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The end of the line for the Boeing 747... Login/Join 
Rule #1: Use enough gun
Picture of Bigboreshooter
posted
https://www.bloomberg.com/news...-iconic-jumbo-in-u-s

United Airlines plans to fly its last Boeing Co. 747 jumbo jet late this year, retiring its largest airplanes a year ahead of schedule as the iconic aircraft glides into the sunset.

The decision marks the end of an era for U.S. airlines, which have relied on the humpbacked 747 to bring jet travel to a mass consumer market since the plane debuted in 1970. United flew its first jumbo between California and Hawaii that year.

It’s also a reminder of the tough task Boeing faces as it tries to keep its newest 747 model, the -8, aloft amid waning demand for four-engine aircraft. The Chicago-based planemaker has just 28 unfilled orders, after closing 17 sales of the freighter version of the jet last year. Boeing has said it would end production if more orders don’t materialize.

“It’s a bittersweet milestone -- this jumbo jet with its unmistakable silhouette once represented the state-of-the-art in air travel,” United President Scott Kirby said in a letter to employees Wednesday.

The Chicago-based carrier is the largest U.S. operator of the passenger 747-400 variant, with 20 of the aircraft in its fleet. Delta Air Lines Inc. is also parking its jumbo jets this year. Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., ANA Holdings Inc., Singapore Airlines Ltd. and Air France are among carriers that have retired their 747-400 jetliners this decade amid a shift from four-engine aircraft to twin-engine planes, which are more fuel efficient, cheaper to maintain and capable of hauling nearly as many people over vast distances.
United spokesman Luke Punzenberger wouldn’t say which wide-body aircraft would replace the planes that have served as the airline’s workhorses on trans-Pacific routes for two decades. The carrier has taken delivery of the first of 14 Boeing 777-300ERs it has ordered for long-range flying.

The airline also has ordered 35 Airbus A350-1000s, but is weighing converting those twin-aisle jets to the smaller -900 variant or the mid-sized A330, United Chief Financial Officer Andrew Levy said in a November interview.

The airline plans to move pilot and flight attendant crews assigned to the 747 transition to other aircraft, Kirby told employees. “Our forward-looking fleet plan will cover 747 replacements and anticipated growth opportunities,” he said. “And of course, we’ll honor the 747 with an unforgettable retirement celebration.”



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Posts: 12917 | Location: Birmingham, Alabama | Registered: February 25, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Alienator
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This sucks. I like the security of 4 turbines on my flights across the Pacific.


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Posts: 4551 | Location: NC | Registered: March 16, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Irksome Whirling Dervish
Picture of Flashlightboy
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The end of production has been forcast for several years and it's just been a matter of time until the orders run out.

If you look at all the 747s in Victorville or mothballed in other places, the world can choose from many of them to be put back in service.

My estimate is that the new AF1 747s will be the last ones of the run.
 
Posts: 2685 | Location: "You can't just go to Walmart with a gift card and get a new brother." Janice Serrano | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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And screw United for buying Airbus !

Bob


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Posts: 225 | Registered: September 03, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Coin Sniper
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This is a sad time.

My Uncle worked as a maintenance supervisor for United Airlines for 30 years. He used to refer to the 747 as "those damn big jets". The first time I saw one I knew it was something special.

When I was in college, a lot of what we studied was based on the 747. Two years after I graduated they moved the airport facility to another airport in order to have a hanger big enough to house a donated 747. One side was to be left as is, the other side had one engine removed for the A&P, the other was left on but completely unbuttoned. The flight deck was for pilot training, part of the cabin a class room, part a theater. The rest open for instruction and 'maintenance'.

My initial plan was college, military (A-10) then cargo, commercial and eventually Captain a 747. That path didn't work (thanks Bill Clinton). But I never lost my love for the 747.
Joe Sutter and his team did an amazing job designing the jet that set the standard for every jet built since.

In all of my travels, I've never had the opportunity until now. My next flight to Japan in 2 weeks is on a Delta 747-400. My first and probably last/only trip on my iconic jet.




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Posts: 31900 | Location: Above the snow line in Michigan | Registered: May 21, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
The Persian
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quote:
Originally posted by VonFatman:
And screw United for buying Airbus !


ETOPS and the 777 killed the 747 more than anything else. Go to the international terminal of an airport and 777s outnumber everything else. You see the rare A380 for high density routes, and a few other aircraft like 767s and A330s but the 777 owns the transoceanic market these days in the way that the 747 did in the past.


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Posts: 20005 | Location: At the wall | Registered: February 13, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Ball Haulin'
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Its just a victim of advancing technology. Reliability and economy with 2 engine aircraft (and ETOPS) has come to a point where 4 engines (or three) are just no longer necessary. UA along with others are already certified for and operating 220+ minute ETOPS. Nowhere on the planet is a gap anymore. Between this, and other advances in navigation and communication (such as FANS, ADS-B, C, etc) the era of these birds is over. Sad but true. Just as a reminder, the only reason the 747 has 4 engines is tha that it cant fly on 3. The A340 was a flop as well. Never met the numbers. The only passenger airlines (with some exception) you see operating 4 engined aircraft exclusively do so because they arent allowed ETOPS operations due toma host of operational and mainenance issues.
 
Posts: 9899 | Location: At the end of the gravel road. | Registered: November 02, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
The Persian
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quote:
Originally posted by entropy:
The only passenger airlines (with some exception) you see operating 4 engined aircraft exclusively do so because they arent allowed ETOPS operations due toma host of operational and mainenance issues.


