The New 747!

Last month, Boeing successfully completed the first flight of the long awaited new passenger version of its legendary 747 Jumbo Jet, the 747-8i.  The 747 is easily recognizable by its characteristic ‘hump’ on the forward section of the fuselage. While the aesthetic changes in this new version of the plane are subtle, this is actually the first time Boeing has stretched the full fuselage of the 747 (previous modifications have included a shortened version, the 747SP, and the lengthening of the ‘hump’ on the 747-300 and -400). Other new features of the 747-8i include an improved wing and more fuel-efficient engines. 

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Lufthansa, Germany’s flag-carrier airline, was the first airline to order the 747-8 for passenger use (since joined by Korean Air and Air China).  Lufthansa has a long history with Boeing, and still has many 747-400 series aircraft in its fleet.

photo credit: Lufthansa

My first international flight was aboard a Lufthansa 747-200 (one of the 747 ‘classic’ series) in 1989.  Ever since I first saw the spiral staircase on the interior of that massive plane, I have been enamored with the 747.  (Unfortunately, my other lasting memory of this flight was having to duck under the cloud of cigarette smoke while seated in the smoking section). Above all, I am mostly excited that Boeing’s introduction of this new version of the 747 will allow me to see the ‘Queen of the Skies’ ferrying passengers around the world for decades to come!

Photo Credit: Boeing

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