SEATTLE — The first Boeing 747 was never an airliner. For more than 25 years it was used by Boeing for flight tests until the plane was retired and grounded in the 1990s, then moved to The Museum of Flight years later.
Now, after nearly two years of restoration, the aircraft’s mysterious cabin is open to the general public. Tours of the Jumbo Jet are offered every day until Oct. 31, and are free with admission to the museum.
Beginning in November, regular interior tours will be suspended for the winter.
The 747 is one the most recognizable aircraft in the world and represents a milestone in the evolution of aviation design, according to museum officials. The growing worldwide demand for air travel during the 1960s led to the development of the 747, the first Jumbo Jet. It was an undertaking that forced Boeing to risk much of its net worth. It is taller than a six-story building, has seating for 374 passengers (up to 550 in some configurations), a takeoff weight of more than 300 tons (or 10 fully-loaded 18 wheel trucks), and enough fuel in its tanks to power a small automobile around the globe 36 times.
The museum’s aircraft was the first 747 ever built — serial number 001. It first flew on Feb. 9, 1969, over Western Washington. Later, this aircraft served as a testbed for 747 systems improvements and new engine developments for other Boeing commercial jets, including the state-of-the-art Boeing 777 engine program.
For more information: MuseumOfFlight.org