The Boeing 747, which celebrates its 50th year in the air this year, has had multiple incarnations.
Boeing historian Mike Lombardi, in a detailed interview with Australian Aviation (don’t miss the March edition of the magazine, print and digital – ed) said it was the most studied airframe of any in Boeing history.
If you reflect for a minute, there have been some seemingly sensible iterations that did not quite meet the expectation of a return on investment.
Think, for example, the ambition by Pan American to have a piano as a feature of the first class upper deck, the Captain Cook lounge on some of the early Qantas 747s or, more seriously in terms of performance, the ultra-long-range 747-SP.
Then there have been other, obvious variants such as the piggyback space shuttle 747 ferrying the landing vehicle back to the launch site in Florida, or the extraordinary YAL-1A airborne laser testbed.
That’s just the half of it, as this video shows:
VIDEO: A look at the United States Air Force 747 aircraft carrier concept from the Mustard YouTube channel.
What variants would you have wanted to see in the 747? Share your thoughts in the comments below.