The Boeing 747 became famous with its nickname Jumbo Jet all over the world. More than 1000 B747 have been built so far.
As a result of the rising aviation market Boeing developed the 747 for over 400 passengers together with Pan Am. To be still able to keep the landing speed of the smaller predeccessor Boeing 707, the Boeing 747 was equipped with a clever flap system. The 747's famous hunch gives the aircraft its unique shape. Originally, only the flight deck and a lounge was supposed to fill the extra space. However, the airlines had a more economical opinion on this and filled it with seats.
The enormous increase in capacity of the 747 compared to the 707 revolutionized civil avitaion. Suddenly, flying had become a means of public transportation and wasn't restricted to upper classes anymore. Only this allowed the formation of worldwide airline networks.
The rollout of the first Boeing 747 was on September 30th 1968 in the new-built hangars of Everett, Washington. On January 21st 1970 Pan Am took its first 747 into service. As a result of the oil crisis at the beginning of the Sixties and on account of the too low range of the 747, Boeing developed the shortened version 747SP. Further, a domestic version named 747SR was developed for the Japanese domestic market.
With the first deliveries of the 747-300 to Swissair in 1983 the outer appearance of the 747 changed, as the version -300 was equipped with a stretched upper deck for an additional 44 passengers. Finally in 1990, all produced versions were stopped in favour of the 747-400. The only difference of the outer apperance between -300 and -400 are the winglets of the -400, however the flight deck of the -400 was changed into a two-men-flight deck and in the refurbished flight deck the analog instruments were replaced by LCD-screens.
Today the 747 is still the star on every airport. But Boeing has to take the toll on Airbus' new mega-plane A380, which has led 747 sales into a free fall. Even the new 747-400ER with extended range hasn't been able to stop this. Shortly, Boeing will have to face the decision whether to continue the legend of the 747 with a modernized 747Advanced, or close the production line of the world famous Jumbo Jet in favor of smaller long-range aircraft.