The world's largest commercial jet-liner, an enlarged 747 with fuel-efficient engines and electronic cockpit displays, made its aerial debut "beautifully," says the test pilot of the latest Boeing jumbo jet.
The first Boeing 747-400 was taken on a 21/2-hour flight Friday from Paine Field at Everett, where the jumbo jets are made, to Boeing Field in Seattle, where The Boeing Co. has its headquarters.Just a few minutes after the newest plane touched down, the original 747, the "City of Everett," which first flew in 1969, also landed at Boeing Field. That plane was never flown commercially but has been used by Boeing for various test programs and now is used for crew training.
The new jumbo jet measures 231 feet, 10 inches in length, same as the original, with a 211-foot wingspan, up from 195 feet on the original model 747-100.
The new jumbo jet has a stretched upper deck and can carry as many as 660 passengers, but normally would carry about 450 in three classes: first, business and coach. The model 100 seated 385 passengers.
Its most noticeable feature are six-foot "winglets" tilted upward at the tip of each wing, which improve aerodynamic efficiency. It has a range of 8,400 miles, compared to the 747-100's 5,200 miles.
The other major change is on the flight deck, where more than 600 dials and switches have been replaced by six color video screens, allowing a crew of just two to operate the aircraft, instead of the usual three.