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End Of An Era in American Manufacturing---The last 747

standardparts

Diamond
Joined
Mar 26, 2019
An epic benchmark in American design, engineering, and manufacturing, the 747.

The last of approx 1,560 Boeing 747 aircraft is set to roll off the assembly line in November of this year. No one single link to chronicle the vast effect of manufacturing the 747. As long as a year ago vendors/contractors were winding up the last components. The assembly building complex alone in Everett covers 90 plus acres and was built in 1967 specifically for the 747 and no doubt would bring Boeing a huge pile of cash if put up on the real estate market. Anyway---it's likely many on PM have had that "last one down the line" experience in all different types of manufacturing but the end of 747 must represent the all time big one in regards to parts count and scale of assembly.

( worked 747s as an A&P line mechanic for a major airline and can say the 747 was big...VERY BIG!)

Lot's of stuff covering the 747....this blog just kind of following the end:

 
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Joined
Apr 14, 2018
Location
Airstrip One, Oceania
An epic benchmark in American design, engineering, and manufacturing, the 747.

Umm, fairly infrequently mentioned in the gushing plaudits is the fact that Boeing did NOT want to build this plane. It was Juan Trippe's dream, not theirs, and they resisted fiercely, until it became a hit.

Boeing management has been stupid for a long time.
 

Trueturning

Diamond
Joined
Jul 2, 2019
The Chinese use. The ski jump launch on their Air raft carrier just like the Russians instead of the catapult style launch of the American carriers. The American carriers can launch mucho planes into the air quick which includes if necessary nuclear Bob carrying planes ready to go 24-7. I like Boeing and many other companies which have gone away afte the Cold War previously ended. I recall Chrysler would take these planes and redo them for rich clients. As I recall it was in Waco Tx. Where a old Airbase had been. A natural place for aerospace and working on planes over the decades.
 

standardparts

Diamond
Joined
Mar 26, 2019
Umm, fairly infrequently mentioned in the gushing plaudits is the fact that Boeing did NOT want to build this plane. It was Juan Trippe's dream, not theirs, and they resisted fiercely, until it became a hit.

Boeing management has been stupid for a long time.

Big leap for Boeing at the time considering not only the size of the aircraft but don't forget the dedicated plant complex to build it.
The United States aviation industry led the world at that time but the 747 was a huge undertaking as most people would acknowledge. Lots of engineers still living in a slide rule world along with halls full of drafting machines.
Trippe's PanAm at the time had a virtual monopoly on overseas travel so it could pretty much spec the aircraft it needed and know it would be profitable. Then came de-regulation. But all that can be found for anyone who want to go down the airline industry rabbit hole.

Times change. Like I said-- end of an era. Big airplane.
 

Comatose

Titanium
Joined
Feb 25, 2005
Location
Akron, OH
Big, no doubt, but also unnecessary, as engine technology and regs have moved past it. The 777 can these days do basically everything that a 747 can at two thirds the cost. That's what killed it in the end. Not Boeing's festering incompetence.

See also: A380.

I don't think we'll ever see another clean sheet 4 engine jet.
 

standardparts

Diamond
Joined
Mar 26, 2019
Sure. But it wasn't Boeing's idea. In fact they fought it tooth and nail. I just like to see Juan Trippe get the credit he deserves. It was him, not Boeing, that thought it up and pushed it through.
You should start a Juan Trippe tribute page especially since Trippe was a big player in the early China airline trade.
No doubt a great idea on Mr. Trippe's part facilitated by the design and manufacturing team at Boeing. Some might call it a collaborative effort?
Am sure there are many books giving the history of the personalities and companies of that era.
 
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Joined
Apr 14, 2018
Location
Airstrip One, Oceania
You should start a Juan Trippe tribute page especially since Trippe was a big player in the Chinese airline business.

There's several decent books out there about Pan Am. PanAm [is] Juan Trippe, so ... but since you bring up Air China, kind of entertaining that Juan was the only one who saw the handwriting on the wall and sold off that division when the selling was good. Even funnier that Air China is the only living descendent of PanAm, the company responsible for the 747.

The world is more connected than jingoists realize :D
 
While Juan Trippe and Pan Am were the impetus for the civil version, Boeing already had the design from the C5 bidding. The upper hump was for a clear cargo deck. Lockheed won the heavy lifter contract but Boeing won the civil aircraft biz. In the propeller era Douglas and Lockheed far out sold Boeing in the airliner market.

