The hugely significant 747 revolutionised airline transport. Far bigger than anything before it, the 747 slashed operating costs per seat and thus cut the cost of long haul international airline travel.
Boeing conceived the 747 in the mid 1960s following its failure to secure a US Air Force contract for an ultra large strategic transport (which resulted in the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy), when it identified a market for a high capacity 'jumbo jet'. Boeing was able to draw upon design experience with the USAF transport and launched the new airliner on July 25 1966. First flight occurred on February 9 1969, certification was awarded on December 30 that year.
The basic 747-100 entered service with Pan American in January 1970. Progressive development of the 747 led to the 747-200B with higher weights, more powerful engines and longer range. The -200B first flew in October 1970 entering service with KLM, while nine higher weight 747-100Bs were built.
Developments include the 747-200F freighter, the SR (short range) optimised for high cycle short sector operations and the C (Combi).
The 747 holds a place in the public eye unlike any other aircraft. The so called `Queen of the Skies' opened up international travel to millions. It is also notable for being the first widebody airliner, the largest and heaviest airliner, and the first to use fuel efficient, high bypass turbofans.