Which should be taken as a clue on who not to fly.

I think with exception of the A380 and cargo the 4 engine airliners' days are numbered.

Right now there are 456 total 4 engine airliners flying according to flightaware. Compare that to over 600 of 777s alone.


-------
A turbo: Exhaust gasses go into the turbocharger and spin it, witchcraft happens, and you go faster.

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"King in the north!"
"Slow is smooth... and also slow.

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Posts: 20005 | Location: At the wall | Registered: February 13, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Ball Haulin'
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Yep. Next time in JFK, LAX or looking at any major world hub...note who's flying 4 engines. Like you said, cargo and A380s aside, it should be a "clue". Think "Third World".

There are 2-engine ETOPS capable operators who have lost their certification to fly in US airspace. Thai is one. Phillippine Airlines is on the short, short, short list as well.
 
Posts: 9899 | Location: At the end of the gravel road. | Registered: November 02, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Beer Me!
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quote:
Originally posted by SIG4EVA:
This sucks. I like the security of 4 turbines on my flights across the Pacific.


Ehh, you only need 1 anyway Smile.


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Posts: 3777 | Location: Seattle, Warshington | Registered: August 31, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
A Grateful American
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I had 4 uncles and an aunt work for Boeing and all were heavily involved on the 747 from the beginning.

It is something when an iconic person, age, object passes, which has been around so long, that leaves one suddenly aware of a passing of time that occured subtly.




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Posts: 34494 | Location: My Happy Little Tire Swing | Registered: December 20, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Big Stack
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I'm skeptical they'll even get built as originally proposed. I bet Trump downsizes them to a 777 or something.

quote:
Originally posted by Flashlightboy:
My estimate is that the new AF1 747s will be the last ones of the run.
 
Posts: 16779 | Registered: November 05, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
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How about how different times are today... I remember my family driving to Pittsburgh International, to see, and wait in long lines to go aboard for a tour of the then brand new 747. It was its first landing at PIT, and a big deal for sure. Man that was long time ago, and like being in another country from today.


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Posts: 1892 | Location: W PA | Registered: March 03, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Unflappable Enginerd
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My father was a machinist for Boeing and worked on the prototype 747, I still have pictures laying around of his group posing in front of it.

He later transitioned to the engineering group and his last bird before retiring was with flight test group on the 737-300. I remember him telling me why the turbofan shrouds on the 300 were flat on the bottom. Apparently the hard landing tests at Moses Lake revealed the original shroud got dinged up pretty good.

He also worked on the AOA(Airborne Optical Adjunct) "Star Wars" project in the mid 80's, got a tour on it, that was a neat plane.


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Posts: 2955 | Location: Headland, AL | Registered: April 19, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Husband, Father, Aggie,
all around good guy!
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United sucks first thing to say, unfortunately they bought hometown Continental which wasn't the best airlines to start with honestly and managed to make everything suck.
I just flew United flight 872 a 747 from Taiwan to SFO and that plane sucks, can't compare to 777 or the newer AirBus models. United has refused to invest in upgrades for that flight. The movie system stops working the heads are loud and smell, the cabin noise is loud. Will be glad to see that flight move to a newer plane!!

Maybe they will use this opportunity to retire the all old hag crews on these long flights too. Bunch of rude union lifers in my experience.

HK Ag
 
Posts: 2006 | Location: Tomball, Texas | Registered: August 09, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
teacher of history
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Coming home from Vietnam back in 1970, the first 747 was sitting on the ground in Hawaii. After we landed, the pilot was on the intercom yelling and all excited. He taxied over to where it was parked and told us "That is the future."
 
Posts: 4048 | Registered: March 04, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Ball Haulin'
Picture of entropy
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quote:
Originally posted by maxwayne:
Coming home from Vietnam back in 1970, the first 747 was sitting on the ground in Hawaii. After we landed, the pilot was on the intercom yelling and all excited. He taxied over to where it was parked and told us "That is the future."


In 1970...it was.

Just like the TWA Captain I knew who was one of the first 767 guys to be certified for SIXTY MINUTE ETOPS.

Wright Brothers stit right there I tell ya!
 
Posts: 9899 | Location: At the end of the gravel road. | Registered: November 02, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Leatherneck
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I always wanted to fly in one. I spent 13 years traveling and accumulated over a million air miles, a good amount of which were overseas, and still never took a trip in a 747.

I don't think Delta had a bunch. I remember looking one time in the in-flight magazine and they didn't have any 747 variants listed at all. I know they got some when they acquired Northwest but I have no idea how many or where they flew to. I do not recall ever seeing a Delta 747 at ATL.




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Posts: 11785 | Location: Georgia | Registered: May 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Too clever by half
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Only flew on a 747 once that I recall, and it was memorable.




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Posts: 9310 | Location: Richmond, VA | Registered: December 11, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Ball Haulin'
Picture of entropy
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quote:
Originally posted by Pale Horse:
I always wanted to fly in one. I spent 13 years traveling and accumulated over a million air miles, a good amount of which were overseas, and still never took a trip in a 747.

I don't think Delta had a bunch. I remember looking one time in the in-flight magazine and they didn't have any 747 variants listed at all. I know they got some when they acquired Northwest but I have no idea how many or where they flew to. I do not recall ever seeing a Delta 747 at ATL.


DL also had them back in the beginning. Also from the Pan Am aquisition too IIRC. The quickly rolled them into the L-1011 fleet.
 
Posts: 9899 | Location: At the end of the gravel road. | Registered: November 02, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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