More than 30 years ago, the 747 made its first trip from New York to London. Since then, it's become the standard by which other large passenger jets are judged. Its size, range, speed, and capacity were then, and are now, the best in its class.
The 747–400 model was first introduced in 1985. The first –400 was delivered to Northwest Airlines four years later. It was designed to extend the already excellent capacity and range of the original 747, and, using lighter aluminum alloys and hardware adapted from the 757 and 767, it met its goal. Beginning in May 1990, the 747–400 became the only 747 currently in production, which has been an ongoing testament to its success.
The 747 has also captured a number of records. Thanks in part to use of advanced materials, like graphite, to replace heavy metals, and aluminum alloys used in wing skins, stringers, and lower-spar chords, the 747 realized considerable weight savings over the –300. As a result, on June 27, 1988, Northwest Airlines set a new official weight record by reaching an altitude of 2,000 meters at a gross weight of 892,450 pounds.
Shortly afterwards, Qantas Airways set the world distance record for commercial airliners by flying a 747–400 from London to Sydney nonstop, a distance of 11,156 miles (18,000 kilometers) in 20 hours, 9 minutes.
The 747–400 can travel 8,430 statute miles (13,570 kilometers) without refueling. That, in addition to its large seating capacity, makes it the lowest cost per seat-mile of any twin-aisle airplane offered. It has a dispatch reliability rate of 98.8 percent.
| Cruise Speed
||0.85 Mach / 565 mph
|| 910 km per hour|
Pratt & Whitney PW4062
63,300 pounds 28,710 kilograms
Rolls Royce RB211-524H
59,500 pounds 26,990 kilograms
General Electric CF6-80C2B5F
62,100 pounds 27,945 kilograms
|Maximum Gross Weight
||231 feet, 10 inches
||211 feet, 5 inches
||63 feet, 8 inches
Typical 3-class configuration - Up to 416
Typical 2-class configuration - Up to 524