The 747 evolved from Boeing�s entry in the U.S. Air Force�s cargo-aircraft competition of 1963-1965 and Pan Am�s simultaneous demand for a larger airliner to replace Boeing�s highly successful 707. In addition to hauling passengers, Pan Am also required the new aircraft to be convertible into a full-time freighter, once the supersonic transport (SST) entered passenger service. In order to accommodate two 8-foot (2.44m) by 8-foot cargo containers, side by side, the 747�s fuselage needed to be 20 feet, 1 inch (6.1 m) wide, thereby creating the world�s first �wide-body� cabin. To allow cargo to be loaded and unloaded through the nose, Boeing elevated the flight deck above the cabin, giving the 747 its iconic "hump". Known as "RA001" within Boeing, the 747 prototype depicted here first flew on February 9, 1969. Since then, there have been more than 1,500 747's delivered, and the 747-8 series is currently in production.
This aircraft will be displayed at the Museum of Flight's new Aviation Pavilion beginning Spring 2016. For more information, visit www.museumofflight.org.