Boeing was famous for their wing design, it was their factory secret until the 787.

Steve
 

DrHook

Hot Rolled
Joined
Oct 8, 2013
Location
Pierre
Umm, fairly infrequently mentioned in the gushing plaudits is the fact that Boeing did NOT want to build this plane. It was Juan Trippe's dream, not theirs, and they resisted fiercely, until it became a hit.

Boeing management has been stupid for a long time.
...and Henry Ford thought all cars should just be black. BFD
 
Joined
Apr 14, 2018
Location
Airstrip One, Oceania
While Juan Trippe and Pan Am were the impetus for the civil version, Boeing already had the design from the C5 bidding. The upper hump was for a clear cargo deck. Lockheed won the heavy lifter contract but Boeing won the civil aircraft biz. In the propeller era Douglas and Lockheed far out sold Boeing in the airliner market.

Boeing bid on the heavy lift project but didnt win. The 747 did not become the C5, Lockheed won. They had no intention of building a civilian airliner that size, they were scared to take that risk. It was Trippe who had vision and the nerve to do it, and pushed them into building what he wanted. He deserves the credit, not them.

Pan Am was a pretty decent company.

In fact, Boeing was not competitive with the Connie and the DC's, either. If Pan Am hadn't had a relationship with them from that overgrown seaplane and pushed them into the 707, they wouldnt be shit. He pretty much made that company what it became.
 
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I am not dissing Juan or Pan Am merely stating the design was already done when Pan Am approached Boeing with the concept. By the way, the Boeing swept wing design started with the B-47 and was the secret sauce of ALL Boeing commercial airplanes up to the 787.

I share your admiration for Pan Am and all their innovation. They didn't deserve the fate the did. From Sikorsky flying boats to Art Deco terminals they were the drivers of the industry for half a century. Juan Trippe also set up what was to become the foundation for the air traffic system world wide. Pan Am has a legacy that is far deeper than most realize.

Steve
 

gustafson

Diamond
Joined
Sep 4, 2002
Location
People's Republic
Everybody built a widebody at that time. No doubt the 747 was the best
Interesting we look at airport congestion, and wonder if the airlines made the right decision.
 

standardparts

Diamond
Joined
Mar 26, 2019
Boeing bid on the heavy lift project but didnt win. The 747 did not become the C5, Lockheed won. They had no intention of building a civilian airliner that size, they were scared to take that risk. It was Trippe who had vision and the nerve to do it, and pushed them into building what he wanted. He deserves the credit, not them.

Pan Am was a pretty decent company.

In fact, Boeing was not competitive with the Connie and the DC's, either. If Pan Am hadn't had a relationship with them from that overgrown seaplane and pushed them into the 707, they wouldnt be shit. He pretty much made that company what it became.
Well then a tip of the hat to Mr. Juan Trippe and to Boeing for being nagged into building the 707 and although the Lockheed Constellation was a beautiful airliner it was obsolete the day the Boeing 707 began service.
As far as Lockheed and Douglas their final attempts at passenger airliners the L1011 and DC10 were less than stellar aircraft----
 

standardparts

Diamond
Joined
Mar 26, 2019
I am not dissing Juan or Pan Am merely stating the design was already done when Pan Am approached Boeing with the concept. By the way, the Boeing swept wing design started with the B-47 and was the secret sauce of ALL Boeing commercial airplanes up to the 787.

I share your admiration for Pan Am and all their innovation. They didn't deserve the fate the did. From Sikorsky flying boats to Art Deco terminals they were the drivers of the industry for half a century. Juan Trippe also set up what was to become the foundation for the air traffic system world wide. Pan Am has a legacy that is far deeper than most realize.

Steve
"They didn't deserve the fate the did." PanAm was done in by deregulation and was headed towards bankruptcy--- The Lockerbie Flight 103 bombing probably finished what de-reg started along with PanAm selling off the best routes to stay afloat.
 
The L-1011 coulda been a contender, RR just about killed Lockheed when they went on strike and held up RB-211 delivery. One of my oldest friends father was VP commercial sales at Lockheed. Had the delivery schedule been on time it would have had a different outcome. IT was a good airframe and the RAF and others still use them as tankers.

The "other" wide bodies like the L-1011 and DC-10/MD-11 never had the success the 74 did. The range alone put it in a class by itself for many years. Like the DC-3 the 747 will be flying long after many of its successors are just memories.

Steve
 








 
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