EAA To Celebrate The Boeing 747 At Oshkosh 2019


Photo: AP

Boeing’s iconic airliner first flew 50 years ago this Feb. 9, and to carry the celebration into summer EAA will have “special programming taking place throughout the week” of EAA AirVenture 2019. While the 747 is no longer the largest airliner in the skies, for a generation of passengers it stands as a physically imposing expression of jet travel’s rapid expansion.

But back on Feb. 9, 1969, the 747 was not guaranteed success. As the largest airliner extant, the 747 had already pushed Boeing’s financials to the edge and required a workforce of 50,000 to build the first article in less than 16 months. And it would force infrastructure changes at airports. Skeptics thought it was a bridge too far.

The 747’s success proved the skeptics wrong. Of the 1548 747s produced to date, just under a third are still flying worldwide, although more than half of those are freighters. Delta Air Lines was the last U.S. airline to use the 747 in passenger service, retiring its last example in January 2018.