Seattle - February 9, 1969, is one of the most important dates in civil aviation. Fifty years ago on that day, the Boeing 747 made its first flight and changed air travel for decades.
In the 60s, Boeing was working hard to develop its iconic superjumbo while the industry thinking that the future of civil aviation was supersonic aircraft.
In 1963, Boeing was competing for a military contract ordering a heavy transporter with a nose loading cargo door. Boeing appeared with its unique double-decker design but the contract went to Lockheed and General Electric, the developers of the C5 Galaxy.
After that, Boeing decided to produce the passenger version of the plane.
The development of the Boeing 747 brought the American aircraft manufacturer almost to the abyss. The aircraft was the largest and heaviest passenger aircraft of its time, and considerable investments were needed in the new technologies, such as engines that could carry the aircraft.
Thanks to the trust and support of the launch customer Pan Am, Boeing had been able to complete the development of the aircraft and delivered the first superjumbo to the airline on January 15, 1970. After that time, the iconic superjumbo had been the largest passenger aircraft in service for 37 years. The aircraft quickly became popular among travelers and Boeing delivered around 1500 copies since then.
The future for the Boeing 747 today seems to be mainly in freight transport, driven by the growing number of consumers who shop online.