight, and B-787s and A-350s used lighter metals to build the planes.  For decades, American Airlines (AA) never painted their aircraft (until they bought the B-787s) because believe it or not paint is actually quite heavy especially on an aircraft.  I also suspect that jet engines have become more fuel efficient as well.

Now United Airlines has the range to do California to Singapore and India nonstop.  Delta can now do Atlanta to South Africa nonstop. 
« Last Edit: Today at 12:15:29 AM by jgb191 »
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mgk920

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Re: Last Boeing 747 leaves Everett factory
« Reply #23 on: Today at 02:26:20 AM »

UPS had one of their then newly-delivered B-747s on static public display at last year's (late July) EAA 'Airventure' in Oshkosh, WI (airport KOSH).  It was an impressive look-see.   :nod:

Mike
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