After more than half a century, the last “Queen of the Skies” ever built is being readied for delivery.
The last Boeing 747 ever built left the company’s widebody factory in Everett, Washington, in the night of December 6, 2022. The world-famous jumbo jet, dubbed by many as the “Queen of the Skies”, is maybe the most popular plane ever built by Boeing, and has played a key role in the company’s history.
The production of the 747 began in 1967 with the first prototype and, with this last aircraft, a total of 1,574 airplanes were built. The aircraft saw a multitude of users and missions throughout its career. The most iconic one is probably the Air Force One is use by the President of the United States, based on the Boeing 747-200 and, in future, the 747-8.
“For more than half a century, tens of thousands of dedicated Boeing employees have designed and built this magnificent airplane that has truly changed the world. We are proud that this plane will continue to fly across the globe for years to come,” said Kim Smith, Boeing Vice President and general manager, 747 and 767 Programs.
There she goes!
The last 747 has left our Everett factory ahead of delivery to Atlas Air in early 2023. #QueenOfTheSkies
Photos: Boeing/Paul Weatherman pic.twitter.com/duzgr6MzQl
— Boeing Airplanes (@BoeingAirplanes) December 7, 2022
The last Boeing 747 is a 747-8 Freighter, which will now fly to another facility to be painted ahead of the delivery to Atlas Air in early 2023. In 1970, the now defunct Pan Am became the launch customer of the double-decker jumbo jet, changing forever the way people moved around the world. Today, only 44 Boeing 747 are still in service in the passenger variants, while 314 freighter variants are in service.
The passenger variants could carry between 400 to 500 passengers, depending on the versions, while the latest 747-8 freighter variant can carry a maximum payload of 307,000 lbs. Specialized variants were built to transport the Space Shuttle and, more recently, to launch VirginOrbit’s LauncherOne air-launched two-stage orbital launch vehicle. Another specialized variant was the recently retired 747SP Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) operated by NASA.
Boeing announced in 2020 that it would end the production of all variants of the Boeing 747, as clients preferred either the more fuel-efficient Boeing 777 freighter or converted former 747 passenger variants as freighters. The company will keep open the facilities in Everett, Washington, where the 747 was built, but has not yet announced plans for it.